Monday, April 18, 2016

Literally and Figuratively Sowing Seeds

First, a little mood music. Today's selection - Apple Tree by Erykah Badu.

After years of imagining and dreaming of a backyard garden, I finally got to work!

I could have been grading papers or working on a paper that needs revising, or working on another manuscript that won't let me rest, but instead, I decided to sow seeds - literally and figuratively. 

Life in academia is rough. Beginning my career as a tenure-track professor being pregnant, on bed rest, and caring for a newborn, now toddler, exacerbates the struggle.  I've spent the last month and a half trying to get back on track - establishing a productive writing routine, bouncing from conference to conference to conference.  For someone who is very, very shy, attending conferences does a number on my spirit, and by "does a number," I mean makes me anxiety-ridden. It's hard putting yourself out there. Rubbing elbows and exchanging cards drains me.  Walking up to strangers to share how their work impacts you is tough, especially when that person is looking through you in search of a bigger name to flatter. Academia is one part rigor and five two parts self-promotion. I've decided that I'm going to go hard for my career, but I'll have to do it in my own way, on my own terms.  This ain't nobody else's race to run but my own, and I think I lost sight of that. This article blessed me this morning. I have rockstar potential, but I'm going to let the work (and some strategic social engagement) be my calling card. 

So this past weekend, in an effort to recalibrate and shake off the academic residue, my family and I sowed seeds - literally and figuratively. 

I've dreamed of growing a garden for years.  Maybe it's the southern girl in me.  Maybe it's the inner-boho-Badu (as my husband would describe it). Either way, I've always had the desire to grow my own food. We planned on gardening last year, but moving into our house in mid-May pushed gardening way down on our list of priorities. After over a month of palm pressing and hobnobbing, and the cold weather FINALLY gone for good, Hubs and I decided it was time to get going.  

Following the advice of every gardening site I read, I only planted what I knew we'd eat - lettuce, kale, cucumbers, red peppers, onion, and garlic.  We also did some container gardening for a watermelon and some strawberries. I've still gotta plant the herbs, but we're up and running!  

Things always happen when they are supposed to happen (Lord, why can't I hold onto this?!?). Starting our garden this year gave us the awesome opportunity to share the activity with Little Miss TJ. And, y'all, she took right to it. 

Posted up and serious about the work
As annoyed as I was that she was undoing our hard work at times, I was more grateful to watch her enjoy connecting with nature.  She's a helpful kid by nature, so she was more than willing to make sure that everything was watered.  

As y'all can see, she was serious about keeping the plants nice and hydrated. Let's pray she doesn't drown them. 

As we worked on the yard, I realized I felt something that I hadn't felt in a while - RELAXED! 

Tending to our little garden gave me a way to connect with my family.  It also allowed us to do a little personal sowing. We sowed:

Seeds of Quality Time: Being outside with each other made my heart full. The joy on Little Miss TJ's face was priceless.

Seeds of Teamwork: We all came inside hot and tired, yet accomplished.

Seeds of Patience: Hubs and I are mindful of how we engage with Little Miss TJ as she "helps" with the garden, and we are teaching her to wait for our seeds to blossom and grow.

Seeds of Self-Care: I needed this weekend off (well, mostly off). Tending to the garden took me away from the world of due dates and deadlines.

This weekend also reminded me that my sweet, chubby-cheeked baby is evolving into her own autonomous, independent little person. Check her out!

I just noticed Tyson trying to get a little bit of H20. Ha! 

These are just a few of the special moments we shared in the yard yesterday.  We are already reaping from what we sowed.  I believe this. The garden, like our lives, need to be cultivated.  Sometimes it (and we) need a little pruning and some new soil to get us growing. I love getting lessons when I'm not looking for them. Continue to lift me up as I cultivate my backyard garden, my inner garden, my marriage garden, and my family-life garden. All of these things will contribute to the improvement of my work-life garden, which is slowly starting to bud.

I'll be sure to keep you all posted on the garden.  Given all the hard work, time, and energy (and coins!) we put into it, we want to eat from our back yard this summer! Also pray for Tyson - He's already eating the watermelon leaves, and I'm NOT happy about it. Sigh.

Until next time - I'll be over here sowing seeds in all my gardens.  


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