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Tues Ten 041211: How Does Your Garden Grow?

April 12th, 2011

I’m not a gardener. I’ll get that admission out of the way right up front. Still, I enjoy a good outdoor space. They are especially nice this time of year in the South when the heat and humidity haven’t yet made their full onslaught. I mention it because I spent part of the morning yesterday working outside at my patio table. It represented a small triumph for me, something that gave a Monday morning a nice celebration quality. Inspite of my non-gardening tendencies, I’ve been diligently working to reclaim my backyard over the last few weeks. With the help of my Mama (who is, fortunately, quite the gardener), I’ve been making plans involving plants and patio furniture and playhouses, and putting them slowly into action. I began by removing a huge debris pile that had been gathered and allowed to dwarf my view over the last few years. After that came the pruning of many wayward vines and tree seedlings in several areas of the property, and then choosing plants to add and dreaming of various garden ornaments and accoutrements. I still have much planting to do and budgeting for ways to implement my dreams, but the process feels like a celebration even though it’s incomplete. My gifts have enjoyed “helping” and talking about the possibilities. I’ve enjoyed tackling a long-overdue project. And yesterday, I enjoyed a few quiet moments of relishing my accomplishment so far. In celebration of my burgeoning green thumb, I give you the Tuesday Ten: Celebrations from a Morning on the Patio…

1. Bare earth is better than bare branches. (at least when it comes to debris piles)

2. The first step in growing something new is clearing out what’s dying or misplanted.

3. Hearing birds while I’m emailing is a wonderful thing — sponsored by patio tables and wifi.

4. Progress SHOULD be celebrated and taking the time to do it is time well spent.

5. Tea Olive shrubs smell divine this time of year.

6. It’s a blessing to have the freedom to set my own pace — in work, in gardening, in growing — no matter how frenzied a pace it might be at times.

7. Watching my gifts plant and prune and water lets me see they are growing.

8. It feels good to see the results of my own handiwork.

9. Shady places are inviting.

10. Growing is good, even when pruning is required.

 

© Haley Montgomery

Tues Twenty 122110: Sights of Christmas 2010

December 21st, 2010

© Haley Montgomery

Tues Ten 120710: Power Moments

December 7th, 2010

I’ve been thinking about power moments this week. No, the ones I’ve been considering don’t involve any business meetings. Or client conversations. Or high-dollar contracts. Or 3-inch heels. They don’t involve the United Nations or Greenpeace or public school funding. They don’t have pending legislation or rallies planned or NYT coverage. Still, there are those times when you just know “this moment has power.”

Power for me. Power for the little one I’m responding to. Power for their future and mine. Power for what I have to teach. Power for what I have to learn. Power for what gives me strength. Power for what I can rest in. “This moment has power.”

This past weekend, over the course of a few short hours on Friday night, I had several of those moments. They were quite possibly fueled by all our mutual excitement about getting the first of our Christmas decorations down from the attic. They could have been precipitate by my own resolve to take a break from the crazy holiday work schedule. Maybe I was just primed to recognize them after a long and busy week. Maybe I was stilled and open enough to really experience them. Maybe they’ve been happening every moment of every day without my knowledge. Regardless, I give you the Tuesday Ten: Power Moments.

1. A Moment of Giving (& Grammar)

When I walked into Little Drummer Boy’s after-school room for pick-up, he unzipped his backpack and proudly pulled out something for me to open–something he had made in his art class at school. It was a green paper with a painted/cut/pasted Christmas tree and the words:
Momea
Love
LDB*

I asked him to read it to me… “LDB* Loves Mommy”

2. A Moment of ROI

The boys & Baby Girl were beyond excited about the box of Christmas books we got down from the attic in the first of many forays into Christmas decorating. Bug had me read Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer two times, and he fell asleep looking at the ancient Little Golden Book. It’s a copy I had as a child, proving 39¢ still goes a long way.

3. A Moment of Recognition

Out of the blue as we were sitting on the floor, Little Drummer Boy asked me what I did for my work. It’s the first time he’s inquired about what I actually “do” beyond just the place I go for work. I told him that I drew pictures for people kind of like the picture he made for me–that people paid me to make pictures that would help them sell things. That made him smile. Which made me smile.

4. A Moment of Play

I took the time to get on the floor and play Thomas the Tank Engine with Bug. He had been asking for “someone” to play with him and I it was an invitation I couldn’t refuse. It also got me easy lap time with Little Drummer Boy and Baby Girl.

5. A Moment of Celebration

In our debriefing from moving Christmas boxes from the attic, Little Drummer Boy asked if I was going to put anything on the mantle.
Mommy: “Yes, but maybe not tomorrow.”
LDB: “Oh come on! Put it up tomorrow!”

He’s learning to be excited about Christmas. And about celebrating.

6. A Moment of Communication

Bug was using some of those little plastic shaped bracelets that are so popular to hold his truck and trailer together in a creative way. I commented that he was “so smart” and he asked me why. I got to tell him.

7. A Moment of Rest

At the end of the day my mom had given Baby Girl a bath and put on her pajamas. When I came in the room for our bedtime routine, I got a clear as day “Mommy’s here!” The warmth in my heart from that statement gave way to a very warm and content little girl laying her head on my shoulder. After reading several books and rubbing her eyes a few times, she raised her head, rubbed her eyes, said “sleep” and pointed to her bed. Sometimes you just know it’s time for rest.

8. A Moment of Peace

We actually had sharing and cooperation between brothers as we were moving boxes out of the attic. Little Drummer Boy actually let Bug go “first” once or twice to help carry boxes in between moments of spontaneously hugging me.

9. A Moment of Inclusion

We ordered pizza and the children had a picnic as we sometimes do. Baby Girl insisted that I come and sit by her rather than with the grownups at the big table.
Baby Girl: “NO! Mommy here.”
Little Drummer Boy: “I’ll move my juice and you can put your plate here.”

Sometimes it’s nice to remember your place.

10. A Moment of Acceptance

I made some changes this week in our bedtime routines that I hoped would make the process for Little Drummer Boy and Bug move a little more smoothly and peacefully. On the way to school, LDB determined we should do it “just like that again tonight.” And when the moment of execution arrived, I was reminded again — “just like last night.”

© Haley Montgomery

Tues Twenty-Five: Most Played

November 30th, 2010

Wow, it’s been raining here. It rained all night bringing thunderstorms and a few tornado scares. Thankfully, we are all safe, but the clouds made for a drizzly and gray day. When days like this roll around, I usually want to stay cozied up inside with some inspiring reads, a sweet-smelling and familiar candle and some good background music to spur my productivity. I don’t know about the productivity factor today, but the tunes were good, to be sure. It’s amazing how music soothes my spirit, motivates my inner dancing and often speaks my heart. I love the handy “plays” column on my iTunes music list. It lets me know which songs (through my own choices and iTunes’ random selections) are infusing my brain the most.

In defiance of rainy days, I give you the Tuesday Twenty-Five: Most Played Songs on the Junkie Greater Playlist. Enjoy and go scan your own iPod for a pick-me-up!

1. Steady As We Go — Dave Matthews Band
2. Killing for Love — Jose Gonzalez
3. EZ — Pete Yorn
4. The Space Between — Dave Matthews Band
5. Good Night’s Sleep — Matt Brouwer
6. Ain’t No Sunshine — Eva Cassidy
7. Find Yourself — Brad Paisley
8. One Step Up — Bruce Springsteen
9. Hey, Soul Sister — Train
10. Fields of Gold — Eva Cassidy
11. Blood of Eden — Peter Gabriel
12. Just Breathe — Pearl Jam
13. Secure Yourself — Indigo Girls
14. Night Swimming — R.E.M.
15. Mercy Street — Peter Gabriel
16. Glory Days — Bruce Springsteen
17. I’m No Angel — Greg Allman
18. I Can’t Stop Loving You — Keith Urban
19. Into Dust — Mazzy Star
20. Sand and Water — Beth Nielsen Chapman
21.  I and Love and You — The Avett Brothers
22. Shelter of Storms — Mary Chapin Carpenter
23. Parachute — Train
24. Rough Edges — Kim Carnes
25. I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You — Colin Hay

© Haley Montgomery

Thurs Thirteen: Lessons from Jack

November 11th, 2010

As usual I’m lagging behind and very negligent on this whole posting thing. But, last night I realized that the pumpkin we carved on the day before Halloween is on its last tooth (so to speak). Little Drummer Boy learned this October in kindergarten that pumpkins are pumpkins. But when you carve faces on them, they turn into Jack-o-lanterns. So if he were writing over my shoulder, he would quickly scold me for diminishing Jack to a mere pumpkin, especially after seeing his spectacular light. I imagine Jack is headed for the garbage pile fairly soon, and I wanted to honor with a little list before he steps aside to make way for turkeys. I give you the Thursday Thirteen: Lessons from Jack. Enjoy.

1. Sometimes it takes emptying your guts to put a smile on your face.

2. The first cut is the deepest.

3. Who really needs molars anyway?

4. Wind, rain, cool of night. Just keep smiling.

5. When trouble comes, show your teeth.

6. Yes, pumpkin goop is VERY exciting to 5yo and 4yo boys. Who knew?

7. For 2yo girls, the tricycle is MUCH more interesting.

8. Excitement = volume 10. Always.

9. Carving a pumpkin can be an intense experience. You would be intense too if you had the best pocket knife in the world in your hand, the ONE pumpkin 5yo chose at the no-longer-in-existence downtown pumpkin patch and 3 excited (read highly mobile) youngsters underfoot.

10. Sometimes you have to guard your candle to keep it from going out.

11. Smiles aren’t spooky.

12. Smiles are contagious.

13. Basking in Jack-o-lantern light is alright.

© Haley Montgomery

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    Thank you for seven years of encouragement and sharing this story. You can find Haley's current essays and design work at smallpondgraphics.com

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