Blackberry Winter

It’s the kind of weather that I’m convinced will be the norm in Heaven:  Cool evenings accented by a warm fire and just-warm-enough days that allow us to wear a light jacket when the skies are overcast and shorts when the sun is out.  The pansies still bloom happily, peeking their cheerful heads over the rims of pots and dancing brightly around the hanging basket on the shepherd’s hook.

Though the tomato harvest will likely start later because of these cool temperatures, I can’t complain.  This is my weather.  This cool breeze as I sit alone on the porch swing is what makes me absolutely love life here in Tennessee.

Today I drove out to the farm where my middle daughter has spent the last twelve Wednesdays doing what she loves:  Art, sewing, and playing with the colt and the chickens and the lamb.  The farmer’s big dog appears to be pregnant and lumbers about in the tall grass as the children run wild and play “Tree.”  It was bittersweet for me, as I love the drive out there every week and today is her final day on the farm.  Next year she enters the 6th grade and we have found a wonderful tutorial for her and the younger two.  It is also out in the country.  There are chickens and a garden to dabble in while the children take breaks from learning.  They will love it.  They would start tomorrow, if they could, but it is always hard to say goodbye to something that has been a blessing.

Change.

God is always moving us towards the next thing, isn’t He?  I tell my kids He loves us too much to let us stay put, and I believe it.  Contentment is good, complacency is not. Change keeps us on our toes and reminds us of our dependency on Him if we will allow it.  Change is a good teacher.

Though I am enjoying this Blackberry Winter with all that is in me…this cold snap that I didn’t expect yet am relishing while it lasts…change is inevitable.   I know the heat of summer will come soon and we will all be sweating and jumping in the pool for relief from the sun.  The trees’ bright green will grow tired and the grass will trade it’s delightful lime hue for a deeper shade in order to toughen up and survive the August that is to come. Some change we expect, some is thrown at us.  But, again, if we are teachable we can see the purpose in it.

Am I teachable?  As I prepare for this next season, homeschooling 4 of my 5 children (one in HIGH SCHOOL) and diving into a tutorial with the three younger ones for the first time, what is God going to want me to learn?  As the seasons of life pass by and my teenagers prepare to grow up and drive away, can I appreciate the good and pick it out from amongst the thorns of the hard?

I struggle, sometimes, to enjoy now.  I look back on the years when we were younger and life was simpler and I miss those long, sweet days.  Then I remember Paul’s admonition in Philippians 3:13…to forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead.  I think I sometimes make an idol out of the past, especially the good parts.  I want that sweet time to last forever, but it didn’t.  It can’t.  Like this Blackberry Winter, it was a beautiful season of respite and joy.  But the season ahead, though heated and full of struggles and growing pains, is beautiful as well.  I have to look up, stop and breathe and take in the sunrises and sunsets of each day and remember that God is on his throne and every part of this season of life is being used to bring about His will, not mine.

Goodness, that is so hard.

So today I did what I have said I would do all throughout this spring but never had.  I stopped and pulled over into the parking lot of a little country church and took a photo of my girl with her handmade quilt with a field of wildflowers behind her.  I breathed in the scent of spring and didn’t hurry to drive home.  Then I planted that white rose by the mailbox and stuck my nose into a magnolia blossom, nearly fainting from the beautiful perfume that filled it.  And then I sat here, on my porch swing, to write because I just haven’t taken the time to do much writing lately and tomorrow is our last day of school for this year.  There are leftovers in the fridge and my son drove his little brother to basketball practice, giving me this time to do what my heart needed.

My boys, alone in a car.  What I wouldn’t give to be privy to their conversations.

Yes, there is sweetness in every season.

 

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