Nip It!

They were the prefect baby shower favors.

I left happily clutching my little pots of rosemary and licorice basil; sweet {& tasty} reminders of the mommy-to-be’s blossoming belly and the promise of precious new life within.

Just two simple little sprigs sat in the small containers.

The rosemary I repotted in a cute little green planter on my deck.  Over the past  5 months, it has doubled in size.  Maybe.

The basil, however, I planted in the garden…and it has blown me away. A far cry from it’s meager beginning, it has taken full advantage of the ample space to grow and the nutrient-rich soil offered it by our accommodating vegetable garden, and has burst into the most fantastic display of greens and purples.

To say it is 100 times it’s original size would not be too lavish of an estimation.

Beside it sits my sage {on the right, below}, dwarfed by the shear enormity of it’s neighbor.

But there’s a problem in all this glamorous mega-growth.

You see, it needs to be pruned to be worth much as a basil plant.

Sure it’s pretty to look at, but the whole purpose of it’s placement in our garden was to provide a steady supply of lush basil leaves for our soups, sauces and salads…not just lavender-colored eye-candy.

I was diligent, in the beginning, about nipping the little blossoms off the tips of the deep purple stems as soon as they started to appear.  This practice redirects the nutrients from the {all-consuming task of} forming little florets back down to the leaves, allowing for fuller, more flavorful basil leaves.  And generally, a healthier plant.

But I had allowed distraction – with life, small children, and gleaning the more noticeable harvest from the garden {like tomatoes, zucchini and peppers} – to preoccupy my time, while my basil plant grew wild before my eyes.

Now when I want to add basil to something I’m cooking up in the kitchen, I have to cut 5 times as many sprigs to glean half of what I used to.

As I studied the plant from my deck the other day – a beautiful monstrosity of licorice-scented stalks – I was reminded how easily I get distracted in other areas of life and fail to “prune” my character.

I get stuck in the hamster-wheel of SuperMom pursuit and pretending to keep all the pretty balls up in the air, while failing to let the main thing be the main thing.

Think: basil leaves.

How easy it is to fall into the destructive habit of judging and criticizing, nit-picking and questioning those around us.  Especially as we navigate these turbulent, and sometimes scary, waters of motherhood.

We need each other desperately.  And yet we continue to allow small differences between us to tear down and destroy the common beauty we share – desiring to be the best mothers we can to our precious children.

I didn’t realize when I cut ties with the mommy mafia, just how relentless “their” pursuit of my heart would be.  It’s a constant decision to choose unity over comparison and conflict.

God is so faithful to nudge my heart.  To remind me to nip these attitudes in the bud.  And yet how easy it is to get caught up in the whirlwind of life – and the {seeming} instant gratification of pointing out someone else’s weakness in a feeble attempt to make ourselves feel better about our own inadequacies – and I neglect this essential “pruning” of my mind, my tongue, my heart.  I allow my energy and time – the necessary “nutrients” needed for survival – to fuel negativity, rather than “deadheading” it and diverting my {limited} resources to fresh growth: encouraging and uplifting those weary ones around me.

He nudges, yes.  But it is up to me to listen to that still, small voice… and to make the choice to pour myself into the building up of others.  The seeking out of the gold, rather than the pointing out of the dirt.

I don’t know about you, but my heart is in constant need of pruning.  While a lavish display of plumes may appear to be what the world demands from us, a steady supply of delicious, enhances-everything-you-put-it-in leaves are what I’m after and what blesses the heart of our Creator.

Here’s to basil…and the delicate art of pruning!

{Just nip it}

by Joy McMillan, Simply Bloom


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Roberta J. Smith
    Nov 05, 2010 @ 15:06:35

    Thank you for your words of wisdom–we all need pruning whether we realize it or not!


    • Joy
      Nov 17, 2010 @ 04:30:09

      Boy, do we! You’re so welcome…God is so faithful in reminding me how wild I grow without his tender guidance and “snippage” of the excess.


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