I was never much of a gardener. I grew up around gardens, my father's vegetable garden and my mother's multitude of flower beds. To me, it was a chore. I had to weed. I had to pick green beans and zucchini. Heaven forbid. I was lucky enough to have access to fresh vegetables like those my father grew. He had an amazing vegetable garden. One that I wish I had. The carrots and beets in the picture above came from seed. Last February. Go figure. I planted them then, they got harvested today. And I have to tell you, I had wire domes covering the carrots to keep the bunnies out of them. I'd find bunny pellets surrounding the domes, any greens growing outside the domes sheared down. (I think the bunnies were practicing their telekenesis skills on those domes) These are the little carrots that could... I'm not a great gardener, but at least I'm trying.
Last year, the pastor of my church gave a sermon about how great it would be if we could use some of the property owned by the church to start a community garden that would help feed those in need. Some days I don't know what I was thinking, going to those first planning meetings, but I'm so proud of where we've come. To date, we've harvested almost 400 pounds of produce that was donated to a local food pantry and to the church's food share program. We're growing organic produce for the hungry and for our families, and that really makes it all worthwhile. And yes, organic, local, fresh produce is good for you and tastes like nothing other. Would I have stepped up, knowing what would be required of me to see this project come to fruition? I don't know. But I did. The garden, and all it stands for, helps keep me going.
This second picture is of another thing that helps keep me going. In the first few months of our first year here in TX we adopted a wonderful Puppygirl. She had a REALLY awful first few years of her life. She's slow to trust, spooks easily, and is very skittish around strangers and cameras. I can rarely get a decent picture of her. The only reason I got this picture of her today is because she was wondering what I was carrying in the colander (see above) when I came in from outside. I had the camera in one hand and *snap* I got a picture of her with a smile on her face. Her smile is something few people outside of her family and comfortable friends group will ever see. I have to be honest. She is one of the loves of my life. She is an amazing, sweet, loving girl. (So is Shortstuff, my Sous Chef, next to her, don't get me wrong. She's our meet and greet committee who loves nearly everyone.) I love my furry kids. They make my heart smile.
What makes your heart smile and keeps you going?