Monday, July 20, 2009

Lazarus Come Forth!!

For those who know me well, they are fully aware that gardening is not my forte. A dear friend had once lovingly grown me a plant from a seed and presented it to me for my birthday. I guess she figured that since it had sentimental value I could somehow keep it alive. I decided that what it needed was foster care so a wonderful woman at my church "plant sat" it for me for few weeks until it was lush, gorgeous and thriving. I optimistically took over the care of the plant and it was dead within two weeks.

That being said I have planted a garden this year. My idea of planting a garden is plant it, let nature run its course and eat whatever happens to survive. I do not weed, I rarely water it and I put forth very little effort. Last year I was lucky enough to get a bumper crop of potatoes, a bunch of cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers I never knew what to do with and 2 zucchinis. Not bad for pretty close to no effort whatsoever. Plus, snakes like my garden so I don't like putting my hands too close to it.

This year, however, my lack of effort is evident in that nothing but the zucchini plants are doing anything. No lettuce, no broccoli, no cucumbers and no jalapenos because little critters ate everything down to stalks. My dried out tomato plants have about 5 small green tomatoes on them. There may be hope for the potatoes and onions, but I don't really know how to harvest them since they blend in now with the giant weeds. I don't know what to pull and what not to anymore.

In some spur of the moment urge I decided to water the garden tonight. With the hose and sprinkler thing-a-ma-jiggy that I saw The Husband use to water the sod we had gotten. "Hey, why not?" I thought. Plus, Aunt Extreme Kitchen Makeover had brought over more tomato plants that were dying a slow death in a box next to my garage. Maybe if I got the dirt wet enough I could actually plant them in the ground.

I couldn't really figure out how to use the sprinkler thing, it would not stay in one place so I stood there holding it (I did see my neighbor looking over with a puzzled look on her face). But, while I was holding it looking at the carnage I realized the only thing that was really benefiting from my watering were the weeds. So, in true ZSA ZSA from Green Acres fashion, I dug in as best as I could while trying to protect my cell phone from the sprinkler that kept hitting me as I pulled the carpet of weeds. I decided if Jesus could raise Lazarus from the dead and He said that we will do even greater works than this, well I guess maybe there was hope for my little vegetable cemetery. It was like Extreme Gardening X Games trying to avoid the sprinkler and keep The Dog from running after all the rabbits 3 yards over while I mucked around in my sparkly flip flops praying that a snake was not hiding under the mammoth zucchini leaves. I know there is some kind of spiritual message in all this, but I'm too tired to think that hard about it.

I ended up getting about half of it weeded, I was pretty much soaked and my flip flops may not make it. Tomorrow (maybe) I will actually plant the new tomato plants which I at least watered. I am hoping and praying that my toil was not in vain and I have the motivation to "get 'er done". Stay tuned for Woman vs. Nature....

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thorns or Berries?

We interrupt the vacation posts for some deep thoughts, reflections and dare I say, revelations, that I have been entertaining the last few days. The other night the girls had been feeling kind of sad and left out about a few things that they have been going through. So, I shared a story with them out of a kid's devotional book about a girl and her little sister picking berries. The little sister scratched herself on the sharp thorns of the berry bush and called it a bad, bad bush. The mom reminded the older sister that little sis had been enjoying the sweet, delicious berries just minutes before, but now she was only concerned with the "bad, bad bush" that had hurt her. The heart of the story and our new tag line around the house is "Are you thinking about the thorns or the berries?".

It's been a rough summer. I won't deny it. A multitude of conflict has left me feeling defensive and suspicious. The Husband's job has been a tremendous strain on us as a family. GAS went to stay at my mom's house for a weekend and then called a week later to say she wasn't coming home. My mom and a friend came a week later and packed up her stuff. GAS's explanation to other people was that she sat in her room alone and we never took her anywhere. Part of that is true, she did choose to sit in her room alone many times (perhaps the chaos of our house was a bit overwhelming) but we did take her wherever she asked to go and I did my best most days to give her what she needed and include her as a part of our family. I have no idea what she was thinking to have done this to us after pouring so much love and kindness into her. Every day that she's been gone I wonder if I had done things differently, would she still be here? And, I've grown weary of being at war with my mother time and time again. I'm trying to make this an attempt at reconciliation, because quite frankly, I don't think things can get much worse in our family. Pretty soon Jerry Springer is going to come knocking on our door to do his show.....sorry, I laugh about it so I don't cry!

However, I have been trying to look at the "berries" this week, not the thorns. God never promised us a "thorn-free" life on earth, but He did give us the "berries" to enjoy. The Husband's job is certainly not what we had envisioned it to be, but at least he has a steady income. Even though it hurt the way GAS left here with no good-bye, at least she is where she wants to be, and to a degree, some of my burden has been lifted having to care for her. Even though the kids go through hurts and disappointment with other people and situations, there are still many good things for them to think about. We talked about Romans 8:28:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

I guess that means we should embrace the thorns with the berries since it is ALL included in God's master plan!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More Florida Vacation Ramblings

After endless "Are we there, yet?"s we finally arrived at The Husband's dad and step-mom's house in western Florida. That sounds funny. "Western Florida" like it is near Montana or something. Sorry...I'll try to focus.

The girls enjoyed swimming in the pool and we ate more food despite the BBQ bloat we were still experiencing...I mean who wouldn't want steak and hot dogs at 10:30's vacation, right?? The next day we headed about an hour and a half away to visit The Husband's grand dad, aunt and uncle and a gaggle of cousins, most who have a handful of kids now, too. It was lively, however, #1 slipped on the ceramic tile by the pool and came close to breaking her big toe and also gashed and bruised a chunk of her back. Did I mention she also scared The Husband and I spitless when it happened?? All the air was sucked from my body until I realized she didn't hit her head and she was coherent.

, back to my happy is The Husband and his grand dad:

That evening we returned back to The Husband's dad's house and ate cake. Vacation, remember? I also spent most of the evening talking The Husband into sticking with our plans to go to Magic Kingdom the next day. There had been a monorail crash there the day before and he was trying to use that as an excuse not to go (yes, my daredevil, atv crashing husband who drives giant trucks up mountains in blizzards was trying to convince me that it would not be safe to go to Disney World). I cajoled, I whined, I stuck out my bottom lip. He insisted it would be too hot, too crowded and he stuck out his bottom lip. But, we all know when Mama wants to go to Disney, Mama goes to Disney! I won! I won! I bought the tickets online (and, his dad even paid for the girls) and we went to Magic Kingdom.

And, you know what?? He told me over and over and over again how glad he was that we went because we all had such a great time. We were even the first group of riders when they re-opened the monorail that night. It was not terribly hot and the lines weren't that long. We have so many happy memories of laughing and being together that day. Splash Mountain was our family favorite so we did it twice, followed closely by Thunder Mountain, which we also went on twice!

Oh yeah. It was awesome! We left Disney around 11pm and drove for 3 hours until we pulled into his sister's driveway at 2am on the next leg of the Tour de Florida. To be continued.....

Monday, July 13, 2009

Florida Vacation

Technically we left on July 3rd after dropping off The Dog (or, as #3 calls her "The Dragon") at the upscale doggie resort with her "luggage" which consisted of a plastic grocery bag with some chew toys in it. After a touching good-bye between The Husband and The Dog/Dragon, we hopped in the overloaded mini-van to begin our journey.

#1 and I took turns drawing you like my Poodle/Dragon skirt? #1 kept cracking me up with pictures like this one.

We found a BBQ buffet in South Carolina at this restaurant called Duke's BBQ. OH MY WORD!! It was so crazy good. We hurt ourselves eating a boat load of pulled pork, corn fritters, mac and cheese, cole slaw, friend chicken, banana pudding, hush puppies, and more....all of it home made. I made a complete PIG of myself (pun intended). I have a vague recollection of crawling out of the restaurant with the same uncomfortable feeling I experience on Thanksgiving Day...

We couldn't leave without a pig picture (I'm referring to the picture below and not me in the picture above shoveling food at the speed of light). Gosh darn it, you know there is good food in any restaurant that has a pig statue out front. It's a given.

Back in the saddle again...heading on down to Tampa. ETA around 10:00 pm. To be continued.....