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April ending 2017

I love the month of April. It may be my favorite month, and why not, I love spring.

New life popped up everywhere this month in various and sundry ways.  A cardinal built a nest outside a back bedroom window behind the clematis arbor. Three black and white eggs hatched into hungry baby birds.  When the window is open, I hear their peeps as they reach with mouths wide for parents to bring food. Daily they grow and fill their nest, and it is a gift of spring.

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The one gander who sat on her nest early last month, through the cold, hatched her eggs as the calendar page turned. I was beginning to doubt there was life in those eggs, and then there they were, five little fuzzy goslings.

Maisie and I watch for the goose family on our daily walks. Sadly there are only four babies now. I wonder how the parents feel when one is taken, perhaps by a large turtle in the lake or something wild on the bank of the river which lies beyond. Do they feel sadness? Are their hearts hurting for the one that was and now is not?

I was surprised by a batch of Mallard babies toddling along almost hidden in the grass, their little heads bobbing. I was only guessing to count them from a distance and them moving at scattered pace; I think there are eight. From what I’ve observed, mamma duck is alone. I’ve not seen her mate with her a single time.  I wonder what could have happened to him. She is a single mother trying to raise her brood. I hope she can handle it. There are so many dangers out there in the wild.

Temperatures went from cold to hot in one week alone. The gas logs burned some mornings to warm us, and the air conditioner ran its initial time this year on a different day. We experienced our first tornado warning, and Sweet William and I huddled in the hallway with our shoes on and holding tightly to our essentials. I grasped Maisie’s leash attached to her collar and imagined what might happen if we were blown away, the two of us spinning wildly in the wind. It was a madcap mental picture.

Sweet William and I visited a friend and her children at their farm in a neighboring county and shared a delicious lunch during spring break. He fished and enjoyed the company of the young son; I drank coffee and visited with my friend and her daughter, doing what we women do best – talk. We lingered so long I hoped we had not over-stayed our welcome. She said she always enjoys my company, and my heart warms by her response.

Another friend visited me on a Saturday and I was under prepared, just getting out of the shower and no muffins in the oven. I got the time mixed up. I gathered myself together, no make up and wet hair, and sat at the table with her as we laughed and remembered, and I caught up on the activities of her growing children. I understood even more that everything does not have to be perfect to enjoy fellowship with another and offer hospitality.

Yard work this month called my name, so many weeds and so little of me. I worked awhile and rested a while; worked a while and drank a cup of coffee; worked a while and read a book on the deck. At night I rubbed Arnica gel on my aching muscles. I’ve made good progress, though there is still much to do. Not finished by a long way, walking through the garden areas is more pleasant than last year when weeds flourished and I languished.

Memories are attached to the growing things in my yard. People have shared their own nature-bounty with me. The snowball bush, with its huge blooms, reminds me of my parents. The first start of it came from their home. I learned to plant from my dad, watching him dig the hole, place the plant, tamp the earth with his shoes, and then water generously. Branches of the bush with its white blossoms are in a large vase sitting on the kitchen table, a living reminder of the rich heritage I increasingly value more each year.

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Yard sale signs tempt me this time of year. I resisted the first ones I saw, and then gave in to another.  I am choosier than I used to be about what I bring home. I often admire something than say to myself, “I don’t really need that.”  It’s good to just walk away empty-handed.

Books and movies were on the menu in April. One worth mentioning is the DVD I borrowed from my library. Priceless is about human trafficing. It is gripping, heart-rending, and after it was over I wanted to do something.  The website offers an opportunity to be involved in local areas. I cannot save the world, but I can do something.

I’ve been to hospitals in April, surgeries that leave me in waiting rooms. Offering the gift of my presence is one thing I can do. Prayer is another. I’m thankful for good hospitals, for God-given healing knowledge, for doctors and medical professionals. Friends came and went during the waiting, others texted assuring us of their concern and prayers. Comfort is bestowed on heavy hearts and nerves strung taut with the uncertainty.

I had the privilege of helping prepare the table and food for Christ in the Passover event, presented by a member of Jews for Jesus.  Passover is one of my favorite holidays in the year, so full of meaning, symbolism, and truth as Jesus our Passover Lamb becomes a reality.

Passover occurred in tandem with the beauty of Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday this year in April. It does not always happen that way. I’m glad when it does because the events are irrevocably joined by the life, death, and life again of Jesus Christ.

I went to a plant sale this morning, an annual event I look forward to at my local county extension office. It rained like it has for several years. Those of us who are dedicated gardeners and gardener-want-to-be’s endured grey, wet weather because we are attached to the soil and what it has potential to bring forth. A little moisture would not deter us. We are looking for growth and fruit in flower and vegetable. I filled my wagon and almost emptied my pocketbook. Now plants await me and my own dirt, those tender shoots full of promise.

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God gives the same to us. Life and promise. Hope for growing fruitful in the wind and the rain.  In the storm and the warm sunshine.  We participate in the joyful events with songs in our hearts, and we endure along with others those things that bring us to our knees in tears and prayers. Fruit is produced in us through the life of Jesus, Him living and breathing through these jars of clay.

As the hours of April slip quietly by, I yet feel the stress and strain of situations beyond my control, identifying with loved ones pressed hard and stretched thin, grieving with those who grieve. praying for relief and an end to the suffering.

I remember a story of a Shunammite woman whose son died, the son promised to her by the prophet Elijah. She hurried to the man of God, answering those who questioned her with these words, “All is well.” Her spoken faith astounds me.  Her heart was bitterly distressed for this son of hers, yet somehow she voiced her faith that all is well. And so it was. Her son came back to life by a miracle.

If I believe there is a God and that He is good and strong, that He loves me enough to die in my place and adopt me into His family, then I too should be able to speak those words: All is well.

Whatever the season, whatever the trial, in sunshine and rain, on the brightest days of spring and the coldest of winter, the Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all. He is just, compassionate, and loving in all His ways. 

All is well and all will be well.

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March ending 2017

March roared in like a lion that came to stay for a while as frigid temperatures made me rethink an early spring.

One pair of geese at the lake across the street nested this month in spite of the cold. Maisie and I walked to the edge of the bank where we could check on her without disturbing her. There she sat, statue still, keeping her eggs warm while she must have shivered through many a night’s frost. I admire her faithfulness. The other pairs still frolic unencumbered.

It makes me think of a parent’s job in nurturing and discipling their children. It feels like such a daunting task, which it is. But that time is limited. We only have our children under foot for a few years, and then they are gone. If we could faithfully “sit on our nests,” tend to who is most important for what is really a short season, perhaps our children would be the better for it.

The cold snap and frozen ground gave me the opportunity to use the pooper-scooper in Maisie’s fenced yard. It’s a task I put off. While I was out there searching and scooping, I realized I am a woman of many talents. Many and varied.

During that no-nonsense duty (ahem), the oldest granddaughter called, and we chatted long and sweetly. She had lots of news and I was all ears to get a glimpse into her life those miles away. Our hearts are close no matter the distance, and her voice was melody to this Grammy’s soul.

Sweet William and I were asked to play music with our former pastor at a church we used to attended together. When we were all members of that particular family of believers, we were in our prime musically. Sweet William and I practiced hard to prepare, pulling from the recesses of past experience to recall the songs and the way we played them. What a thrill it was as my fingers found familiar chords and patterns. My memory bank provided pleasant flashbacks on a Sunday morning, and the renewing of fellowship with friends from years ago was sweet.

We spent time around the table with friends, as we do often. One couple is dealing with life and death issues. She talked about going through her stuff and letting go of things gathered through the years. I see her lightening her earthly load and looking heavenward. Her faith is strong even when tears fill the eyes and the voice tightens as she speaks through the emotion. Only God knows her future, as only He knows mine. Our times are in His hands.

I appreciate her honesty and vulnerability in what could be a frightening future. She is facing the unknown, living each day as if it might be the last, and trusting confidently in her God and Savior who is in control and holds her life in His loving hand.

I almost finished my second quilt, really the size of a lap throw. It needs to be quilted by my quilting friend/teacher who has a marvelous quilting machine and will make light work of it. Then I will attach the binding, requiring hand sewing. I wanted a small project I could complete before garden season was upon me. I most likely will have more mornings to cuddle with my lap quilt in the rocking chair before summer gets here.

I’ve been in the garden just a few days trimming branches and cleaning up winter wear. Cold and rain have kept me indoors where I certainly have plenty of other tasks. There is some unique hue in the green of spring. Perhaps it is because it is new and fresh and feast for my winter weary eyes.

Three of my piano students participated in a music festival where their performances were adjudicated. It was a first time event for them. I recalled doing that as a young piano student and feeling the pressure and nerves of perfecting my songs and performing as well as possible. My students were rewarded for their dedication and following careful instructions. They all walked away with superior ratings and another musical experience under their belts. I was quite proud of them.

Spring Forward left me feeling draggy for days. I had to nap three times in one week. I finally feel like my body is adjusting to the time change. And once again, I wonder why we still do this? Looking up the history of daylight savings time brought more information than I expected, how a very small percentage of electricity is saved because of it, and that a survey was conducted showing Americans like daylight savings time. And where was I when that survey was distributed?

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I got to speak to a handful of people on a Wednesday evening about investing in the younger generation, us older ones making ourselves available to be mentors and to disciple. As I thought of what I would say, I realized how blessed I am that God has brought a myriad of people into my life. A few years after my family moved from the house next door, I began to pray for older people, where they lived, to love on them the way I had. In the same breath, I hoped for young people in my life, the ages of my grandchildren. The Lord graciously and abundantly answered that prayer.

The relationships I treasure are all ages, from toddlers to piano students to a nonagenarian former pastor’s wife. This older friend’s life experiences enrich me as much as interacting with little ones and teenagers. Then there are the friends I have near my age who share similar backgrounds, memories of days gone by, and the wisdom we have gained in the school of hard knocks. I hold dear all of the precious people with whom I spend time and who bring rich blessings to my days.

I finished a few books this month, those various ones I was in the middle of reading last month. I stopped myself more than once from picking up a new book until I completed the ones already bearing bookmarks.

I discovered some new-to-me authors. Tim Tibow, the Heisman trophy winner in 2007, wrote Shaken, a revealing look into the life of a man whose faith starred on the football field. People either loved him for it or hated him for it.

Dawn’s Light‘s author is Diane Ackerman. While she and I are as different as east and west in our views of God, creation vs evolution, and the way of the world, she is a gifted wordsmith, and has the eye of a microscopic artist as she describes the details of nature in all its glory.

And then there is Phyllis Tickle, whose name alone intrigued me. She was a seasoned author and poet I only just met. The small book Wisdom in the Waiting is a description of the Lenten season on the farm where she and her family lived.  She is a natural storyteller, and I found myself looking through the windows of her family’s lives. I hope to search out more of her books as I wander through thrift and used book stores.

I began reading the Gospels during March, getting to the place of Jesus’ last week on the earth. Each writer gives chapters to the events leading up to the crucifixion. I planned to enter April with time to sit and ponder the final days of Jesus’ earthly life, the days for which He came, to give Himself in complete surrender for my sake, for my sins. I want to consider it and wonder at it anew.

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As April beckons me, I anticipate Passover, Palm Sunday and Resurrection Day. Sometime soon I will make myself watch The Passion of the Christ. It is not an enjoyable pass time. No popcorn in readiness for an evening of entertainment. But I must watch it – again – to picture what my life is worth to God. The portrayal is a Hollywood version, and I understand that. Still, who would suffer willingly for those who hated, cursed, mocked, beat, betrayed, and ran away? I see myself in them.

Only a Savior whose love is unfathomable, as high as the heavens are above the earth.

April calls for new life in the first full month of spring. The trees and flowers testify in my own back yard. New life in Christ is ever an invitation, in spring and all year long.

February ending

The topic of conversation in February has been the weather. It has been unusual to say the least. We had icy temperatures and days that felt on the verge of summer, breaking records as the sun shone on us warm and cheery. I saw someone cutting grass with a push mower. Really.

Flowers are blooming, trees are greening, birds are singing, and it feels like mid-March not the end of February. It was glorious, though strange, as if something is up. Makes me wonder what will be next.

The geese in the lake across the road paired up and felt frisky. Maisie and I were entertained during our walks as the males dominated and tested each other. Let’s just say there was a whole lot of honking going on. There is one lone goose among the several pairs. I read that Canadian geese are monogamous, staying with the same mate for life. I felt sad for the single goose, wondering what happened to his gander, hoping that another single one would come along and they would find each other.

I spotted two hawks in the back of the house where the little woods are. They are a rare treat. Whenever I see them, I stop what I’m doing and just watch until they fly out of sight. I’m really hoping for some nestlings right in my back yard this year.

Sweet William and I hosted a Cousins Lunch here at the Wright House. We have become the “older generation” now, all of us baby boomers. It was a fun and entertaining afternoon. We are strong-willed, opinionated and not afraid to express ourselves. At the same time we share core values we hold dear, fundamentals, like our faith in Christ. Plus we are all good cooks.

We celebrated Maisie’s one year adoption anniversary by having her teeth cleaned, shots renewed and a few test and an exam. Now that I think of it, that wasn’t much fun for her. After we picked her up from the vet, she was wiped out for the rest of the day. Bless her heart.

I’ve not finished many books this month, probably because I’m reading too many at one time. I tend to do that, having one devotional book for early mornings, an easy novel at bedtime, and another to pick up at odd times during the day. I don’t know why I do that. I read recently of one blogger who is trying to read one book at a time, instead of several like me. I probably need to try that myself.

I had the distinct privilege of reading to some delightful kindergartners and second graders at a local school. The librarian invited a number of guest readers that week. The librarian is a younger friend of mine. My first memory of her was when she came with her her mother to bring the older sister to my house for piano lessons. My friend was just a young child, her long, dark, pony tail bobby along. Our paths crossed over the years. She was in a youth group I worked with for awhile. Later I was her supervisor at the YMCA. Finally we were on the same level, adult to adult, and the fruit of friendship developed. When I think of the progression of this precious relationship, I am deeply grateful.

I got to hear Liz Curtis Higgs live spreading her gift of laughter. What a joy-filled person she is, her humor infectious. She lives life with a smile and a funny story. The evening was made all the better by having girlfriends alongside me.  I know Mrs. Higgs’ life is not all fun and games. She tells the sad and disappointing parts, but she looks for the grace and the blessing and sees the world through eyes of hope.

I had a couple of teen girls visit one Saturday afternoon. We ate Pizza and had cookies and ice cream for dessert. It was a delightful couple of hours, our words flowing back and forth, around and around. The young women are intelligent, articulate, caring, and respectful. My hope for this generation bumped up a few points after spending time with them.

Sweet William and I finished a few small projects during the month. Some of them have been languishing for much too long. We needed to set our minds to the task and just do it. So we did, and then I wondered why we let them go all those months.

I began memorizing Scripture in earnest with a friend, us holding each other accountable and spurring one another onward. I’ve not been so diligent about memorization since I was in children’s church and prizes were given for it.  I wasn’t even sure my brain could do it at this age. But I am doing it. What is even more surprising is what a rich and rewarding experience it is. As the Word is truly hidden in my heart, it comes forth in a fresh and meaningful way.

In the middle of February I remembered the anniversary of my mother’s death and was staggered to realize I’ve lived half of my life without her. When she died at 62 years old, I thought it was too soon for her to leave us and I didn’t know how I would live without her. But I did. I lived and grew and stretched and learned to depend on God even more. He is sovereign and I will never fully comprehend His ways. There comes a time when I have to stop trying to understand and simply trust His purpose, His wisdom, His goodness.

February has never been one of my favorite months. It is sandwiched between the month of new beginnings and the month of spring. But this year, February offered so many good things to me. It’s probably been like that every February, but this year I had eyes to behold them a little clearer.

Oh that I may have such clarity every day of the year.

 

 

January ending

I’ve not posted much in January, but I’ve journaled almost daily. My inside thoughts have been more prominent that my blogging ones. It’s been that kind of month.

A few sunny hours on a few days were rare, a welcome respite from the grey days. The glowing shades in sunsets were sweet because they were infrequent as Maisie and I enjoyed walking closer to 6:30 than 5:30 in the evening. The days really are getting longer.

In the middle of cloudiness, a letter from my granddaughter arrived in the mail. It brought its own version of cheer and sunbeams, eliciting smiles as I wrapped myself in her words like a comfortable old quilt.

Which is a perfect segue into the creative project I began this month. My friend is teaching several women how to make a sticks and stones quilt out of leftover scraps from her years of quilt making. I’m still a newbie quilter, this only my second, and I need the gentle instructions and reassurance that I’m doing it correctly.

sticks-and-stones-quiltHopefully, mine will look something like this when I’m finished.

January creates an organizing frenzy inside me and the house.  While removing and recycling my mess, some objects stirred memories of former joys, and I just couldn’t surrender them yet. I rediscovered a few items I’d been looking for, which is always a treat. And I gave away a couple of treasures to new homes, new owners who were delighted to receive them.

I found Venus in my night sky. At the first sighting, I stood in wonder, its brightness enthralling me. And this verse: When I observe Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You set in place,  what is man that You remember him, the son of man that You look after him?”

Sweet William and I attended weddings and celebrated an anniversary, and I asked a rhetorical question, “Who gets married in January?” Well, we did. Lots of memories surfaced as we thanked God for His indescribable grace to us.

I stayed glued to the TV during the presidential inauguration, the peaceful transfer of power from Democratic to Republican leadership. It was calm and dignified, an example of the freedom we live with and value in the United States. Still, the country is reeling in protests against the democratic process of making a choice through our right and privilege of voting.  We are blessed with the liberty to choose and to protest. But eventually, can we just get over it and move on?

I read several books or listened to them on CD. Two of the most impacting were Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus and The Insanity of God. The first was a biography of a young Muslim man who came to know Jesus Christ. His was a deep and thorough search, a studied reasoning against all he had been taught from his childhood. He struggled to relinquish what was familiar and the connection to his family. His story moved me. In addition, I learned much about the Muslim religion and examined my own faith.

The second book, The Insanity of God, was written under a pseudonym. The author visited the persecuted church in many foreign countries and marveled how the Christians were accustomed to spending years in jail and being tortured. To them it was normal. Yet the house churches were alive and thriving in a hostile atmosphere where Christianity is condemned. The stories of the persecuted believers humbled me and I thanked God for my freedom. I questioned how much I value this privilege and how seriously I take it.

Beth Moore’s first novel, The Undoing of Saint Silvanus, was an entertaining read. I happened to be at my library branch at the right moment to check it out. Beth’s characters came alive in the heart of New Orleans. I’m hoping for a sequel sometime in the near future.

I said “yes” to a leadership team, surprising myself with the decision. I thought I’d done my share of this sort of thing and was through. The group of women with whom I will be serving are diverse in ages, gifts, personalities, and  experiences. I am looking forward to building deeper relationships with them and discovering where the Lord desires takes us.

The first month of a new year leads us toward what is to come. Annie Dillard says it this way:

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.

January is spent. February is fresh and waiting to be explored.

 

December ending

It’s Christmas past, and I’m preparing to say good-bye to 2016.

The month of December has been simple in a way, while we had sweet communion with friends and family.

My morning quiet times pointed my heart toward being in the presence of God, recognizing and acknowledging Him. That His face is toward me is astounding. That He desires me to draw near is astonishing. It is the privilege of grace, and it is more than amazing.

As the weather turns blustery and cold, I snuggle by the fire and contemplate the months past and what is ahead. I reviewed goals set last year. Some I met; some were obviously not important enough for me to give attention to.

I ponder plans for the new year with thoughtfulness and I wonder what goals should be on a list. Perhaps I should plan for the unexpected.

An interview of Homa Dashtaki in Real Simple magazine proclaimed this wise piece of advice.

“One thing I’ve learned: the best plan is to know that nothing really goes as planned.”

And so there it is. We can write out the resolutions, make a list of goals, set our minds to achieve and do our best to aim for completion, and know that we will be surprised along the way.

God has a plan and I’m in it. His is a good plan, to give me a future and a hope. I perceive my best course of action will be to seek His presence, to dwell where He is, to know His thoughts, to learn more about His character, to live more like Jesus.

Whatever comes in 2017, it will be OK.  All will be well. God knows the future, and He knows my name.

Happy New Year’s Eve friends.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” — Proverbs 19:21

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November ending

The first day of November found Sweet William and me on the long road home after a three-day trip to see our precious ones and celebrate our second grandchild’s 16th birthday. It was sweet few days of being very present with ones we hold dear. As we neared our home and the familiar sights comforted our weariness, a beautiful sunset greeted us, an apt ending to our journey.

November days exchanged the smell of freshly mowed grass for wood fires burning in fireplaces. The leaves began changing – finally, as if they were waiting for something. When it looked like the fall colors would dissolve into muddled browns, suddenly the reds emerged: crimson, wine, mahogany. I saw the sun shine on muted golds that seemed to set them afire.

2013-faI discovered reds in my own little woods this fall and was thrilled. Except for our old Bradford pear, which waited until Thanksgiving week to show off her change of dress, red has been rare on our lane, and I delighted in its appearance.

101_1266Daylight saving time befell us in November and set my inward clock reeling. I wanted to get up at 4:30 am and go to bed at 7 pm. Maisie and I both are slowly adjusting.

I read the Velveteen Rabbit, written by Margery Williams, for the very first time. I knew the story line but not the entirety of it. I think Sweet William and I may be real by now because it feels like a lot of our fur has rubbed off.

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The presidential election came to an end. Trouble still brews in our country. There is no solution to hatred except love. Racism will continue to exist until we have a heart change. That happens through Jesus Christ. We can try our best to love people and change our behaviors, but we cannot do it permanently. The ugliness eventually raises its head. When we have been graced with extreme mercy from the blood of a cross, it becomes easier to give grace to another.

Maisie and I enjoyed the crunch of fallen dry leaves as we walked, her nose to the ground nuzzling what may be underneath. Cold days brought out sweaters and coats, scarves and gloves for those chilling morning ventures. Though our route is the same each day, she sniffs as if to discover something brand new. I breathe in God’s creation and breathe out a bit of my stress.

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My piano students performed at fall recital, a time when they show their progress. Each year they improve their abilitiy to play more difficult pieces. I bask in the afterglow of their accomplishments and marvel that I have the pleasure of passing along my love of music to young hearts.

The week of Thanksgiving gave us sweet time with extended family and our precious ones who drove from afar to spend three glorious days with us and share our holiday table this year. It was a gift indeed. We drank gallons of coffee as we caught up on news and opened our hearts to one another at the table. The visit was over too quickly, and my eyes filled with tears at their parting. I waved until their car was out of sight.

The hot water heater went out while they were here and we had to get creative. The grandchildren went to cousins’ homes to bathe. Some of us did the frigid shower here. I heated water in the tea kettle to wash dishes, even the enormous stack piling up as we prepared the Thanksgiving recipes. After our time in the desert this summer, I took it as a challenge. There are just these remaining questions: Why does the air conditioner go out on the hottest days of summer, and why does the hot water heater go out during a holiday week when businesses are closed and the house is full of people? Anyone?

The Monday after Thanksgiving brought repair men, and a hot shower felt especially good.

I began Christmas shopping this month, wanting to make the season simpler this year. That is always my goal as December approaches. I read something  that I hope might be a guiding principle as I make choices for the coming month. Perhaps it will even guide the coming year.

  1. Will this activity make me feel light or heavy, free or burdened?
  2. What is God saying to me right now in this moment?
  3. What is the purpose? Is love the motivation? What do I hope to achieve?

December approaches and Christmas is imminent. I hope to celebrate it for its true purpose and not be persuaded by marketers and advertisers who would talk me into a stress-filled season.

November’s colorfest fades and the bright-colored lights of December are already twinkling at us. The sparkle and shine of Christmas can be intoxicating. We can anticipate it with joy or we may already be feeling the pressure.

What will we be pursuing this Christmastide? What will be the guiding principle for the coming month? What is the end goal?

Perhaps those are questions we should ask ourselves.

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October ending

Ten months of this year are over and we move toward the holiday season. Predictably, it will be our busiest couple of months. October is like taking a deep breath before the end of the year.

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And yet, my October has been full.

I finished two Bible studies this month with different groups of women. I never knew where the discussions would go, but it was always interesting and thought-provoking. We encouraged one another in the Lord during our weeks together, and we learned about the book of Hosea.

We celebrated the last day with food of course, and our joy was infectious. We bonded with each other and dwelt in pleasant places.

I spent a day each week with my cousin who accompanied me to Bible study and then came home for lunch. She’s like the younger sister I didn’t have, me being an only child.

A few years ago, we talked about growing up together as children. She said I was her best friend back then. I was surprised and deeply touched by her remark. I didn’t know I was that important to her. I only knew she was important to me. Sometimes we don’t tell people how we really feel about them.

I finished a quilt for the one and only son. It was meant to be a birthday present – in July. A quilt takes a lot longer to complete than I imagined. I used squares of fabric from my dad’s shirts with embellishments I hoped would remind the son how much he is loved and the prayers and heritage of faith that follow him. There were a few tears in our eyes as I presented the quilt to him.

Our neighbor-relatives got a new puppy in October. Ranger came to play with Maisie in her fence. Her boundless energy and the puppy’s clumsy antics made us laugh. The dogs expended some of that vivaciousness and were ready for long naps afterwards. I get a text regularly now: “Can Maisie play?” and we set a play date for our dogs.

I got an anticipated call from the eldest granddaughter who is down south for the summer working her first real job under the tutelage of her great-aunt. It’s an educational experience for her, learning to work hard, to deal with the public, and what it’s like to be on her own. She was excited and happy as she told me about this season of her life.

Sweet William and I went to an arts and crafts fair in a nearby city, crowed streets, vendors with creative wares, and a food court on a lovely fall day. We bought food items: sweet pickles, pickled okra, salsas and hot pepper jellies.

Along with Sweet William’s birthday in the middle of the month, I remember that my mother shared his birth date.  I was 33 years old when she died; I count the years to realize she has been gone from this earth 33 years. That fact astonishes me. When she died I could not imagine how I would keep on living. But I did learn how to live again. God gives us strength to do what we think we cannot do. He puts His Spirit in us to work through our pain and grief and difficult circumstances, to help us adapt and move forward, and even to start thriving once more.

We enjoyed people this month as always, around our table and at other tables: a former piano student now college freshman, a neighbor who came for coffee, a Sunday school cookout where I talked with someone I see each week but didn’t really know until we purposely got acquainted. I spent time with several daughters-of-my-heart and had a couples date with friends Sweet William and I both enjoy. And I had the privilege of visiting with a women who is a nonagenarian. She has seen a lot of life, a world of changes, and she imparts wisdom that I value.

We watched a movie that stood out, “The Good Lie,” loaned to me from my public library. I am quite happy to get my movies there, free of charge but really paid through my tax dollars. I prefer to watch from the comfort of my own chair, have my own snacks and drinks nearby, and pause the movie as necessary. Sometimes I’ve brought home a movie that was not worth finishing. I am always glad I didn’t pay money for it. I’ve kissed a lot of frogs as movies go, and sometimes I find a true prince. “The Good Lie” was one of them.

October presented me a full plate of bustling activity. Sometimes I longed for a free day just to relax, read, rest. As the month rolls to its end, I’m doing exactly that.

October is the calm before the storm of year-end activities, travel, family gatherings, cooking, shopping, decorating, and on and on. The frenzy is coming.

Inhale deeply and take one long breath of October while you can and refresh your soul.

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