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).

 

Go M.A.D. (Make A Difference)

IMG_4099 Burning off the Haze

Your loving kindness, O LORD, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.  Psalm 36:5

 

In a world that seems to be swirling with fighting, violence, hatred and evil; there is something calming about a quiet morning. A morning that steals in subtlety with a hazy fog and the subdued voices of the wild birds is, to me, a blessing.

After being deluged by negative news stories of events happening in our world; I was treated to the gift of one of those wonderful quiet mornings. My husband and I sat on the porch and just soaked it in.

IMG_4098 Quiet of the Morning

 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. James 4:14

 

There is something elemental…something so basic about a quiet morning filled with fog. There is a hush over the land as the vapor swirls, while the sunlight is trying to break through and burn it off.  It softens the edges of the world and has a beauty that is hard to put into words.

We are rather like the vapor that is only here for a bit. In the scheme of things our lives are just a tiny dot on the timeline of life. It is humbling to remember that….we are not as much as we think we are!

It is also good to remember that while we are here, we do get to make an impact…..for better or worse. Just like the fog nourishing the crop with the dew it sends, we can affect those around us. We cannot reach everyone and encourage them…but we can encourage the person next to us. We can reach out with love, compassion and joy. We can help someone else be renewed.

IMG_4097 Hazy Morning Over the Fields

Your vigor will be renewed each day like the morning dew.   Psalm 110:3

 

Like the fog, we can be subtle. We don’t need to be flashy, glaring or loud in our efforts to make this world a little better place. Sometimes quiet things like smiles, hugs, and candy go a long ways.

And now you are wondering, where in the world is that Chicken Grandma heading with candy?????  Let me take you there….

In our church there is an older gentleman who keeps candy in his pockets.  Anytime a kid wanders close enough they are slipped a treat.  (after a questioning look at their moms and dads, of course!) When my sons were young they were always on the lookout for this man, also known to them as, Uncle Howard.

There is no fuss about handing out the candy…..no big showy splash. Just a quiet nudge and an outstretched hand with the treat waiting. To the kids in our church those treats show love.  It shows the effort of someone, to make a little difference in their day.

When my youngest son was in the lower grades in elementary school, they had “Come As a Famous Person Day.”  On our way home from school he was grouching that he didn’t even know what a famous person was!  I explained that a famous person was someone that everyone knew. His face lit up and he declared, “I want to be Uncle Howard! Everyone knows Uncle Howard!”

He did, indeed, go as Uncle Howard. He dressed exactly like him, down to the tire tester in his pocket. He handed out candy all day long….. just like Uncle Howard. I wonder if Uncle Howard really knows what an impact he has made on all those kids during the years….and all it took was a smile and some tootsie rolls.

Many times it is the little things that make a difference. They are the things that get remembered because they do make a difference. We may only be as temporary on this earth as fog, but we do have a choice in how that temporary space of time is spent.

Perhaps this coming week we can be the person that makes a difference. We can impact just one person, young or old, and show them that they matter.  My sister has a saying on her wall, that you cannot miss, when you walk out her door:  Go M.A.D. ~Make A Difference.

Let’s be the person that goes M.A.D. this week. Let’s hand out some smiles and some tootsie rolls. Let’s show the world that good and grace wins every time and that love outshines evil and hatred. We may only be a vapor…but  let’s water those around us with gentle moisture while we’re here. May you be blessed as you Make A Difference!

 

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

 

“I am only one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”

― Edward Everett Hale

Busyness & Blessings

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I sat on my couch this evening with the laptop in hand.  I looked at my husband and calmly told him, “I got nothin”. I was referring to an idea for a blog post. I am not sure if anyone else has had this issue?

I think some of the problem is the very busy time of year. That and all the odd stuff tossed in like the washing machine issue, the hotter than all get out weather and maybe the season we are in; all have something to do with it. It feels like everywhere I turn I have produce waiting to be tended to, laundry waiting for the new washer to arrive and stuff to be picked up and sorted.  This is not a bad problem….it is just busy and leaves no time to think.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes life feels just like the picture I am sharing with you. Sometimes it feels like I am missing key parts of the puzzle and sometimes it just feels like my chess pieces are sliding off the board and hanging by a thread. It seems there are so many details I just cannot think about them all; much less deal with them all.

These are the days that I just need to remind myself to take a deep breath, focus on one thing at a time, finish that one thing and then move on to the next pressing thing. One foot in front of the other, one task finished to completion and when the day is done be grateful for what was accomplished instead of beating myself up over what did not get done.

I sometimes think we find that last part hard to do.  At least I do. It is very easy to point out to ourselves what was left undone or not done quite right. It is probably time we cut ourselves some slack and rejoice in what we did get done.

Sometimes the fact that “we got nothin'” is okay. Sometimes when we seem too busy it is crucial to take the time to sit back, take that deep breath and just look around and appreciate the quiet.

“How many times have you noticed
that it’s the little quiet moments in the midst of life
that seem to give the rest
extra-special meaning?”

Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers

As I walked out to lock my “girls” in the coop tonight I took the time to stop, listen, and look around. The sliver of the moon was shining brightly, the crickets and cicadas were singing their noisy summertime songs, the fireflies were twinkling over the field like a million little Christmas lights, the air, though still heavy with humidity, was beginning to cool, and you could smell the corn in the field.

That short moment of peace seemed to restore the calm to my soul and still my racing thoughts. It felt like God had prepared that short space of time just for me and was telling me to just enjoy that snapshot in time. I took Him at His word and did just that. It was wonderful.

I think tomorrow when the day winds up once again; I will be reminding myself of those noisy bugs and those twinkling fireflies. I will try to remember to:

“Be still
and know ……..
Psalm 46:10a

May your week be blessed and may you find a quiet place to savor the day.

I need to give credit to my oldest son. He drew this picture as an Iowa State Fair entry last year.  I have no idea how he is able to draw this kind of stuff. It baffles me as I am happy when I can draw a tree that actually looks like a tree and not a stick.