A Tiny Little Cabin and a Lot of Thinking

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By: Jana Greene

I love camping.

And by ‘camping,’ I mean staying in an air-conditioned cabin in the woods that has gas logs in the fireplace, and a hot tub on the back porch that faces a little creek.

It is My Beloved and I’s 10th wedding anniversary, so we decided to retreat to one of our favorite places in the world – a tiny little cabin in the woods with lots of creature comforts.

There are creature comforts at home, of course. We also have a ton of standard-fare life issues at home. We all do. We have bills, home and car repairs, kids, grandkids, doctor appointments, three high maintenance cats, and routines.

Routines can harken comfort. They can also become a distraction.

This week with my husband is a re-boot from all the distraction. We can be us, and focus on who we are to each other. We can be reminded that not everything is falling, as so often seems the case these days.

The new normal seems to be trying to keep up with the new normal. Things change and morph and so do we.

In these North Carolina mountains, Autumn is amping up before our eyes. I swear the leaves have gone plum technicolor in the mere two days we have been here so far. It’s exciting to watch the reds and yellows. The purples and oranges. It looks like the whole world is on fire with vibrancy, getting ready for the big crescendo! But even as the trees explode in living color, other leaves are falling, littering the wet ground with dull, brown peat.

It has to happen when winter comes. The trees must become bare, lest there be no spring buds gestating in the seemingly frozen branches. Things must fall so that things can spring up anew. And things must spring up anew so that the trees can be full again and, in turn, become technicolor with the reds and yellows, the purples and oranges.

What could have me feeling so cornball about this crazy life, and waxing poetic about autumn leaves?

Nature. Nature does it to me every time.

For a girl who loves her a/c and hot tubs, I do so adore nature.

My beloved and I needed badly to get away to the smoky, rolling hills of North Carolina and reflect on the best – and most challenging – 10 years of our lives. There were times when we weren’t sure we’d come out alive – blending a family of three teenage girls, dealing with debilitating health issues, living out “for richer or for poorer.”

But we come out alive and even manage to thrive, because the same Creator who orchestrates the seasons also orchestrates our marriage. We insisted that He did so, right out of the gate.

So, I’m writing this blog post from a little cabin in the woods. There are still issues waiting for us when we go back home, but right now, the gas logs in the fireplace are roaring, I am sipping sparkly apple cider, and My Beloved sits next to me leisurely reading a James Patterson novel. We are an old married couple now.

I LOVE it.

I love disconnecting from the routines, even if for a few days.

I love this man whom with I am celebrating ten years of wedded bliss. I love that we are so predictable that we finish each other’s sentences.

Nature reminds me that everything about God’s creation has a purpose and an inevitable rebirth. Nature has a way of  refreshing the weary spirit.

It reminds me why people name their children after flowers.

As I listen to the ripple of the creek down below, I am reminded why there are hymns written about deer panting after water.

It reminds me that paying bills can be usurped by paying attention to the glory of an Autumn forest.

It reminds me that earth has a smell and that leaf litter is preferable to kitty litter.

It reminds me that the drudgery of life can be put in its proper place with a strategic plan for a second honeymoon away from it all.

It reminds me that things fall, but there is purpose in the falling.

And as my husband absently reaches for my hand as we sit on the front porch swing together saying nothing but communicating everything, I’m so grateful.

God bless us, every one.

 

 

Back to Nurture

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Stone Mountain Falls

By: Jana Greene

Hello, dear readers. I will soon resume completion of The Seismic Seven Series, but an unforeseen distraction took place over the past few days, and I’m sharing it with you so that you also might be encouraged. I had an opportunity to run away with My Beloved to a little cabin in the woods, and here is what my spirit pondered there:

During the days of my steeped-in-nature trip, my spirit experienced such peace that my busy mind became willingly submissive to it.

Worries fell off before they had a chance to stick, like Teflon coated the surface of my soul. Anxiety tried to get in, of course. It’s ruthless that way. But my spirit would not allow it. “Sorry'” I felt it say. “There is no room for you thieves of joy.”

The cacophony of rushing waters, birdsong, and buzzing bees drowned out all else. I felt Holy Ghost in every breeze and rustle, and in me – manifested as Peace.

It occurred to me that this is the way God intended us to feel back in the garden. We’ve lost it through the falling, and through trying to convince The Father that we know a better way.

If only I can find a way to replicate this Great Shalom, back in the ‘real’ world where the cacophony seems only to be struggles and bills and drama.

Lord Jesus, please keep my spirit coated with the Teflon coating of trusting you. Help me reign in the ruthless anxiety. Holy Spirit, manifest in and around me even in the Land of the Lost. And hey, thank you for this glorious respite of rushing water, birdsong, and buzzing bees. Block the thieves of joy so that I might find this shalom even in the mundane.
Amen and amen.

and God bless us every one.

Swamp Blogger

By:  Jana Greene

The Mister and I went for a car ride last Sunday afternoon, deep into wilderness of Pender County, North Carolina.  I was grumpy and fretful with the busy thoughts, and he doesn’t seem to mind being in an enclosed area with me when I’m like that, God bless him.

So, off we went with a half-tank of gas and our trusty camera.

The further we drive away from named communities with neat, rowed housing, the more interesting the scenery.   My mind slips slowly out of busy-ness and eventually relaxes somewhere between the first blueberry field and the fifth “No Trespassing” sign.  By the time we get to the old river roads, find something to worry about becomes find something beautiful.

Beauty is everywhere.

Pender County is locally famous for being a filming site for the Discovery Channel show, Swamp Loggers.  The Cape Fear River winds black and lazy through the land, in such a vascular way that the ground never feels quite solid enough to walk on.   Water, water everywhere, and everywhere you sink.

On the river, it seems that everything in sight was, is or will be some shade of green in its existence.  Animal, mineral, vegetable…covered in either water or algae or moss, and wild.

We stop at a “boat access”, although it is only wide enough to put in a John boat, or a couple of kayaks.  I take pictures of a family of ducks, an old hollow stump and some moss in a tree.

We get back in the car and ride around for several minutes without saying a word.   I see a bunch of insanely yellow flowers blooming by the roadside and stop to capture the visual Prozac on film.  Later that day, we snap photos of a tree that seems to have a goiter in its trunk, and a random puppy flopping through some tall grass with his family at another boat access.   Anything anomalous, anything strange and wonderful……*click*.   The transmission has completely slipped at the crossroads of my grumpiness and fret, like a rusty old pickup truck resting like sculpture in a field by the riverside.

But, it is also the quiet that disarms me most there; humid, comforting silence.  Quiet from modern life…quiet from myself.

I don’t have a lot of that in my mind.  I’ve always been a worrier, and although I know it is the least useful (and faithful) venue for my brain to seek out, it knows the way so well it sometimes gets there before me.  Half of the battle is getting out from the worn ruts.  Driving into the swampy country in Pender County, North Carolina is like taking my spirit off-roading in the best way possible.

Find something beautiful.

Beauty is everywhere, messy and wild.

Wet and green.