There really is Good News!

It’s been a long stretch of COVID and waiting and even though I didn’t feel bad I didn’t want to give it to anyone else. Then I gave it to Elaine, which made me feel terrible, and she had it longer, so we were both in the tube of seclusion. 

We did get to enjoy a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day corned beef dinner on the 17th. And a rousing game of Farkle that night! (Try not to be jealous.) We count all the small joys here. And we really do find things to laugh about. Lately we have had to look harder. 

Thankfully though, we have come out the other side. The elusive sun has broken through every now and again which has been the only thing keeping us just out of one after another “come-apart” moments (as they say in the South). A term I have only recently learned and now have happily adopted. It has truly been a winter like no other I’ve ever experienced here in California. 

The good news: the reservoirs are filling up and it does the heart good to see a physical manifestation of all that rain (and flooding). And another good thing yesterday, I was able to go prom dress shopping with my niece and her mom and after about 10 dresses, we found “The One.” 

And speaking of world news lately. Everywhere you look it seems the whole world is having a “Come Apart,” when what we really need is a “Come to Jesus.” As Christians we know that God has everything firmly in His grip, all evidence to the contrary when we look at the world and the news. It’s disheartening when we see our own communities affected by it all.

Our faith though, on a practical level rewards us, because there are moments when in the midst of slogging through life, we hear a song, or see something magnificent in nature and we know, that we know, that we know. The Good News that Jesus brought is still here. Still just as real.

It happened today. I heard a song on the radio and I felt Easter like a sunburst in my heart. You know that feeling when you want to shout it out and share it with the world? Like when you have that awesome church service you want to share so bad, and you invite a friend, and they actually say yes. Or when you see grownup people being baptized.

He hears you friend. Don’t despair, He’s got this. Just pray a small prayer like Anne Lamott talked about in her book, “Help, thanks, wow.” It’s all you need. He will hear you. 

I hope this is okay sharing these lyrics because this is the chorus of one of the songs I heard by “We Are Messengers” 

It’s in the empty tomb

It’s on the rugged cross

Your death defying love

Is written in Your scars

You’ll never quit on me

You’ll always hold my heart

‘Cause that’s the kind of God You are……

Yes, indeed. This Lent, we celebrate again that the Father gave the most precious thing He had to redeem us. To draw us close to Himself. And Jesus said, “Let’s do this.” 

Hang Onto the Good

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 107:1

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

Joy does not simply happen to us, we have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. Henry Nouwen

I had to dig myself out of a hole on Monday. I simply wasn’t ready to get up and do it all again. The way I described it to E. was a slow panic attack. I felt paralyzed by life. So, I just called in sick and rode it out. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen every now and then. The endless gray we’ve been having hasn’t helped. Add that to the fact of living in an even smaller space than usual, due to the awning on the slide-out being worn. It has to be fixed and the RV place will charge an arm and a leg for something that takes about 30 minutes.

We may try to do this ourselves. It can be done.

This is the valuable thing I have learned from depression. It is temporary. And there is no shame in medication if it’s needed. Some people of faith think that if you pray enough, or praise enough, or read the Bible enough, you won’t be depressed. One of my former Pastors got very exasperated at that. There is no shame in medication. I have taken Zoloft twice in my life and it has been just what I needed at the time.

That being said, each of us is different, and sometimes we have to find our own way out. We can help each other do this. Many things help me. Sometimes just a simple walk can do wonders. Getting out, seeing people, going to your favorite diner. Sometimes I use writing to write myself out of a hole. Going to the library for me is a simple but great outlet. Being around books has always leveled out my mind. When that fails, I know I’m in trouble.

The pictures above are some of my recent finds. One of them was a pet memorial bench. Later I went back left some flowers. And the drawing is a portrait of me by one of my “girls” at school. She was giggling as she drew it! And on a recent drive looking for the newest free library we found one built like a robot. When you open it, the lights flash. An engineer must live there.

And last week we went to the movie, Jesus Revolution. I highly recommend it. It is not shmaltzy or cheesy the way so many “faith” films can be. It’s a true story from an incredible time in history which I partly lived through growing up in the 70’s. It will make you laugh, cry, and cheer. People in the audience broke into spontaneous applause at the end. How often does that happen anymore?

Another thing that tremendously helps my mood is limited exposure to the news.

“The Good News” that Jesus brought us is still every bit as real as when he walked the earth! Sometimes I need to remind myself of the big thing that makes everything else worth it.

Peace and greetings from my little corner. Lori

Welcome February!

……..the way is cleared, and we can go on……(a snatch from my journal)

And it’s February!!!! That means my daffodils will make an appearance soon. The ones I take a picture of every year are popping up and I can see little bits of yellow poking through the magnificent green. Also, a dear friend has passed, and I still can’t believe she is gone. None of us can. She was ninety-three and she was done with life, but we were not done with her. I know this life is just a vapor of time, a slice of eternity, but Annie, you were just so darn alive. Today would be the day you would have driven here in your Prius to visit my aunt. Your absence is felt keenly.

We miss you so……

Here is a picture of her (on the right) along with my aunt and another friend, all of them 90 or older.

I’ve been reading the book of Job in the Message version. I have always loved that particular book, but the Message expresses it in such a clear and simple way.

God answering Job:

“Why do you confuse the issue? Why do you talk without knowing what you’re talking about? Pull yourself together Job! Up on your feet, stand tall! I have some questions for you, and I want some straight answers. Where were you when I created the earth? Tell me, since you know so much! Who decided on its size? Certainly, you’ll know that. Who came up with the blueprints and measurements? How was its foundation poured, and who set the cornerstone, while the morning stars sang in chorus and all the angels shouted praise?

At first it seems like God is very hard on Job but in the end, God sides with Job and not his friends. So much so that God addresses Eliphaz (bad friend) in exasperation. He turns to him and says:

“I’ve had it with you and your two friends. I’m fed up! You haven’t been honest either with me or about me–not the way my friend Job has. So, here’s what you must do. Take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my friend Job. Sacrifice a burnt offering on your own behalf. My friend Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer.”

Thank you, Jesus, that we are done with THAT messy business.

Death swallowed up by triumphant Life! (Jesus) Who got the last word, oh Death? Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now? 1 Corinthians 15:55

First Sunday of Advent

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you. For behold, darkness covers the land; deep gloom enshrouds the people’s. But over you the Lord will rise, and his glory will appear upon you. 

Nations will stream to your light and kings to the brightness of your dawning. Your gates will always be open; by day or night they will never be shut. They will call you, The City of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Violence will no more be heard in your land, ruin or destruction within your borders.  

You will call your walls Salvation, and all your portals, Praise. The sun will no more be your light by day; by night you will not need the brightness of the moon. 

Already, it’s the first Sunday of Advent. Another year drawing to a close. We had a restful Thanksgiving here camping on the California Delta. Today we will pack up and go home, back to the familiar routine, which can be comforting in its own way.

As I opened Dad’s prayer book this morning, a picture of the two of them came fluttering out. A picture of them both in front of a tent on one of their many camping trips. They are both beaming, happy. That’s how I think of them now, their souls basking in Heavenly light. 

The passing of time is keenly felt to all of us here below, but we are grateful for these times when we can pause briefly from our labor. From this time forth, let the crowds go crazy looking for the perfect gift spending money they may or may not have. 

I will seek God’s rest as much as I can.


Pass It On

I quietly crept in the dark, coffee in hand, to my AM sitting spot out on the swing, cat on my heels, padding soundlessly. We have turned back time once again, at least our clocks have. Well, not all of them, just the smart ones on our IPhones. The other ones know the truth and stalwartly guard it until we manually force the hands back. I wondered why I was awake earlier than usual, then I remembered. 

I sit and Sister rides the movement like a surfer and settles, waiting for her morsel of frosting from my other morning addiction. She has a sweet tooth like me. Nearby an owl is closer than normal and the staccato who-who-whooing is the only sound I hear. Away in the distance one answers back in a slightly different tone, never the same. I marvel at that. At all God’s creation. I think of this time as a kind of church without the human parishioners. 

I am privy, once again to a small feeling of familiarity. Of how it must have been in pre-sin Eden. When all was newly perfect. Before the lethal question that still rankles our present world. “Did God?” The spirit of doubt puts us all on a precipice of nagging gloom. It is the thing that always destroys our peace. 

But right now where I sit, there is silence and wonder and knowing that God is still keeping perfect order behind the scenes. High above, I hear the rumble of a passing plane. After that, a train rolls through. Then, a rustling in the redwoods announces the presence of a gentle wind. It’s a sound I never tire of hearing. It always produces a peace but also a feeling of melancholy from memories of happy times camping in Yosemite. 

When I hear the wind sigh in the pines, I remember golden afternoons when hikes were done, showers were taken and dinner planned, those breezes would come through before the hush of evening. That sound will forever solidify those times for me. 

I watch the tops of the trees bend and sigh, myself.

A neighboring tree answers. 

“Pass it on,” it seems to say. 

And it was answered by another and another, until the message was spread throughout the whole earth.

And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that He had done. Genesis 2:3

365 Plus 1

“I just heard “She’s gone” in my sleep” 

“Mom passed on October 2nd, 2021, at 3:40 AM”

As I opened my iPad to write this post, these were the two statements I had recorded here 365 days ago yesterday. A whole year and millions of breaths since her soul passed into Heaven, taking a part of mine with it. I hadn’t remembered the day, but my sister-in-law did. For some odd reason I thought it was the 6th. 

Maybe somewhere inside I knew. I had chosen the morning to finally box up her photo albums and clothes she had saved of mine that I had in my car partly because I didn’t know where else to put them or maybe I just wasn’t quite ready to turn them loose. 

I’m still making a weekly pilgrimage to the cemetery to do the flowers and it’s weird because I never wanted or felt a need to do this with either Grandparents or even my husband. Then again, there are no rules in grieving and that’s okay. Even as I thoughtfully arrange my Hobby Lobby bouquet, I have to smile, because I can almost hear both of them say, “Give it a rest already……”

Life stops for some and keeps going for others. Inexplicably. This morning I came across a blog post someone else wrote that I had to share in the aftermath of hurricane Ivan, you can read it here. As I very well know, there are no guarantees we will get another day. That makes today the most important day. Inhale deeply, everyone! 

Don’t just walk, see things when you walk. If you are in good health, thank God. If you aren’t, thank Him even more that He is with you in it. He once walked this earth and felt all the things you are feeling right now. If you are feeling despised and rejected, remember He was too. 

I’ve been reading Ezekiel, talk about a crappy job assignment. None of us has the right to complain! Year after year, they didn’t listen to any of his warnings. I venture to say that none of our employers has ever had to lay on our left side for 390 days, and an additional 40 on our right (for the sin of Judah). And even when they finally did concede that he had been right all along in his prophecy, they still didn’t act on it. 

There is a message there for all of us. Basically, we Christians are all little Ezekiels. We know there is Something and Someone better after we leave this place we call home, but too often we remain silent and distracted by the world. Ezekiel warned and obeyed until it hurt. 

Sometimes I don’t know why or how I can keep a lid on my wonder at God and how good He is. But if these words can be a little leaking of hope and joy out into the world then there is redemption in that. 

I leave you with these words from Paul.

“Finally, brethren (sistren too), whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8

Do Words Still Matter?

What words could I add? 

In light of all the suffering going on in the world right now, what words could I possibly add that would make any difference at all? It’s a question that writers everywhere ask. The answer, thankfully, always comes back the same, and has throughout history. Words matter a great deal because the written (or spoken) word will always have tremendous power to change. Even if that change is a barely detectable shift in the heart or soul. And there will always be readers. In my formative years, there were no computers, no iPhones. We had each other. Real faces, real places. And the things we read in books. We had no choice but to use our imagination. 

Flash forward to 1996. I started work at Intel, Corp. For 20 years I worked alongside many others deep within the heartbeat of the technological age. Together, we built the chips that made it all go. I remember back then people said we would be living in a “paperless” world. And now, in 2022 we are drowning in more paper than ever before. And thankfully, bookstores have not become obsolete. Libraries are still being funded. All is not lost. 

When you look around at our current world situation, it would be easy to lose hope. Character seems scarce. Crime is off the charts. And yet, we honor a beloved Monarch who has passed into glory. We honor and pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth because she embodied great character and values not readily seen much anymore. She had the role thrust upon her in her youth, and instead of resenting it, she rose to the challenge and continued to do so for 70 years. Splendidly. 

Also as Americans, after 21 years we must pause, at least at some point in our waking moments today and remember 9/11. We all remember where we were that day. 

On a more personal note, we have just gone through a massive heat wave here in California and yesterday we were released at last and out from under the 100 plus temps for the first time in several days and weeks. For quite a few days we have been hotter than Arizona which is very rare. 

Just being able to take a walk without sweltering was like a miracle. There is something so redeeming in it. Getting out, off the phone, away from the barrage of voices that can so often cause unease and weariness of soul. Come away with Jesus on the mountain and pray. Even He, being God knew how important that was. 

And read. If you haven’t read Ray Bradbury’s “Dandelion Wine” I wholeheartedly recommend it. It will restore you to all things good, worthwhile, precious and true.  Most of all, read the Word that matters more than any others. His. Peace and Blessings, Lori

Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

Psalm 119:105

The Quiet Hour


It’s the quiet of the morning and I think again of what Thomas Merton said about this time in the marvelous anthology “Book of Hours


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

This little book was brilliantly edited by Kathleen Deignan. Somehow, she managed to reduce the mountainous volumes of his writing to this perfect little gem. I reach for this book again and again when I feel the turbulence in my soul that comes from a prolonged absence of my morning quiet time when I think I’m too busy. 

My soul tends to wither and fall prey to all kinds of clamor that our world can so effortlessly concoct. This small island of sacred space helps to remind me that:  

My soul is big enough to hold eternity. 

Big enough to hold Him. 

Or, rather, He makes Himself small enough to fit inside me. 

A humbling thought, one I have to make myself be silent enough to understand. Sometimes Alexa plays David Nevue quietly.  Soft piano hymns fall like gentle rain and the words come from a place I remember.  

Miracles never stopped happening

The possibility is there, we just have to accept the Invitation. 

Each morning, my coffee, my time, these conversations, become a kind of Holy communion. 

Even more important than a good night’s slumber is this rest for my soul. 

Here is a great verse to ponder that I found today in the Good Book:

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

It’s now the close of the day. First week back to work and it’s Friday tomorrow. I’m calling that a victory.

It’s a small, small world

It’s July 9, 2022 and I still sometimes catch myself wanting to write the date starting with a 19, imagine that. Last night I had a dream that I was scheduling my tans like I used to do before an event where I knew I would be wearing a bathing suit in front of other people. Maybe that’s where the “19” came from on the date. The 1970’s were the decade that saw me purposefully baking in the sun to color my acne-ridden skin. 

If I knew then what I know now I may still have done it. (I may have skipped the tanning bed in the 80s though.) It’s the second month of my summer break from school. I am blessed to be able to see children every day at my job and play at least a small part in their education in a supportive role. I’m in the 6th year of this “retirement” job and it will be my last. Yesterday I tore open the important looking envelope from the School District that held my next assignment. Praise God, it’s the same school and the same student as last year, little Edith. I am more than thrilled. 

I am currently reading Ray Bradbury’s book entitled “Dandelion Wine” In it, one of the elderly characters is described by the town youth as a time machine. I am beginning to feel like one of those myself. It’s a wonderful book that was recommended by someone on one of the timelines of social media and I was glad to find it in the library. It will be one I may buy and keep on my hallowed shelves. That is, one day when I do get shelves again. 

Speaking of the library, I was going through withdrawals since I hadn’t been there for a few days. When I got there it was 11:58 and they opened at noon. There were around 7 people waiting there and more walking up. I saw a lady around my age waiting too so I seized the opportunity to talk to her. “Encouraging, isn’t it, that people are waiting in line to read?” Her face brightened and she said, “Oh yes, I volunteer in the bookstore and sometimes I just buy kids books for them as a treat.” I said, “Yes, how often can you buy anything for a dollar or less anymore.” 

She said her greatest reward was that one of the kids ran up to her and hugged her legs. I told her I was a Teacher’s Aide and I heartily agreed that was the absolute best reward you could get. 

Later E and I had lunch with a longtime friend and I told her of my conversation. I described the lady and she said, “Oh yes, her name is Betty. They bought our house on Glenhurst.” Well, Glenhurst Street was my childhood home. The one we just sold this year after my folks passed. 

Turns out it is a small, small world sometimes. 

To those faithfuls who still may be reading, thank you for hearing me ramble. All is well in our little corner and I pray it is in yours!

Blessings, Lori

Sign in Locke, California