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Lessons from the playground: Choose to bloom where you’re planted!

The children begged if we could go to the park early one morning last week. I said that we could once our chores, homeschool and naps were finished for the day.

They were so excited and kept talking about it all morning and afternoon and asking when we could go.

We finally finished up all the necessary things for the day and I loaded them up into the wagon and we took off for a nearby park. All the way over, they were completely stoked about going to the park and could hardly contain their excitement.

As soon as we got to the park, though, I noticed that they had trouble enjoying one piece of playground equipment because another nearby was calling their name. They’d go over and start playing on that and then they’d see another. And so it went.

They weren’t complaining and they definitely did have fun (as evidenced by the pictures above), but their fun was hampered. They were doing exactly what they’d looked forward to all day, but they couldn’t completely enjoy it because they were distracted by other parts of the playground which looked more exciting.

As I observed my children go from one piece of playground equipment to the next, I thought about what a picture this was of us adults. We can miss out on so much in life because instead of being content where we are, we’re always thinking the grass looks greener on the other side. Instead of just soaking up all the blessings of today, we’re wasting time wishing we were somewhere else.

I’ve learned something over the last few years: no matter where you are, you can find plenty of difficult things to complain about or you can find many wonderful blessings to be thankful for. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Choose to bloom where you’re planted, to make the most of the resources and opportunities you have today and your life will be so much more rich and fulfilling — no matter your income level or financial situation.

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  • chelsea says:

    Very good lesson. My favorite quote has always been “Find joy in the journey”.

  • Arissa Cook says:

    Thanks for this reminder. It is hard for most people to just enjoy the moments they are given… but it is a very important lesson to learn.

  • Sarah says:

    Thank you for this post, Crystal. I appreciate your view on life. It’s hard to remember day to day, but I try to be thankful as often as I can.

  • Alisha says:

    Ahhhh…yes…(deep breath) Going to try “soaking in my moments”… tomorrow. 🙂 Thank you for your wonderful encouragement. I have heard this same message from two different avenues today…I believe someone is trying to tell me something. 😉

  • Debbie says:

    Ahh yes. You are sooo young to be so wise. Thanks so much for the encouragement.

    PS Your babies are precious!!

  • Kelly says:

    Very well said – thank you for this.

  • Melinda says:

    What a great way to look at life. I really enjoyed reading this story. I teach preschoolers and I always say that they teach me more than I teach them.

  • noelle says:

    That is so true and exactly what i needed to hear tonight. we are in transition right now and it’s hard to get roots when you know you are going to be leaving soon. But just being present truly is the greatest gift we are given in this life. Thanks a bunch….

  • wifeeonline says:

    These kinds of post are another reason I follow this blog. While you post awesome freebies and deals you are real and centered and have a spirit that shines for all to see. Keep shining brightly, Crystal.

  • Megan says:

    Crystal, you are such a blessing!! Thank you for this wonderful reminder:)

  • Claudia says:

    Thank you for this, I truly believe that this was meant for me. I needed this reminder today. GBU

  • Stefanie says:

    Well said! This post is going up on my refrigerator to remind us of this message every day!

  • Tightwad says:

    Thank you for sharing, I needed to hear this today. We were blessed with a free place to stay, when we got married. The only thing is we live in a middle of nowhere, which means no internet. This also means that I have to drive 20-40 minutes to the local restaurant for a free Wi-Fi. I found myself complaining my to my husband last night and said if only we lived closer to civilization. However, today through your post, God has reminded me to count my blessings and be happy to live in a house with no rent.

    Thank you!

  • Laura says:

    Amen! Great analogy and message Crystal!

  • Kelly says:

    Exactly what I needed to hear.

  • Bridget says:

    Wow, such a timely word. It touched my heart this morning. God truly used your words this morning, I really needed to hear that.

  • cat says:

    Thanks for the words of wisdom that we all need to hear. Love your blog.

    God Bless,

  • Jessica says:

    You’re right. We often have too many choices … so many that we become paralyzed and overwhelmed. I think we hear so much about giving our children choices, but they’re not ready yet. We need to give them a firm foundation so that they can handle those choices later.

  • Tara says:

    Well said. And such a challenging message. Thanks for that post!

  • Becky R says:

    Thanks so much Crystal, I also needed this message. I have been unhappy with our house and would like to move, but we aren’t there yet since we are still in baby step 2. I have been realizing over the past few weeks that we are blessed to be where we are and that we should be grateful that we have what we do. I do need to bloom where I am. I think I have been withering instead, since I had felt like we had outgrown our house and I had just kind of given up on some things instead of staying on top of them. Thanks for the lift up!!

  • Lindsey says:

    Thank you for this. My husband is currently out of the state for the next 2-2 1/2 months working and I often need a daily pick me up. This post did it for me today! I am so blessed to have a husband, and for him to have a successful business, even if it means we go without seeing each other ALL summer EVERY summer, at least we have the ability to provide for ourselves!

  • Jeerah says:

    That what’s I needed…. thank you so much.

  • crystal says:

    thank you so much!!! this was very much needed. i’m a huge complainer……….. uhhhhh!

  • Lori F. says:

    Thank you so much for this today! We are not taking a summer vacation to the beach this year because our roof must be replaced and there is no room in the budget for both. I failed to remember that we are so blessed to have a home that we love, no matter how imperfect it may be. You opened my eyes to all of the blessings around me.

    May God bless you and yours in the days and weeks ahead.

    • Lana says:

      @Lori F., You are so right. My husband is unemployed and we will stay home this year too. I was sitting out on my deck and thinking that God gave us such a beautiful house and 2.5 acres of woods 16 years ago. I can be happy just sitting out there in the morning drinking my coffee and watering my flowers (bought on clearance) and enjoying my shady woods.

  • Kim says:

    Thank you so much for these words of wisdom. I am a teacher 9 months of the year and am now on summer vacation. I am loving being home with my 2 year old and ma looking forward to “smelling the roses” each and every day as to not miss anything. I have learned from experience that the “grass isn’t always greener on the other side”. Enjoy everyday!!!

  • Roni says:

    Thank you for this post, it really made me think. Although my family has faced a hard year (I know we’re not alone), I am truly blessed and should always remember to be grateful for what I have (I sometimes forget). Thank you.

  • Danika says:

    Thanks for this good reminder – I needed it today especially!

  • KIRBY says:


  • Diane L. says:

    What an important message! You should consider sending that one in to “Chicken Soup for the Soul”.

  • Kathleen says:

    Thank you for posting this… I was just complaining the other day about how much I wish we could did this or that to our house. We bought a fixer upper 5 years ago. My dear husband is very handy and can do the work we have just had to put work on hold becasuse of finances. But, I should not complain, I should be THANKFUL for having a house and a wonderful and caring family. We have recieved many blessings and sometimes I forget that. Your post has reminded my that I should appreciate what we do have and not dwell on what we don’t have.

  • Laura says:

    Your son is getting so big!

  • Such a beautiful, rich, true message – thank you! I hope you don’t mind I shared this on Twitter, StumbleUpon, and Digg.

    Much needed reminder to maintain perspective in the ordinary as well as extraordinary moments of life.

    Thank you!

    Blessings, Love & Peace,

  • stacey hughes says:

    How blessed you are that you had the wisedom to ‘see that’! I love being reminded that contentment is a choice! Thank you~

  • Pearl says:

    We grow up and think we know soooo much. Then God gives us kids…and we find out how little we really know… and that we need constant reminders of what we have learned. =)

    I appreciate all the work you put into this blog. Thanks!

  • Jessica Bridge says:

    Love your encouraging words! It made me stop and think about living for the moment.

  • MaryEllen says:

    Yes, so true! Thanks for sharing!

  • dana says:

    I love the theme of this message!
    As a family of 13, we are always actively trying to instill this in our children. We currently full-time rv, and while we get to go to the coolest places, it also poses some difficulties too! We chose this lifestyle for a few years, and sometimes I am tempted to wish that we were building another house (right now) – yet, if we were building, I would be wishing that we were on the road! LOL!
    This journey has been great for our kids (us too!) in that they have learned that they really need very little ‘stuff’ to be happy. They are also learning to look for the good things about what is happening in their lifes at this moment and enjoying them while we can.

    Excellent analogy – Thank You!

  • Angela says:

    AMEN! Thanks for the reminder. It’s just what I needed today. 🙂

    Your kiddos are ADORABLE!!

  • Karen says:

    beautifully said

  • Jen says:

    Amen! Thanks for sharing and giving us all that encouragement to be thankful for the abundance of gifts we have been given! There’s always something to be thankful for!

  • Jean says:

    Amen and amen

  • Stacey says:

    So so true. I was thinking the same thing this week as I was “stuck” at home since one of our vehicles needs repairs. Thank you for the reminder.

  • Angel says:

    GREAT post! Thank you!

  • SHADOW says:

    I didn’t read the post just yet because I just came in to comment that it goes without saying: you have some beautiful kids Crystal.

  • Heather says:

    Just what I needed to hear today! Thanks for sharing the wisdom God has given you with others.

  • Sue says:

    Thank you so much for these words!

  • Brenda says:

    Yes! Thank you. We need to remind ourselves to keep our focus right.

  • Kimberly says:

    Agree 100%! Enjoying the journey!

  • Kimberly says:

    I think blogging is cool, because it’s real life, the day to day, the ordinary, the JOURNEY!

  • Sakura says:

    Beautiful message. We, as a family , are working on this now.

  • Jane in Pa says:

    At the risk of seeming as though I missed the whole point of your post, how can it be that your son has grown so much?? The time passes too quickly…which is really another way of agreeing with your post & thanking God for the blessings of the moment!

  • Wendy says:

    Thank you, its clear that God has blessed you with an amazing gift.

  • Kara says:

    I have to remind myself of this every now and again. It comes from watching my son play.
    I do a lot of volunteering for the military. The group that I volunteer with that is the moto of one of the sections in the workshop I teach. The section is about planting down roots, even if your going to be somewhere for only 3mos. It makes that short so much more enjoyable.
    Thank Crystal for the pictures and the post. I am reading this just before I head out the door to go to drop my son off at daycare and go to school.

  • Kelly says:

    Thank you–it is easy to forget that!

  • THank you, thank you for this post! I have missed your more “personal” post from your old sites….I am lovin’ this one! Your attitude is how my mom has thrived in lfe after having a very special needs child!

  • Susan says:

    Thank you Crystal for such a special message today. What a wonderful reminder to us all.

  • Beth says:

    Thanks for your post … I needed to read this, especially today =)

  • Heather Horton says:

    reading over all the posts and seeing waht a big blessing you are to everyone, and to me. Don’t change! Keep giving us life glimpses. God is using it! We enjoy every bit of your life!– Heather

  • Oh, this is so good! Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Jamie says:

    Wow, I couldn’t have been reminded of this on a better day! Thank you!!!!

  • Therese says:

    Crystal I have learned so much from you, especially the spiritual side of life. Thank you so much for this posting and others like the broken tea cup. I feel God is speaking to my heart and I really needed to hear this message. Joyce Meyer is also teaching the same thing this week so I’m really getting the message! 🙂

  • Tracy says:

    Thanks so much for this reminder. I am a quiet reader of yours, but this one touched me deeply. We are considering major move from Texas to Utah for my husband to finish his doctorate. We have a 10 year old and a 2 year old (we are not spring chickens 🙂 This has been a hard one for me, we have lived here for the past 11 years and my family is here. I have a great job and hate the thought of giving it up and moving somewhere to get a less likable job and be college student poor again! However, we have prayed and know this is what we should do, your post helped bring me back to reality and do what I know the Lord wants us to do. Thank you!

  • Laura says:

    Wow, this was the subject of our day yesterday!!!
    My husband is a Marine, and he has difficulty relaxing. He gets frustrated very easily, and mostly its because he feels guilty doing things he loves and enjoys, but instead of just BEING, he fills up with guilt, and that guilt is just making him grumpy, and annoyed. He has been away on deployments 4 times, in the last 8 years. YES, thats a lot. I’m more of a mellow, calm, collective, and just at peace human being. I love to appreciate what I have in front of me. To me, its all about the spirit. What good does it do if you work hard, your physically strong, your capable of buying, or collecting things, if your spirit isn’t as strong as your outer being. Inside is what matters. I have an almost 3 year old. He’s so full of energy, and I never complain of not doing this, or not doing that, I never complain of being home with him all day. I know that somewhere out there, there are people who really need things that I already have. I may not be rich, I may not have the biggest house, but my heart , and my soul is what makes me rich. And having that gift, or being able to calm myself down, or to allow me to feel peace, and secure (mentally and spiritually) is what makes me feel gifted. -Thank YOu all.

  • Jenna says:

    I have been out of town since Friday and got home late last night. Just now getting caught up on my emails! I needed this. I’m stressing about getting my coupons and lists together and shopping done, instead of enjoying the afternoon playing with my 20 month old son while it’s just him and I….since the preg. test I took last night was a surprise postive to my hubby and I!

    Great post!

  • Angie says:

    You are wise beyond your years. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

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