Thursday, May 05, 2011


So far, I've been swinging between extremes.

Excess. Space. Elimination.

Any of those could become an extreme in and of itself. Today, I'm admitting and preaching to myself that balance is really where I'll find the most success and change.

If I swing to the excess extreme - I'll be overrun with stuff in my house, a messy heart and a jam packed calendar. No good at all.

If I swing to the elimination extreme - I'll feel completely deprived and starved of some of the things my spirit feeds on and is refreshed by. Plus, I'd wager I would be missing some ministry opportunities that God had provided for me.

Enter: balance.

Balance is knowing when the scales are about to tip and doing whatever necessary to keep them even.

Personal example: I really wanted to have a French inspired Mother's Day picnic this Sunday. My mom is going to be here and David's mom is going to be here and I had lots of fun ideas to make this special.

Life is busy - I bet I don't even need to tell you that! And, when David's mom offered to take everyone out to dinner - I suggested Mother's Day. Even though it breaks my heart, I know it is for my best interests (and therefore my family's as well) that I not do a huge lunch on Sunday.


I realized that going ahead with my idea would've tipped the scales in an uneven way which would have side effects in my home.

Here's another example where I did not make the right choice. The other day at the grocery store - I saw three bags of tomatoes on the mark down rack and thought what a great deal they were for making and canning salsa and tomato sauce.

I bought about 15 lbs. for $4.50 and was excited about my deal. They are all done and canned in jars - but I'm just not convinced it was worth my time. Several of hours of work, not sure how good the results will be since I've never canned tomato sauce before and really not all that much cheaper than buying pasta sauce on a good sale.

I should've just left those tomatoes there for someone else and next time - I will.

One last example - my garden. In the past I've had great successful gardens and poor neglected ones. This is a difficult season in my life to have a garden because most of my children are not really old enough to be of help - destruction is a bigger concern!

But, I just haven't wanted to give up. This year, I started my seeds again and for various reasons - that was a big failure. Spontaneously one day, I stopped at Lowe's and bought a few starter plants that I now have growing in my garden.

For me, and this season in my life - this is definitely the way to strike a balance on gardening. The chances of success are greater considering what I can give. It's a great way for me not to give up on having a garden but to make it more manageable.

This is what balance is all about!

How about you? What needs balance in your life? Thanks so much for enjoying this series with me. I had no idea that I would have all of this to say this week - but obviously God had other plans!


LynnMarie said...

And what is balance for you is not balance for me so we must not compare each other. I love to sew but some outfits are just cheaper to buy at a consingment store. I know that now and it doesn't bother me any more. Look for Balance in all things - for me it all starts with time with God.

Agnes said...

Oh Monica,
You made me smile with your tomatoes and your garden! That is totally me.
But this year I am forced to balance a little bit my life, I started to work on the garden and it was so hard with my big belly (due in a July) that I decided to have just a few rows in my garden, it feels so nice not to have to worry about being able to do it all.

Monica Wilkinson said...

Lynn Marie: YES!!!! Balance for one is different from balance for another. Great point!

Agnes: yeah for balance in your garden! I know it is hard - but oh, so much better for us and our families!

Rachel said...

Great post! I too often want things to be all or nothing, when in the middle is usually the best for myself and my family. Balance for me this week included calling my husband to pick up buns for our pulled pork dinner...I just didn't have the hour to make them from scratch without sacrificing something else. And I'll probably be picking up plants from Lowe's within a couple weeks for my small garden.

Debra said...

I am loving this series this week - thank you for doing it. Balance is so hard. My daughter's first communion is coming up and I want to have a luncheon after the mass and want to make everything for it. But things are so busy now with end of school activities that after much prodding by my husband (they always seem to know when things are too much for us) we have decided to have it catered. I have never had anything catered in my life (except our wedding) and it's just not 'me'. But I am doing it because I know I will be able to enjoy everything more.

Wendi said...

I am currently saying no to many things. For instance I haven't baked bread in what feels like forever. I love to cook from scratch, but is it really worth it when the baby is crying, the todder is into everything but the toybox and the preschooler is melting down because of all the chaos!?

I am making some big changes around my home. Mainly to do with stuff and priorities. More on that later.

Your post this week have really spoken to me.

Flannel Jammies Farm said...

Balance is an ever-changing target, isn't it? What I was able to do a couple of years ago is no longer possible due to changing circumstances in my life. It's such a good reminder to allow a new rhythm to take over. I've let go of the notion of entertaining outside of immediate family, and I've let go of some really good things (weekly bible study, volunteering in several positions, etc.) for much better things (more personal quiet time, calmer days, more time for creating a true home for my family, less stress). Your example of giving up the Mother's Day picnic is perfect!

Anonymous said...

As you already know, I know just what you are talking about. And for the record, we didn't start any of our own plants this year. We have a date set to go out the Friday before Memorial Day and buy them.....with NO guilty feelings ;)

Lauren(in Savannah) said...


I was thinking as far as canning the tomatoes.... even if it wasn't the cheapest way to go... if you enjoyed it or it made a memory then I think it is worthwhile. For instance I know it is cheaper to buy some icecream from the store but sometimes it is fun to go to the icecream shop and make the memory. Just a thought. You know what is impotant to you and your family. Btw....I thought worthwhile was spelled worthwild and had to check it. You learn something everyday :o)
P.S.>>> I really enjoy the pictures and blog posts you share. Such a positive thing in a stressful world!

Anonymous said...

So timely for me! With 19mth old twins and our third due in 6wks, hubby on call plus working off duty-I'm just in survival mode! Yesterday I planted a VERY minimal amt of flowers in my window boxes and pots on my front stoop. The front beds are getting fresh mulch this yr but no plants as they normally do-I just dont have time/energy to take care of them and I have an 8mth preg belly that inhibits a lot of bending right now-hehe, and I'm ok w that:)
As far as meals and shopping go-as simple as I can be is my motto right now!

Anonymous said...

Dearest Monica,
Oh, I know your heart, so I know how hard it must be for you to give up your ideas for a Mother's Day Picnic, but I'm oh-so-proud of you for letting Elaine take you out to dinner on Mother's Day. It is truly so much easier on you and your family. (Even though restuarants are always crowded on M's Day) That will give you time to enjoy other activities with your family and your folks. Wish I was there too!

Perhaps there will be another time for the French picnic. (And I also remember another time when you planned/had a special picnic for your Mom on M's Day.)

Take care and God bless you in your efforts to find Balance in your life, Honey. A lesson we all need to learn.

Love you, Grandma

Melissa said...

I've learned a ton about balance in the last two years. God has been really good to me in helping me remember what's most important during this season in my life. Without balance I think I would be a mess.

I think there is always a struggle, though, with what we want and what God wants. Sometimes I get caught up in doing what is good while missing what is best.

Mrs M said...

So enjoying this - thankyou! Balance for me this week... choosing to leave/compost a HUGE bag of apples which were given to me this week instead of spending hours peeling, chopping, canning.... while morning sick, homeschooling, supprting my church planting husband. Instead I will sit with some tea and enjoy reading to my children :)

Jenny Lynn said...

Balance really requires us as women to let go of some "good" things. So we can enjoy "better" things that fit with the season of life we are in.

I have enjoyed this post so much. Has me thinking about Balancing my life a little better each day.