Let us be thankful, Lord, for little things –
The song of birds, the rapture of the rose;
Cloud-dappled skies, the laugh of limpid springs,
Drowned sunbeams and the perfume April blows;
– Robert William Service
I am writing this in a torrential downpour, proving this poem true. The rain also is a bit of a metaphor for our last few weeks: we had a literal flood in our house a couple of weeks ago (yes, the third time this has happened in five years!) that kept me from writing this post on time. We woke to a waterfall in our bedroom at 1 am, heavens to Betsy. To add to our water fun, there was also an unfortunate meeting between a glass of water and my laptop. March—and this first part of April—was a wet one! April showers bring May flowers and peach buds, though. The deluge of water also brought proverbial growth and refreshment in the end.
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The quarterly PowerSheets refresh was right on time, as it always seems to be. It’s encouraging to think back on writing those pages many months ago with Emily, not knowing how they would meet me when I did them myself. And, perhaps more significantly, not knowing I was writing the PowerSheets for the final time. Reflection reaps rewards. Looking back at the first season of this year, I saw progress in my 2023 goals, but also that I took on too much. In a season where the grief of losing my dad and transitioning from work kept telling me to slow down and do less, I was still unwinding from a full career and turning-point year. Wisdom often comes in retrospect, doesn’t it? I am still learning and looking at this new season with a shifted perspective toward rest. Not just rest from the last year but from a lifetime of frequently biting off more than I can chew.
As the garden begins to come alive again after a season of winter, I feel that myself. God sometimes uses winter seasons to prepare us for spring, changing the environment around us to get us to see what matters most. Ari and I celebrated 17 years of marriage in March and paused to discern what’s next for our lives, much like the mother and father do in the last chapter of Swiss Family Robinson. We just happened to finish the book with the kids as the month came to a close, and wow, what an ending. I won’t spoil it for you, but the mother and father choose the road less traveled. They choose a slower, unexpected, abundant life in the end. Even my 7-year-old son got choked up hearing the end; it was so beautiful. Much like the Robinsons on an untamed island, we’ve had a bit of a wild month here aside from the flooding. From our youngest’s special-needs school suddenly closing out of nowhere to a major foundation repair and breaking through grief roadblocks (more on that in a minute), we’ve had many opportunities to practice resilience in stress.
In the midst of it all, a long-time dream popped up. For several years, we wanted to find a piece of wild land and build a little house in the woods. Such a piece of land came up down the street from where we live. We went to hike it and fell in love. God works in mysterious ways. In this month of unexpected challenges, they were also unexpected clues about what matters that appeared around us: growing friendships between our kids and our new cul-de-sac neighbors, fully realizing I am at my midlife moment, new insight about our youngest’s needs with an Autism diagnosis, and knowing—after all the change of last year—we all need rest. Moving and building a house would take us in the opposite direction to a stressful transition. We decided to stay here, right where we are in the wild, with all the broken pipes and things that fall apart. And with wonderful neighbors and trust in God‘s plans. I read somewhere that unmade decisions are one of the most detrimental things to our health—they clutter your mind and keep you from being present. Every day since making this decision has felt sweeter and sweeter right here where we are.
My mom caught me this week with my new favorite bird seed from a small farm in New York and garden beauties from my local garden shop, For Garden’s Sake.
Also, in March: I did 7 things to improve my health, and we planned a trip to Iceland with my mom and brother. As you know, the thought of traveling this year has given me some anxiety. I spent so much time in airports when my dad was living his last days, and grief has a way of edging out your ability to take on complex logistics. After much prayer and family discussion, though, I knew this was important for the family and to honor my dad—and frankly, to let God work on my faith in grief. We will be gone around the day of Dad’s passing last year to celebrate his life and my brother’s 40th birthday. Now that the tickets have been purchased, I am, indeed, very excited. My brother is taking the reins with activity planning, which is a huge relief to me. We have the Blue Lagoon, a troll tour, and snorkeling in a cave on our list. Any other Iceland must-dos?
And now, onto April! Here’s to new habits, planting the garden, and REST. I continue to love my 2023 PowerSheets goals and am grateful for another month to learn and grow in faithfulness. Our Passover seder is tonight—one of my favorite nights of the year.
In this new month, and always, I want to be present, generous, and faithful. I’m excited to see what the Lord has in store, and I’m grateful for right now. Happiest April, friends!
Your turn! What are you focusing on this month? I’d love to hear.
I learned the phrase stress loops this month and your thought: “I read somewhere that unmade decisions are one of the most detrimental things to our health—they clutter your mind and keep you from being present.” made me think through this phrasing again. When we make the decisions (either choosing yes, no, or we’ll revisit this later), it closes the loop! It takes it out of my brain or allows me to put it aside. If they are left in my brain/my heart and I ruminate on them continually, it does begin to wear on me. Uncluttering my mind and allowing myself to be present are even more reasons to make decisions and close some of those stress loops!!
I LOVE this. I read your comment yesterday shortly after you posted it and thought of closing loops for the rest of the day! Thank you so much for this. I love this visual image.
Oh my friend, so much good and hard stuff. Isn’t that life, to hold them both and lean into His sufficient grace?
I LOVE your garden plans and the dream of a home in the woods, trusting our Creator to bring you every good gift and reminders of His love each day 💕💕
I love you to the moon and back. God has used you for so many years to remind me of His faithfulness in various seasons. Thank you for your love always. So grateful for you my friend.
Dear Lara, it was such a joy to be reading your words. Thank you so much for your words and sharing your story. I recently rediscovered you in a way and I have been reading through your past post which have been beautiful moments for me. Truly, I just wanted to say thank you ❤️
Sending you lots of love from Germany,
Ah, Ronja, it’s a joy to get your message here. I am sending love! Thank you for saying hello. I’m so grateful you’ve been encouraged!
There’s a lot of heavy stuff in what you just wrote. As a parent to two with some different needs-I have to ask-if you are ok sharing-what are you doing to help yourself process that diagnosis? I am still working on processing my daughter’s intellectual disability diagnosis (given in October). Labels are helpful for getting services and understanding the behaviors-but at least I have found some level of grief at the same time. I am seeking therapy for this but also just was curious, since you seem like such an intentional parent and I generally love everything you share, if you have found any good resources from a theological or personal standpoint. No worries if not. Iceland sounds amazing! I agree wholeheartedly about choosing a slower life and that being so sweet and precious in ways you may not have ever anticipated. I hope the house is functional and boring this month for you guys!!!
Love these reflections and can’t wait to debrief on them more! And I’ve just added Swiss Family Robinson to our list – I’ve never read it!