That’s the description of my blog site on word press. I just realized I’ve never explained it’s significance in the Rhyne house.
Matthew and I started dating in October of 2003. We were madly in love from day one. On Valentines weekend of 2004 we took a trip to WCU to visit some friends for a weekend. We are not romantic, never have been, so we figured a weekend getaway with our buddies was a perfect way to celebrate. That Saturday Matthew gave me a gift and a card. I don’t remember the gift, but oh the card. He had written me the most beautiful words in it, almost a poem, about how great we were together and our paths going forward, how we could face anything as long as we were together. In it, he ended with Life’s a Garden, Dig it. It was the most precious thing I have ever read. He had me hooked for sure. Fast forward a few years. We were married, with now two kids. We are watching tv, and Joe Dirt comes on. Matthew says he loves that movie. I haven’t seen it in years. Joe is doing an interview and gets asked about he handles his life and lo and behold, what does he do but quote my dang poem!!!!!! I about died. Matthew looked at me with giant eyes and LOST it laughing. I told him he would DIE at the number of times over the years I not only bragged on that card, but read it for myself because I just couldn’t believe that he was so thoughtful. And that’s how “Life’s a Garden, Dig it” became the theme for our marriage.
‘Life’s a Garden, Dig it”, that’s how we face every single situation of our lives. Garden’s are work. You have to till the garden. Plant the seeds. Water the garden. Prune the weeds. Pick the bounty. It’s a beautiful picture of life. It takes work, and that work gives reward.
We moved into our forever home last weekend. In the midst of a pandemic, with a looming stay in place order, we found ourselves smiling and full of life and laughter. I have to give a little back story, but I want you to know how we know God works in our lives. Sorry if it gets lengthy.
When Matthew and I were first dating we had lunch at the dixie burger one day. He said look, we gotta go over some things before this thing gets any more serious. I have some conditions. I laughed, he was so for real. He said first, I am never leaving Ellerbe. I agreed wholeheartedly. Second, my firstborn son will be named Coy. I decided I could cross that bridge later and agreed. Third, I want to buy the house next door to my parents, some of our family built it, they are older, when they sell, I want it. I agreed. They listed it in 2005, I was in nursing school, pregnant with Tatum, and we didn’t have a way in the world to buy it. In typical “life’s a garden, dig it” fashion, we knew that wasn’t God’s plan for us and kept on keeping on.
Matthew and I decided we were ready to buy a home in 2008, when I was pregnant with my (what I then thought was) last baby. We had no idea what to do. Started researching home loans and pulling credit, and quickly learned that wasn’t happening. The market was terrible, banks were super strict, and we had a hot mess credit report. Matthew had always bought everything cash, I had been the victim of identity theft and had a mass amount of collections I had no idea about. So we had work to do. We moved in a house on 5th street in Ellerbe, it was owned by Matthew’s aunt and uncle, we worked out rent with a possibility of buying later. After a year we realized that size was not going to work for our growing girls and started looking again. We looked at a few houses and learned again it was still not a possibility for us. We needed a giant house, we had three girls and were feeling led to do foster care. The big houses were so outside of our budget, there was just no way. Then I found our house uptown, my fixer upper dream, that my husband hated I told him to let me make an offer, and if she accepted, it was meant to be. I knew it was mine, I had been praying my head off for an answer, and I felt God leading me. We made a very low cash offer, and it was accepted. We spent the first two years living in the downstairs. It took us ten years to get it to the point I loved everything about it.
Then life happened. After two years of fighting, Matthew’s dad died from a cancer that he planned on beating. Matthew’s brothers both live out of town. Matthew wanted to get close to his mom, to help with with all she was left with, and for future, if and when she ever needed more, we would be close. We started getting our house ready to list, and started looking at what was next. We had six kids at that time, so we moved our camper and kids over to his mom’s and listed the house. Between the camper and his mom’s house, and Kinnley’s granny’s house, we all split and were sleeping under different roofs. In five months, we talked with septic tank people, land clearing people, we went to every double wide dealer, every modular dealer, and multiple builders across North and South Carolina. We even signed paperwork on two!! Each time I had the most uneasy feeling. I knew that was not what God had planned. We sold our house, and I was so uneasy about that too, after three weeks of back and forth, the buyer backed out. We felt like we couldn’t breathe. We KNEW when we started this journey that God wanted us to move, but for the life of us, we couldn’t settle, and our hearts needed to be together, and “US” again. Dillon was reeling, so out of sorts. My girls were quiet and doing uncharacteristic things. Matthew and I couldn’t get on the same page for the life of us. Don’t get me wrong, my mother in law was a SAINT. Side note, she washes clothes and plans meals like a CHAMP! But nothing beats home, and our family unit, we desperately missed both. We prayed and begged God to show us what was next. We got an offer on our house, from someone we knew the next day. We came to an agreement in a few hours, and I felt an immediate peace. The same day, Matthew’s mom’s dog bit the neighbors dog, and they came to her house to see her. Guess where those neighbors lived? You guessed it, the house Matthew wanted ALL those years ago. We told them we were planning on building and had just sold our house. She said, mine has four bedrooms, you wanna come look!? The rest is history.
Last weekend we moved all of our stuff into that house. That house that Matthew dreamed of all those years ago. That house that in a week, has given us a peace that can only come from a God that orchestrates the whole world with his hands, who knew the end of this chapter before we ever were born. While the world is in crisis mode, we are in thankful mode. We are so thankful for our home, our peaceful paradise, that we are literally ordered to stay in. It’s like the ultimate Life’s a garden scenario. We have time to unpack, time to bond, time to breath. Time to worship and pray together. We are making the best of our time together.
Soon, this pandemic will be over, and we will all come out to that busy body life we were leading, and this will all be a distant memory. What a sweet gift God has given all of us in the midst of turmoil. That we have TIME, a gift that you never get back. I encourage you this Palm Sunday, this week of Easter to turn off the news, forget the numbers, bunker down with those you love most. Celebrate Easter in a new way. Tell your kids the story of the Resurrection outside looking at the beautiful blooming world spring has brought. Hug those you live with. Enjoy the downtime. Life’s a Garden, just dig it.