September Song, An Old Picture, Some New Insight

When things happen unexpectedly, sometimes I wonder if God’s trying to get my attention. This past Thursday afternoon, I was going about my everyday routine. Clyde (my yellow lab) and I hurried down the driveway to get the mail.

Well, I was hurrying.

Clyde was poking around, sniffing the fall air, and checking out patches of pine straw.

I had a lot to do that day, so I didn’t pause to study the changing seasons.

But what I found buried in the stack of mail got my attention.

It was anything but ordinary.

A plain white envelope from a dear friend.

Inside was an old picture of my husband and me at a wedding.

No note enclosed.

Just a photo Β carefully wrapped in a paper towel.

She’d written one word on the back.

“1995.”

I sat on the front porch steps remembering when we were younger–that season in life when I was a new mother, folding diapers, bringing babies home from the hospital.

How fast it all goes.Β 

Almost twenty years since this picture was taken.

Now the children are all grown. And we’re older. A different season.

We’re middle-aged–no longer in the summertime of life.

Maybe we’re inΒ the fall of our lives?Β 

A couple of days later, I showed my husband the picture. “What do you think?” I said.

“About what?”

“About us. How young we looked. About life. About everything.”

He studied the picture. Didn’t say anything.

“Well?”

“Your hair is shorter in the picture,” he finally said.

“And yours is longer, but don’t you get it? We’re not young anymore.”

“So what. We’re still us.”

I taped the picture to the refrigerator and smiled.

It’s good to remember the past, anticipate the future, and always be grateful for the present.

Willie Nelson sings about the seasons of life in an oldie but goodie.

Take a break and listen. I think you’ll love it too.

What life season are you in right now?

Are you anticipating something in the future?

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. anna haney says:

    I’m in the season of fall I suppose. Fear, pain, feeling far from God. I don’t like it.

    • Anna, I understand. I SO understand. I’ve been there–many times. I wish I could tell you it’ll all change in a hurry. πŸ™

      I just know when I got through that season and came out on the other side, I could see how He was with me all the way.

      I’m praying for you. Hang on. It won’t last forever. My heart is with you.

  2. i loved reading this, Julie….and all the other things you write. Nice to listen to Willie too, this morning! Autumn is my favorite season…my four favorite months begin with September.

    Wishing you love and joy and everything good!

    Rita

    • Thank you so much, Rita. I gotta say, Willie’s never quite moved me like he did with this song. He sang exactly what I was feeling–love when art and music and writing can work together.

      So much love to you and thank you for letting me know you’re reading.

  3. Julie Lavender says:

    Beautiful post, Julie. Not sure which season I am emotionally, and I don’t want to think about it chronologically just yet (ha)….But, I am anticipating something in the future, and your encouragement helped secure that! I think the picture is lovely of you and your husband – such genuine, happy smiles! Your smile nor beauty hasn’t changed in all these years! Have a great day.

    • AWww,thank you, Julie.Love that you’re anticipating the future.

      Where would we be without a taste of anticipation???

      Thank you for blessing me with your sweet comment. Can’t wait to hear all about your GP workshop!

  4. What a pleasant surprise on a Tuesday. I had to look at my calendar to make sure what day it was as I have grown accustomed to looking for Julie on Wednesday’s, ha! Yes we have moved on and the conversations at your house do seem similar…Seeing the season’s that have passsed does give me a sense of urgency to complete the work God has given. Blessings in this season.

    • I know, Tom. After I posted it, Anna (above) said something on FB about it being Tuesday. I had to run look at the calendar! Couldn’t believe I’d done that. :/

      I agree with you completely about the sense of urgency (and with me there’s this new sense of calling? Passion?) to keep going.

      Thank you and happy fall.

  5. how touching. I cried the moment I saw the picture…Rickys carefree smile. Now when he smiles there’s even more behind it…hurt/healing/pain/joy/ and the assurance that “we’re still us”. this really touched me J xo

  6. Shelley Elaine says:

    “When things happen unexpectedly”…so adequately describes our past few days…when we returned from a day of fun to find our daughter’s 6y/o dachshund had had a disc to rupture and left him paralyzed and in excruciating pain…until yest. when we told him goodbye through our tears…such a jolting reminder that life is uncertain and sometimes so painful and yet still goes on…season after season…after season…I feel like we are wading through winter today

    • My heart is breaking for you, Shelley.

      I’m hugging you from here. Ohhh, how I know those winter seasons. Winter days. I’m just so sorry. That Scripture, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” is coming to me.

      I’ve been there.

      All my love.

  7. Julie Gilleand says:

    Love your message and the song, too. I’m also in the fall of life, but for someone who loves autumn leaves, it seems an okay thing! There’s a relief from the summer heat (even though that was good too), there is beauty in the changing colors (maybe we become more colorful as we age because of how our experiences change and “season” us, Thanks Leaf Sister for the lovely imagery through your words πŸ™‚

    • Julie–Leaf Sissy, I thought about you big time as I wrote this–actually couldn’t wait for you to read it!!

      I knew you’d understand.

      Thank you for being my friend and always blessing me with your precious words.

  8. I’m laughing….a classic response from Rick, huh? I love how you treasure the memories, remember who you were then, and I especially love that Rick said: “We’re still us.” Perfect! Cause we are still us. Sure, longer hair, for me more wrinkles and flab where I don’t want it, and lots of things I’d like to change about my appearance, but I’m still me. You are still you. And that makes me smile big and wide! (Thanks, Rick!)

    • You’re absolutely right, B.J. All those, ahem, other changes that comes with being in the fall of life.

      Wish you could come to GA and spend a fall day with me–see the leaves. πŸ™‚

      Loved our talk!! Love you. And I’ll thank Rick for you.

  9. Brenda Osborne says:

    I love this post Julie! I just celebrated my Birthday yesterday and this post caused me to reflect
    a little on my life. The years have gone by so fast and all the things you anticipated, when you were young, have been realized. Not all of them turned out the way you would have chosen, but you lived through them! It is called LIFE !! Now, today you ask yourself, what comes next?
    I have been truly blessed with a late in life relationship and friendship that I never dreamed of years ago! So what is next………hopefully more happiness and love from my friend and my loving family!!
    At the new age of “72” everyday is a gift to be enjoyed to the full. I guess Iam in the Winter season of my life now~
    The days whittle down to a precious few………..as Willie sings it~
    I pray these precious days will be full of joy and happiness!

    • Brenda, you are one of my favorite people to sit and talk to. I LOVE your attitude, your approach to life–and your smile.

      And you summed it up beautifully–“not all of them turned out the way you would have chosen, but you’ve lived through them.” You’re so right! And that is LIFE. We sometimes (a lot of times) don’t think of it that way as we’re wading through difficult times, but how would we know Joy without Sorrow?

  10. Kathryn Richardson says:

    Thank you, Julie!

  11. marci says:

    Oh Julie, what a nice surprise to get your blog early. Could not help but smile when I saw the picture of you and Rick. Relating to such pictures. If I could get a message to the younger me I would say, don’t fret so much. Enjoy every moment. Never wish to be any age but exactly what you are. .. Which is kind of what you said in red letters.
    Fall has always been my favorite season too. A couple of days ago a friend and I were talking about how both of us liked Fall best..

    What wisdom from Rick– we are still the same people.

    Bless you Julie!

    • Marci, I don’t know what happened. Yesterday morning, I told my husband, “Well, I volunteer tonight. It’s Tuesday.” (I volunteer at a pregnancy resource center on Tuesday nights.) And then I went right upstairs and posted my blog!!!

      I thought about writing this post as “A Letter to My Younger Self” — exactly what you’re talking about! And such richness in your words ”Never wish to be any age but exactly what you are.” I believe that’s contentment. And acceptance. And grace. And even a form of praise. I LOVE THAT THOUGHT.

      I learn so much from my readers.

      Thank you, my precious friend.

      How’s the church situation?

      • marci says:

        The church is a work in progress for sure. The basic building is being saved, so grateful for that.
        As blessings come with sorrow- when rebuilt it will be updated with handicapped access, even up to the altar, and a handicapped restroom. Good lighting, updated wiring, etc. There will be some mock ups for us to look at in about a week, as to the new designs. Just as I finished the inventory and took it to the church for the adjuster, The Bishop sent out his weekly message– It was instructions for doing an inventory in the event of fire, storm, etc.. I got a good laugh! thinking, OK, Now you tell me. πŸ™‚

        I also came up with the idea of turning one of the Sunday school rooms (not in use at this time) into a chapel, as I miss having that quiet time to sit and pray before the service. Everyone seems to feel that will be a great idea.. so guess that will be my next project to work on. It has been a challenge as we use the parish hall, for church and social time, but perhaps this will be a growing time for us spiritually. My hope is that when the church is done, and we can use it again, even with all that will be done, that the first thing a person will think/ feel when they open the doors wont be, “What great lighting, wall colors, ..even though that may be very nice, . but, the first thought will be “Surely the Lord is in this place”..
        Thank you dear Julie for your concern, and prayers as we are on this journey. ..

        • Marci, it sounds like so many blessings are coming out of this. What a wonderful idea to make a chapel/prayer room! Just warms me to read, “Surely the Lord is in this place,” because we know He comes where He is welcome. Love all the new happenings~~

  12. Margaret says:

    Julie,

    Lovely post, with the video scenes and music. Rick, as usual when you ask him for a comment, nailed it with a few succinct words.

    Margaret

  13. Sandra Walker says:

    This one touched me so deeply like few others. We are in the autumn of our lives and every day is a precious day. Just want the rest of them to count! We are anticipating the best year yet.

  14. Brenda Greene says:

    Beautiful words and reminder, Julie Girl. Thanks for sharing.

    Sitting here as Hubby is cooking dinner for our firstborn and her family. Wonderful smells rising to my loft. I will take to them when I pick their youngest up from school for her piano lesson. Did the same thing for our youngest on Monday before I picked our middle granddaughter up for her lesson. Tho we are heading (!) fast to the winter of our lives, I often wonder where did this man come from? Where was he when our lives were SO busy and full? He says it gives him something to do and because both our daughters’ lives are equally busy and full….guess it’s just “passing the love along”? With 47.5 years of marriage under our belt, I’m SO glad we didn’t give up on each other!

    I have a heavy heart of sadness this day as a dear friend, since first grade, is in the hospital with her family gathered. She is TWA (Traveling With the Angels – a term our firstborn came up with when she began work in the E.R. ten years ago)…comfortable and just waiting for that time she “steps over.” I can smile thru my tears however when I realize that when this happens, she will take her first deep breath in a long, long time. Something many of us take for granted.

    Happy Fall, which I also love, but at this age I’ve discovered ALL seasons have their special “gifts” (physical and spiritual)! Keep writing Sweet Julie and we will keep being blessed!! Brenda

    • Brenda, my dear–you write beautifully…tearing up at your precious note. You have a heart of gold.

      I know what you mean about persevering through marriage and life. It’s not always the white picket fence, is it?

      Lifting your friend and her family in prayer right now…

      All my love.

  15. Patricia Martin says:

    Such a cute pic, Julie! I like how your hair is done in a 1920s style.(: Today my gram turns 81 and so she is in the season of fall in life. I am not sure what season I am, but I always anticipate taking a daily cat nap with my cats. (); Are there any birthdays coming up in your family?
    Love from AZ,
    Patricia

    • Hey again Patricia. My hair that day–I’d have it cut a few months earlier into this really short, really layered ‘do that took over!! I was working on getting it back a little longer. πŸ™‚ But that you.

      Hope you get a nap today with your kitties. πŸ™‚

      Birthdays in my fam? My daughter just turned 33. πŸ˜‰

      xoxo

  16. This life is so short … you always hear that. It’s so true. We are so blessed to be here … with each other … to know each other better this side of heaven and to try to bring more with us to heaven. I do wish it would slow down a bit though! πŸ™‚

    My girls are teens … one just had her heart broken for the first time. My heart is broken, too.

    • Shellie-reading that about your daughter just now, made my stomach flip over. Oh. How. I. Remember that with our girls. Saying a prayer for you both right now.

      It will pass, but maybe not in a hurry. :/

      So much love to you all–and I hope she didn’t have a date to homecoming that got cancelled. This time of year, you never know.

  17. This post really touched me, Julie. As do most of yours that I read. Life does move so quickly. My youngest girls (twins) turned twenty last month and I am expecting my fourth and fifth grandbabies in the spring. I feel as if I was the one having babies and washing bottles not that long ago. And, I don’t feel any different (maybe a few more scars from hurts and loss). But, as your husband said, I am still me.

    We all go though seasons in life. Some much better than others. And, a quote that has always meant a lot to me says this: “God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December”. ~J.M. Barrie

    • Eileen, I wish we could meet! Sounds like we’re so much alike! I don’t think I knew you have twins. πŸ™‚

      I know what you mean–so many times I dream I’m having another baby~~~~

      Love your quote!

  18. I love this time of reflection. I also marvel at how someone sent the photo to you without a note, and yet they must have known it would strike a chord with you regardless. I find myself filled with looking back as I sort and organize and discard my mother’s things from our childhood home. A season of reflection is definitely where I seem to be as well.

    • A season of reflection–I love the sound of it. Sounds like a great book title.

      I can’t tell you how much I love your words, your blog, your heart.

      Keeping you close in my heart.

  19. I am SOOOOO in that season, way moreso than you! And yes, sometimes I’m nostalgic about it. Sometimes I’m thankful I’m not there anymore. But most of all I see that my time to be with my Lord is definitely getting nearer, and for that, there’s no sadness…only gratefulness. At this season of life, heaven really does get sweeter by the day.

  20. Yes, Yes, Yes, Vonda!!! Yes, that’s what I’ve been feeling.

    I love you–Wish we could go get coffee sometime.

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