Showing posts with label growing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label growing. Show all posts

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Another Disappointment

Jenna's been in a slump
I wish I knew how to fix the situation
surely as my mom wished she could
when I was the age that Jenna is now

 I don't believe mom had gone through this slump
when she was thirteen.
Her parents were newly divorced and
she was a latch key kid trying to support her mom
and help look after her brothers
She didn't have time to get bored
Jenna gets bored
I got bored.
How unfortunate.

I think my mom had it harder than I do.
Jenna still allows herself to be disappointed
whenever plans don't work out or
promises get broken.
When I was thirteen, I had already fixed my mind
into believing that I didn't care
It was a lot easier to not care than be hurt all the time

Lonely.  We both needed good friends.
And actually I was in a better position as far
as contact goes.  There were fewer working mothers
and houses close together. 
I could walk up or down the street and
spend some time with either Julie or Janeen.
Jenna has never really had a soul mate
a great friend she could confide in that
is nearer to her own age

 We both thought she and Annette were like two peas
in a pod.  I had even created a post about it.
Unfortunately Annette's mom seems to have control issues
and insecurities much like the mother
of Jenna's sisters - who we are not in contact with because
they were brainwashed into believing we are horrible people.

She and Kylee hung out the other day.  I wish
they could get together more often -
especially since each is lonely in her own way.
But it doesn't work out as often as we'd like.

Jenna has always wanted to do activities with the boys rather
than the girls.
She hasn't always liked young women or
activity days before that.
She also has issues with the newest beehive who
needs to be involved - but somehow seems socially awkward.

The young women - or perhaps it was all of the youth -
had planned for a dress-up party. 
Initially, Jenna had wanted to go as a lobster.
She doesn't have a lobster costume, but did purchase
a scary costume for Halloween.  She decided
she would wear the costume to the bbq/party. 
She's been looking forward to it for over a month.
Last week it was announced that there would no longer be a bbq
but bring your laptops.  We will find names in family files
so that we can do baptisms.
Oh, joy.  So not only is the bbq cancelled, but have turned it
into something completely boring.

 I actually enjoyed family history when I was her age
A Million times more than I do now.
Well - perhaps less than a million.
And it was never the genealogy thing.  It was
the adults I enjoyed being with.
Wow.  That sounds weird to my ears as I write that.
I was thirteen.  What did I know?

 Jenna hangs around adults at the library and
our water aerobics class.  I think she feels more comfortable
I know I did.
I didn't do well with girls my age.
I guess they all weren't like Barbie dolls but
there were enough that were into boys
and fads
and fashions
and I never was.
I can understand her not relating to the YW.
There are so few of them.
I understand why plans change.
I don't understand why they did when I was a youth.
I often got upset with those who would suggest the activity
and not bother to show.  What's up with that anyway.

So that's been a slump contributor I'm sure, plus
the fact that she has been without a room for 
the last two months. 
Service Master was great when we had their fans -
They checked on us every day.
But once they had their equipment back
we weren't even an afterthought.
Our house still isn't finished.
But Jenna's things have finally been returned.

 She's been hot and cold. 
Mood swings and slumps.
I do believe my mother had it worse.
I was a psychological mishap.
I HATED being a teenager. 
I would never want to go through that again.
And yet . . . here I am.  Going through it.
Experiencing it from a mother's point of view.
And I cry when I think about how my mom
must have felt.
It was heartache for her
and she didn't know what to do.
And I want to apologize to her.
I want to say I'm sorry I was such a spaz,
and I'm thankful that you didn't have to go through it
with all of us.

On Monday we will watch the eclipse at the pool.
I was able to make Jenna smile
laugh actually
when I shared this thought
that I took from facebook
(I don't know who to credit though -
one of Corey's friends . . . .)


Today we went and picked pears.
I don't know if I'll post about it or not.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Sometimes we have to go off course to make Dreams Happen

                For math class this week, we (the students) are required to post a discussion about our dream job.  I think all throughout the course we are required.  We are also required to take ourselves in optional directions.  I know it's a good thing to keep an open mind.  Sometimes our direction is thrown off course.  Sometimes we realize the dreams we're chasing are not really what we want.  Often we're not prepared for the alterations that fall into our path.  Many times we are in control.  Sometimes we're not - but we need to learn how.

                So the math discussion prompt is for me to look into my magic crystal ball and see my future in my dream job with math.  Becoming an accountant was never a dream job.  Working with numbers has always felt more like a nightmare that a dream.  A dream job with numbers?  This is what I posted for my math class yesterday:

"My Dream Job without math . . . that would be a dream, for as we discovered in last week's discussion, math is essential for so much in our lives.  I think it would be fantastic if I did have that ideal awesome job, so awesome in fact, that I would never look at the clock to see what time it is because I am thoroughly enjoying myself that I don't even think about the time.

"Even if that were true, there's still that matter of my paycheck and the money management.  I am majoring in accounting.  I don't feel like that's my dream job, however.  I would like to serve others in a positive way.  My husband is working on his masters in business.  Right now he is considering opening an adult day care.  If the crystal ball is accurate, we will be up and running our business in less than four years.  He will do all the marketing, and I will balance the books, cut checks for payrolls . . . Chances are really great that I will have a need for knowing the decimals that we get to learn this week (yippee)

"If someone else reading the crystal ball would tell me that I can just slide out my future with no math at all, I wouldn't believe it."

            I don't know what I may have considered "the dream job" when I was younger.  Each of us has a different perspective of what the dream job entails.  In the area I live now, I would think that just  finding employment within a 20-mile radius within the county would be a dream job for a lot of people.  There's really not a wide variety to choose from, let alone obtain  - especially for a full time.

                 I would love to get paid for my thoughts - so I could not only make a living, but have a handsome sum to set aside for those emergency situations, or a well-deserved vacation.  I realize there is pocket change to be had through blogging.  I don't enjoy seeing ads clutter up anyone's blog page.  Why would I then let it clutter up mine?

            Few are successful at making their passion work for them in their profession.  There many who have to take a second job to support their dream desires.  My cousin, Michelle, is an artist.  My brother-in-law, Bill, is a photographer and my brother, Corey is an actor.  Each seems to have to hustle from one assignment to the next - or (in Bill's case) do it on the side more as a hobby, and if he should get paid for what he loves, maybe it's a perk.

                Roland asked me what it is that I love that I could make money on.  I'm not going to love it if I have to put a price tag on it.  He doesn't get it, but there are some of us who do relate to Harry Connick's character, Justin Matisse from Hope Floats when he says:

                "You're talkin' 'bout the American Dream. You find something that you love, and then you twist it, and you torture it, try and find a way to make money at it. You spend a lifetime doing that. At the end, you can't find a trace of what you started out lovin'. What did you start out lovin'?"

            The choices of majors for an online college seem to be limited.  I went with accounting, because of the four choices, it seemed the most promising as far as finding a job.  Plus, my belief was that I could be left in a backroom to do my thing and I wouldn't have to socialize with anybody.  I'm learning quickly that with any job I get, I am going to be a part of a team and I will need to contribute to more than just the books. 
                Here are my speaker's notes of a power point which was the last assignment I had to turn in for the philosophy class that I took last mod; the one I had attempted to correct in this post:

"I became an accountant so that my employer would stick me in a back room to do the books and I would not have to talk to anyone. My knowledge would be of our spending and profit; that would be it.  Why would I ever need to learn what takes place on the floor?  It is not my job to mingle with the clients or other employees. 

"For example, if I was working in an adult daycare,  I wouldn’t have to know  what time the seniors eat; just what was spent  on food and what profit we made. That is all I was hired for, right?

"If a client were to ask a CEO or one of his employees a question, ideally the answer would be the same.   Would that also apply to the accountant?  Would the accountant have to attend all of the meetings as the CEO to fully understand the ins and outs of the company?  Would the CEO have to go on Undercover Boss to understand the employees who might think they’re at the bottom of the totem pole?  It’s a matter of communication and respect. 

"We each have something to bring to the table.  What is it that brought us to adult day care?  Why do we care about this company?  What can we add to the company that others may benefit?  How do we achieve this goal? By working together, by researching the needs of our clients, learning their likes and dislikes and understanding what will work best for them.

"Now say, for instance, we were having a meeting about ways to improve the center or bring in more clientele.  First, we need to brainstorm what it is we'd like to accomplish and share our ideas.  Don't be afraid of making suggestions.  If you think there's something valid to share - share it.  We need to listen to one another - even if we don't agree with what is being said, we need to allow each team member to complete his or her thoughts. Furthermore, we need to work together and utilize our skills and talents. 

"Band members need to listen and take cues, not only from their conductor but the other instruments which surround them.  Sports team players need to understand the communication both off and on the field so that they may play a successful game.  CEOs and those they employee need to work as a team and stay in sync so that everyone can understand what is expected to make for a successful company. A good leader will delegate effectively. 

"Now I understand.  I am still a link in the chain of a working function.  If the client or anyone expressing potential interest asks me about Generations Adult Day Care, my answer should come out the same as the business owner.  I need to know more than just the book end of the business.  I must be a team player as well.

"Remember to be a team player. Every employee and position are necessary for any company to function as a whole. It is important for all participants involved that they maintain a positive attitude,  don’t allow your emotions to cloud your reason. Contribute to the workforce and share their ideas.  We are each in a different stage of critical thinking, which is a good thing, as we need the diversity.  We need to rely on one another so that we can function together as a whole. As we take these steps to work together, our communication is bound to improve."

             I had actually borrowed the "band member . . ." paragraph for an assignment I had done in another class.  However, with the English class I am currently taking, I am learning that I have to come up with new ideas and not borrowing from past assignments.  Whoops.

            I have such a strong belief in communication, and have used it as my theme in past assignments, so instead of looking at it from the employees perspective, I have decided to approach this assignment from the consumer's point of view.  I actually have more ideas as a consumer than I do first-hand knowledge as an employee.  Perhaps it will make for a better assignment. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Weeding Out the Thorns - both Literally and Figuratively

        Recently I posted to facebook that I really LOVE Oregon - but did not give details. One friend who lives in Oregon asked for details.  I answered her in a private message. I have many friends and family in Utah who may not share my feelings about the hoop-jumping that so many have to deal with in the state of Utah that I did not want to post my number one reason why I like living in Oregon.  I love being in Oregon because it isn't Utah - or more specifically Salt Lake City. I guess it's wrong of me to judge the entire state by just one county.

        Thus far I have not had to jump any hoops - not even to get a driver's license or state plates.  Nor did I have to wait.  I have been treated like a person and not just a number.  I count!  I may have counted in Utah, but I didn't feel like I did.  Especially when it came to voting.  Seriously.  Utah's a Republican state.  Overall I am not.  I vote for the man, not the party.  Often I actually vote against someone. 

        I grew up on the east side of Salt Lake.  I never questioned the government or political issues or even the PTA.  I suppose I just didn't know any better.  I grew up quite naive and though I knew about existing situations - I didn't think I knew any of those circumstances personally.  And then I married Roland and was introduced to deceit and corruption - not by him, necessarily - but by poorly run systems that failed us.  The systems, quite frankly, fail many.  And I know it's everywhere and not just in Utah. That still doesn't make it right.

        I didn't have to deal with thorns on the east side, but the west side was full of thorns - or perhaps it was just in those neglected neighborhoods that we could actually afford.  While the flower itself seems harmless, it has to be mowed or weeded immediately in its yellow stage - otherwise it becomes a vine of thorns which attach themselves to footwear and thus gets tracked in the house.  And it doesn't seem to matter how much I sweep or vacuum, the thorns are always there - on the floor, in the carpet, on the furniture . . . I've had them attach themselves to my socks.  I didn't dare to go barefoot indoors - let alone outdoors. 

        Our grass has always been dry - no matter how much we tend to water it.  Even when it has been green, there are always patches of brown - except for the green stems that bring the thorns.  Our lawn has always been ugly.  Even here.  It is dry.  The cost of water has gone up.  Only a few of our neighbors have green grass.  Most lawns are dry and ugly.  But I can still go outside in my bare feet.  I don't have to wear shoes to take the garbage to the curb or run out to the garage or pick the mail up across the street.  For the most part, I do.  For the most part I wear some kind of footwear because I'm in the habit.  But I don't have to anymore.  The yellow weed flowers in Oregon don't turn into thorns.  This is a good thing.

        I miss the Salt Lake County library system.  I miss having access to public transportation - though it was not always reliable, it was better than whatever may be offered in this county.  There are some things I miss about Utah.  But overall I am happy that I am no longer a resident of Salt Lake.  I really do like it here in Oregon.     

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Opening Doors Through Literature

          First of all I would really like to thank Ellen and Sunny for their recommendation of the book "The Rent Collector" by Camron Wright.  I have enjoyed it and actually wouldn't mind having the book in my personal collection.

          I'm intrigued by so much of the story and the situation and dreams and literature.  Though the story itself is fictitious, Stung Meanchey was a real place.  A filthy dump in Cambodia. Three sided huts provided housing to those who worked at the dump.  The documentary "River of Victory" says that there are over 600 of this type housing.  Or at least there were.  The author's notes (Camron Wright on the Rent Collector) indicate that Stung Meanchey was shut down in 2009 and there is no housing at the new location of dumping grounds.

           When I look at pictures taken of those who reside in conditions that I can't even begin to understand, I often question if these people in these situations have dreams and wonder how simple their dreams may be compared to mine.

          It seems their lives would consist more of a day-to-day survival and accepting situation at hand.  I wonder if they wonder if there is better - for they do not own cell phones, or have access to TV.  Many of them (if any) don't even read.  I wonder if they have an understanding on what takes place outside of their world.  I wonder if they dream of leaving a certain situation how their circumstances would change or if they even think about it.

          There are many who constantly wish they had a larger house, a faster car, superior phone reception, the latest computer, touch screen, etc.  Yet for those in third world countries (and yes, they do still exist) what are their dreams?  their goals?

          I had heard of a situation with a family in Romania (I think it was) in which the family lived in a more modern house with electricity but had only one light bulb in which they would move from room to room - whichever was most pressing for light at particular time.  Some Americans, who had stayed with said family, were humbled by their act of kindness given despite their poor circumstances. 

          To reward their kindness, the Americans purchased a carton of light bulbs to give to the family.  There were cries of delight and disbelief to receive such a precious gift.  But even so, the family continued with their ways - removing the light bulb and carrying it from room to room - believing  they could get more mileage and perhaps even sharing the light with their neighbors who had electricity.

          In the story of "The Rent Collector" the narrator, Sang Ly, discovers that "the cow" that collects the rent can read.  Sang Ly decides that she wants to read - believing it will provide opportunity for her son to have an opportunity for a life outside of Stung Meanchey - believing that life outside the dump has to be better. She asks the rent collector to teach her.

          Of course there are different opportunities, different circumstances outside the dump.  Some good.  Some bad.  Our decisions always lead us to some things better and some things that are not.  The example that came to my mind was with a group of slaves that Harriett Tubman had taken out of the south. 
          The escape to freedom was not an easy one, and once the slaves had "escaped" they realized that freedom came with a price and though some situations and circumstance had become better for them, some just were not so great and some thought they'd be better off as slaves.

          We each give up things for our dreams or to help others with their dreams and sometimes our dreams don't live up to our expectations.  Sometimes they surpass our expectations.  There are always things about our current situation that we like.  There are always things we'd rather not deal with.  And we need both to grow.

          Camron Wright used his imagination to introduce the gift of literacy to one particular family living in the circumstances described in the River of Victory.  There are thousands of people who are not literate.  Some dream of how literacy might change their circumstances while many remain ignorant - perhaps by choice, but I think for the most part, the desire to read does not even occur to more than half of the illiterate population.  I think for many, they just don't know any better.

            They don't know about people who diet to lose weight.  They don't know about putting on make-up while looking in the rear view mirror as traffic comes to a standstill.  They don't know about the invention of the toilet or the importance of hygiene.  It's not their fault.  It's just how things are.

          Having a dream to own a light bulb or being taught to read or having a reason to look at the clock - those seem like simple dreams.  And yet there are several who might have those dreams.  The cell phone (or any phone for that matter) and the Internet are foreign concepts.  Perhaps even the idea of sending or receiving mail through the post office.  Why would it for someone who isn't even familiar with reading?

          The rent collector, called "the cow" by some, is not the most desirable person.  It isn't until Sang Ly has a book - a children's book- in her possession when she sees the rent collector as an actual human being and later dares to call her friend.

          The rent collector not only teaches Sang Ly to read but teaches her how to find metaphor in literature.  We learns that something as simple as instructions on how to grow rice can become metaphorical because someone has hand-written "and children" in place of rice.
          I love the relationships within the story.  The compassion that Sang Ly has for her son. The concern and love she develops  for a girl who becomes of age.  The remorse she feels for a thief who is killed.  And of course the development of the relationship between Sang Ly and the rent collector. 

          I love the interweaving of the literature and the lessons learned and the symbolic meaning that take place in her own life.  I love the profound statements such as this:  ". . . if every story ended with a handsome prince, there wouldn't be anybody left in the kingdom to stand around and cheer" and I love that it is written in first person.

          This is a book that I will definitely read again.  It's message was quite powerful for me.  I look forward to reading Camron Wright's other works.  It's truly Beautiful!  Thank you Camron Wright for sharing your talents.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Jukebox Memories

         I read this piece of trivia: “On November 23rd, 1889, the jukebox was invented by entrepreneurs Louis Glass and William S. Arnold. They called it the nickel-in-the-slot phonograph which is possibly the least effort we've seen put into the name of a product ever.” and was reminded of having seen jukeboxes on occasion.

        Jukeboxes weren’t as popular when I was growing up, as I believe they were when my mom and dad were teenagers. But I do remember some restaurants featuring a single jukebox and one restaurant that allowed you to make selections from the table.  I also remember spending quarters (not nickels) for making a selection of up to six songs.  I don’t recall ever dancing to my jukebox selections – just having the music in the background.

            There was a jukebox at Snelgroves for a short time while I worked there.  Mostly members of the staff who would crank it up while claiming to work would play the same 4 – 6 songs over and over again –.  I was getting so sick of listening to the same selections night after night.

            And then one day the owner’s daughter asked my brother to find some replacement records for the jukebox – she requested that he make his selection of 50’s and 60’s music.  I remember going with him and allowed myself to help him pick them out.  It was great – because no matter what song was selected to be played, it would be one that we both liked.  

            The staff (mostly young kids still in high school) didn’t seem happy with the new selection.  I don’t think any of them knew that Corey and I (well, mostly Corey) were responsible and I didn’t say anything except that I liked the new selection as I was tired of hearing the same 4 – 6 songs which we didn’t keep (as I recall)

            My memories of jukeboxes are mostly fond.  I think it was a great invention.  They’re still around in some places.  But now so many have music programmed onto their cell phones and other electronic devices that they hold in the palm of their hands, it makes the jukebox seem really rare.

40 singles is exactly how many the standard jukebox used to hold.  It has been speculated that this is why radio stations often introduce the “top 40” rather than another number – like 50.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath

My latest book review is Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath.  

Everything on a Waffle is a Newberry Honor.  I didn't used to like Newberry books.  But I really like this one. I suppose one reason why I choose juvenile over adult or young adult is the font size. 

Recently I had placed holds on one of each.  For the latter two, I am able to see the words better with a magnifying glass.  I prefer not reading with a book in one hand and a magnifying glass in the other.  And with the mornings having become darker, small fonts require more light if my eyes must read them.

 Everything on a Waffle is told in first person from Primrose’s point of view.  Primrose is an eleven year old that lives in a Coal Harbor, a small town in town in Canada (though it doesn’t specify which providence.) in the custody of three different guardians.

Initially she’s left with Miss Perfidy who often sits for Primrose – though, as the book starts out, becomes for an extended time and not just while mom and dad are out for the night.

Primrose’s father is a fisherman who is out during a storm.  Her mother, worried about the conditions of the weather, leaves Primrose to go in search of him to bring him home.  Both are lost at sea.

Primrose takes us on an adventure from the persnickety old lady to her Uncle Jack to a couple who live in city not as near to Coal Harbor as she would like.

I love the wit and humor in this book.  In one chapter she tells about being hit by a car and then waking up in the noisy hospital wondering if she might be dead.  She shares this thought: “This must be hell, I thought, because in heaven surely they try to keep the noise down.”

She also describes her last foster couple (who are short, plump and round as “look[ing] like a couple of kindly old hard boiled eggs”

At the end of each chapter, she shares a recipe – though most without exact measurements.  There is one she shares with two alternatives: The correct way, which is good, and the kind that you might choke down just to be polite:          “If you prefer Miss Perfidy’s tea biscuits, double the baking soda and leave out the vanilla.”

I also liked reading her profound thoughts:

“I was [grateful;] not just for their return but for their absence too, and where it had taken me and who I had met there.  I would never go home again in quite the same way, but that was okay, too.

“. . . I left parts of myself some places and found others unexpectedly . . .”

I wish all books could touch me in such a positive way.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Devastation of Adolescence and Experiencing Peter Pan Syndrome

         When Jenna was two and three, she insisted that Roland stop calling her the baby.  “I am a big girlr” she’d inform us (actually I don’t remember the exact pronunciation; she said it as one syllable, but it sounded like she had an extra ‘r’ at the end.)

         When she started to go through adolescence, she no longer wished to be a big girl.  She wanted to be like her hero, Peter Pan – without having to move to Never Never Land.  Becoming a woman was something she was NOT looking forward to her.

         Two years ago I started a post which I did not attach to my blog.  It was the day when I bought Jenna’s first bra.  The very idea was just too devastating for her.  And I told her that I wouldn’t tell any family members – and because I have family members which read my post, I didn’t post about it – I had made a promise.

         I understood the devastation.  She started developing early.  And although the two bumps were rather small at the time – they just seemed to stand out more when she wore tee shirts.  Roland and I both agreed that it was time to do something about it – though I personally haven’t ever been aware of one developing at eight or starting off third grade wearing bras (training bras – but still)

         She gets her early development from her father’s side.  Unlike Jenna, who has always seemed be ahead of her peers both academically and *physically, I was a late bloomer.  Unlike many of my friends who were wearing bras before junior high school (some as early as fourth grade), I don’t think I got my first bra until midway through 7th or 8th grade.

At age 12 and 13, I was probably where Jenna is now – though I was always skinny and flat chested.  In addition to another early development, Jenna’s body also seemed to be going through a chunky stage.  Her belly and chest nearly resembled that of a sumo wrestler.  (Just what every girl wants to hear, right?)  But just as skinny girls can balloon out (which I did by the time I hit my mid thirties) chunky girls can lose the weight (my second daughter-in-law was quite chunky between 8 and 14.  You’d never know it now)

With tears in her eyes Jenna said she didn’t want to wear a bra.  I understood.  Early developers were probably teased even more than the late bloomers were.  She said that I was lucky that I didn’t have to wear a bra in elementary school.  I think she’s right. 

We had gone shopping for shoes and pants as well.  Jenna had her heart set on getting some high heels.  At that time she was wearing a women’s size 5 ½.  At least according to the shoes that she selected.  She paid for them herself and wore them to the mall.  

I was amused at watching her clicking down the aisles in shoes she had obviously never experienced before – but felt proud to be wearing as a children’s pocket book dangled from her arm.  

My little girl is no longer little.  She is blossoming in all directions.  She’s becoming a young lady though she would like to remain a little girl.

Today Roland is taking Jenna to the dinosaur exhibit at Southtown Expo.  He had invited me to go along, but I think Jenna really needs some alone time with her daddy.  And perhaps I need some alone time with just me.
It would be fun to go just to take pictures – though I can give the camera to Roland just as easily.  I hope they have a fantastic day together.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Garden Enthusiast

When Jenna was three she discovered some blue gravel that had been dumped by the shed.  Biff had left it there after cleaning out a fish tank.  Jenna thought that they were beautiful seeds and wanted to plant them.  I tried to explain that they weren’t seeds – but she was insistent that we bury them so that they would grow into a beautiful flower.

Everyday she would check the spot where the “seeds” had been planted – impatient that the flowers had not bloomed overnight.  Again, I tried to explain to her that even if the seeds had been real seeds – flowers do not spring up overnight.  It takes time.  Especially in our family, it seems.

Jenna did not stop checking.  She was determined that her flower would grow.  She watered the area.  She talked to it.  She was certain that a flower would grow.  I really did not want her to be crushed and so devastated that she would not want to try real seeds later on. 

I went out and purchased two pinwheel type garden decorations and put them in the ground above where the gravel had been “planted” – real as the seeds.  Jenna was thrilled.  And so when the time came for the preschool students to grow their own seeds she was not at all reluctant.  Her bean would grow just as her flowers had.  It was very exciting.

Jenna also liked snails.  They were very fascinating creatures.  She would watch them and talk to them.  One day she found a whole family of snails.

“Look mom!” she pointed with sheer excitement, “A mommy, a daddy, two teenagers, and a little bitty baby.”

She stopped to talk to them.  I gave her about ten minutes before I reminded her that we had barely just left the house and had to continue on our way to school.

“Bye snails,” she waved and continued on her way.  She was so disappointed that they weren’t there as we walked back from school – nor were they there the next day. 

Perhaps a week or two had gone by before she found three snails out on the sidewalk near our house.

“Do you think these are the same ones?” she asked.  “I wonder what happened to the parent and the other teenager.  Maybe they’re out looking for food.”

It was a year and a half later when Amber’s mom asked if she could leave Amber with me as she a mandatory class for her work.  I told her that I had planned on going to Midvale to pass out invites for my mom’s surprise birthday party but I could take Amber just as well – and that was fine.  Amber came with car seat and I strapped both girls into the car.

It was nice having them with me as I could just hand each of them invitations and give them direction to take it to this house or that and then I didn’t have to keep stopping the car and turn the motor off to do it myself.

When we got to Ruby’s house, I had only five invitations left.  The girls found a haven in Ruby’s yard, and I asked Ruby if it would be okay if I left the girls with her while I went and got the last five.  

Ruby was working in the garden and her yard was lovely.  She was digging holes and making remarks about “all the snails” Both Jenna and Amber perked up and assisted Ruby by picking up snails and each started her own collection.

When I returned, the girls had lined their snails up on the table and were eagerly watching them “race” as they’d speak words of encouragement hoping that one of her snails would win.  Jenna announced that we’d be taking them home.

“Snails don’t belong in the car!” I said firmly.  “Not my car anyway.  Even if they’re in containers.  We are not taking the snails home.  Sorry”

I think Ruby distracted them with something else.  I believe we threw the snails away.  Ruby and I told both girls that snails are bad for the garden.  I don’t think Jenna believed me.

She wasn’t reading when I purchased a kid’s gardening book at a thrift store. We looked at it.  I pointed out that snails were in the “pest” category.  But then so were caterpillars – her absolute favorites creature.  A book against snails and caterpillars certainly was not a book that she was interested in.  I put the book away and forgot about it.

 Recently, while searching for something else, I came across the Kid’s Gardening book.  She has been reading it and telling us everything that we’ve been doing wrong in our home garden and how to improve it.  She still loves snails and caterpillars but has accepted that they do damage to gardens. But they are fascinating creatures and she loves them.

Some of us are gardeners that plant and sow seeds.  Some of us plant actual seeds.  Some of us bury gravel or “magic beans” in the ground and leave it at that.  Some of us work like lady bugs or bees and help the garden.  Some of us are like snails and caterpillars that crawl through life expecting free handouts without working for it.  And it doesn’t matter our capacity.  God loves each of us.  He doesn’t attempt to throw any of us away.  His love for us is perfect. Even more than Jenna loves snails.