#WorldMetDay

What a wonderful way to celebrate my birthday – World Meteorological Day.

I have a definite affinity to all things weather wise.

Excuse me – the sun’s shining and the sky is clear blue.  I’m going to celebrate.  I’ll let you guess what. 🙂

Snow…GO!

This Winter has been one for the record books – at least in my adult opinion.  It may not have set any records weather wise, but it certainly goes down in my book as one to remember. (Or, leave behind.)

According to Mom, it’s similar to the way Spring of 1960 blew in.  My brother was born during a span between two snow falls (thankfully, there was no snow on the ground when it was time to go to the hospital).

I’m hoping this year will not be like the years 1968 and 1996 where snow fell in appreciable amounts on March 21-22 (8.5 inches) and March 19-20 (9.3 inches).

By mid March I hope to have the gardens ready to plant with peas and lettuce seeds at the ready to go into the ground.

I hope.

We’ll see.

Of course, if things don’t go as I plan, and a late March snowfall comes, I’ll just scrape enough snow from the top of our car to make snow cream.

If life gives you snow, make snow cream!

And, people wonder why Southern Folk make a grocery run for bread and milk before a big snow fall arrives.  Everyone here knows you can’t have snow cream without milk!  And, no one wants to cook – so sandwiches and canned soup are a given.  Mom’s like to play in the snow, too, you know. 😉

Cold Hard Ground

The forecast last night was for a low around 20.  I woke early and without checking the temperature, headed out the backdoor in flip flops to see how things were faring in the unheated garage.

As soon as my foot touched the ground my entire body knew something had changed about it.

Yesterday when I stepped off the porch onto the ground there had been a spring as the earth beneath my foot responded to my touch.

This morning, there was no give from the ground beneath me.  It was hard…rock hard.

The impact of foot striking hard ground was felt throughout my body with each step I took.

The ground was cold and hard – unforgiving, harsh, unresponsive – like a heart bereft of love.

…bereft of love…. Love is the warmth that melts cold, hard hearts.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies. 

The Message

A Harbinger of Frost

On June 28 of this year, I posted that I’d heard the first Cicada and remarked that it seemed a bit early.

Folklore says look 3 months beyond the first heard Cicada to the first frost.

Three months forward from June 28 = September 28.  A week ago.

Last night the low temp was 42 and tonight the low is forecast to be 37 here (or 33 northeast of here).  We are under a frost advisory.

Early.

Eerie.

To find out more Autumn and Winter weather forecasting methods check out the Natural Almanac.

I might add that according to the Natural Almanac we shouldn’t see a snowfall this winter.  Our morning fogs came in September this year, not August. But, according to Snow Lore 101, we should see snow 4 ft high.   😉

Who knows, right? I surely don’t.

What I do know is that a tried and true prognosticator is telling me my day has begun – the  sun’s coming up.

If I’m going to squeeze all I can from this present day, I’d better get up and get busy.

This present day – that’s all I have.  I can plan for and look ahead to the future, but I can only affect the future by what I do in the present – now. It’s now that matters and what I do now counts.

Three months ago I was thinking forward to the first frost.  Today I’ve wondered about the first snowfall. Thinking and wondering doesn’t do much more than spin our wheels unless it motivates us to take action.

Thinking, wondering, looking ahead – these should drive us to be better, do better, live better in anticipation of what lies ahead.

A Foggy Morn’s Clear View

Tuesday dawned darker than usual.  The sun that usually awakens me didn’t and I rose 30 minutes later than I’m accustomed to doing.

At 6:44 a.m., I opened our front door and looked out on our world and…blinked. Then, I felt to see if my glasses were on my face and finding them astride my nose, removed them to see if they needed cleaning.

Surely they needed cleaning.

With or without glasses, the view before me was fuzzy, dark, and monochromatic.  A confusing swirl of muted images blanketed the landscape.

Fog!

The first fog of the season.

My mind whispered, “That’s one snowfall this Winter.”  I quickly shushed her and reminded her this is now September…August is 9 days past.

I quietly slipped out the door and into the fog.  My exposed skin tingled as the cool airborne water droplets clung to me.  I breathed the cool moist morning air in deeply and held it.  Then, I breathed it out with a whispered “Aaahhhhhh.”

The warm moist air from my lungs met the cool fog and swirled together before blending.

I wanted to linger in the quiet dampness and allow it to blanket me with calm.  But, life called and I had no choice but to answer.

Droplets dripped from my hair as I emerged from the fog.

Some small part of me had been renewed…transformed by my foggy experience.  What had begun as confusion morphed into an odd ethereal calmness that encompassed me, enveloped me…entered me.

Centered me.

As my early morning progressed, my mind returned time and again to the fog and my experience with it. I found myself gazing out every window, lost in foggy wonder.

.At 8:30, I paused as I passed  the window in my office.  The okra growing 20 feet from my back door had become visible.  As I watched, the fog continued to lift and the tree at the back of our yard slowly appeared. Houses and cars , trashcans and mailboxes all became visible as I watched.

The fog was lifting as though called upward by some unheard voice that gathered it gently in a hazy cloud…up, up, up.

By 9 a.m. the fog was little more than a thin veil over the sun.  Dew drops dripped from every leaf and blade of grass.

By 9:30 the sun had broken the foggy veil into puffy low clouds that soon evaporated.

As the day progressed, the fog evaporated leaving only the memory of it.

…memory and the reminder to slow down and take time to live…to see, to touch and to be touched.

Take a moment right now and focus on something beyond yourself, something simple that you see every day and never notice.  Step outside and open yourself to the wonders of nature.  Let God’s peace touch you…calm you…change you.

Who would have ever thought a foggy morning would have the power to clear one’s vision?

Welcome Relief

When was the last time I experienced a sunny day with a high of 79 degrees – in MID JULY??

I truly don’t know that I EVER have.

Mid Summer in the South is always HOT.

But, that’s the forecast for today.  And, if the low of 57 at 6 a.m. has any bearing on today’s high temp…it might be right.

The entire week is forecast to be cooler than normal (normal meaning HOT).

What a welcome relief!

And, what an unexpected opportunity to change up the summer routine…throw open windows and doors…accomplish outside chores…clean out the garage…enjoy a walk around the block….

Now…if I can just slow down enough to actually enjoy it before it slips away and Summer’s heat returns. 😉

Relief – I wonder how often it’s available and we either don’t recognize it or fail to avail ourselves of it because we’re so busy…wrapped up in ourselves…our little worlds.

Stop – take a deep cleansing breath.  Hold it.  Now release it slowly and feel your shoulders and back muscles relax.  Before you take your next breath, look beyond yourself and your own immediate experience – even if it’s just out the window. Take another deep cleansing breath…hold it…release it slowly…ah…welcome relief.

Rain and Renewal

Throughout the morning, as opportunity presented itself, I checked the radar to see how close the red and yellow blobs were and if they were still tracking in our direction. There was nothing I could do to direct the rain our way other than pray.  And, as much as I wanted rain and our gardens needed it…doing so felt selfish.

Would it rain?  Yes.  It would rain…was raining elsewhere.  Would it rain here? Only God knew the answer to that question.

And, I was okay with that.

As I surveyed God’s Garden #2 from my back porch, I noticed the okra had wilted. The sun was hot on my skin.  A quick glance at the sunny sky above told me all I needed to know. There was an immediate need and I had a temporary fix, so I turned on the water (just a trickle) and placed the hose at the feet of the okra. Every 15 minutes I went outside and moved the hose 6 inches down the row.

Within 5 minutes of receiving the life-giving liquid, the okra had perked up.  (It was amazing to watch.)

And, by the time I had placed the hose at the base of the last okra plant (hours had passed), the sky showed promise of a better solution.

It wasn’t until late afternoon that rain arrived.  And, when it arrived it lingered long enough to break the dry spell.

The huge blob of red and yellow that I’d tracked all morning on radar slipped South of us.  That was okay. Sovereign God knew best where to send the rainfall…knew where it was needed most, and when.

And, God knew what I and the gardens needed most, and when, as well.

Sometimes all we can do is what we can do while we wait for God to act on our behalf.

The important thing to remember while we wait is to give thanks always for God’s many blessings.

Yes, there blessings even in dry spells.  There are always reasons to give thanks.  And, having a thankful heart provokes a can do attitude and a positive outlook on life.

And, a positive outlook on life changes everything.

Believe me, I went from parched to overflowing and nary a drop of rain had fallen.  From deep within a well of Living Water bubbled up and watered my withered soul, restored my faith in God, and renewed my spirit as it changed my attitude and outlook.

Dry Spell

For over 500 consecutive days, Suzansays saw a new post appear.

And, then…nothing for five days.

I hit a dry spell, I suppose.

It wasn’t that I suddenly lost interest in writing. No…that wouldn’t be accurate to say.  And, it wasn’t because I didn’t have anything to say.

I just hit a dry spell.

Life took an unusual turn and I had an unexpected response to that turn. I was thrown off schedule and off kilter. Everything seemed out of sync.

My dry spell began seven days ago, when rain loomed large in our forecast.  The ground was dry and the gardens thirsty – ample rain was on the way…enough to saturate the ground deeply…thoroughly…satisfyingly.

I prepared for it and for the possibility of hail and wind (also forecast).  I picked the garden clean, thinking it would be a couple of days before the ground firmed and dried enough to venture into it.

I hoped for rain…prayed for it…prepared for its arrival.  I needed the rain as much as the ground did.

But, rain did not fall.  An hour south of us is where it fell for two days.  I looked lustily at the radar, desiring it to move farther north.

It didn’t.

While I was grateful that they received rain, I was disappointed we (meaning I) didn’t and set out to water the gardens and hope for rain each time a cloud obscured the sun.

Six days ago, as rain promised us fell to our south, Hubby headed out in the wee hours and slipped Southeast along the interstate.  Two days of meetings determined his direction. And, after meetings ended, he would slip East to spend a couple of days with his mom.

After less than 3 hours of sleep, (to bed after midnight and up again at 3) my body craved more and I slipped back to bed and slept off and on until nearly 9 the morning of his departure.

Early mornings are my writing times and with early morning gone and morning at the mid point, there was no time to think of anything other than heading to work.  And, beyond work, my day’s normal schedule stretched before me.

With Hubby gone, my evenings were filled with gardening (and watering) and preserving foods gathered from the gardens.

And, early mornings were spent catching up on sleep I lost working late into each night.

The days grew hot and hotter, climbing to a wilting 95 degrees F.  Everything suffered from the lack of moisture.  Birdbaths filled at the end of one day were emptied by the end of the next.  The garden, in its prime, showed signs of shutting down production.  The peas, if given sufficient rainfall, could rebound and produce one more crop – but the rain didn’t fall when needed.  And, city water does little other than keep things alive.  It just can’t provide that trigger that induces new life like rain can.

It was frustrating and in some ways heartbreaking.  So much work had been poured into the gardens….

I felt as dry as the garden…as parched as the soil.

I’d hit a dry spot.  It seemed nothing I did helped and so for 5 days I moved into and through my odd schedule thirsting to write, but with thoughts too dry to utter a word here on Suzansays I did the only thing I could.

I waited for the dry spell to end.

And, when it didn’t end, I declared it ended.

This morning I woke early with intent – the first time in 6 days – said “goodbye” to Daughter as she headed to work, checked the forecast and radar, and slipped into Suzansays to break the dry spell and begin anew.

As I look out of the window before me, the sun casts morning shadows in the garden and a breeze stirs the tops of the okra.  The forecast is for rain…perhaps a lot of rain…maybe storms.  The radar is lit with colors this morning – all Northwest of us.

I am reminded of a verse which delivers far more than the forecast or radar can promise. And, it gives hope that God has not forgotten – for God loves and cares for all.

Don’t resist violence! If you are slapped on one cheek, turn the other too. 40 If you are ordered to court, and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat too. 41 If the military demand that you carry their gear for a mile, carry it two. 42 Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.  43 “There is a saying, ‘Love your friends and hate your enemies.’ 44 But I say: Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way you will be acting as true sons of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust too. 46 If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even scoundrels do that much. 47 If you are friendly only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even the heathen do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Jesus – Matthew 5)

Summer Safety Rules

From the National Weather Service – some summer safety rules to remind us to play safely.

My favorite is the last one. 😉

AS THE SUMMER ROLLS ALONG IT IS IMPORTANT TO KEEP HOT WEATHER
SAFETY RULES IN MIND.

NEVER...EVER...EVER LEAVE A PERSON OR ANIMAL IN A CLOSED CAR FOR
EVEN A FEW MINUTES. TEMPERATURES INSIDE A VEHICLE ON A SUMMER DAY
CAN HEAT QUICKLY TO DEADLY LEVELS.

CHECK ON ELDERLY FRIENDS AND RELATIVES TO BE SURE THEY ARE COPING
WELL WITH THE HEAT.

IF YOU CANNOT AFFORD AN AIR CONDITIONER....GO TO A LIBRARY...STORE...
OR OTHER LOCATION WITH AIR CONDITIONING FOR PART OF THE DAY.

IF YOU HAVE TO BE OUTDOORS DURING THE HOTTEST PART OF THE
DAY...TAKE FREQUENT BREAKS...AND DRINK PLENTY OF NON ALCOHOLIC AND
DECAFFEINATED FLUIDS. IF POSSIBLE...RESCHEDULE ACTIVITIES TO A
COOLER PART OF THE DAY.

WEAR LIGHTWEIGHT...LIGHT COLORED...CLOTHING TO REFLECT HEAT AND
SUNLIGHT.

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY...AND BE AWARE OF THE WARNING SIGNS FOR HEAT
CRAMPS...HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT STROKE.

AND LASTLY...TAKE IT EASY...BETTER TO SUBSTITUTE A LAWN CHAIR IN THE
SHADE IN PLACE OF THAT LAWN MOWER IN THE SUN.

Specificity, to be specific

A quick glance at today’s forecast became a several minute event when I read the following:

ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED TODAY AND THIS EVENING OVER
ABOUT THE SOUTHWESTERN TWO THIRDS OF MIDDLE TENNESSEE...AND A FEW
OF THOSE STORMS COULD BECOME STRONG TO SEVERE...WITH GUSTY
WINDS...HAIL AND HEAVY DOWNPOURS.

It went on to say there was only a 30% chance of this developing.  And, from the statement above, it (apparently) will be centered in one particular area.

The problem is…I’m not sure where that one particular area is.

The problem is what turned a second’s glance into a multi-minute glare.”

The problem? The specificity of the advisory – that’s the problem.

“…the southwestern two thirds of middle Tennessee…” – where exactly IS that?

I know what part of middle Tennessee is included in the southwestern designation – but what’s up with the “two thirds”?

Specificity in forecasting and weather advisory is a good thing – it can provide fast, easy information that says YES this is for your area, or NO it’s not.

But…sometimes specificity can muddy the clarity of the matter.

If you’re in the southwestern two thirds of middle Tennessee…heads up.  If you’re in the remaining southwestern 1/3 (and I assume you know who you are)…no worries.