Small Choices, Big Blessings

     Welcome to Mother’s Backyard Buzz and #empathyforgrief Episode #13. I want to focus on “Small Choices, Big Blessings.” Each topic is all about “breaking the silent struggle” around grief.      

     My podcasts are based on my personal grief journey from my book: My Backyard Garden – A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. I share current insights into this life-changing journey called grief. Thanks for joining me, Debra Hester, as the author and your host of #empathyforgrief podcast.

April Blessings

     It’s April! April is Garden Month. Many people say gardening is one of the best ways to pass the time and lift your mood. I agree; no surprise that I’ll rarely pass up an opportunity to talk about gardens because of my book, My Backyard Garden – A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. Speaking of my book, I’m reflecting on Chapter 1, “A Change of Planes,” if you’re following along.

     Our lifestyle has changed so much due to COVID-19. I’m hoping #empathyforgrief podcasts helps those who are grieving the loss of a loved one and also those who may be grieving the loss of a lifestyle. I’ve learned that traumatic events are traumatic events. And I believe COVID-19’s physical distancing and potential infection qualifies as a traumatic event for many. I’ve found that the effects of traumatic events sometimes come up later after the dust has settled.

     I’m not saying the dust has settled. But I do feel as if we are at the beginning of this COVD-19 journey with more unknowns than knowns. I am moving forward with faith that things will get better. And those big blessings will emerge from some large and small choices that we have to make right now. I don’t know when these big blessings are coming, but better and benefits are still my expectation. Please join me in that expectation.

Past Time Choices

     Most, if not all, of us, are doing something different now. To make this adjustment, we had to experience and respond to some big choices. Now I’d like to encourage you to focus on some small decisions. There are small choices that produce big blessings. As we wait for the big benefit we are all waiting on…COVID-19 is under control.  Or COVID-19 is completely gone away from the headlines, and it impacts on our day-to-day. As Southwest Airlines use to say, we want to be “Free to move about the country.”

     In my book, My Backyard Garden, A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief, I decided to become a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards member. It was a small choice that paid off big when I had to suddenly change my airline tickets. I knew Southwest’s plane routes, processes, and online system. So, I didn’t worry about the outcome. That was a choice and a habit that was well worth investing in. We always have an opportunity to invest in the right decisions, but now more than ever.

     I remember a statement that was posted on LinkedIn that said, “It is like the universe has sent us to our room.” I agree, and I also believe and, as usual, ask you to think about with me, “how will we emerge from our room and be different and better.”

Moving Choices

     I’ve worked remotely for several years. So this is not a massive change for me. Staying in the house is a monumental change for me, as it is for most people. I think back on when I first started working remotely. I created a space and a place to work that soon became a home office in the basement. After a while in the home office, I realized that I could really work anywhere in the house that had a door. So my next move was to the den, then to the kitchen, but that room had too much traffic, so I went to the dining room table. When the weather got better, I found myself on the porch.

     My point is that, now that you’ve made this initial adjustment, if you want to, don’t stop. Move again and again, even in the house, until it feels right for you.  Sometimes the slightest movement at the right time becomes a small choice with a big blessing. I’ve found that big blessings don’t necessarily mean size but meaning. It’s a big blessing to me when I experience a new understanding. That understanding can be about myself, my world, or my life. With the gift of understanding comes peace, joy, and a feeling of contentment right where I am. I encourage you to seek it, feel it, and enjoy the blessing of understanding.

Gardening Advice

     Back to the garden theme, remember I can’t leave it out. Gardening was recommended to me by my mother-in-law when I was going through a divorce. Starting a garden was the best advice for me at the time. Her recommendation was better than what the counselors or clergy told me. Talk about an unhappy time in my life is an understatement. I miscarried a baby and shortly afterward went through a divorce. My life was shattered. Like a broken mirror and the pieces of the mirror were falling off the wall on the floor, and I could only stand there and watch them shatter more and fall.

     Gardening helped me refocus on a very tiny task. When we plant, we put a lot of effort into one small thing and take care of it in hopes that it grows into something bigger than it is. That hope in growth tends to bring some type of blessing with it. I couldn’t afford large plants, so I went to Home Depot and chose small ones and worked on these little plants every day when I came home from work and on weekends.

     They became tiny choices that returned big beautiful, colorful blessings. These blessings can in the form of my first bougainvillea plant, a honeysuckle vine on a trellis, and a hibiscus shrub. I can reflect back on the experience now and see those plants instead of the pain that I experienced during that traumatic life transition.

Your Choice

     Here we all are, making an unexpected transition in all aspects of our lives. We are transitioning the way we work, play, live, worship, eat, shop, socialize. And we had to make that adjustment fairly quickly with life-threatening consequences.

     Loved ones, personally, I’ve committed to helping during this COVID-19 pandemic, in some way. I so appreciate the people who are working on the front line of all this. The doctors, nurses, first responders, truckers, mail carriers, package delivery, and sanitation workers. I know they are exceptional people who are blessing so many of us who are working from and staying at home.

     How I help is by writing, producing, and sharing information online and on the radio as a way to supply our need to know and provide positive encouragement and messages. I feel like my contributions may be small, but I work to share them with much love and hopefulness that they will become great blessings to someone. I encourage you to share your gift too. It may be a small choice right there in the privacy of your home, but it will be a big blessing to those who experience it.


     I want to thank you loved ones for listening to #empathyforgrief podcasts episode #13 about “Small Choices, Big Blessings.” My podcasts are based on my book, My Backyard Garden – A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. My book is a quick read. It’s meant to capture and share the reality of life and inspire reflection and conversation for those of us who are on this grief journey or know of someone who is.     

     This is Debra Hester, your host, where I pledge to continue to break the silent struggle with grief and loss. Remember: move forward with more empathy, less sympathy. If you found the podcast helpful, it’s available free on Mother’s Backyard Buzz blog at and on iHeart, iTunes, Google Play, or from your favorite podcast provider.   

      #empathyforgrief podcasts are on FM radio with Force 3 Radio Network. Force 3 Radio streams online at airing the podcast now at 3pm CST during their all inspirational music Sundays.

      I invite you to find out more about my mission at Join me next week when we continue with Chapter 1 – A Change of Planes in my book, My Backyard Garden, A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. And the buzz will be about “The Unspeakable.”

Peace & Blessings