pledge and token

This past weekend was such a blessing. Because our state was able to move into “phase 4”, the wedding that had been dropped down to include immediate family only was able to include a group of 50 or less. They told us last month that they were able to include the wedding party again, and that our entire family would be able to come. I did the whole thing women do where you want to make absolutely sure you’re not taking up more space then necessary and keeping out somebody more important. Once it was established that all of us were going, we greatly looked forward to it.

I’ve not had this much fun at a wedding since my brother’s wedding two summers ago, which I think is the last wedding we’ve been to before this one. For 24 hours we set the outside world aside, and there was no such thing as viruses or tragedies. My big kids looked so grown up to me.

I was wrong about every single one of the parents crying, at least during the wedding part. The only one who unmistakably cried was the groom. The only time I momentarily lost it was when one of my boys was struggling to make it through The King of Love My Shepherd Is without tears. Beauty is just one of those things that touches, burns, hurts, scars, and heals a person.

Thank you, Lord, for letting us be part of Your Day.

God’s blessings on your marriage, dear ones.

time to plant

It’s taken me a while to warm up to our overgrown, unkempt, and metal fenced in backyard. We’ve lived here four years and are just now starting to use this smaller space behind the house. Last night we hosted my in-laws and sister-in-law and her family. We roasted hot dogs and made smores around the fire pit where we occasionally grill from. I’ve been telling the kids we’re going to make a rocket stove there out of bricks, so with another cooler day, we spent the morning building and experimenting with it.

This afternoon they set up two tents. There was naturally some quarreling over which kids would sleep in what tent, as everyone had preferences on who they wanted and didn’t want to share their tent with. At first I stayed out of it until they asked my advice. Judging by the size of the biggest tent, it looked to me like though it might be a tighter fit, they were all still small enough to sleep in one tent. In the end they decided on a separate tent for sleeping and another tent for playing games. It sounded good to me.

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My daughter and I took up running in mid-March. What began as a way to do something together, strengthen our lungs, and stay active, has morphed into something we now do three mornings a week. We’re currently on our second week of a couch to 5K plan. After months of running here and running there with no intentions, I thought this would give us something structured to follow. My son joined us this morning, as he recently started practicing with the high school cross country team. I’m fine with him practicing and being involved, but with the world still feeling a little unsteady, I told him it’s hard telling what school and sports will look like from here. Unknowns are the reminders that what we’re given is today.

The replanted pumpkin patch started growing within days. I started over with new dirt and new seeds, and in addition to the rain, we made sure to keep the soil watered each day. Every mound now has between three and five pumpkins plants growing, which means even the some of the first seeds have started to grow. I’m thankful for the days of seeing green.

summer solstice

We were grateful to God when the clouds rolled in and it rained this afternoon. We’d been waiting to see if the 70% chance of thunderstorms would amount to an afternoon relief from our duties. It’s been slow but viewable growing in the sweet potato field. The daily watering is keeping them alive, has caused most of them to go from bare slips to stems with a few healthy dark green leaves, but I wouldn’t say they’ve taken off yet.

The soil they are growing in is closer to sand. I’d read that sandy soil was a good place for root vegetables. You’re not supposed to build your house on the sand, but maybe you could plant some rows of sweet potatoes there? I’ve also seen videos of people planting them in car tires, so my husband brought up some old tires for me from a shed. Just to see how they would grow somewhere else, I dug up ten of the slips and moved them over by my backyard herbs, planting them in the tires filled with leaves and dirt.

I’d taken two of the boys with me to buy said dirt at Lowe’s. After we’d gotten six bags of dirt loaded onto the cart, a masked man in his sixties or so came up and asked if I needed help with more bags. He told me he was a marine and didn’t like seeing women struggling like that. I’d gotten the six bags I wanted, and thought the boys and I had actually done pretty well with the lifting, but I felt bad not having anything left for him to help with.

I said to him, sure, I could use two more bags. I would’ve let him load more, but he was going to go back to his vehicle, and I still had to push around now hundreds of pounds worth of dirt on my cart. I thanked him for his help and hoped he felt good for hopefully doing something helpful. Once the boys and I got the cart moving and finally pointed in the right direction, we paid for the dirt and loaded up the bags into the back of the van. They sat in a pile in the backyard until today, when we did something with them.

watering the weeds

As long as it’s not 100 degrees, I feel like we need to be working outside. Not all the time, but at least putting effort toward keeping up with the watering and weeding. Today the kids and I went out to weed the cucumber and squash areas. It looked like someone had planted a thick lawn of grass there. Because the ground is so dry right now from the full-sun heat and lack of rain, hoeing has been like chipping at a dusty piece of slate.

We watered the grass and weeds to soften up the top layer of dirt. This made it ten times easier to clear away the grass. The pumpkin patch we planted almost a week ago has yet to show anything. I’ve talked to several experienced gardeners who’ve said they’ve had issues with their garden seeds not coming up this year. My two rows each of beets and green beans only resulted in four plants coming up. A friend said hardly any of their beans came up either. My sister, three hours north of us, told me the garden she’s sharing with her elderly and 40+ years of gardening in-laws had three rows of sweet corn where only five seeds came up. This seems odd to me.

During piano lessons today, I went to the store and bought more seeds. I bought mostly hybrid seeds this time, as I’ve not been that happy with the heirloom seeds I bought online. We’re getting past the point of planting seeds here, but if the pumpkins don’t come up by the end of the week, I’m replanting them. It’ll be a brighter October with orange balls all around.

mid-year resolutions

This morning I said, “Screw it. I’m eating a piece of toast.” In these seven plus years since not being being pregnant, I’ve been trying to figure out how my body acts now. I gained 50+ pounds with each of my pregnancies with most of the weight arriving in the fourth through sixth months. In the first trimester with my first, the doctor told me I needed to gain more weight because then I’d barely gained a pound. I left my appointment resolved to eat more food, returning to work that day and eating three bowls of Rice Krispies in addition to whatever I cooked for the residents.

When I gained so much weight that second trimester I was happy, feeling as though I’d done my job. Little did I realize that it wasn’t actually the cereal or any of the food I’d puked up in those prior three months. This was just what my body did. I tried not to gain 50 pounds with the others, eventually ditching most cereal and cheap carbs altogether, but in each second trimester, 14 pounds, then 16 pounds, then 7 pounds and on it went with each prenatal check-up as the weight came back. My body always dropped back down to my pre-pregnancy weight with the exception of the last one.

I was happy about this too, because according to any chart I’d started out underweight. I nursed my first four babies for 21 months, 15 months, 18 months, and 20-ish months. Once I got past the initial months of pain, breastfeeding was perfect until I was pregnant again. Then it again began to hurt, and my body felt sickly, like it was breaking down and couldn’t keep up. I’d always kind of wanted to nurse two babies at once, but when that sickly phase came I was ready to be done. That breaking down phase never came with my last one, and I happily nursed him for four sweet years.

Lately I’ve been frustrated with my latest unsuccessful attempts to lose the same familiar few excess pounds. I’m not sure why it feels like every goal in my life requires 20-30 years of unwavering patience. I’ve thought I really just need to be content with my body, treat it right, and not try to make into something it’s not. I’m just wondering as a woman if you ever reach a point of peace, where you truly do accept yourself, free of discontent and unhappiness without change. May God bless you in whatever goals you’re pursuing today, friends. I pray they are worthy, and I pray you succeed.