At 5:27 PM today, I bent over the counter in anticipation for what I thought would be the perfect snack. Over the last few months I have grown accustomed to enjoying nectarines over the sink with running water and a dish towel nearby. I decided it was much classier for me to consume my favorite stone fruit this way in comparison to taking them to work in my lunch and grossing out my coworkers as the juicy fruit oozes down my chin and I shuffle around frantically searching for more paper towels.
Since returning from vacation my grocery shopping schedule has been a little off. As such, nectarines haven’t been finding their way to the fruit bowl and I just went nuts for one on the ride home from work today. As such, this moment was highly anticipated… I bit in ready to savor the sweetness… and didn’t.
‘Hmph,’ I thought. ‘Figures.’
I go through this experience every autumn. When the nectarines go mute, I know that the sweet season of summer is over. Although I love (love, LOVE) the fall, I always feel sentimental saying good-bye to summer. Today was no different. As I rummaged about getting ready to go to a recruiting event, I couldn’t stop thinking (more likely being reminded of) the amazing season that has just transpired.
So… because I can sometimes be a bit whiny and self-critical (what?!), I’ve compiled a list of the blessings I’ve seen Jesus bestow on me this season. In Dave Ramsey style, I have received better than I deserve.
B is for Brides: Five of them (M, T, E, J & W… in order by date of marriage). I had the most beautiful refrigerator this summer due to the frilly, sparkly, classy, and crafty invitations for showers, bachelorettes, and yes, weddings. As invitations flooded in, I was so excited to rip open each envelope and see which friend it belonged to. In a time where more than half of marriages end in divorce and media largely promulgates the free spirited, make no commitment lifestyle, I have had five beautiful friends say ‘Yes!’ to one of the most important partnerships they’ll ever experience. Better yet, they let me be a part of it!
Do the sales clerks at the Northgate Macy’s know me by name? Yes. Do they want to know if I’m buying for the bride who picked the white or red Fiestaware? Yes. Am I blessed by these women and encouraged by their patience, generosity, and overall good attitudes as everyone in their life gave them opinions regarding every facet of life (from napkin rings to when they should try to start for a baby)? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!
And you know what’s great? I have two more brides-to-be in the hopper (K & D… in order of engagement)!
B is for Birthdays: Not mine mind you but everybody else’s. Mom, brother J, and Dad in June. Sister K and Grandma C in July. Grandma R in August. Other aunts and uncles scattered throughout. I wish that my credit union would offer a Summer Birthday Fund instead of the oh-so-popular Christmas Savers Fund because I eat a lot of birthday cake in the summer. But you know what? I eat a lot of birthday cake in the summer. I am blessed that I have cheeks to kiss and cards to write. I am lucky that I get to stress over the perfect gift for both grandmas (who have everything) and parents (who never need anything… or so they tell me). I’m learning that as we get older, each birthday really does become more and more dear.
B is for Babies: This blessing is two-fold.
First fold: After shying away from taking on any new responsibilities for a year, I took over the Toddler 1 class at our church this summer. I found out that waddlers (as some will call them) aren’t as cute as they look all the time. Prior to leading the Toddler 1 class, I was in the 2 year old class. Let me tell you… 2 year olds are rational. You can tell a 2 year old that his parents are learning about Jesus and will come back when they’re finished and he will believe you. A 1 year old will break your heart. You can ask a 2 year old what’s wrong and get an answer. A one year old will only start to hiccup because they’re so distressed. I am not a rock star in my new position in Children’s Ministry. There often aren’t enough arms to hold those little bodies and there definitely is not enough bubble solution. However… I’ve learned to ask for help when we’re a little overwhelmed. I’ve also learned that I’m not a failure when I have to page a parent to pick up their screamer. A good lesson to learn really.
Second fold: My friends S and K welcomed their own baby bear into the world approximately one month ago. K is a beautiful mommy. During her pregnancy, she was so sincere about how things were going. An avid dessert aficionado, K lost her desire for all sweet things during her pregnancy. She was also nauseous far longer than most women are. All the meanwhile, K had such a sweet heart and a sincere spirit of selflessness (think 8 months pregnant during our crazy heat wave). I learned a lot from K this summer. Thanks K.
And you know what’s great (part II!)? My other friend, K, and her husband, J, are expecting their own little baby bear. I’m so excited to meet him/her!
Lastly, B is for Buses: The transportation mode of choice if you ask me – particularly if they’re of the Mercedes Benz variety, are filled with wonderful people, and have air conditioning. My little venture to the Mediterranean was a two year process of Jesus telling me what to do, me miraculously listening to him, and then me missing my departing plane to get there.
I had a great time in Greece and Israel. I saw the Sea of Galilee, walked the streets of Old Jerusalem, and floated in the Dead Sea. I met some great people who I hope to call friends until we reconnect in heaven. I learned a lot about God’s provision not only in my life but to all of humanity. Riding in a bus through the check point going into Bethlehem, I realized how small and dearly loved we are. Time does not stand still as evidenced by my muted nectarine. The seasons come and go. Hardships bombard us. Good times do too. I’m so thankful for both.