Plenty of Plums, Zillions of Zucchini and BOUNDARIES

Ever notice when it rains it pours? Zucchini. And plums.

My dear neighbor gave me several LARGE zucchini, followed by a couple more MONSTERS from my mom and a few more baseball-bat-sized ones from my well-meaning Sister-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless (SWSRN). These were piling up on my counter begging for my attention and starting to haunt my dreams.

It was getting ugly because I really needed to DO SOMETHING with them before they went to waste. It’s not that I didn’t want to – it’s just that things have been a little busy around here getting ready for a new homeschool year for three of my kiddos, getting ducks in a row for my oldest going to college, planning curriculum for a health and cooking class I’m teaching, coaching my amazing clients, keeping up with my business and website, scrambling to do all the things I wanted to do this summer, but never got around to, and oh, yeah, maybe actually consider doing laundry or mopping a floor or something! Whew! No wonder I didn’t do anything with those zucchini. Well, never fret. Today was the day.

So what does boundaries have to do with this? Let me tell you.

In the midst of all of the above and my intentions to focus on tackling a few big projects and several even bigger zucchini, my beloved SWSRN texted me and asked if I wanted some plums. Harmless enough, right?

Gorgeous Yellow Plums Joe with his plum tree   Plums close up
Apparently a neighbor – we’ll call him Joe – had a tree that was “heavy-laden with ripe fruit” that was just going to waste. I thanked my SWSRN and said I’d love to have a few dozen for our family to eat. Little did I know the Pandora’s Box I opened . . .

Next thing I knew she was asking me if I knew how to make jam and if I had a sieve and jars and a canner. “Well, yes, I do, but . . .”

“If I bring up 2-3 boxes – wanna help me pit ’em and boil ’em up to make jam or jelly?” Suddenly my simple acceptance of a couple dozen plums was mushrooming into a few BOXES of super-ripe plums that would need to be “dealt with” immediately before they rotted.

WHAT?!? NO WAY! I just wanted a few to eat.

“But they’re going to waste!!”

“Mm hmm. That’s too bad. Maybe a food bank?” I suggested. Maybe Craigslist, maybe the senior center, etc…  Anybody, but me. My plate is full (and literally my counter is full). Nope. No thank you. Thanks for the offer, but no way.

SWSRN was stunned and confused by my vague reply of “Boundaries.” She couldn’t believe that I was willing to let them rot to keep my peace of mind. She wasn’t easily dissuaded. She kept persisting and I kept resisting. “There’s tons of them.” “The tree can’t hold them all.” “This guy doesn’t know what to do with them all.” “Don’t you have friends who would want them?”

“Boundaries” is a term used to remember what our limits are. I explained that I have a massive amount of stuff I need to be doing right now, and canning or distributing plums is just not on that list.

I’ve learned that my health actually depends on me not overextending myself (well, at least not any more than I already do!!). I also am learning the importance of keeping my promises to myself regarding the things I feel God is asking me to do. God doesn’t expect me to do EVERY good thing that comes my way. There are lots of really good (even great) things we all could be doing, but I don’t need to do them all!! I only need to do the ones laid out for ME.

The Bible uses the terms faithful, steadfast, and mature to describe the kind of people we should be. Alternatively, God describes some people as double-minded and unstable and compares them to a wave of the sea, blown by the wind when they are wishy-washy. If I don’t have a a focus for my time I will be tossed to and fro by everyone else’s plans for my time. That’s not to say that I’m not flexible or open to change, but it takes discretion and seriously weighing the things that come my way.

Other people may not understand your limits, but that’s okay. Speak the truth in love and do what you need to do.  This may sound simplistic, but it is actually very freeing. You will be free of the stress of taking on things you really didn’t want to do or really didn’t have time for. You will also have the peace of mind knowing your energies are flowing where they need to be.  These factors are DIRECTLY related to your overall health.

By the way, my dear SWSRN did bring up two huge boxes of plums BUT I didn’t touch them. She worked in my kitchen on plums while I worked on zucchini and we both did what we felt we needed to do. It was a beautiful thing.

Check out this GALLON-size jar of plum puree she ended up with ready to make into jam – and that wasn’t even all of it! (It doesn’t look that big, but that’s only because of the monster zucchini dwarfing it. That’s a two-cup Pyrex cup next to it.)


The bounty of summer

The bounty of summer

Here’s a teaser of the yummy zucchini recipe I’ll be posting soon!


Summer Very Veggie Frittata

Summer Very Veggie Frittata with zucchini, mushrooms, onions, and red pepper

6 comments to Plenty of Plums, Zillions of Zucchini and BOUNDARIES

  • Jacki

    Great post, Laurie, and a good reminder that we can’t do it all.

  • Jacki

    No, thank you! I have my own plum tree that needs harvesting.

  • Nickie

    Such a great lesson & reminder about setting limits, Laurie. There are times — seasons in our lives — when there might not be as much direction, focus and routine as we might like for one reason or another. It is very easy, indeed, to get blown in any direction the wind blows. Keeping tethered to what is important to our sanity is of upmost importance as we triage tasks and “plenty of plums”. It’s very easy to become overwhelmed when we try to take on too many “good things”…but sometimes, that what the season calls for…like zucchini & plums! I’ve heard this is the time to “close your doors!!! … here comes another neighbor with zucchini!” Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I’d dread one more box of berries, or tomatoes, or one more zucchini. But, come January or February, I think we will all appreciate a pantry of preserved treasures…even if we are exhausted. I’ll share some of my plums if you share some of your zucchini! In the meantime, I need to take a nap!!! Great post!!!

    • lhugdahl

      Wise advice, Nickie 🙂 We are all in different seasons and what might be doable for you might totally push me over the edge. haha I love you!

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