I rush out the door without the keys to my office. My husband agrees to drive home, find my keys, and return them to me. So I pass the time at the coffee shop and then wander aimlessly in the library until he arrives.
(This is a good husband who doesn’t really have time for these kind of tasks. But he does it.)
Meanwhile, I run into a dear friend who I would have never seen otherwise. We have a timely, joyful, encouraging conversation! I’m suddenly so thankful for forgotten keys that force me off the beaten path. I’m suddenly so thankful for delays and odd schedules. I remember the lesson that every delay is God’s way.
Yes, it rhymes just like “Every rejection is God’s protection.” Every delay is God’s way.
Then, once in my office, I notice my little plant has become overgrown on one side, the side facing the sun. I quickly rotate the pot to turn the stunted side towards the sun. Now, we’ll have some balance.
I can’t help but wonder what parts of me need more time in the sun of God’s wisdom and Holy Spirit growth. What parts need a little rotation in my heart to let God develop me there? I might be overgrown in some areas and dark and stunted in others. The plant teaches me so much.
It’s worth thinking about today: God’s delays and turning all the parts of my life towards God’s light.
I pause to look closely at the turning leaves. I’ve never seen a splotchy kind of autumn transition. Normally, I wake up and simply notice that the leaves have changed; I never truly notice the in-between of not-quite either season.
(Plus, I dislike transitional states. I’d rather stay settled, arrived, and orderly.)
But today I see the just-starting and the almost-there-but-not-yet. I see the not-letting-go and the tug of war between summer and autumn.
There’s beauty here, too.
I love the idea of not cooking on Sunday as part of resting since so much of the week involves meal preparation and clean up.
I consider the ease of the rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. I consider frozen pizza. I consider how a special Sunday dinner doesn’t always mean rolling out buttermilk biscuits and standing over the stove. It doesn’t mean spending the afternoon washing dishes.
But it does mean gathering around the table, talking about the sermon, and letting everyone relax for the afternoon. It doesn’t mean waving the To Do list around and valuing productivity and efficiency.
Not today. We all rest in our own ways, enjoying God and one another.
And we eat food I didn’t prepare, at least on this day when cooking doesn’t feel like rest.
I love the description of God in Isaiah 28:29. It reads that He is the “LORD of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom.”
In the original language, these words mean that God is marvelous and magnificent. I feel like worshipping Him more and more when I think about these descriptions.
Such a marvelous, magnificent God cares for you and me!
The Weeping Cherry offers an early indicator: Autumn!
I marvel over the canary yellow leaf.
I love it as I love the stark brown-black tangle of branches in winter and the white-pink blossoms of spring that strangely arrive before the slick dark green leaves of summer.
Each season, a wonder.
Last night, I pulled some of those oven-dried tomatoes from the freezer, placed them to defrost in a bowl with fresh basil and olive oil, and then paired them with some hearty bread and mozzarella for an appetizer for some friends.
It made me so happy to share the harvest from the garden. It was the kind of living-with-flair happiness that made me stop and ask, like I have for the past half-decade, “What’s going on here that’s so right and beautiful?” The feeling of joy reminded me of the day I took all my raspberries and made raspberry sorbet for the Italian Mama.
I bounded down the street with that sorbet in hand, so happy to share the harvest. I delivered more the next week from the bounty. I kept making sorbet for others, and that year, I had enough for myself and half the neighborhood.
I remember the beautiful passage in the Bible about a harvest. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 9:10-11: He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.
Notice: You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way.
God enriches our lives so we might bless others from this abundance. God blesses so we then bless others.
The more that comes in, the more I give away. And we always have more than we need.
For the first time ever, I purchase a little plant to decorate my office.
It’s symbolizes that I’m here; I’m staying; I’m settled in and nurturing things. More time in my office with students means I’m decorating.
I find myself eager to arrive to campus to check on this plant, to water him, and to observe his growth. Having a living thing in a work space cheers the room.
I lean in to chart the slow unfurling of a new leaf. Apparently, the sun from this window and the water I’m giving match what’s needed.
But when you get a little plant, you now feel a sense of home and care-taking. You consider expanding out to nurture more and more. You’ll find you want to nurture students with essentials like chocolate that you keep in a candy jar. You’ll stock a little basket of bottled water and protein bars and tissues and lemon drops just in case.
You’ll find you want to add a few more comforts like eucalyptus in a vase, some photos, and whatever else you need to welcome students in.
But really, it’s you that feels so welcomed every time you turn that key, coffee in hand and papers dangling, to begin another day in the place where you choose to finally settle in.
But mostly, you sit back and enjoy the little plant in your window.
We find this tutorial from gurl.com (but we don’t suspend our balloons; we just let them dry on a towel).You basically combine glue, water, and some cornstarch, dip your yarn into the mixture, and cover a balloon with gluey yarn. Then, let it dry for a good day or two.
Pop your balloon (but first poke it a bit to release it from any yarn attached to it). Pull the balloon out, and you have a nice little yarn orb to add to your autumn decorations.
It’s messy, but it’s fun.
As you can see, we still need to scrape away left over glue!
What did I learn? I realized how much joy it brought just to anticipate what would happen when we popped the balloons after school today. Such a simple pleasure!
This year was no different: We told our daughters the story of that morning. We remember with sharp detail where we were, how we felt, and the passage of time.
We were in Ann Arbor, Michigan, we begin. The phone rang. . .
And they’ll listen again next year, too.