It's no secret that people have a love-hate relationship with food.  They love it because it pleases their taste buds and gives them a temporary feeling of satisfaction, but then later hate that fleeting satisfaction and the way it makes their bodies look and feel.  Today I stood in my garden and contemplated this strange relationship we have with what we eat.  When I looked around,  I noticed  yellow blossoms bursting forth with squash.  Cauliflower was emerging beneath bound-up leaves.  Bean plants were falling over because they were so heavily laden.  I thought about how God made all of this grow, and suddenly felt astounded with the way He has provided such flavors, such scents, such textures and colors in this one tiny plot of land. And that's when I realized:  We are thinking about food all wrong.  We aren't supposed to be in a war with food.  God didn't intend for us to punish our bodies for not being perfectly chiseled, or for us to be constantly consumed by thoughts like  "I hate this or that about my body."  Oh no, no, no.  He gave us an incredible, infinite selection of things to eat so that we may nourish our bodies and - the best part of all..... so that we may enjoy it
There's already too much hate in our world.  The last thing it needs is for us to hate ourselves, too, and that chocolate chip cookie to boot.   How are we supposed to love others and make a change in the world when we are so consumed with our own lives and whether or not we have done enough cardio today to eat that bagel?  We are being distracted, friends, from what is truly important.  Loving others.  Loving ourselves.  Service.  Prayer.  
Of course, it's no surprise that we believe lies like, "My body isn't good enough," or "If only I could lose 10 pounds, then I would be happy."  Have you walked past a Cosmo or People at the grocery store lately? Gorgeous people with unheard of bodies laughing at their own beauty and enjoying the best sex of their lives.  That's what we're told, at least.  My heart breaks for little girls who look at those same magazines, thinking that worth comes from skimpy clothes and skinny waists.  It breaks for all of us older girls who get tricked into believing that, too. 

And believe me, I have been tricked. I have spent hours, days, months, even years of my life wishing I looked more like one of those Cosmo girls. That flawless skin! Those gorgeous thick brows! The pouty lips! Why don't mine look like that? And some days, I still do pass by those cover girls and think about how I should stop eating so much ice cream.  And it's nearly impossible to ignore the self-deprecating thoughts that come whizzing through uninvited every December when the Victoria Secret Fashion Show rolls around.  Those girls are like roadkill, only a lot prettier - you want to look away, but you can't.  

But God created us for so much more than that.  No matter what the world would like you to believe, beauty does not come from pouty lips and thigh gaps.  Our bodies are temples.  It is true and good  for us to be careful what we put into our bodies and to exercise often.  But it's also true that we mustn't let our days be so consumed with the way our temples look that we don't leave time or energy to think about truly important things, like what we can do to make a friend smile, or spending time with God. Instead of letting yourself become distracted with what not to eat, pick something from God's splendor today and enjoy it.  Savor it.  And let it remind you just how much He loves you, and how carefully you were made.  Then, go do something amazing with the body you've been given. 

Love well & eat well, 

Deidre 
 
 
Picture
I've been neglecting my garden for the past 3 weeks or so.  With all the craziness that comes with the end of the school year, an anniversary, a leisurely hike up Mt. Washington, and the celebration of America's independence, I found all sorts of convenient excuses not to weed.  But this week, with no traveling or celebrations on the horizon, I ran out of excuses and was finally forced to face the jungle that had become my vegetable patch.  I spent the better part of two afternoons thinning carrots, redirecting aggressive pumpkins, and crying out in agony every time I pulled out one of the thorny greens that has effectively invaded the garden. This was all much to Ethan's amusement, of course.  He snapped this picture above of me in my truest form: grubby, rubbing the sweat out of my eyes, and rocking a pair of Jose Cuervo sunglasses I got for free at Margarita's on Cinco de Mayo. 

This multi-day undertaking led to a series of emotions and events, including hesitant killing, single-minded endurance, quiet epiphanies, and mild heartache.  Who knew a little 12' X 24' garden could produce all that?

 

Mangled

07/04/2015

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This past weekend, my husband and I went to Cape Cod to celebrate our second wedding anniversary. TWO years! We couldn't believe it. Even though most of the weekend was rainy or overcast, we had fun visiting the beaches, strolling through quaint Main Streets and trying on overly expensive hats, and licking (probably too many) ice cream cones. 

When we left, my garden was bursting forth promisingly. 

We returned Monday evening with the sun gleaming brilliantly through the cloud cover. My mother arrived shortly after I walked through the door, planning to spend the night at our place in preparation for our hike up Mt. Washington the next day.  Before she barely had time to put her bags down, I pulled her out the door to show her the abundance of my garden.  She, after all, still lives in Northern Maine - 300 miles north - and anyone who's been up there knows that those poor folks are at least 3 weeks behind our lower latitudes in summer.  Her garden is still in the "popping up stage," veggies hesitantly emerging from the ground for fear of an early July frost (hey, it could happen in the County!).

So, nearly jogging ahead of my mother as she admired the tiger lilies on the lawn and the apple trees overhead, I loped to my garden, scissors in hand.  That's right, I run with scissors. Especially when there is fresh kale on the other end. I reached the edge of my garden.  It was a rich, sensuous deep brown from the rain.  There they were. My gorgeous green beans.  My pumpkin plant stretching its tendrils right into the basil and parsley.  My carrots tangling in thick rows needed to be thinned. My peas mangled and ripped from their cages. My peas! I tiptoed to the back corner of my garden in disbelief, my rubber boots sinking in the spongy earth.  Sure enough, each and every pea plant, which had been growing so splendidly only 4 short days earlier, had been expertly chomped to pieces and torn out of the ground. 

Fury raged within me. I heard my mother approaching and turned around, and that's when I noticed the row of broccoli and cauliflower. Munched.  Completely munched. The plants I had hoed and weeded and cared for so thoroughly were simply eaten alive.  Not to be enjoyed by me, but by some stupid gopher.  I knew I should have shot that gopher last time I saw him, I thought darkly. 

"Wow, look at your tomatoes!" my mother exclaimed from the edge of the garden. She hadn't noticed the wreckage yet. 

I actually wanted to cry bitterly, standing in the middle of my garden with a defiled pea plant dangling from my fingers.  But how pathetic would that be? I just let out a sputter and weakly whispered, "Yeah." 

I've had a few days to think about the mangling of my plants since then.  I'll admit, I was mad.  Real mad.  I thought about fencing and sprays to keep the pests from coming back.  I thought about gopher traps.  And I thought about the peas, broccoli, and cauliflower I wouldn't get to eat this summer.  But all things considered, the loss of a few vegetables is nothing compared to the losses that life makes us face all too often.  God used my fallen plants to remind me, in His oh-so-gentle and loving way, that He is in control.  I was beginning to think I was responsible for how magnificently the plants were growing.  Praising myself a little too much for having a green thumb, and not quite remembering that those plants are, in fact, his plants.  He provided the nutrients in the soil and makes the rain fall from the sky.  He makes the sun shine. He was the world's first gardener, and certainly the best.  I'm just a girl who takes the seeds and puts them in the dirt, hoping God will provide all of the other things to make them grow.  And he has, wonderfully so.  It is the same with our lives.  We just go through our days, doing the best we can and praying to God that He will bless us, our families, our friends.  And he does so, with a faithfulness so amazing it's hard to comprehend.  Sometimes, we do experience loss.  But he catches us from falling into despair by reminding us of His love, and all the blessings he has surrounded us with.  So, today, instead of thinking deathly thoughts toward the gopher living near the garden or bitterly shaking my fists at the beautiful deer who surely feasted on my peas, I will look at all God has blessed me with and feel thankful for them.  Like my gorgeous green beans, my sprawling pumpkins, and my overgrown carrots. 

 

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    Deidre is a small-town Maine girl with a hearty appetite. Read more on the About Me page.

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