Musings — September 2017

The geese have already begun their practice maneuvers over our heads on this country hill. They’re getting ready to go, so at least one goofy son will have asked the annual joke question:

“Why is one side of the longer than the other?”
Pause and grin.
The answer?
“One side of the is longer than the other because it has more geese.”
And I laugh every year because that joke parallels my own habit of peering into a simple matter and making it more complicated than it needs to be.

I’m still reading Jeremiah these days, and it occurs to me that he must have looked overhead and observed the patterns of migratory birds as well:

“Even the stork in the heavens
Knows her appointed times;
And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow
Observe the time of their coming.
But My people do not know the judgment of the Lord.”   Jeremiah 8:7

For birds of the air, obedience to the call of God is a matter of instinct. They know the time has come to move, and so they do it. I’m envious at times of their place in what Mary Oliver has called “the family of things.” But then, when I hear their wild call as they begin their flight to a southern home, I’m reminded to be thankful for the gift of choice.

On My Mind

This fall I’m working on a concept I read about on Philip Yancey’s blog. He’s quoting Charles Chu in urging readers to construct “a fortress of habits.” In his case it’s a matter of being disciplined in his reading, but my fortress of habits is needed around the practice of healthy eating and exercise. I want to be like those geese flying overhead: to just keep doing the right thing over and over and over . . . without thinking about it too much (remember the joke?) or making excuses to give myself an out. After all, if I think about obedience too long, I might be tempted to fall into the habits of disobedience Jeremiah lamented in the nation of Israel as he watched the birds fly overhead.

On the Blog

Readers at Living Our Days are three weeks into a book discussion group around Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry. It’s not too late to join us, and I know you’ll find the participants’ comments to be insightful. They’ve certainly been enhancing my own reading of the story! If you enjoy asking questions about the faith and diving into a cast of quirky but lovable characters, you’ll enjoy our low-pressure meandering journey through Jayber’s story.


In keeping with my resolve to keep my reading life down to a dull roar, I’ve reviewed only three books in September:

*** 1 ***

Table Mentoring  is a challenge to share this following life alongside another, and author Sue Moore Donaldson has Scriptural backing:

“God comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”  ~I Corinthians 1:3,4

Fair warning: This book has changed the way I pray about mentoring, and with its helpful collection of printables for use in a mentoring relationship, I’m finding myself eager to use them and believing what Sue has said:

“If you know one promise in God’s Word, you are ready to mentor that one promise.  Ask God for someone to share it with today.”

*** 2 ***

Shauna Shanks had every reason to give up on her marriage. Her husband had been unfaithful, he had zero interest in reconciling with her, and her hope was wearing thin. A Fierce Love is a record of her resolve to fight for her marriage and to live by the principles of I Corinthians 13 in a posture of grace and restraint. Shauna clung to the truth that God had already set a high value upon her, and this guarded her heart from dwelling on negative thoughts and helped to pull her out of depression and despair.

“The Bible instructs us to take our thoughts captive.  We act as though we have no control over our thoughts . . . as if once they pop into our heads, we have to let them live there.
Take them captive.  They will kill you.”

*** 3 ***

In Peace in the ProcessKristin Hill Taylor shares her astonishment at the great gift of insight adoption brought to her understanding of the Christian life. Understanding the depth of God’s choosing love and leaning into this faith gave Kristin peace in the process of becoming a mum and leaving a much-loved career to stay home with her first child. The Taylors went on to adopt two more babies, each story unique and each child a gift from God.

By sharing the details of each adoption and including the diverse stories of a number of friends who also adopted, Kristin prepares readers who are considering adoption for the twists and turns of the process that sent her to Daniel’s Old Testament anthem to God’s sovereignty:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and might are His.
And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.
 He reveals deep and secret things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And light dwells with Him.  (Daniel 2:20-23)

On the Hill

The garden is still producing green beans, tomatoes, and enough other things that I’m almost afraid to go look. Best of all are the sunflowers which I always plant with abandon. The last time I checked, the pumpkins were turning orange, and I haven’t even begun to harvest the beets and squash.  Joy!

All the pink-lettering in this post cannot possibly have escaped your attention.  Or maybe it did, but this mum of four sons and one grandson has had precious little use for the color pink in the past 23 years, but things are about to change around these parts.

Rosanna newborn


Welcome to the family, little Rosanna Marie Morin, born on September 12 and weighing in at 8 lbs. and 3 oz. Her gorgeous dark hair is covered by the hat, but I promise to share more pictures soon.

(I’d be happy to share more pictures.
It’s no trouble at all . . . honest!)


This one with her dad (my oldest son) and her big brother is my favorite.


Thanks to all for reading and for your encouraging comments throughout the month. You’ve made this a safe and welcoming place for me and for others, and I am grateful for your positive input and your interest in the stories of how God meets us in the process of Living Our Days.


Photo in featured image by Ethan Weil on Unsplash


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95 thoughts on “Musings — September 2017”

  1. Congratulations on your new granddaughter! What fun to be able to enjoy this new little girl! I love the pic you posted of your son and her brother…delightful! I am intrigued by what you shared about “a fortress of habits”. It can be easy to wander or suddenly be meandering in any number of areas. I have never checked out his blog. Thanks!! Love from Ohio!! (PS Love the sunflowers!!)


  2. Congratulations on your beautiful granddaughter! What a blessing – as are the jokes our boys tells us over and over so that they become a thread in the fabric of our story. I so need to build a fortress of habits – habits are not my strength 🙂 Thank you for gently reminding me to keep trying. Praying God’s Shalom in your week, Michelle!
    ~ Maryleigh


  3. Great post, Michele. I love mutual mentoring, others have mentored me and I’ve spent years multiplying the same blessings as I mentor others. Especially celebrate this, “If you know one promise in God’s Word, you are ready to mentor that one promise. Ask God for someone to share it with today.” Awesome! I met Shauna at a writers conference several years ago…powerful story. Thanks for your faithful blog posts that minister to so many and congratulations on the new family addition. Rosanna is beautiful!


    1. Wow, so great that you met Shauna.
      And someday, I’d like to meet Sue, the author of all those good thoughts on table mentoring. She’s had a lot of rich experiences around the table and is good at sharing them.


  4. Congrats to you and your hubby on that beautiful new grandbaby, Michele! I’m not yet to that stage but always envy those who are in it! And I’m with you on trying to create a habit of eating healthier. With the holidays coming, I know I’ve got to get things in place now or I’ll be in bad shape with all those temptations come my way! Thanks also for encouraging us to read and offering insight into each of these fine books!


  5. I always love reading your reflections, Michele! It sounds like you’ve had a busy month- it made me smile that *only* doing three book reviews plus leading a book study is a slower pace for you! I love the photos of Rosanna and I’m glad you’ve got an excuse for some pink at last!


  6. I enjoyed visiting with you and hearing about your days. Congratulations on the new “Morin”! 🙂

    I always appreciate your book reviews. They are very in-depth, but never give too much away, but just enough to wet the appetite. You truly gifted.



  7. I love these kinds of posts – they’re like sitting across the kitchen table, chatting. I need to be more disciplined about healthy eating, too (as well as exercise). I am hesitant to establish boundary lines, because they always become battle lines. Yet without them, it’s too easy to talk myself into allowing almost anything. One thing that I think makes it hard is that there is no food that is inherently sinful to eat. And I am glad of that! But that also makes it hard to know where to draw the lines. I’m trying to keep in mind the question whether the temporary pleasure of how something tastes is worth the longer-term consequences of eating it. My biggest problem with exercise is just the time it takes, but I need to look at it as an investment in good health rather than seeing it as taking away from other things I’d rather do.

    Congratulations on your sweet granddaughter! I have 3 boys and 1 grandson, so I would dearly love to have some pint-sized femininity around the house some day!

    Sunflowers are not my favorite flower, but they’re so cheerful-looking that I enjoy them.


  8. Dear Michele,
    Congratulations on that beautiful new little Grand-daughter! I also love that picture of your son with his little ones. It’s so amazing to watch the next generations passing on the LOVE! Thank you for sharing your excitement about words with all of us who journey here. You have such a giving heart, and it shows in the way that you open your heart and share what you have gleaned. May the Lord bless you richly!


  9. Michele, I love coming to your blog because reading it always gives me such a sense of peace. Yes to building a fortress of habits we don’t need to think about! I need that too! And Jayber Crow looks good, I’ve been seeing your IG posts about it. Congratulations on that new granddaughter. Beautiful. So much beauty to enjoy in this life, isn’t there?


  10. All the thoughts and books you’ve shared are awesome, but the most important: CONGRATULATIONS!! How beautiful your baby Rosanna is! I imagine you’re heart is just about bursting. I’m a sucker for tiny feet and the smell of baby skin after a sink bath. xoxo


  11. It’s a girl, what joy!!! I imagine she will be quite a novelty in your family of men. Congratulations to all!

    I like your geese analogy and imagine if I can do what geese do so well in my own life, like living healthy and whole, I will be so much better off. I will be praying for your journey.

    So good to be back here in your space. You inspire me!


  12. I’m so with you on wanting to be like the geese. Health is my struggle as well. Bad choices happen far too often for me. And consistency is definitely not a strength for me ;).
    Congrats on your beautiful new addition, Michele! How wonderful to finally have a precious little girl in the family.


  13. Michele,
    Welcome to God’s little miracle, Rosanna!! Congratulations all around! I bet you can whip those pictures out faster than a gunslinger can whip out his six shooter lol. I like the idea of “a fortress of habits”. As I recuperate still from foot surgery, I need to get back into an exercise routine as well. There are some other good habits I need to cultivate as well. Always love your Musings!
    Bev xx


  14. Congratulations on your granddaughter! Pink, pink, pink!

    I love the thought of “a fortress of habits.” I need to work on that in the same 2 areas! I’m going to chew on that. Have a great October. I look forward to those “musings,” as well.


    1. You won’t believe how warm it’s been here in Maine. This week we’ve had temps approaching the 90’s. Amazing! It’s been hard for me to get into an autumn frame of mind when I’m still picking green beans!


  15. Michele,

    Congratulations on the grand baby! And, thank you for the reference to Yancey’s blog – I will be checking it out today and I have added to my reading list. It’s always a pleasure stopping by your blog!


    Liked by 1 person

  16. Wow Michele. This post is packed with lots of goodies. Congratulations on your new grandchild. What a blessing from the Lord. I too have made it a priority to live and eat healthier. In my desire to serve the Lord, I need to take care of my body and my soul. So, I’m committed to nourishing both my physical and spiritual needs. Pray,er, meditating on God’s Word, and getting the proper rest and nutrition is a balance I am focusing on going forward. When we practice those Godly habits, they become second nature. Our souls are refreshed, and spirit is lifted high. I hope you have a fantastic weekend and may God continue to bless you and yours. Be well.


  17. A sweet granddaughter. Congrats! Wishing I had planted sunflowers. They are so cheerful. On our trip this summer we came across two fields of them. Sunflowers stretching as far as one could see. So spectacular. Read Jaber Crow a year ago and enjoyed the book. Glad it is getting some more eyes in it.


  18. She’s so precious, Michele. Congratulations! I know the powder-blue life well. All mine were boys too, so perhaps I’ll have a baby girl one day to lavish in pink, too. 🙂 — And, your green beans pic on instagram whatever-day-ago-that-was has had me craving them since. 🙂 Yummy to my tummy. Wish I could garden. One day. 🙂 — Thanks for sharing your month, friend. xoxo


  19. So, I just have a little caution about a fortress of habits… Sometimes our habits inhibit our flexibility and we miss God opportunities. Not that I would know anything about a too rigid schedule or restricted living or anything… ahem. I’ve got to remember to leave room for grace and God to work, too! Blessings!


    1. Great caution, Liz. I have the same tendency myself — I’m a stick with the schedule girl, even if all indicators are saying it’s time to forge a new plan. (We should talk . . .) And then, in totally frustrating perversity, I have a terrible time establishing good habits and routines (the very thing I love) when it comes to my health and fitness.
      And some people think we don’t need a Savior.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I am happy to see many more photos of your gorgeous granddaughter, I love the one of your son and grandson they look so happy to have her in their arms, what a blessing a new child is xx #mg

    Liked by 1 person

  21. What a beautiful and uplifting blog post of musings, Michele. And congratulations on the new granddaughter. I will not likely have a granddaughter unles my son and his wife adopt as they are finished producing biological children after giving us two grandsons. I am so happy to discover your blog on the Grandmother’s Blogging Link Party! I also lament the lack of Biblical literacy today and believe our world would be a better place to live in if this changed. I hope and pray it will!


    1. Thanks for introducing yourself — I’ve found your blog as well. It’s so good to meet writers of “like mind,” and truly, I wondered if my life would be forever boys (4 sons!), but the girls have begun to come in the form of daughters-in-love and, now, one tiny granddaughter!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Welcome to the world, little Rosanna!!!! We will cover you with prayer and love.

    A fortress of habits is EXACTLY what I need and what I crave (even when my emotions don’t) because I know this is what God wants for me. Lewis (you know my love for him) spoke of it often…doing the thing we know is right whether we “feel” it or not.


    1. Heavens, yes! If I lived only by my feelings . . . I don’t even want to think about what my house would look like! Always love it when C.S. Lewis gets brought into the conversation.


  23. What a beautiful little grand-daughter you have! Praise the Lord for His wonderful gifts! I love your musings and your book reviews, as always. Yay for a successful September – now on to October!


  24. I noticed the pink right away. Congratulations on welcoming Rosanna Marie! Looking forward to more pictures and the addition of pink! : )
    One motivation I had for working to make good habits automatic was all the talk of decision fatigue. Love the idea of a “fortress of habits.”


  25. Oh congratulations – Rosanna is just gorgeous. Those Sunflowers are lovely – we had loads in the garden this year although they just fell down on a windy day – perfect timing to tie some up and use in a pretty bouquet for my sister on her birthday! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday


    1. Ha! When your kids get older, they will probably notice that tendency and tease you a bit. Mine do. Especially when I ask complicated questions about motives and back story whenever we watch a movie together.
      I guess they love me anyway. 🙂


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