Casting Sunlight!

This small maple tree… caught my eye, and my breath on a recent walk in the nearby park.  The tall oaks around it had dropped their russet leaves, and this little maple who might not have been very noticeable all summer,  had dropped it’s bright yellow shadow among them.  Instead of shade… it was casting the sunlight that it had collected for the past few months.  A puddle of sun.  Its circle of influence wasn’t more than a 30 foot radius.  But it DID shine.  Releasing the glory it had been given.

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It made me head home to find a book among my shelves that was waiting to be read.  “God’s Passion for His Glory”, by John Piper.  It’s on the top of my stack now.

book

 

John Piper reprinted the powerful old book by Jonathan Edwards, circa 1765, and includes many notes and a biography of Edwards.  I think it will be a challenging read, but a good one.  We are so complacent to simply skim the surface of life, focusing on such trivial things.  “This is a stunning truth: Namely that God’s passion for His glory is the measure of His commitment to our joy.”   Our focus on HIM only leads to a joyful life.

Book report to follow later!  :)

 

 

Flight to Rest

Well, this has sure been a neglected space!  I’ve been over on Facebook for a while… which feels like a LOUD chaotic party. Overwhelmed and feeling drained, I slipped out the back door for now, to return to my quiet little screen here.  Quiet replenishes me.  As does a walk in the woods.

Tonight’s observations…. and thankfulness:

leaves

Release

release

 

This day began with a devotional about releasing loved ones to God. Stop clinging. Let go. Trust.

My family is always ‘heavy on my mind’, and I pray for them to the point of tears as they deal with the harsh stumbling rocks that life throws in their paths.

And I think of Abraham.  How on earth did he have the strength to walk up that mountain?   The love for his son on his mind.  Step after step.

I am NO Abraham, but I need to trust more and let go.  Metaphorically, I need to lay my Isaac down.  My prayers need to change from fretful worry. To trust. To thankfulness. It’s NOT Isaac that He wants on that alter after all …. it’s me, and my self centered concerns. HE wants to be the center of my focus. And my sacrifice is to be one of praise.

It’s no secret that I have felt RESISTANCE this past year about our move. The ‘letting go’ is so needed here too.  I can hold on to the memories, but not so tight as to have my fists clenched. If I continue to grieve over what is in the past, I can’t fully appreciate where I am now.  Release it.  Life moves on.  Perhaps God is saying: “Relax your grip, take MY hand and watch to see what I will do.”  These thoughts were following me all day long.

We wrapped up the evening by watching a movie that I checked out from the library,  “Tree of Life”.  Wow. I had no idea it would tie in to my ‘letting go’ topic of the day. Handing things over to God… choosing the path of grace.  It’s a powerful ‘artsy’ movie that will most likely return often in my thoughts.   We all have conflict inside of us. Yet there is so much more.  If we are aware that, with grace,  we can let it go.

 

Blue Smiles from Heaven

Today began with a quick stop along the side of the road on my way home from town, to gather arm loads of Sweet Clover.  Mmmmm… no expensive bottled fragrance can compete here!  I like to hang bouquets all around the house.

sw clover

A very nice surprise was seeing a few Chicory blooms along the roadside as well.  Not many… just enough to make me smile.  Some of you have heard this story already, but bear with me.  (or scroll ahead!)

chic

I grew up in a suburb of Milwaukee.  A country girl at heart, with only a bit of cherished woods and wild spaces to enjoy.  Behind our garage was a ‘wild spot’ that was overgrown with Queen Anne’s lace and Chicory.  Beautiful combination!  I loved it.  But the neighbors did not.  My parents received a notice to clean it up, cut things down.  I was a melancholy teen, mad at the ‘rules of civilization’.  When my dad hung up the sickle, and came inside… I asked:  ‘Well, did you cut them all down?”  He told me to go look for myself.  Back in the corner of the fence there stood one lone clump of blue and white. Shining. Smiling. Thanks Pa, you understood.

Fast forward about 20 years.  My husband and I, 3 boys in tow, found a country place to call our own.  The Queen’s lace bloomed thick in the fields, enough to look like summer snow. But the blue was not showing up anywhere in the area.

When my dad was in the hospital, in his final weeks, I asked if he remembered the ‘suburb story’.  He did.  So I asked him, “When you get to heaven, send me down some chicory!  Just to say ‘hi’!”  He shook his head. ‘It doesn’t work that way.  The dead can’t communicate with the living.”   “Maybe not,” I said, “But God can!”

He left in the Spring of 2011.

Later that summer, driving down a nearby road, the sun was shining on a HUGE wild space glowing blue!  Made me smile and nod.  (A bonus: I was on my way to have my mom’s old sewing machine repaired,  it was in the back seat. My dad bought it for her in 1950. So I feel it was a dual smile from both of them.)

The very next year, on that same road, right season, there was not a single flower stalk anywhere.  That sealed it in my heart. Those were for me the year before. So now, whenever they appear, it’s a blue smile from heaven.

But wait!  I’m not done with today!

After lunch, we went out in search of berries along back roads.  What a treat to hit this patch!

berry field

We picked for about a half an hour… filled 2 bowls…with morning dreams. (Kevin’s is pancakes, mine is oatmeal!)  I kept looking around to make sure the bears weren’t thinking the same thing.  But it was luckily just Kosmo…. having a ball jumping around, and getting a blue snack himself now and then.

kos

 

These could be more blue smiles from heaven.  This time from Gramma. We used to pick blueberries around her house Up North.

blueberries

My California Cousin has good memories of this too.  In fact, when she saw this “cookbook for cancer survivors” last year… she loved the blueberry cover for that reason. Gramma remembered. She sent it to me… (thanks again O’day!), as encouragement toward good health!  It’s a wonderful book. Not only healthy recipes, but great photos with a variety of positive thoughts.

book

So now… we have showers with a few grumbles of thunder.  Perhaps an evening rainbow might just tie up this most perfect day.

 

A Berry Good Day

Perfect weather… lots of yard work done…achy bones.

Then the raspberries along the driveway were calling me, in hopes of harvesting a few bowls full before the bears and turkeys find them!

house rasp

There is a lot to ripen yet, so bit by bit I’ll add them to the freezer for jam later.

rasp

As I pick them in the quiet, my mind wanders in wonder.  Even if no one came along to pick these berries…they would still grow.  Not for show, not for applause, not for payment.  But simply because that is what they were made to do!  Their script is written by their Creator.  As long as their roots hold tight, and they absorb the rain and sun, they will BECOME.

This is when I plop down on the hillside and sit for a minute, to take in the details around me.  This is when everything feels right. I’m grounded. Noticing each tiny wildflower around me with thanksgiving.

©hops+

Abide in Me, as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in Me.
John 15:4

There are many times when I feel like I’m NOT living the script that I was created to do.  Struggling to find my way.  Then there are days like today, when I think that perhaps the plan is to simply ABIDE.  To remain rooted, and to absorb the SON. And the first ‘fruit’ is the thanksgiving.

Why do we make it more complicated??

 

 

Maggie May

I sang parts of this song as I refinished the old buffet:

“Wake up Maggie I think I got something to say to you…

The morning sun when it’s on your face really shows your age,

but that don’t worry me none, in my eyes you’re everything. ” 

She’s old… and she’s been waiting a LONG time to wake up again!  In the shed when we moved into the farm 28 years ago,  I had ‘someday’ plans for her, but you know how it goes with projects…and raising a family… and, and…. well, she continued to wait.

My sister asked me while visiting years ago, “Are you EVER gonna do anything with that?”

“Well… not anytime soon. Do YOU have a vision for it?”

She took it home… and it sat in her shed for a dozen years or so.

Then I reversed the question, “Are YOU ever gonna do anything with it?”

Back home it came to the farm.  Then a few years later, we moved.

Maggie came along, even though we don’t have any outbuildings, which turned into a good thing… forcing me into action. Cleaning, stripping, wood filler in the missing veneer, glue… then paint!  (And many thanks to strong boys for lugging it around.  Heavy piece!)

This new house has just the PERFECT spot for her to become useful again!  The upstairs bathroom has a strange open area, yet NO closet.  She is now holding linens in the guest bathroom.  She was made for such a time as this!  (Maybe I should have called her Esther?)

maggie B4

 

maggie after

 

Maggie May has proved to be a lesson in patience.  That transformation/restoration WILL happen in it’s own time.  Twenty-eight years in her case.

Never give up hope.  :)

 

 

 

Green Cathedral

So, how many of you remember this song?  We sang it in Jr. High… mid 60’s.

“I know a green cathedral, a shadowed forest shrine,
Where leaves above join hands in love, and arch your prayer with mine.
Within it’s cool depths sacred, a priestly cedar sighs,
And the fir and pine lift hands divine into the pure blue skies.
In my dear green cathedral, there is a flowered seat,
And choir loft in branched croft, where songs of bird hymn sweet.
And I like to dream at evening, when the stars its arches light,
That my Lord and God treads its hallowed sod in the cool, calm peace of night.”

I loved this song back then… and I can’t help but sing it now, as the woods around us grows green and thick. 

One important item on our list as we went house-hunting last summer, was to find a pretty forest. I think we can check that box off, don’t you?

Exodus 3:5  Take off your sandals, for you are standing on Holy ground.

Truly, a green Cathedral. My favorite ‘house’ of Worship.

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DSC_3915 sky

 

And a few of the wildflowers this week.

wildflower collage
 

As I sit out here on the deck…the clouds from today’s storm are leaving us with a beautiful sunset… three deer are walking down the driveway…the loons are calling down on the lake… the hermit thrush is singing his most wonderful ‘good-night’……..  and my sandals are off. 

White Space

In the world of photography, there is a term…’White Space’…that describes a photo that is simple, uncluttered, with empty space around the subject.

It allows for focus… to let the mind settle.

white space

Breathing room!

Don’t we all need that in our lives?  Each day?  The cacophony that surrounds us in this overly busy world needs to be hushed, simplified.

Sometimes I feel like I’m simply paddling on the surface, keeping afloat, with no time to dive deeper. And it makes me edgy.

I thrive on quiet aloneness. I need my white space!

I believe we were created that way… ‘He leads us to quiet spaces, to restore us.’

This morning I went out to catch early light down the most beautiful trail near us.  A forest shrine, my green cathedral. I stayed for a while to soak it up.

And realized that I need this quiet ‘white space’….daily.  I’ve been missing it!

Inhale.

©

 

 

Migratory

© lake sepia

 

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to join with a birding group, led by an Ornithologist,…down by the sparkles in the  lake that we now live near.(Which happens to be called Fortune Lake!)

What a treat it was to share space in the woods with the migrating species of many birds.  Even our guide was excited, saying to see this many at one time was unusual, and that the trees were simply ‘twinkling with birds!’  They really were!   Here for just a few short weeks on their way to Canada, just long enough to share their song with us.  The warblers stole the show.

© BW song DSC_3729

 

© cape may DSC_3700

 

© Myrtle

Just like some people in our lives that add color and song… they are here for a short while before moving on,  yet leave an imprint on our hearts.

We are all migrating. Our orientation on something, someONE greater as we pass through.

So we fly on….

feeling drawn nearer….

following our True north.

 

 

 

Moon Wonder


I’m a bit late here… posting about the lunar eclipse that occurred on April 15th.  But my mind keeps wandering back to that night, so I thought I’d share it here.

After a day of clouds and snow, I was feeling disappointed that we would miss this event. (If you’ve been reading my posts regularly, you might remember that i’m a bit of a science nut.)  But wonderfully, the skies cleared late in the evening and the full moon was bright above giving me hope!

I went out to set up my tripod on the deck, and experimented with settings to make sure I wouldn’t miss the exposure.  I only have a 200mm lens, so I wasn’t able to get tack sharp images, but it was fun to attempt the capture.  (I’m looking into getting a telescope to shoot photos through… if I can find an affordable deal. Has anyone out there had experience with them?)

The night was cold (8 degrees) and clear… quiet and calm.  The owls around me in the silent woods were hooting their approval as well.  As the moon darkened, the stars appeared. It was a bit surreal. Over an hour of trials, and here is my result.

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Below the moon is Spica (SPAY-kah), a giant blue star.  Mars was also a bright visible orange. (Too far out of the frame though.)

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The reason for the red color?  If you were on the moon looking back to the earth, you would see a glow around it. That glow is EVERY sunrise and sunset on the horizon!  That is what is reflecting on the moon when it enters the shadow of the earth.  How cool is that?  If you missed it this time around, it will occur again in September.  And then two more times in 2015.  

It is the moments like these that make me feel so connected to the Creator.  Totally in awe. Totally humbled.