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Slow Growth

greenthumbThis year I have been growing tomatoes from seed. What this means is that I am experimenting with going from placing a tiny seed in the dirt all the way to pulling a red, ripe tomato off the vine at just the right time. Simple enough, right?  At least, that’s what I thought.

Turns out there’s a good bit of time and patience that goes into making tomatoes. And sunshine and rain. And luck and a lack of bugs.

I’m not sure why, but I love working on something while it grows. The act of placing seeds, then eventually plants, into dirt and watering them daily helps me to feel peaceful.  Searching for any new tomatoes as they start to grow always excites me, way more than even the act of finally picking the fruit and enjoying it. Over time I have noticed that there seems to be many spiritual truths in gardening:

Only with time and daily attention does real growth occur.

Plants wedged deep into the earth with layers of dirt to protect their roots produce more than those planted in shallow soil.

It is important to cut away dead areas because the plant will send all its resources to the weakest place in an effort to keep it going, and sometimes this pruning can mean cutting out something that still appears to be beautiful and life-giving.

No matter how well I water them, all my plants seem to do better when God sends a good soaking from the sky.

Practical application? For me, these guys remind me that I need to spend time in God’s word daily to experience real growth and depth, which is important when the winds come. I need to be noticing how I spend my time, and cut out anything that is not leading to growth in me or in others, and I should always be grateful for the good gifts that God gives me, so much better than what I can provide for myself.

Happy gardening to you all!

Why Don’t You Know?

handsThere was a time in my marriage when I expected my husband to read my mind. We were one flesh, right? So he must know how I feel without me needing to explain and of course he knows what I want based on my subtle hints and clues….ha! Over and over again I would get mad/frustrated/resentful because he didn’t respond the way I wanted; the right gift in the wrong color, trying to fix my problem when I just wanted him to listen, misreading my need for a hug with a desire for more.

I decided to try something truly innovative – I communicated what I wanted. I had my eye on a baker’s rack in a catalog, and an open wall in the kitchen where I wanted it to go. We couldn’t afford the piece immediately, so a few weeks before Christmas I tore out the picture, circled the color I wanted and taped it to the wall where I envisioned it sitting. You know what happened? I got exactly what I wanted!

My husband loves to give me what I want, these days I have to be careful with my words because if I like something he will try his best to get it for me. I’m not sure why I thought he should ‘just know’ what I needed, like that was the sign of a good marriage. I owe it to my guy to be honest with him when something is bothering me, instead of playing a game and then resenting him for not following my rules.

After many years our communication has improved, and our marriage has too. Maybe we’re on to something…

More Picnics

EcclesiastesThis past weekend our church celebrated its 5th anniversary. We had a Celebration Service, looking back at what God has done over the years and looking forward to where He will move in the future. Afterwards there was a big picnic with food and games. I love a celebration; give me a birthday or anniversary or any reason to do something special and I’m content. I was planning to go to the picnic even though my guy is on another continent this week, no question about it. The night before, my teenaged son asked if he could have a friend over after church on Sunday. We talked about everyone going to the picnic together, but my son isn’t ready to bring his ‘friend’ into the church mix yet because he’s still getting to know her, and trying to determine the relationship.

 

You can probably see where this is going. I didn’t get to go to the picnic. I missed the celebration. I had a choice in this. I certainly could have told my son no, but I want to support him, I could have asked them to go someplace else, but I wanted to meet her. I could have felt sorry for myself for missing out, but I know this is a season. When we became parents, we gave up our rights to always do what we wanted, when we wanted, how we wanted. When they were little, I missed out on so many fun things because of bedtimes and feedings and the need to keep a schedule. When they were pre-teens I missed out on taking big trips with my traveling man because they were home and that was my responsibility. Now that my kids are young adults I get to experience more than before, but I still miss out sometimes. And they are worth it.

 

I can choose to bitterly insist on my rights as an adult or gracefully accept the season we are in. There will be more picnics.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecclesiastes 3:1

Want the Last Bite?

capreseI love food and I think about it a lot. Some of it probably has to do with the fact that I am responsible for feeding the family, but most of it has to do with the fact that I just love food. I think it’s so interesting that God made us to need food and sleep daily; nobody has found a way to circumvent either one, and we quickly become weak and frail if we ignore our daily needs.

I learned to cook at the beginning of my marriage, and it was an adventure to find my own taste. I mastered the art of placing a meat, vegetable and starch on a nightly plate and realized I’m not interested in making the same thing over and over again. I seek new ideas and I don’t just read cookbooks, I devour them and place notes inside them and buy random ingredients for that one special recipe, and often don’t end up making it again.

Over the last couple of years I have found more of a groove in my cooking. It’s simpler and fresher than ever before; more color and flavor, less filler and starch. More intention, less convenience. It occurred to me that I would rather eat a little of what I love than a lot of so-so. That revelation has stayed with me and helped me to reconsider ingredients, amounts and even desire.  Caprese salad with homegrown basil and tomatoes, the best mozzarella I could find and imported oil and balsamic vinegar? A slice of homemade pound cake with just-picked strawberries and real whipped cream? Yep, I’m going to enjoy every bite!

More Narnia

This is a pot that my friend Pete made. Around the rim it says,

”My hearts desire is to be less Ward and June and more Narnia”.
I love this pot for several reasons: because it was created by a dear friend whom I respect greatly, because it reminds me of the need for more magic, less plastic in our lives, and because you have to really work at it to read it, and maybe work a little more to get it.
Pete does pottery as a sideline to his corporate day job. Most of us can’t imagine doing something so well, much less as a hobby. Because of his limited free time and the nature of his work, his pots are reserved well in advance, and snatched up quickly. It’s not unusual for someone to wait a year or more for their desired piece, and some of his biggest fans don’t own any of his work.

When I got word that I could purchase this pot, I was very excited, feeling like I had won the lottery to get to buy it. At the same time, Pete kept thanking me for supporting his habit. It was all reciprocal. It made me think about how rare it is that we get to invest in something that we really desire, and even more rare that when we do, it is truly appreciated by the supplier.
God works the same way; He invites us in to work alongside Him every day, loving others and bearing witness, and He is thrilled when we choose to take Him up on it.
This could almost be seen as magical, like Narnia.

To see more of Pete’s work go to http://pbapottery.com/ or become a fan at http://www.facebook.com/pages/pba-pottery/105934996103018

Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies

photo (54)I’ve been looking for something quick and mobile for breakfast because the kids are coming downstairs later and later each morning! These breakfast cookies are gluten free and vegan is you use carob chips.

I mixed them up last night and baked them this morning so they would be fresh, and all were eaten! Lifted from sallysbakingaddiction.com

 

Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies

2 1/3 c quick oats

3/4 t salt

1 t cinnamon

1 c almond butter

2 bananas, mashed

1/3 c semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use mini’s)

1/3 c chopped pecans

 

Oven 325 degrees. Mix all ingredients together and form into large, thick cookies. Bake 14-15 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Share the Journey

Who do you want to be like when you grow up? Tell her, and if she’s not already, ask her to mentor you. This doesn’t have to be a formal relationship where she downloads all her knowledge to you on Tuescomewithmeday afternoons, it can be as simple as taking a walk together and asking her questions about her perspective on all the things you have swirling around in your head and heart. You can learn so much from someone who is just a couple of steps ahead of you on the journey.

I have a mentor who is seven years older than I am and has four children. So far I haven’t been able to shock her, or even come up with a question that she hasn’t considered herself as a parent. Sometimes she simply affirms what I’ve been thinking, but often she shows me a new way of seeing the situation that I didn’t know existed. I have learned so much from this dear friend, and I know she prays for me regularly, so I’m doubly blessed to have this mentor in my life.

A willingness to being mentored shows that you are teachable and not convinced that you already have all the answers. If you choose a godly mentor, it’s an excellent opportunity to be reminded of who God is, and what He wants to do in your life. Wondering who to ask? Pray about it, God will show you who should speak into your life.

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