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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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Simple grace

My September was a little too busy.

My October awaits.  I long for simple grace, the ability to sit awhile and let my hair blow in the breeze, let my mind wander.  I want to take in the beauty of the changing colors, hear the rhythm of the trees blowing, and watch the graceful fall of a leaf.  I want to taste my morning coffee and the sweetness of God’s Word.  I want to listen better, not being distracted by multi-tasking.

I need to walk in my little woods at my leisure and experience the whispers of nature beginning its journey toward rest.  And I need to rest.

I am a worker with a list of to-do’s ever before me.  I have commitments on my October calendar.  I want to be a faithful steward of my time and my promises.  But I also long for margins in my days.

Rest is a gift.  The Sabbath command was for man’s good.  I want to honor that.  I must honor that.

I am looking for Simple Grace during the coming month. The grace of nature, of well-loved faces, of simple pleasures, of a job well done, of projects completed, of time spent well.

It’s a challenge.  And I am ready for it.

Sunday grace, friends.

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