CHALLENGING PATHS

Rossistones

As often happens when I’m away from home, I awaken early.

4:05 a.m. to be exact.

Rossi Place

 

I finally get out of bed around 5:00 and brew a pot of coffee.

Still in my nightclothes, I make my way onto the deck of our neighbors’ house on Lake Hamilton.

 

RossiSwing2

 

 

As the sky lightens, I notice a swing on the landing halfway down to the water. I go down the stairs but see that the seat is still drenched in dew, so I stand and sip my coffee, taking in the landscape.

 

RossiRRT

To the right, steps fashioned from railroad ties curve downward. Worn and mossy surfaces betray their age, and there’s no handrail.

Not for the faint of heart.

 

 

RossiNewPathOn the left, a newer stairway, constructed from decking and concrete, gives way to flat stone steps. It looks stable. And there’s a sturdy wire handhold.

I opt for the newer, more secure path and head to the dock and over to the seating area at the bottom of the old railroad-tie steps.

 

 

RossiMistWisps of fog hover over the lake. Somewhere across the way, a bird welcomes the new day with song. I wish one of those little clouds would drift close enough for me to reach out and touch its dream-spun softness.

I lift my head and breathe in the peace I always feel near a body of water. No wonder working people retreat here for weekends.

IMG_5769As I return up the rock stairs, I notice ferns and moss softening their hard faces.

 

Later, I find myself pondering the two paths. Although the older route would have appealed to a younger me, I’m acutely aware that at this stage of life, I would need a walking stick to maneuver down those ancient steps. Two scriptures come to mind.

Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ Jeremiah 6:16

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me
. Psalm 23:4

I find myself praying for the wisdom and courage to choose the right path even when it appears rugged. I recall past experiences when the way felt rocky and hard, but every time I held onto to God real tight, He delivered me safely to my destination.

 

RossiRRWay

What about you?

Are ever tempted to take the easy way out?

Whatever path you find yourself on today, whatever you are facing, I wish you peace and the revelation that when Jesus calls us to follow Him, we can trust Him to keep us.

 

For I hold you by your right hand— I, the Lord your God.

And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.

Isaiah 41:13

 

 

FINDING CONTENTMENT

HappinessProject_RightColumn

One of the books I read this year was The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. This bestseller has been around since 2009, so you may be way ahead of me.

Although I’d read her column in a woman’s magazine, I’d never felt the need to delve into the book–that is, until someone I love confided he was working on being happier.

As sometimes happens, shortly after that conversation, I saw Gretchen’s book, thought of him, and bought it. Not wanting to send him something I hadn’t read, I plunged in.

And guess what?

I saw myself.

76cc3-img_1347Like the author, I have a good life: a fine husband, children, grandchildren, and friends. I have enough disposable income to buy a pair of shoes that strike my fancy or to splurge on a surprise for someone else.

However, as I read, I realized that in spite of this, I wasn’t as happy and content as I wanted to be.

So I slowed down and pondered the research Gretchen had done and the way she applied it to her life.

And I tried some of it myself.

Consequently, I’m more aware of what brings joy to my life, and I’m happier when I take time to savor little surprise such as:

  • Finch eggs nestled in the center of a fern

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  • A fragrance-filled breeze leading me to new gardenia blooms at the end of my porch Gardenia2
  • the warmth and whir of a relaxed kitty snoozing in my lap.

I’m more content when I recognize and acknowledge other peoples’ kindnesses like:

  • The friend who called me every day when I was going through a rough stretch
  • Text messages and calls from my children and grandchildren
  • Terry’s willingness to eat out without a fuss when I’ve had a busy day or just don’t want to cook
  • Other writers who share their knowledge, read my blog, and encourage me

I feel more fulfilled when I

  • Make time to write
  • Check on that person who’s struggling with a problem
  • Exchange a daily list of things for which I’m grateful with my gratitude partner
  • Interact with readers like you.

I could go on, but you get the drift.

I’m happier because I’ve been taking the time to notice and acknowledge the blessings in my life.

There will be more to come. And I’ll probably share them here.

What makes you happiest?

 

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.
 Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Lamentations 2:22-23 NLB

Mother’s Black Pearl

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I can mark my calendar by a lily’s blossom. My mother’s Black Pearl is such a faithful July bloomer that I could flip my calendar by her first magenta starburst.

This year, Pearl is particularly glorious.

Black Pearl Lily (1)

Every time she flowers, I rejoice at Pearl’s faithfulness because she’s part of my history.

For years, she reigned in the flowerbed at the corner of the dining room of my childhood home, welcoming all who ventured up the sidewalk.

My parents were proud of Pearl. A gift from a friend, she even has a pedigree, recorded on onionskin paper.

After they were gone, I moved her to our yard. Now, each year, I feel that mysterious connection between

what once was,

is,

and

someday will be.

I’d like to think one of my children will want Pearl when Terry and I are no longer here.

Better yet, maybe all of them will want a start of Grandma’s pride and joy.

lilies4

After all, Pearl is always expanding, sending up shoots through the azalea branches. Besides, I need to do my part to instill the Latimer love for flower gardening.

Maybe I’ll give them a start of Black Pearl.

I’ll copy her papers.

And I’ll tell them about their Granddad’s love for flower gardening, a passion instilled by his mother. It’s a love I must have inherited because the older I get, the more flowering plants I want in my yard.

I think about the power of a single blossom to connect us to folks who understood the seasons, sowing and reaping–

people who came before us yet live on through us.

Once again, I remember my rich heritage.

And I am blessed in the remembering.

What about you?

Is there something that blesses and connects you to those who came before you?

I’d love to hear about it.

By the way, if you’d like a start of Pearl, drop by. I’ll even copy her pedigree for you.

 

So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Matthew 6:28-29