Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Garden Therapy

 Another Monday.

It's not a mile marker Monday, but Mondays are mini-memorial days in my heart, mind and soul. 

The last few days have had big emotions.

I found myself wanting to sit in the garden all day, but I had a mammogram scheduled...because THAT always cheers me up. I MUST remember to schedule a down day after big days that may lead to big emotions - like birthdays and holidays or court days. I have watched others do this and just keep failing to think ahead and connect the dots. 

I DID spend a couple of hours in the garden. Weeding...always weeding. 

Since I was in Wasilla at the imaging center I decided to go to Lowes for more GARDEN SOIL and a cattle panel (which I'd heard would work well for a trellis). They wanted $475 for this giant cattle gate. I looked around and found a substitute. I found one that may work well and the cost was $54. I decided to get 10 2 CF bags of dirt. They said someone was coming to help me...but I had loaded and moved it all before anyone showed up. 

Cory has become my gardening buddy. I alerted him to the cattle panel issue, and told him I had dirt!!!! and I was going to fill the hoop house, set up trellis' and transplant cucumbers. Cory surprised me by offering to come over bright and early and help me. At 0700 this morning Cory and I were out in the garden. Everyone else was asleep. I was armed with the GG monitor and a cuppa chai. 

Cory discovered the trellis' were already assembled. That simplified the project! ::snort:: We added dirt to the bed and set up the trellis'. We had talked about plans I had for the day. I transplanted things....

and Cory moved a pile of weeds and dirt, filled up the baptistry with dirt, AND leveled a spot for the bed I'd like to build.  We're pushing back the woods one garden bed at a time. This is the kind of garden buddy everyone should have. 😀 BTW, we have begun talking about the need to geta wimpy sized weed eater that I can handle so that I can keep things a bit more cultured. OR possibly hiring a boy or two to weed eat an hour a week. LOL 

I keep weeding this bed and the weeds grow back before I get it planted. I weeded it again - AND added dirt. The problem I'm seeing with the lasagna bed method is that I have a lot of grass in the beds. I don't quite know why...could be we didn't get hot enough here to actually kill the grass under the bed to start with? In any event, now that we have wood chips everywhere I have time to keep up if I work on the weeds every day. 

We worked a couple of hours and then Cory went to catch up with Arielle and the gang. I got a call at 0900 from the lawyer wanting to see Michael and I at 1100. We went to see the lawyer and then had a quick lunch together. 

I got home, fixed GG's lunch and GG decided to take a nap. Michael was off to the dentist. I called and scheduled a trip to a local cemetery and was then driven back to the garden. It was TIME get my little starts out of the greenhouse and into dirt. The grass-filled bed above is now planted! It's the nearest bed. 

Cory started a bunch of sunflowers from seeds. I got quite a few of the smaller ones planted in the baptistry.  We are at the time of the season where I'm desperately looking for spots of dirt where I can stick starts. I always plant far more seeds than I need and sometimes I end up with an over-abundance of starts....and sometimes one plants a whole packets of bush beans and gets 4 plants? WHAT is up with THAT? I may see if I can find some bean starts locally. Have greenhouse must plant. 

The doctor's office called me with my mammogram results while I was in the garden. Admittedly I wasn't paying 100% attention. I was a bit alarmed at such quick response, but they told me everything was normal. However, they want me to have an MRI in 6 months, as well as an annual mammogram. This evening when the family finally convened at home, I realized I should have asked more questions. I don't know if this is a typical thing when one turns...ahem...60, or if it has to do with family history. They said I had a high titer and I've not a clue what that means. In the end we decided "Jenni will know," and life went on. LOL  One thing led to another, and I regaled all with a step by step descriptions of mammograms. It was good to laugh together. 

Meanwhile Michael spent far more time than expected with a local dentist and pharmacy. The VA had rescheduled his dental cleaning twice. He finally called and requested a community referral. He's had tooth pain. This dentist told him he needs the tooth extracted. They immediately gave him antibiotics and tentatively scheduled an extraction...and have said they will move the date forward as soon as they get VA approval. This will be the second tooth he's lost since entering VA dental care. I'm NOT saying it's the VA's fault, I am saying the VA appears to have a case load far greater than their providers.  I think he's going to see about simply staying in the community for his dental care. 

Allie had counseling and an appointment to fill out paperwork for a new job. Stacia had PT. We planned to meet up with them for dinner and a movie with Nolan, Allie and Stacia (and Alex?). The dentist had other plans. The girls had a good time out. They watched Inside out 2 - and said it is far more emotionally intense than they were expecting - not a feel-good kid's movie. I was almost glad we missed the movie. I don't think GG would have enjoyed it and I'm not sure I am in the mood for an emotionally intense movie. Life is plenty intense. 

I wanted to spend a day in the garden Monday, and it didn't work out. I was able to spend 1 1/2 yesterday and 3 1/2 hours today in the garden. Um, I think I have enough greens to feed a commune! So many of the things I want to grow, "don't grow well in Alaska," but I certainly didn't need four kinds of lettuce AND Kale. At least I only planted ONE zuchinni plant and ONE type of kale this year. 

Michael built a fire tonight, so we sat by the garden...ah! I've gotten over the subliminal thought that one needs dark to have a campfire. Campfires in the sunlight have benefits. You can see where your marshmallow (or max mallow) falls! It was delightful for the two of us to spend time together around the fire. 

Garden therapy is a thing. It's somehow easier to work out thoughts when one is busy in a garden. It brings peace to wrest order out of one chaotic part of life. It uses up physical energy which helps with the emotions and thoughts one is working out. It allows me to pull hard at things I can affect, rather than continually wrestling and pulling at thoughts and things I can't necessarily "fix" like: 
  • Community and crisis - so much here. 
  • Investing in relationships that will bear up when the going gets tough.
  • Balancing God's nature with this pain - going beyond cliches. 
  • Why do we Christians focus so quickly on "seen sin" in others, while ignoring our internal battles/sins?
  • Why do we try to play Jesus and Holy Spirit in the lives of others rather than fulfilling our job to love as Jesus loves?
  • Why does love seem to extend only to those inside a "church" and not those on the outside?
  • Have we forgotten we ARE the church not called to GO to church? Have we forgotten the church is simply those who believe in and follow Jesus rather than an hour on Sunday or a building with a title?
  • Has "church" become a club for those who think just like me, look just like me and vote just like me...have you really looked at who surrounded Jesus - his disciples? 
  • What does it mean to show up for family?
  • Who would God have me show up for outside of family?
  • Should I start a mentor group in my home?
  • Should I invite others to study with me?
  • Should I join the neighborhood book club?
  •  What do people MEAN when they tell you to "move on" from the death of a child (or loved one)?
  •  What are they thinking when they say to "quit looking back" as if a healthy parent could ever forget a loved child?
  •  Why do people who aren't sitting with us, or walking with us, think they get to comment on how well we are doing - how would they know how we are doing?
  • Why aren't those I expected to be here - here?
  • What a gift it is that others have unexpectedly stepped close! God provides. God is walking this out with us. It's good. 
  • Why have "shallow" military and childhood TCK  friends stepped up just when friends I thought were close stepped away?
  • Living in one place for long periods of time doesn't necessarily mean friendships are deeper.
  • How do you pronounce HaBAAAAAkukkkkkk....????? 
  • About those friendships - GRACE. I get it. We get busy with our schedules, and we are uncomfortable, we just don't know what to say or don't have the time to just sit with someone...
  •  Some are too focused on doing to have time to live out love....I've been there. God forgive. 
  • Why do some act like the local church is a gang and we can only love those wearing OUR colors?
  • What role does this broken world, the unseen powers, play in bad things happening - do people really believe God CAUSES EVERYTHING that happens in their life? 
  • God BRINGS good from every situation, and uses every hard for my good, but that does not mean evil IS good. 
  • Giving thanks IN all things is not the same as giving thanks FOR all things. 
  • God doesn't like murder. God doesn't like evil. 
  • Emotions are not the enemy. Emotions aren't meant to rule my life, but God created emotions and they serve a purpose. 
  • Being authentic does not mean I don't trust God or that God isn't good. He is good. All the time. Even here. 
  • Immanuel - God is with me. Always with me. Still with me. With me now. 
  • Jesus loves me. 
I've heard people say the garden is their "happy place."  The garden is not my happy place per se... it's a sacred spot. It's a place where I'm sludging through what life has thrown at us one step at a time...it DOES allow me to be out in the Alaska summer even though I can't load up GG for the hikes and camping trips I'd like to be enjoying.  I can cry in the garden, and no one tells me to "choose joy," or gets uncomfortable. I can scream in the garden and the birds and moose aren't overly alarmed. I can feel anger in the garden, and no one runs away. I can wrestle with God in the garden. I can rest with God in the garden. I can carry grief and joy in the garden.  

Today, I got to share some of these garden thoughts with Cory and later Michael. Life is good...it's hard good. 

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