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People do come with a manual.

What I, Hettie, love most about living in Tennessee for the past five years is that I can suddenly grow things. It was not the case when I still lived in South Africa. Formerly known for my ability to kill even indoor plastic plants, I can now grow almost enough wineberries, blackberries, and blueberries to provide the whole of England with jam on their morning toast. (For those who don’t know about Tennessee Backyard Berry Farmin’, the art is to just keep clear, let Mother Nature take care of things, occasionally shoo the whitetail deer away, and exaggerate your harvest story. And for those who don’t know what jam is - it’s just chunky jelly for British folks.)

People growing is so much harder than this! People don’t flourish automatically, and letting human nature run its course, is a recipe for chaos. If you have been raising kids, please say this with me in a chorus: They ought to come with a manual!

Well, actually, they do.

When you buy a sapling...

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"Will I ever grow up?!"
(Parenting version: "When will they ever grow up?!"
Some of you may be in the part of the woods where the patient trees are planted. My fellow hasty trees and I need to see progress DAILY. I think that is why I love spring in Tennessee. Every day my tulips are taller. I think if I stood and watched this morning, I would have been able to see the Bradford pear's blooms turn from light green to white because it happened sometime between 9 am and 11 am! Now that is maturing at a speed I can live with!
What frustrates me even more than slow growth in projects and other people in my own slow growth. My inner voice is a real nagger. She likes to say, "So how many more years do you want to...?" and she comes up with yet another piece of unfinished business. Especially around my birthday, as if I may finally grow up in time to blow out the candles with a...
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