Hanging planters

Last week, I went into the backyard to water my potted plants hanging on a Shepherd’s hook. As I watered the right side plant, the weight of the water tilted the hook in that direction. When I watered the left side plant, the weight shifted to that side. I went back and forth like I normally do watering one side then the other to keep the weight even.

But something happened that hadn’t happened before, the steel hook started bending forward and wasn’t coming back up. Clearly there was a weak spot at the bottom of the  hook and suddenly the weight of the water bent the hook all the way over and the plants plummeted to the ground. I tried to lift the hook back up and straighten it, but it was too late– the steel hook was too weak and couldn’t hold the weight any longer.

At the time, I just made a mental note that we needed to get another hook sometime this week … that was until I read a scripture verse yesterday morning.

Psalm 145:14 “The Lord helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads.”

I immediately thought of the weak spot in my steel Shepherd’s hook and what a picture that is of life sometimes. The weight of burdens, circumstances, or demands bends us over as we try to shift the demands from side to side to keep them balanced thinking we’re made of steel and can handle it all. But before long, our shoulders ache, our strength is zapped, and we’re slammed to the ground unable to lift ourselves back up again.

Ever been there?

What a blessing to know that God is the only one to “straighten” us when we’re bent beneath the loads we’re carrying. What a blessing to know when we cry “God, help!!” He restores us to the place He’s designed for us to be and stand.

Whatever drama, chaos, or busyness your day brings, rest today knowing that He will lift you up!

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Busy

There are some days I feel like I wear so many hats that my neck hurts from the weight. I’m pulled in a variety of directions, racing to catch up, remembering what I forgot, following up, making a list on a new list because I can’t find the last couple lists I started, and undoubtedly the phone rings at the most inopportune times. It seems that suddenly dinnertime arrives and I realize I haven’t even thought about what we’ll eat.

Ever had those days … or weeks?

Well, I’ve been in that mode for nearly two weeks now. Granted, it’s situational and so I know it won’t last, but I look forward to the less chaotic days up ahead.

How do we keep our wits about us when we experience these seasons, regardless of how brief they may be? Sometimes it requires we do the opposite. Stop to …

  1. Laugh. It’s a sure way to get your mind off the demands and lighten the load. Look for the humor in situations or read your favorite comics. Just don’t forget to laugh.
  2. Breath. Heavy sighing, diaphragmatic breathing, whatever you want to call it — do lots of it. When we’re stressed, our breathing becomes shallow. So remember to breath. (It comes with a few health benefits too.)
  3. Relax. Whether it comes from 60-second mental vacations during the day or a 30-minute mindless TV show before you go to bed, just make sure to relax and give your brain a break.

Not sure about you, but it’s time for an exotic tropical island vacation. I’ll be back in a few minutes …

Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day

is the rest we take between two deep breaths.  ~Etty Hillesum

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Tree branch ingrown

This week on our Spring break, I’ve thought about a specific day years ago when my daughter taught me the importance of slowing down. It was a beautiful summer day and I was busy with a task.

“Come outside Mommy,” my elementary-aged daughter said, “I  made something special for you.”

I walked into the backyard and there was a make-shift bungalow attached to our large tree.

“You have to lie down here,” she said motioning to the beach towel placed in front of the tree.

I lay down, looked around, and complimented her on the creative shelter. I started to get up to leave so I could continue my task indoors.

“You can’t leave yet. I’m not done,” she said.

I lay back down and she began to fan me with a broken tree branch. “Isn’t this relaxing, Mommy?”

As I smiled, it hit me how anxious I was to rush off to a task rather than savor these precious moments. I stopped and just took it all in. She had no agenda other than provide me a place where I could rest, relax, and just be.

Away from my mom-duty distractions, I looked up at the tree reaching towards the sky and saw the beauty of God’s creation. Fascinated, I looked closely at the aging bark and was amazed by how the tree formed around the boards secured above. I thought about all the many memories created around this tree, the many children who climbed and swung on it, and the joy and laughter surrounding nature’s jungle gym. I almost missed this.

“My turn,” my daughter said interrupting my lingering thoughts. I got up, thanked her, and gave her a big hug letting her know what a special gift that was to me.  She smiled.

I’ve forgotten the unimportant mom-task I disregarded, but I’ll never forget the scenes and lesson learned that day. I’m glad I didn’t miss it!

Rest is not idleness,

and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day,

listening to the murmur of the water,

or watching the clouds float across the sky,

is by no means a waste of time.  ~J. Lubbock

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