29 April 2013

The Coast of Maine: Portland Headlight

Maybe you grew up with a love for the ocean like I did.  Maybe your mother started taking you there before you were born like mine did.  Maybe you've been dreaming of seeing some particular coast for a long time, like I have been.

But even if you're like our friend who had the gall to stand on this beautiful breathtaking shore and say he'd rather be near a river any day and the ocean just isn't that exciting, you're still welcome on my blog.
Even though I won't begin to know how to understand that.

Because I could spend hours and days and weeks and forever on the ocean shore, staring at the water and making friends with another barnacle.  Barnacle has always been one of my favorite words.

So it was with great and unutterable delight that going on tour with my husband's high school choir and handbell ensemble took me straight to a place I've been desiring to see for years. 

The coast of Maine.  With lighthouse.  And sunshine.

28 April 2013


I've struggled so many times with how to get soup safely to potluck.  So let me just go on record with an award of brilliance to the person with the rubber bands, who I don't even know.

Here's how it worked:  The pot had two handles on the side, and a handle on the lid.  One rubber band wrapped around a side handle and the handle on the lid.  The other rubber band wrapped around the second side handle and around the lid as well.  That lid wasn't going anywhere!

Thank you, person whose name I don't even know, for saving my future pots of soup from sloshing all over the car.

24 April 2013

Have You Seen Such a Thing Before?

We hadn't.  So when my husband was mowing the lawn and called me out to looks before he cut them down, I wasn't sure what to expect.


Neat stuff, those flowers.

23 April 2013

School Time Crafts

Way fun, right?  Three little pairs of eyes spied me taking photos of their work, a bit shy but pleased. 

"Is it OK that I took a picture?"


They were so precious, and their work adorable.  Kites, butterflies, turtles, frogs, birds.

22 April 2013

My Next Instrument?

Just visited a school to share music.  They have three octaves of this awesome instrument you can build from PVC pipe.  Great idea, huh?

Can't Get Enough

20 April 2013

Notes on the Sermon

Today's sermon struck a chord with us.  I won't go into everything, but here are some highlights.

Jesus didn't ever promise the righteous that they wouldn't have trials.  You know what He actually said? 

"In the world ye shall have tribulation:  but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."  John 16:33

And when we sing about the wise man who built his house on the rock and the foolish man who built his house upon the sand?  Did the rain skip falling on the wise man's house, or the wind cease to blow when it reached his house upon the rock? 

No.  His house stood standing not because the storm never comes to the wise man.  His house stood standing because THROUGH the storm he had a firm foundation.  The storm came to both the wise and the foolish.  The difference between the two was the ability to plan ahead, expecting the storm, and then the ability to weather the storm.

So what is the foundation we need?

"My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.  Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption."  Psalm 130:6,7

19 April 2013

To Run and not be Weary

Years ago, I sat tired, full from a supper of fresh avocados, passion fruit, and likely pumpkin greens in coconut milk along side some "moo-mooed kow kow" (which may or may not be spelled correctly, and had nothing to do with eating cows as one would suppose from the sound of the words but delicious little sweet potatoes).  But the supper was not the reason I was tired.

We had worked hard that week, visiting orphanages, walking the city inviting people to a special event, arriving at the hospital only to be stunned when we saw the rubber gloves hanging out to dry(washed for re-use), and flying to outlying villages to help dentists and doctors in their work.  All this during the day, followed by evening evangelistic meetings.  If it so happened that a pig was butchered in the courtyard below, early in the morning, some among us experienced disturbances of sleep.

It was perhaps during these two weeks abroad that I observed, vividly, what it had been like for a man to lose a friend. 
One who travelled with us had years ago been friends with a mission pilot who one day, in his service over the thickly jungled mountains of Papua New Guinea, crashed.  They never found him.  The jungle, you see, can be that impenetrable.

As a child, I watched this man and his family grieve the loss of daughter and sister.  As a teenager, I listened to this man, with tears in his eyes, tell us about his friend who never came back, tell us how he worried when the small group of us in the airplanes had not come back right on time, and tell us how grateful he was to see us come in for supper.

{Several years after my experience there, the mission pilot who flew me and others in my group to villages in the mountains suffered the same end.  He, too, crashed in the jungle and did not survive.}

So yes, we were tired.  Worn thin from hard work and profound experiences.  Growing teenagers in need of a renewal.

I don't think I will ever forget what happened next, for evening worship.  She was a superb teacher, loved by all, enthusiastic.  And with teacher wisdom I now appreciate and desire now more than ever, she opened her mouth in prayer and opened her Bible to read these words:

"Hast thou not known?  Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?  There is no searching of His understanding.  He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:  but they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.". Isaiah 40:28-31

And that's all she said (in some version or another).  She left it at that, and God's word itself spoke to my heart and renewed my strength.  I knew she understood.  But more than that, I knew HE understood, and had a plan to replenish.

Maybe you had a week like that, exhausting for all kinds of reasons, large or small.

Will you open up His Word, and trace your fingers over this promise?  Will you trust Him to find a way to renew you, even now, tonight?

17 April 2013

Day is Dying

And it's beautiful.  This sunset closes a day of blessings:  being paid to plant flowers, teaching, seeing students progress, having my husband home for supper, walking with a friend in the cool of the evening, seeing amazing in the Bible things I hadn't noticed before.

What are the delights from your day?

16 April 2013

I Made Lip Balm

It was fun.  I ordered supplies on Amazon, and took care to order only the things that qualified for super saver shipping.  Amazon worked well for me:  I love getting mail.
Then came the melt down.  The stirring.  The pouring.  The cooling.  The testing.
I think I will add more peppermint oil next time.  But overall?  Great stuff.

15 April 2013

Remembering What I Learned

Reading my notes from last time I faced a desert place in my life...


For those of you who may not be aware, we work and half-live at a boarding school.
It's more than a century old now, and somewhere close to an old sign of commemoration, 
there are flowers blooming.  Hundreds.  Maybe thousands.
I sometimes like to imagine what kind of nice lady planted them all to spread so thoroughly through the trees, delighting viewers for decade upon decade.  At least, I imagine it has been that long.

I know.  All my posts have been about flowers lately.
Can you really blame me?
And see where there might be lillies later in the spring?

But something else that just goes with the territory when you deal with students?
About the food, about the weather, about the latest whatever.
Most students are good about it, but they all have their tired, unsettled moments.

Which is why, when I went to speak with the women's dean this evening (we have WONDERFUL men's and women's deans who have good standards and patience through the roof....just ask me sometime what the rookie men's dean says to the guys who come asking to be put on "sick list" so they can miss classes), it struck me with a delighted giggle to notice the sign on her desk for the first time.

"Sorry, the deadline for complaints was yesterday."

Yes.  I like it.
And could it be that some days, I too, the adult, 
should remember I've missed the deadline for complaining?
Ouch.  But yes, maybe so.

11 April 2013

Something Better than Walking through the Orchard?

Walking there with a friend.  One who is at least as enchanted with the flowers as I am, and who wants to come back when even more trees are blooming.

Thank you, Lord, for sending flowers and friends.

10 April 2013

Me Again, in the Orchard

Just keeping my resolve not to miss on beauty.

08 April 2013

I Must Walk Through the Orchard

I must walk through the orchard every day.
The blooms are beginning to come, and lest I miss any of them, I must walk through the orchard every day.
At least one time, around the back, and back up around the front.

Nearly a thousand trees to peruse, and at least that many blossoms per tree.
I dare not miss e'en one this year, for this year is all I have.
I have it now, so now I must enjoy them, and I must not miss a thing.

Their branches bent and pruned, they still put forth a show.
While time may take a funny shape, the fruit will still be sweet.
I have not known these trees for long, but to be acquainted now, today, is all I ask.

It's just one row a-blooming now, with two or three beside the row at the bottom.
I overlook the hill as whole, and wonder how they'll look--
All those trees dressed in their whites and pinks, when bees come buzzing 'round.

All the looking is not lost, for among the beauty I learn, and take a precious jewel to my mind:
It's how to focus close, on just the bloom I wish, and snap a photo with my phone.
And with this little piece of wisdom in my pocket, I can take you walking with me any day you wish.

I take a portrait more or two, and realize with delight, I am next my own back yard, 
branches reaching  to the other side, where friends bloom on my side just like they do on orchard side.
If I hadn't walked through the orchard today, determined beauty-gleaner, I'd have missed it in my yard.

I may not see a fruit come from bloom to ripe.
I may not smell the freshness or take the glowing bounty for purchase into my kitchen.
But still I will not miss the flower blooming today.

I do not cut or prune or bring bouquets to my table.
I do not pluck the beauty, and ruin the fruit I will not get to see.
But I capture them for memory's sake, grateful I have them for even one spring.

I'm through counting hyacinths poking out of the ground.
As I walk back to the house, I simply breathe deeply of now, their scent wafting in the breeze.
I snap their photo, get in close, marvel at the many shades of pink in one tiny bloom.

I touch them, and promise to take them with me if I should have to go,
and if in the taking I will not take their lives.
For the only thing worse than leaving them behind, I've decided, is trying to take them, and having them die.

I glance through the newly cleared path to the orchard.
I must take it every day, duck through the vines, and emerge,
ready for blooms and beauty and gleaning, as closely as I can watching 
while time and temperatures bring a glow that I must not leave without seeing.

05 April 2013

What Courage Really Looks Like (a Sabbath prayer for my own heart)

"It is in the time of conflict that the true colors should be flung to the breeze.  It is then that the standard-bearers need to be firm, and let their true position be known.  It is then that the skill of every true soldier for the right is tested.  Shirks can never wear the laurels of victory.  Those who are true and loyal will not conceal the fact, but will put heart and might into the work, and venture their all in the struggle, let the battle turn as it will."

White, Ellen G.  "Testimonies for the Church", v.3.  Mountain view, CA:  Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1944 (page 272)

Even Prettier Today

These are the hyacinths my mom bought for my new-home flower beds, not remembering I had already bought a few myself.  But even if she hadn't gotten blue (I had gotten pink), a girl can NEVER have too many hyacinths.

They seem prettier and prettier with each passing day.