Gardens

This is a picture of part of last year’s garden which we initially planted in April.   The tomatoes, yellow squash, and zucchini didn’t do very well at the bottom of the garden.  However, the new potatoes, green beans and peppers were prolific.  It was the third time we had planted a garden.  Every year we had been having problems with ground hogs.

Last year, for the first time, the deer discovered the garden.  Of all things, three deer (if the tracks are anything to go by) ate our cayenne peppers (leaves, peppers, tender branches) all the way down to the main branches.  We couldn’t believe it.  I’d never heard of deer eating peppers.  In fact, there are pepper sprays for plants that are supposed to keep the deer away.  I felt so sorry for those poor deer, thinking they’d have terrible stomach pains.

Well, feeling sorry for them only lasted one day.  The next night they came back and ate our banana peppers.  Evidently they had stomachs of steel.  On the third night they visited again, eating all of our green peppers, leaves and all.

It would seem that the deer did us a favor, though.  After that severe “pruning” our pepper plants received, they grew back bigger and more prolific than before.  It really surprised us.

Going into the middle of the green bean season, the ground hogs came along and gave our green beans a crew cut… down each of three entire rows.  Then they ate a bit out of every single green bean.  You’d think that they would be polite enough to eat the entire bean and leave it’s neighbors alone, but no… they had to nibble on each and every single green bean that they could find.

This year we planted the garden a bit late.  I should say that my husband planted it.   It’s the end of May already and we just finished getting the last of our rows planted.  He made our garden plot even bigger and gave us more space in the main garden by digging up my strawberry patch (which wasn’t doing well at all) and planting all of our tomatoes up there.  We have 18 tomato bushes in the small plot now.   For the first time we have three rows of corn and I’m really looking forward to the time when they’re ready to eat!

Already we have found deer tracks in our garden.  If anyone out there knows how to keep deer out of your garden without errecting an 8 foot fence around it (evidently they can easily jump over 6 feet from a standing position), please let me know.    Clearly after last year’s experience with our cayenne peppers, pepper sprays seem a little innocuous.

My son is experimenting with a peanut plant that a friend gave us.  It grew to about 8″ tall in a container in the house.  He and my husband just planted it in the corner of the garden.  It will be his job to make sure that it is watered and we’ll see what comes of that.  Hopefully the deer and ground hogs will leave it alone for him.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the garden does this year.

Have a blessed week!

Neither of Us is Perfect…

Divorce and marriage in Christian families seems to be not much better (statistically) than in non-Christian homes.  Why is that?   A big part of it is that we live a secular life rather than seeking the Lord in everything and living a truly God-seeking, God-honoring life.  God tells us that we are in this world, but not of it.  He says we need to be a light to the world.  That starts at home.

A God-honoring marriage means putting each other first before ourselves, serving each other like Christ served, loving each other as Christ loves, respecting each other, and seeking God’s help in accomplishing all of this.  As humans we can’t do it on our own.  We’re all far from perfect.  Only as the Holy Spirit works in our lives and changes us can we become more like Christ, truly sacrificial, truly loving… truly a light shining in this world.

My husband and I have had a saying since we were first engaged.  “Neither of us is perfect, but we’re perfect for each other.”

Too often we human beings are critical of others, how they do things, what they wear, how they talk, what they think, how they communicate, how they handle finances or child-rearing or any number of other things.  Usually in a marriage the little things drive us crazy and the “big” things become Mount Everests in our lives.  But, does it have to be that way?  Absolutely not.

Here’s one small step that we can take toward a more harmonious, God-honoring marriage.

We’re not perfect and neither are our spouses.  Why expect them to be perfect when we can’t be perfect?

I believe that things drive us crazy because we have high expectations of others.  We grew up one way and they grew up another.  We have one personality/temperament and they have another.  We have one set of preferences in how things are done and they have another.  In some cases, we even have different levels of maturity.  But, of all the illogical things, we expect our spouses to be the same as us, or better yet… perfect.

If you find yourself thinking critical thoughts, take one day at a time.  How about making an attempt to start each day with the following determinations.

    1. Neither of us is perfect.  I won’t expect my spouse to be perfect today.
    2. I will accept that God is working in my life and in my spouse’s life… and He hasn’t finished yet.
    3. I will not take on the responsibility of being the Holy Spirit in my spouse’s life.
    4. If I’m feeling critical and negative, I’ll take it to the Lord and not my spouse.
    5. This day I choose to communicate in kind ways and work toward giving grace to my spouse the way the Lord consistently gives grace to me.

If we all start our days off with this mindset/determination, we will finally be giving ourselves the freedom to again enjoy our imperfect spouses and they will enjoy us so much more as well.

How did this topic come to mind?   Experience… up close and personal.  I just had a fight with my husband because he didn’t do something in our business the way I would have done it.  Not only is that ridiculous, but it causes unnecessary strife.  Thankfully, my wonderful husband, although not perfect, is loving and forgiving toward his imperfect wife.

Take time every day to appreciate your spouse, throw the negative things far from you, and give grace to him/her.  It will bless your day as well.

Confessions of an “Obese” Woman

OK…  I am sitting here at my computer drinking a delicious, home-made mango-kiwi smoothie for lunch.  I happened to have fresh kiwi and frozen mango on hand in the house.  Yum!

This morning my husband turned the TV on in our room to watch the news.  I was still laying in bed trying to wake up when I heard the news anchor say that there is a way that is better than BMI to detemine your health, your risk of diabetes, heart disease and other problems, and whether you’re on-target, overweight or obese.  Great!  To look at me I wouldn’t categorize myself as obese when I stand up and look in the mirror.  My husband doesn’t see me as obese.  I am definitely overweight, but obese?  Yet, according to the doctor, I am obese.  And when I look at pictures of myself… WOW.  How did that happen?  There.  I’ve said it.  I’ve been “labeled”.

Now there’s yet another way to confirm that very label.  It’s called Waist to Height Ratio.  It never occured to me to measure around my waist and then divide that into my inches in height.  Gee Whizzakers… as they used to say.  My waist, which doesn’t look THAT big is 66% of my height.  It’s not supposed to be more than 49% of my height.  I have to somehow lose 12″ off my waist.

Go check out your Waist to Height Ratio.  See if you need to “take care” (which means you’re too slim), if you’re “OK” (in the target range), if you need to “consider action” (you’re overweight). or if you need to “take action” (you’re obese).

So, since I skip meals because at times I’m so busy I forget to eat or drink, since bread seems to be a staple lately because it’s quick and easy for lunch or breakfast, and since this dieting thing seems to be pretty tough (clearly skipping meals, even if not on purpose, doesn’t help), I’m still at a stand still.  Basically, I’m wondering what is going to work for me.

Then it hit me.  Maybe my focus shouldn’t be on losing a certain amount of weight each and every week.  Maybe I should be focused on doing the things that will slim my waist down.  I know… symantics, eh?  But, what you put your focus on you’ll work on and this gives me a focus that takes away my sudden obsession with the scale.  So, if I work on exercising (toning, stretching, building strength) that will have two results:

    1. Toning my stomach
    2. Building muscle strength (which, I understand, increases metabolism)

I’m not likely to “build muscles” like some kind of muscle woman.  But, I can build them enough to tone up.  And muscle uses more calories to maintain than fatty tissue, or so I’ve read.

To me, though, the moral of this blog entry is to never give up.  If you want to lose weight and get healthy, don’t let anything discourage you.  Keep looking and trying.  Find the thing that will work for you.  Keep at it!

Have a blessed day!

Words to think about…  read on.

Run, Leap, Dance, Peace: Fitness for Life and Joy

Clutter and mess show us that life is being lived…Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation…Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend. What people somehow forget to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here. -Anne Lamott, Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.

 

Last year, at some point (before I separated blogs…and it’s way back there), I wrote how clutter adversely affects your health. Since then, I have had two conversations with author friends of mine on the subject. One has opted to aim for a minimalist lifestyle, which has some perks. There is a correlation between the amount of stuff you have in your house and weight gain. Ever seen Clean House? In my opinion…

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One of “Those” Moms

Alas… tonight I realized that I had become on of “those” Moms.  You know!  The ones that…

… stand at every game and cheer – loudly
… don’t think the coaches know what they’re talking about
… coach from the sidelines
… get closer and closer until they’re finally holding the fence
… tell their sons or daughters how to play because the little league coaches evidently aren’t

Sigh.

The game tonight was good, considering it was only the third T-ball game my son (and most of the other players) has ever played.  Each of the kids on both teams did a fantastic job.  My son got through to home base twice.

The coaches were already throwing pitches to them.  If they missed the third pitch, they they’d set up the T and let them try that way.  Some of the kids hit the ball hard!

A number of them didn’t know at first whether to run or not after hitting.  Every one of the kids on both teams played their hearts out.  They were so cute out there in their tiny little uniforms (5 – 7 year old kids), some of them day-dreaming, some of them looking the wrong way/focusing on the wrong thing, and some intent on playing.  With each game the kids have learned more and are getting better.  It’s a lot of fun to see them play.

We’re only part-way through T-ball season.  I’ll have to tone it down, sit back, cheer on every child, and enjoy.

Life, Busyness, and Keeping It Together

My husband’s computer died so he’s using mine now.  I’m not on the computer as much as I was before because of that.  But, there has been a hidden blessing in there because our schedules have been rather crazy.  My days have been blending together and each morning while I’m waking up I have to ask my husband what day it is and what the plans are for the day.  I truly have no clue which day of week it is when I first wake up.

Somehow I managed to get my son signed up for too many activities and they’re conflicting with each other now.  One day a week is T-ball practice and one or two nights a week are game nights for T-ball games, but twice a month those same nights are also Cub Scout nights.  Then there are tennis lessons and Tae Kwon Do.   This past Saturday was the camping trip/field day for homeschoolers in our area AND camping trip/activities for Cub Scouts.  Then a cousin passed away and his funeral was also scheduled for Saturday.  So, that took care of that choice.  Family is more important and we went to the funeral.

Speaking of funerals, in the past two weeks we’ve been to funerals for two friends and a cousin.  Yes, three funerals in two weeks… two of them this past Friday and Saturday.

I’m just plain tired.

I am teaching my son to play the piano and didn’t have time to give him his normal lesson this week.  But, he has been choosing the next songs in his books and practicing all last week on his own.  This morning he’s playing them for himself one last time before playing them for me.  Then we’ll get back to the regular schedule.  It’s a joy to hear him playing and having the incentive at six years old to do it on his own this week.

My husband made breakfast in bed for me yesterday.  It was perfectly cooked and beautifully presented on the plate along with a cup of tea and a bouquet of roses.  Then all my guys came and brought me cards.  That was a real Mother’s Day treat.  I appreciate it so much.

This week is also going to be busy with the recently crazy schedule.  But, I’m also looking forward to taking a “Food Preservation” class tomorrow… canning basics, pressure canning, water bath canning, pickles, jams and jellies, freezing, drying, and flavored oils and vinegars.

You all have a blessed week and in the busyness of life remember to pause and breathe and enjoy the blessings in your life.