It's happening again! The grass has transformed from a blanket of brown to a carpet of soft, lush green. Tiny bursts of white, purple, and yellow flowers are popping out of the muddy ground to bob in the breeze and soak up the warm yellow rays of the sun. We shed our bulky winter coats, hats and gloves to inhale the pungent spring air, feel the gentle soft breeze on our face, and bask in the warmer, longer, brighter days of spring. Life is anew. Things are growing again. The outdoors is one big garden springing to life - cultivated by the unseen hand of the Master Gardener. Inspired by this beauty, I pondered growing my own garden this year. It seemed exciting to be able to carefully tend to something from infancy to maturity. I imagined being the individual to provide the tiny plant with the ingredients it needs to be healthy and whole, and then watching it bloom and thrive and display its wonder for all to see and enjoy! And as I mused this idea - it dawned on me. I already am!! In that moment I realized that I already am a gardener. Eight and a half years ago, God entrusted me with three precious little lives for my safe keeping. They are full of potential, beauty, and purpose. But, they need nourishment, love, and time. They need patience, some pruning, and my care to thrive. If you are a mother, you are growing a garden. Your children are your plants, and your home is the soil in which they mature and grow.
While thinking more about this analogy I came across an article on-line titled "Ten Things Every Gardener Should Know" by Carol Wallace. I'll share 5 of the tips given to the fledgling gardeners - which I think apply perfectly to our motherhood garden as well.
1) Even if you do everything right, things will go wrong.
This tip made me smile. How honest and truthful! Sometimes we can be the most planned, prepared, organized, and researched. But, life is life. And, children are children. Sometimes even when we have been strategic and have plotted to the best of our ability, our children do not bloom - despite our best gardening efforts. (Picture the toddler meltdown in the quiet and quaint ice cream shop, the grocery store scenario, and the sibling fight and attitude just before walking out of the door for church.) I loved this quote from the article, "These failures are not always your fault. They are tests to see if you really have the kind of character to garden and enjoy it." What an encouraging perspective to us as moms.
2) Most of us will NOT do everything right.
I think in the case of motherhood, we can confidently say NONE of us will do everything right. :) But, that's o.k. There is a saying that everything is an opportunity for growth. Even when our best weeding, watering, and pruning efforts fall short, we can learn. We can change. And, we can improve. Thankfully, God made our little plants resilient. And just as gardeners are always learning more, changing their methods, and improving the conditions specific to their unique little garden, we can too.
3) Much of your success is in the soil.
Advice given to gardeners under this section said - "If you don't like getting your hands dirty - get out of the garden. Except as an admirer. Gardening means getting your hands into the dirt - and loving it." Oh ladies, as mamas we are in the dirt. (Sometimes literally!!) Motherhood gets dirty when our children are injured or ill. We are in digging in our garden dirt when we are advocating for our kiddo with special needs in the schools, in the doctor's office, and with insurance. We are in the soil when we are on our knees praying for wisdom and guidance for our little precious plant. Juggling motherhood and a business/career can get muddy and dirty. And, we are often in the trenches in life cleaning, cooking and caring for those little ones. But by our efforts in the dirt - we are creating a soil full of the rich nutrients to grow a vibrant and healthy little plant. And we learn to love so many aspects of being in the dirt that we will surely miss when our little plant grows up and gets transplanted to another garden to grow. Where in your life do you feel like you are digging in the dirt? Remember - this work is not in vain! Much of the success of the plant is found in the efforts spent tending to its soil.
4) The garden in your mind will not always be the one that grows in your yard.
For so many moms their actual motherhood garden does not look like the one they envisioned in their mind. Their garden is in a different location than they dreamed. Their garden has triplets! Their garden included infertility and loss. Their garden has children with severe food allergies. Their garden includes a lot of annoying weeds!! :) The encouraging thing? The garden that grows in your yard is a masterpiece. It has a beauty all of its own. And, you are perfectly skilled to nurture and cultivate your specific garden to it's full potential.
5) The garden will never be finished.
The article's author eloquently writes, "A garden is a process, rather than an end product. To a real gardener that is its joy. It is never done; it is always changing, it will continue to need us ..." Motherhood too is a process. It is always changing and the work is never done. But, that can be part of it's joy. Our children will/do continue to need us. And, we will be forever shaped by having a motherhood garden to tend and little plants to nurture and grow. I may never have my own vegetable or flower garden which thrives yearly. But, I am truly grateful to be a life-time gardener via motherhood.
Questions to Ponder for Each Tip:
Tip 1) How can things going "wrong" be used to develop our character (and our humor?!) How do you want to respond when things go "wrong?"
Tip 2) What is one change you would like to make in your garden to improve conditions for your little plants? What first step can you take this week?
Tip 3) How can you remind yourself that you are creating success for your plant by working in the dirty soil of life? In what way can you reward yourself for your efforts?
Tip 4) How can you embrace the garden you actually possess? How can you celebrate it's particular beauty and unique qualities?
Tip 5) What does it look like to have joy in the process of mothering? How can you develop that quality in your life?
This is a newsletter section where I share tips or strategies from One Intentional Mom to another. These are time savers, guilt relievers, helpful tools, and some good old fashioned mama sense. If you have a tip to share, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!! :)
When making a casserole for your family's dinner, double the recipe! Bake one to eat that evening and freeze the second one in a disposable pan. You will only have one prep and clean-up time for two meals and you will love having something quick to pull out of the freezer during a busy week. Additionally, you will also be prepared to bless a new mom or ill friend and family member in a pinch. Don't forget to eat the meal within three months of freezing for optimal taste!
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How I Accidentally Became an Intentional Mom
How to Avoid Turning Into the Grinch at Christmas
Communication Strategies for Every Relationship
The Secret Power Source of a Super Mom
Celebrating the YOU Mom
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SPEAKING EVENTS April 7
Intentionally Me Workshop
Mother Daughter Banquet
Clay City, IN
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