Archives

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?

clock

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.

100_1511

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.

Spring fling

Spring weather just teased us as winter holds tight a little longer.

100_2871

The trees are flowered and daffodils have bloomed. I enjoyed it while it lasted. Now the mornings find me in my rocking chair with the gas logs burning to chase away the chill. I crack the window open when I can to hear the first bird sing. Whoever that little soloist is, he delights me. Soon joined by a chorus of birds, the woodland symphony captivates me as I  walk out to the deck, coffee in hand, snugly throw around my shoulders.

It’s Spring Forward weekend. I’ve already set all the clocks an hour ahead, and I wonder why “they” keep doing this to me. My internal clock is not so easily adjusted. I’ve set my alarm an hour early several days this week in an effort to trick myself so that in the morning I will not feel so sleep deprived.

A nap is in my future tomorrow.

Weather predictions can say what they want. Spring will come. It always does. The Creator planned it to be. And He is faithful and true.

With the season comes lent which is already in process. Those who practice it, their foreheads ashen marked, have determined some sort of fast during the forty days leading to Easter Sunday.

While my spiritual experience has not always included a season of lent, I see the value of preparing our hearts to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus. His victory over death is what separates Christianity from all other religions. We have reason to celebrate.

And we have reason to prepare our hearts. For Christ’s sacrifice for the sins of the world was no small event in the history of the world. From creation, all things led to it. And from the day of resurrection all things flow from it.

To remember is a command. Jesus told His disciples as He handed them bread and wine, “Do this in remembrance of me.” It is my commission also. Remember.

I shall not take His incarnate life, His death, and His triumph over the tomb for granted. This month I’ve been reading the Gospels, anticipating the last weeks of Jesus’ walk upon the earth He created. I don’t want the story to grow old or so familiar I lose sight of its majesty.

I will think on His teaching, the hard sayings that call for humility and courage.

I will wonder at His miracles of healing and forgiveness and will believe that they are still real in the 21st century.

I will ponder His suffering for my sake, to offer a redemptive price for my sins and the sins of the whole world.

What great love, what abounding mercy, what amazing grace.

Springtime offers the perfect picture. Death tries to hold on but it cannot. It lost the battle, and the grave was swallowed up. Life has come from the tomb because Jesus lives.

I am setting my heart toward recollection and reflection of this special season. I will call to mind the great things God has done for me and give Him thanks. I will pray that the Word will be fresh bread feeding my soul and that the Spirit will spring up as a fountain of refreshing.

And I will remember to worship the living Lord and Savior of my life.

100_3362

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.

 

 

Sunday grace

After days of warm sunshine on my face and the wonder of an early spring, I am greeted with ice crystals and chilly breath clouds as Maisie and I walk in the early morning.

Such is life.

We receive blessing after blessing from God who gives grace upon grace.  Yet the chill of winter’s grasp pulls us to reality. We are not in Eden anymore. There are still mountains to climb, dark valleys in which to walk, trials to endure, temptations to avoid.

Still, the gifts abound in the middle of frosty days and long, uncertain nights.

This morning I am thankful.

For a warm hat, scarf, coat and gloves as I open the door and face the cold.

For gas logs that quickly warm the morning haven of home.

For strong coffee with half and half cream.

For a hot pad at my back to ease away the aches.

For Sweet William, my one and only, sitting in the rocker next to mine.

For little girl Maisie, with us almost a year now, learning obedience step by step.

For daffodils from my yard gracing our table this week.

For home filled with familiar things accumulated through our years together.

For family gathered at our table this week and for friends who feel like family.

For prayer that reaches Heaven being only a breath away.

For the daily dose of Scripture that gives me courage and turns my eyes to the Savior.

For the Word hidden in my heart that cannot be taken away.

For grace boundless and mercies new each day.

For assurance that winter lasts for a season and then comes spring.

100_2871

Sunday grace.

 

 

 

Sunday grace

The temperature has warmed in February. We walk in the early Sabbath light, Maisie and me, a mist moistening our faces as we move forward and back.

The silence is broken by the singing of birds and an occasional soft honk of geese on the lake across from the house. The geese have disbanded their flock and are now couples swimming the water together, thinking about a family, if geese think such thoughts.

I’ve seen two hawks in the little woods behind us, them swooping and enjoying a freedom I can only imagine. I wonder if we might have the delight of a nest hidden in the trees soon.

Daffodil greens have pushed through winter soil, and this week crocuses caught me by surprise, them blooming by the front steps.

The maples are bulging on the ends of branches, the beginnings of spring seed pods and leaves.  The oaks still hold on to their dry brown leaves. They are like that, every winter not willing to turn loose until new growth pulsates and pushes them aside.

I wonder how many weeks before I put away the warm red hat and corduroy coat I wear to walk? When I will put my “Baby it’s cold outside”cup in the back of the cabinet until fall? How long before I pull out garden boots and tools to work the ground?

Can spring be far away, the season I love most of all? The one that holds promise of freshness, beauty, resurrection, eternity?

God is in His heaven. His dominion is over all. He rules with goodness and justice. He is faithful to His creation and His children.

His love is everlasting and His mercy endures throughout generations. I rest in His unchanging character while I watch the world transition from season to season.

Time marches on for me, the seasons of my life moving faster every year. How long before this clay vessel will be worn out?

God is timeless and He offers eternity to those who choose His love. Eternity. For me it will be ever springtime.

Sunday grace.

100_27892

Sunday grace

The grace of a new day, ’tis sweet. Day follows night and the world keeps on turning.

The wind blows the tall branches of naked trees, them in waiting for newness and life to rebirth.

I wait with them.

The faithfulness of God astounds me. Words on a page from One too awesome for words, speaking love in the loneliness, peace in distress, assurance in faintness, and strength in the struggle. Praise exhales as breath.

Words that aim at my heart like an arrow sent from a sure bow, my spirit latching on to eternal certainty.

Cold winds threaten and taunt me  with, “You are hopelessly lost in winter.” But the Word that spilled into fertile heart soil heart says otherwise. The promise of spring and renewal casts down the imaginations of my enemy; anticipation, faith energizes me.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Sunday grace.

100_0749

 

My little corner of the world

I surveyed my kingdom today, and I am queen of Quite-a-lot.

It’s an annual ritual that takes me back to a time with my father, a farmer at heart.  I remember walking with him through the yard looking for signs of spring.  He would point to plants that revealed the seasons were changing.

Dad and I walked together through his yard when I was young.  And in later years, we took the annual trip in my yard as we enjoyed seeing the fruits of my labor.

So when I stroll through my own little corner of the world, I think of my dad who influenced my love of sowing and reaping.

Today it was just warm enough for a flannel shirt atop my clothes.  Donning my garden boots with the pink horses on them and grabbing a walking stick, I set out to see what’s coming up.  I spotted our neighborhood hawk circling above, keeping me company.

There have been crocuses surprising me by the front steps since last week.  Their purple, white, and yellow offerings make me smile.

I saw one lone forsythia bloom on the bushes near the driveway.  There are small shoots of hibiscus pushing through the dirt.  They were transplanted by the back walkway last fall.   The pussy willow already has the little fuzzy “catkins” showing up on long branches.  I found enough early daffodils to pick and bring in the house.  With a little water in a vase, they will open to full flower shortly.

My yard is not pristine and manicured like some I admire.  I’m as likely to find a carpet of yellow dandelion blooms in summer as I am a patch of moss amongst the Kentucky fescue grass.  I live in the county and random seeds will fly in regularly like the Canadian geese on the lake across the road. Weeds are a constant in my world.

While I survey the potential beauty just ahead, I also see the potential work.  Fallen sticks are scattered everywhere.  There’s a boggy area that needs fill dirt.  And the weeds, always the weeds.  I think there is more effort required than there is of me to do it.

But today, I will just enjoy the hope of what is to come.  Today I’ll just survey my kingdom and find pleasure in the knowledge that lo, the winter is past . . . flowers appear on the earth.  The season of singing has come, and the cooing of doves is heard in our land.  

I will remember my dad and the heritage he passed on to me. It is a heritage of investing in growing things, whether that is people or plants, and the knowledge that both take time.

I am indeed Queen of Quite-a-lot.  I am thankful for the good earth, strength to work in it and see it produce because God made it to be that way.

In this my “season of Lent” I will enjoy the season of new life and what that means to me.  New life in my yard.  New life here and now because of the cross.  New life in the hereafter because of the resurrection.

The old must give in to the new.  Because when life comes, death takes a holiday.

100_2871