Autumn decor feels a little out of place here in Florida, but when our real fall weather shows up in December, it will be Christmas. My summer wreath was looking weary from the hard rains and hot sun, so this is what's up now.
I am very happy to report the finishing touches are nearly done with the new house directly across the street from me. This is the last lot in my immediate neighborhood to be sold. My visiting grandchildren used that lot for a soccer field. They will miss it.
This past week has been full for me. Sister and Former Farmer drove down from the Midwest to spend several nights here in my home.
Former Farmer, who can do anything with tools, added two more wheels to my generator, making it easier to move out to the driveway when I need to to run it periodically.
A trip to the old Florida town of Micanopy filled out one of the days with lunch on the wrap-around porch. The live entertainment was Blue Grass music by people our age -- probably retired music teachers. Lunch was good (I'm a fan of the chicken salad on a croissant).
After their departure, I spent several hours in Orlando visiting Surfer Girl and Surfer Boy while the grandkids were in school. The drive home took me through a couple of incredibly hard rain storms in heavy traffic which required prayer to see the lane markers in broad daylight!
By way of an update on my church status: I have recently joined the great big non-denominational mega church Beloved and I have attended much of the time since moving here two and a half years ago. It's big and loud and the music is often songs I don't know, but God's Word is preached faithfully in a very engaging manner and many people are responding to the altar calls at the end of the morning services.
I not only joined but am in training as a greeter, something I love to do. One would think no training would be necessary, but this church is very intentional with its goal to make people feel welcome, so some advance instruction and on-the-job training are the norm.
The ladies' Bible study starts up tomorrow. We'll be doing Hebrews with a book by Lisa Harper. I meet beforehand with a few of the gals at a coffee shop. Another opportunity for socialization are the evening walks around my neighborhood circle (when the weather allows). Two laps is the equivalent to about a mile.
On my quieter days, I am keeping up with household tasks both inside and out. I pull weeds out of the rock beds and then use weed killer on the stubborn growth in the sidewalk, driveway, and paver patio cracks.
On the pre-dawn mornings when my sprinklers are scheduled to run, I slip out of bed to peek through a window to be sure they are indeed working. I always thank the Lord that they are, taking nothing for granted. The sprinkler control box is smarter than me, so when that needs adjustment, I have to call for help.
Today I vacuumed the garage and about a third of the house inside. Pictured above is how Beloved stored his extension cords. He was a very tidy man with a good sense of organization. He liked his cords to be like this -- whenever I tried to be helpful in making them hang neatly, he always shook his head and would re-wind my effort.
But today I managed to get the cord I used to hang just right. Can you tell which one is my handiwork? (It's the one in the middle, second from the left). I'll just go ahead and say it: Beloved would be pleased that I got it right!
With Beloved's passing, I was entrusted with the stewardship of things about which I knew very little, including the sprinklers, the smoke alarms, changing printer ink, the bells and whistles on his car dashboard, running the generator, changing out the whole-house water filter, dealing with the nuances of appliances and technology, an occasional phone call to the landscapers and other service people, and more. I am trusting the Lord to show me how to do these things or to direct me to the right people to do them for me. He has been faithful through it all. (it's a continual walk of faith)
Even with my friends (many of them new since his death) and contacts from family, this is a lonely season. No surprise there. I wish at times that I could fast-forward to happier days, but at the same time I believe it's important to fully embrace the grief process on a healthy level. I am learning to adjust to the empty feeling of his absence. I loved him so much and he loved me well.
"The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want." Psalm 23:1 He will bring me through, allowing what is needed at just the right times. While I have made my share of impulsive decisions in life, I am now hesitant to be an initiator because I don't want to mess up anything I trust the Lord to get me through this at a healthy pace and eventually my smile, and even laughter, will be more often.
The Lord has allowed me to go through hardship but He is also restoring and lifting me up. (see Psalm 71:20-21)
He is teaching me to stay focused on Him and to trust Him for my peace of mind. (Isaiah 26:3)
Until next time, grace and peace to you.