Mulching the Garden

Appreciating and Accepting

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I spent much of Saturday outside. Weeding garden beds, laying mulch in the beds to prevent weeds, and harvesting some of the Spring crops. Nobody really cared for this year’s radishes. So we pulled them up and fed the tops to the chickens and bunnies. Every usable leaf of spinach was harvested and placed in the freeze-dryer. What didn’t fit we threw in a salad. And you know what? Despite the very high humidity and my bright red and tender sunburns, I actually enjoyed it.

If you would’ve told me that I’d actually enjoy working in the garden on a humid Saturday 10 years ago I wouldn’t have believed you and thought you were crazy. Five years ago, I would have done everything in my power to avoid it because I’m not someone that enjoys the Summer heat and humidity. Two years ago, I would have done it but not really enjoyed it.

I know that 2020 was a hard year for everyone for a variety of reasons and many of us are ready to move on. But the truth is that 2020 literally changed my life for the better. I’ve talked before about 2020 showing me how complacent I had become.

But there’s more…

2020 forced me to take an honest look at my life and the blessings that I was surrounded with. I was able to see, maybe for the first time, how great my life was. Growing up homesteading was just something that we did. Growing and preserving food was woven into the fabric of our everyday lives. We never did it on a large scale or really tried to avoid shopping at the grocery store. Back then it was a hobby and a dream. Something that we carried on from our ancestors, a way to be old-fashioned and preserve a part of our past. However, I was able to actually understand and see the value in the way that I had been raised and the skills that had become second nature in our family.

Canning Pickles

I NEVER in my wildest dreams EVER thought that I’d actually enjoy homesteading. Let alone understand the need for it and want to expand what we have. Or have a desire to do it on my own with my own family someday.

And yet, here we are! God does indeed work in mysterious ways and I’m pretty sure He has a pretty good sense of humor. If nothing else, my entire life is proof of that!

I was able to really appreciate how close our family is during normal circumstances let alone in 2020.

The way we eat dinner together 6/7 nights out of the week. The only reason it’s not every day is that Bradley works one day a week. We work together to accomplish a goal and oftentimes we’re all outside working in the garden or around the yard. In all actuality, we all like to be home.

Given the option, nobody knows where they would actually want to go on vacation. Sure, there are a few things we’d like to see and do. But the idea of packing, traveling, and leaving the homestead; sleeping in a strange place and just being away from home doesn’t appeal to us. Let’s not forget the way that we communicate. Believe it or not, we may actually talk too much. Sharing ideas, theories, thoughts, and different things we’ve seen all throughout the day. This often seems odd to other families, for us, it’d be odd if we didn’t. It’s just how we’ve always done things–it’s a part of who we are.

Family Smiling

Once I was able to actually SEE the blessings that surrounded me DAILY I was able to appreciate the life that I had been given so much more. And appreciating what I had, and who I was with led to acceptance.

In Elementary and Middle School I desperately wanted to fit in and be part of the “in” crowd. That never worked no matter how hard I tried. So, I tried to be friends with the teachers thinking that maybe I’d finally fit in that way. That didn’t really work either. I was actually given a couple of teachers that liked the popular crowd as much as my peers. 2020 helped me to see that standing out and being different wasn’t actually a bad thing. Rather it was something to be thankful for and to treasure.

For the first time in my life, I was able to accept that I was different than almost all of my peers and learn (very slowly) to be okay with it. Learning to accept who I am, the family and friends I had, and what God has called me to do. I finally realized why I felt so inadequate and “less than” around those that were around my age. I am on a completely different path than they are. And that’s OKAY.

Believe me, I am NOT perfect beyond any stretch of the imagination. And I still struggle. A lot. I have to constantly remind myself of the truth.

The truth that I’m made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and that He has unique plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 2:10). But now, that I’m learning to actually accept who I am and the life that I’ve been given I’m finding myself asking how I can make the most of it. How can I soak up every good thing, learn every lesson, and document all of it in a way that I’ll be able to understand it all in 20 years? How can I share all of this with you in a way that encourages you and inspires you to look for the contentment that I’m beginning to discover in my life?

Until next time,

Bailey Sue