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  • Debra McInvale

Brown Thumbs Unite

How to Nourish Our Lives if Not Our Gardens

Hand Painted Porcelain Plate by Debra McInvale, McInvale Studios

Like watering our plants, time with God is like watering our souls.

No matter how much I may dig in the dirt, any plant under my supervision will always perish. As the idiom goes, I have brown thumbs. I’ve thought about sticking my thumbs in a jar of green paint, but would it help? Probably not. Singing to the plants? Conversing with them every morning? Nope. I have lost hope in having a beautiful garden.

These days I content myself with a few plants on the kitchen deck and replace them fairly often. My current, alternative solution is to “grow” flowers out of porcelain. I have built funky flowers out of clay, fired and painted them, then added painted wooden dowels for stems and stiffened fabric for leaves. An upcoming project is to make more blooms from clay but attach them on metal stems with the leaves made from kitchen utensils so they will be indestructible. What do you think? Will they do?

Porcelain Flowers, Hand Made by Debra McInvale, McInvale Studios

My garden dilemma has gotten me to thinking about how we nourish ourselves. Sun and water help sustain plants. Food and water nourish our physical bodies. For most of us, thankfully, we do not need to be concerned with physical starvation. It’s obvious when we are hungry, so we feed our tummies.

But what nourishes our spirits? Malnourishment of the spirit is less obvious. When our spirits go untended (like my plants), spiritual starvation may go unrecognized. Then our thumbs and our hearts gradually become brown and slowly starve.

People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Matthew 4:4 NLT

Unlike the plants I try to feed with water and sun, and the pizza I stuffed in my mouth yesterday, it takes God’s Word and His presence in our lives to nourish our spirits – for them to grow strong and healthy, green and lush with the love of God.

Every part of Scripture is God-breathed…

2 Timothy 3:16 – MSG

All Scripture is saturated with the breath of God. Therefore, when we steep ourselves in His Word, God continually blows His breath into us, filling our spirits with His holy nourishment.

So, exactly what can we do to nourish our spirits? Spend time with God! Intentionally commit to consistently reading the Bible. Read it. Dig in and study it. Memorize it. Internalize it. Live it. Obey it. And, while we are at it, lets also commit to spend some quality quiet time with God, focusing on Him alone, listening for Him to speak and basking in His loving presence. As Scripture says, “be still” and simply recognize and know that God is God (Psalm 46:10).

This week, I challenge me and you to spend more quality time with God. It makes no difference what color our thumbs are in our gardens. Let’s plant some scripture in our brains and hearts!

Hugs and blessings,


Dear Father God, I need Your constant filling in my life. Not just a drop, or an occasional dollop, but a constant outpouring of You into me. Prod me, poke me, do whatever it takes to slow me down and sit me down in Your loving presence. Please fill my spirit with Your breath and be a constant presence with me. Amen.


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Jul 15, 2021

This is good, Debra, and very timely for me. It is a good follow-up to the words spoken in my church's Bible study last night. So, so important to stay in God's word, to get it into our hearts and minds, to speak it out loud.

And, I really like your porcelain flowers. Even I could keep those alive. While we have some real plants and flowers outside (though not by my doing!), we stuck in a few artificial flowers this year. They are seen from a bit of a distance, so their fakery is not evident. This morning, my husband got a compliment on the artificial flowers. HA!

Debra McInvale
Debra McInvale
Jul 16, 2021
Replying to

Isn't it amazing how sometimes the Lord echoes inspiration to us! When He wants something to sink in, He tells us over and over until we get it!

Glad you like my blooms - even though they do not smell. They are the best I can do. Your front yard always looks good to me. Obviously, I have not spotted the imposters either!



Sandra Stryker
Sandra Stryker
Jul 14, 2021

Sometimes, early in the morning, as I stand in a God renewing breeze, waiting on the dog, I feel my soul being nourished. I feel like Jesus is hugging me. A gift of grace. This blog was very well written. You just get better and better. Thank you for sharing your gift.

Debra McInvale
Debra McInvale
Jul 16, 2021
Replying to

Holy Hugs from Jesus are amazing, aren't they!! Thanks for sharing this with me. ❤️

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