Peas Aren’t a Problem Anymore

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It was split wide open, and at first glance it looked rather destroyed. However, the pea seed we planted was actually growing! It was being transformed from a hard, tiny object into a living, thriving sprout. If you happened to read my blog last June, you would understand that this is a major feat.

This year my granddaughters are a year older and wiser. When they helped plant our garden, we talked about the seeds and how deep they should be planted and how far apart. They carefully dug little holes and placed each seed in its place. Then came the watering, watching, and waiting. You should have seen my excitement when instead of plain brown dirt, I saw green shooting up through the soil. This miracle always astonishes me.

There is a Bible verse that says, “I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” (Psalm 119:32 NIV) Another version puts it like this: “I will run the course of Your commandments, for You shall enlarge my heart.” (NKJV) We are fortunate to actually have written instructions for life from the Maker of life! The Bible tells the story of His incredible love and care us. Following His ways leads to growth, freedom, and so much more. Rather like my seeds, it splits us wide open, so we can grow and thrive the way we were intended.

“Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.” Psalm 119:18

Following God’s ways leads to flourishing.

Peas Are A Problem

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It is growing! Lettuce is easy to spot, but now I can actually identify tomato plants, carrots, broccoli, and green beans. This may not seem like a huge feat, but as a new gardener, it’s a pretty big deal to me. I have so much to learn! I’m still trying to figure out the peas. The reason peas are a problem is because of the mountain. When my granddaughters, Senna and Adina, helped plant the garden, Adina decided to build a “pea mountain”. After placing the seeds carefully into the ground, she excitedly piled a large mound of dirt on top.

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Senna and Adina celebrating the planting.

Since this is a learning season, I let the mountain be. After all, having fun is part of the purpose, and I’ll be thrilled to eat even one vegetable from our box garden. However, I’ve been surprised by all sorts of green things popping up from that mountain. I haven’t identified pea plants yet, so I’ve just been pulling out anything that I’m positive is a weed.

My intention is to learn in every circumstance. So, here are a few things I’ve learned from my garden:

~ Weeds are much easier to pull out when they are small.

~ An inviting environment brings worms, and worms help gardens by loosening the soil.

~ Water is needed. Often.

~ You can tell a weed from a vegetable by knowing what the vegetable looks like.

~ Lots of stuff I don’t understand is happening unseen, under the soil. Good, growing stuff.

~ Plants need space to stretch out. If they’re too crowded, they won’t grow properly.

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Not a weed!

I’m learning a lot of life lessons from this as well, as you can probably figure out.

~ Weeds in my life are more easily gotten rid of before they grow big.

~ Worms may not be cuddly, but they sure are useful. Are there any “worms” in your life?

~ Water is needed. Jesus is the living water.

~ Knowing truth helps us spot lies.

~ Even when I don’t understand, I can have faith and trust that God is working.

~ There is plenty of space for us all to grow.

I love sharing this gardening experience with my granddaughters. What have you been doing lately, and what are you learning from it?

“Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:4-5

Intend to learn in every circumstance.

What Are You Thankful For?

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The ease with which she laughed. The way she loved playing in the snow. Her constant encouragement and faith. The way she loved everybody, no exceptions. The sparkle in her eyes. The way she utterly and completely enjoyed life. These are just a few of the things I am thankful for about my mom. Yesterday as I was peeling apples, memories of her came flooding over me. That seems to happen particularly on baking days. I suppose it’s because we did a lot of baking together, and those were always happy, laughter-filled days.

Now baking days are still happy and laughter-filled. I am so thankful for my sweet daughter, Amy, and her little girls. Yesterday we baked three apple pies and three pumpkin pies together, using my mom’s recipes. In other words, we made more happy memories together. What a treat to see the joy in my granddaughters’ eyes as we mixed the pie crust dough together. How funny to watch them sneakily pop some apple slices into their mouths. I’m already looking forward to cookie baking day!

Adina and Senna mixing the dough.

I have very much to be thankful for each day. One tradition my family has is hanging a sheet of paper on our refrigerator each November 1st with “I’m thankful for…” written across the top. It isn’t long before it’s filled with little and big things written down by everyone. I highly recommend it, because it’s a great way to cultivate a grateful heart. As Thanksgiving approaches, what are you thankful for? Please feel free to share.

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

  I Thessalonians 5:18

Give thanks!

I’m thankful for…

Perspective

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He told me his three priorities, in order.

  1. Not cut off any fingers.
  2. Not fall off the wall.
  3. Clear away all the weeds, brush, and sticker bushes.

My husband, Mike, was cleaning up the area just behind the fence in our backyard. This was not an easy feat. It required walking through tall weeds to get to there, then maintaining balance on about a 1 ½ foot wide space on top of a retaining wall, while using an ax and a saw to destroy thorny bushes and weeds that were invading our yard through our back fence.

I love how he prioritizes things. He has a clear perspective on what is important and what is most important. He also has good balance, literally and figuratively. He has always been the one to get me to take breaks and make time for fun stuff. He adds life to life! He knows what it means to live for what lasts. Do you? When was the last time that you took time to have a catch with a football or dance in your kitchen or stop and watch the sunset or…well, you get the idea!

Thankfully, Mike achieved all three of his goals. Now we can play tag in our backyard with our granddaughters without running into branches filled with thorns, which is exactly what we plan to do.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18

Live for what lasts.

Don’t Forget Your Please

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The command came from the backseat, and it came in a rather whiny, demanding tone. “I don’t WANT music!”, exclaimed my 2 ½ year old granddaughter, Adina. We were driving to my house for a play day, and I had the radio on. I explained to her that we talk to each other in a nice way, because we love each other. “Don’t forget your please” is something that I remind both my granddaughters (and myself) at times.

This made me think of an extremely demanding patient I once cared for. Did I mention that I’m a nurse? Anyway, this particular patient kept requesting things in a brusque, rude manner. It seemed each time I entered the room, I was met with commands. I was thankful that his condition was improving, but honestly, this was getting tiresome. At one point after he made yet another demand, I automatically responded, “Don’t forget your please”. After laughing, I explained that I often babysit my granddaughters and that is what I say to remind them that good manners matter. After a moment of silence, my patient actually apologized. The rest of my shift that day became much more pleasant.

As for Adina, later that day I was humming when I heard her nicely ask me to “please turn the music off”. How she makes me laugh! The reason I share this is because we all have the opportunity every day to show kindness, even in the way we speak to each other. Even God exercises kindness! Kindness counts and really does make a difference.

“’…I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:24

  Kindness counts.

What is a Bebes?

Since you are reading this, I figured you might like to know who is writing it. If things had gone according to Grandad’s plan, I would be Jim. That didn’t happen. Jim (my little brother) did come along about 1 ½ years later, though. My mom was very pregnant with me, about 9 months’ worth, when Grandad said to her, “Well, I guess Jim will be here tomorrow.” Perhaps he thought that after two baby girls it was certain that this next baby would be a boy. Instead of Jim, they got me. Sarah Eileen Willis. That was my first name.  My next official name was and still is Sarah Eileen Riddle. I gained that by meeting and marrying the love of my life, Mike Riddle.

I’ve collected many more unofficial names along the way, as we all do. My latest name is Bebes (pronounced Beebees). This is the name given to me by my two sweet granddaughters. My older granddaughter, Senna, used to call me G-mom. Then Adina, her little sister came along. Somehow Adina pronounced G-mom as Bebes, and so that is me. Senna is the one who came up with the spelling. I love being their Bebes!

Each name we have carries its own significance. Each name characterizes a special part of our life – mom, daughter, friend, employee, co-worker, and on and on. I think that your name does not define you as much as you define your name. What are your names associated with? What do they make people think of? You determine that, and you can change it! As for me, I aim to be the best Bebes possible, making happy memories every chance I get.

“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:10

Sweet Senna and Dear Adina, the joys I get to babysit.

Your name doesn’t define you as much as you define your name.