Saturday, September 8, 2012

Not Your Everyday Breakfast Date

Taking a little break from my "Seven" experience; I want to share a few days of interesting wildlife encounters at my home. And no, I won't be complaining about groundhogs this time. Though, I will mention that I have searched on line for smoke bombs in my frustration. But for now, like Forest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that".

I love to spend time on my front porch...the porch that my Bofren (my nickname for Buck) and I built together. It was to be the place where we would watch sunrises, enjoy afternoon rainbows and thunderstorms in the distance. We would enjoy our meals there (weather permitting) and observe the deer in the surrounding farmland, when they would come out to graze at dusk. It would be a place to watch bluebirds and fireflies; a place to dream out loud, share our lives and grow old together. But if you've been following my journey, you know that wasn't God's plan, and so, I am deliberate in utilizing this wonderful space as much as possible, in memory of my sweetheart.

I've been a bit melancholy this past week. No big surprise, since September 1st was Buck's birthday: the fourth one I've commemorated without him at my side. I still have sad days of course... like recently, when a black pick-up truck approached on my neighborhood road with a driver who looked just like my Buck. Those moments take my breath away! I wept all the way to church on my 15 minute commute. I have learned to embrace these times when they come up, and appreciate them as an outlet for any accumulated grief. I hate when it happens, but always feel better when the emotions subside.

This past week was typical, as I spent my devotional time on my glider in the mid-morning hours. On this particular morning, I ate my bowl of oatmeal as I enjoyed a sunny spot on the porch. There was a flowering plant on the little table next to me and I inspected the dainty white blossoms as I savored my morning meal. As my eyes traveled across the greenery, something almost transparent caught my attention at the base of the plant. My eyes kept scanning as it dawned on me what it was. The very next moment, I was startled by the large Praying Mantis that had obviously just shed this fragile skin shell. I've been spotting his relatives in most of my gardens and hiding in my Moonflowers. I'm so glad to see this hungry sentinel occupying my beloved plant life!

Meet Camo, as he appears to smile and wave while touching my camera
I was curious about my new friend and invited him to climb onto my hand. I had just finished my breakfast and it occurred to me to offer an oat to the only insect that I know of that isn't an enemy of one of my garden crops. I was captivated as I watched his little mouth parts munch away at my tiny offering. I raced for my camera to capture the moment. I found my friend to be very photogenic and cooperative, and was thrilled that my camera could seize this unique opportunity with such clarity, using an automatic setting at such close range. Close enough that Camo (yes, I named him) was actually touching my camera in some of the pictures during the photo shoot. It was so much fun, and brought me great joy!

Camo munches away on my oatmeal
Though this week produced some emotional shrapnel, I'm choosing to focus on the blessing that God gave me to share with you today. My encounter with Camo was just one of the precious gifts I enjoyed this week. I hope you enjoyed my experience and my photos. I can't wait to share my "show and tell" pictures with my grandchildren! It's so refreshing to know I have a friend in my gardens! Now, if only they had an appetite for stinkbugs! More about that next time.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Seven ~ Food Month ~ Part Four

On the first morning of eating normally again, after eating only our seven chosen foods for a month, I wasn’t prepared for what happened to me. I’m still processing the impact that I hope will remain for a long time to come. It was a chilly morning that day, so I decided to make a bowl of oatmeal. I popped a raisin in my mouth while I assembled  the oats, raisins, cinnamon and milk. I savored the sweet flavor as it rehydrated, while the oatmeal simmered in the microwave. This was my first encounter with sweetness other than apples for the past thirty days. It was delightful! After a few minutes, I gave the soupy oatmeal mixture a stir and added another minute. While I waited, I licked the milky spoon and the spiciness of the cinnamon touched a nerve in my soul. The next thing I knew I was weeping and wondering where that unexpected emotional response came from. Even now, three months later, I get emotional every time I share that story. I think my first reaction was one of overwhelming gratitude and a fresh awareness of God’s goodness to me. I hope I will never again be so oblivious to how very blessed I am! It was a powerful moment and I hope I never forget it!    

One would think that after eating the same seven foods for a month that I might grow tired of them and not want to face them for a very long time. But that has not been the case at all. In fact, cheddar cheese and hard-boiled eggs have become my favorite snack and I even crave them now. This has been an unexpected bonus and the most satisfying snack I have ever enjoyed. All that protein, I guess. I’m thrilled with the new lifestyle changes I have adopted thanks to my Food Month experience. I knew food month was going to be good for me, but I was pleasantly surprised by the long-term choices it has inspired and the new energy I have enjoyed because of them.

Paring down to seven foods for a month has given me a new perspective about the way I shop for, prepare and consume my food. It has opened my eyes to the abundance of food that I always have available and the ridiculous amount of choices that beckon each time I enter a grocery store. I’m gladly trading in my old ways for a simpler way of life that is a welcome change and many healthier blessings have followed. Most importantly, I have a fresh awareness of God's abundant provisions that are available to me everyday.

Next time I’ll be sharing about Seven’s Clothing Month and how difficult it was to choose the seven garments (not outfits) I would be wearing for a month. That month too, held some pleasant surprises!