Autumn, Change, Snails

A Snail’s-Eye View

 

Hey! Anybody in there? It’s cold out here! 



Look who came to visit. Mr. Snail showed up after that cold front blew through Monday. The way he craned his neck as if to peep through the patio door, I wouldn’t have been surprised to hear a tap on the glass. I can’t say that I blame him for seeking for refuge. That thunder storm got my attention, too.

But even in the chilly aftermath, he didn’t belong in our house. (Timmy and Max would have batted him around like a hockey puck.) So I snapped a few pictures and relocated him to the flower bed where I hope he went wherever snails go in cold weather and curled up in that beautiful shell.


As often happens after a major storm, the rest of the week has been glorious with autumn-blue skies and crisp temperatures. I enjoy the changing seasons, but I much prefer for them to ease in quietly. One morning soon, we’ll awaken to find that Jack Frost passed through in the night and painted the leaves brilliant reds and golds. That’s the way I like my changes to happen.

There have been times when my life has shifted dramatically. Like Mr. Snail, as I tried to get my bearings, I knocked on some wrong doors or hung around places totally inappropriate for me. But fortunately, someone or something always came along to help me get back on track.

Now when I sense a change is coming, I try to remember to ask God to open His doors and to shut the ones that are wrong for me. I look back to the times I’ve waited for Him and how He guided me, even out of my mistakes. I’ve grown through the process and, overall, feel blessed beyond anything I expected.

Wherever you find yourself today, I pray you will have the patience to wait for God’s best, the understanding to recognize it when it comes and the courage to embrace it completely.


Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Copyright © Reflections from Dorothy’s Ridge 2014. All rights reserved

Autumn, Change, Priorities

A Change of Seasons

I’m welcoming fall with open arms.

I’m tired of living out of a suitcase.

Most of you know that Terry and I kept the road hot between home and Florida this year with multiple week-long trips. First it was to fluff up a new-to-us place and then to relax from the hard work, all of which meant home-sweet-home got short shrift. 

Our kitties were bewildered but fared well because of our wonderful neighbors. Between the automatic sprinklers and a watering system Terry rigged up for the porch and deck plants, everything survived. But I can’t say anything thrived except volunteer privet hedge, brambles and weeds.

Now that we’ve settled down to our regular fall routine (UALR choir for Terry), I’ve been playing catch up on flowerbeds, getting them ready for fall planting. I cut back the peonies and iris, but the periwinkle looked so pretty I decided to leave it a while longer. A little later, I’ll trade them for ornamental cabbage, mums and violas. 

I haven’t figured out my color scheme beyond the mums and ornamental grass on the front porch. I dusted off my autumn wreath, but I’m waiting to buy pumpkins and gourds. I want them to last through Thanksgiving.   

The lesson for me in all this is that when I spread myself too thin, something suffers. I can’t have flourishing plants without being present to deadhead and feed them. Brambles, privet and weeds will take over if I don’t systematically remove them. I should have planted fewer pots on the deck, but the periwinkle was the right choice for that little flower bed by the driveway. 

That’s the way my life is too. When I sign up for too many things, it shows up in stress and/or performance. I think God gives us new seasons where he says it’s okay to lay down one thing to make time for another or to just be for a while. Giving myself permission to do so can be a challenge because I don’t like to disappoint people. And I must admit I’m pretty invested in some activities. 
My favorite birthday gift this year

I recently turned over a job to someone at church and felt such relief. I was glad that no one tried to talk me out of it—people sometimes do, you know. 

I thought about it a long time before saying anything, but when a speaker at a recent conference asked if there were anything we’d secretly be relieved to let go, it was like God confirming that this was the time to give someone else the opportunity to serve.  I believehe picked my replacement, and I know she will do a good job.

What about you. Are you over-committed? Is there anything you’d be relieved to hand over to someone else? 

Think about it.

 

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: Ecc. 3:1

Copyright © Reflections from Dorothy’s Ridge 2014. All rights reserved

Aging, Change, Grandchildren, Life Challenges, Spring

Yippee! It’s Spring

Spring is finally here! The forsythia, jonquils, and Bradford Pears have been showing out for days. This week’s burst of glory, along with transitions in our oldest grandson’s life, have turned my thoughts to the changing seasons of life.

Brady just graduated from the University of Arkansas Fayetteville and started his first job in architecture. Are we proud? For sure. Was he ready? You bet. But with all that pride and excitement, he’s also had to handle the stress that comes even with good changes. And his parents and grandparents have entered the land of Happy-Sad by coming face to face with the fact that he is now a full-fledged adult. Where did the time go? and all those other familiar phrases have run through our minds for months.

Terry and I don’t wish him to be a baby again, but it means we’ve aged by 20-plus years and have entered another phase of life too. Have we seen changes in ourselves? Sure thing. Did we want to acknowledge them? Not really. But I’m not sure that’s good. While every birthday reminds me of my mortality, I’m grateful to be on the down side of 60. I’ve had friends who longed to celebrate growing older. I just want to make the most of these years.

And guess what? I hear that 50 is the new 30. I like that! That must mean that 70 is the new 50. Even better. Terry and I had lots of fun in our 50s. You know, children grown, more money and time to do fun things. I’m thinking the next couple of decades are going to be good.

 
But I’m a realist and I realize from observing my parents and in-laws that the body betrays us as we age, especially if we don’t pay attention. Things get a little harder, but I think achievements are a little sweeter, too.

My plan is to embrace the days ahead, to take better care of myself—body, mind, and spirit—and to dare to be discriminating in my activities. If it’s not meaningful, I plan to say no. If I tell you no about something, it’s not you. It’s just where I am in this season of life.  

What about you? Are you taking stock with the change of season?

  For,“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” I Pet. 1:24