I feel like Mary Quite Contrary

I feel the need to preface this post with the statement “I am not a gardener.”

My green thumb is pretty black. I have lost the war to multitudes of gophers, moles, mice, birds, and unknown bugs. The fact I have a plant in my kitchen that has somehow managed to survive six years of neglect is no small miracle, let me tell you.

But I love planting things and watching them grow. It gives me no small thrill when my perennials actually come back in the Spring, despite my ignorance. Maybe my thumb is a little greener than I realized.

I have a flower bed in our front yard that I usually fill with hardy annuals that a busy mama can’t do much harm to. Not to mention that can handle being trampled by toddler feet. But after the third neighbor in a row moved in next door displaying a gift for landscaping I hold in awe, I decided to tackle my garden with an actual plan this year.

Which is funny, because I’m usually a planner. Why have I not thought to do this before?

Because I don’t have any idea what I am doing, I used the power of Google and Pinterest to help me. And you know what I discovered? bhg.com (Home of Better Homes and Gardens) has a nifty little planner that not only helps you figure out the best plants to put in based on your climate and the area your garden is in, it even plots them out for you.

Sometimes, I just love the Internet.

While some of the plants they suggested weren’t available where I live (thank you long winters short summers climate), I did manage to pick up some pretty perennials to plant in my shady flower bed. And I love how finished it is beginning to look by my front door now! (I totally forgot to take a photo on the weekend, and when I went to do it this morning, the sun was directly behind me and all you could see was my crazy-haven’t-done-my-hair-yet shadow. I thought I’d spare you that image.)

Now let’s pretend the horrible weed garden in my backyard is really filled with wild flowers and grasses native to my area and call it a day.

I’m curious – are you a gardener? What are your favourite resources to use? Or are you just naturally gifted and if you are, can you please come landscape my yard for me?

Embrace The Little Moments

I woke up this morning dreading the fact I had to take the girls to the orthodontist today. Sometimes my husband can manage it, but today the task fell to me. It’s not a horrible place, this orthodontist office, but they did manage to suck thousands of dollars out of our bank account in the blink of an eye and I have yet to recover.

Also, I was feeling lazy. It’s a beautiful, sunny day. The lawn should be cut.  I need to ice our 15 year old’s cake for her belated party tomorrow. The floor has too many sticky spots to be ignored anymore. And my Amazon wish list is begging me to lighten its load. So a half hour drive to the city for a fifteen minute appointment and another half hour drive home really didn’t sound fun.

But you know what? It ended up being fun. My girls filled me in on all their little details that usually get left unspoken in the noisy chaos that is our home. I forgot what street the office was on and we laughed as we half ran, half walked the three blocks I parked too far. And because I accidentally parked on the same block Starbucks is on, of course we stopped in on our way back to the van. Who am I to ignore the signs pointing to more coffee?

The morning reminded me that in our quest to be more intentional as moms and women in general, it’s so important to be intentional in stopping and enjoying the little moments. I’m so tempted to try and do things bigger and better – as I think about the upcoming summer holidays, I wish we could do a big trip or big activities, but the reality is we don’t have the resources to do so. These little moments, the ones with smoothies and giggles and extra city blocks, these are the ones that we’ll treasure the most.

These are the ones I want to embrace today.

#RiskRejection: I talked myself into this

So.

I wasn’t going to even write this post. In all honesty, when I read about what the lovely Amy Sullivan is doing in regards to risk and encouraging other bloggers to join her, I was secretly glad that I felt not one iota of a even a whisper of a feeling of being compelled to participate.

(When I start to talk like that, you can know that even more secretly I am in great big denial.)

Yeah, so. As soon as I uttered the words “I’m so glad that God isn’t asking me to take any risks right now,” out loud to myself (also, I talk to myself. Only child syndrome.), all of the sudden I was gripped with ridiculous fear.

Because at that moment I knew, KNEW, with one hundred percent certainty that He was so asking me to take a risk.

Sigh. Some days I wish I didn’t talk to myself.

Alright, so I am a stay-at-home-mom. Way back in high school (please don’t ask me how long ago that was as it is getting incredibly close to my birthday and I am in a bit of denial about that, too) I knew I was being called to be a stay-at-home-mom. In fact, when I told my French teacher, the cutest little Irish man you ever did meet, that I was going to be a mom of the stay at home variety and he responded with “What a waste of your brains,” I determined to prove him wrong.

So what did I do when we started having kids? I looked for every opportunity NOT to be at home with them.

I did run a daycare for the better part of five years before I went back to work. But I was always being drawn back home. Even when I taught preschool, my dream job, I still felt a small niggling in the back of my mind that wished I was at home.

But I had bought into the thinking that a mom who *just* stays at home is worth pretty little.

And I had neglected to remember Who called me to be here in the first place.

So when the littlest mister was born, I knew it was time to listen. It wasn’t hard – I wanted to be at home with him! But I also spent the next two years after I left work wishing I was back there.

I had a lot of stuff I had to deal with – selfish ambition and jealousy being the biggies – and once I did, I was able to finally be content and even excited with this realized purpose of being keeper of our home and little family.

But it still scares me. Not working kind of puts a damper on our finances. Right now I look after a sweet little preschooler a few days a week, and while I love her to pieces, can I be honest? Daycare is not so much my thing anymore.

Here’s where the big risks for me come in.

Risk #1: At the end of June I will be finished babysitting L because she heads off to Kindergarten in the fall. I won’t be looking to fill her spot. (That freaks me out just typing it!) That means, unless God makes it abundantly clear otherwise, I will be done offering daycare in a few short months.

Risk #2: With no daycare, comes no income. My tendency in these situations is to start looking for a job to help out with the fun fund. But I am taking this call to be at home seriously, so I won’t be trying to take control and do things my way. That scares me.

Risk #3: We’ll be trusting that God will provide for our extra needs. We have four kids. Kids are expensive. And require things like clothing. And shoes. And things like braces and contact lenses. And could someone explain to me how it happens that they all need new clothing and shoes at exactly the same moment? These small things cause me to worry often, but I’m going to believe that since God has a purpose for having me be a full-time stay-at-home-mom, He’s going to take care of all the details. I just need to actually let Him.

Okay. So maybe to pretty much everyone else, these risks are fairly minimal. But they’re a pretty big deal to me. I still don’t want to hit publish on this post. But I will. Because I like Amy. And I believe that I need to take this leap of faith.

Also, I have hope that in trusting Him with this, there’s going to be a great adventure waiting for us on the other side. And I really can’t wait to see what that is!