Monday, October 17, 2016

A Summer Memory

My grandparents purchased 40 acres of Oregon mountainside; it was my heaven.

Every summer, on Independence Day, we’d have a family reunion of sorts at "The Farm". My grandfather was one of four siblings, and they were rather a close bunch; add his father, “PopPop” to some, into the mix, and it was completely wonderful. The family would start arriving early; the tables would be laden, the sights and smells tempting us; a bounty to make the hungriest amongst us anxious for the call to “dig in.”

Aunt Evelyn made fresh peach ice cream; to this day, peach ice cream, peach ice cream topping, or peach milk shakes make me 10 again and I am flitting about the farm with people I love. Grandma made fried chicken, and my mother made her now ‘family famous’ potato salad. It really doesn’t get much better than that for me.

We played for hours, my “second cousins” and I; sometimes to the pond, sometimes to scour the forest. I thank God that we didn’t have ‘social media’, the Internet, or Cable TV in those days. The grownups would sit talking in the shade for hours as well. How I wish I had been old enough to sit and talk with them; how I miss them. They’re all gone now, those grownups of my grandfather’s generation; their memory and their love live on in my heart.

Sometimes, when we’re picnicking, I have little flashes of Independence Day at the Farm. What glorious flashes they are.

Friday, October 7, 2016


Sometimes life throws you a curve ball; a detour. Detours can be large or small; they can be inconvenient and unimpressive; some will be transformative.

Your life, while not perfect, is happy, and you have joy. Then, like hitting a brick wall in the dark, everything changes. What you thought was the Lord's plan for you suddenly vanishes, and a new paradigm begins; almost like an alternate universe.

As you change course, and learn to live with the new circumstances, you can experience gut wrenching pain. A pain that you didn't ever know was possible, and wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.

You pray. And then you pray some more. The detour will bring darkness if you’re not watchful; it can sink your faith if you give into despair.

But slowly, like a gentle rain, the Lord whispers answers to you; answers that speak to your soul, and begin to illuminate your new path.

As you listen, you draw closer to the Lord relying solely on Him. He carries you through the worst of the trial, and helps you as you begin to take cautious, halting steps toward your new life. It's really the same life, but you have new eyes; new thoughts; new perspective. As the Light grows brighter, your faith grows deeper; richer; stronger.

Your detour has remade you into something you wouldn't have been previously. The pain, while ever present is minimal; joy has returned to your heart and soul.

This detour is your Refiner’s Fire; filling you with hope and faith you are transformed into something closer to His image.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Good Night

Someone once told me that a sunset was Heavenly Father’s way of saying goodnight. I’ve always loved that thought, and through the years I’ve been a known serial sunset watcher. I will drop everything to witness for myself, the effulgence of a setting sun.

When conditions are right, as the sun slips through the atmosphere, the colors become radiant; my darling granddaughter tells me it’s prettier when there are clouds because they give the light something to bounce onto; somehow, she understands the concept of opposition.

As the sun slips toward the horizon, the clouds, if we’re lucky enough to have just a few, give us the sense that molten gold is being poured by an invisible challis. As that gold spreads across the vista, it transforms the sky in to a light show to rival any in existence.

The blues become more vibrant, giving us a turquoise so deep, and so seemingly tangible, you think, maybe, you could dive in and swim.

Then, the purples and violets, peaches and hints of gray come to the scene. The sky is awash in glory and splendor; if you listen closely, you can almost hear the Heavenly Hosts singing praises, and you can feel that God is in the Heavens and all is right with the world.

Look eastward; the colors, softer and less pushy invite you to watch as twilight sweeps over you, and envelopes you in darkness and peace.

I know there are scientific explanations for all of this; fancy words and detailed charts to tell me about air flow, humidity and dust particles, but it matters little; God is telling me goodnight, and reminding me that He loves me.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Year of Miracles

It’s Been A Long Year

As you know, tragedy struck like lightning in our family; swift and fatal. Adversity has a way of either making or breaking you, and I had to make a choice. I chose Joy. I say I chose it, because I've had enough spiritual experiences in the last few months, that if I had given in to despair and despondency, I would not only have been a fool, I would have been going against the very fabric of my soul.

There are times in your life when eternity shines with such vibrancy that it lights the corners of your heart and mind; when you know with perfect clarity that your Heavenly Father is real, that his Plan is perfect, and that he loves you and knows you with such love and intimacy that doubts flee and you seem to stand on a precipice; either you let go and trust perfectly, or you fall into the waiting abyss.

Choosing trust isn't as simple as it sounds, yet it is the simplest thing in the world. The saying “Let go, and let God” describes it almost perfectly.

If we let go, and trust completely, miracles happen. Not necessarily big “parting the waters” kinds of miracles, but quiet, largely unnoticed miracles; private, intimate, personal miracles; miracles that chase away the shadows and leave you exultant and spent at the same time.

These kinds of miracles aren't for general consumption; they are for personal growth and continued reflection. Written on your soul, they become the map and the Polestar at the same time; guide posts to help you navigate treacherous times.

Be faithful; be prayerful; be watchful. You will see miracles.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Of Heaven and Rainbows

In January of 2010, after my brother died, I was blessed by the promise of the rainbow; I blogged about it here: After the Rain

Four weeks ago, after a month of ups and downs regarding our oldest daughter’s health, we were told she had, maybe, two days to live.

Once again, it was raining in Oregon; big blustery sheets of rain.
I prayed for sunshine. I wanted to send Sarah home to her Father in Heaven on a sunny spring day; I wanted to remember her in the sunshine.

Yet the rain continued.

As we sat with her, listening to her labored breathing, bathing her face with a warm cloth, I kept silently praying for sunshine.
It was not to be.

As Sarah slipped from her earthly tabernacle, the damp and bluster continued.
At one point, I was being hugged by another daughter, when I looked up and, ever so faintly, spied a rainbow. It wasn’t as grand and bright as the rainbow two years ago; just a faint, quiet reminder of the Lord’s promise.

The Lord knew I didn’t need sunshine and blue skies to make me stronger; He knew I needed to be reminded that the rain would end; that strength comes, not from what we want, but from what we gain from what we get.

The Lord’s promises are sure; He will not leave us in the rain. He gives us miracles, I believe, on a daily basis; we just have to be watching for them.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Winter's Sunset

The cold, stiff breeze blows into my face, as the purples and grays of winter’s sunset fade quietly toward twilight; the colors, swirling and streaking as the molten gold slips below the horizon, make a heady imitation of the Aurora Borealis.
The fresh cold air seems alive; generous in its capacity to chill; my jacket clearly not the right one for this outing.

As I walk along, the full moon rises, casting night shadows that, as a child, scared me as I tramped along. The grass is frosty already, a harbinger of the heavy frost that will await my early morning sojourn, and sparkles faintly in the silvery light.
I will pass out grain and a few ear scratches, locking the beasts in for the night; making all snug on the farm.

Nighttime beauty is one of my favorite winter treats these days; frost glistening at the end of my flashlight and a swollen moon lighting the path I walk; the night shadows that terrified me as a child are but a distant memory; the peace and serenity of the cold night are hard to beat in comparison to this fast paced, loud, nonstop world we live in; it’s a time of quiet reflection and contemplation; a little sanity to end the day.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Of a Winter's Morning

The frosty winter morning, bejeweled with the waning moon hanging tranquilly in the cobalt light of dayspring, began cold and white; I was up early and not exactly happily so.

Then, the glow began; soft and warm, faintly tingeing the white expanse with gold and pink; rays, seemingly of molten gold, warming my heart if not the air and I began to revel in the beauty of the approaching day.

Growing stronger, the light began to fill the cracks and crevices until the lingering shadows were dispelled from the snowy patchwork at my feet; morning had broken.

Blues, pinks and purples infused with gold, were wrapping themselves across the sky, painting vivid streaks on the clouds; the snow taking on the reflected glory. The fog, rising from the lake and the myriad crooks and crannies of the surrounding hills, glowing pink in first light; craggy peaks rearing their snowy heads, as if reaching for the proffered rays.

How many dawns like this have I missed, wrapped snug in my nocturnal harbor? How many bedazzling mornings have I forfeited, cozy but oblivious?

No matter, I was here now, basking in the beauty of creation once again. Tears sprang to my eyes unbidden as I traversed the snowy landscape; how I know God loves me as he shares with me the beauty and glory of His creations.

Every once in a while something so beautiful and unmatched crosses your path,and you know, along with Anne Shirley,that God is in His heaven and all is right with the world.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Homemade Christmas

I had a little chat with my dear friend Laura recently, and she said they were doing a “Homemade Christmas” this year. It got me thinking, but not too much. Then the Occupy Wall Street insanity started, culminating with my foray into the Black Friday shopping madness for a birthday gift.

I think Laura planted a seed, OWS watered it and Black Friday fertilized it; but I finished reading a book called "Michael O'Halloran" by one of my favorite author's, Gene Stratton-Porter, recently and it brought to fruition the fruit from the tree of hominess.

One of the characters, Junior, is a farm boy who wants to go to the city to find work; it’s about 1905-ish. In doing so, he gets his clock cleaned by the local thuggery; he’s a newcomer to the city, not at all streetwise, and it shows.
He finally makes it home, repentant, but worried; will his father say "I told you so"? Instead, the father wisely understands it's partly his own fault. He has often taken his children into the city for entertainments, the city was "where it was at" so to speak, and so what could he expect but that his children would seek outside entertainment; would seek the city for fulfillment.

It got me thinking about how I've raised my children and what I may still have time to correct. "The city", is Babylon, and I don't want them to seek riches there; I don’t want them to look “further than their own back yard”, as Dorothy says, in looking for something better. I want them to seek riches at home, in the depths of their hearts; the spark of love and affection that our Heavenly Father put there.
There is enough creativity and love in our family, to be able to shun most of the worldly things and show the others how much we love them.

We bought a digital projector several years ago, so that the kids would want to be entertained at home, instead of the theater, and for the most part it’s worked. We wanted them to want to be together, to enjoy each other’s company, and OUR company; to have their friends here instead of “there”. I can make caramel popcorn and we’ll play games or watch a movie with friends and/or family; truly making our home the center of our children’s lives.

It’s my belief that this new Christmas tradition is the next step in this “home awakening” we’ve been trying to instill; it will be a little rocky in the beginning, I imagine; someone will not feel creative, or not enjoy crafting or what have you. However I can see no better way to cement the bonds of family than to make sacrifices for each other at the time when we celebrate the Sacrifice of our Heavenly Father, in the gift of his Son to us.

I urge you to think about “Junior”, and his father; to work toward a Christmas that doesn’t require the very thing the Grinch Who Stole Christmas was irritated about in the first place.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Breath of Autumn

I worked in the steamy kitchen, alternating between sink and bubbling canning pots, feeling hot and somewhat agitated; outside it was a glorious autumn day and I was laboring inside. I needed air.

I opened the window and the breath of autumn came in, lusty and clean. I was transported to “the Farm” once again; the only place of refuge and peace in my childhood.

I’m in the forest; it’s been raining. The tiny breeze stirring the stillness; leaves, heavily laden are drip, drip, dripping around me and on me. I don’t care; the sound is at once calming and invigorating. The forest, or “woods” as we called them, is my solace. Nothing else matters; I am safely cocooned in my personal sacred grove. The world is my own.

As I ramble, the air begins to take on a life of its own; fog begins to rise around me; the mist, light and fresh, highlights the rolling hills, bringing into definition the glories of God’s creations. As the fog lifts, so too my spirit; and, finding God in the treetops, I begin to feel His presence.

The smell of damp, decaying vegetation, combined with the earthy, leafy smell of freshly fallen leaves, make a heady scent that for me is as the sweetest rose. Rough bark streaked from the rain is giving off its own woodsy fragrance. The richest lavender fields of France could not be sweeter than my woods.

I wander for hours, never needing the companionship of anyone else, perfectly happy to gad about across the duff. My mind and my heart are free; no place that I need to go; only the need TO go.
A small stream provides me a refreshing drink if needed, and fallen logs ample resting places; yet finding peace of spirit is all I really need.

Wandering as I do, the sounds and scents of nature fill my soul to bursting; there is nothing on earth that matters, no trouble too large to overcome; peace prevails once again.

I’m cooled off now, and back at my task; I thank God for memories that let me relive the comfort and peace that was so badly needed then; I thank Him too, for the Breath of Autumn that whisked me back there, if only temporarily.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring's Merry Assemblage

The rain falls hard on the windshield; great drops splashing and splattering various patterns on the glass, before the wipers sweep it away and the rain dance begins again.

As I gaze heavenward, the black, roiling clouds seem to menace and torment the travelers hurrying, in their private cocoons, down the highway.
A more terrestrial view shows the evidence of the rains bounty; green shoots are evident in fields and pastures along my route; mud and great puddles join the merry assemblage of Spring’s gifts.

The clouds part, and shafts of golden light begin streaking earthward in dazzling glory, highlighting the tree branches and flower buds; plump and ripe, full and eager to begin life.

Spring is here; new life begins again. The pleasures of summer sun await while the fury and the majesty of Spring’s renewal creates in us a Spring Fever, that is as filled with anticipation as the next cloud is filled with rain.