Summer 2021 is now history. It was abundantly good. God is good. I am constantly in awe of his mercy and favor. The following photo essay illustrates the LORD's goodness in my life--through nature, family and friends. Remembering the impermanence of life helps me live each day to the fullest, clinging to the Word made flesh--Yeshua/Jesus--for strength and wisdom.
"Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the LORD, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing." ~ Psalm 34:8-9
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." ~ John 1:14
"Thou awakest us to delight in Thy praise; for Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee. " ~ Augustine, Confession, 1.1.1.
Z’man Simchateinu/The Season of Our Joy
Sitting in my sukkah with our kitty Tikvah (Hebrew for "hope"). Yes, that is a harness on him...he would love to pursue chipmunks, but I can't abide losing a kitty, or a chipmunk.
We are in the midst of the seven-day holiday of Sukkot--the season of our joy--the seventh appointed time on the Biblical calendar. The LORD commands us to rejoice (Deuteronomy 16:13-15). It is my favorite feast because I get to hang out in a tent and ruminate on the goodness of God and the eventuality of him dwelling with us forever. The past two Sabbaths' messages at Shema Yisrael punctuated the significance of these special days.
"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ~ Revelation 21:3
Listen to the audio messages from Congregation Shema Yisrael on 9/18/21:
Rabbi Glenn's message Sukkot 2021 – To Infinity…And Beyond! HERE
Rabbi Loren's message Sukkot 2021 – God Wants To Be Close To Us HERE
Or watch the whole service:
We welcomed summer by celebrating beautiful Aunt Margaret's 80th birthday at Deborah & John's Presque Isle paradise; North Bay sunset and drone practice; cousin hugs--Bella, Mary and Aaron
Father's Day delights, Aaron and Bella treated their father to a gourmet steak dinner. Father and son, Ken and Scott
Summer's first Sabbath with Tikvah and Bailey
Scott practices flying his drone in Paris; kayaking Cole Lake
Back home in Waterford, the cat capitalizes the laptop, the groundhog the fire pit and I the lounger. Aaron makes a gourmet meal of lamb chops and scalloped potatoes for my birthday dinner.
Happy 76 to Bonnie June! Celebrating Mom/Grandma's birthday with dear family and friends
My mom and I are almost birthday buddies. Just a day apart, our July birthdays are occasion for an annual ladies' boating outing on White Lake thanks to dear friend Catherine.
Back in West Michigan, we enjoy regular trips to the Amish farm and Scott grows some delicious lettuce.
While kayaking, I love to sneak up on turtles sunning themselves.
Flora, fauna and fungi of Rocky Hollow Nature Preserve, a National Natural Landmark and Indiana Nature Preserve.
Scott and I spent a couple of days/nights at Turkey Run State Park in west central Indiana. We overheard one fellow hiker comment on how similar to Yosemite National Park it felt, with its canyon, river and evergreen forests. They have an inn with gardens that we enjoyed strolling.
Our son and daugther-in-law treated us to a very unique dining experience for our 30th wedding anniversary. At Stables Steakhouse, each well-appointed seating area is situated in a space formerly occupied by horses (circa 1890). Our waiter and the food were excellent! Bread pudding anyone?
We travelled north from Terre Haute through lots of cornfields and found ourselves lunching in the middle of actual nowhere at Bossamer Farms Bakery & Cafe (since 1929). They tried to send us off with a kitty but Scott said no. Later, we tasted some of the local fruit of the vine at Carpenter Creek Cellars.
Dear friends Jeff & Regina treated us to a night on the town at an amazing Crown Point, IN, taqueria. We enjoyed lots of good conversation and a morning boat ride before heading to Northern Michigan.
We found the same beach on Torch Lake where Scott proposed to me in December of 1990. A night on Crystal Lake, a visit to Frankfort and a hike on Lake Michigan rounded out our anniversary travels.
A snapping turtle surprised us beside the hiking trail at Green Point Dunes Nature Preserve.
A special dinner at Sylvan Table on our 30th anniversary
God's artistry abounds, cultivated and wild flowers in Sylvan Lake and Paris, Michigan
My sweet friend Karen went home to be with the LORD. Amazing Grace was sung at her celebration of life and testified to Karen's deep faith in her Messiah Yeshua.
Jenni and I have been friends since third grade, when she remembers I offered her one of my pre-packaged snack cakes for some raisins. I can't believe I made such a deal, but here we are 40+ years later, enjoying some gourmet treats together at Sylvan Table, in the same village as her childhood home.
Unfortunately, I did not take this photo. I would have loved to have been with Bailey June and the O'Connell family as Aaron and Bella visited them in Kipahulu, Hawaii, for two weeks in July.
We enjoyed having Curt up north. He was a good sport, berry picking and shooting the BB gun.
Baby Lincoln's hands in contrast to his dying grandfather's. Only age 60, Jim passed on at home on August 4, surrounded by his loving wife and children.
Scott's mom and step-father, Sharon and John, share some sunset cuddles in Frankfort, Michigan.
Newlyweds Jared and Emily Spry have fun modeling for Aunt Shawn on a Lake Michigan beach.
End-of-summer hurrah, Bella and "cousin" Redding enjoy a weekend getaway at Chimney Corners on Crystal Lake with their bestie moms.
Did someone say dominoes? Curtis loves playing games with anyone who is willing.
A happy birthday dinner with Scott's step-mother and father in downtown Rochester.
Bella begins her senior year in style with high-top Converse and her study buddy, Tikvah.
A beautifully set table is nothing compared to a beautifully sat table and my dear sister, Heather, did both at this delicious and thoughtful meal introducing us to her sweet Italian exchange student, Mati.
A rainy-day walk at Presque Isle point with Deborah and her spunky bi-eyed husky puppy, Chili.
I made a new canine friend of this little darling, long-haired dachshund, Gemma Jean.
Land or lake, there is beauty all around in Paris, Michigan
Our annual Labor Day hangout with Grandma Bonnie and the Hillary Family was extra fun with a couple of new friends, exchange students Mati from Italy, and Carmela, from Spain. Scott spoiled us with a campfire dinner that will now be a staple of this extravagantly caloric and relaxing weekend.
Scott shows Ashton, Owen and Kevin his drone technology, the four teens try their hands at tetherball and Heather and Owen do some serious puzzling, outsmarting the lack of adequate lighting.
Shema Yisrael's Pikuach Nefesh ministry stands for life monthly in front of a West Bloomfield abortion facility. Join us on October 3, from 2-3:30 p.m. for the annual Life Chain. Email me for more details.
I got to enjoy cuddling my cousin Lincoln; his momma Jaime (right) shared him with me for his first overnight.
Bears, bears all around, and a sly coyote! Scott shares these trail-cam photos with me as they arrive remotely. I know these creatures dislike humans but I have stopped taking solo walks up north, preferring the company of my husband.
BEAUTY, DARWIN & DESIGN
"Charles Darwin once wrote that the sight of a male peacock’s tail made him physically ill. Why? Because he knew that the gratuitous beauty so prevalent throughout the living world points unmistakably to intelligent design, foresight and plan. Explore the artistry and stunning implications of natural colors, patterns, and ornamentation in the animal and plant kingdoms that exist for a purpose beyond mere survival." ~ from The JOHN10:10 Project