Red Mushrooms – An Orange Kitten – and a Boy with Hazel Eyes

The kitchen window in our home in Wabash looked out onto the alley we used to access our garage – backdoor – and our across the alley neighbors’ yard. It wasn’t a wretchedly awful view – but I didn’t find myself gazing out the window all that often while I worked in the kitchen. In fact – we had a television in our kitchen in those days. And I would often turn the TV on while I worked in the kitchen.

We don’t have a television in our kitchen these days. We don’t need one – because now our kitchen window looks out onto our backyard. And I find myself regularly gazing out the kitchen window just to take in a moment or two or 22 of nature. I am the sort of person who finds nature – even the nature that shows up in a suburban backyard – endlessly fascinating.

One of the reasons I enjoy watching out my kitchen window these days . . .

The McFarland sons are well aware of my nature gazing ways. They know their mom loves to look out of the kitchen window (well just about any window with a view of something green and nature-y). And so they regularly come to our kitchen window to wave or to say a quick hello. Other times they will motion for me to raise the window so we can have a quick (or not so quick) chat – because it is such a LONG way to walk to the back door to come into the house for a chat . . .

I don’t really mind. Jason and I encourage our kids to spend as much time outside as they will agree to. Seriously – the kids these days and their obsession with staying pale like vampires and inside all of the time totally creeps me out! (Insert massively huge generational divide here . . .)

Anyway – kitchen window communication at the McFarland house is a thing we do. I find it amusing and generally endearing. And it works for us.

Wednesday evening I was in the kitchen rinsing out a dyeing experiment. (I bet you thought I was going to say that I was cooking. But nope – I cooked on Tuesday night so we still had plenty of healthy – nutritious leftovers for Wednesday. I do NOT cook every single day. Craft every day – absolutely. Cook from scratch – no way!)

I love catching glimpses of this guy in action in the yard.

Anyway – as I was rinsing my crafting experiment – Will came to the window and gestured wildly to get my attention. He needed to share something very important with me. Of course – my hands were totally covered with purple dye. (It was supposed to be navy blue – but was looking very – very – very purple – SIGH.) Eventually I managed to raise the window and learned he had made a great and glorious discovery. He and Craig the Kitten had found a bright red mushroom.

I laughed and smiled (in spite of the purple that was supposed to be navy dye) because my youngest son knew just who to share his discovery with. Will knew exactly who would not just care but care a lot about his discovery and would hurry to grab the camera and take tons of pictures of his bright red mushroom. Will knew his mom would care and come and ohh and ahh over his bright red mushroom. Will knew I would be delighted and I would be impressed. Will knew that I wouldn’t pretend to be interested (like adults sometimes do when kids are talking). Will knew I would be really – honestly interested.

And – of course – that is exactly what I happened!

There were pictures of Will’s mushroom. Then we decided if there was one mushroom in the yard then there might just be more mushrooms so we decided to go exploring. After all – we finally got some rain this week and rain makes fungi grow . . .

We found more red mushrooms. These made Will think of some cool – deadly mushrooms that he has learned about – but those had white spots too and grow someplace more exotic than our backyard in Kentucky (thank goodness). Will loves a good nightmarishly horrific tale of doom. I – on the other hand – do not . . .

Then we found this much bigger – much paler mushroom and we spent time contemplating and pondering it. Had it once upon a time been a tiny bright red mushroom that had just kept growing and growing and growing and therefore gotten significantly paler or was it a different sort of mushroom altogether? These are the sorts of questions that can arise when one goes exploring in nature. We didn’t reach a firm conclusion – but we did decide that it was pretty cool too.

Up next was a pit stop in the garden to take in the strange squash /gourds we are growing there this year. Way back in the spring we bought adorable little plants labeled “zucchini squash” at the nursery. These are clearly NOT producing zucchini – but they sure are producing something that looks cool.

Then William tried touching some thorns on the rose bushes to see just how sharp and pointy those thorns really and truly are. Well – guess what? The thorns are sharp and pointy! He was unscathed but thinks the rose bush pruning and general care can remain mine forever and ever and ever!?!

William and Craig the Kitten flipped paving stones while seeking creatures. Every single stone that Will flipped there was Craig helpfully sticking his little pink nose in to see what there was to see.

Will found an impressive cicada shell. This shell was not from the brood X guys who came for a visit much earlier this spring/summer. Nope – this guy was from one of the annual cicadas. His shell was a lot bigger and we spent some time discussing the differences. (Yes – I am nerdy. I wear it as a badge of honor. Always have – always will!)

William and Craig spent time bonding together. The patience of this kitten shocks and amazes me. I am in awe of Craig. Craig loves Will in spite of the fact that Will regularly carries him around like he is a sack of flour. This drives Jack (and me) batty and we advise Will strongly against this behavior. But Craig really and truly doesn’t mind. And as Jason says – “Craig is a cat. If Craig really minded he would let Will know.” (Jason is always one to bring LOGIC into EVERY situation!) It is true Craig comes fully equipped with plenty of pointy claws to let anyone know he is displeased.

Will goofed and I admired both the beauty of our boy and the tree.

Will and I had a wonderful time exploring and adventuring and hanging out in our yard. We wandered and we wondered and we took the time to enjoy God’s blessings.

Wednesday was a busy day for all of us in the McFarland household. It was filled with school and work and dishes and dinner and laundry and lawn mowing and daily exercise and all of the stuff that makes up our lives.

It was a good day.

And it was made so much better and so much richer and much more blessed because Will and I took the time to stop and touch some roses and delight in some red fungi and laugh at our kitten and smell some lavender and just be.

We gave thanks. We explored. We wandered. We had some nifty God sightings. And then we went back inside and I made supper and cleaned up the kitchen and did all of the stuff that needed to get done around the house to keep our lives running kinda – sorta smoothly.

Taking time to explore and wander and wonder and seek God’s presence doesn’t have to take a long time. You don’t have to spend hours doing it (although that is amazing too).

Take those short moments when they arise in your life. Take those invitations to delight and enjoy and revel in God’s blessings when they arise naturally. Try not to always be too busy – too hurried – too scheduled – too tied to your phone/devices – and give yourself the blessing of seeking and seeing God’s presence in your world.

God is with us. God is here. God in our world.

You are in my heart – thoughts – and prayers.

In Christ and with Love –

Pastor Kerri

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