The God who says, "Do it again" every morning to the sun never tires of amazing His children, both big and small.

Musings: September 2018

Tired metaphor though it be, the transformation from chubby caterpillar to seemingly inanimate chrysalis, and then to elegant and dainty flying monarch was new again to me in this late summer season of 2018, because it was new to my tiny grandson.

“Leafy” had no idea that the milkweed he munched in a retired goldfish bowl was anyLeafy different than the succulent salad he had been savoring in the field adjacent to my garden. He went home with the boy who had christened him and for a few days, it was his job to put the creativity of God on display.

Following the dotted lines back to the glory of New Life, to the comprehensive and bone-deep transformation that comes with New Birth, or even to the patient waiting that accompanies a process would be a stretch for a four-year-old spirit, but awe is very much within his grasp. The God who says, “Do it again!” every day to the sun never tires of amazing his children, both big and small.

In the Morin Kitchen

I will save a final jar count until after the beets and carrots have been dug, the dill dried, and the last of the tomatoes have been harvested, but this has been a banner year for preserving the blessings from our garden. Then, in the midst of all this, after 25 years here on this country hill, we are turning our attention toward the kitchen, and the time has come for new cupboards, new flooring, and a whole new look. I can just barely believe it.

On the Blog

Kitchen reno 1

I shared a video over on the Living Our Days Facebook page, celebrating the new wall along with a heads up for some future books scheduled to appear here soon. If it seems to you that everywhere you look there is an announcement about a new book releasing, your perception is accurate–or at least it seems that way to me! Therefore, I shared six book reviews this  month in addition to pulling together a collection of recommended parenting resources for The Redbud Post.

The Perennial Gen featured my review of Becoming Curious: A Spiritual Practice of Asking Questions by Casey Tygrett. AtBecoming Curious: God has equipped our souls for exploration. mid-life and for all our days, the spiritual practice of becoming curious is God’s gift to His people, and He has equipped our souls to take the shape of an explorer into the deep things that will change our way of seeing the world. The question is, are we curious enough to follow Him there?

"Reading literature, more than informing us, forms us." Karen Swallow PriorKaren Swallow Prior has been on my list of voices to pay attention to since I read her excellent bio of Hannah More. Her new book, On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books, analyzes twelve of the books you may have read courtesy of your childhood library or bookmobile and invites you into the ones you missed. In a non-fiction format, Prior employs the most compelling aspects of fiction to take readers to a new level of understanding in their reading life, and this is a great gift because “reading literature, more than informing us, forms us.”

Self-care is definitely a growth point for me, but in In Four Gifts: Seeking Self-care for Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength, April Yamasaki 4 Gifts: 4 Ways to Boost Your Self-Care Quotientopens her own life to self-care scrutiny and examines Scripture’s claims about the abundant life alongside biblical promises of God’s care for those who believingly follow Him.  To my great relief, Yamasaki frames self-care with a bigger vision than manicures and a daily green smoothie, as she encourages readers to receive the gifts that flow from the first great commandment:

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”  (Mark 12:30)

Marilyn McEntyre is a delightful thinker and writer. I shared Word by Word hereReview of Make a List by Marilyn McEntyre: Your New Life Beyond the To-Do List some time ago, and her latest,  Make a List: How a Simple Practice Can Change Our Lives and Open Our Hearts,  elevates list writing to a creative endeavor, a writing exercise that is partly spiritual formation, partly imaginative play, and partly a recording of the music of one’s own soul. Putting the pen to paper or the fingers to the keyboard, the list maker asks questions, poses possibilities, and frames her desires.

Pastoral Ministry: The Courageous Calling to a Faithful Love12 Faithful Men: Portraits of Courageous Endurance in Pastoral Ministry successfully dismantles the cool factor that prevails in our view of ministry life. Beginning with the Apostle Paul, who knew well the sting of the lash and the sting of rejection, the record shows that those who have been profoundly used by God “to build the church suffered grinding affliction along the way.” Editors Collin Hansen and Jeff Robinson of the Gospel Coalition have provided 21st century believers with a resource to heighten our gratitude for church leaders of the past and our appreciation for those who serve us today.

Conversations about missionaries and missions strategy are commonplace in our A Review of Mapping Church Missions by Sharon R. Hooverhome. We talk about the latest newsletter updates, who’s “home,” and who’s “back on the field.” We wonder about the members of our missionary family when we don’t hear from them, and we puzzle over big picture concerns in an era in which more missionaries are retiring than can possibly be replaced by new recruits. In Mapping Church Missions: A Compass for Ministry Strategy, Sharon Hoover introduces a way of thinking about the genuine challenges of initiating and maintaining a program of global outreach that is in keeping with a biblical view of The Great Commission, while also taking into consideration the uniqueness of each supporting church. Her good work and varied experiences have helped her to produce a road map for intentional missions strategy that will transcend personal interests and agendas.

On the Hill

Maybe this section should be captioned “Over the Hill” because in September, I

I just happen to share a birthday month with these two cuties!
Bam just happens to share a birthday month with her two grandbabies.

left 55 in the rear view mirror, but there’s certainly no time around here for lapsing into maudlin ponderings. The leaves outside my dining room window this afternoon don’t have the sheen they wore in June, but they are still green, and they are still doing their job.

The tiny hand that released the beautifully transformed “Leafy” for his southbound flight was acting in brave faith. Every single cell in his body wanted to hang onto his butterfly friend, to keep him warm for the winter, to enjoy his company. By grace, we are all in a season of letting go in some way or other. My prayer for you (and for me!) in this autumn of gentle warning is that you will have wisdom to know when to let go — and when to hang on for dear life!

Blessings and love to you, 

Image Credit for Pumpkin/Monarch Butterfly/Tiny Boy Hand: Christine Morin

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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 30 years, and together they have four sons, two daughters-in-love, two grandchildren, and one lazy St. Bernard. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

64 thoughts on “Musings: September 2018”

  1. Oh my . . that last paragraph about leafy, the boy, and holding on/letting go. So powerful Michele, so much truth packed into those words. Thank you. It has caused me to reflect. ~ Abby

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  2. Happy to be your neighbor once again. Letting go… something I keep coming back to because I try to hold too much, and do too much. I just started reading Word by Word, and am enjoying the process contemplating each word in a new way each day. Being a list maker, I will have to read McEntyre’s new book as well. Thanks for sharing the book reviews and the precious story about Leafy. Sweet Blessings to you!

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  3. A perfect metaphor… Our amazing monarchs–representing the love and hope of our amazing God! ❤ sharing… We were blessed to sight 65 monarchs here at the farmstead in central Maine this year and watched two emerge from chrysalis. Praising God and thanking Him for transforming us too! xo

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  4. The story about your grandson and “his” monarch brought tears to my eyes. If only I could remember to see the world through the eyes of a 4-year-old, full of wonder and amazement.

    Knowing when to hold on and when to let go is something I have been thinking about a lot lately. I still haven’t figured it out!

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    1. It helps me to remember that it was hard even for a 4-year old who really has no idea what he’s releasing that butterfly into. We know way too much for it to be easy, but when we do it anyway, we grow in our trust. Which is always challenging . . .

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Belated happy birthday! Sweet to repeat the butterfly experience with a dear grandchild. How exciting to get a new kitchen! My husband and I have talked about painting our kitchen cupboards and changing out the hardware. Maybe once fall sets in and he’s not having to do so much outside, we can nail down some firm plans. 🙂

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  6. that last paragraph almost made me cry, in many ways I feel like the caterpillar again lately and I am holding on to things that I am needing to let go, I am opening myself up and gosh how I am hoping to have the courage to fly once more. Beautifully written Michele, Thank you for linking this up with #ABloggingGoodTime

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    1. When “Leafy” emerged from that cocoon, he sat on my grandson’s finger for a very long time, exercising his wings, patiently waiting for the strength and ability to take flight. May we act in the same patient wisdom!
      Thanks so much for reading!

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  7. Michele,
    I always enjoy your musings! Oh that we would never lose our sense of curiosity and amazement at God’s Creation. Seeing it anew from the vantage point of young eyes can certainly help us see, again, how amazing God is. Wow, your canning harvest looks plentiful and delicious! I definitely need to read the book on self care…I’m not very good at this and need a primer. As always, love popping in!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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  8. Well, happy birthday! I think I missed that if it was elsewhere, the dreaded insomnia bug keeping me from my usual online habits. Thanks for these reviews and your prayer at the end. That’s wisdom we all need! Have a great weekend!

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  9. I love that you’re enjoying these same small miracles that come with 4-year-olds and Monarchs as we’re embracing down here in Pennsylvania, Michele! This was a wonderful recap and truly an eloquently written read. What a wonderful way to start my Monday. Your way with words is so special – it’s really a gift!

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  10. I always love to read your Musings, Michele!

    I totally loved your prayer: “My prayer for you (and for me!) in this autumn of gentle warning is that you will have wisdom to know when to let go — and when to hang on for dear life!”

    Something we can pray for anyone! And something i definitely need for myself. In this season of life, I feel I must let go of something because, hello! Busy! But having the wisdom to know which item to give up? I’m not there yet. So, I’m hanging on for dear life!

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  11. Seeing that caterpillar in the jar took me back to childhood when my cousin and I collected caterpillars from my grandma’s garden, on the way home and big, black hairy one climbed out and crawled up my arm#twinklytuesday@_karendennis

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  12. Wow! Your garden sounds amazing! Congratulations on all of your guest posts, too :). Grandchildren are the best because they re-teach of things we know but have forgotten. Blessings to you in this season of bounty!

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  13. Hi Michele, I always enjoy reading your monthly updates.

    How neat for your grandson to have that experience from caterpillar to butterfly.

    Remodeling is always so exciting! And especially if its a room that is used as much as it sounds like yours is!

    I enjoyed my visit today as always.

    Blessings,

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    1. Exciting. Yes. Exciting. I will keep saying that word over and over again, Karen, and I am very grateful to you for your helpful perspective. I need positive friends in my life–those who see the kitchen “half-finished” instead of “half-destroyed.” 🙂

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  14. Oh, Michele, such beautiful writing here — thoughts of seeing the world through a child’s eye, new cupboards, and new beginnings of all sorts. I love the fresh faith you remind us of in your beautiful posts.
    Blessings to you as you journey into this next season.
    Marva | SunSparkleShine

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    1. Oh, “fresh faith!” Isn’t that just the longing of our hearts? I do thank God if that’s what you have found in this post, and appreciate your encouraging words along the way, Marva!

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  15. Congratulations! Your post was my feature pick at #ThursdayFavoriteThings this week. Visit me at https://www.marilynstreats.com on thursday morning to see your feature! All hosts choose their own features from the comments left on their blog so be sure to return to my blog to see your feature. I invite you to leave more links to be shared and commented upon. Please don’t forget to add your link numbers or post title so we can be sure to visit!

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  16. How exciting! A brand new kitchen! I know the construction can wear down even the most patient of people, but on the other side it will be beautiful 🙂

    You amaze me, my friend. Your diligence in reading so many books is humbling. And I am so excited for it to be my turn ♥

    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

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  17. I tell you grandparents are the best. My parents and in-laws always do fun things when the kids go visit them. Things that they somehow never did with us as children. Somehow the rules they applied on us back in the day – goes out by the window. Lovely time spent with your grandchildren and you made sweet memories for sure #globalblogging

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