Gratitude Day 128 – What I Learned in September

Sun., Sept. 30, 2018

Proverbs 24:32 – I observed this and took it to heart; I saw it and learned a lesson.september

Fall is definitely arrived. With the threat of frost in the forecast, on Friday night, I covered the flowers on our front porch, wanting to stretch their season a little longer. As I sat at my laptop on Saturday morning, it was chilly in the house. We hadn’t turned on the furnace because we were waiting for the broiler to be inspected next week.

 

As I looked at the calendar, I saw is the last weekend of September. Where did the month go? Where did the summer go?

Today, I am sharing lessons I’ve discovered, or maybe re-learned, in the last month. What lessons my middle-aged self continues to see.

20180919_123137

  • It’s important to stop our regularly scheduled lives and find time for God. I took a few days and spent in Northern Wisconsin at my friend Pam’s cabin. All by myself. This is not the first time I have done this. It has been a couple years since I last built this time into my calendar. My expectations of what I will “accomplish” during this time are always unrealistic. By day two, I’m reminded that the most important accomplishment is to pray, read and listen. I try to do these things in my daily life. But it’s a different rhythm when this happens in a different spot; one where you’ve previously been able to do this with God. Rick and I didn’t take a vacation this summer. We chose to participate in a youth mission trip with our grandsons instead. And we’ll gladly make this choice again. The time at the cabin allowed for me to get my heart in a right spot.

Kendra's wedding

  • May we remember the sanctity of marriage. During September, I officiated at two weddings and helped plan a bridal shower. These are wonderful and great events. When I’m part of a wedding, I encourage couples to remember that the marriage is far more important than the wedding. The two are very different. Choosing our life partner is such a big decision. I feel it’s the second most important decision in our lives; after whether we choose to have God in our lives. Choosing to make a life-long commitment to this person is an equally daunting decision. I pray we encourage couples to see these decisions as lifelong ones that they never stop working at. Yes, divorce happens. I would not be married to Hubby Rick had he not been divorced at one time. What I appreciate in Rick is that we never contemplate our marriage ending. It isn’t discussed. We decided 18+ years ago that we would make our marriage work … and we continue to do so.

remodeling

  • “Remodeling” is part of our lives. Hubby Rick and I are in the midst of a major overhaul of a significant part of the upstairs of our 110+-year-old house. We started this summer and it will be awhile before it is completed. Honestly, Rick has spent more time on the remodeling project than I have. I’m still trying to make my way through the boxes and totes and boxes of things from my Mom’s. This is my “remodeling” project: finish sorting and dealing with these things. We knew this project would take a while. We had an initial goal that we will not make. And we are completely OK with this. Yes, we could hire the work to be done in six weeks. But we won’t. I think “remodeling” has become a metaphor for other parts of our lives. There’s another blog about this topic brewing.

little bathroom

  • Little remodeling wins feel good. In light of the larger remodeling project, we decided a quick remodeling of one existing bathroom would be sufficient. It’s a tiny bathroom. I do not like the existing tile. Two different colors and they don’t match. Rather than tearing another bathroom apart, for about $100, I updated this bathroom. I found a paint color that compliments both tiles and spent a Saturday painting the bathroom. With a new shower curtain, new towels (the previous towels were easily middle school-aged) and some different wall art, it looks completely different! I did buy one piece of art. The other pieces, I shopped my house and found items that I wasn’t using. I’m looking forward to a new master on suite in the future. Yet, the little updates in this bathroom are a breath of fresh air and so worth it. Maybe I’ll show some more pictures of this soon.
  • I enjoy mentoring at the school. Last year, I signed-up to be a mentor. For one hour a week, I hung out with Isaac. Sometimes, we worked on homework. Other times, we played a game. We chatted. We laughed. At the end of the school year, I was surprised how Isaac reacted. He was concerned he would not see me again. He said he would miss not seeing me every week. From a 4th grader? I know; shocking. It was arranged for me to mentor Isaac again this year. This past week, we had our first session. He was outside of his classroom door waiting for me with a notebook and a game in his arms. He would have hugged me had his arms not been so full. The next hour flew by. We worked on a personal narrative he was writing and had a few minutes for a game. Multiple times, he told me he was so excited that I am his mentor. He called me one of the nicest people he has ever met. Seriously? Wow. I know there are times when Isaac struggles in life. If our time together is any small way I can encourage him, this one-hour appointment maybe one of the most important hour of my week.

My purpose in sharing a few of my learnings from September is a way to encourage you to think about what you’ve learned in the last month. Pull out your calendar. Think about the moments that have been most meaningful for you. What have you learned about yourself? What lessons are you taking to heart?

For times of reflection and growth, I am thankful.

Lord God – thank you for continuing to remodel my life. May I see areas where I have opportunities to grow and remake and update … and in consultation with you, dig deep and explore how I can become more like the person you desire for me to be. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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