Trying to beat the plummeting temps that take me by surprise most Septembers, I start my “to-do’s” for bringing the outside inside. I trim back the leggy, and dig up the tender that won’t survive the frost.

Almost instantly I find myself reveling in a celebration of color, and rejoicing that its Maker didn’t stop at monochrome when He created light!

Coleus in Black and White
Coleus in Black and White
Coleus in Color
Coleus in Color
Polka-dot Plant in Black and White
Polka-dot Plant in Black and White
Polka-dot Plant in Color
Polka-dot Plant in Color

It’s true that patterns of dark and light alone in these plants beam beauty—but what a feast of fun their colors offer!

It’s also true what the last post said about how color can distract—so true that color-blind people can readily detect some things the rest of us can’t. But how grateful I am that I can still feast my eyes on such glory! I can always use a filter if I want to discern values in things like patchwork fabrics.

Each day offers us a moveable banquet of color—and I don’t mean just literally. Life is full of a spectacular spectrum that the heart and soul of even a blind person can savor.

But we sometimes erect inner filters that obscure the color of life, dull its beauty, deaden its  joy. And these inner filters don’t help anybody see anything more clearly! Quite the contrary:

Fear blocks life’s color better than my quilter’s filter “uncolors” my fabrics.

Uncertainty fogs vibrancy to gray.

Unresolved anger’s heat waves distort our view..

And the blues can cast cold shadows on everything.

So how can we fling the filters? Here are five little tools that have helped me decidedly:

The gratitude attitude-adjuster

The worry jar

The worst-case scenario activator

The “DIB” list

And “hard eucharisteo”

The gratitude attitude-adjuster: Years ago, when my life had hit its lowest pit, I heard this gem of advice from a woman who had risen out of her own pit amazingly: “If you want to change your attitude, start with gratitude!” I’ve heard many variations on it since–for good reason: Because it’s true! Because it works! Oh, maybe not instantaneously. But if I keep naming things I’m thankful for and cultivating gratitude, the view almost always gradually clears and brightens, and life starts getting back its color.

Sometime decades ago, I started journaling five thanksgivings daily. It proved a highly effective pit-preventive soul vitamin!

The worry jar: That “pit” period gave me plenty of worries. Legitimate ones. But another friend’s worry-jar tactic kept me from fretting myself sick. Here’s how it works: A worry starts jagging at your soul. You write it on a slip of paper and plunk it in the jar. You leave it there—for some pre-determined period of time (say, six months). When that time arrives, you draw out each slip and see how many feared outcomes materialized.

This works best if, when putting paper in jar, you put the worry in God’s strong hands. From others’ examples I learned, when overwhelmed with a situation, to mentally gather it into my hands, hold it up to God, and ask Him to take it, and undertake what I could not.

After six months, how many of my relinquished worries had come to life?  Exactly none!

The worst-case scenario activator: But what if one or two had? Sometimes it’s good to imagine out the dreaded event. Mentally walking mine out with God, I ended up concluding that my present angst probably harmed me more than my imagined future disaster would!

The “DIB” list: (From Harriet Braiker’s Getting Up When You’re Feeling Down) You list things you do when you’re feeling “up.” Then when sinking low, pick one of these “depression inhibiting behaviors”—and do it!  The mind associates it with a happy mood, and the emotions often follow toward happier feelings!

Finally… “Hard Eucharisteo”: Ann Voskamp followers will recognize this phrase. By it she means giving thanks for something you don’t like, and don’t feel thankful for—which is what makes it hard, but it acts something like the DIB’s, steering your feelings toward gratitude and upward.


It’s a beautiful creation out there today. May we all revel in it, unfiltered!


4 thoughts on “Color Feasts, Filters that Flatten their Flavor, & Five Things To Do About them

  1. Sylvia- Great post! Both breathtakingly beautiful and so practical at the same time! Thank you for writing and showing up and fighting the darkness with the light of your “pen!”


    1. Oh, Kel, thank you for such sweet encouragement. Your comment is, for me, “the gift of the day”! You know, when you’re in the midst of writing, editing, and re-editing a post like this, you don’t know if it’ll do anybody any good. How important that we go ahead and publish, and leave that uncertainty to God! (Then how wonderful to get an affirmation like this anyway!)

  2. I enjoyed your post and the photos – black and white and how wonderful to be able to view color. I should get a worry jar for Robert. He is my worrier, so I don’t need to. LOL.

    1. You’re making me laugh, Hazel. But maybe you should get him one. It did me a world of good.

Comments are now closed.