Archives

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.

velveteen-rabbit

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.

101_1270

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.

101_1254

 

Advertisements

Ending October simply

If you have been reading this month, you know by now that I used the thought of simplicity for my October posts.  I usually go with a theme in December leading up to Christmas and during the Lenten season before Resurrection Sunday (Easter).  But I’ve enjoyed writing about simple things this month and am considering a theme for November.  Stay tuned.

Here are some simple thoughts that are randomly running through my mind as October winds down and comes to a simple ending.

pumpkins

  • As kiddos are dressing up tonight as some sort of favorite character or applying fake blood to look creepy, I remember when our one and only son was a Webelo in the Boy Scout troupe he joined.  There was a costume party, and boys and parents dressed up.  I donned a dark cape and flowing skirt, applied darkly shaded makeup and fake fangs to portray myself as a vampire of sorts.  When I looked in the mirror, I scared myself.  No seriously, I looked evil.  It’s the last time I ever did that.

And I wonder what happens to all that candy gathered tonight?

  • In our culture, the next couple of months will be anything but simple.  Christmas decorations have been in the stores for weeks.  The potential is there for us to overdo, overdecorate, overspend, overcommit, overeat, and before you know it Christmas is over, and will we have enjoyed it or just endured it?

I’ve looked at my list of gifts to buy for some folk who already have what they need.  Adults with enough sweaters and scarves.  Kids with enough gadgets and toys.  Friends who don’t want something else to sit on the shelf. And what would happen if I gave my Christmas money to those who really are in need and spent my time and energy on people and experiences and worshiping the newborn King?

  • I just discovered that tonight is “fall back,” the better part of the daylight’s savings plan.  And let me tell you I don’t like anything about the plan.  Just when my bodily system had adjusted to “spring forward,” time moves again.
  • I did my very first book review in October, Fervent by Priscilla Shirer, and I’m glad I did.  It has opened up another avenue of creativity for me and I look forward to doing another review.

The winner of the free copy of the book has been notified.  I appreciate all those who left their comments.  Your words matter to me, more than you know.  Sometimes I write and post and then wonder where my words go and is anyone out there.  Your comments let me know that, yes, you are out there.

  • October has been less frantic than September.  I am going to do my very best to move into the coming holiday season with the same determination to spend my time well, to be intentional about making commitments, to choose the best over the good, to seek God’s will where He wants me to use my gifts rather than giving in to every other choice that calls to me.

October ends simply.  November promises piano recitals, celebrations and memories, family gatherings with favorite food, time with friends, and sitting by the fire with Sweet William.

God gives good gifts.  I will take time to see them, receive them, and find pleasure in them.  I will walk into November with joy.