Archives

September ending

This month breezed in with sweet temperatures that only teased me. A few days of coolness were temporary. Then the heat of summer grasped the heel of September for dear life and would not let go.

I was disappointed.

But as the month comes to an end, fall is in the air, and I am happy as a duck on the pond. Windows were flung open to bring in fresh, gentle breeze. I pulled on my fuzzy socks, my flannel shirt, and have even enjoyed chill bumps on my arms.

Ahh, Autumn. I’ve been waiting for you.

101_0576

Maisie and I walk in the early, brisk morning air, and she is excited like I am. The bird sounds are different; some of them have already flown south. The sky has an autumn look about it, and there is just a hint of color beginning in some of the trees. The last of the summer roses bloom, and the goldenrod is tall.

101_1104

I am enjoying more sunrises and sunsets since the days are getting shorter. Our walks converge easily with dawn and dusk.

I started leading a Bible study in September, actually two of them. Same study with one in the morning and one in the evening. I know. Call me crazy. Two precious sisters offered their homes for us to gather, and our time is sweet in both groups. When we do Bible study together we challenge and we encourage one another. We need each other. God made us that way.

I had never really studied the book of Hosea in depth until now. He speaks poetically and in contrasting themes. Harsh judgement and tender compassion nestle close in a matter of a few verses. God urges His people to return to Him, the One who has been their strength, their provider and their glory. But they were not satisfied.

Hosea’s wife, Gomer, was not satisfied with her new life either, though her husband rescued her from the pit. He gave her a home, children, safety and a new identity.

I see myself in the stories in Hosea. I have been given so much; yet sometimes I want more or I want something different. How easily we become discontent with our blessings and look for love and satisfaction in all the wrong places. Like sheep, we are led astray and wander from true Love.

Sweet William and I traveled to an adjoining county this month to visit a friend who recently moved to the country. She and her family have acres of ground now after moving from the suburbs. Her hospitality was like a deep cleansing breath to me. While our visit only lasted a few hours, it took my stress level down a few notches.

I’ve been reading The Walk series by Richard Paul Evans this month. I am into the second book, living in this fictional story of Alan Christoffersen, a man whose life suddenly turns upside down. He determines to walk from Washington state to Key West, Florida. Evans describes the experiences and the people Christoffersen meets along the way. The messages in the books are thought provoking.

“I do not know what lies beyond the horizon, only that the road I walk was meant for me. It is enough.” — Richard Paul Evans

101_1105

I learned something about communication this month, or perhaps renewed my understanding. Though we quickly send words and messages – texting, facebook, email – there is no substitute for sitting across from another and talking face to face. I want to see the expression of the eyes, hear the inflection in the voice, observe the crinkle of a smile or the gathering of tears. I think we cheat ourselves today in our effort to be efficient and get a lot done. We are missing the deeper places of the soul by not giving attention and focus to those we hold dear and those we want to know better. We miss the connection.

I had the opportunity to give back this month, to help as I have been helped, to offer compassion as God has shown compassion to me. It gave me joy, proving that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

This week I invited a friend for brunch who is a fellow gardener. I was embarrassed for her to see the pathetic shape of my yard and what was supposed to be the gardens. But I knew she loved me and would not judge. What totally surprised me was how, after our meal, she went to her car and retrieved her garden gloves and tools and began to clear out weeds. I joined her and before she left, portions of the yard began to take shape and look more like a garden than a jungle.101_1094

Sometimes friends completely surprise me with their kindness. I see the goodness of God in people. While there are troubles everywhere, we need only look a little bit more to see how God’s love and compassion infiltrate the world.

This month I was reminded of Psalm 73:25-26: Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire beside You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

I had written in my Bible that I wanted this as my 2016 goal. Somehow I forgot and went my own merry – or perhaps more aptly, my unhappy, discontented – way. I focused too much on what I didn’t have than on the numberless blessings and gifts surrounding me at every turn. My heart failed a little and my strength weakened.

How gently God led me back to the place I left. Like Gomer left Hosea and like Israel left their Lord, I am also prone to wander. But God comes for me, always, and takes my hand and brings me back home.

And home is my comfort and the place I most want to be.

1

 

 

 

August ending

Another summer month has been scorching hot. I have endured August, the month with no holidays. While it moves toward its end this year, I can’t say I’m sorry to see it go.

September entices me to come and enter in.

Sweet William and I went to the Kentucky State Fair, and we recalled it was there we had our first real date. When we were young and starry-eyed, we met at church, talked and got acquainted. We might have sat beside each other during the services. But he actually came to my work place to take me with him to the fair. I remember what I was wearing. I rode the Ferris wheel for the very first time. With him.

This year’s fair experience was so different from that day long ago when we were on the cusp of being adults. We thought we knew what it was all about; we really didn’t have a clue. Life has taken us on a wild roller coaster ride. If we had not been buckled in tightly, covered by God’s hand, we would have been thrown into the blue yonder.

Now that I think of it, we’ve come pretty close.

Our Maisie girl endured the heat with us. We’ve walked together morning and evening, both of us fading quickly. She escaped from the house – the fourth time since we rescued her – and all on my watch. She slipped through the open garage door running straight toward the geese in our yard. I think she’s been wanting to chase them since she got here. But this time, she came back quickly with the shake of the treat jar. It was not so much her running from us, her people, as it was a fun romp that got hearts pumping, the feathered friends’ and ours.

My cousins met for lunch in August, the ones from my mother’s side of the family. All but one of our parents have gone to be with Jesus now. The aunt who joined us for lunch is still going, though not quite as strong as before. She still sets an example of keeping healthy and being busy about living. She plays the organ at her church each Sunday.

I enjoyed time with the cousins. Though we live within a 30 mile radius of each other, we all have our own schedules, families and responsibilities. A couple of hours together is precious. We laughed about our experiences growing up. We talked about current concerns. We recounted our aches and pains and the medications we take. We are family and we delight in the pleasure of what that means to us.

I’ve worked in the yard when I could for as long as I could on these hot days. I came in wet to the skin, face flushed, heading for a cool shower to lower my body temperature. I accomplished some tasks yet not nearly enough to be satisfied. I contemplate how to simplify the gardens, not knowing exactly how. I must if I am to enjoy the yard next year instead of it being a noose around my neck.

I read a James Herriot book for the very first time, recommended by a friend who shares my taste in books and authors. Herriot was a veterinarian in Yorkshire, England during the 1940s. His experiences with the animals and their owners are both touching and humorous.

As August ends, I look back over 2016, reading through my journal. I realize I am dealing with something internal, indescribable. Not a disease, but something just as real and uncertain. I don’t know what to make of it. I see some of my words, and I want to understand myself, the message written at this particular juncture of my life.

I am seeking the face of God, the Spirit who lives within, the One who is with me always, to discern what I am supposed to learn in this long season of emotional ups and downs. I don’t understand it right now. I hope to soon.

September beckons. Leaves will change to jewel tones. Days will shorten and nights lengthen. Harvest is here and pumpkins will appear. Birds will ponder south-bound flight.

I want to put away garden tools for the year. I want to snuggle into what is familiar and safe. I want to connect with family and friends. I want to drive down a country road with Sweet William, us together in heart and mind. I want to hear a fresh word from the Lord who makes Himself known to me and makes His overtures toward me. I want to hear His music in my heart. I want to dance to His rhythm.

September’s autumn awaits. I am ready for it.

6662013 fall82013 fall10

 

 

Simple graces for the journey

Sweet William drives and I look.  He watches the car ahead and I read the map directions.  He is the pilot and I am the co-pilot.  We make a good team.

Sometimes a drive in the country is just what the doctor ordered.

The beauty is all around for the taking in.

Brushstroke clouds that turn to cumulus and then hang heavy amid blue sky that shouts but later whispers.

Trees that are just beginning to trend toward their true colors.

A flash of red amidst green, a little show-off in the trees.

A chipmunk scurrying and I wonder why I think he is so cute but not his country mouse cousin.

Safely navigating our way with an assurance; underneath are the Everlasting Arms.

Darkening skies, shortened days, reminding me that earth’s seasons change and so will mine.

The earth is full of God’s glory, there for the beholding of it, for the pure enjoyment of its splendor.  If I am not careful or if I am too care-filled I might miss it.

I don’t want to miss it.  Not a single moment of His grace.

100_3177

571

September ebbing

Fall has officially arrived and the season is gently settling in here at my Kentucky home.

Nights are cool and opened windows call for an extra blanket on the bed.  Days are warm with incredibly blue skies and the whitest of clouds.  The sun shines and begs for me to come into the yard to enjoy summer’s last flower offerings.  I hear whispers that there are jobs still to do outdoors.

Many of my morning singers have flown away, yet I still sit in my rocking chair at day’s dawn with the window cracked open hoping for a little song.  Sometimes I am rewarded for my hope.

Jeffrey-Jeffrey, the calico cat who seems to have adopted us, now expects breakfast and dinner each day.  He meows for companionship, just a touch or a pat, and I oblige.  I rub his soft fur and wonder where his people are.  I used to see him coming through our little woods from another neighborhood, but now he is here much of the time.  And I wonder if he is missed by someone.

101_0557

I miss our little dog, gone from us now two months.  He filled a place in our hearts and our home.  My early morning routine is just not the same.

The morning glories bloom gloriously on the deck.  They were a surprise this year.  Their dormant seeds decided to grow and bring their purple beauty back to me, a gift to be enjoyed.101_0558

My flannel shirt is out of the closet, my sweaters and scarves looking more inviting.  Soups and chili and pumpkin spice lattes are calling my name.  I need to bake a pumpkin pie.

I bought gourds at a craft fair last week and they put me in a seasonal decorating mood.

Summer holds like the leaves still clinging to trees.  I hold on to summer with one hand while reaching for the coming season, not really wanting to let go but knowing there is something else, something new, something to discover and revisit at the same time.

Seasons come.  Seasons go.  There is a time for each one.

It is in the seasons that I see the faithful God, the One who created the plan and holds me in His hand.

All things change.  But He remains the same.  And I am thankful.

 100_3176 100_3201 100_3198

Leaves falling

fall 2013 010

  fall 2013 012

Autumn has not always been one of my favorite seasons.

When I was a youngster, autumn meant school starting, and I was not a fan of school.  I’d much rather be outside running with my dogs, or pretending to be a cow girl with my cousins, or contentedly playing at home with my mother.

Even as a teenager, school was not the best time of my life no matter how many people said it was.

I was a good enough student, but I was also very shy.  The social aspect of high school just left me feeling left out.

The one thing about autumn I did like was shopping for school supplies.  To this day, I can walk into an office supply store, catch the aroma of paper and pencils and feel happy.

But over the years I’ve fallen for fall and it’s colors and the closing down of the warm months of sowing and reaping.  I am caught up in fall, the trees showing off the colors they’ve been hiding all summer.  Gold, rust, crimson, burnt orange, and olive.  Who but a marvelous Creator could bring one season to an end and another to a beginning with such flash and glory.

So with the prediction of high winds and possible tornado activity this week (in October?), I wondered if the colorful leaves would manage to stay on their branches or would they blow away too soon.

Those sudden gusts of wind, the storms of life, showing up unexpectedly and out of season, can leave me feeling bare, uncovered, blown and tossed about.

Such has been life and such it will be.  One crises replaces another.  Just when I can take a breath and enjoy the changing season, the breezes turn to gale force and knock me off my feet.

I watched my trees sway in the wind, branches loosing their grip on the leaves,  What is left is a golden carpet on the ground.  What made the tree beautiful had become beauty strewn all over the ground.

fall 2013 007 fall 2013 002

The Father wastes nothing.

No storm every comes my way without bringing His presence, teaching me to trust, reminding me of His faithfulness.  In the storm, I learn endurance and patience.   I find the peace-filled Prince in the middle of it.  I learn that He brings beauty from the darkest night.

He makes all things beautiful in His time.  As fall gives way to winter, I will hope in the Lord.  I will wait for the promise of spring.  And though it may be delayed, it will come.  For He who promised is faithful and can be trusted.

fall 2013 005