Accountability Report: An Update on My Garden & My Soul

Laurie Cole POSTED BY Laurie Cole
Categories: Laurie's Posts

Today’s post is a long overdue accountability report. Way back in February, on a Front Porch Friday video, I took you on a tour of my vegetable garden, and the neglect you saw in my garden revealed my own neglected soul.


Gardening is one of the ways God revives and replenishes my soul. And He reminded me about that at a conference Bill and I attended in February. The speaker was Rev. Lance Witt, and his topic was built upon this beautiful, but often forgotten, scripture:




God challenged me through that verse to set time aside in my busy schedule so that He could give me rest and replenish my soul. I recognized that He was calling me to go outside, get my hands in the dirt, and let my heart connect to Him. And I committed to do that and to be accountable to you by providing pictures and updates of my garden.

So today, in the spirit of accountability,  I’m sharing a few before and after pics from my garden. As you’ll see, there is still much work to be done, but my garden — and my soul — have come a long way since your first garden tour. Take a look.



Weeds were everywhere! But this little patch was where I began. After I removed all of the weeds, Bill tilled the soil until it was gorgeous again. Next, I planted a dozen or so tomato plants, added mulch to prevent more weeds from growing and . . .



Hallelujah! My tomatoes are now growing, blooming, and setting fruit. Makes me (and my soul) so happy!

The next pic is from a different part of the garden:



As you can see, this section was where all of our old tomatoes cages had gone to die. And surrounding that all of that ugliness? More weed-infested beds and evidence of long-term neglect.

But now, it looks like this:



I planted one of my favorite shrubs — a butterfly bush — in the center of this bed, added a few pink zinnias, and have since planted yellow lantanas in each corner (thank You Lord, for lantanas — they thrive on neglect, bloom until frost, and come back every year).  The butterfly bush will grow up to 6-feet tall, and it will soon be covered in beautiful purple, sweet smelling flowers. Yes, I know this is a vegetable garden. But beauty. It is important for our souls, sisters.

The bed behind the butterfly bush and against the fence is my okra section. I planted the seeds a few days ago, and soon they will rise up and bless the Lord with one of the only vegetables Bill will eat from this garden. Sadly, he will not enjoy even one luscious bite from any of our tomatoes, but he loves okra.

Back in February, the final section of the garden looked like this:



See those weeds? They were the meanest weeds in the entire garden. They were a nasty combination of nut grass and a pernicious weed that I could not identify. I confess, my soul was weary from all of the hard, sweaty work in this section of the garden, and my primary conversation with God as I toiled was, “Lord, why weeds???”

I also had a few deep thoughts regarding Adam, the fall, the consequences of sin, and the words God spoke to Adam in Genesis 3:17-18: “Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it. Both [nutgrass] and [pernicious, unidentifiable weeds] it shall grow for you.” Suffice to say this section of the garden wore me out. But when I finally pulled the final weed from that section, my soul rejoiced.

That section now looks like this:



Red, green, and yellow sweet pepper plants have replaced the weeds. And behind the peppers along the back fence, I planted the seeds for my favorite garden crop: purple hull peas!

In the bed across from the peppers, I planted something fun and delicious: pattypan squash. At least that’s what my mother and grandmother call it. Others call it “scallop” squash. I have never see it in the grocery store, and it does my soul good to grow and enjoy something I can only get in my garden.

Currently, Bill and I are enjoying berries from the garden. Yum!



The blueberries bushes are producing and…



The blackberries ripening everyday.

Sisters,I am so happy to report that my soul is in a much healthier place today than it was a few months ago. And I give all of the glory to God for that. He is, after all, our Creator and, “He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust,” (Psalm 103:14).  And because of that, He created the Sabbath and set an example for us to rest and be renewed regularly.

Dear sister, what about you? How is your soul? Does it feel like the “before” pictures of my garden — neglected and overtaken by weeds? If so, then I have one final question and word of encouragement for you:

What replenishes your soul? Give it to God, practice it regularly, and experience the rest and renewal that He created you to enjoy.

Thank you for holding me accountable, sisters!

Love y’all,

P. S. I’d love to hear what replenishes your soul so post a comment, and let’s be accountable together.






Laurie Cole is the President of Priority Ministries and the author of six Bible studies for women: There is a Season, The Temple, Beauty by The Book, Beauty by The Book for Teens, Warrior Princess, and Are You a Disciple? A frequent speaker at women's events, find out how to invite Laurie to speak at your event.

4 comments on “Accountability Report: An Update on My Garden & My Soul

    kleslie1222@gmail.com' Kristi says:

    The older I get, the more I find sweating objectionable. Anything outside in our Texss summers will likely be denied.
    I’ve always been kind of artsy/crafty, as you know. I’ve taken on a different hobby as of late, restoring furniture. So far, I’ve jazzed up a plain, nothing special, mirror. I found two barstools at Goodwill that needed help, so I bought some remnants at Joann’s and replaced the seat fabric. Now I’m thinking I’ll put a new coat of paint on the frames! Currently the most extensive project EVER is a ratty old desk. I’ve stripped, mostly hand sanded (for months!), repainted the whole thing, and foiled the drawer fronts. I’m clear coating it now, and hope to be done tonight. If not…
    The pine cones will be delivered tomorrow and I’ll begin cutting, sealing, painting and arranging them on a wreath. Have you seen the pine cone zinnias? I loved them the first time I saw them! I know Mother loves zinnias, so I’m making a wreath of beautiful, bright colored zinnias for her door. Deadline: Saturday night. The desk may wait, back to artsy!
    This is what replinishes my soul now. Turning something ugly into something I’m proud of, or creating something beautful with a few supplies, a little imagination, and my two, now sore, hands.

    Your garden is lovely, with benefits! I’m on Bill’s side with the tomatoes. The purple hulls and the blackberries are another story.
    When I saw your blueberries, a childhood memory came to mind. Muskadines! You should set aside a place. From what I remember, they take care of themselves, and they make the best jelly!

    Loved reading! Happy Mother’s Day Granny!

    tudy1956@yahoo.com' Denise Lobb says:

    Hi Laurie!
    I Love your garden:) it’s beautiful. And so is your soul, Laurie.
    Happy Mother’s Day!
    Blessings, Denise Lobb

    ecdedavis@frontier.com' Debra says:

    Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Reading God’s Word, spending time “In the Garden” when the dew is still on the roses, and the voice I hear falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses…And He walks with me… 🙂 it’s time in the Word, in my Hymnal, and in devotions like Laurie Coles! I just finished “First love, planning your own wedding” because after more than a year I just figured out how to download the Cd’s (can you believe it?) and while I always knew you were a southern version of my kindred spirit, I felt like you were peeking right into my soul tonight! -remembering the first love things…repenting…returning…being restored, renewed. I love being His bride. It reminds me so much of my beloved and I too. But I first saw my love as a fly boy, but different than the others. I loved our wedding, honeymoon, children, homeschooling, ministry together…and then bad health brought the winter in my soul, but the Lord IS faithful, and is calling me back from just going through the motions. Like you are weeding your garden, I’m going to start ‘weeding’ the garden of my health. It’s been neglected too long, and it shows. But you’ve inspired me to plant some new seeds, nurture some things broken and forgotten. Thank you. I love our calling to be ready for the marriage of the Lamb. I knew first through my salvation He had made me ready, but now I have my part to get ready, with pure hearted devotion 🙂 Abiding… Thank you so much for putting it into the beautiful wedding picture. Funny how our culture has reversed what gave it such beautiful meaning. Again, thank you, love you dearly. Miss you on the porch…hope to see you again soon

    This piece blessed me richly. Thanks for sharing. Studying God’s word, sitting in the dark and meditating, and talking to people helps refresh my soul. Sometimes, it gets so rough that I find it hard to pray but somehow God uses these means to draw me back to Him. To Him be all the Glory.

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