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My grandfather was a salesman for Westinghouse.  He spent his week dressed in a suit making calls on various customers, showing them the latest in electrical boxes and the like.  Many a building in downtown St. Louis contained components that he had sold.

When he got off, he’s head to his suburban home and sip a martini.  Evenings he grilled on the patio around which he had planted a variety of roses and mums.

I spent a lot of time with my grandparents and it would have been easy for me to learn to see the world as urban (good) and all those other grubby people.  But that wasn’t Bumpa’s way.  He also loved to hunt mushrooms so he knew many of the farmers around St. Louis.  His favorites were the morrells and he knew where to find them.  He’d bring a gift for the farmer and chat for a while before heading into the woods to look for mushrooms.

He also loved to fish.  When we’d go down to the lake, we’d stop and spend time with another farm family he knew.  I have no clue how they met but to reach their  land, you drove down a narrow country lane and then too a hard right across a field, nosing a gate open with the hood of the car.

My childhood memories include following men in overalls and women in gingham out to various barns to see calves, lambs and piglets.  Me?  I don’t, by any stretch of the imagination, have the skills of a farmer but I love the sound of rain on a corrugated roof, the taste of a garden ripe tomato, and the crunch of an apple fresh off the tree.

I’m thankful my grandfather taught me these things.  They help me appreciate God’s creation all that much more.

–SueBE

It is the little things that mean a lot.  I thought of this when I read Ruth’s crowded house and sharing space with wildlife.  I live in Missouri and it is warming up enough that humming birds are moving back into our area.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with these tiny little birds, they do not have tiny personalities.  My father-in-law generally has about 10 humming birds that come to his deck to feed.  As they try to bully each other away from the feeder, you hear a cacophony of humming bird squeaks.  And the birds at my grandmother’s in West Texas would come up to the porch when the feeder was empty.  Step outside and a bird would hover beside your face.  “Hey!  Hey, you!  Fill ‘er up.”

To put it mildly, I love humming birds.  So I’ve got one feeder out front and another out back but yesterday I was bemoaning the fact that I had yet to see any.  I had my back to the window.  “There’s a bird on the feeder now.”  I thought my husband was being funny, but I turned and there it was.

No one dared to leave the house until the tiny bird had eaten its fill.  Soon my sage will be in full bloom and the humming birds will have a feast.

Growing blossoms that feed them and mixing up their special sugar water helps me feel connected to God’s creation.  I may not be able to calm the seas, but I can feed a handful of tiny birds.

–SueBE

 

Missouri had some seriously wacky weather last week and I know we aren’t the only US state to experience it.  On Wednesday, the high was something like 6 and I don’t even remember what the windchill was.  Saturday it was something like 60 and I noticed that something is sprouting in my flower beds.  Technically, it should be the crocus because they should come up before the daffodils.  But these leaves look a little heavy to be crocus.  I shall see what I shall see when they are a little farther along.

More than anything I wanted to get out the kneeler and start working with a hand rake to pull the leaves out of the beds that line the front of the house. I would get to feel the sun on my back and listen to the bird song while I piddled along.  We have many feet of garden beds – I’m not sure why this seemed like such a good idea.  I’m really not very talented.  We joke that some things thrive in spite of me.

What can I say?  Gardening in moderation makes me happy.  It relaxes me.  When I’m on my knees working in the beds, I feel closer to God.  Is it because I’m on my knees?  Or is it because my hands are in the soil?  I have no clue.   But one thing is sure – taking part in God’s creation is good for the soul.

–SueBE

 

Had you told me, back when I was a kid, that someday I’d be doing all my writing on a laptop computer, I never would have believed you. (Also, I would have asked, “What’s a laptop computer?” Those were simpler times, folks.) Even during college, I wrote out all of my papers — no matter how lengthy — in longhand before typing them up. My brain-to-pen connection was strong. Nowadays, everything flows through my keyboard. Even prayers.

What is it
that emanates from you:
enters, moves and exits,
dances my digits
across lonely letters,
forming whole words,
little acts of creation —
a platypus, perhaps,
beaked but mammalian,
spare bits that somehow swim —
or a perfect petit four, iced
elegance, consumed in a gulp?
Is it the stuff of charlatans,
tapped alphabets, levitating tables?
Or is it you, yourself,
hunting and pecking,
posing a sort of code,
and do I even interpret one word in three?
Whatever this holy magic is,
please may it always be.

Listen.

What do you hear?

The thermostat outside my office just came on.  Seconds later, the heating element in the furnace power up.  The blower just powered up.

I’m a big fan of quiet. The cat and I do quiet time on the sofa.  I generally have a book.

Yesterday my sister found my standing in her kitchen at the far corner, out of sight of the dining room.  She didn’t ask.  She was coming up from the basement where she was changing out the laundry.  My brother-in-law’s family sat around the dining room table shouting at each other about conservatives, progressivism, and a cow with gigantism.

One of the teens sat at the table on her tablet, playing a game.  The other two both had their phones out.  Soon the shouting conversation progressed to millennials.  Granted, only one of them is a millennial but the obnoxious part was that the two older kids, the ones with phones, had tried to participate.  Now they were texting friends, developing their own social networks and going where they could be heard.

Silence.  It can be a powerful thing.

–SueBE

Tonight while my husband grills dinner, I’m going to clean up the patio set.  It’s a bit dusty and there are birds in the vicinity.  But I’ve also met two deadlines in the past week.  To put it simply, I’m feeling stressed.  Just a few too many people are turning to me with taksts that need to be done.

I feel the need to spend some time outside.

Sure, part of it is avoiding the fun.  Take it outside?  What if I dropped it on the paving stones?  It sounds like a bad idea.

I’m only half-joking.  I’m really not one of those people who always has her phone at her side.  I tend to lose it.

But there are weeds to pull.  And its supposed to rain on Friday.  I love listening to the rain on a corrugated roof.

Rain and wind.  Trees and grass.  All can help put things in perspective.

Breathe, they seem to say.  Be.  Be in and part of God’s Creation.    It is enough.

–SueBE

 

I spent a lot of time this weekend thinking about parenting, probably because yesterday was Father’s Day.  For me, one of the toughest things about being a parent has been letting him be his own person.

I wish he was neater.

I’d love a kid who loves crafting as much as I do.

Hunting?  Ugh.

But there are amazing aspects to his personality too.  He may not care if his surroundings are perfect, but he’s forgiving.  People don’t have to be perfect either.

Crafting is out but building and repairs are in. He’s reglued chairs, helped me paint and more.

He has no fear of being out in the forest.  Every little noise has me looking over my shoulder.  This is his space and he loves it.  And because of that he works to protect it.

Me, you, that kiddo who is technically an adult?  God created us all to be unique individual people.  The great thing about that?  We each have special skills, concerns and abilities.  He made us that way.  Celebrate the diversity in God’s creation!

–SueBE

When I saw this quote, I immediately recalled one of the year-long Bible studies I did in our church’s women’s circle.  The topic for the 2016-2017 was Who Is Jesus? The cover image was a photomosaic.  This is a compilation of photos used as mosaic tiles.  In this case, photos of the natural world, combined to create an image of Christ.

Look on it too closely and you see only each animal or plant – the bear, the owl, the fern.  And while these things are fascinating in themselves, pull back and you see Christ.

You, me, that annoying dog barking next door?  We are all parts of the Creation.  Pull back, look at the whole, and see what you can see.

–SueBE

Yesterday we celebrated my niece’s fifteenth birthday.  The last year of so she seems to really be coming into her own.  She’s on the pom pom squad and a gifted student who loves science.  She’s a budding photographer and spends hours perfecting just the right look with makeup and clothing.

“Oh, she’s so like you.”  That’s what people tell my make-up hound, clothes horse sister.  And to an extent this is true.

But my brother-in-law is also a gifted photographer.

And then there’s that part that is 100% unique to my niece.  Pom poms?  The vast majority of us can barely walk straight and we have the bumps and bruises to prove it.  But she’s doing all kinds of complicated dance routines.  That said, I won’t be shocked when she knocks something over.  She is my niece.

At fifteen she’s struggling with how people expect her to be vs how she envisions herself.

What’s my job as her crazy aunt?  I give out hugs every chance I get.  I tell her she’s amazing and funny and smart.  It doesn’t matter how old you are or how you identify yourself in terms of gender.  God created each of us in love.  Finding ourselves under society’s expectations can be tough.

–SueBE

 

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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