Sunday, August 31, 2008

celebrate the Sabbath...admire God's creation... holiday weekend trip to northern California...
...above the clouds...
...patchwork quilts of green and brown as seen from the sky...

...afternoon beauty along the Sacramento River...

....the delight of His creation...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

laughter, the best medicine...

A joyful heart is good medicine...
~Proverbs 17:22a

So, here's a little bit of 'good medicine' for your day!

It truly is wonderful and wonderfully contagious, isn't it?!?

Friday, August 29, 2008

nuts about you...

This past fall, when I took myself on a personal retreat to my favorite coastal town of Cambria (see original Heart Rock Story), I did not find any heart rocks. God was doing a 'new thing' in my heart and life that weekend, and with it, He gave me a new type of heart on the beach:

This was just another one of the "writing on the wall" moments... when God spoke to my heart saying,

"I'm NUTS about you!"

(And who can argue with that?!)

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. ~Jeremiah 31:3

Thursday, August 28, 2008

sail my own ship...

I am no longer afraid of storms,
for I am learning how
to sail my own ship.
~Louisa May Alcott

It's not about me, on my own out on the open ocean, but about God and me-- traveling together on this "journey" called life.

It is about me --recognizing God's presence, His voice, and His grace--and joining in what He is doing in my life. It is about me--learning to trust Him and not being afraid--because God is at the helm with me. He will navigate for me; I just have to be courageous, set sail, and trust Him as He leads...

Load the ship and set out. No one knows for certain whether the vessel will sink or reach the harbor. Cautious people say, "I'll do nothing until I can be sure". Merchants know better. If you do nothing,you lose. Don't be one of those merchants who won't risk the ocean. ~Rumi

This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters...: "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?" ~Isaiah 43:13-19

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

reina's heart...

Since you all stuck with me through that long post yesterday, today's will be a relatively short one. If you read my heart rock story, you may remember me saying that I don't find quite as many heart rocks as I did before...but I do find other heart-shaped objects in my daily life, like fruit, leaves, and other not-normally-heart-shaped objects.

I especially appreciate discovering these hearts when I'm going through a difficult situation or time in life. It is then that I recognize it is my loving Father's way of reminding me He's right in the midst of this life with me.

One such heart I found recently was during Reina's (
see yesterday's post) last couple of days. I was having a difficult time with her being sick and me knowing that she was not going to be with me much longer. I had been trying to feed her all her favorite foods and treats, and she just wasn't able to eat any of them. One of her favorites was fresh salmon, so I cut a fillet up into tiny cubes for her. She couldn't eat it, so I had taken it to the kitchen and thrown it into the sink. I washed everything down the garbage disposal and ran it. When I turned it off and looked into the sink, this is what I saw:

It was a little piece of salmon in the shape of a heart!! It brought tears to my eyes...I knew it was God telling me that He understood how hard this was for me and He was reminding me how much He loves me. He truly does care about all the little (or not so little) things in our lives and takes the time to tell us if we will open the 'eyes of our hearts' to see His demonstrations of love....

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you ~Eph 1:18

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

tribute to the queen!

As stated in the title, today's post is a tribute to the queen--not the queen of any country but the queen who reigned in my kingdom for the past 16 years or so--my cat Reina. I have dedicated today's post to her, as it was one month ago today I had to say good-bye to this fuzzy little friend of mine. So, hopefully you won't mind too much if I tell you a bit about this companion God gave me for these many years...and share a few of my favorite pictures.

I never intended to have a cat, but Reina had other plans. One morning I must have left my front door open (in my 2nd floor apt). I was in front of the sink in the bathroom getting ready for work and saw movement out of the corner of my eye--there was a black cat sitting on the lid of the toilet looking at me! It was the beginning of a long (and sometimes long-suffering!) friendship...

From that day on, for many weeks she persistently graced me with her presence. I guess she had decided upon me as suitable "subject" material (as in 'a queen and her subjects') and was just getting me used to the idea! I told her she could hang out with me when I was home, 'but I'm not feeding you, and you're not MY cat!' Then it was, "ok, you can sleep over, but I'm not feeding you, and you're NOT my cat!' That progressed to "well, here's a snack, but ....not my cat!" And eventually, as you've no-doubt guessed, she became my cat. I think she had it planned out all along!

I heard it said once:
"Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods.
Cats have never forgotten this."

Reina had a very long memory of this--this being worshipped and treated as royalty. I'm sure some of her thoughts were: "You are now my subject, and I shall bestow upon you the honor of serving me all of my days. I will allow you the honor of preparing and serving me delicious tidbits, of keeping me warm and comfy, of providing me with entertainment and a comfortable lap. I shall even allow you to clean my litterbox (and to pick up those stray pieces of litter I scatter in my frenzied litter-flipping)." (fortunately, I only had to deal with that part the last four years of city living!) "Oh, and while you're at it, please don't forget to fill my waterglass! You know I don't really like to drink out of a bowl."

She, graciously lowering herself to my level, made her catty attempts at helping me with my work:
and once even helped me stuff envelopes for a mailing:

...but 'work' always resulted in the need to nap... a talent at which she was definitely the QUEEN!

So that no one thinks she was just a sleeper... she loved to chase bugs, spiders, and moths, and anything that would run away (including me, at times!), and once almost broke through my living room window trying to get at a MONSTER out on our balcony! (a large iguana that had escaped from a neighbor) She loved to tear through the apartment at top speed as though there were a pack of wild dogs on her tail. And she even managed once, by reaching through the bars of my balcony, to catch a hummingbird. I believe that was her greatest physical accomplishment; she was quite proud, though it made only the tiniest of snacks.
And, although cats are always reminding us that they are indeed NOT DOGS!, Reina did learn a trick... Whenever I would get the carton of eggs out of the fridge, she would come to the edge of the dining room carpet and wait for me to bring an egg to her. I would hold it down to her level, and she would reach up and tap on it with her paw to show me that she would like to have it. (She was convinced this was a trick SHE had taught ME!) One day she went down to visit the neighbors (she believed everyone on the top floor of our apartment building were also her loyal, devoted subjects!). They had let her in to visit for awhile, and when they were cooking eggs in the kitchen, she sat on the edge of the dining room carpet and gracefully pawed the air! When they told me the story, they were amazed that she was asking them for an egg! : ) What a brilliant cat, don't you think?!
There are people who reshape the world by force or argument,
but the cat just lies there, dozing;
and the world quietly reshapes itself to suit her comfort and convenience.
-Allen and Ivy Dodd
Yes, I must admit, in my own way, I did "reshape myself to suit her comfort and convenience." But my Reina was a faithful friend, in her queenly way; she greeted me at the door each day, kept my bed warm in the winter nights, let me pet her to her heart's content (not mine, but then, it's not really about ME, is it?!), and traipsed with me to northern CA and back in the past few years. She was a good companion, and I miss her company and her furry little face.Now, whenever I crack an egg or use the can opener, I keep expecting to see her sitting at the edge of the kitchen, waiting (semi)patiently for me to give her a treat. And, it's strange, after all these years, to not have her greet me when I come home from work...
But I am grateful for the time she was such a part of my life... isn't that the way it is when we have to say good-bye to friends? It's never easy, but we have many memories to warm our hearts ...and I am thankful for the years she was my cat... or... I was her person...

As every cat owner knows, nobody owns a cat.
- Ellen Perry Berkeley
  • for the years enjoying the companionship of my cat, Reina... and for the silly and wonderful creature she was! (27)

Monday, August 25, 2008

the language of silence...

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

A great silence overcomes me,
and I wonder why I ever thought
to use language.
~author unknown

Sunday, August 24, 2008

celebrate the Sabbath--with the flowers...

Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come...
~Song of Solomon 2:12a

I think this one really IS singing...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

writing on the wall...

"Writing on the wall"... to most of us that is a saying which we understand to mean something is very obvious and plain to see. "Read the writing on the wall."

It actually comes from a chapter in the Bible, Daniel 5, where God Himself wrote a message on a wall of the king's palace:

"Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way." ~Daniel 5: 5,6
Wow! Talk about getting your attention!! It was in the middle of a big party the king was throwing, and many important people were present. They were all praising the false gods of gold, silver, iron, wood, and stone, and toasting out of cups stolen from the temple of God in Jerusalem. Needless to say, God showed up very clearly in a most terrifying manner and, in front of all those witnesses, wrote a message for the king on the wall--in other words, it was a very OBVIOUS message.

I know many times I hear myself say that I would love for God to just right something out on a wall for me, so I have no question as to what He's trying to tell me. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who has made this request! It would be so much easier, wouldn't it? There would be no question, no misunderstanding, no uncertainty.

When I was in Brazil a few years ago, I found a message from God written on a wall... I think it's pretty clear what He keeps trying to tell me... to tell us... if we will just 'read the writing on the wall"...

(I'm pretty sure that says "I love you" in any language...and it uses pictures so there's no language barrier!) May you read God's message on the wall for you--both here and in your own life, in your own world, in your own way today...

  • God speaking my language (26)

Friday, August 22, 2008

a dinner cruise and moon jellies...

Tonight I was able to join my friends for a 'dinner cruise' on the canals and inner harbor areas in a boat like the one pictured below on the right. We took dinner aboard and 'set sail' to an inland bay to enjoy the evening on the water. It was beautiful!! The sun sparkled on the water, and as it drew nearer the horizon, a diamond dust trail of sunlight made a path across the sea.

One of the most awesome experiences of the evening, however, was waiting for us in a little inlet called Spinnaker Cove. As our trusty captain drove the boat into the little canal, we saw some of what I consider to be one of God's most beautiful sea creatures...the moon jelly!! There they were, wild, floating and swimming in the water!!

(This picture was not taken tonight, but this is what they look like. I took these pictures at the local aquarium.) They were swimming around the boat freely, gracefully, beautifully. They would come up from the depths, and one of the kids (or adults!) would shout with excitement and glee as they rose right up to the surface next to the boat.
Then we were all trying to touch them...reaching as far out of the boat as we could to touch one as it floated by. It was magnificent!! Everyone who tried to touch one was successful (except me, though it wasn't for lack of trying!!), and what a glorious experience it was to be so very close to such amazing sea creatures!
After the incredible time with the moon jellies, we headed back toward home as the sun was setting. It cast lovely pink and pale orange across the water, matching the colors painted in the sunset sky. The darkness of the late evening followed, accentuated with the reflections of lights sprinkled on the water. It was a beautiful end to the day.

For these many amazing gifts I am grateful...

  • a boat ride with friends (25)
  • moon jellies in all their detail and glory (24)
  • connection with God's creation (23)
  • sunset colors painted on water and sky (22)
  • the laughter of children (21)
  • the lovely evening ocean breeze (20)
  • reflections on the water (19)

In the words of e.e. cummings: "i thank You God for most this amazing day!"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

the great worm wars...

Ok. I simply must tell about my horrifying experience this morning. Or, perhaps I should just call it 'gross and disgusting.' Either way, I must tell you--as briefly as possible so as not to alarm the faint of heart! I shall first make the disclaimer that, though I am a great appreciator of God's great creation and delightful creatures, I like them (the creatures!) far better when they are out in God's creation and not in my least the crawling ones!

Well, long story short... I walked into my kitchen this morning to find gross little white wormy things crawling all over my kitchen floor!! I must say that my love for nature did not prevail, and I quickly squashed them with a paper towel, threw them away, and went about my morning getting-ready-for-work business. When I came back out to the kitchen a bit later, it was to discover a whole new army of wriggling white worms crawling across the floor and all over my kitchen throw rugs. EEEEEEKKKK!!! They were hustling and bustling (truly! even without legs!!) to somewhere, and the only thought in my head was to stop them, no matter what!

Perhaps there are those who will laugh at me for my worm-squeamishness, especially they who know my fascination with bugs and other creatures. And, I've baited many a fishing hook in my younger years, but this was just down-right horrifying to see in my kitchen! I kept having flashbacks of a similar nightmarish situation where I lived before when I had brothers and sisters of these worms hanging from little worm-threads all over my kitchen ceiling. (it was even worse that time!)

Well, to make the story short, I did battle with the worms several times until I left for work, and I had many apprehensive thoughts as to what I would be coming home to tonight--perhaps little worm encampments and wormy trenches dug from which to continue the battle. Fortunately, I discovered that most of them were wiped out in the morning worm war, and I just had little worm corpses to sweep and vacuum up when I got home.

All that to say, there are some of God's creation for which I do NOT have an appreciation...nor kindly feelings toward. I would like to think that such things--like the cockroach and the mosquito and wiggling white worms in my kitchen--are a result of the Fall, but since I know God is the Creator of all things, I just have to wonder about the purpose of pantry moths and their gross grubby-babies! And I must admit, that I shall not be adding them to my '1000 gifts' list either!

I have no profound analogy nor lesson I can think of relating to this worm war... but I shall share, instead, this little cartoon I found. And perhaps, if nothing else, we can share in the wonder and mystery of reproduction! Enjoy!

for more fun with the chickens, go to the Savage Chickens website... I love Doug's sense of humor, (and most of them are very clean) ... I am addicted to my daily dose of the chickens! (used by permission of artist)
8/22/08 update --only one worm in the kitchen this morning, and the bug man cometh! diagnosis: mealy bug larvae on the move! must get rid of all affected/infected? spices, baking supplies, tea, & candy!! even the worms like sweets!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

with the eyes of a child...

Matthew 18:2-3 He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

I know it's probably taking the verse a bit out of context, as I am using it here...but perhaps not so much. Jesus was talking about attitude of heart, and that is really what, I, too, am referring to-- a heart attitude of childlikeness.
Jesus was addressing the state of our hearts when He said we must be like children. To me, to be childlike is to be... simple, open, eager, trusting, enthusiastic... full of expectation, full of wonder and amazement...full of joy in the moment. This is what it is to be a child. This is what it is to be childlike. To be in awe of the world and its experiences. To find joy in the little things. This, too, I believe is about as close as we can come to heaven while we are here on this earth-- to be in awe of God and this world He has created... to find joy in the simple things, in the details. To take delight in the people and gifts of our daily laugh and to be ALIVE...
I was treated tonight to a little piece of heaven in the form of my neighbor's 2yr old and a tube of glow sticks. We turned off the lights, lit up the glow sticks, and had a blast playing with them in so many ways--wearing them, twirling them, making shapes and animals out of them. His eyes were lit up with delight--almost as brightly as the glow sticks! And what joy it was to play and to enjoy and to be a child with him.
Take time to get in touch with the child inside you... (a tube of glow sticks is a great help if you're feeling just too grown up!) Face the day with the eyes (and heart) of a child and take hold of a piece of heaven ...

photos: 2007 July 4th fun with my nephews, niece, sister, and several tubes of glowsticks!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Friendship is a sheltering tree.
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge
I am most grateful for the friends in my life. They make this journey a much more enjoyable one...sharing the sorrows and joys and everyday things.
I am grateful...
18. for neighbors who are friends (thanks, Eva!)
17. for friends who are neighbors (very close by!)
16. for the laughter of children
15. for bright eyes alight when they see me
14. for a visit from far-away friends
13. for a sunset dinner eaten at water's edge with friends
12. for the joy of conversation over a cup of coffee
11. for sharing a ride to work together
Mysterious cement of the soul!
Sweet’ner of life and Solder of Society.
I owe thee much--
~Robert Blair

Monday, August 18, 2008

mindless living...

Tonight, I was merrily driving home from work and all of a sudden realized I was not really aware of where I was! I wasn't lost; I was on one of the many different routes I take from work to home. It was just that I had not been paying attention to which route I was taking and suddenly became aware that, though I was partway home, it was not the way I had intended to go. I was sort of on 'autopilot.'

That set me to thinking... about how much of life we go through in much the same manner. Oh, we know our destination and our starting point, and we set out on our way. But sometimes along the way, we stop thinking about where we're going or why, and we end up just going through the motions. We don't really pay attention to the route. The result is that we may get where we're going, but without attention to the details, we can miss much of the 'scenery' along the way.

Or maybe it's just me? I think I tend to do this more often when the route becomes routine and familiar. I find myself cruising along without really looking around me or truly paying attention. As a result, I can miss out on opportunities that may just be waiting for my discovery--people, joys, even adventures! And this is not simply in the physical realm either but also in the spiritual--in my walk with God through this life. If I just "go through the motions," I can miss out on opportunites for growth or for seeing or sharing the love of God...I may become oblivious to the gentle proddings or quiet whispers through which He speaks to me. (We can also be much more apt to stumble over obstacles in our way!)
I need to remember that God desires for us to have "abundant life," and I think that means we need to live it fully aware...with our eyes wide open and paying attention to every moment. Thank you, Lord, for "eyes to see"... I will try to keep them open tomorrow!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sabbath celebration Father's world...

This Is My Father's World
(hymn by Rev. Maltbie D Babcock, 1901)

This is my Father's world,
and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world:
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
his hand the wonders wrought. This is my Father's world,
the birds their carols raise,
the morning light, the lily white,
declare their maker's praise.
This is my Father's world:
he shines in all that's fair;
in the rustling grass I hear him pass;
he speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father's world.
O let me ne'er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father's world:
why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad!