Digging For God

Let’s take a second and address that last giant venting post about douche-waffles before getting back to our regularly scheduled programming, shall we?

First, thank you. I know I said I wasn’t looking for atta-boys, and I wasn’t. But when you shish kabob your heart onto a stick and hoist it up into the ugly thunder, it feels pretty great when cleansing love starts a-raining down. For real. For every comment, email, note on Facebook – thank you. Thank you for letting me have that frustration and for supporting me in shouting through it. That moment – that experience of having the firehose of other people’s hate turned on me – I needed to acknowledge it so that I could move past it. Thank you for letting me lean in.

I think maybe feelings are like kids. They do best when they are acknowledged and told that it’s ok for them to be here even if the moment is hard. Maybe especially if the moment is hard. I see this with my children all the time. My son will be screaming bloody murder about some perceived injustice, but if I get down to kid-height and look him square in the eye and say, without a hint of sarcasm, “You’re super mad because you can’t have Halloween candy at 7:30 in the morning, aren’t you?” he will, usually, calm down and throw his little arms around my neck and we’ll be able to move on.

And so, having acknowledged the anger and frustration that came along with my no good, very bad internet day, I feel strangely refocused, rejuvenated. I feel fine. Not F.I.N.E., but really fine. Solid. Great, even.

I took a little break from posting here, but not from the homestead or writing. I’ve been doing a ton of garden cleanup, fighting against bindweed and buttercup and my own distraction. I reworked the chicken fencing, cleaned out the coop and amended beds with the deep litter compost. I harvested lettuce, made salad, ate it. These are my foundation actions, this is my grounding.


George Bernard Shaw once said, “The best place to find God is in a garden. You can dig for him there.” Though I am not a religious girl, I know what George was talking about. There is nothing more grounding than the ground, nothing more rooting than soil we can sink our roots into.

Everything makes sense in my garden. The only thing that can cut me out there are my Felcos, and those kind of cuts are straightforward, simple, easy.

I did a lot of thinking out there, in the bluster of late fall. And what I kept coming back to was that everything I write about is fueled by what I’m really doing, in the garden and kitchen and with my family. Nothing inspires my fingers to write like the grip of a springy old rake undergrip, the smoothing of mulch, the piling of fall leaves.

And writing’s been happening too. I had a few magazine articles due late last week I had to finish. I wrote lists of possibilities for the next step for this blog, and I’ve been roughing out some ideas for both ebooks and traditional books. Something is turning, I can feel it as sure as I feel the change of the seasons in my little squirrel heart. I’m at some kind of professional crossroads, but the vista ahead isn’t clear to me yet. I expect the answers will come with more weeding.

And so there we are. The storm has passed, the frustration has faded. To clear the mental decks I cleared a lot of weeds. I nurtured my garden and it, in turn, nurtured me as it always does. I needed the shouting and the chest pounding, and then I needed to run outside, to run to the cold and the mud, to run home.

Thank you.


  1. Barry says

    I particularly enjoy that happy-tired feeling after being out in the garden. Every wad of weeds sent to decomposition camp, each bit of greenery made unstraggly, and even the weed-free smoothed-out plotches of compost I put around plants generate a reduction of stress and worry. Shaw’s quote merits an amen.

  2. Stacy says

    This post really touched me, especially the last lines. Your writing almost makes me cry despite the anti-depressants that have perpetually dried my tear ducts. Here’s to the books I hope you’ll be sharing with many more readers!

  3. patsy says

    Perfect! …thinking I missed the issue you write about, but glad it’s past for you and blown away like those crispy, brown leaves of fall.

  4. Jody Prestine says

    It’s long been a saying, a clue, a warning if you will, to my husband and family, that they instantly recognize to leave me alone when I say “I’m going outside to pull weeds”. There is something so theurapeutic and healing about ridding my gardens and flower beds of the weeds that threaten the life and happiness of my garden, no doubt helping me rid my emotional life of those same kinds of life-threatening invaders. Rock on!

  5. Sheri says

    I think this is one of the most open hearted, educational gardening post I have ever read. I can not tell you how many times, how many years, I’ve been in the garden “hashing” it out and working it out with God. I don’t usually remark, just read & go, so I’m missed the interaction you had. No one likes “confrontation” and this post is a good reminder to handle all things with love. God Bless you for your loving insight and for sharing it.

  6. Lana says

    I’m sorry that you have to deal with so much crap when you write about such incredible experiences and really knowledgeable subjects. I’ve never understood why the anonymity of the internet draws some people to be such horrible, abusive assholes (or why anyone would even consider that acting that way is acceptable on any level), but blogging does indeed make many of us prey to such things.

    I won’t offer any words of sympathy, as those just end up becoming trite after you’ve read a thousand of them… but I will thank you for the amazing blogs that you write. Hopefully those of us who truly appreciate your work may make up for the abusive douches out there.

  7. Sarah says

    Right. So glad you’re back. When I read your douche post I was bummed for you (and me and them) and intended to comment. After reading all the other atta-girls, I thought, “well, they’ve created the support system” and left it at that because, let’s face it, even on-line atta-girls are timesucks equivalent to Facebooking. But even though I’ve never met you, I should’ve chimed in because I know the value of a good word. So, atta-girl! And well done finding peace in wild things. The most centering moments for me over the summer were after supper before bedtime when I’d run out through the garden to the alley and the compost bin and on the way back, throw myself into the hammock to stare at the stars and hear songbirds, then compulsively weed myself and garden as I made my way back to the house to tuck the child in. Thanks for the reminder…maybe I’ll leave the hammock out for the winter.

  8. Betsy True says

    I can not imagine what anyone would find objectionable about your website. I am remiss in sending my great appreciation for what you do, I find you inspiring and meant to send you comforting words, but somehow got distracted. I have printed out your jam formulas, reorganized my crop rotation to your much simpler plan, read and re-read your posts on canning and gardening with great joy. You brighten the world, keep it up. …and this from a veteran canner, from-scratch cook, recycler, chicken and beekeeper, suburbanite. I’m not new to this life, yet your posts make it fresh for me.

  9. ms says

    Last fall my father-in-law was killed in a stupid car accident. The man had survived a nightmare childhood, was wounded 3 times fighting in WWII, was a decorated hero from the Battle of the Bulge, and was a kindhearted, peaceful man. He got rear-ended by someone who shouldn’t have been driving and died a week later from the brain trauma. I was SO angry. I went out into my garden on the brisk afternoon he died and tore into it. Ripped up all of the weeds and spent plants with my bare hands. Completely leveled it. Nothing was spared. It was an opportunity to shed some tears when just the dog was watching. In hindsight, I needed that outlet to help me be able to function with a relatively clear head in the days that followed. It was very therapeutic.

  10. Suzanne says

    There is some intangible power in reaching out to each other. It empowers me and is contagious. The more we take the time to connect and acknowledge each other, the more real my day feels. So glad you received all the kindness you so deserve. Like you I am in the throws of a creative professional transformation. The path reveals itself it fits and starts, but that is part of the excitement. Enjoy your journey. So glad to follow along.

  11. Pat Milliman says

    What a great example of the power of leaning in. You sharing your story gives each of us permission to lean in and ask for help, love, support or whatever it is we are needing. Thank you!

  12. says

    Beautiful. I love the garden/God metaphors. I never liked weeding until I thought about it as a spiritual act. Now, it’s a very obvious, frequent reminder to uproot bitterness/anger/control/greed out of my head if I’m going to grow and produce. Weed by weed, I contemplate.

    I look forward to hearing about the rest of your journey! I would absolutely buy a book from you!

  13. nancy sutton says

    “I need … to run home.” Home… exactly :) And, so glad you’ve also got the ‘therapeutic’ bindweed and buttercups, … think how healthy you’d be with some quack grass and a horsetail or too!

  14. Beth Rutherford says

    Your blog is so awesome, and I’m so glad you were able to mentally put those douche-waffles where they belong (in the trash!). Can’t tell you how excited I am to learn about your thoughts for the future — articles, books and more!! How can we follow your progress? The blog is so AWESOME (I found myself in TJ’s where I was in the process of buying several bottles of their vodka for infusions, raving to the check out clerk about your blog and how she HAD to follow it!) — I can’t wait for more! You go girl!

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