Stones, Weeds and Dry Leaves

Plum in Pink, 3.5" x 2.5" gouache on Bristol vellum

I can't claim this painting is authentic. It's the plum tree I can see in the back yard. I painted it to record the light at the very end of the day, when one last shaft of sunlight seems to illuminate the tree from the inside out. But it isn't real. I'd love it if there were a carpet of lush, green grass leading up to it, but here in sun-baked New Mexico a lawn like that takes a lot of water, weeding and work. What's really there are stones and weeds and, at the moment, a lot of dead, dry leaves that have yet to be raked up and disposed of. (True confession time! Ack.)

How often do we 'dress things up' to look better than they really are? It's commonly done, and even considered polite. No one wants to be faced with stark reality all the time and have to deal with the un-raked leaves or weeds of another's life. Grass is much more beautiful than stones. Now, in my paintings I'm more than willing to change what's there to make a more interesting and compelling painting, but in life I need to be careful to live authentically and be transparent. Christians should be willing to "live in glass houses", letting folks see who and what they are without a lot of window dressing.

So, I hope you enjoy this's quite lovely and easy to maintain in the painting. My life, likewise, may look good to you, lush and green, but you should know that I struggle with weeds and old leaves and a stony yard. I'm so very grateful to be forgiven by God when the 'weeds' get tall, and to have a patient, loving Father when the 'old leaves' are still there in spring, and to know that He's guiding every step through the 'stones' on my path. And I know He smiles when I paint something to look more beautiful than it is. I think that was His original plan and the way he'll make things again in the future. 

Maybe He looks at you and me the same way, with an eye to His original plan and what He will restore us to in heaven. Lush, green, verdant, well-watered--and blossoming with youth and beauty. 

He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. Psalms 1:3



  1. Deborah, a wonderfully written piece. I have been looking at the height of the 'Weeds' of my own life lately.... however wanting to change and actually changing can be miles apart sometimes.

  2. I understand that dilemma, Maggie. Changing isn't something I do TO myself. I am changed. I'm like a plant in a garden, affected by so many things--rain, soil conditions, wind, sunlight, even possibly being transplanted! But the Gardener knows what I really need, so when this plant recognizes again that she needs to ABIDE in Him, and let the conditions determine how she will grow, things work much better. And in doing that I recognize that over time I AM changed. I know that if I change my mind, He'll change my heart, in time. It isn't until then that my behavior follows. That wind, sun, and rain do its work, in a manner of speaking.


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