Friday, October 11, 2013


Autumn.  How I love this season.  I know I have written before of my appreciation for the beauty of these weeks. October, especially, passes so quickly that it seems the leaves have barely turned before I am walking ankle deep in a blanket of orange, red, gold and brown. I want to savor every second, every scent, every sight, every sunset. Even the occasional rainy day brings a sense of cozy comfort. I love lighting a warmly scented candle, brewing a spiced tea, listening to the rain and watching it encourage the leaves to decorate my patio.  And then there are those gorgeous sunny days when the hillside flames with color.  Is the sky ever a deeper blue?  Oh, the richness of this blessed month!

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.  It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn't it?"  ~  Spoken by Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne Shirley in "Anne of Green Gables."

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Tunnel Vision

 Elisabeth Elliot is a wonderfully wise woman of God whose speaking and writing have impacted my life for years.  I came across this quote recently and it brought back a memory that is comforting and at the same time unsettling.

It was winter, and I was driving back home after a long and painful time spent with loved ones who were grieving a devastating loss.  Depressing thoughts and fears were my companions as I drove along the turnpike, wishing that everything were different.  I don't remember what the weather was like that day, but inside the car it was bleak and gray.  I thought it was ironic, considering the darkness I was feeling, that it was necessary to drive through literal tunnels in order to stay on the road that would take me home. It was as I entered one particularly long tunnel that my thoughts took a different turn.  There would be light at the end of the tunnel.  I couldn't see it, but I knew it would eventually be visible.  I knew that it would be a gradual thing, slowly getting lighter until I would see the opening of the tunnel's end.  I thought of how terrible it would be if I just stopped, unwilling to continue in the dark.  It would harm me and others who were following me on the road.  I had to keep going.  I had to believe and trust that I would be coming out of this dark, damp tunnel and into the brightness of day.  As I was contemplating all of this, I became aware that something felt different, as though the burden had lifted a bit.  My tunnel thoughts had injected something new to the sad atmosphere I was surrounded by.  It was hope.  I had found comfort and hope through the simple, unremarkable experience of driving through a tunnel, waiting for that first glimpse of light.  I knew I would never again hear the proverbial "there's light at the end of the tunnel" in the same way.  Thank you, Lord, for ministering through the mundane.

"Things which sound like platitudes become vital, living and powerful when you have to learn them in dark tunnels."  ~  Elisabeth Elliot  ~

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ups and Downs

 A small boy sits happily playing, enjoying life to the fullest, seemingly without a care in the world.  A little bit of a tilt too far, and down off his perch he goes, dissolving into tears.  Mama comes, holds and soothes him, offering words of comfort and understanding.  Tears are dried, wounds are tended to, and the smile reappears on his face.  He is ready for play, ready to resume his interrupted enjoyment.

Isn't life very much like that?  We are going along, walking in the sunlight, breathing in the air and living life.  Sometimes without warning a storm comes, bringing a strong wind that may knock us off our feet.  Our happy walk is pierced with pain, disappointment and discouragement. If we are surrounded by people who care, we find comfort in their ministrations.  We are soothed, encouraged and strengthened by their words and actions on our behalf.

But...perhaps the wound we have received is not visible or audible.  Perhaps we believe it is just too personal, deep or tender to share with another.  What then?  Who comes to our aid...where does our help come from?  The Psalmist gives us the answer...our help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. (from Psalm 121).  He is our ultimate Helper...and nothing is hidden from Him.  We might as well bring it before Him...He already knows all about it.

Mama was nearby and more than ready to hold and comfort that small, hurting boy.  Our Father is closer to us than our very breath, always.  When that sudden tumble comes, when we fall, He is there to comfort pick us up, dust us off, and help us get back on our feet. Words from a song learned long ago come to mind.....

"He knows my name...He knows my every thought.  He sees each tear that falls and He hears me when I call." ~ Tommy Walker

Sunday, April 21, 2013

What if?

I am quite certain that we have all, at one time or another, uttered the words "what if?" or "if only."  Looking back on unhappy situations, sometimes with 20/20 hindsight, will often bring sighs of regret and wishes for a better, wiser way of dealing with life's challenges. It is good to learn from our mistakes, but it is often painful.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to possess the wisdom without the process or the pain?  Unfortunately, from the time of childhood and throughout our lives, this is reality: we most often learn the hard way.  Hopefully, as we grow older we gain wisdom and have fewer of those difficult "what ifs" to deal with.

The really serious consideration is how our tendency toward "what if" thinking may hinder us from making decisions or moving in a direction that is vital to our well being.  What if I delay or shy away from taking a step in life that will lead me on a path toward wholeness and healing?  If I do, I will most certainly come to a "if only" place of regret. 

 There is the place, however, when the "what if" contains hope rather than fear and potential regret...when it leads to courage and  conviction.  The following lines from a song hold out that hope.

"What if you're wrong, what if there's more?  What if  there's hope you've never dreamed of hoping for?  What if you jump, just close your eyes?  What if the arms that catch you, catch you by surprise?  What if He's more than enough?  What if it's Love?  ~ Nichole Nordeman ~

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Soul Soggy!

My little granddaughter just didn't seem like her cheerful, enthusiastic self.  She didn't seem particularly upset or unhappy, but there was definitely something not quite right.  I sat down beside her and tried to think of a good way to initiate a conversation that would give her an opportunity to express anything she might want to talk about.  I looked at that sweet, but uncharacteristically somber, face and said " Are you doing okay, honey?  You just look a bit....soggy."  With a little sigh, she replied "Oh, Gramma, my soul is soggy." 

 I'm glad to say it was a very temporary soggy state....she was her usual happy self in a short time.  But I kept thinking of the words she chose to describe her mood, and I could relate!  I have been there.  I have been soul-soggy.  I imagine all of us have, at one time or another.  Thankfully, for me it is almost always, like Hannah's, a short lived experience.  But there are those days, or moments, when I just feel....soggy.  Soul soggy.  Most often, it is nothing I can put my finger on, nothing obviously wrong, just....a feeling of not-quite-rightness.  It might be called the "blues" or "malaise" or feeling "out of sorts", but I think soul-soggy is a much more accurate description. Wisdom from the lips, and heart, of a child!

The best news is that I know the antidote for soul-sogginess.  Psalm 103:2!  "Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not all His benefits."  Just as my little granddaughter's attention was soon drawn to some delight, some wonderful childhood joy, and her sogginess melted away, I too find my own soggy state mended when I consider all my Father has blessed me with and turn my focus there.  One cannot remain soggy while giving thanks!

And so today's quote comes from an unexpected source, spoken at the breakfast table, with simplicity and honesty.

"Oh, Gramma, my soul is soggy."  ~Hannah~

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Silver Lining

I doubt very much if pain, sorrow, hardship, loss or suffering are welcomed with open arms or hearts into most lives. We would prefer the sunny days, the carefree life, the goodness, the happiness.  And it not the dark days, when we have come to the end of our own resources, that find us drawing closest to God, drawing on His comfort and strength?  There is a richness found at the place where we are empty, dry and desperate...when we climb into the Father's lap and find the truth....He is not absent, He has not left us, He knows.

Looking back, reading my journal from pain filled days, remembering.....I am amazed at how God brought me and those I love through the storms.  But there is more., I am also aware of how much I miss the intensity of the closeness I felt to God, my Lifeline, during that season of sorrow.  I don't want the pain, but I treasure the memory of how tenderly I was held.

"The Father draws His shattered child very close to His heart."  ~ Amy Carmichael ~

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Great Man

I know three great men who were born in February!  My late husband, my son and George Washington.  Well, alright, I never personally knew General Washington, but reading his writing and studying his life has left me with great admiration and respect for this man whose courage and character still impact the world today.

Today, on his birthday, I spent some time perusing a collection of Washington quotes and was once again amazed at his eloquence and the depth of his understanding.  The challenge was to select just one nugget from the treasure chest for the day's blog entry. A process of elimination brought the number down to three, and finally to the quote below.

I wish I could sit across the table from this great man and glean wisdom from his keen insight.  He was a man, I believe, who understood what it took to live a life of integrity.  He understood that the greatest tests often come into our lives quietly and may not be recognized by anyone but ourselves.

I have heard integrity defined as who we are when no one is watching. I suspect this was true of George Washington.

"The turning points of lives are not the greatest moments.  The real crises are often concealed in occurrences so trivial in appearance that they pass unobserved."   ~ George Washington ~