The past month has been especially busy for our family. While we enjoyed our Spring Break hiking adventure, the rest of March has been a series of dentist appointments, planting a spring garden, and hosting company.
Teeth: As I write this, Jacob is getting braces. The lead up to this day has included four extractions, along with a routine six-month teeth cleaning appointment. Unfortunately, Jacob’s mouth is much like mine—too small. (I know some of you are smiling when you think of me having a small mouth, but it is true.) I, too, had to have some teeth pulled prior to wearing braces in high school. So, for the past month Jacob had two separate appointments with our dentist where two teeth were pulled each time. We were very thankful the first round of extractions went so well knowing it would be much more difficult to face the remaining extractions if things didn’t go smoothly the first time. According to our dentist, Jacob did really well on laughing gas. I’m not quite sure what to make of this comment, but suffice it to say the gas mellowed him enough that he has no bad memories of his teeth-pulling experience. Of course, he had his standard share of discomfort afterwards, but the pain pills did the trick. Now we enter the world of many adolescent youth along with their parents where regular appointments with the orthodontist will be a part of our experience.
Tomatoes: With hopes of fresh tomato sandwiches and canning batches of tomato sauce, I planted eight tomato plants a few weeks ago. While I can often focus on the parts of living in Texas that are less than ideal (heat, poison ivy, and fire ants), planting a spring garden tops my list of activities to love about living in Texas. I planted a variety of tomato plants this spring, and tried some varieties I have never planted before—Yellow Plum, Brandywine, and Golden Boy. It remains to be seen how well these different varieties will do in my soil, but the adventure is on and I am excited and hopeful about my results. I also planted some cucumber plants and hope to can pickles for the first time. So much about gardening reflects the spiritual life. My garden requires attention just like my soul does. I need to water, weed, and protect my tender plants. My heart and soul require time and care, and can become a bit out of control if I am not careful. There is lots more I could say about this topic, but I will wait for another time!
Time: This past weekend we hosted some dear friends from our Chicago days. We have known the Carpenters for almost fifteen years. We met as newly married couples, had our children roughly around the same time of each other, and now are in the midst of raising teenagers and pre-teens. As friends, we have logged many hours together from enjoying meals together, working together, and in recent years, spending time together as our family does our summer tour of visiting friends and family. One of the aspects I appreciate about our friendship is the intentionality with which the Carpenters seek to spend time with us. When we visit (either at their place or ours), it is clearly evident that what the Carpenters value most is being together. The visit isn’t about what we do or where we go, but sharing our lives together. Our family has hosted a fair amount of family and friends over the years, and I daresay that they are some of the easiest people to host. They blend into our family life, and make themselves helpful in all sorts of ways. They are the kind of guests who get repeat invitations!
As March draws to close, I am mindful of how full it has been. In spite of the busyness, many ordinary days have passed this month too. Meals needed to be cooked, laundry folded, and groceries purchased. However, in spite of the ordinary days and tasks, there have been many blessings. Experiencing the beauty of Big Bend National Park was certainly a highlight. Marking new stages of life such as Jacob’s braces, and planting for another growing season along with reconnecting with old friends, reminds me that in the midst of the everyday, God’s presence and blessings flow freely and richly.