For You Are With Me — easilycrestfallen

According to family legend, in the weeks before my father’s mother died, she had a conversation with my mother that changed the course of our lives. At that time, my parents did not attend church. I was still a baby so you know how long ago this was. “Find a church,” my Grandma said, “Any […]

via For You Are With Me — easilycrestfallen

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October, My Favorite Color

My birthday month is, in my own humble opinion, the most beautiful month of the year.img_3741 While fall isn’t necessarily my favorite season, it never ceases to astound me with its vibrant colors, crisp mornings, sunny afternoons, and long shadows.

In my part of the world, shadows are even longer in winter. That’s when days are too short and nights too long, and yet, in spite of that (or maybe because of that), our terribly cold season is restful and restorative. There are bright spots in winter too, especially when a sunny day or moonlit night makes snow covered ground sparkle. It’s as if diamonds were sprinkled atop the snow by unseen hands.

After winter, spring brings everything back to life and greens up the world… from grass to tree tops, and all the plants and shrubbery in between. So many shades of  green serve as backdrop for patches of happy spring colors — violet, lilac, crocus, and daffodil colors.

Then comes summer with riotous hues bursting forth…everywhere. Reds and pinks, purple and lavender, orange and yellow flowers flourish right along with flowering weeds. They all thrive together under skies of blue, fluffy white clouds, occasional rainfall, and brilliant rays of sunshine.

But before you know it, summer makes way for fall. Summertime perennial and annual flowers, fade, droop and eventually check out. The former snuggle down for a long sleep, the latter — well, they’re done for. But all is not lost. Chrysanthemums bloom burgundy, fuchsia, yellow, purple, and gold. Pumpkins turn orange, and wildflowers (pretty weeds like golden rod) sprout like crazy. When October finally gets here, the leaves of deciduous trees  begin to turn. And then the trees steal the show! Forests, hillsides, mountains, tree-lined roadsides, parks, and deep woods win the color-me-fabulous contest. In fact, it’s no contest at all. Hands down, the drama and beauty of fall color is the best. Autumn takes first place in show.

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We’re not quite there yet. October is here, but the leaf changing is late. Leaf peepers, try to be patient… these gorgeous colors will be here before the month is over. Until then, here are some of the fall flowers and wildflowers and a homegrown pumpkin that live in my backyard and brighten my world.

I’m surrounded by all this…and wildlife too. Squirrels, chipmunks, deer, bear, foxes, possums, raccoons, birds, and insects. In these gifts from God I find much happiness. And in other blessings: good friends, family, a comfortable home, plenty of food and clean water, I’m reminded — I have it made. Therefore, even in moments of affliction and sadness I am content. I know there is a season and purpose for everything, whether beautiful or painful. And whatever it is, I do well to keep in mind, this too shall pass.

Enjoy the good, give over the not so good, and thank God in all circumstances.

No matter the season, it’s a wonderful life!

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It’s Back to School Day

Many of my young mom friends are celebrating the first day of school today…going out for

school bus 1992

Circa 1992

breakfast, or coffee break, or having lunch, enjoying together time sans kiddos. This after waving good-bye to their school age offspring from front porches as the big yellow bus pulls away, or  watching protectively until their kids are out of sight — wiping a tear or doing a happy dance, probably both. Some moms drop kids off and wave out car windows while their students, and a bazillion others, flock through school doors into the hallowed halls of learning.

I used to celebrate likewise. Now I’m one of the grandma aged moms at home with my retired husband and the first day of school is just another day for me. However it’s only the second year that school has started without Tom having to be in charge of getting an entire district’s worth of students, kindergarten through twelfth grade, to school, make sure they have a nutritious lunch, and get them safely home again. So, the first day of school, without his involvement, is still delightfully novel to him.

We were up, had a swim, fixed a cup of hot tea and watched the school bus go by from the kitchen window. He smiled contentedly. I offered a silent prayer for youngsters and teachers embarking on their new school year. God bless them all.

Today is a different kind of bittersweet for me and Tom. Yesterday our number three son packed up his car and headed west. Adam had been with us for the summer…a re-grouping time for him, a treat for us. Now he’s off to the next thing in his young adult life. For starters he’ll join our number four son, David, in Colorado and help promote his younger brother’s song writing and singing career. You can catch up on David’s latest by clicking here! While you’re there look at his Facebook page, watch his You Tube videos, listen to some iTunes.

Adam traveled much of the summer spending at least an overnight or two away every week. We didn’t feel imposed upon, so we’re not exactly celebrating having our house back to ourselves. Tom and I will settle back to our empty nest, glad for all of our fledglings, but wishing they hadn’t flown so far to build their own nests — one in California, two in Colorado, and one in the center of our home state of Pennsylvania.

As with every departure we hug, and smile, and wave our kids on their way, praying for safe travels and happy trails. We did that yesterday afternoon. And with that, he’s off.

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Godspeed, dear boy, Godspeed.

 The Lord bless you, and keep you;

 The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;

 The Lord lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

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Family Reunion Recap in Pictures

Early arrivals and dinner the night before…

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Tom’s sister and family from Georgia and New York, Nathan and Jason, from California. Adam, from here on his way to Colorado. All helping to get ready for the big day. First thing…the welcome sign goes up!

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Welcome cousins…first cousins, cousins-in-law, first cousins once removed, and second cousins…and everyone who isn’t one of those…welcome!

Cutie pie cousins

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Eating, swimming, driving the tractor, playing…

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Skipping stones down by the creek bank

Wagon ride

Anna

Door prizesdoor prize

Barbara brings little gifts for everyone, kids and grown ups. The kids don’t look too excited here, but really, when it’s time for door prizes they come a running!

Most families have to leave on Saturday evening, but the out-of-staters slept over and stayed through Sunday. They made the most of their extra time. Uncle Tom and Grammy Barb took the boys fishing early in the morning.

Finally, winding down on Sunday night. A campfire for s’mores and fishing off the high bank.

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A good time was had by all. So, until next year we’ll hold fond and fun memories of the 2016 Cousins Reunion and look forward to 2017.

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My Charmed Life

Yes, I lived a charmed life, sort of, kind of, not really. I live life — and that means there are charming moments as well as times of unrest, sunshine and rain, peace and pain. And I’m willing to bet your life is just the same.

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Our Outdoor Sanctuary

I’m trying to decide what I like best about my life. I love where we live…this country setting with French Creek running behind, alongside, and through our property. I’m quite fond of our rambling, old farmhouse and the frequent surprise of wildlife sightings. I adore wildflowers blooming, as well as colorful blooms of perennial and annual flowers. Perennials were planted eons ago and annuals are added…well, annually — of course.

Every day I thank God for our pool and two porches, front and back, which we enjoy with each other, with family and quite regularly with friends. In our perfect world, at least once a day Tom and I sit together sipping iced tea, gently swaying on the porch swing as traffic goes by — a car, a truck, or a tractor every now and again. The road is way down there at the end of our country lane driveway. We swing and discuss our hopes, plans, and responsibilities. We talk about family, friends, church, and as seldom as possible, politics.  Our little corner of the world is a peaceful place, but the bigger world we’re part of, it’s a not so peaceful place. We try — in fits and starts — to solve problems. It’s a daunting thing…the problems of the world. We can’t even solve our own. So… there.

On good days we remember this is God’s world and his problem. We are God’s people…also his problems.

I dream of writing it all out, the beauty, the gifts, the joys, the misunderstandings, the sorrows. In my dreams the writing of it brings everything into focus. This is one of my ways of praying, processing, sorting, and giving over. In giving thanks I can  give it all over — and say with the psalmist…

Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

(Which morning we can’t be sure…but still, joy comes.)

Each day holds new surprising adventures, happy ones and sad, but even with unhappy circumstances there’s still all this great stuff!

Swimming by the light of a full moon — Tom tells me in July the full moon is a Buck Moon. Fishing on the creek, or in my case riding in the canoe while reading a book. Swimming in perfectly clear, clean, refreshingly cool swimming pool water right here, right in our backyard. What a treat to dive in first thing in the morning or late at night. To splash with neighbor kids and friends, and friends’ kids, and friends’ grand kids… anytime of every sunshiny day. We’re surrounded by flowers to smell, birds to name, and critters to watch. There is just so much to be thankful for!

 

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A view from the porch swing…counting cars.

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A calm moment…waiting for you to come.

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Occasionally we host campers. Fun!

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Tom’s happy place.

I don’t often read the New Living Translation of the Bible, but I liked Jeremiah 29:11 in these words:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

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Happy Fourth of July!

From the late great Erma Bombeck: “You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”

Once a year the Bruce Family has a reunion on the weekend closest to the 4th of July. It was Saturday the 2nd this year. My Dad, the eldest remaining of Archie and Ruth Bruce’s children offered the welcome and opening prayer. He prayed his Grandpap’s regular mealtime prayer from years gone by: “We thank thee our Father for this bountiful table spread before us with the necessities of life…” It begins something like that –I’ve got to get him to write it down for me, so I can commit this prayer to memory and perhaps pass it on to the next generation.

Dad’s sister, my Aunt Carol, brought something to the reunion…a fabric wall hanging featuring Grandma and Pap’s old house. The address — 909 Riverside Avenue. It’s where my dad and Carol grew up. The house was sold after Gram and Pap died, and for maybe a decade or so was inhabited by a young family. Even if you didn’t know, you might gather little boys lived there…wagon, baseball bat, wheelbarrow, and car. But we do know who lived there. I don’t know how it came up, but Uncle Andy worked at the same place as a young woman named Kathy, Aunt Carol golfed with that same Kathy and it turned out that Kathy and her first husband (sadly, taken too soon) bought Gram and Pap’s house in the mid-70’s and raised 2 boys there. Her mom created this darling artwork for her, and she gifted it to my Aunt Carol thinking it would be special to her. And how right she was. Carol is delighted to have this applique wall hanging of her childhood home. She brought it to the family reunion. All of us who knew 909 Riverside Avenue as home or Gram and Pap’s home, let memories wash over us — seeing, touching, feeling, reminiscing.

Aunt Carol

But that’s not the end of the story…as Carol and Kathy conversed and discovered the connection they had to the house on Riverside Avenue Carol’s maiden name, Bruce, came up. Kathy wondered if she knew of or was related to a Betsy Bruce — me! Kathy and I had been fast friends in first and second grade until our school district reorganized and we were separated. In junior high, together again, we renewed our friendship until I moved away in 1968. We didn’t keep in touch and only found each other through Facebook a couple of years ago because of her golfing with Carol. And now I’m enfolded in nostalgia…

Back to the business at hand, this is a 4th of July post! Happy Birthday to my sister a true blue Yankee Doodle Dandy, living near Paris, France for more than 3 decades now, sharing a birthday with her French husband, but of course, the 4th of July isn’t a special day in his country — still, Happy Birthday to both of you!IMG_9285

And finally,

Happy Birthday to the United States of America!

Sharing this post from Corey Booker…

Corey Booker's Flag

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God and I Planted a Garden. And it was Good.

This pleased me…to no end. It’s written by a fellow blogger, a much more faithful and accomplished blogger who brings the beauty of creation, the simple joys of life, and the faithfulness of God front and center. I don’t know Marian outside her blog, and yet all I know through her Whispering Winds Blog — of her, and Mim and Floey — I absolutely adore.

I needed peace today, I found it in reading this very pleasant post. And so, I share.

Whispering Winds

D400-0068-091.JonWarrenGod spoke: “Earth, green up!
Grow all varieties of seed-bearing plants,
Every sort of fruit-bearing tree.”
And there it was.
Earth produced green seed-bearing plants, all varieties,
And fruit-bearing trees of all sorts.
God saw that it was good.
It was evening, it was morning – Day Three.
[Genesis 1:11-13  The Message]

One of the delights of summer that I’ve enjoyed every year of my life (except maybe the first year) is eating fresh vegetables from the garden. Sweet corn was my favorite. Then plump red tomatoes were my next favorite. And leaf lettuce, spinach, radishes, carrots, peas, beans, and cucumbers. And all kinds of melons. There were a few things I didn’t like – especially onions and beets – but most things were delicious.

I can remember helping Mom and Dad plant the garden in the spring. The first gardening job I was taught to do was to place…

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