Five Lessons Learned in the Garden

Last year I moved into a new home.  As part of making it my own, I had several new flowerbeds dug, and this spring has been the time to fill them… a job I recently finished.  While I spent a lot of time and money on my garden this spring, it has all been worth it.  I love taking care of the plants, keeping the beds neat and weed-free, and trying to orchestrate the effects of which plants bloom when and where.  In turn, I am rewarded with a beautiful palette of colorful blooms (I hope) from spring into fall, and with the numerous lessons that gardening teaches each every day.  Here are five I will take with me this growing season:

  • “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”  –Audrey Hepburn     So often we don’t readily see or recognize the fruits of our efforts.  Gardening teaches us to be patient, to wait for the signs of new growth as plants take root and begin to thrive.  We learn that in time, our patience and care will pay off bountifully.
  • “The grass is greenest where you water it.” — Neil Barringham     Pay attention to your garden and care for it regularly, and it will grow lush and beautiful… as will your relationships and every area of your life.  It is as simple and as difficult as that.
  • “If you don’t like the way things are, change it!  You are not a tree.”   –Jim Rohn  One thing I’ve learned from gardening is that nothing is permanent.  Plants, like people  can be moved to a place that’s best for them and where they will thrive.  A garden is a great place to experiment and take risks, and so is life.
  • “Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.”  –A.A. Milne    I tend to yank out plants I don’t recognize, but every so often I am surprised by something that I think is a weed, but is kind of pretty in a way, and I let it go, only to find out later that it is a flower I just didn’t know.  The problems we have often seem like weeds because we don’t recognize them as valuable, and we want to get rid of them as quickly as possible.  It is only later later that we realize just what they’ve contributed to our lives.
  • “Bloom where you are planted.”  — St. Francis de Sales   I am always amazed at how tenacious some plants are, defying all odds and growing from a crack in the sidewalk, under the shade of huge tree, or in the rockiest soil.  What an example for us… to take what we have been given and grow with it!

Recipe to try: Le Pain Quotidien Chia & Coconut Pudding

A couple of weeks ago I was in the mood for chia pudding, something I had tried in Denver with my youngest daughter (shout out to Molly!) and loved so much that it took on a mythical quality…especially since I could never recreate it at home.  But this day was different.  I found a recipe in the Le Pain Quotidien cookbook by Alain Coumont and Jean-Pierre Gabriel (2013) that was topped with a beautiful passion fruit sauce.  With only four ingredients total, this recipe seemed easy, doable, and delicious.  If it came out anywhere near as yummy as the pudding I’d had in Denver, it would be a keeper!

The pudding was simple:  5 T chia seeds stirred into a 14 oz. can of coconut milk.  My problems with chia seed pudding in the past all had to do with it staying too runny, but this time it started to set immediately.  I poured it into ramekins and popped them in the fridge.  It was completely set in a couple of hours, and even though I did not serve it until the next day, it’s good to know i can be made more quickly (should I be desperate for a little fix…)

There was no passion fruit at the store, though, so that tasting will have to come later.  I replaced the passion fruit with a combination of yellow mango, raspberries, and pomegranate seeds.  The recipe called for the fruit to be added to 4 T agave syrup, brought to a boil and then immediately reduced to a low simmer for 5 minutes.  The combination of the sweet mango with the sharper raspberries and pomegranate was delicious, though I might use fewer pomegranate seeds if I did it again.  I think this is one dessert where a wide variety of fruits could be used, with delicious results!

I would definitely make this one again!  Here is a link to the full recipe:

Chia Seed & Coconut Pudding Recipe

 

 

 

Today a New Sun Rises…

“Today a new sun rises for me; everything lives, everything is animated, everything seems to speak to me of my passion, everything invites me to cherish it.”            –Anne de Lenclos in Chicken Soup for the Women’s Soul

One thing I love about collecting quotes is that when I don’t have just the right words for something, someone else usually does.

Today I ran across this quote and these words captured the good mood I was in this morning, the energy I felt starting this new week, and that freshness you feel on a beautiful spring day when it is just good to be alive!

But these words went beyond just that simple, though very nice, feeling. This quote spoke to me today because it illustrates perfectly the hope that comes anytime we realize how infinite in possibility the universe is, and how infinite in possibility we are, too.

Today the sun rose for me, and it rose for you, too.  What is simpler and yet more profound than that?

Today, in honor of the sun rising and the many passions that make life a pretty wonderful journey, I begin.

Tomorrow the sun will rise again for me, and for you. It will also rise on days when we feel less cheerful and optimistic, when we feel unloved and unappreciated, scared for the future or unequipped to deal with daily challenges.  But when I am invited to cherish my passions, I am also invited to cherish myself.  And so are you.  Imperfect, but enough, you and your passions, and me and mine, are exactly what this universe needs.  And that reminds me of another of my favorite quotes:

“How cool is it that the same God that created mountains and oceans and galaxies looked at you and decided that the world needed one of  you, too.”        –Anonymous