856. August, the summer’s last messenger of misery… ~Henry Rollins

August ends today,
and yet summer will continue
by force to grow more days.
They sprout secretly between
the chapters of the year,
covertly between its pages.
~Adapted and edited quote by
Jonathan Safran Foer

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Sail away, sail, sail away–oh wretched month of August that brings into such sharp focus the “furious boil” of Texas summers. Your daily assaults of sweltering heat test my sanity, my stamina, and my endurance! As the beast of sizzling nastiness that you are, you’ve successfully bathed the landscape in drab browns and beiges by keeping nary a drop of rain from falling, day after day after drought-ridden day. But, alas and alack, your time coin will be spent at midnight today! And even though the heat of your volcano-like fury will linger a bit longer, at least there are a few visible signs that autumn is on the way. So it is with a huge grin and a hopeful heart that I say goodbye and good riddance!

I cared for you in the wilderness, in the land of the burning heat. ~Hosea 13:5  ✝

507. Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face. ~Victor Hugo

E = mc2, WW II, Shakespeare,
Parliament, ABC, Home Ec,
Digital, Olympics, Dewey Decimal,
H2O…

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If one desperately needed to laugh, he/she would probably not look first in the “groves of Academe” for that which brings the gift of uproarious laughter, but that’s where I found it yesterday. And the folks around the table at lunch, including me, whose areas of expertise are expressed above the photo, had all long been high school educators. During our time together in those “groves” we formed bonds like hydrogen does with oxygen to make a life-giving source.

We were young then and raising our families, but now decades later we’re retired. The bond we formed while we taught, however, is strong still, as it usually is, with people who share in each other’s tragedies and failures as well as rejoice in each other’s triumphs and joys. Inside and outside classroom walls, we were part of the village it takes to raise a child, ours and those of others, and overtime the village was forged into a fortress that has withstood the test of time.

After my friends and I retired, we decided to meet for lunch once a month. But because I’ve been experiencing more pain than usual this last year, I have not been joining them for a while. Though not life-threatening the arthritis in both of my feet has kept me from being able to stand very long for years.  Now the Restless Leg Syndrome I’ve been experiencing has worsened rendering some nights virtually sleepless, and the problem with my left knee that developed in January has not been resolved which keeps me hobbling around with a cane. Together these issues have lately had me spiraling down into a dark and humorless pit; so I decided last week I needed to and therefore should attend our little gathering this month, and I’m so glad I did. Though we eat in the restaurant where we meet, my friend Liz always makes dessert, and yesterday she brought her “world’s best” cheesecake. So it was that as all headed home our bellies and souls had been richly fed, and we had shared in long, joyous, and spiritually healing laughter.  Winter had been driven from my face, and now I can enjoy autumn even more than ever.

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. ~Psalm 126:2a   ✝

Thank you, Lord, for these and all your “tender mercies.”