Monday, October 26, 2009

The Blessings of Fall and a Special Friend

One autumn day that has remained vivid in my memory all these years was in mid-October 1997 while my family was living in Massachusetts. It was the day of my sister's birthday party. Her birthdays were always full of autumn themed games, decorations, and prizes. On this day, the cake was soon eaten and most of the guests gone, but for me, the highlight of the day was still to come.

My mom decided to take us on a walk. We stepped out our door and into an autumn wonderland! Few things can beat autumn in New England. Mom told me I could be the leader, so I led my mom, sister, brother, and a friend on a long stroll through the falling leaves of brilliant oranges, reds, and yellows. Trees lined the roadways and sent down a continual shower of brilliant color. I enjoyed the crunch of drying leaves under my feet. There were piles of them everywhere! The air was filled with the distinct smell of fall. The sounds, smells, colors, and crisp air filled my senses. Autumn is delightful. I am convinced our Creator enjoys putting on a show for us even as we prepare for the coldest part of the year!

Kicking the leaves held a unique fascination for me, and I loved raking my yard. A unique memory involves the day before the party. Apparently, we didn't have a rake -- it being either lost or broken. I desperately wanted to rake, so I went with a neighbor friend to the house across the street to borrow one. The neighbor gladly lent us her rake, and the two of us went back over to my house to work on the back yard. We were extremely impressed with the neighbor's generosity; we talked on and on about how nice she was. It got to the point where we talked ourselves into thinking we owed her something in return. We promptly deserted the only partially finished yard and ran back across the street to the neighbor's. She must have been so surprised when she answered our knock to hear that we wanted to rake her yard -- instead of our own -- as a "thank you" for the borrowed rake!

I didn't know it then, but that was actually our last autumn in New England. I live in Oklahoma now, and while autumn is still my favorite time of year, it doesn't always come with the same excitement I remember in Massachusetts. Some years are better than others, but yellow tends to be the main leaf color here instead of my favorite oranges and reds. However, this year is special!

Autumn has come with all its brilliance! I don't know if my amazement is due to an unusually colorful season or something else entirely. It could be that I am enjoying more time outside this season than I usually do.

You see, I have been taking long autumn walks again. This time it is with my very special friend Zachary. With him, I am enjoying the delights of the season: the brisk Oklahoma wind, the orange, red, yellow, and multi-colored treetops, and the crunch of leaves under my feet. I can point out the trees or leaf showers that make me smile so brightly or stop with him to admire a row of alternating colors. I do a lot of smiling... at Zachary mostly. He has helped me form many more unforgettable memories in every season of this last year. This is a happy autumn, and I look forward to every moment I have with him!

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Help for a 45 Minute Essay

This post is part of a journal update I wrote this last Friday on October 9, 2009. School is really only a small part of my life right now -- and certainly not the most important part -- so I apologize my blog has either been silent or about school lately. But oh well, everything in its time!

It is not uncommon for me to reach the end of my day, plop down on my bed with a combination of relief and exhaustion, and wonder how it is possible that I did the things I did that day. I think, “Was that just this morning? I can’t imagine testing on those subjects, and I wrote a 45 minute essay – this morning?”

Yet, each day passes and, bit by bit, my goals are accomplished. My school list grows shorter when I have a day like this; I took my English Composition with Essay CLEP this morning. Amazing. I don’t know if I passed or not – that knowledge won’t come until almost the end of the month – but I do feel good about it.

It is at a moment like this – when I don’t know how I did it – that I know I didn’t do it on my own. It was the Lord working through me that helped me all the way. He helped me today by making me alert, keeping me calm, refreshing my memory, giving me ideas, and helping me stay on task. When I wrote my 45 minute essay, I did not feel rushed, and I certainly didn’t panic. I know my Heavenly Father helped me through it. Now, I just want to know my score!