Friday, November 25, 2011

God Showed Me A Better Way

I’m a by-the-book, follow-the-directions, kinda girl, so I was inclined to want to do it the right way, when I set out to prepare a plot of bare ground for planting grass seed. This was the area, where the camper that Buck and I lived in for 8 months, once sat. The camper was "Home Sweet Home", while we built our new home on our little piece of rural heaven. I was blessed to have sold it this summer.

When the buyer removed the camper from my property, the ground underneath was exposed for the first time in nearly three years. There were a group of very large rocks on top of the bare soil and I made a mental note to move them as soon as possible. I made the mistake of procrastinating and created a lot of unnecessary work for myself! Because I didn’t make the rock moving chore, the priority that I should have, the weeds quickly took over; and, of course, I couldn’t mow that good sized area because of the rocks hiding in the mini-jungle! The weeds had rapidly gotten out of control and the only way to deal with them was to manually remove them, pulling them out by the roots. I’m embarrassed to admit; they were waist high by this point, well-rooted and lots of hard work to make them disappear. After many wheelbarrows of weeds were removed, I finally unearthed the large heavy rocks and wrestled them into the cart. I decided to fashion them into a fire-pit on the rear of my property.

The grass seed bag recommended tilling the soil then raking it level. I don’t have a tiller, so, I thought turning the soil over with a shovel would suffice. I got through about a quarter of the plot and realized that this was going to take way longer than anticipated! I was tired and frustrated!

I don’t remember why, but I made a trip to my garage and was startled by the loud, unexpected crash as I entered! Some might scoff, but I am convinced that it was the hand of God, or my guardian angel, at the very least, that got my attention! At the very moment when I entered the side door of the garage, the antique cultivator that Buck had purchased at an auction, fell off of it’s resting place, knocking over two rolls of tar paper as it came crashing down. This happened on the opposite side of the garage, with nothing around to have started the noisy chain reaction.

Buck's antique cultivator made my life a lot easier that day
I had completely forgotten about the wonderful garden tool! How kind of God to remind me in such a dramatic way! After all the noise, it seemed that God was whispering, " My dear daughter, you are making this a lot harder than need be. Do yourself a favor and use this tool that Buck bought to decorate his antique room". I used it to break up the ground, finishing my project a lot sooner, now that I was using a proper tool. After I raked the loosened soil to level it out, I decided that I had too much time and hard work invested in this plot for just a carpet of grass, and instead, will use it for something better when spring arrives. On Saturday, I spent the afternoon shoveling many wheelbarrows of manure and relocating the rich composted material to my new future garden site.  Tomorrow, I will spread it over the garden, providing a warm blanket and a winter’s worth of resting, enriching and my contemplation to figure out what WON’T be enticing for the herd of groundhogs that are napping in their underground network right now.

I was so thankful that God so graciously showed me a better way! It’s situations like these that make God very personal to me! Thank You, Lord, for stepping in and teaching me. Your personal touch made me feel very loved that day! I will be certain to make good use of Buck’s auction treasure in the future. Although it won't be a wall ornament, I’m sure he would approve!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Difference A Day Can Make

Picture taken the day before the unusual snow storm
Here on the east coast, we had a history-making weather event at the end of October! Midweek, I began to hear that nasty S word mentioned on the radio, but was relieved when I heard: “No significant accumulation”. It’s October ... of course it wasn’t going to amount to anything... flurries, maybe! Then on Friday... could it be? I thought I heard the word inches and out of curiosity looked up the forecast on and there it was...six to ten inches expected. I really hoped the weather people were wrong on this one, as, forgive me, but they often are. I prepared myself by parking my car at the end of my driveway and filling up the bathtub and gathering some drinking water, just in case the power might go out, as a heavy wet snow on leaf covered trees held the potential for lots of tree damage and hence downed power lines. My preparation wasn’t in vain, as we got about six to seven inches in my area and my electricity disappeared shortly after noon and was restored eight hours later; a little inconvenient, but no big deal.

The weather made me think about the fact that just the day before, in my desire to be intentional in searching for the beauty and joy of the season, I had taken pictures of the colorful surrounding landscape to capture autumn at its’ peak. I had to take another picture on Sunday to show the contrast! Wow, the difference a day can make!

During the storm

It occurred to me that this surprising, unseasonable snow storm was symbolic of our lives sometimes. Just moving along life’s path and out of nowhere a life-threatening storm moves in... blinding, incapacitating, immobilizing and scary: the test results, an accident, the lost job, the divorce, a troubled or wayward  child, or the broken heart...all world stoppers! This brings me back to the beginning of my world stopping journey on January 1, 2009, when my husband, Buck, had his devastating heart attack. Just hours before, we were enjoying a party with close friends and just a few weeks before, found Buck deer hunting in the rugged mountains of West Virginia. From that New Year’s moment on, our lives as we knew them were forever changed.

I can still recall the amazing Peace I experienced as I rode in the front seat of the ambulance en-route to York Hospital. That was the beginning of my awareness of the Lord’s presence as I had never encountered before. There is no doubt in my mind that the strength we needed during those exhausting, stressful four months was provided to prove that God’s promises are true and in answer to all the multitude of prayers that were lifted on our behalf. Of course the end result did not produce the outcome we anticipated, but I can testify to the fact that God even gave me the Peace I needed to accept His will when He called my sweetheart home.

I have many “before pictures" and memories to remind me of how blessed I was in that “before the storm” season, similar to the colorful photo taken from my front porch the day before the unusual, unseasonable snow storm arrived.  The gray, blustery, snowy picture helps me remember how I was carried through those four grueling, turbulent months during Buck’s illness and on into my first year of widowhood. And lastly, the last photo brings to mind, how in spite of the pain and heartache of

Surrounded by beauty after the storm

dealing with the harsh reality that the love of my life would no longer share my future, there was still wondrous beauty all around me, if I was willing to just open the eyes of my awareness. In this season of thankfulness, I have more blessings than I am able to count, namely in my faith, family, friends and home! Lord, please never let the pain of grief overshadow Your Goodness in my life, for You have been more than Faithful to me!

Romans 1:8

The Message
I thank God through Jesus for every one of you.