Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Clean Heart

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from Your presence,
and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
and sinners shall be converted to You.

Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed,
O God, the God of my salvation,
and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.

O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall show forth Your praise.

For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
a broken and a contrite heart—
these, O God, You will not despise.

Psalm 51:10-17

Friday, March 28, 2008

Ode To Spring Cleaning

March bustles in on windy feet
And sweeps my doorstep and my street.
She washes and cleans with pounding rains,
Scrubbing the earth of winter stains.
She shakes the grime from carpet green
Till naught but fresh new blades are seen.
Then, house in order, all neat as a pin,
She ushers gentle springtime in.

In the spirit of the season our home is closed today for Spring Cleaning! Most of the rooms are empty. Carpet cleaners will arrive later today. It's a perfect time to clear the clutter, displace the dust, clean the corners and fine-tune the furnishings. There's no way to avoid it! And I'll be glad I did!

Poem: "Spring Cleaning" by Susan Reiner

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Daffodils Everywhere!

Every year when Spring returns to this part of the world my heart takes me back to a special time many years ago. My sweetheart was a youth pastor when we met and married. After our wedding, I moved from my home four hours away to his home in the mountain area of Central Oregon. We didn't think we would be there very long. My sweetheart felt it was nearing the time for him to leave the wonderful church where he was youth pastor. Time to become the pastor of a congregation somewhere here in our state. Time to move on. We didn't know where that would be but we were willing to go wherever God led us.
A few weeks after we were married we heard of a church in a little community just two hours from our home. The elderly pastor needed to retire and move because of his wife's increasing health problems. He was concerned about the church. He didn't want to move until another pastor was found. A trip to the community was planned. A visit was scheduled with the dear pastor and his wife. When we arrived in the little town we felt it was a place we could live. A tiny, little place where everyone knew your name and stopped to say hello. Just a small place. A place we knew we would feel at home. Time spent with the pastor and his wife was special. We were invited to stay and share supper with them. Before the evening was over he and his wife were certain that we could love and serve the congregation well. During the next few days the congregation asked us to spend a weekend with them. To get acquainted. To make a decision about the future. Theirs and ours. A week later they would meet again to consider our future with them. I'll never forget the Sunday night the phone call came. The congregation wanted my sweetheart to be their pastor. We were on the move. Following God's plan.
Moving day arrived. My sweetheart drove the truck with most of our belongings. I followed in our car with plants and treasures that needed a more gentle ride. We didn't get as early a start as planned. A short 'break down' with the truck necessitated an unplanned stop. Darkness began to overtake us. As I drove - following the tail lights of the truck ahead - my heart struggled with what was ahead. I dreaded moving into the little, old parsonage. The last pastor's wife was blind and failing in health. Her husband was not strong. The little house next to the church wasn't very clean and the upstairs bedrooms were beyond imagination. A wayward young grandson and his dog had lived upstairs. The condition of those rooms was indescribable. The dear little pastor's wife had told me she wouldn't be able to clean the house when they moved. I told her not to worry about it - I would do it. As I drove my heart was afraid of what I would find. What was I moving into? At night! I wanted to turn around and go back to the home I had left behind. My tears fell as I told God I was willing to go anywhere He wanted us to go.
It was late when we arrived at our new home. Turning the key in the lock I felt I would burst into tears. What would the house look like? What would it smell like? We didn't have much furniture and we knew some of the furniture would be left there for us. What would we find? A turn of the key, a click of the light switch, a breath of the air inside - and I could not believe what I found. A spotless house. Fresh. Clean. Some rooms newly painted. And flowers everywhere. In nearly every room. Daffodils. And more daffodils. Downstairs. Upstairs. In the living room. On a cute little table in the kitchen nook. In the bedroom. Everywhere!
My tears started once again. This time tears of joy. And praise. God had done this for me! To show how much He loved me. And to remind me that following Him was the best choice. Each Spring I am reminded again of how special I am to God. Every daffodil I see brings back that sense of amazement all over again. And I am blessed. Oh, so blessed!

(Most of the congregation spent many hours cleaning and scrubbing and painting to make sure their parsonage was just right for the new pastor and his bride! They had moved the stove and refrigerator out and cleaned under and behind. Every square inch of that little house had been touched by their love and kindness. One of the dear ladies later said, "We couldn't let our pastor and his wife move into the house the way it was!" And they hoped I like daffodils!)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tagged Again!

Recently I was tagged by Hope at Second Time Around. I'm supposed to tell you eight habits or facts about me. I'm long overdue with my response - here goes:

1. When I was a little girl I loved the story of missionary Mary Slessor. I had a little book about her and the pictures captured my imagination. She was the first white person into very dangerous parts of Africa. A single lady following God's call. I imagined and visualized myself doing the same. I still have part of that little book - no cover but most of the pages.

2. When I was young I was fascinated with airplanes. Especially small ones. And I wanted to be a pilot. I dreamed of taking lessons and someday owning my own plane. Then I went to college and became friends with a student who had her pilot's license. The small college we attended often rented a little plane and paid her to fly to pick up needed-right-now supplies or special speakers and guests of the college. That settled it! I was going to do the same thing. Someday. Later I realized that I wanted to go a different direction and did not pursue this plan. But I'm still fascinated every time I see a small plane take off or land at the little airport not far from my home. And occasionally I wish that I could fly my sweetheart and I to some remote resort that can only be reached by plane.

3. I like mustard. I loved it when I was a kid. So much that I made and ate mustard sandwiches. Just bread and mustard. I think I must have overdosed on them - or I grew up and my taste changed. I love to put mustard on my sandwiches. No more mustard only sandwiches for me!

4. I love magazines. Home decorating, garden, fashion. Magazines old and new. I wish I could afford to subscribe to every single one I enjoy. I love to find magazines for sale at yard sales. And at my local library. In the Friends of the Library sale room.

5. Someday I would love to have a room that is just a library. Rows and rows of shelves full of books. Old books. New books. From the floor to the ceiling. With one of those library ladders. Or a spiral staircase to the second story of my library room. And comfy chairs.

6. I have a few online computer games that I enjoy. Free games. Nothing scary or violent. Just games to keep my attention. Word games. Puzzle games. A few arcade games. I could get lost with some of them. I limit my playing time so I don't forget to live life.

7. I would love to have a little house at the beach - or in the mountains - or by a river or lake. Somewhere close enough to my home so we could go there often. A place to relax and enjoy time away from the rush of everyday life.

8. It's hard for me to slow down and do nothing. I need to have a book, a magazine, a craft or handwork in my hands, my camera and somewhere to wander, a movie to watch or a friend to talk to.

Now I am supposed to tag eight friends to share about themselves. Since so many have already participated in this tag I will leave it open for anyone who would like to share about yourself. I hope you will take the challenge and let us get to know a bit more about you.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


This pansy has a thinking face
Like the yellow moon.
This one has a face with white blots:
I call him the clown.
Here goes one down the grass
With a pretty look of plumpness;
She is a little girl going to school
With her hands in the pockets of her pinafore.
Her name is Sue.
I like this one, in a bonnet,
Waiting, her eyes are so deep!
But these on the other side,
These that wear purple and blue,
They are the Velvets,
The king with his cloak,
The queen with her gown,
The prince with his feather.
These are dark and quiet
And stay alone.

Poem: "Velvets - By A Bed of Pansies"
Poems By A Little Girl by Hilda Conkling

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Then Came The Morning

They all walked away,
With nothing to say
They'd just lost their dearest friend.
All that He said,
Now He was dead,
So this was the way it would end.
The dreams they had dreamed,
Were not what they'd seemed,
Now that He was dead and gone.
The garden, the jail, the hammer, the nail.
How could a night be so long?

Then came the morning,
Night turned into day.
The stone was rolled away,
Hope rose with the dawn.
Then came the morning,
Shadows vanished before the sun.
Death had lost and Life had won,
For morning had come.

The angel, the star,
The kings from afar.
The wedding, the water, the wine.
Now it was done,
They'd taken her son.
Wasted before his time.
She knew it was true,
She'd watched him die too,
She'd heard them call Him just a man.
But deep in her heart,
She knew from the start.
Somehow her Son would live again.

Then came the morning,
Night turned into day.
The stone was rolled away,
Hope rose with the dawn.
Then came the morning,
Shadows vanished before the sun.
Death had lost and Life had won,
For moring had come.
The sun was coming up on the first day of the week. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the grave. At once the earth shook and an angel of the Lord came down from heaven. He came and pushed back the stone from the door and sat on it. His face was bright like lightning. His clothes were white as snow. The soldiers were shaking with fear and became as dead men. The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus Who was nailed to the cross. He is not here! He has risen from the dead as He said He would. Come and see the place where the Lord lay. Run fast and tell His followers that He is risen from the dead.
Matthew 28: 1-7

Song: "Then Came The Morning"
Written by Bill and Gloria Gaither

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Winner!

A fun part of this world of blog is the chance to get acquainted with some very nice friends. One of those friends is BJ at Sweet Nothings. Recently she celebrated her 200th post and announced a give-away. This morning I learned that I WON! This!

I can't tell you how many times I've signed up for a giveaway. This is my first time to win. Ever. I'm excited. Thrilled. I can't wait for her package to arrive shortly after Easter. But wait - there's more. She's adding some other treasures. Surprises. And she won't tell us what they are. She wants to save the surprise for me. And she wants to let me share them with you. You can be sure that I'll share do that just as soon as they arrive.

Please be sure to stop by and visit BJ's blog. She is a sweet friend and her blog is filled with bits and pieces of her home and life. Her wonderful cottage home reflects her charm and just-right decorating touch. I think you will enjoy visiting her. You'll be glad you did. Her door is always open.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Down By The Riverside

On the way home from Flourishes and Camas last Saturday my dear friend and I stopped for lunch. When we first started out, early in the morning, she told me that she had a special place in mind for lunch. And she was right! We stopped in Vancouver at Beaches Restaurant - on the north banks of the Columbia River, just across from Portland. The sign out front lets you know that this isn't an ordinary place. Once inside we were greeted by staff and seated beside a window were we could enjoy the view.The menu and a long list of lunch specials made it hard to decide what to order. The food was wonderful. Our choices were just right. And we enjoyed the chance to relax and talk over our day. A visit to the ladies' room is a must. The walls and ceiling are covered with incredible art. This little gal welcomes you to take a last peek in the mirror before you head out the door again.

It almost seems as if the sink and counter are right on the beach.
And outside, the sidewalk along the edge of the river bank provides unlimited views of the river and Portland on the other side. Across the river. . .And to the west.This was the perfect way to end our day together. A day filled with friendship and treasures. And memories. Lots of memories. I want to return here again. With my sweetheart. And my camera. On a sunny day. And lots of time to wander.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

An Antique Birthday Party

Saturday morning after we left Flourishes, our next stop was at Camas Antiques where they were celebrating their birthday!The streets of downtown Camas are like a scene from the past. Tree-lined streets. Quaint little shops. An intriguing place to be.We arrived a few minutes before time to open the store. Part of the birthday celebration included a gift for the first few people in the door. We were among the first group inside. We got cute little Easter 'bags' with chocolate eggs inside. Chocolate! Off to a great start. There was so much to see. Where to begin? Go the opposite direction of most of the crowd!It didn't take long to find that the prices were right and the sale discounts were enticing. The store staff walked around and offered to take things to the front of the store to hold them until we were ready to check out. That was so convenient. Hands-free shopping!The 'party' was at the back of the store. Delightful chocolate cake. Yummy carrot cake. Coffee. Sodas. A place to sign up for a drawing. A sense of celebration. And we felt so welcomed there. Part of the fun was the chance to see and chat with friends we met at Flourishes a bit earlier. And a chance to check out what they were buying. It was a busy place. Full of so many pretty things. Things that called my name.Is it possible to have too many dishes?
Don't forget to look up. It seems that we looked at nearly everything there before it was time to go. Right in front of our parking place was a darling little children's clothing shop. It captured my attention when we first arrived. The name on the store made me smile. My children have always called my dear mother 'Nana'. And so do my grandchildren.Inside were the most delightful children's clothes and accessories. Fancy, fairy tale dresses. Handsome things for little gentlemen. Sweet play clothes. And in the back, a few collectibles for sale. A wonderful shop.

Down the road a ways we discovered a little antique mall. Full of treasures. This little purse gave me an idea. I have an old purse, a pretty hanky and some of my grandmother's pins. Hmm. . .

It wasn't long before we headed toward home with a stop for lunch. Great food. And a fantastic view! I'll share that soon.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Over The River And Through The Woods

Not far from my home a big bridge crosses the Columbia River and takes you into Washington. The state of my birth. My roots are there as well as a piece of my heart. The Mighty Columbia River separates Washington and Oregon as it flows from the eastern part of both states on to the west where it meets the Pacific Ocean. Highways on both sides of the river take you through The Columbia River Gorge where you find some of the most beautiful scenery possible. Early Saturday morning I joined a dear friend for the drive over the river (and through the woods) into Washington for the first ever Flourishes event. From what I have seen and read about previous Willow Nest events at that location I thought I could imagine the setting. I thought I knew what to expect. But I was wrong! What I did get right was that it would be a special place far away from the rush of life - a place that would capture my heart and call me back again. A place of magic. A place of bliss. A place where there were smiles on each face and everyone seemed like good friends.The views of the river and the meadowlands nearby were breathtaking and I found myself wishing for a day away with my camera. To go slowly and stop wherever my heart desired. To try to capture bits of what my eyes saw. Suddenly, as if out of nowhere, a sign at the side of the road told us that Flourishes was just ahead - "Next left"! I was about to be transported into another world. But I didn't know it yet. Suddenly, there it was. We were welcomed by ribbons and lights and flowers. And sweet people.We opened the door and stepped inside. Another world. A world of enchantment and activity. Just inside the door a little table held the sweetest little birds and flowers and pretties. Too much to see quickly. Each piece placed just right. With such care.Across the room the beautiful new fireplace looked like it had been there forever. It provided warmth to the room. And the warmth of friendship as we stood near the hearth and chatted with friends new and old. Friends from days gone by. Friends from lovely blogs. Friends who shared the moment.
But no one stood and chatted for long. There were things to see and things to buy. Sweet things. Carefully hand-crafted things. . .Soft things. . .And old things.It was obvious that each treasure had been carefully arranged and placed just right to capture our attention.I love old children's clothing. I would be happy to own every little piece I see. There were sweet little dresses. . .And precious little silk jackets.Too many to take home. Except in my heart.I knew exactly what I wanted to buy. The sweet little yellow birds on the table near the entry. Soon they were in my arms. Waiting in line to pay was part of the fun. A chance to talk to someone nearby. A chance to see what they were buying. A chance to overhear conversations about some of the treasures. And a chance to meet Bill and Aleta, the new owners of this enchanted land high above the river. The creators of Flourishes. Blog friends. Now new face-to-face friends. Friends I plan to see again and again and again. You can learn about future events at Aleta's blog here.As we walked to the car to head down the hill to our next stop I had to take a minute and sneak past the old schoolhouse that is Bill and Aleta's home. Out past the quaint stone patio to the corner of the house to TRY to get just a little peak at the view from the quiet place in the land of enchantment. Pictures can't do justice to what the eye sees. And there is no way to take away the sense of serenity and peace you find there. Except in your heart.What a wonderful place to be on a rainy Saturday morning. I could have stayed there forever but it was time to move on. More adventure was planned. We couldn't miss it. We're glad we didn't! I'll share that soon.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Come, Lord Jesus, Come

As the disciples watched, Jesus was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. They stood there, staring into the empty sky. Suddenly two men appeared—in white robes! They said, "You Galileans!—why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly—and mysteriously—as he left." Acts 1:9-11 (The Message)

Even so,

Come, Lord Jesus, come

Even so,

Take your bride away.

How my soul longs to be with you, my Lord,

Even so, even so,

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

Song: "Even So" by Terry MacAlmon

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Off In Search Of Treasure

I'm away from home today. Off to the first ever event - A Celebration of Spring -at Flourishes in Washougal, Washington. To spend time with a dear friend - and shop - and meet Aleta, the new owner of Mt. Pleasant, (formerly Willow Nest, now Flourishes) - and love every single minute of it. Check out Aleta's blog for a sneek peek. There will be other stops on the way home. A nearby antique mall. Lunch at a special place. Perhaps a bit of time at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Outlet. And who knows where else! Don't worry - my camera is ready to go. Oh, joy. Oh, fun! Oh, sweet bliss!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Cloudy Day

Yesterday morning I left home for a day of chaplain ministry in two care centers not far away. I usually don't have my camera with me on ministry days but yesterday, at the last minute, I took it along. I'm so glad I did. As I headed south toward the care center in a neighboring community I discovered the clouds. Big. Beautiful. Beyond belief. My schedule required that I keep driving but my heart just longed to take my camera and go wherever I might. Just my camera and me.Later in the morning I learned that a dear resident at the care center had unexpectedly passed away over the weekend. We were friends. Closer than any other resident I minister to. I was filled with sadness - not for her. For me. I will miss her. When I finished my time at the care center I needed a chance to step away for a while. I took time to just 'wander' with my camera and capture images of the clouds above. It was exactly what I needed. Camera therapy. Time. Alone. With my thoughts and tears. And the beauty of God's creation.

Today I will attend the funeral of another dear lady I have ministered to over the past two years. She, too, was a special friend. A family friend for many years. Her smile when I arrived always tugged at my heartstrings. She has been ill for a very long time. The last miles of her earthly journey have not been easy but she, too, is home at last. Where she so longed to be. Healthy. Whole. With her Savior. Today we will celebrate her life and recall how much a quiet little lady gave to each of us.

A song we often sing together in the care centers has real meaning to both of these dear friends. Now they both understand it better than ever.

Oh! they tell me of a home far beyond the skies -
And they tell me of a home far away.
Oh! they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise -
Oh! they tell me of an unclouded day.

Oh! they tell me of a home where my friends have gone
And they tell me of that land far away
Where the Tree of Life in eternal bloom
Sheds its' fragrance through the unclouded day.

Oh! they tell me of the King in His beauty there
And they tell me that mine eyes shall behold
Where He sits on a throne that is whiter than snow
In the city that is made of gold.

Oh! the land of cloudless skies -
Oh! the land of an uncloudy day;
Oh! they tell me of a home where no stormclouds rise -
Oh! they tell me of an unclouded day.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A Day To Celebrate

This is a day to celebrate! On this day - years ago - my life changed. Forever. This day. Twice. Today is the birthday of two precious people who came into my life. It has never been the same again. Two different days. Years apart. Birthdays of dear-to-my-heart people. People whose love I will cherish always.
On this day 34 years ago my first child - my son - was born. There is no way to tell the joy in my heart when he arrived. No way to say how much I love him. He was a wonderfully, precious little boy. Such fun. So full of important things to do and say. We have laughed and cried together through the years. Watching him grow into a man has been incredible. I look at him now and can't believe he was that tiny baby, that darling toddler, that handsome teenager. I can hardly believe that he is a dad to three of the most precious little boys ever. So like him. And now he understands the special thrill of having a son. There is no joy to compare.
Mr. J., I love you and I'm so proud of you. I'm proud to stand beside you and say that I am your mother. You are a strong man of God. He has great things ahead for you. You and your beautiful wife have blessed us with the privilege of loving your sweet boys. Happy birthday, dear son. You have changed my life forever. I wouldn't want it any other way.
Ten years ago - again on March 8th - another special person entered my life. And once again my life was changed. My first grandchild, Miss A., was born early on the morning of her uncle's birthday. Another day to celebrate and rejoice. Our dear daughter worked hard to bring her sweet girl into the world. And she looked so like her mother. There were tears and laughter and dancing and smiles. We were, oh, so proud. We still are. She has become an active young lady. Clever and smart. Loving and thoughtful. Being a grandma suddenly had new meaning. She and I were close from the start. We have a special bond and love to be together. We have plans that will take years to accomplish. Oh, for the time to do them all!
Miss A., I love you. You are growing to be a very lovely young lady. We have such special memories together. There have been silly moments and sad moments. We have snuggled and loved and tickled and giggled. I am so proud of the way you are growing up. I am happy to be your 'Mamack'. I'll always be there for you. No matter what. No matter where.
Mr. J. and Miss A.
(At his Ordination into ministry)

March 8th is dear to my heart. A special day. With special memories. Firsts. My first child. My first grandchild. Reason for joy. And a few happy tears.