Outside My Window

Our mini-forest is one of the best features of our home place. Over the years, it has provided a sense of being outside the city with extra privacy. While we were still working, our location provided ease of access to the church, shopping, and medical care.

One of the drawbacks of living in a mini-forest is the inability to grow certain plants and trees. For example, we don’t get the bright colors of leaves changing on deciduous trees or shrubs. In the summer, sun-loving flowers and plants laugh at us as we place them in our nursery cart. They only last a short time before fading away.

Thanks to our next-door neighbors I can glance out my office window and see a glorious sight. A red weeping Japanese maple. On these chilly, gray days of Pacific Northwest winter weather, that tree is symbolic of a warm campfire, or a thick red blanket, or the depth of love found at home with family.

As I soak up the warmth and beauty of this tree, I am filled with gratitude for God’s creation all around me. The diversity of people I know and see in our community and our church home. The fall colors brightening our environment despite the rain and fog. The gift of friendships committed to staying in touch during this pandemic.

It is my hope that you are fortunate enough to find something for which you can feel grateful despite this year that has often felt dry and devoid of warmth, happiness, and love. 

Scripture, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, rejoice, pray, thanksgiving
Image Attribution: Lindsey’s Whimseys Art

Featured Image Attribution:  Bates Nursery & Garden Center

Gratitude While Cocooning

With plenty of time on my hands, my mind runs to thinking on gratitude. What I’m grateful for in our cocooning.
 
We decided to substitute “cocooning” for “sheltering in place” and “quarantining.” The genesis of cocooning is a statement shared in our church’s weekly men’s Bible study group. I’ll share the entire quote in a moment.
 

Here’s what I’m grateful for this past week:

  • Shelter and food to eat plus clean water to drink.
  • Being stranded in the middle of Meyer Woods with the man God blessed my life with almost 39 years ago.
  • Health and welfare of our three children and their families.
  • A long drive in the countryside to see what Spring is up to, and she’s up to a lot!
  • Frontline workers in Portland, OR, who show up every day putting their lives at risk to care for others.
  • A Facebook group providing a place to seek help and receive it in these times. The group name is Pandemic Partners-SE Portland.
  • Neighbors who check on us; a couple next door and another couple behind us.
  • A phone call from Rivers East Village checking in to see that we’re doing OK. (Also see Village to Village Network.)
  • Reaching out to others in our community to check on their needs.
  • Continuing recovery of a dear friend after a serious skiing accident two weeks ago.
All these things for some reason stand out in greater light than usual. That’s because there are so much tragedy and uncertainty around us. The stress and tension have a tendency to bring our senses into sharper focus.
 
How much longer will we need to follow the guidelines issued by the various levels of government? We don’t know. But one thing is sure, and it is in the words spoken by a dear friend on Wednesday morning:
 

Quarantining is like being cocooned. We are waiting mostly in the dark,
and we don’t know what form we will take when we emerge.

But I imagine it will be beautiful beyond our imagining.

 

Take these words with you and while cocooning, think on those things for which you are grateful.

 

Featured image: Ronny Overhate from Pixabay

 

It’s the Little Things That Count

As I reflect on the past four years, I realize that my grumbling, complaining, and feeling sorry for myself taught me something so simple:

 

little things, life, count

 

 

It is easy to list some of the simple things for which I am grateful:

  • God’s promises of healing
  • A simple smile
  • The words “I love you”
  • My husband cooking, cleaning, and more
  • A phone call from your son while he’s traveling on business
  • A short visit from your next-door neighbor
  • Bags of meals for several nights picked up by the same neighbor
  • Thoughtfulness from anyone
  • Numerous healthcare givers treating you well
  • The first sight of spring 2019 when Bob rolled me in a wheelchair outside the rehab center to see the daffodils blooming
  • The day I learned I was going home
  • How good my own bed felt after three weeks in the hospital and rehab
  • Enjoying the answered prayers offered by many friends and family members

 

simple things, little things, extraordinary things

 

Feature Image by Jagoda Kondratiuk on Unsplash

Catching Up

With family coming for a visit this past weekend, we decided it was time to work on catching up on a bit of housekeeping. This would be my first serious effort at helping Husband Bob do household chores. I’m happy to report my catching up on housework exercise worked out A-OK for a newbie (that’s what they call you after a four-year hiatus from your duties!).

 
Early Friday evening our niece and her husband arrived for the weekend. Our niece was attending the Rose City Comic Con. Her publisher provided a booth for authors to sell and sign books. With a new book out,* she wanted to take part. Their visit provided us with time to catch up on family and memories. Lovely house guests create a feeling of successful hospitality. We hope they’ll return for another visit when we can take in a few wineries in the area.
 
On Saturday night, we were happy to hear the sound of rain hitting the roof. Our summer had been so dry we desperately needed the rain. It spent Sunday catching up with the rainfall deficit. Despite a dark day, it felt good to know that this rainfall might actually be enough to make a difference. A few candles lit brightened things up.
 
Catching up is always a good thing as long as you’re not the object of a hunter like the tiny mouse in the photo above.

 

Feature image attribution: Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto from Pixabay

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