Gardening

A Gardening Lesson from Dogs

 

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I love getting dirt under my fingernails in the flower garden.

And the way dirt crumbles in my hand.

I especially love the way weeds pull right out sometimes, root and all.

Recently, when I was down on my hands and knees digging in the dirt, my little dog joined me. At first, she supervised nearby for a few minutes, possibly to see what treasure I would unearth. As I continued pressing my hands and tools into the soil, pulling out weeds, and humming, she decided to dive in right next to me.

She claimed a patch of weeds right beside me and set her paws to furiously digging. Dirt and leaves flew everywhere, even onto me. I paused my weeding to watch (while guarding my eyes from flinging flecks of dirt). She worked and worked, finally digging a little pit for herself. Then she stood in the middle of it and plunked herself down, nestling as deeply as she could into the cool earth.

I smiled, petted her, and returned to pulling weeds.

In the quiet, I thought about how she and I were both digging in the garden but for different reasons. I want the flowers to be visible and not crowded out by weeds, and she wants a cool place to sit.

We all have different motivations for doing what we do.

Many people can do the same thing, but for different reasons.

I’m a real estate agent, but my why might surprise you.

It’s not for the money (It’s not as much as you think anyway)

It’s not for the glamour (People tend to see agents more as salespeople than industry professionals)

And it’s definitely not for the primo hours and awesome vacation times (Days off can be hard to come by. Heck, attending a wedding uninterrupted can be hard to come by!)

No, I’m an agent in spite of all these challenges.

Because I’m a helper and encourager at heart, and I love, love, love to help people find their perfect-for-them home. As an agent, I get to protect people from pitfalls, walk them through scary and difficult circumstances, and make them super crazy happy.

Those are the things that satisfy my soul that I count as excellent results, and that drive me forward each day.

What motivates you in your work?

When Weeds Hide Beneath the Surface (Plus FREE Devotional Download!)

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I finally found time to get to my flower garden.

The sun was shining, ground moist from recent rain, and I was ready to clear out tall weeds to reveal beautiful, black soil.

Down on my knees, as I pulled weed after weed, I saw a particularly large dandelion. Wanting to pull it out by the root to remove it completely, I grabbed my handy root-digger-upper tool and had at it.

Just when I thought I had it, I heard and felt the root snap off.

The dandelion plant and some of the root came up. I looked into the hole. There it was, deep inside, a portion of the root that would stay.

I continued pulling weeds out by the root and when I was finished, the soil looked black and beautiful.

But I knew that, underneath that beautiful, pristine surface, were roots that would sprout weeds again – especially that one, big dandelion root. I didn’t remove it, I didn’t kill it, the weed is still there.

And it got me thinking about us, about me, and how we can have a certain appearance of goodness or having it together, but still have issues. And if we don’t take care of those deep down inside issues by finding and removing the root, they will keep cropping up.

I tossed weed greens aside and continued pulling others as I wondered about one of my own issues. In recent months, I’ve been prone to feel angry inside. I don’t act on it, let me be super clear on that – I don’t retaliate when I feel wronged, I don’t jump to verbally defend myself, and don’t become offensive or defensive in my speech or actions.

I want to be clear because this is my blog as a professional, but I’m also a human who experiences emotions. And I want to share that with you. I want to be real with you.

As I pulled weed after weed, root after root, I wondered what could be at the root of my anger. Was it a healthy response to injustices? An indicator that I need to find a way to de-stress? A response to physical pain? I wasn’t sure.  So I became prayerful about it, driven to search my motives. I want to grow, not just in my skills as a professional, but also in my faith and character as a woman.
Here’s what I know about weeds. They’ll always be there. Remove one, and another will crop up.

But if the weeds in our personal lives leave us in search of understanding of ourselves and others, they’ve benefited us.

When we discover hidden roots in our lives, ignoring them only makes them come back stronger. When we do the work of exploring and unearthing them though, we’ll grow stronger in faith and character. Our garden won’t just have the appearance of being weed-free, but it will, more and more, truly BE weed-free.

While we’re talking about faith and gardening, I’d like to let you in on something my friend Kim is doing. 

 

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In the meantime… what is one insight you’ve discovered in your garden this year?

 

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Flowers Bloom Even Amidst Weeds

“You can learn a lot of things from the flowers”
– Alice in Wonderland

 

My garden has been a source of beauty, joy, rest, and also wisdom.

I hadn’t tended to my flowers as often as they need.
When I finally made some time, I discovered weeds had grown tall and wild, filling every space between flowers.

That’s when I noticed something.

Weeds had not stopped the many beautiful flowers from blooming. There, surrounded by thistles and dandelions, lilies and roses unfurled in a full summer bloom.

Suddenly I realized the hope of it.

With all that goes on in our lives and all the chaos in the world it can be easy to complain, worry, or be afraid. Life’s stresses and pains can overwhelm us. But they don’t have to control us.

We can still bring a pleasantness and beauty to every day and conversation. We can bloom wherever we are – even in the middle of a weed patch. And when we do our own peace and joy becomes contagious.

 

 

Bloom where you’re planted.”
-Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622)

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How My Love of Work is Causing Trouble

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I might be in trouble.

I think I’ve forgotten how to sit still – how to rest.

Life is busy. Crazy even. But the harried pace of this profession is one of the things I love about it!

 

 

 

 

I love dashing from appointment to appointment. I love the challenges – of clomping around in snowdrifts to measure houses, or trying not to get shot by my clients. I thrive on the adventure.

But in the dashing and strategizing and maneuvering through challenges, I’ve enjoyed it all so much I didn’t realize …. I think I’ve forgotten how to just sit down and relax!

When Eniko and I began working together, we agreed that each of us should have at least one weekend a month off of work.

A day off is difficult for a real estate agent to secure. Weekends are even more rare. But she and I have a bond of trust that makes it possible.

The thing is… I haven’t been taking that rest.

That’s a problem.

It’s in the still and quiet when reflection and insight can happen. It’s when I can actually spend time with God and be refreshed by His presence. That doesn’t happen on the fly.

And it’s tough to take that time because work is fun for me! To take a break from it is really difficult.

But I’m going to do it. This week I’m taking off.

Hmm… what will I do with all my free time? Oh, I know. I’ll turn a storage room into a guest room. I’ll spring clean my house. I’ll get to those flowerbeds that didn’t get a fall clean up.

Oops, there I go again. Dashing from thing to thing.

Okay, I’ll also spend time quietly, calmly sauntering around my house and yard. I’ll admire spring’s new growth. I’ll walk and talk with God. I’ll walk and talk with my husband. I will lie on the grass with my dogs. I’ll soak in the sound of birds chirping, bees humming, and enjoy the chorus of frogs and crickets that fill each evening.

I feel good and energetic already, but being home and mentally present will probably refresh me in a way I haven’t felt in a very long time. And it couldn’t come at a better time.

There’s a newness in the air.

Maybe it’s spring. Maybe it’s the promise of something new in my life.

Either way, I want to receive it with opened, ready hands.
Do you make time to be still and recharge? Why or why not?

 

Sowing and Reaping

IMG_0152A number of years ago, I had a dream to plant trees and watch them grow. At the time, I thought the dream was symbolic of becoming rooted in my own personal life.
We bought an acreage, just outside of town, and enjoyed being surrounded by nature. Since we moved on to the property, we have planted a Shelterbelt of trees and random shrubs on the yard as well as a beautiful garden. Before I planted the garden, I spent much time visualizing what I wanted the garden to look like when everything was fully grown. I can see the garden from the deck.

This spring I looked outside and said to my husband, “that is exactly how I pictured the garden to look.”

Our life does not magically evolve into a garden that we have not planted. No one fulfills the dream of being a doctor without studying. No one buys a house without saving up some money!

What is it that you want? What do you want your life to look like in 10 years or 20 years?

I challenge you this day, to picture the life that you want to live. Visualize what your lifestyle would look like if you could live your dream. Then ask yourself, what kind of seeds do I need to plant in order to develop the future that I desire?
Here are a few seeds to plant that will yield a great profit: kindness, gentleness, forgiveness, patience, hope, faithfulness, perseverance, discipline, compassion, humor, empathy, and lots of encouragement. If you strategically plant these seeds where they are needed, you will grow a network of relationships both personally and in business which will then support your future success!