“When the Lord takes one partner to be with Him in the heavenly Home, He restores the one left on earth and gives to the one remaining a new assignment to ministry and a fresh opportunity for spiritual growth” (Dorothy Kelley Patterson).


Today I planted pansies.

Just dropped everything on my To Do list, then drove to town to visit Lowe’s—purchased flats of them, those flowers whose meaning is–

Think of me… Thoughts, remembrances, things to consider.

I had a lot on my mind and in my heart, so planting pansies seemed the right thing to do.

Rolling up my sleeves, I dug in–got hands dirty while feeling the moist coolness, breathed deep that sweet fragrance.

Suddenly, a flashback to childhood. With Momma and my sister, I stepped into Andy’s Garden Center in a neighboring town, was enveloped in green…
Surrounded by life, held captive by that scent, the aroma of rich earth.

Remembering, I closed my eyes, hands still buried beneath the soil.

After a moment and several deep breaths, I continued—took small plants, shook sod from roots and pinched them to break away the fragile tips, something someone once taught me.

Aids in their survival, just in case there’s any root lock.

Then, having placed each in shallow holes, I pressed dirt down and around, until they stood straight, like small, courageous soldiers.

Adding a bit more soil, I knew they were secure as they danced, a gentle waltz with the wind which blew across the farm pond to meet them on my front porch. They didn’t break, merely bent a bit, before springing back in to place.

Each planted from tiny seeds some months ago, it was my earnest prayer these little plants—their green leaves and yellow and purple petals—would thrive in their new home.

I didn’t know them when they were simply seeds, didn’t know them as seedlings either.

They’d come to me as full-fledged flowers—that which their Creator intended, giving me the privilege of tending them, minor though they are in the great scheme of God’s good creation.

Still, I’ll take pride in caring for them, and I’ll delight, no doubt, in the quiet beauty they’ll offer me in return.
A friendship of sorts, if you will—me and the dainty pansies, these posies which are among my favorites.

And though they’re meant for beauty, blossoming best in in-direct sunlight, even in the shade of other, taller, plants, they’re hardy too.
(Don’t’ be deceived by the fragile nature of their tissue-paper thin design, oh no.)

They’ll endure cold temperatures, often bouncing back when one might think they’re not long for this world.
(Pansies sure are perseverant that way.)

For me, they stir memories.
Cause me to pause and ponder…
And I smile as I look upon my little flowers, then sing to them a melody, the wind offering its part—

“Now then, there you are!”


Today, as I watch my pansies dance, I’ll think of you—my fellow pansy-loving friend.
I know you’re dancing and, no doubt, with your mama and daddy too–

With Jesus!

Oh, I didn’t have the joy of knowing you long, only had the privilege of meeting you in person a handful of times.
But that was enough, and yet…
It wasn’t.

Not hardly.

And I’m left here wanting more, as are many whose lives were touched by you. Your rhizomatic root-system (so unlike those pansies’) reached far and wide.

It’s not that we’d wish you step back into the imperfection of a broken body, but, rather, because we sometimes yet battle selfishness, rooted in sin.

After all, we’ve not yet traded our shabby shells for those glorified garments.

But one day…

Still, in your honor, I will do my best to live in the manner you always encouraged, be a Soul-Strong soldier, so to speak…
Proclaim with the apostle Paul, whom you now get to know personally—

“To live is Christ, to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).

You planted seeds in my life through the power of your spoken and written words which I pray will produce a bountiful harvest—for God’s glory.

You’re proof, dear friend, of this—
One’s messages are impactful, possessing potential to change the whole wide world, when offered through the Holy Spirit’s empowerment.

Yes, you—in life and death—are proof of this indeed!

And your words will live on, my Soul-Strong sister and friend. They’ve been planted like seeds in the hearts of many–encouragements that will live on into eternity, always for our good while bringing our heavenly Father great pleasure.

I pray my imperfect life is worthy—me, just one such clump of soil where your scattered seeds will grow. I would be most honored and humbled if that were so.

Please, Jesus—make it so!

Precious pansy-loving sister, I know you’re at Home having been transplanted to heaven. And oh, the joy that’s set before you, no longer the hope of glory…

But yes, Glory Himself!

Thank you for all you mean to me, for all you mean to so many.
Thank you for the lasting impact your life made, for the eternal impact your grace-filled, Christ-present dying made.

Though it’s just one step through the veil, that one step makes all the difference. And for eternity, you, my friend, get to dance!

I just can’t help but wonder if your first words when you saw Jesus was that one word—that Hebrew word for the year, the one you so prayerfully chose, then wrote about to tell a waiting world.

I’m guessing you sung it out with gusto–

“Hineni!”—”Here I am!”

(Oh, I bet you did!)

Indeed, dear Soul-Strong sister–

THERE you are!

Yes, today…
I planted pansies.


“I also live each day in the way I want to be remembered and trust that my story and legacy has made a difference in someone’s life. And for the kingdom” (Soul Strong, Lucinda Secrest McDowell).

May 23, 1953-March 25. 2023

This, my gift–written in loving memory of my Soul-Strong, pansy-passionate friend who was also my mentor. Lucinda Secrest McDowell’s seeds have been scattered far and wide, and this world is that much more beautiful!

Rest in peace, in the garden of God’s grace.