Living and dying and everything in between


At 3:30 AM the cat yowled to be fed. I am used to it, he is an old man with special needs. I think he might be suffering from hyperthyroidism. He wants to eat round the clock and I let him. I don’t want to put him through all kinds of tests, vet visits are traumatic for him, so at this point I will keep feeding him. After stumbling back to bed I was wide awake. Thinking about mortality. I asked God how on earth I will handle this little furry creature’s death when it comes. Then I asked how I will ever handle Mom and Dad’s when their time comes.

Then I thought, who will be alive to care when it’s my turn? And then I thought about their obituaries and what they will say……then I thought of my own.

And I wrote them all in my head, including my own.

And poor Elaine, I am celebrating her Birthday today, what a morbid post for her special day. But then writers can’t control the flow of thoughts and words that come, so I will try my best to weave all these tangled threads together somehow. She understands me, bless her.

Of course the answer to the question of how I will deal with any of it is: “With God, with God.” Well, He kind of whispered, “With me, with me.” Life is fleeting and oh so precious. People ask why I make a big deal about Birthdays, but I do it because we aren’t guaranteed another one, that’s why. So I try to remember the important ones.

So many people quietly enter and exit the stage door of life every single day. Some with much fanfare and some with barely a parting of the curtain. Like small pebbles dropped into a pond, only a ripple tells you something just happened.

But one thing I know is that God personally celebrates each life. None are more important than the next, all are equal to Him, and all equally worth celebrating.

I am thinking of a dear friend who just passed into Heaven not long ago. She was dearly loved by all who knew her. She loved life and living it. I read her obituary and everything in it was true, and although her family is deeply grieving and missing her, they know where she is and that is great cause for hope.

So today, as I celebrate my very best friend’s Birthday……”Happy Birthday, Elaine!” I am also thinking of our other friend Ginny and honoring her life and her memory. For I know she would dearly love to still be here with her friends and family, and yet even they wouldn’t ask her to leave the incredible beauty that surrounds her now.

It’s a perfectly beautiful day down here, a perfect day for a Birthday. A perfect day to love life and living it. Gotta go and do some celebrating now, and of course, a German Chocolate cake is waiting to be baked.

“Where’s my cake?” The Birthday girl just walked by and asked.

“It’s coming, it’s coming!” I said. But bloggers gotta blog.

She knows me so well.



Happy Almost Birthday to my Dad!


Dad……I know you don’t relish turning 87 and I can hardly believe the number myself.

This is you leading the pack in Yosemite. We always called you the Mountain Goat…….Thank you for handing down to me a wonderful legacy of loving nature and animals and a deep respect for all living things.

I hope the cake got there in one piece, I thought 87 deserved a homemade cake from me however it looks when it gets there.

Thank you for all the laughter we have shared and are still sharing. One of the most important things you and Mom have mastered is to never forget how to laugh no matter what life throws your way.

And it has thrown you quite a bit over the years.

Thank you for all your calls and letters……I always love seeing those white oblong envelopes in the mail. You should have a new book on your Kindle as soon as you can get to the library to download it from it’s place out in the wireless world. It is hovering there waiting for you.

When I saw the title, I couldn’t resist. Please let me know how you like it.

I wish you God’s richest blessings and peace for tomorrow. I will call, because I want to hear your voice on your special day.

I love you……Your daughter.

As always, right behind you on the trail.

My Birthday is not about me, (not entirely anyway)


People probably wonder why I make a big deal out of Birthdays. Mine and everyone else’s. It’s simple really. It’s because my birth along with everyone else’s on earth is a bit of a miracle. The fact that someone wanted me here kind of blows my mind every single day, and my enthusiasm mingled with wonder and a little bit of awe doesn’t seem to be waning as the years go by.

If you are here reading this post, it’s because first and foremost, God wanted you here. You are of great worth to Him, you and your life!

To let my Birthday slide by as just another day is simply not acceptable, and it bothers me a little when grown adults say they don’t celebrate their Birthdays. Celebrating the day of our birth is a way of honoring God; it’s our acknowledgment that we’re grateful to be here; that we’ve made it this far as the song says, “through many dangers toils and snares.” Yes, especially as the years roll on.

When I think of all the impossible beauty I would have missed if I’d never been born and what beauty I have left to see, it fills me with gratitude that I’ve been given so much; and eternity stretches before me like a vast wonderland I have yet to explore. Yes, this is a thing to celebrate. Apparently God thinks it’s a big deal too:

Psalm 71:6 From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you.

Psalm 139:13
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Psalm 148:5
Let them praise the name of the LORD, for at his command they were created ……

Proverbs 4:10
Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many.

Proverbs 9:11
For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.

Ecclesiastes 11:8
However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all.

Isaiah 46:4
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

1 Corinthians 11:12
For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

James 1:18
He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.

So today I will have cake and ice-cream and I will celebrate like a kid. And I won’t refuse any gifts. Celebrate with me today, won’t you? I give you permission. Join me in opening your eyes to the beauty all around us. If you have a porch, go out there with a bowl of ice-cream and enjoy the view. Share a coffee and dessert with someone you love. Eat that forbidden thing you never allow yourself to. Give someone a little unexpected gift. Unwrap the wonder with me today.

Because really, there is something to be thankful for every day.

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.” Thomas Merton

To my big brother on his day


When we were young, you held my hand on the way to school, never embarrassed for your friends to see. And when you took the bike, you let me ride on the front bar side-saddle. Those were old days… helmets then.

I always felt protected then growing up, because you were around. We had our squabbles, and I still remember your Indian burns and stolen Tacobell you used to find late at night after I had hidden it to eat the next day.

I remember Birthdays where you were always happy to help out with the games, hiding behind the clothesline attaching prizes to fishing poles.

And I remember when I was in that fender bender on Christmas Eve and you came faster than anyone from the neighboring town.

I remember you teasing me about David Cassidy and the Monkeys, and Bobby Sherman.

But I also remember that you bought me the “Love Story” album and that Crystal snowflake necklace for Christmas.

And you might have been embarrassed to go see your sister sing at all those silly concerts, but I remember you went anyway.

And you were there at the greatest crisis of my life and that I will never forget.

Some people think you shouldn’t celebrate Birthdays once you get older but I don’t agree. I think we should never stop celebrating people, and life. Birthdays are a day to celebrate grace, to celebrate your individuality. So give yourself an extra portion today from me.

Because somehow you got here and made it through all those tough things. And when you think about it, each day is really a “Birth” day because we get a chance to start all over again.

God brought you this far, and it’s all been by His grace. So, today, there is one thing I want you to do.

It’s very important.

Today, give yourself permission to love yourself the way God loves you. And know that I am glad you were born, because if you hadn’t, my life would be missing something.

You, and a special someone else too.




It’s God who gave the nod


I was going to say something about how time is washed away like the water washes the sand back out to sea but that was just too Hallmark. Nothing against Hallmark mind you,  I love the movies, the stores and the cards. However, now that I have planted that seed, I will let the picture do a much better job than my words could anyway.

What can I say? It’s my Birthday and I liked the picture.

My day dawned happy. I already had Facebook posts and cards at 4:30 AM and a best friend who got up bleary eyed just to wish me a happy day and give me a Birthday hug. How cool is that? The cats just wanted food, but I gave them hugs too and asked if they had their party hats ready for tonight. I think they rolled their eyes.

And even though the freeway detour put me late to work. I sensed the Lord smiling on me as the sky sped past above my moonroof. It looked like Rafael was painting from Heaven.

On that detour I saw things I wouldn’t have ordinarily seen; a man walking his dog, stumbling in the dark. I saw country houses still asleep and I was grateful for the detour signs which were clear.  I am one of those directionally challenged people for whom everything presents itself in a dramatically different way in the dark.

My heart was fairly bursting with the joy of the Lord and this was my overwhelming thought:

That it wasn’t just my parents who brought me here to this place, it was God who gave the nod. It’s God who packaged my particular brand of DNA and yours too. I am here because He wanted me.

How can I not feel overwhelming gratitude?

This past year has had a fair amount of sadness and stress, like every year, but the joys have far outweighed it. People in our life have met eternity, and some have moved and found new homes. Old things were sold to make way for new lives, new starts. New hopes and dreams.

I was able to help my best friend through some very difficult moments and celebrate victories and sit on the beach once again and eat seafood until we couldn’t hold anymore. And in the backdrop of most every moment we were able to laugh.

There were several hospital trips and I was there to feed my brother ice-chips and rub his feet on two occasions, and I was there when he collapsed in the emergency room. God worked that out. I think back to when we were in our teens and I think how everything changes once you get older. You become people to each other. Friends instead of siblings.

I spent cherished time walking around the lake with my Dad and I was able sit and hold my Mom’s hand as we watched TV on the couch. I got to see Lauryn start another year of school.

I am thankful today that they are all together this weekend at home and not in hospitals.

Today, I think of the time I have spent and the time I have left. I have been given a little snippet of time here on earth and etenity stretches before me and it’s more real now than ever.

And even if I never get to see all the wonderful places I want to see on this earth, I have eternity in my back pocket. And that is something I never take for granted.

I get a little goofy about Birthdays, I admit. But that’s something about me that will never change, no matter what.

It’s because I have been given a gift, we all have. And one more year is another year of gratitude for what He’s done for me. And if I am breathing and living, I owe something to Jesus.

And when it all comes down to it, it’s people that matter. Every vacation, every emergency, everyday, it’s the memory of the time spent together that makes it all worthwhile.

So enjoy my day, my friends. Treasure it and tomorrow too.

And keep those you love close.