Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Retreat Reflections

Last weekend I flew to southern California to lead worship for a District Ladies’ Retreat. I was thrilled to be part of those days with a dear friend, a few friends from the past and the new friends I made at retreat. The ladies who attended opened their hearts – and their arms – to me. I felt at home as soon as I arrived. The retreat was held in a lovely hotel that catered to our every need. The accommodations were wonderful and the staff was friendly and eager to care for us.

Retreat began on Friday evening and ended at noon on Sunday. The main speaker and the missionary speaker challenged us to walk close to God and reach out to others in need around the world. There were times of laugher and fun, prizes and gifts given, projects announced and explained and music. Music that drew us together and helped us celebrate our faith. And music that touched our hearts. We closed the retreat with a precious time of communion together.

During our free time on Saturday afternoon I finally had a chance to take my camera and wander a bit to enjoy our surroundings. There was so much I wanted to share with you but time went so quickly it just wasn’t possible to do more. Here is a brief look at the lovely place where we ‘retreated’ for a time – time to rest, reflect and be renewed before we returned home to face the joys and challenges of everyday life.

At the entrance – a familiar initial! Do you think it was there just for me? Or, perhaps for the name of the hotel that just happened to start with the same first letter as my name?


Near the main entrance -


Just off the main lobby – the gift shop!



Throughout the hotel – in the hallways and in the nooks and crannies – beautiful antique pieces caught my eye. (There was no good way to get a great photo of this gorgeous piece. The lighting and angles were all wrong but I took a chance anyway!)


This darling piece was in the corner beside the first floor elevator – we were there several times a day and I admired it every time I saw it.


Near the front entrance -
P9267836 On Saturday evening we had a fantastic dinner by the pool. The setting was perfect and the food was wonderful. The menu was carefully chosen for us: crisp, green salad; chicken cordon bleu; herbed mashed potatoes; roasted fresh vegetable mix followed by carrot cake! During the afternoon break I discovered that the tables were set and ready for our arrival. (See the gals at the rail above? They were retreat gals just outside our meeting room.)


Early each morning I enjoyed sitting in the courtyard just outside the lobby. The morning sun was perfect and it was the right place to sit to see the retreat gals as they walked through the courtyard for the breakfast buffet at the restaurant on the other side. It was also a great place to sit most any time of day – a good place to visit, play games, read or spend time in quiet study.


After dark it became an enchanted place to enjoy the cool of the evening.



And the pool was beautiful at night. What a transformation from earlier in the evening during dinner!



This was a lovely place to get away and retreat – a place where everything we needed was provided. No dishes, no laundry, no cooking, no housework. Just time with other ladies of like faith. To share, to encourage each other, to sing and learn and worship our God. The time we spent together is a precious memory – one that will stay in my heart forever. I will always hold dear the friendships renewed and the new friendships begun. It was what I needed – just what my Heavenly Father had planned for me. Even before I knew!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Quiet Day At Home

Home: one's place of residence; a familiar or usual setting; a place of origin.
At home: relaxed and comfortable; at ease; in harmony with the surrounding; on familiar ground.

That’s where I am this afternoon! At my residence, my familiar and usual setting, my place of origin (where I was before I went to California). And I’m at home – relaxed and comfortable, at ease and in harmony with my surroundings. I’m home again – on familiar ground!

I arrived home last evening after a late afternoon flight from southern California. The weekend retreat ended on Sunday and it was time to head home. And out of the heat! The temps climbed to one hundred and five degrees on Sunday and one hundred and ten when I left Long Beach yesterday afternoon. The Long Beach airport is a great, little airport – like you see in a nineteen-forties movie. Great airport – easy access – no long waiting. It’s a bit unique in the world of travel today because you have to walk from the terminal to the plane and when you arrive at the plane you walk up a ramp to the door. Now, that’s not a problem most days because the weather is usually pleasant. However, yesterday was different! None of us were thrilled to walk through the door at the gate and make the trek across the tarmac to the plane. Our plane was the farthest out and there were times I wondered if I’d have a heat stroke before I got there! Add to the long walk and the heat the fact that I pulled my carryon with my laptop inside with one hand while on the opposite shoulder I carried my heavy tote bag - with all the essentials of life inside – plus my camera bag! I made it and when I stepped inside the plane it was as if I had just walked through the gates of Heaven! The wonderful crew had closed the shades on all the windows and turned the air conditioning vents on high at each seat. The pilot have ‘revved’ the engines to get the air conditioning at its maximum strength. They were so thoughtful – a great crew.

My flight home was absolutely wonderful – and gorgeous. I sat by the window again (my seat of choice) and loved every minute of it. Shortly after takeoff we flew along the California coastline and when the pilot turned eastward I thought the view would take my breath away! I could hardly believe the beauty below!


I’m sure I sat there smiling! I almost wished I could ask the pilot to circle around and let me see it again.


The entire flight was absolutely breathtaking and I had trouble focusing on my magazine. I decided to read my book but that didn’t help either. Finally I sat back and listened to soft music playing through my headset and just enjoyed the beauty of the world below. And I marveled that God created such pristine beauty and let us call it home! Today I’m taking a little time to study the atlas – I want to know what was below - the bodies of water and the rocky canyons and steep granite cliffs of California and the rivers and lush, green valleys and high mountain peaks of Oregon. We flew directly over Crater Lake – there is no way to describe the depth of color in the blue water when seen from the air! Or the green velvety forests that seemed to go on forever! My camera couldn’t possibly capture the sights no matter how hard I tried. (The picture below is not Crater Lake.)


Finally, off in the distance, the sight of my favorite mountain made me smile. I always smile when Mt. Hood appears on the horizon - no matter how many times I fly. There’s just something special about knowing I’ll soon be home. And I knew who was waiting for me at the end of the journey.
P9277853 ‘My’ mountain was in plain view as we descended into the Portland area. Somewhere below was my home.P9277855


P9277858As we approached the airport our flight path took us along the Columbia River. It wasn’t hard to recognize familiar landmarks and buildings below. And then, as suddenly as we had been airborne in California, we were on the ground again. Not many steps from the gate I saw that familiar smile I had waited to see – my sweetheart, as happy to see me as I was to see him. And be home!

Tomorrow I will share reflections and a few photos from the weekend retreat. I cherish every memory of those days and the dear ladies I met. Some of them are new Face Book friends and I’m sure some of them will be stopping by to visit here. My heart is filled so full I think it will spill out with gratitude for God’s plan to include me in the hours we spent together. I truly have a grateful heart!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Rest and Retreat

I am in sunny – and warm – southern California this weekend. I flew down here on Thursday to lead worship at a District Ladies’ Retreat. One of the bonuses for me is the chance to spend time – and room with – one of my very dearest friends (my friend, Mrs. B., from college days). When I left Portland last Thursday morning the skies were gray and cloudy. Raindrops began to gently splash on the windows of the plane as we waited to leave the terminal. Within minutes we were high above the clouds and, as always, I was amazed that the sun is always shining. Even when we can’t see it! Here’s what I saw outside my window.


Things began to change as we flew above the southern part of Oregon. It was obvious that the sunshine was reaching through the clouds below and creating ‘patches’ of sunshine.


We hadn’t been airborne very long when suddenly – off in the distance – I saw a landmark and I knew it well. It was obvious that we were somewhere near the California border. There was Mt. Shasta peaking up through the clouds - standing proud and tall.


Over an hour later I stepped off the plane, amazed at the warmth of the sun and the beauty of the blue skies. I knew it was going to be a good weekend and I was excited and ready to meet my dear friend a few minutes later. This was the weekend I had been waiting for – and preparing for!

The retreat is being held at a lovely hotel. Our accommodations are fantastic but dear to my heart are the relationships that are being renewed and formed. I’ve met three gals here who knew me in younger years and it’s wonderful to have a chance to catch up with each other. And, oh, the new friends I have found. Sisters in faith who are such a part of my life here. I can hardly believe this is real! Tomorrow at noon we will say goodbye and go our separate ways but we will never forget the friendships that began this weekend. And we will never forget the whispers of God to our hearts one weekend in September in this beautiful place.

I will return home Monday evening and there will be so much to share. My heart is full to overflowing. I am blessed. Truly blessed!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

An Emerging Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

Thank you for your kind comments and emails in support of my weight loss efforts. You have been so kind and I’ve enjoyed each one of your messages. What an encouragement to continue on! Computer problems have prevented me from personally answering each of your messages but I will get to them as I can. I have just a few minutes of access to my desktop computer before it decides it’s finished and not going to keep going for awhle. It needs to be repaired but will have to wait until I return from a trip later this week. Thanks to the special man in my daughter’s life I am now wireless. And loving it!

Monarch Butterfly 3

You asked how I have lost the weight and I’m happy to share my plan with you. I chose to enlist the support of a Northwest program. Monarch Medical Weight Loss Center provides the medical oversight I needed because of the issues that were affecting my heart. The Monarch program was founded by six emergency room physicians who wanted to help save lives and help people live life to the fullest. (Our niece is married to one of the founding doctors so I had a bit of knowledge of the background.) The plan is medically sound and each client is monitored for a number of issues in an effort to avoid potential problems. The Monarch staff and all medical people. They keep my doctor updated with my progress and any issues of concern. They are quick to refer to the client’s physician when needed.

Monarch Butterfly 4

I eat six mini-meals a day consisting of a good amount of protein, low carbohydrates and a healthy balance of fat. My mini-meals may be products I purchase at Monarch (such as protein bars or drinks), food I prepare or a combination of each. One main meal each day is made up of lean meat, veggies, salad and a small amount of carbs. I have a daily calorie allowance that is divided between my meals. I eat every two to three hours – that keeps my blood sugar balanced, my energy up and prevents hunger. I have found this to be a very satisfying way to fuel my body! It’s simple and easy – and that works for me. The program is well named – like a butterfly I’m emerging from the early stages of the ‘new’ me and I'm constantly growing and changing until I reach my weight loss goal and other goals that are becoming important to me.

Monarch Butterfly Emerging

I’ve only just begun. I’m emerging from the old – to the new. And beginning to fly!

Monarch Butterfly in Flight

Photos compliments of Google Images

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Shining Light


It is a great deal better
to live a holy life than to talk about it.
Lighthouses do not ring bells and fire cannons
to call attention to their shining-they just shine.
Dwight L. Moody


Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Scripture from New King James Version

Friday, September 17, 2010

Big Changes - Up Close and Personal

A few days ago I told you that there has been a big change in my life and I promised to share it with you soon. Today is the day to reveal what has happened to me. It’s time to let you in on the news. I can’t wait any longer.

When I began blogging I used this photo on my profile. It had been taken about a year before and it was the best one I could find. You see, I didn’t like to have my picture taken and you may have noticed that I make myself pretty scarce when cameras come out at family events. I prefer to be on the other side of the camera.

D and A small

One day early this year I met a blog friend for tea in a nearby community. When I walked into the tearoom where we met she observed that I didn’t look like my blog picture. At that moment I determined to have my sweetheart take a new picture to post. So. . . this was what you saw until a few months ago. I didn’t like it but it was more current than the ‘old’ picture.


Fast forward to last Spring. If you’ve been following my blog you may recall that my sweetheart and I took our little cabin-on-wheels (and the dog!) and headed to Eastern Oregon for a wonderful week of vacation. While there I asked my sweetheart to take a picture of Joey and me in front of the heirloom roses at the RV park. I liked how it turned out and until today it has been my blog photo .

A and Joey

I liked the picture of Joey and me because when I looked at it I could see the changes that had begun to happen in me – and it made me smile. You see, I was just a few weeks into a weight loss program that was beginning to transform my entire life. I was feeling good – feeling good about what I was doing – and feeling good about myself! For quite awhile I had dealt with health issues that had some serious ramifications. I had no energy to do much more than what I had to do and I often wondered how I could keep going that way. Most days I hardly had the energy to meet the demands of the day. I just did what I had to do! I pushed and plodded through each day and kept my courage up as long as I could but then, when I returned home, I would ‘collapse’ into my chair and wonder how I could get up and go again. I didn’t reveal how bad I felt – or the physical things that were going on in my body – to people around me. I knew my family was concerned and wished that I would take better care of myself but I was too busy taking care of everyone else. When push came to shove I didn’t have time to take care of me!

Then I began to develop some scary problems that affected my heart. My blood pressure had been an issue for a long time but now it was going up and would not respond to increased medication. There were times I wondered if my dear, little eighty-seven-year-old mother would outlive me. But I kept a smile on my face and kept going. Until one day a few months ago. . .when I couldn’t do it anymore!

My sweetheart was working late one night and as I sat alone in my comfy chair I suddenly knew what I had to do – I had to start taking care of me. Out loud I said, ‘It’s enough! It’s over! I’m through living like this. I’m done! Things are going to change.” I told someone last week I really think at that moment my Heavenly Father must have looked down at me and said, ‘My child, I’ve been waiting a long time to hear you say that. Wait till you see what I have planned for you!’ It was an ‘aha’ moment! Something inside ‘clicked’ and nothing has been the same since. I am a new person – not the same. And I love what has happened.

I began a weight loss program (I’ll share more about that soon) and I’ve lost a bit over fifty pounds so far – my blood pressure is in a safe range again – and, about two months ago, my doctor gave me a ‘clean’ bill of health with my heart! My physical problems are gone. Not there anymore. I feel good and have energy to do the tasks of daily life – and more. And I’m wearing clothes three sizes smaller than before! Loving it and having fun trying new styles. I have more weight to lose – this is just the beginning. This time I know I can do it. And I will!

Adrienne - Sept 2010

The change you see on the outside is just evidence of the change deep inside of me! I am not the same person! Everything has changed! I feel like a bird that has been let out of a cage – flying at first and then beginning to soar in high places. I am dreaming dreams I never thought possible. God is opening doors of opportunity and ministry that I never imagined would happen. I have no idea what’s ahead. But I can’t wait to find out! Look out world, here I come!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Home At Last – For Awhile!


We arrived home Friday evening from over a week of vacation on the beautiful Oregon Coast. And do I ever have stories to tell and things to share – soon. For right now I am up to my ears in things that must be done to prepare for an exciting ministry trip at the end of next week. I’ll tell you all about it and our vacation soon. I promise.


When we got home we had to shift gears quickly because I had a ministry commitment the following morning. My sweetheart accompanied me and helped set up my music equipment and then afterwards we went another direction in preparation for my trip next week and other ministry needs in the future. Much is happening and changing in my life. I can’t wait to tell you all about it. In a few days I will reveal a big change in my life – it’s good!


I’m busy catching up with your blogs and will be by to visit you soon and often. I have some incredible photos from our trip that I’m sure you will enjoy. Please come by again soon. I love your visits here!

(The flowers in the photos above are the tiny white flowers that appear at this time each year on my ‘Peanut Butter’(Clerodendrum trichotomum - Harlequin Glorybower) tree. If you’re not familiar with this tree you might be amazed to find that the leaves smell like peanut butter when rubbed or bruised. The tiny flowers have a very sweet, highly fragrant aroma. I bought this tree at a garage sale a few years ago!)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Green Light

Green Light

Thank You, dear Lord
That I need never
Push through jumbled traffic
Or maneuver around sudden detours
To get to Your Throne Room
All signal lights are green

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.
Hebrews 4:16

Prayer from the writings of Ruth Harms Calkin
Scripture from New Living Translation

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Never Forget

American Flag

September 11, 2001

Never forget!

I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the ones who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘ Cause there is no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Down By The Seashore

My sweetheart and I slipped away by ourselves to a place I had longed to see. A state park nearby is a favorite of some of our friends at home and I have wanted to see what makes it so special. And what I saw let me know I want to go back again – maybe for another family reunion or just time away from the routine of life with my sweetheart.


We walked through the campground and enjoyed what we saw. We definitely plan to spend time there in our little cabin-on-wheels. The campground was great, the staff helpful and the campers were friendly – what more could we ask? Oh, but then we crossed the road and walked up an incline to the beach. Say no more. I’m convinced! I loved it there and I didn’t want to leave.


What a perfect day to go down by the seashore! A family was busy burying someone in the sand. . .


Kites were flying. . .


And there was beauty all around us.


I wanted to stay but ‘duty’ called – it was time to head back and join family for dinner together. I knew they were waiting but I wished, oh how I wished, we were all sharing time together in this place by the sea. Down by the seashore – that’s where I long to be. I found myself silently singing a song from my childhood:

All night, all day,
Down by the seaside sifting sand.
Even little children love Marianne,
Down by the seaside sifting sand.

I would love to return to this place someday – with my children and grandchildren. Perhaps I, like Marianne, will be found down by the seashore sifting sand – with the children, sifting sand. And we’ll sing this song:

All day, all night
Down by the seaside sifting sand
Even little children love Marianne Adrienne
Down by the seaside sifting sand

and we will laugh and play and love every minute. . .

down by the seashore!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Down On The Dock

Sometimes there is a chance to go somewhere you’ve never been before – and if you don’t go, you will never know what joys wait there. A few days ago I had a chance to go to a place I thought would be familiar – I was certain I knew of the place our family was taking us. I doubted there would be any surprises. In fact, in my heart I questioned the choices made but when we arrived I knew I had been wrong to wonder. Lunch together with family in a little, out-of-the-way place brought such delight to my heart. While the food was delicious, that was not what had meaning. Being in this place that was special to family – and just being together again – touched my heart in ways I didn’t expect. Good conversation, sharing memories, catching up and laughter – always laughter when we are together – so dear to my heart! Outside the window, scenes I longed to see and photos I longed to take! Soon our meal together was finished and it wasn’t long before we stood in that place just outside the window. Oh, but I didn’t stand there long – my camera and I had work to do. We wanted to capture what we saw and share it with you. Could this be the fisherman who caught the fresh fish for my sweetheart’s lunch?


Just across the way a family let down nets to capture bait fish for another time.


I loved the marina – I’m always intrigued and wonder where the boats have gone. And I wish I could go with them when they return to the sea.


The water was calm, the sky was blue and the mountains beyond were green, like velvet.


As we passed the quaint little cafe where we had enjoyed lunch together, suddenly my sweetheart had to fight off pirates. Fierce pirates!


After he convinced them that he just wanted to be friendly they decided to let him go.


Just across the way another pirate friend briefly stopped climbing the rigging to share a moment with my sweetheart. I think he may have tried to recruit my sweetheart to life on the sea. I’m happy to say that my sweetheart returned home with me!


Someday I want to return to this little place by the sea – perhaps I will return again with the dear family who introduced to me a corner of my world I will never forget. Or, maybe my sweetheart and I shall return for a quiet meal and a place to share special memories together. And another visit with the pirates!