Home-home in the Summertime
For those of you who are missing summertime, here is a glimpse back on my time in my hometown in July. I love Western PA in the summertime. I also love watching my nieces and nephews explore the creek (honestly, we say crick) that I grew up visiting on the family land outside of town, finding salamanders and crayfish among the rocks. 🙂
Here’s an added bonus to this post. A couple of my dad’s magnolia trees are thriving here in the north and had many beautiful blossoms this year! I’m not sure if I’ve shared the background story of his magnolias on the blog before, so here it is:
Magnolias hold a very special place in my heart (Southern Magnolias to be specific, but one can’t be too picky up here in the north).
For the last twenty years or so, my dad tried to grow Southern Magnolia trees at their home in Pennsylvania. I don’t even know how many he planted over the years. Many bit the dust quickly, some lasted a few seasons, and every once in a while there would be a blossom or two. Back in the summer of 2014, I was laughing at (with?) him as he watered his magnolia trees, reminding him that they really aren’t meant to live in the northern climate. He chuckled and said, “Well, we’re sort of delaying the inevitable here.” He knew they wouldn’t grow into huge, flourishing trees, yet he faithfully filled those buckets and continued to water them and enjoy them while they grew in the yard.
Magnolias have become a reminder of Dad for me. They remind me to live in the moment, “water the trees,” appreciate the little things, and enjoy life itself, because in the end everything is temporary. This makes me super thankful for biblical promises like the one in 2 Corinthians 4:18 “For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal,” but this is already too long to add a sermon into the mix.
All that to say, this is why magnolias make me smile, remind me to appreciate each moment, and encourage me to trust God with the unknown and not-promised future.
Aren’t these blossoms beautiful?
The Mansell Family
Now that Christmas cards are sent out, I can share these pictures. Over Thanksgiving I had the chance to take family photos for my brother’s family. It wasn’t difficult since they are some of the cutest kids in the world! Many thanks to one of my other brothers and niece who stood behind me and helped get the smiles you see here. Enjoy!