28 February 2008

Thank You

"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

"This command is an assurance that even the things which appear to be against us will work for our good. God would not bid us be thankful for that which would do us harm." Ministry of Healing, p 255

27 February 2008

The Eye Doctor

"Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town."

This seems so far away from everything, Lord. I know I simply followed You here, but I can't see what You're doing yet, and the sounds aren't making sense either.

"And when He had spit on His eyes..."

Oh, dear. This learning to see business isn't always pleasant.

"...and put His hands on him..."

Much better. Thank You.

"...He asked him if he saw anything. And he looked up and said, 'I see men like trees, walking.'"

Wow! I never would have thought I could see this well! I feel I could skip and hop and jump around. What a miracle! Oh, did You say something? You're not done?

"Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly. Then He sent him away to his house, saying, 'Neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town.'"

How long must I remain silent?

(See Mark 8)

26 February 2008

Potted Gardens

No matter the weather outside, there's always a springtime in my house. Between all the plants, my mis-matched chairs, and the little spots of color around the rooms, my little home and its small pleasures brighten my days. As you can see, there isn't much I wouldn't attempt to grow indoors, especially in winter as I long for spring.

My father's mother is much the same way. She once propogated her entire back lawn piece by piece, sod cutting by sod cutting from her front yard. She giggled as she described it to me--I couldn't tell whether she did it because they could not afford grass seeds or if she just did it that way to see if it could be done. I could tell she was proud of her accomplishment. She would never describe herself as creative, and greatly admires creativity in other people. I wonder if she realizes that very few people would think to grow a lawn the way she grew hers.

My grandmother's second-story apartment is softly bright. Her walls are a pale blue, and the light streams in gloriously through her sun widow in the high ceiling. Various books and clippings that interest her litter the place, and she has a tiny little balcony off to one side (above). Although she has no space on the grounds to grow anything, you can see that she still has a garden, all in little rows of pots lining her porch. I understand her crop of tomatoes last summer was truly a wonder, and I am thankful for her constant reminders that with the right attitude, one can accomplish much in small spaces.

25 February 2008

Blue Wonder

Perched high upon my finger, my small foe takes a moment's rest from his flight. I give him the most disgusted look I can muster and I am almost ready to blow him right back into space. But since he chose my finger instead of my hair or an eyelash, his radiant blue tones captivate my similarly-toned blue eyes. I am breathless--eyes bright with wonder, mouth open in awe. I would never have thought to design someone like him.

A couple of times a year, swarms of his friends come through our valley, spending three or four days--sometimes more--on vacation here. They make a general nuisance of themselves, and we are glad to see them go since they carry none of the usual or obvious economic benefits that come with run-of-the-mill tourists. The tiny travelers are about the size of a pin head, including wings, and therefore fit everywhere and get mixed up in everything. I've even had a few in my eyes and my mouth by mistake.

This time, I see him prance along, nobly flare his shimmery wings, rear up on his hind legs much as a horse would do, and take off.

"You are fearfully and wonderfully made, little one," I tell him.

21 February 2008

Among Strangers

I know a horse who lives in a pasture with several cows. He seems lonely in there, and acts as if the cows aren't the best of company. I feel a special sympathy for him and although I would like to, I can't stop and talk with him at length every time I pass by.

This morning, Mr. Lonely Horse followed a pedestrian from one end of the pasture to the other. When he got to the end of the fence, where I had just come up to meet him, he followed me all the way back to the other end and seemed disappointed that I kept going.

I feel like that sometimes, too--as if I am alone among strangers. As I read stories of Jesus this morning, I thought how He must have felt it too, surrounded by people whose focus simply didn't expand enough to understand His words or even to welcome a few small children. His kindnesses never fail reach out to me, and He opens the ends of the fences just when I think I can't keep up with Him.

14 February 2008

Flowers in the Home, in Stitches

In honor of Elizabeth Joy's Stitching Up Wildflowers week, I thought I would share this little post. I hope she will forgive me for deviating so far from her literal meaning, but the following idea has had me in stitches more than once (this week's theme), and certainly has to do with wild flowers in the home (last week's theme), so here it goes!

One morning last spring as I walked along, I passed a glorious pink dogwood, in full bloom. For some reason it occurred to me that no matter how beautiful a flower, there might never be a little girl named after it. Girls have names like Rose or Daisy, but never Dogwood. Imagine with me, if you will, a family of daughters with wildflower names:

St. John's Wort
Friar's Cap
Flax (the girl with the flaxen hair notwithstanding)
Spring Pheasant's Eye
Bachelor's Button

Have I missed any that make you giggle? Post your comment, and let me know!

You may visit Elizabeth Joy's blog at http://www.joyinthemorninglight.blogspot.com.

13 February 2008

Sea Girl, part 2

In honor of my friends' impending trip to the sea, I thought I would tell a bit about my summer there.

On little more than a whim, I signed up for a year of biology crammed into eight incredibly short summer weeks. Why? Because it was offered on the beach! With four hours of lecture and four hours of lab every day, the class wasn't for the faint of heart, but even though I wasn't much of a scientist, I figured I could at least pass.

I soon learned that one thing--and one thing only--interrupted all classes no matter how important the lecture: A pod of whales.

As soon as even one whale showed its fin, we all dashed for the life jackets, ran down the beach to the docks and the boats, and headed out for a closer view. Now, we always made sure to stay a distance away from the whales not only for our safety, but also for the comfort of the whales. Boat noises can bother them immensely. But we could usually get a closer view from the water than from land.

I will never forget the my close proximity to a mother and baby in the wild, or the time my chum and I studied on the point and saw the whales come within about one hundred feet of shore. Our Creator has done great things for us in this marvelous, beautiful world of ours!

12 February 2008

Sea Girl

I thought today I'd post something about how delightful the weather is, or how thankful I am for safe travels and friends along the way. But as I looked through some of my mother's pictures, I felt more compelled to write about the sea.

"Call me Ishmael. Some time ago, never mind how long precisely, having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world."

Now, I'm no big fan of Moby Dick and I've never even been able to make it through the whole book, but I'm a definite fan of the watery part of the world. An English teacher of mine once insisted that our class memorize the first paragraph of Moby Dick, and then cut it apart with scissors to make a new paragraph with the same words. If you're ever in the mood for an exercise in word flavor, I recommend something similar with a paragraph of your choosing.

But back to the sea. My parents started taking me to the ocean (Marshall Gulch, above) before I was born, and my soul never ceases to thrill at the sound--or the thought--of the sea. I love the creatures in the tide pools, the algae on the shores (especially microcladia borealis and chondracanthus exasperatus), and the whales swimming by. Oh, the majesty of a baby whale and its mother, only a few hundred miles from the boat!

Perhaps someday I will live in a lighthouse, always near enough to drink in the splendor of the sea.

07 February 2008


A scene like this leaves me longing not so much for spring and summer, with the warmth and color they bring, as for my first mountain friends--the men who stop to knock over every dead tree with all their might and the women who quietly wait for them, knowing that many a patient moment and photograph will later be spent on the wildflowers. (Beauty demands documentation.) Many friends are scattered far and near, not likely to be re-united so much in the future as they were in the past.

I long, too, for the hills of another country, where all my mountain friends from the first to the last will traipse about without a care nor a worry that mountain creatures might harm or hinder their delight. We've felt for a long time that we belong there more than we belong here, anyway.

06 February 2008

Singing on the Way

"The heart that receives the word of God is like the mountain stream, fed by unfailing springs, whose cool, sparkling waters leap from rock to rock, refreshing the weary, the thirsty, the heavy-laden...The stream that goes singing on its way leaves behind its gift of verdure and fruitfulness. The grass on its banks is a fresher green, the trees have a richer verdure, the flowers are more abundant."
(White, Ellen; Prophets and Kings, p. 234)

05 February 2008

Recital Memories

Two years ago today, I began my senior piano recital with Schumann's intense and dramatic Sonata in g minor, Opus 22. "Two opuses before he lost his mind," my professor used to say. Nonetheless, it's a beautiful piece.

Some Mozart and Bach pieces followed, and then things got to be far less serious as a friend read nursery rhymes and I played their fanciful arrangements. We both added ribbon and pigtails to our hair for the finale. The Lonesome Whistler, The Man on the Moon, and Mr. Arkensas Traveler (among others) ended the program, and we all came out to festive refreshments arranged by my mother and company.

I've always been smugly satisfied that--completely on accident and in total ignorance--I scheduled the recital to take place during the Superbowl. All my true friends were forced skip out on the game for some culture!

My mom decided on a garden theme, to combine my musical milestone with my other true love of being in the dirt. Above, you can see that she mixed ground up Oreo cookies with chocolate pudding and added a gummy worm and a silk flower to each one.

At the head of each row of veges stood its identifying seed packet. I put the seeds to good use that spring in my little flower beds turned vegetable patches. (More about that another time!)

Even though I didn't march until June, I've counted February 5 as the end of my college career, the true day to celebrate and remember. Since then, nothing has quite been like I expected it would be, but God is directing it all and stays by my side each day. Who could ask for more than that?

04 February 2008

Crocus Colors

Today, my skirt and shoes are green, my jacket lavender, all in anticipation of crocuses. I was utterly delighted when my coworkers said, "You look like a crocus today!"

Yes, I know there's still snow on the ground, but I have several little green spikes coming out of the ground to promise me a spring. I can hardly wait!