Friday, June 24, 2011

My Backyard Garden

During all my years of growing up my parents had a spring/summer garden. It didn't mean much to me, except that I might be called upon to pull some weeds or water it when I didn't want to. I took the fresh garden produce for granted and probably even turned up my nose at some of it. My parents are now a very young 71 and they still garden.

It has taken some 45 years, but now the gardening gene has finally kicked in. This was a great shock and pain to my husband. When I first showed him the area in the yard that I wanted to convert to a small garden, his eyes grew wide and his strength was sapped. He actually had to sit down he was so overcome. (The space is not that large!)

We found a good share of rocks in my new plot of earth. We removed those and enriched the soil with compost. I planted a variety of seeds, as well as five tomato plants and two pepper plants my daddy had given me. Some of my seeds didn't produce.

What did come up in abundance, however, were tomato plants. Thing is I didn't plant any tomato seeds. It seems that there were some dormant seeds from last year's tomato plants. Those seeds have been lying in the ground waiting and hoping for the soil to be turned and readied. They got their wish. I have given away at least 20 tomato plants to friends and neighbors. I had to toss some of them because there were just too many.

I am thankful for my garden because I get to go out everyday and tend to plants. It sounds boring, but it is so life-giving to be outside breathing fresh air, touching green and growing vines, removing those pesky weeds, and watering as needed. I feel like I am working with God on this little garden project. I am doing these small daily things and He is doing all the big stuff inside the plants. I can't make a seed grow. I can't make a plant produce. But I can make the conditions favorable.

It reminds me of parenting. I do the everyday things like hugs and kisses. I listen, provide meals, and speak words of support. Words like "I love you," "You are so much fun to be around," "You did a great job" speak loving acceptance into a child's heart. Kind and caring words are like water to a thirsty soul. I remove rocks when I correct my child and give appropriate consequences for inappropriate behavior. I may or may not be able to eradicate the behavior. But the lesson that bad choices lead to bad consequences is a gift that will serve my child all the days of his life.

Meanwhile, God is doing the big stuff that only He has the power to do. He is opening eyes to the need for Him. He is showing my children that they cannot do it alone. He is telling them there is something bigger and better waiting for them. He is inviting them to know Him. He is softening the soil of their hearts.

Just like my garden, I cannot see what is taking place on the inside. But when I see my children respond to God with a heart of joy, then I know He was working there all along.

First John 3:1 "How great is the love the Father
has lavished on us, that we should be
called children of God!"

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thankful for Summertime

I love summertime. I love warm weather, garden produce, going to the beach, celebrating Independence Day, having my kids out of school, visiting friends and family, eating watermelon, cooling off in a pool, catching fireflies and the list could go on and on. While I enjoy the beauty of spring and fall, summer is definitely my favorite season.

I can't begin to tell you how much I dislike cold weather. I am glad to be a Southerner with only few cold months to endure. And I would gladly give those away. My Yankee friends will have to forgive me, but I laugh when I watch the weather reports during the winter. There is the north buried in snow and bitter cold and I am basking in the warmth of a 68 degree December day. And they (Yankees) think we Southerners are dumb.

Yes, the days can get hot and steamy in the summer. So I am also thankful for air conditioning, Popsicles, iced tea, and pools.

Summer is more than a season to me. Summer represents freedom. I am free from a school schedule. That means I can go places and do things without the worry of "gotta be home in time to get a good nights sleep before school tomorrow" or "gotta be back by Sunday, because school is on Monday." We can go and do and visit and have friends over. I love it!

I am also physically free from all the layers and layers of clothing I have to wear in the winter. Just give me a t-shirt and capris and slide my feet into sandals and I am ready for the day. Even as I sit here in my pj's, I am thankful I didn't have to wrap up in my big fleecy bathrobe this morning. And it only takes a minute to get Levi dressed too. No bundling up required!

Freedom from so much clothing, means freedom from so much laundry too. Less washing, drying, and folding and more Scrabble, reading, and working out at the Y.

The freedom I enjoy the most though is my freedom in the morning to sit and linger at the feet of Jesus. I don't have to limit my time to 30 minutes. I can read my Bible and pray and listen to what God wants to say to me today. When I am listening to God's heart for me and He is reminders of His everlasting love, I am at peace. When I am hearing Him tell me that He is able to meet every one of my needs and His supply will not dwindle, I can rest in His sufficiency. Knowing Jesus and taking delight in Him, that is true freedom.

"Delight yourself in the Lord and 
He will give you the desires of your heart." 
Psalm 37:4