Easing the shock of yet another month all but concluded, I rejoice in a glance back at my September Serenity 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.
Starting off my September Serenity share four somethings found me enjoying the Summer Club at Mt. Gretna Theater. The Summer Club is a retro, nightclub style show featuring a seventeen piece “Big” band as well as white dinner jacket clad crooners. They take their style from the performances seen by swanky audiences in supper clubs like the Latin Casino or Copacabana in the early sixties.
Adding the the magic of the night, Mt. Gretna is an open air theater; in a small eclectic village. String lights on nearby porches provided a lovely September ambience. The numbers all meticulously arranged and performed serenaded us with favorites by Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin and others from the swing era.
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
My absolute delight came in the form of a surprise from my husband of tickets to opening night at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, featuring Itzhak Perelman, world-renowned violin virtuoso and conductor. His joy in making music opened doors for him to play for Queen Elizabeth II, state dinners at the White House, and the finest orchestras in the world.
Captivated by his unsurpassed violin mastery all of my adult life, hearing his solo performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall provided an exquisite memory sweetly held in my heart always. Blessing me with this gift from the heart, my husband brought a life long dream to life.
Like breathing, an existence without reading has no life. Books provide more than information or entertainment for me; they offer a relationship of learning and comfort. How my heart rejoices in my evening reading times.
Though a hard choice, my September Serenity share four somethings reads took me to a place of self-forgetfulness and living for something bigger than myself.
A Quest For more
In Paul Tripp’s “A Quest For More: Living For Something Bigger Than You”, I joined Tripp for a journey into living for God’s Big Kingdom, rather than for my little kingdom of self. He expertly exposes the little kingdom agendas of Christian activism, legalism, emotionalism, formalism, creedalism, and externalism, inviting believers into God’s expansive and soul-freeing Kingdom plan.
Tripp’s main premise contrasted the worldly deception to which believers cling, such as personal achievement, success and materialism leading to a heart too easily satisfied with a mediocre walk with Christ, with a committed life characterized by an unyielding passion pursuing God for the joy of His Presence and, in the process, becoming agents for eternal change in a hurting, hopeless world.
In a word, “Convicting”. Through Tripp’s excellent navigation of the scriptures, the Holy Spirit revealed areas of my life where I spend a great deal of time building my little kingdom rather than doing God’s Kingdom work.
the freedom of self-forgetfulness
Sometimes I must admit God chooses the theme for my reading and this month is no exception. For my evenings with Timothy Keller’s “The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness” pierced my heart with my need for repentance regarding my tendency for self-focused service.
In this brief forty-eight page essay, Keller illustrates how gospel humility compels us to stop connecting every experience, every conversation with ourselves, and in essence breaking the shackles of self condemnation. Keller invites believers into a deeper embrace of the gospel instead of a life of people pleasing, ego building and self hatred.
For this performance, accomplishment driven fanatic, Keller’s book provided practical advice for true Christian joy and freedom in gospel humility.
Preparing for an early September court date as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for foster children in my community, reminded me of the treasures of one small life. I have advocated for one little girl for the past three years. She came into care at nine months old after suffering a burn requiring hospitalization.
Due to drug addiction and criminal violations, her parents provided poor care and as a result the child was placed in foster care. Amazingly, the resource mom, now remarried had an older daughter from a relationship with the father of my little girl and also chose to adopt the four year old daughter he abandoned from yet another relationship, so this little one enjoyed a placement with her two half sibling sisters.
At my first evaluation, I observed severe developmental deficiencies, and subsequently advocated for early intervention. She had physical limitations due to an unknown leg injury and received physical therapy.
As I sat in the court hallway waiting for the judge to call the case, I played with her and marveled at how far she had come, her full, easy smile and gentle ways captivated my heart. I thanked God for the monthly visits I spent with her, the relationship developed with the resource mom and the joy of knowing she was safe, loved and treasured.
Concluding my September Serenity in sharing four somethings I look ahead to October, my favorite month because God wrote my name on a special day in October. Absolutely a great reason for loving October, but truly autumn holds my heart.
Autumn breathes life into my soul and savoring every single delicious moment of it awaits me in just a few short days.
Realizing of course the autumnal equinox occurs in September, where I live, autumn arrives in October. Besides, while you may enjoy a pumpkin latte anytime, it’s pure magic in autumn. Join me?
September Serenity: Share Four Somethings
Thank you for taking a walk back through my September Serenity 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 September Serenity and share four somethings with me in the comments! Meet me back here at the end of October for more joyful somethings!