Friday, July 11, 2008


So yesterday, friends of ours from the city came out to see our tiny farm and they "got it!" They understood completely why we've moved our belongings and our lives out to the boonies. In fact, the husband said he'd told his wife upon first hearing the news something like, "Finally! In my mind I've always seen Tom and Debra living on a farm."

How sweet are kindred spirits.

We took them out to the old-fashioned malt shoppe for an early dinner, checked out the Thursday night auction items (just viewed them), then they left for home. A wonderful time was had by all.

But afterward... hmmm... Tom and I walked over to our neighbors' house and they showed us their gorgeous backyard which they've been working on, for like, more than twenty years. Garden beds everywhere... trellises... arbors... beautiful, tall flowers, a fountain-type waterfall, a deck, two raised gardens, a patio. All perfectly placed and arranged. She is a master gardener and he's a hard working man who once created the whole stone patio and waterfall for her during a few days she was away.

Me? I felt like such a greenie. A newbie to gardening life, even though I've gardened upon city lots for 25 years. And well, I don't think this woman has trusted me ever since, last week, she introduced herself and then pointed to my garden and said "Your tomato plant cages are standing upside down."

Sigh. She must think I'm a moron, but like I told her, I've grown tomatoes tons of years but I've always staked them, never caged them. The cages were here beside the barn so I decided to use them. (And truth be told, I preferred their appearance when they were upside down, but of course, I did eventually turn them over).

Anyway, so there Tom and I were over in their amazing yard and he was asking such basic quesions, one I could've answered easily, but let her answer and I, instead, found myself feeling all sulky and out of sorts. (Yes, me...!). :) I stood there thinking, "Argh... That cinches it. Thanks to Tom, they think for certain we are both gardening idiots." (Pride, pride, pride...) "Well, just wait! Just wait till I've had some time to work on our yard. I'll show them I know what I'm doing. And I won't make our yard anything like this one--it's gonna be totally different and I'm gonna do it all my own way!"

Well, they walked back over here with us and right beside our flower bed she pointed out a weed... I told her I knew it was a weed, but I liked to see it growing there. (Hey, it was the truth. Stop laughing.) We stepped more around the flowers Anna had planted and I tried to throw in some names of flowers I've grown in the past--not to impress her (an impossibility)--just to keep my prideful head above water.

Mostly? Mostly I felt like an idiot and very untrue to myself.

And oh my goodness... the Holy Spirit was hopping up and down, convicting me like crazy... Especially during any of my thoughts which began with the line, "I'll show them..."

That's when He would say, "No, you will not show anyone, anything. You will just keep puttering along, at a sane, peaceful, enjoyable pace all for the pleasure of you and Tom. Because motives matter to Me. The "why" behind what you do greatly colors the "what" --and affects the person you become. Never forget that."

I know, I know... we all know that. But sometimes we all forget in an instant of old-fashioned insecurity. And how good of Him to remind us of the important stuff... and to save us from ourselves. How good of Him to show us the difference between creating a Life from joy and one from strife.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe your neighbor could have been a little more gracious while showing off her knowledge? I think that sometimes we respond in a less than admirable way (inside or out)if we feel someone is patronizing us or is not behaving in a gracious way. That is my experience, anyway. What I usually do is deprecate myself and make some jokes, maybe not the best way to handle things but it keeps me from snarking . . .

Did your neighbor offer to help you? That would have been the most gracious and neighborly thing to do rather than make comparisons, consciously or un-.

Good luck with your garden, you have a lot of years to work on it, and lots of winters to dream over seed catalogs and gardening books.

Laurie S.

RMC1 said...

You know, as you imply, God is so gracious. He doesn't own a sledge hammer! And you know what else? I have a pair of spiritual shoes just like you described. I don't know how they get on my feet at times. They just do! I never go to my closet purposely looking for them. But PTL, they cause my feet to become uncomfortable much sooner these days, and I find I am wearing them less often. I think I am making progress, even though it seems slow. :-) Well, my tongue has been so far into my cheek again, I just bit it!

God continue to BLESS YOU!!!!

"Anna" said...

Your neighbor (I won't use her name since I know you want to avoid that) is a very nice person, but also very straightforward. She was a teacher, now retired. She is also generous. All the irises came from her, along with the ornamental grass next to the chimney and one of the black-eyed Susans, and probably something else I'm forgetting. I'm sure she didn't intend to make you feel like an idiot. Her husband is also generous and helpful (he used to snowblow our driveway and our neighbors' driveways when big snowstorms hit).

She's had 30 years to work on that property, so you are allowed to give yourself a break. :-)

Good as MariGOLD said...

Through the Holy Spirit guidiance I believe you handle yourself well. You know, she may very well be threaten by you. Then again she may believe she is helping you in some way. But she could have done it in a decent way then being so straight forward. I use to stress myself trying to be a people pleaser. Then the Lord just spoke to my heart letting me know that I don't have to prove anything to mankind, only live the kind of life that is pleasing to him. When I'm going through those trials I rest in that so much more, and get so much peace in the end.
btw, love your new place and can't wait to see how you put love into your new home.

Karen

Ann said...

I've had to learn the samething over the years. I've never been able to keep up with "the Jones" so to say. Even now with Sara and the new baby. She seems to have it all together and I remember feeling so dumb when it came to my first baby. Paul says she's learned it from me. I hope so! Have a great weekend.

Donna said...

We, from the city, truly enjoyed ourselves Thursday night at your new "old" home. Glad that we could reconnect.
I understand the feelings you had when viewing the neighbor's 20+ yr old garden. I know that you too will have an expansive garden someday soon. I've seen what you have done in only one month ! The process of planting a garden, taking so long to get it right ( It is never done by the way ) is what makes it so precious.

Judy said...

Oh, Debra.

My flowers are separated from my neighbor's flowers by a chain link fence.

It's SO embarrassing to me, as her flowers are so ORDERLY.

Mine look just like me. Flopped all over, like they don't care (except that i DO care!) I cannot seem to keep each type of flower in it's own little bunch like she does (she is 88).

And, my black-eyed susans have black spots on the leaves. I leaned over the fence, and hers did not seem to.

But, I have a sunflower, and she doesn't. I feel sorry for her, not having one. It is SO beautiful!

debi said...

wow...I alway so appreciate your honest transparency, Debra....thanks!