Today was a highly stressful day. We still haven’t closed on the house and we are now running out of time for the moving pods, truck, cleaning service (required to close out lease), and all of the other parts of this process. I’ve worked on cleaning and loading the pod all day and am exhausted. I’m struggling not to worry. It is difficult.
Sheltering trees (the theme of my painting in the video above) are places we can go when we need rest. “A shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain” – Isaiah 4:2-6 When we are under a great deal of stress, may we spiritually retreat to a sheltering tree.
In this emotional space we can breathe and remind ourselves of how difficult times do not last forever, and how often we emerge from a crisis stronger. When we are at peace it is “well with my (our) soul” and it’s much easier to handle stressful situations. It doesn’t mean we don’t ever lose control of our emotions or let anxiety get the better of us, but we may pull ourselves together more quickly. A restful spirit is a good companion to a faithful spirit. Faith leads to hope, and hope makes all the difference.
Tonight I’m disappointed that the houses we contact a listing agent about are already spoken for, before we even get a chance. Listings have dozens of contact inquiries after being freshly posted. So, it’s discouraging and I have to will myself not to panic. It will all work out, this unexpected move that we were blindsided by. The housing spike will hurt us, but we’ve been through worse things and we can get through this.
There are times in life when there are things that are out of our control personally, and also world wide. When those days are upon us, it helps to think of the consistency and stability of seasons and nature. They don’t worry. The animals and plants grow and thrive, while the sun rises and sets and the winds storm and calm.
A dove in a forest- if we don’t see it, does it not give us peace? We can imagine it. We can choose to be peaceful instead of anxious. It’s difficult. I’m not saying I’m getting it right every moment because I’m definitely not! I’ve already had some snitty tantrums and weepy moments. I have to work at the calm.
Whatever you’re facing, may you allow yourself to be human. But knowing that it’s not healthy to let adrenaline-pumping emotions surge for too long, be a little less human, and more like a dove in a forest. There we are, just gliding through the cool trees on a sunny day.
‘Tis the season- the tree frogs are back! I’d seen a few earlier, but they were hiding in the drawer of my potting bench or otherwise hunkered down. Tonight one has appeared as if anchored by suction cups to the patio glass door, which is what frequently happens during tree frog season. Lizards by day, tree frogs by night. The patio door is a happening place!
Are you feeling froggy? The music for this painting video gives off the vibe I’m talking about- just hanging out, being cool. Nothing gets us in a panic. That’s the attitude I’m taking tonight as I know we have to move somewhere fast, and we don’t yet know where that will be, or how much it will cost- only that it will cost a lot more than we’re currently paying because the housing market has spiked (both for buying and for renting).
I found a house today that is the most reasonable I’ve found yet (still about $200 more per month, but that looks good compared to the $500+ per month I’ve been finding!). It’s in the right location and it seems like it could be a good fit for our family. Since it’s hopefully only for a year, we can manage a bit of misery, so it doesn’t have to be a perfect fit- not that anything is ever perfect, but on the sliding scale of “almost” dream house to House of Horrors, I’m fine with it being in the middle. But the catch is that the house won’t be ready until June 21, and we must vacate the end of May.
So, I’ve asked the property management if they could please ask this home owner (where we are currently living) if we could extend our lease until end of June so we have a place to stay until the other rental opens up. She asked, but the owner wants to talk it over with her spouse, and will get back to us “asap”. Apparently ASAP means tomorrow or later because it’s now bedtime and there was no update. I must have refreshed my emails dozens of times today.
If we get permission to stay here for an extra month, the next step is to secure the new rental. So it’s not a done deal even if the home owner of this house says yes. Someone else may have already gotten the rental contract today while we are stuck waiting. I’ll hear about it soon, one way or another.
Meanwhile, I could fret or I could be like a tree frog. Sure, I don’t know where I’m going, or when, but I’m hanging out with my little green friend. I’m sitting here clacking away on the keyboard, talking to you from my computer chair that is close enough to the patio doors that I can almost reach out and touch the glass, while he’s suctioned to the other side. I wonder if he’s listening to me type.
I’ve chosen to give myself a break from worry and I hope you will too. Whatever your source of stress today, put a pause on your anxious thoughts. Racing from one manic thought to another isn’t sustainable. In these challenging times we need to stay strong. I hope you’ll join me in feeling froggy- just hanging out, being cool.
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you” Matthew 6:28b-30a
I’ve fallen behind on my plan to upload my painting videos to YouTube, making edits as needed (due to copyright claims on the music or some other reason why the video would be better if updated). This lily painting video is one that could use a little sprucing up. But, for now, I’ll re-share the original version. The message feels important to share today rather than wait for a revised video.
I see a lot of worries cast about, and it seems like a good time to focus on flowers, like lilies and wild flowers. I’ve started a new butterfly garden– in a container this time, as we are still living in a temporary place. Today I noticed that many of the flowers have germinated. I look forward to seeing them! I also look forward to the hummingbirds and butterflies they will attract. But, meanwhile, I need to look after them.
There is a danger of frost tomorrow night so I’ve covered my butterfly garden pot, as well as my other plants. I did this tonight because I was disoriented by a chaotic schedule and thought today was Saturday. But, tomorrow is forecast to be very windy and cold- with a possibility of a severe thunderstorm with large hail, so it is probably good to have done this tonight instead of tomorrow. Hopefully all will be well, and I’ve not made things worse.
Chances are good that my flowers will be just fine, regardless of the storm and the cold coming in. And most of the time, we humans are fine too. We weather through many hardships and, through it all, we’re taken care of. Just like I tried to protect my flowers, we are protected too. While someday we may need a miracle that never comes, most of the time we move from one day to the next without anything bad happening to us that we can’t endure.
Worrying won’t prevent bad things, but it will definitely make life more difficult to persevere, overcome, and thrive. An image of a lily may be helpful to meditate on when anxiety settles in. If you’ve not yet planted any flowers this season, may I strongly suggest that you do so? It’s hard to explain why flowers bring encouragement, comfort and hope– they just do. And those three things I wish for you, dear friends. God bless you and keep you, this day and always.
Can we trust ourselves to always feel or act in a predictable way? Do we ever take ourselves by surprise by doing something that seems out of character? The above painting, “Consider the Lilies” isn’t in my typical style. Sometimes when I sit down to paint, my art doesn’t flow the way that I expect. It doesn’t mean that the new style is bad, even if I don’t personally like it. It only means that it’s different, not what I expected. That’s true of life in general.
There are times when we don’t do or feel, what we’d ordinarily do or feel, and this may be unsettling. But it may be a good thing to let ourselves be unpredictable from time to time, especially if we eventually settle back into a peaceful space of stability and authenticity when we’re done trying something new. We can choose to adopt the new direction or go back to how we usually do things, seeking calm and balance once again. Change can be good, whether temporary or permanent. It’s when we worry about change that we open ourselves up to stress, anxiety, fear, and sabotaging our happiness.
Matthew 6:28b-30a: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you?”
How amazing it is, the beautiful intricacy of nature! All creatures fit together into the tapestry of this world, even common flowers like lilies. What a blessing it is when we can simply “be”, when we can accept our place in the tapestry without worry.
When we see ourselves sliding off our normal course, we might feel as if we can’t trust ourselves, as if we’ve betrayed our true nature. But change doesn’t have to mean that we’re losing who we were before and turning into someone we won’t recognize. It’s possible that we’re only expanding who we already are.