The Day of Small Things

I turned on my sewing machine today for the first time in many weeks.  Let me tell you, it feels good!  The project I’ve returned to is past due but makes me smile, and it’s good to have fabric in my hands again.  I’m feeling off center, the kind that always happens when I’m away from making things for too long.  So it’s good to be back, both at my machine and here at Hopeful Homemaker.  We’ve said farewell to 2022 and welcomed 2023.  In all of it, I’ve been pondering a question found in the Old Testament, in Zechariah 4:10, “For who hath despised the day of small things?”  

The day of small things.  We don’t talk much about those.  They’re not impressive and generally don’t make headlines.  In the new year goal-setting season of dreaming big and making big things happen, the day of small things is easy to despise.  Don’t get me wrong:  I believe in big dreams and big goals.  But this question has reminded me that all the big things are built on the foundation of days of small things.  Every once in a while, we get a day of big things.  Sometimes those are dreams realized; others they’re brick wall challenges.  But it’s in the living of ordinary days that we build a life.

We’re not alone because God is playing the long game in our lives. The game plan emerges over time, mostly in a series of small things.  Day after day of them, in fact.  No one is likely to write my biography.  And yet, He shows up in my small days.  I love Him for it.

So, as I write my goals for the year, I’m seeing my days of small things as gifts.  Twenty minutes a day will finish the quilt.  Or the book series.  Or root out weeds from the garden.  Organize the cupboards.  I guess you could say that everything starts small.  As I’ve shared previously, diligence is the attribute I’ve focused on for the last couple of years.  I’m obviously not done learning it because it’s still the dominant thread in all my goals.  What I’m trying to do is master it, extend the reach of this principle into everything, and use it to build bigger things.  

While big things grow, I’ll respect my days of small things.  I hope you will, too.  They’re nothing to despise since they let us see God’s hand and become the foundation of all the big things that matter.

A new year full of days comprised of hours.  Make them count!  Win the next ten minutes.  We’re in good hands and things will work out!

A Lesson in Holes: My Finished Seashell Banner

A few years ago I began sewing my seashells with holes in them to this linen seashell banner.  I’ve written here and here about how I love these simple, ordinary shells.  Especially shells with holes.  After years of adding one here and there, my banner is covered in beautiful shells found on the beach.  Each one of them came from the same 1.5 mile stretch of beach where we spend time every summer, collected over years.  So here it is, my finished seashell banner.

The holes were there when I found them.  Actually, the holes represent their undoing.  The telltale hole is evidence of a drilling predator, which drilled the hole and ate the soft flesh inside, leaving the shell empty.  At some point, it washed ashore.  Unconsiously, my eyes now spot shells with holes faster than anything else on the beach.  That hole was the end of the story; but it’s the hole that makes it useful to me.

I think life is like that.  A hard thing comes along, drills into us, eats us up inside.  It leaves a mark, a hole, evidence that we’re flawed.  But the very thing that appears to be our undoing, can also be our making!  I look at these ordinary, flawed objects, and I see beauty, survival, grit.  Did you know that the older the shell is, the more white it becomes?  I look at these shells and see me, my journey as a mother.  I see my undoing and my making.

So I’ve slowly filled all the space with rows of shells, organized by size, color, type.  Each one so unique.  Look closely and you’ll never find a duplicate.  These shells I’ve collected for years are now hanging on my wall next to my study desk.  They remind me daily that my holes actually make me more useful, more relatable, more compassionate.  They are part of me and it’s ok to have been changed by them.  In fact, they’ve made me better, even if I look more flawed.  I treasure my finished seashell banner, full of memories and hope.  

So many walks along the beach represented here, plus a reminder of my worth.  This was a rewarding project.  I wonder what I’ll do next with my shells…. time to start brainstorming!



A Wasted Season Redeemed {Easter Thoughts}

You could argue that Utah’s weather cycled through all four seasons in a week, including two rounds of snow and freezing temperatures.  We need the moisture desperately, but the timing…. is hard.  A week ago I took a little walk around my beloved cherry tree to see the buds beginning to bloom.  But now, when we should have a show of lovely white blossoms, the tree already looks brown.  A wasted season, it seems.

I was sick last week.  A wasted week.

But today is Easter and we’re back to spring, so with the sun shining and blue skies overhead I wandered outside to see what survived the cold.  My peonies are coming in well, most of the tulips survived.  My honeysuckle looks dead, and the weeds are thriving as usual.  Honestly, my yard suffers from neglect and dearly needs my attention.  A wasted yard, perhaps.  But while my walk prompted plenty of guilt, I also had to admit that there are some beautiful things happening there.  Beauty I don’t deserve, but which is there for my enjoyment.  A gift.

I had the thought that I should return to the cherry tree in spite of its color.  To my surprise, a sound I’ve not heard for years greeted me:  the hum of hundreds of bees.  

In spite of brown blossoms that froze, others had boomed after the storm.  And where the blossoms seemed lost, the bees were at work.  Undeterred by the wilting brown, they even seemed to prefer the “wasted” blooms over the fresh white ones.

I circled the tree with tears in my eyes.  My own little Easter miracle, it seems, with a beautiful lesson for me: a wasted season redeemed.  The scriptures teach that all things testify of Christ.  Today I witnessed that testimony in the form of bees and cherry blossoms.  Because of Him, our brown, frozen, spent blossoms can still bring fruit.  

So many parts of my life are barren of the fruit I expected years ago.  Yet, haply, looking back today, I see Jesus Christ at work.  I see brown useless blossoms that have yielded good things:  humility, compassion, patience, and faith.  I am better for it.  The fruit has been years in coming, and even now isn’t ready to harvest.  But my wasted season is being redeemed.

This is my Easter witness to you:  whatever is broken, frozen, wasted in your life can be healed and used for good through Jesus Christ.  Just as the bees find my brown blossoms worth pollinating, so He finds you worth saving.  Such a lovely message, delivered by bees and cherry blossoms.

Happy Easter!

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