A pinch of green

There’s something strangely therapeutic about gardening. Even if I am only scooping tiny bits of soil with a Chinese spoon into small makeshift pots that are just upcycled hair mask jars and IKEA food containers.

I think it’s something about that stark contrast between the green shades of the plants and the dark tones of the soil in which they are rooted into. Also it’s rather calming arranging them neatly in containers and moistening the soil. And that bit of hope that comes with nurturing life and hoping it will grow.

I recently thought I should try rebuilding a balcony garden again (not that we ever had much of one, but there used to be at least 2-3 plants that would survive out there before Jamie came along). So my current strategy is to salvage as many kitchen scraps as possible which can be regrown into vegetable or herb plants.

So far, I’ve tried with lettuce, spring onions and shallots. Only the last two have shown positive signs of growth, which led to me actually potting them last week. The lettuce, sad to say, did not go much farther than sprouting a tiny shoot (the first time) and having its roots turn black (the second attempt).

This small spot of gardening came at a time where I did need some form of comfort. Having recently had a rather nasty family argument where it was me against another three folk, it was nice to have an activity that offered a dose of peace, even if it was just a tiny serving.

I opted to start fresh with just plain old black soil: Some time not too long ago, Deric and I bought a bag of it while it was on offer at Tesco. It has been sitting in the study for what feels like ages now, so it’s great to finally break open the bag and use its contents.

Jamie is more than eager to help, wanting to assist in scooping the soil and patting it in place with a fork (which is just the right size to rake and arrange the soil for these small plants). He also is forever interested in watering the plants. This is potentially a great learning avenue for him. And it’s a healthy thing too, because it will help develop in him a love for nature.

But… I feel rather anxious each time I do let him help (times when I absolutely loathe these perfectionistic tendencies of mine) and keep trying to intervene and prevent disasters. Sigh. Oh why can’t I just let him do as he likes and ignore notice the mess and clean up afterwards?

Anyway, I’m really NOT good at all with all these nurturing of green living things. So let’s see how long these things survive. Hopefully long enough so we can at least have one round of harvesting.

Providence and unmerited favour

Here I am to give praise where praise is much overdue.

Deric and I have been talking a lot about our finances lately. It’s mostly because we are thinking ahead in anticipation of what changes to our household expenditure will take place once our little Jamie joins the family.

It’s pretty scary whenever we come to a new juncture in our married life together where we’re facing something new and unknown before us.

One other example of a past experience we weathered together was the time when my father-in-law fell ill and needed to be admitted into a nursing home so he could be under constant care.

It was really worrying for us at that time because it meant a huge chunk coming out of our monthly earnings just to cover for his nursing home fees. To be honest, it didn’t leave us with any savings. In fact, it put us in a situation of deficit a lot of the time.

But somehow, we pulled through. Our existing savings dipped quite a fair bit throughout that time all the way until my father-in-law eventually passed away. Yet we never reached the point of becoming completely broke.

Fast forward to more than a year and a half later, and we have managed to build up our savings again. Not only that, both Deric and I have had increments to our respective salaries, and the occasional bonuses that have really been timely and helped us get through each month.

It’s been especially amazing during this period of my pregnancy.

Although technically it’s not possible to claim for gynae consultation fees (or any medical expense at all that is related to pregnancy) from our insurance companies nor from the medical coverage we get from our employers, Deric’s organisation does offer him as an employee another form of flexi benefits through which we can utilise to cover some of the medical costs we’ve borne.

So, in other words, we didn’t always have to fork out our own cash to cover for the regular check ups I’ve had to do in the past six months or so in the hospital.

And now, at the start of 2015, we are again blessed by another round of increments and company bonuses. This is again very timely, because we need a little more cash to prepare for my upcoming delivery in about 3 months’ time.

We are by no means rich, but are certainly comforted that we will have enough set aside to at least welcome Jamie into this world without financial anxiety.

I can only thank Jesus for all the times we’ve survived financially in our marriage thus far. It is not because we are so very competent in our jobs or that we are special in any way as compared to other couples our age. There is nothing that particularly sets us apart from everyone else around us. Just that God has been extremely gracious.

It might sound like a cliche statement to some of you reading this, but honestly, when it’s something that you go through personally in your own life, it feels different.

You realise how true it is when the Bible says that God will provide for you and that you aren’t to worry too much about it all. And when you look back and see how well taken care you have been by that Invisible Hand who has been holding your life together, you can no longer doubt that the unmerited favour you have come to enjoy is yours just because you are His.

* * *

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing?

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

– ‭Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭25-34 (New King James Version)