The Simple Step

A woman sitting on a raised garden bed journalling.

Hey Darling,

Truth is, there is an ever-raging battle in the depths of my heart. It is waged between two minds, one that wants simple and another that demands extraordinary. I cannot condemn either of them, because they are both well grounded, but I’ve yet to find a way to force their amicability. They simply will not yield.

Today was full of simple things. Dough rose. Children woke. Coffee brewed. Soil filled pots. Seeds were tucked away, planted with the promise of an abundant future. Even now, the crow of a rooster floats on the breeze and the air is green with springtime pollen and I am certain this is what I once dreamed for. There is a deeply rooted romance in the bird song and in the certainty of these mundane tasks, in the surety of the seasons, in the evidence of our creation.

It's bigger than I imagined, all of it. The garden is more than one passionate women with two tiny hands could ever handle alone. The cow’s milk comes in by the bucketload, and at harvest time we fill wheelbarrows to overflowing. The land is large and truly, what we know from it is more than enough. When I dreamed of homesteading, I never imagined the weight of abundance would bend me the way it does. 

Once my friend told me of his grandfather, a man so bent by age that he had to look up to hold a conversation. Sometimes, when I imagine hundreds of thousands of eyes and opinions hanging on this little farm, I, too, feel my face pressing downwards. I, too, feel a giving-way in my knees and for a while this made me feel scared, afraid I was getting it wrong, fearful I’d bitten off more than I could chew. Now, though, I think maybe a life lived bowed is better. When abundance and significance lean me over to my breaking point, I need only throw my crown down at worthy feet. He lightens the load.

I do feel tired sometimes. The imposter does come and tell me that I am not a worthy steward of such a call. It’s an easy lie to believe when my deadlines are overdue, and my ideas come faster than I could ever hope to accomplish them. However, I have found one thing to be true, no matter how long the journey, the next mile ahead is always the best way forward.

Spring is a time of abundance. The to-do lists are long, and the beauty is so much that sometimes it feels crushing. In the mornings, as the sun rises slow and languidly over the pond, misty fog beckons me out into the garden. It feels, during this time of year, that the soil and the sprouts hold some sort of magnetic pull. They grab hold of me somewhere in my middle and bring me in as if I am in orbit. Even now, I find myself typing away with a towel wrapping my hair here in the beautiful garden. The birds are singing and though I trudged inside thirty minutes ago, exhausted, having called my workday over, I find myself here again. I’m not working now, though. Now I’m soaking in my paradise.

The paradox of my life is this: Here I pluck away at the keys of a macbook, in my most private world with a towel on my hair, spilling out my most honest thoughts, the rhythm of evening birdsong mixing with my keystrokes, and I know that thousands of you will read these words. They will fall on your hearts like seeds and when you sink your hands in your lush and lovely soil, when you find refuge in your growing places, those words will become your own. It is a joy to lend my language to you. It is my joy to share the keys I’ve found, to ignite passion in a generation of gardeners, to show you all how much wonder can be found in a simple life.

Sometimes, though, it makes me wonder if my life is simple at all. That’s the thing that bows me. That’s the worry that makes my knees go weak, and leaves me kneeling, unsure.

Someone asked me recently, “What’s the hardest thing you are currently dealing with?”

I didn’t have time to think, so I just answered. It was probably better that way, but it left me pondering my own response. I replied, “The hardest thing in my life is not letting my dream run away with me.”

It is an incredible honor to pen these thoughts for you all, to grace your T.V. screens and the speakers of your car as you drive down the road. It is my great joy to scatter seeds of wonder on your hearts. But today, the most wonderful thing I did was plant tomatoes. Tomorrow morning I’ll host my son Benjamin’s 2nd grade class for a field trip. I’ll harvest chamomile and bake bread and sit in the garden with wet hair and my snoring dog at my feet.

I want you to all dream wild and wonderful dreams. Imagine that you can change the world because you can. But always, always, the way forward is simply doing the next thing in front of you with intention, with purpose, with your whole heart. Show up for your life. Do the simple things as if they matter because they do. This, I think, is how we live a life bowed in abundance. This, I think, is how we change the world, simply and together.

Thank you, as always, for sharing life with me.
It is such a precious joy that so often I find the next step on my path is to share these simple moments with you.

I bless you, until next time,


A woman leaning on a doorway smiling.
I want to share this beautiful life with others and teach them the lessons we've learned along the way. Welcome to Roots and Refuge, friend. I am so glad you're here.

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