I am learning to recognize blessings, not actually counting them, like the old song describes, but realizing that all the small surprises in my day are really blessings. That was the common denominator of all the good things on this Wednesday in the first week of February.
A stunning sunrise that kept evolving so fast that I ran outside in the freezing temps at least three times to capture its stages. The brightest spot is no longer hidden behind a building like it has been for several months. The sun is moving! (I know, not really…)
Our family pod of five, gathered together to have a meal. And our extended family and friends on ZOOM who took the time to throw a virtual birthday party for our Ryan, my youngest daughter’s fiancée.
The catalog promising that spring is coming eventually for us, and even now for some happy gardeners. I have already planned, and ordered but that doesn’t keep me from reading it all again. Gardens are such hopeful things!
I’m especially grateful for these blessings on a day that also holds much tension. A dear friend battling cancer went into the hospital on an emergency basis. Blessing and trial, side by side, else how would we know that by contrast they sweeten each other. We are praying for this situation and appreciate all who join us in hoping for more time with our friend.
March is nearly over. I’m giving myself grace when it comes to doing all the things that could be called productive. It’s a little hard to concentrate so I go walking instead, alone most of the time. Even in this very unusual time, life goes on, and so, unfortunately, does death. In two separate instances, people I’ve known well enough to grieve over, have died. Neither had anything to do with corona virus, but were unexpected and shocking. These strange weeks/months will stand out in my memory for a long time.
My refuge is to walk in the woods and be reminded of how beautiful and special this world is and how it was designed to be a place where people could thrive. I see God’s intricate design everywhere – in the way the snow melts, the way some plants stay green and alive under the snow, the way the birds find their way back to their birthplace, the way everything responds to the sun in some way. God’s outdoor magic is medicine for my soul.
P.S. The seeds went in today. I hope I haven’t done it too early. I couldn’t wait.
Seattle in early spring is the way I imagined it before I had ever been here. Today was cool (50’s ) and rainy, clouds rolling through. Everything green is glowing, in contrast to the grays and browns of wet rocks and trees. I am usually here during the one week in summer when there is a heat wave, so this sweet chill is a treat for me. I am prepared for this visit with my sweatshirt hoodies and scarves, and of course my walking shoes.
I took my friend Charlie the dog for a walk on one of our favorite routes from last summer. I couldn’t stop looking at all the things that were visible through trees that hadn’t leafed out yet. Surprisingly, there are a lot of houses hanging precariously on the sides of the ravine above the park’s lower trail. I did not know they were so close. In spite of the cold, there are flowers coming out all over, and they are different from the ones in the summer or fall. And the lush moss grows everywhere.
We walked up to the top of the ridge over Alki Beach (what a workout, gasp..) and I was glad to be here, grateful to be seeing it all. I couldn’t help wishing that my friend Karyn who followed my stories last summer was still here to read again. I was grateful that it was a day when resurrection, physical resurrection, was on my mind. As unexplainable as it sounds to modern ears, a man came back to life never to die again. Because he did this miraculous thing, Karyn will too. This is not a hard thing for me to believe, because I see life coming out of what looks dead all around me. It’s right there in front of us, if we have eyes to see and hearts willing to consider.
Thanking Jesus for doing what he did – the first of many.
flowers seem more exciting and glorious after 6 months of winter
I’ve been “up north” waiting to see spring come, hoping I had my timing right. I think it’s here. The children have lessening interest in their schoolwork, rain has made greenness appear everywhere and swollen the ponds and marshes. The woods are full of trilliums and fiddle head ferns. Mosquitoes follow us in clouds and dandelion seeds float in the air like snow. The garden is 80% planted and the reliable onions and radishes are already making their rows visible. Tulips and petunias are in place. And the lilacs have purple buds almost to the point of opening up – one of the things I wanted most to experience. The sun brightens up the horizon at 4:30 am and it’s still light at 9 pm, reminding me that the longest day of the year is less than a month away. It’s spring, but only for a little while.
There are no days to waste, no extra hours in the spring. Last night the weather cleared after an all day rain. My brother had bought seed corn and potatoes and was not willing to wait until today to plant – after all, he had to work at his “other business” during the day and there was no guarantee that it would not rain again. Best to get at it. He could hardly sit still through supper. We planted 12 rows of corn and put up the electric fence to keep the deer from eating the tomato and squash plants. I know it works because I tested it accidentally. The gardens have a good start this year, almost two weeks ahead of last year’s schedule. Hopes are high. It’s hard to realize that it still could freeze and one cold night could set everything back.
But today is beautiful and sunny, alive with birds (and mosquitoes) and plant life. Spring up north, how I have missed it and how wonderful it is. Just sayin’…
There was something white on the trees, and on the ground in Atlanta this week – and it wasn’t snow, it was petals from the flowering dogwoods and other gorgeous trees. Atlanta was wet, cloudy and lit with a subdued daylight that made the grass and trees fairly glow with green-ness. Rain makes Atlanta smell fresh and woodsy in spite of the thousands of cars emitting fumes on it’s frighteningly busy throughways. The parents and I were there this week for the graduation of a special niece who now holds a doctorate of chiropractic degree from Life University. Kudos for sticking it out girl, and creating another do-able family event for those of us within driving distance.
We journeyed there by car on Thursday and met at the motel that evening. Family breakfast on Friday morning sustained us through the graduation ceremony in the afternoon. The after celebration at Darwin’s Burgers and Blues introduced me to the Memphis Burger. Who knew that putting bbq sauce and coleslaw on a burger would make it that good? Watching my brother and his family celebrate their eldest daughter’s accomplishment was a heartwarming family experience. Someone who not too long ago was a crazy kid is now an adult with a plan and a purpose.
Okay, and here is what really proved that to me. Being in the “older” group of celebrants, I and the parents didn’t stay up for the 2 am (and later) partying but went back to our motel to prep for our early morning departure. Elissa asked us what time we were getting up and when we were having breakfast before leaving town. She wanted “family breakfast” again and said she would be there at 7:30 to have it with us. Mind you, I was not sure this could be accomplished… the girl is not typically a morning person and I wouldn’t really have blamed her for crashing in the wee hours. Was she there? WAS SHE THERE!
Yes, yes she was!. Family breakfast was eaten and a good time was had by all, even the sleepy ones. Thank you Smiths for a meaningful, family memory of celebrating in Atlanta, beautiful Atlanta.