Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring Has Sprung...

Spring has sprung in South Bend, Indiana. Or is it summer?

Its only March, yet the thermometer climbs to the 80s and at night I am running the fan because I am so hot!  Where am I?

The trees are budded for leaves, the magnolias are in bloom, crocus' are up, robins are nesting and the grass is green.  It seems like it was winter one day and spring the next, not the normal segue.

Now mind you, I am not complaining about it.  I live for spring and summer, as the winters in the Midwest absolutely exhaust me.  I have written before about how it seems the older I get the harder it is to get through the cold and snow.  But this winter was so mild it was hardly a blip on my screen.  I may have worn boots a few times and sure I had my winter gloves out, but I think my fall jacket got me through, never really needing to break out the heavy stuff.  We had a couple of storms, but one of them was while we were spending the holidays in San Diego, so we missed it completely.  Thank you Jesus.

Because of the "early" spring, we are a bit unprepared.  Our outdoor furniture remains in the garage, as does the grill.  In the back of our minds is the thought there has just got to be one more snow storm on the way, so we have waited.  I am thinking we should just take the plunge and haul it all out.  It will be able to take a beating or two in case our fears pan out.

Which brings me to my thought for today - being ready.  Ready for what you might say...well, ready for anything.  Not just ready, but willing and able.

As this warm weather hit, one of our first responses was to sit outside, especially if we were out to eat.  We go to our favorite local place, Fiddlers Hearth, and sit on their patio. We went to our regular wine tasting and sat outside with good friends Don and Kathy last week.  We watched the sunset, enjoy the bird songs.  Its lovely.  But we are amazed that no one else is joining us.  Really?  Its March and its almost 80 degrees!  You are content to stay inside?

I am a freak about eating outside anyway.  It "got" me years and years ago in Newport, RI.  I was there with my sister-in-law Billie for my brother Greg's "Officer Training School" graduation.  We had traveled from Indiana with their two young children one spring.  The weather was mild and many of the restaurants had outside seating.  The coolest ones were places where the whole front of the restaurant opened up, bringing the outdoors in.  I was hooked.  I never wanted to eat indoors again, especially if it was by a body of water!

I even have plans for one day having an indoor/outdoor kitchen.  I have seen beautiful pictures of kitchens that open to the outdoors not just for eating, but for cooking as well.  Not just grills, but stoves and ovens too.  Now, thats what I am dreaming of.

So, my love for eating outdoors is clear.  And I don't expect everybody to share that love.  However, in a part of the country where good weather is limited, I do expect people to embrace the gift we are experiencing right now. 

I have really been thinking about this, as it has happened several times since this warm weather hit. (I am working full time right now and not cooking much, so we go out often of late) Its just one of those silly everyday experiences that God uses to get my attention and teach me something.

Whats He saying now?  Be ready.  Things can change when you least expect it and you need to be ready.  Ready for what?  Well, ready to take advantage of whatever opportunity that change is presenting.  The change before you may not last very long, so enjoy it while its here.

See, I think thats one reason people aren't taking advantage of this warm weather.  They think its not going to last (like us not getting our patio set up).  Why get your hopes up for something that is fleeting?  Well, because you may experience something in that short time that will change your life, or someone else's.  Then a fleeting moment becomes an eternity moment.  But you have to be ready and willing.

Not taking advantage of this weather means you are missing some beautiful sunsets, bird dances and early blooms.  Of course, its not just the weather that is changing, but other things in our lives as well.  Are we embracing the changes or do we still have our winter gear on, shielding us from any fluctuation in our circumstances?  Are we staunchly looking at the calendar and saying "its not that time" or are we willing to bend and be open to something out of the ordinary?

My prayer is that God will help me to see those openings- the "worm holes" that will take me to another dimension to experience something unusual.  I am certainly out of my "normal" comfort zone lately with this working thing.  There are some things I love about it and some things I hate. But its gotten me to start paying better attention to a lot of things.  Its taught me that even though I have been "out of the mix" for quite a while, I still "got it" and I can run with the young dogs.  I am not too old to learn, not too impatient to teach and I still have lots of ideas yet to bring to reality.

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