What I Learned This Spring

As I’m writing this, it’s the last week of school and my mind is full. Just this morning, I’ve forgotten my hair stylist’s name when I was trying to reschedule an appointment, and I sent Lilly’s dance teacher an email three times because I kept forgetting to include an attachment.

The less-structured and (hopefully) lazier days of summer are on the way, and I couldn’t be happier about that. But before we turn the calendar page on another season, here are a few things I learned this spring.

♦ Ever since we moved into our home six years ago, our noisy dishwasher kept people from falling asleep at night, interfered with conversations in the kitchen, and basically sounded like a freight train was rumbling through the house whenever it was running.

I wouldn’t normally recommend replacing an appliance simply because it’s too loud, but the racks were starting to fall apart too, so that made the decision to get a new one a little easier.

We like to measure things around here, including sound levels. And here’s what we’ve discovered, thanks to our recent appliance purchase. When it comes to dishwashers, there’s a huge difference between 73 decibels and 46 decibels.

The new dishwasher is so quiet we barely notice it’s running at all. Now all we have to do is figure out how keep the “cycle completion signal” from going off in the middle of the night.

♦ Most of these seasonal lessons don’t involve actually learning how to do something. If you’ve been following along with me lately, however, you’ll know that I really did acquire a new skill this spring—I taught myself how to bake homemade bread.

And after spending my entire adult life avoiding recipes that contain yeast, I can’t believe how delightfully therapeutic it is to dig my hands into a soft, warm mound of dough.

♦ I am capable of sitting in a waiting room by myself while my husband has a scary sounding procedure done on his heart. It might sound silly, but before Randy’s heart ablation in late April, I struggled with whether I should ask someone to join me as I waited that morning. The hospital’s long hallways are too hard for my parents to manage, but I’m sure I could have found a friend who would have been happy to accompany me.

I woke up one night with this thought pressing on my mind: I don’t know if I want to brave it alone. Almost immediately, the still, small Voice whispered: “I will be with you.”

Peace followed, and my quandary was solved.

As it turned out, I wasn’t alone in the waiting room after all. God was with me, and His presence calmed my anxious heart. Friends and loved ones were a quick text away. And, as you may recall from my recap of that day, a couple of total strangers kept me distracted and (at times) secretly amused for a good part of the morning.

♦ On the last day of winter—an 80-degree Sunday in March—I went running with Lilly and Molly on the bike trail near our house. I do most of my exercise on the treadmill, so running outside is a bit of a challenge. I set a goal for how much I wanted to run, and I was so excited about actually meeting that goal that I failed to notice the uneven ground where the paved trail meets the sidewalk that goes back to our street.

My foot hit the edge of the sidewalk and I went flying, sliding on my knees on the rough concrete until I came to a complete stop. I didn’t break any bones or tear any ligaments, but I did learn this: Skinned knees heal much more slowly at 46 than at 10. And I still have the scars to prove it.

♦ When you pray and ask God to show you what you need to see, He does. I’ve found this to be true in my role as a mom over the years, and lately, I’m finding it also applies to the help I’m giving my parents.

When thoughts pop into my head—check this, ask about that, probe a little deeper there—I’m learning to follow up on them. Sometimes, it’s nothing. Other times, though, what I discover enables me to nip something in the bud, assist more effectively, provide comfort or encouragement, or alert others to needs they can meet.

♦ Last summer, the serpentine belt on our van broke soon after we returned home from a lengthy road trip. We got it fixed, but around this time, we also started noticing a persistent rattle. I just chalked it up to wear and tear—we had driven a long way on some pretty mountainous roadways, so I figured our van was finally starting to show its age.

When it comes to cars, I don’t embarrass easily. Bird poop on windows, stained floor mats and slightly dinged-up back bumpers don’t bother me at all. But over time, the rattle started getting on everyone’s nerves, including mine. It was so bad that Molly once correctly identified our van coming down the street before she even saw it.

We had resigned ourselves to the fact that we’d probably have to spend a lot of money on some difficult engine issue, but we hadn’t scheduled a service appointment yet. Then one Saturday, Randy decided to give the problem one last-ditch troubleshooting effort.

“I’m just going to look in there and see if there’s bolt rattling around,” he told me.

He didn’t find any bolts, but he did find a socket that must have been left there when the belt was replaced last August. He removed it, and—much to everyone’s relief—the rattle disappeared.

The moral of the story is this: Sometimes, to solve a persistent and annoying problem, you just have to find and remove the leftover socket that you didn’t even know was there.

That’s my list. What have you learned this spring?

When you pray and ask God to show you what you need to see, He does. Click To Tweet

P.S. I’m linking up this week with Emily FreemanPurposeful Faith, #TellHisStory, Coffee for Your Heart, Chasing Community and Grace & Truth.

22 Responses to What I Learned This Spring

  1. Lois, congratulations on your bread making! My family loves homemade bread and it really is an art. And the smell is unbeatable. Also glad to read that your husband is past his procedure — I’ve known several that have needed that lately. AND maybe as I write this your strawberry knees are healed? Ooh, those road rashes hurt so much! Happy spring, friend, and here’s to the slow days of summer.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Thanks, Lisa. Yes, the knees are healed … finally! Still scarred, but I can live with those. 🙂 I agree with you 100 percent about the smell of bread baking … it makes it worth every bit of the effort. Happy summer back to you!

  2. I am learning to be still and recover from a very busy spring. We made it to summer!

  3. Joanne Viola says:

    Lois, I so enjoy reading recaps and this one was wonderful. Your insights are both meaningful and humorous and we surely need both! Thank you for reminding me of the beauty of “bread therapy”. Once the slower days of summer hit here, I think I shall return to making a loaf or two. It has been a long time since I have done so and you are so right, it is wonderful therapy – for the heart, soul, and body!

  4. I love your recap, and much like you I’m eagerly awaiting summer break and a slower pace. Your skinned knees sound awful and thank you for the confirmation that I should not take up street running again! Now, if I could just find a way for us to share a slice of that bread together! xo

  5. Laura says:

    Yikes! That skinned knee sounds seriously painful! I love that you shared about your noisy dishwasher and car. 😀 It’s always nice to see a resolution to pesky problems like that. And I’m so glad you had peace during your husband’s procedure. Funny how God used that odd conversation to help the time pass more quickly. 🙂 I’m visiting today from Purposeful Faith–glad to have found you again! 🙂

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Laura, there were times during that conversation when I wondered if it was ever going to end, but yes, it was a great diversion to what could have been a really stressful morning! So glad you stopped by again this week. 🙂

  6. Oh wow Lois. I love reading other’s experiences. I think it reminds me we are all in this life together really. Thank you for sharing with us!

    Your neighbor at Jen’s

  7. Linda Stoll says:

    Oh my, Lois … did you dream that May would give you so much to ponder, to consider, to savor?

    Yes, we have a freight train dishwasher. The old ones work quick and loud. We’re living with it for now …

    Meanwhile, the hospital? You were brave going it alone. I’m not sure I would have your courage. Praise God He is always right there in the midst of what we’re dealing with.

    Looks like you’re yearning for a summer break. I hope it will come to you with joy and peace …

    • Lois Flowers says:

      I never would have thought I’d be able to brave the waiting room alone either, Linda. It’s interesting … as I do more things I never thought I’d do (or would have to do), it really is getting … well, maybe not easier, but definitely less hard! Does that make sense? And yes, summer break is here and the nerves are starting to unwind a bit just because of the more relaxed schedule!

  8. Trudy says:

    I cringed when you said you skinned your knees, Lois. That must have been so painful. The noisy van incident gave me smiles as I pictured Molly hearing your van before seeing it and how you must have chuckled to find out it was a socket left behind. 🙂 Have a wonderful summer with your girls, my friend. They are growing up so quickly! Love and hugs to you!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Thank you so much, Lesley. Yes, the knees hurt pretty badly for a week or so … and I was surprised at how long I had to keep the Bandaids on. The scrapes were pretty deep! We were definitely happy about that socket … score a big one for Randy! Hugs, friend!

  9. Great lessons- especially the socket! How often that applies!! I hope your skinned knees are all healed- I tend to think those hurt worse than cuts or bruises!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Ain’t that the truth, Bethany! They’re healed, finally, but I think the scars are going to be around for a long time. They sort of resemble states or European countries … one one each knee. 🙂

  10. Lesley says:

    You’ve learned lots of great things this spring, Lois. I’m glad your car problem was finally sorted out. It’s amazing how something can cause problems for so long and yet once you actually find it the problem is easy to solve. I had my own two month car saga last year which was caused by a corroded wire and fixed in two hours once the problem was eventually identified!
    I also love your lesson that “When you pray and ask God to show you what you need to see, He does.” That encourages me and shows me what I need to pray for a situation today!

  11. jodie filogomo says:

    I’ve been learning to be more patient—reminding myself that life isn’t a race…although it’s hard!

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