Morning Anticipation

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Today was a beautiful day! We seem to have finally turned the corner with warmer weather. We made it into the thirties today for temperatures and with the sun shining it felt downright balmy. (When thirties feel balmy…you know it has been cold!)

I went outside this morning, as the sun was coming up, to let the girls out of the coop. I wanted them to enjoy the beautiful weather as long as they could. When I stepped out of the door and actually took a look around me, I realized that I needed to go back in the house for my camera.

By the time I made it to the coop the girls were eager to get out and were all waiting for me to open the door to their run. They were not patient waiters but protested loudly that I was taking too long. I don’t think they understood just how much I was enjoying being outside, watching the sun turn the world into a twinkling shimmery place.

They had no concept of what a pleasure it was to stand there and take it all in….the haze over the river, the sparkle of the frost on the trees, the quiet of the morning waiting in expectation for the day to come.

Mornings like this one give the illusion of all things being possible. There is hushed anticipation as the world warms up and slowly awakens. Even the starlings, perched at the top of the tree in the front yard were expressing appreciation for the new day.

Days that start like this are a gift. They make me slow down and really see what a picture God has painted on the landscape.  The peace it brings is almost a tangible, touchable thing.

I never tire of the view I have been gifted with. No matter where you look there is beauty. It would seem the view is the same but there are so many subtle changes as the sun rises and sets.  The different seasons all hold a magic that turns the same landscape into such a variety of pictures.

Nature is such a reflection of life. We look like the same person but there are so many facets to each of us. Circumstances mold us much as the seasons change the landscape.  Some days we sparkle and twinkle in the sunlight and some days we seem cloaked in shadows. The wonderful thing is that no matter where we are at……it will change!

The quiet of the morning seems to grant permission to stop, be still and just absorb the moment. It gives that space of time to clear our heads, ponder thoughts and open our hearts for the blessing of a new day.

May your week be blessed with anticipation for what each day will bring. May you experience the joy of the possibilities this life holds and may this season of life find you sparkling in the sunlight.

 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

Dew on the Grass

IMG_4146 Sparkling Grass in the Morning

These last foggy mornings have been something wonderful. I have written before how I love the muted morning sounds and the feeling of being wrapped in a blanket of fog. I realize I get to feel that way because I am not forced to be traveling through that fog on a busy road.

I, instead, get to drink my morning tea on the porch and take it all in. I love the way the dew drops cling to the very tips of the grass. Once the sun starts to break through it looks like a sea of diamond tipped slender grass spears.

I am amazed at how that small drop clings so tenaciously to the end of that piece of grass. There doesn’t seem to be much structure for that drop to cling too and yet it hangs on.

It is beautiful how that small droplet sparkles and glimmers in the morning sun. It seems like one minute that drop is there and when you next look it has disappeared. Dew on the grass is one of those gifts in nature that is fleeting.

Life is the same. From breath to breath things change so fast. One minute your kids are babes in your arms, a blink later and they are in school, two blinks and they are walking down a church aisle and leaving your home. Before you know it a small child grins at you and calls you grandma.  Life is fleeting; but life is oh…..so very good.

Take time today to experience the small gifts around you…. the smile of a child, the feel of the sun on your face, the beauty of a fog-laden morning and a drop of dew sparkling like diamonds in the sun.

 

Life is fragile, like the dew hanging delicately on the grass,
crystal drops that will be carried away on the first morning breeze.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Turning the Corner

IMG_4118 Swallows

Swallows in the Mist

There are so many signs that our seasons, here in the Midwest, may be turning the corner from summer to fall. The weather has been rainy and drippy.  We have also been noticing the bird population is changing.

The hawks seem to be plentiful and braver in the fall…or maybe they are trying to prepare for the coming winter when hunting seems to become scarce. We had a bird hawk decide our bird bath was a great opportunity to get a  drink and clean up a bit.

He stayed until he noticed us peering at him through the window. It was hard to stand still and yet get a picture, while he was watching us watch him!

I am not really so happy to see the hawk on our bird bath. I have seen one like him pluck a robin right off the ground as the robin was searching for worms! I like the songbirds we have around here and they are definitely not safe when there are hawks around.

For a couple weeks now, we have not seen the robins. The Orioles no longer inhabit the grove and sing in the trees.  The cliff swallows have arrived in a large group while on their way  through, to wherever it is they migrate to for the winter. We have had large flocks of blackbirds rest in our trees on their way to their destination.

In the misty mornings, the swallows fill the electric wires behind the house. They are quiet while they sit there waiting for the sun to burn off the fog. The entire world is hushed and still in the fog and the birds seem to sense this and not want to be the first to break the silence.

I love the misty mornings. The world is small and focus is narrowed to what is essential. The quiet morning lends itself to good conversation while sitting on the porch drinking that first coffee/tea of the day. It also lends itself to just sitting there quietly listening to the dew drip from the trees and the eaves of the house.

I really wonder how many of the world’s problems could be solved if more people would sit with cup in hand, on their porch and talk things out.  Or maybe if they just sat silently enjoying what God had set before them? I have a feeling it would be a much more peaceful place.

The quietness of the fog seems to take the harsh edges off the coming day. It seems to wrap us in a blanket of peace and blessing.

May you have time in your busy week to sit and enjoy the silence of the morning and may you be blessed by the little things in life……..like a quiet foggy morning.

 

“When you arise in the morning,
think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive
– to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.
 Marcus Aurelius quotes 

 “a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak”
Ecclesiastes 3:7

Old Years and New Beginnings

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I walked outside last night to lock my girls in the coop for the night. The minute I stepped out of our garage door and walked across the driveway I noticed how still it was. The wind had died down, there were no traffic sounds and all I heard, as I walked, was the crunch of gravel under my feet.

The sky was darkening quickly and the horizon was displaying the last light of day in a thin yellow ribbon. Evergreen trees in the backyard were silhouettes against the coming dark of night. It was truly the space of time between day and night where the world lies hushed and waiting…..hanging onto the old day and yet ready to give way to something new.

These last few days of 2016 are rather like that space of time. We are busy trying to wrap up the old year while our thoughts are beginning to focus on what the new one will bring. The past year brings back so many thoughts and memories. Things we did accomplish….things we did not get done. New people we have met and friends and family that we will not meet this side of heaven again. New jobs, new hairdos, new additions to our families …….changes…. sweet and some bittersweet.

Some of last year we cannot wait to be rid of. Plans that did not work out and caused us pain.  Memories we might like to toss out…. like the Christmas tree after the season. Some memories are not quite so easy to toss out. Some consequences must be lived with.

Some memories we will hold onto tightly. We will keep them close and cherish them. The time we spent with people we love and who love us are like pictures in our minds that we can “see” and just smile at the memory. These are things that time cannot erase.

Last year brought some wonderful things.  At least into my life. My children encouraged me to blog and I have met some amazing, wonderful people while doing so.  The kids just grin when I speak of some of you; as if I saw you just yesterday; when in reality I have never met you in person.

I have been privileged to share in your lives and have been thoroughly blessed by that fact.  I have been honored to pray for you during this past year and look forward to doing that in the coming new year.

So many thoughts can run through my head as I stand outside watching the day turn to  night. Thoughts of people and their lives, their hurts and their joys. Thoughts of places I have been this past year and places I hope to go in the coming year. Thoughts of things accomplished and things still on my to do list when it comes to faith, home, health, relationships and fun.

That space of time between day and night is a great place to pause and reflect. It is a place of hushed, reverent wonder. It is a place where the soul can dance. It is a place to offer your thoughts and prayers for peace when it comes to certain memories and thanks for others. It is a place to ask for renewal in the year to come.

My prayer for all of you in this coming year is joy, peace and hope. May you have joy in the everyday things, peace in adversity, and hope in every breath you take.  May you be blessed and may your soul dance…..

 

 

  “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
Isaiah 43:18-19

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Chasing the Holidays

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I was starting to wonder if I was going to find a time to sit down and write a post for today. The days since the Thanksgiving holiday have been hectic to say the least. I am not totally sure why. Perhaps it is the fact that I said yes to a couple…..too many things?

My brain seems a little disorganized and unsettled.  Anyone else relate to that feeling? I am still not in the “swing” of the Christmas holiday that is fast approaching.  I was too busy enjoying the Thanksgiving one to move on to the next holiday.  I still have fall décor to take down in my home.  Once that is done perhaps I can focus on preparing for Christmas.

I am in awe of those who tell me that they are almost done or are done with their Christmas shopping……I have yet to start!  Fortunately for me, my husband is a man who can take “the list” and help get most of the shopping done in one big day. He approaches shopping with a single-minded vigor.  I am never quite sure how he does that. It might have something to do with the fact that he does not agonize if everything is the perfect gift. He figures it is on the list, so…..good to go. It might also have something to do with the fact that he does not second-guess his decisions!

Maybe if we had a foot of snow on the ground my mind would kick into gear. To be honest, I really don’t want a foot of snow on the ground!  Not yet.  I would like to wait for that to come once my grandkids get here. It is probably good I am not in charge of weather.

Maybe if I attended a couple Christmas programs?  Maybe, just maybe that would help?  Maybe if I would put the decorations up? In all reality I think that perhaps if I would just slow down, take a breath and just be still, that would be the most helpful.

I took a little journey over to the Rabbit Patch this evening and found peace and a beautiful quiet. It hit me then, once my mind had quieted down, that what I needed to appreciate the coming Christmas season wasn’t snow.  I did not need Christmas music. I do not need all the decorations or programs or trees.  I don’t even need to go shopping and fill all those lists.

What I really need to “get” Christmas is some quiet time with Jesus. I realized I have not been spending time during these busy days talking to the One who created me. I have not been enjoying conversations with the one was born that starlit night in Bethlehem.

How I thought I could get into the Christmas spirit, without taking time to acknowledge the one who came to earth that night, is beyond me.  I should have known better. I should have remembered that my days are more ordered and my mind more settled when I have taken the time to “be still and know” who is God.

My wish for all of you this busy holiday season is quiet. Not a huge looming, unsettling quiet, but the kind of quiet that seeps into your soul like water into dry dusty ground. The quiet of a foggy morning that lays thick in the bottom fields and mutes the sound. The kind of quiet that slows our pace, stills our hearts and soothes our minds. A quiet that is peace.

May your week be blessed and quiet.

 

 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now,
and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.”
Matthew 6:34
The Message

 

 

 

 

Road Trips and Memories

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Yesterday was a wonderful, slow, autumn Sunday. As there was nothing urgent taking place in the afternoon we decided it would be a good time to take a little road trip. My husband had a couple ideas of places to go and we picked one that brought back a lot of memories.

The place we decided to head for was a spot that we used to visit a lot as teenagers……the Boyden Pit. Back when we were in high school it was the place to be on a hot summer afternoon. After hot sweaty mornings of walking beans it was a great place to go and cool off.

The beach was small and did not have the greatest sand, but it was always full of teenagers, moms with little kids and was loud with the sound of laughter, water splashing, and the tunes belting out of multiple battery operated radios. It was the perfect place to see others and to be seen.

All we needed for a great afternoon was a beach towel, a  radio, a few snacks, some pop, and as many friends as we could round up. We didn’t worry about sunscreen…..skin cancer was not on the radar that decade. In fact we would use baby oil to get the great dark tan that we all coveted.

There weren’t any life guards on this beach and we were all responsible for our own safety. We did make sure to swim in pairs if we were swimming out to “the island”. (I am not sure it was really an island but it was on the other side of the pit and seemed to take forever to get there.)

I don’t know the entire history of the Pit. I do know it was a former sand/gravel pit where some company or other dug out the sand and gravel to use in other places. Once they had gotten as much as they wanted the machinery was taken away and water filled the hole that was left. It became a natural place for people to go and cool off on steamy summer days and nights.

There was even a massive cottonwood tree with a rope attached for those who wanted to swing off the cliff, dangle precariously over the water and let go in a timely manner. If you did not let go soon enough you slammed back into the cliff and slid, in an inglorious fashion, down the face of the cliff and into the water.

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Later the tree met it’s end when it was sawed down because too many people had hurt themselves. (Our high school Bible teacher ended up having surgery after smashing his heel against that cliff wall.) All that remains of the tree is the weathered stump in the photo above.  It was a sad day for those who loved the thrill of flying over the water and plummeting to the water 20 feet below. I never had the urge to attempt that feat after having witnessed the slamming and sliding type of end to a swing on the rope.

It seemed that with the death of the big cottonwood; a lot of changes came to the Pit. Someone drowned and the Pit was closed for a number of years due to insurance issues. The beach that once was alive with shouts and laughter slowly grew over with weeds and small trees. The concrete bath house was torn down and only a non-functional light pole remains to mark it’s location.

Some years back the County took over the Pit area and began the task of turning it into a place where people would once again picnic, fish and camp.  It is not the same as it was back in the day I regularly visited it…. there are some things I like better and some memories that are hard to let go.

The beach area is no longer available for swimming as there is no swimming allowed.  People now come with their canoes, fishing poles, tents and campers. They come and once again this place is a place for people to spend time together.

The quiet that is this fall season, lays like a blanket over this area. The mowed path that now makes it’s way around the pit is an invitation to take a walk and listen to the leaves rustle in the wind. It is fun to observe the frogs sitting on the rotted logs at the water’s edge and to see the birds flit from tree to tree.

I have a feeling it is the same quiet that held this place way back before it’s years as a gravel pit. It is probably the same quiet that descended when the pit was closed to the public for those many years. It is a quiet that permeates this place and seeps into the soul when you stand quietly at the water’s edge.

The “new” pit is a beautiful, peaceful place. For those who did not come here in the 70’s and 80’s it is probably hard to imagine how noisy it once was. All I have to do is stand on the overgrown beach, close my eyes, and those days once again play out in my mind like scenes from an old movie.

I think I have enjoyed the best of both worlds that make up the life of this place.  I have lived the vibrant, noisy memories of my youth spent on this beach and I am also getting to soak in the quiet, soul-nourishing peace that it is now. It is indeed a blessing.

All changes, even the most longed for,
have their melancholy;
for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves;
we must die to one life before we can enter another.
~Anatole France