Finding Faith and Fall with a Five-Year-Old Child

It never occurred to me that five-year-old Rilynn would give me a greater gift than I could ever give her.

Our daughter Katie remarried in 2014 and became a stepmom. Katie and her husband decided Rick and I would be called “Grand Pa Rick and Grand Ma Jewels.” It’s an honor to become anyone’s grandmother, but it’s especially sweet when God brings a child into your life in such a surprising way.

A few weeks ago, Katie asked if we could keep Rilynn for the weekend. I told her, yes, yes, yes a million yeses. It was the first time she’d spent the night with us.

My first assignment as being a grandmother. 

I wanted her to feel comfortable with us.

I wanted to do everything right.

It’d been so many years since a child had stayed in our home. Our youngest is 25. And he’s a boy.

Think, think, think. What do five-year-old little girls like to do? 

I ran to the store and bought Play-Doh and paints and coloring books.

Whew. She loves to paint. 🙂

Grand Pa Rick taught her how to make a turkey. Y’all know I’m not craftsy. This was all him!

(He also built her a dollhouse for her fourth birthday.)

They gathered eggs. There was only one, but it was the perfect number for her little hands to carry.

She wanted to see Grand Pa Rick’s garden–even though there was nothing growing but weeds. To her, they were beautiful.

Everything was.

Later that day, I showed her pretend leaves on the porch. She wanted to see real ones.

I grabbed a brown paper sack and we headed to the woods behind our house. Of course, Clyde and Ellie came too.

Because Rilynn was with me, the woods became an enchanted forest. 

“The leaves change colors every October,” I said. “Why don’t we pick out our favorite ones? You can take them home with you.”

“Really? I can keep them?”

“Sure, as many as you want.”

“Look! Grand Ma Jewels, two yellow ones!”

“What’s that?” she said.

“It’s an old tree stump. God lets animals live in it when it’s cold.”

She peered inside. “That’s nice of Him.”

“Um-hmm.”

We walked a few feet down the path. “What’s this?”

“It’s a tiny pine tree. One day, it’ll be all grown up.”

You will too. Life goes so fast. I used to be five.

“What kind of leaf is this?”

To me, the leaf wasn’t pretty at all. It was huge and brown and ugly–so dry, its edges curled. “I think it’s from this big oak tree.”

“I like it.” She put it in her sack. “What’s this, Grand Ma Jewels?” She handed me an acorn.

I hadn’t thought about acorns in years–even though our driveway was covered in them.  

I’d stomped on them.

Crushed them with my feet. 

Driven over them.

Saw them as a nuisance. 

“Sweetie, it’s an acorn. God made it. And somehow, He makes acorns grow into giant oak trees.”

She nodded as if the miracle made perfect sense. Gathering a dozen or so, she stuffed them into her sack. 

Then I picked one up and examined the impossibly small thing.

How’d you do it, Lord? You packed the miracle of life inside this hard brown shell.  Rilynn believed quickly–with all her heart. She never doubted.

If I could have a tiny portion of this child’s perfect faith…

Following her down the path toward home, I put the acorn in my pocket, a seed of rugged faith growing inside me.

 With God–and only with God–all things are possible. Borrowed from Matthew 19:26 click to tweet

Have you ever been blown away by God’s enormous size, and yet He’s involved in the intricate details of our lives?

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acquiring the Art of Anticipation

Dread has always come more easily for me than anticipation. But I’m discovering there’s a better way to live.

This afternoon, I noticed a change in our black-eyed Susans. Yesterday their pedals were perky and sunshine-yellow, but today they look tired and droopy.

My very first thought–

Uh-oh. Fall’s just around the corner, and I haven’t accomplished everything on my summer to-do list. 

I’ve lived most of my life this way. 

When signs of the new seasons charged toward me–Christmas lights, Easter baskets, or fall leaves–my heart lurched. I went into panic mode.

It was a nagging feeling of–

You should be working. You have a job to do. Get busy, you slacker.

My list became more important than the people in my life. 

Sometimes, accomplishing my goals–which were good, noble things–became more important to me than God. 

Sad, isn’t it?

Being so busy with my TTD list, I let moments pass by without praising My Father. Sometimes, I’d just go through the motions of our porch parties–there in body, but not in spirit.

I thought if I hadn’t accomplished everything on my list, I couldn’t relax and enjoy the moment because God wouldn’t be pleased with me.

So yesterday, after noticing the black-eyed Susans the New Julie took over.

I kicked the A/C down, turned on some music, and tried a new fall recipe–Roasted Cauliflower Soup from Paleo Leap. I danced while I cut up my cauliflower.

Y’all, I had fun–even though every item on my list hadn’t been checked off. And even though I haven’t solved every problem in my life. 

I mixed the cauliflower with olive oil and spices–rich scents of home and contentment filling the air.

Then I roasted the cauliflower until it was slightly crispy.

I added coconut milk and ta-day–it became soup. Before making this recipe, I’d never heard of coconut milk!

On a whim, I put crumbled  bacon and cheese on top and made cinnamon applies. 🙂 How’s this for anticipating fall and celebrating the moment?

My new recipe for life is even more delicious than my cauliflower soup. Click to tweet. 

In acquiring the art anticipation, let go of all regrets and find something–anything–to celebrate. Click to tweet.

Life is full of surprises when you stop trying to control it and live in the moment! Click to tweet. 

What are you celebrating today?

Are you like me? Have you ever struggled with living in the moment?

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

Friendship…a lot like Heaven

Driving to my friend Robin’s house this past Saturday, I was having the best time sipping coffee, thrilled to be going to her Fall Family Party, when I thought uh-oh…

I’m not a part of their family.

I don’t belong.

Ahhhhhh!

Robin and I’ve been BFFs since high school. She has the gift of hospitality. Just look at her blog, ALL THINGS HEART AND HOME.

But I’m not family! I should’ve politely declined.

It was too late now.

My heart fluttered as I rang the doorbell.

Robin’s son opened the door and bear-hugged me. Her sister gave me a big hug too. Her husband stopped building a fire to greet me.

Maybe they don’t mind…

“Julie! You’re here!” Robin grabbed my hand and led me out back. She’d set up HOT SPICED CIDER — gluten-free from TRADER JOE’S. We both have CELIAC.

As I mingled with the family, she made me a cup of cider–even squeezed an orange slice in it.

Robin’s daughter Emma from YELLOW DOOR CREATIVE took pictures.

Almost 40 years of friendship…

Weddings, motherhood, births, death of loved ones, raising babies and teenagers…

 

Time for the annual family picture.

I left the circle. “I’ll take the picture. I’m not family.”

“Of course you are,” Robin said.

Emma set the camera on auto…

Tears welled up.

Surely, this is a lot like Heaven. 

We’ll be welcomed.  

Restored.

Unconditionally loved.

We’ll be family.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:4 NLT

I’m so grateful for my FRIENDS OF THE HEART.

Tell me about your friendships. I’d love to hear.

Love,

Julie

Love from a Leaf–a Single Yellow Leaf

This is a strange question, but have you ever spotted something and wondered if it was some sort of message for you? Please say yes. This happened to me last week. Clyde, our yellow Lab, and I were walking down the driveway like we do every day, and a single yellow leaf appeared to be suspended in midair.

I’d just taken a beginner’s photography class at MONROE ART GUILD and decided if the leaf was still there after my walk (four driveway laps), I’d take a picture for you.

Even with Clyde darting under and around my leaf, it didn’t fall.

 

Common sense said there had to be a spider web supporting the little leaf, but I sure didn’t see one. I zoomed in closer.

 

How peculiar. Nothing appeared to be holding her up.

A breeze blew and she twirled, putting on a show for me, yet still clinging to her invisible cord.

Why am I so drawn to this leaf? There are so many others in the woods.

I know it sounds was weird, but I felt kind of sorry for this lonely yellow leaf.

She was different from the rest.

God, what is it about the leaf? 

Then last night I heard this song…

“So I Can Just Be Me.”

 

That’s it!

This little yellow leaf is just being herself.

Who she was created to be.

She’s trusting God to be God.

And that, my sweet friends, brings Him glory.

Each of us is unique.

Special.

A masterpiece.

We are “…fearfully and wonderfully made…” Psalms 139:14 KJ

Do you ever think about leaves? Please tell me you do!

Love,

Julie