Monthly Archives: July 2020

morning watch


The best part of summer for me was traveling in a giant yellow school bus to Markesan Wisconsin  to Camp Grow for one week every summer. My dad drove me and my two little sisters to First Baptist Church of Oak Park. First we would walk to the park and look at my grandpa’s name on the statue  in the plaza near the church. He served in WW1. Then he would help get my suitcases loaded and it was time to say goodbye.

“Don’t forget to send us a post card, and be a good girl.”

The tears never sprang from my eyes because I couldn’t wait to sing my heart out with my friends that I knew from the prior summer. We crammed three in a seat and together banged on the windows to say good-bye to our families.

We were off to the deepest, greenest lake in all of Wisconsin, aptly called Green Lake. When we got to camp and met our counselors we got set up in either Woods, TeePee or A-Frame village depending on the year and spent the first night meeting new friends and our new counselor who would get little to no sleep the whole week.

I felt free at camp.

I felt seen at camp.

I grew closer to Jesus at camp.

Some things were new and unexpected at camp,

But…one thing always remained the same.

Every morning when the dew embraced the grasses in the meadow, we would do our MORNING WATCH.

They would send us off, to commune with God with a journal, our Bible and a pen. And throughout the years it became the most treasured part of my day. I didn’t know it then, but I do know it now, morning watch is a nautical term.

I love this little poem, that my daughter recently found tucked into some old notebooks of my sweet mother-in-law.

I caught a young hawk having his morning watch recently. It is the best way to prepare for the day ahead.


I am so THANKFUL for so many life experiences.

lessons from a berry patch


In July, three years ago, we moved into our new/old house on Pine Cone Lane in Sleepy Hollow. It was only a half of mile from our old house, but we had never been down this one-lane road that, surprise—had a little lake. We jumped into our fixer-upper with a camping spirit, living in the walkout basement and quickly felt, hmmm- maybe we had bit off a honking big mess of work. Dave easily rolled up his sleeves, grabbed his tool belt, undeterred. I helped with jobs that didn’t require finesse—I can be trusted with a wallpaper scraper, but not a paintbrush.


That first July, a person close to our age, from a nearby neighborhood, marched towards us. She wore an appropriate Safari hat and held a bucket.


She barked, “Can I pick your berries? I always pick the berries at this house.” I thought, “I can also be trusted to pick berries.


“Well, feel free, if you can find the berries,” Dave said, muttering after a clean-up day in our new/old over-grown secret garden.


The second summer, I did see berries budding and hoped to pick them after a trip to Colorado. When we got home from our trip, I quickly went to look at the patch we had unearthed in the spring. They were picked clean.


“Probably the birds,” Dave said.


I fumed, “Probably that lady in that floppy hat.”


This year, to be safe, I asked if we could cover our berry patch with netting. I thought the mesh would ward away the birds and the hat lady. So we did. Our berries this year went from white and pink to red and then a glorious purple.


Dave said, “The berry will look plump and juicy at the proper time to pick, Nancy.” So, with instruction, I became master berry picker this summer,


So I’ve been harvesting every other day because berries are not all ripe at the same time. To get the berries, I crouch under the netting and hold the netting up with my head. I pick with my lefthand, cup the berries in my right and finally dump the berries from my right in my silver colander. I learned that shorts are not the way to go, long pants are a necessity even in the blazing ninety-degree heat because of the sharp barbs on the stems.


Today, I was getting better at it, but every time I lost a berry in my left hand, I moaned a little and glanced through the leaves to see if I could recover it. Sometimes I could, but most of the time, I thought, oh well. Though I brooded a bit, I plunged deeper and deeper into our patch.

Thinking is how I passed my time. And these are some of my morning thoughts today:


  • I’m sure glad God doesn’t leave me alone in the berry patch of life.
  • Even though I wander and get lost in the thorns in this world, he tells me in Matthew 18:12 that he will leave ninety-nine of his sheep to go after me, the one that is lost.


And God also says to me softly today as I pick, “My right hand will hold you fast.” (Psalm 139:10) Like a mother who holds her toddler’s hand during a red light, God holds me tight.


When we grow weary, tired of doing good, he also says, ” Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)


Hoping that you have a BERRY GOOD WEEK. XO nanc




Question of the day: What are the things in your life right now that you are growing weary of? How does God help you with these things? or what are some things that God has helped with recently?