A Delicate Balance

Do you remember a game called “Don’t Spill the Beans”? It was always one of my favorite games to play when I was a kid. As I recall, the beans were evenly divided into trays, then each player took turns adding one bean at a time into a little pot. The pot was suspended in a plastic holder that tipped a little bit each time a bean was added. At some point, one too many beans was added and the pot spilled over. The player who spilled the beans had to keep them all. The game ended when one lucky player was able to get rid of all their beans without spilling the pot.

The Tipping Point

I’ve had days lately that felt a lot like that bean pot. New problems kept piling on each day, threatening to tip the balance. Every time I thought things were finally settling down, another bean was added to my overflowing pot. My days were spent trying to keep things balanced and in control.

I’ve learned that whenever I feel overwhelmed by life’s challenges, it’s time to step away. It’s amazing how even a small change of scenery can give you a whole new perspective!

Simple Joys

Yesterday was a good day to visit Mom. She is always so happy to have visitors, and I love to see her smile. We took her outside to get some fresh air and sunshine before returning to her room.

My cousin sent her flowers last week, and I marveled that they were still fresh and colorful on her windowsill. And the spring bulb garden I brought three weeks ago had finished blooming, but the leaves were still lush and green. All the flowers and plants brightened Mom’s room, and they bring her so much joy. It’s really that simple. My brother told me how her roommate and all the nurses love the flowers too. They change the water daily and pinch off the dying blooms. Clearly, the flowers are thriving with all the attention — and so is Mom.

Fresh Perspective

My drive alone in the country is always enjoyable, as I get to sing along with my favorite Christian artists on the CD player.  (Here is one of my favorite tunes from For King and Country.)

Shenandoah Valley is coming alive again with green grass and grazing cows dotting the hillsides. The parking lot at the Appalachian trailhead at Bear’s Den was overflowing with hikers. The median on the road I travelled was carpeted in blooming daffodils. Sometimes God answers our prayers through scenery and song. “See, my child? I am still here.”

Later in the day I spent time weeding our garden beds. Their roots were deeply embedded in the winter-hardened clay soil, but I persisted until the task was finished. It was satisfying work for a  warm Saturday afternoon.

All-in-all, it was a better day. A smile and a hug from Mom, and a good dig in the garden, then suddenly my bean pot was balanced again.

We never know what weeds the next day will bring, but we can always find a moment of joy when we take the time to seek it. Let it wash over you!

Trust the Plan

“What’s your plan for today?”

That is a common question in our home on Saturday mornings. My husband knows my whereabouts Monday through Friday, but Saturdays are often unscheduled. I usually wake up late (meaning after 7:00 a.m.), enjoy my morning coffee, catch up on reading, and generally — just slow down.

Tick Tock

Do you live by a schedule? Is your day planned right down to the moment your head hits the pillow? If you answered yes, you are in good company.

Most of us are driven by the calendar and the clock. We’re constantly rushing from one appointment to the next. Always planning. Always filling every spare moment of the day with activity. And if we’re sitting still, we panic that we must have missed something.

We definitely are missing something. We have lost our way in the storm.

Keep Calm and . . .

We’ve all been hearing a lot about mindfulness lately. Merriam-Webster.com defines mindfulness as:

the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis

Maybe you’ve seen a commercial for one of the hottest new apps called “Calm”. It’s promoted as the perfect mindfulness app for beginners, and is the listed as the #1 app for sleep, meditation and relaxation. Millions of people use it to help lower their stress and anxiety levels.

When you have to Google the definition (as I did), you are probably a mindfulness beginner. Or you have embraced other ways to cope with stress. To be honest, there are days when I’d rather be any place other than sitting at my desk, staring at a computer screen. And on such days, I would definitely enjoy listening to a rainforest waterfall, or the soothing sound of ocean waves while I work.

But there is calm in silence too. When I need to breathe, I will often open my Bible, read a devotion, or spend a few quiet moments in the empty church sanctuary.

“The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places,”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭32:17-18‬ ‭

Peace is found in the presence of Jesus, the One who walked on water and literally calmed the raging sea. His words, “Peace, be still!” have the power to calm life’s storms today, even as they did 2000 years ago.

Best of all, no download is needed. 🙂