My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I’m coming.”Psalm 27:8
I’m thinking about that question, “does my heart have ears?” I think it does.
I was walking one evening this week, feeling thankful for a chance to get out where it was quiet, feeling the rhythmic, somewhat stumbling way my feet were hitting the uneven ground, feeling like the open sky was listening. I was thinking (because it’s too hard not to think) about all the decisions of the day, all the possible responses to upcoming events, and processing, processing.
I felt like I heard in my spirit the suggestion that I talk about all those things – like, just speak them out. So I did that, and as I got into it more, it didn’t feel terribly weird. It felt like I was being listened to. It was easy to credit God with that – it had sounded like his voice, and no one else was around.
There is an art to being a good friend. It’s mostly about showing up in the right way, at the right times, consistently, and that’s not easy to do. It takes somewhat of an artist. Today I had fun looking at pictures of a “friend artist” that I have known for years. I should have finished this task yesterday on her birthday. But I believe in birth week, as well as birthday, so I’m still on time for that.
There are so many ways that this lady has exhibited friendship, that it would be hard to name them all (her husband too, but it’s not his birth week). We are thousands of miles apart now, but there are ways of being a friend at a distance and she knows how to do that too. I never had a sister, but she makes up for that in my life. Happy birth week Arlette. I love you dear friend.
Look through your photos, your letters, your memories and have fun today thinking about a friend who has meant a lot to you. You don’t have to wait until it’s their birthday. Tell them how much you appreciate their friendship. Tell them now while you have the chance. Just sayin’…
Birthday week has officially been over for several days now, but I have yet to thank my well wishers because I’ve been traveling and struggling to keep up with the A to Z Challenge posts. But I am thankful! You all made me feel loved and celebrated. Here’s a little report (just because it’s Sunday and I don’t have to do a post for the A to Z).
On the 8th I was in Florida visiting with friends and family. The day started with going to the Dune Deck in Lantana for breakfast with an ocean view. I had heard of it often as a place my Florida family liked to do celebrations. Quite a few of our group were able to come and we had a relaxing time and a good breakfast. They had no birthday cake, but they did have key lime pie, with a candle, and they sang the song. It felt birthdayish.
I’ve already forgotten what the rest of the day was like, except I do remember there being a pool and a floaty that was conducive to napping. That also was far from my normal day, and very birthdayish.
Dinner had been claimed by one of my dear friends, who took our whole family out to a Japanese steakhouse, hibachi grill style. Yes, the food was good and the cook did his best to impress us with his knives and his onion volcano, but the real fun was just being together with all the family, young and old. Never mind that one of the kid’s paper cup sprang a leak (accidentally he said as he plugged the hole with his toothpick) and shot soft drink around, and another one sent the bowl of that thick pink sauce shooting off the table and onto the floor. I wasn’t the parent so it was more like an interesting movie, a comedy, to watch it all take place.
The trip down to Florida and back, flying first class, was kind of a birthday present from me, to me as well as to Mom, who was with me on this adventure. On the way down, it was too early to feel like doing anything except closing our eyes and occasionally lifting our masks to eat our snacks. On the way home we were more ready to take advantage of everything first class offered.
I got cards from friends and each one was read and treasured. It is greatly encouraging to be remembered in this way and knowing that, I think I will try to do more card sending this year. A few gifts, and real flowers came my way. Thank you all so much – you know who you are (and I’m planning on sending cards there too.). Last but not least, to all my facebook friends, thank you for being there and responding to the Facebook prompt to send a greeting. You didn’t have to do it, but you did and I saw it.
Birthday week is over, but because of it I will feel more connected to people all year long. That is what I care about. Grateful for you all!
“I have got to get out of here!” This thought comes to me every now and then and thankfully I can do something about it. I can move. I often think, well, what if I couldn’t?
I’ve seen the frustration of people who can’t move due to life changing paralysis (former client), or chronic disease (the husband) and it never fails to produce gratitude. But, when I’m not looking right at it and thinking about it with intention, I sometimes take movement for granted.
Today was one of those days when I knew I should get out and move a little, because I still can. It’s cold outside (yeah, winter…) and the first few minutes I felt it. My face got cold and I felt the warmth being sucked out through the multiple layers of leggings, shirts and jackets. I was breathing differently to protect my lungs. A few minutes later as I started moving my skis, I forgot all about the cold. And by the time I’d been out an hour and a half, circling the property multiple times, stopping here and there to take a picture, I was actually hot inside all those layers. Movement wakes my body up, and it feels really good.
The ability to move is something to be thankful for, and it’s worth protecting. I ask God daily to help me keep moving, both for my own sake and for those I help, because they can’t move as well. Maybe it’s aging that is giving me more awareness of how wonderful it is to move. Maybe it’s February, and winter, and the cold.
If you got up today, stretched and walked out of the bedroom, savor that. Move it, while you can.
I’ll bet with all the memes and jokes about 2020, you are surprised that I’ve found something worth celebrating this year. But I have! I’ve actually found many things worthy of celebrating and writing about.
Today I had a great report from a cancer screening test and I couldn’t wait to celebrate by taking a long, long walk. It felt so good to swing my arms and stride along. I had not been aware of being anxious, but apparently I was. The relief made me feel lighter than air. I had asked for my health to be protected, knowing that is not always how things work. Good health is not the ultimate sign of God’s approval, and he even works his purpose through the death of his most loved persons. I guess when you have the intelligence to create life, to restore and make anything brand new, and when you plan to eventually resurrect all who’ve died anyway, you think a bit differently about death in general. Nevertheless, I admit that I struggle to keep God’s perspective in mind at times. And I particularly don’t like cancer.
For me, there is no better way to celebrate than to move, to see, to experience the natural world. I could give you the short story – it was a beautiful day and I saw a deer and two snakes. Or I could show you with my pictures, which I love to do. August is the last month of summer. Everything here in the north is maturing and getting ready to die or go dormant in a very few weeks. The colors are different, the grasses and flowers are going to seed. You can feel the progression of life cycles that are expertly designed to show us things about God, if we will look, and think about what we see.
If you put away thoughts of COVID19, politics, natural disasters, and riots, I’ll bet you can find something to celebrate in 2020 too. I’d love to hear about it.
This created world… When I cannot write, I wander away from the house and look. I can’t help but think that God is sending messages to counteract confusion, fear, anger, and despair, if people will look. These things are here in my world to make me examine, wonder, hope and lose myself and my anxious thoughts for a moment, at least. I am so thankful. For sight and things to see, for hearing and sounds to hear, for mobility, for safety. I may not have these things always and that is okay, for I have them now. I wish I could package them up and send them to everyone who needs beauty, and peace, everyone who wishes for something to be grateful for. But this is the best I can do.
The most amazing thing is that you, and I, and all people, ALL PEOPLE, are the masterpiece of his creation, and all this beauty was put here for us. If we could only look into each other’s eyes and see something far more beautiful than anything in nature. “Made in his image” is how he put it, and capable of so much more than we are doing now. I feel the sadness in this, but I don’t think there is a problem that God doesn’t have an answer for.
If I had remembered to take pictures at the right time, I could have shown you my beautiful table, decorated and set for our Thanksgiving meal. But I didn’t and through that I realized there is an “other side” of Thanksgiving.
That side is as much a part of the good memories I hold as seeing that perfectly cooked turkey, the smorgasbord of pies ready to be served, or that plate full of food artfully arranged. The other side is seen here…
It is experienced as I wash dishes with help from guests, wipe counters clean, search space for an extra chair at the table, empty garbage, and wipe a spot of gravy off the floor (okay, it was really cat throw up but that’s not the point).
The other side includes that kind of relaxed, awkward time after eating when no one is quite sure what to do so they do this…
The other side is dear, but also a little stressfull as the number of people in the house swells, the kitchen counters are crowded with supplies, refrigerators are full of leftovers and entryways look like this.
Those necessary inconveniencies of travel, trying to keep rested over a long weekend, trying to connect in meaningful ways with each loved family member and guest – all are parts of almost every Thanksgiving I can remember. They are the other side that is maybe not so photogenic or talked about.
I think I love the other side too – the mess, the chaos, the spills, the broken dish, the menu item that gets forgotten in the fridge, the cat that dips its paw in my guest’s water glass.
Thanksgiving is a singular, memory making holiday with two sides. It might even be my favorite. All this goodness makes it easy to say “thank you family!” And “thank you guests!” And most of all “thank you God!” for another great Thanksgiving.
Anyone who listens to the weather reports for the U.S. now knows who “Dorothy” is. It snowed last night. I have to say I much prefer snow storms that come at night while I’m asleep. The result is a stunning morning.
Half of our Thanksgiving travelers arrived last night right before the storm. The other half will travel today after the storm leaves their area. We are set for a nice family day tomorrow, before “Ezekiel”, the next approaching storm, hits us.
I was out for a stroll this morning, taking pictures of course. I may have taken the same ones last year, but I can’t help it. It was also a good opportunity to test my new coat and breathe some very invigorating air.
I have been planning, buying, and cooking for Thanksgiving for nearly a week now. It seems that I’m only thinking of one or two things at a time when I shop, so there is always something that’s forgotten. (I do make lists. They don’t help with my problem.) I get home, unload and immediately start some new thing, for which I require something I don’t have. I went to Walmart four times yesterday. Thanksgiving is definitely the time to be thankful Walmart is in my back yard, literally.
Having company come also instigates some ridiculous things that I wouldn’t normally take time for, like cooking. And cleaning. I ended up cleaning shelves in the extra refrigerator in the garage this morning. That’s where my huge 16 lb. turkey is waiting in his roasting pan, next to the two gallons of chili I put together yesterday. If I send someone out to fetch those things, I can’t have them seeing the shriveled up garden produce left from summer, dirt included.
It is also birthday time. Mom turned 87 last Sunday and I couldn’t let that pass without having a few people over. Or twenty people over, which is what happened. Saturday night I was getting brunch ready for the party when I remembered the beets I had been planning to can or pickle, or at least cook. They are the last of the precious beet extravaganza that Mom and I harvested from the garden and, like I said, they were in that fridg, getting a little shriveled.
I decided to cook them up, which ended up looking like a late night massacre in the kitchen. I thought I’d never get done. Peeling beets the size of marbles takes forever, especially since I have one hand in a splint yet. There were quite a few of them and I couldn’t face canning them so, in the freezer they went. But Mom loves beets, which made it kind of appropriate to be doing this the night before her party. It was a good party.
Can I say that I am so thankful to God for everything? Yes, every single detail of this life is something he is aware of and responsible for. I did not plan to be born of my parents, in this country, in this time any more than others who suffer in horrible conditions for no fault of their own. In being thankful I’m equally aware of the responsibility I bear to do something with what has been given to me. There is also the awareness that everything could be gone in an instant, as many have experienced.
I am thankful for all this physical wealth, and the safety to enjoy it. But the physical perks are not why I love my God. I love him as a child who loves a good parent. I love him for the same reasons Chinese Christians huddle in secret home churches to worship, for the same reasons that brave souls get down on their knees and submit to being beheaded. There are reasons, logical and thought out reasons, to love God and buy in to what he tells us. It is not a mindless path.
This is a great time of year to be curious about these things, and to be thankful. I want to learn and grow in this season – this time that holds incredible beauty but is also remarkably dark and cold. Winter…, just sayin’.