To all the Moms, Happy Mother’s Day!
To all the Moms, Happy Mother’s Day!
I stood with a glazed look over my face as I saw multiple rows with packages of seeds that all promise to one day be an actual vegetable if I simply planted them. In theory this should be a “no-brainer.” Pick the vegetables I want, get the dirt, a pot to plant them in and wallah! Except it’s not that easy. I’ve never had a plant, I don’t even know how often to water them let alone which type of tomato seed would grow best. Oh by the way, did I mention that I don’t know if this is even the right season for the seeds I’m planting?
During the month of March I wanted to focus on gardening for “green month” of my Searching for Simplicity fast inspired by Jen Hatmaker‘s book 7. I’ve made many changes towards a greener lifestyle but gardening had never been something I had ever attempted. That made deciding what to do for the “green month” pretty easy, gardening it would be! With that I picked seven things to plant:
I will be honest, when I started I couldn’t tell you how often to water my garden and I still don’t! I pretty much just gave it a good look and if it seemed like the soil was damp I figured no need to water. Couldn’t even begin to tell you if this is accurate!
Patience. Oh how gardening requires this attribute! I had a little hunch that God’s message during this fast was going to be related to patience. I mean gardens don’t bloom over night! I even found myself asking “how long does it even take for seeds to start sprouting?” Day after day I would go outside, water my dirt and come back in. Nothing was happening and I kept telling myself that I was sure this would be a lesson in patience. And guess what… it was a lesson in what patience will bring! The other day I went outside to yet again water my dirt but instead I found sprouts! That’s right people, seeds actually grow! I got super excited, ran inside to tell Chase and to grab my phone to start taking pictures. I mean seriously, my vegetables had started to sprout, Facebook needed to know about this! It was my first attempt at gardening and I actually succeeded!
Confession: I can’t tell you what it is that sprouted because I can’t remember the order of where I planted everything. Whoops! I’m pretty sure it’s one of the herbs but I guess I will just have to wait and find out.
I have always been aware of the importance of patience. And in most situations I was always aware of the joy you felt after the wait was over. But it’s easy to forget and to find yourself back in that state of impatience when you are waiting.
How easy it was to plant these seeds and in a matter of a few short weeks I was reminded of what comes as a result of patience!
Christmas might be over but we are still celebrating all that this time of year can bring… family members visiting, naps in the middle of the day, snowy mornings, the glow of the fireplace,
game nights and new toys scattered about the house. Right now it is quiet in the house. Eli is taking his nap and Chase went to see The Hobbit with his parents. I gladly stayed behind to get a little “me” time. So what do I choose to do during my free time? Laundry and writing, what a good combo, right?
This Christmas was a little different though, not only was it my first one since being diagnosed but Lupus also made an appearance! That’s right, I was in a flare up! I went to bed Sunday night and tossed and turned all night aching and then Christmas Even morning my flare was in full swing. I have to say it was pretty upsetting to feel like poo during all of Christmas. I had my usual hip, knee and back pains, along with fatigue. But this flare was different, I had a new symptoms… my ankles were so achy I could barely stand to put weight on them. So with that I found myself on the couch with a heating pad around my ankles. It was definitely a little disappointing. I even got a little emotional about everything on the drive home. I didn’t want to be a downer let alone spoil anyone’s fun. But, then I think back to the last couples of days and think about how incredibly blessed I am! Not once during my flare up did I have to worry about cooking, doing the dishes or any of the clean up. The amazing women in our family took charge as I rested on the couch. And speaking of that… no one cared that I was sprawled on the living room furniture! I may have felt bad but I didn’t want to miss any of the excitement that Eli was having over his new toys! And let me tell you he was having a ball! I can still picture his face as he was opening presents!
When I think about the past few days all I feel is gratitude. I might have Lupus and sometimes it might make an appearance on a special day that I so badly wished it wouldn’t. But, my God has given me more than I could imagine! He has given me the love and support of my amazing family! I don’t have to let my bad days define me! Instead I can take joy in knowing that on those bad days God has given me people who I can turn to for help. Wow, what a blessing that is!
For those of you that have followed the guest blog posts you will remember Michelle Clark of Miss Banana Pants from her earlier post she did for me about All Moms are Liars. Well today she brings some great insight into her journey of a seven month fast…
We’ve all felt the clutter of life at one time or another. I think that it comforts us to a certain degree. Having more “stuff” makes us feel secure, distracted, and accomplished. I’ve truthfully never been very materialistic. Stuff doesn’t mean very much to me. Just ask my husband in the way that I take care of my mess of a car, continuously pile clutter in every corner of my house, and resolve to the fact that we will never have super nice furniture because we have kids. I’m okay with it. To a certain extent. The truth is I’ve been a horrible steward of my stuff. I should take better care of what I’m given/what we can afford. I’ve just always had a very “disposable” mentality about stuff. It’s here today, it’s helpful, if it breaks/is stolen/goes through the ringer, it’s okay. It’s all disposable and we will just get something else. I trick myself into thinking that my stuff does not own me. Maybe it doesn’t. But my perspective on my stuff does. Just because I don’t cling to my stuff, doesn’t mean I don’t take it for granted. I’m not concerned with it being gone, because “out with the old, in with the new”. Do you struggle with this? Or do you hold on to your possessions as if they define you?
I made the massive mistake of taking this “simple-looking” book with me on vacation to read by the beach. I think I must be the very first girl ever to sit in a lounge chair in the sand staring at the ocean waves and reading a book about EXCESS. Seems a bit hypocritical. Not an easy book to read while on vacation, I’ll tell ya! Try reading it at the pool…in your ocean condo…while your kids argue about cable TV stations. It did feel wrong. I was so spoiled at that moment. No, it wasn’t wrong to go on vacation. Actually, it was an amazing free blessing/gift to our family and we were humbled by the love that has been shown to us. It just wasn’t an ideal place to read about excess. Not at all. We just have so much stuff and are so selfish. Don’t you ever get tired of how greedy we have become? It seems like the more we get - the more we THINK we need. We feel like we DESERVE it all. It’s a terrible cycle and I was ready to get off. Something definitely had to give. I soaked in each word and let it simmer in my mind and heart throughout vacation and came home with a resolve. This stuff that Jen Hatmaker covered in her book wasn’t “new” new but she did something about it. She put feet to her words. I knew that I wanted to begin to put feet to mine as well. I was not going to be just another woman who simply reads this book and says that it’s a “life changing” theory and experiment. I wanted to do. I wanted to act. I wanted to be wrecked to the point of change. It was official. I didn’t want to be comfortable anymore. I wanted to take on Jen Hatmaker’s challenge to fast in the seven areas of my life that were defining who I was: Food, Clothes, Possessions, Media, Spending, Waste, and Stress.
Currently, I’m just finishing up my Food Fast for month one and boy, am I glad it’s almost over! Not because I didn’t learn a TON, but because I am ready to try to be a better steward in this department on my own. In the book, “7″, Jen just chose seven different foods and ate nothing but those seven things all month-long. What dedication! I am not that spiritual! Ha! I, instead, made seven food rules for myself to adhere to for the entire 4 weeks, and I have to say, I followed most of them pretty well. They were: No Fast Food, No Pop/Soda, No Alcohol, No Pork, No Chocolate, No Eating After 7 pm, and Only ONE grocery trip per week.
During this whole first month, the main things that I’ve learned are just how spoiled I am in the area of food. I’ve never had to worry about what I will eat until now. I’m having to plan ahead because I can’t just grab something on the go. Sometimes I have found myself literally consumed with how to organize my day around us having enough time to come home and cook something. I’ve never had to think about food so much in my life! I am realizing what a blessing it’s been to be born into a society that, for the most part, doesn’t have to worry about food. I live a privileged life. I’ve never known hunger, poverty, or despair. I have been ridiculously blessed relationally, spiritually, and physically. My life is so happy, it’s almost embarrassing at times when I think of it in comparison to so many other people in other countries. And yet, this month, I let the little things like the fact that I couldn’t just run through a drive-thru window for lunch or grab a soda obstruct my view on my reality. I struggled to see how blessed I am because I wasn’t able to see the forest because I was concentrating on the trees. Even before this month I did that. I concentrate too much on the few things that I can’t have instead of all the endless things that I do have at my disposal I have more food (even with all this month’s limitations) in one single day than most of the earth’s population see their whole lives. If anything is ridiculous, it’s that fact. But how many times do we really stop and think about that fact? If we did, it would not only change the way we think about food, but it would revolutionize the way we think about life.
As this month ends and I am about to embark on the next phase of this 7 month fast, I’m excited to see what more God has to teach me. Next month’s focus is “Clothes” and I’ve decided to mirror the experiment that Hatmaker did in her book. She chose only 7 articles of clothes and wore nothing but those things for an entire month. Sounds completely ridiculous, eh? But I really think that this month might stir in me a new-found appreciation for what it feels like to not only not care about what you look like, but focus more time and energy on changing the ME behind the facade of fashion. This month I’m sure to see some inner change. I can’t wait.
For those of you who think this whole thing is so WEIRD, you are totally right. I think it is too, actually. Really, it’s okay to think I’m becoming one of those Christians. But in the words of our pastor, “I welcome WEIRD. Normal isn’t working anymore.” It’s not. I’m sure that most of Jesus’ ideas weren’t so popular either. I’m convinced that He got the “I-thought-you-were-normal-but-now-I-see-I-was-clearly-wrong” face plenty of times. He seriously knew how to thin out a crowd. He always gunned for less, reduced, simplified. He was the most fully and completely unselfish, ungreedy, unpretentious man to ever live, and I just want to be more like Him. It’s as simple as that. If limiting myself of my favorite things for 7 months can help Jesus overcome me, then so be it. I’m okay with an oddball label. I think we should all learn to be a bit more different. One of my all-time favorite quotes came from a speaker at a youth conference I went to almost 10 years ago but it has always stuck with me. ”You cannot make a difference in this world unless you ARE different from this world.”
Photo Credit: Rachelulgado