Half Full Watering Can

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As you know from recent posts, I’ve been working from my dining room table these past few weeks while our city building permits are being reviewed and (hopefully!) construction begins. And here’s what I’ve found out about being at home:

Ladies who wear athletic clothing all day, I finally get you. I used to judge you… I did. But now, I get you.  It’s just so easy.

I’ve become obsessed with my garden. I’ve become a bit of a gardener this spring. (Believe me: I use that term loosely). My grit and determination were high one day and I planted a bare bed up by my mailbox with Creeping Jenny, Peonies, and some kind of pretty ground-crawling succulent. I think that because my yard is currently in my line of vision, I’m totally preoccupied with these plants’ growth and progress.

I remind myself to take a break from the screen every few hours. My favorite task while ‘on break’ is to water the plants outside.


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When she’s home, Eden likes to help me water. She’s 22 months old, so you can imagine all the helping. There are two watering cans that we use: a large and a small. Eden likes to carry a watering can, so I fill the small one up about a quarter full for her, and fill the large one up to the brim for me.

Eden doesn’t like this. She wants her watering can filled to the brim, like mine. She may not have complete sentences yet, but she is a clear communicator: Fill it to the brim, Mom. I want to carry it full. I want it all.

You and I both know that she can’t carry a full watering can. She can’t even lift a full watering can. She can actually barely carry the amount that I give her. But here we are, demanding more. We are in full temper tantrum mode—forcefully communicating that this quarter-full watering can is not meeting her expectations.

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A few years ago, I came across this super weird verse in Deuteronomy that stuck with me. Moses is talking to his people, the Israelites, who are about to cross over into their Promised Land. He says,

“Do not be terrified by {your enemies}, for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God. The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you.”

Little by little? Wild animals will multiply around me? You’re going to do this whole “overcoming my enemies” thing slowly?

I’ve been at the helm of The Happy Envelope for sixteen years. Like anything that you’ve poured your heart and soul into, I have a vision for what I want it to look like. This new space is one part of seeing that vision realized. If this had been a reality even, say, twelve years ago, I can unequivocally tell you that we wouldn’t be in business. There are a lot of responsibilities that come with growth: leadership skills that need to be fostered, understanding of your market that needs to be grasped, learning curves on everything from hiring to manufacturing, to working well with a spouse so that you can stay married and still like one another…

So. Many. Learning. Curves.   

Sixteen years seems like a long time to learn these lessons. But the crazy thing is, there’s still so much more to this vision that goes well beyond a new space. I feel like my watering can is about half full. There’s more that I want to do! There’s more that I think I can carry! But clearly, I have not been able to eliminate all my challenges at once, which tells me that I must have more to learn.

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Someday, Eden will be able to pick up a full watering can and carry it all over the yard with her. She will grow in strength and grow in experience. But right now, she needs me to help her carry the water. Otherwise, the water won’t get to any of my plants.  We won’t make any progress at all. It will be too much for her.

May we relish the grace in ‘little by little’… I guess sometimes it’s exactly what we need.

PS In the spirit of my newfound inner gardener, we’re offering 30% off any of our brand new Secret Garden wall prints ordered online. Use code “littlebylittle” at checkout! Click Here For Link.

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