When You Find Yourself… Empty

Empty bucket

If you are in a position that is constantly asking you to give of yourself- doctor, nurse, pastor, teacher, mother, father, and others- you may at times find yourself empty.

Some years ago, we had a program used by our faculty and staff to “fill up our buckets.” The promoter of the program gave us a demonstration of a small pail being filled to the brim one drop at a time to illustrate how we can stay full by dropping compliments and praises into each other’s “buckets.”

The words must be genuine and concrete like, “I appreciate the way you …

Have your students pick up before I vacuum your room.”
Collaborate with other teachers.”
Arrive at work on time everyday.”
Contributed that idea yesterday at our meeting.”

We had little sheets of paper in the shape of drops. Some mornings we would find a “drop” or two in our teacher’s mailbox. This started our day on a positive note and made us feel appreciated, good about the work we were doing.

We did this for quite a while. It lifted each of us up and we felt great doing it. We were full. There was a bounce in our step and strength for the day. The principal liked the atmosphere it engendered at our school and strongly encouraged us to keep it up.

Then the novelty wore off and we’d forget to write them. Or we’d write something just to say we did it. Insincerity killed the program. Sucked the life-giving moisture right out of it.

We kept doing our jobs, giving of ourselves at work and took stuff home to do. You don’t know you are draining out slowly until you are empty.

Then I realized something. It is not someone else’s responsibility to make sure I am replenished. It is my responsibility.

I realized something else, too. Real fullness doesn’t come from other people; it comes from God.

I can be replenished every morning by drinking in God’s Word and praying.  In the praying, I must take time to listen. Tune out every noise and stop talking. Just listen to Him. It might take a few minutes to totally tune out the world and my own wants and needs, but it is so worth it to sense the Presence of the Lord. The day begins on a positive note and my “bucket” is full. There is a bounce in my step and strength for the day.

A compliment from a colleague for something well done is still welcome and very much appreciated, but not necessary.

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. (‭Colossians‬ ‭2‬:‭9-10‬ NKJV)

And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. (‭John‬ ‭1‬:‭16‬ NKJV)

When you find yourself empty, tap into Him and receive His fullness. His life giving water will fill your bucket to the brim and running over.

Bucket poem



Good Morning!

Butterfly Morning








Good morning, good morning, good morning!

It’s time to rise and shine.

Good morning, good morning, good morning,

I hope you’re feeling fine!

The sun is just above the hill

Another day for us to fill

With all the things we like to do,

Oh, can’t you hear

it calling you, do-do-do-do,

do-do-do-do, do-do-do-do!

Good morning, good morning, good morning!

It’s time to rise and shine!


Too early for this much cheerfulness?

OK.   Grab a cup of coffee and try to focus on

the most important thing you have to do today…

It is Monday.

The Edge?

“Take these,” the dentist said. “It’ll take the edge off.”

I replied with a smile, “I want to be able to walk out of here.”

He said with assurance, ” Oh, of course, no worries. This is a very small dose. Just takes the edge off.”

Dentist chair

I was not relaxed as I sat in the new-to-me dentist’s chair. He noticed, so I told him a little about my calamitous dental past.

One dentist gave me four shots of something I react adversely to before he read my file. The guys in the ambulance were nice. They wanted to know what year it was, who the president was, and even asked about my kids. They seemed a little concerned though, when I knew I had kids, but couldn’t recall how many or their ages. I told my husband to tell them, but he just looked at me.

I once had to have a root canal done with a mild anesthesia because they didn’t have anything that wouldn’t make my heart race. The dentist told my husband I was one tough lady. He agreed.

One time I had an extraction and almost choked on the gauze packing, so I took it out and developed a dry socket.  Tylenol 4 took the edge off the pain and all sense of reality. (I didn’t tell this dentist the last part. Maybe I should have.)

I continued to plead my case… I am easy to treat, my body is sensitive. Children’s Motrin gets rid of a migraine.

After all that, he still felt this dose was best, so I swallowed the two white tablets with the little cup of water his assistant gave me.

Ten minutes later, drunk as a skunk, I could hardly walk to the restroom. When I returned, the dentist marveled at how quickly the meds had worked. I knew the “relax mode” was not even close to its fullness.

He prepared my tooth to be worked on, hooked my finger to a monitor, and turned on some smooth jazz for my enjoyment.

The last thing I remember was hearing the drill fire up.

The next morning, I woke up at home in my bed, fully clothed. When I sat up, my head felt like it was about to explode. I settled back, which eased the throbbing in my head, and thought about my situation. I remembered being at the dentist’s office and the drill beginning it’s work on my tooth, but not much else.

Soon my daughter came into my room to see how I was feeling. I had a lot of questions.

She told me the dentist had to put me in the car. When he asked how long our trip home would be, she replied, “About an hour.”

“She’ll be awake by then.”

I wasn’t.

My daughter delighted in telling me of our trip home. “You kept asking if the procedure was over yet and you mumbled a lot. I couldn’t make sense of most of it.” She laughed.

I asked her how she got me up our steps, onto the porch, and into the house.

“You did everything I asked you to. When we got to the steps, I  told you to pick up your foot and you did. I had to support you, but  you walked.” (I’m glad she is a good daughter who loves her mama and would not take advantage of the moment and make me do some ridiculous stunt. If she did, she’s not telling. )

I don’t remember any of it.

It’s good that my dentist gave me something to take the edge off, you know, dull the nerves a bit.  But my definition of the edge is what I was standing on, and fell off of.  I spent the next 24 hours climbing back up.

As I consider it, though, in light of my dental past, it was not a bad experience. My tooth is fixed, and I did not experience any serious pain. It’s all good.

Yes, I know about the edge.