Tending the Garden

It’s hard to think, right now as we wait for the snow to fall and the trees stretch their empty arms upward in a frosted sky, of tending the garden. The weeds are gone, sleeping along with the spring bulbs under insulating layers of leaves, waiting to spread their tendrils and briers under the April sun. But here in the quiet-brown of Winter, I still think of tending the garden–the figurative garden of life as a wife, mother, and homemaker, a home schooler of three.

Weeds. In the first garden, the Eden of old, these malignant shadows begin as a curse–a curse on the land, that we would work it with our hands and our backs would ache and our hands bleed, and only with this pain would we collect the harvest. “To Adam he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it, ‘Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.” (Genesis 3:17)

We are saved…and yet we live here in a broken world that is still under this curse. Most of us, today, find our weeds in modern forms…computer viruses, incompatibility issues, broken fan belts, clutter that builds up again and again to spite our efforts to eradicate it. Weeds are a fact of life.

So: Tending the garden. Gardens need a lot of work. Tilling the soil, planting the seeds, watering, pruning, mending the soil, weeding. I’m thinking of how these things apply to daily life, and three main tasks come to mind….Planting, Watering, Weeding. Planting: Starting a new habit or routine, building something new, beginning. Watering: Caring for the plants, tending the existing garden, feeding good things so they will continue to grow. Weeding: Pulling up bad habits, eliminating physical, mental and spiritual clutter, getting rid of things that get in the way of your effectiveness.

I would like to start a tradition of sharing this “Gardening” process, because I need to be better at it. The work is always more fun when done together, and perhaps others would be willing to share their own gardening tips…how they plant, water, and weed to keep their gardens beautiful.

This week’s Gardening:

I have a list about ten miles long of things I want to fix, refine, and accomplish. It’s too overwhelming to look at it that way, though…so I’m choosing a few things for this week. Some weeks, I might just list a weeding task or a watering idea…but for this week here are a few things I’m working on.

Weeding: We need to get rid of the few bills we have that are not entirely necessary. This means…Bye bye Gym Membership! I am sad about this one, we’ve had the membership for six years, and it has been a blessing to us in many ways. However, we are not using it often enough, and it’s an expense that could certainly be spared. We’ve debated long and hard but…it goes.

Planting: We still need exercise! Our whole family needs to be active more, gym or no gym. Being outside, being active…tried and true ways to improve moods and gain better perspective! Rather than the gym, this week we’ll need to start a new exercise routine. Hubby and I will go for a run 3 times a week and do some exercises at home in the morning. The kids will have a half hour of mandatory outside time (or rather, I’ll start actually enforcing that time) and will do things like pogo-sticking and jumping rope if they need ideas on what to do.

Watering: This week, I want to improve our quiet times. I want to be faithful reading a book about Jesus I’ve started reading aloud with the kids, and make sure to get my quiet time alone with the Word early in the day…we all do so much better when that’s in line!

So…starting small. This isn’t much, but for the coming week it’s enough. The gluten free menu will be on a temporary break (although I may pop in with a few recipes or dinner ideas from time to time) until January, because we are so busy with Christmas get-togethers, hubby’s overtime, and working on…well, tending the garden…that I can’t promise to have a menu that anyone else would want to follow! In the future, I think the weekly menu will be a good thing to put under the “Watering” category.

Anyone else? Anyone have some ideas on saving money, saving time, and keeping order? How about some advice on how to get exercise into our daily routine at home? I’d love your input. Post a comment, write about it on you blog…let’s work on the garden together! Maybe we can find some joy in ripping out that bindweed, if we’re sharing the job.

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