Challenges on Our Desert Path


“Allow the challenge to be a pathway to greater understanding. Use your experiences in life as a gateway to God. Allow these challenges to awaken something inside of you, to find the blessing in it all.”
Gail Manishor, From Here to Serenity, A Spiritual Guide to Transform Your Life   

Just when we thought we had our desert absolutely perfect, something happened to upset our (my Garden Angel and my) plan. That’s the way life is. Life keeps happening. In life there are always challenges.             

 The first thing we noticed is that the 2 hibiscus plants that separated our yard from the neighbors and was the background for our desert began to look dry and seemed to be dying.  My Angel and I became aware that our neighbor had stopped watering  his lawn which was soon full of weeds. My Angel was horrified and I wasn’t thrilled either. Neighbors began to comment about our neighbor’s yard.             

A whole series of discussions between my Garden Angel and I began: “How can we mask the weed filled yard from ours and make a nice backdrop for our beautiful desert?”             

 We had some lovely shrubs, but these were not high enough to shield us from the unsightly view. For what we thought might be a “quick fix” we brought 2 very beautiful “Mandarin Orange honeysuckle vines and a trellis. These did not take off as we had hoped they would. They were trying, but not ready to fill the whole job. Next we planted that in the area between the houses. It did begin to grow and look very beautiful, but it could not completely hide the unsightly view.             

My husband Bill and I began to make rounds of nurseries looking for the perfect and least expensive solution to our problem. Bill loves anything with deep red leaves. I found a shrub that might work and began to check out different nurseries.             

 My Garden Angel and I went out and bought 2 nice size healthy Purple Hopseed Bushes (Dodonaea viscose Purpurea). We’ve placed them and will prepare the soil before planting.             

Purple Hopseed Bushes


This was our challenge. I didn’t think about the neighbors and what their challenges might be. Later I found out that the bank was taking back their home.  They may have become depressed and lost all interest in the home they had first bought with such excitement.             

 Before we criticize and blame others we need to take a look at ourselves. We judge others too quickly and harshly.             

 Just for one day see how long you can go without making a judgment of someone or something. It’s not easy. Are we thinking they’re too fat, they’re too thin,  they’re doing this or they’re not doing that. Ernest Holmes wrote “Mind your own business.” I think that’s excellent advice. Terry Cole-Whittaker wrote What You Think of Me is None of My Business. We have enough to do deciding what we ourselves are going to do without making judgments about what others are doing.             

Gail Manishor
Buy Gail’s Book: 

I have just come across The Spiritual Garden by John Stuart Leslie. It is worthwhile for anyone interested in gardening. Check it out.


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