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Under the Butternut Trees

I spent much of my blogging break working busily ‘as unto the Lord’ in the kitchen, the garden, the car, and elsewhere, but some of the best hours were spent under our butternut trees.

It was my favorite spot this summer, a place of open-eyed prayer, read alouds, chats, and much-needed rest.  It was a summer of learning to live more deeply, of learning to receive God’s good gifts more consciously, noticing and accepting and enjoying them.  And my chair under our butternuts was a place of pondering, a place to regain strength, a place to watch the moon and the stars and the bats, to chatter with precariously perched squirrels, to ponder sermons, to spread before the Lord, like Isaiah, the suicide of a child’s friends’ friend.  It was a place where everything happened, and nothing.

Here we explored with the Swiss Family Robinson, adventured with The Sea Islanders, sailed Two Years Before the Mast.  Here I struggled with Calvin; was re-acquainted with the humble clarity and godliness of C.S. Lewis; encountered Wendell Berry, the first poet I can recommend unreservedly; learned how people change and grow; thought about science in history and in current philosophy; and pondered the frailty of human beings.

Now the lawn chairs are put away and the living room fire roars.  It is too snowy to sit under the butternut trees, even wrapped a blanket.  Yet the open-eyed prayer continues, with gratitude for increased stamina, less dizziness, the ability to think, and no pain…and with deepened concern for others who suffer in any of the many ways we humans suffer…and with the constant quest for wisdom to know how to live each day.

May God bless you and your loved ones, daily convince you of his goodness, and fill your lives with gratitude.


  1. Kathleen says:

    I have sent many, many “open-eyed prayers” up to the Lord while wrestling with Calvin…. He can be a difficult grappling partner.

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Yes, he is! On the other hand, he’s one of the most pastoral reformers, too.

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