Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Merry Season of Love over Fear

a snowman with a blue CZC tag around his neck with the name Mark Frosty

Hello fellow readers, For the first time in a long time, I wrote a Christmas letter to send with greeting cards to friends from far away, sharing the joy coming from the arrival of our rescue dog Jolee. And the inspiration she gave us as we witnessed her maneuver through the fear and uncertainty. I hope the letter will inspire you to choose love over fear in this merry season of love.

Mary Stone, wearing a yellow coat, is sitting in front of a stream with Jolee in her lap.

Our rescue dog Jolee arrived in January 2021.

Jolee’s spirit came riddled with fear.

You may recall the story, faithful readers, how Jolee came from Biloxi, Mississippi, saved from a kill shelter by a loving grassroots rescue organization there. I use the word “shelter” loosely, having learned it’s a dilapidated barn they jam street dogs in before they euthanize them. No wonder Jolee’s spirit came riddled with fear.

When she arrived, I could easily lift her 34 pounds to carry her for a while on our morning walks when she’d put on the brakes, which was every few feet. Then I’d put her back on the road; she’d walk a bit more before lifting her for several feet and setting her back on the ground. She’d walk further each time, gaining confidence and courage.

“It’s okay, Jolee. The road ahead is safe.”
Jolee, a white dog with black ears, has her tail between her legs being walked on the road by Mary Stone.

Jolee would put on the brake in fear.

We now walk close to four miles every day. And I can still lift her, at 47 pounds, and do from time to time when we come upon unfamiliar things that bring uncertainly or fear, like road crews cutting back trees.

Or when I try to encourage her to go a different route with no success. Work in progress! Yes, indeed, Jolee finds comfort in routine. Don’t we all. But the pandemic has changed things. And it’s hard to imagine where this is all going.

A story of Hope 

I shared a tidbit of last year’s column titled What’s in Store? Lessons from Frosty; a story of Hope despite unpredictable seasons inspired by children attending Comfort Zone Camp (a grief camp for kids) who built a snowman they named Frosty.

the sun casting long shadows of trees in snow signifying hope

Landscape made by Mother Nature.
Photo by: Mary Stone

“Frosty the snowman is a fairy tale, they say. He was made of snow, but the children know how he came to life one day.” The song goes on to tell about their adventures.

Then comes sadness when the sun begins to warm. But Frosty shouts in glee, “Let’s run, and we’ll have some fun now before I melt away.”

When the time came, “He waved goodbye, saying, don’t you cry, I’ll be back again someday.”

Frosty’s lesson is to live in the joy of now while taking comfort in knowing that God is with us always, through each season, seeing us through every storm. And while we can’t predict long-term forecasts in the garden of life, each of us can propagate peace, love, and kindness. It’s not a fairytale.

Choosing Love over Fear
hot pink Christmas bulb with a reflection of a woman in a yellow jacket

Wishing you Joy in the magic that surrounds you.

When you think about it, there’s only fear and love. Other feelings are subsets of them. Worry, anger, and anxiety, for example, stem from fear. In contrast, there’s kindness and generosity based on love. So is Hope.

Imagine if we lived without judgment. And we looked at every situation causing stress and fear as an opportunity to demonstrate love. What a beautiful and peaceful garden of life it would be.

God Bless our World and all who live in it, including the creatures, plants, and land we share. We are all part of a whole – part of the One.

Wishing you a Merry Season of Love. Garden Dilemmas? (and your favorite Podcast App.)

You can listen to the audio version of this story in Episode 37 of the Garden Dilemmas Podcast

You’ll enjoy another seasonal story about the History & Legend of Poinsettias. 

Link to learn more about Comfort Zone Camp 




Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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