Monday, November 17, 2014

This "Walk" is NOT for the Birds

Birds - most seem so ordinary. Especially crows and pigeons. So what does it take to get a cool bird around here anyway? Apparently, not much... for we have an owl couple living in the palm trees high above our backyard. Two barn owls - Barny and Barnice.

How did we discover this cute duo? Well, we kept hearing loud, non-boring-bird screech sounds every night. Bird sounds you might hear in a zoo. Different. Distinguishable. Definitely cool bird. And after one little looksy with a flashlight, we saw two of the sweetest barn owl faces you ever did see. They look like this:

And their screeching got me thinking: I wish picking out "God sounds" was always as easy, as discernible, as picking out owl sounds. Perhaps I'm not tuned in all the time.

But then again, there are days God shows me things about himself, about myself, and about others - things that forever stick to my soul. And there are days he's the first one I talk to in the morning, the last one I talk to before I fall asleep. And I experience his joy.

But other days I'm confused by him. Or I forget he's there. Or I know he's there, but I'm too afraid, too ashamed, or too mad to talk to him. And I fail to remember his grace.

During those times, it's good to know I'm in a "walk" with God - just like Enoch and Noah and Abraham and Isaac long ago. Not a giddy-up or a split leap or even a slow crawl, but a nicely paced, over-the-course-of-a-lifetime kind of walk. And since it's done by faith (which is hard to muster up sometimes), I'm glad it's a walk. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

It reminds me of the movie, Fiddler on the Roof, when Tevye ponders his daughter's desire to marry for love instead of having an arranged marriage. And it brings him to ask his wife, Golde, "Do you love me?"

At first she's annoyed, but finally says: "Do I love you? For 25 years I've washed your clothes, cooked your meals, cleaned your house, given you children, milked the cow... why talk about love right now?"

Then she thinks to herself: "For 25 years I've lived with him, fought him, starved with him. For 25 years my bed is his... if that's not love, what is?"

Now if that's not a fabulous metaphor for "walking" with God, then what is?

And although walking solo seems easier, don't do it. Do life with God. He's a walking partner who will never tire of you, be annoyed by you, unlove you, misunderstand you, forget about you, or fall out of interest in you. And unlike the owls in my backyard, cool birds and all, God will never screech at you.




Saturday, November 8, 2014

Garden Mom 101


I woke up one day and surprisingly said to myself, "How about I be the garden mom for my daughter's 5th grade class?" Besides knocking out a few plants, how hard can it be? My dad was a farmer; that must make me one, too.

After all, the smallish garden space assigned to the dear children and me had already been weeded and composted. ("Compost," a word I already knew about - this is going to be so awesome!) Everything else - planting, watering, weeding, waiting - will be basically downhill.

And I'll mix it up - plant some seeds, a few live plants. Not just veggies, but flowers. And bulbs for springtime. Ah, and cilantro! Why, I'm even envisioning a classroom taco day, a day we top tacos with cilantro from our very own garden!

But, little did I know, there was a hitch. An educational hitch. Who knew I was going to have to make the kids smarter? Dang it.

Okay, not a problem. I could start by teaching them what compost is made of and laugh about how gross it is (securing my rep as the cool garden mom). And I could show them how to carefully remove a plant from its plastic egg carton thingy. Then, I'd have them smell the plants, asking tough questions like, "If you were a bee, which plant would you land on?"

Nothing to worry about. I had it all under control, perfectly under control until... until I was handed THE BOOK, the 40 page three-ring binder created by last year's garden mom that oozed with education and had "Molly is a total loser" written all over it.

You see, this garden book has stuff about beets and phytonutrients. This book has garden lesson plans that correlate with classroom lesson plans. And this book has not one, not two, but 14 pages devoted to photosynthesis - plastic sleeve protected pages, mind you, should the garden mom's devotion take her straight through rain, shine, or meatball sandwich.

Tsk tsk, jealous of last year's garden mom, are we? Yes. Though, had I known a top-notch garden standard existed, I would've rather volunteered to tutor the kids in common core math. (Now obviously, that's a lie. I'm just painting a picture here.)

I mean, it's bad enough I already envy that guy's public speaking skills. And her ability to use power tools. And their knowledge of United States history. Do I really need to add "that lady's mad gardening skillz" to the list?

Mark Twain wouldn't think so, for he's written, "Comparison is the death of joy."

So maybe I can just admire the garden book without having to precisely follow it. Or without having to, uh... open it? Of course, I'll open it. Proverbs 3:13 does indeed say, "Joyful is the person who finds wisdom and gains understanding." Learning - being teachable - is always a good idea.

And should last year's garden mom (true story) ever walk up to me - in the flesh - and tell me I shouldn't have planted hyacinth bulbs near the cauliflower because hyacinth has "poisonous properties," I'll just smile and graciously thank her for creating such a wonderful resource for all future garden moms. Oh, and maybe try a little of the cauliflower before giving the kids a sample.