Saturday, October 31, 2009

Treats from Oregon

Been awhile since last reporting on what's happening with my kids up north. Looks like they are taking advantage of the final days of October.

At the Pumpkin Patch (Justin, Preston & Regan)

"Bossy the Cow" found the boys in the maze,
or they found her.

Preston and "friends" - all smiles!

Can you believe it? These guys are in Alisha & Todd's backyard.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Beware of the Plastic!

The other day I was looking at the various masks for Halloween - some scary, some subtle, even some looking sweet. They were all masks to cover the real identity of a person; however, it's what's behind a mask that is the real, the genuine, the authentic person, not a character. This is true of life. We confront people everyday that wear masks - some need our help for they are crying on the inside but others would rip tenderness from our hearts. Well, with all that said: Here's a repeat of a post I previously did, and it tells perfectly how I feel today.

Years ago, a certain set of words came to my mind - ones I have never forgotten, What were they? BEWARE OF THE PLASTIC! Well, being an average “Joe” – on second thought, “Joette” - I thought it meant use of my credit card so I quickly checked to make sure that I wasn’t abusing that little piece of (security??). However, the words continued to echo for weeks in my mind, and then one day - WHAM, they came alive - Beware of those wearing Masks - wearing “plastic” faces in order to conceal their true identity (i.e., character). Using Pretense! Yes, we all see them, know them, and are approached by them. They may be Plastic Faces that worship and fellowship with us, work with us at our jobs, live beside us as neighbors, perhaps even some may be kin folk, and the list could go on and on (I'll let you let your mind take you there).

I know you probably think I am “hung up” on being careful. Well, I am! The Word tells us to do so, particularly in the hour in which we live. Deception, deceit, pretense, whatever you want to call it is FOR REAL folks. There are those among us wearing the disguise of righteousness, goodness and honesty - making His Word fit their lifestyle, their wants, and their desires. Caught up in the “I”, “Me”, “Mine”, "Myself" syndrome - serving God without any compromise of their thought process. And they desire for us to join them - to compromise our walk with Him.

Oh, how important it is to hold firm to our faith and belief in the truths of God’s Word and His teachings. We must seek out the Better Way. As for me, I plan to heed the words offered me a little over 40 years ago - BEWARE OF THE PLASTIC!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's Hard Work


Striving for success without hard work is like
trying to harvest where you haven't planted.
quote of: David Bly

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Downey or Snuggle Please!

When life hangs me out to dry. . .
I wish it would use fabric softener

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sew On, Precious Jewels

"She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet."

This setting of scripture describes the vital workings of another Proverb jewel. Our virtuous example has no fear of the elements. Why? Because she gave thought to the various seasons in life, and then prepared accordingly. No doubt much preparation went into how she readied her family for ferrous storms, hot burning deserts, and lowly damp valleys. Such a jewel is our Bible Hannah.

Hanna was a faith-filled, prayer-believing woman - an ideal mother who put her son, Samuel, in the hands of God even before his birth. She had desires for Samuel I am sure, just like we have for our own children. She wanted the closeness of her child, holding him safely in her arms, and being part of his upbringing. However, Hannah made a supreme sacrifice to make sure that he was safe for eternity. Hannah’s actions speak to us. It shows that we must give our children proper Christian instruction while being careful not to dominate their lives. This jewel warns us not to become their hands, their feet, or their breath. It says, give them unselfish love. Genuine love escalates love to new heights.

A virtuous woman has no fear of the elements because she knows that it cannot penetrate the scarlet cloaks she made and placed around her children’s shoulders. No, life doesn't always go the way we planned but we must trust God having faith that the clothing we pattern is functional for each season. Our pattern will come from prayer, then sown with the thread of peace that’s woven in the heart, and hemmed in God’s plan.

Today, I cannot emphasize enough the need to keep our families ready for the various seasons that will come. Young mothers, please ready your children’s garments while they are small. Please trust, lean on, and believe in the Word of God each and every day so to guard your loved ones. Make sure your godliness shows in the garments you pattern. No, I can't say that your children will be faithful to the Lord all their years even if you try your very best to do everything right. However, what you implant in their minds and in their hearts will be there forever. Saturate your babies with love, doctrinal scripture, and thankfulness. Teach them to pray and to read Biblical stories. Strive each day to provide a spiritual environment so that they may know and see in you, an excellent example.

Sew on, precious jewels. Continue sewing your children’s garments through the day and through the night. Fill their closets with life's needed clothing thus ensuring that they will be wrapped in the arms of the Creator, and life will not devour them. My prayer: Dear Lord, give me a Hannah heart always for not only my children but for my grandchildren. Amen.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Glory!

His Glory Is Our Covering

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Making Room

Going on a diet?
Here's a thought that might make your day a little brighter:
Always put off until tomorrow, what you could do today.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Look to the End

When Life Gives Us Rain


God Gives Us Rainbows

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Help!

Everyone Can Use A Helping Hand!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Reach or Jump

To reach your goals,
be sure to set them high,
and continue to reach (jump)
until you get there.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sight Seeing


Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.

BTW: We are in San Francisco at hubby's monthly medical appointments, so enjoying the sights of City when we can.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Inner Desire


Kindness is an inner desire that makes us want to do good things even if we do not get anything in return. It is the joy of our life to do them. When we do good things from this inner desire, there is kindness in everything we think, say, want and do. Emmanuel Swedenborg

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Grace Is Given


Grace is something you can never get but can only be given. There's no way to earn it or deserve it or bring it about any more than you can deserve the taste of raspberries and cream or earn good looks... A good night sleep is grace and so are good dreams. Most tears are grace. The smell of rain is grace. Somebody loving you is grace.
Frederick Buechner

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happiness is...

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Migrant Spirit

I pray that you will bear with me today as I have something that I would like to share. As you can see it is quite lengthy but this is a story that left me broken but yet inspired. Perhaps you will better understand the reason for my posting at the end.

I was intrigued by the photograph, "Migrant Mother", and started “googling” to get a better understanding of its origin. The picture is the face of a 32-year old woman, which reflects the pain and misery of a life filled with hardship and heartache. Yet, on the other hand, it is the face of a brave woman.

Florence Owens Thompson came from Oklahoma to California in December 1923. She, her husband and three children arrived in Shafter CA on New Years Eve 1924. Her first house was small and in poor condition; however, she saw in it a promise of living the American dream. Her husband Cleo was a frail man who had suffered a near death fight with pneumonia at age 21 which had left his lungs weak and a target to any germ but his determination to support his family overrode his health condition. In 1925 Florence and Cleo moved to Porterville where he and his brothers found good jobs at good wages in the sawmill. Later they would move north to Oroville to work in the mill there - that mill burnt down in 1927, and once again they moved. This time to Merced Falls, a place which consisted of 5-6 streets, a store and a school. The people were kind and caring, and life was good. September 1929, Florence gave birth to the fifth of her 10 children; shortly thereafter came the Wall Street Crash, followed by the Great Depression. The mill shut down in 1931, with Cleo losing his job. Since there was no other work, it meant moving to join the migrant workers laboring in California’s fields and orchards.

Their migration was back to Oroville where Cleo joined his sisters and brothers in the fields. All the families shared a little cabin that had no indoor plumbing so each evening it was off to the Feather River to clean off the day's dirt and grim. One night Cleo began feeling ill after picking peaches that day in the orchards. It was hot and hard for him to breathe inside the cabin so he moved outside onto a cot on the porch. By the next morning, he had a high fever. Florence nursed him as best she could for there was no money for doctors or medicine. On the fourth night he and Florence talked way into the morning, then she kissed him and went into the cabin. The next morning Cleo, age 32, was gone. He was buried in Oroville in an unmarked pauper's grave. That same afternoon, his family met to discuss what to do and who would take what child of Cleo's to raise. Florence waited outside as the family made their choices. Then they came outside to tell Florence their decisions but Florence spoke first: "I know what you want to do, but it's not right and I'm not going to let you, any of you take Cleo's kids. I made a promise to Cleo to see his kids raised, and I'm going to keep that promise." Cleo's sister argued that they only wanted to help - to relieve her of the burden of trying to raise the children by herself. Florence said, "Then help me. Be my sisters and my brothers. Be the uncles and the aunts they need. But I'm their mother and they'll stay with me."

During the next two years, Florence stayed near Oroville while the family followed the crops. In winter 1933, Florence told the family she was expecting. The family was in a uproar and her refusing to tell the father’s name, went to her mother’s in Oklahoma along with her six children to have the baby. She returned to California the following year with the children, less the sick baby which she left with her mother. She joined migrant workers in the San Joaquin valley - going from one town and field to another, from one camp to the next.

In 1935, Jim Hill joined the family and cared for Florence and her children. The next year, they headed to harvest the pea crops around Nipomo. As they got close to the camp, the car which was already overheated lost its water pump, and they barely coasted into the camp only to find out that a freak cold snap had killed the peas the night before so there would be no work. Everyone that could, had left the camp. Needing to get the car fixed so they could travel on, Florence’s 9-year son accidentally put a screwdriver through the radiator while removing the water pump. Jim and Troy left the next morning to find car parts with what little money they had. The same day Florence was moved to a different camp a mile or so away. This camp was on sandy soil rather than the adobe soil of the first camp but the car couldn’t be moved so Florence left a message with the people who remained in the first camp to tell Jim and Troy, when they returned, where she was.

Florence sat up her tent at the entrance to the new camp because she didn't want Jim and Troy to miss her. Setting up camp in that spot meant a long walk to get water and she would be in danger if the camp was attacked, but it was where she wanted to wait. How long she sat there is unknown. I wonder if her mind traveled to the past, of promises lost and broken. Perhaps she thought of what was in store for the infant in her arms or her young girls. Perhaps her thoughts were on Cleo, and his unfulfilled dreams. Soon reality struck when her son and Jim didn’t return. She sold a tent to buy food, lived on frozen vegetables from the fields, and birds her children killed. She even sold the tires off their old car to survive. There’s where Dorthea Lange came into the picture. Lange was working for the Farm Security Administration, documenting the plight of the migrant worker. She took pictures, with Florence’s permission, by promising they would never be published. However, the very next day the promise was broken, and Florence's picture was front-page news (revealing the hunger/needs of camp people). Florence's oldest son was living with Uncle Bill in Shafter, and selling newspapers. When he picked up the day's papers to sell, he saw his mother's picture. He ran to his uncle who quickly got in his car and headed off to rescue Florence. (Within three days after the publication, cars and trucks arrived at migrant camps with food and supplies. People were fed, given clothing and helped with car repairs. Doctors cared for the sick and weak. Many received jobs. It was a miracle of love and giving.)

Now, here’s why I told this story. It is, in part, a parallel to God’s church. We wait as Florence waited but for a different ending. In our walk with the Lord, we suffer afflictions, we are bruised/wounded, we hunger, we thirst, we have an enemy that tries to take our children, and we travel the roads of despair and heartache. We have set our tent, visible for all to see, in the hopes that our Loved One will see us when He returns. I just believe that if we hold on and wait at life’s gate, someday He will come walking down the road. It is then that we will be safe, rescued from the happenings of life, and our American Dream (which is Heaven) will be recognized as we walk on streets of gold and behold the mansion He has promised us.

"Oh, this old world is not my home, I'm just a passing through..."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blowing in the Wind

Sometimes life is like the wind. . .It blows!
And when it does. . .Anchor yourself in Him.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

And the Debate Rages



Could these messages be construed that the two churches are on "speaking terms"? Or do you think not?

Monday, October 12, 2009

October 12 - It's A Holiday


“Every one of us has in him a continent of undiscovered character. Blessed is he who acts the Columbus to his own soul.” Author Unknown

Celebrate your own personal Columbus Day.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Burn Brightly

Let Your Light Shine
The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord.
Prov 20.27

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Gentle Touch

Have You Touched Someone Today?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Layer by Layer

Found a writing of mine the other day. Truthfully it's not easy to share this but feel compelled to do so in the hopes that it will be a help and an understanding for someone. It transparently reflects a time in my life. If there is someone who needs these words, please know that my thoughts and prayers are truly with you. Don't give in and let grief destroy you. Here is my writing from 1998:

Affliction is a monster bigger than life itself. Its ugliness seethes at the soul, and has a distinct way of hammering at the physical being, making us weak, nauseated, dizzy . . . trying to destroy us. Every part that can be shaken, will be shaken. We question and blame ourselves and/or blame others. We'll withdraw from everything, wanting nothing or no one to enter our domain. We will close the door to reasoning . . . or on any given day, open it so wide that it will completely overwhelm us. We'll want to run as fast as we can and as far as we can hoping that in the journey we'll run past heartache and pain. We'll shut out people even friends and family. Sound awful? Subconsciously in not hearing or seeing, we can hide. At times, we don't think we can go on. The present seems hopeless, the past filled with suffering, and the future empty. These all are normal reactions, and will happen even when we have Jesus as our Savior. It is our human side . . . and the venting of a loss.

Grief's influences may vary, but the concept that they diminish is unfounded. Grief only covers itself in time by the mire of life, layer by layer. A reminder of our hurt comes when someone else is struck with grief, or in experiencing it once again ourselves . . . and it causes previous hurts to begin transition back to the surface. Time does change the forms of our sorrow. Many call this period a healing, but I've never been healed. I still hurt therefore I call it a regrouping. Regrouping is a gradual procession in the recesses of our mind, drilling its way into the heart. We learn to "cope" with what has been allotted in life; rearranging our thoughts, putting our loss in the back of our minds by placing other things at the front. In other words, we just sort our "laundry" differently. We throw out the normal process (logic), and start washing "whites with colors," thereby permitting command of our sanity.

I don't wish to intrude upon the private lives of others, and may I be forgiven for doing so; but we are blessed with wonderful family, friends, and a pastor who understood when we experienced the loss of our son. This is not told to recreate heartache, but to demonstrate grief's many faces. When our Mark was killed in a tragic accident, our pastor and wife were one of the first at the hospital. In helping our family, it brought to the surface their encounters with grief. Mark's funeral was held in the church they pastored; our pastor was one of those who officiated; and his wife wrote/sang a special song. The funeral was in the same building as their son's funeral and on the day that would have been their son's birthday. Mark was also laid to rest in the same cemetery. Did it uncover grief? Certainly. Was there hurt still there? Certainly.

God covers our hurts layer by layer with His love, and when it is to His glory He uncovers them as a solace for others. It allows us to personally feel others pain and to relate to their emotions. If we were completely healed from our griefs, God could never use us to help others.

When we lost our first grandchild Zoe, our pastor was one of the first at the hospital. Did it uncover grief again? Surely. Many times, he and his wife expressed words of encouragement, told stories of grace and mercy to uplift us above the hopelessness swirling in our hearts. I saw the hurt return to their eyes, saw the tears, and heard their broken voices. Layer by layer, grief again to uncover.

I too think of how in losing our granddaughter, layer by layer the hurt I had felt three years and 18 days earlier (losing our oldest son) was resurfacing. Words, sentiments, thoughts, pain all returned in my desire to comfort my children. I hurt for them, knew where they were, where they were going, and what life would offer. Then the torment in knowing how I would hurt again . . . and not wanting to hurt that way any more. Below is an expression I wrote:

Many pieces are missing from this heart of mine,
Ripped apart by the ravishment of time.
For just as life starts bringing back the joy of a smile,
Bitterness of heartache appears in another trial.

I inwardly suffering, encased in my personal grief,
While outwardly coping, praying for some type of relief.
Many ask how such a thing as this could happen,
I have not the answers to reveal life's devised fashion.

But there is One who has privilege to each missing piece,
Linking shattered hearts that are beyond human reach.
A puzzle created by pieces supremely selected,
Grouping life's mysteries to become divinely connected.

With the days, months and years, more and more of life covers my wounds. God continues to cast seeds of love to minister to me and mine. Today, the ground lies undisturbed, although fresh diggings of yesterday are evident. Without my wanting, my ground may be once again be tilled tomorrow, and if it be so, I must believe that God will help me to regroup . . . layer by layer.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Today's Travels

Since it seems that me and The Papa won't be able to make a physical trip to Yosemite this year, I'm taking one in the crevices of my mind. You know, this mental trip isn't so bad after all. Today my mind is at the Ahwahnee Hotel, built in 1927, sitting elegantly in the Yosemite Valley - how it enhances God's beautiful nature. However, I could go on and on - Half Dome, Glacier Point, Yosemite's Upper & Lower Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Nevada Falls, and landmarks and beyond - all contribute to Yosemite's magnificent portrayal of God's Creative Hand. Wow, my brain is spinning thinking of the miles of trees, the hiking trails, rivers, lakes, and the striking mountains. I hate missing being there this year but, Lord willing, there is always next year.

BTW, my dad's grandparents spent their summers here in the Valley floor (1870s-1900s). My dad's folks passed away when he was young so a lot of his time was spent in Yosemite too. The family would take their cattle up to graze, bringing the herds up from Oakdale/Knights Ferry into the mountains. Heading down into the Central Valley for the winter, my Great Grandma & Grandpa Campbell and the kids would divide their time between their Knights Ferry and San Francisco residences. Great Grandpa loved the greyhound races, and Great Grandma just loved San Francisco. No, I wasn't around in those days, but I have a few days when I feel that old. (wink)