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For me finishing a good book compares to my favorite pair of Saturday jeans. The go to jeans. Tattered and torn, worn thin with comfort. No matter how thin and frayed, I just can not give them up.

That’s how August was for me. As it came to a close, it was a book I did not want to give up. Not yet finished turning the pages. Trying to s-l-o-w the passing of time.  The jeans, after years of wear lie on the top of the heap. The first I will reach for when the first cool day comes waltzing in.

I am forced to unfurl my fingers and loosen my heartstrings from August and move forward to September.

Inspired by Emily P. Freeman’s post found here emilypfreema.com/learned-august/ I am sharing some things I learned in August.

IMG_1859 ~Geraniums come back to life.

In July, my pots of geraniums looked like something from the Walking Dead.  Tired of watering and plucking, I told my sweet man I thought we should just dump them. I turned my back on them. He patiently watered and fed and clipped them every day as I sat on the deck. Nose stuck in a book. Ignoring the ugliness they had become.

True to his word, by the end of August, my geraniums had turned into these delightful beauties. Once again attracting butterflies and bees. And me.

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~A Corgi-dachshund loves to chase and jump with grasshoppers.

Our back yard is over run with grasshoppers. I mean over run as in something akin to one of the plagues God let loose on the Egyptians back in the days of the Pharaoh.

This sweet little gem of a furry friend loves to chase them. As she’s chasing, she jumps, yes jumps, all collective twelve inches of her legs jump. It is the most absolute funniest thing to watch bringing laughter and joy to a weary soul at the end of a long day.

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~I discovered I have a slight book addiction.

There, I said it. Amazon is my best friend. The month of August brought out the best releases. I couldn’t gobble up the words fast enough.

As I would remove a book off the stack, several new ones found their way there.

There is nothing better than sitting on my deck, feet propped, up with beautiful stories to read. Lyrical prose. Words that dance across the page.

Books that beg for a highlighter and purple pen. Post it notes stuck between the pages.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said, “It is a great thing to start life with a small number of books which are your very own.”

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~Old love really is better than new love.

We celebrated twenty~eight years of marriage this summer, my man and me. I found myself pondering this thought a lot as we are in a different season of life.

As new love fades and slows to a love that is tried and true, fought and won, a new tenderness moves in. Stays.

The fragility of life stretches tight across my heart. I watch as he tends the flowers. Walks the dog on tender and tired feet. Bumps along on the tractor in his old straw hat.

When you come to the place of old love, you are on hallowed ground. I wish I could somehow stop time here in this place. Old love really is better than new love.

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~I found my mother in the mirror of my face.

When I was a little girl I always wanted to look like her. Tan with not a freckle to be found. Me, I was pale and freckled and turned all shades of pink and red when out in the sun.

We took a trip home in early August. Visited some old familiar places. I took lots of pictures between the laughter and treasuring of moments.

Later at home as I sat and went through the pictures on my laptop, I marveled. There in the mirror of my face was my mother. Oh she still tans, I still freckle, but somewhere along the way I had begun to look like her.

IMG_1587 ~How to celebrate and savor the small.

Two plus years ago I was diagnosed with a chronic illness, P.O.T.S. I was a runner. A long distance runner. Suddenly I found myself unable to stand or walk without aid.

I have come a long way since those early days of hard. I will never be free of this disease. I will carry it with me the rest of my life. Managing medications, fluid intake that includes copious amounts of Gatorade, salt tablets, and a new normal. God has met me in this place. Carried me through some deep waters. Wiped every tear.

As running left the radar screen of my new way of life, I began to dream of simply taking a walk. A walk on the beach. A walk with my man in the rain or in the rare southern snow. A walk in the woods along a dirt path.

This August I was able to walk around the perimeter of our yard. Walk with my man as he watered plants. Walked with the dog as she jumped with the grasshoppers. Walked the stones among the pots of geraniums. They’re not long walks. They are short and sweet. Never to be taken for granted.

I learned to celebrate and savor the small. God is so good isn’t he? I love that He shows himself to me in the small as well as in the big.

And these, my friend, are just a smattering of the things I learned in August.

Graced by God

Tammy Mashburn