Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Fixing the flow

Fixing the flow

Watching the rain outside, I pray that this solution will work.

After years of fighting the flow of rain on our property – the book A River Runs Through It was originally written about my basement -- we have turned to a subtle (and yet, radical) idea: re-grade the entire yard. The logic was convincing. “Water’s going to flow downhill,” said the excavator. “So make sure your house is not the lowest point.”

So we paid the man. The yard was scalped. Sculpted. And seeded.

This is the first extended rain. And I'm holding my breath.

The change is hard to see – beyond the obvious grass-sheltering hay. But get the right angle and you can see the slight swale. To my delight, it’s filling with standing water. Just the way it’s designed to work.

This brings me back to my journal. I’ve kept a running account of my life for about thirty years, but in the last three, I’ve made a shift in tone. Scriptural calls for thankfulness (Col. 3:15 and many more) convinced me to begin a habit of recounting what was good in the week that passed. At first, it was just a list. It has morphed to include a fun graphic challenge, as I try to tie the look of it into some key element of the week. It’s my way to creatively celebrate the generosity and kindness of God.

Here are just a few.

Mark Twain once said that habits should not be “flung out of a window,” but “coaxed downstairs a step at a time.” It’s a lot like my lawn. To alter the flow of our thoughts and attitudes, the change doesn’t need to be radical. A subtle shift will do the trick if sustained over a long time.

In three years, I’ve noticed a significant, positive uptick in my attitude. And, now that I encourage my family to take turns sharing good things from the week as we drive to church, I’ve seen it affect our family’s positivity.

Well, the basement’s still dry. Looks like I’ll have something else to add to the list tomorrow.

Jesus, what subtle shift would you have us make in obedience to you? Help us to re-grade our lives so that we may experience more of the abundant life you meant for us. To your praise and glory!

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments. Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. And if you liked this, please use the buttons above to share it!


Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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