For more years than I can count, a small group of trusts colleagues and dear friends have shared monthly writings around a particular theme. Most of these short essays remain within this trusted circle. No one else sees these words, but there was something about this month’s prompt that made me want to expand the readership — and then I saw that Stacey felt the same pull. She published her essay here.

So here is what I hunted and pecked while breastfeeding my sweet girl the other night to express my thoughts on joy.


During Lent, I planted a garden.

It started with a vegetable garden, just two small raised beds. Within a week, two kale plants died. As did the green pepper. And something else, I can’t recall what it was. Rest in peace, dear nameless plant.

That right there is an actual tomato on the vine. Joy.

I started a compost heap too which the dog decided was a buffet just for her. There’s been a lot of vomit. It has been really gross. Texas soil also has more wildlife in it than even the Pacific Northwest. Here there are both snails and snakes and I’m a tiny bit terrified anytime I plunge my shovel into the dirt.

I’ve gardened before, but this is my first vegetable garden. There are actual tomatoes on the vine. The green peas and snap peas have already started climbing and I’m ever curious if those little buds will ever turn into lettuce. Every day, it amazes me.

There is always something new, just as there is for my sweet baby girl. Every day, she does something that she nor I knew that she could do before. And there’s no one else around so we just stare at each other in total amazement. Both marveling. Both with smiles plastered to our faces.

There’s no one else in the garden either. No one to hear me squeal that the tomato got bigger. It hasn’t died yet, though I’m sure it will. Tomatoes don’t tend to make it here.

I’m not really sure what does make it here between the heat and all the freaking deer, but I’ve started planting flowers, slowly turning over pots and flower beds to unearth new wonders. It’s not going quite as well. The potted plants look dead, or near dead. The beds in the front yard do not seem to want to germinate any of the seeds I’ve planted and there is one bed that was completely grown over that is a constant meditation on the Good Sower. (Am I the bad soil? Can this be good soil? Or are there too many rocks and thorns that the seeds will never sprout?)

But today, one of my lavender plants bloomed with purple flowers. I saw it out the window before I’d even made coffee.

And all I could think was Alleluia.


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