November: learnings

1. The differences between wind-borne leaves and birds is sometimes negligible in November.

light 2

2. Fall is a season which might convince one of the glory of dying: the dance of the leaves as they fall, and the trees casting less and less shadow and admitting more and more view of the sky and the sun. If I must waste away and decay — and, eventually, I must, if I don’t die suddenly and young — I’d like to do it this way: showing up less and less of me, and more and more of the Majestic Glory behind me.

3. Teaching depressing literature is easier than teaching happy literature. I think, when I find the way to teach the happy literature well, I will consider myself a better teacher than I am now.

4. There’s a new doll on the market, like a Barbie, but made to match the proportions of an average, real-life girl. Along with the Lammily Doll, you can buy a set of reusable stickers in order to give your doll acne, cellulite, scars, stretch marks, and make her blush, among other things. The need for such stickers, to me, indicates the death of imagination: kids can’t imagine things that aren’t there; they have to have physical evidence. (And who wants to pretend her doll has acne, anyway?)

5. I finally “got” the parable of the lost sheep: for years I’ve read it and felt just a bit disappointed deep down that the angels didn’t rejoice that much over me, because, having been saved so early, I never got lost. Praise the Lord for allowing me to see that in truth there are no good sheep. Each of us who is in His fold as a repentant sinner is there because He went out and sought us when we were lost. And His grace is such that He would save even me, though I spend so much time thinking that somehow I didn’t need finding.

6.  It is hard to get a really good picture of cotton bales when driving past them:


7. There are so many guest rooms all over the U.S. which have been made available for me to use on someday visits: it makes me grateful for years of moving all over the place, and for having attended a college where everyone was not from one state. (Will I visit them all? It doesn’t seem all that feasible, but it’s nice to have the option.)

8. Speaking of long-distance friends, I re-discovered that I have some wonderful ones. And that is wonderful.

9. Asian grocery stores are interesting to visit. (Or, at least the one I’ve visited was.)

10. My taste in apple pies is not like other people’s. I don’t like them goopy or very sweet: I’ve only been making apple pies for twenty years or something, but this is the first year I learned that other people expect goopy sweetness. Still, people like to look at them, anyway:
pie11. Again and again, at many times and in many ways, through all the surprises that a November — or any other month — can offer, God is indeed good. He lets me taste and see it. I rejoice.

12. I can’t count? (Actually, this is a December learning, since I noticed today that when I wrote this post yesterday, my numbers ran 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,10, 10.) I’ve corrected that now.


Today I link up with Emily P. Freeman of Chatting at The Sky to share things I learned in November. Use the button above to visit her site and join in the fun yourself.

©2014 by Stacy Nott

He. Knows.

I’ve been thinking about how much He knows.

The path around the pond is invisible if you don’t know it, covered thickly in leaves. As I sat beside the pond, leaves fell, and acorns fell, and I saw millions — literally millions — of things, though I did not consciously notice all of them.

If He knows my rising up and my sitting down, if He scrutinizes my path — and He does — He knew each leaf, each acorn that I crushed under my boots this morning. He knew how they got there, how they grew, how they were changed by my passing feet.

And if He understands my thought from afar — not even I understand my thought — He understood each of the millions of things that came within my line of vision to be processed by my thoughts, to form the image that I saw.

He numbers the stars, the hairs on my head.

He knows when a sparrow falls, and if He knows that He must also know when sparrows do not fall. He must know when they fly, how each feather on each wing moves, catches the wind. He must know each twig around which tiny sparrow feet cling.

And if He knows each twig, He knows the trees on which they grow, the angles of the branches, the texture of the bark, the paths by which the sap flows from deep-reaching roots to tender tree-top. He knows each leaf, from its emergence in knobbly bud to the day it flutters, butterfly-like, to earth. He knows the pattern of veins in each leaf, though no two are alike, knows how their corners curl, knows each spot and imperfection, and each perfection.


Not of all leaves in general, but of each specific leaf, of the specific leaf I turned between thumb and forefinger, the specific leaf whose lines I traced with my eyes this morning. He knew its brown and its green tinges, knew how one part disintegrated, leaving an area of delicate web-work. He knew all that before I saw it, before I picked it up. And He knows where it is now, whether it remains where I dropped it on the dusty deck-boards, whether it was blown away, covered by other leaves.

He knows.

This is too-high knowledge, too-wonderful, unattainable.

I cannot think of anything He does not know. I cannot think anything He does not know.

And I could trace out details, go with a magnifying glass along the path and examine each leaf, each mark in the dirt. I could speculate until my mind was exhausted, imagine until my imagination was used up, but never outstrip His knowledge.

It makes me feel small, insignificant.

And yet, and yet, He knows me. He cares to know me, to name me, to set His love on me, to die for me.

He declares me precious.


©2013 by Stacy Nott