Monday Musing

Rain. Blessed, Beautiful Rain!

We are getting the precipitation the weatherman has been promising for the past two months. Our rain gauge has registered an inch –2.5 cm– so far and more coming down. Joy, joy! 🙂

I can hear some of you groaning as you read this title, since some places are getting way too much rain, but let’s face it: Earth is not a fair place when it comes to weather. Or resources. Or troubles.

This brings to mind a quote I’ve heard many times through the years: “The Lord doesn’t give you more than you can handle. Do you believe that?

I’m inclined to think the only people who say “God never gives you more than you can handle,” are those who have led fairly peaceful, secure, well financed lives. But tell that to someone who’s just lost their job and is about to lose their home. Or someone like my aunt Sadie who’s lost two sons and a son-in-law in a fiery crash. When her husband committed suicide a year later, I think she had a LOT more than she could handle.

Lately I read a little story: a woman (I’ll call her Dot) who worked very hard at her job and then in her spare hours she did what she could to help her sister and family. When Dot was already at the far end of her handling ability, her sister had some health crisis and needed Dot more than ever. Run ragged now, Dot sighed as she told someone, “They say God doesn’t give you any more than you can handle, but I wish He didn’t have such a good opinion of me!”

Christians often comfort one another with these words, assuming that God tailor-makes every event in our lives. Other folks say, “How can that be? God must be cruel to send some people all the trouble they have.”

A thought occurs to me: If we could always handle all the troubles that come our way, who would ever need God’s help? It’s usually when we realize we’re helpless to deal with the storms of life that we turn to Him. So I think the Lord does allow folks to be overwhelmed by trouble at times, by their own making or circumstances beyond their control, just so they will turn to him and seek his help. He has a strong shoulder we can lean on when we’re weak. He can see things so much more clearly. His gentle voice can guide us around the whirlpools and quicksand that swallow up so many who go it alone.

But I don’t think for a minute that God plans every trouble that comes our way. Our Father in Heaven is not cruel; He doesn’t “send” people murder, mayhem, abuse, famine, accidents, and sickness. Most of these things are caused by other people. We may wish He would reach down and slap someone who’s making the wrong decision or doing a harmful thing, but his warnings are gentle. He doesn’t force anyone to listen, though at times He does put a definite roadblock in someone’s path. Thinking back, we may wish He would have slapped us before we did what we did, but He lets us decide and carry out our plans — then suffer the consequences.

Solomon, with all his wisdom, writes, “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” Ecclesiastes 9:11

Rain happens to pour down in some areas — cause flooding even — while other lands cry out for a drop of moisture. Some people live in an area where the only jobs available — coal mining and fishing, for example — put their lives at risk. Some people are genetically disposed to arthritis or diabetes; some are blessed with longevity. Diets and habits put health at risk. When my sister was dealing with lung cancer, she was pragmatic about it. “I’ve smoked since I was a teen. What can I expect?”

My own opinion, after about sixty years of observation, is that God has set this world in motion and the laws of time, genetics, gravity, climate and commerce carry on — unless He directly intervenes. And there are times when God does miraculously intervene in order to look out for his children, or those who look to him for help.

The Bible is full of examples of how Jehovah intervened to save His chosen people, and others, from some trouble. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” I Chronicles 16:9

I also believe that when we are overwhelmed, He invites us to bring our sorrows and troubles to him. He will make a way through the storms of life. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

One More Day of To-Do’s

Hi Everyone,

I thought I’d give you another glimpse of life at my house, as I prepare for the grand event on Tuesday. I’m to be at the hospital and ready for my minor surgery at 7am, which means I have only this evening and tomorrow to accomplish a dozen things in preparation for having limited mobility for 4 to 6 weeks.

I’ve borrowed a few books from the library and downloaded a couple from Kindle Unlimited. (Not that I was ever lacking.) I’ve a tub of articles and verses to-key-in-someday, and this I’ve set on a dresser so I won’t have to lift it. I’ve visited Michael’s and bought a few more paints. I was going to buy canvas board, which is quite stiff, but then I spied a “Canvas Pad” – something I haven’t come across before. It turns out to be ten sheets of stiff prepped canvas duck, about the weight of card stock and ready to paint on. I bought this more for practice, but we’ll see how the finished painting looks.

One of the books I borrowed from the library is HOW TO WRITE A MYSTERY — © 1996 by Larry Bienhart. Random House. I’m finding it delightfully humorous! He starts by explaining the impulse that started him on his mystery-writing career: he read two mysteries in one day and both of them were awful. A conviction settled: if he wrote a mystery, no matter how pathetic it was, someone would buy it. “What was exciting, thrilling, illuminating, was that someone had published these meandering, illogical, poorly constructed, cliche-ridden manuscripts and – I presumed – actually paid the writers! This was attainable.”

I’m only in the first chapter and already he’s mentioned one of my biggest peeves in story lines: people acting irrationally, or contrary to human nature, just to make life easier for Syl the sleuth. Since the points he makes about mysteries is applicable to other genres as well, I’m eager to read more. Any story has to hang together and needs to offer the reader a reason to keep reading.

I also have a few jigsaw puzzles that I could do during my enforced idleness, and have invited a couple of seniors from the Villa here to play Mexican Train (a dominoes game) with me once I’ve up and around. I’ve a half dozen Sudoku and Word puzzle books to work on, and a few sewing projects I should complete. Actually, having reviewed all the things I could do, I’ve realized what I really need is six months on a desert island! Covid-19 hasn’t done it for me because there’s so much that can be done at home, right?

Reading FlyLady’s latest post, I’m encouraged to take small steps toward specific goals, rather than taking huge chomps of everything at once. We’ll see how I manage that in the coming month. One of my first steps will be to varnish the paintings I have finished.

Thanks to the live streaming we can access these days, I listened to a church service in Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, which started at 7:30 am this morning, then we listened to our church service here at 10:45. In the afternoon I listened to a Christian Endeavor program from Fleetwood, PA, then our evening service here at 7 pm. Altogether a very inspiring day! Because Covid cases are dropping in a big way here in Saskatchewan, the govt is saying things will be opening up more by the end of this month, including more people allowed in meetings.

First thing tomorrow morning I want to do some loads of laundry and pack a bag for my over-night stay at the hospital Tuesday night. Yesterday I filled some flowerpots with fresh dirt; tomorrow – Victoria Day here in Canada – I want to visit a local greenhouse and get some bedding plants for them. We had a light dusting of snow Friday morning, which settled the dust for awhile; this evening we’re enjoying a drizzle and hoping the prediction of more rain tonight and tomorrow will pan out.

Well, that’s enough for tonight. It may be a few days until I’m back at the computer. Meanwhile, I’ll be hoping that you all have a great week.

Image from Pixabay

Catch-Up Time!

Welcome to everyone and especially to the various people who have just started following my blog. I see it’s been over two weeks since I last posted — and seems like a month — so it’s high time to write at least a few lines and tell you all what’s up in my world.

No, I haven’t had COVID-19 or been sick otherwise. We both have had our first immunization shots and neither of us had serious repercussions, thankfully. I recovered from the minor discomfort of a sore arm after a few days. Earlier this month was in a kind of slump and didn’t feel like doing much of anything.

I did check the writing prompts this month, but nothing inspired me. Actually, don’t you think SLUMP would be a good writing prompt? I think everyone feels rather slump-ish at times. 🙂

Maybe our weather has something to do with my outlook? We all keep looking out for rain clouds, but they all skirt around us here. This has become “a dry and thirsty land where no water is.” (See Psalm 63:1) We have not had rain once this spring, only a few minutes of spitting. The ground was dampened once or twice.

I’ve been setting out basins of water for a couple of weeks now and refilling them several times a day so the birds will have something to drink. It’s a joy to watch robins, blackbirds, grackles, the odd magpie or mourning dove, and misc sparrows drinking and dunking themselves in the shallow basins.

Most of our sloughs are bone dry; one of the largest in this area has only a small puddle of water now. The air is often filled with fine dust, blowing in the wind or raised by vehicles on gravel roads or farmers seeding crops. This year they’re really planting in hope. Trees are greening up as usual and the dandelions are blooming, though they’re short, scrubby things with small flowers.

In view of the scenery before me lately, I decided to change the header on my blog. That bright little chipmunk in a field of lush lavender didn’t at all fit our landscape. Last night I tried to install a new header but for some reason WordPress wouldn’t cooperate so I went with a picture already in the files. Here were two Pixabay images I chose, but WordPress wouldn’t do the CROP & PUBLISH: Not sure what their issue is. I’ll see what Unsplash has to offer.

However, the Word of the Day Challenge today is TWIST. We had a bizarre twist in precipitation, having such heaps of snow last winter and now drought. I can also write about the sudden twist in my month of June.

I’ve been dealing with a health issue — a type of hernia — and it’s been getting more bothersome. I’m finding it harder to be on my feet for any length of time. I called the doctor’s office last week just to check, but the secretary at Surgery Bookings told me an opening probably wouldn’t come up before fall. Groan! However, this morning she called, said they had a cancellation, the opening was for May 25th, and would I take it? Well, YES! She explained that I’ll have to spend a night in hospital and be somewhat laid up for about six weeks, but I’ll sure be glad to have this taken care of.

As it turns out, this spring was a great time to take up painting; hopefully I’ll get lots done while I’ve mostly off my feet for the next weeks. I have so much to learn about the techniques and whatnot.

This concludes my update. I hope you are all enjoying good health and lovely weather. ( And will you folks in the south-eastern US please send us some of that rain you’re being deluged with! 😉 )

Painting Pizzazz

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is PIZZAZZ, and I will add my little contribution to the collection.

“Paint with PIZZAZZ,” the book instructor encouraged. “Be BOLD and BOHEMIAN! Don’t let yourself be bound by the need to render realistically.”

So I slashed, swirled and daubed bold colors on the canvas — and it was so much fun! I whipped up a sea of wild waves and whitecaps, then swizzled in a sky full of menacing clouds. Lastly I added a small sailing ship in the distance, plowing its way through this terrible fury.

I proudly showed my painting to my first art critic.
“Are those white things supposed to be fish?” he asked.
“Fish? Those are whitecaps.”
“They look like white fish trying to jump into the boat.”
Back at the easel, I tried to make the waves more realistic.

I proudly showed my stormy scene to the next art critic.
“Your ship is too level. The bow should be dipping into the trough of that wave.”
“Maybe,” I replied.

Concluding I don’t possess enough pizzazz, my next effort was a vase that looked like a vase and flowers that looked like flowers. Someday I’ll try doing the boat-on-stormy-sea again – with proper whitecaps – and dip its bow down into the trough of a big wave.

Curiously enough, that painting is one of my favorites. Maybe because it looks WILD — and was FUN. I may just do wild and fun again sometime. 🙂

Haiku Clouds

On Wednesday I added some clouds to one of my seascape paintings, as the original clear blue sky looked so blank. Yesterday I ordered a set of fan brushes, all the better to cloud my future skies and fern-leaf my foliage.

Which leads me to this senryu:

with my fan brush
I scuffle in some clouds
promise of rain

Image by David Mark at Pixabay

Again on Wednesday, while on a walk, I watched the fluffy clouds drift over and wished they’d dump some rain on us. Yesterday’s cloud brought us about fifteen minutes of snow flurries, just enough to whiten the ground and briefly settle the dust. We desperately need a good soaking rain.

stop white clouds!
honor us with some drops
dust swirls along the road

soft morning rain
pattering in the trees
answered prayers

Spring Fever?

What is so rare as a day in March,
when sunshine knocks out stiff winter’s starch
when the blanket of snow spills into a trickle
and bloggers once faithful to post become fickle?
Eschewing my blog I now lounge in the light
and – making things worse – have been painting at night.

Spring came to our land last week. In a few days the temp went from -30 to +3. The citizens went from parkas to light jackets. We love the sunny skies and seeing more and more of our lawns appearing!

Looking out the back window yesterday, I noticed a black dot like a stone, lying in the deep snow behind the house and realized that it was the tip of the fence post, buried for months under six feet of snow, now poking through. Two days ago I walked through the back yard, picking the spot where the bank was lowest. It was pretty hard-packed, but where my feet sank in, the snow was knee-deep, so we have a ways to go yet before the back lawn appears.

I’m not sure what’s with me these days, that I’ve abandoned writing and posting for a week. Is this spring fever? The utter abandonment of responsibilities? Too many irons in the fire? But I want to peek in today and say “Hi. Yes, I am alive and reasonably healthy.” To my newest followers, “Thanks for following. I hope you’re finding stuff to read in my archives.”

And I’ve gone from blogging every morning to cleaning house, getting rid of excess stuff, and spending a few hours splashing paint on canvas. Mediocre scenes maybe, but I’m just a beginner. After watching a few demonstrations I tried doing an impressionist style – which didn’t impress friends or hubby – but I think I’ll keep on splashing and dabbing. It looks so easy when I watch the pros do it!

OCD I have: everywhere I turn now, I see something I want to paint! So I reach for a new canvas, then my perfectionism kicks in and I’m afraid to start because I may make a mess of it. I spend too much time looking for a picture I think I could manage, but still have to tell myself often, “It’s okay to make an unrecognizable mess. That’s how you’ll learn.” Do any of you readers have these inner battles that keep you from starting some bold adventure?

Anyway, I hope you’re all enjoying life, in fairly good health, seeing lots of sunshine and blue skies wherever you are.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: BLANKET
Yesterday’s Prompt: CLEAR SKIES