In the spring of 2012, my father’s home insurance company sent an inspector. As a result, the insurance company required two changes: part of the roof needed to be replaced and two trees needed to come down, one of them being the tree shown above.
“I am sorry,” sighed the tree.
I wish that I could
give you something…
But I have nothing left.
I am just an old stump.
I am sorry…”
Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree
Well, an old stump is good for a garden.
Come, plant flowers and enjoy.
A purple coneflower gives glory to God by being a purple coneflower and a petunia gives glory to God by being a petunia.
I take so many pictures of the sunrise. I’ll be at the pool and one the ladies swimming will say, “Ooh! Sally! Get your camera!” I’ll grab my phone and step out the door into the cold for yet another sunrise photo.
It never grows old.
Here’s one of my favorites, looking in a slightly different direction:
I’m reading excerpts of Lamentations for Holy Week. Feeling the sadness of the Jewish people as they lament the destruction of Jerusalem sets the tone for the sadness Christians should feel as we approach Good Friday. I love the way C. S. Lewis, in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, described Aslan walking to the Stone Table
…one of the girls walked on each side of the Lion. But how slowly he walked! And his great, royal head drooped so that his nose nearly touched the grass. Presently he stumbled and gave a low moan.
“Aslan! Dear Aslan!” said Lucy, “what is wrong? Can’t you tell us?”
“Are you ill, dear Aslan?” asked Susan.
“No,” said Aslan. “I am sad and lonely. Lay your hands on my mane so that I can feel you are there and let us walk like that.”
And the girls did what they would never have dared to do without his permission but what they had longed to do ever since they first saw him — buried their cold hands in the beautiful sea of fur, and stroked it and, so doing, walked with him.
That part of the story is almost unbearable to me. Because even if I picture burying my cold hands in his mane, I know that soon the lion will be gone and my hands will be colder than before. It’s an awful feeling.
But Lamentations 3 holds one of my favorite passages — and arriving at it is like arriving at Easter morning.
21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Every sunrise holds that promise for me. His mercies are new every morning. In Narnia —
There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane… stood Aslan himself.
The Narnian lampposts that line the driveways and parking lots at the pool extinguish themselves one by one every morning and I am left with a glorious sun. Even on the grayest days, I know it’s there — and it brings me hope.
I’m not talking about the food, which, of course, was amazing.
My food pictures leave something to be desired — not the food, my pictures.
Like this dessert — I don’t remember what it was, but it was delicious.
Or these crepes — which looked so wonderful that I started to eat them and then remembered to take a picture.
I took a picture of these meringues on Day 1 because I had never seen such large meringues. The patisserie was closed but I wanted to remember to buy some later. Unfortunately I forgot.
This pastry with apricots was really good but I can’t remember the name.
The sweetest thing about that pastry, though, was that my siblings and I sat outside on a bench to enjoy our selections from the patisserie together. We talked and enjoyed the morning sun before heading back to our hotel.
For years, I had heard my father say that he really wanted to see the beaches of Normandy — so we made it happen.
He probably doesn’t remember the trip today — at least not without the aid of the photo book we put together.
But we remember.
For one week last May, we fulfilled one of my father’s dreams — and had a good time doing it.
Every year is filled with ups and downs, unexpected trials and undeserved mercies.
My favorite time in 2017, was the week in May when my brother, my sister and her husband, and my husband and I all traveled with my father to tour Normandy and Paris. The picture is of Bud and me in the Eiffel Tower. Our time together is so limited. Having a whole week together was amazing.
My second favorite time was this, learning to shred cabbage the Bosnian way.
I love my home, but traveling sure was fun. I may have to do it again in 50 years.
Merry Christmas everyone. Looking forward to the adventures of 2018.