Archive for the ‘Blue Berry Picking’ Category

Stairs at Historic Locust Grove, not the house I am talking about

“Can I just sit in the stairwell?” I asked the owner of “The French Hen” – this antique store that had once been my home.

I am sure she hated those stairs; everyone did. At least everyone who didn’t grow up running up and down them a million times a day. They were old, tall and steep, the stairs of this house that grew when the dog-trot turned into a hallway once-upon-a-time ago.

I remember falling down them when they were occasional to me, little feet in tights slipping on old polished wood to fly out and . . . thunk-bump! on the slim cushion of my littleness. Tears would spring to my eyes even before my mind recovered its sense.

Yet, here I was, years later, sitting on those 200+ year-old-steps, hoping for what I am not sure. Maybe for my grandmother to walk past, the harness bells once on the front door to jingle, to pull off my grandfather’s work boots one more time, to catch bees in jars or slurp honey-suckle from the backyard vine.

“Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions” (Ecc. 7:10)

Better Days? They weren’t. I know that. I don’t want to go back. I never want to go back. God has brought me so far.

Despite life’s challenges, each year, each day is sweeter and sweeter – holistically so much better.

Redemption – given and taken – is a life improver. Faith means knowing there is sunshine behind the clouds. Hope means knowing God has goodness in store – no matter today’s salty tears. God’s love means that His love heals, wrapping around me warming away the cold soul-chills of brokenness.

He has led me to something so[ul] better best.

“In your unfailing love you will lead
the people you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them
to your holy dwelling” (Exodus 15: 13-14).

So I sat in the stairwell, not because life here was better. Homesick maybe. Missing people I loved. Missing grandfather’s azaleas – or how he would hide on the ledge at the top of the stairs to scare the hee-bee-gee-bees out of us when we went up for bedtime, grandmother’s fried chicken, lazy summer afternoons on the front porch, life B.C. (before children). Standing in front of the big fireplace during the winter of ’77 and turning, turning, turning like a good roast over a fire pit – but I was in front – and it was an old house with floor furnace, a gas stove and this fireplace.

After my parents divorce, 5-year-old me climbing into my grandfather’s lap and falling half asleep. My grandmother came in asking him to do something. She hushed and walked softly away, letting my grandfather hold me until I was slept out. I understood Father-God love through my grandfather’s love.

“We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost–also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic” (Num 11:5).

No, this is not like the Children of Israel being scared, not understanding the future and missing what was comfortable, what was familiar, not bondage to my past.

Stairway at Historic Locust Grove

It is a vintage thing.

Vintage whole cloth memory is not what brought me to the stairwell. What brings me to the stairwell is looking at my past fully and gathering the blessings left there.

Vintage: (verb) to gather or harvest (grapes)[blessings] for wine-making [remembrances] (1828 Noah Webster Dictionary)

To vintage my past, to sort through and let go of the bad and to press the good into my heart.(BCM sentence example of Webster verb definition of vintage)

To vintage (verb) is a joy-catching thing, catching things of God.(BCM definition)

Joy-catching moments like when God and I talked between the azaleas and forsythia. Where I asked Him to make me special to Him. Friday night steaks, my mother’s sewing machine where she made my navy blue prom dress with navy Bill Blass lace (a client where she worked had a son who worked for Bill Blass. He told his son that we couldn’t find pretty enough navy blue lace – and he sent beautiful blue lace to his father – free of charge), where I learned Saul became Paul, the feel twilight grass under my feet in the Spring, learning to trust God as I walked upstairs to bed in pitch black darkness, trusting that He wouldn’t let anything get me, where I learned love can be soft, tough, and graceless and that for love to endure and reach to all family roots one must love with forgiveness, the cardinal outside my window in the Oak tree in the sweet coolness of a summer morning after grandmother turned off the window fan.

I want to catch those blessings God left for me – more precious than the teacup my grandmother left on the wooden box at the foot of my bed one Christmas morning.

Some moments, memories, details you catch – and they are immeasurable, like dust particles floating in the sunlight. It is just a matter of looking for them in just the right light.

Some moments need to be discarded like memories of feeling like a second-hand child, seeing myself as the goose girl when I was a princess all along.

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” (Exodus 20:2)

I sat there that day in the stairwell remembering flying down those stairs on the way to living, climbing them to rest. I sat there, waiting. Waiting for what, I don’t know – but, something in my heart needed. . . something.

Sighing, I pulled myself up. Stairwells are not for sitting. Stairwells are passageways for living. The only thing left worth keeping are the joy-catching moments, the blessings.

Maybe that is why I went – to vintage – to gather the memory of those blessings, the worthwhile pieces out of the whole cloth.

I thanked the lady when I left and walked out.

This isn’t a Lot story. This is a blessing thing, a vintage thing, collecting all the sweet gifts God left me in the backyard, in the kitchen, on the front porch, in the stairwell of where I came from.

In the gathering, I discover how this Father that is God has been intentional in my life, been present for every event, big and little – and that it is never too late to gather the blessing, the joy!

They are still there. Gather them. Vintage them.

168) a menagerie of stuffed bears in whimsical arrangement in a yard, reminding me of how when I look for the blessings, I find unusual, out-of-the-box things

169) A group of red cardinals and their less colorful mates dealing with an afternoon frustration of a mockingbird.
170) Taco soup, an orange juice cake and chicken salad made by a sweet co-worker on the first day of my new job
171) My grandmother’s coffee cake going with me to work that first day
172) Generosity of spirit from my trainer and other team members who say, “It takes a year to learn it all. Be patient with yourself.” And I wish I lived life like that in every area.
173) A window view at my desk
174) Heart doctors taking care of my mom over 16 hours away
175) Praying friends
176) Brothers helping a brother move with good humor on a Saturday morning
177) Green spinach, yellow eggs, beige artichokes and brown sausage in a white pottery pie pan lined with a puff pastry baking into a weeks breakfast
178) A friend walking a couple of miles with me
179) Snowflakes, bunches of them, so many I couldn’t see my neighbor’s house
180) Strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple and grapes in a trifle bowl for a baby shower
181) “I’ll give you a hug for some pineapple,” a son asked. I readily agreed.
182) Leftovers
183) My candy jar filled with mini Cadbury eggs on my home desk.
184) A matching one on my work desk filled with M&Ms (so wish people would eat them so I could fill it with Cadbury Eggs)
185) Mini Cadbury Eggs in 1 lb bags
186) Boys who help with the dishes on their assigned nights
187) Bedtime hugs and discussions – not taking them for granted.
188) Cornering my teen in the kitchen and flinging a hug on him.
189) Being able to take lunch early on Fridays so I can spend time with my Friday morning knitting group
190) How all my aunts pull close when one of their sisters needs them
191) A Tide Stick removing a very frustrating situation, allowing nothing permanent to remain literally and figuratively
192) That long distance has changed so it is no longer an occasional thing and I can talk to my mother in the hospital at any time.
193) Yellow Post-it Notes for Prayer requests on my bathroom mirror, helping me to keep my promises.
194) My son graduates from his AIT training this week from the reserves. He asked me to help him with his resume because he knows he has a mom who can do that. So glad God put layers and layers of things inside each of us, enabling us to minister in ways unimaginable to our children.
195) Learning to intentionally vintage God’s blessings all around.

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In that blueberry path, on a hot July day, I thought how faith grows when one realizes the possibility that we do not know it all, when we concede there might be more to God than we know – and we are willing to step into those paths that speak of a closer relationship with God – believing what Faith said about God, causing Hope to leap in expectation, focusing on the goodness of God, trusting, having confidence that there is more to God, though we may not know what that more truly is.

“Living in Him” reminds me of when I so loved my husband that we married and we moved in together – and when I don’t see him, eat with him, walk with him, talk with him multiple times daily, I miss him, get a little wigged out because that kind of commitment is the grafting together of two people into one, changing who they were before.

Yet, though my husband completes me, it is not as powerful a grafting, as being grafted into our Lord and living in Him.

According  Leonard Hertz in his article, Grafting and Budding Fruit Trees,  “Fruit trees cannot be reproduced “true” to the original cultivar from seed. They can only be reproduced by grafting.”

There is a difference in the fruit we produce when grafted into a relationship with the Father. We can only bear the true fruit from the Father by being grafted into Him. Being good alone, then, just won’t work. The fruit is not quite the same. Only when we are grafted in to that intimate relationship can we truly bear the fruit of God.

Hertz also said, “Grafting is useful, however, for more than reproduction of an original cultivar. It is also used to repair injured fruit trees or for top-working an established tree to one or more different cultivars.” Through this grafting “in Him” a spirit crippled and abused can be repaired, healed, made whole.

God wants me to have that kind of “Living-in-Him” type of relationship, to be grafted into Him – and that is the only way to produce God’s true cultivar, fruit selected for desirable characteristics that can be maintained by being grafted into Him:  love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

What is love without God? What is joy without God? What is peace, forebearance, kindness, without God? Goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – without God?

They are different fruit cultivar without God.

Maybe, if I can find that kind of message in a blueberry patch, just maybe, I can introduce that kind of relationship to my sons, and just maybe one day, maybe they will have a blueberry patch moment, other than a whining, complaining, are-we-done-yet moment. Just like the tree-farmer passes to his child the craft of grafting, fruit trees and harvesting, so, too, do I want to pass to my sons the knowledge of being grafted into an awesome God.

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