Musings — August 2017

Loon call trills through the open window just as the rain begins to fall.  I leave the sash thrown wide because, I ask you, who could close a window on a song like that?  And as summer draws to a close, I am reluctant to close the window on a season that has been so short and yet so beautiful.

In August, we’ve enjoyed family time in all its chaos and delight and also had the experience of a day at the ocean with friends — and no kids!  One cooler and a few beach chairs!  Unimaginable simplicity!



We also visited Peaks Island with our son and his new bride. Riding the ferry from Portland, Maine’s largest city, and then walking the island gave us the opportunity to gulp in all the gorgeous views.

On the Blog

There’s a whole lot of truth to the idea of discovering the right book at the right time.  Jayber Crow was my introduction to the writing of Wendell Berry, and I was doing a lot of studying and teaching at the time.  It was exciting to be digging into Scripture and pondering the ways of God.  Of course, nobody warned me that there’s no end to the questions; and the more we search, the more there is to find.  Jayber’s questions ushered in a series of events that led him from theological training to the barber shop, but don’t for a minute think that this was the end of his ponderings about God.

Wendell Berry has created a fictional world in Port William, Kentucky and then populated it with the poignant, the hilarious, and the mundane.  Throughout my first reading of Jayber Crow, I found myself checking the back cover and muttering, “No, this is not a memoir by a real person.  This is fictional.” He’s a poet, too, and it shows — Berry, I mean, and so maybe . . . Jayber is, too.

Whether you prefer to gobble your books whole or to enjoy a more leisurely read, you are invited to participate in our reading and discussion group focused on Jayber and his Port William customers and friends.  Fair warning:  if your reading experience would be ruined by coarse language and obnoxious name calling such as you’d find in an old-timey barber shop, you may want to sit this one out.

If you love to talk about what you’re reading, OR if you would rather read the thoughts of others and just add them to your own quiet pondering, you are welcome.  I’m hoping that some of you will be inspired to write your own blog posts about your reading and ruminating and then to share a link in the comments.

Our leisurely and joyful discussion will begin on Thursday, September 7th when I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the first three chapters and inviting you to do the same. Here is the schedule so that you can plan accordingly:

september 7………………..chapters 1-3
september 14………………chapters 4-6
September 21………………chapters 7-8
september 28………………chapters 9-11
October 5……………………chapters 12-14
october 12………………….chapters 15-17
october 19………………….chapters 18-20
october 26………………….chapters 21-23
november 2…………………chapters 24-26
november 9…………………chapters 27-29
november 16……………….chapters 30-32

On the Monday following the tragic mayhem in Charlotesville, Virginia, SheLoves Magazine shared my essay addressing our spiritual blind spots through the retelling of a famous story about an elephant.  When the issue in the room is wide, gray and heavy, when it trumpets its voice and silences everything else within hearing distance, what is my right response? Will I lay confident hands on one aspect of the issue and announce that I’ve discovered its essence based on my own precious piece of the elephant?


The August book review that seemed to resonate with the most readers was Glory in the Ordinary by Courtney Reissig.  I think this may be because we all need reassurance that there is meaning in the mundane tasks that are stuck on replay in this mothering life.


Several months ago, Jerusha Agen wondered if I would be willing to contribute an article for The Fear Warrior Blog.  Of course I would! So, I shared a recent experience of God’s amazing ability to overcome feelings of insecurity and inadequacy in the context of ministry.  Greater than the reality of my fear is the promise of God’s presence and a moment-by-moment faith that allows Truth to inform my feelings. If you head over to Jerusha’s place to read more, be sure to scroll through other helpful articles — especially if fear is something you battle on a regular basis.


Just for Joy


We marked another milestone around our dining room table when our third towering son packed his belongings into his faithful truck and moved north to attend college in Bangor, Maine.  I miss him already.

Our oldest son celebrated five years of marriage to his lovely bride, giving us the excuse to nab precious time with their boy — our grand boy with the mischievous smile.

Homeschooling has begun for my high school boy, and it seems good to be returning to the rhythms of “normal” life.

August has landed hard on this pot of summer beauty.  A gift from May, I’ve watered through June and July, deadheaded, chased the sun, or moved the plant to shade as needed . . .  I thought.  But on this end-of-August day, I find myself snipping off dead stems, plucking away the brown and lifeless, trying to get back to green again.  Thanks be to God, there’s always a way back to life.  There is always enough grace, and my smallest movement along “paths of righteousness” is met with God’s unfailing supply of grace for the next move.

My prayer for you is that you are finding this to be true in your own following life.


I’m joining Emily Freeman and Leigh Kramer in sharing my monthly musings.

If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular Bible studies and book reviews delivered to your inbox.  Just enter your e-mail address in the field at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging  communities on a regular basis.  They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week.  I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.


81 thoughts on “Musings — August 2017”

  1. Hi Michele – These monthly posts are my favorite! I’m with you on being quite reluctant on saying good-bye to this season that took far too long to arrive on our New England shores. And don’t you love it when you capture a beautiful family shot somewhere outdoors, all casual and happy?

    And BTW, thanks for addressing the elephant in the room this month. Our living spaces get quite crowded when one {or two} arrive and settle in for the duration …


    1. I love the synchroblog idea! And what a great topic! Amen to your thoughts on the elephant in the room, and lately it seems as if we’ve inadvertently signed up for the Elephant of the Month club.


  2. What a beautiful life and family you have Michele. 🙂 Can you even believe it’s the last day of August already? My summer break ends the week after Labor Day, and I’m ready and not ready all at the same time. 🙂 So thankful for seasons that speak to us, calling us into their obedient rhythms, while all along preparing us for one that follows. — Hope your summer was great, friend. xoxo


  3. Love the musings and glimpses into your life, Michele. Simple beach days. Mischievous eyes and smiles – Cutie! And then there was one. Praying he calls often. : )
    Off to read more of this: “faith that allows Truth to inform my feelings.”
    Sweet blessings to you!


  4. Beautiful recapturing of a season. I love these glimpses into your life and your heart! Thank you, Michele. Jayber Crow here we come! How strange that September had found us already. My flowers are fading fast too. Likely they’ll soon be elk food; I’ve heard then calling in the meadow
    out back…


    1. So glad you’re here! I’ve been thinking for the past three days that I needed to cut and paste this reading schedule into an email for you. And now here you are! Elk! Unbelievable — you live where the wild things are!


  5. Dear Michele,
    Thank you for being willing again to lead us through another great book discussion! I just ordered my Kindle copy tonight–I even had a gift card saved for “sometime” and this felt like the right gift! Praying for you as you settle back into “routine” even as change is all around! Blessings to you.


  6. It sounds like you had some times of refreshing this summer but you’ve also been very busy haven’t you? Love the pictures of you and your family. Heading over to read the article of yours that I haven’t seen yet, When I am not Enough. Thanks for sharing your August days with us my friend.


  7. Michele, I loved wandering through your post reading about your activities and family time! I actually own the book Jayber Crow but haven’t read it yet. I might join in this time! I love Wendell Berry’s work.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I always enjoy your musings, Michele! Alas, I do not hear the call of the loon through my window however the Jays, Cardinals, and finches have a sweet sound all their own! What a blessed summer you have had! Thank you for sharing!


  9. I’m so glad I clicked on this link from Spiritual Sunday.
    I keep my window open too, the summer sounds are fleeting, I want to hear them as long as I can. And Wendell Berry is a favorite of mine….I loved Hannah Coulter.


  10. Michele, I so enjoy these monthly posts. Like you, I so don’t want to see this summer come to a close as it went by so quickly. Yet, I am loving the sounds, smells and sights of fall coming as well. May we enjoy each season in the full joy of our Lord!


  11. As much as I complain about the long free-for-all that is summer, I am sad when it leaves. I love fall and all its energy and new starts, but it feel more like a new year than January to me. I get nostalgic over things that happened last week with the kids, feeling like they are growing up so fast…


  12. Looks like you had a lovely August, Michele and I hope that September is happy for you also. Thanks for sharing your musings with us at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty and have a great day!


  13. You have had a delightful month. I am from Massachusetts, and was never so proud of Boston as when we sent the hate-filled neo-nazi’s back to where ever it was they came from. August is fleeting….but September and October are so beautiful it isn’t so bad.


  14. Michele,
    I always enjoy tuning in for your “Musings”. I absolutely LOVE your quote on wisdom. Maybe it’s a gift God gives us in our middle years – that it’s okay not to know all the answers. But, we can point the way to the One who does. Enjoyed your summer of celebration and joining with you easing back into the fall pace of things knowing that, like you said, God has grace there to meet us in every step we take.
    Bev xx

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I love your round-up. It’s so great. You are blessed to be close to your grandson. My parents live so far away I know they and my girls miss each other terribly.
    Thanks for linking to #globalblogging.


  16. I just started Jayber Crow this morning – my first time to ever read (or listen to) Berry, though I have heard great things about him and wanted to read him for some time. When my kids were small, I always was reluctant to leave the more laid-back summer for the busier school year. But the more structured schedules did help in ways, and I do look forward to cooler days and fall color. Glad you had some one-on-one time with the grandboy!


  17. Oh, that photo of your grandson and the watermelon is priceless! Glad you had family and couple time this month. The thing I’ve noticed about the nest emptying is that when they come back, there is more of them. Family meals might not be as often but they are epic!

    I can’t decide if I should jump in with Jayber Crow or not … I’m bad about overloading my plate … but in any event, I will eagerly read the discussion.


    1. Yes, they come back with more! And the Labor Day picnic I packed yesterday sure proved the truth of it! But so thankful for the fun and glorious chaos when we get together. Thanks, Jerralea, for taking time to read and to comment!


  18. Love the book discussion idea – it’s just a hard time for a teacher to start another new thing! Blessings on your discussions though!


  19. August has been a very busy month here in Massachusetts too. My oldest is going into the 10th grade and my youngest is going into the 5th. It is nice to get back to a more normal routine though and I’m looking forward to Fall:) #mg


  20. You write so beautifully! Over here in England we haven’t had much of a summer! So I’m quite excited to welcome in the Autumn/Fall and start to cosy in with my family in the evenings. Summer always seems so busy – making the most of any good weather we have! #globalblogging


    1. You’re strategy is perfect: when summer disappoints, move on and enjoy a great autumn! We have the same pressure here in the Northeast U.S. — if there’s a warm and sunny day, we feel duty bound to make the most of it. I love autumn, and am looking forward to setting a big kettle of soup on my stove.


  21. I love your graceful writing because of phrases like this one: When the issue in the room is wide, gray and heavy, when it trumpets its voice and silences everything else within hearing distance, what is my right response? Thank you for being an inspiration in many ways.


  22. Look at you in your hat! So pretty! Homeschooling rhythms have commenced here as well and I’m trying to figure out how to get it all done. Although the 4-year-old being up for about 3 straight hours or more last night doesn’t help. 😉


  23. What a gorgeous family you have Michele! I absolutely love Maine, though it’s been quite some time since I’ve been there. I’m probably due for a nice visit. I’m so blessed by your consistent visits and linkups. So often I visit other writer’s sites, but only sporadically as I’m linked up beside them. To come by every week helps me to get to know you better. I really enjoy your thoughts and your new book and reading plan sounds interesting. Keep up the creative, God-honoring work! Have a great week!!


  24. here in Australia we are entering Springtime and the flowers are beginning to bloom, new life! Our bunnies are beginning to have babies and it is so beautiful to be a part of it. I really enjoyed this post and your grandson is adorable. #mg


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