Saturday, October 12, 2013

Bloom Where You're Planted

I just finally gave away my 14lb bowling ball
from high school. I can't bowl at all now,
let alone with that thing!
There was a sermon I heard at church recently about unmet expectations. Sometimes (okay, more like always!) we expect one thing out of life and before we know it, we find ourselves in a place that we never expected, and more importantly, never wanted. Living well is about how you react when your expectations are not met, when you feel let down and when you find yourself in unwelcome circumstances. Will you wallow in self-pity, be consumed by bitterness or rage, or will you take hold of whatever may come as an opportunity? An opportunity, that is, to love others, to honor God, to be stretched and to grow?  

The pastor used the analogy, "bloom where you're planted."  It made me think of all of my "volunteer" plants that somehow end up in my garden, scattered by wind or animal. These are plants that often end up in a place that is not exactly ideal for optimum growth, but do you know what they do? They make the best of the resources available to them, and grow into beautiful flowers or vegetables that add life to my garden and bring joy to me -- even though they may not be the largest blooms or the hardiest plants.

I found these snap dragons randomly
growing in my front yard last year. Must've
been a gift from a bird!
I think the biggest curve ball that life has thrown me so far is Rheumatoid Disease. I never expected to diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, let alone when I was 19. I never expected to lose function and physical abilities before the age of 30. Initially, I didn't respond well at all to my diagnosis. When you're hit with the diagnosis of a chronic illness, you may actually find yourself going through the grieving process.  I'm pretty sure I did. But, over time, I learned to trust in God and to be thankful for each day He's given me -- and to try to make the most of each of those days, both good and bad.  In more ways than one, RD has also put me in places I never would have been -- not all of them bad. Just look at the good that comes out of the #rheum community.  And, I've met some amazing people and have had the opportunity for a lot of new experiences through the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation which have stretched me to learn new things and step out of my comfort zone. Like the flower sown by the bird, I've taken root somewhere unexpected, but I'm still doing my best to bloom there.

Friday's garden harvest! Fall is fruitful!
Lately, I have been blessed with good days, and I've been trying to take full advantage.  My days have been busy and full -- but I am trying my best to keep things balanced.  I rediscovered this post the other day, which was a good reminder to not overload myself, because, then, no one wins.  And, I've been trying to do a better job at not being so focused on the "task" at hand that I lose my focus on people and the important relationships in my life.  It's not an easy balance, and sometimes I do better than others.  It's crunch time right now, as I prep to leave for San Diego with the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation for the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting -- something I never would have had the opportunity to be involved in if I didn't have RD -- and as I try to plan a Halloween party before that. I also recently started a new Bible study and an exercise class, and I try to keep up my cooking and gardening hobbies. But, on the flip side, I've also been enjoying some downtime with Tom as we watched all of the episodes from the new Doctor Who series (Halloween costumes coming soon!). Life if full, but life is good, and I'm trying to appreciate and enjoy each day, wherever God leads me.

Please also read this post from my friend, Kelly -- she beautifully portrays a lesson that God has been teaching me over this past year.


  1. Beautiful post, Dana, stating eternal truths with fresh applications. Saying good can & has come of us being struck with this awful disease is not a platitude - it's an understatement.

    1. Thanks, Kelly! Yes, it's amazing to see the good that God can work out of even the worst things.

  2. Your post reminds me of my tattoo, "I will learn to love the skies I'm under". My reminder to be where I am and embrace it. Life is not always happy clouds and sunshine. Sometimes we have to weather the storms as well. Being in the moment gives a new perspective. A much better one, I think.

    1. I love it!! How cool to have that reminder always with you.

  3. This was a great reminder to be grateful for the beauty and joy that is still able to be appreciated and had in life, despite our challenges! Your posts always remind me of that - thank you so much! It struck me, though, that I've been thinking I should take our 4-year old little boy bowling sometime. But I neglected to realize that I probably can't pick up a bowling ball anymore - I haven't bowled since long before my diagnosis, and now have LAWs like yours! Well, I guess maybe that will open the door for my husband to spend some quality time with him - which will be a very good thing. :-) Thanks again for all your updates and posts. They are appreciated!


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