June 15, 2011

Gardening and it's life parallel

It seems like my brain is constantly going.

I can never do a blasted thing without turning it into some kind of self-analyzing analogy.

This time it was outside in my sweet little garden.

I was just playing in the dirt and couldn't help thinking of how closely my garden, and the amount of time and effort put into it's care over the last few years, has been a reflection of my emotional state at the time (whether I was diving, surviving, or thriving.  What's that?  read here).

Let me explain.

Three summers ago we had just moved to the Tri Cities Area of Washington State.

We didn't plant a garden that year...just a few peppers in a planter.  Some withered and shriveled up.  Others produced rotten' "fruits".  We harvested nothing.

It was a lot like our family that year. 

We had just moved for the 7th time in 4 years.  My husband had just gotten a job, after nine months of unemployment (which included 4 months of living with the in-laws), and my family was falling apart.  I was hopelessly depressed and didn't have enough energy nor did I care, at the time, to make things better.  Most of my relationships had withered and died.  Life was just plain rotten.  I was definitely "diving."

Fast forward to summer of 2010.

Our garden, that year, was coming along nicely.  We spent hours hand tilling the sand (oops..I mean soil, if you could call it that), bought a bunch of plant starts and a few seed packets.  We spent a sunny day planting and were feeling pretty good about it.

That is until we realized that our naivety had gotten the better of us.  Sand-for-soil (doesn't absorb water) + a hill side garden = soil erosion and major flooding of the bottom plants.  The harder we tried to water it the worse it got.  It was sad.

One other fabulous characteristic of south central Washington is the wind.  The HORRIBLE wind.  Just days after planting our meager garden we had a terrible wind storm (over 50 MPH winds) that wreaked havoc on our poor crops.  I remember sitting inside feeling helpless to do anything but praying that they would make it through.  No such luck.  It killed almost every plant in the garden (luckily the seeds hadn't popped their little heads up yet).  We were back at square one and had no money to fix it.  We were left with what had survived the storm (and those that did not die in the storms to come).  I was quite bummed but didn't really know what else to do.  We did end up with a few producing crops but our hopes and dreams of a grand and luxurious harvest were dashed.

Again...kinda like our lives that year.

I had just had bouncing baby #4 (in April) and was trying to recover.  I was dealing with postpartum depression, again, and was working with my doctor and councilor to try to "make things right", again.  I held on from day to day hoping things would get better and somehow my family would not suffer as much as they had the last time but felt somewhat powerless when it came down to really "fixing" things.  We dealt with a lot of less-than-desirable conditions and really struggled with the aftermath of the "storm" (I now had a child suffering from depression as a result of his environment).  We did, in time, see a few improvement as a result of hard work but still felt like we were just barely "surviving."

Enter summer of 2011

Oh...how this year has been different.  Good...different.

For one...our garden in looking awesome.  We have some plants that are already twice the size of what they were at the END of the last years growing season.

The difference...time, knowledge, a zest for success, and the energy to make it happen.

We started by making a few tiers in our hilly planting space...next we dug out trenches around certain plants so that the water has time to absorb into the ground instead of running off.  But the biggest change has been the drive to not give up on my little plant offspring.

At the first sign of wind gust distress I ran out to the garden with a package of large craft like popsicle sticks and some twine and did this:

 and for those that were not big enough to tie a string to,

I was, and still am, determined to do what I can for those little plants so that they can grow and fulfill the measure of their creation.  If that means holding them up until they are strong enough to be on their own or shielding the tiny ones from strong gusts of wind until they are big enough to be supported, then so be it.  And so far...it's working wonderfully.  The plants are thriving and looking more and more promising every day.

Again, I liken that to my family this year.

We are doing better than I thought possible.  It has taken a lot of time, knowledge, a zest for success, and the energy to make it happen (sound familiar?).  I am in a better place, emotionally, than I have been in a long, LONG time.  It has made a HUGE difference on the atmosphere in our home.  We have put a lot of work into making changes that will hopefully yield victory for our forever family.

Like with my plants, I am determined to go to any lengths necessary to help my children grow into wholesome adults with strong testimonies of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  We are teaching our boys to rely on our knowledge, as parents, until they are prepared to weather the "storms of life" on their own.  We try and shelter them from harmful things and protect them to the best of our abilities.  So far...it's working wonderfully.  Our home is a happier place than it has been in a long time...and looking more promising every day.  We are definitely "thriving."

At times when I feel like I still have "so far to go" it's nice to be able to look back and see improvements.  So for that, I am thankful for this moment of "reflection in the garden."  It gives me hope for even better things to come.


Natalie J said...

I love your perspective, Mel. Your ability to take everyday tasks (such as gardening, toilet cleaning, etc.) and turn them into a learning and growing experience is quite amazing! Love it!

Kara said...

Smart thinking protecting those little guys!

The Larsen Gang said...

So beautifully said, my dear sister! I love you Melanie, and am so happy for you and your awesome family! Of course I am a little biased!

Sheri said...

Really inspiring analogy! Loved it. I love that your life is in bloom and thriving. You deserve it.
On a side note we have a "Tornado watch" on right now so I ran out and steaked my little perenial flowers.....thanks for the tip!
That sand/dirt you have going on there is crazy.
On a totally side note you really have me analyzing all the quirky things I do every day ;)

Goosey said...

Very well said and totally sounds like how I do many things myself.

You also happen to live in the area of the country my aunt and some cousins do so I hear about the wind from time to time LOL.

Love your thoughts!!

Lessa said...

It's great to see the Lord shape your life. Glad you guys are doing so well!.. and better every day apparently! We love you guys.

Kristen and Alex said...

You are AWESOME! I greatly admire you and am grateful to have you as a friend. Thank you for you life analogies. I love them!

Lisa Merkley said...

Beautiful post. I need to do more self evaluating like that. I could learn a thing or two from you!

Melanie said...

This post was just beautiful. I am inspired by you. Seriously.

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