May 29, 2012

i dig gardening

Get it? I dig gardening? Because gardening requires digging?
Sometimes I'm super witty.

Anyway, my little deck garden is taking off.
Well... maybe not exactly taking off. But it's growing. And I picked stuff from it the other night and people ate it.
Not me though. I don't eat that kind of stuff. I eat frozen pizzas. Not spinach and lettuce.

I have dark memories of Moma forcing soggy spinach, and squishy carrots, and deceptive mashed potatoes that were actually made out of cauliflower down my throat when I was a little girl. She always said, Just eat it. Just one bite at least. And when you grow up, you'll love this kind of food.
Well I'm here to tell you, at age 28 and a half, that I still gag at the thought of those mashed potatoes.

And one time, I remember cramming every single solitary pea that was on my plate into my mouth and holding it there. And then I wore my innocent face while I went to the bathroom, spit them out into the toilet, and flushed- satisfied that I had escaped a fate worse than death by not having to chew those nasty things.
But then Moma went into the bathroom after me and guess what she saw?
One stupid pea that didn't go down with the rest.
And that's reason number 1,015 that I hate peas.
I also hate all other vegetables... except rice.


I love zinnias. Every time I see their bright wonderfulness, my heart stops and I have to give myself CPR. Which isn't easy, man.
So I bought some at work. Since I get a 40% off discount. (BEST. JOB. EVER. MAN.)
And look how pretty they are! And look at the pansies back there like, Yo... who you taking a picture of over there, huh? Us, huh?
They're like little people. Little children. And I am their mother.
Except when they grow up, I'm going to eat them. Because that's the kind of mother I am.



See that brown gooey looking stuff oozing out on the floor next to my tomatoes there?
Isn't it gross looking?
Guess what it's from.


It's dirt. The best gardening soil ever. With a lot of cow you-know-what mixed in. And when I water my plants, it oozes out and leaves a brown residue all over my deck. (My landlord is gonna love me when I move out.)
Surprisingly, it doesn't gross me out. I stick my bare hands in it and love it.
Sometimes I sniff it.


I bought a lot of this spectacular gardening soil.
Like seriously, a lot.
I asked for half a yard. They said the smallest amount I could get was 3/4 a yard. So I was like, Okay. No big dealio.
And while we were talking yardage, I was picturing the size of a yard stick.
That's not very big.
So I cleared a smallish area in the back of Moma's truck for them to dump the 3/4 yard of dirt in, and stood there happily twirling my yellow sunglasses while I thought about yard sticks.
Then I saw the dirt guy moving more stuff out of Moma's truck.
Then he practically dumped Yellowstone National Park in the back of the truck.
My jaw literally dropped. So did the rear end of Moma's truck. That baby was a low rider for a few days.



Emma will eat little mini bell peppers like candy. (She doesn't get that from me. Gross.)
So I bought a couple little starts for her.
And they've grown a ton in the last couple weeks! And look at all the flowers and buds all over them!
And that cement planter they're growing in? It was my great grandmother's. I have two of them.
Parsley's growing in one, and mini bell's in the other.
I love that I have my great grandmother's planters. I just love it.
Her name was Tilly, and she planted stuff in them too. And so did my grandmother and my moma.



My wittle, bitty garlics are coming up.
They're all like, hi mommy, every time they see me.
And I'm like, I can't wait for you to get bigger so I can take you to Karen and she can roast you in a lasagna.
And then they get all wigged out and terrified and lean way over.




And here's my favorite child.
My baby dill.
I don't know why I love it so much, but I do. Maybe because it was only about a quarter inch tall when I first got it. Practically a preemie. And now it's getting so big and grown up and pretty soon it'll be going off to college and that makes me get all teary eyed.
I'm pretty sure I'll never eat my baby dill.

And my foot is grody looking. I stepped in some of that brown residue on my deck. It oozed.


Here's me and my baby dill.
I just love family pictures.


My first "crop".
I took parts of my innocent children over to Karen's for Memorial Day and everybody ate them in a salad.


It isn't all planted and finished yet, but I love my little garden already.
I don't know why I haven't thought about doing this before.
Urban gardening is fun. I thought there would be a lot of restrictions as far as what will grow in a container and stuff like that.
But apparently, pretty much anything will grow in a pot if you love on it a little.
And apparently, you can even grow little citrus trees in pots too. And indoors! Which has me imagining myself breezily picking my own homegrown fresh oranges. Who needs Florida oranges?

And because He invented plants, and because He is the Master Gardener, and because He is good...
I made this sign for above my stove...


Love,
She Who Tells Her Baby Dill Goodnight

May 23, 2012

sisters are heart friends

I think God invented sisters because He knew I would need a friend that I could never get rid of. Because you can't exactly get rid of your sisters, can you? You're stuck with them for eternity. As it should be.
I think He was like, That Sunny Jane... she'll need help someday.

She'll need someone to tell her about the birds and the bees.
She'll need someone to tell her when to shut up.
She'll need someone to encourage her and tell her things will be okay.
She'll need someone to pull her grey hairs.
She'll need someone to pull her ear when she's a 10 yr old brat.
She'll need someone to lean on.
She'll need someone to go shopping with. (Even though she hates shopping.)
She'll need someone to cook for her.
She'll need someone who will tell her that her hair isn't THAT frizzy.
She'll need someone to tell her she's so amazingly spiritual and full of craft smarts. (Even if it isn't true.)
She'll need someone to text her in the mornings.
She'll need someone to bring her coffees at work.
She'll need someone who will tell her that her skinny collar bones sticking out don't actually make her look THAT skeletal.

She'll need someone who needs her just as much as she needs them.

And so He gave me sisters. A bunch of them. And then He gave them lots of girls of their own.
So now there's even more sisters.
And I love watching this next batch of little sisters growing up.
I mean, it'd be nice if they'd always be small and fit in my lap. But they won't always be littles.
They'll grow up just like me and my sisters.
But, in the meantime, I love the silly faces, and dress-ups, and naps together, and helping each other, and fighting but still loving each other, and cuddles, and bath times, and the I love you's, and the will you sleep with me tonight's.
And when they grow up, I'll love seeing the phone calls and texts, the late nights talking, the chocolate binges together, the shoe sharing and clothes sharing, the shopping (even though I hate shopping), the shoulders leaned on, the encouraging each other, the always there for each other.

The always heart friends because you're sisters.
And that's what sisters do.












God knew sisters would be necessary for the world to go 'round.
God just knows stuff.

Love,
She Who Is Glad God Knows So Much

May 17, 2012

my wildest dream

I had one of my wildest dreams come true this week, and I didn't even vote for Pedro.
I didn't pray much about it either. I just kinda said, Lord of mine, it would be nice if all my wildest dreams came true.
And then one of them did! Here's the thing, God is awfully nice like that.

I'm a gardener. It's what I do. It's how I make a living, and pay bills, and buy more hot glue sticks.
But I only know what I know about gardening because either Moma taught me or I googled it, and there's so much out there that I don't know.
But I want to know it all.
Because gardening is what I love best, and being a truly awesome gardener is one of my wildest dreams.
(My other wildest dreams are to have a farmhouse, and to grow chickens, and to have a hammock. I would also like a blue door somewhere in my house. I dream really huge dreams, let me tell ya. I'm going to conquer the world.)

And so, last year a really wise old man, Pastor Bemis, pushed his glasses high up on his nose with his middle finger in that way he does and asked me, So who are you, and what do you do?
And I was like, Ummm... Sunny Jane? I eat chocolate?
And he pushed his glasses up again and said, You need to figure out who you are, and what you want to be when you grow up.
Which I thought was something only weird people going thru their mysterious mid-life crisis had to do. And just that phrase finding yourself... doesn't it sound kinda psycho babblish? Kinda weirded me out having someone say it to me.
But he was right. Because every time I tried thinking about my future, I drew a blank and ran around in circles and didn't really know what to do with myself. (I seriously don't get how all those teenagers, fresh out of high school, have all this stuff figured out. How do they go to college, and start careers and families, and I'm like, nearly thirty, and I'm only just figuring all this out in the last few years? I'm totally a late bloomer.) And I kept drawing figurative cards out of my hat and saying, Well maybe I'll do this or that... or maybe not. And I never could really get any peace about what direction to invest myself in. And peace is what I needed.
So anyway, Pastor Bemis also told me I needed to find God, and since I'm not much of a multi-tasker, I figured I would just focus on finding all God's onion layers rather than finding myself.
So I did.
And awhile back, sometime last year, I was planting some tomatoes, and had splinters in my kneecaps, and dirt under my fingernails, and a really bad, peely sunburn. And I came home and was digging said dirt out from under said fingernails, and was just so... completely happy and at peace. So absolutely content.
And then I had this huge epiphany, but no one was home for me to tell it to, so I bellowed my happiness at my reflection in the bathroom mirror, I totally want to be a gardener when I grow up! And my neighbor below me banged on her ceiling, which is also my bathroom floor, and told me to pipe down.
But don't you love lightbulb moments? Me too. I'm not really certain why that one never dawned on me before, but like I said, I'm a late bloomer. Also, a little slow on the uptake.
And God worked things out by the end of last summer so that I could be a full time gardener. Which I thought was pretty cool of Him.

And all this past winter I've been thinking, It'd be so cool if I could somehow learn more about gardening. Like, to learn really cool stuff that I don't know.
And I've been looking at websites, reading books, reading magazines, and making plans for my own little apartment deck garden.
But I wanted more than just that.
So that's when I said to God, Lord of mine, it would be nice if all my wildest dreams came true.

And that brings me to me not voting for Pedro, and one of my wildest dream coming true this week.

There's a little gardening place not too far from where I live. It's actually a nursery. But not your typical nursery. It's more like paradise for gardeners. The owner has a very unique and creative style, and I love what she does. I want to be her. I want all the plants she has, and I want to know how in the world she makes her gardens look the way they do, and how does she know exactly which plants to put together in the same flowerpot?
So I went there.
And I asked her if I could be a volunteer employee a few hours a week, in exchange to watch her, and learn a bunch of stuff, and maybe grow up to be like her.
And she said, Why don't I just hire you? No need for you to work for free. I need someone and you could work here whenever you have the time off.
Are you kidding me? It's like getting paid to go to school!

She still has no idea how close she came to getting kissed right on the lips by yours truly.

But I thought it might be an awkward start to our boss/employee relationship. So I refrained.
But it was difficult.

So I worked there all day this past Monday. I learned six things about gardening that I never knew before. I got a bad sunburn. I met new people and they were all nice except one old man who got mad that I didn't have the right zucchini plants that he wanted. I ran all over the place until my legs fell off. I got dirt all over me. I bought some plants at the end of the day and found out I get a 40% employee discount (BEST. JOB. EVER. MAN.). I nearly kissed my new boss on the lips again. But I refrained again. I came home and fell into bed exhausted, and thanked God for being so good to me.

And early this morning, when I was doing some gardening for a client, I looked over at the river in front of me, and listened to the client's infinity pool/waterfall behind me, and watched the geese being dorks across the river, and ate my granola bar while I itched my sunburn... I thought about how Pastor Bemis said to figure out who you are.
And I thought about how it was pretty cool that even though I had forgotten all about him saying that, it had all come full circle.
Because in the end, it doesn't have squat to do with you finding yourself.
In the end, I peeled God's onion layers, found God, and guess who was with Him? Me, that's who.
Find God, you'll find you. No need to run off looking for both. Just need to find Him, and the you part will come along.
Isn't that beautiful the way that works?
I have no doubt Pastor Bemis knew all that when he pushed his glasses up on his nose with his middle finger in that way he does, and I'm really glad God put him there to tell me the things I needed to hear.

So, in closing...

Find God and all your wildest dreams will come true.
It happened to me.

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May 12, 2012

calling her blessed

I remember pressing my bushy five year old eyebrows and chubby nose against the living room window pane, watching my Moma making her rounds outside. She walked out there every evening and I'd watch her talking to her plants. Or watering them with the hose. Or snipping all the dead flowers off. And talking to those plants some more, like they were real people.I liked watching her.
And when I got a little bigger, she took my hand and walked me out there with her. She made a little game of of it.
What's the name of that purple flower, Sunny Jane? 
Does a caladium grow in the shade or the sun?
Why are the leaves on the rose bush spotted black?
Do the hummingbirds like our trumpet vine?
And I'd answer as best I knew, and she'd smile when I got it right.

And now that I'm all grown up, I'm a gardener. You know why? Because of my Moma.
Because she took my hand and walked me out there with her.
And just an hour ago, I was out there talking to my little baby dill plant, telling it to grow baby grow. And you know why? Because of my Moma.
Because I pressed my bushy eyebrows against the window pane when I was a little girl and watched her do the same thing.

When I was growing up, I knew where I'd find Moma every morning. On the living room couch, those crazy rollers in her hair, reading her Bible.
And now that I'm all grown up, I get up every morning and sit in the living room and read my Bible. And Moma sits across from me.
And you know why? Because Moma always did it, and I learned from her.


When I was growing up, Moma sang in the kitchen and we would sit on the counter tops, reading our library books and laughing.
And now that I'm all grow up, the kitchen is my favorite room in the house. Even though I do hate cooking and it makes me sweat and pray harder.
And you know why? Because the kitchen was were Moma was at, the hub of the house, and a happy room.

When I was growing up, Moma sewed stuff and forced me to do it too. I hated it then and I still hate sewing's guts now, but you know what? The other week when I wanted my throw pillows recovered, I recovered them.
Because one time, Moma forced me to learn to sew.


When I was growing up, Moma went to church rain or shine. Blizzard or no.
And now that I'm all grow up, I'm there every time the doors are open. We drive together.
And you know why? Because Moma was faithful.


Moma told me, Don't lie... and don't believe a lie either.
So I told Santa he wasn't real and some of the other kids cried and Moma had to snatch me away.
But I told the truth, and you know why? Because Moma told me to.

And when I was growing up, I watched Moma.
Watched her smile when there was nothing to smile about.
Watched her laugh.
Watched her have compassion.
Watched her serve others before herself. Always.
Watched her kindness.
Watched her sing.
Watched her cooking and scrubbing.
Watched her babysitting and teaching us school.
Watched her faithfulness.

And now that I'm all grown up, I still watch her. And she's the same as she ever was.


And so when people tell me I'm just like my Moma, I feel a burst of happiness over it.
Because I want to be like her.
Because she's the best.
Because at the very core of her is this one good thing that she's chosen and never been shaken from no matter what the ups and downs, to seek God.
And I want to be able to say, I've chosen that good thing too.


Because Moma taught me.

Love,
She Who Rises Up and Calls Her Mother Blessed

May 11, 2012

yummy: strawberry pops

I saw some strawberry pops on Pinterest the other week.
You know, Pinterest.
That place that always makes me feel like I'm getting so much done because I pin all the cool things I want to do, and since I've pinned them, it's like I've already done them. In my imagination. Oh, the power of pinning. There's nothing like it. In the history of the world. Ever.

Anyway, I got Emma and our sunshine baby to help me make these strawberry pops the other day and they were so good, I wanted to share with you guys.
Like, they were seriously good. Cool, creamy, and delectable.
And so easy that even I couldn't whine and complain about stuff always being so difficult. Which is like, a miracle since I'm always up for more whining and complaining and never pass up any opportunity to do so.

I found the original recipe right here, but it was all Bulgarian to me.
Like, literally. And even when I translated it, she (the Bulgarian recipe writer) was all like, grams... milligrams... zamrasete... shokoald.
And I was like, huh? And I said, in confusion, to my laptop screen, I don't understand anything you just said. 
And then I said to my Moma, How much is a gram? And what's a milligram? And who is shokoald? What happened to teaspoons and cups?
But her (the Bulgarian recipe writer's) Bulgarian pictures were so lovely that I greatly desired all the strawberry pops in the world. Right that second.
So I gave it a try. And the results were good.

You'll only need a few things:


:: 1 1/2 cups strawberries, chopped
:: 1 tbs lime juice
:: 3/4 cups sugar
:: 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
:: toothpicks
:: ice trays

Pop the first three ingredients into the blender. Puree them.


While that's pureeing, beat your cream to death. Or at least until stiff peaks form.
And maybe tie your apron around your neck and look really cute while you're at it.


Add the cream to the strawberry mix.


Blend it all together and pour the mixture into the ice trays.
And maybe pop a zit on your chin right before you have your picture taken.
It's the sexy thing to do.


Stick the toothpicks in.


Freeze your little pops for a few hours.
And eat the rest of your strawberries while you wait. And look cute.


And finally, voila! Strawberry pops!
They're very soft and creamy (more like real ice cream rather than popsicles) so you won't be able to just pop them out of the ice trays.
I used a steak knife to pop mine out with. But you could probably find something less sharp and violent, and save a few of your pops from being sliced to death.


Eat 'em until they're gone.
They're so good.
Just ask these guys.


Love,
She Who Only Got A Small Morsel Of These Pops
(because they were gone lickity split, that's how good they were)

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May 08, 2012

plantin' stuff

Remember it was Karen's burfday the other day?
She turned thirty something, and got older.

The kids made a big sign for her.
Don't you love Emma's sense of style? Who else would think that blue flannel pajama pants matched a pink flower shirt?


 And they made a pink lemonade cake. It was pretty.


And I made her a crate planter.
I love it so much, I almost kept it for myself.
But I'm entirely unselfish and gave it to her after all.


You know what's cool?
This little project was almost free. I love free!
I already had all the stuff for the little birthday banner. Yay. Already had the paint. Double yay.
And a lady I know gave me a few old wooden crates (for free, man), and then I went to a free gardening class last week, and they gave everyone free plants.
And the free plants they were giving away happened to be English daisies and alyssum.
... English daisies just happen to be one of Karen's favorite flowers.
So since I had four of the girls with me, I sent them all up to the table and was like, get all the free stuff.
So they did, and I took and planted them for Karen because I know a good deal when I see one.
So basically, I just had to buy dirt. Which was dirt cheap. (Get it?)


And then I went to Target and found this little gnome dude.
Isn't he the cutest thing?
I've wanted to be a gnome in my second life ever since I saw Gnomeo and Juliet.
Hi little gnome dude... I'm waving back to you.


So here are the deets:

1} Flowers are English daisies and alyssum. Both are sweet, sun loving little plants that'll reseed themselves.
2} Blue paint is Teal Bayou by Behr.
3} The little gnome dude was five bucks at Target.
4} The stencils I used on the front of the box were about 4 bucks at Walmart.

That's it.
It was easy. And fun to make.

And did I mention that it was mostly free, and that I hugged myself approximately forty thousand times over that?

Love,
She Who Loves Free Stuff  (With All Her Penny Pinching Heart)


May 04, 2012

happy burfday, sister friend

It's Karen's birthday today.
She's my sister. And she's my friend.

And she has cute, rascally kids.


I love her because of all the nights we stayed up late, talking.

I love her because of all the times I've screwed up and she always still loves me.

I love her because of the daily phone calls and texts... even though we see each other almost everyday.

I love her because she bought some disgusting gross substance that feels like cow slobber for us to put on our hair, and therefore make our hair more beautiful. We'll have slobbery hair together... and beautiful results together.

I love her because she buys fabric to recover her pillows for $14 a yard. And then decides she doesn't really want it anymore. She's the queen of returns.

I love her because she can cook. And I can eat what she cooks.


I love her because she shares her girls with me. Want a few of the girls tonight? I need a break... about to go out of my mind.

I love her because she sees the human population thru rose colored glasses. People are good.

I love her because she wants to do right.

I love her because she's such a good mommy to her six girlies.

I love her because she can never decide what she should wear. So she asks me.

I love her because she's usually even more confused than I am.

I love her because she always asks me to go shopping with her. And actually thinks I'll go. She's optimistic like that.

I love her because she smiles at me over the piano at church.

I love her because she always thought I could protect her from axe murderers when we were growing up. Protect = they could kill me first while she ran for her life.


I love her because she holds my hand.
And no matter what, she'll always be my sister friend.

Happy burfday, Karen waren.
I'm glad God gave me you.