The dog days of August are resting now. I suppose in the trials and tribulations of life, ours have been small in comparison to others, but they’ve been a pain in the neck just the same. Literally. August started out with attending a 40th birthday party for my friend’s daughter. It was an 80’s theme held at a roller-skating rink. Yeah, I went there. In the process, I was a wee bit too confident going into a sharp turn and “BAM!” down I went. I rolled out with a severely sprain wrist, and a chipped bone in my hand, and a pain in my neck. So August ended with me and my husband going to the chiropractor to work out some kinks all over. So at the moment, my neck is just really sore from the workout.
“When you give a gift to someone in need, don’t shout about it…blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to [your] acts of charity!…But when you give to someone [….] Give your gifts in secret, and your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.” ~ Matthew 6:2-4
:: Giving Thanks For
Family and friends who challenge me to think deep and hard about how much I am giving to others in need and towards research for diseases we have been blessed not to have to face, and, hopefully, never will.
The opportunity to give via my workplace, not only towards research for various maladies so many are challenged with daily, but towards the continued efforts to preserve the world’s natural resources and wildlife. For what good will there be to eradicate disease and suffering in humans, if we leave those who survive a world in which nature has been totally destroyed?
By now many are familiar with the Ice Bucket Challenge. By far, of all the clips I’ve seen challenging others, I have been most impressed with those of the children and teens. By taking up the gauntlet, thrown down by their families or friends, they have been given a taste of what it is to think about issues and matters beyond their own — and that hidden lesson is one that will be paid forward again and again.
:: Loving the Moment
When I watched and listened to grandchild #6, Logan, sing in a karaoke contest he’s been competing in for several weeks now and taking first place. In simple words — utter joy.
:: Listening to
The hum of the refrigerator reminding me that I have household chores to finish in preparation for decorating for the upcoming holiday season.
The whirr of the air conditioner reminding me that, even though August is ending, the heat here in Southern California is not.
“I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” ~ Romans 12:1-2
:: Living Liturgy
I am reminded in Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans, on this 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, that I must be mindful of what my eyes and ears absorb. That I must be discerning in what I take as truth, accept as natural response or behavior, and allow as necessary need or knowledge to filter through me and out into the world. So I’m digging deeply into two Bible Studies as I head into the unofficial autumn season: Hosea with She Reads Truth and Esther with Love God Greatly (formerly known as, Good Morning Girls).
“Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself…So you must honor God with your body.” ~ 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20
Physical setbacks aside, I’m working diligently on a healthier eating plan and a safe, yet satisfying, exercise routine. Consider me a tortoise, working slower towards the goal, in comparison to others, but eventually arriving at the finish line nonetheless — for my good and His glory.
:: Thinking About
This book and how I need to work harder, especially on Labor Day weekend, to be more of a helpmate to my husband. We’ve had a Labor Day block party for the last eighteen years. In those eighteen years, we’ve seen good neighbors come and go from our street, as the dynamic of our community has evolved from homeowners to a mix of homeowners and renters in the houses that surround ours. In the beginning, everyone followed the guidelines so it was a pleasant experience of new and old, as our children grew into adults, married, and grandchildren started filling the seats at the tables where they used to sit. Over eighteen years though, there have been those families that have pushed the boundaries of neighborly hospitality and, in doing so, have dampened the spirit of the gathering. I’ve always been an anomaly when it comes to parties. An only child growing up, I’m a natural loner — an introvert. As a child growing up in a big, metropolitan city like Detroit, however, I’m used to being surrounded by people of all ethnicities and types every single day, all day long. So when it comes to parties, like the annual Labor Day block gathering, I find myself an introvert working hard to be an extravert. Tag that with the 95 degree plus weather we often have at this time of year and, well, things can turn sour quickly. My efforts to roll with it all sometimes fall short. It doesn’t help the matter either that a few of our daughters no longer attend, sometimes due to working schedules, but moreso because, in pushing those boundaries, a few neighbors have allowed their returning adult children to dabble in illegal or inappropriate behavior — where the children are so easily exposed to, and / or can be possibly influenced by, it.
As women (mothers, grandmothers), we take all of this into our hearts — it all matters. As men though, our husbands merely look forward to the camaraderie of barbecuing, frying fish (that they’ve caught and stockpiled all summer), and drinking beer. Martha women and Mary men. In my heart, I know that my husband is going about the day with the preferred attitude. He is Mary at the feet of Jesus, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” ~ Luke 10: 38-42.
As it turned out, quite a few of the neighbors and neighbors’ adult children who pushed those boundaries, were not in attendance this year. The gathering was smaller and family friendlier. I actually went outside and “stayed” outside into the nighttime. My friend and I started a game of Dominos and were joined by her eldest daughter (seen here). It was nice to see her with her own wee child, relaxed and sans makeup, and made me think of when she was younger, hanging out on the block with her younger sister and our daughters.
Next year, I must plan on doing less and enjoying more. Instead of fretting over making a dish that the flies will eat more of than the guests, perhaps I’ll go easy and order a six-foot-sandwich to go along with the beans my husband makes every year (his Mama’s recipe). I may even drink the beer.
August had some good moments as well. Our middle daughter and her family finally found and settled into an apartment in their new (home)town located in Nevada (where our son-in-law started a promising new job). And now that her youngest (of four children) is in Kindergarten, she can find time to relax during her day and catch-up with the rest of us before the next season of Downton Abbey begins.
Although our car was hit in the parking lot on campus where I work, damaging the rear bumper and light, because my husband had worked overtime this month, we were able to pay the deductible and have it fixed. Of course those extra funds would have really helped an already strained budget, but that’s a whole other post.
And with that, I’ll say “Adios!” to August and “Hey, there!” to September.
How was August, and the unofficial end to summer, for you?
Striving to be…
At His feet.
Blessings, dear reader