November

pumpkinweb

Around our house November has always been a busy month, there are several birthdays in our family. There used to be more. On the birthdays of loved ones we used to celebrate, we now pause to think about and recall their stories on their day. Though we miss them we know the joy where they are is ours to come. 

This month is my favorite, in part because, I too, celebrate a birthday; but it holds so much more than birthdays- 

Here in Texas, we’ve been living through our extended summer. Other parts of the country are experiencing snow in earnest about this time; yet we are just now able to turn the AC off. Where leaves have been colorful for a month or more in cooler parts, we have had the dried up grey-green-brown leaves and burnt yellow-brown grass as the last of the summer heat made its final mark.  

The horse apples are falling from the trees and that’s how we know the cool of the year has arrived and is going to stick around for a while. 

The full moon shows its silvery face bright in the cool night and leaves its print on the lake for us to follow into winter’s delight. Well, some of us delight in winter. With the changing of the seasons there are always those who breathe that sigh of relief that we can pull out the long sleeved shirts and a light sweater or two; where others are bemoaning the fact that the temp has dipped below 90. 

Now’s the time we all take a breath and feel the energy return again; our steps are brisk and purposeful. The crops are harvested. The hay is baled, the corn is gathered into the corncribs, the cotton has been picked and taken to market. Now we see the fruit of our labor and can rest a while. The baking begins; the pumpkins arrive, the smells of cinnamon and allspice and clove fill the air with sage and rosemary not far behind. 

And, I know that this, dear friends, has nothing to do with life, the universe and everything. But it does remind us that life, the universe and everything comes from the Father. The seasons change once again and we see His provision in remarkable ways.. 

Thanksgiving is on the horizon and it’s harvest time.  A time for thanks for all that we’ve been given back from the earth; a time for thanks for all things that come from the Father’s Hand; a time to be gracious ourselves and provide for those who cannot provide for themselves. 

Regardless of the reasons;  this is the season we are called to give where we can to help them get through the winter. It is not our place to judge whether others deserve our help or whether they will use what we give them in the manner we would choose for them. We are called to give out of our abundance. And whether your abundance is baking pumpkin bread for the neighbors, donating a coat or two, giving warm blankets to shelters or helping out at the food bank, we are His hands and His feet to the world. 

The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us. May God bless us still, so that all the ends of the earth will fear him. Psalm 67:6-7

Five Minute Friday: Ordinary

It’s Friday again. Time for 5-Minute Friday- we write full tilt for 5 minutes on a word and the word this week is:

Ordinary.

Plain Jane. Vanilla. Sun shines, mild breezes blow the curtains in the kitchen window, nothing but catalogs in the mail, the wash is done, the dishes dried, dinner in the oven, and the children have done their homework. Just another day in the neighborhood.

The extraordinary day stands out in stark contrast-the fatal diagnosis, the empty crib of infertility, the crumbling of a marriage, the announcement of the baby on the way without the blessing of marriage, the call from the police station-they’ve arrested your child with drugs- extraordinarily bad days. All of them. 

And then there are those extraordinary good days: The bonus or raise at work, an extra week of vacation this year, the blessing of an addition to the family via a new baby, a wedding or a long awaited adoption, the insurance paid all of the bill on the fender bender from last week’s encounter in the grocery parking lot, the unexpected bouquet of flowers and dinner out with a surprise jewelery box for desert.

It’s the ordinary days that make these other days extraordinary-the unusual, not ordinary at all.

It’s the comfort of the sameness and stability of those ordinary days that helps us when the extraordinary days come along. God has blessed us with far more ordinary days than extraordinary. He has blessed us with the security and stability of the ordinary and I, for one, am very thankful!

 

Allume: Lit Up and Shining

This past week I experienced a very large dose of sisterhood. 400 women in the same space, of the same mind, in the same spirit, of similar humor all talking at once. I have learned from past experiences that all of that fun and joy spilling out can be a bit much for my spirit to be immersed in- so I escape, and sit back and observe until I can re-enter the fray so to speak. However, there is joy in observing, too!

The fun was watching those beautiful ladies laugh, love, hug, hold onto, and pray with each other and for each other.  We came not knowing what, if anything, to expect other than to hope to recognize the real person from their FB and twitter pics.  The joy was seeing that it was Real Love in action, authentic, transparent, see Jesus shining through them {Love}.

Our hearts resonated with the words balance, pride, bigger, smaller, community, Blog schedules, RSS, SEO and a multitude of other terms that I now have to refer to in my notes.

Our hearts bled and broke with the stories we heard, especially from that sweet grown up baby girl of a father in prison who experienced love through Angel Tree of Prison Ministries. All because of a promise and a present at Christmas time over the years.

I’ve been blogging for about a year and whenever I meet other bloggers for the first time they always say: “So, what’s your blog about?” I hem and haw, searching for the appropriate tag for it, but failing miserably, I mumble “I just don’t know how to describe it.” 

I think people have been asking me that question all my life- “So, who are you anyway?” is how it usually is thrust into my face. Haven’t been able to answer that question either – except with surface answers. You know the ones: wife, mother, nurse, Sunday school teacher, bible study attender, etc.

But something has been happening over the past year in my life- God has started showing me about me- and since the conference I do believe that I’ve been able to put words to who I am-

I am the encourager, I am the one who sees God in every situation, I am the mama-surrogate hugger, I am the one who “gets it” when I look in your eyes.

And Why?

Girls, I’ve been there, I’ve seen it, that dark side, the side where if only someone would really look in my eyes and understand, the side where I’m the exhausted mommy and can’t put three words together in a sentence, the side where my heart is breaking because of family, the side where I’m the only stay at home on the street, that feels left behind when the “girls” go to lunch during work and I have the kiddos so that won’t work, the side- well, you know, all of you know.

I was blessed by God immeasurably by those few, those Godly women who came along side at the critical moments in my life. And I’m here to tell you- I will be that woman if you need someone in 3D or over the phone for a phone hug and need to know that someone is out there praying for you. I’m in your corner. You can all do great things – that is after all what you were called to do- YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. 

Love,

Your Encourager