“To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”  e.e. cummings

Morning y’all!  Except by the time I finish this, it will no longer be morning.  Nothing is ever “quick” with this momma.

As I was watering our plants — mostly shammies on this intensely hot Iowa morn, I was hit with so.many.things.  Just a typical morning of crashing, free-flowing thoughts… (smile)

Maybe it’s an INFJ thing, a psych and English major thing, a spectrum-y thing, or just my kind of crazy — but I’m a girl who constantly and forever sees everything in metaphors.  The tiniest of things can hold the deepest meaning.  And it all just smacks me upside the head, delightfully, heavily, humorously — all the things — all.the.time.  Is there a metaphor filter somewhere?  Somedays I could really use one of those. (it makes a girl t-i-r-e-d)

Like when I was out watering our plants…

First, I do NOT have a green thumb, so let’s just say the fact that these blessed creations of God have survived is a straight up miracle to be rejoiced!  Holy hallelujah every day.  I mean really.  Praise God!  I tend to over water, over prune, and over love — which is also a huge metaphor for my OWN personality (and long list of shortcomings) in itself.  Getting to that…  #foreverhumbled

Our shams were from wedding favors my mother and my former step father brought back for the boys.  Just a few tiny, unassuming bulbs.  And G wanted to plant them SO badly.  So we did.  These things NEVER grew, you guys.  I mean like over a month of tending to a pot of dirt and nothing!  But G had SO much faith.  SO much.  “They will grow, Momma!!!”  And sure enough, one blessed morning, an infinitesimal little sprout.  Then a white flower (I didn’t even know shams created flowers 🙂 ) — and over three years and counting, they come back every year — two giant pots of green and beautiful delicate little white flowers later — they’ve increased in number about as much as Abraham’s descendants  — heh, heh…  Patience, hope, and faith, y’all.  It’s a beautiful thing.  And so is my kid’s heart.  He NEVER gives up!!!  On me, or the possibility of the AMAZING that could come of something small — when cared for and prayed for and loved on.  I think of this every.single.time I water these pots of green.  I’m not sure about this “good luck” business and shams, but that’s their gold at the end of the rainbow…  And that is priceless…

A lovely friend of mine, knowing G’s penchant for shamrocks, gave Griff some big purple shamrocks for his birthday this year.  Heaven on earth for my little man.  They have “heart-shaped petals” (his description) and he’s smitten.  Our friend and neighbor also gave him the bestest gift — knowing his heart and his love of nature, dirt, and planting — and took the time to take him on an adventure — over to her house.   She let him fill up a giant planter ‘all the way up to the top!’ of dirt — and then she let him pick what ever plants he desired.  Really, together these two spent time filling up his heart with happiness.  And G decided to put his purple shamrocks in there too — naturally, it matched the flowers he picked with his Judy.  Maybe it was part of his plan all along.  I had NO idea this planter would grow to the fullness and beauty that it has.  But I guarantee that Griff did.   Patience, faith, and hope, y’all.  This kid is magic.

And every time we water this planter, my heart literally fills all the way to the top too… cause just wow.  How blessed we are to have such love in our lives!  That we have friends that know and love our kids and care about them as much as we do.  That’s what I see in this mix of earth and God’s divine creation of beauty.

What else do I see?  The intricate and breathtaking captivity of diversity!  Purple shamrocks.  We “didn’t even know” there were any other kind until our Shawna.  Here we thought green was all the splendor that there was — and then look — there’s this whole other kind of awesome! All tall and big, yet a little more delicate — with lavender like flowers — perfectly accenting our strong stocks with the daintiest of flowers from our friend, Judy, who knows my child loves digging in the dirt and watching the miracles that can grow from it.  Kind of perfect.  Really.  There are so many different kinds of beauty.  And they all stem from, no pun was even intended there — the overflow of what is in our hearts.  Our guts.  Our insides.  I praise God and say thank you for those kind of hearts.  Just thank you.  Y’all are thanked for every day.  Know that.

And that we can love and appreciate all of that different, right?  SO amazing and awesome!  That we each bring something new and incredible to this big, gigantic and colorful mixing pot of life!  And that our beauty, our “thing” is unique to only us?  Kind of takes your breath away! And we must go out there and not be afraid of shining it and being it and growing it for the glory of God — sharing it — just like Shawna did — or no one will ever know or see our unique super power — our divine super power — our God-given purpose.  Don’t hide your you.  Don’t doubt it.  Don’t be afraid of it or EVER think it’s not good enough.  You’re always enough.  And different?  Wow.  Different is so beautiful.  Grow and be.  Just be.  And all of the insanely hard and wonderful that is…

“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you.  Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision.  So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.”  Neil Gaiman (one of Griff’s favorite people — the author of “Coraline” and many other fantastical books)

What else is in these planters?  Joy, ya’ll.  Straight up joy.  Kindness, sharing — begets joy does it not?  Plants just grow.  They just share and give.  They don’t really ask us for anything, do they?  They just are.  They just share their joy.  And I am blessed with so many friends who have hearts just like that — just sharing their joy out of the love and kindness of their hearts.  I want to be like them.  How awesome to have that inspiration!

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Joys like fresh veggies and time to play with Chance — my boys want a dog SO badly (we’re still working on Daddy).  Judy, we love you so much and appreciate your heart.  You are joy.  For friends that get that they are our family, and the immense joy they bring by just being and allowing us to just be.  Who become our safe places, our soft places.  That know us and our children so well, encourage us, brave the battlefront of life with us, and in so doing we can settle into the graces of who we are.  If that’s not joy, I don’t know what is…

Who drive all the way from Cedarburg and Carroll to spend the day with us, then understand that we need to get doctor’s appointments juggled — AND then take our kid with all of their kids — to the “water park” in Clive all day (even though we can’t go — cause doctors) — and then take us out to dinner to a fancy schmancy place that same night because — well, love.  And joy.  Who love our kids as much as we do.  Really.  Really know and love them.  And count them as joy in their lives.  Who take them driving.  Freaking driving.  Who deal with our obsessive love and crazy.  All of it.  And don’t put us down for it, but love us anyway.  Because they know just how much we love them and their amazing miracles of children too.  It’s all so incredibly amazing, isn’t it?  Yes, I LOVE the word amazing!

And push pops.  Who buy our kids push pops.  Heavens.  Letters and cards in the mail.  Books that feed my soul.  Just showing up on my doorstep.  The most amazing.  At all the right times!!!  And all the wrong times.  Birthdays, hard times, joyful times!  JOY in.my.mailbox.  These have MADE everything for me and my family!  I have a couple of particular girlfriends that are so inanely thoughtful at this!!!!  These little things are the BIGGEST things.  In fact, I’d happen to surmise that collectively the little things really are all the things.  They really are.  Joy.  All of it joy.

And this joy isn’t dependent on what we feel or what we’re going through.  THAT is also what ALL of these GORGEOUS people have taught me!  We can have joy together no.matter.what.  How freaking amazing is that?????????? There they are, just blooming, my friends, the loves they are, amidst any dirt we push through — we can do it together — JOY.  This builds my faith.  This points me to Jesus.  And praying together and for each other? Knowing someone is taking the time to take YOU to God? It is the greatest gift. JOY. Praying for all of you.  Thanks for helping me grow and bloom where I am planted.  #youaremyjoy ❤

And I’m often also reminded that I need to be patient.  In my pruning of these plants on our doorstep, I think of how God often prunes us — getting rid of the dead stuff, the stuff that’s weighing us down, rotting our hearts, not allowing us to grow, holding us back from the creation he intends for us.  The GOOD he wants for us.  He’s the master gardener, isn’t he?  Always FOR us.  Helping us to achieve our ultimate potential.  Wanting the BEST for us and in us.  Pretty awesome and amazing.  And it doesn’t always FEEL good, this pruning and plucking.  But I have faith in his timing — even if it isn’t mine.  Patience.  He makes all things beautiful in his time…  Growing is painful stuff sometimes.  And it takes time that we often don’t have time for (smile).  But little by little.  Faith and patience get us there, in the loving hands of a God that is ALWAYS good. 

Yet I tend to rush things sometimes.  In my haste accidentally pulling too hard, and while my intention was to remove a dead leaf or stem — I rip up a perfectly good one as well.  Slow down.  Look.  Listen.  Breathe.  Give room to grow. Be like Jesus.  Seek him, Ang.  This is not about you.  None of this is ever about you.  And when I feel anxiety creep in, I know that my faith is taking a step back — because the two cannot coexist.  And I’m relying on myself, not God.  And I have to put my ego in check.  It’s not up to me.  It’s not about me.  It’s all in God’s hands.  And I’d rather leave it in his.  I tend to make a mess of things.

Like having a tendency to over water.  If some is good, isn’t more better?  More love, more things, more attention, more time?  In my desire to fix, to care for, to love people, I can over do, over extend, over communicate, over everything.  Learning when and how to give love is a never-ending process for this girl.  Patience.  I’m so thankful that God NEVER runs out of it with me.

Nature is so aesthetically calming and miraculous.  Tiny seed to this fantastic creation.  You can’t mess it up too badly — unless you kill it.  But even decay can lead to greater beauty.  I love that about plants, nature in general.  Planting doesn’t require too much skill, a master’s degree, or fanatic hours on Pinterest.  And plants are beautiful and complete all on their own.  You don’t need to study the “interior design of a planter” to get a lovely arrangement together.  It generally works out…

Unlike decorating homes.  Interior design is not my forte.  But this is where our little fam does our most growing.  Inside this little clay pot of our home.  It’s where all of us seeds get thrown in, the sun shines down, the rain beets down, a few bugs get in here and there… you get the idea…

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And I’m totally fine with the fact that our home will never, even after our kids our grown and gone — be a grown up house.  I’m not one of those people who can decorate.  Not a spacial person.  I love pretty things and I know what I like aesthetically — I’m just not really able to translate that into “real life”.  Our growing pot of family is a bit messy, and totally organic (smile).

But maybe that’s okay… because what I want for my kids is a space for them to feel — well, like them.  Safe, happy, loved.  Just them.  Because so much of this world — the all of it really — is telling them to be someone else.  I want that pressure off here.  So yeah, we have Legos in our living room. A butter box full of letters and cards (Karey, I miss your shop SO much!).  A thankful jar.  Even a mason jar full of rocks collected from a thousand fantastic adventures.  A bazillion and one books.  Various items from nature — pinecones and leaves can look like SO many incredible things!  Several blankets.  A few pillows (trying to cut back as this drives my husband crazy) .  All artwork is done by my incredibly talented friends and my kids (and my preschool loves).  And the most recent addition — a print by Grant Wood.  “American Gothic” is basically a self-portrait of Marty and I — ug. And a million photographs.  Some from a million years ago (smile)…

This is our nesting pot of us.  And it will never be ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ or ‘Traditional Home’ or anything fancy.  Cause that’s not us.  And I love us.  And home is where we get to be us — and grow the all of us.  We don’t have to pretend or keep it all together here.  So all of these pieces?  They’re pieces of us.  They mean something.  Gracious — our home is one GIANT metaphor.

Where faces of those we love smile back at us.  Where we are encouraged.  Where we struggle.  Where we fight.  Where we make up.  Some times days later.  But eventually.  Where we pray.  Where we constantly pray.  Where we put on the full armor of God.  Where we grow and learn and grow and learn some more.  Where we question.  Everything.  Where it’s a safe place to question.  Everything.  Where we love.  Everyone.  Even when it hurts.  Because sometimes love hurts the most.  Where we share our joys.  Every day.  Because there is joy in every day.  Where we give thanks, and where this girl reminds her boys that that thankful jar is really NOT full enough.  Where some days, Mom and Dad’s bed is the best place to be — watching movies and cuddling and snuggling.  You’re never too big.  We’ll just get a bigger bed.  Where we deal with tough things.  Because life is tough things.  But then we remember to laugh too, because life is also freaking beautiful.  And if you can’t see that, then we need to come back and pray together again — because God did not create us to simply hurt.  And if you can not get past hurt — what can we do now — like RIGHT NOW — to make some one else’s day better?  Because that’s why we’re here.  Really.  To be a blessing.  And if we haven’t been a blessing in someone else’s day today, we better get to it.  And if someone, anyone, could PLEASE help me with all.of.this.laundy — that would be really great too… ❤

Plants, flowers, they can’t do laundry — but they sure can teach us so much about life and even about God.  They’re an amazing reminder to me every single morning.  And I’m incredibly thankful for the blessings of reminders they bring me each day I water them —

and maybe — just maybe — even for this loud, meandering, full, and crazy mind.

Love y’all!  SO much!

Namaste.

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