A Stone at a Time, or How Not to Plow a Field

My favorite castle in Ireland, Ballycarbery, was built one stone at a time. They did the work. Photo: Ed Lyons, 2009

Worries. Anxiety. Circular thoughts that go nowhere. When these things hit me, I head outside to the garden. Pick the beans, discard the bad leaves, plant fall spinach, kale and carrot seeds. Water. Just doing the work in God’s good earth quiets my mind every time.

As I dig my hands into the dirt, I am thinking of some of my favorite quotes about work.

“You’ll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind.” – Irish proverb

“Castles were built a stone at a time.” – Irish proverb

“Pick the potatoes yourself, Joseph; you ambitious boy.” – Far and Away, film 1992, directed by Ron Howard

So now, instead of snapping and freezing the green beans, which I was going to do, I am writing this. But that’s ok. Work is work, no matter what kind of work it is. It keeps the hands busy, the mind active on positive things.

Which reminds me of another good quote I heard a lot growing up: “Idle hands are the Devil’s playthings.”

The Enemy likes nothing better than for me to be idle, to be aimless, to worry, to fret. It breeds fear and anxiety. It is not good.

So now I will snap the beans. I am grateful. I am feeling productive. God will take care of the rest.

Love to you, Lisa

Blessings and Small New Starts

The end of Labor Day, and summer, and a new start to school, to work, to life.  These transitions after a holiday are always a little exciting, and a little nerve-wracking.  It takes the body and the mind a little time to adjust to new things, and for me, the more excited I can get about something, the better it usually goes.

That’s why I like this Irish saying/blessing:

“May God bless the work.  Let’s begin in the name of God.”

This picture is of a wonderful man from county Kerry, who worked in the Gap of Dunloe back in 2001.

His horse’s name is Billy Boy, and he loved that horse.  He loved his job.  He seemed so content and happy taking us through those beautiful hills, the kind of quiet contentment that radiates through a person.  As we would approach a hill, we would all get out to walk, and he would whisper encouragement to that horse all the way to the top.  I’m glad I have this picture to remind me of him and his love for what he did.

So, whatever you are doing today, it can be a small new start, a chance to give glory to God with what your hands find to do.  May God bless the work.  Slainte, Lisa