Thursday, September 7, 2023

Every Day Beauty

Looking west, toward the sunset

This summer, a daughter who had lost her mom unexpectedly asked people to send photos of the sunset. Her mom grew up in Stafford and had maintained her ties with her hometown, my PEO group and our church.

I made a mental note to pay attention as the evening progressed so I could go out and honor this family's wish for their mom/wife/grandma.

For awhile, I thought a rain shower was going to derail my plans. We need the rain, so it was welcome anyway. But as the sun was setting, the sky cleared enough for a beautiful sunset. Later, as I've examined the photo more closely, I'm reminded of a song that meant a lot to me when my mother-in-law, Marie, died unexpectedly. It is called Holes in the Floor of Heaven by Steve Wariner. It's told from the perspective of an 8-year-old boy, which was Brent's age at the time of Marie's death. (Jill was 11, so our granddaughters are that age right now. Brooke just turned 9 on Monday.) Anyway, when I look at the right side of the sunset, it looks like holes in the floor of heaven. I hadn't heard that song for years when it began playing as I drove to town for Brent's homecoming assembly his senior year of high school. It was like a God wink that day.

On the Facebook post, I wrote:

We had a storm a little earlier. This was as the sun was setting on the Stafford/Reno line. I thought about how you are currently going through a storm, but there is still light breaking through. I will pray that for all of you. 💜
When I turned to look at the sky to the south, I found it compelling in a different way.

As is usually the case, the view was dependent upon where and when you looked. Isn't that a metaphor for life itself?

At sunset isn't the only time you can look at things differently. In July, I noticed a sunflower field blooming south of 4th Street Road, which we take to and from Hutchinson. It was worth a short detour for a closer look.

From afar, the sunflowers looked like soldiers at attention. 

But a closer look revealed some differences. This one wasn't quite ready for its closeup, even though its neighbor was preening in the sun.

 Others were already starting to dry down and starting to wilt.

Sunflowers grown as crops for seeds and oil don't stay pretty long. These days, there's not a yellow head to be found. 

But I don't have to drive down the road to realize that beauty can be fleeting. The day lilies in our backyard brighten our days while they bloom each summer. 

But they, too, bloom in their own season and then fade until they return the next year.

 The corn field across the road looked so green and vibrant in late June.

Earlier this week, our neighbor cut the corn. All that was left at sunset were the stalks.

Not a great photo and not a sensational sunset. But I guess it still illustrates the difference in just a couple of months.

 These fleeting moments remind us to appreciate the little things as they come.

I thought about it again as I contemplated what to play on the piano at church this Sunday for prelude, offertory and postlude. I always try to tie the music with the Bible readings and liturgy. In those efforts, I look at a UMC Discipleship website for inspiration. In the materials this week, it talks about God sightings. 

We are the ones who are trying to be tuned into God’s wavelength, listening to God’s broadcast. Therefore, we look for the signs that God is at work in and around us always. ... We might be surprised by where and from whom we encounter God’s presence when we open our eyes to what is around us. We are more than passive observers, however. We are active presenters, active signs of God’s presence in the world. We commit ourselves again this week to presenting the goodness of God in the world around us. We do that best by how we care. We care for one another and seek reconciliation whenever possible. We care for God’s people everywhere by giving and helping and loving. ... We care and are called to care as a way of being a sign of God’s care for creation. What is the sign? It is us. 
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries from UMC Discipleship Ministries

 Let’s come before him with thanks! Let’s shout songs of joy to him!

—Psalm 95:2

A Time to Think

All the world is an utterance of the Almighty. Its countless beauties, its exquisite adaptations, all speak to you of Him.     –Phillips Brooks, clergyman and author

A Time to Pray

Dear Lord, please help me to see the beauty of every day. 

From the Daily Devotional email from Guideposts



  1. Your day Lilies along your wall couldeasily be a photo of Kim and Stuart's wall. They are certainly short lived beauties.

    1. Every time they bloom, I think of Katherine, who sold us this house 38 years ago. She is the one who planted them alongside the old wash house in the backyard.

  2. I just love daylillies and have them in every flower bed in my yard! Thanks for sharing yours, they really lit up my morning here at work.