Although I was trying to photograph the moon,
the camera focused on the branches of the tree.
I could not see any of the branches in the photo.
I decided photographying the moon
was a lot like life.
We do not alway get what we aim for,
so we are left finding the good
in what we have.
Is it hard being a daisy? No shelter, always dependent upon whatever comes its way? Or is their life's simplicity what draws us to them?
The things we own clutter our lives, need attention, take our time. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to get rid of half of all the things I own. Would I feel so free that I would turn around and get rid of half of the remaining possessions?
The problem? Making the choices. Do we hold onto that table to give to the kids when they start their own home? Do we keep items for a rainy day or an uncertain future? At what point do we get rid of items and trust that God will provide? And at what point do we keep things as wise stewards?
Ah! The desire for wisdom!
A few stretches and now the running shoes, phone in my pocket (in case of an emergency...you know--a twisted ankle, cattle out, collapsing on the road due to lack of air...), keys (they might lock the doors while I'm out), donkey cookies (she gets mad if I pass her pasture and I don't give her something)--yup. Ready to go.
Hmmm. Sunshine. Fresh breeze. A little chilly. Let's start by walking.
Walk, walk, walk, walk.
The birds are lively this morning--lots of chatter in the pines.O.K. Ready for a short run.
Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle.
Better walk a bit again to make sure the muscles are loose enough.Walk, walk, walk, walk.
Jog, jog, jog...knee hurts, shuffle. shuffle, shuffle. Better walk a bit more to let it rest.
Big decision. The big hill 1st thing or last? No big decision. Turn left and leave the big hill behind me. Time to run!
Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle.
Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle.
The pasture is growing up thick, covered with white dandelion heads. Turn the corner and head down the little hill. Legs getting tired.
Oh, good. A hill. I can walk again. Look! It's Penelope in her pasture. She's ignoring me this morning. No cookies for her.
Walk, walk, walk.
Top of the hill. Turn and go back down. A truck is coming. Should I look like I'm checking cattle? Taking a walk? Running? I guess I'll walk. Wave. Smile.
He's gone. Time to run.
Lots of horse manure on the road. Amish buggies. Weave through the droppings until we start climbing the next hill.
I think that tri-colored black bird is going to dive bomb me. It must have a nest in the tall grass along the roadside. Just so it doesn't attack by droppings...Time to unzip the hooded sweatshirt. Breath deeply. Close eyes.
Oops. Walking off the side of the road.
We made it to the top AGAIN! Turn. Run!
Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle.
WALK! (Heavy breathing.)
The BIG HILL. Yup. Going to do it.
Pant, pant, pant.
Turn and down the hill. Run! Go! All the way to the mail box! Turn the corner and into the drive! YES!!!
Cool down. Walk. Walk.
Nice day! Glad I got out. :)
There are days when I would like to go back
Go back to childhood simplicity
Back to when I was not responsible
Not always in charge
Summer days were lazy days
Vacation meant curling up with good books
Winter included lots of time on the ice rink
snowmen and angels
My home always calls to me
The work is never done
Voices let me know
No one emptied the dishwasher
The jeans have not been washed
The cats have not been fed
The stove is getting cold
Dinner needs to be made
The house is cluttered
The van is dirty
The children need to be somewhere
The lights have been left on
I am responsible to do it
Or oversee the one who does
Perhaps in my old age
I will have fewer voices calling to me
But will I like that?
Or will I feel lonely,
Perhaps it is time
To embrace where I am
There is no perfect time
There is only today
"Be content with such things as you have..."
The corn is changing from green to golden shades of yellow. Soon we will have a frost, and the fields will quickly change--the plants will turn brown and the leaves, like arms that were being held high over head, will bend down, hanging stiffly at their sides and dragging on the ground.
We too change as the years go by. Our colors change, and we are not as supple as we once were. The corn does not have choices to make when the frost comes--it always turns brown and stiff. For us, though, when times of sorrow, pain, or adversity come, we can become hardhearted or we can become more gentle and loving.
Was it not Amy Carmichael who commented that when a pot is jarred, whatever is inside sloshes out, and it is easy to see the contents of the pot...and so it is with us. When our journey takes a turn through steep and rocky terrain, what "sloshes" out of us? I certainly have a lot to do to gain perfection here. I'd rather turn beautiful colors like the maple's flaming yellow and oak's deep red--putting on brilliant colors after the frost--than be like the corn which turns brown and dry.
It is not yet 6:00 a.m., and my two boys have left, in full Civil Air Patrol uniform, to help with parking for some special-occasion breakfast in the "big city". I always think it is insane to hand my children the car keys and then smile and wave while they drive away. Underneath that smile is always a few fervent prayers for their travel safety!
Are the length of days changing where you live? It is still rather dark here this morning--just an imperceptible smudge of lighter sky in the east; not so many days ago, the sun would be fully risen by now. As the days shorten and the nights turn almost brisk, the kitties come to the deck for meals on a more regular basis; perhaps there are fewer mice in the fields because they are beginning their search for winter quarters (I know because my son found one of these furry creatures in his shoe in my entryway. Snowflake frequently sits at the door to that entryway, requesting to be allowed into the delightful hunting ground).
As I sit here reflecting on the changing seasons, my mind has meandered into the idea that not only is my world turning into fall, but so is my life. From my graying hair to my slightly slower gait, I can tell that my body is slowly slipping into autumn. That is fine with me. There are no good options.
When I was younger, I always thought that I would morn the loss of the baby stage as my children grew older. It occurred to me, after they had all grown through those early years, that I did not miss my babies because I still had those children in front of me, talking, laughing, living. Today I cherish the hours that I can sit and be with my children. We share our deeps. It is such a delightful time of life, living with teenagers!
Older children fit well into the woman's autumn. They no longer require us to go everywhere with them (and I could not begin to keep up with all their activities). They help me around the house (strong teen arms are such a blessing!). And their conversation contains reason and logic as well as belly-laughing humor.
I try not to think too much of what I will do with my heart if they move too far away.
Life is good.
His life. He created it. He does all that is necessary to draw me to Him. He gives me the twists and turns of this path I am on and matches them perfectly to who I am so that when I leave this world, I have been given all the opportunities I need to have grown into the person He created me to be.
His house. He knew before the world began that I would need shelter. Why a 100 year old, high-maintenance home? Certainly, in his matching of all the people of the world with all their needs and his desire for my holiness, this was the perfect match.
My body, too, was made. He was not surprised by the toe that needed surgery and the nose that reacts to the great outdoors. He understands how much sleep I need, how much exercise is necessary to keep me in working order. His body.
My family, my possessions, my hopes are now Yours. I give them to You. I suppose by acknowledging this, I am able to enjoy the journey--relax, quit complaining, surrender--knowing that all of it is in the hands of a loving God.
Joy and contentment--gifts from Him who is Faithful.
Weekends--a mixture of business and rest: 4-H, family reunions, teen parties, star parties, Sunday afternoon naps.
But the weekend is over and the week is here.
We need to make jam, jello and pies from the cherries, mulberries, and black caps we've been picking. My cherry bushes have been loaded with Nanking Cherries--those little cherries that take an hour to pit out four cups for one pie. I had the boys help. I used a recipe that my mother-in-law gave me; I have no idea where it originated. It can be used for any fruit pie you'd like to try, and an uncooked, refrigerated fruit pie seems especially good in the heat of the summer:
Fresh Fruit Pie
Stir and pat these ingredients into a pie tin:
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oil
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons milk
salt (I always love it when it just says salt. I add a couple of shakes with the salt shaker and make it do. I suppose this is comparable to the "pinch of salt" in the old cookbooks.)
Bake at 400 degrees
for 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
Slice fruit into cooled crust (peaches, cherries, strawberries, berries...)--it takes something close to 4 cups for a 9", 3 cups for an 8".
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Add 1 cup water and cook until thick; remove from heat. Stir in 3 tablespoons of Jello (the powder) that matches the fruit. Cool and then poor this mixture over the fruit in the pie tin. Refrigerate until set.
The garden needs hoeing, I need to pay the bills, I have letters to write and trips to make.
Sometimes I long for the lazy days of summer that I had as a kid.
While picking cherries the other day, I realized that I probably still have them in many ways; how many people get to pick cherries for an hour, listening to the birds, smelling the fresh mowed lawn, watching the donkey protect her herd nearby?
Go in search of beauty in the world that surrounds you...
At the top of the hill above the house we have a crumbling windmill. It was no doubt set up prior to the planting of the trees which now surrounds it. The old tower stretches high into the tree tops, but the blades fell off many years ago and still can be found inside the small wooded area.
I wonder if the lives of those people who built that windmill were quieter and less encumbered. Observing our Amish neighbors, who live a life quite similar to that of my grandparents, farming with horses and growing endless gardens to feed their large families, I frequently ponder how differently we live and what we have gained and lost by our differences.
At times I think I would like to dump the expected lifestyle of today. Don't get me wrong--I like my washing machine and my car. I have no desire to give up my shoes for everyday-wear or do most of my doctoring at home. My neighbors live hard lives--long hours of grunt-labor hard work. Yet they have a culture that brings them together to celebrate, worship, and care for each other.
Could we find a balance between the days of the windmill and today? Could we more wisely choose the best of both worlds? Must we be ruled over by our televisions, the internet, and the ever-present cell phone? Would we not all benefit by having neighbors with enough time to wander over and join us for a little chat on the front porch and children who are home long enough to play softball in the empty lot next door?
I'm in the process of cleaning out my house. Slowly, I am hauling sofas, clothing, and infrequently used appliances to goodwill. The floor space is increasing and the rooms are become a bit airier and more relaxing. Life is busy, though, with three teenagers in the home. It is difficult to balance a simple life with the responsibilities of their lives and schedules.
Balance. I believe that is an important key.
I pray for balance and wisdom--for me and for you and for our nation and for those beyond.
Go in search of beauty in simplicity of life...
They are wrong.
Hubby totaled his car.
Hubby borrowed my
car and it was hit, too.
Jacob's back problems have
increased to the point of needing surgery.
Prayers needed here. Lots and
lots of them.
My turkeys are dying. I don't know why.
The vet is looking into it. :(
Wanna see my toe?
I have not been posting on my blog, Listening to Silence, for a while.
Perhaps I will attempt to add something new each Sunday--at least I will today.
May your Sunday be a day of rest for your bodies and your souls.
~~Some days are like this--when you feel as though you've hit a rough spot in the road, or when the water refuses to flow gently and quietly.
I've had virus for the last week; I wish it would give up and let me have my throat, ears, nose, lungs, vocal chords, and energy back!
I've been speaking in nothing more than a husky whisper since Tuesday.
Life is like that.
Sometimes life gives us hurricanes and tsunamis.
This is not one of those.
This is just a ripple in the water.
I think that over time, when we can back up and look upon the memory of our life, we will be able to see the beauty of a life whose winding path included the rocks and rills along the way.
~~It is sunny outside today; I think it would be good to go and gather in the sunbeams like flowers in a bouquet.
Instead I'll sit here in my chair and watch the cattle wander past my window and birds flutter across the sky.
Perhaps tomorrow will be a better day to celebrate spring, don't you think?
~~When I was young, every year I'd bring my mother the first dandelions of spring.
She had a special vase we put them in.
I was always disappointed that the beautiful yellow flowers, which closed up when evening came, never would open again once they were picked.
~~No one told me that their fragrance was considered offensive; it wasn't until I was much older that I learned that people thought the dandelion's scent was unpleasant--dandelions and marigolds.
I suppose I assumed that all flowers' fragrances were wonderful.
~~One year my mother sewed a lovely little dress for me--I think it must have been made for Easter Sunday.
It was soft like satin and golden yellow; she took the time to put a scalloped hem around the bottom.
One of the first days that I wore that dress, I discovered that the dandelions were blooming, and when I handed my mom a bouquet of flowers from the church yard, I did not understand why she was so dismayed!
The rest of that year I wore a delightful yellow dress decorated with dozens of little green stains that came from the milky sap that had dripped from the stems of my beautiful flowers.