Archive for July, 2010

When I was young I was a big fan of the singing brother/sister group called ‘The Carpenters’.  I enjoyed their easy style of music and often ‘romantic’ (from my youthful perspective) rhythms.  One song that I enjoyed was called ‘Rainy Days and Mondays’ and the concept was that rainy days and Mondays always get the singer ‘down’ (or depressed her).

I couldn’t help but think of that song today as the sky is overcast and rain has been fairly steady.  Our church picnic on the lake that we had anticipated for the day has duly been canceled leaving me with an unplanned (albeit rainy) day on my hands.  I have caught up on several chores that I had been pushing aside all week for lack of adequate time, but I have also spent time doing some research, emailing friends, an extra long time in my Bible reading and studying and various other fun things that I never seem to have adequate time to do.  I was vacuuming and humming along with my online music station a little while ago and realized I was humming ‘Rainy Days and Mondays’ and for the first time in my life I wondered what in the world would cause someone to be ‘down’ on a gloriously cozy and peaceful rainy day.  As I thought about that I suddenly realized how very much I love rainy days as well as Mondays!

I love rainy days because I love hibernating.  But I love Mondays because they feel like a clean slate to me!  On Mondays I have a whole fresh new week before me.  It may be a week when I totally blow it in many ways, but from the perspective of an eternal optimist it is a whole new week to start fresh and do better!  Each Monday I find myself planning how I will eat better, be more cheerful, and disciplined, and loving, and kind, and obedient to my Lord…and on and on it goes.  It’s a fresh page!  A clean slate!  What in the world is depressing about a new opportunity?

Now, obviously I’m one of those ‘glass half full’ people, but isn’t all of life a choice?  I could choose to see the glass half empty, but what would be the point in that?  I believe the enemy of my soul (Satan himself) would have me look at life in that way, but you know what?  I refuse!

And so…as I look at the clock and see that it’s 2:30 in the afternoon already I suddenly realize that my glorious gift day is half over.  Then I grin and realize that I still have several hours and plenty of energy to accomplish a bit more, and rest a bit more, and praise a bit more……..


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Jesus Laughing

Tonight as I relaxed after a busy day, I played a computer game while my husband sat nearby reading his usual—theology—while our Pandora station played in the background.  This is a fairly typical evening for us, but tonight something a bit unusual happened to me—inside!  We were listening to Rick’s favorite station tonight with gospel music and a song played that made me stop what I was doing and just simply listen to the words.  I’d never heard it before, so I quickly replayed it several times.

The name of the song is ‘Jesus Laughing’ and is a Mark Lowry song.  That man writes some amazing stuff in my estimation.  (Some of his stuff is plain stupid, but it always makes you smile anyway.)  Well, this song is not stupid.  It begins by talking about a picture on the wall of Jesus laughing, but proceeds in following verses to imagine the singer’s entry into heaven.  It depicts Jesus’ welcoming arms and as he looks at Jesus’ face, Jesus is laughing with pure joy.

I closed my eyes as he sang and could imagine my own heavenly entry.  I’ve always imagined Jesus smiling gently as I run into His arms, but tonight I saw Him laughing!  Laughing with pure joy that bubbles up from deep inside when the joy cannot be contained any longer!  And as I ran laughing toward Him with my arms outstretched the tears began to run down my face and my feet hardly touched the ground.  And when I reached Jesus arms – we danced!  Danced with pure, utter joy as He swung me around and we laughed together with boundless merriment!

How I look forward to that day!  It will be a day of celebration in heaven, and I truly hope it will be a day of celebration here on earth also.  Oh, I know there will be some sadness in the hearts of those who love me and are left behind to miss me (at least a little—I hope!), but I hope it will mainly be cause for celebration and joy.  It’s the day I live for!

Please understand—I said live for, not long for—at least not just yet.  I still have a lot of living to do here on this earth enjoying my grandchildren and all the other glorious gifts God has given me.  But every day of my life my goal is to live in such a way that there will not just be smiles, but laughter and clapping and dancing when I enter heaven.  I hope the saints of all the ages will be shouting:  Judi’s here!  Judi’s here!  Judi’s here!  But most of all, how I’d love to see Jesus laughing as He reaches His arms toward me!

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Dog Days

I don’t know where you are and what the temperature is there, but here it is HOT!  I don’t know that I have ever experienced heat quite like this.  It is relentless.  It drains me completely and is making me feel really, really old.

My gardens are languishing in this heat.  Well, the vegetables are languishing.  The flowers don’t seem to mind terribly—as long as I give them their early morning drink as often as I can they seem to thrive.  And I do notice the birds drinking their bathwater more than they bathe in it, but there’s enough dirt in the water each day to let me know someone out there is keeping themselves pristine and enjoying a cool dip now and again.

I used to hear the old people talk about the ‘dog days’ of summer.  I’m wondering if this is what they meant.  And thinking about it makes me think of life in my Grandmother’s day.  Before air-conditioning.  Before ceiling fans.  And then I think…my grandmother?  Shoot!  We sure didn’t have air-conditioning or ceiling fans when I was a girl……

When I was a girl summer was hot, but life went on…and on…and on!  I remember picking the vegetables from our huge garden early before the day got too hot, and then sitting in the shade of the apple trees to string and snap beans in the heat of the day.  I remember Mother keeping the canner going in the kitchen until her face was flushed with heat, but we were able to be outside where we could hope for a breeze.

Daddy put an attic fan in the upstairs hallway that sucked the heat from the house into the attic during the daytime.  He put window fans in the upstairs windows and kept them blowing out during the day to rid the house of the hot air, but would make them bring the cool nighttime air in.  The air was damp with humidity, but our house stayed reasonably cool.  What I really didn’t like was that he kept the window blinds pulled to keep the heat out, and I hated our dark house in the summer.

In fact, it seemed like our house was always dark.  In the winter Daddy was adamant about keeping the lights turned off in the rooms where no one was at the moment.  So every time you entered a room, it was pitch black and you had to turn a light on, and heaven forbid if you forgot to turn it off the moment you left the room!  Even if you planned to return momentarily!

I know he had a lot of mouths to feed, and felt that lighting an empty room was an extravagance, but it did something to me inside.  I have no fear of the dark, but I hate the gloominess and unwelcome feel of entering a dark house or room.  When I was very small I determined that whatever it took, when I had my own home the rooms would always be bright and cheerful.  And I do!  As dusk approaches I always go from room to room to be certain there is at least a small lamp glowing in every room.  I love to have welcome candles in each window, but in this house our center front window happens to be in the shower, so I can’t very well have a candle there, nor do I want all the windows glowing their welcome except one.  So I have contented myself with turning on lamps in each room as long as we remain in this house.  Hopefully, the next house will not have that issue and will once again broadcast a warm welcome to passersby as well as those within its walls as they move from room to room.

And thanks to life in the 21st century, hopefully the rooms will also be cool in the summer and warm in the winter, making other memories for my grandchildren than discomfort!

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Clothesline Sheets

One of my very favorite extravagances is sleeping in sheets that have been dried in the sunshine on a clothesline.  Especially in the early spring when the days are cool and the breeze is brisk.  On those days, there is a fragrance to those sheets that only God can give!  They are as smooth as though they’ve been ironed—even when they haven’t—and there’s just nothing like it!

My family has loved to tease me through the years, and until they started making remarks about it, I had not realized how very much I look forward to wash day for my clothesline sheets!  And through the years, I have come to the conclusion that God cares about them too!  I have lost count of how many wash days began with hovering clouds, but I asked God to hold back the rain (yes, I’m afraid I even did it during a drought!) until my sheets could dry on the clothesline.  I was careful to get them out early—so as not to hold up God’s plans longer than necessary—and there are numerous times through the years that I would finally bring those sheets in dried, but the raindrops would start before I even reached the back door!  I was always careful to say ‘Thank You’ for His concern for my indulgence!

Now, I know many of you are probably rolling your eyes and maybe even laughing out loud, but God DOES enjoy giving us the desires of our hearts—when our hearts are centered on Him.  Psalm 37:3-7a reads like this:

‘Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.  Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:  He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.  Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.’

I am convinced that when our trust is completely in God and our goal is to serve Him whole-heartedly, that He will joyfully give us many of the little ‘pleasures’ that make our lives particularly enjoyable. He is so totally GOOD!

My clothesline sheets have become somewhat notorious, and it’s not uncommon for people to know what day I’m doing laundry and call to ask if my sheets got dry today.  Our family had a particularly good chuckle when our sons were looking up our country home on a Google site once a number of years ago. They discovered a satellite picture that showed the whole area topically.  It was easy to find our land because there by the barn were our sheets on the clothesline, blowing out nearly horizontally in the stiff Indiana breeze!  They chuckled and said, ‘Well, we know what day of the week they take those pictures!’  I just smiled and knew in my heart that it was the day of the week we sleep the best.  There’s just nothing like it!

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More butterflies

I received several comments–both on the blog and in my email inbox–after posting the pictures of my butterfly friend the other day.  The very next day I had a new contender in the “Mr. Butterfly Pageant”.  Who’s more beautiful?  Who’s to say?  The blue on this fellow was almost neon!   Enjoy!

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Summer in the South

Having moved to the southern part of Virginia from the northern Midwest, I am finding the summers to be relentless here.  I’ve never been a big fan of sweating, and the older I get, the more I’m convinced that sweating is for jocks and I’d much rather be a lady!

My husband and I are enjoying (or perhaps enduring would be more accurate) our third summer here and I’m trying for all I’m worth to get accustomed to this heat.  I cannot bear to give up my hobby of gardening, but I’m having to learn a whole new way of gardening here and something in my head is just not getting it!  And so I spend a large chunk of my summer watering my gardens!

One of the very fun things for me about gardening is getting starts from friends and sharing starts with them as well.  While living in Indiana I had lots of LARGE gardens and I always had lots of starts to share with those wanting to add some color or those just starting out.  Sharing starts is not only fun, but is quite economical.

We had just less than 9 acres there and I gardened avidly.  When one garden became mature and needed thinning a bit, I would share starts with everyone I could think might be interested, and then, inevitably, I’d dig a new garden somewhere because I could not bear to throw away perfectly good plants!  I think my husband began dreading spring because quite regularly he would end up helping me dig a new garden because he couldn’t bear to watch me sweat and wear myself out.  Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the garden in the end, digging one was more than I could quite manage alone.  He has such a good heart, and after all, a little grumbling never hurt anyone!

And then the fun began.  Digging starts and arranging them just so, watering, feeding, and mulching and watching God do the rest.  Life just doesn’t offer much better than that in my book!

When we moved to Virginia three years ago, I sent starts home with my sister begging her to get them established so I could come and claim starts from them the next spring.  The property we purchased had no gardens or landscaping at all.  It was a clean slate!  And so I began gardening here.  And I did it the only way I knew how.  However, I found that transplanting really does need to take place VERY early in the spring here or those little plants will just cook to death before the roots can get established.  At any rate, I dug starts from my sister, and then from friends who had raided my gardens earlier.  It has been a labor of love watching the colors blend together and learning a whole new parade of blooming here, since everything blooms totally differently than in Indiana.

But as I sit at my desk and look out at the lovely blooms here, I finally feel at home.  And I’ve found that some lovely butterflies have found a new home as well—at least new feeding grounds.  Today after deadheading and fertilizing I found this new friend sitting on a flower by our back door and thought it was too beautiful to keep to myself.  So I’m sharing it with you!  Enjoy!

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