Easing the shock of yet another month all but concluded, I rejoice in a glance back at my August Abundance joining Heather Gerwing as she hosts a monthly feature called, Share Four Somethings, where writers share the fourth Saturday of each month something in each of four categories from the previous month.
The four categories remain the same, something loved, something read or heard, something treasured, and something ahead. The premise delights me, falling right in line with my one word 2021 journey with joy; especially my recent joy lesson learned. Looking back over the previous month through these four categories helps me linger with joy, and ignites my gratitude.
Kicking off my August Abundance: Share Four Somethings, a trip to Hershey Botanical Gardens easily tops my something loved list! Originally opened in 1937 at the request of Milton Hershey to create a rose garden for his beloved wife, it now boasts twenty-three acres of beautiful plants, shrubs and trees.
The rose garden, my especial delight includes over 3500 roses composed of 175 varieties. The exquisite beauty of color and fragrance enchanted me as I lingered among the rows, flitting from one bush to another with the butterflies and bees.
Each of the lovely, well-manicured theme gardens beguiled us with native plants, trees and shrubs as we leisurely meandered the grounds. Pausing in the herb garden brought fond memories of comforting aromas of oregano, basil and thyme emanating from neighborhood windows on Sundays as spaghetti sauce simmered on the stove.
The highlight of the day came as we toured the fascinating butterfly atrium. A perfect oasis of both tropical and native plants, fountains and natural sunlight, houses the more than 400 tropical and North American species of butterflies.
A passion since childhood, reading brings incredible joy, peace and comfort to my heart. Some of my best friends, and at times my only friends as a child, books not only brought the world to me, but escorted me to new places, experiences and knowledge. And you know what? They still do.
Out of my August abundance of reading I share two favorite friends who invited me into suffering and tradegy, where I glimpsed God’s grace through the eyes of both the patient and the physician.
Glimmers of grace
My first read comes from Dr. Kathryn Butler, “Glimmers of Grace: A Doctor’s Reflections on Faith, Suffering and the Goodness of God”, offers both a memoir and a devotional view on faith and suffering. A former trauma surgeon, Dr. Butler invites you into the halls Massachusetts General Hospital as she walks alongside patients, colleagues, and friends through various illnesses and aching loss.
Facing her own crisis of faith as she comes to grips with the goodness of God in the midst of tradegy, suffering and her own insufficient ability in bringing relief to those she served; Dr. Butler brilliantly interweaves her own stories of grace with narratives from Scripture to reveal how God’s steadfast love endures even in times of great affliction.
Working in hospice and palliative medicine brings me face to face with unimaginable suffering at times. Dr. Butler’s book provides beautiful reminders of God’s precious Presence, promises and purposes in pain.
My next outstanding read views suffering from the eyes of nine year old John O’Leary, in “On Fire: The 7 Choices to Ignite a radically Inspired Life”. Once you read John’s story, you marvel open-mouthed at the title he chose for his book. At just nine years old, John suffered burns on one hundred percent of his body; eighty-seven percent of which were third degree burns from a devastating house fire he started.
With less than a zero percent chance of survival, John summoned an almost unimaginable amount of inner strength just to survive the ordeal. Fueled by heroes in the form of family, hospital staff, medical professionals and total strangers, stepping into his life encouraging him on his journey.
In this riveting memoir of triumph over tradegy, John weaves together his reflections as a nine year old boy, the choices he made then, lessons he learned and the grace of God in the miracle gifted him through the people God used in his life.
John recounts his story with emotional honesty and strength; urging others to seize the power to choose our path and transform our lives from mundane to extraordinary. John now heads an incredibly large ministry called “Live Inspired”, where he inspires others to live with purpose.
On Fire encouraged me to take ownership of my life choices, stop hiding my brokenness, and say YES to God’s purpose in my pain.
My reflections on August Abundance: Share Four Somethings moves me on to something treasured. This month gifted me with two incredible conversations with my amazing sister-in-law, Linda. Though my brother and his wife only live one state away, life, the pandemic and Linda’s health issues complicate in person visits.
This month we connected via the ZOOM platform so we could chat, but also have the pleasure of glimpsing one another “face to face”. I treasured these visits because sharing life together often becomes something we take for granted.
I treasured these visits even more because Linda continues fighting a relentless battle with breast cancer. While none of us are promised another day, somehow facing your own mortality in the face of such a cruel disease as cancer, changes your perspective on the life you have.
A beautiful, kind and caring woman, Linda blesses others by her interest in their lives, gentle smile and faith-filled outlook. If God brings her to mind, please pray for her as she and my brother have some difficult decisions to make in the coming days.
When considering the arrival of September, my excitement in joining my good friend, Lisa Burgess at Lisa Notes in memorizing 1 John chapter one, tops the list. Experiencing Lisa’s gift for guiding others in memorizing larger portions of scripture in a previous adventure over Lent, inspired me to join her “Touch the Light” Challenge beginning September 12th.
No ordinary scripture memory challenge, Lisa designed a “create your own challenge” program.
- Read the ten verses in a different translation each week
- Memorize all ten verses over six weeks
- Meditate on the truths verse by verse
- Study the chapter and related verses in context
Choose one, two or all of the options, enjoy community with her private scripture memory Facebook group (available after you sign up) and receive fabulous resources for enhancing your journey through the six week challenge. Join me and add this to YOUR something ahead for September!
august abundance: Share four somethings
Thank you for taking a walk back through my August Abundance with me! I am grateful to Heather for creating such a creative way to review the moments of our days which often slip by so quickly. Sharing Four Somethings is a way to savor one more time those things we love, read, treasure and anticipate!
But you don’t have to be a writer or blogger to enjoy this practice. Why not take a few moments and think back over YOUR August Abundance and share four somethings with me in the comments! Meet me back here at the end of September for more joyful somethings!