Apples and Wings

Keep me as the apple of your eye; Hide me in the shadow of your wings Psalm 17:8 NIV

When someone says you are the apple of their eye it means they love you very much and may even dote on you a little. I like the image of being the apple of God’s eyes, but I love being in the shadow of his wings even more.  The past few days I have felt a renewed sense of peace and knowing that God is watching over me.  Writing about my grief and sharing memories of Mom has helped me see things from a better perspective.  God has been faithful in this process and my desire is for my words to honor him.

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Photo by Elizabeth Tr. Armstrong on Pexels.com

This is harvest time and that means apples.  I can’t think of a better image for this time of year than sitting under the shadow of an apple tree eating a crisp, juicy apple knowing that God sees me as the apple of his eye and hides me under his wings.

I was talking with a friend yesterday who was on her way to the Apple Orchard.  It brought back memories of Mom.  I remember when she would go to the Orchard and bring home a bag of Apples.  More often than not it was a bag of Courtland Apples, which was one of our favorites.  I can taste one now a perfect blend of sweet and tart. Deep red skin and pristine white flesh.

Mom loved apples.  She kept them around and they were a go-to snack.  In recent years Dad made sure he kept apples for her.  Sometimes knowing what she’d eat or could eat was a challenge,  but we could pretty much count on apples.  When she no longer seemed to enjoy eating them we switched to Apple juice which she loved.

One of the challenges with Alzheimer’s is knowing if they are eating enough.  Some foods become more difficult and at some point feeding themselves is more of a challenge.  So we tried to keep finger foods that we thought Mom would enjoy and when necessary we fed her.  Towards the last of her journey, she needed more help with eating.  She had a wonderful caregiver who came in a couple days a week.  She would feed Mom and spoil her a little bit.  But we didn’t mind. One of the last things I did for my mom was to feed her a meal I had cooked.  She mmmm’d appreciatively, which is how we knew she really liked something. I was happy to feed her and she was happy to eat.

I  remember seeing Mom walk down my back sidewalk many times, on her way to my house, apple in hand, munching contentedly, or standing on her back porch eating an apple staring into the yard thinking her own thoughts.

She won’t be going to the orchard this year, but I imagine God has plenty of Apple trees in his backyard. My Dad remarked that he figured one of the first things she did when she got to Heaven was pick an apple to eat.  I’m sure she did right after she ran into Jesus’s arms.

Maybe I’ll find an orchard this weekend, buy a bag of apples, and eat one in memory of my sweet Ladybug. I’ll rejoice that she is indeed The apple of God’s eye and that she has found healing under his wings.

Grace for the journey,

Teresa

 

Come back tomorrow for more of the journey?  Just a reminder that I usually post later in the day. Clicking on the ladybug graphic will take you to the first page in this series with links to the daily posts. Thanks for reading!

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Welcome, Fall

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall. ~F Scott Fitzgerald

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Fall is the nesting season.

Pumpkins beckon us from roadside stands to celebrate.

A pot of soup slowly, simmers on the stove, the smell warming us with anticipation of the goodness that lies ahead.

Book lists are at the ready enticing us with words that will settle into our souls as we find comfort for the long nights ahead.

The first bashful leaves drift to the ground playing hide and seek with the squirrels who are scampering to fill their pantry for winter.

Striking blue skies make promise of colorful days ahead when the trees will glow like warm honey, then blaze into fire red before they settle around us like a warm brown blanket.

Cheers for touchdowns waft on the cool night air speaking of a camaraderie that is strong and true.

Flannel and Wool trickle back into our wardrobes begging us to coordinate cozy layers that will carry us into Winter.

Hot chocolate and Apple Cider are once again inked to our grocery lists so we’ll have warm companionship for the chilly evenings.

Lights flicker in windows, shining out into the streets with a greeting that says, at last, we have come home.  This is our time to nest.

Welcome, Fall, it is so good to see you again.

Nesting in grace,

Teresa

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5 Things 2015 Wanted Me To Know

100_4469.21. NOD TO THE NOT (it’s ok to pause)

It’s ok NOT to choose a word for the year.  I had chosen a word in previous years but at the beginning of 2015 it just wasn’t a priority.  I survived the year without a special focus word.

Taking a blogging break is ok.  I trusted that my loyal readers, those that are my community, would not forget about me and would be waiting to encourage me when I came back.  They didn’t, and they were.

2. THE WORDS WILL COME, GIVE THEM TIME (After all, you are a writer)

I rediscovered the joy of using a pencil on paper.  Nothing can compare to that sweet, scratchy sound.  I need to practice this art more often.

Even though the writing was meager in 2015 and not writing scared me a little, I learned to trust that, in God’s time, the words would flow again. Because I have to write.

I want my writing to make people feel as if they have come home.

Hope*ologie was great, but Hope*writers is even better. I need a writer(ly) community that says what I do matters.

3. PRACTICE CONSISTENCY AND OBEDIENCE (how hard can it be)

I’m not a morning person, and there is no shame in that.  Not being a morning person may sometimes mean that I do better with my quiet time in the evening rather than the morning.  One thing I’m learning about quiet time is that consistency is key.  Regular time in the word is beneficial no matter what time of day you engage.

Sacrificing for Lent is not the point.  Sacrifice is nothing without obedience.  Obedience is a daily submission to God’s will for my life.  Godly obedience is not the kind of obedience that sounds like a bunch of rules.  Rather, it is a willingness to give Him complete control  It is 365 days a year, including the forty days of Lent.

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4. EMBRACE  THERAPY, ACCEPTANCE, AND RESTORATION  (God is your buckler)

Binge watching 7th Heaven preached to me in lots of ways; it was my therapy for a large chunk of time during the first half of 2015.  One of my favorite posts in 2015 was What I Learned From Watching 7th Heaven.

Y’all, I fell in love with Southwestern Virginia.  We spent some lovely days visiting a friend and explored the back roads near her hometown.  It was restorative and gave me much Joy In My Father’s World. And, lots of pictures.

Back in 2013, I realized that I need to make peace with My mom having Alzheimer’s, but it wasn’t until sometime in 2015 that I was able to accept that it is what it is, and only God has all the answers.  Instead of wasting time grieving over what we’ve lost, I’m starting to embrace the path we are on and I’m beginning to realize that you can never truly lose someone, you just adjust to a new normal.

More than ever in 2015 the truth in Psalm 18:2 sustained me:

The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

I  also relied on Psalm 91 and knowing that he covers me with his feathers; He is my buckler which according to Merriam-Webster means “one that shields and protects.”  I have discovered that I love the word buckler.

I also found strength from the support of my husband. He takes care of me and loves me well. I love doing life with him.

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5. ENJOY A SEASON OF STRENGTH AND QUIET (embrace the real you)

I’ve always loved Autumn, but this year I realized that the way I describe Autumn also describes me.  Makes perfect sense.

I see Fall as both a little bit spicy and practical.  It is no-nonsense, but serendipitous all at the same time.  It is a warm hug as well as a brusque nod in passing. It is a steadfast heart that loves without condition, but won’t be trampled.  It is chaotic and fragile, but stands strong in the storm.  It is a little rough around the edges, as well as gloriously beautiful in spirit.  Like me.

2015 taught me that by God’s grace I am stronger than I think.

October loves me – she sent me several postcards this year during the 31 Days Writing Challenge

November is a melancholy month when the skies are gray and somber, and the first real chill is in the air.  Lights come on earlier, and we settle in for quieter evenings. I’m ok with that. Because I’m a little bit melancholy.

Advent is a time of waiting for “Emmanuel, God with us“, or as my mother says, “I’m so happy, God is in the house.”  A welcome note of praise to celebrate the arrival of the Christ Child…

and then, we slipped quietly from one year into the next.

Growing in grace,

Teresa

Linking up with Emily for What I Learned in 2015

Learning in October

I see Fall as both a little bit spicy and practical.  It is no-nonsense, but serendipitous all at the same time.  It is a warm hug as well as a brusque nod in passing. It is a steadfast heart that loves without condition, but won’t be trampled.  It is chaotic and fragile, but stands strong in the storm.  It is a little rough around the edges, as well as gloriously beautiful in spirit.  Like me.  (Teresa L. Hardymon)

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I always refer to October as mine.  I mean, I’m happy to share her with you, but she is my October.  And, she did not disappoint this month.  The color came on slow, intensified just when I thought she was going to fade without much splash, then lingered just a few days before blowing away on the winds of change.

I went on a girls excursion last week with a friend.  We left on Wednesday and remarked that there wasn’t a lot of color yet.  By Friday, October had exploded all over the place and the color was wonderful.  It was enough to make me shout praises.  I went crazy and took lots of pictures which I shared here.

Then, a couple of days later, when the color was still good, but falling and the light was more gray than bright, I took a gander around my own small, hometown and took lots more pictures which I shared here.

October sent me several postcards which I shared on several days as part of the #write31days event.  She really loves me a lot, which is why she sent me the cards.  Just to remind me of all she has to offer.

In addition to all the love, there were a few things I discovered this month that I thought I’d share with you just in case they might be of interest or help to you too.

THE PERFECT PURSE –  How did I not discover the perfect purse before?  For years, I have struggled to find a purse that I love to carry and that loves me back.  I find a bag, love the look or color, imagine that we’ll have a long relationship, but then disappointment inevitably settles in and I’m once again on the hunt.   I think the hunt is over!  I discovered the bucket bag (mine is similar and this one is on my wish list too).  It has been wonderful. It was half-price which was great as well.  In September I wrote about what was in my purse.  I loved that orange bag and still do, but it is frustrating to carry, because everything shifts around and I’m always digging to find stuff.  NO MORE!  The bucket bag keeps everything exactly where I put it!  I started carrying this bag around the first of October and I have yet to be frustrated.  Everything has a place and stays there.  I can find things.  The strap is adjustable so I can balance it just right for me.  It sets comfortably on my shoulder without slipping.  I finally have a bag that is stylish, roomy, comfortable and organized.

NEW FAVORITE ARTIST –  I love good music.  I love being in a small intimate group listening to live music.  I had the opportunity earlier this month to do just that.  One of our favorite little pizza hangouts, Pasquales, has been having live music.  Many evenings, it includes my nephew, Austin, and his friend, Andrew, who make up the band The Mountain Sound.  On the particular night we went to Pasquales they were performing with other musicians from the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music which is part of the MSU music department.  They performed as Blurred lines and I met a new favorite singer,  Becki Alfrey.  The girl can sing.  She did a lot of Patsy Cline numbers and it was just heavenly.  She doesn’t have a CD out yet, but I’m hoping she does soon.

GO TO YOUR CLASS REUNION –  I’ve never gone to one of my class reunions. ever. Until this October.  And it wasn’t an official reunion.  It was a non-reunion year, when a group from our class wanted to have a little get together at a local bowling alley.  They set up a Facebook invite and invited everyone they could think of from our class.  I received the invite and thought maybe, but probably not.  My friend T and I discussed it.  We were both leaning towards not.  I said, well, let’s keep our options open.  The day of I was pretty sure I wasn’t going, then T called to check in and said we were going.  So, that was that.  I AM SO GLAD I WENT.  It was just a small group, but it was a great time of catching up and remembering.  We loved it so much that everyone decided to make it an annual thing.  I can’t wait to go next year.  I won the prize for being married the longest (31 years).  I don’t know why I waited so long.  Sometimes it was logistics because I lived too far away.  A lot of times it was the awkwardness of not having seen anyone but a handful of people since high school.  What I learned from this event is that in many ways we are the same people we were then, but in so many ways we have matured into the what I want to be when I grow up version.  We have lived life with it’s challenges, lessons and gifts.  We know how important friends can be.  We have a shared history together, as well as our own history lived apart.  Going forward we will make new history together.

RACCOONS ARE NOT AFRAID OF US, Y’ALL –  My parents have had a raccoon visit them several times this month.  It nearly attacked my dad on the first visitation, brushing against him on it’s way by his chair.  Then, on another evening, when my mom was sitting on the porch by her lonesome, he got a little braver and they made contact which resulted in a few scratches on her hand and ankle.  She yelled pretty loud and I heard her while siting in my kitchen.  I called to make sure everyone was ok, and went over to check on the scratches.  I called our local animal control guy, who said he didn’t have a trap and wanted to know if my dad had a gun (not sure exactly what his job description is supposed to be, evidently it doesn’t cover coons).  We thought about borrowing a trap and trapping him, so we could make sure he didn’t have rabies.  But, since the scratches were surface and the coon hadn’t shown any signs before or after the incident of being rabid, and after reading up about such things on the internet, we decided my mom was safe and not in danger of getting rabies.  Since it is now was well past the incubation period  and nothing has happened yet, I think we’re safe.  The coon showed up a couple more times, but hasn’t been seen recently, so I’m guessing he has moved on.  We hope.

I CAN’T DO EVERYTHING –  I’ve been slowly, but surely, giving myself permission to slow down and not worry if every “i” is dotted or “t” is crossed.  I’m trying to look at what I have done and be thankful, rather than feeling guilty about what I haven’t done.  Sometimes we are harder on ourselves than others are, and we set higher expectations than necessary.

TAKE THE MEDICATION ALREADY – I have also been learning that sometimes taking medication is our best option and if we are willing, it can help us to feel better.  I’ve recently been diagnosed with MCTD, an autoimmune disease (I hate that word). Thankfully, it appears that I’m not showing major attacks on my body yet and my doctor wants to get it in remission before it gets worse, so I’ve had to take a new medication to help build up my immune system and help with pain. The aches and pains are better, however the deep, deep fatigue lingers.  Which is why number 4 is necessary.  Taking naps is also becoming a necessary part of my daily routine and this too is a learning curve.  I’m sure this journey will teach me many things.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13 (KJV)

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I am learning in grace,

Teresa

Linking up with Emily P. Freeman and others over at Chatting At The Sky for the October What I Learned.  Won’t you join the party?

Open Your Eyes

 

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.   Ecclesiastes 3:1

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Seeing in Grace,

Teresa

This is days 31 of a 31 day series. Click image to go to the series home page.
This is days 31 of a 31 day series. Click image to go to the series home page.
Click  image to see the response posts from my sister’s blog
Click image to see the response posts from my sister’s blog

Small Town Memories

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Dear One,

I’m so glad you enjoyed the picture show the other day from Shaker Village. Those images will bring you many happy memories of time spent there.

Today, I’m inspired to show you the beauty of your small town.  I’m glad you took the time recently to look close to home for the memories that are ready to be made right outside your own front door.  There are some lovely spots to capture gorgeous Autumn.

Such as Lover’s Lane, trees and houses around town, a church, the big tree in your former Principal’s yard, the Middle School and a small town cityscape.

I hope seeing the beauty in your home town will establish your sense of place. Because we all need to belong.  We all need a sense of place.

There are lots of pictures!  Enjoy!

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Making memories in grace,

Teresa

All photos were taken in Flemingsburg, Kentucky and are the property of StoneLeaf & Co.  Please don’t use without permission.

This is days 28-30 of a 31 day series. Click image to go to the series home page.
This post is for days 28-30 of a 31 day series. Click image to go to the series home page.
Click image to see the response posts from my sister’s blog
Click image to see the response posts from my sister’s blog

Snap It!

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Dear One,

Please forgive my absence for the past few days.  I’ve been thinking of you and how much you love capturing photos of the season.  I had to chuckle when your friend G told you that you take three or four pictures of the same thing when she only takes one.  I get that, as I too love the fleeting beauty of Autumn.  I also thought it rather funny when you told her you were a “professional photographer”.  Of course, we all know you are not, but still, I love your enthusiasm for snap, snap, snapping away.  So, to make up for the post cards I didn’t send your way, I thought it would be appropriate to share some photos of the season with you.  Enjoy!

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Tree, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Harrodsburg, Kentucky

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100_4627Snapping in grace,

Teresa

All pictures in this post were taken at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Harrodsburg, Kentucky.  They are the property of StoneLeaf & Co. Please do not use without permission.

This is days 23-27 of a 31 day series. Click image to go to the series home page.
This is days 23-27 of a 31 day series. Click image to go to the series home page.
Click  image to see the response posts from my sister’s blog
Click image to see the response posts from my sister’s blog