What does a woman with cerebral palsy who is a wheelchair user do on her fifty-eighth birthday? Good question! I can’t speak for everyone who finds themselves in my situation, but I can share what I did. For one thing, because body parts and internal organs do not want anything to with the word “fast” or “quick” or hurried” (although the brain does), when I turned forty, I extended my birthday celebration to the whole month of August, in order to give more “shopping days” for my friends to pick out just the right birthday card and gift (Right!). During my Year of Jubilee, I cerebrated the whole year by doing fun things, with my friends and family, and made it a point intentionally notice the simple pleasures of life, blessings from God which oftentimes go unnoticed. This is something I am trying to do this year and during the years to come.
For my fifty-eighth birthday, although I try to see the blessings of God everyday, my “Birth-Month(s) Escapades” were focused during the middle of July to sometime in September. I just need more time to do things on my Birthday List. Besides, why be in such a hurry to get it over with? In my last post, I wrote about my idea that the “August Crickets” were singing, “Happy Birth-Month Dear Lydia! Happy Birth-Month to You!” and that to some this may seem a bit “narcotic,” I meant to write “narcissistic” (This is a perfect example why I need to take life slow and easy). My typing left index finger cannot keep up with my brain. For my friends who know me, they know that it’s not meant to be narcissistic at all, but just the opposite. I am thanking God for the “Singing Crickets,” while others may think they are just a bunch of “noisy insects” and a nuisance and hindrance to their sleep (But, I do understand where they are coming from). My point is, if we stop being in such a hurry, we can all discover God’s blessings in every little thing, including bugs. One of my favorite Doxologies explains it perfectly:
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts, Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen”
(Text: Thomas Ken; Music: Genevan Psalter, 1551; attributed to Louis Bourgeoise).
After thanking the Lord for all the blessings and fun times of the past few months, it occurred to me that these same activities would also be enjoyable for others during “Leaf-Peeping Season.” So, I am sharing them with all of you. Keep in mind, these activities may not seem exciting to the “yutes” of today, but they are enjoyable to the “grown-ups” among us.
In July, my sister and her husband told me to go to Lowe’s and pick out a new grill and give my old one to their youngest son who is living with friends and going to college. So, their oldest son and I drove off in search of the perfect grill for patio parties and pretend tailgate parties (Grown-ups can pretend too.), to be used immediately and often, as we look forward to October BASEBALL and the FOOTBALL Season to arrive. We found the perfect grill, with a very handy temperature gage and side burner – perfect for steaks, kielbasa and other sausages, hamburgers, hotdogs, ribs and any other MEAT that give off the savory succulent aromas of grilled FAT. Yes, it also grills skinless chicken breasts and white fish, but there is something extra special about the aroma of crispy FAT. At least God thought so:
“From what he offers he is to make this offering to the LORD by fire: all the fat that covers the inner parts or is connected to them…The priest shall burn them on the altar as food, a pleasing aroma. All the fat is the LORD’S” (Leviticus 3:14 and 16).
And yes, grilled veggies are good too, but take a lesson from Cain and Abel. MEAT is a must. It works for me!
Also in July and again in August, my oldest nephew and I visited some of my favorite spots in Shelburne Falls. Many of the photos I use in my blog come from there. On the way to the Bridge of Flowers and Glacier Potholes, we stopped at Hager’s Farm Market and had something to eat. In July, we had maple soft serve ice cream and in August, we had a breakfast sandwich made with one of their many homemade breads. Their breads are phenomenal. I especially like their cheddar cracked pepper and garlic dill breads. They have about a dozen different homemade breads, along with other baked goods and farm produce. I bet the place is hopping during Pumpkin and Leaf-Peeping Season. One of the coolest things about Hager’s Farm Market is how to order food: One peruses the menu, goes to the cashier to order what one would like to eat, the cashier writes the order and sends the slip in a long tube behind her that travels across the ceiling and into the kitchen. This is New England ingenuity at its best! (Hager’s is also an excellent pit-stop for wheelchair users. It is accessible, with only a tiny bump at the bottom of the doorway to get over. They also have an accessible restroom you may ask to use. Most of the restaurants in both Shelburne Falls and Buckland are not accessible. Shelburne Falls has a Visitor’s Center with an accessible restroom.)
COME, YE THANKFUL PEOPLE, COME
(First and Second Stanzas)
“Come, ye thankful people, come – Raise the song of harvest home:
All is safely gathered in Ere the winter storms begin.
God, our Maker, doth provide For our wants to be supplied:
Come to God’s temple, come – Raise the song of harvest home.
All the world is God’s own field, Fruit unto His praise to yield;
First the blade and then the ear, Then the full corn shall appear:
Lord of Harvest, grant that we Wholesome grain and pure may be”
(Text: Henry Alford; Music: George Elvey).
Whenever I eat corn or see pumpkins or the magnificent Autumn foliage, I think of the above Thanksgiving hymn. It’s one of my favorites.
My oldest nephew and I made it to the Bridge of Flowers and the Glacier Potholes in May, July and August. It was fun to see the Bridge grow in its beauty and become filled with the many different kinds of flowers. There must have been a dozen different kinds of lilies alone. I do not know the names of all the flowers at the Bridge of Flowers. I only know their colors are spectacular. For me, this is evidence of God’s creativity and love, to give us so many colorful flowers to look at, smell their fragrances and enjoy their esthetic beauty. I know that people can make flowers cross-pollinate, but we learned this from the bees, who were created by God (another bug blessing). Why did God create flowers? I believe He did it because He loves us. I can spend hours on the Bridge of Flowers, making many round trips from one end of the bridge (Shelburne Falls) to the other (Buckland) and back and forth and never get tired of all there is to see and enjoy.
FOR THE BEAUTY OF THE EARTH
(First and Second Stanzas)
“For the beauty of the earth, For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth Over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise This our hymn of grateful praise.
For the wonder of each hour Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale and tree and flower, Sun and moon and stars of light;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise This our hymn of grateful praise”
(Text: Folliott S. Pierpoint, altered; Music: Conrad Kocher, arranged by William H. Monk).
I have the same thoughts of God’s creativity and also His power when I visit the Glacier Potholes, just down the street from the Shelburne Falls entrance to the Bridge of Flowers. When I look at the marbling and deep holes in the rocks and hear the rushing of the Deerfield River, they are all signs of God‘s power and strength. I could spend hours, sitting with my eyes closed, listening to the water rushing down from the dam. These things cannot be put in a box, wrapped and tied with a bow; just as God cannot be put in a box and wrapped and tied with a bow. God is greater than all we can think and imagine; far greater than all His creation. That is why I worship the Giver and am thankful for all His good gifts.
“Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His Name; bring an offering and come into His courts. Worship the LORD and the splendor of His holiness; tremble before Him, all the earth” (Psalm 96:8-9).
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurable more that all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).
But wait! There’s more. Until next time…(I am learning not to be in such a hurry and not want others to hurry either. This is virtually impossible for me “but with God all things are possible“ – Matthew 19:26b).
All the hymns are taken from “THE HYMNAL for Worship and Celebration” (WORD MUSIC; Nashville, Tennessee; Copyright: 1986). All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version Translation of the Bible.