Tag Archives: change

Gray Pearl – Walk #1

As we turn into the last stretch of winter I reflect fondly upon the unseasonably warm, sunny days of the Advent season here. As the sun rose I caught myself wanting to complain about yet another dark, overcast morning. Then I noticed the moon hanging over the trees in the pearl gray sky.

Awestruck. Whine diverted, I can wait on the sun.

 

Winter wonder by God.

Image by Roo (c) 2019 RapturePractice! Pub.

 

 

Advertisements

17 Comments

Filed under photography

First Snow

Just the right
Amount of white
Till the sun rose
Above the treeline
Then back to wood work!

 

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)

 

Images (c) 2018 RapturePractice! Publications

 

7 Comments

Filed under photography

Frozen Fog

I’d wished the bedraggled flower stems would blow away.

Hours later in the morning light,

Frozen in fog they were breathtaking.

As I marveled I saw frozen breath swirling,

And imagined God laughing with me.

 

“His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet.” Nahum 1:3 (NIV)

11 Comments

Filed under Latent Poetic Tendencies, photography

Nooners and All-Nighters

I’ve been marveling over the paths that brought me here and all the turns my life took.

Take heat for instance: I had some doubts about staying in the cottage after processing wood with chain saws and hand tools the first two years. But the new hydraulic log splitter is a game changer. Getting Cole’s attention and assistance is easy when power tools are involved.

Also, I don’t often check the news as I prepare to leave the cottage. Instead, Cole and I catch up on the way to do chores.

Processing firewood we alternate one operating the splitter while the other stacks the split wood. Eyeing smaller logs we’ll holler over the motor, “that’s an all-nighter,” –  a cut from the trunk of a younger oak, ash, walnut or birch. We watch for logs that fill either of our stoves allowing just the right airflow to burn for six-ish hours.

Naturally, we also watch for nooners – small or half logs that burn hot for two to four hours. These are great during our work days.

After two back-to-back days of processing wood, Cole thought hard and then commentated on how the terms all-nighter and nooner both have such different meanings lately. Yep.

And today, rather than maximizing every moment, I can slow down instead when I feel pressed. It’s a sharp contrast to former times when I stressed over each day, dime and dollar, often paying somebody to do what I longed to do myself.

I actually get my steps in by keeping the fires going in both houses, rousing the old, little dogs while I’m at it. I can get annoyed when they want to continue playing after my break time is over. And sometimes GoodGirl bolting out to the pasture to play with the steer instead of heeling can irk me.

I so quickly forget I’m not the boss here, God is.

Silly human.

What initially seemed like an inconvenience during my first year here is now instinctive. Around late summer we evaluate the wood pile. Come fall we check tractor, quad and wagon tires, power wash water tanks and locate water heaters.

God certainly brought me a long way from wondering if I remembered to adjust the thermostat during my hour-long commute to work (that was before Cortana, Alexa and Google Assistant, kids). Traffic for me these days amounts to occasionally steering around a dog resting in the road on scenic drives through acreage, and slowing to admire the neighbors’ livestock along the way.

Maybe I don’t seem to accomplish as much as I used to in a day. I’m content to meet the important demands before bedtime. Instead of fretting over what may come tomorrow, I thank God for bringing me back to my bed in my comfortable home today. By His grace I’m usually asleep when my head meets the pillow and I hit the floor running before sunup.

Today I’m good with that.

“Be still, and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

13 Comments

Filed under Notes from the Apex

New Vision

Farther back than I want to admit, I gradually began taking life on a need-to-see basis.

Remarkably, unlike my siblings who needed eyeglasses in grade school, I had exceptionally good vision well into my 30’s.

I remember one First Day of School in our newest neighborhood at the time. I wanted to look cool. I seriously was not, so I borrowed my sister’s new glasses from her. I can’t imagine what I was thinking, but after one morning looking through her glasses, imagining her worldview without them gave me a whole new understanding about Sister.

From then on I was proud of my amazing eyesight.

By twenty-five I had survived a parent’s suicide, became an abandoned spouse and a single, working mom. Blind, raging ambition driving me, I became a force to be reckoned with, and a Tiger Woman in the business world.

As a teen I’d turned my back on the God I’d heard about but didn’t see much of growing up in church. Decades later around the same time my eyes began changing, transformation also started in my stony, little heart.

As my vision began fading, the whole world seemed different.

After surviving a car collision that actually should have killed me, God had my full attention. I suddenly got over being angry at Him. Days later I longed to meet the Jesus I’d heard about years before.

Forget a nonchalant shrug, that day Atlas actually gasped. Sure, I didn’t suddenly decide to change. God had pursued me for years as He gently guided me along, but that’s a different story.

I began to realize all I had given up on as a child – thinking I’d imagined what I had once believed. I was thirty-something and already survived more anguish than most people can imagine.

Once I actually met Jesus I fell completely in love with Him. Weeks later I walked away from my high-paying, misery-generating job and law school. Hours afterward a heart attack pinned me to the floor, but I wasn’t afraid, worried or nearly done yet.

I was saved.

Everything in my life changed dramatically. Everything included needing glasses to read. And then for driving. Soon I needed trifocals.

Certain of God’s love for me and having good spiritual vision was genuinely life changing. I no longer needed to watch my back – for the first time since I was a kid, I knew God did. Like everyone, I continued to experienced more losses. Still, I stopped dreading what each new day might bring. And I no longer need my amazing eyesight to survive.

With God watching me closely, life on a need to see basis actually works for me.

How do you get through hard times?

“He (Father God, my Shepherd) renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.” Psalm 23: 3, 4 (NLT)

 

13 Comments

Filed under Notes from the Apex

Wrapping

One of my first thoughts this morning was how quickly my old habit of wrapping Jesus around my stories recently developed.

Some three-plus decades ago, after reading and hearing about Jesus, I asked to meet Him for myself. Bam! Game changer. He was everything I’d been missing.

My thoughts, my understanding, my direction dramatically changed. I began wrapping my life, my thoughts, my being around Jesus.

As great as that is, I’m astounded and a little embarrassed to admit I often revert to many of my former ways. And yet, Jesus understands and waits for me to come back around to Him again.

“…But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,” Romans 5:20 (NIV)

Though there have been some dark, lonely valleys along the way, the breathtaking peaks I’ve seen serve to inspire and encourage me onward. What amazes me the most is how often I think,

“It just doesn’t get better than this,”

as well as

“It can’t get worse than this”.

*

It can.

And it does.

But the worst usually sets up for the best.

Throughout my life the most influential people have often said, “just wait till you’re my age. You’ll see”. Now I AM that age! And I’m mostly amazed to see so much of my life, my thoughts, my being remains to wrap around Jesus.

Does your life seem to have unraveled? Whether you are on a peak, in a valley, or somewhere in between, wrapping your life around Jesus can take you farther and higher.

Wait till you’re my age. You’ll see!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)

Header Image and *image used by permission J.M. Weatherby (c) 2018

8 Comments

Filed under Notes from the Apex

Last Day

With hours left before my best boyfriend, TheOldMan heads for his winter home I was a sad mess.

As I brushed him he was skittish about the exceptionally noisy dogs. Then he didn’t like the loose, new gravel or the sound of power tools from what used to be his old stable next door. He reared up coming up the drive, and as I calmed him he told me he isn’t happy with all these changes. As we walked I reminded him that he’s the most wonderful boy. Soon the most delightful peace settled upon us and God’s Spirit calmed us both,

“See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.” Isaiah 42:9 (NIV)

Hero wanted some love too.

SchauzerOne hoping for a wayward carrot.

Muddy Roo heads in for the day job.

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons;” *

*From Daniel 2:20, 21 (NIV)

6 Comments

Filed under Notes from the Apex

No Better Said

I can’t resist sharing another stroke of genius from the marvelous mind of Mitch Teemley:

Fallmost

september

We’re slipping into fallmost, almost fall, the not-quite season. Perhaps you think of it as notumn, not autumn. Whatever you call it…

Fallmost has a certain wistfulness, a sweet, fleeting uncertainty. It’s warm rather than hot, soft rather than sultry. Early quitter leaves flutter to the ground, and fallmost doesn’t know what to do with them. Indian summer rides through, and fallmost is afraid to ask it to stay.

Unlike the big seasons, it isn’t sure what to feel. It knows it can’t remain the same. It longs for change, but is afraid to welcome change, knowing it will bring an end to that which is familiar, if imperfect.

The imperfectly familiar. That’s where fallmost lives. And where we live.

But it’s not where we were meant to live.

4 Comments

Filed under Notes from the Apex

Another Trip

Just when I thought my vacation time was over for the year, this morning I went on another trip.

trip

… noun

1. an act of going to a place and returning; a journey or excursion, especially for pleasure.
“Sally’s gone on a school trip”
synonyms: excursion, outing, jaunt;

Or

Suburban Dictionary (For those of us that grew up in the late 60’s – early 70’s):

1. Emotional fall-out that temporarily disrupts logical thought processes

2. The process of remembering a significant person, place or event

 

In the garden and all around us plants are beginning to change and the annuals we planted in spring have begun slowly dying.

My boyfriends and I are all tripped out. With these 80-something degree days we’re not ready for summer to be over. It’s too soon for cooler nights and shorter days. Stupid plants…

Not tasting new grass here!

 

Hey! where’s the sunshine?

 

‘Hmmm… The humans don’t put out food till autumn. Mmmm…

Here’s the thing: plan as we may, life often surprises us. The trick is to not be so stuck in our plans that we miss the wonder.

 

 

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

 

6 Comments

Filed under Notes from the Apex

Re-entry

I may need help!

My calendar app says I arrived home days ago.

And yet my legs continue to feel rubbery like I’m still getting my step count in by bumping my way along an airliner isle or pulling my carry-ons around crowded airports between (multiple, affordable) flights. And instead of actual thoughts, my mind is ablur with mini-playbacks, like Pixar short features.

Though most of the smoke from the wild fires cleared while I was away, not much seems completely clear yet.

Today my Rainbow Manicure done by six-year-old TexasGrandGirl is barely recognizable after three days of innumerable washings in public rest rooms and repeated slatherings of hand sanitizer. Now this is truly phenomenal. Ordinarily I would never step outdoors without employing much polish remover to these nails. The blobby, bubbly, streaky, chipped and rubbed remnants of color delighted me all over town, through holiday airport crowds, over the clouds right through to even now.

But this morning as I walked the drive up to the road I noticed children waiting for the school bus. Labor Day and my vacation are certainly behind us. If It’s Thursday This Must Be Home.

I admit I’m stuck on how the mismatched fingernail colors on my hands bless me beyond even my impressive imagination. Days later I now realize it’s solid, inarguable evidence:

I’d been on my first vacation with my family in decades – an actual vacation and not pauses on the way to a funeral, a wedding or moving my household – yet again.

I had scrimped, saved, planned, recruited help and then together we actually made it happen. My Illinois Grand girls and I got manicures and tried new fashions. I played Pokemon with Grand boys in Illinois and in Texas and together we explored some of their worlds. I visited with my grown kids, studied their faces extensively and we celebrated our life – together.

It’s been several years of my dreams coming true.

Still:

*

As I re-enter my life here on the ranch the odd polish illustrates the astounding love the Father pours over and through us. Had anyone told me I’d still enjoy the faded mess on my hands days later, I wouldn’t have believed it. I’m only now getting to where I can stand the thought of stripping it off. But thinking about it I realize how, despite all the distractions while traveling, the disrupted prayer and devotional time, God is nearby. Whether I’m crossing deserts or oceans, doing chores, even when I’m simply not paying attention, God adores me.

Like my worn nail polish.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! …” 1 John 3:1 (NIV)

*Can’t brain courtesy Onsizzle

17 Comments

Filed under Notes from the Apex