91. 14 for ’14

Reblogged with additions for 2014. Happy New Year everyone! Thanks for reading.

There are two kinds of people in the world:

1. those who would go to Times Square for New Years Eve, and those who couldn’t be paid enough to go…last sunset of 2013

2. those who go out for New Year Eve, and those who stay home…Beaujolais in crystal

3. those who would rehab an old vacant house, and those who would look for a new one instead…Peeling paint

4. Cat-lovers and Dog-lovers…Henry bugging Michael

5. Savers and Pitchers…pottery pitcher

6. Dreamers and Doers…priming the cottage

7. those who love city streets, and those who love dirt roads…
Joe's sign

8. those who stay, and those who go…
vacant lawn chairs

9. those who love snow, and those who, uhmm… don’t…Snow on porch

10. those who take naps, and those who feel superior to those who take naps…Henry the cat

11. those who believe and those who scoff…Cross

12. those who look up and those who look down…Clouds and trees

13. those who eat their fruits and vegetables, and those who eat their meat’n potatoes…groundhog eating apple

14. those whose glass is half-empty and those whose glass is half-full…Crystal goblet at Christmas

At different times in our lives, we can be any of these.
Me? I have been all these people–a city lover, a country girl, a scoffer, a believer, an optimist, a pessimist, a cat-lover, a dog-lover, a dreamer, a doer…(Though I would have to be paid a lot of cash to go to Times Square on New Year’s Eve.)
Can we remember this?
Can we remember that our differences make this beautiful world what it is?
Can we let go of our prejudices, our prides, our preconceptions, our (fill in the blank here)… and love each other?

May grace and peace be yours in abundance in 2014.

82. Plus ça change…the circle of life

Life in August and September has been lively: anniversaries, birthdays, the start of school, funerals, a wedding, and two houses that compete for our attention.

The start of school means back to work — organizing books, planning lessons, and this year it meant re-organizing the main section of the library after a flood last year.

Our good neighbor died suddenly in early September, and my beloved aunt died a few days ago after a long, well-lived life.  A sudden death forces us to think on priorities and the preciousness of life; the other brings unexpected memories and reminds us of the preciousness of life…

Bride and groomMy son married his love on September 14th, which would have been my Dad’s 92nd birthday. He would have been delighted! My granddaughter Olivia turned 11 on September 18th, which was my Mom and Dad’s anniversary. August 18th is our own anniversary. Our August and September calendars are circled heavily with red-letter days, both present and past. Red-letter days remind us of the preciousness of life…

And those two houses? One soon to be for sale, one soon to be lived in full time… Oh my, they are such time-suckers. We went into this adventure with our eyes wide open. We knew it would be hard, time-consuming, and detail-oriented. But I’m not sure we knew just HOW MUCH time is consumed in the redo of a house. Now it is already started, we are in the middle, and I am reminded of the preciousness of life and how easily it can be wasted by the details and busy-ness of living…

*****

It’s been two weeks since I sat down to write a blog post. Life, and the busy-ness of living have gotten in the way; as posts have churned around in my mind, I realized, “Oh, I wrote about painting the house last fall” and “Oh, I took that exact same photograph of the sun rising behind the tree last fall” and “Oh, I wrote about harvesting walnuts last fall.”

Sun rising in Autumn of last year,

Sun rising in Autumn of last year,

Sun rising in the mist, First day of fall, 2013

Sun rising in the mist, First day of fall, 2013

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…

I took five years of French, yet my knowledge of the language is now limited to passable pronunciation. But this French idiom has always stayed with me. Literally it is translated, the more it changes, the more it is the same thing.

Some people put a depressing slant on this phrase, meaning that nothing changes, no matter how different outward appearances are.  I’m told the French themselves use this phrase in a rather cynical fashion.

Blue sky, white cloudsI suggest that this is a hopeful thought. That the circle of seasons, births, weddings, anniversaries, yes, and even death, are put in our lives by the Creator God to give us stability and to remind us of the preciousness of life — our own lives and the lives of those who surround us. These things that don’t change? We need to be grateful for the sameness. Grateful that the sky is always blue; grateful that the leaves always turn glorious colors in autumn; grateful that school always starts in the fall and there is important work to do.

Painting the cottage, one side last year,

Painting the cottage, one side this year,

ladder leaning against house

one side last year…

Painting the house before winter sets in, gathering walnuts before the squirrels — these are all part of the pattern of life that God sets before us. The sun rising behind that same tree is part of the cycle of the sun and seasons that God gave us. Circles, cycles, predictability, patterns…those are what allow us to see also the unpredictable surprises of life and be blessed by them. No matter how much time goes by, we are all part of the amazing cycle of human life — from beginning to end, great-great grandfather to great-great grand-niece, Genesis to Revelation; no matter how the outward appearances change, the natural life that God created us for, stays the same.

The cycles and circles of life bring the stability that enable us to fully live in the present, to fully engage with the people who surround us, and to celebrate the spectacular — both the ordinary beauty and the extraordinary beauty of our lives.

hibiscus

Give thanks for the circles and seasons that remind us of the preciousness of life…