Falling Leaves and Pumpkins

It’s that time of year once again. The time when there’s that little nip of coolness in the air, especially first thing in the morning. Even the sunlight is crisper, giving us a hint of the chill that’s soon to follow. Yes, it’s the end of summer….
fall leaves

We can almost see the chill in the trees around us, as the leaves are slowly changed from multi-hued shades of green to vivid tones of red and yellow and orange, as the Lord uses His heavenly paintbrush to color the landscape for us. Gradually those leaves begin to fall from the branches and rain down on us all, forming piles of crackly color that we suddenly want to rake together into a big pile so we can jump into it, like we did when we were children!
painting leaves

Then there are pumpkins. It seems like they’re everywhere. Sitting on displays in stores and along roadside stands, surrounded by colorful fall leaves. Some have carved or painted faces. There’s pumpkin spiced coffee, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pie…you name it! Fall presents us with an invasion of pumpkin everything! With a little apple cider thrown in!

There are bales of hay in the fields, as well as those triangular stacks of corn twisted to resemble Indian tepees. Bonfires are scheduled, and high school football games are big news every weekend!

Yes, it’s fall!

Now here comes the” back in the day” stuff….

When I was growing up, fall signaled the beginning of back to school, for both my mother and me. As a teacher she had bulletin boards to decorate, students’ names to learn, and lesson plans to prepare. I had notebooks and pencils and book covers to buy, and homework to do.

The grapes on our two grape arbors suddenly became ripe and lusciously edible. The trees in the woods behind our house turned beautiful colors and dropped their leaves for us to run through on Saturday afternoons. We never gave a thought about the copperhead snakes that could be out there hiding under those leaves.

My uncle always made the most beautiful jack-o’-lanterns. Over fifty years ago, he was painting faces and other designs on pumpkins rather than carving them, because they’d last longer. My hometown had an annual Halloween parade, with several of the main streets blocked off so the participants could march around our little business district and the county courthouse. Children and adults paraded around streets in costumes and competed for prizes, and the streets were filled with onlookers. My aunt and uncle actually won first prize in the adult division one year, dressed as Raggedy Ann and Andy. (How many of you know who they are?) And if memory serves me correctly, I think some of the local churches sponsored the parade and contributed the prizes!

Believe it or not, I’m not a lover of the fall season. I like my sandy beaches and sun and warmth, with seagulls squawking as they try to steal a French fry here or there, and the sound of the waves crashing in the surf. I like my flip flops and bright beach towels, floating in my pool on a hot afternoon, and eating grilled hamburgers outside in our screened-in porch.

If I had it my way, it would be summer all year round. But I don’t make those decisions; I don’t even get a vote.

Genesis 8:22 speaks to us about the seasons changing and reminds us there will always be “planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter.” It’s a natural progression. Fall is necessary to bring the harvest in, and without the harvest, how would we survive the winter? Even though we now get food year ‘round from other countries whose harvest times are different than ours, we still must rely on the harvest to complete God’s plan.

Whether I like it or not, like the seasons in our lives, seasons end, and new seasons begin. Fall follows summer, winter follows fall, and then finally spring comes back around! It’s His divine plan. Who am I to question?

So bring on the pumpkin pie…with a generous dash of whipped cream!PUMPKIN-PIE

There Is A Door

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)

I heard the Lord tell me one day, “I have a door that is getting ready to open. Be patient, for what is behind it is not quite ready. I want my gift to be perfect. When the gift is ready the door will open. And no man will be able to shut it. I have not forgotten you. And what I have prepared for you will amaze you!”

I must admit I’m waiting for something. An answer to a prayer I’ve been praying for quite some time. I know that verse very well. I’ve quoted it many times, and prayed it many times, both for myself and for others. But the door hasn’t opened yet. I know it will. I just don’t know when. And I don’t know how long I will have to hang on, and hold on, until it does.

And yes, I’m getting impatient. I’m to the point of wondering, “Lord, have you forgotten that promise to me?” Yes, I’ll admit I’ve sort of said that. Several times.

Then Sunday morning, what verse does our pastor preach about? Hebrews 6:10. “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” (NIV) Four days later, what verse does a friend of mine quote on her Twitter feed? Hebrews 6:10. Obviously, the Lord is trying to tell me something.

He hasn’t forgotten me, and He won’t forget me. I have to remember that. I know His promises are true, and I know He always answers our prayers. Always. It’s just very difficult when we have to wait for our answers. We want them in our time frame; which is usually NOT His time frame. And even when He answers our prayers, sometimes we don’t like the answers we get; because sometimes the answer is “no” or “not now” or “I have something better”.

When I was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s there was a TV show called “Father Knows Best.” I’m sure most of you have seen it, even if it was as a rerun on an oldies station. The father was the undisputed head of the household, who always gave the best advice. You could count on his wisdom, because he knew best.

Just like our heavenly Father. He always knows best, even when we doubt Him, question Him, even argue with Him. Just like He knows we will do. But He has a reason. We may not know what that reason is, but in the end, it’s a good reason. Because He has a plan for us that is so much better than we can ever imagine.

I know a door is going to open, but I don’t know when. I don’t know how. And I don’t know what’s going to be behind it. It may be what I’ve asked for, or it may be something better. I won’t know until it opens.

Is there a door you’re waiting to have opened? Do you think the Lord has forgotten you? Take heart, because He hasn’t. He won’t. Our faith tells us that, and His word tells us that.

I know when that door is opened, the gift behind it will be amazing beyond anything I have asked for. And it will have been worth waiting for.

Turning Back the Clocks

“There is a time for everything…” Ecclesiastes 3:3 (NIV)

Almost every one of us wears a watch, or at least keeps track of the time on our cell phones. We watch the time in our cars, on our computers at work, and set our alarm clocks every night before we go to bed. In fact, I would even bet most of us have at least one clock in every room in our house! We’re obsessed with knowing the time….

Saturday night, we turn our clocks back an hour, giving us an extra hour of sleep, or if you prefer, an extra hour to read, watch a movie, or whatever you want to do with it. Never mind that it makes up for that extra hour we lost in the spring which enabled us to have an extra hour of daylight. This is different, because we feel like we’ve gotten a gift!

What do you plan to do with your extra hour?

Or a better question…what would you do if you could turn your clocks back more than an hour and actually travel back in time? How far back would you turn them? Would it be days? Weeks? Or more?

One of the characters in Mitch Albom’s novel “The Timekeeper” tells of a young boy praying “please make it yesterday” so that his father would still be alive. Is that what you would want to do? Perhaps turn back your clocks to right before you got that phone call? Right before the doctor’s appointment? At least one day before a loved one died? Several days before? Would you want to use the time to try and change the outcome, or just tell them all the things you didn’t get the opportunity to say?

It’s a nice thought. A great idea, as a matter of fact. But that’s all it is. A thought; an idea.

Even if you could do that, time continues on, and we cannot stop it. You would still experience whatever it was that happened a few hours, or a few days or even weeks, after the clocks were turned back. The concept of changing the past to affect the future makes for an interesting book or movie plot, but in reality, we all know that is not possible. The Lord has a plan for each of us, and that plan will not be changed.

Although the Lord designed the concept of time to be measurable, time in eternity is not the same as time on earth. “…With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8) (NIV)

For now, our time is measured in earthly time. We count the hours and days and weeks, and turn the calendar pages each month. We cherish the extra time we’re given, and we mourn the time that is lost.

And for now we accept that extra hour we’re given by man, and wish it were more. And it will be on that one day when the Lord gives us the gift of eternity, time without end.

Who Would You Write About?

How many of us are lucky enough to have someone in our life worth writing about? Worth writing an entire book about?  Who is important enough in your life to write about?

For me, that answer is very simple. My mother.

My mother wasn’t famous. She didn’t invent anything. She didn’t start her own business. She never published a book (although I found one she’d written and illustrated with pictures drawn by one of her kindergarten classes – somehow I’m going to get it published for her). She never even sang in her church choir. But I can guarantee you almost everyone who lived in her little town in Maryland for all the years she did, would know her by name. She taught many of them, or their children, and sometimes even their grandchildren. Or she taught one of their friends’ children. That’s one of the beauties of a small town. Everyone knows everyone else.

To me she was just simply my mother. She was someone who stood by me no matter what; who loved me more than anything in the world; someone who was both mother  and father to me. She was strong in spirit, and independent at a time when it wasn’t fashionable. She taught me so much more than I can ever describe, even though she may not have realized it. And if she were still here, she would be completely embarrassed that I’d written a book about her. Because she never wanted any attention drawn to her; she was an extremely private person. It was all about other people.

Her life didn’t go the way she had planned. In a time when women did not normally work outside of the home,  she was thrown into the world of a young widow, in which she had to make her own living, as well as raise her daughter on her own, without the love of her life by her side.

Mom, you did good. You taught me well. And because you did, you gave me the determination and courage to write your story. I hope you approve of it.

In my book, “Memories in a Daughter’s Heart”, you will not only get to know a bit about my mother, but you will also read about the all too tragic side of memory loss and dementia, and how it affects not only the person going through it, but the entire family. It is my hope that all who read this book will come away with a new hope and courage, realizing they can not only survive the journey they are traveling through, but bring back souvenirs of comfort and faith that can be shared with others embarking on the same journey.

If you are presently traveling this journey, what souvenirs do you think you will collect? What memories do you want to bring back?

And if you have already traveled this journey, what souvenirs did you bring back with you?

“Memories in a Daughter’s Heart” will be coming soon to Amazon. To be notified as to the exact publication date, please contact me through the form below.

I welcome all of your comments. Feel free to share them, or if you wish to contact me privately with any questions, or if you just need to share privately, please feel free to do so.