"You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy."
Psalm 65:8b

It is a beautiful, albeit cold, day here in the part of the world that I live in.  The sun is shining which is unusual for this last day of 2015.  It is quiet in the house.  Dan is already outside with the chainsaw across the bridge cutting up a downed tree for firewood.  Stuff that makes him happy.  I plan on going outside too but the wind is a bit crisp and icy.  Not being as tough as I used to be, I guess.  

Last night Dan and I sat in our chairs (yes, we have our own chairs now and yes, I know that it is an old people thing to do) with a fire in the fireplace and commented on how nice it is.  We have a roof over our heads.  We are warm and cozy, safe and sound.  We have had wonderful times of celebrations around the holidays.  There have been lots of family and friends, laughter and food.  It might have worn us out but we are happy and content leaving smiles on our faces.  

These are the thoughts that are going through my head this last day of the year.  Thoughts of the good things that God has given.  I recognize that life can, and often is, hard.  But today as I look at the landscape of this life my heart is overflowing with the goodness and kindness of the Lord.  I know that it could all disappear tomorrow but even if that happens it won't erase the memory of today. 

"Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, 
thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide, 
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside."
As I think about the coming year I don't know what is in store for us.  I do know that all good things come from His hand.   He gives and He takes for His purposes and our good.  Today is a reminder of that.  I see tangible good things (what to me looks good).  Tomorrow fears and doubts might jump on piggy backing until I fight them away.  But it is nice to have days of pleasantness that help us fight through the moments of the uglies.

Lydia got Dan a bird feeder for Christmas.  She wasn't so sure about it until I convinced her that her dad had been talking about feeding the birds just the week before.  Today, it is myself that is enjoying the watch.  Fascinating, really, that the birds would know that this thing hanging would have food for them.  We have a number of bird feeders around the place.  Dan's folks also have put some out so there is plenty of birdy things happening.  Another good reminder of God's watch/care of us.  Really, one doesn't have to look very far to see His hand.  

Happy New Year to all of you!  I hope that this next year will be one of abundance and gladness as He gives you bright hope for tomorrow. 

"You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valley deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy."


New Eyes

"And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him.  
And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, 'Do you see anything?'  And he looked up and said, 'I see men, but they look like trees, walking.'  Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly."
Mark 8:22-25

I went to the eye doctor in September because I thought my seeing had drastically changed.  Come to find out my eye glass prescription hadn't really changed that much.  The problem with my eyes was that I had cataracts.   The eye doctor had mentioned them before saying that some day I would need to have them taken care of.  I really didn't expect it to be so soon (again the doctor said I was a bit young for this) but I also knew that I had a genetic cataract since birth.  I have to admit after leaving the eye doctor I felt a bit discouraged.  Here was yet another thing that was wrong with me that needed fixing.  Dan gently reminded me that it would be okay, we have good medical insurance and we would get through this too.  I love that man!

Schedule appointments, more eye exams plus a couple of more doctor appointments thrown in for good measure.  I have three calendars that I write in.  One on my desk, my IPhone and another one in my purse.  Otherwise there would be much that I miss.  Oh, and its nice that the doctor's office calls to remind me too.  Long story short is on October 15th I had surgery on my left eye.  Then a week later I had surgery on my right eye.  The surgery only takes about 10-15 minutes but the results are life changing.  I now have 20/40 vision in the left eye and 20/20 in my right eye.  I probably still need reading glasses, etc.  But I can actually see now without glasses.

It is an amazing thing to see.  I'm seeing things now that I haven't seen in years.  This is a good thing and a bad thing.  Colors are much more vibrant.  I see more detail, like the individual hairs on my dog's head.  The fall colors, which have always been beautiful, jump out at me in 3-D it seems.  However, I have been cleaning like a mad woman, seeing spots of dirt everywhere.  Totally embarrassed for what I didn't see. Thankful that my family and friends are so gracious with me.

Going through this made me think of the above scripture verse.  Becoming a believer in Jesus has made me see things that I hadn't before.   Before being a Christian I was blind to anything relating to God.  I did know the Bible stories and sang the hymns at church but it didn't mean much to me.  I never asked the questions of why do we do this (going to church) or the "who" is this Jesus.  I would have stayed that way too unless the Holy Spirit came and illumined my heart to see.  In His kindness and tenderness He leads us out of our own little village of self and works a miracle.  Being God, He could have spoke the word and instantly we would be perfect.  And yet change comes to the believer bit by bit and over time.  Sometimes we see the path ahead just like the man in the story ~  'men like trees walking'.  In time we begin to see more clearly as the Lord guides and shows us of Himself.  Happy day it is when Christ spits in our eyes and then continues to lay his hands on us!

Some day we will see perfectly.  I Corinthians 13:12 says,  "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known."  Until that time we can take comfort and encouragement knowing that God, in Christ Jesus, is leading and showing us wonderful things in His Word.  I am looking forward to the day when we will see perfectly and know perfectly.

His wisdom is our direction,
His knowledge our instruction,
His power our protection,
His justice our surety,
His love our comfort,
His mercy our solace,
and His immutability our trust.
~ Charles Spurgeon

Just like the blind man in Matthew 8, it is a miracle to physically see.  I really can't relate to that but I can feel the wonder of being able to see better now after my eye surgery than before.  There still are cobwebs that are coming down and spots on the wall that are getting washed or painted.  The greatest miracle of all, though, is to have eyes opened to see those things that are unseen by the naked eye.  The colors of the world stand out as glorious because of the life changing lens of the heart.  This is a work of the Spirit which no man can take away.  

My hope for you this Thanksgiving holiday is that, even with all the world's troubles, you can still give thanks for the amazing work of God in your life.  There is vibrant hope in a life lived in the wonderful knowledge of our Savior's saving grace.  It turns a world of gray into a world of fantastic color!


Flying High

"Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9

It was with the much constraint that Frailian not only held her tongue but any movement.  She sat high in the tree watching her mother being clubbed within an inch of her life.  Oh, how she wanted to jump on the monster that was doing harm to the sweet woman beneath her.  But Frailian held her place high in the tree and watched.  The tears ran freely as she witnessed the brutality of the scene before her.  Why is it that sometimes for the good of the cause it is harmful for those we love?  Frailian had no answers but what she did know was that she needed the precious papers that her mother had been carrying.  In fact, Frailian knew that her mother would have wanted her to wait and be patient even though it caused bodily harm.  Such a good/bad moment.  It felt all wrong to just watch and not help.

Frailian had a sneaking suspicion that her mother knew she was close by perched up in a tree.  The girl had been a tree climber all her life, a practice and pattern she had honed to get away from the monsters.  The trees were her sanctuary and in them she had always had felt more safe.  Even now, as she was in the MC's army with no fear of the monsters, the trees were her haven.  A solace above the turmoil.  Tonight, however, she felt frozen to the spot and not free.  Every inch of her wanted to jump from the limb in the heights and crash down on the enemy.  But it was as if the tree limbs held onto her, constraining her to hold fast.  Screaming was not an option.  Neither was movement.  So Frailian sat very still and cried silently.  No one hearing, no one seeing the devastating effect that the scene below had on her.  This was something that would haunt her for a long time.

It seemed like an eternity but eventually the enemy was gone, dragging the precious body with them.  To where they were taking her mother she did not know.  But just as soon as Frailian retrieved the hidden papers she would find out.  Quietly, the girl slid down the tree into the bushes.  There were the papers she was hoping to find inside that pouch that her mother had put them in.  Frailian flung the strap of the pouch around her neck and shoulders and climbed back up into the branches above her.

It was the memory of her mother and what she had sacrificed that caused the speed of flying this night.  Frailian swung from one tree to the next effortlessly.   This sport, if you could call it that, had been her particular joy for so long.  Now flying through the trees was her necessity.  The skill that she had worked at for escape was now the skill that could save lives, possibly her own mother's.  So, Frailian ran as fast as she could down the large tree branch and flung herself into the air.  It did look like she was flying but in reality she was free-falling to the next tree.  Sometimes there would be a rope mid-flight that she had strategically placed.  But most times it was the speed that would launch her to the next tree catching just the right limb to bounce her up and keep going.  Those that had seen Frailian "fly" through the trees were amazed and could hardly believe their eyes.

There had been many times that the young girl had actually fallen to the ground.  Because she was young this didn't cause too much difficulty.  Although there had been some broken bones in her times of "flying" it was not enough to stop the girl from soaring through the air.  It was for this particular skill that the MC had approached her. In fact, truth be known, it was the MC that had given her the strength for this particular skill in the first place.  He had encouraged her and instructed her to perfect it as soaring through the trees undetected would be and was most useful.  Frailian, at times, actually felt the MC's pleasure racing from tree to tree.  With each jump it was as if the young girl was more alive and emboldened to run faster and jump farther.  To risk much for the Kingdom was not an unusual concept for warriors so Frailian was always trying harder to be the most that she could be for her Master Commander.

This night was different than most.  She had always given her all for the sake of the Kingdom for she believed in the rightness of it and It's hope for humanity.  But tonight there was the added familial urge.  Her own mother, the one who gave everything for her, was taken captive, hurt and possibly dead.  So her quest was two-fold.  First, her resolve to serve the MC.  There was no question to where her loyalties were.  But then, as to her mother, she would risk life and limb to help her.  Her speed was of upmost importance.  And so Frailian took more risks and flew higher to attain the goal.  She must get help and she must get the precious papers to the encampment and the Master Commander.  There was no room for fear.

Oftentimes, in the Christian life, there are moments when our hearts race with fear, we are tempted to keep silent or hide.   Personally, I have struggled with this too much and too often.  Our Lord calls us to be strong even when we feel weak, speak even when we are afraid to or to be bold even when we want to hide.   But this isn't a strength in our own abilities for, sooner or later, they will fail us.  No, it is a strength that comes from the One we call Lord.  For with Him we can "run against a troop, and leap over a wall" (Psalm 18:29-30).   Whatever known or unknown enemy you are facing today can I encourage you to trust in the Lord who will give you grace and make you able to face it.  There will always come something that will challenge us.  But we are not alone.  We don't have to fear.

"fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Isaiah 41:10

"You came near when I called on you;
you said, 'Do not fear'."
Lamentations 3:57


Wandering in a Corn Field

"Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost."
Luke 15:6b

I must have been around the age of three when I wandered into the corn field.  At the time we lived in Minnesota on a farm.  It was a small farm but the corn fields were massive.  Of course, I don't remember this at all but have heard the story from my mom.  One can only imagine the panic in her heart at the realization of where her baby girl had gone.  But if you know my mom, you also know that she was a woman of action.  She quickly gathered forces and they spread out each taking a row until I was found.  A good ending to what could have been a tragedy.

It was a happy life for me, living on the farm.  Being so young (and the baby of the family) I had no responsibilities and was free to enjoy all that farm life had to offer.   I remember playing in the barn with the kitties, running after the dog who was probably chasing the chickens, and the hay bales that my brother would make forts out of.  Life was carefree for me.  There were no worries about bills being paid, putting food on the table, or even about the creepy neighbor farmer that would come around to bother mom.  I was sheltered by forces unseen to me so I didn't realize the danger of the real world.

If I had been older I might have understood the danger of being in the corn field all alone.  Each direction looks the same and the only thing to do is walk in one direction.  But this could have had dire consequences.  It was a very fortunate thing that I was found.  I'm pretty sure that my mom was relieved and grateful.

Over the years, since I have become a Christ-follower, I am becoming more and more aware of being found.  For much of my young years I had no idea that I was lost, caught up in a world that looked fun and enticing. The truth of the matter was that living for one's self most often was a disappointment and had painful consequences.  The soul can be hurting and not even know it.  There was no realization for my young heart that there was something better to life.  But worse than that, there was no realization that there was a life after death and it was coming hard like a freight train ready to run me over.

Years go by and, in God's kindness, He comes for me.  There is no resistance once He calls.  Who would want to if it is truly known, not what is taken away, but what is given.  The Lord changes the heart and there is no going back.  Each moment of days, months and years is a progression of being found, understanding what it is to be rescued.  One does not get over it.  As time goes by each remembrance of being found is like drinking from a delicious fountain of life giving water.

Being lost in a corn field can be frightening.  But being lost in a corn field and not realizing you are lost is sad and tragic.  It is tremendous to be found and an incomprehensible joy to realize it.

Glorious God,
I bless thee that I know thee, 
I once lived in the world, but was ignorant of its Creator,
was partaker of thy providences, but knew not the Provider,
was blind while enjoying the sunlight, 
was deaf to all things spiritual, 
with voices all around me, understood many things, 
but had no knowledge of thy ways, 
saw the world, but did not see Jesus only.  
O happy day, when in thy love's sovereignty thou didst look on me, 
and call me by grace.
Then did the dead heart begin to beat, 
the darkened eye glimmer with light,
the dull ear catch thy echo, 
and I turned to thee and found thee,
a God ready to hear, willing to save.
Then did I find my heart at enmity to thee, vexing thy Spirit;
Then did I fall at they feet and hear thee thunder, '
The soul that sinneth, it must die',
But when grace made me to know thee, 
and admire a God who hated sin,
thy terrible justice held my will submissive.
My thoughts were then as knives cutting my head.
Then didst thou come to me in silken robes of love, 
and I saw thy Son dying that I might live,
and in that death I found my all.
My soul doth sing at the remembrance of that peace;
The gospel cornet brought a sound unknown to me 
before that reached my heart -- and I lived 
-- never to lose my hold on Christ or his hold on me. 
Grant that I may always weep to the praise of mercy found, 
and tell to others as long as I live,
that thou art a sin-pardoning God,
taking up the blasphemer and the ungodly,
and washing them from their deepest strain.

~ Valley of Vision


Anytime Worship

Jesus said, "I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out." 
 ~Luke 19:40

There was an old tree that had fallen across the creek.  Like a carpet of green, moss covered the one place where Kareling sat.  Soft and cool in the shade on this summer day, she let her feet dip down into the trickling water that tickled her toes.  There wasn't a care in the world, and no one to hear so Kareling sang the song that often came to her lips:

"All creatures of our God and King, 
lift up your voice and with us sing
alleluia, alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam, 
thou silver moon with softer gleam,
O praise him, O praise him,
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Thou rushing wind that art so strong,
ye clouds that sail in heav'n along,
O praise him, alleluia!
Thou rising morn in praise rejoice,
ye lights of evening find a voice,
O praise him, O praise him,
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Thou flowing water, pure and clear.
make music for thy Lord to hear,
alleluia, alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright,
that giveth man both warmth and light,
O praise him, O praise him,
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

With each stanza the voice grew louder and became brighter.  An extraordinary gift, Kareling's voice was beauty itself.  Often, it was her voice that would be asked to sing at special events.  To her grandmother's urgings Kareling would sing and remember what her grandmother would say.  "This is a gift to you, Kareling.  It has been given to you by Someone greater than all of us.  For that reason you must sing, not just for others enjoyment, but for His glory."

Kareling began to rise from her position on the tree.  Her arms reaching out as if to touch the world next to her.  Now standing on the fallen tree, she swayed to the rhythm of the song, arms stretched up as high as possible with her fingers wiggling as if to dance with delight.  

Her grandfather had been sitting in the shadow of the woods, listening.  He delighted in Kareling's voice because it also brought him to a place of worship.   As he came out of his place in the shadows his voice joined in on the melody.  The old grandfather had come looking for Kareling.  He knew that she was in the woods as often was her practice.  There was peace in this forest and with the music of nature one couldn't help but open the mouth in chorus.

"And all ye men of tender heart,
forgiving others take your part,
O sing ye, alleluia!
Ye, who long pain and sorrow bear, 
praise God and on him cast your care,
O praise him, O praise him,
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Surprise and delight showed on Kareling's face.  She didn't notice in the corner of the old grandfather's eye, a small tear slithering down his cheek.  He was old enough to know that life was not carefree and yet joyful in the delight of his granddaughter.  This was a meaningful moment, one to be treasured in the recesses of the mind.  It would be this picture that he would pull out in the coming days and it would sustain him through the coming troubles.  

Then, as the grandfather came up to his beloved Kareling, they sang together the very last of it.  The old man lifted his granddaughter to the ground and their hands held fast.  Not wanting to let go they walked together, hand in hand and up the hill, singing:

"Let all things their Creator bless,
and worship him in humbleness,
O praise him, alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
and praise the Spirit, three in one,
O praise him, O praise him,
alleluia, alleluia, allelluia!
~ Francis of Assisi, 1225

Their home was nestled on the edge of the east forest.  Calming and reassuring, the woods would beckon to them to come and be refreshed.  It was a particular enticement because to the south of the cottage was the land of the enemy.  There were times that the family would have to run to the woods for safety as the enemy would find opportunity to come close.  Of course, this hadn't happened of late as the warriors had been patrolling in the south.  Still, the old grandfather was on edge.  He could sense a growing disturbance in the air.  His bones felt anxious and he often looked over his shoulder.

Kareling did not know any of this for she was still a young girl.  She did wonder from time to time about what her grandfather and grandmother would whisper about.  And she couldn't help but notice that when she went to the woods her grandfather would always be close.  At first the young girl shrugged it off and let the thought fly away with the wind.  Today, however, was different.  As the girl and her grandfather crested the hill they saw flames shooting up from the cottage.  Turning and bending down to her level, the old man quickly and quietly said to Kareling, "Run to the forest!  Climb the tall tree next to the clump of boulders.  Climb to the very top and wait there until I come for you.  Don't come down for anyone but me and don't let anyone see you.  Should I not return by nightfall make your way to the castle and tell them what has happened."  Her grandfather then turned and ran faster than his age allowed towards the cottage.

Kareling did as she was told to do.  Back to the forest as fast as she could, slipping and sliding down the hill, stumbling over rocks and limbs until she came to the very tree her grandpapa had instructed her to go to.  Like a monkey she climbed until she reached the very top of the tree that would sustain her weight.  This was at the tippy top of the tree as Kareling was a very small girl.  She did sway a bit with the limbs in the wind but this didn't bother her as it gave her a feeling of weightlessness.  The very top of the tree also afforded Kareling the ability to see the cottage, her home for the last 9 years.  She couldn't remember a time when it wasn't.  Now it was burning to the ground and she could see many of the enemy's soldiers circling the cottage watching it go up in flames.  She quietly sang a couple of stanzas from the previous song to give her courage:

Ye, who long pain and sorrow bear, 
praise God and on him cast your care,
O praise him, O praise him,
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

As a single tear slipped from her eye down her cheek she continued her praises with prayers in-between to ask for help, guidance and peace in the tumultuous moments.  In reality, she was much too young to face this large of a tragedy.  But such was her lot and she would try and be as big a girl as she could.  The young one hoped with everything in her that her grandfather, with her grandmother, would come shortly.  But if not, she was not without instruction and would improvise if need be.

This was to be the month, the very week in fact, that Kareling would have started her riding lessons.  For every girl in the kingdom would be taught to ride the horse and ride it well.  She had been on horses a number of times but still would not be considered a good rider.  This day and the next would be her trial by fire.  She could see a number of grandfather's horses finding shelter in the woods.  Her grandpapa must have gotten to the barn to let them loose.  The young girl tried not to think of the well being of her grandparents.  She knew they were wise and would make the best decision possible but what would that be?  

As Kareling looked into the woods she strained to see if her favorite horse was there.  This particular horse seemed to know and like her best.  If she could find this one it would be the very ride she would take to the castle.  But caution and wariness was to be the guide.  The enemy was close and she wouldn't want to be seen.

Always, always a song was in Kareling's head.  It was a gift.  A gift that would bring her to the highs of great praise but also something that was a very help to her in the times of deep valley sorrows.  Soon the young girl would start singing a battle song because the night was coming and she would need to ride the fastest horse to the castle.  There would be no time to think of sorrow or worshipful songs.  It would be a time of determination and strength.  She might be young but she did understand that the courage and fortitude she needed would be coming from Someone other than herself.  

The song was starting to rise now. With it her hands and feet she started the decent down the tree.  As each tree limb passed the resolve became stronger not to look to that what is seen but to that which is unseen.  Therefore, these words came quickly.  And even though she had to be quiet the words of the song blasted in her mind:

"A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
our helper he amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
his craft and pow'r are great, and armed with cruel hate, 
on earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
were not the right man on our side, the man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?  Christ Jesus, it is he,
Lord Sabbath his name, and age to age the same,
and he must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us, 
we will not fear, for God hath willed his truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure, for lo! hi doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.
That Word above all earthly pow'rs, no thanks to them, abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are our through him who with us sited.
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also; 
the body they may kill; God's truth abideth still;
his kingdom is forever."
                 ~ Martin Luther, 1529

*The world is filled with many evils this is true.  But we are told not to be overcome with evil but to overcome evil with good.  This is our battle.  Each of us have specific gifts to help us in the battle of life.  Yet, there is a particular instrument that God has given to all of us and that is the gift of worship.  In worship there is a  moment when one can forget about oneself and focus on that One who is so much more and so deserving of our praise.  It can be quiet wonderful and transport you to another level altogether.  This can only really be done when the words to the song are those that speak of God and His glory.  None of this "I, me, my" stuff will do as that only will put the focus on humanity and what is needed is something better than humanity.

However, this will mean nothing unless you are a follower of Christ.  We were made as worshipful beings.   So, we all will worship something (I am speaking of a life of worship now, not so much just singing).  But the truth of the matter is this:  We were created to worship God.  To do anything else brings destruction and death.  Maybe not right away but sooner or later it will come.  Jesus Christ is the only one who can fill that cup of worship.  Because of that, trying to fill it with something other will only lead to frustration and despair. 

May you find, today, the One who is so worthy of your praise and live a life of worship for Him.  Then, sing as if no one is watching.  Let the song transport  you to another place and enjoy the moment.   Be worship happy!



"Be still, and know that I am God."
Psalm 46:10

The sun has finally come out here in the little town of Woodland, Washington.  Flowers are blooming and the grass is growing like crazy.  On one hand, this can be a particular frustration to those who like to keep a trim lawn.  My father-in-law keeps our fields mowed and he is always checking to see if, on a sunny day, he can mow and not get stuck in a bog of mud.  Dan took the tractor out this last weekend and almost got it stuck trying to clean up brush by the creek.  

Yesterday was a cold and stormy day.  So, with the sun coming out today, you can bet that there are many outside soaking it up.  I even was outside for a bit this morning just sitting with my eyes closed on the back deck.  The warmth of the sunshine on my face was delicious.  I imagine more freckles are popping out as I write this.   

I have read somewhere that there are more cases of skin cancer in the PNW.  Seems odd as we don't get as much sunshine per year as other places.  Instead, one would think that we would get skin mold as it is so damp and rainy a good portion of the 365 days that make up a year.  The reasoning is this:  on days where the sun shines we drop everything just to be outside.  We will stay outside, too, because it might rain tomorrow.  So, we enjoy it while we can thus spending too much time in the sun's rays.  

I had gone outside to sit and read.  This would have worked well except that I was reading on my Kindle and the sun was too bright to see the letters (plus the fact that I really need new glasses to see properly).  So, the reading was set aside, the glasses were taken off and the head went back to feel the warmth of the light.  We live in the country so it is quiet here a good portion of the time, except for the birds chirping and the occasional dog barking.  It really is a good place for contemplation and reflection.  

The children are grown so the busy somethings that used to go on at this place have changed.  Now there is the quiet somethings that happen.  Running out of time isn't an issue anymore or trying to keep up with time hasn't happened lately.  It is the filling up of time that comes to mind more so now than ever before.  This gives me a sense of cozy uncomfortableness as I fill out the days.  Not complaining, mind you, just moving in transition to a new phase of life.  

Don't get me wrong  ~ there is ALWAYS something to be done.  Weeds grow right along with the grass (however, I think that they grow faster and spread more).   There is laundry, dishes and I still haven't figured out what we are having for dinner (age old problem for me).  I could still very much fill up time with busy somethings.  But there is a difference and I'm not quite sure how to explain it.  

In all of this rambling the consideration is of being still and quiet.  I haven't ever really been very good at this.  Life has seemed so busy that my considerations and contemplations have been on the go.  Not saying that one is good and the other bad ~ it's just the way it has been.  This is the result of being more of a doer than a thinker.  It is an odd feeling that, the older I get, all the things that were so important to get done don't seem that important anymore.  Morning devotions were something to check off the list instead of an indwelling of devotion (Not trying to be super spiritual here cause if you knew me you would know that certainly isn't the case.  Plus the fact that my devotional time always needs improvement).

We don't need to enter a convent or throw away our IPhones.  The world is alive with busyness and we are part of it.  It is okay to enjoy a movie and have dinner out.  There is wonder and delight in the universe and on this tiny speck of dirt we call Earth.  I guess what I'm trying to say it that it does feel good to slow down and breathe a bit even though it seems strange.  Of course, this could all change tomorrow but for now I will enjoy it as coming from a kind Savior who made time.   All our moments are in His hands and it was lovely to contemplate that this morning.


Lost in the Fog

"Though he slay me, I will hope in him."
Job 13:15

Her fingers were numb and had been for hours.  That is why she tied her hands to the reins for fear that she would drop them.  It probably wouldn't have mattered as her conveyance knew what to do and would have brought her to the place she needed to be.   Nevertheless, she held on even though she couldn't feel it.  Honoria had been riding on Abindon for what seemed an eternity.  She was cold and somewhat lifeless.  At times she would hear her faithful friend snort as if to awaken her and bring her back to life. She had forgotten how many journeys she had taken with her steadfast ride.  But this one seemed to go on forever.  It was dark and the fog was thick.  With it came the damp and the cold.  It was hard to see the path that they needed to travel and at the speed they were going it was up to Abindon to determine its surety.  

Often, on their journeys, Honoria could feel the eyes of the enemy upon them.  Tonight was different.  It wasn't just a feeling anymore but sounds in the distance that kept coming closer.  Someone was fast approaching.  From the corner of her eye she could see glimpses of the enemy drawing near.  Honoria leaned into the horse urging it on, faster because their very lives depended on the speed of the race.  On and on they went.  In and out of trees following the path that would lead them to their journey's end.  So much depended on getting the papers to the encampment.  Fear rose up in Honoria's throat until she could hardly breathe.  "God help me", she said.  And with that Abindon added to his speed.  The rest was a blur.

Honoria didn't remember being untied and pulled from her horse.  Nor did she remember being carried and thrown unto the damp ground.  There was a small recollection of tossing the precious papers into the bushes by a tree in hopes that she could find it later.  She vaguely remembered the neighing of her horse as she was taken away from him.  She fell, deep down into slumber or, more likely, unconsciousness.

She awoke to aching in her bones and muscles that would hardly move.  As her eyes began to focus Honoria's spirit fell.  She was now a captive in the hands of the enemy!  Where was Abindon?  What was going to happen next?  Fear rose up inside of this aged woman until she thought it would spill out of her.   Words came out in a sound much calmer than she felt.  "Calm down!".   Knowing that nothing is ever accomplished by raging emotions,  Honoria began to breath evenly and take mental note of all of her surroundings. The place wasn't entirely unfamiliar to her.   Although her wrists were tied to a tree she could see where she had been last night before all went black.  The enemy was advancing and closer to the MC's army than she anticipated.  This was alarming!  No wonder she had been caught as their course had taken them so close to this new encampment of the enemy.  How foolish and careless she had been.  Now she not only risked her own life but that of her faithful friend, Abindon.  What was to be done now?

Honoria sunk to her knees and began to pray,

*"Thou hidden source of calm repose, thou all sufficient love divine,
my help and refuge from my foes secure I am, if thou art mine;
and lo! from sin and grief and shame 
I hide me, Jesus, in thy name.

Thy mighty name salvation is, and keeps my happy soul above; 
comfort it brings, and pow'r and peace and joy and everlasting love;
to me, with thy dear name, are giv'n 
pardon and holiness and heav'n.

Jesus, my all in all thou art, my rest in toil, my ease in pain,
the medicine of my broken heart, in war my peace, in loss, my gain,
my smile beneath the tyrant's frown, 
in shame my glory and my crown.

In want my plentiful supply, in weakness my almighty pow'r,
in bonds my perfect liberty, my light in Satan's darkest hour,
my help and stay where e'er I call, 
my life in death, my hean'n, my all.

Surely the MC was with her even in this awful place.  Honoria need not fear and this is what she would tell herself with all the moments that were to come. (Psalm 23:4)  She might die in the hands of the enemy but she was not alone and knew that her path would be made straight by the Master Commander.  There was a plan even though it was unknown to her.  The old woman's heart began to calm down and with it a hope that all is well even if it didn't look like it.  

Days turned into weeks until Honoria had been a captive for 3 months time.  With each passing day the aged woman had been given duties to perform in the enemy camp.  And yet, it wasn't uncommon that that her captors, cruel beasts of humanity, caused her and Abindon pain and suffering.  In response Honoria prayed fervently that she would do good to those that despitefully used her.  And so, as time went on, the cruelty was minimized to a few who just enjoyed being mean.  She had won the hearts of some with her kindness and these, in turn, would be the ones who would come to her defense.

It had been found out that Honoria was a gifted healer of sorts.  Things that she had learned in her many years of living on the farm came in handy during her captivity.  So it was not uncommon for anyone to come up to her with their ailment assuming that Honoria could and would help them.  This new kind of freedom gave her opportunity to visit and spend time with her friend, Abindon.   In the beginning of their captivity Abindon was frantic to see his companion.  He had given his captors quite a time with his high spirit antics.  But now that Honoria could be with him Abindon had quieted down even though he sensed that all was not right.

So the days began to have a certain rhythm to them.  There really wasn't comfort in this rhythm as what Honoria wanted most to do was escape on Abindon, find the precious documents, and race to the MC's camp.  However, as each day past with no way of escape so did the hope for that day.  There was one thing that she did find would bring brightness into her moments.  As was the rhythm  of each day there would be those of her captors that would need her special care.  This took some time and Honoria even stretched it out to longer that normal.  For what she was able to do was speak with each captor of her love for the MC.  His ways were so wonderful and marvelous.  His care so tender and kind.  At first the enemy would scoff and ridicule.  But as each day passed more would come to hear Honoria's tales of a master so good that it was hard to comprehend.  It wouldn't be long and some would come, not to be healed, but to listen and wonder.

There will be times in our lives that the enemy of our soul will torment and want to destroy us.  It might even seem small and inconsequential but will bring frustration and fear.  Or it may actually bring about death of those we care about or hear about.  In those moments we will be tempted to think that God has forgotten us or maybe that we don't matter anymore.  It is my hope that you will remember Him and trust in Him even when all looks lost.  If you are in Christ, your life is not your own.  Therefore, you have been set on a path that is His doing.  All you need to do is follow.

*Here is an awesome song ~ copy and paste to your browser to enjoy:


*Charles Wesley 1749