Sunday, December 13, 2009

Running the Race

It was time for another challenge, so I registered for another 5K. I knew it would be a struggle because I hadn't been running and keeping in shape after the other 5Ks, and this one was on a cold, December day, which didn't excite me at all. However, in the end, this race proved to be far more rewarding.

This time, Rylee joined me for the race. I should point out that at the last minute, due to the cold, rainy weather and my inability to train in time, I opted out of the 5K and settled for the one mile Reindeer Dash that preceded the longer race. Little did I know that this shorter trek would take me much farther than I had expected.

We bundled up to shield ourselves from the cold air and took our place at the starting line. I didn't really know what to expect from Rylee, but I did think that perhaps she wouldn't be able to run the entire mile; nevertheless, I was hopeful, mainly because I knew that I wouldn't be able to carry her the entire way.

The gun went off, so we started to run. I saw her little braids swinging back and forth as she took off with excitement. We ran through the parking lot, out of the park and down the road. As we ran with a group of people, Rylee suddenly sped off without me, ducking and weaving between people. As I struggled, gracefully, to catch up to her, she simply explained, "I had to get around all those slow people." She didn't realize, I guess, that I was one of those slow people, now huffing from the sprint.

We ran down passed the government building and looped back around, heading back to the park. About halfway into the mile, I could tell she was getting tired.

"Mama, can you hold me?"

"I can for just a second while you catch your breath and rest your legs, but then I'm going to have to put you down."

So, I picked her up and carried her for a few yards, while she rested her chin on my shoulder.

"Okay, you're going to have to walk now."

She started to run again, and we were on our way back towards the park. Along the way, she began to strip off her hat and Rudolph nose when they became burdensome and gave them to me to carry. She ran and then walked and then ran again, never again asking for any assistance. I kept encouraging her: "You can do it, sweetheart. We're almost there. It's not far now." She kept running, her little face showing fatigue, but again, she never once complained. As we made our way back up the parking lot, I promised her, "The end is almost here. It's so much fun. People cheer you on while you run through the flags. You are going to love it!" Her eyes lit up, and she ran harder.

We made our way through the crowd getting ready for the 5K and began our descent down the final stretch. We could see the finish line.

"There it is, Rylee! We're here! Run, sweetheart!"

Those little legs never stopped. She made it! She crossed the finish line and received her ribbon. We stopped for a picture, and than I squeezed her and told her how proud I was.

"I want to go ride the ponies," she said, already recovered from the race.

As we walked away, I couldn't help but cry. The tears welled up in my eyes, and all I could think was, "She didn't give up." I reflected on her face toward the end of the run, completely exhausted, and that little girl wanted to see the end, the place where the people cheered her on and she received her prize.

I cried for her endurance: I cried for her ability to reap the reward; I mainly cried because I saw her run with perseverance the race that was set before her.

It reminded me how I have been running a race this last year, and I'm exhausted. And there have been times when I couldn't take another step, so Jesus picked me up to rest snd then put me back down, knowing that I could finish the race. When burdens began to hinder my success, He carried them for me.

Yes, I cried. I cried for many reasons that day, but mainly I cried because Jesus used my little girl to remind me that He has given me the strength to persevere to the end of the race where my reward is waiting.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Little White Lies: A Mother's Survival

It's been awhile since I have blogged. I have no excuse, except that I'm busy with life. However, this past weekend I took Rylee to Jungle Jumpers, and while I was climbing up a ladder, I thought, "This is a blogging moment!"

I observed many things throughout the two hours, but I suppose the most important thing is that I am too old and too out of shape to keep up with a four year old.

We were the only ones there, so naturally I decided I could hang with Rylee. How hard is it to climb up a small ladder and slide down? Well, extremely hard, if you really want to know.

The little blocks that are the steps up the ladder are made for feet with tiny toes. As I'm lifting up my weight from step to step, I feel my toes bending backwards at the joints, unable to sustain the pressure. For fear of permanent damage, I try, as much as possible, to lift the majority of the weight with my biceps. (By the way, that damage isn't felt instantly like the backward-jointed toes; that damage is felt the next day when I try to lift my arm and squeal from the pain.)

I slide down and run to the next jumpy, which again has steps. (Yippee) This time, though, I had problems sliding down. I decide to go head first, which sounds fun and youthful, but as I start to slide, gravity keeps my arms back and I proceed to slide down on my chin, dragging the rest of my body behind me. It wasn't graceful, and I must add, it wasn't painless either.

Then we run, slowly, to the next jumpy where Rylee wants me to bounce her really high. Yes, that's fun, until the fifteenth jump, when my thigh muscles clinch up and won't extend. I drop to the floor in an attempt to let them relax a second, which a 4 year old does NOT comprehend.

On to the next slide (with steps...tears, glistening in my eyes)...Did you know it was possible to get jumpy burn on the way down? It most definitely is. My knee has a nice war wound to match my elbow.

But I press on...going under and over and through obstacles only to end up at the bottom of a tall ladder (with steps) that take me to the top of a huge slide, where I swear I left a layer of my epidermis. All the twisting and twirling through the obstacles keeps making my shirts roll up like a scroll. "Mama, your belly is showing."

"I know, I know," I say as I try to rearrange my shirt and dig out yet another wedgie.

I'm hurting. It's been two days since we left that jumpy place, and my arms are still aching and my toes just aren't quite right, but Rylee had much fun she wanted to go back the next day.

"Oh, sorry's closed today."

No, I do not feel guilty about that lie...not at all.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"Mama, you sound like an elephant!"

I'm glad I've given myself a few hours to recuperate after my traumatic morning because I don't know what emotional blabberings I would have blogged had I done so directly after the event. I plan to relay this horrific event just as I experienced, thoughts and all. Here it goes...

Rylee is sleeping soundly in my bed while I am applying make-up as I get ready for church. I've been up for 30 minutes, letting her sleep just a bit longer. I've taken my shower and have almost completed the make-up process, except for a bit of lipstick. I dig in my drawer trying to find the right shade, when all of a sudden, the house alarm erupts. Unclothed, I run to the bedroom door, slam it shut, and lock it, knowing that I have created at least one more obstacle between the intruder and us. The whole time I am screaming, "WHO IS HERE?!! WHO IS HERE?!"

Someone is. I hear him running through the house, obviously frightened of the blaring alarm, which I refuse to turn off until I know help is on the way. I grab the phone to dial 911, but there is no dial tone. He has cut the phone line! I'm screaming with a voice so stricken with panic, "WHO IS IT?!!! WHO IS IN MY HOUSE?!!" I can't believe this is happening. It's my worst fear, and here I am
alone in the house, facing an intruder.

It is only now that I reach for Rylee to make sure she is okay, but she is gone. She is gone! I swing open the door and run down the hall into the living room,


No answer, except the alarm screaming through the house. I panicked! Where is she? Did he take her?

I rush to the back door and notice the deadbolt is still locked. Rational thought begins to invade my highly emotional being and I realize something...Gilfore. Gilfore the turtle. GILFORE THE TURTLE!

I hear Rylee whimpering amidst the house alarm (yes, still blaring) and I scream for her. I can't find her anywhere. I run back down the hallway and find her in her room, covering her ears, crying.

"Rylee, did you open the back door?"

Crying, she nods her head, still with her hands shielding her ears from the blasts.

"Rylee, you opened the door?"

"Yes," she says.

I run to turn the alarm off, just as the alarm service is calling to make sure all is okay. I give them the password, letting them know not to send anyone.

I grab Rylee, my heart still racing and my hands still shaking. Tears begin to well up in my eyes as I hold her tight. She, still shocked from the experience, has tears in her eyes.

"Rylee, why did you open the back door?"

Quietly and with the sweetest voice, "You said I could feed Gilfore in the morning."

I held her tight in disbelief and relief, allowing the last few minutes to sink in. We sit for a minute before Rylee rebounds quicker than I, saying,

"Mama, you sound like an elephant."

"What?! How do I sound like an elephant?!"

She mimics my breathing, "Hee hoo, hee hoo. You sound like an elephant breathing."

I laugh and I cry, more from relief now that the whole thing is over. I set her down, fix her some cereal, and turn on Mickey Mouse for her to watch.

I return to my bathroom, and shakily, find my lipstick in the drawer.

Friday, July 10, 2009


It's been awhile since I have blogged. I thought I would keep it up when summer came around, you know with all my free time, but I have deduced that I am more motivated to blog when I have a stack of papers to grade. So why am I blogging now? I have a bathroom to clean...

I have had a drama-filled morning, so I thought that blogging would give me an outlet, a relief of tension, a method of relaxation, if you will.

The Friday morning started as usual: woke up, ate breakfast, played around. Then I had the great idea to run, which is very hard to do with a 4 year old, but I thought perhaps she could ride her bike, while I jogged along beside her. I thought it was a great idea; she thought is was a great idea; it was NOT a great idea.

We started out the back door, Rylee on her bike, me with my water and phone in hand (in case we were attacked my a stranger, a dog, a vicious bird). We were having fun, walking and running and riding, until we reached the hill. Or I should say, The Hill.

Rylee took her feet off the pedals and coasted down The Hill, and it was about 20 feet into the free fall that I became aware of her increasing speed and my inability to reach her if she was unable to sustain her balance. I started calling, "Rylee! Rylee, slow down!" But she continued her descent. I started jogging, and yelling, "Rylee! Hit the brakes!" But her speed only grew more intense. I yelled one more time, "RYLEE! RYLEE!!" She finally put her feet down, beginning her 5 second attempt to stop the bike.

Her legs flung out to the side, she slid backwards off the bike, still holding the handle bars, bless her heart. The bike drug her a few feet before the front wheel began to topple side to side, causing her hands to release from the front bars. She fell to the ground, the bike fell on top of her, and then the descent was over.

I came running up to her, laughing, yes, laughing because I couldn't get those last 5 seconds out of my head. A still shot of her would look like she was caught in a wind storm and she was holding on for dear life while her body flung horizontally over her bike. Yes, it was funny.

"Rylee, are you okay?" I managed to squeak out.
"Yes. I couldn't stop," she said in shock.
"Why didn't you hit the brakes?"
"I couldn't do it. I was going too fast."
"Do you want to go back home?"
"No, I am okay. I didn't get hurt."
"Okay, good. That was sort of funny, though."
"Uh,oh," she says, her voice shaking.

I looked down and saw what she saw: a quarter-sized bloody spot on the inside of her knee where she made contact with the road before the bike fell on top of her.

That was it. The laughing was over. She started crying, I mean, screaming, I mean, wailing because the pain. Automatically, her leg was not functional, so she continued to wail while balancing on one leg.

I had quite a dilemma. We were about half a mile from the house, down a hill, in a remote place. I thought I could carry her back, but I had her bike, my phone, and my water to think about as well. I called for reinforcements.

Rylee's dad couldn't get there for ten minutes, which really isn't that long, unless you have a 4 year old wailing on the side of the road in 80 degree weather, then 10 minutes is a very long time, almost eternal. About five minutes into the wait, I decided to make the walk back to the house. I stashed the bike in the woods, chunked my water, and picked up Rylee, who decided to go limp at the point of contact.

I start walking up The Hill, and about half way up, my breathing gets a bit heavier. Sweat is dripping off of me, which gets worse because Rylee sporatically is beating me on the back because the pain is so intense. My breathing gets louder, and through her screams, I notice her looking up at me, probably even more afraid of the sounds coming out of me. But I press on...

I get to the top of The Hill and feel successful...for a short second, because I know I have a loooong way to go, and the rest of the trip is in the direct sun. But that wasn't the worst; every time the wind hit her scratch, I mean, wound, I mean, death-inducing gash, she screams, tightens up, and beats me on the back.

Now, I know the girl was in pain. Heck, at this point, I was in pain, but there was no way I could make the pain, for either of us, go away.

"Honey, I can't do that!"
With more intensity, "MAKE THE WIND STAAAAH-OPPP! IT HU-URTS!"

As a mother, I wish I could have. As a mother, holding 35 pounds of a wailing mess, I desperately wish I could have. But I couldn't, and I also couldn't walk anymore.

I found some shade off on the side of the road, and, defeated, waited for her dad. He had found the hidden bike and came to take us home. She cried off and on for an hour and a half, but at this moment, she is okay. She's limping around the house, she won't pull her undies down to go to the potty, and there is no telling when I will ever get her in the bath again, but she is not crying anymore, and trust me, that is the most important thing.

I think tomorrow I will just go to the gym.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Poops, I Did It Again

I have shared before about Rylee’s desire to potty outside. I thought it was her animal phase, which has lasted over a year now. One day while my mom and I were talking in my driveway, my mom suddenly gasped. I whirled around to see what was happening, and Rylee was squatting in the yard, pants down at her ankles, saying, “I’m just gonna take a little poop.”

I rushed over and whipped up her pants before she could make anything happen, wondering what on earth would have provoked her to do this. I tried to explain to her that little girls don’t pull down their pants and potty outside.

Another time she and I were playing outside when she said, “Oh, I have to poop.”

“Go ahead, then.”

She looks around the yard and says, “Where?”

“Inside, you goof!”

I’m not sure where she gets it, the desire to poop outside. It’s a strange phase, perplexing, one I can’t trace back to a single source…until yesterday.

The first swim of the season! The weather was just okay, but the pool looked so inviting, so we put on our bathing suits and dove in. We hadn’t been out there 15 minutes when Rylee announced that she had to poop. I have to add that Rylee has done this every year, multiple times throughout the swimming season.

“Oh, Rylee. Are you sure?” She was dancing around, holding her bottom, so I knew the answer. It’s such a pain to pull down a wet bathing suit, and even harder trying to pull it back up. Furthermore, I didn’t want her going inside wet because I was afraid she would slip on the hardwood floor, so I had an idea.

“Rylee, come over here to the grass.” I tried to pull her bathing suit over far enough so that her backside was exposed (all of you ladies who never wanted to take off your bathing suit to pee can relate to this obstacle). I had tugged all the way over and told her to squat. I had many things running through my mind: how are we going to wipe? What will I use to scoop it up when she’s finished?

I guess the pressure was too much for her as well, so she quickly stood up and said, “Nevermind.”

We jumped back into the pool, but soon after, she declared that she really had to go.

Defeated, I dried her off and sent her into the house to poop. When she came back, it took us five minutes to pull the wet bathing suit back up into its proper position. But finally, we found success and jumped back into the pool.

In the end, Rylee was relieved, and I didn’t have to scoop any poop.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

And the Oscar for Best Actress Goes to....

...Rylee Sargent for her performance in the bathtub. **gasps, applause**

Rylee is a tough, little girl. She loves to tackle, to give wet willies, and to throw punches that sting, but she cannot handle a little boo boo. I'm not talking about a deep gash or a slice to the leg; I'm talking about a small scratch, a mark, a mere lifting of a millimeter of skin.

Her recent diva moment involved a tiny red line across her knee that apparently stung when it hit water; however, she had been in the bath for 10 minutes before she realized it was there, and in turn, realized it was stinging.

"Mamaaaa!!! It hurts!!!!"
"Okay, let's get out of the tub."
"But I caaaann't waallk."

She tries to fling her leg over the side of the tub without putting any pressure on it. As she stands there like a flamingo, I get her as dry as possible so that I can carry her into the living room. The entire time she is whimpering and whining about the pain as if her leg may detach at any moment.

I lift her up, strenuously, I might add, because she is so limp due to the "pain" of this life-altering wound.

Heaving, I take her into the living room, turn on the tv, and let her recuperate from her emotional and scarring experience in the tub.

Sweating, I crash on the couch and reflect on the last 5 minutes. I feel inclined to stand and give her an enthusiastic ovation because I know she gave it her all. She delivered her performance and got what she wanted...out of the tub in time to see Dora.

Well done, little girl. Please don't forget to thank the Academy.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Hairy Pits

As Mother's Day approaches, I can't help but think how lucky I am to have such a sweet daughter who fills me with such joy and happiness, while at the same time, contributes to my stress and humility.

I'll start with the sweet moments....

Rylee loves to give me random kisses, which are always so cute. The other day she runs in and kisses me on the leg, then runs out again.

"Rylee, what was that for?"
"Because I love you."

I thought that was sweet, but then I noticed that a 1-800-FLOWERS commercial was on saying, "Show your mom that you love her." I totally melted, as you can imagine.

On the weekends I let her sleep with me, and she often says, "Snuggle with me, Mama." She gets as close to me as she can without penetrating my skin. I'll start to sweat and cramp up, but I don't move her away...not until she is fast asleep.

She has the best personality and we laugh all the time, but I do know that I will have to work on some ladylike behavior before too long. She loves to toot on me, go to the bathroom in the yard, and lately, wants to stand up to urinate in the toilet. She's only four, I still have time...right?

As sweet as she is, she also often causes me a bit of stress. She knows when I say, "Mama is getting very upset" that she has crossed the line. Her biggest issue now is not answering me when I ask her something.

"Rylee, do you want a snack?"
"RyRy, are you hungry?"
More silence.
"RYLEE, ANSWER ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Smiling, "What, Mama? I didn't hear you."

It's that smile, that little twinkle in her eye that says, "I got her" that just stresses me out. How can this cute little angel who likes to snuggle be so evil?

Then, there are the humbling moments, the moments that seem so sweet but turn so quickly. Rylee and I were playing together, having fun, and she says, "Oh, Mama, your lips smell like garbage." Or when I'm leaving for work and tell her how cute she looks and she says, "Well, you look like a boy." Or perhaps, just last night, when I was reaching over her to buckle her into the carseat, and she reaches up my arm sleeve to say,

"Mama, what is this?"
"It's my armpit."
"It's hairy!!!"

And that,people, is my sweet, stressful, and humbling offspring....

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Butt Crack

I read a devotion yesterday titled, "Being a Mom That Matters". It really hit home for me because I know that I don't always give my all because I am so overwhelmed with all the things that need to get done throughout the day. I took their points to heart:

1. Be a mom that loves God - this is so important because Rylee will see who I depend on for strength, especially during difficult times. She will learn to also depend on God for wisdom, strength, etc by following my example.

2. Be a mom that prays continually - sometime I forget how important it is to cover my child with prayers continually. I pray coverage over her, for God to protect her from any physical, sexual or emotional abuse. These are scary times, and I want to make sure that her innocence is protected.

3. Be a mom who gives time - I've noticed that time is all she needs, whether I'm sitting next to her in a chair or I'm watching her play a computer game.

I've had some difficult nights putting her to bed because she calls me back to the room for a thousand various reasons, so I have tried a different routine that has seemed to work. After she crawls in bed, we read a book and then I pray.

Last night, while I started to pray, she began to gargle her water, thinking she was being funny. I tried to explain to her that praying is serious and that we don't play around when someone is praying. So this was our conversation:

"Rylee, it's not nice to make noises like that when someone is praying. We want to talk to Jesus and ask him to help us feel better. If you don't take the prayer seriously, then he may not answer it."

"But I want to see Jesus."

"You will one day, but right now, you can talk to him and ask him to help us start feeling better."

"But when will I see him?"

"One day you will see him when you get to Heaven."

"Up in the clouds? In Heaven?"

"Yes, but until then, you can talk to him anytime you want and pray to him."

"Like when I say a bad word?"

"Why would you say a bad word?"

"Like maybe when I say butt crack?", she says so seriously.

Shocked, I say, "Why would you say butt crack, Rylee?

"Well, sometimes James tells me that he's gonna crack me in the butt."

"Well, I suppose, you can tell Jesus that."

"Jesus, you know, got those stitches in him from those bad guys and then he got up again." (This is her translation of the crucifixion and resurrection).

"Yes, that's right."

"Good night, Mama."

If I had chosen not to give her the time, I wonder what I would've been doing in those 5 minutes that could've been more important than that...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Prom's da Bomb...

I attended Prom last a chaperone, that is. I came to one conclusion during the night: I'm old. I'm very, very old.

First of all, the dresses were almost not considered dresses, more like half bathing suit and half evening gown. I was glad to see that sequins were back in, especially since my senior prom dress was a purple, sequined gown. However, mine did not have cut outs all over it, exposing my hip bone, belly button, or back. And the goodness, there was enough cleavage there to satisfy Hugh Hefner. I just imagined the girls trying on their dresses, walking out of the dressing room, and their moms saying, "Oh, now that's adorable!"

Second of all, there were a handful of ball caps at the prom. Yes, baseball caps. I will say, the guys at least chose caps that matched their dates' dresses. But what's kind of sad is the fact that the cap was a thought-out accesory; it was part of their attire.

Thirdly, I didn't recognize any of the songs the DJ played. I suppose "Ring Around the Rosey" and "One Two, Buckle My Shoe" has far removed me of any modern dance hits. The students knew them all and hollered (or holla'd) whenever the songs came on. Towards the end of the night, the DJ did play "Thriller", "Ice, Ice Baby" and "Fresh Prince of Bel Air", but I am sure this was a tactic to get the kids to start clearing out of the room.

Next, the dancing. I really can't call it that. It was more like vertical sex, vertical sex that sometimes existed in a train of students, backed up to each other. I really can't talk much about the "dancing" without becoming disturbed.

I suppose the days of the "Macarena" and the "Electric Slide" are over. I suppose the days of classy dresses and groomed guys are over.

However, there was one saving grace of the night. A boy asked his girlfriend to marry him while they were getting their pictures taken. She went around showing everyone her engagement ring. When a teacher asked the boy what his mother said, he replied, "Oh, she's happy. She says we can sleep together now."

(Did I mention the girl is preggers?)

Yes, I am old. I'm very, very old....

Friday, May 1, 2009

"Bend Over and Let Me See"

I've always been picky about things. My meat has to be cooked a certain way (burnt) and I've never really been fond of eating things off the bone. I know I can't be the only one who is sickened by that dark red vein of a chicken wing that pops back after your teeth have torn through the meaty flesh. Don't put me in charge of cooking chicken, because by the time I am done chiseling away at the white cartilage and blood spots, the chicken breast turns into a chicken nugget. Don't even get me started on those red blotches in lunch meat.

I've also never enjoyed touching fish. I've been fishing many, many times, and I love it. I really do, but only as long as someone else puts my minnow on the hook and takes the fish off the hook once I've caught it. There's just something about not knowing when it's about to wiggle that causes me some anxiety.

I failed Freshman Biology Lab because I just couldn't do it. I remember walking in the lab one day and saw my lab partners holding a rat we were to dissect. I courteously said my good-byes and walked right out. I just didn't see the purpose in knowing what was inside that incredibly ugly creature.

Then I became a mom....

Somehow the gross factor is intensified so much that it just doesn't matter anymore. I'm changing a diaper and notice I have poo smeared all over my hand, and I merely wipe it off. No flinching. No dry-heaving. I'm feeding my baby and she vomits milk all over me. No worries. I just change my shirt. And when did boogies not become gross anymore? I truly feel like a boogie collector.

"Mama!" Rylee calls from the bedroom at night.

"Yes, darling?"

"I have a boogie for you".

"Thank you," I say, while taking it and leaving the room.

Thank you? Did I just thank her for handing me a boogie? We went for a week with her calling me back to hand me her treasure two to three times a night. I wanted to just tell her, "Wipe it on the wall. I wash it off tomorrow", exasperated from walking back and forth each night. I did tell her one night, "Just flick it off!" But what was so funny is that I wasn't bothered by the boogie itself, just the fact that I had to walk across the house to get it. When did the boogie stop bothering me?

Perhaps when she started wiping her own behind after a good poo...

Well after she was potty trained, I still wiped her bottom after she dropped a big one. I just wanted to make sure she wasn't carrying around any fecal matter that would be displaced somewhere else later in the day. But, she's four now, and has been wiping on her own. However, I still ask her, "Did you wipe good enough?"


"Bend over and let me see."

I'm not really sure when looking at someone's booty hole become a natural part of my day, but nevertheless, it did. I don't ask her to bend over anymore, since I trust that she has adequate wiping skills, but it never fails that after she poos, she comes to me and drops her pants, bends over to the ground and shows me she's all clean. How do I respond to this?

"Good job, baby girl, the poo is all gone."

Then she pulls her pants up and we go on with our day....

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?

Since my divorce, I have found myself in various situations that I had never had to handle alone: getting lost in Atlanta, putting together furniture (which all came with a million screws and whose directions were written by someone who likes to be vague), and cleaning and painting rooms in the house. I felt so accomplished when I had completed these tasks because I had done them...on my own. But then came the garden...

I have wanted a garden for a couple of years now, so once my divorce was final, I knew that was one project I would take on. In theory, it sounds pretty easy: dig the soil, drop the seeds, and water. However, I found that even though I could do those simple tasks, I still had to rely on someone to get some of it done. This was frustrating to me, since I had been handling things alone for a couple of months and finding that I could do everything on my own. But, I couldn't till the ground. It was too hard, not only to use the tiller, but to actually find one. There was a moment of defeat one night, and I remember just being sad. I had felt invincible until then: "I am woman, hear me roar!" But that night, a feeling of helplessness came over me. I couldn't do it all and, in the future, won't be able to do it all.

I just prayed, "Please, God, I need this garden. Please provide a tiller and a 'tiller-er'". A few days later, my prayers were answered and I had an 11x11 ft plot of dirt ready for vegetables. The work was hard (digging, hoeing, digging some more), but all the vegetables were in the ground.

The garden represents many things to me: independence, discipline, collaboration. But the garden is more symbolic. I want the vegetables to grow, but more importantly, I need them to grow. It represents beauty birthed from dirt and worms. It represents strong roots producing nourishment. It represents my life from which beauty will abound through muck and heartache.

I am excited to see the garden every day, to see what new growth has formed on the plants. As this new growth forms, I realize that new growth springs forth in my own life, as I adjust to the "garden" in which my seeds have been planted.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"Mama, where is God?"

I am still amazed when I see the innocence of a child in action. I usually talk about innocence with my students when we see objects in stories that are white and tend to represent the innocence of a particular character, etc, but when I "see" the innocence of a child, I feel so blessed. Sometimes I catch Rylee talking to "Mr. Dolphin" or "Mr. Turtle" only to realize that she is talking to a cloud shaped like those animals. She thinks the moon follows us to school in the morning, and from time to time, she whispers things to it as we drive along.

Without knowing it, Rylee has blessed me in so many ways throughout the last few months, and I think the raw innocence of childhood offers so many "lessons" that make me stop and contemplate. I have also realized just how much she observes and takes things in, which makes me more aware of how I react to situations.I have had several opportunities to talk to her about Jesus, because my choir songs have talked about "nails in his hands" and so forth, so being curious, she wants to know why. She has begun to call upon Jesus whenever she is hurt or if I have a headache, and her prayers are so simple, so innocent. (I did have to remind her that we don't yell at Jesus, we just call upon Him, when she was yelling to the sky, "JESUS, MAKE OUR VEGETABLES GROW!!!").

Rylee and I were on our way home yesterday when we had the most adorable conversation. She has a new "big girl" carseat, so she was sitting next to the window, which she can roll down all by herself now. With the wind blowing in her hair, she was looking up at the sky and asked,"Mama, where is God?"

"He's everywhere, sweetheart."

"Can I see Him?"

"You can't see Him, but you can see all the wonderful things He does for us and all the beautiful things He creates."

"Does He live in the sky?"

"Well, I guess you could say He's in the sky, but you know, you can talk to Him whenever you want to. What would you say to God?"

She was quiet for a moment and then closed her eyes and said, "God, I love you!"

What a sweet snapshot in time and a lovely reminder of how my "vague" answers were enough for her to believe that God lives everywhere, even though she can't see Him physically. The faith of my innocent child reminded me that even though I can't "see" the plan God has created, He will reveal it to me when it's time, and I have faith that He will do so.