Thistles and Rain

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It has been a little wet around here lately. The old saying, “When it rains…it pours” is pretty true in this part of the country lately. After waiting…for what seemed like a long time and wishing for rain…it now seems easy to come by.

I wandered around the other morning with my camera in hand as I couldn’t get in my garden (due to rain) and I couldn’t mow (also due to rain). It seemed a logical choice to go and see if I could capture some of the beauty left by the rain.

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It was fun to try get a photo of the raindrops  dripping from the flowers and leaves.

To be very honest it was also a great opportunity for a blog post as the idea well seems a bit drier than the weather for this Chicken Grandma!

Later that afternoon my husband called for me to join him behind the machine shed. There is a patch of thistles growing back there that really should be taken care of as they do tend to spread.

We discovered, however, that those thistles might be weeds, but the butterflies and bees sure seemed to be enjoying them.

Seeing those thistles in a different light made me reflect on the fact that there are definitely two sides to most things in life. Something might seem to be a weed in your field or a weed in your life….when you look closer and really have a chance to study on it…you may just find that “weed” serves a purpose you had never thought of.

It was good to realize that truth. Life has been busy and somewhat stressful lately. There have seemed to be a lot of “weeds” springing up and flourishing, where I would rather not have them.

Maybe I need to be patient….maybe I need to open my eyes, my ears and my heart to really see, hear and know what those “weeds” actually are doing in my life. Maybe I just need to let God have those “weeds” and let Him take care of them in His own time.

That is a hard lesson for me….I love to fix things and I really want to fix things now instead of later. I guess it is a good time to sit back, watch the rain, and enjoy the lessons the thistles are teaching.

 

“Some of the most beautiful things worth having in your life
come wrapped in a crown of thorns.”

Shannon L. Alder

 

 

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Gardens and Patience

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It seems like the last few weeks have been a time of playing catch-up. The fields are growing and green and the lawn and weeds have also been growing profusely.

We use a push mower; so mowing our farm yard takes pretty much an entire day with my husband and I kind of tag teaming the job. For some reason we kind of have our own “zones” that we seem to be in charge of mowing.

The areas I mow….I tend to bag, so I can use the grass on my garden. I have also been spending time weeding and hoeing and trying to stay ahead of those same weeds  so those weeds don’t take over my garden.

In my last post I mentioned we had a nest of baby bunnies in our back yard…not really too far from our garden! As anyone, who gardens, knows….bunnies and gardens don’t mix at all!

My husband has come up with a wonderful solution and has been making garden panels from 10 foot pieces of lumber and chicken wire. I absolutely love those panels as they are easy to handle and work great for keeping the rabbits from eating the produce.

This has been a strange year for gardening. The winter seemed to last forever so most of my seeds and plants got in very late. We usually get our potatoes in Easter weekend…this year we were an entire month later!

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My potatoes look pretty dismal. They came up so spotty and I finally became impatient and took a spade to dig where a potato should be. I discovered that the seed potatoes were rotting in the soil!

I ended up replanting in all those spaces because having potatoes come up late is preferable to weeds taking over that space. Now it looks like I am growing orange flags…..at least this way I will know where to look for those tiny shoots once they decide to come up.

I found it hard to understand why some of those plants were doing so well and a little ways away the other ones were rotting. There is probably a life lesson there somewhere. Why do some people do wonderful in a situation and the next person does not? Sometimes the answer to those questions…garden and otherwise are not so easy to find.

I have also found that a garden is a great place to talk over life with yourself and with God. For some reason it seems like the perfect place to hold those conversations. I always kind of wonder if it is because it is quiet out in my back yard. The sounds I hear are the little wren irately scolding me, the wind in the evergreen trees and the distant sounds of tractors and equipment in the fields.

There is a slower pace in a garden. Spending time hand picking weeds from around tiny pea and bean plants forces me to slow down and persevere. Time spent in a garden gives me lots of time to ponder things.

I love the end product of my garden…but truth be told…I also love the process of getting to those canned goods. It is time well spent…it is time that is good for my soul.

May your week be filled with things that require patience and may that patience give you time to ponder. May your life also be filled with growth…lush and green…even with a few weeds tossed in!

 

Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.
— May Sarton

 

The best place to find God is in a garden.
You can dig for him there.
George Bernard Shaw

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/george_bernard_shaw_161677?src=t_gardening

 

 

Grandma-ing

The old signs used to hang on business doorways…”Gone Fishing”.

This is my weekend to hang out a sign..only I am not fishing….I am Gone Grandma-ing. Yup a new term and a great one.

I am finding out that I am not as young as I was when my kids were this age! Good thing there are 2 grandmas to take care of one boy.

I will be back next week but for now my days are occupied with other things.

Children are a gift from the Lord;
They are a reward from Him”
Psalm 127:3

I’ll See You When I See You…

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The other day my husband was out planting soybeans in the field around the section. I had to take the pickup out there with more seed beans for him. Before I left I told him what I always say when he is out doing fieldwork and has no idea when he will be back…”I’ll see you when I see you….”

As I drove home I started thinking about that farewell saying. I thought about it in connection with the upcoming holiday of Memorial Day or Decoration Day as my Grandma always called it.

I wondered if any moms, dads, sweethearts, wives, sons, daughters and so on used those same words of farewell when sending a loved one off to the military? When they sent those loved ones off in times of war they had no idea when they would see them next, or if they would see them again this side of heaven.

A couple years back my sister and I had the privilege of going to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. We were able to visit the grave of our cousin’s son, Julian, who gave his life for this country.

Not everyone, serving in the military comes back in a flag draped casket. But many do….and my heart hurts for those families who do have to deal with that loss. I pray they know how very grateful this nation and this farm wife is to those who serve and give all.

I also hope that our military men and women know how deeply grateful we are for all who serve and protect us and our values. Their sacrifices, being away from their loved ones, going through hardships for us, humbles me and puts a lump in my throat when I think about it. They are the core of what makes this nation great.

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When my youngest son was in grade school, (many years ago) they held a day to honor the veterans in our community. The photo that was taken that day remains one of my all time favorite photos…..my son with his Grandpa who served in the medic group in the 50’s. He was stationed in Germany and is still so very proud of his service to his country.

I am grateful to the men and women who serve and allow us to not worry. Their service allows us to get up each day and go about daily tasks without fear. Their service lets me ponder on a simple farewell as I leave my husband in the freshly disked soybean field.

For those families who spend Memorial Day at the cemetery putting flowers on the grave of the one who did not come back….you are not forgotten and neither is your loved one. And for those of us who do not stand at a graveside tomorrow and shed tears while the hole in our hearts still bleeds with sorrow….let us not forget….let us remember to say thank you.

Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13 KJV

 

I’ll see you when I see you…..
Chicken Grandma

Raining Petals

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The other day I drove past my in-laws home. I should have stopped and taken a picture of their flowering crab tree; but I was in a hurry. The tree was absolutely beautiful that day and loaded with rose-colored flowers……overloaded actually. I made the assumption that I could take a photo when I went to town the next day and had more time…..so I kept driving.

When I stopped the next day; I found the next day was too late. The wind had picked up during the night and many of the flower petals had blown off and lay in drifts on the driveway. The slight breeze was still making it rain petals and we stood and watched as the petals twisted and drifted on the wind, then dropped to join the drift on the driveway.

The day of the “petal drift” was spent with my husband’s siblings; sorting and dividing the lifetime of memories in their parent’s house. There was much laughter and lots of stories told. The good times were discussed and the not so good times were discussed.

We reminisced and also caught up on each other’s lives; as siblings came from other places and other states to help out. It was also heart-warming to see that treasured pieces were going to kids and grandchildren who would also treasure them, and the memories they held.

Much of that day was like the drift of the petals of that flowering crab. The time was taken to enjoy the relationship of family before the wind would blow us too far to be gathered up again.

There are things to be learned from that rose colored petal drift…..life does not stay the same. Overnight things can change and life looks totally different…..not always bad…but different.

There was a beauty to be found in that drift of petals. Like life, it was just a different kind of beauty. Life changes and it is good to look for the “different” beauty to be grasped. Usually that new beauty is not of our own choosing, but is still okay.

There is also the lesson, for me, that I should not always assume that life will not change. There are times when the wind will take what you know and blow it into a totally different shape when you least expect it. That new shape is not always bad…it is just sometimes uncomfortable. For me, it makes me rely on God more than I would if life were going smooth.

In visiting my in-laws in their new apartment in assisted living; I am learning that change can be handled with grace. I am learning that each new place has a joy of it’s own and there is always something new to be learned.

We may drift and we may twist like rose-colored petals in the wind. We may not be sure of where we will land once the breeze lets us go….but we can be sure, we have the choice to enjoy where we land…..and that is a good thing.

For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven: 

Ecclesiastes 3:1

 

Ups and Downs

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Today when I went out to do my chicken chores I received a gift. As I stood by my chicken coop I was serenaded by two different birds.

The first was a Baltimore Oriole. Usually they are hard to spot once the trees have leaves on them. For some reason this bird perched on the top branch where he was easily seen. I was privileged to enjoy his beautiful orange and black feathers while I listened to his song.

When he would pause, there was a Barn Swallow sitting on the electric wires that run to the electric pole on our yard. It appeared that the Swallow was looking directly at me as he sang and gave that certain Barn Swallow clicking sound. Those birds singing, in plain view, were such an unexpected gift.

Last week has been  one of “those weeks”. It was incredibly busy (which is why there was no post!). I have always thought that when one did not have a regular job to go to every day; there would be plenty of time to accomplish everything that needed to get done. Not so!

This past week was spent preparing for two bridal showers; to be held on the same day. (My middle son is getting married this summer!) Tossed in to the shower mix, was time spent making and decorating a cake for a college graduation, a cake for a baptism and cupcakes for a different bridal shower hosted by my aunt for her grandchildren. My husband also tossed in a road trip to check out some farm equipment.

There were plenty of ups and downs during the week. That seems to be the way of life….it can get slightly skewed. Some good mixed with some not so good. I was reminded that I am not in control and that there is peace to be found in trusting that God has a plan.

When those birds showed up this afternoon, it was like a love song straight from the heart of God. I am not sure why I am always surprised that God shows up right when I really need it. I also don’t know why I am surprised at the way He shows up. He has never failed me yet (even though I question constantly).

If you have had a day, a week, a month or perhaps even a year of wondering what God is doing in your life or in the lives of those you love….fear not….He DOES have a plan and it is in His time…..I am counting on that promise!

May you see a glimmer of His goodness in the midst of trials. May you feel His love and protection in the beauty of a sunrise or in the song of a Baltimore Oriole. He is there….sometimes we just have to be still and listen.  May you have a blessed week.

“Don’t focus on what is not here….
focus on the blessings God has put in front of you
and enjoy the day.”

Sandy G.