1. We're cracking open jars of dilly beans and honeyed carrots and pink radish. There's a bowl with a hunk of cream cheese with her homemade peach jam poured over it, and we dip crackers in one after another. We are four women sitting around a table eating and talking for four consecutive hours. There is no stopping our mouths or our hearts or our lives, each of them so unique in their challenges, in their joys, and we, each one of us, loves God. And it is clear looking and listening and loving these friends that God also loves us.
2. Nora and I spend a couple of hours practicing our bike riding at Plum Creek, the sun melting into the parts of me that had gone cold and stiff with fear the night before. We sit on a stone bench, and I close my eyes letting His face shine upon me.
3. A house so warm and smelling of roses, the hiss of the dishwasher doing my work for me, Billie Holiday telling it like it is: They can't take that away from me.
4. The sound of hogs being loaded in the morning, the corn's loud SSSHHHHHHH as it fills the grain bin, the garden black, the sun gold, the kittens fat, baskets of the decorative gourd accident filled and greeting me at the door. All is abundance in God's hand.
5. Banjo and ukulele. Yes. Dare I say, Rock.
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8. The gift of talking to your mom and your grandma on the phone and both of them telling you that all is well. "God will take care of you, honey. He has given you everything you need."
9. Realizing that some days I am serious and some days I am funny and some days I am better at teaching than others. No biggie.
9. Waking this morning to Nora telling me it is another morning for us. Reading emails that fill my heart with hope, teach me how to love Him better, abandoning and abiding. If you look, you'll see His love for you in a friend's face, in the words you needed to hear, in the hard part you don't understand, in the golden fall day that just ended perfectly without your even having to try. This is grace.