A Curious Verb and New Perspective: Fledge

We peer into the Robin’s nest to find that the strong little birds have fledged. They developed their wings for flight. A fledgling is the strangest phenomenon: it’s the word for that transitional stage between hatching and leaving the nest for good.

How exciting! How wonderful to observe fluffy birds hopping about, testing their flight feathers and feeding on their own.

When I began Live with Flair, I would have seen myself and you as the fledglings and challenged us all to test out our feather, to risk it all, to fly. I would have talked about expanding our worlds and kicking against that tangle of a nest that held us back.

But today? I see myself as the mama bird. I see myself as the one left on the branch who watches and encourages and then moves on to care for the next brood. She keeps building new projects. I see myself as a feeder of the young. I see myself as fluffing other feathers to encourage that beautiful, brave flight.

My daughter and I pull back from that empty nest. She’s looking carefully at the hopping Robins on the lawn. I’m back at the nest, and I keep thinking, “Well done! Well done!”

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Still Baking: Morning Fruit Pastries

We find a recipe for these! So easy and delicious if you need to host folks for breakfast: 

We use this recipe from Just a Taste: https://www.justataste.com/fruit-and-cream-cheese-breakfast-pastries-recipe/

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Missing Psalm 18

Psalm 18 is missing from my green Bible (the one Elizabeth gave me at Camp Greystone in 1995). It looks like someone took a giant bite out it, like they literally ate Psalm 18. When I turn to Psalm18 in my green Bible, I remember that I read it so many times in the 90’s that the pages became withered and worn and ripped out. Psalm 18 contains some of the most beautiful and powerful statements about God, and so, when I turn there, I must hunt it down in another Bible.

David sang this Psalm to the Lord after He delivered him from his enemies and from Saul. Here are my favorite parts of this Psalm that have sustained me all these years. Here, I learned that God is my strength, my deliverer, and my security.

I love you, Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

In my distress I called to the Lord;
    I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
    my cry came before him, into his ears.

16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
    from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
    but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
    he rescued me because he delighted in me.

28 You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
    my God turns my darkness into light.
29 With your help I can advance against a troop[e];
    with my God I can scale a wall.

As for God, his way is perfect:
    The Lord’s word is flawless;
    he shields all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the Lord?
    And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength
    and keeps my way secure.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
    he causes me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
    my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You make your saving help my shield,
    and your right hand sustains me;
    your help has made me great.
36 You provide a broad path for my feet,
    so that my ankles do not give way.

46 The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!
    Exalted be God my Savior!

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Stability Shoes, Hydration, and Taking My Time: Things I Love So Far About the 40’s

Today, I laughed about how my entire shoe collection has everything to do with support and stability. I want to protect my ankles and knees, and with all the walking around I do, I value stability so much more in my 40’s. I even have very thick European walking sandals that look, well, sort of medical and something for precious older folks. Who cares? I can keep up in those shoes! Those shoes! I love them!

I also laughed about my new glamorous accessory. No, it’s not a Birkin handbag or a new bracelet. It’s a water bottle. I carry around my water bottle everywhere, and the day’s goals include hydration. Back in my 20’s and 30’s, I don’t think I ever once put on my list of things to do and grand goals the word hydration. But I don’t want another kidney stone.

And I laughed about how much more I delight in taking my time, savoring the moment, and turning every so slightly from efficiency to enjoyment of the task at hand.

These don’t register as losses or regrets. Instead, I love the way it feels to saunter, sip, and savor.

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Greater Joy Than This

At the beginning of each month, I start the Psalms afresh and read five a day. If you are wondering what to do with your Bible or how to begin learning from God through the scriptures, the Psalms are a beautiful place to begin! You will finish the book of Psalms in one month if you read in this way.

They never get old. It’s a miracle that I read the same Psalms over and over again, and God never fails to encourage my heart in new ways. Already, I consider how God prospers us (Psalm 1), blesses us as we take refuge in Him (Psalm 2), shields us (Psalm 3), fills our heart with great joy (Psalm 4), and hears us and surrounds us with favor (Psalm 5). What a wonderful way to begin the new day!

I focus on what I find so curious in Psalm 4. David writes in verses 6-7:

Many are asking, “Who can show us any good?” Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord. You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wind abound.

I think about writing this sentence to God:

You have filled my heart with greater joy than when _______________.

Then I think about what I believe (or have believed) would provide my heart with the greatest joy possible. And then I realize that God puts greater joy in my heart than even this.

I also think about the question, “Who can show us any good?” Can you imagine being so despondent, depressed, and discouraged that you would ask this? Maybe you feel this way right now. I have felt this way.

The answer comes: In devastation, God can still bring His joy.

Oh, to be set free from longing and fear and jealousy and grabbing for more of this and that experience, person,or object. God is greater joy. When we look around and find no good thing, He is the Good Thing.

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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. 

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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
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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.

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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. 

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