Hard Stop

house in reflection

Funny how things can come into focus when you’re still. When you’re quiet enough to let that stillness wrap itself around you and you start to believe that it really will be okay. There are those today reeling from loss, whose homes are no longer a reality, but only a reflection. I identify a little bit. I miss my home and the security that went with it every day. And yet I know that my true security lies in God and nothing else. Homes will come and go but He stays forever.

Last Friday I sat by the river and thought great and wondrous things. At least five of them. Later when I tried to capture them I couldn’t remember one, but the feeling of peace stayed behind. I was so grateful for that because there have been times this year when scenes of great beauty bounced off my soul like teflon and that troubled me. For I’ve always been able to find my way back to God through His beauty in creation.

We slip and fall headlong into our worries and problems and then He wakes our soul once again and I think it’s because He wants us to feel the gift of Gratefulness again.

All around us, nature is enfolded in a great drama and it never stops. She invites us to partake and be more than a bit player, and the rules are simple. We have to do a “hard stop”

curly leaf on water

A hard stop is when we allow our worries and cares drift away like this leaf who fell twisting in the wind. It didn’t think of falling, it didn’t even try to fall, it just fell. And in that simple act it had a power it didn’t even know it had. Its little presence announced that a change is coming, the first of many reds and golds and browns that will rain down in the coming months.

taking flight

Psalm 55:6 says: “Oh that I had wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.”

I have a friend who used to say that when he flew, his problems seemed smaller. They weren’t really, but from the air his perspective changed. My flying usually involves driving to the beach. We all need a place where we can see clearer, feel calmer. But we can do that from anywhere with prayer.  Jesus has the peace we so deeply crave. It’s His free gift…….though it cost Him plenty He was happy to do it.

heart leaves

And when we accept it by stopping our striving and wrestling and open our hearts to His love He is honored. When we do that, It makes Him feel like it was all worth it. Like a parent who has had to sacrifice so many times they feel their battered ripped to shreds heart may just give way this time. Then the child realises he or she is not the only one in the world, that someone loved until it hurt for them. When that love is released, hearts can start to mend.

Do you see a heart here, or just a dead tree?

crane 3

Accept the invitation that God sends through His nature friends. I can assure you of a reward. A wise man named John Muir said this:

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

Thankful to be Thankful

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6,7

……..If I had an altar I’d kneel at it today, but since I don’t I will make an altar right here at work in my heart. I am thankful to be thankful today!

Even though I have to be at work, I know there are many who need jobs, who would give anything to be here today. In fact, I was all ready to grumble about being here, but I feel like the Spirit is doing flips inside my heart, so I think I will just go with it!

Have a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours……and don’t forget to smile at everyone you see from now until the New Year. You never know what load someone might be carrying.

images from google

Multitude Mondays on the Road

I am posting my blessings on a Wednesday instead of Monday because I didn’t want to miss an opportunity…….to thank Him again for outshining the stresses with blesses.

As I lay awake after my arrival, my mind swirling….one thousand thoughts converging……

colliding, worries tumbling over and over like a spin dryer.

Everything that comes with wanting to be everywhere at once when visiting family. The excitement of being there, and the sometimes extreme duress that came with traveling with someone extremely unpredictable, and with many special needs and challenges. It all swirled around.

My heart beating, my neck tense…..I prayed and let it all out to Him who listens best and can calm my heart when all else fails.

Still the blessings shine through the darkness. And many smiles were had and much laughter too. Now that I am home, I remember one after the other.

Being able to park the RV at my Aunt’s place on the Mokelumne River, and it was a blessing to her too to have us there. A comfort to her since now she comes home in the dark, her husband spends his days and nights away in a rest home. She said over and over again how she enjoyed it….having us there.

Seeing my Mom’s Bible study gals again…..their faith always shines through whatever they are dealing with, and there are many issues. But oh how we laughed and got a bit of study in too. Sometimes the fellowship is the most important part of the lesson.

Being able to spend time with Lauryn, my niece, my precious girl whose voice I still hear right now…saying my name which I waited so long for her to say. She has captured my heart with all the things she does……As I put scattered Lego’s back in the bag, my heart tugged…..lurched for her and the fun we had. Leaving is so bittersweet.

Enjoying a walk downtown in the crisp fall weather……clicking with my camera and enjoying once again walking all the paths I used to walk.

And of course, being able to do some things for Mom and Dad who are so appreciative of every small thing I do. I only wish it could be more……enjoying great food cooked by my brother, who really missed his calling. He should have been a chef.

Throwing an impromptu party for the “girls” in the Motor home. Elaine cooked a wonderful dinner and we laughed until our stomachs ached. My Aunt came out later and said what a great time she had…..

And to top it off. A spontaneous side trip to the ocean. I promise, pictures will follow………….There was a special place she longed to go, my best friend…..but with her Mom along, there was not much peace or relaxation for her. Let’s just say it was not a real vacation. Her dream of escaping there for a few days didn’t work out, so she asked me……Want to take a side trip to the coast on the way back?

It would mean getting back with no time to spare for work. But suddenly the prospect of going there, standing on the pounding surf, was irresistible. And she beamed like the sun……We turned the “bus” to the West with our hearts singing.

And Oh, the seafood. The magic of the waves, walking for hours and hours on the beach, watching the sandpipers clown around the shore, and the otter who entertained us for a solid hour with his antics.

It was all so wonderful. There is truly nothing like praying by the ocean.

Getting to bed at midnight and getting up at four AM for work is something I have not done in a while. But the memories and bit of peace and relaxation we carried away is worth every bit of sleep lost.

Sleep can be caught up. Moments are for seizing,  and once passed we can’t be sure they will come again.

#714-725

Waking up in the Desert

“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
Isaiah 43:18,19

The rest of the world is tucking in……preparing for the winter,

enjoying things like crisp mornings and the smell of woodsmoke.
And hot cider.
The bloom of color on tips of leaves,
and the anticipation watching them twirl down…….
orange frost crunch underfoot, and
Pumpkins peek out from green patch along the country road to town.
In the desert we are just waking up again.
The barbeques come back out.
We scalp summer lawn down to bare dirt.
and Home Depot sells manure by the ton
as our desert turns golf green.
But……as I hang my fall foliage indoors,
Set ceramic pumpkins here and there….
Hang my wreath of Autumn on the door
and get out the harvest flag.
The joy of fall wiggles glad in my heart.
I remember it.
Flannel shirts…..
cracking walnuts with my Mom in the garage
I cracked and we both sorted.
I remember……cool mornings
bright maple leaves against brilliant sky.
Wind that bites.
And wood piled in the driveway.
As I plant my perennials out front in the warm sun
Fall is alive in my heart.
and for some reason I can’t stop singing.
Today I celebrate desert fall
Because God called it all good……
and it is.
Very good.
photos from google images

Evening walk

An evening walk among giants……

Cicadas were the symphony backdrop, with an occasional bullfrog and the sound of ducks splashing across the pond and dragonfly wings whirring overhead…..

Fall in the desert is a bit different……no evening chill yet, the heat of the day leaves reluctantly….it hangs on until the morning hours.
Two ducks heading to communal evening bath time
Still, we know that summer is coming to an end at long last. It is slow going, and yet when we get up and are greeted with the cool air that greets the morning,
we are graced with new life….
new hope.
By the time we headed back to the car, the mosquitoes were out in force…….
but we know that soon summer will lose it’s grip for good. Soon we will have the desert chill, and
fires in the firepit………hot drinks and
everything fall.

Happy Thanksgiving to all…..

Psalm 100
A psalm of thanksgiving.
 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
 Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
 Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
go into his courts with praise.

Give thanks to him and praise his name.
 For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
 
I loved this photo because I have a Mom and Dad who send me leaves in the mail……..A very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to all, from my prayer closet to yours……
 
image from photobucket

Thoughts on a Sunday Morning…….

Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15: 1,2

Jesus knew that they were muttering, and He knew just what they were muttering about……then knowing full well they were hanging on His every word (they couldn’t help themselves) He zings them with the parable about the lost sheep. Luke 15: 3-7

I wish I could have seen their reactions……I was reflecting on how He must think of how we sometimes “do church.” Let me rephrase that, how I do church. I imagine Him answering the question much like this.

“If it doesn’t change your life, make you go out into my world and seek my lost sheep, do the work I sent you to do, then what good is it? I have plenty of people and angels to praise Me right here in Heaven. There is a whole world out there that needs saving, that is broken, hungry, cold, needs shelter, needs to see my Light in you…….Love them as I have loved you.”

I am thinking of happy memories today, grateful for a Baptist mother who wasn’t afraid to let us enjoy the fun parts of Halloween. My Dad came to the Lord later in life and after he did we still enjoyed dressing up and setting up the “spook” in the hall every Halloween. I can never pass a Halloween day without thinking of all of his grand costume ideas, and us carving pumpkins together on a crisp fall day. I just called him to reminisce and laugh about our memories and he told me that there was what was supposed to be a small event for Halloween that quickly turned into 400 people parading through the streets dressed in all manner of evil costumes. It is sad that something so innocent has turned into what it is now for some…..Lady Gaga dressed as meat. What next?