I will bring what I am learning about patience from this cycling of the seasons to my navigation of a life of perpetual change.

Evidence of Grace in the Cycling of Seasons

When my thrifty mother-in-law made mincemeat, she would start with the venison roast from a deer who may have had the audacity to nibble on her tulip leaves.  From there, she would improvise, adding whatever needed using up on that particular day:  a batch of jam that didn’t “set up” just right or an over-abundance of applesauce.  Somehow, the mincemeat always simmered fragrant and delicious.

When I make mincemeat, I follow a recipe – to the letter. But it is likely that if any of my daughters-in-law find a need for that particular pie filling, they will just buy a jar off the shelf.
(Or I will give them one of mine!)

I’m well aware that generational change is a given.  Good and exciting things happen quickly once our kids hit the double digits, so I’m braced and on board.  Change is on the menu whether I like it or not.

I’m choosing to like it.

Today I’m anticipating the cycling changes that come as the tilt of the earth’s axis begins to register longer days and more direct sunlight. However, here just below the 45th parallel spring is still weeks away and will arrive in its own good time.

The majestic evergreens and the kindness of low  bushes that turn a deep red after they drop their leaves are all that rescue my early spring landscape from a panorama of sepia and gray.  Last night, Venus and the waning crescent moon were veiled in mist, and the damp cold that is seeping into my bones today tells me that change is on the way.  And I welcome it.

If spring is still an unfulfilled promise anyway, then let it be cold.  Let the ground stay hard, and let the sky send a fresh, clean blanket of white every few days to relieve the monotony of all that has expired.  Better to walk on frozen ground or across the crunch of snow than to sink into the mud of early spring acedia.  Better to bring my mittens, my shovel, and my small resiliency to a beautiful world than to mourn the slow and uncertain advent of spring.

I can never make less than six quarts of anything!In this season of slow sunrise, when the daffodils snooze and the robins make angry phone calls to their travel agents, I will make kielbasa bean soup and fill up the empty spaces around my table with people who need the full feeling that comes from a hearty welcome.  After all, no matter how earnest my intentions, I cannot make less than six quarts of anything.  (And I can’t shake the idea that if Jesus had walked the frozen fields of New England instead of the dusty roads of Galilee, He would have worked His way with a metaphor around an abundant kettle of steaming chowder.)

With sons coming and going, who knows how many bowls I will need to put on the table?  This ever-changing count provides a concrete measure, a confirmation of the vague sensation I carry that someone, somewhere has thrown a lever, releasing a huge gush of life from this busy and crowded home.

This season of change includes kids with parenting questions, kids with careers, kids with house-buying dreams–and “the baby” just bought a car! I’m certain that the boy behind the wheel was napping in his crib just yesterday, while I weeded green beans and scribbled in a journal.  We gave him a cell phone to keep in his car–just in case. (He is happy to leave it there, because it’s not a very cool model.)

My first cellphone had a tiny antenna on it.  It rang infrequently, but when it did, I usually missed the call anyway, because, buried in my purse, it sounded like a distant chainsaw in the woods.

I still keep my phone in my purse, despite the “fervent counsel” (i.e. nagging) of my children.
Them:  “Where were you?”
Me:  “In the garden.”
Them:  “Why didn’t you take your phone with you?”
Me:  (momentary silence while I try to adjust my wording and tone to be kinder than I am feeling)  “Because I carried a baby monitor around in the garden for ten years.”

Is it a sign of progress that, now, when I hear a distant chain saw in the woods, I run for my cell phone?

A more urgent question:  Am I willing to “outgrow” my crankiness and claustrophobia about technology in order to connect with the important people in my life?

Facebook updates me on the steady advance of the cancer that is tunneling its way through one more friend or of the dementia that steals the self-hood and the memories of yet another precious personality whose creativity and warm laughter will be forever lost to this world. Thanks be to God that the offset of all this lament comes in celebration of the full-body smile of my grandson and the mischievous giggle of my blue-eyed granddaughter. Both have absolutely no idea how much joy they add to the world just by inhabiting their own tiny skin.

And while it is true that it is the voice of the Lord that “strips the forest bare,” it is also true that when “winter is past [and] the rain over and gone, the flowers appear on the earth . . . and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.  The fig tree ripens its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance,” (Song of Solomon 2:11-13).

I will bring what I am learning about patience from this cycling of the seasons to my navigation of a life of perpetual change.

I will start where I am with my full days and my inconsistencies and my pitiful mixed motives.

I will use what I have, putting it all in the pot to simmer, and somehow, by the grace of God, I believe that it will be enough.

//

If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular Bible studies and book reviews delivered to your inbox.  Just enter your e-mail address in the field at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging  communities on a regular basis.  They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week.  I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.

Advertisements

Published by

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.

75 thoughts on “Evidence of Grace in the Cycling of Seasons”

  1. I agree, it surely would be enough! And about that cellphone thing, I’ve been admonished countless times on why it is called a mobile phone! Thanks for sharing, Michele. Many blessings to you and your family!

    Like

  2. “In this season of slow sunrise, when the daffodils snooze and the robins make angry phone calls to their travel agents, I will make kielbasa bean soup and fill up the empty spaces around my table with people who need the full feeling that comes from a hearty welcome.” I love this, Michele. Spring is slow to come in the 45th parallel, but that doesn’t mean we have to be miserable. My grandsons delighted in the perfect-for-making-snowmen snowfall we had yesterday. Even in 30 degree weather their exuberant play made them so hot they threw off their jackets and hats. You made me laugh with your response to the sound of a distant chainsaw. And like you I will “bring what I am learning about patience from this cycling of the seasons to my navigation of a life of perpetual change.”

    Like

    1. I take making you laugh as a high compliment indeed, because so often you amuse me!
      And yes! I noticed that yesterday’s very unwelcome snow fall would have been great for one last snow man. I should have gone in search of the grandboy!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a beautifully written and thoughtful welcome to spring, Michele. I long for your wisdom and patience. I enjoyed reading about your “uncool” technology and the resistance you and I share at being reachable at all times.

    I am like your mother-in-law – putting whatever strikes my fancy into the pot. I always think I can improve on a recipe. Even I have to laugh at myself. The description of you making a big pot of soup resonated with me. After cooking for several teenage boys, how do we ever learn to scale back?

    Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your Maine life. The soup looks and sounds so good, I am wishing I lived closer so that I could share a steaming bowl with you!

    Like

    1. That would sure be fun!
      And I’m trying to be philosophical about all the left overs. If I plan carefully, I actually can skip cooking now and then and just clean out the refrigerator.
      I don’t think I’ll ever learn to scale back, but it’s nice to have muffins to share with the neighbors!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Michele,
    I have found that we, like the seasons, have seasons as parents that must be embraced with gratefulness not complaint. But this was a very hard lesson for me. All my children have moved to different states including my 8 adorable little people. I lamented the silence for a long time afraid that if I found a way to thank God for this change that I would never get them back. As if I had any control of this anyway!
    It’s a long story and one that eventually led me to begin another blog—The Faraway Nana. I can say that God is good even in this! And I have found fresh joy like Spring as you have so beautifully described.
    Excellent post. I love your ways with words!

    Like

    1. Oh, Debi, whenever I’m with my grands, I think about women who are separated by geography from their little blessings. I realize how blessed I am when I hear from people who miss their grandbabies. What a good idea to turn the experience into a blog! I’m off to find it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Michele. It took me four years to accept God’s choice for me. Lots of tears in letting go of what I had hoped my Nana years would look like. But I have the good God had planned for me through it all. That makes it worth the pain.

        Like

  5. Michele, this was a beautiful reflection on spring (which has been so slow in coming to New England) and to the changing of our times. If I may admit, sweet friend, I would so much rather carry the baby monitor than my cell phone as the view is so much more precious! Praying this morning for a heart willing to change and willing to find meaning in the midst of the change. Thank you for sharing your thoughts today – they blessed me!

    Like

    1. Ha! Yes, definitely preferred the baby monitor, because I always knew where they were! Now? Not so much!
      Praying along with you, Joanne, and I think it’s something we need to keep before us all the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This was so beautiful. Love so many phrases including the first line. Time does match on and life changes. I so relate to you not being able to cook less than 6 quarts of anything. I grew up cooking for 8. Got married and was still cooking for 8. Can you make any less, my husband would say, looking at a huge pot. These days with a teen son it comes in handy, but I am still cooking for an army.

    Like

  7. Time moves on relentlessly. Whether we like it or don’t. Turns out how well we fit with the flow is determined by attitude and perspective. I’m pretty sure you have it figured out because you are filled with gratitude which is the ultimate secret. 🙂

    Like

  8. I love your beautiful perspective on the slow march of spring! In Canada, spring is painfully slow. I love how you can find moments to treasure in this season rather than grumping (like I tend to do!) The cell phone is funny, it’s hard to get used to people wanting to be able to reach us anytime they want, it wasn’t so long ago this wasn’t a thing!

    Like

    1. Yes . . . and so we wait, encouraged by every tiny bit of progress. I’ve cheated by bringing in a bouquet of forsythia branches and they are beginning to bloom in a canning jar. The real thing can’t be far away, right?

      Like

    1. It always does my brain so much good to think about all my Southern Hemisphere friends who are experiencing the exact opposite of what I’m seeing. I need to be reminded that my own reality is not the only one.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I can relate so much, although I’m missing out on grandchildren, my eldest have no desire to pro-create. I will just have to wait until my youngsters grow older. If I am still around, I’m going to be one of those very old grandma’s! I laughed at your telling of carrying the baby monitor around in the garden but not the phone. I’m always being admonished for not having my mobile with me, yet those monitors went everywhere in the house and garden. Beautiful post Michele x
    #ThatFridayLInky

    Like

    1. Good that you are being patient in your wait for grandchildren. And hopefully our kids can be patient with us as we adjust to the omnipresent phone and try to accommodate their need for connection while we exercise our need for independence.

      Like

  10. Reading this has been a sweet exhale for me this morning, Michele. Isn’t it kind of God to provide joy on one end of the spectrum even while there is ongoing grief on the other? No grandbabies here, but lots of other exciting things to look forward to with girls who are 17 and 14! 🙂

    Like

    1. Wow, you’re into some interesting days with girls at those ages. Lots of decisions and milestones ahead, and I know you have lots of question marks as well with caring for your parents. Blessings to you as you stand in the middle, the fulcrum for so much life on both sides.

      Like

  11. I was out working in the yard today and missed two phone calls and text messages from my daughter wanting to know where I was. Change is good but I’m still not going to carry my phone with me all the time. Found you on Blogger’s Pit Stop Link party

    Like

  12. “I will start where I am with my full days and my inconsistencies and my pitiful mixed motives.” That’s where I am, too.
    I’m in a different season because my kids are little, but the changes are just as surprising! I definitely want to embrace it instead of lamenting about how it happens too quickly. That lamenting takes my focus off of the important things.

    Like

  13. I’m another one who is often separated from her cell phone, making me a lesson in patience for my family! Some designer needs to create some sort of holster we can wear on our upper arms, where the phone will be handy but out of the way–and won’t create discomfort. As for seasons of change: they DO require patience–patience to take moments one at a time as Jesus advised (Matthew 6:34). Thank you for the welcome and well-written (!) reminder, Michele.

    Like

  14. This was a treat to read!! Had lots of touches of personality!! I chuckled at the running for your phone when hearing a distant chainsaw in the woods 🤭. Change, it’s something we all face and something we all ponder!!

    Like

  15. I have been pondering my seasons lately and trying to hold time still. While my oldest is almost 21 and my youngest just turned 5 I wonder why time flies. Since I now know that someday I will look back on their days and reminisce my time is more focused on the 3 I have left at home. Love your thoughts on carrying around a baby monitor, but I still miss those days and wonder what the future holds when I have so much time on my hands. I used to complain and now I cherish every moment. Have a great day!

    Like

    1. Freezing time just doesn’t work. And actually, it might make us miss things that are changing right under our noses. As kids leave the nest, I think it does make us more fierce in our commitment to lean into the enjoyment of EVERY age and stage. I only had all four of my boys here at home for ten years. That doesn’t seem like a very long time now that it’s in the past.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. You know, I have never had mincemeat. I wasn’t even sure what it was, til now. 🙂 But I have experienced those changes between how my mother and grandmother cooked and how my daughter-in-law and I cook now.

    I’ve faced so many changes, thinking that once everything “settles down,” I’ll be able to find a new normal. But I am coming to believe that nothing settles down for very long, and life is one long series of changes. One comfort from the hymn “Be Still My Soul” is a line which says, “Through every change, He faithful will remain.”

    Like

    1. I’m with you. I think “normal” is a sliding scale or a moving target, and we just move through new Normals all through life.
      That hymn has also helped me. Another good line:
      “Be still my soul, the Lord doth undertake
      To guide the future as He has the past . . .”

      Like

  17. Michele I love this post! I love having adult children. They are more like friends now and less like children, and I just love that! The season is changing though. Our youngest leaves the next in less than three weeks. I’ve been a little whiney about that and I need to stop! Thanks for this post to remind me of that. BTW mine track me on Find My Friends! LOL They ALWAYS know where mom is! 🙂 Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements.

    Like

  18. You always seem to have your pulse on all the feelings. The seasons, the pulling, the shifting and connecting. It’s all there and always in motion. Like this great big earth. I keep willing to stop, but it keeps going, keeps spinning a web of time, of progress, of change.

    Like

    1. It takes an intentional stance to remain grateful in these days of continual change. I’m grateful for friends who hold me accountable, and for a solid husband who reminds me when I’m letting “all the feels” blind me to the goodness of the day I am living.

      Like

  19. Michele, what a joy to be carried along by your descriptive words. Soaking in the fullness of what God has provided today, not next week, not next month, but today. Finding His hand at work wherever I may be whether surrounded by the scent of full spring blooms or feeling the brisk wind brush across my cheeks again. May I see His beauty and seek Him there!

    Like

    1. I really need to read this today, Melissa, because here in Maine we are in our third consecutive day of April snow! It’s beautiful, but not what I had planned, right? The challenge is always to “see His beauty and seek Him there,” even if it’s while I’m shoveling!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. 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!

    Like

  21. This is a beautiful, thought-provoking post, Michele, and I am so very glad you shared it with the Hearth and Soul Link Party! I agree, times are changing, and I’m grateful the evidence of Grace we see as that happens. Thank you so much for your support of the Hearth and Soul Link Party.

    Like

  22. Just beautiful. I faithfully carry my phone everywhere, but can count in minutes the amount of time I’ve had the ringer off silent in the past 15 years ;). I don’t like noise. I can relate to the revolving door meal situation ;). Pedro’s been known to call me ten minutes before dinner and ask if he can bring someone over–from a student to a movie producer. It keeps me on my toes. Best of all, I’m learning that God gives me the grace to change even when I feel like being a stick in the mud :).

    Like

    1. Yes, I agree. There’s nothing more JARRING than to be outside in the fresh air and bird son and to have the phone jangle my eardrums and my brain!
      But I do carry my phone more than I used to.
      I love the flexibility you and Pedro have with dinner guests! That’s so great!

      Like

  23. You referenced the “cycling of seasons” in one of your comments over at my place. It’s nice to read more of your thoughts on this. I understand a lot of what you describe. My sons have officially left the nest, I still cook too much food and now have the joy of a grandson. I am also learning how God’s grace is handed to me freely even when I am being stubborn.

    Like

    1. I hadn’t noticed that I’d done that. The post must have been running around in my brain at that point.
      It’s great that God is not hindered one iota by our stubbornness, Mary.
      And I’m so happy for you that your grandson is giving you great joy! It’s only just beginning!

      Like

  24. I try to embrace the changes of life, especially the ones that don’t seem like blessings at first. It’s probably how I’ve succeeded as a military spouse for so long! And while I love technology, I’ve become annoyed at people’s expectation that you answer immediately. I have to sleep at some point. #GlobalBlogging

    Like

  25. Congrats Michele! Your post is FEATURED at the #WednesdayAIMLinkParty 35! Party starts tonight, Wed, Apr-17-2019 at 9:00 PM CST.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.