November on Bittersweet Farm. It’s our first November on Bittersweet Farm. The trees are almost bare of leaves. I’ve spent some time mowing and mulching and blowing them into the fields and woods.
Shepherd’s Pie. Lois surprised me with a wonderful shepherd’s pie for my birthday on Saturday. Hannah and Dale came with Mom and Dad. There was chocolate cake with chocolate frosting after dinner. (The was also chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for my birthday party at the church on Thursday and chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for the Men’s Prayer Breakfast on Saturday).
Bathed in Prayer. A new Jan Karon book came to the house on the first day of its publication. It is called “Bathed in Prayer, Father Tim’s Prayers, Sermons, and Reflections from the Mitford Series.” It’s a delightful red hardcover with a nice ribbon marker.
Under the Unpredictable Plant, Jonah and Bethel. Eugene Peterson went to be with the Lord. He had written a book on Jonah for pastors called Under the Unpredictable Plant. I’m reading it to think of him and to prepare my heart for the Jonah series. The series has been well-received. Bethel is growing. Today it seemed full, though we could fit about 100 more in if people moved to the middle and we filled the balcony. Bethel is a singing church. There was love and energy in the building today. We celebrated communion. I reminded the people that communion commemorates our union with Christ which empowers our communion with each other.
Autumn Visitors. Friday night I worked hard to clear the leaves from the yard. When I backed Grenfell out in the dark morning on the way the Men’s Prayer Breakfast no one was coming so I paused to take a good long look at my work. It always pleases me to watch the house and imagine people sleeping securely within, light glowing from the kitchen. I breathe a prayer and drive away. When I looked up to start down the road, there, on the south side of the road, standing and looking at me, waiting for me to pass was a large buck. After I drove away, he quietly crossed the road.
Late Saturday night I was standing in the yard at dusk and heard coyotes howling somewhere in the far north field or in the woods beyond.
In the last week or so I have often stood in the yard toward evening and watched geese migrate overhead usually going south west for some reason. I never tire of watching them fly over and hearing their calls.
A Rock in the Woods
I preached two funerals this weekend. Both were for 90-year-old long-time Bethel women. One of them had a habit for years of taking walks in the woods. She had a large rock deep in the woods. She used the rock as a place to pray.
I have a couple rocks where I can sit and rest, or think or pray. They are in the hedgerows, which in this region are filled with beautiful stones.
It’s important to have quiet, private places to think and pray and retreat from noise and enjoy solitude. These things are good for our souls. I love the warm cabin of Grenfell (my Toyota Camry) in the winter or fall or the warm cabin of George the Red Jeep. I have had many sweet quiet hours with the Lord driving through the night praying or worshiping with the light from the instrument panels on my face.
My heart remembers and never will forget driving to my speaking engagements in George, the Red Jeep or Grenfell, or driving away with the faces of the people in my memory.
Summit Township, Michigan
November 5, 2018