I’d be remiss if I didn’t express my gratitude for the many readers of this blog. And what better time than Thanksgiving Day to tell you so?
You, my readers and friends, have blessed me each time you click on my posts to read the words I write and double bless me with your insightful and encouraging comments.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
May God grant you grace, peace, and love on this day when we Americans pause to give thanks for the many blessings we have. My wish is that you take time to give thanks this day and give to others who are not as fortunate as we are.
“Thanksgiving Day is a good day to recommit our energies to giving thanks and just giving.” ~ Amy Grant
The goldenrod is yellow,
The corn is turning brown,
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.
~ Helen Hunt Jackson (American poet/writer)
This poem easily describes the sights I see this time of year. Those simple words paint a picture that personifies the season of autumn, don’t they?
I’ve said it before and I’ll just keep reiterating it. I love the fall season.
And one of the things I love most about living in the rural area where I do is that I have ample opportunities to see nature at its finest during any season of the year.
But fall, oh fall, especially fall. Nature puts on a grand show in you.
Considering our age, I suppose you could say Papa and I are in the autumn season of life as well and one aspect of this season is becoming semi-retired.
Papa is still working some and I’m still busy as Little One’s babysitter and an occasional stint as a substitute teacher, but I’m carving out snippets of time here and there to just do whatever I want.
On one of those days of freedom, I loaded myself and my camera into my car and embarked on a photo ops search mission to capture my favorite season before it fades away because for me, fall never lasts long enough.
As I was traveling down one country road surrounded by farmer fields that pretty autumn day, I suddenly felt the urge to apply my brakes, pull my vehicle over to the side of the road, put my flasher lights on, grab the camera, and jump out.
Corn fields surrounded me. Once lushly green through summer, the corn’s now turning brown, drying its kernels to provide winter feed for farm animals. The browning fields forming a sort of abstract pattern amidst green grass made a lovely photo. At least I thought so.
And even though I’m in the autumn of my years, spending time doing something I love – taking photos – during the season I love – fall – made me feel just like this photo of my grandchild cavorting through a corn maze.
And in this month of thanksgiving, most grateful for little snippets of joy. As corny as that sounds, it’s true.
“A light wind swept over the corn, and all nature laughed in the sunshine.” ~ Anne Bronte
We have a hider in our family.
Our oldest granddaughter, who will be turning three in just a couple of months, likes to hide. She hides behind chairs or the family room loveseat. Sometimes she just pulls a blanket over her head and hides that way. And she loves to peek out to see if you’re coming to find her.
Peek-a-boo. It’s a fun game for babies and toddlers and I’d venture to say most of us have played it over and over with a little one.
Lately, the sun has been playing this game around these parts. Some days, it shows its beaming face readily and gifts us with its warming rays. Other days, it hides completely behind dreary rain-filled clouds. Still other days, it peeks out from its hiding spot for a bit just to see if we’re watching.
Last Friday, I was out gallivanting with a good friend, one of my lifetime pals who has been in this friendship with me for 50+ years. We attended a Christmas craft open house in an old barn – I’m still boggle-minded over the amount of items (and people) crammed into that space! – and then we treated ourselves to lunch and visited a nearby shop’s open house as well.
During our little excursion, the sun kept up its peek-a-boo game with us, sometimes causing me to don sunglasses, only to take them off again. At the end of our trip as we neared my home, the sun dropped its blanket of clouds and shone mightily.
Right on my house.
Literally, the sun’s rays were like laser beams focused on my house. My white-siding house practically glowed like a brilliantly illuminated star and my friend exclaimed, “Look at your house! It’s shining!”
It was as if my house, and only my house, was hogging the spotlight. Gleaming. Practically sparkling. Radiating light. It was kind of weird, yet amazing at the same time.
Later as I recalled that moment, something occurred to me. Maybe that’s what heaven will look like. As we near it, we’ll have the sense that we are home. And home will be shining. Light-filled. Dazzling in brilliance.
Nothing will be hidden. All will be once and for all brightly illuminated.
And the Light of the World (Jesus) will be there to welcome us home.
What a comforting thought. And now as I recall that moment when I saw my home encased in sunlight, I’m thankful that the sun peeked out through the clouds just for me. I only wish I had had my camera with me, but of course, when I entered my home to retrieve it to try to capture this unbelievable sight, the sun had slipped back undercover once more.
That little moment in time – that peek — was gone for now, but my friend and I perhaps experienced a glimpse of things to come and peek just happens to be this week’s photo challenge.
“The best we can hope for in this life is a knothole peek at the shining realities ahead. Yet a glimpse is enough. It’s enough to convince our hearts that whatever sufferings and sorrow currently assail us aren’t worthy of comparison to that which waits over the horizon.” ~ Joni Eareckson Tada
Papa’s and my 40th wedding anniversary month is now relegated to the annals of nostalgia as the calendar page has turned a leaf into the month of November.
We were blessed to spend more than one day celebrating these 40 years traveling together on this journey called marriage and I wanted to share another anniversary gift we experienced last month.
Papa has always enjoyed anything at all about two modes of transportation – ships and trains.
It you could sit in our home office, which used to be my husband’s business office, you would notice several indications of his interest in railroads. Framed prints of train engines grace the wall and the still-encased-in-its-box HO Scale locomotive bearing the Pennsylvania Railroad insignia sits in a place of honor on the book shelf
My husband fondly recalls traveling by train as a youngster from his city home to the big city of New York a few times. Since his father worked on the railroad, passes to travel by train were easily accessible.
As a married couple, we’ve taken a few train rides together. Some of the more outstanding ones include the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad trip, which we took as young marrieds in the mountains of Colorado; a couple of rides on the Strasburg (Pennsylvania) Railroad, which boasts being the oldest continuously running railroad in the western hemisphere; and a fun ride on the Eureka Springs and North Arkansas Railway with our children when they were young.
One day a couple of months ago, I was
wasting time, browsing on Facebook and I notice an ad for an October fall foliage train tour on the Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad located in the heart of Pennsylvania oil country where the first oil boom rush in the United States occurred when oil was discovered there in 1859.
After checking out the railroad’s Facebook page, I immediately thought what better match made in heaven for the two of us than a trip on this train? Papa’s love of trains and history combined with my love of the fall season’s colors and photography seemed like a perfect anniversary gift to ourselves.
As soon as I mentioned it to Papa, his eyes lit up and he responded, “Yes! Let’s buy tickets.” We discovered tickets sell quickly and the dates for the excursion were filling up rapidly.
But we snagged two tickets and rose early on a beautiful sunny fall morning to travel to the train station, allowing ourselves plenty of time. While waiting to board, Papa checked out some historical displays while I snapped photos and browsed the gift shop.
We thoroughly enjoyed the three-hour ride through the woodsy area soaking in the scenery while sunshine and cool fall air wafted in through the open train window. Papa listened attentively to the historical narration as I scanned the scenery for photo ops and pointed my camera out the window.
Perfect match. Perfect day. Perfect way to celebrate our anniversary yet again. This semi-retirement thing is working out nicely for us.
Just the two of us, sitting side by side, gently swaying back and forth with the movement of the train, enjoying the ride, the day, and our time together and hoping for more times like this in the days and years to come.
“There’s something about the sound of a train that’s very romantic and nostalgic and hopeful.” ~ Paul Simon