Thursday, January 20, 2011


As some of you may know, and others of you are about to learn, I am a 2011 Georgia Master Gardener Intern. As part of my certification, I am required to complete a certain number of hours in the classroom and complete a certain number of hours working in the field. Our class today was all about insects. Yep. Insects. For 7 hours. And, let me tell you, that 7 hours flew by it was so interesting!

One of our instructors was this really cute, hip, funny, incredibly smart lady named Christine Heidt. You can find information about her here. Christine knows bugs. Wow! And, while I learned plenty about bugs, the one thing that she touched on that really resonated with me is the idea that we should approach our gardens (and lives for that matter) from a place of gratefulness. HOLD UP! Did she just say what I thought she said? For a moment, it was as if the room stood still. A quick glance at the people around me and I wondered, "Are you people getting this? Or, am I on my own?" I couldn't help but feel that this message was intended for me.

See, for some time now and due to recent circumstances, I have come face to face with this idea of finding the value in what, at first glance, appears to be unfortunate and the peace that can come from that. Let me go back a few months...

Last year, my husband and I thought it would be fun to have another baby. That did not go as we expected. We were devastated by the late loss of our unborn son. Throughout the summer, I took solace in my garden. My garden has always been a special place for me. I have enjoyed growing things for as long as I can remember. But now, my thoughts went something like this, "While I can't nurture and grow my baby right now, I can grow this garden. This much, I know I can do." And, I did. I spent a lot of time and energy in that garden. And, I was rewarded greatly with harvests so large I was able to share them with neighbors because we couldn't possibly eat it all. And, as the summer went on, I began to find peace again. By the end of the growing season, it became clear to me that this was more than my garden, it was my sanctuary.

My time in the garden gave me the opportunity to think through and process very difficult emotions and to find a little hope again. I became keenly aware of the many blessings I have in my life including the family and friends who bring me so much joy and the many comforts that surround me. I even began to find peace with my loss. That experience gave me a new perspective that I can only imagine will stay with me for the rest of my life. And, with that, I am forever changed. My highs are a little higher, the lows aren't as low and everything in between is just a little bit better. It's as if the focus has been adjusted and the view is clearer, sharper. And, for all of this, I am grateful.

And so, when Christine mentioned being grateful as a way of thinking, I could relate. She had just put into words a shift in perspective that I had struggled to articulate. It's about being grateful. It's about realizing that what may be in front of you might be something beneficial if you allow it to be viewed that way.

Now, a blog. This is something my mother-in-law has been encouraging me to do for some time. (Thanks, Laura! I am finally doing it.) I was a writing major in college and so I hope some of the old flow comes back to me for both our sakes!

As I embark on my new adventures as a Master Gardener, I will be sure to post my old tried and true methods, things learned along the way and anything else that seems worthwhile. And, I am sure I will post about baking because I love to do that, too. Who knows what's in store? I certainly don't. But, I am forever grateful for the opportunity to find out.


  1. Great post Shawnie. I'm so glad you enrolled in those classes, and I'm excited to share your journey with you as you blog. I had a blog along time ago on blogspot too! Keep posting...I really enjoyed your first post, and how much you were willing to share. Love you! Steph

  2. Thanks, Stephie! Your support and encouragement means a lot to me! Love you, too!

  3. Shawn you are such a beautiful person inside and out. Thank you for sharing your journey. We have so much to learn about life and I am grateful that I can peek into your life lessons.

  4. I'm so looking forward to reading your thoughts. I put a link from my blog to your blog. You're great at everything you do, and I know writing a blog will be no exception!

  5. You're wonderful. I love reading what you have to say;)
    Happy blogging.

  6. Thanks so much for sharing, Shawn. Look forward to keeping up with your blog. We love you!

  7. Thank you all for the support and encouragement! It means so much...

  8. This will be enjoyable to follow...a great start Shawn!
    I'm particularly interested in your ongoing comments about the internship & the classes. Wow...7 hours on the life & times of insects? That ought to shake out the 'less committed' of the would be Master Gardeners.
    Have fun with this!!