Playdates with God: Changing Calendars

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Every year for Christmas, my mother-in-law buys me the current Susan Winget Bountiful Blessings calendar from Lang, and I love it. Sometimes, when the year is up, I cut out all of Winget’s little painted birds and the scripture quotes from the calendar artwork and collage them into my own masterpiece. I love the bits of whimsy she paints and often see my own little garden in her vignettes.

After the holiday, when the Christmas cards have lost their luster and that last bit of glitter has been daubed away from the counter grout, I find a quiet corner and sit with the old year and the new to transfer all my important dates from one to the other. Yesterday, the second Sunday of Christmas on the church calendar, was just the day. To enhance the mood, I first filled my bird feeders outside the kitchen window. Then I sat at the table in a dapple of sun and let my pen be the bridge between the past and the future.

As I flipped through the months of 2015, reliving each appointment and special occasion, I noticed the snowbirds pecking around underneath the feeder. A black-capped chickadee flitted in and out of my vision, giving his bright chicka-dee-dee-dee to announce his comings and goings. I revisited wedding anniversaries and baptismal anniversaries and the birthday of Teddy’s preschool playmate. Some names had numbers written beside them in parenthesis: Olivia (15); and I marveled at how quickly the years have gone. Hadn’t I just penned her birth onto my calendar? I whispered the names of nieces and long-silent friends and family members whose birthdates I am not allowed to acknowledge because of their religious beliefs. I did. I acknowledged them. I celebrated them. I gave thanks for their births and their lives.

As I sat with my pen, flipping pages on two calendars, pouring over days past and days to come, my husband walked in the kitchen. “If only you had some electronic device that had a calendar on it so you could keep track of those things. And even get reminders,” he teased.

I do use the calendar on my phone quite a bit. But it can never replace this sacred New Year’s ritual. This practice has become a way of sanctifying time—of remembering and letting go, of praying into the newest year.

Do you still use a wall calendar?

Every Monday I share one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find God and know joy. Click on the button below to add your link. I try to visit a few of your stories every week, so if you are a new visitor, be sure to let me know in the comments so I can welcome you. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us.

Laura Boggess

Comments

  1. says

    Traditions are so rich, aren’t they?

    We mostly use electronic calendars synced to show everyone’s acticities. However, I still keep a calendar on my office wall for the quick glance of dates.

    Have a very blessed New Year, Laura!

    • says

      We are all synced up too, Joe, and I love the convenience of modern technology. But this is a rich tradition for me, that’s for sure. A blessed New Year to you as well, my friend!

  2. says

    Happy New Year, Laura. YES I have a wall calendar and a pocket calendar in my purse. And my hubby — a dedicated techie — teases me too about my preference for hands-on methods, old fashioned ways, and neon bright Post-Its as reminders. But it works for me! 🙂

    • says

      Works for me too, Sheila! I love pocket planners. Nothing beats scribbling down a quick note with ink. Sort of feels like a stone of remembrance, doesn’t it? A very blessed 2016 to you, my friend.

  3. says

    I don’t use a wall calendar these days. When I was teaching, I used one of those big ones that lay like a mat on your desk to help keep me organized. — I am back to using a planner book. I tried doing the phone thing, but I kept missing appointments and birthdays. I learned that I need the visual.

    Love the calendar that your mom in love buys for you. My best friend uses a wall calendar on her fridge, so I am going to put this on my wish list for her Christmas present next year.

    • says

      I have one of those big ones at work too, Lyli. They are the bomb when you have to keep track of so many meetings. I have to set reminders on my phone or it would never work for me. But I especially like having birthdays in a place that I can glance at and see them all at once for the month. This poor brain needs all the help she can get! Love to you, my friend, and many blessings in 2016.

  4. says

    Hello, Laura. I love calendars. I usually have two in the house on the walls, one in my purse, one in my desk drawer, one on a bookmark.
    Then when the year is up, the pictures make a nice art project for our homeschool.
    This is my first time linking up. Thank you for the opportunity.
    And by the way, I love the ‘chasing the blue flower’ concept. I’m chasing the blue flower, too.
    Love to you from Arizona.

    • says

      Gleniece, it’s so nice to welcome you all the way from Arizona! A sister votary of the blue flower! I’m excited to visit and read about your journey. Much love to you, my friend.

  5. says

    I need to sit in my quiet corner and transfer things to my new calendar soon too. Right now I have it up, but it’s blank. One of my girls usually buys me a large wall calendar, and I buy my own small calendar to fit in my purse. I love both; I need both; even though my survival link is my online calendar.

    I love the blank feel of a new year, lots of empty spaces to wonder how God is going to fill them….

    How grace-filled you are to remember ALL, not just those you’re *supposed* to remember. You’re special, Laura.

    • says

      Every year, when I transfer those names, I think, do I really need to record Luke’s (teddy’s preschool playmate) birthday? Surely my friend Mary doesn’t expect me to remember her daughter Olivia’s birthday … and so on. But I can’t bring myself to NOT write down the names–even of those I haven’t spoken to in years. I get to revisit memories of the time when I was close that person–close enough to record them on the calendar. It is a little corny, but a special practice for me. Much love to you, Lisa.

  6. Theresa says

    Yes I use a paper calendar. I like saving the calendar as a momento of the year and what has gone on. Numerous times I have looked back to verify when something happened or when we did something. Electronic calendars are handy, but I agree with Laura, there is something about pen and paper and flipping actual pages.

    • says

      There really IS, isn’t there, Theresa? That’s how it is for me too–looking back and remembering. It’s so lovely. The older I get, the more I cherish these things.

  7. says

    Oh I LOVE my wall calendars (yes – plural! It’s fine!) 😉 I also cut up the last years’ gorgeousness and make them into handmade greeting cards to send out over the next few months! So fun! (And don’t even get me started on a real –non-smartphone/app Day planner!)

    • says

      oooh, I love the idea of handmade greeting cards, Karrilee. I always have so many intentions for my little birdies but usually I end up using them as bookmarks. So much fun when I make the time to create something more out of them, though. I love a good day planner too, my friend (grin).

  8. says

    Is there a way to subscribe to your blog? I looked but did not see one.

    My 2016 Word is Explore–chosen partly because of the work God is doing in my heart and life and partly because my heart was afire as I read your book, Playdates with God.

    Thank you.

  9. says

    I do like the electronic reminders that my phone calendar affords, but I do use a wall calendar, and a journal type calendar that I keep tucked beside my bed. Each night I record a few memories from the day, etc. Prayers answered, events, that sort of thing. It’s a wonder to go back through the days and see just what God is doing in our lives. Happy new year, friend!

  10. says

    Yes, I use a paper calendar and love that I can look back at the things we have experienced and be reminded of how God worked out the details. I hear you on using the cell phone , app to keep track of things and I have no problem with others using it to keep track of up coming events. But God is never concern what I use but loves for us to be reminder of how He has worked out the details of our lives. Lovely post, really lovelty.

  11. says

    Our aunt gives us the Sierra Club calendar every year. Right away we flip through it and see if Colorado made any of the twelve photos, and how many times. For 2016, it was *zero*. (Sigh.) 🙂

    Before I hang up the new calendar, I go through the entire year and write in people’s names on their birthdays, along with their age for that year (if I know it). I highlight the name with a blue highlighter so that the birthdays stand out every month. I use the old calendar as a guide, and just add 1 to the previous year’s age. It’s a good reminder of each person and of the passage of time.

    Once in a while a surprise hits me. In 2015 when I flipped from September to October, I had a jarring moment to see on Oct. 2 I had written “Mom” with “77” next to it. She died in July at age 76.

  12. Lynn D. Morrissey says

    Laura…so lovely as always. Thank you for sharing your bridging of old and new, of cherished memories and reminders and the transference onto pristine pages those celebrations worth repeating. I love this time of year (or should I say years?)….this transitional time (albeit perhaps somewhat artificial…it’s just the turn of the calendar, but life marches on). But even so, I like the thought of transition and being able to shelve mistakes and to box memories I wish to revisit….and the act of preparing the new pages with the anticipation of hope and joy, which spring eternal. I do have a wall calendar and love its inspiration and colorful photographs, but just highlight family appointments/celebrations for a quick and easy glance by Michael and Sheridan. But I keep my own appointments, goals, dreams, etc, in a personal planner….this year, the colorful iBloom planner, which I love. Last year, I also collaged each month’s memories and highlights and lessons, which is serving as a vivid and memorable reminder of good things I’ve experienced–the blessings of God. Every year in my journal at this time of year, I bullet-point the highlights and lowlights of the year past. This too is a good reminder of what to celebrate and what to let go and not repeat. One blessing I will list is surely you and your grace and encouragement to me as a writer. I thank you for your kindness and the opportunity you afforded me. and of course, I thank you for your faithfulness in writing Playdates to God. It remains a treasure on my bookshelves. Sending so much love and best wishes for a fruitful and fun (that’s the play part!) New Year.
    Love
    Lynn

  13. says

    I would love to see some of your journal collages one day, Lynn. What a beautiful way to preserve memories. Thank you for your sweet words. What a blessing your friendship has been and I know will continue to be. I love your precious, precious heart and creative spirit, Lynn. Sending you oodles of love right back and praying a playful and sweet new year.

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