Garden and Trust

The last month has been one of the most taxing and one of the most rewarding all at the same time. I’ve pushed myself harder physically, emotionally, and mentally than I have in a long time. And it feels good! It also hurts…a lot!

Our pasture, before

Last summer, God gave Andrew a vision to start a CSA garden on our property. When he came home and told me about it, I was skeptical to say the least. He was so excited and all I could think was, I didn’t hear that from the Lord! But over the next three weeks God clearly confirmed it to me and I caught the excitement.

Over the years of our marriage we’ve learned the hard way that if God speaks and we don’t listen there are consequences. Sometimes those consequences are really hard to take and make for very difficult times in our lives, sometimes it’s simply a removal of blessing. Either way, we’ve come to discover that it’s a whole lot better when we obey. It may not be an easy road, but there are abundant blessings on it!

So we chose to obey. We’ve been at work all winter researching and learning. We chose a no till, no dig gardening method to transform our pasture into a workable plot. The reason we chose that is because the grass is so think in the pasture that we knew we’d be fighting a losing battle all summer if we didn’t do something at the outset to combat the grass. And we definitely didn’t want to spray harsh chemicals.

One thing we’ve learned over the last few months is there is so much we can’t control. We can’t make spring come faster, no matter how much we want it to, we can’t make the rain hold off until we’re done setting all our plots, we can’t make the sun stay up longer, we can’t force our bodies beyond a certain point, we don’t even have control over when the seeds sprout.

Grow little plants!

I don’t think we could have imagined how difficult this process was going to be! And I’m thankful God didn’t reveal that part to us! He has been so faithful to give us strength and stamina for the day and has helped us to not worry about tomorrow.

He also provided in a big and unexpected way, like He’s so good to do! A month ago, a good friend called and asked if she could move in with us for a couple months. “You’ve got a bedroom free, I hear.”

Our bonus adult, Steph. We love you!

We’ve lovingly dubbed her our “bonus adult” and I’m telling you, if you have a large family and God gives you a big vision, you just plain and simply need a bonus adult. God is doing a big work in her life this year and I hope and pray we can support and encourage her while she’s with us. And I’m so thankful she’s willing to jump in on our crazy adventures.

Our pasture, in progress
2 lines of rows done, 50 planting rows

I knew this was going to be hard, especially on my out of shape body! But I had no idea how difficult it would be spiritually. There are so many things you can’t control when it comes to gardening! And I’m seeing how little trust I have in God. I’ve had to come face to face with my lack of trust, repent and all the Lord’s help over and over. I’ve had to walk myself through past experiences where the Lord has proven faithful and remind my heart and mind that He is still faithful. He has been growing my faith so much in the midst of this!

I’ve also been surprised at who is for us and who is against us. We’ve had so many amazing people support us and pray for us and walk with us. We’ve had people come and spend a day here working with us to help us accomplish this vision. And we’ve had those who tell us to quit and that is never going to work. Even in that we just have to keep going back to God and confirming that He wants us on this path. And He’s so good to do that every time!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Finished product photos to come!

Spring has sprung??

I’ve been just itching to get in the garden for about a month. I know, I know, I shouldn’t live in Minnesota if I want to garden that early! But here we are anyway. I’m wishing and hoping and watching snow fall and rain pour, and tornadoes whiz by.

Today was the first nice day in a long time and I decided that even though I can’t garden yet, there’s plenty to do outside! I never did get to my orchard in March when I wanted to, so I started pruning today. Boy, am I out of shape! Somebody please be my work out buddy next winter so I don’t hurt so bad in the spring!!

They aren’t finished yet, because, well, I’m out of shape. But it’s a good start! Do I know how to prune? Hmm, no idea. I’ve watched videos and read articles and watched more videos. Then I just started trying things out. So far my trees haven’t died on me so I think I’m doing ok!

If I’m honest, I remind myself of my Opa. He’s was my mom’s dad and lived in Germany. He’s been gone for 14 years now, but right up until he died he was learning. If he was interested in something he got books about it and tried it out. He was a prisoner of war in Texas during WWII and became fascinated with learning to speak English and America. His whole life after that he was reading books in English, listening to American news, and visiting the US. He loved to learn. I’ve discovered that love in myself since homeschooling my kids. I probably love it more than they do!

Someone else discovered a new love! Dottie found a puddle and hesitating tested it with a foot, found it splashed, and ended up sitting in it splashing and laughing. Needless to say, she needed a bath!

I decided to try something new today too. Last summer my beloved tart cherry tree tumbled in a storm. It grew new shoots and I kept one out there hoping it will grow and be a cherry tree. I took some cutting and am attempting to root them with rooting compound. We’ll see what happens, but why not try! If I end up with THREE cherry trees I’ll be thrilled. My kids may leave me though as they have to pit all those tiny cherries!

Tomorrow looks rainy and windy again so I’ll be inside wishing I could be in the garden again! I told Andrew today I think Minnesota forgot to take her Prozac! It’ll come, it always does, but it always feels like it takes forever to get here! Come on, true spring!!

Like A Seed

Every time I look at these tiny seeds I am in awe! This teeny tiny thing has everything inside it to become the exact plant it was created to be. These happen to be broccoli seeds and the ones we planted are already coming up!

Aren’t they adorable?

Maybe I’m weird, but when I see seed packet displays in the stores with all their beautiful colors and bright photos of vegetables I get giddy! I’ve always thought of summer as my favorite season, but I think it’s actually spring. There’s so much hope, anticipation, and potential future in spring.

Everything starts to wake up, including me, after a long winter! If you don’t live in the northern states, you’re missing out! I despise winter, especially the frigid, blustery winter in Minnesota, but I think if I didn’t have to go through it I wouldn’t appreciate and love spring like I do!

Plus, Andrew just informed me of a new spider the size of a man’s hand that’s invaded the southern states, so moving is out. Guess I’ll just have to suck it up and endure winter here.

Back to those seeds. Just think about it. That broccoli seed is a little bigger than a pin head and all we did was drop it in some soil, watered it, and put some lights on. Then the miracle happened! It sprouted!

Every time I start my own seeds, I go anxiously every morning to water them, fretting over whether they’ll actually sprout! I can guarantee my fretting doesn’t help them grow. I pray over them and talk to them while I water. And they just do what they’re supposed to do! And guess what? Every time I plant a broccoli seed, a broccoli plant comes up. And every time I plant a tomato seed, a tomato plant comes up.

Maybe I’m the only one. But seriously, every spring I feel this elation! Color is returning, smells are returning, I can feel the sun again!

When I think of those seeds and how they have everything inside them to become a beautiful, perfect plant that gives us vegetables, I think of how our society tells us,

“You have everything inside you to become whatever you want”

“you have what it takes”

“you’ve got the strength inside you to overcome”.

Unlike those seeds, we don’t have what we need inside of us to become who we want. You’ve heard the phrase “follow your heart” but that’s the biggest lie of the age. We have a deceitful heart above all else.

And what does it mean to be deceived? It means we’re being lied to and have no idea because the lies look so good and true and shiny and attractive, when in reality they are hollow, dreary, lonely dead ends.

So, how do we become who we were meant to be? A little water, soil, and light? Well, maybe.

Water for plants causes growth. We can grow from the living water of Jesus. The water from His well that causes us to never thirst again. We can be watered by reading his Word daily and hiding it away in that deceitful heart to flush out all the lies.

Soil for plants gives nourishment. We can be nourished by being planted firmly in a body of believers, praying, worshiping, eating, and studying together. Being in a solid body of believers causes us to examine and see our deceitful heart for what it is and sand away those rough spots.

Light for plants gives energy. We get our energy and motivation from the Holy Spirit. You’ll never feel more energized than when you are in line with the Holy Spirit and surrendering your life to Jesus.

While it might be easier for those teeny tiny seeds to become what they were created to be, we can do it too! If we’ve accepted what Jesus has done on the cross for us and asked him to come into our lives and we are truly willing to surrender all, we can grow into exactly what we were created to be!

The Garden Begins

I’m well behind this year in my garden. I’m not really sure why I’m so behind. I guess part of it is that it’s been an exceptionally busy spring. Andrew has been working more than ever which is a blessing to know there is steady construction going on. But it takes him away from more projects at home too. And, I think I’ve learned a valuable lesson this spring. Don’t start ten projects at once. Sounds like basic knowledge, but I did not moderate!

But, finally, in blazing heat, the garden is going in. To be honest, my heart wasn’t in it this year. My head is still in March. Somehow I just couldn’t wrap my brain around how fast this year is going and that it is June already! Seriously, where is the time going?? Once I got started though, I got excited about my pants and all the yummy produce! Sometimes you just have to push through the “I don’t want to!”

I have to keep reminding myself that God gives each of us the same number of hours in a day and I need to ask him what to do with those hours. None of us can actually manage time, but we can manage ourselves. And so, I ask myself, what’s the best use of my time? Sometimes the answer is to rest on my porch. Sometimes the answer is to do the next right thing. Most of the time it’s to do a little work on any one of the projects on the list!

I’ve been getting outside early in the morning when it’s still cool and planting. It’s an amazingly peaceful time with the birds chirping, the sun coming up, and a light breeze blowing. I turn on some worship music and pray for all the loved ones in my life. If you feel lifted up in the morning, it’s because you are!

My kids helped today to get some plants in. I love that they are willing to get hot and sweaty and work hard with me. Some of our best conversations happen in the garden! Especially now that I have 4 teens that want to talk and ponder life. It’s so good to work along side each other and let those thoughts flow.

Sometimes they let it all out better if they are beside me instead of in front of me.

Who really knows why this garden is getting in so late? But I do know this, God orchestrates my days and my time when I let him and this is how this spring is playing out. I can choose to be overwhelmed and anxious about all the things on my list that are half done. Or I can choose to look at the blessings and goodness in the midst of the chaos!

Even Lukas helped mark the rows. Who knows what’s planted here??

I choose to see the blessings and the goodness. Because, as Jesus said, “which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”

Today is a blessing, and what I get done today is a blessing! Enjoy it, whatever you accomplish!