Lessons in Patience

It’s another rainy day today. Last week I wrote about making time for the garden, but since then I haven’t been able to spend much time outside. It’s been too wet and cold.

I’ve been thinking a lot about patience. I’d say I’m a fairly patient person. I’ve spent years working in libraries (patience is a requirement for that , or at least, it helps). Some days I just don’t feel it.

I guess you could say that life is a series of lessons in patience. Certainly childhood is a test of patience. Waiting. Waiting for birthdays, for Christmas, summer vacation. Waiting to be tall enough to go on that roller coaster, old enough to get your ears pierced…

The tests of patience just keep going even after you’ve long stopped yearning to be old enough for rated R movies.

I’m a gardener. Gardening requires patience (especially when you’re a gardener in Wisconsin — or Vermont or Colorado — I shouldn’t complain about rain).

Spring has been slow this year. Not just the past week, but in general.

My Garden is Slow Going This Spring, But Things are Starting to Come Along

The seedlings I started indoors are waiting, sheltered, on my patio till warmer weather.

Seedlings Nestled in the Mini Greenhouse on My Patio are Slowing Growing

The seeds I planted in the ground a couple weeks ago are just starting to sprout. I’m trying to be patient…

Perhaps all this enforced indoor time is a good thing. No distractions as I worked on my gouache class this past week.

It’s done now. Filmed and edited and live on Skillshare.

I've Been in My Studio Filming and Editing My New Skillshare Class about Painting with Gouache

After finishing a project like this, I feel I can finally take a breath. And I can settle in to the luxury of a narrowed focus: my garden and my art.

Bleeding Hearts Blooming in My Garden; I've Never Painted Them and This Year I'm Excited to Capture Them in Watercolor

All winter long I wait for a blooming garden to inspire my paintings.

Mixing Colors for My Botanical Watercolor Paintings is My Favorite Part of the Process

I was talking to a friend the other day and she rattled off her list of to-dos and events she needs to get through this weekend before she gets a chance to slow down and take her breath. She said, “I guess everybody’s lives are like this.”

I think she’s right.

What’s on your list right now? Is it overflowing with things you need to do? Do you feel overwhelmed? Are you looking forward to a future date when you can relax, take a breath and slow down?

Even though I’m at the point where I can narrow my focus I find myself coming up with other plans. I want to do everything (all at once). Rearrange my studio. Revamp my website. Spruce up the living room and kitchen. Get back to sewing… Not to mention plan the class I’m teaching in June, start working on the 2019 calendar (and tea towel calendar)…

I wonder why I feel the need to fill my (intentionally) quieter days. Maybe it’s just spending so much time inside that’s doing it to me. If I were in the garden I’d be tearing up grass and planting flowers and not dreaming up other projects (at least not indoor ones).


I’ve stopped myself from running to the hardware store for brackets for studio shelves. Instead I’m scheduling a studio update for the winter. My website, too. No need to spend more time than necessary on the computer in the spring and summer.

Waiting for the Peony Buds to Open

The other day Rachel Wolf wrote a beautiful Instagram post about not being able to do everything all at once. We can’t do it all. None of us can.

There’s grace in knowing we can only do one thing at a time and then doing it without guilt. Without overwhelm. With patience. With JOY.

Sometimes I find myself looking back at my life, yearning for “simpler” times. When life didn’t seem to go by so fast. When days spread out with luxuriating slowness. Where did those days go?

They passed by. As I got old enough for a bike without training wheels. Old enough to drive. Old enough for my own bank account. Old enough to realize I should have been more patient.

Seedlings in My Herb Bed: Feverfew, Borage, Columbine

I guess I’m still learning. And that’s ok, too.