The geese have already begun their practice maneuvers over our heads on this country hill. They’re getting ready to go, so at least one goofy son will have asked the annual joke question:
“Why is one side of the V longer than the other?”
Pause and grin.
“One side of the V is longer than the other because it has more geese.”
And I laugh every year because that joke parallels my own habit of peering into a simple matter and making it more complicated than it needs to be.
I’m still reading Jeremiah these days, and it occurs to me that he must have looked overhead and observed the patterns of migratory birds as well:
“Even the stork in the heavens
Knows her appointed times;
And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow
Observe the time of their coming.
But My people do not know the judgment of the Lord.” Jeremiah 8:7
For birds of the air, obedience to the call of God is a matter of instinct. They know the time has come to move, and so they do it. I’m envious at times of their place in what Mary Oliver has called “the family of things.” But then, when I hear their wild call as they begin their flight to a southern home, I’m reminded to be thankful for the gift of choice.
On My Mind
This fall I’m working on a concept I read about on Philip Yancey’s blog. He’s quoting Charles Chu in urging readers to construct “a fortress of habits.” In his case it’s a matter of being disciplined in his reading, but my fortress of habits is needed around the practice of healthy eating and exercise. I want to be like those geese flying overhead: to just keep doing the right thing over and over and over . . . without thinking about it too much (remember the joke?) or making excuses to give myself an out. After all, if I think about obedience too long, I might be tempted to fall into the habits of disobedience Jeremiah lamented in the nation of Israel as he watched the birds fly overhead.
On the Blog
Readers at Living Our Days are three weeks into a book discussion group around Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry. It’s not too late to join us, and I know you’ll find the participants’ comments to be insightful. They’ve certainly been enhancing my own reading of the story! If you enjoy asking questions about the faith and diving into a cast of quirky but lovable characters, you’ll enjoy our low-pressure meandering journey through Jayber’s story.
In keeping with my resolve to keep my reading life down to a dull roar, I’ve reviewed only three books in September:
*** 1 ***
Table Mentoring is a challenge to share this following life alongside another, and author Sue Moore Donaldson has Scriptural backing:
“God comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” ~I Corinthians 1:3,4
Fair warning: This book has changed the way I pray about mentoring, and with its helpful collection of printables for use in a mentoring relationship, I’m finding myself eager to use them and believing what Sue has said:
“If you know one promise in God’s Word, you are ready to mentor that one promise. Ask God for someone to share it with today.”
*** 2 ***
Shauna Shanks had every reason to give up on her marriage. Her husband had been unfaithful, he had zero interest in reconciling with her, and her hope was wearing thin. A Fierce Love is a record of her resolve to fight for her marriage and to live by the principles of I Corinthians 13 in a posture of grace and restraint. Shauna clung to the truth that God had already set a high value upon her, and this guarded her heart from dwelling on negative thoughts and helped to pull her out of depression and despair.
“The Bible instructs us to take our thoughts captive. We act as though we have no control over our thoughts . . . as if once they pop into our heads, we have to let them live there.
Take them captive. They will kill you.”
*** 3 ***
In Peace in the Process, Kristin Hill Taylor shares her astonishment at the great gift of insight adoption brought to her understanding of the Christian life. Understanding the depth of God’s choosing love and leaning into this faith gave Kristin peace in the process of becoming a mum and leaving a much-loved career to stay home with her first child. The Taylors went on to adopt two more babies, each story unique and each child a gift from God.
By sharing the details of each adoption and including the diverse stories of a number of friends who also adopted, Kristin prepares readers who are considering adoption for the twists and turns of the process that sent her to Daniel’s Old Testament anthem to God’s sovereignty:
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and might are His.
And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.
He reveals deep and secret things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And light dwells with Him. (Daniel 2:20-23)
On the Hill
The garden is still producing green beans, tomatoes, and enough other things that I’m almost afraid to go look. Best of all are the sunflowers which I always plant with abandon. The last time I checked, the pumpkins were turning orange, and I haven’t even begun to harvest the beets and squash. Joy!
All the pink-lettering in this post cannot possibly have escaped your attention. Or maybe it did, but this mum of four sons and one grandson has had precious little use for the color pink in the past 23 years, but things are about to change around these parts.
Welcome to the family, little Rosanna Marie Morin, born on September 12 and weighing in at 8 lbs. and 3 oz. Her gorgeous dark hair is covered by the hat, but I promise to share more pictures soon.
(I’d be happy to share more pictures.
It’s no trouble at all . . . honest!)
Thanks to all for reading and for your encouraging comments throughout the month. You’ve made this a safe and welcoming place for me and for others, and I am grateful for your positive input and your interest in the stories of how God meets us in the process of Living Our Days.
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