Sunday, May 30, 2010

Listen to the Forest

The first time I approached this home I was enamored with how it nestled into the forest & towered above the lake. Walking around back, I scanned the scene below & listened to the song of the waterfall as it cascaded into the cove beneath. "Wouldn't this be a great place for a kid to grow up !?! " ~~~ 12 years have passed & the forest is alive with the sound of boys running & laughing, exploring & discovering. We are so very blessed !
Yesterday, my son & his friend prepared to climb into the pool. Without looking up from my gardens I reminded them, "Listen to the forest. It is beginning to murmur & sing." Both boys paused & looked skyward. I heard my son explain, "When a storm is coming, the trees begin to warn each other. One tells another, who tells another... They tell when it is coming & when it is close." His buddy replied, "Yeah, we better wait."
I LOVE that they know that !

The other evening, as neighbors contemplated taking refuge in their crawlspaces, I stood out on our deck storm-watching. I listened to the forest & to songbirds calling out their final warnings. The sky deepened from greys to blues & into the night. Rose colored flashes, punctuated by slow moving streaks of pink lightening illuminated the trees. The clouds darkened & swirled overhead, clearly traveling quickly & in different directions. I actually witnessed fingers of different sizes twisting high aloft. It was amazing & invigorating, but strangely enough, not the least bit scary.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"Shiny, Happy People"

The scout leader set the telescope up, before he was called to another task. I watched as the cubs took turns peeking at a close up view of the moon. I love watching the delight & wonder of children!!
Some toddlers can paralyze even the most grizzled heart with their "cute rays.". One such baby peered into the the site of the telescope & exclaimed, "Ees shiny! Ees shiny !!!" I didn't have the heart to tell him he was seeing a speck instead of the close up, & I asked, "Is it made of cheese?" "No, Ees shiny! Ees shiny all over da moon !!!"
When the scout leader returned, he readjusted the telescope & showed the wee one how to properly peer through it. I sat at just the right angle to watch the reflection on the boy's eye. As he landed on the moon, both of his eyes doubled in size, as did his delight.
"Ees shiny people! Ees little, shiny people... Little, shiny people on da moon!!"
Days later I remain warmed & amused by the wonder of a child.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Groundhog Tales

This year, I haven't sen Pat coming, nor going from under the shed. In early spring, I popped up from behind a slope & startled her in a very advanced stage of pregnancy. The groundhog was so terrified , she attempted to climb a tree! She made it a good 4 feet up, before falling & lumbering away as fast as her belly would allow. Yesterday, I spied a young one in the neighboring hillside. Whenever I walked inside, it would run under the shed, but when I came out, it felt free to graze. Too funny !

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Compared To....Who?

We had spoken of comparing ourselves to others. In doing so, we completely miss the point. Keeping up with the Jones' leads us far away from the mark for which we should be aiming. We cannot judge ourselves by what others do or find acceptable. We must only look to Christ to find out who *He* wants us to be.
After group,I stood in the church parking lot & gazed above the warehouse rooftops, watching as God began a spectacular show of light & hue. I stood watching Him paint the blue sky with lavender-grey clouds & spread a beautiful peach light across their bellies... I called out, "Wait ! You're missing the show ! He's just getting started!" People were calling out to one another as they climbed into their cars & left. How could they just ignore this? I walked across the parking lot & reached for my camera, but I never took a shot. Looking up, I realized from where most of the cars had been, the brilliance of His work was out of view. If they had remained where they were, they would have missed it entirely. It is easy to judge others with our own, limited vision but the closest we can come to seeing through their eyes is to try to see through His.

Lost in a Rose

Roses have been unfurling daily. The pink ones, planted in honor of Momma are especially splendid this year...the size of one's face ! Red ones climb the side of my home towards the peak, while others cascade across the deck & steps behind my bedroom & kitchen windows. I have never been able to capture roses on film, particularly well, yet I forge ahead in my attempts. I love immersing myself in the fragrance & delicate softness. I become gentler when I get lost in a rose; watching them arise & awaken. Here are a few of my views from inside these gifts of our Creator-God...

(I believe Georgia O'Keefe would be fond of this one.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thorns & Mirrors

Sometimes life feels like the bad ending of a good movie. It would have been altogether different had those I placed my trust in done the right thing…or, at least if they had not remained focused on themselves. Where is the justice? What do I tell my child? Does anyone have integrity these days? I cry out, “My God ! My God! ” It amazes me that He who has the whole universe to run hears my pleas & my anguish. In gratitude, I approach the Throne. I am once again, reminded how I often I let Him down… The flaws I am so angered by in others are my very own. I must turn & tend to the log in my own eye … and I must learn to forgive as He has forgiven. As he hung dieing, His final thoughts were of me. His final words were a petition of forgiveness for those who put him there! How can I so readily point the finger at those who would persecute me, when Jesus died for them?
Following Christ is not an easy journey. The Bible reminds me that I do not travel alone. He accompanies & strengthens me for that which I know I must do…

Monday, May 17, 2010

Carried Up

It crept in slowly & insidiously, consuming my joy as it ate away my options. The stuff of this world had stolen in & before I knew it, I was overtaken by "the giant that is made of shadows." I shut down...closed off. Those who knew me, lightly attributed the cause to this or that; but there were deeper storms raging inside the bubble I had built. I see more clearly now how it was a spiritual battle.
One-on-one time with my Saviour enabled Him to chip away at my bubble & I began to heal. When my ability to carry the burdens of others was restored, I could see how my self-absorption had severed lifelines I may have thrown to those drowning nearby. Though I worshiped & prayed, I was cut off from the suffering around me. In the midst of my own darkness, prayer for others connected me & carried me up, even when I lacked the energy or desire to do so.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

It Takes Three

White oaks are very significant to my husband & I in many ways. When we met with the artist who would sculpt our wedding rings she told us oaks symbolize strength & longevity... yet another reason to have a pair of them circling our fingers as we prepared for our marriage. "The 5th generation jeweler told us, "I prefer to make wedding rings in sets of 3. It takes 3 to make a strong marriage: the man, the woman, & God". We were in & they were cast with 3 leaves for each of us.
Many couples set out on their own in marriage only to encounter seemingly overwhelming troubles. They find themselves wondering what went wrong. Though they may have started out as a union of 3, they slowly allowed God to be pushed out until His presence faded, along with their commitment to one another. It is easy to say, "life without God isn't the cause of our troubles." Inviting Him back may seem ethereal, but He is waiting to return & help rebuild... but, He has to be asked.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hands in Soil

I finally got my hands into my own garden beds, though quite late for me. I added a lot of perennials, tubers & bulbs, along with a few annuals. I had all but forgotten how easily the praises come when working with my Creator in beautifying His garden.
Blessedly, at the end of it all, the rains came.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Where's the Bobber?

I sat on the dock, catching a gentle breeze, while my son was fishing. We laughed recalling a sign which read, "Fishing: if it was easy, it'd be called catching". He cast his line towards the cove opening, set it on the dock & began the climb up to the house for his net. Without journal or sketch pad, my eyes wandered amidst the forest sounds. I glanced over & wondered, "Where's the bobber?" I picked up the ultralight & clicked the reel. A white flash revealed the quickest glimpse of the float, before it disappeared once more. A large-mouth bass had taken it out into open waters & blessedly, my son had not set the bail. I called to my son who yelled back, "Do I have to come back down?!" "Yes ! I can't reel any slower". I was able to bring it in & keep it on the hook, enabling my son to land it. What a funny treat ! On that day, "WE" caught a fish as a team & it was "easy"!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Of What Value?

I once spent countless, predawn hours in prayer for the pond side of the neighborhood. Life has buffeted me around until I slowly withdrew my presence. My prayers diminished & finally ceased. It is too painful for me to go there. At the request of neighbors I returned.
Though it was a cool, early morning, the barren red earth & twisted trees glared at me as in mid-day heat. For the sake of "bringing up property value" a once serene, life-filled, habitat has become a barren wasteland. I wanted to turn back, for this is what had driven me away, but my prayers had been requested & I begrudgingly continued. As my feet stepped from the bulldozed tracks, I crossed into another time & place. Grass & wildflowers grew under my feet. I was surrounded by lush foliage, wildlife, peace & an amazing quiet. I stepped back into the clamoring starkness & glare, then back into the serenity. I did that many times, amazed at the transformation within & around.

Many find value in sod, sidewalks & streetlights, while others find value in that which is seen only by careful watching. Some build up their treasures on earth, while I remind myself I am not of this world. My home is the Kingdom of God, where neither moth nor rust, nor even bulldozers will destroy my treasure. The lake is becoming walled & sodded. When the bulldozers have completed their decimation, & have "won", peace will remain elusive. I return to pray that they may surrender their lives to the Creator & Giver of peace, Jesus, the Christ. Selah!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Broken Dreams

Often we try to go it on our own & before we can stop it, a wake of tears & pain fill the lives of those around us. Psalm 16:7 tells us, "... the Lord has given me counsel; My heart also instructs me..." Some call it our conscious, while others call it our sinful nature. I call it our selfish nature. Hearts remain whole when we heed "His still, small voice" which is within our very being. Romans 2:15 clearly tells us He has written His Holy Word on our hearts. When we can't find the strength to approach the throne ourselves, we can turn to those who will clear our vision of the things of this world.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Bit O' Earth

Throughout the years, there has been much debate over the periodic appearance of floating islands, carried downstream by strong, storm currents. We finally put our hands on one as it came to rest in our end of the cove. With great energy & excitement, we all rushed down to investigate. It actually is a large mat, of naturally woven deciduous leaves, some 5-6 inches+. Tiny plants & trees already grow atop it's composting surface. Freshly conquered by a 9 yr.-old, armed with sticks, she has been christened, "Terra". Even the beaver paused with curiosity, holding his head high above the water, as he passed by. We wait & wonder the fate of the mass, as we watch pieces break off & sink into the miry depths. It hinders our fishing, but it remains a temporary treasure.
I am reminded to work with what God has given us for the time.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Peeking Around the Corner

I have been merely noticing from afar, rather then closely watching. As the red, "spring-break," flowers of the forest bloomed cheerily in my forest yard, I simply gazed upon from high aloft. Life has had a way of imposing itself on my serenity of late.
While walking up the street one morning, something brilliantly contrasted against the corner brick caught my eye. The owner is one who watches from her front porch & she had not yet spied them. Days later, when I returned for a closer look, through my lens, she still hadn't made her way 'round from her perch. When I made my way closer, I was met with an unusual treat, rather than the kind I had expected. I was reminded anew of the glorious embellishments God provides for those who pause long enough to notice. I am striving to return to that way of seeing.