If you’ve been reading much this week you know I have featured some heavy content. The past two days, especially, have more closely resembled the newspaper column I used to write for the Tampa Tribune.
So today I’m easing up a little and featuring five random photos – plus a few observations to go along with each one.
My Personal Gardener:
I’ll start with Rebekah nurturing my herb garden. I love to cook and Rebekah loves to eat my cooking – it’s win-win! So we’ve developed this tradition where she cultivates a bountiful herb garden for me on the deck, right outside the kitchen door. If I want some fresh basil, or fragrant thyme, or maybe a sprig of sage, I just walk out and snip what I need. It’s a beautiful thing.
It’s all about the details. Tomato soup with fresh sweet basil is not remotely like the exact same soup without it. Rub fine-chopped rosemary into a steak before you grill and you can taste the freshness. Oregano and thyme harvested two minutes ago make my spaghetti sauce burst with flavor. In our pre-packaged world, there is no substitute for the real thing.
We Need Authentic Community:
Image number two is this view of the church as I left my Wednesday night men’s Bible-study. Meeting with other Jesus-followers to talk, to share our lives, to pray, and to learn from scripture grounds me in the middle of the week in a way that is unique to the practice of Christian community.
We need each other, and not simply because we are flawed and broken in so many ways, but because that is how and why we were created. Our design as created beings requires faith-based inspiration and nurture and accountability and encouragement if we are to even begin to approach the potential The Creator has in mind.
Photos three (above) and four (in the slideshow) demonstrate just how fast spring has galloped into the beginnings of summer. Scout meandering across the pathway to sniff out a cookie at my parents’ house next door, then the view from the deck behind Maul-Hall as everything races to turn green.
It’s been almost five years now and I am still excited to experience the changing seasons. I love the gentle rhythms of life here in North Carolina, where even the most challenging circumstances play out against a backdrop of winter, spring, summer, and fall. Cycles of life, regeneration, promise, and beauty.
Up on the Roof!
My fifth photo was taken Thursday morning at Wake Med North, where I took my dad for the first of two cataract surgeries. Several years ago I made the decision to always, whenever possible, park on the roof. It doesn’t matter what you’re up to – airport, mall, hospital, office, show – parking on the roof can frame the moment and make it better.
In Tampa I especially loved the nine-story parking deck at the airport, looking back towards the city, or out over Raymond James Stadium, or west toward the causeway and St. Petersburg beyond. In the summer there would often be lightning in distant clouds.
So yesterday I paused on the roof at the medical center, looked out over the beautiful trees that are omnipresent in North Raleigh, and asked God to be with my dad and to make him whole. It’s worth driving all the way to the top even if only to remind ourselves to include the Creator in whatever is coming next, and to listen – if only for a moment – for the still small voice.
Still listening. Won’t you join me? I recommend it – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.