Just tryin’ to keep the plates spinnin’

Do you ever feel like you’re the juggler trying to keep about a million plates spinning at once?  I can hear you now… Me too, my friends!  For those of us with children still at home, our “normal” is winding down and we’re gearing up for a “summer-normal.”  Don’t get me wrong…. I’m thrilled about the upcoming summer break.  But between now and then, in any household with school aged children, it’s a rat race to the finish.  If you’re a school employee… well… I’ve been there and done that, and the craziness is only compounded!

I find myself saying this a lot lately, but the days… they just keep flying by!  I promise you – I truly feel like it was just Valentines’ Day.  Where did the months of March, April, and May go?  I don’t remember.  And that’s just plain sad.  But that’s life.  A busy life.  And if we’re not too careful {I’m preaching to myself and the choir here, I know} we will turn around and the whole year will be over.  I don’t want to miss it.  Do you?

I took a small part-time job several weeks ago.  It’s been a L.O.N.G. time since I have had a “job” where I’ve actually received any kind of  income.  I always considered volunteering at our children’s elementary school a “part time job” – because it was.  Then I spent some years as a Community Bible Study Teaching Director, which was a voluntary position with almost full-time hours.  But now, I’m helping a friend with her real estate rental business.  She has a brilliant business mind, and up until the end of April, most of the information about her business was stored in her head.  The plan was for me to shadow her for a month or two as we put much of the business on paper, spreadsheets, etc, then I would slowly take over the “management” part of the business.  But as plans often do, they don’t always go as planned!  My dear friend is battling cancer, and on the day I was to begin working with her, she became quite ill and had to leave town for her treatments for 4-6 weeks.    {Please be praying for her… her name is Cheryl.  She’s fought this horrible disease for over 4 years now.  Please pray for Cheryl’s healing and for wisdom for all decision makers!}

Needless to say, I had to jump in feet first, and have been swimming to get to the top ever since.   Actually, my blog makeover came at a perfect time – since I didn’t have an extra second to spend on blogging.  And I still don’t ~ yet.  But I’m getting there.  I can see the light through the top of the water as I continue to flap my way to the surface.  We are all amazed at God’s timing…  that He would lead Cheryl and her family to “need” someone helping her, and that I would be available to do it.  God is using this new job to meet both of our needs.  I keep saying to the Lord, “I’m a stay-at-home-mom and Bible teacher – not a business woman!”  I don’t even know HOW to make or use a spreadsheet yet.  But I’m learning.  And I sense that God wants me to learn how to manage my time and life and to become a “business-minded-woman” for something it is that He has planned for my future.  It’s a good thing, and I’m so grateful to be able to do it.

However, as I’m looking around my home this morning – with laundry in a basket still on the floor, a riding toy still out from Monday when we had a little toddler friend over, THE EASTER TREE from waaaaay back, for crying out lout, that I never got around to posting about, the calender with notes all over it, and piles of paperwork that I must do, file, return, mail, enter…BLAAAAAA~ I feel much like this man trying to spin the plates while talking on the phone, and holding other things in his hands.  {Some of you dear friends may insert a laugh here and say something like: “Why don’t you get off of the computer and go put up that laundry and the toy?  You’ll feel much better!”  🙂 I’ve wondered the same thing myself.  And when you put it that way, it is not an unreasonable thing to do.  But when I look at everything that needs to be done within the next day or two… all of it together is overwhelming, and I’m not doing any of it completely, or well, for that matter.  I’ll start in one direction, then get busy doing something else, and never get back to it.  I have spent my last two weeks spinning plates – and some have fallen to the ground.  {Ugg ~ I know what to do … Flaylady… I need you back in my life – 15 minutes at a time!}

A few years ago, I learned something about spinning and balancing an object.  At an Upwards Basketball awards banquet, I unintentionally volunteered to be an object lesson.  As I went on stage, the speaker handed me a long pole with a point on it.  Then she took a spinning basketball and placed it on top of the pole and told me to keep it balanced.  It immediately fell.  She went on to tell us why it fell, and what I could do to keep it spinning in the air.

The ball fell because I was looking down, intently, at my hand.

She asked me to try it again, but instead of focusing on my hand, she told me to look up.  To turn my face straight up, disregard my hand, and look toward heaven.    When I did that, the most amazing thing happened… The pole balanced and the ball kept spinning.  It seemed like forever.  But at least long enough to make both her point and a big impact upon my life.

It is in the most busy times that we tend to look at our hands.  At the lists in them.  At the things that must be done.  All the while, the secret to balancing life on this earth is to keep our faces turned toward Heaven, toward the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth and all that is in them.   He is the ONLY ONE who can energize and motivate us with enough wisdom and strength and discernment to do what it is He has placed before us each day.  But we’re often too busy looking down and around that we don’t make the time to look to Him.

I know that’s true in my life.  When I’m busy and overwhelmed, I’m tempted to trade my time in God’s Word for a few extra minutes of work.  It never works.  And on those days when I justify missing my time with Jesus because of the full schedule, I find myself depleted and distressed by lunch time.

Martin Luther knew the secret to keeping the plates and balls balanced and spinning.   He said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”

My friends, as we are spinning those “end of school year, beginning of summer” plates in the next several weeks, let’s remember where our eyes need to be.  ON the Lord, His Strength, His Help, His  Word, His Wisdom, His sustaining Grace, and not on our selves, our hands, and our abilities.  Look to the Lord.  Seek Him first, and all these things will be added unto us in God’s timing and in God’s way.  (Mt.6:33).    Then we can all be like this lovely spinning lady:


I look up to the mountains—
    does my help come from there?
 My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth!

 He will not let you stumble;
    the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
    never slumbers or sleeps.

 The Lord himself watches over you!
    The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon at night.

The Lord keeps you from all harm
    and watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
    both now and forever.

Psalm 121, NLT

Now, I’m going to put that laundry away before I do one more thing.  Happy day to you all~

PS:  Edited to add… all is cleaned up in the living area – except the Easter tree and those things stuffed where others can’t see them. Ahhhh… 😉

About SmellingCoffee

I'm a Jesus-loving, husband-loving, family-loving minister's wife and mom to two college kids, making our home and serving our Lord in the Mississippi Delta. I study, teach, speak, and write for the greatest Boss in the universe. "Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place": That's what you'll find at SmellingCoffee.com


  1. Your blog has blessed me in so many ways.
    Thank you

  2. Oh Jen, I just love this post. I don’t know when or how but I am in the same boat…. except I’m NOT WORKING OUTSIDE MY HOME. Ugh! I have just a couple of days to get my act together before my children are home for summer and I’m determined to make it happen! 🙂 I pray that your friend receives all she needs while she is away. With love to you my Friend, Kim

  3. Walking into any position without training is challenging, but it really is better to learn on a “need to know basis,” as in “I need to know this right now!” That’s the way I learned spreadsheets way back in Lotus 1-2-3 v. 1.1. I came to love the software that allowed me to organize so well. You’ll do great — it’s just a matter of compartmentalizing tidbits of information, and you’re already good at that. Praying for Cheryl and her family, for discernment in decision making, healing of her body and strength during this specific time. May God accompany her in all ways.

  4. I hope your friend is doing better. My thoughts and prayers are with her.

    Remember..one day at a time. =)
    love your new site!

  5. Jennifer, I really like your new blog look! I have so been there done that as many have. One step at a time:-)


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