Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Lessons from my garden

This year has been an incredibly blessed year for my family. We tasted God’s goodness in large chunks, not tidbits. Our blessings poured by the bucket, not in trickles. The backside is that our challenges were unusually huge too, but nothing that God's grace did not sufficiently cover.

For me, it was--and is--like watching a garden bloom, though I am not the gardener. The One who carefully tends our "garden" is the same One who makes the sun shine and the rains fall. I am referring to none other than Jesus Christ to whom I turn over the management of our lives on a daily basis. And is He ever so good at the job!

Let me share this analogy:

At our townhouse, we have an enclosed little garden that, since we moved in, grew nothing but weeds. We kept our junk there too. When Dad came to visit for a month in the summer of 2004, he started to diligently work this land. Not quite knowledgeable nor fond of gardening, I was only too glad to let him do as he pleased with it. He collected and threw out all the junk, pulled the weeds, and began tilling the soil. Soon, he discovered a HUGE dead root beneath the soil surface running across the center of the garden. It came from a dried tree stump just outside the fence. Dad had to chip away, even saw, this dead root. It was a cumbersome task that had to be done before anything else.

When the dead root was finally done away with, Dad continued cultivating and making garden plots. In between the plots, he laid out columns of little rocks he had collected while digging up the soil. Dad layered the soil with fertilized top soil we bought by the sack. He then made trellises around the sides near the fences. When everything was prepared, he planted various vegetable seeds and spices according to his layout. Everything was carefully thought out and purposefully done.

This is a neat picture of how Christ cultivates our home life. He digs, tills, and uproots--which can be an unpleasant experience--then He replenishes lost soil and nutrients. He plants seeds of life, and I don't mean the existence kind of life, but life in various areas of an otherwise glum existence. Then He grows what He has planted with His sources of nourishment.

I am seeing  plants grow, others are still incubating. There’s individual blossoming and corporate growth, but a lot of digging and weeding out in the process. The works!

As I said, I am no gardener, and if it were up to me, I would not have known where to start, much less, how to proceed. It pays to leave it to the Expert.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Memory loss

Markus was setting up the Nintendo for the two of us to play, while I was still cleaning up in the kitchen.

Selecting the Pokemon memory game, he called out to me from the living room, “Mom, do you have a good memory?”

“I can’t remember,” I answered.

“I guess that’s a no,” he said to himself.

This conversation got both of us a-LOL-ing.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Rewarding results, not intentions

Last week, Markus brought home his best report card ever. 7 A’s and a B. I decided to give him a reward of HIS choice, within MY budget.

“Ten dollars!” he exclaimed. “I get $10?” He seemed blown away by such good fortune. There is value in not being spoiled rotten. He enjoys more of the little he gets.

“Mom, I can pay some of it with my clean-room salary,” Markus offered, referring to a previous deal. The hilarity of this statement was matched only by the good intent behind it. So I tried my best not to demean what he said, even if I wanted so much to laugh.

Yesterday morning, I snuck up to Markus’s bed to wake him up. The short distance between the door and his bed was like an obstacle course. I was careful not to knock over his Christmas “d├ęcor” in the middle of the room, or step on school supplies and clothes scattered all over.

After the usual wake-up kiss, hug and a little chit-chat, I said, “You said your room was clean.”

“It WAS!” he replied. “I didn’t say it IS true.” So quick on the draw!

“So is today a good day to clean? You have early dismissal today,” I said.

“What about tomorrow, Mom? We have no school tomorrow,” he bargained.

“Okay. Do we have a deal?” I wanted a commitment from him and Gabriel. They both said yes.

I came home Friday and found their room acceptable. If only they could keep it that way for the agreed one week, without moving their mess to other parts of the house, I will gladly give a "clean-room salary". I have yet to disburse this money.