Welcome to Feels and Flowers, a Christian podcast where your host indulges in a bit of nostalgia and pulls out lessons about God wherever she can. This week I tell you about ridiculously cute nicknames, disobedient children, misadventures when learning to drive, and…fathers. And of course I also expound at great length about flowers. This week it is a small flower called bearberry, though I knew of it as pingüica when I was growing up..
This week’s podcast is based on Genesis 3—the fall. This is part 2 of my take on it and what it tells us about the character of God. There are no flower recipes this week, but I will post on the website safety guidelines and precautions when dealing with essential oils. Additionally, find semi-accurate show transcripts and extras… all at https://feelsandflowers.com/
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I never EVER loved my father more than when I was his greatest disappointment.
— [THEME MUSIC] —
Hi. Welcome to Feels and Flowers. A Christian podcast that celebrates beauty and love in all their forms. I am your host Paula Perez. We are going chapter by chapter though the book of Genesis exploring the character of God and the beautiful gospel truths that we are beautiful, we are loved, and we were made with a purpose.
This is part 2 of Genesis 3: The fall. Yeah, we are still talking about the story of Adam and Eve, how they ate of the forbidden fruit, and what came of it. Last episode we saw how God’s love can be seen through his patience and through the mercy he shows Adam and Eve, even as they are expelled from the Garden of Eden.
Today, I will finish up the chapter so we can continue on with the rest of Genesis. Last week I dragged in my mom to the podcast. This week it’s my dad’s turn. Ha! But first, today’s flower.
— [ FLOWER MUSIC ] —
Today’s flower is the Bearberry. Bearberry is a small wild shrub that has clusters of tiny pink or white bell-shaped flowers. These flowers give way to red pebble-like fruits. The variation of the plant which grows along the southwest united states down to Mexico is known to us mexicans as Manzanillla de pastor, Manzaneta, chinkuili, or Pinguica, which is how I’ll refer to it from now on.
Pinguica grows profusely wherever there is dry, inhospitable ground…and I happened to live in a region of Mexico that was just that. Nothing but ancient lava fields covered by a thin layer of dirt for hardy plants like this one. Whenever my cousin or my sister [and I] went out to the park to play, we would usually find the pinguica right away. It was hard to miss with its bright waxy leaves and the smallest, cutest, bright little red fruit which we would collect and play with despite the fact that the adults had given us the strictest warnings and instructions never to touch or play with them because they were poisonous.
Well, we didn’t listen to them (obviously), we would gather handfuls and handfuls of them and smash them into a paste as we pretended to cook with them. Sometimes we would feed them to our dollies, or ended up throwing them at each other, and after we were done we simply made sure to wash our hands before we ate anything.
The reason why I made it this week’s flower is because when I was very, very little, my dad used to call me Pinguicas. When I was old enough to question the odd nickname, he laughed and patted my head saying it was the name of a little flower. Satisfied, I let him continue calling me that. But as I grew older I heard it less and less in favor of my given name, Paula. I accepted it as part of growing up.
But two weeks ago, out of nowhere, he called me Pinguicas again. It made me intensely nostalgic for my childhood when he was the all-powerful hero and I was his little flower, but it also made stop what I was doing and take out my phone. You see, a long time ago in the time of dinosaurs, we had no access to the communal depository of universal knowledge we now know as Google. This time I was able to look it up and find out what exactly was the Pinguica flower. How did it look like? And, of course, did it have any healing properties?
Well, it looks like an adorable little bell. Pinkish-white. But then I was astounded to learn that when it matured into a fruit it was those mysterious and dangerous little apples that we were told never to eat or play with. And well, guess what? Turns out Pinguica is not poisonous after all. In fact several native peoples use it for medicinal and nutritional purposes. All manner of wild animals and birds feed on the little apple-like fruit. The fruit is benign. Who knew, right?
This week I will not feature any flower recipes, because there is no Pinguica essential oil and even though it is an excellent natural diuretic and has other useful applications, it is not easily accessible to the American consumers. However, this week’s blog post will be safety guidelines for using ANY type of essential oil.
Anyway, back to what we began.
— [ END FLOWER MUSIC ] —
I never EVER loved my father more than I did on the day I became his greatest disappointment. And if I am completely honest, that was on multiple occasions, not just once. It was actually a whole two years of being the Perez’s family disappointment.
I was late to everything. A late bloomer, late to graduate from college, late to get a proper adult job, late to figure out what I was going to do with my life. I was also very late when it came to learning how to drive a car. I was in my mid-twenties.
I couldn’t catch a break back then. I was deep into my second year of loafing about at home with a degree in engineering and nothing to show for it. It was hard for me to find a full time job, and hold it. I was in a dark place, and I had made it my goal to at least get something accomplished and get my driver’s licence. My dad, like a champ, stepped up to the challenge of teaching me to drive.
But I was a horrible driver, and every time I went out to practice with him I always felt tense and miserable as I tried my best to put to practice the things my dad taken great pains to teach me.
One particular day while I was struggling to do a three-point turn, I almost hit a parked car—Dad saw the car before I ever did, and he saved me by yelling at me to hit the brakes. He even pulled the handbrake. The result was that the car made a scary noise and it jolted terribly. Needless to say, it was a terrible drive. I fully expected him to tell me to get out of the car immediately and forget about ever driving here or in the world to come.
But instead of telling me to drive us home he told me to switch seats and he went over it again, explaining it step by step again, then gave me the chance to ask him all the questions. Again. He went over the process with a patience I didn’t know he had, pulling into as many driveways as necessary and answering all my questions until I finally understood it—in theory.
“Now you do it” He said, and my jaw dropped…. But! But!
He ignored my protests and pulled over so we could trade places once more. Once I had sat down, put on my seatbelt, and adjusted my mirrors, I gripped the wheel and beseeched the heavens to help me. As if sensing my distress, my dad told me to be calm and helped me through the process.
And I was finally able to do it. I did it again, and again, and again without a problem.
After we were done and I brought us home safely, I returned the car keys and he looked at me with concern. “You’re too tense from this.” He said, “Go and walk two turns around the park. Breathe and relax, then come home and eat your breakfast. You did good.”
Minutes later as I walked in the park, I wondered why I was crying. I was crying hard. And I did not know why. So I sat in a swing and thought and thought and thought. What affected me more? The shock of nearly hitting the car? The shame of my blunder?
Or maybe it was relief? Maybe it was the fact that Dad did not give up on me? That he told me I did good despite everything? That he wanted to pat my head in comfort, but he held back because I’d raged against it once I hit my teens. Was I being undone by his kindness?
Yes, in part.
But mostly it was because that brief episode opened my eyes to a sad truth. All these years I had been laboring under a misconception.
You have to understand that I grew up loving and respecting my father. He is the best father I could ever wish for. But as a young girl I used to resent him because his standards and rules of conduct for my sister and me felt to be too high.
There is a family story I can’t share here. It is very personal and it is not my story to tell. Suffice it to say that because of it my sister and I didn’t have a conventional childhood. My parents were very protective. My father had always been a very strict man, but as we grew older he treated us with what I thought to be excessive discipline and which I often questioned because, in comparison to how my friends and their parents got along, it seemed too demanding. I also thought he was just a bit paranoid.
I never understood until I was preparing for this podcast, that his discipline, and his constant reminders to always be prepared, know where the nearest exits are, always be aware of my surroundings, and to PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T TRUST OR TALK TO STRANGERS AND KEEP PEOPLE AT ARM’S LENGTH–Even his paranoia … all this was borne out of his concern and his wish that we always be safe even if he wasn’t around, so that the past, and that tragic, tragic story wouldn’t repeat itself.
I loved him very much. He was my hero. But I did not understand him, and it seemed impossible to please him. I often wondered if he could just love me as I was—just a girl who tried hard to do her best. As a result, there came a time when in my heart of hearts I doubted my father’s love AND my ability to ever live up to his expectations. Keep in mind, however, that a big part of it that I was living with depression, and it tended to color my perception of life.
On the day when I almost crashed the car, I walked around the park and took deep calming breaths, thinking over the episode, when suddenly something sparked inside my mind. That day I learned something very deep about my Heavenly Father, and finally something clicked into place so that I finally understood a crucial part of Him.
I told you last week that the way I experience God best is when I think of him as God the Artist and Creator of beautiful masterpieces. But for as long as I can remember, I have always seen Him, prayed to Him, known Him as God my Heavenly Father. Sometimes we carry our analogies too far and we give God attributes that humans have. I thought of my Heavenly Father as loving, powerful, but quite stern, and somewhat hard to please.
I had attributed God characteristics I thought I saw in my Father. But on that day I realized that EVEN MY DAD wasn’t out to berate me when I failed. He was concerned with my well-being. Wanted me to live a happy and fulfilling life. That was all.
That opened my eyes, and I wonder if my realization can help open yours.
Do you think God is going to give up on you because you have failed in the past? Are you trying so hard to get his approval? You could never do anything that will make him love you more or less than he already does. Do you think God is going to judge you and cast you out if you choose to come to him?
If you do, then you are also laboring under a misconception. What are some of characteristics you’ve attributed to him which keep you afraid of Him and feeling unworthy of His love? He is not the stern, demanding deity you might think he is. He is your Father. Yes, he will correct you, but he will never, EVER, give up on you.
And finally, Do you think that his law is harsh and expectations are impossible to live up to? By yourself and out of your own efforts it is impossible. But guess what? You have his promise that he will never test you more than you can bear and you have the help of the Holy Spirit to be with you.
But most importantly, remember, the rules have a purpose THEY ARE THERE TO KEEP YOU SAFE. All the rules that we humans love to hate are actually there to keep us all safe. God wants to give us life and life more abundantly. In an ideal world, in the world God envisioned when he gave us the 10 Commandments, humans would have lived according to his law and the result would have been a happy and safe world where we each love each other. A stable society resembling His Kingdom.
When God created Adam and Eve he gave them the gift of free will, and what is inherently necessary for free will to exist is a choice.
The choice they had–the choice we all have is this: will you, using your own free will, choose Him who made you? Will you choose to live according to the statues He put in place that would guarantee your safety and well being? Will you choose to trust His word and place your life in His hands, trusting that He knows best? Or will you choose to take the reins of your life and go into uncharted waters without a guide?
The consequences of Adam and Eve’s actions were very painful. They were banished to settle away from the Tree of Life and their beloved home.
But what should have been by all rights a tragic end to their story simply became a beginning. Theirs became the story of humanity in which you and I also take part in. Have you heard of the concept of the Hero’s Journey? In literature the Hero’s Journey is the common template which adventure tales follow. This template involves a Hero who is forced to leave his place of origin, goes on an adventure, and in a decisive crisis wins a victory. In the end he comes home changed or transformed.
In a spiritual sense we are each destined to live out the hero’s journey. Our destiny is to return home, not heaven as people think we must once we die, but to Eden, a very real place which will once more exist once earth is restored.
Eden… that place where it all began and where everything was perfect, where we were one with our Father, and we had access to eternal life. We will return there after our long, long journey. We will sit under the cool shade of the Tree of Life. On that day as we all return to the arms of our Father we will no longer have misconceptions about Him. We will not fear His fiery retribution or His punishment. There will only be an overflow of love, and a deep understanding of His Character.
When that day comes, I hope to see you there.
— [THEME MUSIC] —
If you’ve reached this far, thank you for listening.
Speaking of rules and safety, please refer to Safe Essential oil practices on the website www.feelsandflowers.com. We will go over almost 100 essential oils on this podcast, so I want you to be well-informed before you even start purchasing your essential oils.
That’s all for now. Send me flowers! Your emails and comments will make my day! If you’d like to reach me, you can email me at email@example.com or you can also follow me on IG: @feelsandflowerspodcast. If you enjoy Feels and Flowers please be sure to leave a rating on and subscribe on Apple podcasts or whatever podcast platform you use. That would really help a lot–it’s how more people can find Feels and Flowers.
Hope you have a beautiful week.
Until next time… God Bless!