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.