Raining Petals

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The other day I drove past my in-laws home. I should have stopped and taken a picture of their flowering crab tree; but I was in a hurry. The tree was absolutely beautiful that day and loaded with rose-colored flowers……overloaded actually. I made the assumption that I could take a photo when I went to town the next day and had more time…..so I kept driving.

When I stopped the next day; I found the next day was too late. The wind had picked up during the night and many of the flower petals had blown off and lay in drifts on the driveway. The slight breeze was still making it rain petals and we stood and watched as the petals twisted and drifted on the wind, then dropped to join the drift on the driveway.

The day of the “petal drift” was spent with my husband’s siblings; sorting and dividing the lifetime of memories in their parent’s house. There was much laughter and lots of stories told. The good times were discussed and the not so good times were discussed.

We reminisced and also caught up on each other’s lives; as siblings came from other places and other states to help out. It was also heart-warming to see that treasured pieces were going to kids and grandchildren who would also treasure them, and the memories they held.

Much of that day was like the drift of the petals of that flowering crab. The time was taken to enjoy the relationship of family before the wind would blow us too far to be gathered up again.

There are things to be learned from that rose colored petal drift…..life does not stay the same. Overnight things can change and life looks totally different…..not always bad…but different.

There was a beauty to be found in that drift of petals. Like life, it was just a different kind of beauty. Life changes and it is good to look for the “different” beauty to be grasped. Usually that new beauty is not of our own choosing, but is still okay.

There is also the lesson, for me, that I should not always assume that life will not change. There are times when the wind will take what you know and blow it into a totally different shape when you least expect it. That new shape is not always bad…it is just sometimes uncomfortable. For me, it makes me rely on God more than I would if life were going smooth.

In visiting my in-laws in their new apartment in assisted living; I am learning that change can be handled with grace. I am learning that each new place has a joy of it’s own and there is always something new to be learned.

We may drift and we may twist like rose-colored petals in the wind. We may not be sure of where we will land once the breeze lets us go….but we can be sure, we have the choice to enjoy where we land…..and that is a good thing.

For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven: 

Ecclesiastes 3:1

 

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

Change of Seasons

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The calendar tells me it is the first day of fall……the temperature tells me we are stuck in the middle of summer!  We had temperatures in the 90’s today with humidity that literally sucked the energy right out of your body. I am in full agreement with whoever came up with the phrase, “It’s not the heat….it’s the humidity.”

It is easy to tell that we are in the middle of September when you look at the trees. When my husband and I were sitting on the porch yesterday we felt like we were being rained on….by locust leaves. The little yellow leaves just kept floating down onto the porch, the ground and it didn’t take long and we would have a leaf landing on us.

If you listen closely you can hear the rustle of dry leaves from the trees in the gully and from the corn and soybeans in the field. It is a sound distinctive to fall.

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About the only green thing around here would be the weeds and the lawn. It is hard to imagine that just a few weeks ago our lawn was brown and crispy. I was sure it was dead and that we were done mowing for the season….and then it started to rain.

I must confess I do like to see the green again. I am not quite ready to give up summer for what I know will be the cold of winter. We did end up mowing again this week.

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I told my husband that when you can rake windrows in your lawn after mowing, it was high time to mow it! I spent some time gathering up the dry grass to feed to the chickens later this year…when the lawn is actually dead. They love to feast on the fine blades of grass and it will be a wonderful treat when snow is on the ground.

It seems this time of year is spent preparing for the coming winter. Waterways get baled, grass gets stored for chicken feed, garden produce is put up and preserved for future meals, and soon we will hear the sound of combines in the fields and corn dryers running.

It seems like a frantic pace during this season. Perhaps it is because we know time is getting short to get all those tasks done.  It sometimes feels like there are not enough hours in a day…but I am glad when night comes because I am tired!

It has been so busy lately that we didn’t really notice exactly when the birds all disappeared. One morning we were sitting outdoors and noticed how quiet it was. No longer were the swallows swooping about snatching bugs from midair. The robin nests were empty and there wasn’t a wren to be heard.

The birds, or lack of them, are a pretty good indicator of the seasons.  The loud choir of birds in the morning has changed to the quiet rustling of drying leaves. The lushness of summer is quickly giving way to the golds and browns of fall.

Our lives tend to mirror the changing seasons. Some days feel like we are in the midst of the busyness of fall. Other times we feel like we are in the lazy days of summer. And then there are those times in our lives that we feel the sting of those cold days of winter. There is a beauty to each season and it is good to keep our eyes and hearts open to that beauty.

May you take time to enjoy the beauty of this fall season. May you be blessed whatever season of life you are in. And may you be comforted with the thought that if you are in a difficult season….it will change.

The question, “Which is the happiest season of life?”
was asked of an aged man.

And he replied: “When spring comes, and in the soft air the buds are breaking
on the trees, and they are covered with blossoms,
I think, ‘How beautiful is spring’;

and when summer comes and covers the trees with its heavy foliage,
and singing birds 
are among the branches,
I think, ‘How beautiful is summer.’
When autumn loads them

with golden fruit, and their leaves bear the gorgeous tint of frost,
I think, ‘How 
beautiful is autumn.’
And when it is severe winter, and there is neither foliage nor

fruit, then I look up through the leafless branches as I never could
until now, and see the stars shine in God’s home.

unattributed

 

The seasons are what a symphony ought to be:
four perfect movements in harmony with each other.

Artur Rubenstein

Celebrating Creation

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If it weren’t for the rocks in its bed, the stream would have no song.
Carl Perkins

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/carlperkin183313.html?src=t_stream

Everywhere I look I see the proclamation that Earth Day is coming soon. I thought I should google it (cause that is what I do when I want to find out something) and learned it is coming this Saturday, April 22!

I started looking through some photos and found some that I really like, that speak the beauty of God’s creation to me. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Half of the fun of looking through old photos you have taken is all the memories that come back with those pictures.

I was first going to use photos that I had taken on vacations and then I decided I should find the ones, that I love, that showcase the beauty that is in the area where I live.

Flowers are something I love and these yellow flowers were a perennial given to me as a small “start” by a friend, many years ago. Their spikes with the yellow blooms are wonderfully cheerful in my flower garden.

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. Luke 12:27

I also love to take photos of flowers…..though they are never as pretty as the actual thing.

All the seasons in our area have a different type of beauty. Winter can be cold and bleak around here, but there is a pristine, quietness about the landscape when it snows and freezes. There is a stillness that lends itself to a time of ponderings and dreams.

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“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”

[Meditations Divine and Moral]”
Anne Bradstreet, The Works of Anne Bradstreet   

There is also a beauty when the leaves are turning yellow and orange. The air has a certain smell of fading leaves, the faint hint of wood smoke from campfires and dirt as farmers get the crops out of the fields. It is busy…but it brings a satisfaction of preparing for the cold of the coming months.

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“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
Albert Camus

At the end of the day. there are times when the moon is full and you can just sit on the porch and enjoy the quiet of the night time while that perfect ball shines down on you. Coyotes howl in the distance, birds rustle in the trees, and the world has settled down for a little rest.

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Like the moon it shall be established forever, a faithful witness in the skies.” Selah
Psalm 89:37

 

Life can be so good! God is so faithful and I am so grateful. May you have time to ponder this coming weekend. I hope you have time to stop and look around at the beauty that is in your own backyard. And may you find rest and hope in the beauty the Creator has given. Enjoy the blessing.

“There are some places so beautiful
they can make a grown man break down and weep.”

Edward Abbey, The Monkey Wrench Gang   

 

 

A Little Tour

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Today the blogging well seems to have run a little dry so you are going to get a short tour of the farm.  The blogging well might be slightly on the dry side but our farmyard definitely is not.  We are enjoying some amazing, unseasonably warm weather around here. I am not going to complain about the temperatures…..but there is a downside.

The downside of these early warm temperatures is that all the snow melts….rapidly. When snow melts that quick and the ground is still frozen, our yard turns into a pond fed by a small creek that winds it’s way  from the field to the west, to our farm yard.

This all sounds delightful and probably would be if we were in the mountains and we were talking about bubbling brooks and clear mountain streams. What this means for us is that our yard becomes a pond which then turns into a mud pit.

Our car is no longer parked in the garage but up the driveway a ways so that we will not have to go “mudding” every time we need to go somewhere. There is an upside to this beautiful weather….there is usually an upside to most situations if you look hard enough.

I find that we can go outside with lighter weight coats on. Gloves are no longer needed to keep your fingers from freezing.  And it is now enjoyable to take a walk down the road as the wind is not howling with a sound like that of a roaring freight train.

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My husband pointed out to me that we had an eagle in the bottom field the other day. I headed out, camera in hand to try get a picture of him.  The expectation was high that I would be successful in getting this accomplished.  As I came around the corner of the barn I could see him sitting in the bottom field.  He was quite far away but I managed to get a picture of him before he decided I was too scary for him to stay put. If you look closely at the picture at the top of this post you will see him flying away, heading towards the river.

As I slid my way through the mud (and of course wearing my chicken wellies)  I found much to appreciate.  From the trees that are patiently waiting for their summer clothes, to the girls enjoying themselves with some treat they found in my wheelbarrow…..the farm was a delight.

 

Even with the mud, this farm not only makes a living for my husband and me…..it also feeds my heart and soul. It has so many facets to it’s personality. Each season brings a certain beauty that makes me stand in awe.

There are times it is so still that you wonder what will happen when that quietness has passed. There are times when the soil comes to life with the green of corn, beans, and hay fields. The air is fragrant with the life of growing things.

This piece of land is a feast for the senses in every season. There is a connection to this ground even when it has turned to mud. It is much like life. There is promise and there is hope. There is a knowing that God is faithful and Spring is on it’s way. It is a reminder that life is rich and is the accumulation of so many wonderful little things.

 

 

“Farming is a profession of hope”
Brian Brett

 

 

 

The Winter Season

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The last days have suddenly made the month of December real….weather-wise. We had been having unseasonably warm temperatures (and I was good with that). We are now having cooler than normal temps for this time of year. (Things change quickly!)

Our children had snow where they live so we know winter is on it’s way. My heart and mind are ready for the festive part of this season…..my mind and body are not ready for the weather that accompanies it.

In protest of the sudden drop into the deep freeze I am posting a couple of my favorite summer photos. They were taken in a city park not far from here. It is one of my favorite places to go and just walk around.  When our sons were small we used to take them there to go fishing.

I digress…..back to the reality that is……cold Iowa weather. There is a small comfort that we are only getting wind…it could be snow with wind this time of year…or worse yet….ice.

My husband had been to a consignment auction the beginning of this week.  That day the weather was not too bad. Today when we went to go pick up his lone purchase the wind was a lazy wind….the kind that blows right through you rather than around you. The consignment auction site is basically an alfalfa field. There are no trees to stop the vicious wind and the corn stubble in the next field is no help at all.

The one consolation with the cold wind was seeing the flocks of geese that finally decided it was time to go south. The last two days have seen large flocks of Canadians, snows and blues flying in big V’s over our place.  This brought to mind one of my dad’s favorite questions regarding geese and one you can ask your kids and grandkids. (I would be surprised if they knew the answer.)

Question: When geese are flying in a V formation why is one line always longer than the other?
Answer:   Because there are more geese in it.
(This joke, years ago, actually got one of my sons out of taking a science test in high school.  The teacher challenged them to ask her a science type question that she couldn’t answer….it worked!)

I think I love the geese flying over because they sometimes go right over our house. When they are flying low you can even hear them honking.  I wonder what they are saying as they hurry by, anxious to get to their destination. Some days the wind seems to be blowing them along and other days I wonder how they manage to make any headway against it.

Some days are like that….going with the wind and others feel like a struggle as things just seem to push you back to where you started. I guess a lesson from the geese could be learned…..keep flying and focusing on where you are going. Some days may take you longer…but you will get there.

Their honking has a lonesome wild sound to it that touches someplace deep inside. I am not sure if that sound hits me because it sounds so wild or if it sounds like a promise. It tells me that the seasons are running according to the order set in place at the beginning of this earth. It speaks of the constancy of certain things in life.

So many things can change and spin around in this world and turn life upside down; but the geese will still fly south when the weather turns wintry and they will return in the spring. They are as constant as grass turning green, wind blowing in Iowa and snow melting in the spring.

I love the promise that comes with the seasons. I love the order God built into this ball called Earth. I do know I appreciate spring and summer a lot more because of going through a cold winter season and maybe that is why we go through those seasons.

I also know that once the geese are done flying for this migration;  I will be scanning the sky when the spring thaw comes and I will be looking for their return. Such is the blessing of hope.

 

You have established all the boundaries of the earth;
You have made summer and winter.
Psalm 74:17