never quite enough – SOLSC Tuesday

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there are no exact words

to describe the effervescence, the delight

the striking hues

the movements of awakening

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the perfect lens has not been formed

to capture fully, in a frame

the shimmering growth

the vibrancy, the unbroken energy

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the precise notes can’t be arranged

to make a melody that sings

of the hope and the newness,

the heart’s fullness and joy

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the green of spring –

indescribable, elusive, abundant

a crescendo of life

renewing the soul

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inadequate thanks

Our big church partners with a small mission-like church in an impoverished area of a nearby city. The pastor there is taking a sabbatical after almost twenty years of ministry. Church members were encouraged to write notes of thanks to him. This is my feeble attempt.

Dear Friend,

It is hard to adequately thank someone who has lived a life like yours. Yes, you have answered God’s call, and you have, so faithfully, done His work, and you have touched so many lives, and you have been the hands and feet of Jesus to hurting, lonely souls. And all of that in itself is so much to be grateful for. And yet, you have done so much more.

Your “work” at the mission church became your life, and it dwelled in you every moment of each day. You made an immeasurable difference in that community, you ministered to those in need, and you helped others learn how to serve. You showed all of us what His kingdom looks like here on this earth.

Our memories from the Christmas Toy Store ministry fill our hearts. We remember our first time, seeing so many needs, and then, through our time there, realizing the hope and joy that one person can share with another when serving in His name. Those lists and lists of people that we used to go through, and the bits and pieces of their lives (the electric bills, and personal ID’s) are still vivid in our minds as “primary source” documents that revealed the depth of want in a land of plenty. We are grateful we were awakened to that world around us. And even more thankful that, through your leadership at the church, we were given an opportunity to help others.

And yet, even though it is so hard to fully express our thanks for the tremendous ministry you have had, we do want to say thank you – for your guidance, your inspiration, and most especially for your influence.

We wish you well and we know that whatever is next for you, you will go with God.

 

a tale of two tillers – SOLSC Tuesday

OK, there really is only one tiller in this tale. It has had many lives, but I exaggerated because I liked the sound of the title. Here’s the tale of “one tiller with many adventures.” See that’s not nearly as catchy or inviting. But here goes:

Long ago, when we moved into the first house we built and had our first baby, it was our good fortune to have an older couple living behind us. They were encouragers, role models, and surrogate grandparents, and we were blessed to have them as neighbors.

They shared the lot next to them with the homeowners on the other side, and together they made a garden on the empty lot each year. They came from farming families, and raised quite a bit of produce each season. In the spring our neighbor would get out his tiller and plow the ground, the first of many steps in making his garden grow.

We watched and learned for many years, until he became sick with cancer and no longer spent those countless hours hoeing and picking. His wife offered his well-worn tiller to us after his death. We could only hope to use it to produce a small portion of the bounty he had gathered through the years.

The truth is we have never had a garden. But we have used the tiller in countless ways. We have cleared plots for landscaping at one home, a wood fence at another, and other planting projects here and there. At our cabin we removed landscaping timbers and used the tiller to smooth out the walls of raised dirt left behind.

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Now that we are selling the cabin, it is time to clean out what we no longer need. My husband could think of many uses for the tiller, but it is old, and quite frankly, he is tired of hauling it around. So last weekend we decided to haul it and a few other things to the local dump.

On our way there, at the second stop sign, I said, “Why do I keep hearing a little beep-beep horn honking?” After my husband looked in the rearview mirror he proceeded through the intersection and pulled over on the side of the road.

Sure enough a man behind us also pulled over, hopped out of his car, and asked if we were taking our truckload to the dump. When we answered yes, he asked if he could have – you guessed it – the tiller. Yes, the root-tangled and rusty tiller caught his eye and had him chasing us down the road.

His son is in a high school shop class and gets extra credit for bringing in items in need of repair. Well, the tiller would be perfect for that. Several other items in our truck (not all broken machinery) caught his eye, and he asked politely if he could add to his collection. We were glad to get rid of things no matter where they ended up. In fact it was nice to think that some of these things could have another life.

(The one thing I had waffled on taking to the dump was a wicker chair – it was coming unraveled but had the potential to be pretty again with the proper care. He showed no interest in that.)

So we proceeded on to the dump with just a few cast-offs remaining. I texted the excitement to our children – ending with “only in Pickwick are you likely to be stopped by a ‘picker’ on your way to the dump.”

Too bad we will never know the rest of the tiller tale.

southern Sunday sittin’ – SOLSC Tuesday

visiting on the porch

sunken into soft cushions

in the white wicker chairs

on the rug covering the blue painted floor

 

surrounded by columns and railings of wrought iron

with the porch ferns and the ancient trees in the yard

lulled by the lazy air and full stomachs

and the suggestions from a kind and gentle soul

 

watching the rain blur the distant trees and then

feeling it thicken the air until we notice it falling where we are

bringing nourishment to the hydrangeas in the garden

and watering the mulch in the flower beds

 

discussing the upcoming wedding

and the blossoms that will decorate the tables

in the arrangements to be shaped and delivered

by talented and loving hands

 

imagining the arches that will welcome guests

who will come to celebrate

the marriage of our smitten son

and the precious girl who loves him so

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total transformation – solsc tuesday

The road to get to our cabin at the lake is a circuitous route, taking us through small towns and communities, along the back roads past farms and wooded acres. A large portion of the road is a state highway that has bits of four-lane interspersed between winding two lane stretches over hills and through the countryside.

Over the years we have traveled this route, we have been alternately thrilled and dismayed with the fact that it is being widened to a four-lane divided thoroughfare, piece by piece. Thrilled because the bigger highway will eventually shorten our travel time, and dismayed because the roadwork has slowed our current travel time with alternate routes and miles of orange and white construction barrels that demand a slower speed.

The last two five-mile segments are under construction now. The work is fascinating, and the difference in the landscape is incredible. My husband commented that places look so changed that you hardly know where you are along the journey anymore.

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This reminds me of the book, Letting Swift River Go. SO many changes in the name of progress and the greater good. So many things that used to be that are no more. Yes, I will be happy for a faster trip, but now I am a little more thoughtful of what we give up in order to move forward.

one more thing about change

I have written a lot about change lately. Of course, Spring is a transformative season, and you can’t help but have your spirits lifted as the temperatures rise and life returns. This is true even for a person who is not fond of any difference in the status quo. My father always said that the only thing you could count on in life is that things would change. Yet so many years later, I still find myself leery of adjustments to the routine.

Yet I am a changed person. Just in the past year many things have happened in my life that make me no longer the same as who I once was.

  • I am retired after teaching for 34 years.
  • Our daughter and her husband had a precious little girl and I am a first-time grandmother.
  • Our son is getting married and I am soon to have a sweet new daughter-in-law.
  • I have had breast cancer and have been blessed through early detection and excellent care.
  • We are selling our cabin at the lake (hopefully to find a different one that better suits our family’s current situation).

I would like to think that I have grown a little wiser, along with older, along the way.

And I would not choose to go back to the way things were before. Not on any count. I am looking forward to see what new things come along in the next year, too. Perhaps I am learning to embrace change. Maybe that explains why I like this Brian Andreas quote so much:

When you start to crack open, don’t waste a moment gathering your old self up into something like you knew before. Let your new self splash like sunlight into every dark place & laugh & cry & make sounds you never made & thank all that is holy for the gift, because now you have no choice but to let all your love spill out into the world.

My wish is no longer to avoid change. My prayer is that God would guide my footsteps on the path of His will, and that the new me would reflect what He sees in my life.

God's plan

did the grass sing?

Today is it. The most joyous day for Christians, the day we celebrate His sacrifice, His resurrection, His infinite love for us.

Easter morning brings hope that was hard to imagine in the days that came before. Those days held shock, and torture, and death. An anguish that was deep and isolating. Questions that had no answers. Emptiness and sorrow that had not been felt before.

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But then Easter DID come. The Lord did rise. Hope returned to the world, and life held meaning once again.

Was it a morning like this?

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Did the grass sing? Did the earth rejoice to feel You again? Over and over like a trumpet underground, Did the earth seem to pound: “He is risen”? Over and over in a never ending round, “He is risen, alleluia, alleluia!” (Sandy Patty)