Gratitude Day 163 – Living


Mon., Nov. 26, 2018

Luke 20:38 – He isn’t the God of the dead but of the living. To him they are all alive.”

Recently, Hubby Rick and I began the transition from fall to winter. This meant putting away the wicker porch furniture for the winter. It felt like a sad day. With the porch furniture in the carriage house, winter is coming soon. But so is Christmas!!

However, I found an unexpected surprise on the front porch.

This ivy plant.

Seriously. It is STILL ALIVE.

Have I mentioned that we’vhad multiple nights of below freezing? And snow?  

About a week earlier, I stopped and looked at the ivy one day. It was a cold day. I touched the leaves and they were stiff. Frozen. Not flexible. I thought to myself, “That’s what happens when you don’t take a plant inside before it freezes!” And went on with my day.

This is why I was SO SURPRISED to find the leaves unfrozen, flexible and really doing very well!

What happened in-between?

I can’t explain. But this ivy plant was not ready to call it quits yet. It’s now in the house as I try and figure out what to do next with this plant. In the meantime, it lives.

Death is a scary topic formany people. Highly avoided and taboo. Interestingly, for God death is anything but a difficult topic. In fact, we read repeatedly over and over in the Biblethat God is not nearly as interested in death … but in living. In fact, the scripture verse above reminds us that God wants all to see themselves as living… even after death.

How can this happen? Deadpeople come back to life? It happens because a man named Jesus came to earth as God’s son, died but didn’t really die. As God, Jesus was resurrected and granted life once again.

We, too, can experience this same living. It’s really quite easy: believe in God. Believe Jesus did thisjust for you. Out of pure love for you.

How does this happen?

Sorry, I can’t fully explain. Just like my ivy plant that didn’t die but lives inside my house.

Whether I can fully explain this or not, I’m just going to enjoy this. Just like I’m going to enjoy the ivy plant.  

For an ivy plant that still lives, I am grateful.

Lord God – there are miracles around us every day. Some days we see them; some days we don’t. May we seek life over death and value you, O God, who prefers living over death. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 109 – Memories of a Stool

Sun., Sept. 2, 2018

Psalm 129:6 – May you live to enjoy your grandchildren! And may God bless Israel!

“But I wanted to sit on the stool.”

This one sentence took me about 40+ years. I remembered this same sentence being uttered by myself or one of my sisters on my grandparent’s porch.

When I was growing up, my Grandpa and Grandma Deaton lived in Story City, IA. Each summer, my sisters and I would spend several days in Iowa visiting them, as well as my maternal grandparents, the Sowers, who lived about six blocks away.

My Deaton grandparents had a screened-in porch off the back of their house. When visiting them, this is where we ate meals, played games and sat and read books, checked out of the local library with my Grandma Sowers. They had lounging chairs where you could take a nap or lay and snip green beans, freshly picked from their garden. It was a favorite location at their house and one where we spent many hours while visiting them. I have lots of fond memories from this porch.

stool

For years, this well-worn avocado green stool was a fixture at my Grandma Deaton’s house. She kept it in the kitchen. Like me, she was short. This stool helped her reach the top shelves of her cupboards.

It was also a favorite “chair” for when we ate a meal on the porch. It was not uncommon for my sisters and I to “discuss” whose turn it was to use the stool during a meal.

Fast-forward 40+ years to today. Recently, our three youngest grandchildren were at our house for the day. Eight-year-old Ellie helped me get lunch ready. One of our favorite places in our house is the screened-in porch. When the weather allows, we eat nearly every meal on the porch.

It was a little warm the day the grandkids were here. But there are fans on the porch ceiling which help keep a breeze in the porch. With only four chairs on the porch, Ellie quickly identified the old avocado stool as her preferred seat for lunch.

We’d gathered up the boys to eat. Of course, 11-year-old Waylan immediately grabbed the stool for his seat. And then, I heard the words I said myself, years ago:

“But I wanted to sit on the stool.”

Suddenly, I realized that I am now the grandparent trying to make memories for my grandchildren, just like my grandparents did for me, a hundred years ago.

And it’s a job I truly try to embrace.

I don’t have children of my own. Yet, I often say I have five grandchildren. Hubby Rick has two children which have provided us with these gems. Every time Rick and I get to spend time with these little and not-so-little souls, we consider it a huge privilege.

And it’s an opportunity to create special memories together.

That’s why we make picnics and go to the park. Why Rick had the golf cart ready to rock-and-roll when I returned with the kids just a few days ago. He knew they would want to go for a ride. That’s why we keep a moped in the carriage house, so we can take them on little rides round our yard or on our side street. Our grandchildren are why we go to water parks at our ages and sometimes why we go hiking. Grandpa’s (and Grandma’s) rarely say “No” when grandchildren want to go fishing or get ice cream, which we did on the trip back to their house.

Yes, we’ve taken our grandchildren on a big trip to Disney. And yes, they speak of it often. But we know that eating a meal on the screened-in porch while sitting on a favorite stool also creates special memories. It doesn’t matter how ancient this stool is getting, how many drops of paint are splattered on it or that it is getting a rusty around the edges. It’s a stool at Grandpa and Grandma’s house and it reminds them of times we’ve spent together.

step of stool

When I realized I was reliving a memory from my childhood, I didn’t have a camera handy to snap a picture of Ellie eating chicken while sitting on the stool. (Yes, I supported Ellie’s comment that she had first dibs on the stool.) But later, when I was putting the porch back in order after the kids had been returned home, this is what I found:

stool & table

Crumbs. Crumbs from our lunch together on the screened-in porch. Little bits of biscuit and chicken and drops of gravy smudged into the tablecloth. Crumbs that reminded me again of the stool and precious memories of times spent on the porch with my grandparents. Hopes and prayers that these little crumbs of time our grandchildren spent with us will be wonderful memories for them someday.

It’s just a stool. But isn’t it so much more?

What might be something in your memory that conjures up a precious memory from time spent with a loved one?

crumbs

For stools, crumbs and time with grandchildren, I am grateful.

Lord God – thank you for precious memories of days spent with our grandparents and other loved ones. I pray we find simply, yet powerful and effective ways to create the most special memories for our loved ones of today. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 27 – The Porch is Open

20180428_163203

Sun., Apr. 29, 2018

Job 29:23 – My words were eagerly accepted like the showers of spring

There are many wonderful little parts of our 110-year-old house. But when people visit, the place we receive the most “ooh’s” and “aah’s” is the porch.

20180428_163425The front of the house is flanked by a nice big, deep porch. This leads into a screened-in wrap-around porch on the south side of the house. Either location is a lovely place to have lunch, visit, drink coffee or quietly start the day.

20180428_163249A couple summers ago, some friends gave us some wicker furniture for the porch. Last spring, I changed out the cushions and loved how they looked. Then, I set-up the front porch as a lounging area. I had great intentions of using the porch a lot last summer. While we often used the table for meals, the lounging area was less consistent.

20180428_163321Spring has been slow in arriving in Wisconsin. Today, it was a bit chilly, but the sun was shining. Rick and I agreed it was time to get the summer furniture on the porch. It was time to open up the porch for visitors.

20180428_163212I still had winter decorations on the porch. After removing these and vacuuming up dead needles and such, I moved the rug to where the wicker furniture would go. After a quick squirt with the hose, the furniture was positioned. Next, came cushions and pillows. I found a few accessories to make the space feel a bit quainter.

20180428_163350We didn’t have time to sit and enjoy the porch furniture today. But I’m hoping soon this will be a regular occurrence.

20180428_163436Today, I am grateful the porch is open and ready for company. I just need to add a sign the church kids gave me last fall.

20180428_163406Stop by anytime. I’ll have the lemonade or coffee ready.

20180428_163525For a porch ready for company, I am grateful.

20180428_163416I await the wonderful conversations that will happen on the porch this year, Lord God. I anticipate many great exchanges of words, watered by your wisdom, to float throughout this area. Thanks for a cozy place for people to gather and simply be. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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