My co-authored book with Tammy H. Meyer launches in just about a month! I wanted to share just a little of my heart behind this work with you, my friends who have followed this blog for several years.
So here’s my heart behind this book:
In my backyard in Augusta, Georgia, you will often find me crouching with a camera, taking photos of our pink Knockout Roses just outside my kitchen window. Or you might catch me rushing out the front door to capture the sun filtering through the southern pines. In the spring, I may be entranced, trimming fresh herbs from the planter box on my back deck, just like my grandmother used to do at her place all those years ago
I have always noticed the small beautiful things, and the way seasons ebb and flow and transition: the way the light changes, and how leaves sprout, grow, and eventually fall and are swept away in the winter wind.
As a little girl I was introverted and quiet, a deep feeler who noticed all the little things that others often overlooked. The seasons spoke to me: the blanketing white of the first snowfall, the burning reds and oranges of the Maples, and the way the sun paused at the Midwest horizon just before summer darkness came and the fireflies glittered.
I’m still that little girl at heart.
Now, when I travel to the Midwest, the places of my youth and heart land, Iowa fields beckon me with their endless acres of corn standing like golden flags fluttering in a summer breeze, clouds stretching as far as I can see. I attempt to take a mental photo, a snapshot filed inside my thoughts. I want to remember.
I have learned that there is much that nature and the seasons teach me about surrenders, new life, bleak winters, and the fresh hope found on our sunniest of days. I have learned that the literal seasons reflect the deeper seasons of the SOUL.
From one such period, a dark winter-of-the-soul season, I bear the mark, a reminder found from a long surgical scar. Its waxy-red trail streaks a vertical line down my stomach. Cancer, they had said. Ovarian cancer. I was twenty-nine years old and eight months pregnant when they removed it. And when the pain and scars were ten days fresh, I gave birth to my daughter on Christmas Day. I started chemotherapy the next day.
My daughter entered the world like a miracle that she was. But even though the cancer was removed, I was not yet out of the woods.
I lived through that winter and spring in the same year, becoming a new mom, decorating the nursery, and wondering if I also needed to plan the music for my funeral. I researched survival rates. I watched my daughter start to smile as my hair fell out from chemo. During the night I lifted bottles to feed her. During the day nurses lifted iv bags of cisplatin to kill the cancer that lurked inside me.
They were brutal, beautiful winter days.
photo credit: Tammy H. Meyer
The scars down my middle and my expectations of how I would become a mom defined me for a while. The physical places have healed, mostly. But I still carry “winter” with me to every doctor appointment, all these twenty years later.
I have also experienced fresh hope: like the spring after my cancer diagnosis with my first clear CT scan, or the day I learned that I would be a mom again, after all those drugs had left my body. Our son Mitchell proved that there would be more miracles, coming into our lives even after all the surgeries and therapies. Carrying fresh life inside of me again renewed my spirit and two and a half years after my winter season our son was born. Watching him smile for the first time to his big sister’s delight was like a ray of sunshine in my heart.
I’ve stood next to my husband many summers as a witness, watching our two children grow up. I’ve stared at them eating watermelon on our back deck on hot summer days or casting out their fishing line at the nearby lake. We’ve caught snowflakes on our tongues together and laughed ourselves silly on long hikes up mountain trails, the leaves changing to brilliant yellows. We’ve traveled through many seasons together, each with its gifts.
Of all the seasons, autumn is my favorite. There is something freeing and beautiful, though painful about letting things go, and facing the chill of change, waiting for the blanketing snow to make all things new. It reminds me most of what Jesus did for me in embracing that cross and allowing it to let go of all my sins.
When I met my dear friend and Co-Author Tammy four years ago, it was an instant kind of sisterhood. We walked the property of the most beautiful lodge retreat outside San Antonio, Texas one late fall several years ago. Her camera captured the breathtaking scene around us better than my iPhone ever could.
We realized quickly that we had the same heart for noticing the small details of the season- the floating leaf, the burnt orange bush, the vacant branches. We laughed hard by the fire those first few nights. We told stories that could only be understood by someone who had marched right through difficult spiritual seasons of estrangement, loss, and ultimately hope in an everlasting love of an eternal Father.
This book is a collection of stories reflecting our hearts, but most importantly, reflecting the heart of a God who is present in ALL of our seasons.
“A God of All Seasons” will launch in August with preorders available soon. It’s a collection of stories that speak to lifting our eyes to God’s unchanging love in every joy and every trial. I pray this book will challenge you to look at every spiritual season through the lens of mercy and grace. It has made all the difference for us.
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We can’t wait to swap stories with you and we have some fun, encouraging freebies and surprises planned for the next few weeks.
P.S. Tammy and I have a wicked sense of humor as well. I just LOVE this pic from three years ago in Texas..it pretty much expresses our excitement for this book.