You want to dig a hole in the back yard instead of playing on digital devices? OK.

This is part of a monthly blog circle where we post 10 photos on the 10th day of the month. To continue the circle click on the link at the bottom of the post.


She had a spade and she wanted to dig for worms in the space where our garden is going to go, at some point, though it will probably be late again like it was last year.  I was a little relieved she seemed interested in finding something to do without us needing to take a trip somewhere that might involve money. It was a tight week financially and I was feeling guilty I couldn’t take the kids to a local arts festival.

A few moments later my oldest pulled a shovel out of the garage and  was shoveling too. He didn’t know why, he just wanted to dig a hole and see what was there, he said.

I had to think about this for a moment. Did I want them to really dig a hole in our side yard? It was where I want to put a garden this year again. Plus it was space where the children and new puppy could run. But then, here they were on a sunny day, outside in the fresh air. They weren’t inside on digital devices or starring at what my mom had called “the boob tube” when I was growing up. I decided I’d let them do almost anything if they were outside enjoying themselves.

DSC_5520I let go of what some might consider conventional parenting thoughts of “we shouldn’t get dirty” and the logical questions of “why are you digging a hole?” and “what will you do with this hole once it is dug?” Instead, I stood and watched them dig their hole. The dug all day until it was so dark they couldn’t see their hands in front of their faces.

It reminded me of my childhood – playing and pretending and creating outside until well after the glow of dusk had faded and we could hear the peepers and the crickets in the woods behind the house. My shins would be bruised and my knees dirty and Mom would send me straight to the tub where I often turned it brown with the dirt I’d been playing in.

DSC_5546DSC_5528DSC_5543DSC_5561_1DSC_5571_1DSC_5546DSC_5790They took the digging so seriously it was almost like being on a work site. My 11-year old (the boy) did most of the digging while my 3-year old (the girl) sifted through the dirt to collect rocks, putting them off to the side, along with pieces of glass and some old bones. We were a bit alarmed by the old bones, hoping we weren’t digging up a former homeowner’s old pets, but then remembered this area was where our old dog used to burry the various bones and treats we’d give him.DSC_5953_1

At the end of the day we ran a bath and the kids filled it with bubbles and had a bubble war.

“This has been the best day ever, hasn’t it?” My 11-year old asked as they dried off.

And here I thought it was going to be one of the worst.
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To continue the circle click over to Erika Kao’s blog.

Faithfully thinking: weeding out the bad so the good can survive

My son was recovering from an illness on the couch and watching a cartoon on his laptop, my daughter was watching a cartoon on my phone and I was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook when it all shut off out of the blue.

For ten seconds we sat there and looked at each other bewildered. What were we supposed to do now? With all our devices dark, except the phone which continued to work off data, we were completely lost.

Suddenly I felt excited. I felt a sense of freedom and dashed outside to my garden, over run with weeds thanks to weeks of neglect, and began yanking weeds out by the handful. I felt like a giddy child let loose in a candy store. The smell of dirt and grass andnature was setting my soul on fire.

In the midst of the euphoria I was also disgusted that it had taken the electricity going out to wake me up and break the chains of apathy and digital busyness that I had let hold me down.

Logged on to Facebook I seem to think I have to read one more post, see one more photo, laugh at one more pointless video and then before I know it it’s the afternoon and I’ve accomplished nothing. I haven’t finished the dishes, cut up and put the extra zucchini in the freezer, cleaned up my room, made the beds or weeded the garden.

And I certainly haven’t nourished my soul or connected with God.

Instead I’ve only fueled anxiety that I often call “my anxiety” claiming the state as my own, as if it’s an expected mindset for me to be in.

I’ve found that scrolling past story after story, some positive but many aimed at igniting our fear – fear of cancer, of death, of loss – is damaging my emotional health and in turn my physical health.

Many say “I just ignore those negative or fear based posts” but to me it seems the continuous exposure to these types of stories often permeates our thoughts and perpetuate our fears without us even realizing it. The negative affects of today’s social media are subtle and unassuming.

I’m not saying social media doesn’t have its good points or that it can’t be used to help encourage, connect, and support. Along with the good, however, comes even more counteractive and isolating aspects.

We have never been more connected than we are today, Facebook founder mark Zuckerburg likes to tell us again and again. In some ways this is true but in reality we’ve never been more disconnected or separated.

Satan is never happier than when we are isolated, made to feel alone, and spending our days on Facebook, pretending we are actually connecting with people. When we are on our computer or staring at our phone we are not living in the present or focused on those around us. Our minds are on a digital and virtual plane, trapped in a world of fantasy, antagonistic words, pessimistic views and sometimes fake optimistic ones.

I thought about this all as I yanked the weeds out of the garden so I could plant spinach seeds, seeds of a plant to bring our family nourishment.

I found it pretty pathetic that it took the electricity going out to motivate me to weed out the bad and plant the good. Yet it often takes a power failure in our life to wake us up to the good we have been missing out on.

Philippians 4:8 says: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Sometimes I need to pull the plug on the busyness of life so I can focus on the noble, the right, the pure, the lovely and the admirable.

If I don’t cut off the power sometimes, or let God flip the switch for me, then the negativity, fear, pessimism and anxious thoughts will grow in my life like the weeds in my garden. The weeds are choking out my healthy plants, stopping them from growing. I’m nowhere near a master gardener and I know I have a lot to learn if I want a bountiful harvest in the future.

There are days I feel the weeds of life all around me, trying to steal my joy, my hope, my fervor for life. I put my hands up to push them back, but without the help of the one who is our Master Gardener, I’ll never find victory.

I need Him to help me keep the weeds in check and to remind me they need to be pulled so I can breathe and grow. 

The garden is indeed a disaster

You might remember my prediction that our first attempt at a garden may be a disaster.  

That prediction has proven to be fairly accurate as shown by the weeds attempting to choke out the few plants that did survive the initial stages of planting a month and a half ago.

First, I missed the memo about planting everything in neat little rows. There definitely isn’t anything neat about our garden and not really any rows at this point.

I didn’t read packages right and failed to space the seeds far enough apart, as well. Then there was the week long rain that started the day after I planted. I’m convinced it washed away a good portion of my carrot seeds.  

I am a total garden newbie so when I started yanking out weeds and didn’t see carrot tops sprouting where I thought they should have been I ended up ripping out a few carrot seedlings. I thought they grew a lot faster than they actually do. Whoops. 

One side of the garden never even got planted and the weeds know it and have taken residence there, creating what is going to be a town violation at some point if I don’t get in there and yank out more of those pesky, pointless plants. It seems as soon as I weed one part I return the next day to find 1,000 more. Who knew weeds could grow so fast.

This week we harvested two little summer squash and you would have thought I’d won the lottery. Little Miss and I ran in the house and proudly displayed the little veggie to the boys, who were appropriately impressed but not as over the moon as we were.

There is currently something growing where I thought I planted cucumber. I thought it was zucchini but now it’s rounding out like watermelon and I truly do not remember buying watermelon seeds at any point, let alone planting them.  A quick message to my dad and he said it’s a pumpkin growing, which is very upsetting to me because we now have four official pumpkin plants and two more trying to grow by my house. I had no idea simply dropping pumpkin seeds could lead to plants sprouting up all over the place. 

I guess I’d better start searching the internet for pumpkin recipes now. And now to freeze pumpkins, carve pumpkins and convince others to take pumpkins away from us.

So at this point, I’m fairly certain we’ll have at least some summer squash, no cucumber, maybe some butternut squash (need to Google and find out when that usually starts to make an appearance) and I’ve learned that I can plant spinach and kale later in the season so I’ll be trying that too.

How about you? Do you garden? Does your garden thrive or barely survive?

The worm is not a pet and no, he can’t come inside

The rain clouds had turned the sky dark an hour and a half ago and a shower rushed through and dampened the ground. Still, we soldiered on and decided to plant some seeds in our garden space.

Miss G wasn’t interested in planting, but she did enjoy digging. 

I can still hear the little gasp she made when I found the first worm. She’s already fascinated with ants and roly polies and any insects that makes its way across the sidewalk.

The other day Miss G looked at me and said she saw a roly polie but now he was gone.

“Oh no,” I said. “Where is he?”

Her expression became very serious, but not sad, and in a strict, matter of fact tone she said “he’s dead.”

I said, “dead? Are you sure? Sometimes they just flip over on their backs and can’t get up again.”

“No,” she said, a little firmer this time. “He’s dead.”

My heart ached a little that already at 2 she understands that a bug not moving means he is indeed dead.

But on this day she had a new fascination. Worms.

I started it, I guess. 

“Oh! Look at this worm! He’s huge!” I said that day.

And so we looked at him. And then we put him on her wooden spoon I’d let her use for digging. 

“I want to keep him,” she told me, holding the spoon with the worm on it. “I want to take him inside with me.”

“No. Honey, he would be happier out here in the dirt. The dirt is his home.”

“No. He come inside with me. In the house.”

“Honey, you can’t bring a worm in the house. He needs to stay outside with his family. We have pets. Smokey and Pixel are our pets.”

Smokey and Pixel are our cats. 

I shouldn’t have mentioned the word “pet.”

“He can be my pet.”

“Honey, I’m afraid Pixel will eat him.”

She was indignant and saw right through my attempt.

“Pixel won’t eat him! He huge!”

I tried again.

“But she might think he’s a toy.”

She kept looking at the worm and said, “He not a toy! He a worm!”

In the middle of the conversation “he” becomes a “she” and now she’s mama worm.

“Mama worm happy here.”

“Honey, I don’t think she’s happy on a wooden spoon.”

She places the worm on her plastic slide.

“She happy on the slide. See?”

I point out the worm is crawling off the slide.

“She needs to be in the dirt with her family.”

“She happy on the slide.”

She thoughtfully pauses while laying the worm on the edge of the plastic slide. 

“I worry about her.” She said, her head hanging down a little and her lower lip pushing out.

“I know but she is used to living in the dirt. That’s her home. She can take care of herself there.”

She watched her and moved her a bit. She let out a heavy sigh.

“Bye mama worm.”

“Are you going to leave her here? Maybe we should put her back in the garden?”

She carried her back to the garden, set her in a hole and covered her with dirt.

She looked at the dirt a few seconds “bye, mama worm.”

She walked away, head hanging down. She ran to me and hugged my legs. 

“I hope mama worm okay,” she said.

“She’ll be okay. Do you want a popsicle?I think I have grape.”

“Pospicle! Yeah!”

Inside with her popsicle she says again “I hope mama worm okay.”

She is, honey, but she’s lucky to have someone who cares for her as much as I care for you.