Toothpick trees and Cloudy Days

The white days of summer are here. White clouds cover the sky. They're formless, really. These kinds of days are ones that are hard. I struggle as it is to find beauty here. I truly want to. My eyes scan the horizon. I'm a naturalist, according to Gary Thomas's Sacred Pathways assessment. I feel God's presence most when I'm surrounded by nature. I don't have much of that here. Over the years I've seen the effort to plant more trees, and I've appreciated it. But it's not enough. Or so it seems.

See, these days present choices for me. A choice to wake up and smile regardless of the presence of sunlight or not. My second son, the one with great perspective and lots of joy, his words pierce my heart this morning. "What a beautiful day, Mommy!" I rub my eyes, wondering if he sees what I see. Apparently not.

The trees outside are growing. When we moved into this complex of 30,000 people, the trees were newly planted, sticking up from the hard ground like toothpicks. Those who've ever lived in this country know exactly what I mean. How toothpicks grow into trees is amazing. Though I've really never paid much attention to them. Taller, greener, fuller, that's what I'm looking for, not toothpick trees and cloudy days.

 This morning I woke up and there were what people here call, "real clouds". I am grateful for real clouds and my feet skip down the 6 flights of stairs as I meet up with a friend at a nearby cafe. I stop on the 3rd floor and repent. Lord, with fluffy clouds or no fluffy clouds, yet, will I still praise you. It seems silly. At my age, I should have learned that already. I shouldn't need to be reminded that the imperative is to rejoice always. A thankful heart. That's what I need.

Still learning. I'm on a hunt for beauty, and God surrounds me with it every day. When will I see it?


  1. I thank Father for those "real cloud days" He gives and say, with you, that "Father, puffy clouds or not, we will yet praise You! You are beautiful, Lord!"
    I miss you, my friend. ...but love reading your thoughts here, helps me hear a small piece of your beautiful heart---His heart shining through you!


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