Bean By Bean – A Mother’s Look Back on 2015


memory book 003

Earlier this year I calculated my life in days. I estimated that if I live to a little over 80, the total amount of days would amount to roughly 30,000.
I then did something what a couple of my family members consider morbid. I took two big glass jars and filled them with 30,000 coffee beans. In one jar I counted the beans representing my days already passed, in the other jar the beans representing my days I still have left, should I make it to 80 years.  Since I am well over half way to 80, one side is obviously fuller then the other.

Each night, I take a coffee bean and move it from one jar to the other. It is a very real reminder that my days are measurable. There is a definite amount of beans. One jar will run out. One jar will fill up.

This year many beans have moved from one jar into the other. There were days filled with hope and a sense of accomplishment and others were filled with a longing for Christ’s return. There were days I made new friends and days I made enemies. Most days were filled with mundane tasks hardly worth remembering while other days have left images that will be with me for the rest of my life.

There was that day filled with inexpressible sadness as we stood by the graveside of my friend’s 12 year old son. When I moved a bean that night, my heart was intensely aware of the frailty of this life.

There was the day of great joy and anticipation when we picked up my parents at O’Hara and the day the empty feeling accompanied us all the way back home and into bed that night, not knowing for sure when we would see them again.

Then there was that day we watched our oldest son walk across the stage of the high school auditorium while listening to “Pomp and Circumstance”, and then later that summer there was that day he moved his belongings to his own place. I remember standing by the jars and moving the beans with many questions on my mind.

Then there was the day in November when we adopted three of the most amazing kids, adding two girls and another boy to our three biological sons, making that day one of the most special all year.

It is good to look back. It is good to look ahead. But it is far better to look to today, for here God shapes our lives. Each night I move a bean, take from a jar, only guessing at the amount I have left. Only God knows how many beans I get to move. Bean by bean I fill up one jar and empty another. I fill up my memories and use up my opportunities. Bean by bean God fulfills His purpose, in and through all of us. May He make us wise as we consider all the days He has given us and the days He is going to give us.

Wishing you a blessed 2016 … bean by bean.
December 10th, 2012, snow, woods, trees, winter 017
So teach us to number our days
    that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 (ESV)



  1. Oh my!!! How touching!!! SO TRUE…Life is quick and fragile. We must enjoy every day and live it to the fullest for Christ:))) I started blogging in January in hopes to encourage others in Christ. I want to invite you to check out my site and it interested follow me back. I believe that it’s important to support others on this site as we all are trying to encourage and further His Kingdom! God Bless you and thank you for the wonderful reminder:)))

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I greatly admire your intentionality, Heidi, that inspired you to number your days, bean by bean. May 2016 be a year of contented sighs each evening as you move a bean and consider God’s blessings, strength, and wisdom of the day!


    • You should have seen me count them … oh boy … there were beans everywhere … at one point I told the Lord that I was very grateful that He was in charge of numbering them. I sure was making a mess of it. Nancy, He can be fully trusted with all of our days! I pray you will get to know Him and His love for you even more this year! 🙂


  3. I also have mixed feelings about the beans–and am wondering what you’ll do when you run out of beans to move. Think positive-You may live to 90 or 100. 🙂 Happy New Year!


    • Should I live longer, I’ll just buy another bag of wonderfully smelling coffee beans and add them 🙂 It has been a great visual for all of us and has started many wonderful conversations. It has also made us laugh so much, especially when my husband, at the end of a very challenging day, teased me and grabbed a handful of beans and with a smile said, “This one was worth a bunch of beans!” (He didn’t actually move them over!)
      I am glad the Lord is the only One who really knows how many beans get to be moved over 🙂
      Blessings to you in 2016, dear Sheryl~

      Liked by 1 person

    • I have a son, who does not like the idea whatsoever. Maybe just take one bean and set it on your counter, where you can see it … let it remind you that it really is all about this one day! Blessings to you and thanks for reading and commenting, Patrick.


  4. Dear Heidi, what a beautiful and touching post! Haven’t been blogging for a while and just went on again and your post was the first I read. Was just thinking the last months and days about how many people have no real purpose in life. I like the idea of the coffee beans – I might do this as well in 2016 =) God’s blessing to you and your family!


  5. Dear Heidi, What an interesting idea about the beans! It would certainly make a person think twice about what they did or didn’t do on any given day……just always wanting so badly to be led by Jesus come what may. Wow, congratulations on adopting 3 children! That will certainly make your life an interesting adventure–good for you! I really love receiving your posts and they make me think. May God shower you with His blessings in this New Year ahead! Love Jacquie


    • Dearest Jacquie, thank you so much for coming by and reading. Your encouragement has been a blessing to me. Yes, being led by the Holy Spirit it a deep desire of mine as well. I think He indeed leads a willing heart, often in mysterious ways we can’t see. Wishing you a wonderful 2016, filled with awareness of how much your Father loves you!


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