Aflame with love

Between the rush of a short, busy summer and preparations for a long winter, we pause to enjoy the fiery foliage that draws visitors to our state.  Though my favorite way to see fall foliage is up close--by walking or riding the horses in the woods, each year Colyn and I become tourists for a day, devoting time to soaking in the beauty of the season.  When we guessed the colors were at their peak, we got out my dad's 1979 Porsche and tooled around Vermont with Penny in the back seat or sitting on my lap.  We made several stops, surprising friends who lived on our route, buying soup, sandwiches, and penny candy at a country store, and revisiting old stomping grounds like the Middlebury College Snow Bowl.  

It was a fun day and we expected that would be it for our 2015 leaf peeping.  But several days later, we heard that the foliage in the White Mountains was spectacular, and one morning, needing a lift, I suggested we take another drive.   Colyn was up for it, so we headed across northern Vermont towards Franconia, N.H.  I was not prepared for what we saw.  I think of the White Mountains as mostly evergreen trees, but as we drove through Franconia Notch, a scene unfolded that seemed not of this world.  A vast, hilly landscape of mostly deciduous trees in a vibrant crescendo of gorgeous colors reached its arms out to us. I thought of the words from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "aflame with divine Love," and rejoiced in this assurance of Love's presence and power.

Hope

Today is a day to celebrate--the first in many months that our pond is free of ice.  Geese returned several days ago to find it still frozen except for the edges, but the last of the thin gray sheet melted today, and the geese have no doubt staked out their favorite nesting spot--the tiny island in the middle of our pond.  Ducks have come back, too.  This signals the end of the coldest winter I've ever experienced.  Week after week of single digits or colder in the daytime and often 20 below at night.  When I saw deer grazing the edge of our lawn this morning I gave them my blessing and marveled that they could survive such brutal temperatures, made worse by sometimes fierce winds.

 If there was anything redeeming about the last drawn-out month or so of winter, it was the lesson in hope it afforded.  We knew spring had to come!  Why?  Because it's a law of earth science.  So we bought seeds and potting soil, hauled the sap buckets from the shed on a sled and washed them, drilled holes in our biggest maple trees, hammered in the taps, and hung the buckets, even though there was little sign of warming.  It was awhile before the sap ran.  Even on a day when it was sunny and in the mid-40's, the trees held back.  But they couldn't withstand the warm sun for long.  Finally we got some good runs, and Colyn made almost three gallons of maple syrup.  I love looking at the quart jars of it lined up on the fireplace mantel in the kitchen.

So it is with prayer, I'm finding more and more.  Praying to understand better God's Word, listening for his messages to us, then holding to them despite apparent evidence to the contrary, we know "spring" has to come.  Why?  Because it's a law of divine Science.  The Bible is full of these laws, as reliable as mathematics.  "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you."  "And ye shall seek me and find me when ye shall search for me with all your heart."  "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed, and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."  

Here's to the spring in your heart.

 

 

Persistence

 

            This winter has been colder than any I can remember.  Daytime temperatures have been mostly in the single digits and teens, and nighttime temps have been mostly below zero for several weeks in a row.  None of the snow we’ve received this winter has melted.  When we woke up this morning it was 22 below.   I bundle up well to go to the barn and do chores, leaving only my eyes exposed. 

 

             The horses have been doing remarkably well.  I’m careful not to leave them outside if it’s windy, and am grateful for my little indoor arena where they can walk around instead of being confined to stalls.  With snow engulfing the barn, I picture the horses running free on our green hillsides, knowing it is now almost two months since the earth passed the “least sunlight” mark.  Each day the sun is higher in the sky and even yesterday when it was brutally cold and windy outside, our kitchen, dining room, and family room were flooded with warm sunshine. 

 

              To me, this is an encouragement to persist in prayer, in love, or in any quality that is needed in our lives.  It may be some weeks, even months, before our efforts are rewarded, but the sunlight of Truth and Love is doing its work, and if we stick with it, we’ll see the spring thaw certainly come.  Winter cannot hold out forever.

" . . .let us not be not weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."  (Galations 6:9)

 

Grace

Snow has been falling silently all day today, settling gently on the horses' backs, the fences, the balsam firs, the woods and fields.  To me, it whispers grace, "shed on us abundantly" through His mercy.  Grace is amazing, and I feel I've been touched by it through the fervent response of readers to my book, Simple Prayers for people of all faiths (or no faith).  Hardly a day goes by that I don't hear from someone blessed by it.  There's nothing that brings me deeper fulfillment and joy.  

If you'd like to read some of these notes from readers, check out the page I've just added to this website--"Testimonials."  I hope they will warm you and cheer you as a wood fire in the fireplace on a snowy night.

"not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."                                      Titus 3:  5-7

Gratitude

 

Thanksgiving gratitude is flowing into my Christmas season.  I am so grateful to be launching my first book, Simple Prayers for people of all faiths (or no faith).  The book itself was an answer to prayer—an answer to a desire to use my writing skills to bless a wider audience of spiritual seekers. 

I am especially grateful to my sweet daughter-in-law, Stephanie Case, for the endless hours she carved out of her nearly-nonexistent spare time to artfully design  and skillfully format its pages.  I am also grateful to my dear husband, Colyn, for his generous help with all my technical needs and issues, and to our precious daughter, Alycen Bronwyn Humphrey Case, for her unselfish and creative work in designing and building this beautiful website for me.

            Finally, I am grateful to every reader who ponders the ideas in this little book.  I wish you many blessings from your heartfelt quest.

 
Nancy Humphrey Case                                                 Hyde Park, Vermont                                                       December 2, 2014

 

 

For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven,and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth,and maketh it bring forth and bud that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth; It shall not return unto me void But it shall accomplish that which I please and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”