Everyone should have way to unwind. Mine is sitting under the shining stars. (Hence my blog name) And the best stargazing happens in Texas… In Seminole to be exact. No offense, it’s just that we didn’t have mosquitos and the night-cooled air was not muggy at all. (In my opinion, Kansas has the best sunsets though) Now some people think West Texas is not much to look at, but at night… that’s a different story. It truly is beautiful. Some of our best family times happened during the twilight hours. For us, it was a time to process, to reflect, and to reconnect on a heart level. A time to marvel at God’s handiwork.
One of my favorite places was on the front porch. It was not a big porch, it was just a dull gray slab of concrete only 4 ft by 10 ft-but it was big enough. The view was amazing. We were peanut/cotton farmers at the time and lived 15 miles out in the country with no close neighbors so there wasn’t much other light to distract the heavens glow. We would sing, Nathan would strum his guitar. It was nice. Our field was in the back yard, so sometimes while I sat and chatted with one of our children, my husband Isaac would come home from checking the water (irrigation) one last time for the day. I would invite him to join us, but he would usually retire sooner than me, saying, “Honey, I’ve been outside all day.” I understood his unwinding also involved a book and an iced down Coke. He was an early morning person, me, not so much.
My favorite time was Sunday nights. I would wait for the children to come home at 10:00 (such a difference from our later norms here in Kansas) and we’d spend the next hour talking about our day. We were youth leaders and knew each of the youth personally so it was fun catching up on our children’s friends and what the youth were doing when we weren’t there.
Our yard also had an area for playing volleyball at the side of the house. We used that for nights when the porch got too full. Sometimes we had different friends over and we would spread out a blanket on the grass and talk. Some very bittersweet memories were made out in the twinkled darkness, things that only our family lived through and could understand. At times it was almost a sacred place for us, we shared struggles and yes, at times, tears… had prayer times. It was a good place.
A family picture in our front yard years ago in the fall.
A picture Daniel took in our front yard overlooking the volleyball area, I like the mix of sky, moon and the light in his bedroom window.
My fascination with night sky happened early on. As children, we would go to my cousin Jakey and Lena’s house to visit. After we would have exhausted ourselves playing “cops and robbers,” (very fun btw especially with a four wheeler) we would lay on the grass and star gaze and watch satellites sail by and talk. Those were good memories.
My cousin Susie and I also had an interesting tradition we started as children and I still try to keep until this day. On her birthday (and mine) at 8:00 in the evening, I will go out and look at the moon while she does the same thing in Canada. I have no idea if she still does that, but I think it’s the nice way to remember her and send up a prayer on her special day.
I like the way the night sky connects all of us. I love the thought of God looking down on us all at the same time. It gave me comfort to know that the same stars my children were seeing when they were in far, far, FAR away Hoapoca Bible School, Mexico, (in the “middle of nowhere” in this worried mom’s imagination) were the same stars I could see. I could trust the Lord to take care of my children even when I couldn’t be there, He knew where they were.
That hasn’t changed. He still watches over my family whether they are in California visiting a fiancé, or at SMBI in Pennsylvania, or in El Salvador or if we’re all together in Kansas. I like that.
The mosquitos keep me from enjoying the outdoors more now, so we often sit in our living room. So much has changed from those days on our farm, yet, it’s still the same. We still laugh and share and pray together. And I’m thankful that this Christmas season, my Jesus still knows where I am. As I sit in our cozy home sharing my happy time with my husband and children, He is still in control. Some things change, but not really that much, we are still in His hands… under the shining stars.
Merry Christmas! -Susie
“The heavens declare His righteousness, And all the peoples see His glory.”
Psalms 97:6 NKJV
In Texas this summer, waiting for the sun to go down… And admiring the hard work my husband accomplished on our barn house. Plans are to add a 2nd story patio in the back to enjoy the night sky 🙂