Pressing Concerns

The theme of this past few days seems to be a balance between “doing all the things” and “generally slacking off.” I reworked a flower bed Sable destroyed, but did not mow. I’ve read a client submission, but also finished reading a Louis L’Amour novel. It seems I measure life in terms of checklists.

I drove to the hardware store Saturday and ended up spending a lot for 2 projects. I needed to fix a succulent flower bed in the back that Sable had started digging out. I also have a front path that is overgrown with grass, and I wanted to trade it out for large pavers.

So far, I’ve only done that back garden. I filled half the bed with large Terra Cotta pots, anchored to the ground by 8 inch bolts. She immediately tried to tip one and gave up. Victory! I also covered her favorite wallows with anti-dig mats. So far, she’s leaving them alone, too.

Pots filled with sedum, grass, and hens and chicks
These pots all have several anchors holding them down.
More pots fill of sedum and hens and chicks
Sable in front of the flower bed
Sable says, “What are you doing to me, Lady?”

I brightened up a high window sill in my front room with some pretty cobalt blue blown glass I got for 50 cents a piece at an estate sale.

Backlit row of blue glass vases in a windowsill
I got all but the light colored pieces of glass at a nearby estate sale this weekend.

I topped that off with a Monday night bout of productivity. I scrubbed almost all of the vintage pyrex I picked up at that estate sale, cleaned out the fridge, tried my hand at making Asian fried rice (not too bad for a beginner), and wrapped it up with proofreading 5 pages of a client’s manuscript.

Sable kept glaring at me for keeping her up.

So on one of my driving trips over the weekend, I was thinking about why I was doing all of this. I push myself hard, until, unfortunately, my health suffers. I’m a bit more fragile than I used to be, and I forget. This morning I woke up with the pains to prove it.

The fact is, I’ve heard lots of sermons that argue well that we are made to work and be satisfied with our work. On the other hand, I’ve heard good sermons about how we need to rest. Clearly God wants us to find a balance! I’m not sure I’ve found it yet.

Looking into myself, I realized I’m trying to achieve peace by doing all this stuff. It’s not that I’ve failed at that–several visitors before Covid kept remarking on how peaceful it felt in my house. However, I think the striving can become a destructive thing if it takes up too much of my focus.

I wanted peace from looking at that mess Sable was making in my flower bed, so I spent a bunch to buy pots and potting soil, anchors, mesh, replacement plants for the dead ones, and fill gravel. I wanted peace from looking at my weedy walk, so I bought pavers and sand galore.

But this is only a temporary peace. I will find something else to stress about next week. The projects may never be done. I may spend a fortune on fixing my house, but I’ll never hit the end of the checklists!

If I want real peace, I need to go talk to the giver of peace. I realized in my devotional this morning that David’s son, who built the temple, was named peace. Solomon is a derivative of the Hebrew word for peace! Somehow I had always missed that! And David’s greater “Son” Jesus built a spiritual temple in the legacy of the family, and He did it to bring a permanent peace.

If we want peace, especially in these times, we need to pray and read our Bibles, so we can draw nearer to the Prince of Peace. There’s a lot of peace to be had in His presence.

Life in the Time of Covid

I’ve been wanting to update this blog for months, but life just keeps getting more complicated by the day! I decided it’s time to snatch a few moments on my lunch break and see what I can accomplish.

My focus has shifted a bit. Right now, I’m really focused on my health (emotional and spiritual as well as physical). Part of that has been accomplished by working constantly at improving my house and the property around it. I’ll talk more about my home improvement projects in future posts.

I’ve also taken the step to get a dog to keep me company in the Covid isolation. Her name is Sable, and she’s a rescue from a kill shelter in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Beyond that, I can only speculate about her story. I think she’s maybe 2 years old, and I think her previous owners abused her. She’s got a ton of phobias I’ve been working her through, and the transformation has been amazing!

Grinning dog being petted
Sable loves belly rubs, arm scratches, and snout strokes. This picture was taken the day she was adopted!

Well, that’s enough of a life update for now. More later!

Too Busy to Rest?

Sick in Bed. Photo by jurien huggins on Unsplash

Last Monday, I noticed a bit of a scratchy throat coming on. I tried to ignore it, but by the time dinnertime rolled around, I had to face facts. I was sick. Running a low temperature, sore throat. Fun days ahead.

Flash forward nearly a week later, and I’m still so feeble from all the medicines I’ve taken that I keep falling asleep in the afternoon. Whatever this germ is, it’s very hard to kill. At its worst, my 5-day sore throat felt like someone stabbing golf pencils in my ears and thumb tacks in the base of my tongue every time I tried to talk. I’ve been through a round of Zithromax (antibiotic) and most of a round of Methylprednisolone (steroids), as well as a steroid shot on my second trip to the doctor’s office. I’ve taken so many pills at a time, it seemed like that was becoming my main source of nutrients. Today, it has moved from my throat to my lungs and nose, but at least I can talk again. I’m going to beat this.

This is not what I had planned for this week. I had planned to wrap up two big multi-week projects at work, as well as attend a training for trainers on gamification (something I had looked forward to for three weeks). In fact, I had a packed schedule for every day on the work calendar. I had planned to end the week with a weekend full of cleaning and decorating in my bedroom (I finally got a shelf to hang on that big blank wall behind my bed), followed by choir at church tomorrow and preparations for another packed week. I had planned to do it all, to scratch off a ton of projects this week, and somehow still find a moment to lean back on my elbows and rest in those accomplishments.

Instead, I turned over all those big work projects and my seat at that training to colleagues and laid down to sleep off my killer germ. My room is more of a mess than it was, and frankly, I don’t care right now. Maybe that’s the medicine head talking? And my voice is shot, so I am not thinking about choir; in fact, I think I will probably stay home with my cooties and watch the live stream of church tomorrow.

Germ, ten points. To-do list, zero.

You know, I had been thinking I was feeling run down and under-motivated last week. Something about fall always makes me feel intensely restless, and I tend to fill up my schedule and keep it that way. Perhaps I am trying to make sure I end out my year with a feeling of accomplishment, rather than a big fizzle. I guess my body was trying to warn me about the Germ of Doom, but of course, I didn’t listen. I thought skipping some evening plans last Saturday night and going to bed early would fix it. Nope.

Surely I’m not alone in feeling the fall restlessness, right?

I wish I could offer some great, godly advice about how to schedule your life in a healthy way so you don’t end up like me, too busy to rest until you’re too sick not to. I’ve had a lot of time to dream up some great inspirational sayings while staring at the ceiling above my bed, but I spent most of that time, well, dreaming.

So I’ll say this:

I know that God didn’t make us to be human doings instead of human beings. If that’s where you find yourself today, check your to-do list for spaces to rest. Make some, if they’re not there. Fall is a season of wonder, where the trees teach us how to go out with a bang. Don’t miss it.

Don’t collapse like I did. I guess that’s the lesson for this week.