Friday, June 28, 2024

Garden Thoughts

 Gardening is hard work!  I dream of a gazebo for tea parties and craft projects with grands in the garden, and I'd love CORN and melons and tall arches covered with green.  I don't have all of that this year, but living PRESENT with what I have - a chair in the garden - has been a game changer.

Not only does it bring a measure of joy to the work, but it also allows me to really grasp the progress and to celebrate little changes. 

Our ONE zucchini plant

In year's past I'd spend hours each day and see little progress. Having a garden felt unattainable. Admitting I would only use 1/2 the space, and putting down wood chips in that space has made a huge difference.  I also applied a trick I learned homeschooling and managing a home. Setting a routine, or a schedule, brings me peace.  I have 10 raised beds and 4 rows of potatoes. If I weed 2 beds and a row of potatoes a day everything will get done once a week. I can be at peace with stupid grass invading a bed as I know within a week it will be dealt with. 

That sitting in the garden thing - now that the weeds are controlled - I often am able to weed the whole garden in about an it's all getting touched more than once a week. 

In the process, I've learned something about myself. I like planting and tending, I'm not a great harvester. I like planning beds and envisioning what could be (thus the gazebo dream). I love finding a bed like this....

And seeing THIS after a bit of work. 

In the past, I've let everything grow all season in part to get the absolute most harvest and also because I'm not sure how or when to harvest a lot of things. In the end I really don't care too much about picking and preserving.   I have grown asparagus for 5 years and never harvested it - always letting it go to seed. The process fascinates me. 

THIS year I am making an intentional effort to HARVEST. I've cut the asparagus 4x now. I've harvested leaf lettuce, spinach leaves and kale...and the amazing thing is - it grows back. 

I'm learning it's wisest to plant what we want to eat - not just what grows well. I will never have 12 zucchini plants again! The tomatoes may produce this year....there are flowers. 

I'm trying news STEVIA. It says to dry and powder the leaves and it will be 300x sweeter than sugar. I have 3 plants. I keep eating the leaves....and they ARE sweet without the aftertaste of store purchased stevia. 

Through it all I've realized it's ok to have a favorite part of gardening. Mine is the planning and tending. Of course, it will be best for the garden, and more productive if I also do the parts I don't love...BUT others love harvesting and hate the planning and tending. It seems the apostle Paul talked about this....each of us with our own task in the mission. 

LIGHTBULB moment... this planting and tending seems to transfer over to my spiritual giftings as well. This may be why I've been used in ministry to BEGIN things, to set systems in place...start Bible studies and life groups, start women's ministries, start mom groups, recruit and train teams, establish and participate in mentor groups, stand up a new region of women's ministries for PWOC (military women's ministry)...and I've been thrilled and happy to do each thing. I have NEVER burned out when teaching studies or mentoring groups of women. 

 I've had others ask me HOW I stay motivated when I haven't been able to remain and see the fruit of the labor.  THIS has to be part of it. I truly take joy in casting vision, living life with women and seeing the growth, starting new things.... I've seen harvest.  I do enjoy watching growth and spiritual maturity develop, strongholds broken. Yet, in every area of ministry we've moved on while things were still thriving. We're familiar with a "short growing season" in our ministry.  I've not seen the completion...and that's o.k. I've been faithful with the time I had in each location, and I have LOVED my part in people's stories...and I know things carry on just fine when I'm called to leave. 

I was discussing this with Michael, and he thought it funny I'd not made the connection before. He pointed out this is probably why when others have invited me back to see what is ongoing from my time of ministry in a place, I find myself thinking, "You are STILL doing the same thing 20 years later?"  where others are taking so much pleasure in the fact that what they planted is still doing the same thing. 

And so...I will joy in the planning, planting and tending AND I will be intentional to harvest as well. Even now when it's mostly greens. 
There you have it - deep thoughts from a shallow mind; or deep thoughts from the garden! ::snort:: 

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