Later there will be time for maneuvering traffic. Later there will be time for phone calls, emails, meetings. Later there will be time to see people and remember to smile, just in case they haven’t seen a smile in a while. Later there will be time to clean the windows and floors. Later.
But these next few minutes shall be for appreciating the way the steam from my coffee dances into the morning sunlight. These next few minutes will be for a few prayers whispered from my heart in the morning silence. These next few minutes are for stillness and gratitude for this day, knowing “later” will be here so quickly.
Strong coffee in a sturdy mug, blue jeans with a crease in the left leg from being laundered on a trip in 2014, an old blue shirt so frayed around the edges it could almost be mistaken for white trimmed, still deciding between sneakers, hiking boots, flip-flops, socks or nothing on my feet at all, and sunlight playing peek a boo through a gathering blanket of clouds. The day is wide open,
Sometimes, the birds in this back yard play peek-a-boo. Singing and chirping their greetings from the deep cover of the bushes, or just out of sight behind the branches of the trees. The resident cardinals are especially good at keeping hidden, despite their briliant red feathers.
This week, however, they seem happy and content to be seen, and I absolutely love seeing them.
My grandmother, Ava, was the one who began and encouraged my fascination with cardinals. She was a wise woman. If I can only remember half of the things she told me or I overheard her say during the short years I knew her, I should be fine.
A quick glimpse of a cardinal has always been special for me, but an afternoon of these beauties allowing me a few pictures is enough to make me smile for a long time. All but one of these pictures was taken through the screen as I tried to not disturb the birds too much. So (giggle) these are literal “Screen Shots” .
Birds aren’t known for staying still long, of course, and these are no different. Eventually they left to survey other areas. Perhaps looking for nesting sights, perhaps looking for food, perhaps just enjoying the afternoon sunshine, perhaps all of that and more.
So, having whispered my timeless wish upon first sight, and spending time enjoying their lovely company I settled back onto the porch with my afternoon coffee, and made myself a note to more often remember to focus on the beauty and peace in these little everyday moments.
We are snowed in here in this little corner of the world. This part of North Carolina is closed due to winter. I can’t get out of my driveway because of the snow, and I love it. I have friends and loved ones who must travel regardless of, and even because of the weather, so I am helping keep them safe by staying off the roads.
This beautiful scene will be short-lived, the melting began yesterday and should continue for the next few days as well, but in the meantime, I’m enjoying this wonderful southern snowfall, and reflecting on this journey of mine.
There is this thing called patience, I looked it up. Merriam Webster simply defines it as “the act of being patient”. Then I looked up “patient” and found the fourth definition: “steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity”. Well, there it is. For me, this journey out of obesity is getting difficult and is being met with opposition from nobody other than myself. My last post on this journey was 22 days ago; at that time I had lost 9 pounds, and was officially out of the obese BMI range into Overweight.
Oh yeah, I was happy with myself. I was on the downhill slide and feeling quite smug. Right about then I imagine this is what happened:
My body: “Hey, wait a second, what is she up to? She can’t take the fat away…the fat is so cushy, comfy, snuggly. The fat is gooooood!! Fat!! Don’t Go!!” (Or something along those lines.)
And so, the fat decided it had a pretty good gig here in this body, so it decided to stick around. For 21 days my weight stayed within the 9-10 pounds lost range.
Frustrating? Yep. Aggravating? Yep. Enough to toss in the towel and settle with being overweight? Nope.
This change, this journey, was never about quick weight loss, although I was quite happy with those initial results. Habits take time to change. Bodies take time to adjust to those changes. And, frankly, not becoming discouraged and gaining any back during those 3 weeks that seemed like a stall, is quite a success in itself.
Here one month into this journey, the refined or added sugar aspect is fading from the central focus. It has been dealt with and given the proper attention, and no longer drives my appetite. Now the focus shifts into other aspects of healthier foods, hopefully more physical movement throughout the days, and patience. And I have renewed hope, because here, one month into this journey, there is finally another change. Here, on day 31 I have a weight loss of 11 pounds total, and even as much as my body loves that security blanket of fat, my internal organs and my spine are, quite literally, relieved.
I also have this reminder that even though I may not always use it, and others may not always see it (I should work on that too) I do have that wonderful virtue, that gift of the Holy Spirit that is patience. It may be difficult, but I can do this, and it will be worth it.
It already is.
This entry is simply to mark my thoughts and progress, and to note that I’m pleasantly surprised I made progress over the recent days. Productive comments and suggestions are encouraged, others traveling on this journey are welcome to join me.
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Early in our youth ministry season, I received a call from a senior at a nearby university seeking an opportunity to observe a class in our program. After our standard background check and an interview, she quickly became part of our group and settled in with the eighth graders and a few of the best mentors in a youth setting that anyone could ask for. The youth love seeing her. The volunteers love seeing her. We all love seeing her.
I remember walking into the lobby at our first meeting and having this beautiful young lady ask me nervously ask if her service dog would be allowed to stay with her. I couldn’t believe she would even ask that, and I felt sad that she had ever had to ask such a question. The dog and I became great pals, and we’ve both been placed in time out for playing while she was on duty, but only once, we got the message.
Today she and I sat down at the same table where we held her first interview. This time, however, she was interviewing me for her class. This was a final step in completing her project. Her time with us is drawing to an end.
Before she left, she let me record a short little “goodbye” video for the youth from her. Ah! What a beautiful soul in such a caring young lady. She is going to be so missed.
There’s a deeper point to this story, however. I can’t remember the number of places she told me she had contacted about observing, but she told me I was the only person who called her back. To those who did not call her back, I would say two things: First, you missed out on an incredible opportunity to get to know someone and help her pursue her goals. Second, thank you, because you did not return her call, she found her way to our program. Her presence, I know has enhanced our classroom group and I hope the experience has been enriching for her as well.
These young adults with whom we’re entrusting our future need experience, need encouragement and need safe places to pursue opportunities. If you are in such a position to offer those opportunities, I would ask and encourage you to consider doing so. I can only imagine, and I may never know how this young lady will impact the lives of others in the future, but I believe she will be a powerful force and great asset wherever she chooses to be, and we were blessed to have her observe and be part of our program for these weeks that passed far too quickly.
Coffee, a chance to pause, reflect, plan; a time for conversations, hugs, laughter, tears, warmth, strength. Comfort in a cup for moments of solitude, and a reason in itself to get-together with friends and loved ones. Liquid energy to stir the creative thoughts and complete those important tasks, and a means by which the beauty of the present moment can be savored, sometimes in an antique china cup. ~ Coffee, the perfect excuse to take snapshots along morning walks and send them to my sisters throughout the year so we can all have a coffee break together, wherever we all may be. ~ Coffee, it’s so much more than just coffee.
This evening I was on the back porch, aka my favorite room in the house, reviewing the events of the weekend with the amazing young people with whom I have the privilege of working over the weekend, and checking the calendar when I realized it is the last Monday of summer. Autumn is scheduled to arrive Friday! A couple of things happened nearly simultaneously: a sweet text from an old friend to schedule coffee & catch up time, and a strong sunbeam streaming through the leaves.
Both drew me away from my “business” immediately. Gears were switched, focus was redirected I stepped out into the summer air and turned my face towards the glorious sun rays.
Some sunsets paint the sky in vibrant colors. But sometimes…..sometimes the sun slips below the canopy and directs the late day rays through and onto the leaves. Today was one of those days.
If you missed it, perhaps you can enjoy these few photos, these evening views through some of my favorite trees.
I love it when sunlight breaks through these old trees. It’s as if the rays carry whispers from God saying “I see you, now look towards me”. And so, I will.