Some days I don’t drive this part of this old road, but seeing glimpses like this makes me remember what a beautiful place this is. You can’t see the creek in this picture, but it is there, meandering through the landscape from pasture to pasture and field to field.
There are higher hills a few hours to the west, and larger bodies of water nearby as well. The colors change with the rhythms of the season, but for me these hills are timeless, always just beyond the tree-line from my back porch. Quiet, almost hidden, these Cane Creek Mountains are the very picture of perfect spring green on this April afternoon.
This beautiful spring-like morning in this little corner of North Carolina the sunshine is playing peek-a-boo through the clouds. A family of cardinals is enjoying the cover of the sentry cedar outside the bedroom window. and the air is filled with joyful sounds of squirrel chatter and songbirds.
Here, in this scene I have learned of the passing of Rev. Billy Graham. And, while I’ve never met him face to face, I have been one of the many in the crowd at a “Crusade” in Greensboro when I was much, much younger, and I have had the benefit of reading, watching, listening and reflecting on his sermons throughout my life. And for that, for that example of being a conduit or merely a thread for others to see Christ, I am truly grateful. This world is a much better place for your 99 years here, and while you will be so missed, today it seems this corner of North Carolina is celebrating your life in a beautiful, natural, peaceful manner.
November 7, 1918 – February 21, 2018, What an abundant life was shared in the span of that dash. Rest in peace and may the angels lead you into paradise, Reverend Billy Graham.
“Well done, good and faithful servant….” Matthew 25:23
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
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.