Picnic at Summer’s End (when I’m really at my end)

Somedays one needs to slip away and soak in all this unadulterated beauty.

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Even Jesus knew the loud gets louder and the clamor of crowds make hearing the Word harder. So we slipped away with picnic in hand and some journals and sand toys and I don’t remember breathing so deeply.

And with each breath burdens lifted. Suddenly it got a whole lot easier to be brave because when fear is greater than faith nothing is possible and monsters under the bed are real. But read Ruth and it doesn’t take long to see our God rewarding the courageous heart. The one risking it all to step into the unknown, the unseen, the uncomfortable because a God unchanging waits calling into the deep.

It takes heart this being brave and we have all we need in this kingdom where the King is Love.

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For the weary, a picnic recipe that isn’t the last straw:

CEASAR SALAD with Chicken Leftovers

1 head iceberg lettuce chopped (or romain)

1 cup mayo

1/2 lemon juiced

Garlic salt and pepper to taste

cooked chicken cubed (as much as you like or have)

croutons

freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

Stir mayo and lemon juice together. Put in a container and over ice in cooler. Place lettuce and chicken in a container large enough to toss ingredients and place in cooler. At picnic add croutons, Parmesan and toss with dressing adding seasoning as desired. Enjoy!

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Season’s Change and Root Beer Floats

The drive home is long and everywhere there are subtle signs the season is changing.

A few leaves here and there turned color, and I’m holding on with all I’ve got and I’m not ready to let go. Not ready to say goodbye to days spent under the sun with watermelons in hand and swim bags packed at the door.  Hours lingering long over coffee with dear ones. Camping out under brilliant stars only to eat breakfast near a crackling fire with cousins’ laughter spilling from fields.  I’m not ready to leave the familiar, the safe, the comfortable. Because in less than 48 hours we jump into the unknown: new schedules, new teachers, new friends and me and him empty nesters with all our birds flown out into this crazy wobbling spinning world and this heart is trembling.

I unpack bags of dirty laundry, nurse a sick child on the couch (how is it someone always ends up ill from too much fun) and think about the rhythm of nature and how it teaches us about letting go, about surrender.  For I don’t know about you, but if it were me, I’d be content to set up camp and stay put. But with each season comes the call to abandon all we know, and embrace moving out of our comfort zone believing there is beauty to behold.

Wide eyed and bushy tailed they wake the day.  Nervous excitement filling the air we tie shoes, pack lunches, and whisk to the corner little man holding tight to this hand of mine. I study every line and detail, how tiny it was and still is clasped in this hand of mine starting to show the years. It’s then the bus glides around the corner and I let go…this hand opening to all that is ahead. Unfolding, releasing in order to be filled. And in that leap from the known to the unknown there is faith that the God who got us here will take us there and that sure as rain there will always be root beer floats at the end of every first day of school.

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Take Your Bow

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The days are getting shorter, evenings brisker.

And there she towers.

The doorway sentinel she stands out this awkwardly beautiful lady in yellow amidst a row of ordinary town houses neatly adorned in bushes. For weeks neighbors wondered what on earth was growing as she stretched taller towards the light nearly a story and a half tall. And I stood back in amazement.  Who would have thought?

It was a few months back when Hope Girl brought it to me in a decorated cup for Mother’s Day. She’d potted it at school all ready to be popped in the ground and I didn’t want to burst her bubble that perhaps it might not sprout (after all my luck at gardening has been quite slim as a married woman) so we dug a hole anyways, tucked the seed away in a nice bed of dirt and forgot about it.

But someone else hadn’t…

She sprouted right up and never stopped reaching for the sun and I have never been more aware of how little faith I have.

How many times have I been given a seed of hope only to bury it under a sea of worry and forgetfulness?

The morning sprints to the front door, daily reports on how our sun lady was faring became moments of joy in the mundane. And the day she blossomed! What a celebration. It was as if she had been cheered open. And it wasn’t an immediate opening, but a petal at a time unfurling and no amount of begging or pleading could rush her. In the fullness of time she would be all there…just like we the believers in this messy process of blooming that can’t be hurried or forced but requires patience and grace lavished and a good watering of the Word and above all LOVE. Love for each other, for ourselves for the amazing God who loved us first and holds all our fragile frail together. It’s easier to take the road of judgement withering spirits instead of suffering long as the growing transforms.

And then at the height of all her beauty she took a bow.

A bow to our wildly wonderful God. Giver of all growth and good things beautiful. The stage for a season hers the glory His forever.