A bit of green in February is such a cheerful sight. I got out the screw-on sprouting strainer and a wide mouth mason jar a few weeks ago. So far we have done three batches of alfalfa sprouts and devoured them just about as fast as they can pop out.

Olivia had a science experiment in this period of time, where she was supposed to check the germination of bean seeds. We found some dried kidney beans, put them in a moist environment, and then nearly gave up on them. It was about a week before there was even a noticeable crack in the beans’ seed coats. We peeled one open and saw the embryo starting to put out a shoot inside. So we kept them moist instead of throwing them out. Today we are eating the second round of sprouts since the kidney beans venture started, and they look just like the photo shows, greeny cotyledon and lots of rootlets coming out of the shoot. Olivia is so tickled that the experiment worked after all.

I have been thinking about this, trying to extract the lesson. You saw it coming, didn’t you?

There are just some things that are kidney beans and some that are alfalfa seeds. Many times I feel like chucking out hope for the hard, unchanging bean situations, saving my energy for the quick returns of the alfalfa sprouts. It takes a lot more faith when there are long waiting periods until harvest. I can put alfalfa on my salad in five days, give or take a few. I will have to plant and hoe and watch and pick carefully before the beans are ready to eat.

The most obvious lesson for me in this is my Five Little Sprouts. I remember the panicky moment when I realized that we would never be able to un-parent. This is a lifelong proposition, with varying amounts of investment, true, but it takes a lot of nurture for the seeds to grow into healthy, fruit bearing plants. A lot of patience. A lot of faith. A lot of moments of feeling like a total flop.

We are immersed in this right now. It seems like all I do every day is water and nourish, watch those little green shoots emerge, and pray the roots go deep. I am invested in this venture for the long haul.

Aside from the children, there are other situations that I sometimes wonder if I should just forget. Chuck them into the trash and let them dry out. Faith says, “Keep watering. Set it in the sunshine. You just watch; God is never late.”

Do you ever have those moments when faith speaks in threadbare phrases, but you know it’s true?


7 thoughts on “Sprouting

  1. Oh my. I needed this encouragement in dealing with a Young Sprout and her 5-10 pairs of [slightly] peed panties a day.

    Cheers to long-haul, eternally focused parenting!

    PS Amongst much spam and many boring business emails your daily blog notifications are a definite bright spot. Can we just schedule February biannually now?

  2. Thank you, Motz. That was the nicest thing you could have said. I was about ready to assume, by the huge volume of feedback I have gotten in February, that folks don’t like when I post every day. 🙂
    One February per year is eee-nough, thank you.

  3. Yes. I identify. Very much. When are heads are bent low and we can scarcely look up to catch our breath I need to LOOK BACK and see just how far we’ve come.

    I second the ” biannual feb ” suggestion:)

  4. Your emails come in and I save them. Later when I’m sitting and rocking miles and miles with a small person in my lap, then I fetch my electronic and read and grin and think. I am throughly enjoying the feb writings!

  5. Threadbare phrases, yes. amd those things which we water and tend the heaviest, put down the deepest roots. Soon proving what we tended this most.

  6. I have thoroughly enjoyed the array of wonderful food for thought this month. It has helped my February be more inspired. I loved the line about many moments feeling like a total failure. I can relate. This has been one of the most surprising things about parenting–that we can put forth so much effort and do a lot of really good things and there are still so many moments where we feel like we’re failing. I often go back to a quote by Sally Clarkson, seasoned homeschool mother, “Just because it is not easy, does not mean you are not doing it right.” It helps me do a better job when I am not wasting energy trying to figure out what I must be doing wrong. Cheers to you, fellow mother in the trenches!

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