Down to the River to Pray

Settled. The Prayer Closet found its new resting place here down by the river. I haven’t been able to find the peace to pray or write at all it’s been such a whirlwind of activity since we got here. We are comfortably settled in the RV (3 things broke soon after we got here but those have been fixed thankfully.) Helps so much to have a very handy best friend!

I am so thankful we have such a wonderful opportunity to stay here on my Aunt’s beautiful property. However long this season lasts I will be thankful to her for generosity. It’s good to be able to help her out with some things too. God is good.

Here I can feel and see nature all around me and hear the sounds of trains which I have always loved. I have missed the trains of my childhood, it’s good to have them back. There is something Holy about a train whistle….they bring with them (to me) a sense of longing and promise, and a bit of sadness to.

This morning I was treated to the sight of a white heron on the very top of a tree across the river. And our second day here I was greeted by the resident robin (Mrs. or Mr. I couldn’t tell). That of course was very important since robins have always held signs of promise to me.

The presence of the river is strong. Rivers always are. They carry things like dreams and hopes. We had our maiden voyage with the kayaks which was something we wanted to do since we got here. Coming back in was a sight to see. We laughed so hard we couldn’t catch our breath. Now we have a rope affixed to the tree to help pull us in!

Until next time, keep my Mom in your prayers, she is still struggling after her thyroid surgery several months ago. It hurts to see her not doing all the things she loves, but her attitude remains thankful and hopeful.

Also, pray for my friend Ron Green, who lost his wife, our dear friend Ruby. She is safe in the arms of Jesus now but he will need the strength of the Holy Spirit to keep going.

Blessings and peace to you all.

A New Chapter

IMG_5501

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland……” Isaiah 43:19

Just over 10 years ago, lots of people thought we were crazy to buy a manufactured home in a retirement community. But sometimes doing the crazy thing can be right. Living here close to the Superstition mountains gave me an experience I never could have gotten any other way. This place taught me to listen to the desert and what it whispers in the wild. It gave me my blog and it gave a voice to my writing. I will always be grateful for that.

At this phase of life, most people might be easing into retirement. Maybe settling into the home where they will finish out their years on this planet, winding down. We are doing the opposite, uprooting ourselves to start over yet again. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? But I firmly believe that God rewards crazy if the motive is love. In fact, I know He does. I can find example after example in the Bible where God did this.

Not long ago a statement was made to someone else that “People just don’t move back to California!” My answer is the same as his, with an addition “Yes I can, I can do whatever I want to do.” My very important addition to that statement is that I believe in a big God of impossibilities who loves it when we believe Him enough to step out in obedience and do something out of their comfort zone for the right reasons.

And I can’t wait to see what He will do. He has never let us down. He has always provided for our needs, and He isn’t about to stop now.

So today the for sale sign went up. I always wondered how I would feel when it finally happened, but I think I have cried all my tears already. We will leave good friends and great neighbors and how many times can you say that anymore? But I know that God has a great plan and that it is coming together already.

14355169_10207015204800552_5127567200531923719_n

And we will be back to visit. I never did like goodbyes, in fact, I hate them. I think I am looking forward to Heaven most of all for that reason alone. No more goodbyes….ever.

So as I have said before, this magical place by the mountain has changed me for the good. It’s carved out a place in my heart that will stay. And a Grand adventure awaits. We are going back to where we started, and to family who will love having us there.

I have a good feeling.

14291867_10206997270792213_7829769581944248844_n

Moving: First phase complete

14045933_10206902520703520_8827446219339681731_n

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

Well, we packed and packed and Elaine’s brother Bobby brought his trailer and loaded up the shop and since you always forget something while in the process of moving, there were the bikes and the rototiller left when the dust cleared. We originally wanted to tow my car, but after wrestling with the decision we decided I would drive the bug behind the motor home.

So, in the 100 plus heat we bought one of those “Hitch-hauls” as you can see here and proceeded to load bikes and rototiller amidst some words that Jesus wouldn’t have used. Then we had to make sure they made the 759.1 mile journey. After wrestling with tie-downs (more words) we were satisfied with the result.

The drive went wonderfully smooth. (It’s easy when you have a big target to follow), and the items we wrestled with didn’t move. We had fun with walkie-talkies until we kept saying, “What, what?” for too long then resorted to our phones. We stayed the night in the Barstow KOA which was fine.

Final destination was reached after miraculously seeing only one accident in all those miles. After setting up our new temporary home at my Aunt’s we drew a huge sigh of relief down by the river at the bottom of her property.

14142061_10206911059236978_5951114380666405910_n

We got many things done. It wasn’t perfect, there were bumps in the figurative road and a few breakdowns in communication (on my part) but the end result was the Lord was with us as always. I was able to drive my Mom and Dad to her three Thyroid treatments for the cancer and today she has a final scan. (Prayers please)

Despite the fact that I fell out of the motorhome (gracefully) on the second night after misjudging the step (only one minor scrape) all was cozy and we felt tucked in. We even had a lesson about squirrels. After enquiring why my Aunt seemed to harbor bad feelings for the red squirrels she told us that the people at the zoo had told her that they bite the grey squirrels testicles and render them sterile. I never knew that!

On the first night, when I was able to go hug and kiss my folks and we were able to talk and laugh with my Aunt Mayvis over a glass of wine I sensed that the right decision was made. It wasn’t easy and still isn’t. Here now, packing the remainder of the house there are tugs at our hearts, for this has been a very happy place.

Now, we prepare for the final phase, last-minute appointments and hoping and praying Briggs the cat reaches back into his memory if cats can do that and remember what it’s like to ride in the car.

We have pheromone spray ready.

Blessings and peace to you all, and thank you for following the journey along with us. I hope you do, this next chapter might be entertaining.

 

Of leaving home and going home

IMG_6384

Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Matthew 8:20

Anyone can leave a house, but leaving a home takes grit, guts, determination and the knowledge that you are leaving a place for the right reasons. It’s the kind of soul-searching that doesn’t come easy, kind of like raking a plow over your heart. And even when it’s for good reasons which it is, it’s still tough.

Yesterday we packed the patio and when I saw the umbrella folded up in my car I flashed back to 10 years of morning coffee and watching the sun come up over the Superstition mountains. Ten years of dinners by the fire-pit and hanging out with neighbors on both sides of us. I confess I had to hide behind the corner and cry.

We are leaving a place that’s been really good to us. We’re leaving a community of people; a way of life that’s easy and neighbors who know each other……watch out for one another. How often do you find that anymore? We have 10 years of memories which we will take with us and hold in our hearts forever.

We have seen decline and the death of some of our neighbors too. Living in a retirement community, that comes with the territory. The man who used to be up with the chickens walking his dog and singing loud now hardly leaves his house. They are taking a different kind of leave. Preparing for another kind of exit.

Two cats have gone over the rainbow bridge here, the stray we brought along when we came here, and Sydney who was my baby. His ashes will go along with us and for that I am glad.

But we are on an adventure, friends. And I would like to take you along if you would like to come. This blog has been birthed here over times of prayer in the little shop since 2009. I can hardly believe where the time has gone. And in three weeks I will be back living in the hometown I left in 1992.

This desert is a place I will come back to from time to time, I hope. It’s left its mark and its a good one. It’s carved out a place in my heart that will remain there forever. And I will do my best to keep you all posted here.

Until then, I have packing to do. And to steal a line from one of my favorite poets. Miles to go before I sleep.

 

Thankful

 

 

 

Prayer Journal: August 11

IMG_3236

Rain slammed down hard last night, awakening me from sleep. It was a welcome sound…..something I had been hoping and praying for. And in between the silences thunder rolls this morning.

Here amidst the boxes in the shop, the Trinity and I are having our coffee communion. There are different types of communion you know. There’s the church kind and then there is this kind. Where we invoke and invite the Presence of God into our moments.

Thunder amplifies the Holiness of the hour, and I think about that Day.

When the sixth hour came, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour. Mark 15:33

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” Matthew 27: 51-54

Some standing around finally got that they had killed not only a completely innocent man, but God Himself. Even nature reeled from it, punctuated the awful truth of it with darkness and an earthquake. The prophet Amos predicted it in 750 BC……

It will come about in that day,” declares the Lord GOD, “That I will make the sun go down at noon And make the earth dark in broad daylight. Amos 8:9

We, all of us want to know we’re going in the right direction. But sometimes, despite our best efforts, all the signs along the way, we get lost. Or feel lost. Ever made a mistake of epic proportions or feel like you did something irrevocable?

Few things can’t be reversed, forgiven or undone. That’s the Good News I bring today. And some paths you have to turn into on faith, knowing that the only way is to walk it for a while to know if it’s right.

With God there are no blind corners, He knows exactly where we are and what’s beyond the next bend. I just have to pick up my walking stick and follow.

Know this for sure, that uncertainty…..the dread of what might happen……the icy fear that slips in during the night? None of that came from God. 

I can assure you that if you are wondering where your happiness went? It wasn’t God who stole it. But I do know that He can bring it back.

Let the life-giving Holy Spirit breathe fresh life into your weary heart and soul today. And know that if you are living and breathing, that it’s a good day.

Dawn: I only have time for Eternity

IMG_4813

“Praises and canticles anticipate each day the singing bells that wake the sun. Open the secret eye of faith and drink these deeps of invisible light”……Thomas Merton 

Yesterday was a tough day for me. I knew this would be hard, packing up this place has been like packing up part of myself. How do you go about doing that? This little home, the most humble of all the homes God has blessed us with has felt more like home than any of them. It’s been a place of tremendous comfort and joy.

So I packed some and I cried some. By the end of the day I was worn out. But this morning I may have turned a corner into the new Chapter. Maybe I did. It was slight, like a chord change that takes place somewhere deep in your soul. The Holy Spirit speaks in a whisper.

It was hard to walk out into the shop yesterday and see a whole wall blank, but this morning I went out and it was like it’s always been. Today I needed some Thomas Merton so I took his little “Book of Hours” with me. His words breathed life and freshness through my soul like the wind through the pines.

Today, if you are reading this, do this one thing. Go easy on yourself. It’s what I have needed to do and you need it too. Life is hard. Give yourself time to adjust to the winds of change that sometimes blow more fiercely than you anticipated. Get help from an outside source if you need it. Sometimes the body is fine but the weary heart and mind need a physician.

Here is a partial reading for the Sunday Chapter:

“Meanwhile, the most wonderful moment of the day is that when creation in its innocence asks permission to “be” once again, as it did on that first morning that ever was. 

All wisdom seeks to collect and manifest itself at that blind sweet point. Man’s wisdom does not succeed, for we have fallen into self-mastery and cannot ask permission of anyone. We face our mornings as men of undaunted purpose. 

We know the time and dictate the terms. We know what time is. 

For the birds, there is not a time that they tell. But he virgin point between darkness and light. Between being and non-being. 

Here is an unspeakable secret: paradise is all around us and we do not understand. It is wide open. The sword is taken away, but we do not know it. We are off “one to his farm and one to his merchandise.” 

Lights on, clocks ticking. Thermostats working. Stoves cooking. Electric shavers filling the radio with static. Wisdom, cries the dawn deacon, but we do not attend.”  Book of Hours, page 46

I for one, will be present today. Help me to do that, Lord. You have given birth to a new day and that is always a gift. I thank you for today and whatever it brings. Because whatever it is, you will meet me there.

God’s Speed Bumps

IMG_4741

“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.”  Thomas Merton

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” C.S. Lewis

Last night we watched the storm come in, the skies filling with every shade of pink, peach and amber, then the screen of dust came and diffused the light. The trees bent unnaturally this way and that. And finally, healing rain beating it all down, flickers of lightning here and there like God’s flash bulbs. Easy to believe in God during these kinds of storms.

There are times throughout our lives that stand out. And I’m not talking about the usual Big Moments like births and weddings. I am talking about those little everyday miracles you just can’t explain that won’t go away. I call them God’s Speed Bumps. I believe sometimes He has to stop us in our tracks to remind us He’s still there, still loves us enough to nudge us with something unexplained. A gift that removes all doubt of its source.

I keep a journal of these……answered prayers and moments that stand out no matter how many years pass by. I never want to forget. Maybe you have some too. Here are some in my collection:

The white dove that wouldn’t leave, resting on the flower box as my parents left the house after praying when my sister-in-law was so sick. 

The unmistakable presence of the Holy Spirit that enveloped me like the fog that covered our house as I listened to “Oh, Holy Night” in my little room so long ago now.

The mother duck and her ducklings walking along the side of the road as the sky turned peach all around us, as we drove to Church on an Easter morning. 

The letters found in the parking lot as if dropped straight from Heaven at Elaine’s Dad’s nursing home on a day when hope was desperately needed. (You can read about that here.) 

The Holy Spirit taking over as I sang my first solo in church. Each time after as well, and not one missed lyric, except the time I crashed and burn when I got a little cocky and forgot to pray. 

The supernatural evening touched with grace as I prayed and asked for help while watching the sunset with Tux my little stray yard cat. 

Elaine and I finding the song by Jessye Norman for Lori’s memorial service, truly a needle in a haystack. 

And this one at the end of a particularly hard day, Elaine glancing over to the side of the road at the precise moment a little round squirrel stood up on his hind legs while holding a flower between his two front paws. She said it was like he was posing for a greeting card. 

The robin in the yard at dawn just when my Mom needed to see it after those dark days after my husband died. 

The bright and long shooting star Elaine and I both saw walking out of the restaurant at Moss Landing. 

There are so many, friends that I could never count them all. And yes, I believe in a God who doles out parking spots sometimes because it’s His good pleasure to give us good gifts. The truth is, He does these things for all of us but we don’t all take time to notice or thank Him.

And no, my God is not a Genie…..my wish is not His command. But I believe He reveals Himself in a myriad of little ways to those who pay attention. For those who ask to notice and keep their Spiritual ears and eyes open…..He waits.

Today, open your eyes to what He has surrounded us with. And start counting!