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Tending Roses

By Lisa Wingate


The lessons that most enrich our lives often come at unexpected moments and from unlikely places. That’s what Katie Benson learns when she moves temporarily—with her husband Ben and baby son—to her grandmother’s Missouri farm. She arrives at a time of crisis and indecision—struggling with the demands of being a new mother, a not-so-new wife, and a well-meaning but often impatient granddaughter. The family has assigned her and Ben the job of convincing Grandma Rose, who’s become increasingly stubborn and forgetful, to move off the land that means so much to her and into a nursing home. Katie knows such a change would break her grandmother’s heart. But what is right for her grandmother? And what is right for herself and her family?

Just when Katie despairs of finding answers, she discovers her grandmother’s journal. A beautiful handmade notebook, it is full of heartwarming stories that celebrate the virtue of patience, the power of love, and the importance of family, friendship, and faith. Stories that make Katie see her life—and her grandmother—in a completely new way…and lead her toward a new, more meaningful future…

Book Takeaway:

I hope you will want to rebuild ailing relationships and find the grace to accept people as they are. Perhaps this book will help you treasure your grandmother and others in the family.

Why the author wrote this book:

The seedling for Tending Roses was planted along with a flower bed my grandmother and I tilled ten years ago. As we worked, she gave instructions about simple things-- how to wind the roots around an iris bulb, how to prune the branches on a rose bush, how to cut the blooms without harming the plant.

Halfway through planting the garden, we had to go inside because my newborn son became cranky in his stroller nearby. Taking him from me, Grandma settled into a rocking chair, bundling him on her shoulder, patting his back just lightly, quieting him with a special sort of grandma magic. Closing her eyes, she rocked slowly back and forth, and told me a story of her life, and her flower bed, and the lessons she learned there.

Something profound happened to me when my grandmother finished that story. I understood so much about her and about myself that I had never considered before. I had an almost painful sense of life passing by. I had a sense of life being not just a trip from here to there, but a journey with lots of good stuff, maybe the best stuff, in the middle. I realized that I was so focused on goals down the road, that I was missing the value of where I was.

The idea to include my grandmother's stories in a fiction novel came a few years later, at a time when I was beginning to feel a strong sense of meaning in my life. I think Tending Roses grew out of a need to communicate that process of soul searching. I had a strong desire to create something that had a sense of goodness to it, where good people do the right thing, and are blessed as a result.


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