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

Soul Rest

Somewhere there is a quiet place to dream
To be still, and let the world drop away
You know that place
You could paint it on a canvas
it’s different for everybody, this place.
It’s like a familiar friend and you
always know it when you’ve found it.
It is the moment your soul has found rest,
safely landed….
when all the conditions are right and
you feel like everything in
the universe is working with you 
right then.
Every now and again it happens
in this life, and when it does
it is something like
a little miracle.
It’s not so much a structure
or building…..
You could find it on a street corner
far from home….
It’s that place you discover when you are
all by yourself
maybe rounding a hill
or walking through a clearing
or seeing a light shining through
a little alley way
No matter where it is,
you turn as if to say…..look! 
You want to share it
with someone close.
And then again you almost don’t. 

You want it

to be just yours……
and God’s.
I think this place is something we all
have in common, for is there anyone who
does not dream of such a place?
When you see it, something
in you wants to claim
it as your own
It feels like home
You breathe a little prayer of thanks,
because you just know that God
has dropped it out of the sky
just for you!
I found this little building behind the cabin next door that we rented earlier this month. I immediately claimed it as my own and dubbed it My Writer’s Shack. It intrigued me, stuck back there in the woods. One night I actually thought I saw a light on in the little window, but maybe I just wanted to. I had fun painting a little scene for myself there. I saw myself sitting behind that window, kerosene lamp lit in a comfy chair watching big flakes of snow coming down…books and journal at hand. I have no idea if that cabin was a rental or not. It could be that they used the little building as storage, but I had fun imagining what it could be.  
Be at rest sometime this weekend, and be blessed!

A Wonderful Birthday Week

If the sight of the blue sky fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive. Eleonora Duse

I am heading back to the desert filled with sweet memories for my soul’s bouquet.

It is fragrant and alive, and still fresh in my mind.

I carry their voices away with me along with the times we shared, held close to my heart.

So grateful am I for this time. To refresh, renew.


We will be further down the road tomorrow and heading back home.

How curious and bittersweet to go from home to home once again.

This is the afterglow of vacation.

I am still in it.

The cabin we rented actually had these stars all ready for us!

When did pop lose its soul?

Is it just me???

Pop music has lost its soul. I was driving to work this morning after a very long stressful week and I needed to hear something that would make me smile…..a feel good CD. I had Simon and Garfunkel in there from awhile back, so I put it in. Instantly I was taken back……..I remembered high school English class….we all had to print out a popular song, read it out loud and then discuss the meaning behind the words….the soul of the song.

I must say, that at 14 I was very innocent. The song I chose was “The Boxer,” by Simon and Garfunkel. Before I read it aloud, I had to ask my Dad what a whore was. That was the closest they got to a bad word in the song lyrics back then.

I thought it would be interesting to compare the “soul” of pop today, with the “soul” of the pop of yesterday. Here are a few snippets I found that frankly, made me sad for where we are today…..

It doesn’t matter if you love him
Or capital h-i-m
Just put your paws up
‘Cause you were born this way, baby Lady Gaga
I got a dirty mind
I got filthy ways
I’m tryna Bath my Ape in your Milky Way
I’m a legend, I’m irreverent
I be reverend Kanye West

Feels so good being bad
There’s no way I’m turning back
Now the pain is for pleasure
‘Cause nothing can measure
Love is great, love is fine. Rihanna
(These were the ones I could write, the others were too foul)
and yesterday….
When you’re weary
Feeling small
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all
I’m on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can’t be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I would lay me down….
I hear the drizzle of the rain
Like a memory it falls
Soft and warm continuing
Tapping on my roof and walls.
And from the shelter of my mind
Through the window of my eyes
I gaze beyond the rain-drenched streets
To England where my heart lies. Simon and Garfunkel
Ah! Poetry and words that touch the heart and soul.

In my opinion, music, like art and comedy should be universal. Something everyone can share and appreciate. It should inspire emotion, deep feeling, sadness, joy, wonder, longing….the full range of emotions. There is so much beauty, goodness, wonder and love in the world.

It makes me wonder what the fallout is going to be for our youth that fill their heads with this stuff……it is no surprise that so many are depressed and hopeless…..

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

I leave you today with an almost prophetic song. To me this is one of the most beautiful pop songs ever written. If you get a few spare moments, pull it up on Itunes or Pandora and listen to it. Think about where we are today, everyone walking around with their heads bent, texting……plugged in, tuned in and tuned out of the world around them. It will produce some chills I guarantee it!

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence
And a special side note of Congratulations to James and Elizabeth on your wedding day today….I wish you much joy and God’s grace to light your way……

God’s early light….

I do love Your dawn Lord,
I feel as if I am partaking in somekind of miracle…..
something just between You and me.
And the birds.
There is something about when the first light of pink
touches the sky, earth’s first waking.
Something in me grieves when I miss it,
when I am somewhere I can’t see it.
It’s like I’ve missed something important,
like a miracle.
Today I heard the first mourning dove,
which was answered by another close by.
Maybe that is why I feel a kinship
with the birds, they wake up singing.
They know it’s a miracle too.
Lord, I thank you because everyday
is resurrection day after all.
The earth turns, wakes.
And it will not happen just this way

Taken from my iphone, Lodi, California…..

Waiting for the Fog to Lift

He sat there alone in his island of grief.
I could feel it from where I sat, I recognized it, remembering.
Just what is it we’re afraid of when someone is grieving?
That if we are too close we will catch it?
Go over there” the Holy Spirit whispered.
I waited all day, awkward as I passed his desk each time.
Do I really want to go back there,
To that dark place I knew long ago?
“I don’t even know him,” I argued.
“But you know it” God said.
Yes, I do know it, I walked that path long ago.
And making contact, saying I understand, is a bit of going back to that grief.
That dark place.
I waited all day, and then tentatively, having to cross the room anyway,
I walked by his desk.
Said I was sorry for his loss,
Stuttered and stammered a bit.
I said the only words that really matter at a time like that.
“I lost a spouse too.”
And as I looked into his eyes I saw it.
Saw what I felt all those years ago.
Recognized it, felt it.
I pray that He recognized the same grief in my eyes.
That he knew that I knew.
More important than words.
We touched souls.
There is a consolation in going through terrible things once we have reached the other side. That we may help others find the way back though the fog. I remember so well, those first few weeks back at work. I was almost superhuman, but at the same time, moving through a pea soup fog, that made moving extremely difficult. Everything was labored. Life was going on all around me, but it was all outside. I was locked inside.
We may feel ineffective, like we don’t have the words. Many times we don’t. So don’t say anything. Just sit there a moment with your arm around them. Maybe shed a tear with them. Just don’t leave them alone. I can’t express how much the kind actions of others meant to me at that time. Yes, there were the stupid comments, the thoughtless comments. But all these years later, it is the kindness that emerges, that still at times moves me deeply.
The fog did lift. It always does.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3,4
This picture was taken by Andrew Schmidt at publicdomainpictures.net. I have always loved fog except for the danger of it. I was raised in the fog of San Joaquin county. It would come in so thick you couldn’t see the house across the street. I loved the way it surrounded everything, swallowed everything up. I liked the closeness of it. I never forget that on an extremely foggy day, I had the most incredible spiritual touch from God that I have ever had. That experience has never left me. However, the fog did get depressing at times, and it is extremely scary to drive in it.

Propelled by the Spirit

“You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” Romans 8:9-11

Yesterday I missed prayer time. Usually I start the day with a sentence prayer as I get up, and then I pray on the way to work during commute, and then sometimes I will say short prayers throughout the day, just talking to my Father about things, or at the very least, prayers of confession after I hurl bad thoughts at unsuspecting drivers who cut me off. But yesterday, I didn’t really have a conscious prayer time.

I missed it.

I read a very touching poem that stayed with me all afternoon. You can read it here

Still in reflection after the poem, I walked down to our cafe here at work. My thoughts were on hungry children as I walked past bins of fruit that we get here free for the taking. I envisioned myself handing every last one to little outstretched hands. I saw the beans that collect the excess drips from the Starbucks coffee carafes, and thought of parents who would give anything for those beans to feed their families. I saw the squash that we use as ornaments on the counters. Then I went outside and fed our stray cat, one of several that our company has adopted because people carelessly dump them off in the parking lot, or move and leave them behind…..Even the cat food has more nutrition than what some kids get in a week. I was mulling it all over…..why do we have so much and they so little?

I got home. I felt the Spirit leading me out to my little prayer shed but I really wasn’t in sync for it. I thought, “I usually don’t pray now, this is not what I do, I am a morning prayer person. Evenings are for catching the news of the day, maybe some computer time, dinner…..but the feeling wouldn’t go away. The Spirit said, go….

I went, I lit my 6 inch Christmas tree, (yes, already) and my lamp….I prayed, and I was blessed. I am so glad I did……I am glad I listened. My flesh was saying no, but the Spirit in me was saying, yes. The Spirit is always right…..thank you Lord, again.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

A bit of poetry today……

The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
— Wendell Berry
 Praise him, sun and moon,
Praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for he commanded and they were created. Psalm 148:3-5

God in Living Color

I have always thought of Fall as nature gathering her thoughts……..what a spectacle, this riotous color. God’s color palette is limitless…..He does nothing in black and white…..ours is a God who does things in technicolor. And yet, He says, “You haven’t seen anything yet…….look, I have saved the colors of Eden for you, the ones you left behind long ago. Now you see glimmers of that light, that dimly remembered glory of your first days, preserved in Heaven, I will restore your sight once again to see what you were meant to see all along.”
But another day is coming……..However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”–1 Corinthians 2:9
Eden restored…….”Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. Isaiah 65:17
When I see swirling leaves of bright orange and red, there is a place in my soul that is touched deeply and  I can’t help thinking that much more is going on than meets the eye, under the surface where only God can see. Fall captivates me once again with God’s great and glorious imagination, and yet I can’t help but wonder what He has yet to show us.
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

Cure for Anxiety

I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in. ~George Washington Carver
Ever feel like your mind won’t stop fluttering? My friend has another word for it, she calls it “Zingin” You can’t put the “g” on the end either, it just doesn’t sound right. When she says, “I’m zingin” I know exactly what she means. Now I am starting to say it. Today my mind has felt like a hundred butterfies with their wings fluttering all at once. I don’t even know why. Some days are just like that.
I am looking for that quiet corner in my mind today and so far it has escaped me. Over at the Moonboat Cafe I learned about a new form of Japanese poetry called Gogyohka. I hope you hop over there and see what it’s all about, and enjoy Cassandra’s post while you are at it.  You will be inspired and refreshed!
In the meantime, I thought I would try my hand at it. It is amazing that my mind actually did quiet down a bit after I tried it!
Though my mind seems filled
with a hundred tiny butterflies
if I focus on only one
slowly resting on a flower
I am at peace
Dear friend,
You aren’t the only one to be distracted from the presence of God; I understand completely. Our minds are so flighty. But remember that our God-given will governs all of our strength. It must recall the mind to God. Otherwise, our spirit may wander, dragging us down to the things of this earth.
Brother Lawrence