Tag Archives: patience

Finding Our Green Thumbs

Our little garden is growing! I am so excited and so are the kids. You may think this sounds silly, but honestly, we put a lot of hard work into tilling the soil, clearing the tree roots and prepping the area so that our plantings would grow.  And now they are growing!

Our past attempts at a vegetable garden ended terribly. First, I chose a section of ground that was too large for one gardener. Second, I planted whatever my children selected from the seed store. Third, I didn’t really spend any time reading what each plant needed. Fourth, I ignored the fact that bunnies and squirrels and birds lived throughout our back yard. Fifth, I didn’t see a need for fencing or protecting these plants, figuring there would be enough for the animals and us. Finally, my children were about 10 years younger and their patience level was much less, too. So I had no time to ponder and plan as they wanted to plant their seeds and right now! The concept of patience and waiting was not so well-developed in them at that time, as well as the concept of growth taking time.

The results of our first garden almost ten years ago was a small breakfast cereal bowl of lettuce with a few carrots–as in two. The rest of the lettuce was devoured by our bunny friends before it even grew much above the ground. The carrots were also uprooted. The pumpkin and squash vines grew all over the garden, making us guess that we would have a bumper crop. Somehow, pollination just didn’t happen. Our flowers never became pumpkins. Lazy bees? Sick bees? Who knows! But no pumpkins or squash. We also planted some sunflowers which the kids were certain would grow huge. Hmmmm, I don’t think they even started out of the ground. With all the work we did for that garden, the kids were not very enthused about a bowl of lettuce and a few carrots. In fact, I think I ate the lettuce!

Fast forward to today. We only planted herbs, but my tea has already been quite tasty with some fresh mint leaves. The kids are planning to make Signora Maria’s famous homemade Marinara Sauce with fresh basil from the garden. Only a few more weeks and we’ll hopefully have tomatoes. We have lots of other herbs that my “sous chefs” will find recipes for. It should be a tasty summer.

My youngest has been taken on official watering status. Although God has been providing a lot of rain, she stands at the ready to fill in when needed. Tiny weeds have started peaking through the soil. She and I will tackle those tomorrow, while we smile at the giant tomato plants that have already grown taller than their stakes!

 

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Family Fishing Abundance

My family went fishing today. My youngest had not yet caught a fish “in her entire life.” It was a gorgeous day for being outside. It was cool with a breeze, yet sunny. And this morning, the fish were biting! We were at a pond which is for catch-and-release fishing only. I was okay with this since I realize I would have been the one to clean the fish if we had planned to eat any.

My son seemed to have the lucky fishing pole. As soon as his line hit the water, there was a fish on his hook. This started as amazing, but quickly became unbelievable to the rest of the family. While my daughters continued to cast away with no results, my son just kept reeling in the fish. We lost count after 14. I tried to explain to my other children that there are no guarantees with fishing. Sometimes, you catch some, sometimes you don’t. It’s a great lesson in patience.

Of course, the youngest was not pleased. She moved to a different section of the lake and tried to cast further into the deep. She so badly wanted to catch a fish that she decided to give it all she could with her next cast. And that’s how she accidentally cast her entire fishing pole into the lake. Thankfully, her line had a bobber, so we could see exactly where her pole was located. Also, the wind was blowing towards us which meant we might have a chance to recover her pole. Sure enough, another family who was with us managed to “catch” her pole and bring it into shore safely. She went on to catch 4 fish of her own.

All this fishing made me think of St. Peter. I bet he loved the outdoors. I think he learned patience from fishing. He made his living doing something that at times can be quite frustrating. I wonder what was going through his mind when Jesus invited him to, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” In Luke’s Gospel, it explains that Jesus told Peter and his partners James and John where to cast their nets. Amazingly, Peter although grumpy and tired, simply obeyed, and the catch was so abundant it filled two boats. That’s why they left their nets and followed Jesus to become fishers of men. I don’t think they really had a clue as to what that term “fishers of men” meant. But, they knew abundance when they saw it. And their hearts must have been open to Christ’s call.

I pray that I become more obedient in my life. I pray that I recognize abundance and who provided it for me. I pray that my heart remains always open to Christ’s call. I pray that those closest to me respond to that call, too.

Are you a human being or a human doing?

I’ve been getting a lot of calls lately from close friends, family members and even acquaintances that have an overwhelming need to vent. These calls or conversations last at least an hour or two. If I had to group these conversations into a category, I would name them “mid-life discontent” or something of that nature. I have listened to both men and women who range in age from late 30s to early 50s.

I am a pretty good listener. I really try to understand their perspective. I also try to imagine the other person’s perspective, too. Often times, after listening for a long, long time, what I suggest is not what they want to hear. Why? Because usually it is true and it is hard to do. Believe me, I know this to be true because I have good friends who will listen to me and suggest the wise course, which I sometimes do not want to take!

I called these conversations “mid-life discontent” because my callers are usually not happy about a situation in their lives. Sometimes, it is a result of their choices. Other times, it is a result of their spouse’s choices. Often times, it is because they chose to act before seeking wise counsel or discerning God’s will. In our hurry-up-and-go world full of messages of instant gratification, slowing down and listening and pondering the right choice is not even considered. It seems that we have taken in the lie that we should always be “doing” something versus “being” someone.

I work really hard to be a human “being”. I try not to rush ahead to solve a problem or to accomplish my own game plan before listening and discerning. Sometimes, I am accused of being “lazy” or not being open to a change. That is not so! If only the accusers understood how much self-control it takes for me to slow down, listen and wait!!! It is not in my nature to do these things. It has taken considerable prayer and change for me to get to this point. I like to “do” just as much as anyone, but I have learned the hard way that “being” is much better than “doing.” So, even when I am being confronted for my lack of “doing”, I fall back on prayer and listen to God’s will. It has served me much, much better than my old human “doing”…Now, if I could just get more people to try it!

 

Take Turns Doing the Hard Jobs

Today, we decided to tackle the kitchen flooring. We are removing two layers of vinyl(?) flooring that apparently were stuck on with super, gorilla glue. This is back-breaking work and progress is very slow. Our friend is planning to drop by a tool that will help make this less miserable, but in the meantime, we have discovered what works and what doesn’t.

I discovered a “shovel” of sorts in the garage corner which I thought would be dandy to use. It is thin at the end and I visualized shoveling whole tiles at one shove. Ha, ha, ha. Meanwhile, my son took the crowbar and hammer approach. When I saw the progress he was making, I dug through the tools for a sledge-hammer. I handed it to him with a big smile. One whack and we knew we found a winning combination!

We started out with great spirits. My son, using the crowbar/sledge-hammer combo, and myself using the crowbar/hammer combo. After about 15 minutes, I was really done. My back hurt and my arms felt like noodles. I decided to do the final vacuum and tamping of the staple ends in our front room. My son stuck with the floor removal for another 30 minutes. Then he needed a break. So I took over the floor removal and sent him to the garage to work on preparing the cabinetry we will be selling.

All day long, we took turns doing the hardest job (floor removal) and finding other smaller, easier jobs that needed doing (removing baseboard, fixing cabinetry). If one of us found a better way to do something, we shared it. For example, I discovered a super easy way to remove staples from the front of our old cabinetry. I turned that job over to my son and headed back to the floor removal.

I share all of this to say that I think in every part of life, we should take turns doing the hard jobs. I am not sure that I have done this for most of my life, but it just makes sense. Working on a project is so much nicer when everyone involved is willing to do the hard stuff and not just push it onto the “new” guy or the lowest paid worker. I also think we should always share with others any information that is helpful or makes things easier. I know that not everyone does this in life, but we should.

Well, we still have about half the kitchen to go, but the great news is that my husband just got home. Oh, the fun he will have learning the crowbar/sledge-hammer combo!

 

Who Needs a Mirror When You’ve Got Kids?

Who needs a mirror when you’ve got kids? In some ways, children are better than a mirror. Let me share three ways:

1) Children let you know things you already know but don’t want to remember, just like a mirror. For example, “Mom, you’re belly is pudgy.” When I respond with a distressed look, they reply, “But we like it because it’s soft when we snuggle with you!” Now, that’s better than a mirror!

2) Children repeat what you say and act exactly how you do.  When I was in a bad mood the other day, I grumbled at one of my children. As soon as I was done, that child turned and grumbled at his sibling, who then grumbled at her sibling, and so on, and so on. It was horrifying to watch! Also, If you just “say” things to them, but don’t do them yourself, they will never follow suit, just like a mirror would never reflect what you do not do. This is especially true if you have a bad habit–like biting nails or losing your temper or rolling your eyes. Stop those habits now so your children do not reflect a “not-so-wonderful” you. Plus, you’ll be much happier when you look in your “new” mirror (aka see how your children behave.)

3) Children often reflect your love even greater than you gave it. When children know they are loved and are shown how to be honest, how to share, how to forgive and how to obey, their actions often show such great love that it can melt even the most hardened heart. Have you ever been approached by the most adorable child with curls and big eyes who waves at you from their wheelchair and just wants to shake your hand? That happened to me yesterday and I knew that this little child was well-loved. It just radiated from her. Children reflect love so brightly when they are gentle, kind, patience, humble and full of hope.

Mirror, mirror on the wall
whose the fairest of them all?
-or-
Mirror, mirror in my house
reflecting truly both me and my spouse!

I highly recommend that you think through your choice of mirror — they can be brutally honest, but well worth the investment.