Lessons from the Blackberry Patch

For the month of July, the top five commenters will receive a copy of Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell, the story of  Operation Redwing, the extraordinary firefight that led to one of the largest loss of life in American Navy SEAL history.  The Number One commenter will receive an AUTOGRAPHED copy!  The following is a repost from my archives of Friday’s with the Farmer’s Wife.  Enjoy!

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I have been married to a farmer for almost three decades.  Together we have 5 daughters, 16 grandchildren, 3 sons-in-law, and a host of cows, horses, chickens, and a stray cat or two. I wear many hats – writer, speaker, mortgage banker, mother, grandmother, friend, entrepreneur, Bible teacher, child of God, and yes, farmer’s wife.

While riding over one of our pastures, the Farmer and I happened upon a huge patch of blackberry bushes.  We jumped off the Ranger and began to gather a sweet afternoon snack of  plump and delicious blackberries.

The vines were laden with hundreds of red berries, but a few had begun to ripen.  I looked at the tangled berry vines, my mind begin to envision what these bushes would look like in a few days, the berries going from red to black.  I was thinking of blackberry cobbler, jam, and even blackberry pepper jelly.  (Yes, I do love to cook!)

As I began to dream out loud, the Farmer casually remarked, “….then best do it quickly, because these vines will be gone very soon….”  I protested loudly, “WHY?”

And then he said something profound.  Wisdom for every area of our life:  family, faith, finances, fitness, or our field of expertise:

“This ground is meant for taking care of my cattle – not to grow berries.”   Because he had been preoccupied in other areas of his farming operation, this section of land had been neglected and the vines had “taken over”.  If managed properly, this area of ground, although a small section, would have been profitable pasture for feeding of his cows.  Instead it just provided a sweet afternoon snack.

The berries were sweet on that hot afternoon – but after his comments,  I thought bittersweet.  One of the definitions of “bittersweet” is “……pleasure mingled with pain or regret….”  How many times do we make a choice that seems sweet and pleasurable for a moment – but that choice results in taking our focus, our time and our energy away from our goals, our mission, our true vision of what we want our life to be and we suffer with regret?

We choose to sleep too late or too little, eat unwisely, become unbalanced with our work and our life, and our lives become like these blackberries bushes.  The true intent, design and purpose of our lives gets strangled and choked out.

So….the vines were mowed.  I didn’t make blackberry jelly or jam or cobbler.  But that was a good choice.  He needed the ground for his cows.  And I was reminded that I needed to focus on the goals I want to accomplish before the end of July.

The Farmer is pretty wise.  I should probably listen to him more often.  Please don’t tell him this because I will never hear the end of it!

Have you ever made a choice that seemed sweet at first, but resulted in regret?

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  • Kelli

    This is one of my favorite blogs…oh the lessons we have learned! Maybe because I grew up on a farm? Lol. I’ve made plenty of the bittersweet decisions…maybe because I tend to lean towards the pretties! Thank you for writing this!
    et mistakes…I’m prone to the pretties! Thank you for writing this. Love it!

  • Mike Giddens

    …….I had a really good response to this post, but I lost focus when you mentioned the blackberry cobbler and I just totally forgot my response!!!! By the way, we haven’t had one of those in a while….tell the Farmer he needs to hold off a few days before trimming those vines!

    • Louise Thaxton

      Maybe you and Timothy could pick some for us!

    • Amanda Martinez

      We’ll take some at 750 Southfield!

      • Louise Thaxton

        Don’t worry – if I cook some – 750 Southfield will get their own cobbler!

      • Mike Giddens

        Hard to share those blackberry cobbler’s!

        • Kelli

          Nah….

      • Kelli

        All day!

    • kelli

      Your so silly

      • Mike Giddens

        You know me….always joking around!

  • Cindy_Leger

    Oh the bittersweet decisions I have made from time to time. But, I will have to say there was always a lesson learned. Just because the situation looks pretty like the berries, doesn’t mean its not bitter.
    Louise, the new look is awesome!

    • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

      You are not alone with those “bittersweet” decisions, Cindy! (And thanks for noticing!)

      • Kelli

        It is nice!

    • Kelli

      You are so right Cindy!k

      • Mike Giddens

        I totally agree…great thoughts Cindy!

  • Amanda Martinez

    Your perspective is very true. Too often we lose focus of our long term goals for a “quick fix.”

    P.s. I think your husband or grandchildren would have loved a piece of the cobbler or jam from “Gram!”

    • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

      HA! You said it, Amanda – they WOULD have love that cobbler!

      • kelli

        Yummy

    • Kelli

      She’s our gram too!

  • Kittee Stewart

    Louise, your article is so true in everyday life. I am faced with decisions all the time with family, finances, life, etc and some of them are too good to pass up. Then sometimes I look back and ask the question; was it the right thing to do? I guess it’s like the old saying my grandparents taught me when I was a little girl; “If it’s seems too good to be true, it probably is”

    • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

      Kittee – Many times it is not about choosing between what is good or bad – but between what is good or best!

      • Kelli

        Love this!

      • http://www.facebook.com/brian.gardner.3979 Brian Gardner

        I like this phrase. It rings so true

    • Kelli

      So right kittee

  • http://www.facebook.com/lauren.layman.902 Lauren Layman

    Thanks for the perspective. Just think about how much more off track you might have gotten if you had taken the time to make the cobbler and the jam. Seeing the bright shiny (or colorful in this situation) object is exciting and often offers us a choice that can lead to a bad consequence.

    • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

      Well, Lauren – I am prone to chase the shiny objects! thanks for your comments!

      • Kelli

        Me too!

    • Mike Giddens

      Lauren…..blackberry cobblers are a good thing at Louise’s house, she makes an awesome blackberry cobbler. She may need some encouragement next year to get off track so she can beat the Farmer to the vines!

      • Louise Thaxton

        Hey Mike – maybe you could PLANT some blackberry bushes at YOUR house – you could pick and wash the berries – and bring to me! Now that’s the way I like berries!

      • Kelli

        So funny mike

    • Kelli

      Absolutely