936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
Each morning I wake groggily and find my way to the kitchen. I pour a steaming cup of coffee and head out to the garden. Slowly I make my way around mounds of soil and baby plants to see the growth that took place over night. They are always growing. New sprouts– where nothing was yesterday, today there is green life, new leaves, and finally–first fruits.
The birds sing; their volume I find almost overwhelming, but all together welcome. I love it. And then I water, and there’s something so meditative about standing before the garden in the morning, coffee in one hand, the hose in another. And that rainbow that dances just below the stream of water, hovering below the drops shooting, showering the plants with life; promising new life, as rainbows always do.
Later in the morning, once sleep is rubbed from little eyes and breakfasts rests in little bellies, I head back out to search for more growth. I tell my son I am going to the garden, and he hops up from his play, running behind after me yelling, “Help Mommy! Help Mommy!”
As I pull weeds from moist soil, he wanders around inspecting the plants. He passes by the broccoli and shallots, and then his eyes fall upon the tomato plants, now taller than he. “May-Toes!” He exclaims. I smile. He is learning.
As I tie up branches, drooping from the weight of their growth, he pops a round, green orb from the stem. “Baby, they’re not ready yet. We have to wait until they turn red and purple.” He thinks about this for a moment. “Yellow?!” I smile again. “Yes Buddy, we will have yellow tomatoes.” The garden is quickly becoming his classroom; a place of discovery to learn colors, textures, flavors; to understand worms, seasons, and growth.
And then in the evening after the boys are down I pour myself a glass of red wine and head out again. This time is be becoming my favorite. I stand in the same spot before the garden, where that very morning I sipped my coffee and gathered my thoughts for the day, only now I relax with a glass of wine, and while I water I recount the day spent. Favorite moments. Lessons learned. What to do better tomorrow. What to celebrate from today. And I water the garden.
I check again for new growth. Our beans which were only seeds beneath the soil that very morning, are now sprouts that have shot up through the earth, uncoiled straight up to an inch of height, and bear a beautiful set of leaves. They’re always growing.
My husband kicks around the soccer ball as the sun sets. We’re both weary from a day of work. A day of navigating children through early life. A day of trying to live this life most abundantly. We’re always growing. I listen to the streaming of the hose, the “splat splat”’s as drops fall on green leaves. And the sound of my husband’s foot swiftly kicking the ball around the yard. And if I hadn’t had a garden to tend, I may not have come out here tonight.
I would not have noticed how the Creeping Charlie, those tiny purple flowers poking up from the ground ivy creeping its way across our lawn, glow in the moon light. They’re fluorescent. Brilliant. And I’m thankful that tonight I see them. Just taking in their glow sends my heart into praise to the One who made them. Who causes them to grow. Who causes this garden to grow. Who causes me to grow. We’re always growing.
There is a small patch of dirt in the center of our yard, and the boys have claimed it as their play spot. Every day that little mound of dirt transforms into a construction area. As hours pass so do the trucks, trains, and cars, carrying loads of mud on rainy days, or loads of dusty dirt on dry days; filling, loading, dumping, then repeat. For hours. There is something therapeutic about running your hands through earth.
On one particular afternoon, as the boys are fully entranced in their latest construction project, I busy myself lacing our bean vines through their climbing fence, encouraging them on their ascent towards the sun. I look up and find that the construction workers must be on lunch, because the boys have abandoned the scene and now enter through the garden gate, littlest crawling after his big brother. I know what they’re after.
I join them at the strawberry patch, and I begin running my hands through leaves to find bright red berries, ready to satisfy my boys’ excited taste buds. I point one out to Zeke, and show him where to place his feet between the strawberry plants. He bends and carefully positions his fingers around the plump red berry, he plucks it from its stem, hands it over to me, “Clean Mama?” I remove its green top, wipe it of dirt, and hand it back. He pops it in his mouth and immediately begins scanning the patch for another.
As I help him locate another ripe strawberry, I hear the “pop” of a berry being pulled from its stem. I turn to find Ellis, sweet little just-turned-one Ellison, gazing at his newly picked berry. He had successfully found a ripe strawberry, delicately removed it from its stem, and popped the entire treat into his mouth. He too turned back to the patch in pursuit of another. My heart filled at this sight, my boys snacking straight from the garden; how long I have waited for this experience.
That evening before bed I do what I have done every night since I became a mother. I kneel at my son’s bedside, and as he breathes deeply, sleeping sound and unaware of my presence, I pray over him and kiss his soft forehead once more before I myself lay down for sleep.
But this time, as I rise to leave his bedside, he grabs my hand tight to pull me back. I can tell he is still mostly asleep. His eyes are still clasped tight, and he mumbles something in his sleepy state. I can’t decipher his words, and softly begin to pull my hand away. He grasps it tighter, and repeats his words; still asleep, but this time I make them out, and my heart melts.
“Pray strawberries garden?” His sleepy voice asks. I lower my forehead to touch his, grasp his tiny hand tight in my own. “Thank you, Jesus, for the strawberries in the garden.” Once again, the prayers of my child reveal to me his heart.
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!