Sunday, September 23, 2012

garden shadows

Wednesday September 12, in the afternoon I went to McCourd's nursery for the .99 cent sale on mums.  In the evening our ward held the tenth annual neighborhood Salmon Bake in the park. It was our fourth year. There are not that many annual activities that we have attended four times. That almost seems excessive. This activity is highly anticipated however, by Sam and Kyle for the fish, while my other kids fantasize about free reign of this table.

 Granddad helped serve the salmon this year.

Thursday morning  I went out to the garden
to say goodbye to some of my tired petunias and relieve them with red-orange and yellow mums, and purple and white pansies. Sophie kept busy tilling the soil, picking tomatoes (unfortunately she preferred the small green kind) and decorating the kitchen floor with shredded cheese.

I waited all summer for the alyssum to bloom. They seem to be loving the cooler weather, and now the garden smells sweet like I hoped it would.

I found this picture of our backyard that I took at Easter time. The backyard didn't look like this when we moved in.  Jackie, the previous renter, had a beautiful that added to the stress and guilt I felt everytime I walked out to this neglected space. 

 A year ago we had just moved from a  townhouse facing the park, to this more permanent home that we rent from Granddad and Judith. I was heading toward finals in massage therapy school.  Our house was filled with more than a hundred boxes from the three separate shipments that arrived in July. Each shipment was from a different period of our life: Maine, Ecuador, Beijing. 

When school ended in October I told my classmates I was going to go home and take two weeks to unpack the boxes before I started thinking about working. That's funny now.  My goal: get family life in order, make the house clean and functional, as if I could do that in two weeks.  Most days I felt so discouraged. It seemed like I would never be able to keep up with day to day life and carve out even an hour a day to unpack the boxes, but by January I felt like I had made enough progress that I could start building my private practice.

 As spring came I became increasingly grateful for the days that I had no work and could focus on the family. Everything in my life felt like that neglected garden.  I started with the farthest corner of the garage and worked my way outside to the garden, down to Kyle and Grant's room in the basement, and then upstairs to the kitchen, just hoping that I could make our home feel organized and functional. I think that is so important to me because I have some form of ADHD...real, imagined, or just brought on by my chaotic circumstances.

This was the garden in June. It was my therapy every morning to go out there before anyone else was awake, and tend to it, or sweep, or write in my journal.  I know it looks humble here, but it was so symbolic to me of the blessing of persistence, the joy of improving upon my own circumstances.  Seeing the garden change changed how I thought about myself.

This is the garden now in late summer.  My tomato plants have turned in to monsters. I know you are not supposed to water them everyday, but I just don't think it is fair to starve the leaves to make better fruit.  The tomato plants and I have an understanding. We've had plenty of beautiful cherry tomatoes without having to make any leaves look ugly.

Sunday night we made ham and besciamella lasagna from fresh tomato sauce. We used some of our cherry tomatoes and some fresh store bought tomatoes. This was how the sisters in Padova taught my mission companions and I how to make it.  It brought back happy memories of P-day cooking lessons.

So I have been stuck on the homestretch of my cleaning/organizing project for months now: my bedroom and the girls' bedroom.  I started to pray for help that I could find the energy or motivation or time..whatever it was that was keeping me from finishing so I could move on to some other goals.  Last Sunday I left Sophie in my room watching Wallace and Grommit on my phone, and when I returned, as anyone might expect, it was gone.  All of sudden I was overwhelmed with the beauty of God's wisdom.  That was the two fold  answer to my prayer.

I could feel His gentle chastisement. It was true; I had become a Twitter junkie, obsessing over election commentary in a way I never reveal here, or anywhere outside of immediate family, lest I loose all my friends. I just see my phone and my hand reaches for Twitter like a big bowl of gourmet kettle corn. So there was the motivation and the time. I stayed up until two in the morning hanging up and folding laundry hoping to find my phone under the next pile of clothes.
 My room has been ground zero for months. This is so depressing.  

There is nothing fashionable about this solution, but it is better than all over my floor, and I feel so happy to go into my room now.  Ben said my bathroom looks like a hotel.  Happiness!  So after I made this improvement still no phone. I had to move on to the next disaster, the girls' room.  Friday afternoon I found my phone tucked purposefully in a Dora the Explorer shopping bag.  After a week of no phone there were an underwhelming amount of messages.  Thank goodness for the dentist, or I would have questioned my existence entirely.  The upstairs is still a work in progress, but I am finally considering asking the universe for my next chapter.

No comments: