08 December 2009

Frozen Flowers

{I very much wanted to post this with pictures, but could not find my camera to get the proper documentation. Simply use your imaginations!}

I received an e-mail this morning with these excellent words in it:

"When the mustard seed is cast into the ground, the tiny germ lays hold of every element that God has provided for its nutriment, and it speedily develops a sturdy growth. If you have faith like this, you will lay hold upon God’s word, and upon all the helpful agencies He has appointed. Thus your faith will strengthen, and will bring to your aid the power of heaven. The obstacles that are piled by Satan across your path, though apparently as insurmountable as the eternal hills, shall disappear before the demand of faith. 'Nothing shall be impossible unto you.'" Desire of Ages-431

What are the nutriments my faith is grasping hold of?

Giving thanks in all things, for this is God's will for me in Christ Jesus:
  • the prayers of a faithful beau
  • normal lab results from the doctor
  • stress (all things--God would not bid us be thankful for that which would do us harm)
  • lists
  • my new shower (still a blessing)
  • my job
  • friends' e-mails
  • the blessing of fellowship
  • the promise and gift of the Holy Spirit
  • this post, reminding me of my own reading a few days ago of John 16:20-22: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2009/12/its-part-of-receiving-gift.html
  • remembering that God's plans are the best plans
  • looking, with the eye of faith, to Jesus as my Shepherd, myself the helpless sheep, trusting myself to His care, always
  • exercise, even in the bitter cold
  • a quiet morning
  • friend's first grandbaby born early this morning
  • praying friends
  • frozen flowers, although left in the car too long in the cold, still bring cheer at the thought I was thought of
  • my hymnbook, propped up in the towell cupboard, easily viewed and sung from while my blow dryer joined the tunes

02 December 2009

A Comforting Figure

My readings have taken me far and wide in the last few days, far beyond the dust of this earth. May I share a few words that gave me a deep sense of peace and comfort in trial?

"Though the Revelation deals largely in figures, it does not deal in fictions. There is reality in all the things described, and we gain an understanding of the reality when we get a correct interpretation of the figures. Thus, in vision we know that the One upon the throne is God. He is really there. We know the Lamb symbolizes Christ. He too is really there." (Uriah Smith, Daniel and the Revelation, 420)

How can I worry or fret, when God is really there?

He is really there....taking care of all my needs, ruling the universe, making sure the plants grow and the planets follow their courses.

He too is really there....Pleading my case before the throne, having paid my debts with His own life blood.

"O infinite merit of the blood of Christ, which can cleanse us from all our pollutions, and make us meet to tread the holy hill of Zion! O infinite grace of God, which can prepare us to endure the glory, and give us boldness to enter into His presence, even with exceeding joy!" (Uriah Smith, Daniel and the Revelation, 422)

25 November 2009

Faith and Overcoming

"He who has not sufficient faith in Christ to believe that He can keep him from sinning, has not the faith that will give him an entrance into the kingdom of God." White, Ellen G., Manuscript 161, 1897, p9

At first, the above words may seem a discouragement. But to me, they were courage in an hour of need. If God can keep us sinless for eternity when He comes again, surely He can and will grant us the victory now.

So often I feel overcome by my temptations and sins, as if there is no way out. How do I so easily forget that God provides a way out of every temptation as He promised in His Word, and through Christ I can overcome?

Scripture is overflowing with promises of new life and victory. Here are a few:

Isaiah 26:3, 4 "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever: for the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength."
John 15:4 "Abide in Me, and I in you..."
1 Corinthians 2:16 "For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ."
Romans 6:6 "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."

22 September 2009

Evening Surprise

Who wouldn't want to come home to this after a day's work?

25 August 2009

Summer Picnic

Who could turn down a chance to go on a picnic on a day like this? Especially when put on by your sweetheart?

Simple sandwiches and fruit salad taste like the most luxurious feast in the world when eaten outside in good company.

Once our stomachs had their fill, we sat in the light of the fading sun and read from a Book, life's Light, filling minds with God's thoughts and words. A beautiful end to a beautiful day.

24 August 2009


A year ago today, very dear friends united their lives until death parts them. Congratulations to both of you for enjoying the first year of life together!

19 August 2009

We Are Nearing Home!

Have you ever come home, and still felt like all you wanted was to go home?  I've caught myself in that strange place--home but not home--and I've wondered about it.  Why wouldn't I feel at home in my own house?

Maybe Abraham felt that way sometimes, coming into his tents at night, knowing in his head God had promised him the land right outside his door, but still being a stranger in it, still traveling from place to place, never knowing just when he'd settle for sure.  

Like him, as long as we're on this earth, we're still just nearing home.  We won't be home until Jesus comes again, and we settle into our homes He has prepared for us.  Until then, good old hymns like this one, tucked away in the memory bank, remind me to keep walking forward, step by step, because the real home isn't as far away as it seems.

If you're looking for music to this hymn, check The Church Hymnal:  The Official Hymnal of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (or more commonly and affectionately referred to as "The Old Hymnal").  It's number 642, and it's found in the index under the titles "Just Over the Mountains" and "We are Nearing Home!"  (You might even be able to find a copy of this hymnal on Amazon, if you don't have one already.)

We are Nearing Home!

Arranged by C.P. Whitford
Words by John R. Sweney

Just over the mountains in the promised land
Lies the Holy City built by God's own hand.
As our weary footsteps gain the mountain's crest,
We can view our homeland of eternal rest.


We are nearing home, we are nearing home!
See the splendor gleaming from the domes afar,
See the glory streaming through the gates ajar!
There we soon will enter never more to roam,
Hear the angels singing--
We are nearing home, We are nearing home!

From the roles of the prophets we have long been told
Of that wondrous city with its streets of gold.
Now with raptured vision we can see it there,
With its walls of jasper and its mansions fair.


Those who enter that city are the chosen few
Who keep God's commandments--faith of Jesus, too.
There we'll lift our voices through the endless days
In sweet songs of gladness and in psalms of praise.


My brother, my sister, will you meet us there,
In that land of sunshine where there'll be no care?
Accept of God's message and to Him be true,
Then when Jesus cometh, He will call for you!


06 August 2009

Pick Me! (A lesson in home decor)

"Here the few hours of our stay were not spent in useless labor or in doing that which could be done as well as at some other time, but were occupied in a pleasant and profitable manner, restful alike to mind and body. The house was a model of comfort, although not extravagantly furnished. The rooms were all well lighted and ventilated...which is of more real value than the most costly adornments. The parlors were not furnished with that precision which is so tiresome to the eye, but there was a pleasing variety in the articles of furniture.

"The chairs were mostly rockers or easy chairs, not all of the same fashion, but adapted to the comfort of the different members of the family. There were low, cushioned rocking chairs and high, straight-backed ones; there were also comfortable sofas; and all seemed to say, Try me, rest in me. There were tables strewn with books and papers. All was neat and attractive, but without that precise arrangement that seems to warn all beholders not to touch anything for fear of getting it out of place.

"The proprietors of this pleasant home were in such circumstances that they might have furnished and embellished their residence expensively, but htey had wisely chosen comfort rather than display...The God-given sunlight and air had free ingress, with the fragrance of the flowers in the garden. The family were, of course, in keeping with the home; they were cheerful and entertaining, doing everything needful for our comfort...This was a home in the fullest sense of the word."

--Ellen G. White, 1877

09 July 2009

Birthday Flowers

A few days before my birthday, a card arrived in the mail from my mother. I opened it up, and found inside a gift card to go buy flowers.

But there was a catch!

I was not allowed to keep any of the flowers for myself. No, the present to me from my mother was the collection of smiles I would receive from people to whom I gave the flowers I bought.

The store offered big bunches of roses, and for the sale price I was able to purchase four. Four. I'm not sure I've ever felt so rich as when I went through check-out with such an arm-full of flowers.

At home, I got out all the little vases I could find, especially the ones I wouldn't mind parting with. Fourteen or fifteen small bouquets later, I was ready for my mission.

First smiles were the company who came over for dinner and took flowers with them home. Next, a former co-worker, and after that some grandparently folks. Then a former teacher and his wife, and a great aunt and a great uncle.

What lovely visits we had! I couldn't remember having a nicer reason to go visiting, or a better present than the gift giving, and of happy hours with dear friends.

Next day, I took bouquets to the offices and bookstore in our building, but still, I had a few bouquets remaining. A few dried heads took a ride in the USPS, but there were still quite a few left. How could I justify keeping what hadn't been given to me? I needed to find a way to gather at least one more smile.

Like a flash of brilliance, it came to me: I could dry all the remaining flowers, and collect the last smile from my mother herself. And that's just what I did, too.

08 July 2009

Health of Body and Soul

"Nothing tends more to promote health of body and of soul than does a spirit of gratitude and praise. It is a positive duty to resist melancholy, discontented thoughts and feelings--as much a duty as it is to pray. If we are heaven-bound, how can we go as a band of mourners, groaning and complaining all along the way to our Father's house?" The Ministry of Healing, p251

"No tongue can express, no finite mind can conceive, the blessing that results from appreciating the goodness and love of God." The Ministry of Healing, p253

...fixing their minds upon cheerful things...

A riveting paragraph from my morning reading...

"We are in a world of suffering. Difficulty, trial, and sorrow await us all along the way to the heavenly home. But there are many who make life's burdens doubly heavy by continually anticipating trouble. If they meet with adversity or disappointment, they think that everything is going to ruin, that theirs is the hardest lot of all, that they are surely coming to want. Thus they bring wretchedness upon themselves, and cast a shadow upon all around them. Life itself becomes a burden to them. But it need not be thus. It will cost a determined effort to change the current of their thought. But the change can be made. Their happiness, both for this life and for the life to come, depends upon their fixing their minds upon cheerful things. Let them look away from the dark picture, which is imaginary, to the benefits which God has strewn in their pathway, and beyond these to the unseen and eternal." (The Ministry of Healing, 247-248)

10 June 2009

For the Want of a Nail

Here is a poem my grandmother taught my mother, and my mother taught me.

For the want of a nail, the shoe was lost;
For the want of a shoe, the horse was lost;
For the want of a horse, the rider was lost;
For the want of a soldier, the battle was lost;
For the want of the battle, the war was lost,
All for the want of a nail.

04 June 2009

The Subtance of Things Hoped For

Her daughters scurry around in a dither, as usual, carrying on up to five separate conversations at the same time--and, they will proudly add, keeping track of every word. I don't even have to be there to know how it will be.

Grammy will quietly find a corner of the table, a chair, spread out her crosswords or just sit quietly watching as two or three out of eight birth control methods that didn't work empty countless lunch-size containers of chocolate pudding, mix the pudding with crumbled Oreo cookies and a gummy worm, and putting it all back in with a (washed) silk flower coming out the top.

Or another day, she'll laugh while seven out of seven remaining fight over which one is Mom's Favorite. Or Daddy's Favorite--and my mom, the perfect number seven, wins this one because, after all, Daddy bought her a scooter (motorcycle?) when he wouldn't let any of the others have one.

She'll happily go along with almost anything, but when she puts her foot down, everyone knows she means business.

Like the time she loaded up the first six kids in the Jeep and took herself out to learn how to drive. Driving lessons hadn't gone so well the first time around, and everyone refused to teach her. (Had she driven into a creek? Or was that another ancestor?) But she wouldn't take no for an answer, and by the time she got back, she could drive that Jeep like nobody's business.

She remembered every birthday, every Christmas. The story is that she sent all her children Valentine's cookies every year, but we grandchildren never heard a peep about it. There were at least some among our aunts and uncles who hoarded these famous cookies, and the younger ones didn't get a taste of them until near-adulthood.

Upon moving from one of my childhood homes, I sent her a picture of what it looked like out my window, asking her to paint it for me. She had taken painting classes, I think, several times through the years. She granted my request, and it still sits in my bedroom today, the view looking just like I remember it used to, with every pine tree and every branch as it always was.

Then she had problems with her wrists, got too weak to paint, even to write letters. Ah, those letters....

"It's raining rain today," she'd begin, and continue on with all the news and little acrobatic stick men illustrating the events of the day.

But I got the call this week--hospice took over, she's hardly awake during the day, and we're not sure how long it will be...

A visit now, while she sleeps the days away and hardly wakes for breakfast, would barely yield a few moments for us to connect. And since there's quite a distance between us and the traveling complicated, I've already seen her for the last time.

It was in the fall, and I had flown down for a weekend, just a short time with just the two of us, mostly. We went to church together, ate together, visited with the aunts and uncles together. I saw her in the middle of the night, light shining over her perfect up-right posture as she read her Bible until she could go back to sleep, faith unshakable.

That's what she would want my faith to be right now, while we all begin to miss her--utterly unshakable, the substance of things hoped for, the certainty of things not yet seen.

02 June 2009

Climbing the Ladder

I stand at the top, gazing at the landscape from the height of the monster I've just climbed.

I start these things easily, remembering with the first few steps that I am, sometimes, afraid of heights.

Breathe deeply. Don't stop. Look at the next step. Don't focus on how far you have left to go--let that be peripheral while you focus on the details of the moment. Then at the top, see how far you've come.

It takes work to conquer the fear. Is the top worth the price? Absolutely, and I come down the same way I got up: one steady step at a time.

14 May 2009

Only Connect

I wake up in this city I called home for twenty years, and after morning prayer and reading, after breakfast, after all the familiar morning routines in an unfamiliar house, I dash to the car and turn the key.

It feels a little like getting my driver's license after the second try, and setting out for the dentist's office--the dentist I had been seeing for a decade already, whose office I could picture in my mind but not for the life of me find from the driver's seat.

Yes, lost (again) in familiar territory.

I know the roads I want, I know the roads I'm on. How to make them somehow connect, to get from one set to the other? I can't recall for sure.

I do recall my mother as I pass the freeway entrance I want with no (legal) way to get to it. New to this same town two decades ago, she took that entrance and ended up driving "as fast as she could in the wrong direction."
We laughed then, wondering how our mother could be that silly. I laugh now, realizing I'm that silly, just like her, and having known the town for a long time, I find less excuse for my sillyness than she could claim. Far less excuse.
But I drive on, thinking that the same thing often happens in our faith. We know the roads themselves, but perhaps we don't always know how the roads connect with each other--we know parts of the Bible, but not how to connect them; we know how to pray in the morning, but not how to pray continually throughout the day or how to let our morning Bible reading encourage us in the stress of the day; we know how to surrender in one moment, but not in the next.
We know where we want to go, but not how to get there from where we are.
Or perhaps we travel a road that seems familiar all the way, yet we aren't sure why this road, above all others, is the one we need to be on. Still, we trust that our Father in heaven knows the plans He has for us, that He will give us wisdom in making all the connections we need to grow in faith.

12 May 2009


I only hope the little fellow made it out alive, and spends his time between meals singing to the neighbors.

04 May 2009

Golden Threads

"Christ has linked His teaching, not only with the day of rest, but with the week of toil...In the plowing and sowing, the tilling and reaping, He teaches us to see an illustration of His work of grace in the heart. So in every line of useful labor and every association of life, He desires us to find a lesson of divine truth. Then our daily toil will no longer absorb our attention and lead us to forget God; it will continually remind us of our Creator and Redeemer. The thought of God will run like a thread of gold through all our homely cares and occupations. For us the glory of His face will again rest upon the face of nature. We shall ever be learning new lessons of heavenly truth and growing into the image of His purity." Christ's Object Lessons, 26, 27

29 April 2009

May I take you for a walk?

Pretend you're with me, even though you're not. Pretend we can spend the hour together, wandering my favorite block, my route through Revelation. (For I memorize while I walk, you see.)
We'll go up the hill toward the cemetery, craning our necks to look at the sky through the canopy of barely-budding trees, and maybe even run into a friend or two along the way. (Who knew so many people would walk in the cemetery of an evening?)

On our own again, we'll slow down to listen as the water ripples under the bridge, nourishing as it goes. "His voice," we'll recall, "is as the sound of many waters." Yes, even His voice feeds the soul as its sound waves pass through, simply for the listening. And with the nourishing comes strength to be, to grow, to do, to bear both burdens and fruit.

We'll stop here. I'll sit on the cement beside the creek, wishing with all my heart that the barbed wire fence had never been strung across the edge of the bridge. How I miss dangling my feet over the edge, freely, as I did when I first started college here. We'll pray here, too, and perhaps I'll even hear your voice while we both pray, if I have your number and I can get you on the phone.
Another evening, we might stop here, in the light, to open hearts to the light of God's glory, seeking Him, knocking on heaven's door (or was that opening our hearts' doors, that He might come in and sup with us, and we with Him?), asking for the blessings only God can give.
Another day, the sun might be out, and we'll go walking again--in the morning this time. It'll be so beautiful out that it will seem like heaven, but for the budding goat heads.

Do enjoy the spring with my any time. It's my delight to have you.

03 March 2009

Knowing God's Will

My life circumstances at present particularly lend themselves to a question, a plea that I often repeat in my prayers.

"What is Your will, Lord? What should I do?"

May I share with you the answers He has given one by one over the last week?

23 February 2009
"'In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.' 1 Thess. 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." The Ministry of Healing, 255.
So in this moment of this day, God's will is not a list, unless the list is a list of gifts from the Father's hand.

"At all times and in all places, in all sorrows and in all afflictions, when the outlook seems dark and the future perplexing, and we feel helpless and alone, the Comforter will be sent in answer to the prayer of faith. Circumstances may separate us from every earthly friend; but no circumstance, no distance, can separate us from the heavenly Comforter. Wherever we are, wherever we may go, He is always at our right hand to support, sustain, uphold, and cheer." The Desire of Ages, p669-670

"But we are not to place the responsibility of our duty upon others, and wait for them to tell us what to do. We cannot depend for counsel upon humanity. The Lord will teach us our duty just as willingly as He will teach somebody else. If we come to Him in faith, He will speak His mysteries to us personally. Our hearts will often burn within us as One draws nigh to commune with us as He did with Enoch. Those who decide to do nothing in any line that will displease God, will know, after presenting their case before Him, just what course to pursue. And they will receive not only wisdom, but strength." The Desire of Ages, p668

24 February 2009
This post.

26 February 2009
"For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light..." Colossians 1:9-12

28 February 2009
A Sabbath sermon on Romans 12:1,2
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
Making God's mercy the foundation, submit your life to Him. What goes into your mind transforms it; therefore, put in whatever is true, noble, right...As we fall upon His mercies in total submission, allowing Him to fill our minds, we will know His will.

March 3, 2009
"We cannot use the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is to use us. . .Only to those who wait humbly upon God, who watch for His guidance and grace, is the Spirit given." The Desire of Ages, p672

26 January 2009

Nearly to One Thousand

I love the image--this little sea gull and my mother, walking the beach together, she fasting and praying for her family, it simply basking in the ocean air. That's what I'm supposed to do these days: simply bask in heaven's air, for the kingdom of heaven is near, and God's hand guides my steps. Her fasting reminds me.

My mother isn't the only one spending time on shores while I wait out the fog of my inland, my homeland. But she, and other friend, bring me sunshine in words, in voice tones over waves of air.

I write them down, my mother, my friend, their voices, their sunshine, along with plenty of other gifts, and realize I am nearly to my one thousand goal mark. Will I stop at a thousand?
No. No, for I have discovered that God Himself won't stop at one thousand, or two thousand, or three thousand. No, for my heart is more awake now than ever. No, for the more my heart can see, the more it begs to see, the more thankful it is for the vision.
His gifts are endless, and even the efforts to write them down reveal to me how impossible it would be to document the mercies of our God.
"And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I supose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen." (John 21:25)