I was really beginning to think that last year’s garden was a fluke. Maybe just beginner’s luck. I am happy to report though that after 6 weeks (ish), the plants in the garden are in fact GROWING. Yahoo!!
Here are the beds the day we planted in mid April:
And here it is now:
We have been getting drenched with rain shower after rain shower here in the Carolinas and the garden has been literally soaking it up. It’s green and happy and I think everything has at least tripled in size, if not more.
The squash and cucumber plants all have blooms on them.
Green peppers have popped out which is much earlier than last year. I think my tomato plants last year overshadowed my pepper plants so I was sure to give it plenty of space this year.
The jalapenos have popped out too. I always think they are so adorable when they’re tiny like that.
This is our first grape tomato plan—the first one I’ve ever seen, actually–and that top right tomato turning red is our first tomato of the year.
I’ve found this particular tomato plant downright fascinating. The way the stems are holding the tomatoes, how each stem alternates, evenly space down to the tomato capping the end, to me just screams of its ultimate Creator.
I mean, how is it that one little tiny seed has all the information in it to know how to do that? How?? How does it know what leaves to have and how to align these stems and how to make these oval shaped tomatoes that turn to red with so many nutrients inside? I just can’t get over it.
Insert dumb-founded picture of me here because that’s how I feel. I keep walking out and looking at this little bunch of tomatoes in complete awe. If there ever was a time I’d call God awesome, this would be one of them.
Talk to me about your garden if you planted one or your favorite vegetable to eat in the summer.
Summer Garden 2013 – 6 Week Update is a post from: Amy J. Bennett
Today you get to read a fabulous guest post from my friend Katrina. Katrina is a blog friend turned in real life friend. We’ve been able to get together a few times locally, we drove to see Emily Freeman speak and she let me cry on her shoulder at Allume last year.
Katrina has a fantastic sense of sarcasm, is a deep thinker and loves the Lord. Just my kind of person. I hope you’ll visit Katrina over at her blog. Be sure to check out her Provision Stories just after you read and comment on this one! Here’s Katrina:
Amy may have introduced this as a “guest post,” but I’m not going to kid you. I’m totally hiding out over here because I need a place to confess. You see, my blog has a bit of a reputation for talking about real food, so it’s just not a safe place to use the word “Cheetos.” I have something to get off my chest, so I begged her to invite me over.
I have a daughter. She is three and three-quarter years old. She is a diva. Strong-willed. Spoiled. Adorable. Bratty. Darling. A Control Freak. Innocent. Devilish. Angelic. Beastly. You probably know a kid like this. She loves Cheetos. She is like a moth to a flame with Cheetos. Every time we eat at Subway (here I duck down to avoid the scowls of my readers who cannot bear to learn that I darken the door of such an establishment, much less feed her food that Satan feeds his spawn), she runs to the chip display and performs a jack-in-the-box like spastic thrown-down. CHEETOS!! CHEETOS! CHEETOS!!
Since, we do not buy this kind of food at home, I let her eat Cheetos at Subway as a treat. However, last week, I made the mistake of taking all three of my luverlies to the Harris Teeter to pick up a few items. Normally, I know better than to take three snacky shorties shopping, but apparently, I was feeling extremely stupid. Thus I found myself on the “pretzel aisle” being accosted by my three tinies with ginormous brown eyes and pleading voices. They promised that if I bought them Cheetos that they’d stop pulling the shopping cart back and forth like a jerky roller coaster. Additionally, they would be good for the rest of their lives, AND they would love me forever. Well, as I stated, I was feeling extremely stupid, so like an idiot, I bought the Cheetos. (PS: Judge not. Lest you shall be judged.)
The Cheetos came home to our house. They moved into the cupboard and lived just downshelf from all my organic grains and healthy nuts, etc. With their crunchy fried, GMO laden, excitotoxin filled puff, they sang their neon orange powdery siren-song to my babies. Especially to my little three-year old.
After I picked her up from pre-school last week, where she’d had a few Cheetos in her lunch, she badgered me relentlessly all the way home for more. I refused. (I was feeling slightly less stupid.) However, unlike my older two mild-mannered, easy going, relatively compliant children, this girl does not take no for an answer.
If you don’t give me Cheetos, I’m not going to eat anything else.
If you don’t give me Cheetos, I’m not going to play with you.
If you don’t give me Cheetos, I’m not going to stay with you.
I’m very sorry to hear that.
If you don’t give me Cheetos, I’m going in my room and I’ll never see you ever again.
I will really miss you.
This went on for the entire ride home and then she followed me around the house, threatening me with all the terribly things she would do to me as punishment for withholding Cheetos from her.
Eventually, I went to hide in the bathroom. (PS: Judge not. In fact, judge never. I’m pretty sure that judging my friends with strong willed kids is what prompted the Lord to send me this little Princess.)
Anywho, when I came out, she was standing outside the door, hands on her hips. She said firmly, “If you don’t give me Cheetos, I’m gonna hit you in the face.” Y’all. I burst out laughing. It couldn’t be helped. I clasped my hand over my face as quickly as I could, but she knew I thought it was funny. And she started laughing too. And I did not give her Cheetos. (Or the spank that my husband insisted she should have gotten.)
Okay, there is probably a couple good lessons that I could extract from the aforementioned parenting debacle pertaining to child nutrition, discipline, and/or standing up to Meter-high bullies, but I’m gonna go a different way because, as is plainly obvious, I’m no expert in those categories.
Remember in 1 Samuel 8 when the Israelites begged and begged and begged and begged and begged for a king? The Lord told them ALL the reasons that a king would be a bad idea, but they were relentless. So He gave them their choice. He allowed them to have what they wanted–even though it was inferior to His best plan.
When they rejected God as King, He gave them what they wanted because they persistently asked for it. I wish I was making this up, but if you go read it, you will see that it’s true.
I don’t know all of God’s motives, but I speculate that he knew they would experience the consequences of having a human king. Boy howdy, did they ever. Like war, split kingdom, exile, slavery, devastation. (Read the rest of the Bible for more info on this.)
Now mind you, He didn’t abandon them. In fact, He actually chose and anointed human kings for them, but that wasn’t His first plan for them. He Himself was. We are told in churchy settings that we will always be given God’s best, but I don’t think that is what Scripture actually demonstrates. Thanks to free-will, we can ask for second-best, or even worse. Girlfriends, that is scary. It is scary because when God doesn’t answer the way I want, I just get all super-mature. Even though I’m ashamed to admit it, I start playing this crazy pre-schooler game. I tell myself that I’m “waiting on the Lord,” but this is what I’m doing.
If you don’t give me what I want, I’m not going to spend time with you.
If you don’t give me what I want, I’m not going to serve you.
If you don’t give me what I want, I’m not going to worship you.
If you don’t give me what I want, I’m going to be complacent about you.
If you don’t give me what I want, I’m not going to trust you.
My little exchange with my daughter brought to light how ridiculous it is to think that I can manipulate God’s will with threats and blackmail. Worse, I realized He may just GIVE ME WHAT I WANT–not because he’s stupid, exhausted, or beaten down like human-me, but because He knows I need to experience some consequences for my immaturity.
Then, triumphantly, face covered in toxic orange powder, I skip off with my less-than-best, thinking that God finally came through because I shook my tiny fist at Him. Meanwhile, I wonder why I lack His power in my life.
My lesson is that I need to learn between persistence and stubbornness. When the Lord says no to me, time and again, rather than behaving like a petulant child, I want to be willing to say, “I will trust you.” I want to ask for HIS WILL, not my own. I want to receive what He actually gives me with thanksgiving, not grumpiness.
How can you tell the difference between persistence and stubbornness in your heart? Has God ever allowed you to have the second-best? How was it?
Katrina Ryder is married to an elementary school music teacher and is the mom of three Cheeto-eaters. Formerly a high school teacher and missionary in Papua New Guinea, she now stays home in small town NC, gives herself pedicures, and eats bon-bons. Bwah-ha-hahaha. Katrina, who never avoids sarcasm, is a reluctant real foodie who blogs about faith, finances, food, and family. In it’s third year, Katrina’s blog has suffered an identity crisis and changed names from The Poorganic Life to KatrinaRyder.com. Katrina loves Jesus, missions, hip-hop dance, gardening, country music, Henry James novels, talking too much, wearing makeup, and eating crusty bread. You can connect with Katrina mostly on Facebook, reluctantly on Twitter, and almost never on Pinterest.
If You Don’t Give Me Cheetos is a post from: Amy J. Bennett
Last summer Emma went to camp for the first time. She surprised us all by loving the outdoor activities like archery and canoeing. She came home and would not stop about either.
We ended up getting her a bow and arrow but she still kept on about the canoe.
Scott was excited as he’s gone to nearby Catawba River a few times with friends and even camped overnight. But really, I think we both thought the camp excitement might wear off and she’d change her mind.
I liked the idea though, because it was the perfect Daddy-daughter bonding experience. With two girls, there’s not a whole lot that Scott and the girls can do that’s purely their thing but this would be perfect.
Last fall we went a few times to the sports store and would look at canoes. I looked them up a few different times on Craigslist but generally, they weren’t going for a whole lot less than just getting them new in a store.
We still held off since we knew school and winter was coming and we had some unexpected bills come up.
But then, this past Sunday they went on sale and Scott was at the store in the blink of an eye with Emma.
Lexi, of course, was not into it because that’s just what Lexi does. New = bad.
I started thinking of Scott and Emma on the river though and before long in my head they were lost miles down the river with search crews scouring the banks for them. I have no idea where Lexi gets her anxiety from. *ahem*
Yeah, so when Scott came home with the canoe suggesting we try it in the pool first I was like yes! The pool! Walls are good! Who cares about the river?!
So, in true redneck fashion, the canoe went in the pool.
The first order of business was taking care of Lexi’s two fears: sharks and tipping over. Clearly, sharks were easy to clear up but the second was tipping over. I needed convinced too.
So, Scott purposely tried to tip the canoe over. It wouldn’t tip and it didn’t take long for both girls (and me) to be totally comfortable.
In fact, I insisted we name it and the girls came up with The Mermaid.
It was a hit.
So, Monday after dinner, Scott surprised the girls by saying we’d take it out to the river just to paddle around a bit and get used to it.
Both girls were ecstatic and Lexi only put up a little fight about wearing an ugly orange vest.
So this is the point where I started repeating emergency procedures in my head and reminding myself how much I trust my husband. And convincing myself there really are no sharks around.
The really funny part was though, was that as worried as I might have been at times how they might be swept off into nowhere, Scott was basically doing all the paddling and since the plan was to go upstream and then float back down, he was moving at an absolute snail’s pace.
I was literally laughing out loud to myself watching them go so slowly.
He got it though and after just a little circle and they headed back for Lexi to get out.
Scott and Emma went back out and went a little further.
While they were gone, a young couple came with just a double-seated pool float and a bag of take out, got in the float and took off down the river sipping on smoothies. Another double-dating set of high school kids showed up with no apparent goal in mind, presumably wasting time and finding a reason to not be home.
I couldn’t help but think of my girls and how we’re just a few years away from them doing just that, especially Emma.
I looked at Scott and Emma and wondered if maybe this is just practice for Emma and how she’ll remember her Daddy taking her out on a canoe on the river.
If she can find a guy that will work this hard to get out on a river just to make her happy, I think we’ll be on the right path.
I’m praying for that kind of guy because one day she just might have two girls of her own and need a strong, trustworthy husband to take her two little girls out on the river.
The Maiden Voyage of The Mermaid is a post from: Amy J. Bennett
I’m afraid at times I’ve given the impression that I “do it all”. If you don’t have that impression, GOOD! But, a few people have recently said something along those lines, and well, it’s not near the truth!
I do some things but there is certainly a long list of things I don’t do at all, or if I must, not well.
If you’ll give me a few hundred words, I’ll share just a few.
Balance our checkbook
I haven’t balanced a checkbook in at least 5 years. I don’t even HAVE a check register. We have all but 1 bill automated, never have cash and monitor all activity through our online banking and mint.com account. Several years ago, I would balance the checkbook religiously but it got to the point I got so frustrated that I just threw my hands up and said life is too short to balance a checkbook.
We tried all cash a few years ago but after I lost $100 and Scott got frustrated at having to remember it, we both agreed it wasn’t for us.
We do keep a budget in mint.com and I monitor it closely so hopefully Dave Ramsey is not crying too hard somewhere.
Clean Our House
As a trade-off for working full-time we have someone clean our house biweekly. I know I can do it, and did for a time, but I choose to spend my limited time doing other things. I feel exactly zero guilt about getting help and I love my house every other Wednesday about noon.
Do The Dishes
I’ve mentioned this before but let’s be clear–I rarely wash dishes. I empty the dishwasher and do the dishes if Scott is too busy with a project but the general rule is that I cook and he cleans.
I haven’t filed a piece of paper in years. I keep super important papers in a pile inside of our file cabinet but I haven’t filed anything. The papers in-process I need are in stacks in my desk and in the kitchen and wherever else a piece of paper happens to land. I’m really, really bad at paperwork. It’s still on my list to read 10 Steps to Organized Paper.
OK, let’s just be clear–I am horrible at organizing anything. My bookshelves are a wreck, my shoes are piled in my shoe rack, the Tupperware cabinet looks like there was an earthquake, my pantry is stuffed and my linen closet is disheveled. Sure, my house is picked up most of the time but don’t go looking too hard or you’ll find my messes.
Get My Hair Cut
When my hair was short, I would get a hair cut every 6 weeks but I’m too cheap and too busy to do that now. So I grew my hair out and last time I got it professionally cut was last summer. I cut it myself two months ago. I actually need to break down and get a good cut soon but just adding this to say I don’t spend hours at a salon every 6 weeks.
Get My Eyebrows Plucked
I’m a home-plucker. Again, too cheap and busy.
Get Regular Pedicures
I’m a home-pedicurist (is that a word–probably not). I might get one once a year at the start of summer but that’s usually it.
Go Shopping – Even at Target
It is rare that I go shopping anymore. Rare. Now, when I do go out, I might spend a chunk of change but that’s only because I usually only do it twice a year and most of it is on the kids. Those darn kids keep growing. My friend Dani feels mercy on me every once in a while and gives me bags of her hand-me-downs.
More specifically, I only go to Target if I absolutely must. I learned in the past few years that it’s just a downfall for me. I want every other thing there and I spend too much money so I deliberately don’t go. I get most of our toiletries free or almost free at CVS and get other absolute necessities at WalMart. And even then, I try to send Scott.
I’ll add a caveat here and say I do grocery shop on my own religiously on Saturday mornings. It’s rare we go any other day.
Unless I put an appointment or event in my calendar I rarely remember it. I’m so bad at this. If you are expecting me at a party of some sort and I’m a no-show, please text me and help me save face. The invitation is drowning in some sort of paper pile in the house. It’s not you, party-planner, it’s me.
Remember Birthdays, Special Occasions, etc
And more to the point, I’m really, really bad at remembering people’s birthdays or anniversaries. Facebook is a lifesaver most of the time. But still, please don’t expect cards. I’m so bad at this and wish I was better. It’s not that I don’t care. In my head, I’m throwing confetti but I can just never get myself to a store to get a card or organize my paper enough to put something in the mail. Remember, I don’t even mail my bills?
When the kids have something special at school, I’m the mom running to Walmart the morning the t-shirt is due and dropping it off in the office. Again, the reminder is buried in a paper pile somewhere.
It is a rare day that I attempt a DIY project. You’ve seen a few projects on here but that’s because it’s rare and it needs documented.
OK, so this one goes back and forth. Sometimes I get on a kick and exercise regularly but other times, like now, I’m not doing anything. We did the P90X for 60 days but then Spring happened. I seemed to trade time with the garden and pool in the summer for exercising in the winter.
I probably need a whole post on this but at the current time, I’m not regularly watching any TV. Yep, I gave it up. I watched The Office finale last week and one or two season finales after skipping the back half of the season. I quit a few months ago and I LOVE the extra time.
After trying Tae Kwon Do, guitar, gymnastics, art and horseback riding lessons, my girls have spent the past year not doing any extracurricular activities other than school-related clubs. I don’t spend evenings or weekends at practices, games, concerts, recitals or otherwise. Both girls are showing interest starting back up in the fall so we’ll see if this lasts.
Get Up Early
There was a season where I was getting up about an hour early and I loved it. I saw a lot of benefits and wish I could get back in the habit. But right now, I get up when I absolutely have to and usually it means stumbling to the kids room after hitting snooze 4 times. I don’t get to bed super late. I try to be asleep by 10 but I still find myself needing at least 8 hours of sleep.
I could add a ton more here…sew, can food, scrapbook, volunteer at charities regularly, travel often, go to the movies, attend sporting events…oh my word, what DO I do??
I hope you get the drift–there’s a lot I don’t do or don’t do well and I’m nowhere near a super mom.
I don’t list this to shame myself. I just realize I have budget limitations, time limitations, organizational impairments, and personality weaknesses. And I want to be sure you see them too. Please, please don’t ever think I do it all. It’s hard to know these kinds of things when we live screen to screen where you’re often reading my highlight reel.
The truth is no person anywhere is doing their best in every area at the same time.
In the past few years, it’s helped to see we go through different seasons with different roles. When the kids were little I was horrible at cooking dinner and grocery shopping but I exercised regularly and watched a lot of TV because that’s how I stayed sane. Then there are other things, like organizing, that I just don’t think will ever be strong suit for me.
So, let’s just do what we can always do—for ourselves and others: celebrate the things we’re doing well and paint some grace into the gaps.
So fess up, what do you NOT do?
Things I Don’t Do is a post from: Amy J. Bennett
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