A little early for harvest, you say? Not for me. Never for me when September 1st rolls around.
September always kicks off with my birthday. Comes precisely on time every year that way. When I was a kid, I looked forward to it with great anticipation of cake and gifts and the annual family party to celebrate little me.
Some fifty-four years have passed, and so too has my opinion of my “special day.” Grab a September cup of tea with me and I’ll tell you my story.
You see, time was – in my twenties – when child-birthing supplanted taking any significant note of my own birthday. I was actually prone to forget if I was turning twenty-four or twenty-five, often settling randomly on just being “twenty-something.”
Thirty brought with it a turbulent decade of growing pains and even less thought to my annual accumulation of years. I was in my “youth” as a Christian with a zeal that saw me – more often than not – leaping before I looked. Thank God that He has big hands within which to catch me, ere I “fall.” (No Autumn pun intended.)
Leading me to my maturing “forties” – which is about the time I started to consider the “harvest” idea, come September.
You see – birthdays became a time of harvesting reflections for me. Another year older. Had I become another year wiser? What did I have to show for myself and my activity to that point. And, more to the point – was I moving in the perfect will of God?
So, here I am in my mid-fifties and juggling the plethora of grown-up ruminations mid-life brings. There’s more to look back upon in assessing one’s steps in the past – and thereby – assessing one’s steps ahead.
First – for teatime – I have looked forward to featuring my Royal Albert September teacup and saucer that I have filled with my modest collection of cameos just because they look so lovely displayed that way!
In my fifties, I have given myself permission to do things on occasion . . . just because of loveliness. Liberating!
I love the classic Royal Albert shape – and the lush floral of the “Michaelmas Daisy” with gold trim is eye candy in every way!
Displayed with my sweet teacup and signature cameos is Present #1: The Most Amazing Gluten Free Four Layer Chocolate Cake Made by the Most Amazing Daughter in the World!
Yes – that is the official name of my birthday cake. Just because. Isn’t it luscious to look at??
My girl spent hours the night before and all morning the next day creating this masterpiece – so many valuable hours in her weekend – just for me! She used a selection of my favorite yummy things, too:
Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix – two boxes
Substituting half the butter required with an equal amount of pumpkin – amazing weight, moistness, and texture!
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting with Chocolate Ganache
Including her own handcrafted chocolate ganache creations of the teapot and tea cups!
Rosettes swirled over four layers of cake separated by layers of frosting and ganache with a base of rippled ganache! I was agog when she presented it to me!
My camera was in hand within seconds clicking these photos for this very post!
Present #2: My “Birthday Book.” My husband is a career bookseller. I am a writer. What other gift might I expect – or appreciate with delight – than a book. This year, though, my book was a title that I have long seen featured on many blogs, yet, in my busy had not made time to look into it. Much to my shame. One of those things I “harvested” during my birthday reflections this weekend.
Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts was on the bestseller list for 60 weeks. It created a buzz in Blogland with a link-in party I often ran across where people were listing things they were thankful for. I was so pre-occupied with a number of career and personal struggles that I completely missed the boat on this.
But, my husband did not. He had had the book in his hand multiple times, knowing I needed it, knowing it would bless me, but shrunk back from bringing it home to me. Timing is everything. And, for this year’s birthday harvest – my heart and mind were ripe for receiving the life transforming message lived and recorded by this kindred spirit woman whom I am only now getting to know – just plain “Ann” – with no embellished “e” at the end.
And, through her harvest of reflections, I am knowing my Lord – and ultimately me – in a deeper way. Sort of like the depths of that birthday cake of mine. No traditional two layer cake for me anymore – I’m in at double the blessing with four layers!
Taking stock of one’s life can be a risky, if not dangerous, thing. This year’s harvest was fraught with anxiety and the harsh accusations of “epic fail.” Praise God, though, that my Birthday Harvest Weekend has a happy ending to my adventurous reflections and discoveries – with sequels in the works . . . and a sonnet to sum it up:
Failing into the arms of God
My salvation is His Grace.
Bouncing back in abounding joy
Empowered to run the race.
“Make mine weak,” the winner says,
“I much prefer its taste!”
In gratitude I hydrate thus
In failure is no waste.
Greater than I makes feet fleet;
The miraculous with each stride.
A carefree brow knows no sweat,
Clinging to Christ for the ride.
Thus I will ever in faith run,
Till all His promises I have won.
By Kathryn Ross (c) 2013
Leading me to Present #3: My Cozy Wrap To Warm Me
My wonderful son and daughter-in-love gifted me with this handmade fleece throw chosen with the happiest colors and bedecked with all things teatime and gladness! I love it! Perfect as I look toward the cooler temperatures ahead where I shall wrap myself in it – my teacup at the ready – and a season of One Thousand Gifts where I am thanking God for “all things bright and beautiful” – and the Word I needed so desperately to hear affirming my life’s call. In an ever darkening world, I have the Light of Hope on my mid-life path that assures me of purpose and provision and . . . JOY!
So – better late than never in starting my exercise to list one thousand gifts my heart has to be grateful for from the Lord’s hand to my heart:
Sharing September Harvest this week with: