Prompted By A Lovely Fall Drive

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Today’s post is Part of a 31 Day writing series where I will choose moments from my life and let them be my writing prompt for the day.  This one is inspired by a drive to look at the changing color of the leaves. Click the prompted button to see all the post in this series. (note: you can click on the pictures to see a larger image – just right click and tell it to open in a new tab so you don’t lose the page.)

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If I don’t have an opportunity to wander about on a lovely fall day to see the leaves in all their glory I can become a little frazzled.  I always try to keep the third weekend of October open, which is usually peak in our neck of the woods.  I don’t always win the calendar war.

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Yesterday, after a busy weekend and arriving home around 4 PM my husband graciously took me out for a little spin on our way to the church fireside gathering. Just minutes from our back door we had some of the most beautiful views I have seen anywhere.

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We drove through a covered bridge that frames a lovely country church and wound around a delightful ribbon of country road that had some lovely fall color at every twist and turn (and I literally mean twist and turn).

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It was a delightful drive that ended at a friends house where our small congregation gathered for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows.  Long after everyone else had gone home, my husband and I stayed around the fire with our friend catching up and watching the flames burn low.  It was a peaceful way to end the evening.

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(un)Winding in grace,

Teresa

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Prompted By Beauty All Around

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Today’s post is Part of a 31 Day writing series where I will choose moments from my life and let them be my writing prompt for the day.  Click on the button to the left for the complete series.

Today I had a free afternoon so I walked next door to my parents to spend some time with them.  It was a gorgeous day so we decided to take a drive to the city park.  My father also wanted to stop by the site where my brother is building a new house and the farm to pick something up, so we went that direction first and ended our drive at the park.  I took several pictures while we were out and about, so thought I’d share them with you.

The view from the back of  where my brother's new house will sit.
The view from the back of where my brother’s new house will sit. Notice the water towers in the distance.

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Across the road from where my brother's new house will sit
Across the road from where my brother’s new house will sit
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More of the across the road view
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View over the back of my Dad’s farm around the corner (in country road terms) from where my brother’s new house will be.
Another farm view, big, black smoker in the forefront.
Another farm view, big, black smoker in the forefront.
There was one long orangey red tree at the park.
There was one lone orangey red tree at the park.
My mom standing under the orangey red tree.
My mom standing under the orangey red tree.
Part of the walking path at the park.  See, I told you there was one, lone, orangey red tree.
Part of the walking path at the park. See, I told you there was one, lone, orangey red tree.
more beautiful tree
more beautiful tree
Gorgeous blue, fall sky
Gorgeous blue, fall sky
More water towers
More water towers by the park (don’t think they are the one’s seen from my brothers new house site) For a small town we seem to have a lot of water towers.
Barn and silo in the distance that I sometimes sit and stare at when I'm at the park
Barn and silo in the distance that I sometimes sit and stare at when I’m at the park.          I mentioned it once here
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Leaving the park – Signs of the times – somehow the remains of the cut tobacco seem to be a fitting metaphor. Now that I think about it, the stop sign is a great metaphor as well. I’ll not bore you with my political soapbox speeches.
One last glorious shot - a close-up of the leaves on that gorgeous orangey red tree!
One last glorious shot – a close-up of the leaves on that gorgeous orangey red tree!

It was a beautiful outing, but later in the early evening I became a little stressed and frazzled, so spent some time talking to God.   I felt that I needed to be sustained and restored.  Sometimes, we let the busy and the interruptions handle us instead of turning them over to God. I often struggle to find the balance between what is needed of me and what I need.  Maybe that happens to you as well?

Sitting down to look over the pictures taken earlier in the day helped restore the beauty and during my talk with God I was reminded of these verses from Psalm 51:

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Sustained by grace,

Teresa

Prompted By A Sunday Song

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Today’s post is Part of a 31 Day writing series where I choose moments from my life and let them be my writing prompt for the day. Today this song was threading through my mind.  I chose the third verse as it seems to speak to our weary spirits as we live in a world riddled with strife.  It is comforting to remember that ‘God is the ruler yet’ and ‘Jesus Christ will be satisfied.’

The window in the background of the image is from the church that my family began attending when I was a teenager.  My grandfather was the pastor for some of those years.  A few years ago when they did replacement windows they offered the old windows to the members of the congregation.  My parents brought this one to me. It is a treasure and brings back happy memories of a great time in my life. A time that was full of singing.

Singing in Grace,

Teresa

Love Bears All

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“How much do I owe you?” she said.  She kept repeating it several times.  Each time I assured her that she didn’t owe me anything.  I assured her that I had helped her because I loved her, not because I wanted anything.  I think she knew she didn’t owe me, as we have always joked in our family about “sending the bill”, but still a small part of her seemed to feel the need to offer.  I think it was because she was grateful.

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Grateful that I helped her bathe.  I don’t do it to be noble or garner praise.  I do it because somebody has too.  It’s not my natural inclination to bathe others, or help them to the bathroom or with whatever personal needs they need met.  I mistakenly entered a nursing program when I was 18.  How naive of me.  I lasted until mid-October.  When our instructor told us that the next semester we’d be giving shots that was the last straw for me.  That was my aha moment that I was not meant to be a caregiver.  I mean, the bed baths and the perverted old man had been a clue, but the shots just pushed me over the edge.  So, I’m a nursing school drop-out.

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She made me pay for that.  Not to be mean, but to teach me a lesson.  Uniforms, shoes, stethoscopes etc are expensive and I had entered into a noble profession lightly, without much thought, other than the memory of the cute lab techs I’d witnessed when my grandfather was in the hospital a few months earlier.  I mean decisions have probably been made for worse reasons, but really.  As I said, I was very naive at 18.  And such a romantic.  So, I worked at babysitting and paid back some of the money to my mom who had worked hard as a school lunch lady to help me.  Thankfully, she was able to use the uniforms and shoes as this was in the days when school lunch ladies wore white uniforms.

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This sense of making things right and being responsible still lurks around the fringes of her current state of dementia.  She needed to tell me that what I’d done was worth something to her.  She compliments me whenever I do something to help her and tells me that others would be glad to have someone do the same for them. She tells me I could probably get other’s to pay for my services.  I patiently explain to her that  I am not certified to do these things for pay.  Nor, would I want to.

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She is always grateful and even though there is a vulnerability in letting me help her, she does so because she trusts me and because she knows she needs my help.  It is hard for her to give up her independence, she who has always been the caregiver, always the one to meet the need.  It is hard for me to see her lose that independence, to realize that she doesn’t remember to bathe, or lotion her skin, or brush her teeth, all those little things that we take for granted and do habitually.  She is still particular and loves to be clean, she just doesn’t realize when she isn’t.  So, I remind her as gently as I can that it’s shampoo time.  I help her in as practical a way as I can because I know she wants to be as normal as possible. It is a humbling experience to be given that kind of trust.  Especially, from one who has always been so independent.

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So today, when she yet again asked what she owed me, I tried to make her see that she was the reason I was able to do these things for her.  Over the years I have watched her take care of others; it is her love language.  No job too dirty.  She has wiped many a dirty bottom and washed many a dirty feet.  She never sees the dirty part of the job. She just sees the need; her compassion and love for others compels her to act in loving service to them.  By watching her in action, I have seen that love bears all things.  Love takes care of the dirty. Even though it doesn’t come natural to me, I am able to act with compassion because her example taught me how.

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Love is a wonderful thing when we let it drive our actions.  It will take us out of our comfort zone into places we never thought we’d be capable of inhabiting.  When we remember the price love paid for us, it enables us to show that same kind of love to others. Especially to others.

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Loving Because of Grace,

Teresa

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Barns Near Granville, Ohio

Last week I shared with you some pictures of our recent trip to Granville, Ohio.   I mentioned that several themes seemed to dominate my pictures.  One of those was barns and surrounding countryside.  I have always loved barns of all shapes and sizes.  I think they speak to me of a time in our history that is slowly fading away.  A time when life was simpler and people depended on the land for survival.  A time when young children knew that milk came from cows and not the grocery store.

To me a barn speaks of family, thankfulness, hard work, integrity, and perseverance.  It speaks to the part of our soul that needs to slow down and focus on those things that really matter.  There is nothing like a drive through beautiful countryside, dotted with barns, to help you gain perspective.

This is a short drive, but no less, soul filling.  So, roll down your windows, settle into a slow drive, and be refreshed.

This was taken through the windshield of the car, which explains the hues in the top of the picture due to the tint on the windshield.  I thought it  made for a beautiful picture. I didn't think about how that would affect the picture, so it was a happy accident.
No barn, but a country road. This was taken through the windshield of the car, which explains the hues in the top of the picture due to the tint on the windshield. I thought it made for a beautiful picture. I didn’t think about how that would affect the picture, so it was a happy accident.
This barn was near Dawes Arboretum.
This barn was near Dawes Arboretum.

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Small patriotic barn near Granville
Small patriotic barn near Granville.  I think I may love the somewhat shabby, rusty barns the best, like the one on the left.  I suspect they have good stories to tell from generation to generation.
Barn on the corner where two roads met.
Barn on the corner where two roads met. We always try to take the one less traveled.

The next time you are out and about, take the time to find a barn or two.  It might just restore your equilibrium.  At least for a few moments.  We all need space to breathe.

Breathing in Grace,

Teresa

 

 

This Man

 

rocky.waitingThirty years ago I became the wife of this man. I remember how the knowledge that we belonged would hit me at the most unexpected times in the most awe inspiring way. This was a gift from God to be treasured. Life has not always been perfect or easy. But it has been good, filled with adventures, love, forgiveness, sacrifice, support and encouragement. This man takes good care of me and nurtures me. He gets me. This man has shown me mercy and showered me with kindness. This man has loved me well. This man committed to a forever journey with me. This man has my heart. I wouldn’t change a thing because everything we have experienced together has shaped who we are and is our story. It is a grand story and one that I hope has many chapters left to be written. This man is my man and I love him. Today we celebrate thirty years of being one.

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