Beginnings or Endings

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The sunsets we have been having lately have been absolutely stunning. They are a mix of purples, blues, pinks…bright turquoise, oranges and yellows. There are times the sky looks like it is on fire.

It is like God is giving us a gift and making the cold days of winter beautiful in His own way. It is a wonderful way to end a day by walking out to put the girls in for the night. It is food for the soul to stand outside in the quiet and watch with awe the display that is dusk.

This time of year there  is a quiet beauty. The greens of growing things are gone, but the dazzling display that is sunset, more than makes up for the loss of greens. The cold of the air doesn’t have the perfume of summer flowers but has it’s own scent that proclaims winter……and it is wonderful.

Sometimes it is difficult to tell where the ending of the day begins or the beginning of the ending starts. The wind dies down, the winter birds grow silent, and the sky becomes tinged with pink.

There is a hush in this space of time between day and night. The air is crisp, as only winter days can be. It is a delight for the senses and I am amazed every time I get to enjoy that time.

So much of life is like that space of time. So many times an ending is just a beginning. Last week I went to my last physical therapy visit!! While that was a definite ending it was, for me, the beginning of knowing that I am, for the most part, better.( I still have to do the balance things at home and check in with them in three months.)

We are in the middle of winter and yet the beginnings of spring are starting to show up. Seed catalogs have started arriving and to me that says warmer days are not far behind. I know there will be some snowstorms yet this season but, somewhere in this time frame is the overlap of living in winter but preparing for Spring.

Maybe this is where hope comes in. The kind of hope that is not just wishful thinking but the hope that is expectation and assurance. There is an expectation that Spring will surely follow Winter. There is the expectation that before that there will be more snow and cold weather.

While we wait for those warmer days let us enjoy the day that is now. Let us realize that the beginnings and endings of things most often are somehow tangled together and it is okay.

May you be blessed with beautiful sunsets that end this day and begin the new one.

 

“The end is never the end.
It’s always the the beginning of something.”

― Kate Lord Brown,
The Perfume Garden

Changes

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When I first started blogging I did a post on an old boxelder tree of ours. Our boys thought it was an eyesore. My husband loved it for the fact that it housed so much wildlife through the years. It was a tree that refused to die and seemed to have confusion over the fact it was a tree rather than a tall bush.

My husband decreed the tree would stay till the dead part fell over. It was up to God when that would occur and he (my husband) would not hasten that day. This past September, the decreed time came to pass. We were sitting on the porch one morning during my recuperation period and suddenly noticed that this event had happened.20181107_164213.jpg

We have no idea exactly what day it happened. We just know that by September 16 the majority of the tree was down. It was a little sad to know that there would be no more squirrels raising families in that tree. Owls, hawks and eagles would no longer perch in the top part of those dead branches.

We will miss those days of watching the animals that used that dead tree. We should probably have counted the varieties of animals that actually used it for a home or just a resting place. Everything from squirrels, woodpeckers of all types, wood ducks, geese, eagles and more have used it.

I have found out this past year that life can change as quickly as a tree falling over. One week you are healthy….the next months you struggle to regain what disappeared in a flash. Families change…..parents make life changing moves to a new residence and it is hard on the entire family. Children get married and it is a wonderful celebration. Life is such a mix.

This year of 2018 is quickly….way too quickly…coming to a close. Looking back, it is hard to believe how many things are not what they were a year ago. Some are better….some are worse. I have a feeling that is just how life is and it is okay.

This Thanksgiving our devotion was on being content in any circumstance. It asked us if we would be content if God said “No” to our prayers….or “Wait”. I would love to answer that I am always content, but that would be a lie. I will say I strive to be content.

There are things I would love to change as quickly as the wind pushes a tree over. I would love to be as I was before West Nile. And then I need to remember how long that tree withstood every storm that came it’s way. It is good to step back and see the blessing in the wait.

The tree was a great lesson on waiting…on contentment. It was in no hurry to fall. While it waited it was useful and in it’s seeming deadness it housed so much life. It is a lesson I can learn. A lesson that there can be a contentment in the wait. A lesson that even though I am not at 100 percent I can still be useful.

Now that our tree is no longer there for those life lessons I am beginning to look around and wonder what part of creation God is going to use next to teach me those life lessons? I have a feeling there will always be something that will be used to teach….as long as I open my eyes.

May you be blessed in the waiting this weekend. May you be content in the changes that life brings.

 

Biblically, waiting is not just something we have to do until we get what we want. Waiting is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be.     

John Ortberg

 

 

Pictures of Harvest

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There is something exciting about the neighbor stopping by and telling you he is ready to start combining your field. This past week that is exactly what happened and he took out one of the fields of corn. My husband hauled loads to town while the combine kept filling the empty wagons.

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Something about bringing in a harvest is so satisfying. It is like the fulfillment of a promise that was given in the Spring when those kernels of corn were planted in the ground. You watch those fields all summer. You pray for rain and sometimes you pray for dry weather in years like this past growing season.

I was going to say why I like this season…but then I realized I like pretty much all the seasons. Life is such a reflection of those seasons. Everything from raising children to taking care of elderly parents is a season of life. There is something good about each one of those seasons and there are challenges to each of those seasons.

I love the beauty of the painting that is fall. The golds, the russets, the reds make a beautiful picture that fills the senses and satisfies the soul.20181107_164305.jpg

I love the smell of the leaves laying on the ground, the sound of dryers running in the night drying the corn that has just been harvested from the field. I love the vee of the geese as they fly overhead to their winter homes and the taste of hot chocolate on a cool fall evening.

I love the fact that the promise of Spring has been fulfilled by the harvest of fall. It is a reassurance that God is faithful and the promises are real.

May you be blessed in all the seasons of your life. May you be shown the good in each season and see the blessing in the challenges.

“What are you planting today to harvest tomorrow?”
Lailah Gifty Akita

While the earth remaineth,
seedtime and harvest,
and cold and heat,
and summer and winter,
and day and night shall not cease.
Genesis 8:22

 

Winter Prep and the Book Giveaway

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Our View Two Weeks Ago

Two weeks ago we had snow. It was a great reminder that we needed to start prepping as winter would definitely be coming. One thing you can count on in Iowa is the changing seasons!

The past days have finally been dry and resemble what fall should look like. My husband has been busy hauling wagon loads of soybeans to town to the local Farmer’s Coop Elevator. Now we wait for the corn to be dry enough to be combined.

In between those two harvest times we have been using the days to prepare for the cold of winter. We love to burn wood to help save on our heating budget. We have spent the last couple days splitting wood.

A couple years ago my husband had his hips replaced. We borrowed a friend’s log splitter and learned how wonderful that invention really was. The next year we decided, as we were getting older we needed to work smarter. We found a log splitter on a clearance sale and made the purchase. It was a great decision!

We have a few more days to go on wood splitting before the pile is all done. Fortunately the weather looks promising for that task. I get the easy part of just pushing the lever. This year I am doing my job by sitting on a tall chair and just pushing the lever.

The girls tend to wander over while we split wood. They love the ants and grubs that sometimes have found their way into the pile. It is  satisfying to see the split wood, stack up and watch that splitter turn logs into usable pieces.

My husband used to split all of it with a maul and a sledgehammer. As I said….we have learned to work smarter and this wood no longer has to warm us twice!

On another subject……I have finally done the drawing for the book giveaway!  With the help of my husband who was a neutral bystander.  I numbered 1 – 24 and put the names next to the numbers. I then put the numbers on pieces of paper and my husband drew a number from a bucket. I have no idea how to do the rafflecopter thing so we went old school!

Here is the list of those that were in the giveaway:
1. Terri J                             2. Jackie VG                   3. Jo O
4. Donna VG                       5. Kristi K                       6. Michele R (rabbitpatchdiaries)
7. Juliescreativeyear         8. DeAnn T                     9. Lena DK
10.Lisa@Lismorepaper   11.Jessica                       12.Lorna K
13.Vicki                               14.Sheila T                     15.Ruthsoaper
16.Robbyefaye                   17.Miriam B                  18.BeverlyP (moreinkplease)
19. Lindaschaub                20.A.Michelle                21.Judy L
22. Judy B                            23.Robin                         24.Jocelyn M

The number drawn was (drum roll) #3!   Congratulation Jo O….you will be gifted the book: It’s All Under Control and workbook. I will be in touch with you to see that you get it.

Some of those who entered are fellow bloggers. If you click on their names it should take you to their blogs and you can enjoy some good reading!  You will also meet some amazing women that way!20181014_103846.jpg

 

I have not yet read my copy of this book. I do plan to spend some wonderful time…. in a rocking chair…. in front of the woodstove this winter. I plan to be holding that book in one hand….a cup of hot chocolate in the other and enjoying the warmth from the wood we have split.

May you have a blessed weekend and may this post find you doing something you enjoy.

 

“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.”
–William Blake

“Some books are to be tasted,
others to be swallowed,
and some few to be chewed and digested.”

Francis Bacon, The Essays   

 

Endings and Beginnings

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There are some events in life that are bittersweet. Farm sales are one of those events. There is the excitement of attending a good sale, but there is also the fact that farm sales can be intensely personal for those doing the selling.

What might look like a jumble of tools and machinery to a bystander can really be pieces of equipment that contain an amazing amount of memories for the family selling those items.

Last weekend my husband and I attended the farm sale of his cousin.  Some of the reason we went, was so my husband could take a trip down memory lane..and some of the reason was we felt it was important to be there for family.

My husband did enjoy wandering through the barn and the grove. He also did a lot of reminiscing when he was looking over the older tractors. He recalled helping his uncle when it was baling time and the old H was the tractor pressed into service for that task.

 

It was fun to visit with the family and catch up on where the kids were at and which grandkids belonged to who.

It truly was a bittersweet day, as this farm place had been in the family for a very long time. Seeing the equipment sold and knowing that soon this family would not have any relatives living on this farm spoke of endings.

The day of the sale also spoke of beginnings. Beginnings for the new couple that will be moving there and starting traditions of their own. Beginnings of new dreams with new people and new events.

In thinking about it…..it really isn’t an ending at all….it is just turning the page to a new chapter.  The land will still be farmed. A family will live in the big old farm house. Eventually children will run across the yard and search for kittens in the barn in the spring. It will not be an ending at all….it will just be a different kind of same.

There is nothing permanent except change.
–  Heraclitus

 

 

 

Early Mornings and Quiet Time

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It seems like most of our mornings lately are foggy, damp, and turning into that quiet season where the summer birds have decided it is time to head for winter homes.

It always amazes me how this time of year just seems to sneak up on me. I am not sure if it sneaks up because life is too busy or if things just change so slowly that you really don’t realize they have changed till you actually stand quietly and allow yourself to feel the change.

The other morning, was such a morning. I headed out, geared up in my yellow chicken galoshes (due to heavy dew on the grass), and went to let the girls out for the day. They had been patiently waiting (okay…maybe not so patiently waiting) for me to come open the door of their chicken run.

As I stepped out of our garage, the quiet took hold and seemed like a physical presence. It demanded that time be taken to just be still, take a breath and turn in all directions to take it in.

The shadows were long from the old boxelder that refuses to die. The early morning sun seemed to light the side of the barn and cast a glow into those dark shadows of the tree. Fog hung thick over the river and the only thing breaking that quiet morning was the steady drip of dew from rooflines and trees.

It was a hushed holy moment…..that space between the earth sleeping and waking for the busyness of the day. It is an amazing experience to be able to stand in that space and just be. There is something healing and comforting about that beautiful space.  It is a space that is full of promise and hope.

It is a peace that soothes the soul, quiets the mind and reminds us that life is to be lived and experienced. It reminds us that life cannot always be lived on our own terms or in our own time, but must be enjoyed when God presents it to us.

Such mornings are a gift and I treasure them. I often wonder if there were mornings like this when I was younger. I suspect there were….I also suspect that I never took the time back then to just stand in awe outside of my home and inhale the morning.

There is much to be said for getting older. Age does not always equal wisdom but it does slow us down, so that we may appreciate what is put before us. It makes us realizes what a gift it is, to just stand in the cool of the morning, see the treasure and wait with confident expectation of a wonderful day.

You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one.
Each day is a different one,
each day brings a miracle of its own.
It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.
Paolo Coehlo

 

Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.
Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly
(Psalm 5:3).

 

Day At A Time

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The other morning my husband and I were discussing the summer and wondering what had happened to it. It is so hard to believe that we are already in August and the stores are having “Back To School” sales.

Somewhere in the middle of wedding plans…..moving elderly parents….floods and day to day summer things the time just blew right by us. We have now moved to the phase of harvesting the stuff in the garden, trying to keep weeds under control in the fields and the garden and keeping the lawn mowed.

When we get to wondering how time seems to move so fast; my husband’s favorite line is, “One day at a time…one day at a time”. He is right, of course. Each day starts full of promise and before you know it….the day is done and it is time to call it a day.

It is good on these seeming fast days to stand and watch the sun come up. It is good to take that minute to marvel at the beauty that is around us….the blue of the sky, the lush green of a lawn, the fawns that wander onto that green lawn,  and the vibrant colors of the flowers that are in bloom.

Those moments are a gift. They are a wonderful free gift to us to stop and take a breath….to stop and really enjoy that moment of the day we are given. They are an invitation to forget the busyness for a very brief time and just enjoy the moment that is.

In all the busyness that is our lives, may we enjoy the gift we are given. May we remember to take that small moment and watch the sun rise and the sun set. And may we enjoy all those moments between the rise and set. May we remember to take a day at a time and maybe even a moment at a time……

 

 “He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the human heart;
yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
Ecclesiastes 3:11