Monday, August 31, 2009

Multitude Monday....

holy experience

I am starting my gratitude list along with many others......

1. Knowing that I am loved by God....The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing." Zeph.3:17

2. The gift of health, of breathing in and out without discomfort or effort, freedom to move about with no pain....what a gift! "This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones." Proverbs 3:8

3. Loved ones who smile and say "Good morning!" "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34

4. Laughter....always finding something funny and sharing that with someone special. There are really some people who go through a whole day without laughter. "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22

5. Freedom to worship....Lord, I know I take it for granted sometimes, please help me to fully appreciate this wonderful gift we have in America. "Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs." Psalm 100:2

6. The gift of belief....belief in Someone bigger than myself who holds it all together. "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—" John 1:12

7. Friendship...."A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24

8. Birds in the morning....they are singing and they don't even question whether they should....singing is just what they do. Why shouldn't we be the same? "But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you;" Job 12:7

9. Nature all around us. Even sitting here at my computer I can imagine being in a quiet forest....sitting by a gurgling stream....walking on the beach, waves crashing all around. I know it is out there to enjoy! "Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:11,12

10. Two parents still alive and healthy, who answer the phone when I call..."Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children." Proverbs 17:6
Thank you to Ann Voscamp at Holy Experience for starting all this, once you start listing things, it changes how you think!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sharing our burdens

Sometimes we carry around burdens that were never meant to be carried alone….We think we are being noble by handling it alone saying “I don’t want to burden them.” So we isolate ourselves and end up feeling more alone than ever.

We are hurting, but still we carry it around like a heavy stone, afraid to unload it. Or maybe we hang onto it because we have a bit of pride. The pride that says, "I should be able to handle this." Maybe we strike out in little ways because we are wounded, with silence or slamming doors……we think they will ask us what is wrong, but when they do we say, "Nothing!" And so now there are two wounded people.

Finally when we just can’t carry it anymore we spill it over onto someone else, usually the one we love. In our haste and desperation to be rid of the burden we sometimes don’t go about it in the right way.

The way of love…..Can I hear an Amen on that one?

But true healing can happen when we approach with a spirit of humility. Which brings about…..healing…..restoration……love.

As it is brought out and held up to the Light together, a miracle happens…. We find out that they had their arms out ready to help all along. Burdens lift, the load is lightened.

Hope is restored. Two are brought closer together.

Jesus never asked us to bear one another's burdens without actively seeking a helpful resolution and comfort. "Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ" Galations 6:2 But what is the law of Christ? It is love, so that everything we do must be done in the spirit and motive of love. There is good news! God has a ready supply and He shares.

For (Love) 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7

Friday, August 28, 2009

God is Cheering for You

by Max Lucado
If your God is Mighty enough to ignite the sun, could it be that He is mighty enough to light your path?

God is for you. Not “may be,” not “has been,” not “was,” not “would be,” but “God is!” He is for you. Today. At this hour. At this minute. As you read this sentence. No need to wait in line or come back tomorrow. He is with you. He could not be closer than he is at this second. His loyalty won’t increase if you are better nor lessen if you are worse. He is for you.

God is for you. Turn to the sidelines; that’s God cheering your run. Look past the finish line; that’s God applauding your steps. Listen for him in the bleachers, shouting your name. Too tired to continue? He’ll carry you. Too discouraged to fight? He’s picking you up. God is for you.

God is for you. Had he a calendar, your birthday would be circled. If he drove a car, your name would be on his bumper. If there’s a tree in heaven, he’s carved your name in the bark. We know he has a tattoo, and we know what it says. “I have written your name on my hand,” he declares (Isa. 49:16).

From the book entitled, "Let the Journey Begin"

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Confessions of a church mutt

I confess I have a speckled lineage when it comes to my church experience. Personally, I don't believe God cares what denomination, if any, we attach ourselves to as long as it remains true to Biblical teaching. I think we can gather richness from each one, I know I have. However we dress it up or perform the ceremony what remains is God and His word. He alone knows the heart of a church.

I have been Baptist, Episcopalian for a short time, Assembly of God, Methodist through my Grandfather, and Non-denominational. From each one I carry memories with me that have enriched my faith. In each one I have experienced God's grace. I have seen prayers answered, God's love flowing through people. I have seen the Holy Spirit change lives and do things not humanly possible.

I remember....magical paper sacks that we received after every Christmas pageant. I remember quaking on stage, trying to remember my one line from the Bethlehem scene. I think one time I actually cried and ran off stage....but after, we received a paper sack that held the same things every year; peanuts in the shell, buried within a hershey bar, and a roll of five flavor lifesavers, and an orange. I was always scared they would run out before they got to me. A walk down the aisle to start my journey with Christ.....Seeing my Pastor in rubber waders at my Baptism, warm water swirling around my white baptism clothes, giving the confession of faith; never to be the same again. Strong biblical teaching from a pastor who loved digging into meanings of Greek and Hebrew. So many joyful hours of choir practice, where my Aunt and I sang on the Alto end.

I remember ice-cream socials on summer evenings in the Methodist church yard, all cakes made from scratch, with a man dipping ice-cream at the end of the line. The beautiful marbled sanctuary...they knew how to make a church look like a church in those days.

I remember beautiful liturgy at St. John's Episcopal, learning when to sit and stand, knees creaking. The flip of the kneeler in the silence. People there who helped each other out after hours. I remember a spirit of love in the social hall after service when I saw Fr. Ray dancing with a child one day. The tradition of the flowering of the cross at Easter, the Sacrifice giving way to the fragance of beauty and conquered death once and for all.

I remember prayer times, tears, laughter, and meeting wonderful people who loved God. Meeting God at the altar, prayers answered, hands lifted high, tears of communion. Learning about the gifts of the Spirit....(still have my notes) All of these precious times, a bit of Heaven on earth. A foretaste of glory to come....

Church; it's not perfect because it is made up of people. But it's God's church and still a place where you can find grace, forgiveness, and love.

"One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple." Psalm 27:4

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cure for anxiety

Photo by Robert Koehler, "Ada Prayer Chamber, Pfeiffer Hall, Korea"

Prayer for anxiety:

Oh Lord, may I focus on You today.
Let me give you the first fruits of my time;
as I lift you up here in the quiet.
Still my soul,
Quiet my spirit of all other voices....thoughts...worries.
Until I can hear Your Spirit whisperings.

I come before You to smooth out the wrinkles of my day.
Let the furrowed brows relax, let the churning waters of the
mind become as a still pond reflecting Your peace.

Release my heart to love myself and others with
Your love; for You have enough to go around.
Some days it seems I barely have enough
for the ones I say I love.

Help me to live this day in the present, and not be looking back
to yesterday....or forward to tomorrow....

Let me seek Your kingdom first in my prayer closet today.
For I know that when I do that, the rest will fall into place.

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:33,34

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Napoleon saves kittens....

Sometimes the animals give us lessons on love and sacrifice.......English Bulldogs are notoriously bad swimmers. With a giant head and chest compared to a lighter tail end, they have a tendency to go bottoms up in the water. It’s hard to keep that head up above the waves when it’s the largest part of your body!

Most owners are very aware of this problem, and will take care to see that their dogs have a good life vest on if they’re going to be boating or there’s a chance the bulldog could end up in some deep water without someone right at hand to save them if they look like they’re starting to struggle.

Because of the breeds history of poor swimming ability, this morning’s news came as a bit of a shock to me! Napoleon, an obedient and well behaved two year old white English Bulldog in Michigan abruptly left his master’s side yesterday and raced out across a road and into a nearby lake.

Napoleon’s owner met him in the driveway as the bulldog came back up out of the lake dragging something in his mouth. It looked like a burlap sack, and Napoleon appeared determined to drag it up from the shore and back to his master’s side.

It was then that Napoleon’s owner heard the meowing and realized that there were abandoned kittens inside the bag! Six kittens in total, although two of them didn’t survive and the remaining four were in bad shape. Napoleon’s mom cared for the survivor’s for the next two weeks until they could be taken in to the city pet adoption center and found new homes.

Napoleon got a much deserved hero’s welcome at the adoption center as crowds gathered to praise the brave bulldog and cuddle the rescued kittens.

I was looking for something else entirely on "Google" but I couldn't resist posting this story. Animals, part of God's wonderful creation, sometimes give us glimpses into His own, sacrifice, loyalty, self-denial. I think back to the way it must have been when He first set Adam and Eve into their perfect home. Everyone co-existing happily, everyone eating plants, even the lions and tigers. Wow, hard to imagine.

I have tried to give up meat, so far no luck. Had some last night as a matter of fact, but I am still looking forward to that day in the future when....

"The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain," says the LORD. Isaiah 65:25

Go here for an interesting article on a scientist's perspective on how a lion could eat straw like an ox.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I am grateful for rain last night, drumming on the roof, silly sideways rain that we hardly ever seem to get anymore....It was making me laugh out loud as I scooted my clean car up closer under the carport and tried to wipe the back bumper dry...God said, quit trying to be so can be washed again, as He laughingly side-swiped me with a gush of windrain. I laughed back as I thanked Him for that which I have been praying for lately.

I am grateful that as I study His word more, know God more, I ask where He is less and less. I ask Him why less too. No longer needing to have all the answers, I rest my hope in the One who does.

A miracle is when you see faith giving birth to knowledge, through God's infinite grace.

Why should we ask God why when He has told us all along how to treat each other? The rules are in the Book.

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who doesn't love doesn't know God, for God is love. By this was God's love revealed in us, that God has sent his one and only son into the world that we might live through him." 1 John 4:7-11

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Random thoughts.....

Did you ever notice that you only get irritated at seeing a police car when you are speeding? That little accusing voice usually rises to the surface when I am late for work. I think: "Now why do they have to be here now?? Yet, how glad I would be if one showed up when I needed one! Kind of like when God is whispering in our minds to do a certain thing we know will be uncomfortable or difficult. Asking forgiveness, praying for someone who has wronged us.....We rise up, thinking of reasons why not...."Well, he said, but they...." And God waits patiently for us to see His side of things.

Why did God start us out in a garden and not someplace that looked like Wallstreet? Broadway? Maybe because He knew it would be easier to find Him there. Maybe He knew it would remind us of where we came from....dust. There is a little saying about gardens that I find to be true, "We are nearer to God's heart in a garden than anyplace else on earth." Go here for full poem.

It is easy to feel the breath of God when you are close to growing things. The morning dew reminds us of the manna that fell in the wilderness....God's provision in the desert. Dealing with stubborn weeds that threaten to choke out the life that we have so carefully cultivated reminds us of the stubborn sins that so easily rob us of sweet communion with God.

My grandfather loved growing things. Though he died of stomach cancer when I was around two, I feel very close to him. Everyone says that he had a very kind spirit, and he loved his garden...and his God very much.

My one and only memory of him is holding me in his arms next to the grape arbor. I remember a white trellis and little green grapes. I hold it close against my heart. His favorite hymn was "In the Garden" I imagine him walking with God in the cool of the evening, even now. Someday Grandpa, I will be walking with you. I can't wait to meet you....

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Oswald Chambers


"When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and pray to thy Father which is in secret." Matthew 6:6

Jesus did not say - Dream about thy Father in secret, but pray to thy Father in secret. Prayer is an effort of will. After we have entered our secret place and have shut the door, the most difficult thing to do is to pray; we cannot get our minds into working order, and the first thing that conflicts is wandering thoughts. The great battle in private prayer is the overcoming of mental wool-gathering. We have to discipline our minds and concentrate on wilful prayer.

We must have a selected place for prayer and when we get there the plague of flies begins - This must be done, and that. "Shut thy door." A secret silence means to shut the door deliberately on emotions and remember God. God is in secret, and He sees us from the secret place; He does not see us as other people see us, or as we see ourselves. When we live in the secret place it becomes impossible for us to doubt God, we become more sure of Him than of anything else. Your Father, Jesus says, is in secret and nowhere else. Enter the secret place, and right in the centre of the common round you find God there all the time. Get into the habit of dealing with God about everything. Unless in the first waking moment of the day you learn to fling the door wide back and let God in, you will work on a wrong level all day; but swing the door wide open and pray to your Father in secret, and every public thing will be stamped with the presence of God.

Thought this was beautiful and fitting today since I was having a very difficult time focusing and praying....Oswald Chambers always sets me on the right path...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Be still

I called my Mom yesterday. Calling her now is not the same as it was 10 years ago, or 20, because now she is 80 and it has occurred to me many times lately.....what will I do when I can't call her? I was feeling low yesterday and again, she lifted me up. She says I do the same for her, but I don't see it. I guess because I am feeling it from the inside out. All week she had been caring for my niece who has been very sick....washing, wiping, taking temperatures, giving medicine, cleaning, more wiping, more laundry. And still encouraging me, still making me laugh.

That is why I posted the powerpoint message today. To remind myself. I pray it blesses you as well. Because we are all distracted. And because I have been worrying more than ever about how much time I have left with my folks. How many more conversations? How many more Christmases, Thanksgivings, Birthdays? The time with them is oh so precious right now.

Each of us has our own valleys that we're walking through, but thanks be to God....the backdrop of sorrow that we live in has been vanquished forever by His life....death....resurrection. So we can all take heart and have courage! He has passed from death to life, and so will we.

So I emerged this morning from my prayer closet renewed with hope and peace....

"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. John 5:24

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

God moments.....

You know those times when you are just going about your day and you feel an inexplicible feeling of joy? It's as if for one solitary minute everything is perfectly pause, and thank God knowing that you must embrace it, and you look up, knowing exactly where it is coming from. I'm talking about the kind of feeling that is not the result really of anything happening, it's just mysteriously washes over you. A God moment. You realize where it comes from, this small miracle in your day.

James 1:17
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

But does God care about the little things that nag at us, those things we wrestle with? Those habits we can't seem to shake off? Those little circumstances in life that are petty and irritating, but annoy us nonetheless? See, sometimes we feel as if we don't want to bother God with our little stuff. We feel like He has His eyes focused on those caring for dying AIDs patients in Africa, or the persecued church in China, so He surely wouldn't bother with what we would think are "small" problems. Oh but He would....If it is a concern to us, His children, then it is a concern to Him as well.

In the parables, Jesus demonstrates that God cares about things like lost coins, lost sheep, a lost son.......And yesterday He cared about my lost earring. You see, I got some very precious earrings for my Birthday and I was on my way to get my hair done. I put the earrings on and went to the bank. When I went to get out of the car, I noticed I was missing one earring. I didn't have time to go back to the bank, so for 2 hours I fretted about it. (I confess, I prayed about it too)

After the appointment, I went back to the deserted bank and parked where I had parked before, not really expecting to find it. I retraced my steps all across the parking lot and almost turned back at the door, when I saw a little glimmer of gold right at the bottom of the entrance door, stuck in the crack! There it was!

I joyfully cupped in my hands as I danced back to the car. I know that God kept it safe for me, I know God was smiling, I know God cares about lost earrings, because He cares about me!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The firetruck dream

The other night I dreamed I was driving a fire-truck like the one above. Everyone who knows me knows I have strange dreams about driving. Sometimes I am driving on the freeway and I can barely see, like in twilight without my glasses. Sometimes I am driving very tiny little cars with no bottoms, like a pedal car, but on the freeway! Those are pretty neat, I can pick them up and turn them around just like a kiddie car. And then there are the times I am riding in the backseat when I realize I should be driving, and no one is driving or steering the car! I am afraid to look all this up, Freud would have a field day I am sure.

The other night it was a firetruck. I was heading into a town from a lonely country road. I stopped and got out. Everywhere I looked it seemed there was some bedraggled soul that needed some kind of help. Homeless, wandering street people. I saw a church and headed in that direction, feeling like I was guided there. I saw a minister praying for people behind the church. I wandered into the dark, dimly lit building where a service was going on....a little blonde girl who looked about 3 or 4clutched my hand as I walked by. Her hand was gripping mine, and she wasn't letting go. When I looked closer I saw that she had some kind of deformity in the face, like a cleft palate.

I just wanted to get out of there. I woke up....It seemed that the Holy Spirit was whispering in that quiet way He has, "You were supposed to rescue them." But I just wanted to still troubles me 3 days later.

When was the last time I went to a prison to visit someone?

When was the last time I went to visit the sick (someone I didn't know)?

Matthew 25:34-40

34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Monday, August 10, 2009

What encourages you?

God's word encourages me daily, and the loved ones surrounding me encourage me as I see the obstacles they overcome and still remain positive; they inspire me to do the same! The birds encourage me each morning. They never question whether they should sing or not, they just do. They remind me that praising God should come just as naturally to me as singing is to them because he has done great things in my life and He is worthy!

A special little face I am thinking of encourages me too, because I want to be a good role model for her. And voices I have heard from my earliest memories, my parents who weren't often encouraged themselves, but thought it important that they encouraged their kids...."You're great....keep going, you can do it. I have faith in you." Their presence in the crowd of all those choir concerts, and their joy in all my accomplishments!

I am also blessed to have a best friend who is my daily encourager...she is my advocate, the "Gail to my Oprah" or vice-versa. Everyone needs one like her, who speaks the truth in love, one who says in her actions, "I've got your back."

And of course, so many friends through the years that have touched my life with kind words and acts of love. And all my sisters and brothers in the faith who have encouraged me in this journey toward Home. Like lights along my path, sometimes they show the way; and sometimes we walk side by side holding each other up. And to all these wonderful bloggers who encourage me without even knowing it with their beautiful artful blogs, to keep going with my humble beginning blog.

Click this link to see how other wonderful women find encouragement and share your own ideas!


Many thanks to my best friend for the beautiful cake.

The cake on which broadcasts the number that I can no longer deny. I have been asking myself as this day has drawn near, "How do you feel turning "GASP" dare I say it out loud? FIFTY. Half a century. I have lived more years than I have left (I think) although, that number rests with God. I guess I feel extremely grateful and thankful, to all who have made my life so good, filled it with such beauty and meaning, you all know who you are, and of course God, who breathed the breath of life into me as I entered the world at 3 pounds, 3 ounces and determined that I would live. The words that best describe it are in the opening lines of a song by Andre Crouch, written years ago.

My Tribute

How can I say thanks
For the things You have done for me,
Things so undeserved,
Yet You gave to prove Your love for me.
The voices of a million angels
Could not express my gratitude.
All that I am and ever hope to be,
I owe it all to Thee.

My wish for the next half of my life is that I will love better. Yield to God much more than I do now; instead of constantly wrestling the reigns away from Him who knows what is best for me. To love myself more, see myself as God sees me. To not look into the mirror and see what I want to change, but what I am grateful for! To forgive myself for things long past so that I can be more forgiving to everyone else I meet. To love God more and more, so that that light may shine in me to others.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Prayer by Thomas Merton

MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Through the Year With Thomas Merton

After reading this I realized that this is the way I feel much of the a ship adrift at sea, not sure where the shore is but knowing nevertheless that it, and God are there. Then suddenly, just when He knows I need it most, the comforting beacon blazes forth, showing me that I was going the right way all along.

A light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not understood it. John 1:5

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Healing at the Pool

John 5
The Healing at the Pool

1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?" 7 "Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me." 8 Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

Something felt different that day to the paralytic man, some whisper of hope seemed to be stirring on the breeze, rumors of a healer that was passing through. But then, being in his condition for 38 years hope for a healing had long vanished. Too many dreams dashed. Too many crushing disappointments. What a desolate place it was, except for the occasional stirring of the waters. He wasn't used to this feeling of hope, being much more used to steeling himself against it. He drifted back through the years of lying there, the oppressive heat, the desperate longing to reach the water, sounds of sheep being led out to pasture, the groaning of his suffering companions, the only companions he had now since his family stopped coming. He drifted off to the sound of crowds in the distance, seeming closer now than before. Now it seemed they were surrounding him; was he dreaming or were they real? He surmised that it might be the usual good samaritans wanting to demonstrate their charity to the pitiful sick. He wished they would go away...where were they when he had wanted all those times to reach the cool healing water? He felt a shadow cross his face. He looked up into the most compassionate eyes he had ever seen, and they stabbed at his heart. "Do you want to get well?" The man suddenly knew that this man must be the healer that everyone had been talking about. Who else could have a gaze like this that reached into the very soul? He knew that the question was not just about healing, but something that would affect his life even beyond physical healing, if that were possible. Was he ready to enter into life again? Ready to do whatever it meant to be healed, be whole? To have hope again?

Are we ready? Like the paralytic man at the pool, we have all had dreams dashed, hopes crushed, but take heart. The healer is passing by, "Are you ready to get well?"

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

God is in control......

Image by Todd Haven

Psalm 8:3-9
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.

You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen—
Even the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air,
And the fish of the sea
That pass through the paths of the seas.

O LORD, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth!

Ever have one of those nights? You know the kind, tossing and turning, riddled with worry. All your problems seem magnified and beyond solving, it seems hope is snatched away with the light of day. You feel almost like you are going insane. I have them every now and Dad had one the other night. He told my Mom he almost woke her up to sit with him awhile. He started praying and meditating and God gave him a picture in his mind of the earth and how it looks from space. Part of us seeming to go about our business on the top of the ball, some on the bottom, yet we are all walking around on flat ground. He thought of this strange dance of the planets, and how if the sun was a fraction closer to earth we would be vaporized in flame, or too far and we would be frozen faster than we could blink.

But it all keeps going; perfectly set in motion by God. Soon he found himself enveloped in a peaceful sleep, sleep that had so eluded him before.

Contrary to popular thought, we will not destroy the planet. God will not let us. He put everything in motion and He will be the one who decides when to stop it.

So next time you are having one of those nights, go outside. Gaze up at the moon, focus on the depth of space, the infinity of the stars, the deep silence that speaks of God. He is there, He is in control, and He is actively seeking you.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Hometown news.....

I am back from my visit with family and friends in Lodi, California. What a great time I had. Here is all the news from the hometown:

Attended my folks 62nd High School reunion, after that we went here:

We sat and listened to Kim Nejak at the Wine and Roses Country Inn lounge play request after request, she was amazing and played everything we threw at her with the most gracious, warm and friendly manner from classical to broadway. Her Uncle came and sat with us too, it was like an old fashioned family reunion. Once Kim found out my Mom sang, she invited her to sit with her at the piano and sing some songs. What a special evening it was. I remember getting married there years ago, and though my husband has been in Heaven 22 years now, the place holds very wonderful memories for me. I am so glad I went. The Inn is doing very well now and has gone through some major renovations over the years, but it has retained its victorian charm while adding beautiful touches of elegance and style. I heartily recommend it to anyone traveling through the Lodi area.

All the kids started school, including my niece Lauryn who proudly had a new uniform and haircut for the special day. We were all worried about her having such a long day and getting back in the routine for school, but PRAYER WORKS because she didn't even mind when we left the second day. She is usually very resistant to change, but she breezed right through it. (Kind of blurry, click to enlarge)

One night I met up with an old high school friend and we went downtown for Farmer's Market. We had a great dinner at the Rosewood Grill outside where we watched all the people strolling by, many with their dogs. A band was playing, old friends greeting one another, a very relaxing way to spend a gorgeous summer evening. I actually ran into my Sunday School teacher I had in high school and his wife, what a nice surprize to see them!

I spent some time one day at Lodi Lake, a little lake right in the middle of town that the Mokelumne River feeds into. It has been a hangout since my Mom and Dad were in high school, where teens used to cruise the lake to see and be seen. Nice to know that families are still enjoying it, although the geese are plentiful. You have to watch where you walk and swallowing the water is not a good idea. I had a great time watching Lauryn swim and together we made "sand cakes" on the beach.

I got caught up with everything that is happening on Glenhurst Drive. My folks live in a very unusual neighborhood. The neighbors actually know each other! On summer evenings all the kids are out in front, as well as the parents and grandparents, just like we used to do years ago. Many times they end up in my folks yard because of the swing out front, and the picnic table that my Mom insisted be put in front because as she says, "everyone in America hides out in their backyard."
Many times an impromtu barbeque will take place, with grills firing up, many times my brother at the helm; other times George or J.P. with all the women bringing sides, desserts and staying out front until after dark laughing and catching up on all that's going on in the neighborhood.

I never know exactly what time it is at my folks house, because they don't sync all the clocks. My Mom knows exactly which ones are accurate and she will be quick to tell me! Also, I learned to be careful with my Mom's dryer. She is the only one I know that has a dryer that doesn't stop spinning when you open the door. In her words, "I just turn it off when I get the clothes out." She is the hardest working woman I know, and at 80 years of age, I don't know of many 60 year olds that could keep up with her. My Dad hardly sits down, and at 81 he is a marvel to all their friends.

He and I got to stroll downtown one day and visit Tom's Used Books, below. It was a beautiful day, green trees all along the street stirring in the breeze. The downtown area is close to the train tracks, so usually you hear the mournful whistle every half hour or so, trains laden with fruit and other goods from the packing sheds. We escaped with one book apiece. Neither one of us needs another book, but they were cheap so it was justified.

Glenhurst Drive has the same mailman they have had since I can remember. George still walks the route, hand-delivering door to door. If you happen to be outside while he comes by, he will usually stop for a moment and chat being the friendly guy he is. No impersonal gangboxes here; What a novelty.......

And then there is the mystery of the ottoman. Stephanie and her husband had a garage sale for a couple days. They live across the street a few doors down in the house that my brother bought and rents to them. Shelly and J.P. (Stephanie's parents) live across the street from my Mom and Dad. I noticed an ottoman at the garage sale and it looked antique. Something about it looked vaguely familar, and I thought about buying it. My brother swears up and down it was an ottoman from my Aunt's house of many years ago. My Mom can't imagine how they got it, but it didn't sell, so later on that day, J.P. carried it over to Sandy's house because she said she would take it. So the ottoman that started out at Shelley's house, next went to Stephanie's house, and now is at neighbor Sandy's house. My Mom is still not sure if it was her sister's, but my brother is. My Mom is going to ask Sandy about it, so maybe then we will have our answer.....

That is all the news fit to print from Lodi, California where there is a church on just about every corner and the Lodi City Council still opens the sessions by praying in Jesus name, though it may not be for long go here for story.