Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Lessons in the Vine

Grape Harvest @ Gouveia Vineyards
Wallingford, CT
Image by Peter Aldrich

"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." John 15:4 (NIV)

In the early morning sun, grapes hung fragrant, ripe and heavy from the vine.  The vineyard buzzed with activity from both man and bee as we harvested our community's first autumn crop. I met the challenge cheerfully, anticipating time spent outdoors tending the vines alongside my husband and neighbors.

Conversations in the field were as plentiful as the grapes. Some were boisterous and jolly, awaiting the end-of-harvest drinks shared in celebration. Others were soft spoken and patient as they taught their little ones the proper way to cut the fruit from the vine.



There was so much going on around me but the more grapes I harvested the more I found my spirit contemplating the lessons in the vine.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Training Kids to Rule the Playground


I sat sunning myself on the park bench watching her almost-five-year-old self scoop and sift sand through her fingers while eyeing the boy across the sandbox digging holes with his long-handled shovel. She offered small talk but he'd have none of it and pushed his shovel deeper into the sand as though flexing his muscles to impress her.

Amused by their interplay, wondering how it might end, I kept a watchful eye.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

On Growing Up Fully Alive


Image by Ted Kerwin
Flickr,com_photos/tedkerwin/4244725464
My two middle grandchildren started preschool this week. While I'm excited for this milestone, deep down my heart wants to wrap them up and put them on a shelf for safe-keeping. But that's impossible and it wouldn't be fair to them (or us or the world, for that fact), if stopping time were actually an option.

There's just something about their innocence, their childish giggles and freely-given embraces that I want to keep around forever. They face each new day fully alive, anticipating new experiences looking at all things as if it was brand new and I don't want that to change in them.

In Madeleine L'Engle's devotional, Glimpses of Grace, she quotes a passage from Meet the Austins on family comforts:

"Johnny said, 'Why do people have to ... grow up and get married, and everybody grow away from each other? I wish we could just go on being exactly the way we are!'

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What's the rush?

Autumn Solitude by Dawn Aldrich
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:16 (NIV)

It's mid-August. Have you felt the pull of autumn, yet? The gardens bulge with ripened fruits and veggies. Back-to-school sales remind us that our children soon trade in sand buckets for lunch boxes and flip flops for sneakers. We trade in our lazy summer days for quick-paced, action-packed schedules and before you know it, we're preparing for our Christmas pageants and planning our New Year's resolutions! (Yikes!) 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Hold me tight!



Image by Heather Aldrich
If I could fly on the wings of dawn, 
stopping to rest only on the far side of the ocean--even there your hand would guide me; even there your strong hand would hold me tight! Psalm 139:10  CEB

If we're honest, we'd rather live a trouble-free, peace-filled, comfortable life than voluntarily battle life's crises, wouldn't we? At least I would. Reality is, however, that in this life there is always trouble. Jesus promised that (John 16:33). Oh, it might be that we're crusin' through, happy-go-lucky, but eventually, "BOOM!" Something (or some things) completely upends our world. 

Then, what do we do?

Monday, July 31, 2017

Beyond Words

Rays by Surlan Soosay
Flickr.com_photos/ssoosay/6995846806_CC BY-ND 2.0
If you're joining me here from Encouragement Cafe, welcome!

People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7b

I’m a slow forgiver. You?

So, when the sassy girl at work spewed insults under her breath in my direction, my heart hardened. I took mental note and recorded her name on my imaginary “grudge list”. Yep, instead of being the Jesus girl, I chose to be the grudge girl. My motto used to be, “I’m the kindest person you’ll ever meet…just don’t cross me.”

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Grammy Camp

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. Psalm 71:18 NIV

My heart swells when I look into the eyes of my grandchildren and see who God created them to be. It's not that I can see into the future, but their undeniable, unique, God-given personalities spill out of every one of my six grandchildren. What a joy to watch their quirks, their talents, their individuality blossom with each new growth spurt--both physical and emotional.