• Life in General

    On Beauty, Books & A Birthday-A Photo Essay

    No matter where I live, I recognize the song of a red-winged blackbird. In rushes near the shore’s edge of a California beach, along the canals and waterways in the San Joaquin Valley, the tall grasses along a Louisiana bayou or deep in marshes along Washington’s coast, the voice of the songbird is the same. There’s a trilling like no other, punctuated by startled flight and appearance of dark black wings dotted with a circle of scarlet. Once you hear the voice of red-winged blackbird, you will know it anywhere. When I first began this blog, I was introduced to a writer whose work became a song of a different…

  • Life in General

    Nouns-Some Thoughts on People, Places & Things

    “…you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”     II Corinthians 3:3 Last week I traveled to Southern California, the land where I grew up and lived until I married.  Five days of returning and rejuvenating was definitely good for my soul. Although I often visit there each summer to see my sisters—usually in August–this was my first trip in the month of May. (There are some definite perks to being a retired teacher). I knew the area had seen more rain than ever…

  • Life in General,  On Writing

    God Can’t Make You But You Can Let Him

    Just when you think there’s going to be a breather between some professional sports championship or another, a new season starts. Remember the Sweet Sixteen in basketball? Done. Now we have baseball to think about. Our Seattle Mariners have already played several games—they’re about even for wins and losses—but I still can’t get used to it.  In my mind baseball is a summer sport, but the April weather in the Pacific Northwest says anything but summer. No matter; our M’s are used to the rain and sunshine so they travel here and there, swinging at pitches, throwing, catching and striking out. It’s practice, practice, practice. ******* Little League baseball wasn’t…

  • Life in General,  On Writing

    Why Rear View Mirrors are Better Than Windshields

    “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, Shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” Proverbs 4:18 When I began this year, God gave me a word–“adjust.” Last year I spent time ‘abiding’, year before that it was ‘dwell’ (very similar) and the year before that, my word was ‘fit’–how does what I’m doing in my walk with Jesus fit with what He says? When I heard the Holy Spirit say “adjust,” I had the sense that I’d be moving in a particular direction–writing a book this year–but as I was moving God would have to make some course corrections. About the same time,…

  • Life in General

    Planting, Pruning & Other Acts of Faith

    “The seed catalogues are a further promise of warm days to come. I class them as fiction and love to read them. Oh, the beautiful roses and tall spikes of delphinium and the flowering bushes-not to mention the carrots as big as telephone poles and the peas that practically shell themselves… We get some pretty fine vegetables and some nice flowers, but they definitely do not resemble the champion parade in the catalogues.”           Gladys Taber, ‘Stillmeadow Seasons’ * * * * * * * * I am a Southern California girl, born and raised, transplanted 25 years ago to the Pacific Northwest near Seattle.  The…

  • Life in General

    Why Gray is Better than Black and White

    “It is possible to enjoy Me and glorify Me in the midst of adverse circumstances. My light shines most brightly through believers who trust Me in the dark.”   Sarah Young, ‘Jesus Calling.’ I grew up in Southern California, the land of pavement, palm trees and perpetual sunshine., All that blue and bright color became a backdrop for the clearly delineated cultural, political and religious landscape of the ’50’s and ’60’s. But times have changed. Oh, they have changed. Lines have blurred, been redrawn, moved again. We have no longer a common vocabulary, no shared reference point for the weight of a thing–cultural, political or religious. The word “President” has…

  • Life in General

    “LaLa Land” & Other Revelations

    Disclaimer: the following is a sort of movie review. This film was made in Hollywood. There are a couple bad words in it and people sleep together. They are fully clothed and nothing happens, but still. Just thought I should say that. My friend Jill and I finally got to go see “LaLa Land.” (Los Angeles has been called “LaLa Land for as long as I can remember.) I have been a big fan of movie musicals since I was in grade school; I cheered when I heard such a film was even being made. People might think, “But musicals are so schmatltzy. Do you have your head in the…

  • Life in General

    When God Breaks Your Heart With Giving

          “…{the poem} raises an important and again characteristically modern issue about how faith is known and shared. In the end, everything depends on trustworthy human relationships.  A person who has been damaged and betrayed in one set of ‘horizontal’ or secular relationships may be genuinely prevented from opening in the ‘vertical’ dimension to the Divine.”  Malcolm Guite, December 11th reading from ‘Waiting on the Word’(emphasis mine) *********  My friend Jill and I volunteered six weeks ago to co-lead the charge of organizing, planning and staffing our church’s annual Christmas Store this year. This is a two-day, nine-hour event where we serve our community by providing an opportunity…