A Grantsville resident has brought a biblical reference to life in her garden. In the book of Joshua, after Joshua and the children of Israel crossed over the Jordan River on their way into the promised land, the Lord called for 12 stones to be removed from the bottom of the river.
“We were studying about Joshua in the Bible and when he was going through the Jordan River,” said Barb Wittwer. “He told each of the tribes to take a stone out of the bottom of the river and the scripture says, ‘When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying ‘What mean these stones?’ You can tell them the story.’ I thought that’s what I can do over here. I can make this a miracle garden.”
When Wittwer was in school, her art teacher told her she had no artistic ability at all, but that didn’t stop her from becoming inspired from the Bible story and beginning to paint.
Located on Wittwer’s side yard in Grantsville, beyond a path of winding trees, lie over 30 painted rocks in a circle. Each rock depicts awe-inspiring miracles from both Wittwer’s life or the lives of her family members.
“When my grandkids come and say, ‘What does this stone mean, grandma?’ I can tell them the story and then they will realize there is hope,” Wittwer said. “These aren’t glorious pieces of art but they’re fun stories.”
Wittwer shows her rocks in the garden and tells stories that go along with each rock.
One miracle in her life happened while on a family trip to Hawaii.
“We went on a trip to Hawaii with our fifth child who was two at the time,” Wittwer said, beginning her story. “We were jumping the waves on this deserted black beach. It was beautiful and we couldn’t figure out why we were the only ones in Hawaii on this beach, and we were having so much fun when all of a sudden, this giant sneaker wave came over all of our heads. I was close to the beach with my other children, so we ran back to the beach. My husband was further out with our daughter and she was pulled out of his arms. He was swimming trying to get her… She was thrown out and the further out he swam, the farther out she would be thrown. All of us were on the beach just praying and screaming. All of a sudden, we saw this bigger wave. We thought it was going to take her and him out, but it picked her up and took her, and she landed in her dad’s arms like a football.”
Another miracle depicted on a rock shows a vehicle and a wanted poster.
“When I was a teenager, I got off of work and I had a friend with me,” Wittwer began. “I was talking about how we used to flirt with boys when we were younger…My friend said she wanted to see, so we went over and the first car we saw had three boys in it. She turned her back to the window and was going to pull a funny face but they started following us, and I said, “I have a really bad feeling about this.’ The guys looked kind of scary. I started going home and they followed me. I turned down a side street and they followed me. My horn wouldn’t work and my car only went 65 maximum speed and they kept trying to push us off of the road on the freeway. The freeway ended at 7200 South and I decided to go to the Midvale Police station. My friend ran into the station and told the police I would meet them at a café in my car where I knew there were always cops. When I pulled into the café, a herd of police men came and arrested them. They were wanted in three states for kidnapping.”
This year, Wittwer held Thanksgiving dinner early, so all of her children could come. During their time together, Wittwer had each of her kids and grandchildren paint a rock with a picture of a miracle that has happened in their life.
Other miracles in Wittwer’s garden include a vehicle falling on her brother and a neighbor saving him, and her pregnant grandmother being miraculously saved from a bull.
Many of the miracles in Wittwer’s garden are connected.
“If this miracle wouldn’t have happened, this other miracle couldn’t have happened,” she said.
Wittwer’s garden is an encouragement to those who visit.
“If someone comes to visit us and they are discouraged, I say, ‘Come just sit in my miracle garden,’” she said. “I have them think of miracles in their own life. This has been a really healing place.”
When people visit, Wittwer has them throw a pinecone in the center of the circle, depicting a seed of faith.
Wittwer plans to add many more rocks as she is able to paint them and as more miracles happen.
Wittwer wants to remind everyone to write their miracles down and remember them.
“We have so many trials but when we think of the miracles, it just makes us a little more patient to wait on God’s timing,” she said.
Along with her miracle garden, Wittwer has a memory garden where she has placed memorials of her relatives who have passed away.