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In the hierarchy of plant > fish > puppy > baby, I definitely have better success in reverse order. A baby is very insistent about their needs, and eventually becomes a Small Person who can communicate in my language. A puppy will at least let me know if he wants food or water, whine at the door to go out, and mope around if he isn't feeling well. A fish moves, catching my eye and reminding me to sprinkle in some food and change the water occasionally.

But a plant. My most recent attempt, an air plant, died. I killed an air plant. They need practically nothing and somehow I did it wrong. At first my current ill fortune with houseplants confused me. When I was five, I pried three clumps of black Texas clay from our yard, laid a handful of pinto beans under them, and there arose a magnificent bean plant. When I was seven, I insisted on planting a broken forsythia twig along with the bushes my parents were planting - and lo and behold, it grew into its own bush, equaling the others in size. Even as a teenager I took a miniature rose that had all but died in someone else's care and resurrected it.

The common element finally struck me: I do best with something that needs me. A healthy plant is an enigma - how do I keep it healthy? A withered one, less so, especially if I have an idea as to how it got that way. A successful healthy plant is... a healthy plant. The only change to mark progress by is growth, and that can be slow. But a successful dying plant is a plant that comes alive.

Sometimes I feel like I treat my spiritual health the same way I treat a plant; when I'm doing well, it's almost as though I don't notice and so end up inadvertently sabotaging my own growth. But when I'm struggling, I recognize the struggle as distress signal and set about taking corrective action. It's a jerky existence, a tree with uneven rings marking alternate years of flood and drought. I'd like to find the balance - the best way to thrive in my present climate and season, flourishing and becoming wholly alive.

It's Five Minute Friday! Each week a flashmob of bloggers, internet-wide, gather to write for five minutes (no stopping, no editing!) on a prompt provided by sweet Kate, then link up and share a little comment love. For more info, more posts, and/or to join in, head here!


Karrilee Aggett said…
Oh friend... yes (and me, too!) and those last lovely lines --what a gorgeous picture! Love this! Happy Easter!
I Will Bloom said…
Oh Sarah Jo, I hear you, girl. What is it with this self sabotage? Why why why?

(Would *love* for you to expand on this idea some more in a guest's something I myself battle with, that causes me to enter the dreaded 'inertia zone'......and I'm sure many others suffer the same....).

Beautiful writing.

Loved your post.

Helen xx

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31 Days of Unraveling Designs

It's that time of year again... the 31 Days writing challenge starts today! Bloggers from all over will be writing every day of the month of October on the topic of their choosing. This will be my fourth year participating - the first year I did 7 for 31, and spent a month going through Jen Hatmaker's book 7. The second year I did 31 Days of Sustainable Dwelling, and wrote about local and fair trade living. Last year I was busy but still wanted to participate, so I went the easy route with 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful.

This year I'm diving into my greatest passion: knitting! I'll spend this month looking at past designs and talking about the inspiration behind them, so there will be plenty of regular life mixed in with the stitching - and there may be discount codes for the patterns that I write about. You'll just have to read and see!

Pattern index:

Pageturner Mitts
Hogwarts House Tie
Urban Artemis
Graffiti for Humanity
Love Out Loud
Strange Jacket


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