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A garden is planted

Today was such a mixture of fun and overwhelming sadness.

I woke up with a raging case of “This house is a mess, if I have to live with you heathens one more minute I may explode!”-itis. So we cleaned house a bit. It’s still a mess, but it’s a bearable mess and that’s all I ask out of life. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but I have to not want to tear out my own eyeballs every time I look at it.

After cracking the whip and riding the kids like a third world dictator, I took them out for lunch! I’m a generous despot.

Penny Hawkins, I love her for many reasons, but this one is just tells the kind of person she truly is.

Hannah Deal, the little girl I’ve posted about who has stopped her unsuccessful treatment and is now just living out the rest of her precious time at home, lost her garden to the Florida heat and the family just didn’t have time to deal with it. Penny took it upon herself to organize a team, to get donations, and spearhead a group of us to go over and plant a new garden for Hannah. It was hot, I got filthy, and it was one of the most tremendous things I’ve done.

When Lisa told us that they had come to the decision that they could do no more for Hannah, my heart was just devastated. What, as her friends, could we possibly do? We can’t help Hannah, we can’t take away the pain of her impending death, we can do nothing. Then Penny just gave us this “thing” we could do….it felt like a physical way to show her how much we love them, how much we care, what we feel for them. So, we went, we played in the dirt, we planted those flowers and made a beautiful little garden of love for Hannah to enjoy.

On the drive over I watched the clouds come in, I had to drive through this mad rain storm and I just prayed that the Lord would provide us a break in the weather to plant this garden. As I drove off the highway, I drove out of the rain. These huge, dark clouds hung over Lisa’s house and we worked fast. We had a nice number of people to help, so it didn’t take too long, but we got it done and not a drop of rain fell on us. Just minutes after we planted the last flower and we stood back to look, the sun came out and just shined all over us. How is that for a direct blessing? We took pictures of Hannah with her garden, and we felt full of her happiness and smiles.

On the way home, I had to cry. My heart just hurts, it aches for Lisa, because Hannah doesn’t understand what’s happening, but Lisa does and she knows what the future holds for her baby girl. I remember the gut-aching feeling when the doctor told me that Peyton had cancer, that moment of pain so fierce that my ears rang and my throat felt closed and I can only imagine what Lisa must feel daily. Rachael asked me why I was crying and I told her. I explained that Hannah had cancer, a different kind than Peyton, and I told her the truth that her little friend she plays with at Lil Tales and family group was going to die. She understood that. Her face was so sad, and she held my hand and she told me “Then it was a good thing we made her garden today.”

I hope that you all are always loving those precious to you, that you never miss an opportunity to hug and kiss, that you never take for granted each moment that you are gifted.

Can you guess what my special contribution to the garden was?

f.r.o.G…fully relying on God

7 Comments on “A garden is planted”

  1. #1 Penny Hawkins
    on Aug 27th, 2007 at 1:07 am

    Oh My GOODNESS! I know you didn't……. (Thank you for your kind words – but come on did you have to POST that pic…. I will need to show you the CROP tool on your photo software). I love ya, Penny

    Seven days without prayer makes one WEAK!

  2. #2 Amy Nasworthy
    on Aug 27th, 2007 at 6:11 am

    I was so humbled to be a small part of planting Hannah's garden. I loved meeting everyone, you were all so kind. Your kids are beautiful and you crack me up!
    I will treasure yesterday in my heart forever. Seeing Hannah smile was priceless.

  3. #3 Kim
    on Aug 27th, 2007 at 7:46 am

    Anissa…was Penny trying to look like Mr. Rogers wife????? LOL I think it's awesome what you guys did! Take Care!

  4. #4 Lisa Deal
    on Aug 27th, 2007 at 9:08 am

    Thank you all from the bottom our hearts for coming out to plant this wonderful garden. It is so very pretty. We now have such wonderful colors and items to go outside and sit amoung. I know that Hannah will enjoy this garden for as much time as God will allow. She is such a wonderful little angel and makes me feel so happy to see such a wonderful group of ladies care about her so much.

  5. #5 Bev Schweigert
    on Aug 27th, 2007 at 10:48 am

    Bless you so very much for this beautiful garden for Hannah! She is the granddaughter of my cousin Rob, and my family and I finally got to meet Hannah and her brother Matthew while we were in Florida for my daughter's Make A Wish in June.

    I know that this garden is a true blessing to Hannah and her family. Thank you so very much for your thoughtfulness…


  6. #6 Basi
    on Aug 27th, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    Hi Anissa,
    I just cried as I read your update today. I'm so angry that these tumors are taking away our kids. It makes me so sad, too. But what can I do with those emotions. We must follow your guys example, do something! Anything! Just fight back, raise awareness, money plant a seed of hope.

    Hannah and her mom are on my heart.

    Thanks for sharing, love, basi

  7. #7 Julie V.
    on Aug 28th, 2007 at 11:50 am


    Dear Anissa,

    Wow- that garden for Hannah is so beutiful and those pictures of Hannah are priceless! Thanks for sharing with us about Hannah and her family.

    That's so neat that you have such a great group of friends who are walking down very similar paths with pediatric cancer. To be able to hold each other up with encouragement, perform acts of service and kindness or just lend a shoulder to cry on- that's true friendship!!!

    Hannah and her family are in my prayers. Have a lovely Tuesday.