After the Pruning Comes the Harvest

People around here who know me know that I love lavender. It all started in 2009 when I went out looking for my first job in 20 years and ended up working at a lavender farm in St Eustache, Quebec. It was a rough time in my life, post-divorce, and I couldn’t imagine anything better than working with lavender to calm me down. I loved my job so much that when I moved to Nova Scotia the next year, having a lavender farm of my own was the logical next step.

Well, it is actually a lavender hobby farm, as there are about 80 mature plants that cover the front lawn. These plants have gone through maturing and pruning over the past seven years, just as I have- – and we both have grown stronger as a result.

Growing lavender has been a calming, maturing, learning, patience-practicing and beautiful part of my life and I am grateful. After the rough winter of 2015 when it just did not stop snowing, the plants took a beating. Did you know that the biggest enemy of growing lavender is having its roots sit in water? That’s what happened after that winter. So last year I noticed a lot of old wood and dead branches on many of the plants and decided to give them a ruthless pruning.

As Spring came on this year I was anxious to see what would result from that pruning…and I wasn’t disappointed.

Here are a few pics taken this past week as I harvested the lavender for some special projects coming up.

I will share them with you in the coming weeks!

img_0575

Ahh…lavender!

img_0582

Oh Yeah!

img_0585

Lavender tied in bundles and ready to dry.

img_0592

Lavender drying in the basement, with fans working overtime to circulate the air.

img_0573

Happy Canada Day!

img_0598

Cutting, bundling, tying…

Shell Shocked!

Many years ago I went through a life situation that pulled the carpet right out from under me. I was sad and depressed for a long time, a couple of years in fact. During that time I didn’t recognize the person in the mirror staring back at me.

My 21 year marriage had ended in divorce and it tore my life into shreds. I thought I would never smile again, never experience joy, and never be at peace. During the worst of it all I fled to Myrtle Beach for two months just to settle my thoughts and perhaps figure out a new direction for my life. While there, I did a lot of talking to God and I wrote an account of something major that happened as an answer to my prayers. Here it is:

2006,  February

Since my arrival here at Myrtle Beach, I have gone for walks on the beach just about every day, about three miles. I have gone at high tide, low tide, and everything in between. I have gone early in the morning before most other people are out and I have gone later in the day. I have walked in wind, calm, rain, mist, fog and cold.

Most days as I walked, I searched for seashells….nice ones, big, not broken. There just never seemed to be much down there on the beach. I saw some little ones, many old ones full of holes and many broken pieces. There were always people looking, with their plastic bags at the ready, but they weren’t finding anything either. In fact, I heard lots of complaining about the dearth of treasures to be found.

Most days as I walked and searched, I also prayed. I prayed for God to fix me and make me whole again after my divorce. I prayed for him to manifest himself to me and give me direction for my life.

And as I walked and searched and prayed, I grieved. I grieved my failed marriage; my lost dreams, and my broken family.

One day mid January as I walked and searched and prayed and cried, I did something I had never done before. I did something that I always thought people were hokey for doing. I asked God for a sign that he really heard my prayers and that he loved me. I asked him for a shell, whole and complete; unbroken and bigger than the others. I knew that if I ever found it, that it would be His doing, because what I was asking for I had only seen in shell shops and craft stores, never on the beach.

Well, I didn’t find one that day, or the next day, and not the day after that either. That made me rail all the more. Never mind that I had seen whales by twos and once by threes on three separate occasions, right outside my window; never mind all the other ways He had shown me grace, including the upgrade in my accommodation. I wanted my shell.

Sometime after that, I stopped looking, stopped striving, planning,

stopped asking God for my shell. I relaxed and just enjoyed the beach. I didn’t care that I looked like a crazy woman in a cowboy hat and running shoes. I could see the beauty all around me, and it made me happy. I kind of forgot about my request.

Then, just days before leaving to go back home to the reality of my life in Quebec, and more than a month since asking for it, I found my shell. I wasn’t searching, striving, plotting or planning. I was just walking, being happy and at peace. I was thankful for my first two nights’ sleep without medication in eighteen months. My shell was big, whole, no holes or cracks, and unbroken, just like I asked God to make me. (not that I asked God to make me big!) People had walked right past my shell, not noticing it, but it stood out like a beacon for me. I couldn’t understand how they all missed it. Funny, like sometimes when it is only by standing still that an elusive butterfly will light on your shoulder, you have to be still in your heart to see what God wants to show you.

I experienced joy on that day. True joy.

Sometimes by just letting things take their time and natural course, joy can be found when you least expect it.

The shell sits on a shelf in my office as a reminder that joy is not so terribly elusive and that God answers prayer.

knobbed_whelk_bb_01_l

 

Joyfulness for 2017

Hello and welcome back to A Nourished Life!

It’s the beginning of another New Year, time when most people are making New Year’s resolutions, most of which will fall by the wayside by January’s end. Resolutions to quit smoking, lose weight, work out more, call Mom more often, smile more, and stop drinking top the list.

I don’t do resolutions any more. Instead I do themes.

One year my theme was Peace because I found that life had gotten too hectic with demands on my time and emotions. It was the year my ex harassed me relentlessly after our divorce. I prayed for peace, craved peace and finally had to carve out some peace in my heart.

Another year my theme was Friends, because due to our cultish lifestyle at the time, I had cut off contact with most of my old friends who weren’t part of the cult. All that year I made huge efforts to establish a connection with friends that had not been a part of my life for a long time. It was a great year!

2014 was a year of Coping. Coping with some personal problems, coping with my mother’s illness and death, and coping with some troubling events in my children’s lives. It was a very tough and stressful year.

2015 saw me Resting. The stresses of the previous year had caught up with me and I was constantly sick. Shingles, viral infections, depression and finally bells palsy topped the list. I desperately needed to rest and take care of me.

Last year my theme was Health. I aggressively focused on getting my health back. I followed a program for Leaky Gut with some results. I started eating fermented foods, which helped me to get my digestion working again. And finally I followed Bill Phillips’ Live coaching program for four months to shed some extra weight, to feel fit and to regain the vitality I had lost during the previous few years.

It worked!

I found that in my efforts to regain health and vitality, along with good digestion, something vital was missing. Something that I believe is essential to health…

Joyfulness. Laughter. Fun. Gratefulness.

I realized that I was so focused on regaining health that I forgot to have fun, laugh and be grateful. So my theme for 2017 will be Joyfulness! I will post here at least once a week about how I’m doing with my theme for the year. Why don’t you come along with me and either choose Joyfulness or another positive theme that will enhance your life this year?

joy