Notice me!

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Five minute Friday- week 2 (for me).  “Notice”

“Watch me, Mom!” calls my 3-year old as she gingerly climbs the mini-swing set in the backyard.  And can I ever relate.  When I left teaching to enter this amazing and less-than-glamorous world of mothering and staying home each day with my children, little did I know how much I had grown used to being noticed and praised for my work.  Both in Japan as a highly esteemed “sensei”, and in America where elementary teachers find great reward in the appreciation of children and their parents, I rarely found myself in a deficit of attention.  A little over three years ago, my world shifted, and the two little ones who now receive the mainstay of my efforts can focus mainly on articulating their own needs.  And my heart cries out, “Notice me!”  The one person who can speak into this vast well of need for attention is self-admittedly “not a words guy”.  And yet, he intentionally and generously offers words of encouragement regularly.  But the vast well of my heart wants more.  I know that the Shepherd of my heart is calling to this very place deep within, and yet I hesitate to follow, and I wonder- can He really lead me to the place of not wanting?

Still

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When I read Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa-Jo Baker, I laughed, cried, and felt understood as a mother and as a woman amazed by the love God continues to pour into my life.  In her book she mentioned “Five Minute Fridays”, and this is my first attempt to join in the writing community.  Thank you Lisa-Jo for opening up your life on paper, and to Kate Montaug for carrying on the tradition for someone late to the party.

So here’s my first 5 minute attempt while my 1 year old napped, my 3 year old colored and the timer ticked.

Still feels so distant to my present reality most of the time.  I long for stillness, especially at 5am when my 1 year old thinks its time to wake up, or at 5pm when my littles need so much and let me know so loudly and the to-do list only has 1 thing scratched off for the day.  Still.  The word even hangs on the tip of my tongue inviting me to pause, inviting me into quiet.  As the season ramps up for Thanksgiving and Christmas, stillness can be hard to find.  There is so much to do.  So much I WANT to do.  So much busy that I choose.  And yet.  And yet, my heart needs quiet and pause and stillness.  A Sabbath rest.  Still waters.  On the days when I manage to wake up before the kids, and come quietly downstairs to the table where most of our life happens a stillness awaits.  If I can only remember to come.

five boxes of

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it all happened so very fast, and here we are.
here we are in washington, in our newly rented abode, amidst all the beauty of the northwest abloom in summertime, and the window boxes waited for me. 
five wooden boxes, neatly seated beneath the kitchen windows behind all kinds of green shubbery and even a blooming hydrangea.  five boxes full of potting soil, on the shady side of the house. 
five boxes of potential.  my thoughtful husband who knows my dreams of gardening and eagerness to put my hands in the dirt told me yesterday, on our second day in washington, to go ahead and get started planting as it is already late in the growing season. 
i could hardly contain myself yesterday when i noticed the dahlias for sale at the grocery store, and then the lavender today.  and which herbs will thrive? 

i find myself eager to fill the emptiness, and yet, i am also strangely hesitant.

emptiness surrounds us, in our home without our belongings, in our sphere without family or church, on our calendar with no commitments, and in our window boxes that stand in stark contrast to the glorious gardens in surrounding homes. 

i want to fill the empty, but i want to fill it in unhurried fashion.
and perhaps all the filling and planting isn’t up to me.
may this new space be filled with beauty and fragrance and hope.
instead of plowing forward, i want to stop and listen and breathe.

the filling takes time and won’t be rushed. 
remember this young gardener – overcrowding stifles growth.
ah yes, overcrowding stifles growth.

my dream garden

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the blossoming trees can hold their beauty inside no longer, and i am planning my garden.  my dream garden that is.  moving from one rented abode to another dampens my desire to invest time and seeds in a plot of earth.  so, three years ago i started tomatoes from seed, the next year i attempted arugula that some insects transformed into lace, and last year spinach and lettuce at my mom’s house and potted tomatoes called out to my greening thumb.

but i’m dreaming of something more, of my very own plot of rich earth, a compost pile, and flourishing heirloom varieties of tomatoes and cucumbers.  i imagine picking the lettuce to make the salad, smelling fresh basil insisting on pesto, and seeing berry bushes forcing their abundance into jam and pies. i dream of an apple tree that offers gorgeous blossoms of hope in the spring and abundant harvest when autumn comes.  the girls can go and pick a bouquet for the table, gracing the table from the garden.  while this garden might be demanding of time and labor, it will give much in return, and my daughter and her siblings will play and dig and eat of its bounty.  did i mention there will be flowers, too?  cutting flowers of all shapes and sizes, sweet peas, yellow roses, vivid zinnias, tulips and dahlias.

this garden nourishes both body and soul.  while bringing me to my knees and muddying my hands in the earth, this garden labor clears my mind to think, my heart to pray, and my busy self to slow and learn new rhythms.

reminiscent of Eden, this garden draws me and others, too, to Jesus, to walk and talk with Him, and to learn His unforced rhythms of grace.

this is my garden, elly’s garden.

“are you tired? worn out? burned out on religion?  come to me.  get away with me and you’ll recover your life.  i’ll show you how to take a real rest.  walk with me and work with me- watch how i do it.  learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  i won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”  – matthew 11:28-30 (the message)