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).

 

Baby Celebrations

IMG_4031 Opening Gifts

Sometimes things in life do not go quite as planned. We had this experience this past Sunday. We had planned for a beautiful sunny day to hold a Baby Celebration for my son and daughter-in-law and our soon to come grandson. What we got was a day that started out drizzly.

We had planned to set up tables and chairs outside and have everything ready to go by 11:00, so we could get started on the grilling of burgers and hot dogs.  What we got was drizzling till about 10:45, waiting till 11:00 to make sure it really was done dripping all over, and then scrambling to get things set up outdoors so we would be ready for the guests. We had planned to have this be a casual event; and it was a casual event so that went according to plan!

Lots of prayers were sent up, on my part, for there to be a couple hour break in the drippiness.  (I struggled with that prayer as we really need the rain in this area.) We did get a break and it was long enough to fit in everything we needed to.

The day, while not warm and sunny, was a wonderful day of celebration. Lots of laughter, joking, playing games (Corn Hole and Badminton) and opening gifts. It was a wonderful day to celebrate life, family, friends, and the celebration of a new life on the way.

 

There was plenty of food for everyone….(though the frozen fruit cup was a little bit chilly for the day). Grilled burgers and hot dogs, salads and a S’more table, more than made up for the slightly damp atmosphere.

 

We decided that we would still have our homemade root beer and floats. (It was National Root Beer Float Day on Sunday so we needed those floats!) They were great with the S’mores and no one seemed to mind having a chilly dessert.

 

I had bought the duck a few years back at a garage sale. At the time I purchased it I thought it was a floaty for a pool. I found out later it was a blow up baby bathtub! I am really glad I found a great use for it at the party. It made a great root beer and water bottle holder. (I must thank the mom-to-be for taking pictures of the set up…..I had totally forgotten!)

There was lots of mingling and catching up with family and friends during the afternoon. It was a time to retell old family stories and make new ones. I may be the mom of sons…but I am blessed by the women they have brought into our family! They were the drive behind the planning, food and decorations.

We did have a really good laugh when my daughter-in-law shared that my grandson had been quizzing them on their way here about what happens at a baby shower. He was firmly convinced that this was the day the baby would arrive and we were all going to be together to witness the birth and have a huge celebration! He wanted to know all the whens, whys, and whats on how that was going to happen. I am not sure what they actually told him…but it still makes me grin.

In the end….the day was perfect in it’s weather imperfection. It was a celebration that did not hinge on circumstances like foggy damp rain. It did not hinge on “if everything went according to plan”. In the end…the day did go as planned….people had fun, we celebrated and we enjoyed being together.

It was a day that celebrated family, life, new beginnings and love.  It was a day that celebrated blessings and what they really are. When it all comes down to it I guess that is what really matters…..and it was good.

 

The best times are always found
when friends and family gather round.
Unknown

If you so choose,
even the unexpected setbacks can bring new and positive possibilities.
If you so choose,
you can find value and fulfillment in every circumstance.
Ralph Marston

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/ralphmarst564358.html?src=t_unexpected

Winter’s Gift

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Winter is holding our area firmly in it’s grip this last while. The temperatures seem to cling to nearer zero than anything else. The nights quickly become bitter and even the glow of the moon seems cold and forbidding.

Nights like this make me long for those evenings spent sitting on the porch watching the daylight leave and fireflies come out to dance under the light of a warm summer moon. The first seed catalog did come in the mail the other day so I know, in my head, that spring is drawing closer.

The upside to these cold days is the fact it gives us time to work on projects that should get finished before the balmy, busy days of spring.  While organizing my craft cupboards, I have discovered many projects that have been started over the years and never quite finished. I know when the weather warms I will not want to be in the house…..so now, is the time to get to work finishing some of them.

It also gives me time to work on things that I have wanted (or should I say need) to finish in our home. Things like woodwork, repainting the hallway and multiple little things that don’t take long, but never seem to get done. Maybe if I look at these chilly days as opportunities the days won’t seem so cold?

These days are a gift in a way. A gift of time to catch up on things left undone and forgotten.  I must confess I had been neglecting my Bible study. ..it was a gift to spend time by the woodstove and get back to it. I am never quite sure why something that is such a blessing seems like such hard work?

It is also a gift at day’s end to stand outside in the cold, brittle air and marvel at the stark white moon shining through the clouds. My husband invited me outside last night to enjoy the view with him.

There is something beautiful in the quiet that is night in the wintertime. There are no leaves rustling in the breeze. No crickets chirping in the fields and no frogs singing in the gully. There is just the cold moon shining down on the still landscape……and it is wonderful in it’s own way.

 

“Cold hearted orb that rules the night,
Removes the colours from our sight.
Red is grey and yellow white.
But we decide which is right.
And which is an illusion?”
Moody Blues
~Late Lament

 

 

 

Christmas Reflections

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Sometimes it is a blessing in disguise when the winds are gusting cold and brisk at 45 miles per hour.  It forces us to just relax, retreat into the house and reflect on the highlights of the day before.  Monday was such a day.

My husband and I were given the opportunity to sit and reflect on the highlights of Christmas day. Just sitting here now, thinking about it, brings a smile to my lips. I can close my eyes and replay certain scenes in my head and enjoy them all over again.

The day started early with getting the turkey in the oven and the woodstove fired up for the day.  Once that was accomplished my husband and I sat in the dark living room waiting for the rest of the household to wake up.

The two grandkids were first, of course, and came sleepily into the living room, dragging blankets and stuffed animals behind them. They snuggled in close. It is a wonderful thing to sit in a semi-dark living room with a lap full of grandkids, and the warm glow of a woodstove and the lights of a Christmas tree for company.

It did not take long and we were joined by their parents. After that the busy day began.  We did take time to enjoy a hot chocolate party before the rest of the family arrived. (The hot chocolate party was an effective Grandma bribe to get them into bed the night before.)

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Once everyone else had arrived, hugs exchanged, and Christmas greetings given, it was decided to open gifts before we had dinner.  No one was really too hungry anyway, after spending the morning snacking on Christmas cookies, cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate.

Opening gifts is always a bit of a challenge due to the gift labeling system we use in our home.  It has become a tradition that instead of names on the labels on our gifts, we have random stamped images. This started years ago when our sons were small and could not (or would not) leave their gifts alone.

With this system I have my notebook in hand, with corresponding stamped images and names so that everyone gets the correct gift.  Once my sons got older, got married and moved into homes of their own; I thought I would be able to start putting the names on the gifts….not so.  They voted to stay with tradition and the stamped images of leaves, penguins, trees, etc. continues.

Gifts were opened, dinner was enjoyed, rousing games of foosball were played. Naps were taken (not by small children), lego sets were built, cookies were consumed (in mass quantities by small children), books were read, and the day was liberally sprinkled with laughter, good-natured ribbing, and an amazing dose of love that was so tangible that you felt you could reach out and touch it.

 

The only thing that would have made the day any better would have been to have my other daughter-in-law here. She was back home with the stomach flu.

The day was a blessing and was bathed in that love that comes from shared joys, shared sorrows, and shared lives.  it was the joy that comes from being with those you love and that love you back no matter what.

It was the sense of family that is rooted in a deeper truth that there is One who loves us even more than we could possibly love each other.  The love of the One who came to earth so long ago in human form as a baby and gave His life so we might have life eternal.

May the joy of this season remain with you longer than this season is celebrated. May you be blessed by the One who loves you so much.

I am going to leave you with a less than serious ending to this post.  It just seemed fitting that as the Chicken Grandma, I should somehow involve the “girls”(or at least their cartoon counterparts) in this Christmas post.

And may you even be blessed by the silliness of chickens clucking Christmas songs! They may not deserve a standing ovation but they are pretty fun!

Time was with most of us, when Christmas Day, encircling all our limited world like a magic ring, left nothing out for us to miss or seek;
bound together all our home enjoyments, affections, and hopes;
grouped everything and everyone round the Christ

Charles Dickens quotes 

Read more: http://www.searchquotes.com/quotes/about/Family_Christmas/2/#ixzz4U4lj9wzH

 

 

 

Christmas Ponderings

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There is something quite wonderful about sitting in a darkened living room with the glow of the woodstove burning cheerfully in one corner. Add in the glow of a lit Christmas tree standing in the other corner and the contentment is complete. It is blanketed in a beautiful stillness and calm.

I have the house to myself for a bit as my husband is outdoors enjoying that brief slice of day that is captured between daylight and night. The world is hushed. Traffic has slowed on the blacktop past our place and the chickens have gone to bed.

It is the perfect time to really ponder on this Christmas season. The last few days have been jam packed with preparing for the holiday. Shopping, wrapping presents, messaging kids for last minute details, cleaning, baking and wrapping some more presents; have filled the days.

In the midst of that busyness,  this seemed like the ideal time to slow it down a bit and just feel the joy and the hope that is Christmas. This small space of time also gives me a moment to wonder about that night 2000 plus years ago when a baby came into this world.

I always kind of wonder if Mary could really wrap her head around the fact that she had given birth to the Savior of this world. I wonder if she knew what the next 30 some years were going to bring into her life. Did she know of the joy and the pain that she would feel? Did she know; but choose to focus on the joy that night?

How overwhelming would it have been, to be able to see exactly the path her Son would have to travel? Did she have any inkling that the wooden manger that held her Son would be mirrored by that wooden cross that held Him as an adult?  Did she really realize that her Son would be the light of the world?

I have no answer to these questions and probably never will. I do know that I am deeply grateful for the reason we celebrate this Christmas holiday. I know that we were given an incredible gift that night so long ago.

We were given the gift of hope that gets us through so many difficult places in life. Hope that never quits and never gives up. Hope in the great love He has for us.

We were given joy that night. Joy, that had angels praising and shepherds hurrying to leave their sheep just to see what it was all about. This was joy…..not just happiness that comes and goes….but a deep seated Joy that goes hand in hand with Hope.

Sitting here, in the dark, reflecting as I look at my glowing tree I realize that those little twinkly lights are but a tiny reflection of the real beauty and glory that is the Light of the World. Maybe that is why lit Christmas trees are so special.  They are reflections of something greater and something deeper.

My wish for family and friends this season is that you feel the hope and the wonder….that you discover the real joy of this season. I wish that the Light illuminates all the dark places in your life and blazes brightly.

May you be blessed and may you be a blessing to those around you. May you reflect the Light and know the joy of hope.

The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:5
New International Version

 

 

 

 

 

Shades of Harvest

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The seasons are definitely changing in our area.  All the lush green fields have turned to shades of browns.  They even sound different.  The leaves on the corn stalks rustle dryly with the slightest breeze. And there is a smell in the air that only comes from damp leaves slowly disintegrating into the soil.

Where fields were once alive and growing they are now dead-looking, dry and ready to be harvested. The soybeans have mostly been combined and farmers have now moved on to the corn fields.

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As I stood on my porch I could hear the sounds of harvest going on around me. The sound of tractors, wagons and combines rolling through those fields of Iowa corn, harvesting millions of beautiful, golden kernels. It is the sound of compensation for the worry, sweat and prayers that have gone into that crop since the day the seeds were put in the ground.

I did not get a picture of a wagon full of corn as my husband brought them back empty after unloading them at the local grain elevator. Perhaps tomorrow I can get that accomplished.

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The roads to town are filled with these same tractors and wagons making their way to the local grain elevators. Our radio stations even warn us to all be more alert as we travel during this time of year as the farmers move at a slower pace than the rest of the traffic.

There is a beauty to this season that is fall.  The beauty lies in the quiet evenings that echo with the distant hum of grain dryers and farmers staying late in the fields.  There is a beauty in the many shades of brown and the leaves that are turning yellow and beginning to fall and carpet the ground. There is beauty in the smell that comes up from the earth as it is once again uncovered after a field is combined.

So many things about fall are a feast for the senses. The colors that draw your eyes to the edge of the river, the red blaze of a sugar maple, the rustle of dry grass and withered corn leaves, the lonesome sound of geese as they fly south for the winter, the feel of moist dirt that falls off a newly dug potato, the chill of the evening air, the frost sparkling on the grass in the morning,  and the smell of wood smoke coming from the chimney.

There is such a timeless feel to the changing of the seasons. Perhaps because it is timeless. There is a comfort in the continuity of this cycle of life. There is a comfort in knowing that it has been this way since the beginning of time and it will continue till the end of time.

It is a blessing to live in a place where the seasons are so ingrained in the rhythm of our lives. It takes a certain faith to put those seeds in the ground in the spring and wait for the harvest. There is a blessing in being dependent and it has given me a deep appreciation for what the Creator has gifted us.

May you see the blessing this weekend.

 

22 “As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”
Genesis 8:22
New International Version (NIV)

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/millions/