I always get very excited about flowers in Spring and generally a little earlier than is practical. What happens is that I get distracted driving by a farm stand or Lowes by all of the fat, happy blooms and inevitably buy a tray of say...pansies. At first I am completely pleased with myself and it isn't really until I bring them home that I realize the weather report says it's supposed to drop to 38 degrees overnight. Protective, I bring my pansy babies inside and sit them behind my sink, proximate to both sun and water. And this is okay for a couple of days, but really, that's not where pansies belong.

Pansies want to stretch their roots in the earth and be outside in the sun and air and rain, not on a counter top with limited everything.  When I first get them, fresh from the greenhouse, they have fat, wildly colorful blooms. But on my kitchen sink, the blooms become smaller and paler, the green leaves began to sag like discouraged shoulders. I can keep my pansies alive on the counter top, but They simply cannot thrive there.

I started thinking about how this is like us. Maybe we can all live just wherever....in fact, we might even be able to flower. Most of us are able to make do, but when we're not where we were really made to be, we'll never be our best.

I think this can relate to many things, from doing the work we were meant to do, to the relationships in our lives and even the literal place where we plant ourselves. If you find that the only thing you're able to eek out of your life is a weak representation of what you believe you're capable of, perhaps there is an area of your life where your roots are choked, where the sun is blocked or where you're dry as a bone. An area where you're more a flower on a counter top, rather than one in deep soil.

And don't we all want to be, as Bob Ross would say, "a happy little flower"?

Most years Aaron and I do a representative "Wheel of life" chart, which asks you to evaluate the eight main areas of your life, rating each on a scale of 1-10. For example, on a scale of 1-10, how healthy would you say your spiritual life, your physical health, your relationships, your finances, etc are? Of course in a perfect world, you'd have 10's for all of your categories, meaning the wheel turns smoothly. But life isn't perfect, and there are always bound to be some flat spots. What's helpful is that when you look at that chart, year over year, you can see where you're improving and even regressing. You can see where to point your focus in reorienting yourself to live closer to your design. While it may just be a subjective measure, we've found it to be a helpful tool to at least begin thinking about whether or not we are where we are designed to be. Here's a template of that wheel and some accompanying things to think about. Perhaps you'll find it a useful exercise!