Making a Resurrection Garden

Spring can mean many different things depending on who you ask. From our farm view it is the start of the New Year. It brings baby animals, buds on the trees, blooms on the flowering crab trees, tulips (that I forgot to plant last fall! Ugh!) There’s spring cleaning of the house, yard, barn, flowerbeds, and gardens. It can get really crazy as things come out of winter hibernation. Spring is also a time to slow down and be thankful. That’s right being thankful isn’t limited to one day in November, you know the day before people go to town and fight over the latest gadget.

Giving thanks really should be done daily. In fact many studies have shown that the more one takes note of what they have to be thankful for the happier and more content they are. This is everything from a simple act of kindness, good health, an unexpected phone call from a friend or the orange soda you had for lunch. Every season brings something more to be thankful for and in the spring it’s the resurrection and what that means for us.

The weeks leading up to Easter are observed with fasting, self-reflecting, and most commonly the giving up something; such as the ever popular “sweets” or coffee. It seems like kind of a cop-out really. Give up the same thing every year because it requires no real soul searching or thought; “My pants are tight from Christmas, I suppose giving up sweets would be a good idea.” I’m not saying going without coffee or chocolate cake is an easy task, especially when you are still coming down from the cookie high of the holidays. But really, does it do you any spiritual good? Probably not. I knew a gal that for lent she said she was going to go to church every day for a year. Ho-ly Bananas! God bless her! She did it. I for one, am quite positive that a Lenten task such as that I would be setting myself up for complete failure. I mean done by day two failure.

For the past years, I have skipped the usual giving something up in the coffee sense of it. Instead I donate a minimum of one laundry basket of stuff a week. Yes, I would say the first few years were an easy route. I had a lot of clothes that I didn’t wear, old decorations I didn’t put up and so on. As the years have gone by this has begun to get tougher. I don’t collect nearly as much stuff as I used to and with our small house I have been getting rid of things year round. So each passing year is causing me to dig deeper into some of the things that I hold on to a little more dearly. The family heirlooms aren’t going anywhere but my ever growing book collection, cookbooks especially, I hate to part with for example. Going through the shelves is a sacrifice for me. But there is still not much in the spiritual department so to speak.

In addition to my usual (not quite) daily readings I have added a few other quiet tasks to my Lenten list. I needed something more, something that would teach. Something not just for me but for the family as a whole. With tiny ones (1 and 2 years old) teaching the concept to Easter is a tough one. The little boy knows the story of Christmas. He can tell you who’s who in the books and nativity scenes, (some of which are out all year in our home, a gentle reminder). He will tell you Joseph had to sleep in the barn and Mary had baby Jesus. There were animals, angels and shepherds and so on. Easter, on the other hand, seems harder to teach this age. He can learn the story but the story is a violent journey ending in joy that is not quite comprehensible for such a little mind.

We do put a small gift or two in the stockings and one gift from Santa but try to emphasize the true meaning of Christmas. It’s easier with Christmas. It’s a happy story for the entire journey. Easter, comes with bunnies, jelly beans and Easter egg hunts and a man being killed on a cross and then rising from the dead. Such violence is hard to explain to someone who has never experienced something more violent than a flick on the mouth for talking back or a time out. The crucifix in our living room is looked at with a puzzled look when he is told “that’s Jesus”. He hasn’t thought about why Jesus is up there or how he got there or the pain and suffering that put him there.

The rebirth, and new beginnings can symbolized in some of what has become another over-commercialized holiday but it can be found. Empty plastic eggs compared to an empty tomb, bunnies and baby chicks to new life or candy as a celebration for fasting. Ok that last one is a stretch but you get the picture.

Our dining room table always has a center piece and for the Lenten season it is an empty patch of dirt, with a cross of nails and a small cave. Jesus is sad for these weeks, there is no green grass or pretty flowers. When we talk back or push our sister it makes Jesus sad and the empty dirt is a reminder to be nice. We water the empty dirt on Friday and tell Jesus we are sorry for the things we shouldn’t have done, what we are thankful for and good deeds we did. These are simple things- talked back, threw a toy not meant for throwing, thankful for a warm house and family, we helped put the books back on the shelf and set the table.

A week and a half or so before Easter the dirt is heavily seeded with grass seed. As we continue to water during reflection time grass begins to sprout. On Easter morning, the grass is full and green and there might be a butterfly or flowers. Jesus is happy and we are too.

It’s the least violent way I could think of to teach about this season to a toddler. The repent for our sins is made into as simple terms as possible. We are learning to take ownership of our actions and acknowledge all that we have been giving.

Don’t get me wrong, come Easter morning their baskets will be “hidden” with a treat, a dyed egg and new toothbrush. The Easter bunny will have come and left a couple dishes of special candies and with any luck there may be an egg hunt later in the day. We can have the “bunny fun” as a side note of Easter and not the center of attention.

(We always got a new toothbrush from Santa and the Easter Bunny. Give one for Halloween and you know everyone is getting a fresh brush a few times a year anyway.)

Resurrection Garden
Resurrection Garden
Resurrection Garden
Resurrection Garden
Continue Reading

Counting Blessings

The gate we are able to use that was from Grandma's farm.
The gate we are able to use that was from Grandma’s farm.

I have mentioned before that I believe everything happens for a reason and it happens when God decides it’s going to. With this thought we have been blessed by so many. Though we recognize it and thank God for them daily, during the Christmas season I like to look back at the past year and give another thoughtful thanks for all we’ve been graced with.

During our “homeless” time, which was a few months, we were able to live with my parents. The farm came for sale when we needed a home. It was the perfect size and in the perfect location. From the time we packed up in North Dakota with the help of some friends that are more like family, to unpacking here we have has so much help.

The “new” house needed paint. My uncle had painting equipment for us to borrow.  We had friends and family come to help paint and clean before we unpacked.

The time came where we needed a second paycheck, meaning I could no longer be a full time stay at home mom. With the tip from a friend and a miracle I got a job at the local telephone company. The hours allow me to spend the majority of the day with the little boy.

The freezer was a couple days from being unplugged last fall when dad let me shoot the little deer that came to our stand. That put enough in the freezer until another uncle stopped by and dropped of extra beef he had out of the blue. This was just in time as the freezer was again almost empty and the in-laws were coming to stay and they don’t care for wild game. The beef was gone and we were able to purchase 1/2 a pig at a benefit dinner/auction for a friend who help me years ago at the bakery. The freezer continues to empty and fill one way or another. Always just in time and always a blessing.

Winter came and it was one of the worst we’ve had in a long while. We (Mike, I don’t plow snow yet) had help plowing our driveway when he was working through the night plowing for work, from my dad and the neighbor at times. Just to give you an idea of just how bad it was at times, I buried my Escape, hood deep, from the head lights to the back of the drivers door by the barn. I figured I gunned it to make it through the other drifts I could get through that one too. I was wrong. It came to a dead stop and I had a lot of shoveling to do to get out of that one.

The fence went up with the help of my dad finding posts at grandmas and borrowing a friends ASV to dig holes. It was some long days and long weekends spent in the cool spring with him, my brother and husband getting that done. A little more scavenging by dad and we had a fair amount of used barbed wire at a decent price.

My best friend spent a beautiful spring day carrying field rocks from piles, across the yard, to fix up some flower beds. That was a huge job. We emptied a few piles into the flower beds.

Then was the chicken coop. Again the help of family to get that together. Mom and my sister baby sitting last minute so the guys could work uninterrupted while I was at work.

The first haying season was upon us, our neighbor came over with his tractors and equipment, between him, my dad and husband again, hay was put up. We sold some to have something to pay the neighbor for his help. It wasn’t much but we will continue to try to repay him in one way or another.


The hay was up and we were given, yes given, Lucy! I couldn’t believe it. I had wanted a Dexter and had hoped in a few years we would have one on the farm so I could milk her. Never would I have guessed we would have one so soon and gifted to us. I will be in debt to them for a long time! I am ever so thankful and do my best to “pay it forward” until I can pay it back some how.

This fall we butchered chickens again with the help of Grandma, an uncle, cousins, parents, siblings, and friends. With the help of so many, such a not so great job, went really well.

Instulated Stock tank

Winter is here again and the cows need water, not an ice block. Dad made an insulated stock tank (using one from Grandma’s farm) and we were again given, a tank heater. Mike and my dad built the cow pen and hay feeder for in the barn just before the snow was here to stay.

The few times that we have left town as a family, my sister has been able to stay at the farm and take care of the (multiplying) animals. Summer chores are relatively easy, winter chores take much more time and effort and she took on the challenge each time.

We have also been blessed with Nana and Grandpa day care. I know baby sitting for a few hours in the middle of the afternoon can interrupt many plans especially when it is days in a row and not just “here and there”.

These are just a few of the many blessings that have came our way in the past year. We are ever so thankful and wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a year full of blessings!


Continue Reading