Wednesday, June 16, 2010

On Thistles

We have an abundance of thistles. If thistles were marketable or edible, we would have it made! My husband was once paid for every thistle he would hoe out. It was the perfect endless job where a boy could earn as much money as he had time, energy, and sweat. In a few years, I expect my husband to hand the grubbing hoe to his sons but for now, his war with thistles continues without the cash reward.

Across the road from our house is an abandoned farm. The house and barn are falling in and the fields lie fallow. It is a shame to see rich productive farmland return to trees. Before the woods totally takes over the acreage, the fields are host to an amazing crop of thistles. In the summer, the goldfinches are in their glory eating thistle seed. We do enjoy the wide variety of wildlife that lives around this abandoned homestead, but every breeze brings a new crop of thistle to our property. It is no wonder Ed has given up on ever having a thistle free pasture.
One of the conversations I remember from our honeymoon was choosing a name for our new home. We knew we wanted to incorporate the word "thistle". There is hardly a level foot of ground on our almost three acres, and we thought of "hollow" described it well. We weren't sure how to put it all together. We were staying in the tiny town of Talkeetna, Alaska for the night when we noticed a little gift shop called Thistleberry Gifts. That was the inspiration needed. Thistleberry Hollow was the new name for our little home.

When I discovered blogs, I always thought, if I'd ever start a blog, I'd use the name Thistleberry. As it was, I didn't have any intention starting a blog. What would I ever have to say! (Grin) When I started a little email newsletter for homemakers, not much thought went into the name "Home Joys". This blog "accidentally" took form from the newsletter, since I found out I have far more to say then I'll ever find the time to type!
This week Ed said he was going to attack our pasture thistle crop. I grabbed the camera and tried to capture some of the beauty of the flowers. As much as we hate thistles and are reminded of the curse put on the world after Adam and Eve sinned, even here, beauty is found.

For the rest of the day, I've been thinking of finding beauty amongst the thorns. I'm the first to say that my life is blessed. I don't have any hardships compared to many who experience daily pain, heartache, persecution and rejection.

But so often, even in my life surrounded with blessings, I have only eyes for the thistles. I see the dirty floor, the sink full of dishes, and the ornery children. I rub my aching back and wish for miracles of spotless house, full cookie jar, and cheerful faces. I forget about the four healthy children whose feet drag in the dirt, tummies fill with food, and loving snuggles at bedtime make it all worthwhile.
Oh, how I need God to give me a heart of gratitude!

Want to join me in watching for blooming thistles?


  1. What a beautiful, encouraging post! And one I really needed to read.

    Although I must confess, I'm a smidge disappointed... I thought I was going to find a solution to pulling the thorny weeds from my flowerbeds ;D I'll think of this as I pull them next week. I'm sure they'll be back!

  2. Great post Gina.....
    recently a cousin from the other side of my family posted this on facebook
    "He who wants a rose must respect the thorn."

    I too must some days remind myself how blessed we are :)

  3. What a wonderful reminder! I too, often get lost in looking for that clean house and well-behaved-ness that doesn't materialize. But, there is much more to be thankful for!

  4. Thank you for the encouragement.We are so blessed in this season of our lives.~Nikki

  5. Thanks for the reminder as I sit here in 90+ degree weather in the southeast, where our AC/heat pump went out and no savings to fix it right now. I could pout and wail and demand, but I will instead, pray, hope and believe.

    Thistle hugging and seeing the joy,

  6. Good morning! I just came across your blog and wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed it. Such beautiful pictures and writing and of course a very lovely family!

  7. We don't like thistle out here either. They can be such a problem..and ouch if you get too close!

  8. Thank you for this beautiful post, Gina. As someone else said, it was just what I needed to read today! I think I'll have to bookmark it for future reference. :)

    I also think it's really cool that you honeymooned in Alaska. My hubby and I dream of visiting there someday!! We know some people who used to live in Talkeetna, and we have an Alaska train DVD where the train goes right through there. Looks like such beautiful country!

  9. I'll join you in looking for blooming thistles! I was just convicted earlier this week at how ungrateful I am. I am SO blessed, but so often forget that. Enjoyed your post!

  10. What a wonderful post. I have to admit I love thistles, and now when I see them I will have a gentle reminder of how amazingly blessed I am.


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