Root Bound

I have been spending a lot of time in the dirt lately. We are in the planting phase of an epic landscaping project. Meaning, we had 1 acre of land disturbed.


Before the circular driveway had two entrances and wound around the house
After creating a single entrance driveway and grading

It’s supposed to help with drainage, parking and safety. The front yard is no longer a hill, it’s nice and flat and the kids can run and ride bikes without tumbling.  I really am enjoying the new look but has been a lot of work. Mostly on my husband’s back and shoulders.

So while I’ve been digging in the dirt, listening to the kids play in the yard. I’ve been cherishing a little change in rhythm and purpose: providing a great place for my plants to grow in.

They have been growing in the nursery for a few months. I’ve collected them from mark downs at Walmart and Lowes (Yes, I am that frugal.) My hubby hooked them up to irrigation so that they could survive the summer months until planting season in the fall.

Sometimes it’s hard to get a plant out of its pot. Its roots have clung to the sides of the pot. So, you have to bang it out of your fist. If it’s really root bound, it might just “refuse” to come out and you have to take the scissors to it.

Photo by Neslihan Gunaydin on Unsplash

After you’ve managed to get it out. I take a look to see what the roots are doing. I have discovered through observation that the side of the pot that the irrigation spout rests on, is the place with the most roots. It’s important to stimulate the roots a bit. In a plant that is root bound in a pot, it’s roots grow circular around the pot. But, now that my plant is going to the ground with an unlimited amount of soil, I need it to stop the circular growth pattern and reach out to the expanse of dirt that I am providing for it.

What’s involved next might seem a little painful: I scuff up the roots. I scratch them with a gloved hand or break them my trowel. I need them to get ready for big things. It’s not too rough, promise. In just 3 weeks with  the right planting method, my roses have 2-3 inches of new growth on them. They are doing just fine.

As I was starting on the gardenias today, I thought to myself. How many times have I been root bound? Going nowhere, just in circles. When I’ve been struggling with that anger or unforgiveness that I just so easily fall back into.

Why can’t I just wake up and grow out of the pot? Why can’t I send my roots to deeper soil?

Photo by Kyle Ellefson on Unsplash

It can happen in the plant world, there is a way. Sometimes, a potted plant will be stimulated to have downward growth. For example, there might be a drenching rain where the ground keeps the base of the pot damp. That plant can send roots out of the little drainage holes and into the ground, where it can grow deep roots. I have had to cut roots that a potted plant had grown into the ground before because they were so thick and strong.

Growing is not easy sometimes, being planted in a new spot might require some root scuffing. What is painful for a moment will lead to a new direction and has the potential for great growth.

If I send my roots to Jesus, He is the living water. If I stay root bound and stick to my pot, I will continue to go in circles.

Jesus’ promise is that I will never thirst again. In the book of John, He speaks to the Samaritan woman at the well.

” There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”  For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:7-14, New American Standard Bible

Praise God today for His living water. Grow to him when you are thirsty.

Does nature make you think of spiritual principals?


Who am I?: Losing Your Identity to Motherhood

I remember taking a look at my old blog last year. One I started in 2010. It was before we fostered, before we adopted, before we birthed. I looked at pictures of my past mission trips, hiking trips, and musings. I just stared at the pictures of myself and honestly I felt so disconnected from that person.

My blog thumbnail in 2010- Taken on our first cruise to Cozumel, Mexico

Motherhood is all consuming. It’s easy to lose sight of all my other roles: wife, daughter, nurse, sister. Children are completely dependent little people. And because I focus so much on them I start to wonder:

Who in the world is that person? What did I used to be like? Who am I now?

Because I feel like I am a totally different person than I was before.

More like I started singing that song from Mulan, “Who is that girl I see staring straight back at me?” Because all I watch is Disney movies now!

I’ve been a mom for 7 years now and I’ve mothered 7 children. Not all of my children have I kept however. In 4 years I’ve fostered 4 children and adopted 2 of them. So I’ve had quite a bit of roles: foster mom, adoptive mom, biological mom. Granted, they are still all “mom”. Despite the fact that foster and adoptive have some added bureaucratic responsibilities they all “look” the same to me.

Motherhood has this way of changing women. I guess it could be for the worse but mostly it SHOULD be for the better. Or maybe it doesn’t change us. It just brings out the bits of us that we’ve never seen before. The sleep deprived, anxious, angry bits. The overwhelming, overflowing, joyous, happy bits. There is nothing like it.

Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash

Motherhood has this way of changing women. I guess it could be for the worse but mostly it SHOULD be for the better. Or maybe it doesn’t change us. It just brings out the bits of us that we’ve never seen before. The sleep deprived, anxious, angry bits. The overwhelming, overflowing, joyous, happy bits. There is nothing like it.

Maybe motherhood hasn’t made me any different. Maybe I’m still made of the same me that I was before. I’m just showing something new on the outside that was always there.  Maybe I’m ever changing. I’m learning new habits and breaking old ones. I’m learning to cherish new moments and set aside my old desires. I’m breaking a little over here and mending a little over there. Sometime it hurts and sometimes it feels good.

And then I get it.

For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.” Malachi 3:3-4 NIV

Photo by Johannes Wredenmark on Unsplash

Jesus is making me better. Even better than 2010 when I started my first blog. Even when I wore a size 8. When I went on mission trips. When I went weeks without losing my temper. When I had hardly anything to remember so I had nothing to forget. When I had more free time than ever. When I was more self-consumed than ever. When I had less joy and appreciation for Him.

He’s refining me like a piece of metal. He stokes up the fires and gets my impurities out. The fires are not meant to consume me, they are meant to show what is inside of me. So he can do the work to get them out.

Sometimes all I can see are the impurities. I forget about the glittery gold and the shiny silver that I actually am. He sees everything yucky about me and he still loves me. He doesn’t give up on refining me because he knows how valuable I am.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 NIV

God has a plan for us. He has work for us to do. Motherhood is work and it is a good work. It’s not our only work but sometimes it feels that way. Its also part of his purifying plan. It helps us to see the things inside us that we need to change. It helps us to see His love, His plan, His creation, His disappointment, His ache for things to get better for us.

So who am I now? Who was I back then? I’m not sure there’s a clear cut answer. There are things I am missing about the old me, I shouldn’t miss them, but I do. There are things about the present me that I don’t like, I can’t seem to fix them, but He will. There is beauty that he is creating in me now. Right now.

I might not know who I am…But I know Whose I am. I am God’s purifying project.


My first book book is free until Thursday, November 9th


I’m excited. I’m humbled. Frankly, I’m nervous too. Fostering Feelings: A Devotional Guide to Navigating the Ups and Downs of Foster Parenting released today. Go here for a free copy until Thursday at midnight.

Go here if you don’t have a kindle or kindle app. I’ll send you a free copy also. I wouldn’t want you to miss out.