The Garden of Life

Spring has a way of turning my thoughts to the Creator. For instance, have you ever pondered the pollination process in light of our relationship with the Lord and with each other? No? Great! Allow me to share my thoughts with you this morning.

There are three types of pollination: self-pollination, cross-pollination, and artificial cross-pollination.


gailjohsonauthor.comSelf-pollination happens when an excess of pollen in a flower causes pollination to take place within that same flower.

Prayer turns my heart to the Lord and renews my mind. Fasting teaches me discipline and helps me to submit to His will and not my will. Biblical studies grow my faith and knowledge in Him. All of this, combined with the work of the Holy Spirit, helps me to produce that which God has planted in me.


gailjohnsonauthor.comThe next technique is cross-pollination. This pollination takes place when small animals, rain, wind, and insects carry pollen from one plant to another.

I imagine the small animals as inconveniences that arise and hinder my plans, the rain as dark days that hide life’s sunshine, the wind as the storms that test my faith, and the insects as situations that irritate me.

Yet, I have a choice how I respond to the pollinators that God sends into my life. If I’m willing, each instance can produce fruit. The small inconveniences cultivate steadfastness and instruct me in diligence no matter the deterrent. The rain promotes contentment in every season of my life that I may know an unspeakable joy. The wind rocks me and loosens the earth around me allowing my roots to go deeper. And finally, those irritants urge me to have patience by teaching me self-control. All work to strengthen my faith in the Lord.

Artificial Cross-Pollination

Lastly, artificial cross-pollination occurs when a person gathers pollen from one flower, and then using a small brush or blower, applies it to another flower.

Gail Johnson © 2017Just like artificial cross-pollinators leave pollen, people leave a signature fragrance that remains long after they’ve gone. Some leave a sweet smell while others leave an unpleasant odor that may linger for years. Each produces its own kind of growth.

The “sweet” pollinate the Word along with encouragement into my life promoting deep thirsty roots of faith in Christ and juicy fruits of the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, the “odoriferous” flit about pollinating the latest gossip, strife, anger, and bitterness often disrupting my peace and stealing my joy.

Gail Johnson© 2017Unlike the flowers in nature, I have a choice to refuse or accept odorous pollen. The solution? Allow the Holy Spirit to blow upon me each day.

As a pollinator, I also have a choice. Brush people with the stench of this world or the sweet fragrance of Heaven.

To become a stinky pollinator, I need not do anything. But to become a heavenly pollinator, I must allow the Master Gardener to deadhead, fertilize, and water my spirit each day!

May we all be a sweet fragrance to those we meet along the way. 🙂

Click to Tweet: People leave a signature fragrance that remains long after they have gone. Some leave a sweet smell while others leave an unpleasant odor that may linger for years.

Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Harriet E. Michael

Good morning, dear reader! I’m excited to introduce you to my friend Harriet E. Michael. Harriet is a wife, mother, grandmother and writer. You can find out more about Harriet and her books on Facebook, Amazon Author Page, and her Blog.

Good morning, Harriet. Welcome! Please, tell us a little about yourself.

Harriet MichaelI was born in the jungles of Africa, the daughter of missionaries. I really was. My parents were missionaries to Nigeria, West Africa and I was born in the Niger River Delta in a little jungle village called Joinkrama. The place of my birth, at that time, had elephants roaming around, monkeys in the trees, crocodiles in the river, and cannibals nearby.

We moved to the city of Ogbomoso when I was three. It was in a part of the country that was not in the tropical rain forest, not in the jungle. I loved Ogbomoso, and all of my childhood memories are from there. I lived through a few years of war—the Biafran War that started in 1967 and lasted until 1970. My family left Nigeria in the summer of ’68 when our term ended, and we did not return. I missed my home so badly! My 5th grade year in the states was one of the unhappiest of my life. I just kept wanting to go home.

A couple of years later, we moved to WV where my dad started a medical practice. I adjusted and grew to love WV & the US. My senior year of high school I was a cheerleader, and my school’s football team won the AAA state championship—still one of the highlight moments of my life.

In ’79 I married John R. Michael to whom I am still married. We have shared many experiences, all of which are fodder for writing. One of the experiences we shared was a time when he served on the board of Trustees of Southern Seminary from 1984-1994. It was a very interesting time, and he had a significant role in some changes that occurred at the seminary then. And like I said, its fodder for writing and is, in fact, the subject of a book we have co-written and are currently seeking a publisher.

But I’m jumping the gun …

I began writing in 2009 and have found my passion in life. I think I have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up. I write mostly nonfiction (both books and small pieces—articles, devotions, etc.) I do have one novel released last March. It is a fiction based on fact, based on the lives and love of my parents.

Today, I have a growing list of published credits (over 150 articles, devotions, stories in anthologies, etc.) and have authored or co-authored six books, three are published, and three are in the process. I am also contracted to co-writing another that will hopefully be released sometime next year.

Prayer It's not about youI am signed under the nonfiction arm of Write Integrity Press, called Pix-N-pens. They published my first book, Prayer: It’s Not About You, my co-writer’s first book, Study Guide of Prayer a companion to my book, and are in the process of publishing two more in our prayer series.

Shirley Crowder, my co-writer, is a childhood friend who used to live across the dirt road from me in Ogbomoso. We played together nearly every day. She teased once and said, “The pickings were slim as far as playmates went on that African mission compound back then.” That may have been true, but God used it to make us friends for life. 😊

Way to go, Harriet! As you know, this month’s theme is self-control. Please share your thoughts with our readers.

Self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit as listed in Galatian 5:22-23. It is also often spoken of in passages describing leadership. Certainly, it is a desirable practice to learn.

Well said! On to the next questions. Life is a continual journey of learning, applying, and transforming. Have you ever experienced a season when you found it difficult to have self-control? How did you overcome?

One of my struggles with self-control happens when I encounter opinions that differ from mine, especially strong opinions. I see this often on Facebook. I have friends on both sides of issues, whether political, social, or whatever. I too have my own strong opinions, but I have worked at controlling my urge to proclaim them loudly across Facebook, especially when it means blasting against someone else’s opinion. It seems to me that this usually only results in arguments.

I have a couple of friends in particular who come to my mind. I am sometimes saddened to see their often rude-sounding, ugly, criticism of political figures or positions they disagree with.  I think there is a difference between standing one’s ground (which I willingly do, but usually in person) and stirring up people to anger.

When I see these, I’ll admit that many rebuttals come into my mind, but I hold back and tell myself to “walk away.” Consequently, I have maintained my friendships with people whom I could easily have had many heated arguments. Some feel that the arguments are simply good debates, I hold to Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Those are definitely words to live by. Let’s talk writing. In what genre do you write and how does your faith influence your writing?

I am a nonfiction writer at heart, and almost all of my writing has been nonfiction, especially Biblical nonfiction. This is one reason, my childhood friend Shirley and I became co-writers in so many books, she too loves to write Biblical nonfiction—books and articles that focus on Bible passages or concepts.

Harriet Michael bookBut I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed writing my novel, The Whisper of the Palms. It has had a good reception, sold well, and I have readers asking for a sequel, so who knows? Maybe some future day, I will write another fiction.

I love nonfiction and fiction also! Harriet, thank you for taking the time to visit with us.

If you’re looking for a fiction or nonfiction book, be sure to add Harriet’s to your TBR list!