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Lilacs in the Fall

I was surprised – no shocked – to see these lilacs blooming yesterday. It’s so nice to see (and smell!) a little spring sweetness in the fall. This bush has had a rough year – it lost all it’s leaves (I may or may not have watered it enough) and then they grew back. And now it’s blooming.

I think it’s a reminder that during rough seasons and weird years, no matter what’s happening in our lives, or the world, spring is coming. There is hope.

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We Can Still Buy Flowers

In early September, I was in Walmart. I made my way back to the garden section and saw a big display of mums and harvesty stuff. There was a lady that worked there standing nearby and I said…wow fall stuff already. We started talking and she began saying that things were so different and that we’re losing so much because of coronavirus, that it was a hard time for so many. I said, “I know, but we can still buy flowers and we can still decorate!” She smiled and agreed. I pushed my cart and wandered through the plants outside. When I came back inside, the lady said, “Thank you so much – you really brightened my day!”

God can take little things and use them to minister to someone’s heart. I figured this lady probably had been feeling down and a simple reminder of the good things we still have made her feel a bit better.

And it’s lovely when we can buoy each other up. Especially now with so much loneliness, worry and fear around.

Look for people who need it and offer whatever comfort you can.

“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”- 1 Thessalonians 5:11

I know we are losing a lot. But this too shall pass. Let’s buy those mums and decorate our houses and keep each other’s spirits up.

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What Are You Waiting For?

I saw a video today about an english lady that bought a swedish cottage. She said she made that decision because it’s something she’s wanted to do for a long time but was waiting until she retired. Then she suddenly lost her 5 year-old granddaughter. Soon after she lost a family member to cancer after just a few momths of being diagnosed. Then another was diagnosed. So she decided that maybe waiting wasn’t the best thing to do. So she went out and found herself a sweet little red cottage. She and her family go and stay when they can.

You see you get a certain age, or you start losing people, or people start getting sick around you and it does make you start seeing things differently.

Life is precious. It is a gift and it’s uncertain. Add in a pandemic and you’re sure to start examining your life.

I’ve been feeling this way a lot lately. I have sick family members. It certainly makes you question everything about your own life.

What’s something that you are waiting to do? Should you do it now?

devotional

Morning Light

I’d like to see you in the morning light.

A line from an old 80s hair band song. Many times it pops into my head “in the morning light.” A 16-year-old girl with big 80s hairsprayed hair and even bigger dreams used to sing this song for us back in the 80s, of course! I didn’t think too much of her, but I thought the song was a pretty rock ballad. I was always a sucker for a love song, though.

So every now and then, in the early morning – that song, that line, filters into my mind.

Today is one of those days.

It got me thinking, this morning, about the frailty of life.

The song is about an ache, an emptiness, a desperate longing for someone who isn’t there anymore.

Live! Love the ones close to you. Spend time with God. Find and fill your purpose, however small that may be. Hold your dreams but don’t sacrifice reality to do so. This is our one life. And even though struggles come, life is a beautiful and sacred gift.

Don’t waste the chance to see a sunset, commune with God, hold your lover’s hand, play with your kid, complete that task, say those words.

I know some days you can’t wait to see the end of but treasure each one you have anyway.

I’d like to see you in the morning light…

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. – James 4:14

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. – 2 Corinthians 6:2

faith · SDA Life

Elmshaven

Can you love a house?

I’m saying this because there is a special house to our church called Elmshaven. The last home of our founder Ellen G. White. It is a museum and special place for us. I’ve been there twice. It was in danger of burning in the Glass Fire. Yesterday morning, I heard that it survived and then heard that it burned. For a minute I was broken-hearted and teary-eyed. But then I realized it was probably a mistake.

So I waited and prayed until finally last night, my sister posted pictures of the house. It hadn’t burned. The fire burned all around it, but it was spared. We believe the angels held the fire back.

Some say it’s just a house, but for us – it’s more. It’s like one of our church’s photo albums being burned – it has lots of sentimental and historical value. A tie to the past. A tie to an amazing lady God used in a 70-year ministry that still guides and inspires us over a hundred years later. I remember my visits there were so special – almost sacred feeling. All the beauty of an old house along with the meaning tied to it just left me in awe.

The Glass Fire is still raging. Please pray for the safety and homes of the fire victims and for all the fire crews.

Please also pray for Paradise and surrounding areas. This was where the Camp Fire took out the majority of the town about two years ago. My daughter’s house survived. They are under an evacuation warning now and decided to go ahead and leave. Which makes me happy.

Please pray for all these fires in California.

Is there a place you hold dear? Or has special meaning to your church?

The sign survived.
Elmshaven
This shows the house.

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Good-bye Summer

Summer is the time for dreaming. For spending time with family and having adventures.

This summer looked different for us. No campmeeting. Usually 10 days spent in the Redwoods at our church camp. Such a spiritual revival, not to mention such a wonderful time for the family.

No county fair. My poor little one does nothing but talk about going to campmeeting and the fair all year long. And those things didn’t happen. My only saving grace is the pumpkin patch! Yes, there will be a pumpkin patch and since she’s heard that, she constantly whines about going!

Bless her heart. She just wants to do something she loves so much!

Summer was mostly quiet. Mostly spent at home. And although I love home, I love sprinkling in those fun times too.

Then for the past month there’s been the fires and the fear. The smoke puts a damper on some outdoor activities. My pictures are still in the trunk…I need to bring them back inside. Strange times.

One blessing we’ve had this summer has been going to a small Bible study gathering for “church.” It’s outside and we are social distancing. We have a pastor that leads and it has been a wonderful time to spend with family and friends – especially after spending months at home by ourselves. On days when the smoke was too bad, we gathered together at my moms with a couple of my older girls and visited and did bible studies.

Fall is here now and it’s bringing with it the thought that it’s been a year since normal. All the talk of coronavirus started in winter. I kind of wish we could go back to last fall where we were so blissfully unaware.

How was your summer?

faith

If the Sun Refused to Shine

Yesterday, I woke up thinking it was 5 in the morning because it was so dark, but it was actually almost 8. When I looked out the window in my bedroom, I could see the western horizon glowing orange above a thin strip of clear sky, so I knew this thick covering of charcoal gray smoke, that was covering most of the sky, was not coming from the fire near our house. It was actually from a fire an hour away in the opposite direction.

I had never seen anything like it. Later the whole sky changed to a ruddy orange but never got very light. It felt like morning all day.

It reminded me of a line from a song from my past life (before Christ). It’s one of the songs that I still love and think of every so often.

Thank You

If the sun refused to shine
I would still be loving you
Mountains crumble to the sea
There will still be you and me

Truly, I felt like this was the first time I saw the sun refuse to shine. This day made the song come to life in my mind. It’s a sweet song and what we all seem to long for. That sense of belonging and never-ending love.

Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you. – Isaiah 54:10

No matter what’s happening in your life today, there’s one Person you can always count on to be there.

Please remember all of us out here in California in your prayers, especially those affected by the wildfires and all our heroic fire crews.

moments

To Have and to Hold – my romance with things

There’s truly so little you can hold onto in this life. Just when you think it’s firm in your grasp, it slips away.

That blue sky at some time turns grey. The grass withers and flowers fade. The laughter once surrounding constantly, those late night giggles and candles on cake flicker and go out.

The way the wind felt that night, the tree outlined in moonlight. Only a moment, a whisper of time. Floats away like leaves.

You do reach. You grasp. You hold. You keep. In a chest of cedar. In a chest of flesh and bone. You keep and cherish.

Tattered bible, once touched by hands and hearts that came before, clattering dishes that served to nourish the ones from whence you came, smooth quilts stitched in love by hands now at rest, a long cord that ties to the past.

Scribbled drawings, hand prints and foot, bumpy ceramic pots, tiny dresses with lace, smiling faces in squares filling boxes and frames.

Words by the hundreds on lines in books, closed chapters of past lives and places. Revisited as strangers faraway. The music still plays.

Tokens and treasures, shells and sand dollars, Christmas ornaments, postcards, heart-shaped rocks and lyrics all hold a place.

To have to hold to keep to dream to wonder to love.