Through most of my life, September, more than any other month, has announced to me, “Fresh start,” “New year’s beginning”—even more than January.


September’s approach typically conjured visions of new school clothes, unbroken crayons, erasers sans graphite smears, pristine tablets and notebooks waiting to be filled with new ideas and words and learnings and imaginings.

To all this I looked forward breathlessly. Even fall’s dying leaves seemed more alive in their vivid colors, swirling from branches and flying free on autumn winds, than their former chlorophyll-shrouded, static summer selves. A sense of adventure filled the air, filling me also with the desire to fly free and discover my own deeply hidden true colors.

But the past two or three years have spelled… not new words on carte blanche pages, but trouble getting September off the ground!

One big reason: the exuberance recent summers have given me. Happy, whole-hearted exertions have produced (by the sweet grace of God) satisfying accomplishments. I’ve spent more time outside, again growing tan, as my former, childhood, self had done by running pell-mell laughing in summer sunlight on hot lakeside sand and plunging into shimmering mountain waters.

You see, once again this summer, as in the previous two or three, I was pursuing a passion (you might even say obsession): the expansion of a garden, green and growing in more ways than one, developing more and more into the Eden I’d vaguely dreamed all my adult life of having. “The Garden” gradually took on a beautiful personality of its own, and sometimes seemed to embody God’s presence palpably.

Closing the door on that wrenches my heart!

But close it I must. The air will grow too chill for my asthma-vulnerable lungs to breathe rightly, the ground too hard to accept a spade, let alone eager fingers. The annual plants will melt into wet, withered corpses, and the perennials will go into hibernation like children curled into themselves to keep a warmer dormancy.

And the time to close that door is now. About mid-August air-born allergens start driving me inside—increasing the push as pollen count rises. More importantly, if I let extended garden projectts block hopeful planning of autumn/winter pursuits, I’ll end up, as last year, like a newbie sailor cast upon the open sea without map or compass.

I’ve made forays into possible cold-time pursuits, experimented with art journaling methods and jostled fabrics into patchwork patterns.



IMG_1062But these forays, though pleasant, felt somehow vapid, and failed utterly to conjure the gusto of “the garden.” At least so far.

Only here and now, in my writing of this post, is the root reason coming to light.

The clue word above is “vapid.”

Compared with the garden building and growing experiences palpable with the Presence of God, these more recent indoor endeavors seem lifeless… because they are!

It’s the God factor. It’s “the living God” my heart and soul long for, my heart and even my body thirst for (Ps 84:2; Ps 143:6;  Ps 63:1). He was in “the garden,” no doubt about it, but He doesn’t seem to be in the “creativity room,” in the quilt-making or even the art journaling.

This need not remain so. God’s presence fills every micro-inch  of His Creation, surrounds paint brush and sewing needle as much as garden trowel. My soul thirsts not for the outward occupation of busy work, but the inward occupation of Himself, filling my space, my soul, my all.

The collage at top contains a phrase from an old September Victoria magazine: “Finding the quiet center of our lives.” I know full well what my quiet center is: Himself. And as Augustine said, no matter what I do or don’t do, my heart will remain restless till it finds its rest in Him. He’s the fount from which flows the richest vitality in any endeavor.

He has been the real life of “The Garden,” the ultimate reason I haven’t wanted to close the door on it. He, the Creator, will be the real life of whatever proceeds from the Creativity Room as well, if I allow it.

How to do that I need to write in a separate post.

12 thoughts on “On Closing One Door, to Open Another: September

  1. This is lovely Sylvia and oh so true. God is in the garden and He is in the art room. We can’t separate His gift of Creation from the creative gifts He bestows. We are very much like God, made in His image as we are, when we create. We won’t create from nothing as He did, but what if He gave us the quilt blocks and collage images to create that which pleases Him and delights us? I’ve not a green thumb like you, so what can I do? I love to go into gardens others have created and gaze. And indoors, I love to write, to collage, to sing, to pray (though truth be told, I have actually done all of those outdoor too! :-)–the singing part much to my daughter’s embarrassment! ) Here’s to Septembers’ fresh starts, soon-to-be-filled pristine pages, and to God who is present in September and every month and every pursuit that honors Him.
    PS I LOVED your inertia post too!

    1. Ohmagoodness, Lynni, you are expressing thoughts and ideas I’ve been holding for a future post, exactly what He’s been conveying to me: that our creativity is large part of His image in which He the Creator made us, and though we don’t truly create in the same sense as He, starting with nothing, He puts before us the elements to arrange and “dress,” and thereby create beauty and order that reflects and honors Him. (And delights not only us, but Him, too, methinks.) Thank you so much for your September-starts encouragement! May you have a wonderful, creative autumn as well!

    1. Hazel, I am so glad it turned out inspiring. Believe me, the inspiration was something I needed so much myself, and it came right from God. It’s so beautiful to see how He sends a flow of encouragement to us individually, then through us to one another. My heart is warmed. A blessed new season to you!

  2. Oh Sylvie, I love when kindred minds spur sparks of recognition. I shall eagerly await all God is showing you on creativity, as you bless Him and give back the gifts He’s bestowed. Till then . . .

  3. Sylvie, this also encourages me to keep a collage spiral NB again. Do you use any particular kind of paper? Just a gluestick?

    1. Just getting started with this, really, Lynni, I used what I happened to find stashed away: a 10 x 10 spiral bound art journal I think I got at Barnes and Noble some time ago, but never used. It has fairly heavy paper, like card stock, actually, no texture to it. And I have used mostly just a gluestick (because I think I saw Kel doing that, and it works for most things. I’ve started using Mod Podge for some things that need to stay entirely stuck down over the whole page–like the two doors above, so I could cut them to swing open and write things behind (within them), folowing a prompt on a 31 Days of Art Journaling video series on Youtube. I had the ModPodge on hand also, but I think I’m going to invest in some clear gel medium. Kel says, Use what you’ve got. 🙂 Hope this helps. Have fun. Show me what you come up with. I’m glad this got you going!

      1. Sylvie, thanks so much for these explanations, and yes, Kel loves gluesticks. They’re fun and easy, and they’re PURPLE! I love that color. Of course, in this case, it disappears, but it initially helps you see where you are placing the glue. Ages ago I used rubber cement, but it eventually doesn’t stick. When Borders closed, I bought some spiral bound 8 1/2 x 11 art journals, w/ smooth paper, but it’s not very thick. But Art Mart (these may be local stores) makes a visual journal w/ very heavy paper. I put one of its pages on Kel’s blog on Day 31 of her Bro. Lawrence/Art series. You may see it there. Thanks again for this wonderful inspiration!!

  4. BTW, I love the ceramic ladies heads, from the fifties, maybe? Where did you find the images?

    1. Bro. Lawrence/ Art series? How did I miss that?! I’ll have to go check it out.

      The heads pictures came, I believe, from one of the old September Victoria mags I was dismantling for images and inspiration.

  5. Sylvie, it was a fabulous series, and she asked me to write very, very specifically on a blending of very particular topics. It was an extremely hard writing assignment, but I so appreciated her challenge. Her whole series is fabulous. Ask her about it, if you can’t find it. My post was day 31.
    Oh Victoria! I’ve been a devotee since its inception in the 80s, but NEVER could have imagined cutting it apart! I would have thought it sacrilege till recently. I purged a lot of stuff and gave Kel a # of my old Victorias for her classes, and I love how they used the images. Frankly, I don’t like the newer issues nearly as well as the old, in terms of writing quality. I still subscribe, so I may just have the courage now to cut into them. 🙂 But I’m keeping the Lindemeyer versions as treasures.

    1. Lynni, just like you, I like the Lindemeyer versions better, too, and have had those stored as treasures, never to be violated! The newer ones were easier to cut into when I decided to bite the bullet to downsize around here. I was going to toss a few of those anyhow, but couldn’t let go of everything in them. I think I may have stepped over the line into the older ones by now, but mostly because I felt I’d actually use and savor certain of their contents better piecemeal. I loved the gentleness of those magazines, how they helped me focus on “Whatsoever things are true, lovely, etc.” No stressful controversies or soapbox speeches, just items of such calm that I rejoiced when the current issue arrived in the mail and saved it for teatime, which I made kind of special for myself for the occasion. (Appropriately, I am having a nice little tea as I write this. And you’ve just made it more special. 🙂 )

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