“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.

Dropped everything on my To Do list and drove to 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 planting pansies just seemed the right thing to do.

I rolled up my sleeves, then dug hands in dirt, felt its moist coolness, breathed deep its fragrance.

A flashback, to childhood, stepping into Andy’s Garden Center in a neighboring town, being enveloped in green.
In life.
And that smell—the aroma of earth.
I closed my eyes, hands still hidden in soil.

After a moment, I continued—took small plants, shook sod from roots and pinched them to break away the 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 tiny soldiers.
Adding a bit more soil, I knew they were secure as they danced, a gentle breeze having blown across the pond to meet them on my front porch.
They didn’t break, merely bent a bit, before springing back into place.

Each planted from seeds some months ago, it was my 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 creation.

Still, I’ll take pride in caring for them, and I’ll delight, no doubt, in the beauty they’ll give me in return.
A friendship of sorts, if you will—me and these dainty pansies.

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 even when one thinks they’re not long for this world.
(Pansies 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, and I sing to them—

“Now then, there you are!”



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

I didn’t know 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 the pansy’s) reached far and wide!
It’s not that we’d wish you back into the imperfection of a broken body, but because we sometimes still battle selfishness.
After all, we’ve not yet traded our imperfect shell for that glorified garment.

One day…

In your honor, however, I will do my best to live in the manner you always encouraged, be a soul-strong soldier, so to speak…
Proclaim with 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 words that I pray will produce a bountiful harvest—for God’s glory.

You’re proof, dear Lucinda, of this—
One’s words are impactful, possessing potential to change the world, when written and spoken through the Spirit’s empowerment.

Yes, you—in life and death—are proof indeed.

And your words will live on, my Soul-Strong sister and friend.
They’ve been planted like seeds in the hearts of many.

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!

I know you’re at Home having been transplanted to heaven.
And oh, the joy that’s set before you!

Thank you for all you mean to me and many.
For the lasting impact your life made.
For the eternal impact your grace-filled dying made.

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

I’m wondering if your first words when you saw Jesus was that one word—that Hebrew word for the year—that you so prayerfully chose.
And I bet you sung it out…

“Hineni!”—”Here I am!”
(Oh, I bet you did!)

Indeed, dear friend–

THERE you are!

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).

In loving memory of my soul-strong, pansy-passionate friend. Lucinda’s seeds have been scattered far and wide, and this world is that much more beautiful! May 23, 1953-March 25. 2023