I usually like an abundance of flowers along my walkway. To my dismay, the ones I purchased and planted a few months ago have since withered away. I contemplated buying more plants, but then decided to just wait on the seeds sprouting in a few more weeks. I still have my potted white petunias and some flowering bushes, but for now the remaining bare brown ground is good enough. It's funny that when I was at the ladies Refresh retreat last week, two of the women at my table said they aren't doing flower gardens this year because they are so busy, and that potted plants will have to do for them. I can so relate. I don't have to put a lot of expectations on myself when my life is already a flurry.
I thought of that again yesterday when I walked into a neighbor's house (I had never been there before) and everything was so attractive, clean, and tidy. It made me depressed for a little while thinking of how mine is not usually like that. I am always fighting clutter and grime. Then I remembered - she has less children and they are older, and they had just cleaned up for a party. We do that too when we are entertaining, even if it means throwing bins of random stuff into my bedroom to get it out of public view. And even if all that weren't true, what good does it do to forfeit my peace and joy? Coming from a previous church background that focused a lot on rooting out sin, I started "playing tapes" in my head that said, "Stop sinfully comparing. You are just being proud and selfish and lazy and ungrateful." I had to make a conscience decision to silence those neurotic nagging voices and cut myself some slack. Besides, it wasn't just that single incident that had made me sad. It just happened to trigger a swirl of other icky emotions from other situations where I felt less than adequate, and then it all bunched up on me at that moment. It took a little while to untangle the knots in my soul, but it was grace, not shame, that pulled me through.
That does not mean I give up on improving my situation. I am still on a lifelong quest to get my act together. Two of my goals this year are to get more fit and to organize my home better. I'm recovering from a back injury and my chiropractor has encouraged me to use a resistance band and a foam roller to strengthen and flex my muscles and joints. He had given me a band, but I prefer one with handles since I have arthritis in my hands. They are so much easier to grasp.
I bought the Gold's Gym brand resistance band and the foam roller at Walmart. I found the exercise mat at the ReStore thrift store, which benefits Habitat for Humanity. (I love love love that they are getting disadvantaged people into houses of their own!)
Unfortunately, this stuff kept getting in my way and often ended up on my bedroom floor. Tripping over them would not be good for my back and I don't want my room to look junky, so I had to think of a solution. I had a hamper in my closet holding some extra blankets, so I emptied it out and now I store my exercise supplies in it, right where I can see and remember to use them.
Where did I put those extra blankets? I tucked them into a large basket that I had gotten Salvation Army last year.
Another problem to solve: the insoles of my flower sneakers kept slipping and flopping out whenever I took my shoes off. This went on for weeks, and it was annoying. So I finally decided to get out my little bottle of tacky glue and fasten them back in place. Works for me! I love wearing cheerful shoes!
Here is something for you to ponder from this post. What is bothering you right now? What problems - big or small - keep cropping up? What can you do to fix or at least alleviate them? Then think of a way to serve someone else who is having a tough time - maybe in your family, your church, or your community. You can't fix all their problems for them, but you might be able to provide some practical assistance and help them figure it out. Whether it is your problem or theirs, you are resourceful and creative. You can do it.
Oh! I wrote a new poem and posted it on one of my other blogs this past week. You can find it here: This Is Where I Am In Time.
Grace and peace,