Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Changing

On the way to church this morning, I saw it. There it was, standing boldly at the side of the road, silently screaming out "look at me, look at me!" I had no choice but to look, it was literally impossible to turn my gaze the other direction. It wasn't very big, maybe 30 feet tall at the most, but it was the first of the season to put on the brilliant, fiery robe of reds, oranges, yellows. Yep, it was a Canadian Sugar Maple, decked out in all it's Autumn finery, demanding the attention of everyone passing by. It was simply beautiful.

As much as I am in active and intentional denial that summer is coming to a close, it most certainly is. Labor Day is a week away, the first day of school the day after that, and stores are already stocking shelves with Halloween junk. Fall bird & butterfly migration is in full swing and the red breasted Nuthatch on my kitchen porch, stealing peanuts out of the basket feeder, one at a time and tucking them away in a tree not far away, is evidence that he's preparing for the long cold winter to come. The brilliantly colored butterflies everywhere you look, will soon be gone as well.

In the exact opposite extreme of how glad I always am when winter is finally over, I'm always sad to say goodbye to summer. I love the changing of seasons, and as crazy as I am to get so excited about the first snow, enduring the long Canadian winter is something that gets a little harder with each passing year. I'm really beginning to get a grasp of the whole Canadian/Florida Snowbird deal. I've never even been to Florida, but I know why those folks go.

With the end of summer comes the beginning of a brand new school year, and a brand new year of girls/boys/youth groups at church. It's exciting to look forward to these new beginnings, and I'm anxious to get started.

Also with the end of summer comes plans to prepare for winter. This means stacking firewood into the basement, rounding up spare blankets and making sure they're all handy, putting away shorts & tank tops and bringing out the sweaters & doing a thick sock inventory - checking doors & windows for any drafts & repairs needed, rounding up all yard toys, draining the pool and putting away the badminton net. Between now and the end of October, there's quite a lot of work to be done to get ready for Old Man Winter. Oh, there's also the given that I'll be running away from home or taking the long way home (often) with my camera to get the coolest shots of the coolest fall color I can find.

The one thing I absolutely and completely look forward to at this time of year, is making my Christmas list and finding THE coolest gifts for everyone on it. Well there's that, and the traditional "bringing out the village people" as I set up my miniature Christmas village on October 31. Some people dress up like a freak and beg for candy that day - I open boxes and play with wee little people and wee little buildings. Oh, then I go to the store and get those bags of candy the day after, for 75% off. YES, I love a bargain.

Back to the Christmas list... oh yes! With seven kids and one grandkid, parents, siblings & grandparents, its a rather large list. It's not easy to shop for any of these people except Ruth my 4 yr old and Jocelyn my 1 yr old grand-muffin. They're super easy to shop for, they love anything you give them. Everyone else though has a different style, taste & preferrance they're a bit trickier. Tricksy relatives, they is.

So, while I was in "oh there is no way it's almost time to think about Christmas!" mode the other day, I started browsing online and saving links. Then it occured to me, that what I was finding useful, cool, affordable, unique, and helpful - that YOU also might benefit from the same links. For that reason, I put together a little Gift Giving Guide and posted it over at Sovereign Grace Books and Gifts. You can see the link to it in the very top of the right sidebar here. I hope you find it helpful as you begin to prepare your Christmas list.

As for me this week, I'm looking forward to uploading all new photographs for my Reflections '08 calendar at my store. I have a couple of different themes in mind for this coming year, but I'm not settled on just one yet (yes, I'm accepting suggestions, if you have any?) The 2007 calendar was A Year in Proverbs, and it was a real joy to put that one together. Just in case you're wondering, the 2008 calendars will be available within the next 2 weeks (for you early shoppers out there).