Tag Archives: Aging

2020 VISION – PART III

I love those mornings I can just amble through. Nothing pressing. No schedule to hurry me out the door. Just time to breathe deep while I scratch the lab girls’ ears, and they stretch. Rub Shadow/Spooky/Sparkle kitten’s head until she jumps off whatever strange place she decided to claim as hers for the night. Best of all – if I’m out of my prayer closet on time – I stand on the porch and watch the first rays turn the top of the trees bronze as the dark clouds of night sink further into the west.

Today was one such day. After reading the paper, my morning devotions, doing a couple word puzzles and a reading a chapter in a book my daughter gave me for Christmas, I read a few poems from my other new book.

“Imagine a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day – – – like writing a poem or saying a prayer.” Ann Morrow LIndbergh

A North Carolinian friend of mind gave me a basket of small things that have to do with gardening. A poetry book. A pair of gloves. A plaster wall hanging. A small tote to carry hand tools. She already knows me well. She and her husband befriended me 3 years ago when I first moved to this neighborhood. Both educators in their 80’s, they have taught me a lot about the history of the neighborhood, the Southern viewpoint of the 60’s desegregation in education, and gardening. Many starts of wild plants from their property have started anew just up the road with me.

God sends people into our lives for a season, and sometimes – you just wish that season would have started a lot earlier or would last forever.

This is a hard week of bittersweet season endings for me. On the 9th – 49 years ago – my father went to the room prepared just for him by Yeshua Mashiach. I know he was ready even if I was not. He told me so just a few days before Christmas. 9 years of heart issues had definitely taken their toll on him and all of us. 10 years later, my fiance and I decided to get married on the 9th to give all of us a happy memory. But when the winds begin to blow and seasons end, sometimes you have two bittersweet memories instead of one.

However, the ultimate, most wonderful thing that happens at the end of one season is that another one begins. And – while it may not be our favorite season, it is a season that He has given, and we find that we are exactly where we are supposed to be to bless others with what we have learned. All I have to do is wait for the light, rain, warmth, rooting or seedling, and a new garden will begin to flourish all around me. When my friend gave me the blessing of a garden on that cold December day, the Father’s wings enfolded me as He showed me a new garden gate opening just for me.

“Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the awe of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”~Ex 20:20

Did you notice the notation of the verse in Exodus?

20:20.

2020

His promises never fail. Gardens are His thing. And I? I am His child. That 2020 Vision just continues to improve, and if I’m lucky, I will have more mornings of standing on the porch watching the first rays of His light cross the horizon and beginning my day with His Light, Grace and Love.

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ONE SONG AFTER ANOTHER

Moved 8 loads of mulch.
Cleaned and moved many things in garage.
Stung by 2 wasps.
Bitten by 1 spider.
Given up counting mosquito bites.
Matted eyes due to allergies.
Sang along with songs playing in my head.
BUT…
Tools moved to shed. Freezer is moved into the house. Kitchen is re-arranged and fairly clean. Whew!! I’m so ready for the Sabbath.
 
“Standing, standing…”
 
At the beginning of summer, I could not have rearranged the garage or moved that freezer by myself. The only thing I couldn’t do was get the stupid door off its hinges, so I called on one of my wonderful neighbors to help. Walla – door off. Cleaned areas I hadn’t seen for three years and decided to change everything else. Room-by-room the house is becoming a new creation.
 
“Standing, standing…”
 
The house is not the only thing being made new. Ryndiyah (10 year old lab girl) is running and keeping up with Koayah (7 year old lab girl). It has been a long time since I’ve seen both of them running and playing like puppies, and yet – everyday they are tearing through the woods in pursuit of an orange ball, jumping on the bed to wake me up in the morning, or throwing themselves on the grass just to squiggle on their backs. Unless I leave, they still are not more than a few feet from me at any time of the day, and are waiting at the door, balls in their mouths when I get home.
 
“Standing on the promises of Christ my King
Through eternal ages let his praises ring…”
 
This summer has had 30+ days of 90 degrees and high humidity. So I’m definitely ready for a “new” weather pattern to bless us with cooler weather. Then I see all the pollinators buzzing around the flowers. Humming birds emptying out the feeders in record time. A rare moment to sit on the patio swing and soak in the quiet blessings of the heat at the end of the day. While close by, Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle traps another bug or frog or lizard as she says, “Meow, meow” and I answer, “Meow, m’ow”. Somehow, the hot summer isn’t so bad, and I relax even more, closing my eyes, swinging back and forth, back and forth.
 
“Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing
Standing on the promises of God.”
 
School kicks into high gear next week. Meetings. Rooms to get ready. Visions to turn into lesson plans. Books to catalogue. Decorations to enhance bare walls. Prayers to circle around the room and the students that will come the next week. August is here. Can Fall be far behind?
 
“For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.”~2 Cor 1:20
 
It is amazing what can be accomplished when “Standing on the promises of Christ the King.” All of a sudden, I find myself: “Praising my Savior all the day long. This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long…”
 
Just one song after another.

ROOTS BY THE STREAM

Zilch.

Nada.

Nothing.

Absolutely – completely – totally – accomplished 
– – – not 
– – – one 
– – – thing.

And you know what?

After four weeks of pushing, driving, writing, devouring books, moving mulch, painting walls, hanging pictures, changing life around in every way possible – – – I’m okay with that. In fact, I’m more than okay with that. I sat on the patio swing and read the Sunday paper. I fell asleep on that said swing until the sun’s heat woke me up. I vegged out doing some word puzzles. I sat on the couch with the lab girls and rubbed their bellies after one of our many excursions of ball searching in the woods.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in Him.”

There has been peace beyond any of my understanding in today. Mostly, because in the past few years (hmmm – decades??), I haven’t had a day like this. A day when my mind has been still. A day when books, crafts, goals are ignored. A day when my thoughts just enjoyed the things in front of me and not even looked over the hill to see beyond that.

What is that?

I don’t do this.

I’m am used to being busy and keeping things running.

But not today.

Today I just let it be. Wet grass before the sun was up. Hummingbirds hovering around all the flowering plants and feeders. Moths landing on my finger and then on the mulch. Cardinals. Sparrows. The elusive blue bird. Squirrels and bunnies dodging away from the lab girls. The last day lily of the season. Tomatoes ripening. Magnolia blooms opening. Squeak of the swing as the sun sets. Hiss of a cat when she loses her butterfly before coming in for a cuddle.

“They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.”

In fact, I don’t think I have done this since – once upon a time – long time ago when I laid under a maple tree in a small yard at 421 Riverside Dr. For whatever reason, today has been re-visitation of that day. That original day came the same summer my father had his first heart attack. It had been a long month for this “Daddy’s Girl”. Days of only being able to see him through a hospital window. Days listening to my mother cry at night. Days when I first grappled with things beyond my ken. Days when I needed to hear my father’s voice in my ear and to feel his arms lifting me into the air again.

“It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.”

GOD is good like that. He knows what we need before we do. On that day long ago, He let me hear His voice as he lifted me high beyond those maple leaves, so that I could see the clouds and feel the same peace I’ve felt today. It was the first time on this earth that I recognized GOD as My Father.

“It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”~ Jer 17:7–8

This morning when I woke up, I was just lying in bed. Stretching. Saying good morning to the lab girls. Saying good morning to GOD. Head full of all plans and things I was going to get done. Finish the last few chapters of the book I am reading. Read another devotional chapter. Play the piano. Move a few wheelbarrows full of mulch. Paint a wall or two. Go to church. But even before I got out of bed to feed the hungry lab girls, He was smiling and showing me that day under a maple tree.

And sometimes –

It is just good to be still; to listen to His voice; to let Him lift you beyond the leaves to see the clouds and to let His peace cover you. I really need to do this more often, Father, I really do. Thank you for always knowing exactly what I need and when I need it the most. “You are good, good, oh-so-good…You are good, good, oh-so-good…” 🎵

“I, even I, am He who comforts you.”~ Is 51:12a   

PHEW AND PRAISE THE LORD

Four hours of walking the push mower. 2 – changes of sweaty clothes. 2 – breaks to gulp water. 2 -15 minute naps. 1 – shower and another set of clothes. One lost ball in a hole under a tree. A dog trying to dig to China through said hole. Praise the LORD – the yard is mowed for another couple weeks and the heat and humidity is on its way out of NC.

Phew!

“The very thing we thought would burn so brightly with joy has turned out to burn us.” Lysa Terkeurst, p93.

Needless to say, the rest of the day has been one of recovery and discovery. The lab girls are still pouting about the ball, but I have been reading and watching the rain clouds accumulate over our house. Painted a wall. Hung a few pictures. Opened my ears. After a busy morning, spending time doing the things I love most is always a good thing.

“I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry.”~Ps 40:1

We got an inch of rain on Saturday, so the grass and gardens have been growing steadily despite the 12 days of 90 degrees and humidity that has plumbed the sinuses beyond their tiny cavities. Two zucchinis and several tomatoes later, I am reading my book on the porch and enjoying the breeze that always proceeds the storm. Our Father is good that way. He breathes and those that listen hear the storms’ approach and hunker down for the duration.

“He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”~Psalm 40:2

Nice thing about storms. They eventually pass. The thunder and lightning that scared me have disappeared over the horizon. My feet are in a firm place. I can wrap my arms around the porch post, feel the rain wash my face of its salty residue and smile. The hopeful prayer I had whispered in my heart at the beginning of June has come true. Grass so thick and soft has grown beyond what I thought possible, and I can walk barefoot in it every morning without a rock bruising my toes (it also stopped the mower a few times). The volunteer tomatoes are so bushy that they cover a good portion of the garden, full of fruit, and beginning to climb the blooming magnolia tree. And the tiny wisteria spouts that I planted a year ago? Well, they are stretching halfway across the portico that covers the patio.

“My hope is tied to the unchanging promise of GOD.”~Lysa Terkeurst, p94

Sometimes, life is just not easy. There are just a lot of storms that pass by in life. The physicality storm that followed mowing this morning did take its toll on this ol’ gal. The back ached even with my new back brace for the hard part of the yard. The knee hurt – even after using the inversion board – but after icing – much improved. The sinuses were swollen but less so after the essential oils. So with a little help the physical storm passed, and I’m ready to let my body yawn, listen to a little Lauren Daigle or Danny Gokey and bury my nose in a book full of hopeful covenants that are never broken.

Phew and Praise the LORD!

Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 70’s, my heart is full of joy, and hope is all around me. After all, this little guy came for a visit – until the hummingbirds kept dive bombing him. Talk about unexpected joy.

Phew and Praise the LORD!

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MAY’S MERCIES

 

Ya know what? There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a 68 year old curled up with a favorite teddy bear (or fluffy white goat or tattered ol’ donkey) and reciting all the promises of the GREAT I AM in the darkest part of the night. Better yet, there is nothing wrong with both dogs on the bed and a cat squeezed between the pillows while trying to meditate on His WORD in the wee morning hours and waiting for that…
perfect…
wonderful…
“…joy that comes with the morning.”~Ps 30:5

“Pay attention to the WORD which is a light that shines in a dark place until the dawn rises in your heart.”~2 Pt 1:19

Weeping in the dark is nothing new to any human and nights are sometimes the longest part of the 24 hours allotted to our species. Whether it is never-ending physical pain or deep shattering emotional pain or the self-loathing of spiritual pain that is keeping one awake, it can sometimes seem to take forever for daylight to peek between the corners of the drapes and chase the long-fanged monsters from the deep corners of the room.

Then the dogs stir. The cat jumps off the bed. Tears mysteriously dry. And – a new day begins.

“This is the day the LORD hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.”~Ps 188:24

Yesterday was a perfect day. After devotions, spent a sports-filled morning with daughter’s family and an afternoon moving loads of mulch and plants around the yard while puppies used those big doggy eyes and begged for walks and lots more time for chasing sticks. The best part? Talking to my sister-of-another-mother; celebrating her special day and our friendship of 61 years and letting those ancient hymns of my childhood swirl around my heart and remembering…

….”Great Is Thy Faithfulness”!

When the darkness covered our part of the earth once more, storms moved in and sang lullabies in my ears until my eyes would no longer stay open.

“Summer and winter, 
Springtime and harvest, 
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above, 
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.”
~~Thomas Chisholm, in “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”

Today was even better. A little rain. A little sun. Cooler temperatures. Played in the yard. Romped (as much as one can with arthritis) with the critters.Talked with the neighbors. Laughed with another friend. Our Father’s faithfulness was everywhere. Joy dancing in front of me, beside me and behind me – – –

– – – just as He promised.

I am blessed. The dogs still want to play stick. Sooooo – I guess it is time to go for one more walk before dark or the next rain.

“Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Ps 23:6

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