Friday, June 26, 2009

My, How Time Flies!


Wow – this week has just flown by and I’ve not had a chance to share pictures of our trip to the zoo with our grandchildren and our daughter. The photos are wonderful and I can’t wait to share them with you. Here's a sneek peek at the fun we had together. This was a week of remembering dear ones who are no longer with us. Of course Father’s Day was a bittersweet day. Our children honored my sweetheart and I remembered, with a few tears, the dear father who blessed my life. And it was a day that nearly overwhelmed our three grandkids who lost their daddy just months ago. But we all, in different ways, celebrated the dads we have loved so much.

As I shared in my last post, Monday would have been our son-in-law’s thirty-fifth birthday and we wanted to do something special with his children and our daughter. So – we went to the zoo. There is so much to tell you. Like the fun we had and the animals who seemed to know we had come to visit them. Tuesday marked six months since our son-in-law died. It was the third day in a row of emotions and memories for the children and our daughter. But they made it through and are committed to doing things that he would want them to do to move forward.

Wednesday would have been my parents’ sixty-fourth wedding anniversary. Each year since Dad has been gone I have spent this special day with my dear little mother. Just the two of us. We go somewhere a bit different than usual and we do something she enjoys. And I treat her to lunch. This year we had such a good day. A day to celebrate the love my dear mother and father had for each other and the blessings of God through the years they had together. We took a beautiful bouquet of flowers to the cemetery. Flowers from my dear mother's garden, artistically arranged by her hands - just for him. If Dad could see us, he would have laughed and enjoyed my antics as I dodged the sprinklers that were watering the grass at the cemetery. I retrieved the flowers I had put there on Father's Day and the vase we needed for my dear mother's arrangement. After filling the vase with fresh water and the new flowers I waited until the sprinklers were in that certain spot again before I ran (like crazy!) across the grass and successfully placed the vase in its holder before the water came my direction again! It would have made a great video! Then we thrifted and shopped and we found a wonderful place for lunch where the food was good and the staff treated her like she was the queen of the universe. They honored (and surprised) her by upsizing her steak and then they gave her a free dessert. And they asked her to come back again.

Yesterday was a busy day of care center chaplain ministry. It was one of those days that had such special moments that remind me why I love doing what I’m doing. And make me realize again how important my visits are to the dear folks who mean so much to me.

So, what am I doing today? Putting the last things in my suitcase and heading south. To California. With my sweetheart. It’s a long story and an unexpected, happy surprise. From God’s hand to ours. We are driving a car down to our former Worship Pastor. He and his wife became good friends while they were here but he recently resigned to return to school. He is pursuing his Doctor of Theology, with hopes to teach in a Bible college or university. Maybe overseas! Tomorrow we will deliver their car - their second car they couldn’t drive down when they moved last week – and tomorrow evening we will go to a community not far from there to visit my best friend forever from college days. She and I remain very close friends. We keep our computers humming with emails back and forth. We never dreamed that this visit would happen. Sunday morning she and her husband and my sweetheart and I will go out for breakfast together before my sweetheart gets on a plane to fly home. Without me!! I am staying for a few more days to visit my dear friend. And walk on the beach. And talk. And laugh. And maybe shed a few tears together. But most of all, just enjoy being together again. An unexpected blessing. It still doesn’t seem real. When I return I’ll tell you all about it. For sure!

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Special Birthday Celebration

Today is a very special birthday – one we certainly would celebrate in a very different way if we had the chance. Our son-in-law would have been thirty-five years old today! While it will not be an easy day for our daughter and her three young children, my sweetheart and I are going to join them on an excursion of celebration. A celebration of the fun times they had with their dad and of the life he lived and enjoyed so much. We are off to the zoo today! Not just any zoo – the Oregon Zoo in Portland. Just about the time most commuters arrive at work we will board a brand new commuter train just a few miles from our daughter’s home and have the ride of our lives as we see the world around us from the comfort of the train. After a transfer to another commuter train we will arrive at the zoo not long after the animals have had their breakfast. We don’t know how long we will stay but each of us has hopes to see something special and we will try to see it all!

Zoo Butterfly

Our zoo is famous for its elephant breeding program. When I was still very young world-famous Packy was born and captured the hearts of us all. He will be there today and many of his children, too. We hope to see the newest baby and his mother.

Baby Packy

I always enjoy the penguins and I know the children can’t wait to see the monkeys.

Zoo Monkeys

We will take our time and we may ride the zoo train while we are there. For sure we will get hungry and there are so many places to eat that we may have trouble choosing the perfect place to enjoy lunch!

Zoo Cafe

No matter what we see and do we will certainly wish our dear one could be there with us. He would have loved it – that’s why we chose to go to the zoo together on his special day.

Photos courtesy of Oregon Zoo

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Psalm 27

P6130734 Light, space, zest— that's God!
So, with him on my side I'm fearless,
afraid of no one and nothing.

When vandal hordes ride down
ready to eat me alive,
Those bullies and toughs
fall flat on their faces.

When besieged,
I'm calm as a baby.
When all hell breaks loose,
I'm collected and cool.

I'm asking God for one thing,
only one thing:
To live with him in his house
my whole life long.
I'll contemplate his beauty;
I'll study at his feet.

That's the only quiet, secure place
in a noisy world,
The perfect getaway,
far from the buzz of traffic.

God holds me head and shoulders
above all who try to pull me down.
I'm headed for his place to offer anthems
that will raise the roof!
Already I'm singing God-songs;
I'm making music to God.

Listen, God, I'm calling at the top of my lungs:
"Be good to me! Answer me!"
When my heart whispered, "Seek God,"
my whole being replied,
"I'm seeking him!"
Don't hide from me now!

You've always been right there for me;
don't turn your back on me now.
Don't throw me out, don't abandon me;
you've always kept the door open.
My father and mother walked out and left me,
but God took me in.

Point me down your highway, God;
direct me along a well-lighted street;
show my enemies whose side you're on.
Don't throw me to the dogs,
those liars who are out to get me,
filling the air with their threats.

I'm sure now I'll see God's goodness
in the exuberant earth.
Stay with God!
Take heart. Don't quit.
I'll say it again:
Stay with God.

from The Message

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Up On The Mountain

My sweetheart and I (and my puppy, Joey) returned home Monday evening from Clear Lake, high on Mt. Hood. We had an extended weekend in what is quickly becoming a favorite get-away place. We would have stayed longer if we could but life at home called us to return. We came back, rested and relaxed and ready to retire! Since that is not to be for quite a while we reluctantly returned to work and the routine of ‘real’ life. But we have dreams and plans to return in the near future – the very near future.


The skies were overcast when we arrived on Friday and we heard there had been rain showers throughout the day. It wasn’t long before very loud claps of thunder rolled overhead. Thunder storms had been predicted for the Cascade Mountains and they had arrived. The forecast was right. If you’ve never heard thunder in the mountains you’ve missed quite an experience. There we were – high on the mountainside by a beautiful lake and the thunder rolled like never before. It wasn’t long before the biggest raindrops ever began to fall. They sounded like hailstones as they hit the metal roof of our trailer! My sweetheart was not concerned at all – he had rain gear in the truck and he could put the ‘roof’ on the boat and go fishing! I, however, thought about the fact that – in spite of the rain – I would have to walk the dog! I could snuggle down in the trailer with my good book but it wouldn’t be long before duty called and I (who didn’t have rain gear but who has plans to get some soon!) would be ‘forced’ to go outside. The rain showers came. And they went. And then, early the next morning when a certain puppy and I opened the door and emerged from our warm cocoon-of-a-trailer – viola! There is was!!! Blue sky and a bit of sun beginning to peek through the clouds.


Joey and I began to walk toward the lake and there, at the edge of the water, was a father and his three young sons. They had driven to the lake for the day. The dad was cooking breakfast beside the water as the boys rode their bikes and played! Soon we heard him call the boys - ‘The blueberry pancakes are ready!’ Oh, I wanted to say I’ll be right there! Can you imagine? Oregon blueberry pancakes cooked on the grill right beside a beautiful high-mountain lake? I wanted to run back to the trailer, wake my sweetheart and tell him to hurry. The pancakes were ready! Instead Joey and I leisurely enjoyed our time outside and eventually we returned to our little cabin-on-wheels to prepare a delicious breakfast. Minus blueberry pancakes. You can be sure blueberries will be added to the trailer inventory by the next time we return to the lake!


Joey had his own little ‘safe’ play area outside our trailer. A place to chew his chew-bone, play, rest and be safe. While I sat nearby to enjoy the fresh mountain air he chewed on his little bone for a minute and two and then decided to sit and look longingly at the world outside his little refuge. The next day he discovered that he could pull back the piece of carpet and begin to dig – dig and dig and maybe tunnel his way out of captivity! But he was never given the chance to put his plans in action. There was no escape for this little fellow!


My sweetheart was anxious to get the boat into the water and check out the good fishing spots. He returned soon to retrieve a piece or two of additional equipment and he offered to take Joey and I for a ride around the lake. A scouting expedition! How exciting!


Joey had never been on a boat before but he was ready. He had his life vest and he was excited to go. I carefully instructed him in the proper way to wear his safety vest and how to conduct himself in the boat. He was a bit nervous at first but as long as he was with me he knew all would be well. The wind picked up and Joey and I shivered and snuggled a bit while under the cover of the boat ‘roof’. We quickly discussed our options and we asked my sweetheart to put the top down so we could enjoy the warmth of the sunshine. Not a problem. Soon it was done and we were enjoying a gorgeous, sunny day on the lake. Safe and warm together.


Our skipper was the best. My sweetheart could handle whatever came our way. We knew we were in good hands and we were happy to join him on this mission.


The warmth of the sunshine, the security of being held safe in my arms and the rocking motion of the boat on the water soon gave Joey a chance to take his morning nap.


Before we knew it our excursion was over and we could see our camp site again. Joey and I were ready to move on to the next pressing business. Play time and another nap for the puppy, a good book for me and fishing for my sweetheart. Joey and I were invited to ride along for the fishing trip but we didn’t want to disturb the fish – or my sweetheart – so we politely said ‘thank you very much’ but we have a lot of things to do. Birds to watch, ants to chase, tree toads to ponder and important things to check out!


So much to do – so little time. Oh, what fun we had in the woods. Each of us enjoyed our time away and we can’t wait to go back again. When we do I’m sure we will pick up right where we left off. Resting and relaxing and not worrying about a thing. Except maybe what happened to those pesky squirrels!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

God Sees What We Can't

No one is like the Lord our God,
Who rules from Heaven.
Psalm 113:5

On a trip to the United Kingdom, our family visited a castle. In the center of the garden sat a maze. Row after row of shoulder-high hedges, leading to one dead end after another. Successfully navigate the labyrinth, and discover the door to a tall tower in the center of the garden. Were you to look at our family pictures of the trip, you'd see four of our five family members standing at the top of the tower. Hmmm, someone is still on the ground. Guess who? I was stuck in the foliage. I just couldn't figure out which way to go.

Ah, but then I heard a voice from above. 'Hey, Dad.' I looked up to see Sara, peering through the turret at the top. 'You're going the wrong way,' she explained. 'Back up and turn right.'

Do you think I trusted her? I didn't have to. But do you know what I did? I listened. Her vantage point was better than mine. She was above the maze. She could see what I couldn't.

Don't you think we should do the same with God?

from 'Next Door Savior'
by Max Lucado
Photo compliments of

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Planning and Cleaning and Packing, Oh My!

Today is a very busy day! There’s lots to do. We’re getting ready to go away for a few days – just my sweetheart and I. Oh, yes, and Joey (the puppy!), too. Has it already been a year since our last excursion up the mountain to camp and fish and enjoy a few days in the sun? Yes, indeed, it has! Tomorrow we are going to a beautiful lake up on Mount Hood - a quiet place where we love to go. My sweetheart will fish and I will talk to God and Joey (and maybe myself!) and read and knit and perhaps do a bit of writing.


Joey and I will go out for walks and a few boat rides with my sweetheart. Joey has his own little life vest so he can be a safe and savvy – cool dog – boater.


Over the next days I’m sure there will be a nap or two. For Joey, I'm sure. Maybe for me!


That’s tomorrow – but no nap for me today. There’s work to be done. Our little home-away-from home, cabin-on-wheels, has been in winter storage mode and today is the day to wake her up – get her ready for Spring and Summer and the Early Fall season ahead. Time to clean and wipe out the dust that settled in during the long winter months. Time to restock cupboards and drawers with supplies that couldn’t stay onboard through the cold season that has passed. Time to fluff and phoof and make things ready. Time to prepare for rest and relaxation without a care in the world.


And then – tomorrow when my sweetheart returns from work – we will drive a short distance to the place we will call home for a few days away. Surrounded by quiet and the gentle sounds of nature high on the mountain. Until then, I’ve got to get busy – there’s work to do!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Special Treasures

In the middle of the busy-ness of life I'm always amazed how a new treasure can touch my heart deeply and make a difference to my days. Once again some special treasures have found their way to my home. And they bring a bit of sunshine to my days and put a smile on my face. Smiles because of what they mean. Smiles because they remind me of dear ones who are close to my heart. A letter. Just one part of the alphabet - but with such deep meaning. A special letter! The beginning of the last name my sweetheart and I share. While walking through Marshall's last week with my dear little mother I spied this single 'S' and immediately knew it was waiting there just for me. At first I thought I would repaint it but now I'm not sure. It would be perfect with the touches of red we're adding to our bedroom redo. (See the colors of our new quilt?) Where to better display it? It's ready to go. As it is. Or, I could add a burst of new color to another room. And I could repaint it to better 'go' with other things throughout our home. I'm not sure where it will be displayed in the end but you can be sure you will see it again. Somewhere. When the decision has been made.
The thoughtfulness of a dear friend who understands the meaning of friendship - true friendship - brings a smile to my face. A friend who listens and loves and laughs. And, at times, shares my tears. A friend who knows how to make me smile.Yesterday a visit from my dear friend, Betty, of SammyGirl, brought a bit of refreshing to my weary soul. A time to catch up - and a time to sneak away to do a bit of thrifting nearby. Look what she gave me! Now the search begins for the perfect place for this treasure. Not only does it touch my heart - it reminds me to 'Begin each day with a grateful heart.' How appropriate. With a grateful heart. Hmmm. . .where have I heard that before?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

He Is Able


He is able, more than able,
To accomplish what concerns me today.
He is able, more than able,
To handle anything that comes my way.
He is able, more than able,
To do much more than I could ever dream.
He is able, more than able,
To make me what He wants me to be.

Song: 'He Is Able'

Words and Music by Rory Noland and Greg Ferguson