May Newsletter – Rockey’s Update


Well, one day it is ninety degrees and the sun shines brightly; then the same day, in the evening, the temperature plummets to forty degrees, and by morning the house is quite chilly. So the gas fireplace gets started, and in an hour, we are perspiring in the house as the outdoor temperature reads nearly eighty degrees. But that’s how it is in the mountains; we are at 7000 ft. altitude.

I am itching to plant my herbs. Each year, I am excited to plant the herbs in the very large pots that are raised on platforms to preserve my compromised back. How I love planting lemon thyme (excellent in soups and in some casseroles), Greek and Italian oregano (my friend Donna adores oregano – it is good for you), sweet basil (nothing like fresh basil on pizza), and curly parsley. I may purchase a couple of tomato plants yet, too. The hibiscus tree has to go back outside – that’s a job for our son-in-law, and our beautiful Boston fern hanging plant (huge) will be hung under the pergola as soon as the covering is put on it to provide some shade.

Do you ever plant anything and “play” in a little garden? Are you aware that gardening is good for your health? Drs. David and Austin Perlmutter, in their groundbreaking book entitled Brain Wash, state:

Gardening reconnects us to the earth and to our food and, unsurprisingly has been linked to a variety of positive health outcomes, including fewer depression and anxiety symptoms. As you might expect, gardeners consume more vegetables than nongardeners. (p. 126)

We get quite a lot of wind in March, April, and part of May. I am cautious about planting items that are tall, for fear that they will bend over and break when a gust of wind blows. Fortunately, herbs are not really tall, so later today I shall go out and prepare the soil in my pots, wet it down, and perhaps do a bit of planting.

I have been thinking about how very important planting is; not just of herbs and vegetables and lovely flowers, but of Biblical promises planted in the gardens of our hearts and minds. When we plant those, no matter what the circumstances around us, if the wind blows gustily or the sun scorches or the cold air destroys, God’s promises remain strong, and provide us with comfort regardless of circumstances.

I remember an experience from many years ago, when the circumstances around me were frightful. Others were screaming, crying, and some even vomited. Right away however, a Psalm that my father insisted I memorize when a teen came racing to my mind, and I repeated in my mind. While others were in terror, I was at peace. Psalm 46 starts:

“The Lord is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed . . .” (NIV)

I would counsel you to memorize this Psalm, as it has offered me comfort many times when normally I would be frightened or terrorized. The amygdala, an almond shaped component located in the mid-brain, contains and controls fear, anger, and anxieties. Cooperating with the hippocampus, it holds storage of memories, especially frightful ones. The pre-frontal cortex, located behind the forehead contains ones spirituality, decision-making and will. It has the ability to dampen the effect of the amygdala, which is ever ready to cause us to react to the current situation, adding to it the memories from the past.

What a wonderful ability of the brain that God created for all of us! Gardening is one of the activities that can quieten the amygdala.

So, now it’s out to my herb garden to do a bit of enjoyable planting.  Why don’t you consider doing a bit of gardening this spring, and see if it will bring you some enjoyment while doing it, and then again when harvest time comes?