It was a wonderful day to do yard work.
I am grateful to have a lovely yard and the physical ability to maintain it. That is a huge blessing and I know it.
Yard work is a pleasant way for me to be in the sun, play in the dirt, enjoy having the dog running around me.
Spring clean-up is nice because it signals the beginning of nice weather. Summer maintenance is tolerable because the gardens look so nice when they are clean and weed-free.
October chores are different. Pruning, separating perennials, moving some plants inside...none of that says "FUN" to me.
Perhaps it is because the season is ending. Cutting the gardens down to nothing and knowing they will soon be covered with snow gives me no satisfaction. Necessary change of seasons blah blah. It still isn't fun.
That is the mindset I had when I headed out today.
Somewhere in the sun and clippings and barking, my perspective changed.
Certainly the clean, albeit bare, gardens look better than they did filled with brown leaves and dead stems.
So maybe I am like that too? No maybes about it. My heart and mind need to be pruned and reshaped and I feel better when it is done. I'm sure the people who share life with me feel the benefit as well.
Unlike the plants, however, I often fight it, think it isn't necessary, or whine about the discomfort.
How about you?
Isn't it interesting that when plants are growing wild, we prune them to get the growth under control - and when plants aren't growing, we prune them to encourage new growth.
Pruning - the all-around cure.
It works the same way for me.
Sometimes I get out of control. My plans, thoughts, energies become scattered.
Pruning is necessary, lest I become like the vinca in my back flower garden - spreading in every direction but producing no flowers, growing in places I don't belong.
Sometimes I get lackadaisical, content with mediocrity...or worse, full of myself, counting on my own strength.
Pruning is necessary at other times, lest I become like my Wandering Jew - stems that hang down and look healthy, but are thin and nearly dead at the root.
How about you? Do you need pruning to stimulate or control?
I am diligent about weeding. It is one of my favorite activities when I am having a blank moment while writing. So imagine my surprise when today's pruning revealed weeds. Big ones that have been there for some time.
The past few years have been a period of tremendous pruning for me. I often ask God (or demand or scream about) what else I possibly need to give up or learn.
Then another branch comes off and I see a weed I didn’t know was there.
How about you? Do you learn more in hard times? Do you need to appreciate good times more? Yeah, most of us do.
I still don't like pruning. There are thorn pricks in two fingers and one thumb is sore because a hard stem shoved itself under the nail. OUCH.
But, at least I have a better perspective. Which is good because I have more to do.
And it seems likely God has more pruning to do on me. Seasonally, just like my flower gardens.
You too, maybe?
We will talk more tomorrow…
Thanks for reading.
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You can see earlier entries below this blog or in the sidebar under 2015.
Beth Painter is, among many other things, a writer and motivational speaker. You can follow her on Facebook on the “Think Big focus small” page.
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