End-of-September Reflections

SeptemberSo ends another month in this crazy year. In addition to COVID and everything else going on in the world, a black bear and a tiger were roaming loose in our city this month! I never heard if someone caught them—I think they just moved on. Bears aren’t uncommon, but they’re usually in woodsy areas. But no one knew where the tiger came from.

We’re very much enjoying the cooler temperatures and crisp air. Leaves are starting to change, but full-blown color is still a couple of weeks away.

Family news

My youngest son is seriously looking at apartments now, aiming to move out before the end of the year. I’m excited for him, but I’ll miss the everyday interaction. I’m thankful he’ll still be in town.

We grilled burgers and enjoyed a long weekend for Labor Day, and my son’s family made us feel special for Grandparent’s Day. Besides my youngest son’s birthday and my brief hospital stay for afib, I can’t recall that we did anything else unusual as a family this month. We always enjoy visiting back and forth every week, but I don’t think we had any excursions. But that’s fine. August was busy, so a fairly quiet September was nice.

Timothisms

When I showed Timothy the Bundt cake I had made for Jesse’s birthday, he said it looked like a donut cake. Makes sense to me!

One evening Timothy was playing with Little People and had two of them going on a date. Part of their conversation was, “So what do you think about having babies? What kind of house do you want to live in?” Seems to be moving a little fast—but it’s important to talk about those things. 😀

Creating

This card was or a former pastor who turned 91.

The horizontal pieces are stickers. I made the scalloped circles with punches.

This was for Jesse’s birthday. Video games are his main thing, and I looked for some kind of video game clip art. When I found this controller, I decided just to make the card on the computer rather than printing and cutting out the pieces.

I had found a shirt for him that said, “I paused my game to be here.” So I tied the card in with that theme.

Watching

While riding my exercise bike, I worked through:

The Adventures of Ociee Nash, a cute family film about a tomboyish little girl growing up with brothers and a father, sent to stay with an aunt to learn “lady ways,” meeting famous people along the way.

God’s Not Dead. A college freshman tangles with an atheistic professor. Somehow I missed this when it was going around a few years ago There are two sequels to it out now that I have not seen. I thought the story was pretty good except they overdid the villainy of the two bad guys. Plus there were a couple of theological oddities. A pastor told one girl struggling with self image and wrong relationships, “Jesus would willingly be crucified again just for you if that’s what it took.” Um, no: His once-for-all death was sufficient.

Enchantment was an old film with David Niven as an elderly retired soldier who just wants to live out his days in the family home. But a niece in the Army pops in while in town. The old soldier sees she and the young man interested in her are about to make a mistake and miss their chance, and his sad story of lost love compels him to encourage them toward each other.

The Bishop’s Wife, another old one with David Niven as a distracted bishop and Cary Grant as an angel. Somehow I had never seen this. I didn’t realize it was set at Christmas or I might have saved it for then. It was “off” in the angelology department, but otherwise pretty sweet.

Before All Others was a Christian-ish film (once you watch an old film or a Christian film on Amazon Prime, they start adding more into the “suggested” list). I just finished it yesterday and am still processing it. In it, a young woman develops a serious illness. Her only living relative is an estranged grandmother, so she stays with her. They get to know each other while working through some difficulties. The grandmother hires a man from church to build a wheelchair ramp, and he and the granddaughter are attracted. But he’s working through some issues of his own. The grandmother is a believer but the two young people are not. The grandmother tends to go to the shed to talk to her dead husband…and when he tells her it’s almost her time to go, she says, “You’ll just have to tell—whoever—that I’m not ready to go.” The last few scenes were disjointed with the viewer having to fill in a lot of gaps. It was ok: it could have been really good, but just fell short.

One evening Jim and I watched Same Kind of Different As Me. I had read the book years ago and wanted to see the film, but just never got to it before. For some reason, it was on my heart. We both enjoyed the true story of a couple with a troubled marriage working in a soup kitchen and befriending one of the homeless men.

Reading

I finished some good books this month:

  • Be Victorious (Revelation): In Christ You Are an Overcomer by Warren Wiersbe, Christian nonfiction.
  • Be Basic (Genesis 1-11): Believing the Simple Truth of God’s Word. by Warren Wiersbe, Christian nonfiction.
  • Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker, Christian fiction. A teenage girl in 1960s Georgia helps take care of her grandfather with dementia and her brother with a processing disorder. The brother wants to build a rocket to go to Jupiter, so his sister and her friend help him raise money for materials. Then a series of family tragedies shakes the sister’s faith. Beautiful, touching story.
  • Sandhill Dreams by Cara Putnam, Christian fiction. A woman’s illness scraps her dreams of being a military nurse during WWII, and she tries to find some way to help the war effort. A young man who fears dogs after being bitten as a child finds himself in charge of the canine unit.
  • The Color of Hope by Kim Cash Tate, Christian fiction. Two churches try to bridge ethnic diversity and meet together sometimes, but some in the town disapprove.
  • Five Miles South of Peculiar by Angela Hunt, Christian fiction. Middle-aged sisters try to work out their differences. Both poignant and funny in places.
  • The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke, Christian historical fiction (audiobook). A Jewish woman in Warsaw must give up her child in order to save her during WWII. Excellent book.
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, nonfiction.A young black women’s cells were taken for experimentation without her knowledge when she was treated for cancer, and they became what’s known as an “immortal” cell line, still growing. They’ve been an immense help to science, but ethical, racial, and financial issues are discussed as well as the effect on the family.
  • I don’t review children’s books here often (besides classics), but I wanted to share these Three Children’s Books About Race.
  • A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White. Just finished this and loved it. I plan to review it tomorrow. Loved this!

I’m currently reading:

  • Be Obedient (Genesis 12-25): Learning the Secret of Living by Faith by Warren W. Wiersbe
  • In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character by Jen Wilkin
  • The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion by Annette Whipple
  • A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White (audiobook), sequel to A Name Unknown
  • Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers
  • Write Better by Andrew Le Peau

In all honesty, I haven’t picked up the last two in a number of weeks and need to get back at them. I’m also starting an advanced reader copy of a book coming out in November.

Blogging

In addition to weekly Friday’s Fave Fives and occasional Laudable Linkages and book reviews, I’ve posted:

  • Shining Light in a Dark and Drowsy World. Light can irritate when we’re sleepy. So the world resents the light that we shine to wake them up. But God still wants us to let our light shine, and He uses it to draw others to Himself.
  • Remembering the Relationship. We tell unbelievers that Christianity is a relationship, not (just) a religion. But as Christians, sometimes we forget the relational aspect and fall into routines and formulas.
  • Is Truth or Love More Important? We err when we have either without the other.
  • God Remembered. I’ve sometimes puzzled over why the Bible says God “remembered” someone, when God doesn’t forget in the first place. The resulting study was a blessing.
  • The Struggle Is Real. Just as a butterfly needs the struggle involved in breaking out of its cocoon in order to be healthy, so we need the struggles God allows in our lives to grow in our faith.

Writing

I was pleased and Thankful that a devotion I wrote for the Christian Devotions site was accepted and published last Saturday. It’s titled “Unsteady.”

I’ve gotten a little work done on the book. I am looking and praying for longer stretches of time to work on it. I can add in little tidbits in smaller swaths of time. But I need to overhaul at least a couple of chapters, and that requires a longer time period to really dig in and concentrate.

And that wraps up September! I’m looking forward to more color and coolness in October.

How was your September?

(Sharing with Worth Beyond Rubies, Grace and Truth, Hearth and Soul,
Senior Salon, InstaEncouragement, Shannan’s What I’m Into.
Linking does not imply 100% endorsement)

September

September

The morrow was a bright September morn;
The earth was beautiful as if new-born;
There was that nameless splendor everywhere,
That wild exhilaration in the air,
Which makes the passers in the city street
Congratulate each other as they meet.

 ~ From the longer poem“The Falcon of Sir Federigo” from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Tales of a Wayside Inn”

Fall is coming

The golden-rod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.

 By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather,
And autumn’s best of cheer.

Excerpts from Helen Hunt Jackson’s “September”

Keep calm

Departing summer hath assumed
An aspect tenderly illumed,
The gentlest look of spring;
That calls from yonder leafy shade
Unfaded, yet prepared to fade,
A timely carolling.

~  William Wordsworth, “September”

I like the line “Unfaded, yet prepared to fade” best. That about describes the leaves here. Some are just starting to turn, but it will be weeks yet before it truly looks and feels fallish. Of course, fall doesn’t officially begin until September 22 this year. But I like September as the turning point, the promise that cooler weather is coming. I’m not too eager for turning leaves and such, though I’ll enjoy then when that happens (I love the beauty, but I’m sad that it heralds the leaves turning loose all too soon). But I am looking forward to some coolness!

September used to mark the start of school, but the schools started here in early August. Since all of mine are out of school, it doesn’t affect me much any more except for trying to avoid roads in school zones at certain times a day. But I remember having mixed emotions when my kids started back: glad for a bit more structured schedule, but not looking forward to the busy-ness; glad to have the house to myself for a few hours a day, but missing their companionship.

For many, September marks the beginning of football season and pumpkin-spiced everything. We’re not big into football, but we’re in the middle of UT Vols territory, and last year we did watch a few games. I like pumpkin pie, bread, cookies, etc., but not pumpkin flavored drinks. Bleah! 🙂

September 1 is also my anniversary of contracting transverse myelitis. Hard to believe it’s been 31 years now! It started with one arm feeling a little funny, like I’d slept on it wrong. Within just a few hours that arm and both legs and my lower torso were numb. That was one of the longest days of my life, with going to one ER, being sent to a doctor’s office only to find they didn’t work with our insurance, to going to another ER and finally being admitted around 10 p.m. (it had all started around 7 a.m. or so). It was a scary time, not knowing what I’d get back and how I’d be able to function in my family. But, thank God, though there are a number of little residual symptoms, I can walk and basically have been able to do what I needed to do as a wife and mom. I wouldn’t want to go through it again, but I am so thankful for God’s nearness and help and all He taught me through it.