Random Frozen Thoughts in January

When I say frozen thoughts, I do not mean thoughts about the Disney movie Frozen, which had the annoyingly popular song Let It Go. I mean how it’s so frickin’ cold outside that all the thoughts in my head are now frozen.

I’m all for winter, but when it gets below freezing, it needs to snow. Right now, the air is so dry that I shocked myself twice simply getting out of my car. At least I had some classic Otis Redding music to keep my thoughts from the cold.

Otis’ version of “Rock Me Baby” might just be one of the most authentic blues songs to come out of Stax records. I definitely didn’t fall asleep in the car while listening to that one.

I’m a little behind on my quest to read the Bible through in 2017. I’m just about to start 1 Peter. Hopefully, I’ll be done at the very least by the end of January. To be fair, I read through the New Jerusalem Bible, a Roman Catholic translation with a few extra books than the standard Protestant version.

It’s 11:05 and I’m ready to call it a night. All that cold weather with no snow is really tiring, so I’ll enjoy the comfort of my flannel sheets and once again count my many blessings after another good day without that dreaded toe tag.

 

An Inauspicious Start to 2018

In all my wildly imagined scenarios, never did I picture myself standing in the 5 degree weather at 6:20 am, waiting for a tow truck.

It all started normally enough until I went to take a left turn out of my subdivision. First the power steering went, then the power. My car stalled mid-turn.

I sincerely repent of all my comments about all temperatures below 20 being the same. They’re not.

In my short wait for a AAA tow truck, I ran through all the possible causes of my Jeep being in a frozen coma on the side of the road (after I got out and managed to push it to the side of the road).

It could be anything from a bad battery to an engine apocalypse. I was hoping for a dead battery but secretly fearing worse.

Thankfully, the tow truck dude showed up within 20 minutes of me calling AAA for roadside assistance.

Thankfully, he took me to an auto shop close to where I work. They were able to take my car and drop me off at work.

Thankfully, all my beloved Jeep needed was a new battery.

It really could have been much worse on so many levels.

At least I wasn’t pulling out onto a busy street when my car died.

At least I was able to get to work and get my car taken care of.

At least it wasn’t a monumental, wallet-sucking repair.

So a day that started off bad ended up good.

Truly, God is still able to work all things together for good for His beloved, even at a ridiculously early morning hour on a frigid January 2 day.

It’s all about being intentionally grateful and not taking my every day blessings for granted. It’s about thanks-living and not just thanksgiving.

Here endeth the lesson.

 

 

The Return of October

Once again, October is upon us. We’re entering yet again into my favorite time of the year.

Today was a pleasant reminder of why I love this month so much with the very fall-ish weather. I could almost smell the pumpkin spice in the air (though my personal preference if I have to choose is the salted caramel).

I’m completely aware that this is still the wonderful state of Tennessee and the warmer weather is far from done for the year. I expect there will be a few more days of 80+ degree weather (though hopefully no more 90+ days).

Still, the advent of October means that Halloween is on its way, and after that comes Thanksgiving and Christmas. October means bonfires and changing colors of leaves and crisper temperatures.

My one and only gripe about October is that I wake up in almost complete darkness. It looks and feels like midnight and my body doesn’t want to get out of bed. Still, I’ll take that if it comes with all the goodness that October brings.

Happy October, everyone!

99 Days Left Until Christmas

 

There are 99 days, 0 hours, 31 minutes, and 47 seconds left until Christmas, as of a few seconds ago. That means that there are 106 days left in 2017. Time’s a-flyin’.

I’d settle for that fall weather to make a comeback. Today was not a friend to my sweat glands, which seem to work overtime when the weather gets hot and sticky. Also, it seems wrong to have 85 degree heat and pumpkin spice at the same time.

But I’m already looking forward to the season of dusting off my astounding Christmas movie and music collection and revisiting all my old favorites. I’m anticipating my first cup of cheg nog (which is chai + egg nog for the uninformed).

As always, I’m still on the hunt for the ultimate tacky Christmas sweater, so if you see one that makes sounds or lights up, let me know.

In the mean time, I’ll be the one sitting in the shade with my iced beverage, trying not to sweat to death.

PS The countdown is down to 99 days, 0 hours, 24 minutes, and 44 seconds in the time it took me to write all this.

Cheekwood in September


On this unseasonably fall-ish day, I went to Cheekwood Estate and Gardens for the first time ever. Mainly, it was for the Downton Abbey exhibit in the Museum of Art, but they also had gardens. Hence the name.

I confess that I am nowhere near an expert on fashion or design. I appreciate that the costumes had a lot of detail and that a lot of thought and care went into recreating the look from the upper class England just after World War I.

I was reminded that what I love more than just about anything is watching someone craft or paint or sing or play at something that they obviously love. When I see craftsmanship at its finest, I usually also see someone who does it for the sheer joy of it and not for monetary gain.

And then there were the gardens. Again, I’m no expert, but I do love seeing the riot of colors and patterns in the flowers. I could tell it was way more than someone throwing seeds randomly into the air and hoping some would stick. It took someone who loved what they did and who was a master at it.

Side note: don’t work to pay bills and make money, but work at something you love. Then it’s not a chore that you endure for 8 hours a day, always counting down the minutes to Friday at 5 pm.

My life and your life is the canvas and God is the artist. Nothing happens by chance and nothing catches the Artist off guard. He knows exactly what He’s doing at every single moment and has an end design in mind the whole time. Remember that when you’re in a dark place.

I’ll definitely be going back to Cheekwood, hopefully on a day as perfect as today. Maybe I’ll even take pictures the next time.

 

 

I’m Ready for Fall (Again)

It’s still summer, or as I prefer to call it, the sweaty stinky weather season. I think I started sweating profusely on June 21 and have not stopped since.

I’m ready for fall.

There will be people who say that summer weather is best, and that 95 degrees with 110% humidity makes for a perfect day. Do not trust these people.

Also don’t trust the people who wear sweaters or jackets when it’s over 85 outside. I sweat even more even being around these people. Don’t they know it’s hot? Don’t they know that I’m about to have a heat stroke?

I love fall not only for the cooler temperatures. For me, autumn has a way of conjuring so many happy memories from my past. It has a way of bringing up faces and places that I hadn’t thought of in years.

Plus, there’s the added benefit of all things pumpkin spice, bonfires, hot tea, hayrides, s’mores, crisp breezes, leaves changing colors, and flannel (which I’ve always felt was like wearing an extended hug).

Sometimes I think I’d like to reverse hibernate. I could take an extended nap during the hotter months and wake up when the cool weather and crispness returns.

For those who are curious, there are 33 days, 16 hours, and 2 minutes left until the official start of fall season. Not that I’m counting or anything.

Fall Sneak Preview Part 2

Just when I thought that summer had returned in full and brutal strength, today happened. It was another one of those cooler, almost fall-ish days that make me long even more for the real thing.

It also happened to be Kairos tonight. I had the privilege of greeting the good folks as they meandered in from the parking lot. My goal is to be a smiling friendly face on a day when many people may not have seen a lot of smiles or experienced much happiness.

I confess I smile a little easier when the weather’s not unbearably hot and oppressively humid. It’s easier to be friendly when you’re not melting into a puddle in the middle of the sidewalk like the Wicked Witch of the West.

The drive home was even better. I was able to roll the windows down and let the night air in, even if it did ruffle up my hair a bit. I don’t think my kitten will mind my messed-up hair too much.

Again, I’m reminded that gratitude for the smallest blessings makes the bigger blessings come. Being thankful gives you eyes of faith to see the bigger blessings.

Another sneak preview– tomorrow I will hopefully write about the sermon by guest speaker Kelly Minter on being obedient to the fullest. In the meantime, don’t forget to count your blessings one by one . . . all of them.

 

Just About a Perfect Night

Tonight was darn close to perfect.

I got to see my old college roommate and friend from Union University way back in the day with his new wife this evening. I didn’t know very many people there (actually only two total), but I enjoyed the unseasonably cool weather and being a part of some great conversations (though my ambivert self did more listening than talking).

It was an older house with a fantastic backyard that made for a good place to hang out. They even had chickens in the back of the yard. If I lived there, I’d string up a hammock and sleep in the backyard every night. Or at least when the weather was decent.

Nights like these are God-winks in the middle of a long week where it always seems that it should be a day later than it is. I felt all day long that today really should have been Thursday, but my calendar said otherwise.

I hope the fall-like weather continues, but I also know this is Tennessee, land of the perpetually changing temperatures. We just might get all four seasons in this week.

In the mean time, I’ll keep choosing gratitude for every day I’m given and looking for all the God-winks and small blessings I can find wherever I can find them. Oh, and tomorrow’s Thursday for real.

 

 

Those May-tober Days

Tennessee weather is weird. I get that. Like weird as in they should probably make pills for this.

The saying goes that if you don’t like the current weather, stick around a little while and it will likely change.

You get all four seasons here, sometimes in one week.

Today was one of those quirky weather days we get from time to time, a day that doesn’t in the least match what the weather is supposed to be for the time of the year.

It’s May and the temperature barely got above 50. It was a grey, rainy day that felt and looked a lot like a typical fall day. Oh, and it’s May. I did mention that, right?

It’s funny how 50 degrees can feel so good after a cold spell in winter, but the same 50 degrees feels chilly after a few days of weather in the 80’s.

Sometimes, the best thing to do is to enjoy what comes, even if it’s not what you expected or even wanted. Faith trusts that God is up to something good and that His promises are more true than your circumstances or feelings. Joy is what happens when you keep trusting in the midst of fear and doubt and don’t give up.

I for one am a fan of fall weather, so I was in heaven. I’m not eagerly anticipating those super hot and humid days that Tennessee is famous for in July and August. I already sweat profusely, so it won’t be pretty.

So I enjoyed this sneak preview of fall about five months early. Hopefully when the true summer weather comes, I’ll be able to find the good then and keep the joy alive.

Maybe that gratitude thing works even in the midst of a summer heatwave?

I’m certainly counting on it.

 

 

 

Rain, Rain, Go Away

  “When you face stormy seas I will be there with you with endurance and calm;
        you will not be engulfed in raging rivers.
    If it seems like you’re walking through fire with flames licking at your limbs,
        keep going; you won’t be burned.
    Because I, the Eternal One, am your God.
        I am the Holy One of Israel, and I will save you” (Isaiah 43:2-3, The Voice).

I never thought I’d say it, but I’m actually relieved that the weekend is just about over.

It has rained literally all weekend long and Monday promises to bring sunshine, so I say bring on Monday!

All this rain reminds me of nearly seven years ago when Nashville had a long period of substantial rainfall that turned into a flood that significantly impacted the city and surrounding areas.

I still remember not being able to get out of my subdivision due to the road being flooded. I remember seeing parts of the city underwater and seeing portable school buildings floating down the interstate.

I remember above all a promise God made to never again flood the world, accompanied by the sign of a rainbow given to Noah and all who would follow after.

I remember that God told us not to fear even when the waters rise and the flames come because He said He’d be with us no matter what.

Thankfully, this weekend hasn’t been nearly that dramatic. No floods or flames, just rain. The worst I had to deal with was getting wet while walking to my car in the rain.

I take great comfort in knowing that no matter what happens, even the worst case scenarios that we all occasionally fear, nothing can separate me from the love of God. I have a Redeemer who knows how to walk on water to get to me.