Magic

When it snows in Alabama it feels like magic.

The white stuff causes wonder and excitement like nothing else. We watch the snow as it falls and we pray that it “sticks”. Most of the time the ground is so warm around these parts that the snow melts as soon as it touches.

But sometimes……  img_1109-1

Sometimes……..

It sticks.

And it’s one of the most beautiful sights you’ve ever seen. Especially in the country. Where the cows are in the fields and the trees are big and the sheds and fences are covered with snow.

And the roads are closed because no one knows how to drive on snowy roads and we don’t have chains on our tires.

But we play in the snow because it may be the only snow we get for a few years. We build a snowman and ride garbage can lids down hills and have snowball fights.

Then we gather enough snow to make snow cream and eat it while we talk about how we hope the snow stays another day.

But it doesn’t take long for the magic to melt and we wait for it to come again.

In response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge Temporary.

If We Pay Attention

You are to pay special attention to those who by accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you. ~ Saint Augustine

We came into closer connection with a lot of people on our trip to Colorado.

Smiles or nods were exchanged with most of the people we saw. Or a slight raise of the hand as I passed fellow runners on the trails. Hikers seem especially courteous.

Words were exchanged with some of the people. An older gentleman commented on the collegiate sweatshirt my daughter was wearing while eating breakfast one day. While strolling downtown, a shopkeeper let us know she could see we weren’t from around there. That started a really nice conversation with her.

The waiter at the restaurant chuckled when my daughter ordered sweet tea then offered her something else.

We met a mother and daughter from Chicago on one of our hikes. The daughter is looking at the local college. Her mother was nervous on the hike, worried about bears and mountain lions but mostly the edges of the mountains and going higher and higher.

We met our son’s friends for the first time. We cooked for them and ate with them. We looked them in the eyes and talked with them and asked them about their lives. I think we were more interested in them than they were in us.

But it was so good to come into closer connection with them.

We learn from others. About them and ourselves. About who we were and who we are and sometimes about who we want to be. We learn about humanity in general.

If we pay attention.

Each one of us has a story. An important one. And we are changed by them.

If we pay attention.

Even from a distance we can be changed and learn from others. I don’t know the climber pictured here on the mountain. When I saw him I was impressed with his smallness. From observing him, I learn that he is brave and he invested a lot of time to be on that mountain.

I’m sure he felt his smallness and that his heart was full of awe and wonder.

Mine was.

Saintly

This part of the Three Quotes for Three Days Challenge issued by my friend Vanessa at Simple Joys.  Thank you Vanessa.

Shine

The sun was still low in the sky when I went on my first run here this morning. I found a beautiful park with lots of running trails. We are in Colorado visiting my son and we’re beyond happy to be here.

We hiked the Flatirons yesterday. My son was a great guide…..excited for us to experience it. He forgets that we’re not as brave as he is. He likes to go off trail and scale rocks and jump from one rock to another. I watch him and wonder and then I’m brave.

This is a place he shines. The outdoors….a new place……rugged and risky.

..the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.   Number 6:25

 

Small Town

During the summer a friend and I took an overnight trip to Nashville. It was long overdue. We needed the time spent talking and laughing and moving slowly through wherever we were.

We stopped in a few small towns on our way to Nashville. One of them was here in Elkmont, Alabama. My friend was very excited about me seeing this place called Belle Chèvre. She treated me to lunch and it was splendid.

I just couldn’t get over this quaint little town. It isn’t too far from my own small town but it had a different feel.

The day we were there the town was hosting its annual tractor parade. An old gentleman we met at one of the small town shops beamed with pride as he told us about the festivities that surrounded the event. 

We saw part of the parade of tractors as we drove on country roads to get back to the interstate. There were big green tractors, old red ones, shiny black and brown ones. We even saw a yellow tractor. They were in no rush to get where they were going.

I felt at home in that small town with my friend and goat cheese and tractors.

In response to the Weekly Photo Challenge Local and the Daily Prompt Rube.

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“Educated in a small town
Taught the fear of Jesus in a small town
Used to daydream in that small town
Another boring romantic, that’s me

No I cannot forget where it is that I came from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be.”

Small Town by John Mellencamp

Quest

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Photo by Ty Griffith

We all know what it’s like to look for something. Sometimes the thing we’re looking for is lost. We had it….but lost it……so we search for it. Like keys or a receipt or your wallet.

Sometimes the thing we’re looking for isn’t a thing at all. It’s a feeling. Or answers. Or a memory or truth.

I’ve heard of people trying to find themselves. I think they mean they’re trying to figure out who they are and where they fit into this big world and maybe they’re trying to make sense of it all.

We’ve all searched. We all have a sense of longing……..for something we can’t quite name.

So we travel the world and see all there is to see.

We seek adventure and hike the highest peaks and explore deep waters and jump out of airplanes.

We get the PhD from the best university.

We build a career that lets us make plenty of money so we can drive the best cars and dine at the finest restaurants and have an extra house at the beach.

We buy the trendiest outfits, dye our hair, get implants and tattoos, have our stomachs stapled and noses reshaped.

We marry that guy or that girl and when it doesn’t work out we move on to the next one that’s supposed to make us happy.

When those things don’t work we self-medicate to numb the ache.

Different thrill. New place. Bigger house. More stuff.

But the search continues because none of those things, not one of them, eases the ache inside.

The longing remains.

C.S. Lewis said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord….  Jeremiah 29:11-14a  (NIV)

Caper

The Edge

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At the edge of my grandmother’s yard there was a rock wall that separated our yard from hers. My little sister and I jumped over those rocks a thousand times. We used the rock wall as a hurdle in the pretend race courses we created.

“Run around the pecan tree and back to the barn, from the barn to the apple tree then run and jump over the rock wall. To the gravel road back through the yard over the rock wall and down to the pines. Climb the mimosa tree and down the mimosa tree then up the gravel road to the mailbox. Whoever touches the mailbox first wins.”

I can’t remember who won most of the time. Maybe we took turns winning. I do remember that when we finished the course we felt we’d done something big. Our rock wall hurdle seemed tall way back then.

The rocks are still there……exactly as they were when I was a little girl. Now I can step over those large old rocks with ease.  img_4544

The rocks haven’t changed.

But I have.

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”         Colossians 2:7

In response to the Daily Prompt Cusp.

Live On

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I remember playing in the shade of this old pecan tree when I was a little girl.

A long time ago the tree was struck by lightning. The wounds from the strike are only scars now.

Although damaged and misshaped the tree lives on. It’s a resilient one. It found a way to survive…..thrive even.

Birds still perch there. Shade is still given. It’s a generous tree.

And the hole in the center of the tree is the perfect place for a squirrel to rest from his scampering.

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In response to The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge Resilient.

Now

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Right now.

I’m excited and nervous and ready to be there.

But I’m here. Now.

I will run my first Spartan Race tomorrow morning so I’m full of anticipation.

The best thing I can do now is to be all here right now and enjoy it.

Take it in. The excitement and the anticipation of the race. The wondering if I’m prepared. The uneasiness in my stomach. All of it.

That’s all we can do with now. Be here. Be in it and all in it.

I can’t be there yet so I will be fully present here now.

But how many times do I let now pass me by….waiting for tonight or tomorrow or next year….or even worse regretting yesterday or last week or 5 years ago.

And I miss it. The moment.

Now.

It’s gone.

We all have now. Right now. And all of the nows together will make our lives. And each one of them is unique….there’s not another one like it.

The average life will have over 2,200,000,000 of those. That seems plenty until you’ve already experienced over half of them.

I don’t want to miss them.

I’m going to treasure all the moments I get…….every now I can.

The ones when one of my children makes me laugh. The ones I get when driving to work and a favorite song comes on. A beautiful sunrise, a great cup of coffee, a vivid dream.

The ones when I’ve learned or tried something new. The ones when I find out I can do more than I thought I could.

The sweet ones when my husband pulls me tight and hugs me longer.

The late night talks with my children, the early morning ones too. The talk with the neighbor because we were working in our yards at the same time.

The ones when I understand something or find something I thought was lost.

The victorious one when I cross the finish line tomorrow will be a very special moment but the drive to the hotel tonight will have some good ones too.

But right now…….

I’m going to savor the “I can hardly wait” feeling.

“So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 ESV

 

In response to the Daily Post’s Discover Challenge Here and Now.

Fun

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My youngest daughter drew this cute and playful unicorn one afternoon on our driveway with her sidewalk chalk. Her artwork lasted several days before an afternoon rain washed it away.

But what fun it was for those few days to see the brightly colored unicorn galloping across the driveway each evening when I came home from work.

 

 
In response to the Daily Post’s Folly.
 

In response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge Fun!.