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Planted with Love (by Billy Coffey)

It is my pleasure to have Billy Coffey as a guest today. I think to call him a guest sounds way too formal now that I think about it. Well he *is* pretty formal with his first book, Snow Day, coming out in 2010.....but I think you will soon call him a friend as you read one of his stories that he graciously shares below. He is the real deal.....a small town guy with a big heart for Jesus and his family and friends.

This little blurb where he describes a little bit about himself gives you a great idea of what I am talking about "When you’re raised in small-town Virginia by a redneck father and a Mennonite mother, certain things become ingrained. And when you marry a small-town girl and have two small-town kids, all you want to do is pass those ingrained things along. Like believing the best life is one lived in the country enjoying the pleasures it provides—summer nights beneath the stars, rocking chairs on the front porch, deer grazing in the fields. And believing that no matter how iffy life can get sometimes, there are some things that are eternal and unchanging......But above all else, believing that in everything there is story waiting to be told."

And here is one of his many beautiful stories.....so grab a cup of coffee, or in this case.......a tall glass of sweet tea might be more appropriate.....kick yer feet up and enjoy:

“Let’s go, Sweets,” I say.

“I’m comin’, Daddy,” my daughter answers.

Around here there are many signs of approaching spring, everything from the return of the robins to the spousal ducks waddling around our house. But nothing quite says spring like tilling the garden and planting what will become, with plenty of sweat and prayers, future groceries.

I like planting a garden. Like getting into the dirt. Especially on a cool Saturday in May when the sun’s out and there’s a gentle breeze blowing off the mountains.

I generally do very well keeping my priorities in line. I know what comes first and what doesn’t. The problem is that very often those priorities shift according to both season and day, which is a fact that certain small members of my family cannot comprehend.

For instance. A Saturday in March will revolve around a trip to Charlottesville or pizza with my folks. But a Saturday in May will revolve around one thing and one thing only: baseball. And when that Saturday afternoon game features the Yankees? Let’s just say I’m focused and leave it at that.

And yet here, now, my focus is not just on the game. It’s on the fact that the game started ten minutes ago and my daughter is taking her sweet time planting the beans.

I stand watching her, swinging the hoe in my hands like a baseball bat and tapping my boot into the dirt in the hopes that my aggravation will drain out of my foot and into the ground. She is crouched in front of me, slowly placing one seed a time into the furrow, then gently pressing down on it with a small finger.

“Honey,” I tell her, “you don’t have to do it that way. You sow beans.”

“How can you sew beans?” she asks.

“Not sow, sew,” I answer, then realize how absurd that sounds. “Like this.” I take a handful of seeds and wave my hand from side to side, spilling them into the dirt.

“I don’t think that’s right, Daddy.”

“Trust me,” I say, glancing at my watch. Fifteen minutes late. I’ve missed Derek Jeter’s first trip to the plate. “You trust me, right?”


“Then whaddya say we do it that way?”


“Why? You said you trusted me.”

“I do, but you don’t know what you’re doing.”

Oh. Okay, then.

“Why should we do it your way?”

She rises, dusts off the knees of her jeans, and looks me in the eye. “You’re not treatin’ the seeds right, Daddy” she says. “You’re just throwin’ them. I’m planting them.”

“But we’re gonna just cover them with dirt,” I explain. “Either way, they’re just planted.”

She shakes her head. “No, Daddy. With your way they’re just planted. With my way, they’re planted with love.”

“With love?”

“I take each bean and tuck it into the dirt, like it’s going to bed. And then I kiss it with my finger. And then I say in my head, ‘Please God, let this seed grow.’ Then it’s planted and I can do the next one.”

“So they have to be planted with love?” I ask.

“Yes,” she says.

“But if they have food and water, they’ll grow anyway.” I have her there. Think so, anyway.

“People grow with food and water, too,” she says. “But don’t they grow better with love?”

My foot stops tapping, and my hoe transforms from a Louisville Slugger to something to lean on. We stare at each other. I am her father. The provider. The food and water to her life. And she is my daughter, the fragile seed I’m helping to grow. But I want her to do more than just grow. I want her to bloom. And I know she won’t with just food and water. She needs love, too.

The sort of love that comes from ignoring a ballgame and spending some time with her in the garden on a cool Saturday in May.

Funny thing. I missed that Yankee game, but I’m certain I watched the highlights. I can’t remember who won, though. But I will always carry the memory of a father and his daughter planting four rows of beans, all with love.

(Planted with Love was originally posted over at Billy's blog. Make sure you head over to his place where you are sure to be blessed again)

Thanks again, Billy!



Denise said...

Billy is such an incredible writer, and blessing.

Andrea said...

Billy is an amazing writer and always touches the soul of those who read.
Blessings, andrea

Loren said...

Billy amazes me each and every time......you can't read Billy and just go away ~ You are always left with something thought provoking, or tears on your face, or a chuckle from deep within! I Love reading Billy and I love the lessons he shares with us in each and every story!

Thanks Billy and Michelle

Mich said...

Out of the mouths of babes...


Heart2Heart said...


This man truly does have a heart of God and uses the creative and beautiful gift God bestowed upon him to tell stories. We can learn so much from the wisdom of a father.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Alicia said...

Wow! I will definitely have to visit his site!!

I saw the pictures on Amanda's blog of how you two met!!

love it!!!!

Billy Coffey said...

Thanks so much for letting me borrow your space for the day, Michelle. You're always a blessing to me!

SusanD said...

Hey Michelle, Thanks so much for stopping by my spot and commenting. Billy's story is wonderful. I could envision this exchange from reading the words. I'll def be back to read more about you. Blessings, SusanD

LisaShaw said...

Whenever I have the opportunity to read Billy's writings I'm blessed. Thank you for sharing this.

I enjoyed my visit with you today.


Tracy said...

Thanks for sharing this father's story from his life and his relationship with his daughter. I'm so grateful that God always has time for us. I'm encouraged to make sure I make time for love in the little ways with my own kids.


Michelle, I wanted to Thank You for joining my blog. I enjoy yours so much. What a great blessing to have found it. I cried and smiled through this story. Thank You so very much for it. He is a great writer.

Glad you got another cell phone. Sounds like you had a very old one. "Almost" everyone here has a cell phone... Even my kids:) Have a great day. Many Blessings,

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

Very cool guest with amazing writing skills!

Kim said...

Love it, love it, love it!

Thank you so much for sharing!

E @ Scottsville said...

I've never been to his site. Will have to check it out.

Happy Monday, Michelle!


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