Porch Inspirations

Lessons learned on the porch

As a very young girl I was only allowed to walk on the sides of the street directly in front of my house. The block was short, only about 5 houses on each side. Each house had a front porch. Some were screened in, while others were open with rockers and swings. I was familiar with them all. Everyone on my street was old but they all simply seem to be waiting on their porch for me to come and visit.
To the left of my parents home was Ms. Kempff. When I would visit we would sit on her porch in her white wicker rockers and share milk and cookies. From those hours spent on her porch I learned hospitality. From giving parties, how to set a table, and how to sit like a lady. She gave me one of her old purses, because a “lady” must always have a beautiful purse to hang on her arm. It was light blue velvet with gold trim and had flowers sewn on the front. Inside was a picture of her in her flower garden. Her flower garden was grown alongside her porch and I was always able to cut fresh flowers daily and arrange them in a vase for her to enjoy. On that porch I was taught, without knowing it, the beauty of friendship, warmth of hospitality, enjoyment of the flowers that surrounded us. She shared with me her favorite scriptures and even gave me a book on the life of Christ.
Across the street was Mr. Haude’s(pronounced howdy) house. I loved walking by his home and seeing him on the front porch. I would shout “Howdy Mr. Haude!” and just break out in giggles. Mr. Haude had a big swing on the porch and one rocker. He would sit in the rocker and I would have the swing all by myself. He was a poor man but rich in love. He had a smile that never vanished from his face. He taught me to listen to the sounds in the neighborhood, the crickets, a bicycle that had a slip in the chain, and the water rushing through the ditch after a big rain. I even learned to YO YO on that porch.
Other porches have come about in my life and all have taught me valuable lessons.
Grandmother Cook’s front porch was the first place I learned that she had breast cancer and that God and her were working on a plan.
Aunt Vicky’s porch was where I learned to shell peas.
Aunt Helen’s porch was where I was taught the art of folding clothes and napping.
Cracker Barrel’s front porch taught me the art of people watching. It was also there I taught my granddaughter to rock.
And of course the porch on our shop where Ed and I spend many hours of rocking in our chairs and talking has taught me how to share all the things that are important. We have planned many trips, what we will plant next season, what Ed will build and how I will decorate. And what blessings God has given us. It seemed to us that God had shown and continues to show his favor.

As the New Year begins, I will strive to have more time on my porch with quiet reflections from God. I cling to God’s promise from Jeremiah: “And I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11). I am assured that no matter what lies ahead; God and I will go through it together. My days – my year – are in God’s hand. I trust in His promise that “you will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
Today is a new day, the start of a new year, and I know God has cleansed my heart and made it His. That, above all, is cause for celebration.

Father of new beginnings, I dedicate not only this day, but this entire year, to You. May each step of the journey ahead give me cause for celebration. Remind me often that You always walk beside me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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