Welcome Spring

spring meadow

 

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I am re-entering this place gently, feeling something inside me awakening with the spring. This morning, while the house still slept, I stared long into the meadow beyond the backyard. I remembered when this land was clear and freshly mowed, when Mrs. Casto would ride her lawnmower over to our fence to say hello as my boys played on their swingset. Now, it is a wild thing, fruit trees spilling out over brambly earth.

As I looked on, the robins sang their morning songs and I thought what a gift that brambly meadow must be to them. I wondered what it feels like to peer at the world between branches lit with the light of a thousand white blossoms. And then I thought, why not find out?

So I hopped the fence with my camera, braved the sticker bushes and pokey weeds, and found the place where the deer bed down beneath the trees. I sat on a cushion of wild violets, reclined my head on a pillow of moss. And overhead? A white-blossomed canopy framed up against blue sky. The sun broke through the branchy chuppah all at once and I was held in warm hands. The breeze stirred the trees as I lay, cupped and happy, and a shower of petals fell over me—white mingled with purple on my bed and I breathed the fragrance of beauty.

Life used to be more fresh-cut grass and orderly meadows, but I am finding there is beauty in the wild-brambly. How about you?

Happy spring, Beloveds. Where will you find beauty today?

Small Wonders

 

 

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In the morning, when the air is still heavy with moisture, I walk Bonnie around the house. The sun is barely peeking, light sifting down, revealing the secrets of dawn. The wind has carried petals from my neighbor’s tulips into my yard, a whisper of red sparks a memory. I stop to see and I smell my lilacs, riding the dew. We walk around back and I snip a few stems for the kitchen table.

The day begins in perfume, the house is a celebration.

Look, what do you see? In what joy do you begin the morning today? Breathe slowly, see deeper, love where you are.

There are gifts all around you.

 

a spring poem

“It is snowing,”
they laugh
as petals come down
and I
a bride
underneath
this
fragrant confetti.

 

My West Virginia Morning: Seed Dreams

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This morning the light comes cloaked by clouds. Since the time change, I’ve been waiting for spring to settle in. Last night, when Jeff and I turned back down our street after a long walk—night falling all around us—the neighbor children ran bare-armed through their yard. In their fast-churning legs I found a memory of younger springs, the cool scent of night settling into skin and dew soaked grass between naked toes.

I am thinking about planting. My raised beds sleep, dream of wrapping arms around leafy greens and plump fruit. The heart swells with love at the thought. Isn’t every act of hospitality an act of love? When I feed the earth with seeds I feel the gratitude of the soil. What better way to give than to cultivate the earth? This week at the dinner table, I told my boys of my dreams of hospitality—to welcome strangers in our home and set the table with love and good conversation. They stared at me wide-eyed, for we’ve always been an insular family. It’s a hard thing, to shift the gaze outward after so many years of thinking about the next need. But more and more I hear God calling me to this. Shift your eyes, Laura, he says. Plant the seeds. I don’t mind the planting so much as the time it takes to nurture; the tending takes a gentle discipline.

But I have always learned best by doing, so I offer up my heart like soft clay. I don’t know what the kiln will yield. But this surrender feels like running through the liquid air of a soft spring evening, bare-armed and shoeless.

Wild and full of hope.

Playdates with God: Spring Forward

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We are all a little grumpy this morning, feeling the full effect of springing forward. One son in particular was very vocal in his displeasure at the early rising.

“The time change gets us all out of sorts,” I said, by way of reassurance. It was a kind of, “Hey, we’re all in this together” sort of offering. But he refused to be comforted, grousing about more than an hour’s loss of sleep, dumping out all the stuff of life that is wrong right now.

“Next year,” I said, “ you won’t remember any of this. This too shall pass.” And I put my hands on his shoulders and looked up into his eyes.

This is how I spring forward: Keep the Bigger Story in mind. I’ve been reciting 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 to myself lately. Keeping those words like a banner before me. These are light and momentary struggles, I say to myself. What is unseen is eternal, I go on. And my soul responds with a heavy sigh, a deep surrender. Living into a thing is part of the discernment process. Sometimes that means living through some bumps in the road.

This morning, I read these words from Thomas a Kempis:

Many love Christ as long as they encounter no hardship; many praise and bless him as long as they receive some comfort from him. But if Jesus hides himself and leaves them for a while, they either start complaining or become dejected. Those, on the contrary, who love him for his own sake and not for any comfort of their own, praise him both in trial and anguish of heart as well as in the bliss of consolation … Where can we find anyone who is willing to serve God for nothing? It is surely rare to find a person spiritual enough to strip himself of all earthly things? And where can we find anyone so truly poor in spirit that he is free from being dependent on created things? Such a person is worth far more than the jewels brought from the most distant lands.”

Last week, the snow fell in heaping mounds around us. School was cancelled and we stayed home from work. But today? The world continues her slow melt. There is evidence of spring everywhere. God is working in this broken world. God is working in me. God is working in you. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. Time creates a lovely patina that cannot be achieved any other way—not bought, not earned, not crafted with my hands. But faith is this, sticking through the hard times because of what we know is on the other side. We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

*Winners! The winners of the two copies of Dawn Camp’s beautiful new devotional The Beauty of Grace are Kristin Smith and Michelle Cain! Congratulation, friends, I’ll be in touch.

god is working

Every Monday I’ll be sharing 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 Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:

Laura Boggess

Promise

The birds sing the heartiest before the sun lifts above the blue line of the horizon, right outside my bedroom window. And to awaken to birdsong is to awaken to wonder—wild, sweet notes pealing through the dark. Hope opens like a flower unfolding in the sun. Every year I forget this—how spring shifts the heart, how the stone is rolled away.
Yesterday evening I prepared my little garden for planting—tilling in a new layer of topsoil, breaking up chunks of earth with my fingers. I have broccoli and onions, some different varieties of lettuce, and kale, all ready to be covered over with a blanket of soil—put to sleep in preparation for a new awakening.
Every spring, I am the seed. It is the painful breaking open, the reaching through the dark that yields the fruit that feeds, after all. But this morning, I look out over the meadow behind our home and see how it has flowered. The seeds the birds have dropped over the years have grown into a lovely orchard of pear trees, all frocked out in lacy blossoms. I remember a time when the meadow was mostly grasses—well-kept with only a couple apple trees, three pear trees, and that prickly chestnut. Time and neglect have made her a new place, and the meadow is flushed out with brush and thistle now; hints of last year’s wildflowers whispering against young saplings. The goats have made some progress around the perimeter, but her midsection is still a wild place.
This morning that wildness sings to me and I am taken by the way the pinky-white blossoms break up the twiggy undergrowth and weave beauty through the monotony.
This morning I look out over the meadow behind our home and see that this spring I am the blossom. I am this fragile, translucent beauty that takes wing with the wind—carrying the memory of the breaking open in my skin, leaving behind a sweet perfume and the promise of plump fruit.
Be a gardener.
Dig a ditch,
toil and sweat,
and turn the earth upside down
and seek the deepness
and water the plants in time.
Continue this labor
and make sweet floods to run
and noble and abundant fruits
to spring.
Take this food and drink
and carry it to God
as your true worship.

–Julian of Norwich