September 29, 2013 § Leave a comment
The change in the air has arrived and greets me every early morning now. The crisp and cool is a welcome feeling and leads to thoughts of all the coziness and softness that this season brings. Sliding out of summer’s heat always brings me joy, though I will miss the ripeness of all my favorite fruits and vegetables and the ease of footwear. I am, however, very desirous of not sweating on the walk from my house to my car anymore. I am looking forward to apple pie and bowls of chili and pumpkin spice everything, but will be waiting impatiently to bite into another worthy peach or tomato next summer.
I am struck by how change is always like that, a leaving behind of much that you like and some that you won’t miss to look ahead and embrace the same. We just don’t know which categories we will face next. I know we’d all prefer to order up the change in our lives to exactly (and positively) fit our desires. But then I also know we’d miss much if our narrow focus was fulfilled to the letter. Many conversations with friends lately have reassured me that I am not the only one who alternately accepts and struggles with this tension, this reality. If, in my journey, I desire growth and deeper knowledge and understanding, the delivery is usually a form of difficulty or disappointment. (This post could have a disclaimer: brought to you by a book I’m reading called Making Sense Out of Suffering.) Right now is one of those times. My church is ending, relationships are changing, and questions of purpose linger. Alongside it all, there is still laughter and pleasure in simple yet profound moments of sharing a meal or the hard work of moving friends into a new house or receiving a timely text that turns out to be grace to help in time of need.
I don’t know at all what this next season will bring, but I know there is still hope and joy to be had because God’s word promises it. There is an anchor for the soul.
September 17, 2013 § Leave a comment
Baking is comfortingly familiar. I’m sure I’ve written this here somewhere before, and I know the sentiment is not new (or news to anyone who knows me!). There’s a kind of virtue in working with your hands, making something whole out of pieces and parts, creating and shaping the raw ingredients. This idea was resonating within me tonight as I set out just to share some tastiness here on the blog. It can be a very centering experience, to focus on just the task at hand, unlike most of life and jobs where multi-tasking is demanded. It reminds me to slow down, to take my time, to enjoy moving from one step to the next as I try not to forget any essential ingredients.
I made these Oatmeal Fudge Bars from a Cook’s Country recipe to take to a girls’ night get-together Saturday. Having somewhere for food to go after I make it enhances the process. Maybe I think (or fret) about whether it will turn out more, or wonder if people will like it as, of course, I want them to. Mostly I enjoy the making and the sharing even more than the making and just consuming by myself.
I can happily report they did turn out, as the large hunks hacked off from the pan and transferred to plates quickly disappeared to yum-yum refrains. There was even a little bit, just a little bit, left to bring home, which is always a pleasant surprise. I do like to enjoy the result of my labors.
September 5, 2013 § Leave a comment
It felt like Fall this morning at 6 a.m. when my lovely fur ball announced her desire to roam the out of doors. Standing there on the stoop and watching the just-risen sun start its slow illumination reminded me of the return to school and waiting for the bus to rumble down our long dirt-road driveway. My brother and I only rode the bus for a year, in truth, but the rest of my school years we drove 30 miles to attend so mornings started early then too. The dew on the ground and the flowers and the almost chill in the air always harken me back to childhood and the beginning of something new in this season. Every year my nerves would get the better of me, and I wouldn’t sleep before the first day of school–even after 5th grade when I went to the same one until I graduated.
First days made me jittery with excitement and trepidation and still do. I haven’t had one since I started the new job in May, and I couldn’t eat that morning for the roller coaster my insides were on. Though, in about a month’s time, I will have to embrace new first days as I search for a church. My church, Branch Life Church, that has nurtured and challenged and grown me, is closing. It’s a decision I’ve known might be coming since June, and it’s now official. The various factors of declining attendance and all associated with that became too much for our small family to withstand. The elders and pastor sought wisdom and beseeched us to do the same. The finality of disbanding became reality last month, and September 29th will be our last service together, all of us worshiping together in body.
It’s not completely real yet, as these things usually go. (It took me months to feel graduated from college.) But, I know it will sink in, with time. For now, I want to soak up these next 4 Sundays with this family in its current form. I pray the Lord has homes for all of us where we can minister and encourage and be ministered to. It’s heavy on my heart and mind even as I try to focus, with hope, on the growth and fellowship I was blessed to find at BLC and the desire to find it anew where God leads.