Monday, February 25, 2013

community garden

Love what you grow and what
 you love will grow.

Papa Bear would love being here right now. Although he would gruffly tell me it's too early to plant anything. 
He was a man of his own ways and his green John Deere tractor was his castle. He would have still pulled a chair up and sat there with us watching and laughing at his namesakes. He would be here...sigh I'm sure this ground misses him. The way he could drive his tractor without hurting one precious plant.
 Something about a farmer.

I miss him every spring more than any other time of the year. The place he kept his garden is now overrun with weeds and grown up tall. The ground screaming out his name and he doesn't come. Laid in dirt next to his mother and the ground grows more weeds waiting.

 Well I'm a mama who can't wait to get her kids out working in the soil that makes this farm our home. This dark soil that holds more than earthworms and plants. This soil is a major part of who I am as a mother and what I teach and hope to pass on to the generation that follows. God is so wise and the garden so relevant in our life.
So many lessons to be learned that I grieve the years I didn't have a garden even a small one.

To have a good garden you have to have good soil and good soil takes
work. good soil takes time. all winter we prepare the soil for the summer.It takes some vision on our part.  But growing something means you believe in tomorrow and believing in tomorrow means you do something today. So keeping our soil healthy takes a year around process of keeping weeds out and keeping the soil healthy.

When we plant our first plant it's easy. We're all excited when Tuck comes home with all of our new plants. The soil has been cared for and the winter has kept the weeds at bay. Everyone eats at our table so everyone works and in the spring everyone is happy to do it. They're fascinated with the soil and the plants and the long hours of winter have them longing to be in the boxes. I know as I look around how this goes. I capture their hands in dirt and I look at every worm they have unearthed from their winter hibernation. The smiles of little girls getting dirty is priceless. They love it now....but a few months from now weeds will creep in our little boxes along with ants. The heat will be too hot and the plants will need to be watered. The boxes will require a lot of work. Kind of like relationships.
Scott and I went to a marriage conference a couple of weeks ago and I loved the analogy of gardens and relationships the speaker gave.
      He reminded us that relationships are a lot like gardens. Easy to plant but hard to maintain properly. So that's why I like having my children work in the garden along side me so that they can experience the work it takes to maintain a garden and then reminding them that its worth the work when we can walk down our back steps and get things we need to cook supper or to be able to share things with others when our garden overflows. Its hard to share when you don't have an abundance.

 Reminding them it's easy now to run fingers through soil, attitudes are great but reminding them it will get hard and when it gets hard that says more about who you are than when it's easy. That's when your job as mom gets interesting. Teaching them to work through hard times and to see the payoff in the end. To remind them that life is not easy it's not meant to be easy and most of their life will be hard work. Conflict is everywhere. The brother you share a room with. The sister you shared a womb with. The very best friend you may have and the person you will eventually marry.. conflict is going to happen and our jobs are to set good examples of forgiveness and grace.

I was raised in a world of conflict and its by God's grace alone that I can even whisper these things to my children. He has taught me so much about weeding the garden of my own heart and I'm so thankful for His mercy in my life.  
Just because we don't grow up in perfect homes or have perfect parents doesn't mean we get to grow bitter and full of thorny weeds.
God provides a way. He alone is our shelter.    

"The soil is the gift of God to the living."
 Thomas Jefferson

Every day you must do the hard work of marriage and parenting to reap the benefits of an overflowing love between siblings and young adults for tomorrow.
 There is no short cut to either. 
Hard work and full dependency on Christ is the only way. 

God said, "don't let the sun go down on your anger" because when you do something about the nighttime makes your anger worse. Kind of like letting a few weeds into your beautiful soil. Your troubles not dealt with for that day spill over to the next and slowly the garden of your heart is overtaken with weeds of bitterness or resentment. None of us mean to let it happen but one day you wake up and the work of being a help meet to your husband seems like too much work and being a mother seems oddly overwhelming.
Problems from yesterday still weighing you down and the problems from today piling up the doorway to your heart and soon nothing can grow there.
So you give up and your heart cries out for you to do the work and you don't answer and so the weeds continue to grow.  

You heart becoming a tangled up mess of knotted weeds that you can't handle on your own. You raise your hands and God will rescue you and untangle that mess and remind you that you are not alone.  You can rest in Him and He will restore you completely and give you nice clean dirt:)

"The soil is the gift of God to the living."
 Thomas Jefferson

 To weed or not to weed is not an option -- you must weed your own heart and weed the hearts of your children until they're old enough to do this on their own. Teach them while you're in the garden, while you're on your knees how the beautiful things need the healthy soil that only the Lord can give.  

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant." Everyday will bring new challenges and you should just come to expect the challenges and tell yourself  "I will handle these challenges of today and not give up because I believe things will get better."

 Each day has enough trouble of its own.

 You believe your plants will live and thrive so you plant... otherwise why would you plant??

A garden is a restful place even though there is a lot of work because I believe God gave us a piece of Eden and you can find much peace and healing within the layers of her. 

Now start your own garden today even if it's a small pot or a small corner.

Choose to believe that God will provided the harvest if you're only willing.  

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Digging Ditches

I've been digging ditches lately, the same ditches I've been working on for years.
Teaching things like... relationships are hard.   
The truth of caring deeply and yet always being disappointed.
Teaching all of them that this one life they've been given is not just about their happiness. 
They will never be happy until they give it all away.

 Teaching them to serve is what most of my days look like. Not glamorous, I assure you, and actually digging ditches would be easier.
It's just plan ol' hard work

I read recently that "the servant is usually happier than their master".
I print this out and put in places they can see.
Reminding myself.
 How do I teach this except through serving them with every ounce in me? Showing them how to make a bed and bake cookies.
Teaching how to love by giving.
 Teaching them to memorize Matthew 5: "Blessed are those.....".
All the little things of my day that keep me praying for guidance and direction. Serving the Lord and digging one ditch at a time. The shovel gets mighty heavy. Didn't I just dig that ditch? Why is it covered back over?

 Some days I dig the same ditches over and over again but just put a neon yellow jacket on me and notice the "men at work" sign and then, if you will, slowly move around me..

 My work as wife and mom will take a while. I can't take short cuts and I have a deadline..I only have a few short years to work this farm and these children..
I don't plan on putting my shovel down anytime soon.

The finished project I pray is Lord glorifying.
Children who know that God made them to love Him
and serve Him and to love others.
Hefty blue prints.

The answer to your prayers is not always found on your knees,
 it is found on your feet when you are busy..
serving God and serving those around you. 

Most often I want to be served and do little to serve others but I know when I serve I truly am happier and more alive. I feel closer to the Lord and He serves right beside me even if I don't feel like it. 

Teaching them to imitate what they see and draw it into their life but the days when I don't model well I see a painting that I want to throw away.
I see myself in their resistant faces and I want to erase it all and start over. 
.....but I can't, it becomes a part of their painting, their life. 

Everyone and everything on our farm is cold. Taylor got a 'new' jacket and she is often bundled in its warmth. Channie smiles her goofy bare teeth grin and says,
"can I wear it?" Taylor slowly unzips it and hands it to her and she snuggles deep into its warmth...but Taylor gets it back and Channie is left wanting one. I can't resit the moment when I swing by a thrift store and try and find her one just like Taylor's (with a little less sentimental value..) none the less I bring it home and give it a good washing and even though it's 10 times too big for her small frame it   doesn't matter...She is thrilled and yet I realize that this is the one very moment in time she will love her jacket. When the sun is fully awake and the heat takes back over the farm this jacket will be lost but the memories of seeing her wrapped in it will never be lost. Serving her is a pleasure...and doing small things that seem unimportant is part of serving. 

And even while putting jackets on and handing out popsicles on the trampoline just because the sun is out for a little while may seem crazy it's just me making the most of what I have to work with. Little tiny moments that I spend making them laugh and helping them learn.

Dealing with bad attitudes and bringing order in their life are all little ditches
that must be dug even though there are callouses on my hands.   

Serving them is intentional.
Teaching them to serve is intentional.
Reminding them to serve is intentional.

Loving them is worth everything...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The sun is coming...

These days on the farm have been busy. The sun being absent has me trying to pull off something I know I'm not capable of: trying to teach them to have joy when there is rain.
To have joy when the sun is hidden.
 I keep looking out of my bedroom window and I see the signs. The robins have returned to find houses in trees and the buttercups have made their way up through dark soil to take center stage in my front yard. The nights are filled with the familiar sounds of the frog songs that I have grown up learning to listen for.
It all points to the sun and her warmth once again but she is still absent.
 So I must keep going until her return. 

I'm at a party and a lady I don't know comes up to me and says, "your boys have incredible manners". I look around to find them and I smile... their little frames still needing so much instruction "thank you", I say, "it's lots of work". She gives me a puzzled look and walks off but I'm determined not to take credit where credit is not deserved. Teaching our children takes work and teaching them to love being a blessing, to use good manners and take care of their sisters is an every day event at my home. I mess up and there are days I let things go. There are times that I lose my cool and my purpose in this life..
Standing in the rain, I simply forget the sun is coming.
 When I forget, it only lends itself to more trouble. I have a huge responsibility to my husband to train up our children in the way they should go and if I don't train, then how will they know how to get there?
My guys are super sweet and loving and they do take the responsibility of taking care of their sisters very seriously but only because of lots of training and God's grace. And occasionally a stranger sees us out and they practice what I've taught them about how to act and how to love.
 I teach them to love God. Some will say loving God is enough but I say loving God is just the beginning. Once they love God every other relationship flows from that one.
I can't be loving God if I'm not loving them.
I can't be loving them properly if I'm not loving God.

Don't leave out small details to get to the bigger things. Live in the small details of this one day and you will see the results of His hands. Hold them so gently and pay attention to the little things that bother them and then like sandpaper rub that place smooth. I know it's a balance of walking a tight rope over an open flame but it must be done and you, mom, must step out and step up and raise up a generation of children who love the Lord, their daddy and each other. 

Know their hearts. Be reminded why God gave you each of your children. I am the perfect
mom for this crew of mine and I trust the Lord that when He knit us (our family) together He knew what my abilities were going to be. He knew that He made me passionate about life, family and this old farm..He knew so I don't have to doubt that I have everything I need to raise up children who love Him. And if, along the way, they have good manners then I give Him all praise and glory...I didn't start this race only for them to finish with good manners but you have to start training somewhere and if they finish loving the Lord and  others and have great manners then I will be happy.  

If they can play bingo or swim? then that's a bonus :)

and if they will settle for nothing less than the very best God has to offer them then I am well pleased.
I have an advantage over most. I have the beauty of seeing the sunrise in my older children.
I have the privilege of having walked with them through the training days and see the results on the other end. I can't speak it enough ...train them, train them... diligently..intentionally..and you will reap the harvest of a beautiful sunrise.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Memories of us

(adj.)letting or being able to let expressive emotion show easily through one's face and eyes 

The way the sun sets her hair on fire first thing in the morning or the way he sleeps with honey (our dog) every night.   

The way she sits in a chair with her feet tucked underneath her singing a song I never knew she knew. The way she misses making rolls so I make just enough dough for her to roll out and feel the softness in between fingers.
Her little voice that says, " I'm gonna make you something good ". She stands by the oven and hands me her quarter size rolls and waits until I put them in. 
She waits.
Oh, I love the beauty of that moment
Her in apron waiting to pull her creation out of the oven.

The way she holds a cup of warm soup on a cold day and sits on the floor in my room telling me about her day. Asking hard questions that I don't know the answer to, but wish I did. We are growing closer and as her world cannot be made perfect by me anymore she is learning the importance of stability and true
friendship. Glad she has not wavered from the truth of who she is and what she wants.    

Seeing his eyes search the board for a move that I hope is there. His wit catches me off guard so many times. He worries over me, sleeps at the end of my bed every night. Bundled in covers and saying, " I love you mama." 
I love you Cullen, you're a joy. The sun barely coming up and he reaches up and says a big
"Good morning, did you sleep?"
" Yes, I slept, what about you?"
He always says the same thing...He stretches real big and says, "I slept GREAT!"

I'm reminded how special he is when I think about a couple of weeks ago when I took him to the doctor.
As we were leaving I was paying my co-pay and he looked concerned. 
When we got in the car he asked, "did that cost a lot of money?" 
I said, "$35.00" and he said, "I have $20.00 saved up so you can have that."
I looked at him and said, "Cullen, I don't need your money"
 "Thank you, Mom, for taking me to the doctor
Please understand I was moved to tears. All of my children have a gratefulness that I can't explain. Thanking you for little things like buying groceries or going to the dentist. My oldest ones started it and I think it was just caught by the younger ones. It's beautiful and I pray that they will continue to be a grateful bunch.
I know I am. 

The beauty of my day is found when I look past the mess or the tears and look for the fleeting things. This season of my life has me making memories of us.
Their hands, feet, smiles, tears and messes.
My sinks will be empty soon enough and the piles of laundry a distant memory
but I don't want to forget the way he slowly walked in the kitchen yesterday and shyly handed me a handful of flowers. Almost 18 years and I wondered if his wild flower days were a memory and as I reached out and took my gift he kind of rushed out of the kitchen. I wanted to drag him back and hug on him but I didn't want the magic of that moment to be lost. My thinking was if I didn't embarrass him maybe I would get more buttercups. They're now sitting in a glass jar. 
I swear I smile every time I see them.  He has turned into a fine young man and I'm so excited for him as his life is headed in a great direction for his future.    

So today on the Eve of the weekend go about making memories of the ones you love. The shoes they wear, their unzipped jackets, your pets, your world right now as it is. February 1st, 2013 so you will not forget God's faithfulness and they will remember yours. 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...