cedar waxwings, hot lemonade and slowing down.

280 and 281/366 - October roses

The summer just keeps going here; we hit a record last week of the longest time between rains. I'm sorry, but I can hardly enjoy my apple cider with all this warmth. I picked these little pink Cecil Bruner roses this morning. Usually by October they should be sleeping, but the sunny days have everyone fooled, I guess.

At noon, when Caleb went out to do his weather log, he startled a huge flock of cedar waxwings on the pasture. I can only guess they were there for the massive hoard of grasshoppers that have taken over the field. We took our reading outside and sat in the grass talking as quietly as we could, hoping they'd return, but they just stayed in the trees telling tales and making us crane our necks to catch a glimpse. Caleb listened while I read Birth of Britain, picking the wild sweet pea pods and opening them to find rows of fresh green peas inside.

I've been making tons of hot lemonade for scratchy throats. [Grate an inch or so of ginger into a mug, add the juice of one lemon and a big spoonful of honey. Pour boiling water over and stir.] I love how it warms your chest and throat. I also have been taking advantage of that sun by making a soft pile of blankets out on the (new!) deck and having the kids take naps out in the sunshine. I know it's not always possible, but rest and nourishment help so much in fighting a cold and shortening its duration. The first sign of illness, I have my kids stay home, sleep and focus on good nutrition and healing foods. It really makes a difference.

I picked up a couple of books at Goodwill today. I was excited to find The Brothers K, since a couple of you raved about it in the comments of the last book post! After that, I went grocery shopping, which was not as exciting, but it was interesting anyway. It was a busy afternoon and all the checkout lines were full, so everyone had a little wait. By the time I got to unloading my cart, the checker was telling me and the lady behind me how lucky we were that we'd chosen her because she was so fast. And she was fast. Very fast. But she threw all my groceries into the bag with no order or thought. All those bags were heavy and lumpy and wouldn't sit straight in the back of the car. Speed is not the only virtue, I thought!

It's something I've been considering a lot lately as I settle back into routines at home now that the big college push is over. My dear friend, Kathie, sent a lovely article about Dallas Willard and his spiritual practices a couple of weeks ago that touched on this:

Never, never hurry. He just doesn’t do it. He knows it rips 1 Cor 13 out of the Bible. When I get hurried or start talking about myself (see previous item), I put my hands behind my back as I have often seen him do as he walks around Mater Dolorosa where the Fuller Seminary class has been held. Doing this changes my attitude. This hints at how he’s taught me so much about how the body is involved in spirituality.

I just can't get this out of my mind: it rips 1 Cor 13 out of the Bible. And I think it's very true that the body is involved in spirituality. How many times have I had to remind myself to unclench my jaw when dealing with a child, before I could relax enough to pray through the situation? When I sit at the computer working online, it makes a difference in my responses to people if I am hunched over and leaning into the screen or if I am sitting upright and relaxed.

I have one of those faces that naturally falls into a frown. People always think I'm upset with them when really, I'm just thinking and processing. Whenever I remember, I consciously work on making my face appear happy, of putting a smile on and meeting people's eyes. It makes me feel more loving towards them too, which is a very spiritual matter.

And I find that smiling, meeting eyes and being aware of others requires slowness. Just like hurrying and frowning go hand in hand - at least for me. I'm sure I look quite a sight walking slowly through the grocery store with a smile plastered on my face - but the alternative is hunching, frowing and rushing. And I get a choice. So I'm trying to make the right one.

Well, it's time for another round of hot lemonade and maybe a little reading aloud. Then there will be dinner to make soon. I'm trying a couple of new recipes out of my cookbooks tonight and that always makes me happy to get in the kitchen.

Much love to you.