Tuesday, April 12, 2011

One Small Step

On Saturday I worked for an hour in my little flower garden. This is significant because I didn't get all the work done in an hour. I actually closed the gate, put away the tools and walked back up to the house without finishing the job. Contrary to what you may think, I was proud of myself. I had finally learned a little lesson I've been trying to learn for a very long time.

Every spring I put on my old tennis shoes, walk down to the garage and get out my little store of gardening tools. I have one fenced-in flower garden (the deer seem to be of the mistaken opinion that I plant flowers to give their diet a little variety from their usual fare)by the garage, a small one under the oak trees and a little bed along the front of the house. Armed with tools, gloves, bucket and kneeling pad I open the gate and begin.

The ground is littered with the oak leaves that have drifted down over the past couple of weeks. The plants need trimming and weeds need pulling. It is a job that takes a lot longer than an hour, but I am always determined to get it done in one session. It's the way I tend to do things. I just want to finish what I begin - now!

I begin with great care, pulling every weed and cleaning up every leaf. As the minutes and hours pass the quality of my work begins to suffer. My back aches and that silly hip just won't give me any peace, but I am determined to get the job done.

When I am finished, it all looks good, but I know that there are hidden roots that I was too weary to dig up and the trimming got rather sloppy. I ache all over (I do exercise, honest. But I seem to use muscles I didn't even know were there when I'm bent over or on my knees for hours.). All I want is a long soak in a tub full of hot water and fragrant bubbles.

This year I decided to put into practice what I've been trying so hard to learn - self-control. Surely a few one hour sessions of working in the garden would be far more sensible and productive than my usual method.

It wasn't easy. When the hour was up, I kept thinking "just one more load of leaves." But I made myself close the gate.

It was good. I wasn't sore; the garden looked pretty good - a nice start; I had done a thorough job. In a few days, I'll do some more until it is all neat and tidy.

I've been praying for help in balancing the different areas of my life. This felt like one little step in the right direction. Now about blogging....

I wonder....how do you balance blogging? Do you set limits? What about reading and commenting? I know this is one area that I must work on. Eager to hear your thoughts.



  1. I am no longer Deb of Green Acres Garden Maintenance, but have very vivid memories of the aches and pains of full days five days a week of this...
    Some doors close and others open and all that though right?

    You know I struggle with blogging as well.. so I'm going to return and read the comments.

  2. that was a good story.

    as for blogging, i have recently started to focus on the one-on-one connections and have given up group joining and interaction.


    it's just what is happening with me.

    kind of like your big garden being broken up into little patches of garden to focus on. each plant gets quality time.

    yep, that's it.

  3. Enjoyed reading this, Linda.
    As for blogging, I check some
    of the blogs I follow in the
    morning then go about my day.
    If I have something to write
    I do that at some point during
    my day, then right before bed
    I check emails and do some
    commenting. I don't stay on
    the computer nearly as much
    in warm weather. I must get
    outside and enjoy my gardens.
    Blogging can be habit-forming
    but only if you let it.
    You are a joy and I hope you
    can find the balance you want
    in blogging.

  4. Linda -- I had to laugh from recognizing myself in your gardening story. I, too, want to get it all done -- NOW! :)

    As for blogging, I do set limits. I write three times a week.

    I used to try to respond to every comment at my blog. But I have just had to resign myself to the fact that it's impossible to respond to all comments, unless I'm willing to cut into family time. And I'm not willing to do that. Yet, I don't want to turn off comments, because I enjoy the interaction in the comment box. I read every comment, and am blessed immeasurably by what people share.

  5. Pacing! You have perfected it! Well done, Linda. I still believe we are twins separated at birth.... I would be staying in the garden till finished. Well, I am also trying to take time. Pace.
    And as for blogging - I cannot answer all the comments. I don't even get round to reading a tenth of the blogs I follow most days, but I don't worry any more. I do my best and always keep up with the friends I am closest to. I try. But I have a life too!

  6. yes...in all of those things (o:
    balance....it is a hard thing.
    I see a lot more balance in our age group than our kids age group.
    I have been reading a lot lately. When I am tired...that is my relaxer...blogging is just not as relaxing. I have always been a reader... but I balanced it. I felt like I should not read when the kids were little and not sleeping. I needed to be there... not in another world... which is what reading does for me. I do NOT like to see young Moms talking on the phone all the time or on the computer. Just my pet peeve (o:
    Any way... I decided not to blog when hubby is around... because it is like turning off to him and that is not fair.

  7. I love this one, though I don't garden so can't relate in that way. I just enjoy the fruits of my dear hubby's hard work.

    As for blogging - I can't seem to come up with anything to say more than once a week any more, and it seems that is when I catch up on those who "follow" me. I can't stand the thought of giving up on blogging, though. Too many valuable friendships have been formed. Also, my readership is not that large any more, so I don't have trouble responding to everyone. Just think if we'd never "met!"

  8. Such good questions ... some days are more open time wise than others.

  9. Mostly I leave the fallen leaves as mulch and when bermuda grass gets a hold in the flowers -- well, it can't be pulled out. I'm fairly new to the blogging world and don't have many followers, but I do try to read their blogs. I don't have a counter so have no idea how many people are reading what I write. Maybe it isn't that interesting?

  10. I am like you with gardening and I too had decided that this year I was going to pace myself. Time will tell if I'm able to.

    As for blogging, I wake up to my blogger friends' posts. I purposely get up early enough that I sit with my coffee and catch up on those to whom I feel closest. I used to read a book--now I read the blogs. It is often difficult for me to put down a book and that can be frustrating. But the blogs come in snippets that can be spaced out time wise. I make certain I have time for devotions also.
    By the time I'm done checking blogs and devotions, the celebrex has kicked in and I can move around easier, so then I get ready.
    I usually comment on several in the morning.
    Then before I go to bed, I check again and write more comments.
    I only respond to those comments that have asked me questions or have reached out to a need I had. I don't expect people to respond to my comments personally esp. those who have so many followers. However, I do appreciate when they read and make comments on my posts.

    If I'm having a hectic or rough week, I get behind on some posts, but I no longer berate myself over that. Those who care about me know my physical and time limitations.
    This was a good question, Linda and you made an excellent point about pacing, esp. in the garden.:)

  11. yay, Linda! Soooo proud of you, it's not a small step. It's a BIG step! You know I have been pursuing balance in my life too in the past year. Sometimes in order to find a balance I need to completely wean myself from something for a time, like I did with blogging and blog reading. Then I have to slowly pick it back up, being careful to not allow it to consume me again.

    I am still not blogging much, mostly because I have set the limit that I won't blog (which is a recreational pursuit of mine) unless my duties and responsibilities are taken care of first (spiritual disciplines, school, cleaning and cooking and yes, in that exact order. Well, truth be told, I rarely have time to fit anything else in to my day these days what with a baby that likes to be breastfed every two hours thrown into the mix.

    As for the blog reading, I've found a great groove that works for me. First I sorted my blogs in my blog reader into 5 categories, one for each day of the week. I have 1.marriage and motherhood, 2. cooking, 3. home management, 4. inspirational and 5. friends.

    Within those categories I culled all blogs from my reader that were not "top ten" in their category. So I have maximum ten blogs in each category. Then, I only allow myself to look at one category per day. So, today is Friday, and I get to look at my friends blogs. When I look only once a week there may be 1-4 posts on a given blog, but in that case the ones that are most meaningful or applicable to me (like this one) stand out and those are the posts I focus on.

    All of these little things help me spend less time at the computer, but make the time I do spend there more productive and meaningful.

    Love you!