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!

The In-Between Days

We have reached that odd time between seasons. Winter is not officially over, and spring has not begun. Although the mornings are frosty-cold, there is a mildness in the air.

New Life

There is a stark contrast between a bitter January morning, and a chilly March morning. The earth is softer, and patches of green appear on the lawn. We awaken to the robins’ songs, and end our days with the spring peepers’ chorus.

Our home is caught between seasons too, most notably in the form of projects. Every sunny window is filled with plants that are almost ready for the garden. They were started from seeds in the basement nursery, then moved to the kitchen and dining room after being re-potted. Seedlings include cantaloupes, Delicata squash, zucchini, cucumbers, basil and several variety of tomatoes, all waiting to set their roots into the ground.

A Fresh Look

Meanwhile, upstairs we have been hard at work replacing our worn wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood flooring. So far we’ve only completed half of the hallway. The detail work and endless hitches along the way remind us of our century-old home in Massachusetts that we renovated from top to bottom over 30 years ago. The renovations we are doing today in Virginia remind us that our knees and backs have aged 30 years as well. 😉

We are making these updates while looking ahead to the future, when we will sell this house and embark on our retirement. And while we are not opposed to updating our next home, we hope our renovations are limited to painting and pruning.

I’ve been thinking about these “in-between” days, when we are halfway between ending one stage and beginning the next. That’s very much like my life here on earth — I am somewhat comfortable where I am, but I never feel completely at home.

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”‭‭ – John‬ ‭14:1-4‬

The in-between times call for quiet patience and steadfast trust. There is so much hope in our future!

Just as surely as the buds will bloom each spring, Easter morning will return each year to remind us of the hope of the empty tomb, and the eternal home that awaits us.