Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Quiet Moments - nature walking


 . . . because little hands teach us big things.


 . . . because the sound of water is worth listening to.


 . . . because walking with nature is stepping into the Master's creation.


I often get a bit wordy and ramble on, so these quiet moments posts will be a mere whisper of pauses where silence speaks louder than words.  These moments were inspired by a blogger I've truly found as a kindred spirit (a virtual mentor).  I now have a handful of these special mentors over the years of blogging. She's shown me that what I was already doing with my family was beautiful and to slow down and capture it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Finding my way


The crisp air is finally making its way to our little mountain top.  The temperatures are dipping below freezing and the daytime is still warm enough to feel the rays of sunshine.  Each fall I feel an awakening of renewed strength and I find my way back to that part of me that I lose come each summer as the heat steals away my energy.


I take a deep breath and look around.  


My home is cluttered, my hands are wrinkling, and trees are bending in the wind outdoors and I can sometimes hear a branch snap.  My back hurts nearly every day now.  It bends like those trees at times and I wonder what will be that point where I feel the break like the branch on a tree.  Elevation issues cause pressures in my head and headaches often follow.  I move slower, I function slower.   I'm getting what I've always dreamed, but not in the ways I had thought.  I was feeling the busy take hold of life years ago and struggled to find slow, and now it has come in the form of painful twinges that force me to relinquish what the mind wants to accomplish against what the body can actually do.

I've been gifted so many seasons of being able to push through the pain and I feel the slow now coming on beyond those dreams.  My once immaculate home suffers with piles in each room and I see dust where I've chosen to rest over perfection because I don't want to waste energy fighting it.   Chronic pain and I go way back to my teens and has added new layers over time.  It's my shadow and follows me everywhere.   Sometimes it tries to steal the joy in my everyday life, but deep within, I'm not sorry that it follows me around.   It's made me stronger.  I see the little things that I know I would have missed had I been walking life at a faster pace.  I see God in the gift of life and the challenges bring me closer to cherishing every movement.  Standing up, sitting up straight, every step is not be taken for granted.  Household chores are precious because I can do them.  I pause to reflect upon others who can't.  I am grateful for every load of laundry I've washed and folded, every pile of dishes that served my family and made it back clean into the cupboard. 

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.  - F. Scott Fitsgerald

I think the area I struggle the most is the inability to serve more outside our home.  I've been creative over the years in small ways like doubling up supper to bless a neighbor with a meal, but my heart feels a little let down that I can't keep up or do the things I'd love to.  I guess this is where writing became part of my soul. I've been told numerous times that something I've written has offered encouragement or inspired someone in difficult times.  Maybe it's a way to serve.   I've tried to let it go and pursue other avenues, but I am always called back to write the words of my heart.  I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with a paragraph being written in my head until I'm forced to grab a pen and paper. It then turns into a chapter.   Eventually it gets lost in an old journal hiding in one of those piles that waits for my attention. 


It's hard to write the overflow of your heart and share something that potentially could be picked apart by others.  I've had my ups and downs of blogging in the past.    I've quit many times because I felt like the window to my soul or my family has been far too exposed.  This time, I'm trying to write from the same window, but with a sweet curtain to shelter the harmful rays.   I am inspired by other kindred people and don't want to copy, but share that because of them, I was able to bring similar moments into our home.  


I'm not really a writer. This is just a new chapter in the same book starting again as it gets "crisp in the fall".  I'm just part of the story - telling the story. . . becoming the story in the handful of quietness.   

Monday, November 22, 2021

It was November

photo credit: unknown


It was November - the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines.  Anne roamed through the pineland alleys in the park and, as she said, let that sweeping wind blow the fogs out of her soul.   - Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

The full November twilight had fallen around Green Gables, and the only light in the kitchen came from the dancing red flames in the stove.  Anne was gazing into the joyous glow where the sunshine of a 100 summers was being distilled from the maple cordwood.  - Lucy Maud Montgomery

While Anne is famous for her "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers", I take delight in living in a world where there are Novembers.  A month of little teases of winter, the cold mornings where you see your breath.  The autumn colors paint the trees and the wind blows a shower of leaves.  The month of counting blessings and families gather to share a meal of Thanksgiving.

The pandemic of 2020 stripped the gathering part of this tradition across our nation.  Our table was set for only four and we gave thanks with a hope that this would surely end soon.  We were vigilant in staying safe from this infamous virus.  Days were long.  Staying home was hard and almost felt unbearable.    Empty chairs haunted my heart as I served that year's meal.  I missed the hugs and family outnumbering the chairs around the table.  Giving thanks among the longing is sobering.  We had escaped the virus thus far, we had an abundance of food as I learned to stock for the emergency, and we have never run out of toilet paper.  We live in a time period where church wasn't in a building,  but in our home, streaming live over the internet.  The days were slow and beautiful and although I've always felt like I belonged in different century, I am truly grateful for the virtual connection we now have in comparison to past times.


This year has continued to carry some remnants of the previous year.  We've all been changed.  People look different with masked faces and eyes of fear if you get too close or cough or sneeze.  Hand sanitizers greet you everywhere.  Quarantine became a common household event.  Mandates force people to choose between food and shelter or standing within your beliefs.  The lingering virus reared its ugly presence in nearly all our nearby family.  We learned creative ways to help without contact, and we lived the horror of a little one battling for her life in the PICU and witnessed the answer to prayers as she miraculously recovered.   We traveled across the country by car, taking every precaution and felt the familiar freedom we had been missing in outdoor spaces and truly perfect weather.  We savored an Arkansas rainfall and went on an alligator hunt in Florida.  We saw each state we crossed, handling the pandemic so differently.  We met with dear friends and family and slowly life was returning to a new form of normalcy.


But despite all our efforts, the virus made its way into our home in late summer.  Post trauma loomed like a grey heavy cloud, as we waited to see how it would affect the rest of us.  Learning to practice faith over fear, was tangible.  Just as unknown as the virus is, only one in our household was sick.  And only that one ever tested positive and suffered the fever, loss of smell, congestion, and a slight cough.  The rest of us repeatedly tested negative.   We feel spared, but yet, remain cautious because we know the other side of this, too.


As I plan for Thanksgiving this last week in November, I have much to give thanks, but my heart is somber.   I know there is so much unrest.  All conversations always seem to spiral back around this pandemic:  government control, vaccine status, rising costs, and the empty spaces on the grocery store shelves.  Among all the continued supply shortages, we were able to buy a turkey after two attempts,  and found most of the ingredients for our usual side dishes and pies.  Any empty chair this year seems so trivial compared to the empty hole of losing our neighbor and a nephew or the heartbreaking divisiveness and separation among family on political or medical topics.  The real division being spiritual. 

Our older children have their own growing families and time is now shared and our tradition is changing.  I am full of mixed emotions.  I am grateful.  I am rooted in faith.  I miss the days where I didn't know some of things I do now.   Oh, that sweet innocence of childhood is long gone.  Always though, it was and is the Novembers, my steady tradition,  that I continue to choose to reflect with humility, pause to give thanks while I seek a handful of quietness for my soul.