Anticipating Beauty and Joy

Look at these! I roam the garden, so filled with joy over what’s coming. Climbing roses in a peachy blush. Raspberries so abundant that I’ll make as much sorbet as we want. Blackberries as big as a thumb. Strawberries, bright red and perfect for pies. 

And this deep truth: anticipation itself contains the beauty and the joy. 

I have learned to anticipate. It aids the healing for darker days and creeping despair. Anticipation breeds hope; it is hope. 

Children live naturally in both the present moment and in great anticipation. I wish to cultivate more and more a heart of anticipation that is wonderfully both present and future joy. 


What I Learn From the Judges of the Boalsburg Memorial Day Pie Contest

We journey down the road to the Boalsburg, Pennsylvania Memorial Day Fair. We have dollars in hand to buy slices of whichever pies win the pie contest. We intend to stay to watch the Maypole Dance and listen to the joyous Little German Band. We will buy steaming hot dogs from the Boy Scouts.

For years, we’ve visited this fair. We call out to friends along the street and pop into the stands where sellers display art and jewelry and soaps and jellies.

This year, I linger in the shade of an oak tree by the pie judging table and make polite conversation while my husband secures his position in the pie line.

I ask about the winning pie.

I learn that this year, it’s a Skillet Apple Pie. Apple pie is back in vogue, apparently, while last year, everything was rhubarb and raspberry. One year, coconut dominated the scene. Another, lemon. But this year, it’s apple.

My husband gathers up slices of apple, peach, and strawberry in one hand, and he balances a third place cherry crumble and chocolate coconut cherry in the other. We’ll share these slices with friends and family on the deep green lawn in front of a beautiful historic Boalsburg home. We’ll pass around plates with forks and napkins and listen to the Little German Band play John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.

As I wait, I begin asking about the pies. The judges tell me that the number one problem they encounter–that thing that ruins a pie–is under-baking. 

Under-baking. Taken out too soon.

We talk about patience, about waiting a little longer, about not doing things too soon. I think about under-baking, and I suddenly want to linger more, rest here for longer, and not do anything too soon.

All in good time.

I eat my pie slowly. At just the right time, my family turns their attention to the Maypole Dance. I love seeing the girls in their white dresses with flower crowns on their heads.

Finally, we journey home to enjoy a slow Memorial Day.

Boalsburg, PA Maypole Dance, Memorial Day

Matters Too Wonderful

Today I take great comfort in David’s words in Psalm 131: “My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.”

I sometimes find myself so caught up in complex theological mysteries that distress my soul more than bring me close to Jesus. I’m debating and puzzling and cultivating doubt. 

After a while, when I can’t answer a question, I remember David’s humility and sense of calling to not concern himself with matters God hadn’t yet revealed to him. 

Sometimes we rest in mystery as we walk with God.


Get to Yourself Before You Do

This morning, I learn about all the bad choices people make when they are over tired, over hungry, and over stressed. 

A friend reminds us to get to ourselves before we become the person making bad choices. It’s a funny expression. She advises us to catch ourselves before we become too tired, too hungry, too stressed.

Get to yourself first, before you become the person you don’t want to be. 


Divine Enablement

Why is it that we so often forget the impossibility of doing what God commands apart from the enabling power of the Holy Spirit? How quickly I become overwhelmed.

Today I discuss with a neighbor the infinite riches of God always available to meet us in any need. We not only forget to ask and then appropriate God’s power, but we also forget the availability of that power.

I love the prayer journal to record the needs of the day that one of my daughters cannot live without. But me? I run full force into the day, aware of my need but forgetting dependence on God, asking of God, and moving forward by faith. Even all of this comes from the Holy Spirit.

I remember again the wonder of a life lived so curiously and so empowered by the Holy Spirit that any outsider would note the supernatural activity of an amazing God.


No Fear

I read a verse in Isaiah 52 that reminds me of God’s care. It’s just this: “The Lord will go before you, the God of Israel with be your rear guard.” He’s a Guarding God, and this is a promise, always, of our souls, even when our bodies decay and calamity comes. 


We Are Never Outside of His Care

Today on the walk to school, my youngest daughter peers first into the tiny sparrow nest in the bush along the path. It’s as small as a silver dollar. Oh, the wonder to see the first little egg, smaller than a jelly bean.

I note the size of both the nest and egg and the little sparrows to whom this belongs. I think of Matthew 10 and how Jesus says that not a sparrow falls to the ground outside of the Father’s care. He then explains how we are worth more than sparrows to God.

I love carefully watching the sparrow. I wish sparrow were a verb! It would mean to dart about and then settle with joy, knowing you were fully cared for by a loving Father.