Lola’s garden

• How do you keep on living?
• Dawnya’s story.
• Lola creates a garden.
• If you have lost a child…..

PREAMBLE: I have made a few more videos (most of them less than 2 mins) on the subject of Fracking for Dummies and Non-Experts. How to access? See at bottom of this blog writeup.

A part of Lola’s garden. Click on the photo to enlarge, then hit back-arrow to return to the blog writeup. Can do the same for all the other photos.

How do you survive 15 years of clinical depression? When friends thought you would die. And when you have to hold your head up high because you’re the wife of a prominent missionary to the hippies?

How do you deal with a daughter who was rebelling for 10 years? But then the prodigal comes home, and you become best friends, talking every day.

And then your daughter gets bladder cancer. But she’s living in Alaska — so far away. How do you handle that?

The cancer goes into remission, but later returns in the bladder. You can’t help her or her three kids because you live in Santa Fe — so far away.

Your home in Santa Fe goes into foreclosure, and you have to move to a mobile home in Albuquerque. It needs a lot of repairs, and there are cockroaches scurrying across the floor. Where do you find the energy?

For three years you agonize as the cancer spreads through your daughter’s body and brain. But you can’t sit beside your daughter and hold her hand and tell her you love her. How can you stand it?

Yet one more calamity — your husband gets sepsis and nearly dies in an intensive care room. When he finally gets out of hospital its 6-months of rehab. But he can’t swallow and has to be fed through a catheter for months after returning home.

Your daughter, only daughter, is under hospice care and you fly to Alaska to see her one last time. Your husband is too ill to fly, so you go with your son. How do find the strength?

Your daughter dies in 2015 and you are devastated. You feel like giving up and dying also. How do you pick up the pieces and go on with life?

She was a flautist in college. Attractive – came in the top 3 of a couple of pageants. But she experimented with drugs.

She met a rebel missionary kid and married. But divorced after 5 years. 

She moved to Alaska to finish college. With a CAD design program under her belt, she found a great job.

She met Nick, got married, and had 3 kids. Life was good.

After 14 years, she contracted bladder cancer. They removed a kidney. Lola and Dawnya became best friends during a period when Lola suffered from clinical depression. Lola begged God to take the depression away.

Dawnya’s cancer returned in the bladder, then into the lymph nodes. An experimental immunotherapy from Israel was tried, but the cancer spread in her body and to her brain.

When Lola visited Alaska with son Jonathan, Dawnya was under hospice care. She confided to Lola, “I know Jesus is the way.” This was immensely comforting to Lola.


Lola’s husband Don had been in hospital and rehab for 6 months when Dawnya died.

Alone in her mobile home, Lola cried out to God, “If you don’t help me, I’m going to die.”
The peace of God came. A real peace, a tangible peace. And it held up her sagging spirit as she grieved.

The peace didn’t drift away – it stayed with her. With the peace, Lola came to understand unconditional love… took away the anger and the bitterness. It was a miracle.

As Lola walked though the tumbleweeds and the goatheads in the front yard, she made a decision. She would build a garden and recreate the splendor of her beautiful home in Santa Fe.

By herself, she chopped out the tumble weeds and goatheads, and lifted flagstones into decorative walkways.

She had brought her irises and roses down from her Santa Fe home and she prayed them into growth. She knew intuitively the garden was God’s direction. And it was therapy…. pure therapy.

As the flowers bloomed in their first spring, she recognized again the beauty of God’s creation, and it turned her sorrow into joy.

Lola’s garden is the best in the street, and strangers stop by to ask Lola about it. She always points to the Lord and the hope of heaven.

Don has mounted a canister of thistle seeds in the garden, and the goldfinches flock to them. They are a delight — hanging by their little feet and pecking at the seeds as they squabble among themselves.

The birds and flowers remind Lola of the Garden of Eden.
Jesus said, Consider the lilies of the field; they neither toil nor spin; yet Solomon in all his magnificence was not arrayed like one of these.

I asked Lola what she would say to a mother who has recently lost a child.
“Ask God for the peace, the real peace.
Find a hobby or a gifting, or a ministry — and do it for God.
It gives a sense of accomplishment.
It’s therapy.
And it can open the door to telling someone else about the grace of God and the way to heaven.”

Two years after Dawnya’s death Lola said she’s happier than she’s ever been.
I drove with Don and Lola to a downtown luncheon recently. Lola was dressed attractively and looked relaxed and happy. She engaged with strangers in a friendly, loving manner.

Lola still misses Dawnya, and the missing is like an aching hole in her heart. Only a mother can understand this.

She used to think it was sad that Dawnya would miss her 3 children. But then she realized that Dawnya is in a state of perfect unconditional love – in heaven.

Regarding personal slights or offences, Lola said, “When people hurt me, I now forgive and move on, and try to stay in unconditional love.”

Thank you Lola for allowing me to share your remarkable story.

To see short videos of Fracking for Dummies and Non-Experts, click HERE.


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The Gray Nomad … someone to hope.
Come to me, all you who are over-burdened, and I will cause you to rest (I will relieve and refresh your souls). Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (relief and blessed quiet) for your souls.
Book of Matthew, chapter 11.

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6 years ago

I really love this story Ian and your hero Lola. I know the beauty of a healing garden and the toiling that goes into it. Lola’s is magnificent! I will make her mantra mine: “When people hurt me, I now forgive and move on, and try to stay in unconditional love.” Thank you for writing this. Sending you my best, Betsy

6 years ago

Ian, thank you for this important blog post and the beautiful pictures. This is an account of an inspiring journey of faith, with a miraculous ending of healing, peace and thanksgiving. Lola is an amazingly strong and inspired person. This is evident by her ability to bear up to all the tragic circumstances and devastating occurrence which she struggled through. I am impressed and heartened by her steadfast faith in God’s love and His willingness to help her and her family. It is a reminder of the tragedies that beset Job of the Old Testament, and his unfailing faith in the goodness and love of God. Like Lola, he was well acquainted with God and had faith in His promises. Thank you Lola for sharing this amazing segment of your life; and for letting us enjoy your beautiful garden through Ian’s lovely photos.

Karen A Larre
Karen A Larre
6 years ago

Really beautiful, and inspirational. It’s all about unconditional love!

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