How does your garden grow?

I spent an hour or so out in the garden this morning, cleaning up and planting a few things. I’m embarrassed to say that before I quit my job, I went out and bought some plants on sale at Home Depot, and while I potted up the stuff that was going into the containers, two of the plants were just left to sit on the back deck rather than going into the bed around the pool where they belonged. Eventually, they were joined by more herbs, a pepper plant, and a tomato plant – the plan, if I remember correctly, was that I would garden a little bit every day beginning my very first day at home, and in no time at all my yard would look like that Miracle Grow commercial where the lady comes out the back door and unrolls a lush, blooming square of wonderfulness.

Yeah.

Well, then I hurt my foot on Mother’s Day weekend and wound up wearing a walking boot for a week, so getting up and down off the ground – always a dicey proposition given my size – was a definite no-go. And those poor plants just sat out there, panting in the heat and wilting dramatically until I was forced to go out and give them a little water to prevent them from keeling over altogether.

Last night, as Nick and I were devouring these disgustingly wonderful desserts…

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… I said, “I think I’ll do a little gardening in the morning before it gets too hot. You know, get those poor plants in the ground where they belong.”

He grunted, because he was a little occupied with dessert.

Francesca Watson Designs
(At least, I think it was because of the dessert and not because he was skeptical.)

One of my goals in this season of not-working is to re-establish some badly needed disciplines in my life. There’s a list (quelle surprise!) but one of them involves getting into a regular schedule that includes a good solid 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night, and does NOT include my staying up until all hours in the studio. I am not a morning person by nature – I would much prefer to be up in the middle of the night in solitary heaven working away at a piece of jewelry or photography editing. But it isn’t good for me – because the flip side of indulging myself in that cycle is sleeping until noon. And being so completely out of synch with Nick is disruptive to our lives together, since by the time he gets home, I’m just hitting my stride and don’t really want to leave the studio, so that we don’t spend time together in the evenings.

So I am training myself to get up with Nick in the mornings, and to go to bed when he does at night, even when I don’t want to. And even when it’s really, really tempting, I’ve forced myself not to nap (I really love a good nap!) because I know it will make it hard to stay on the sleep/wake schedule I’m trying to establish. The payoff has been huge. I’ve had time to pray and read, and time in the studio, and time to cook, and time to write, and time to just sit with my husband and hold his hand and talk about his day. Such riches! And this morning, I spent an hour in the garden, planting and cleaning things up and feeling close to my God – just savoring the miracle of his creation.

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As I planted the herbs, I breathed deep of their incredible scent – one, a lemon thyme, so outrageously citrus it was as if I had just peeled a fresh lemon. I cleaned up the pots of tomatoes and peppers and herbs, pinching back and watering and tending, and thinking about how each plant was a measure of God’s provision for us, a signpost pointing to him and the good things he offers us. I thought about the lemon and garlic pasta with shrimp I am planning to make for dinner tonight, and what pleasure there will be in coming back out to that deck to pick a few fragrant leaves to go into the meal, how it will taste, and the small intimacies that are created by tending to things we will actually use in our lives. I felt God’s presence in the air, and the soil, and the rich, pungent smells rising off the herbs. “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” (2 Cor 2:14)

And beauty.

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Or, beauty to come. I’ll look at those flowers during the summer, as the vines take over that trellis, and I’ll remember this morning – the feel of the air, and the scent of the dirt, and the way I had to awkwardly balance myself on the bottom ledge of the wall to get the dirt tamped down on the far side of the bed. And I’ll remember what it felt like to be so completely in his presence. And it will be enough. He always is.

I’ve got a hand that I can hold
Someone who knows my soul
A safe place to lay my head at night
So why do I forget
How much I’ve been blessed in life
Forget what means the most to me

As I’m waking up I feel my beating heart
So grateful that I’ve come this far
And thank God for another day,
Another chance to love the ones I love
To find my way
To laugh, to dance
Watch the sun come up
Another day I get to live
As if every breath could be the last I take
I get another day

 

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