Sunday, August 15, 2010

Flourishing As Families

For those of you who have read several gardening blogs already - please hang in there. Though some of it may seem redundant... there is more, so hang in there for another great (I hope :) gardening post. Yours truly, Corine :D

As you know, this summer I started gardening again. It has been one of the most wonderful daily experiences for me. I often look upon my garden with wondering eyes... I am in awe at it's beauty, and more importantly... at the lessons that my Father in Heaven teaches me through gardening. I now see the counsel to grow a garden as more than a means to material goods/food. I see it as a means of communication from my Father in Heaven to me; I see it as a tool that a loving Father in Heaven uses for providing sweet lessons that pierce not only the ears that hear, but the hearts, minds, and souls of those who follow His counsel. I am blessed, because I garden.

I have learned many wonderful things from gardening. One of the lessons that I treasure is the lesson I learned from my cucumber plants. I had never planted them before, so was careful to read the directions on the package and do just what they said to do. The directions said to plant the cucumber plants together in clusters of 6-8 seeds per hill, later to be thinned to 3-4 plants per hill. The seeds were to be planted 4-6 inches apart, and each hill was to have a distance of 4-6 feet between them.

I planted my seeds according to directions (with the exception of not noting the distance between hills to be 4-6 feet - not 4-6 inches... lol  :) - but that is another story), and waited for my garden to grow.

Daily, I watered and tended my garden. When the rains came down too hard, I placed tarp over the garden to prevent the seeds from drowning. When it didn't rain enough, I watered it more. I was consistent and regular with nurturing this garden each and every day; I even had a set time in which to do it; just as the sun was setting (my favorite time of day :). If ever I was away from home at sunset, I would make up for that watering first thing in the morning as the sun was rising (my second favorite time of day). Things were going good, and soon my tiny garden began to flourish; it was growing beautifully, and I was proud of it.

Then one day I began to notice two plants growing outside of the hills. They were in the center of the garden, spaced about 4 feet apart from each other, and they were flourishing like mad! They made the other plants seem small, malnourished in comparison... quite inferior to themselves. I watched them in awe. How was it that they were so big? They weren't even on hills... and yet they flourished.

It wasn't until the two star plants grew very large that I realized - they weren't cucumbers. Overnight they surpassed the size of cucumbers and I didn't have the time to even consider picking them. Nor were they the right color. Cucumbers, I thought, were dark green. These were very light green and very unfamiliar to me. It was then that I realized - they were some type of squash... and I had been critical of my cucumbers and transplanted some of them from hills to flat open ground with lots of space like the squash plants had... expecting them to then flourish and grow the same way the squash had grown. But they didn't.

Instead, the transplanted cucumbers went into shock. They did not flourish. They even slowed down on growing and part of the plants died before recovering; they lost part of their leaves and strength for a time. And they never did grow to be big like the squash plants; because they weren't squash. They could only be the best cucumber plants they could be... and trying to make them grow like the squash plants would only stunt their growth... not spur them on.

I thought about my children as these things came to my mind. I thought of how I worried about my twins when they were little because they were not vocal like their big sister was. I thought of how upset I was that they needed speech therapy at 3 years old, because they spoke only 3 word sentences at 3... while their sister spoke fluent, mature, adultlike conversations at only 1 or 2. I thought of how I stressed and worried and tried to make them like their sister... and of how their talents were ignored and undernourished because I tried to force them to spend less time on the subjects that interested them - and more time on the subjects that I thought they needed to flourish in, which did not interest them.

I thought of my daughter and of how she is so slow and steady in her work habits. When she was younger (and when I was younger and "less wise" to put it kindly) I thought she should should work in a whirlwind... like I, and all of my family growing up did. I thought she should wear herself out and not give herself breaks until the job was done... like I did. :O That is, until I developed injuries and got burnt out - thus discovering the wisdom of pacing one's self, and being kind to one's self. Mindy was a great example of how slow and steady wins the race... and of never stopping until she reached the finish line; enjoying it all along the way. 

And as these, and other examples flashed through my mind... I realized that like those cucumbers that I tried to force to be like the squash... I had had times in which I tried to force family members to be like someone that they were not meant to be - someone that they could not be - and some one that they should not be.

I realized that I should have stuck with the directions given on the package rather than relying on my own intelect. I realized that when I follow the directions given in the scriptures and from the living prophets... my family flourishes; but when I do not, growth is stunted.

I was humbled to learn that Heavenly Father gives to us, His children... His children, to raise as if they are our own; and sometimes only he knows what kind of seeds he is planting...

I was humbled to know that these children are His Works of Art... His Masterpieces, not mine. He creates the seeds... we mearly plant and water them. He created the seeds and only He can see their true potential. He gives these children to us, not so that we will try to turn them into something they are not... but so that we will learn to care for them and love them and nourish them... and learn from them. He gave them to us so that we can experience the joy of nurturing them and watching them grow... and watch them  ENJOY the process of becoming what He created them to become.

I am deeply humbled. I realize more than ever before that these children are HIS... they are not mine. I can take no credit for the beautiful people they are becoming... despite the transplanting I have done. Thankfully, they have a loving Father in Heaven who has given them the strength to withstand the shock of the transplanting... and will help them to catch up, and grow, and become what they were meant to become... despite the many foolish mistakes that we as parents make along the way. And in the process of making these mistakes - we are blessed to become better people ourselves. Our children - His children - agree to come to our homes and let us make mistakes that will shock them and temporarily stunt their growths... so that we can grow.

Can you think of a more loving and selfless plan? Is it any wonder that we love our Father in Heaven? SO MUCH? Is it any wonder that we love our children... who are so giving and so selfless with us.. SO MUCH? Is it any wonder that as we grow to adulthood and become parents ourselves  - we come to understand and respect our parents in a way we never imagined possible?

Heavenly Father loves us. He wants us to be happy, and so He has given us all families. Some have begun raising families of their own, and some have not - but all of us have families from whence we came. And it is my testimony that if we love them for what they are, and don't try to make them something that they are not - we will live to watch them grow, and flourish, and become the wonderful people that their Father in Heaven created them to be.

My family is beginning to wake up, and we have church to prepare for at 11:00 this morning, so I will say good bye for now.

Happy gardening in the garden bed of your family!
Corine :D


  1. I actually love all the gardening posts this week, (and I have to admit that I participated myself!) I love this analogy. It is perfect and so true! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Well Corine! Once again, I'm speechless! Imagine. Me. Speechless! Anything I write wouldn't do your post justice.

    It is beautiful. It is poetic. It is... truth. Touching and brilliant my dear! Amen.

  3. Patty Ann - I'm glad the gardening theme hasn't gotten old. hehe. :) Thanks for your sweet comment.

    Rachel - You're so funny! Even when you're "speechless" you ramble on. ;) Thank you so much for your sweet comment; I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

  4. This post was so lovely and so true.

    I love how the Lord speaks to us in our daily lives -- there's so much power in those lessons.

    I'm so grateful for you sharing it. I will be reminded of it throughout the days to come.

    Blessings to you.


  5. Rachel - I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for stopping by and for your comment. :)

  6. Hi! I'm visiting from the homeschool hop. Great blog. I am following it now. Come check mine out and follow it if you are interested.

  7. That was so beautiful. I see God through my children every day too.

  8. Cascia - Thank you so much for your comment and for visiting. :)


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