Thursday, October 26, 2006

Smells, Tastes, and Other Things

You have set all the borders of the earth; You have made summer and winter. Psalm 74:17

I thank the Lord for all of the seasons, but autumn is, and has always been, my favorite. Typically, there is a sense in which I “come alive” after summer (my least favorite). I know many people agree with me. Here are some of the things I like best about this time of year:

§ The smell of popcorn
§ Coming into a warm house on a blustery day
§ Taking walks
§ Pumpkin (sweet potato) pie
§ The return of the juncos
§ The death of mosquitoes
§ The color of the leaves
§ Thanksgiving
§ Getting up an hour later (when daylight time ends)
§ Raking leaves (good exercise)
§ The World Series
§ Hot cider
§ The smell of turkey cooking
§ Another chance to voice our displeasure (or support) at the polls
§ Apple cake
§ The freshness of the air (no humidity)
§ This year, the arrival of Selena

If anybody wants to talk about something they’d like to add (or delete) from this list, feel free. Did you notice how many items on this list are related to my stomach? Guess I better watch out or all those lost pounds will return by spring!

A question: Why is it that each of the other seasons has only one title that is used to refer to it? Why is this season called both fall and autumn? Just curious.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sometime, Somewhere

Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord! Psalm 27:14

Selena has not learned to patiently wait yet. Like any full-blooded, healthy six week old individual, when her stomach’s empty, she wants to eat and she wants to eat NOW. Nothing can be more pleasant and delightful than a happy and contented baby with a full stomach, but on the other hand…well, you know how it is at the time when they need a meal. They just don’t handle delays well.

My granddaughter has many lessons to learn about delays. They’re the same lessons that all of us have had to learn. Many are just little day by day things, like waiting for dinner when we’re hungry. But delays are often difficult, sometimes downright painful. For some of us, God has seen fit to withhold a desired thing for a long time. Sometimes He’s put us through a season of grief or suffering that is a long time ending. I know a few people who are going through such times right now. Today, I have another gem for them. It’s another one from Streams in the Desert. I just have to post it here; it is so packed with truth.

I hope it’s a blessing to someone who is weak and weary right now. I also hope our little Selena will begin to learn its truths someday, along with all of the other lessons ahead for her. I even think that’s beginning to happen already.

Unanswered yet the prayer your lips have pleaded
In agony of heart these many years?
Does faith begin to fail? Is hope departing?
And think you all in vain those falling tears?
Say not the Father hath not heard your prayer;
You shall have your desire sometime, somewhere.

Unanswered yet? Nay do not say ungranted;
Perhaps your work is not yet wholly done.
The work began when first your prayer was uttered,
And God will finish what He has begun.
If you will keep the incense burning there,
His glory you shall see sometime, somewhere.

Unanswered yet? Faith cannot be unanswered,
Her feet are firmly planted on the Rock;
Amid the wildest storms she stands undaunted,
Nor quails before the loudest thunder shock.
She knows Omnipotence has heard her prayer,
And cries, "It shall be done"--sometime, somewhere.

--Charles D. Tillman, 1894

Thursday, October 12, 2006

They'll Come North Again

It was so nice to see the robins on Tuesday. While I was on my way grocery shopping, they were all over the place in our neighborhood. For a minute I was confused, because our familiar red breasted friends had all been gone for a few weeks, I thought. You know how it is with robins. Around here, people tend to think of a sighting of one in early March as the first sign of spring after the long, hard winter. Then, usually at some point towards the middle to end of September, you realize that they have gone. They come and they go, telling us winter is gone and then in the fall, that winter is coming. Anyway, the ones that were outside a couple of days ago were obviously just a flock passing through from north of us somewhere.

I think the migration of birds is a wonderful thing. It is just another of the wonders of nature that the scientists are not really able to explain. As far as I’m concerned, it is just another proof of the answer to the second question of the children’s catechism. As I’ve said time and time again, I want our grandbaby to someday know these things. What else did God make? is the question asked after she learns that God made her. Well, of course, God made all things. I would like someone, if they could, to offer some other explanation for what happens every spring and fall with the robins, grackles, juncos, and a host of other birds. Who guides them? Where are their maps? Who tells them when it’s time to leave? Where are their calendars? By the way, have you ever watched the goings on at a robin’s nest? I had the privilege of having a ringside seat to just that, right next to my front porch last summer and that totally settled it for me. God was and is the Creator of all things. Someday all of my grandchildren will know it too. I’m sure of that. All they’ll need to do is watch the birds, right?

One more thing. This gives me a good excuse to post another favorite poem from Streams in the Desert. It’s a good one for anyone who happens to read this and is going through trials right now. Each year, we’ll let our robin friends remind us of these truths:

"Oh, every year hath its winter,
And every year hath its rain--
But a day is always coming
When the birds go north again.

"When new leaves swell in the forest,
And grass springs green on the plain,
And alders' veins turn crimson--
And the birds go north again.

"Oh, every heart hath its sorrow,
And every heart hath its pain--
But a day is always coming
When the birds go north again.

"'Tis the sweetest thing to remember,
If courage be on the wane,
When the cold, dark days are over--
Why, the birds go north again."

Friday, October 06, 2006

A Week of Firsts

Over the meadow and through the woods,
To Grandmother’s house we go!

A special visitor came to our house today, and she was all dressed in pink and white. That’s right, Selena made her first trip to PopPop and Nanna’s house, and I sure do hope that it’s the first such trip of many. While she was here, I walked her all around, with her back to my chest and her eyes wide open, showing her each one of the rooms in the house that her mommy grew up in. I think she liked it. She even got her diaper changed on the bed her mommy once slept in. She also got to lie on, and throw up on, the same homemade baby's mat that her Auntie Nee once laid on (and threw up on). I hope there will be many more times for each of these things.

This whole week was a week of “firsts” for my little granddaughter. She went to church for the first time; completed her first month of life; and exhibited her first real smile—appropriately, to her mommy. God willing, there will be many more times when she will do this or that for the first time. So, I’m thinking again about a certain “first”: the first catechism question that I spoke about back in June in my Yahoo blog, when she was yet in the womb. I’m looking forward to the day when she hears that question and responds with the correct answer. The question is, Who Made You? and the answer is God. It's a very simple answer, I know, but this little short word opens the door to everything else she'll need to know.

There will be a first tooth, first step, and much more, but the first time she answers that question all by herself will be really something! And it will be even better when the day comes that she understands it and believes it!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Let's Keep Trusting

In recent days and weeks, many of us have been rejoicing over additions to our families. I know that on blogs I frequent and in my writing groups, new babies have been abounding. Among these new arrivals have been a particularly large percentage of new daughters and granddaughters, it seems. And there are still more coming. But today my thoughts keep going over to the Lancaster County Amish community, where there are many who have tragically lost daughters and granddaughters. I’m sure you’ve heard about it. For many of us, these dear folks have been heavy on our hearts and in our prayers. I know for me, this has been so hard to process. I am telling myself, and telling all of us, that we must keep trusting in our God even in such a time as this, when sin and evil rears its ugly head and brings harm to the harmless. And He would have us to grieve along with even those we do not know.

Today, I think I’ll meditate on the following words I found in one of the Streams in the Desert devotions. I think I need to. Maybe you do too.

I do not ask that He must prove

His Word is true to me,
And that before I can believe
He first must let me see.
It is enough for me to know
'Tis true because He says 'tis so;
On His unchanging Word I'll stand
And trust till I can understand.
--E. M. Winter