Five Minute Friday: Who

Nature Song

Gentle Reader,

These are the last bright, colorful days of Autumn. Squirrels race to pack their secret warehouses. The dog’s coats grow thicker. Soon, clouds roll in. Rains drip and drop. Then, snow. But right now – a dazzling display. A brilliant declaration of the existence and abiding presence of the Creator.

Kate says: who.

Go.

On Autumn nights
Clear and sweet
The crystals dance
Across the sky
Waltzing to an
Ancient melody – steady
The one that
God dreamed up
Nature tunes its
Instruments to the
Hidden music – delicate
Frogs croaking in
Shadow next to
Crickets, grass, water
High above all
Cries the owl
“Hoo?” or maybe
“Who?” a question
The answer I
Do not have
But God knows
God, He sees
God, He hears
Caresses little owl’s
Head and says,
“For this, now,
Is why I
Made you, bird.
Steady, keep watch.”
I snuggle down
Beneath the sheets
Content to dream
While owl stays
Guard to keep

Stop.

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Five Minute Friday: Accept

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com

Gentle Reader,

Our FMF brother Andrew referenced Crispin’s Feast in the chat tonight. My appreciation for the Bard came late in life (as a matter of fact, just in the last few months, after watching the BBC series Hollow Crown: Wars of the Roses). Up until now my response has has been, in the words of Joey Tribbiani, “Hey, Shakespeare? How about a chase scene?”

Ah, but does it really get any better than this?

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

– Shakespeare, Henry V; Act 4, Scene 3

Kate says: accept.

Go.

It’s hot beverages, scarves, sweatshirts season.

Oh, and boots. Can’t forget boots.

Christmas may be my favorite holiday, but Autumn is my jam.

Pumpkins glow a fiery orange against the muddy backdrop of a near-empty garden plot, their vines fading from the bright green of new foliage to the duller shade of maturity. They are all that remains of summer’s growth. Beans, carrots, cucumbers, onions, peppers and tomatoes all harvested a couple of weeks ago, as the sun began to hint at its diminishing, giving way to cooler temperatures and the barest, cheek-brushing kiss of frost upon the ground.

A pumpkin is nothing more and nothing less than a pumpkin. A seed responds to the rain and the sun and the soil. A process mostly unseen. Held together by the word of God. It sprouts, it grows, it delights, it dies. All as designed by its Creator. It is, of course, not sentient. There is no wrestling with the great questions of life. Without a brain, it cannot worry that it is not as good as a spaghetti squash. It cannot wish to be slim like a cucumber. It cannot throw its weight around to intimidate a carrot.

A pumpkin simply…is.

I have been wondering about God’s love. Truth be told, I’ve not often felt it. Some speak of their hearts being overwhelmed, their souls swimming in Divine affection. Being at least half-Vulcan, I am at home in the mind. I have emotions. I cry (though few have seen it). I have compassion for people who are hurting. But I just don’t speak in the language of “feels.” That part of me is underdeveloped.

It is true that we cannot base our faith on feelings. There are far more mundane days than dances on mountaintops. More opportunities to grit our teeth and choose obedience than bask in the glowy fizz of spiritual hugs. This is right and good. We have to be tough. We have to have grit.

And yet…

God is love, right?

The mind and the heart have to be devoted to Him.

It’s not that I don’t love God. I do. There’s simply a desire for…more. I don’t know what this means. I have asked Him to allow me to experience His love in a way I haven’t before. In a way that will make sense to me. (In a way that will keep me from yelling at the kids loudly playing basketball across the street, kids who should be inside having dinner or doing homework). In a way that will reach beyond the walls and the cherished sins, the dark places we all possess and seek to keep hidden.

I want to live fully in the reality of these words:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

– Ephesians 1:3-6 (NKJV)

Beloved. Dearly loved. Much loved.

Christ, the much loved. Christ, the dearly loved. Christ, the beloved.

I want to feel that love. It is, by right of adoption, mine to have. Mine to experience.

Mine to accept as a gift beyond pricing, for He has accepted me by His love, in His grace, through my faith.

I want to simply be in Him, confident of His pleasure, secure in His affection, at rest, with no fear.

Just as the pumpkin simply is.

Stop.

Signature

Five Minute Friday: Green

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com

Gentle Reader,

Spent last evening hanging out with a couple of my godddaughters and so missed the chat. I was exposed to “Lalaloopsy.” Parents, I applaud you for not tearing your hair out. What happened to cartoons?!

Kate directs us to write about: green.

Go.

The leaves on the maple tree in my front yard put the best of Monet’s paintings to shame. There is no doing justice to the subtle shifts of color, no capturing the way the light plays on each shade. Dark and mossy nearest the grayish brown limbs fades into a true green, then a bright kelly. The delicate ends of each leaf are splashed with lime. Hints of yellow and orange mark the changing of the seasons.

A gentle breeze, full of crisp autumn notes, stirs the leaves into a symphony. They clap against each other, rustling and shushing. A few of the less tenacious members flutter to the grass below. Veins, rapidly drained of water, stand in bas relief against the paper-thin background. This green will disappear, swallowed up in a riot of burgundy and prairie winds.

The grass stirs in shifts and shadows. Its texture is not that of high summer. It neither fresh nor inviting. This grass is ready for the sleep of winter, the green expanse pockmarked with bleached blades that feel like hay beneath my fingers. Well-worn pathways trod by paws snake this way and that.

The world begins to close its shutters. Rose leaves curl up and drop to the rocks in the flower bed below. Each day the green of the daylily bunches is sapped by white-gold. One morning soon I will awake to glittering frost. The green will be gone, tucked away in the sleeping trucks of trees and the soft earth far beneath the hard surface, waiting to burst to life come spring.

Stop.

My journey to faith. (15)

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31 Days in the Quiet: Apples

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Gentle Reader,

Chris and I spent a pleasant morning in the cold autumn winds harvesting plup Fujis from the tree. The sound of children’s laughter, the occasional excited bark and relaxed conversation swirled around us. The scent of hot cider and pumpkin donuts teased our nostrils. We admired round, fat pumpkins and succumbed to the charms of caramel corn.

I breathed deeply, glad to full my lungs with the crisp freshness of the season.

After Apple Picking

Robert Frost

My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still.
And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples; I am drowsing off.
I cannot shake the shimmer from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the water-trough,
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and reappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
And I keep hearing from the cellar-bin
That rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking; I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall,
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised, or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it’s like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

My journey to faith. (15) For all posts in the 31 Days in the Quiet series, go here.