Make it the most wonderful time of the year…

Happy Monday

Last week I was tied up with Tropsical and did not make my deadline. The holidays are approaching, so myself and a lot of entrepreneurs are going into overdrive. Castel from The Alternative posted about not spending emotionally for the holiday season. Definitely a great reminder. This will be my first January as a full time entrepreneur so pray for me!

The juggle is real! Coordinating schedules and organizing gifts can be very time consuming. I have always loved Christmas because it was a time where I would be surrounded with family members. Some I may not have seen all year. It was a time to reconnect and make new memories. This year COVID has altered plans immensely. Lots of people are quarantined and even more are unwilling to travel so a lot of families are split. Financially, this year may be harder for many as well.

This blog started with epiphanies in my garden and it’s only right that I go back to the garden for this one. Like many, when the lockdown began, I started to plant. It was a wonderful time and I enjoyed spending my mornings in my garden amidst my plants. Sticking a seed in some dirt and checking daily for growth is entertaining. At one point I had over 100 plants and this was way after the lockdown. I was even getting messages about plant related issues. Some I was able to help, others not, but I could not believe that I was talking plants! I always thought I didn’t have a green thumb.

Plant life was great and I was feeling myself. Then things started picking up with Tropsical and as I like to say, life was happening. The past couple of months I have lost a lot of plants. And I have been discouraged. Plants, like our relationships, need time and attention. When we spend time with our plants, we are able to give them the attention they need. I could tell which ones needed more water or more sun and which ones needed less. My busy schedule had me rushing when I watered or simply going through the motions. Since November the weather has changed and the plants have adapted. It’s cooler and some of my plants didn’t need to be watered as often. These past two weeks I have made time to be in my garden. Just assessing and adjusting where necessary.

We, too, start to suffer if we don’t take time to pay attention to ourselves. We easily neglect our needs and wants. Our friendships and relationships fail when we don’t spend the necessary time and give the needed attention. They say time heals all wounds and I agree. We have to bear in mind though that although healed, some wounds still cause long term pains. Time gives you the opportunity to grow and learn. In all of our relationships, time helps us build the connections. Disagreements may arise but when we take the time to discuss and decipher them and give it the attention it needs, we can usually resolve the issue. Relationships grow when we spend time hence why it is important to spend time in God’s word to grow your relationship with God.

I admitted that I lost plants but I can also admit that some could have been saved if I had taken time sooner to give them the attention they needed. I was so caught up in myself and feeling bad that I chose to ignore them instead of do something. By the time I finally did something, it was too late for some. And that’s how it is in life. Sometimes we are blinded by our own beliefs and so we choose to ignore and by the time we want to do something, it’s too late.

This holiday season, forgive petty arguments and disagreements. Start working on resolving bigger issues and get help if needed. Spend time with your loved ones. Create new memories.

P.S: Time is so valuable and we never know how much we have left. This weekend I went to Vision & Voice 3 and had an amazing time. Kudos to Cam, Malaika and Kareem! It was a beautiful event but I was also able to spend time with persons I don’t normally see and our conversations and interactions will remain with me. Time is needed to build relationships, hone our crafts, heal, grow and learn. Don’t waste another minute doing things that don’t bring you joy.

Enjoy the holidays and embrace the moments, whether it’s a Zoom session, FaceTime or face to face.

You will know them by their fruits

This morning as I was watering my plants, I noticed my peas. I see them every day as I water but today I really saw them. My garden has been invaded by caterpillars and just a day or two ago, I had to pick some off of my passionfruit plant which is in the same area as my peas. Those pesky bugs already ate my cucumbers, pumpkin and other pea seedlings so I was upset and losing hope as most of my crops were wiped out. I planted these plants months ago and they were flourishing at one point but now I was considering pulling them out. Most of the leaves were gone, thanks to those caterpillars and they looked frail.

But this morning I noticed that despite their lackluster appearance, they were loaded with peas! You have to understand, they barely had any leaves but yet there were peas. And I got it then. Something that I thought was “damaged” could still “bear fruit”. God works in mysterious ways. We look at persons and sometimes ourselves and think we are too damaged to be used but all God sees is a vessel. Many persons have brought their broken spirits to the altar as sacrifice and God has taken them and used them. Psalms 51:17: “my sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart you, God will not despise.”

It makes me think of the phrase, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. We are God’s treasure. No matter how beaten down we feel, he sees glory. See the thing is, even though I saw the leaves being eaten and I was losing hope of them surviving, I continued to water them. They were planted in good soil so everything was still there to allow it to bear fruit.

“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ; that ye should be joined to another, even to him who was raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit unto God.”

Romans 7:4 ASV

“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; and so shall ye be my disciples.”

John 15:8 ASV

“Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root; they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their heart.”

Jeremiah 12:2 ASV

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; so neither can ye, except ye abide in me.”

John 15:4 ASV

God planted us in good soil (our faith) and provided the living waters ( His Word) we need to take root and grow. Our fruit is meant to bring glory to God. God provides for the birds and the grass of the fields ( in this case, plants) so they are literally just being. There were some high winds a while back and the top of my sugar apple tree broke. It was a decent branch and I was worried about its growth but lo and behold, a few days later I saw green leaves shooting from the broken branch. God did that. He restores. But human beings have been given the gift of choice. God did not force us into obeying Him. So as the scripture says we must abide in Him. When we delight ourselves in Him, He gives us the desires of our heart. If we truly abide in Him, we will have hearts after His own.

We are meant to bear fruit to glorify Hin but what is the fruit we are meant to bear? Galatians 5:22 says : “but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” You will know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:16) If we abide in God and bear the fruit of the Spirit, we will glorify God. But as stated in Jeremiah 12:2, He is always on our lips but far from our hearts. Proverbs 14:14 warns us “ the backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.” So again we see that it doesn’t matter what we look like on the outside but what matters is on the inside. Are we abiding in God as we should and thereby bearing fruit that glorify Him or are we backsliders in heart who will be revealed by our fruit?

Inspiration

Gardens are rich grounds for epiphanies

Today’s post may be a little deep so I apologize in advance… or not.

Who are you? Take a few moments and think about it. 

Thought about it? Ok. Good. 

Now remove all of the “titles” such as your job title or profession, any associations or foundations you are apart of, relationship titles and astrological signs. I want to know who you are at your core. Don’t think of the things that allow you to be a part of a certain group, like I am a plant lover or a vegan or anything you can think of. It may be a long list to work through but I challenge you to start stripping away the unnecessary descriptions.

We have been conditioned to fit into a group in order to survive but we are also told to be unique. Bit of an oxymoron. There are some people who know who they are at their core and have kept that alive through their growth and development. There are others who struggle with the question. Some may have been taught to conform during childhood through parents with good intentions, others may have learned to blend in as a trauma response and others may have simply learned to blend in for survival. 

Everyone is shouting self love at the top of their lungs and social media feeds are filled with quotes. But how does someone love themselves when they aren’t sure who they are? I believe it starts with taking inventory of where you are right now. Don’t think about the person you were a year or ten ago. It is also important not to look at the future for this mini exercise. Write the words down on a paper, both the positive and negative. Write the first words that come to your mind as you begin the exercise. Don’t talk yourself out of the words. If you are having trouble then ask a close friend for their thoughts about you. But do not rely solely on their perceptions.

Be honest with yourself but also give yourself some grace. A lot of the traits we think are negative, may not be as negative as we think. Some could be warning signs of boundaries that were crossed. You have to acknowledge the root of the problem. It is also important to know who you are so people don’t try to use certain aspects against you. People will dismiss your feelings based on their view of you that benefits them. People will gaslight you and then make you out to be the bad one. Knowing yourself allows you to identify their abuse and stand strong on your beliefs. Otherwise you will keep changing to benefit them and disregarding your own valid emotions. 

The journey of self discovery and self love is no short one and it comes with difficult climbs and bumpy roads. But the end result is so worth it. COVID lockdown got me gardening again and I would beat myself that I simply did not have a green thumb. In actuality I realized that it is less about having a green thumb and more about accepting each plant for what it was or each seed for what it would be. Some sprout quickly and others take a little longer, some need a lot of water, others don’t like the sun. Taking my time and giving them what they need has allowed me to fill my home, porch and garden with a variety of plants. 

Personally I have all of the patience and grace for my kids, plants, other people but not so much for me. I have had to remind myself of who I am and even challenge some beliefs I held for a long time. I have acknowledged some wounds and begun the healing process. Recently I felt like my character was being attacked or really I was more anxious that it would be. This morning I was trying to transplant two seedlings and I lost both. For the simple fact that I was rushing and not trusting the process. This was a subtle reminder for myself. I know who I am and I trust that God has already worked it out for my good. But if I rush it and do not trust Him then I stand the chance of losing. I only had that realization because I began my journey and know who I am even though I struggle with it regularly. 

When negative thoughts pop up in your head, ask yourself is this true? If it isn’t then say so. If it is, then question why it is and what triggered it. As your confidence builds, some thoughts will simply disappear and others may require more attention. The point is to constantly remind yourself of who you are and embrace that. Give yourself some grace for the parts you are working on. There is an illusion that our faults are so much worse than others when in reality that isn’t true. Know who you are and trust that God or the universe or whatever you believe in is working for your good as long as you are true to you. 

From 4 to 2… RIP my cucumber seedlings