relationships

Springtime…And A Young Girl’s Heart

It’s springtime.  The season when winter eases its chokehold, the ground softens making way for new growth.  Buds burst open and leaves unfurl as young flowers mature into their blossoms.

Nestled together in the garden, it’s not long before the inevitable comparisons arise.  Each amazing and breathtaking in their own right, they can’t help but wonder how they measure up against the whole.

“Are my petals too plump?

“Do these leaves make my bottom look wide?”

Of course not.  You’re beautiful.

“You’re just saying that because you’re my gardener, aren’t you?”

Then it happens.  The handsome stranger strolls along and spritzs the crowd with a mist of attention.  The bed goes crazy.  Everyone brightens, arching further toward the admirer, each hoping to be noticed.  “Pick me.  Pick me!”

He leans over and plucks you by the stem, taking you home for his own.  You’ve been chosen as the most beautiful bloom, a stand out among the crowd, worthy of being taken home for display.

But you despair.  You’re alone.  You find yourself perched on a pedestal.  No longer surrounded by your colorful counterparts, once admired by many, you’re now occupied by one.  Passersby gawk and exclaim, but rarely linger.  Why would they?

You’re taken.  Chosen.

You glance around, and wonder, “What are the others doing?” Are they basking in the sun?  Adorned by bees and butterflies?  Or swaying to the breeze, wild and free.

Why so sad?  Isn’t this what you wanted?  Weren’t you feeling cramped, lost among the cluster of your peers?  Didn’t you yearn to be deemed most lovely?  Most desirable?

Well, sure…in so many words.  We all want to be “picked,” cherished as the most beautiful, perfect creation of all.   Doesn’t it follow that we should be ecstatic when clipped free from the crowd?  Aren’t we supposed to be happy?

Yes and no.  If your petals were chosen to express love, then yes.  But if they were chosen to be displayed like a trophy…then no.  What’s the point?

Odd to compare girls to flowers, I know.  But as my daughter grows and blossoms, I can’t help but see the similarities.  While toiling away in the garden, weeding and pruning, mulching and fertilizing, I feel a swell of anticipation —  it’s spring!  The time for renewal and growth, blossoms and beauty –

And my daughter’s birthday.  Time passes so quickly, she’s maturing so fast.  It seems like only yesterday she was a little girl.  But now, she’s heading toward adolescence and the change is remarkable.  She’s blossoming toward her teenage years, flowering into womanhood.

And I worry.  She’s feeling the pinch of the crowd, the snip of comparison.  How do I reassure her of her glorious and unique qualities?  Remind her she is an extraordinary, oxygen-breathing, life-creating creature to behold?  An integral piece in the cycle of life?

I want to tell her: rejoice in your color and shape.  Embrace the length of your stems, the breadth of your petals.  While they may differ from others, they all work the same.  Ultimately, our physical parts all perform the same tasks.

Yes, indulge in the sunshine, reach for the sky, bask in the attention of your admirers — but be wary the gardener interested in clipping your beauty for his own.  If your blooms must be taken, aim for love.  A rose shared between hearts lasts a lifetime.  Cuttings die within days.

Consider instead, the bees.  They’re willing to work hard for your nectar!  As opposed to being selfish, their goal is worthy; seeking the highest and best good.  I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the gardener willing to spritz you with attention, just keep in mind some spritzers carry toxic substances.  At first glance, they appear harmless, but upon closer inspection the poison is revealed.  But then again, my sweet, you were so focused on being noticed…

Please.  Take your time.  Allow nature to take its course.  You’ll be happier in the end.

Which Plant Does Your Man Resemble?

Have you ever wondered about the similarities between plants and men?  Probably not!  Most sane people don’t.  But me, when I’m not writing, I spend a lot of time in my garden—maybe too much—and my thoughts?  Well, they naturally veer in that direction and I realized men and plants have much in common!

Ever wonder, if your man were a plant, which would he be?  Just for fun, I’ve listed a few.

Corn – Tall and slender with silken hair, this man provides well and yields a harvest of golden treasure.  While pleasing to look at, beware:  he also tends to be needy; easily blown over by the slightest of breezes—not the man for you hardier types.

Peanut – This good ‘ole boy is made of solid stuff, on the inside and the outside, not to mention he’s filled with sweet old-fashioned appeal.  For most ladies, it’s a tough combination to resist.  Add the fact the kids love him and you’ve got yourself a marrying man!

row of peanuts

Watermelon – This well-rounded fun-loving guy is always welcome at a summer barbecue and usually proves a big hit with the kids.  Prone to balding, his colorful personality distracts one from notice.  However, take heed.  If left to his own device, this one can grow wild and get quite out of hand!

Garlic – This fellow is somewhat distant, as he spends long periods of time out of sight, only to emerge when conditions improve.  Strong and distinct, he’s not for everyone, but given the right environment, he can show great depth, even mellow his pungent tone with time.  A worthy peer, indeed. More

Valentine’s Day in the Garden

Have you ever wondered about the similarities between plants and men?  Probably not!  Most sane people don’t.  But me, when I’m not writing, I spend a lot of time in my garden—maybe too much—and my thoughts?  Well, they naturally veer in that direction and I realized men and plants have much in common!

Ever wonder, if your man were a plant, which would he be?  Just for fun, I’ve listed a few.

Corn – Tall and slender with silken hair, this man provides well and yields a harvest of golden treasure.  While pleasing to look at, beware:  he also tends to be needy; easily blown over by the slightest of breezes—not the man for you hardier types.

Peanut – This good ‘ole boy is made of solid stuff, on the inside and the outside, not to mention he’s filled with sweet old-fashioned appeal.  For most ladies, it’s a tough combination to resist.  Add the fact the kids love him and you’ve got yourself a marrying man!

row of peanuts

Watermelon – This well-rounded fun-loving guy is always welcome at a summer barbecue and usually proves a big hit with the kids.  Prone to balding, his colorful personality distracts one from notice.  However, take heed.  If left to his own device, this one can grow wild and get quite out of hand!

Garlic – This fellow is somewhat distant, as he spends long periods of time out of sight, only to emerge when conditions improve.  Strong and distinct, he’s not for everyone, but given the right environment, he can show great depth, even mellow his pungent tone with time.  A worthy peer, indeed. More

Relationship Fun in the Garden

Have you ever wondered about the similarities between plants and men?  Probably not!  Most sane people don’t.  But me, when I’m not writing, I spend a lot of time in my garden—maybe too much—and my thoughts?  Well, they naturally veer in that direction and I realized men and plants have much in common!

Ever wonder, if your man were a plant, which would he be?  Just for fun, I’ve listed a few.

Corn – Tall and slender with silken hair, this man provides well and yields a harvest of golden treasure.  While pleasing to look at, beware:  he also tends to be needy; easily blown over by the slightest of breezes—not the man for you hardier types!

Peanut – This good ole boy is made of solid stuff, on the inside and the outside, not to mention he’s filled with sweet old-fashioned appeal.  For most ladies, it’s a tough combination to resist.  Add the fact the kids love him and you’ve got yourself a marrying man!

Watermelon – This well-rounded fun-loving guy is always welcome at a summer barbecue and usually proves a big hit with the kids.  Prone to balding, his colorful personality distracts one from notice.  However, take heed.  If left to his own device, this one can grow wild and get quite out of hand!

Garlic – This fellow is somewhat distant, as he spends long periods of time out of sight, only to emerge when conditions improve.  Strong and distinct, he’s not for everyone, but given the right environment, he can show great depth, even mellow his pungent tone with time.  A worthy peer, indeed.

Okra – Strong, of firm build, this one likes it hot and enjoys it spicy—very at home in the Big Easy, too.  Generally speaking, he blends well with others, can plant himself anywhere, but caution:  he can be seedy, even a bit slimy at times.

Potatoes – These fellas are generous producers, enjoyed by most everyone as they appeal to a variety of tastes.  They can get easily crowded, though, so give them plenty of space.  If you do, you’ll have yourself a real winner with this one.  Note:  be patient with the sweeter types—they need a little more time before they’re ready to hit the dinner-date table.  But if you can wait, go for it.  You’ll reap the gold with this gem!

Onion – Sometimes sharp, sometimes sweet, this notable companion enhances every dish he meets.  But don’t be fooled.  You have to watch yourself around this double-edged treat.  He tends to “age” those around him quicker than most, and will often make you cry.  But if you like a challenge, give him a try.  He will infuse your life with flavor!

Raspberry – Sweet at first sight, this guy may follow up with a tart bite.  He generally likes to be left alone—literally thrives out in the wild of nature.  Ah…an adventurous type yourself, you’ll feel drawn to this bright and colorful character, but be forewarned:  he’s got thorns and lots of them.

Squash – Talk about diversity, this one has it!  From sunny yellow summers to cold and cozy winters, this man will keep you well supplied no matter the season.  The cutest of pumpkins, he’s always welcome during the holidays, and his cousin plays a mean racquet ball—for you sportier types.  But keep him moving; stagnation easily leads to illness with this one.  Rest assured, if variety is your thing, take heart.  This dazzling character can fulfill your desires, tenfold.

Carrots – Bred from firm and solid fiber, these men are steady and strong and always there for you.  Given proper attention, they can also become quite sweet in nature; a true hidden treasure, if ever there was one.  They do need some elbow room, exhibit a bit of thinning at times, but if you’re willing to work for it, this one’s a keeper!

Beets – Down to earth is putting it mildly with this guy—he’s knee deep in it!   Quiet, mellow, well-rounded…  It’s a wonder he doesn’t rank top of the list for every woman in town.  Perhaps he can come on a bit strong, in an easy-going sort of way.  But if you have thick skin and like to keep it real?   This one’s for you.

Lettuce – This boy likes everybody and everybody likes him.  Similar to the granola-type male, this fella stays healthy and fit, slim and trim.  How could he be anything else?  He has a knack for blending well with any crowd and blend well, though be careful—once he mingles, it’s hard to separate him from the mix!

Tomatoes – This popular guy is an all around favorite with the ladies, most drawn to his bright and cheery appearance and radiant personality.  A real reliable kind of guy, sweet with a hint of tang, meaty and quite robust—he comes in all sizes.  Yes, this one is tempting.  Be sure you’re in for the commitment—he’s going to need it if you expect him to produce.

My husband?  He’s definitely a raspberry with garlic tendencies, yet aging like a carrot.

Me?  He claims I’m a Venus flytrap.  Yes, I gave him the evil eye—at first.  But then, I got to thinking.  Imagine the unique and stunning plant for a moment, with her beautiful red, heart-shaped petiole, her pair of symmetrical lobes hinged near the midriff—I mean, midrib.

Lovely so far, isn’t it?  Catches insects and spiders with a bat of her eyelashes.  Tolerates fiery tempers—er, fire well.  Tolerates fire well.   Actually uses the flames to suppress the competition around the neighborhood.  (Sounds like a feisty gal to me!)  Sure, she can be difficult to grow, but what plant doesn’t have its difficult days?  You know, the more I think about it, the more I heard compliment.

And if you like romance, check out my Valentine’s giveaway — including books and chocolate!

The ugly side of going green

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I live in a semi-rural neighborhood.  I have lovely neighbors with lovely lawns.  So lovely in fact, with their lush green lawn, perfectly trimmed hedges, and aromatic roses, it can be a pinch of harsh reality when I turn toward my yard, a veritable field of sand and weeds.  My spirits dip.  A field full.  I remind myself it takes time and effort to have a lawn so lovely.  Effort, which flows through my every pore, yet is rendered meaningless without the ever evasive “time.”  Evasive, when you consider my schedule.   What the kids haven’t devoured, and chores haven’t swamped, the garden swallows up anything left!  If only I could transfer some of the energy wasted on the “busy thought” usurping my sleeping hours…

You may think it’s best I avoid looking over the fence, but with chain link, you can see right through.  It’s still over there, beckoning my envy with its pristine perfection.  Taunting, really, if I allow myself to succumb to my more base instincts.  After all, walking from the house to the garden through a sticker-filled mess of weeds is no picnic.  And the ants.  Down right vicious little beasts.  But the vegetables won’t wait, and ants and weeds aside, I must get to it. 

One pleasant afternoon, my next door neighbor strolled over.  Taking a break from my weeding, I rose to meet her at the fence for an impromtu visit.  She asked about the family and how the kids were faring.   She glanced over my rows of dirt, politely overlooking the fact that some weren’t perfectly straight.  We discussed the veggies I’ve planted, which ones are blooming and which ones have not.  And as we talk over the fence, my knees covered in dirt, she fresh and lovely, I’m reminded of why we originally chose my side of the fence to place our garden; the one we had intended to share, until life stepped in the way.  

Truth of the matter, she had once tried a garden on her side of the fence.  My gaze wandered to the spot, not twenty feet from where we stood.  Like my yard, there was plenty of room, her side well-irrigated.  Lingering in thought, I imagined it there, meticulous rows of healthy green plants, boasting plump red tomatoes and full husks of corn, their silks glistening beneath the soft dusk of light.  So ample and abundant, it would have made for a quite the feast.  But then it hit me —

— tried and failed.  Well, not failed, exactly, as in no blossoms and no produce.  But she had no sure fire success, either.  Despite she and her husband’s extensive knowledge on the subject of gardening, they gave up on the idea of homegrown vegetables.  Nematodes underground, bugs above it.  Bad soil, whatever.  The details mattered not.  It simply didn’t work out as they had hoped. 

So we tried it on my side.  And so far so good.  My outlook suddenly brightened.  Sure, my veggies aren’t quite as vibrant and robust as they had been during the spring, when my neighbors and I worked side by side, but they were still here. 

I breathed in the significance.  They were still here…  I glanced at my garden once more, but this time, my off-colored greens and spotted bean leaves took on a whole new light.  While they weren’t picture perfect, they were producing.  While the grass wasn’t grass, more weeds, sand and insects – it was workable.  It was more than workable.  It was working.  And yes, it took a lot of work to get here, but it was a labor of love. 

Mine. 

As my neighbor turned to go, she said quietly, “You know, your garden really is beautiful.” 

My focus stumbled.  Was that a wistful note of envy I detected in her voice?  Was it possible?  I ventured a peek toward my mix of sand, compost, rows of hay in varying stages of decay and thought, really?  She thought it beautiful?  

Tripping over my thank you, I watched her walk back to her house and thought, nah.  I was imagining things.  There was no envy there.  Why would there be?

But taking a survey of her surroundings as she strolled up the hill, listening to the screen door as it slapped closed behind her, it dawned on me…  Maybe there was.  Don’t we all, from time to time, succumb to the beast called envy?  A bit?  Albeit a tiny bit, but a bit? 

Her yard was beautiful, yes, but there was more to it than the eye could see, just as there is to everything in life.  More than the rebel weed chancing a rear of its head between thick blades of St. Augustine, more than the brave grub daring to brown her lawn…   Her lawn was lovely on the outside, but it has it’s hidden flaws.  Flaws I wouldn’t have known, had she not shared.  But this change in my perception didn’t make her yard any less beautiful.  On the contrary.  It made it more real.  As it did mine.  Granted, mine won’t make the cover of any home and garden issue, but that’s okay.  It’s beautiful, in my eyes.  Moreso, now that I’m not comparing it to hers. 

By my hand it grows, by my care it blooms.  As does my life.  I can choose to stop at the surface, or I can choose to dig deeper.  With lawns, gardens, or people.  The effort is mine to make, the time mine to create, limited only by choice; mine.  With a renewed sense of purpose, I returned to my weeding, glad for the neighbor I hold dear, glad for the opportunity to grow.

All about us

My girlfriend asked me how I was going to draw similarities between women and gardens and I laughed.  That’s the easy part!  Much like the garden, with proper care and feeding a woman will produce year after year — and I’m not talking children — but results, in more ways than one.  Remember:  “When momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy,” and that’s the truth.  At least in my house.  But when she is, the family walks around with a smile on their face, a meal in their belly and a song on their lips.  Except Daddy better have more than a song on his lips.  Momma needs smoochin!