“A Place for Beauty,” Ensign, Apr. 2013, 68
My parents taught my six siblings and me the importance of growing our own food and beautifying our surroundings. Wherever I live, growing a garden and creating beauty in my environment are things that bring me a most satisfying kind of joy.
In 2004 I moved to Africa for two years and attended a ward that had a few acres of undeveloped landscape as part of the property. As a ward, we turned that land into 20 smaller plots for families to grow their own vegetables. The garden was a blessing in my life and the lives of the members because we were able to supplement the food we purchased with food from the garden.
A few years later, my sister and I lived together in Brooklyn, New York, USA. With some faith, we found an apartment to rent with a backyard that needed to be developed. With time and a lot of help from friends, the backyard became an oasis in the city. As much as I love growing my own food, I’ve realized that creating a space of beauty to share with others has brought the greatest satisfaction. Our garden was a place where people could come to relax, enjoy the peace and quiet, and remove themselves from the noise and hustle of the city. I’m reminded of what President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, taught the Relief Society: “As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you.”1