Tuesday, March 31, 2009

a bit of love...

...for Your love is ever before me...
~Psalm 26:3a
... Praise be to the LORD,
for He showed His wonderful love to me...
~Psalm 31:21

...The earth is filled with Your love, O LORD...
~Psalm 119:64

Monday, March 30, 2009

morning glory....

A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.
~Walt Whitman

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible...all things were created by him and for him. ~Colossians 1:16

Sunday, March 29, 2009

celebrate the Sabbath...preparing our hearts for the Cross

This is what it SHOULD have looked like:
Crosses covering the hill.
Hundreds and thousands of crosses.
A line, a mass, of crosses-- stretching as far as the eye can see.
"For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
All are deserving of death.
And yet, there were only three crosses on the hill that day--
the center one being the focal point.
That ONE CROSS making a way...
A new way.
A way of LIFE instead of death.
"...the result of one act of righteousness was justification
that brings life for all men." Romans 5:18
And, instead of a hill covered in crosses,
we see but One.
One Cross--bearing ONE MAN--Who dies for the many.
Who takes on the sin of the world.
It is
for which we must prepare our hearts.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

stained glass windows quote about people

People are like stained glass windows:
they sparkle and shine when the sun is out,
but when the darkness sets in
their true beauty is revealed
only if there is a light within.
~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

When times of darkness set in, I pray others would be able to see in me true beauty ... that created by the presence of the Light of the world...

and, as in the windows above, that we believers would show to the world a clear and beautiful image of the Savior....

(photos taken at Avalon Community Church, Catalina Island, CA)

Friday, March 27, 2009

what you see...

It's not what you look at that matters,
it's what you see.
~Henry David Thoreau

a dirty parking lot floor,


(top left of picture... )

(hope you enjoyed "seeing" a spot of gum in a new way!)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

a masterpiece of nature...

A friend may well be reckoned
the masterpiece of nature.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

things that go bump in the night...(or, under the stove!)

How many of you like to reach your hand into small, dark, hidden places? (I'm thinking Indiana Jones here and cockroaches, rats, etc!) Though I'm pretty brave about creatures and crawling things, I do have my limits. I don't like any bug with too many legs or those which look like something from the prehistoric eras, for example--earwigs, cockroaches, centipedes, cave crickets, jerusalem crickets (hey! those aren't JUST in caves or in Jerusalem!), etc. I think you get the idea.

I don't normally mind soft furry little creatures that many women scream about like mice or moles or shrews or even bats. (sidebar: for some reason, though I had terrible nightmares about vampires through much of my childhood and, as an adult, I steer far clear from ANYTHING at all vampirish, I LOVE bats!! Sorry, Mom!) I do, however, prefer not to stick my hand into dark places where these things may be residing.

Well, a couple of nights ago, I was making a cake, and I needed my little cooling racks. I have an electric stove with a big drawer in the bottom, and that's where the racks live. When I pulled out the drawer to get the cooling racks, one of them slipped behind the drawer and fell into the darkness of "UNDER THE STOVE!" HORRORS!!

I was going to have to reach my hand into the dark and potentially creepy netherworld of "UNDER THE STOVE!" Now, I know, I could have pulled the drawer completely out of the stove, so I could see behind there before sticking my hand in, but well, have you ever tried to get those drawers back on the tracks correctly?? And, I know, if I were a bit more obssesive-compulsive about cleaning UNDER the stove and refrigerator, perhaps this little venture wouldn't be quite so intimidating. (do any of you really DO that??!)

So.... all that said, I decided I couldn't possibly have anything THAT scary under my stove and reached my bare hand back behind the drawer and into the darkness UNDER THE STOVE. I tentatively tapped around with my fingertips in the general vicinity of where I thought the rack would be. I couldn't feel it, so I reached further into the darkness and used my whole hand to feel around.


I yelped and yanked my hand out of there so fast! That weren't no dust bunny under there, folks! It was something much more solid, much more furry feeling!

Needless to say, I decided to wrangle the drawer out of the bottom of the stove so I could get a view of what I had touched or would be touching on my next attempt to get the rack. I pulled and tugged and wiggled it until I had it off and lying in the middle of the kitchen floor. On hands and knees, I bent over and cautiously, yet oh so bravely!, peered into the darkness UNDER THE STOVE.... and this is what I saw :

Wait a minute....

ok... so, it IS a mouse!!...

...but NOT quite the mouse I was expecting!! :)
This was one of my cat's old toys she had lost under the stove!

I decided to let him help me write this post...

You just gotta love a good laugh at yourself!!
...and maybe you better check under your stove...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

inspiration...and joy...

In Your light I learn how to love.
In Your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest, where no one sees You,
but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.
~ Rumi

Monday, March 23, 2009


On Saturday, two of my young friends and I went on a little excursion to a local shell shop for a bit of shopping. They each had a certain amount of money to spend and were working hard to buy what they really wanted and still stay within the specified dollar amount. S, the older (at 8 1/2), was doing pretty well on his own--finding treasures, adding up the cost, checking with me for verification of his funds availability (and could he go over just a bit?!)--while I helped B, the younger (at 7), do his treasure hunting and calculating.

We had a great time checking out all the sea treasures and doodads in the store, and it didn't take the boys too long to make their decisions and reach their dollar limits. They were able to get a bit more "bang for their buck," as many of the items were on sale, and most of the baskets from which they pulled their treasures were marked with "SPECIAL!" signs.

When we got out to the car, both of the boys opened their bags and pulled out and unwrapped their purchases to examine them with delight once again. They were very pleased with themselves. S exclaimed about what a great shop that was and how wonderful everything was in it. He said, "These things are so very SPECIAL, aren't they, Sharilyn?!" I agreed with him that they, indeed, were.

Both boys talked excitedly about the store and the awesome things they had seen in it. And then, after remarking about how great were his purchases, S said, "There were so many good things in that store! That's why there were all those signs saying 'special'... because all those things were so special!"

I agreed with him as I held back a chuckle at his misunderstanding of the use of the "special" signs. He was impressed that everything was so very "special" in the shop and didn't realize that "special" meant "on sale" in that context.

This little boy's misinterpretation of the use of a word started my mind to working.... about how differently God sees than we do. People. Circumstances. What we see as failure, God sees as an opportunity for growth and deepening of character. What we see as a broken life, God sees as a chance for something new to be built from the pieces. What we see as a hopeless person, not worth trying to rescue (on sale? not worth much?), God sees as SPECIAL... a treasure.

Hmmm. Out of the mouths of babes... no wonder Jesus said we must be like children! They have a way of seeing things that we miss. They have insight and understanding born of a certain sense of innocence and lack of sophistication. They are generally looking at the world with their eyes wide open and with the wonder and awe of seeing things for the first time. To them, so very much of the world and what it holds is, indeed, SPECIAL...to be delighted in...to be treasured.

I love how God uses everyday situations to remind us of His presence and His character. I love how He uses even the seemingly smallest things to point us to Him and His ways. And, I'm sure I'll never look at a "SPECIAL" sale sign in the same way again.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

celebrate the Sabbath in song...

A friend of mine lives and works in Brazil, and she recently posted the following worship song on her blog. She had translated it from Portuguese into English, and, for some reason, it spoke to my heart of such depth in its simplicity...
Enter into my house
Enter into my life
Change my structure
Heal all the wounds
Teach me to have holiness
I want to love only You
Because You are my greatest good
Do a miracle in me.

Yes, Lord, this is my prayer...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

pure joy...

This was part of MY Saturday...
I hope yours was at least 1/8 this good!
~ wonder ~

If a child is to keep alive his inborn
sense of wonder...
he needs the companionship
of at least one adult who can share it,
rediscovering with him the joy,
excitement, and mystery
of the world we live in.
~Rachel Carson


~ pure joy ~

Friday, March 20, 2009

true happiness... from a hidden place

Last year I read again the story of Anne Frank, the teenage Jewish girl who went into hiding with her family (as recorded in "The Diary of Anne Frank"). It was a very difficult time for her, her family, and the many, many Jewish people who were persecuted during WWII. Anne lived with her family and several other people in just a couple of small hidden rooms for several years until they were discovered and sent away to the concentration camps.

I was amazed when I read the passage below which Anne had written. Here she was, a teen-age girl, living a hidden existence in a small apartment with nothing of the "real life," barely enough food to survive, no real contact with the outside world... and yet, in the midst of the darkness and ugliness, she eventually discovered an ability within herself to find true happiness...

‘In due time I quieted down and discovered my boundless desire for all that is beautiful and good. And in the evening, when I lie in bed and end my prayers with the words, I thank You, God, for all that is good and clear and beautiful,” I am filled with joy. Then I think about “the good” of. . . love, the future, happiness and of “the beauty” which exists in the world, nature, beauty and all, all that is exquisite and fine.

I don’t think then of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains. . . [Mummy’s] counsel when one feels melancholy is: “Think of all the misery in the world and be thankful you are not sharing in it!” My advice is: “go outside, to the fields, enjoy nature and the sunshine, go out and try to recapture happiness in yourself and in God. Think of all the beauty that’s still left in and around you and be happy!”

I see how [the other] idea can be right, because then how are you supposed to behave if you go through the misery yourself? Then you are lost. On the contrary, I’ve found that there is always some beauty left- in nature, sunshine, freedom, in yourself; these can all help you. Look at these things, then you find yourself again, and God, and then you regain your balance.

And whoever is happy will make others happy too. He who has courage and faith will never perish in misery!' ~Anne Frank, "Diary of Anne Frank"

I am inspired by Anne. And I am humbled.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

a "love"ly dinner....

Tonight a friend of mine came over to visit.
Not only did she come to visit, she brought supplies with her and MADE ME DINNER!
I felt like a celebrity with a personal chef!
What a gift of love she gave me... and delicious, too!
When I sat down to eat, this is what I saw on my plate...
LOVE on a bed of rice!
(lots of love)
I am grateful for the love she showed me by making me dinner,
and I am grateful for the love God showed me
in a little heart on a bed of rice
and in the big heart of a friend!
ps. I know the photos aren't the best, but that's not what this post is about... the food was actually very beautiful!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

a day for gratitude...

It is only possible to live
happily ever after
on a day to day basis.
~Margaret Bonnano
...and with that in mind, a few minutes of counting blessings...
  • new baby great-nephew!! (237)
  • old friends (236)
  • new friends (235)
  • time to sit and chat (234)
  • having a home to come to after a long day's work (233)
  • having a job (232)
  • a damp foggy morning (231)
  • dirty dishes in the sink (230)
  • having food to eat to dirty those dishes (229)
  • worshipping with friends (228)
  • praying together (227)
  • people with whom to share life's ups and downs (226)
  • beautiful pink flowers! (225)
  • chocolate ice cream (224)
  • freshly made waffles (223)
  • dentists...and having teeth! (222)
  • cool spring evenings (221)
  • carpool lanes (220)
  • having company in the car so I can USE the car pool lane! (219)
  • fast-moving traffic (218)
  • fishing (217)
  • sea life (216)
  • seafood (215)
  • old movies (214)
  • a comfortable bed (213)
  • a good night's sleep (212)
...one more day closer to "happily ever after"....

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

other captured creatures...

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, we did manage to capture a few non-lobster creatures while we were trying to catch the quick and elusive legal-size lobsters. I, of course, had my camera with me, and I had to photograph the other creatures we netted as well.

Please note, none of these creatures were harmed in any way. They were merely dragged from their evening swims up onto the dock, shot (ok, photographed) by me, perhaps poked and petted a bit, and then sent back into the ocean on their merry way. I felt like it was an aquatic version of Wild Kingdom -- Marlin Perkins would have been delighted, I think! (ah, I'm probably dating myself here, but we watched that show every Sunday evening when I was a little kid)

And so, here, for your viewing pleasure, I introduce a few Catalina Island ocean creatures....

the ever-present Calico Bass...
our glass bottom boat tour guides say he can be recognized by his "cheap striped sportcoat".
(I caught this one, and though he looks a bit dead, he was perfectly active and fine! I think he was playing possum!)

...oh my goodness! what the heck is that?!?!?

here it is up-close-and-personal...
it's a spider crab.

These are slow-moving and non-aggressive, and I found it quite delightful. I think this one may be old, as I see it has lost one of its back legs and a couple of "toes." It seemed perfectly fine with me touching it and even picking it up. These crabs have hook-shaped hairs on their backs that attract the growth of algae which is used as camoflage.

I see it is a beautiful sky blue color underneath the algae camoflage.
And look at those red toes!

...and this is because I just HAD to pick it up!
(I had the gloves on for the lobster-grabbing.)

See how big it is!!
It was quite heavy, too!

Last, but definitely not least, was my very favorite sea creature we caught--
which, at first, we thought was a sea slug...
it's a sea hare !

I thought this was so cute! It was blobby and squishy and soft with a velvety soft wet skin. A boy who was there when this was brought up said, "It feels like pudding!" That was a most accurate description of the feel of it! If you look closely at its skin, you can see a lovely brown spotted pattern with reddish-pink through it as well. It really was strange and wonderful! (I had seen one of these at our local aquarium, but this one was at least five times bigger than the one they let us touch.)I hope you enjoyed this little "tour of the sea" with me!
I do so love to see the amazing creatures God has made...
so very many strange and delightful and colorful and wild!
I'm glad He's so very creative!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

"bugged"...in a good way!

This past weekend I went to Catalina Island to visit some friends and to have some fun. We went for a drive out in the interior of the island, and it was green and lovely! (photos later this week) And then Saturday night I got to try something new and a bit unusual...

For the past couple of years one of my friends has been trying her hand at lobster fishing with a hoop net off the boat dock. She has been inviting me to join her, and this--the final weekend of this year's lobster season--was finally my first time!

Right at about sunset we dressed warmly and headed out to the boat dock with all our supplies: hoop net, squid for bait, a great big bucket, hot chocolate, and a few other things. We met another friend, D, out there, and he was already fishing for a fish or two to use as additional bait. He brought one in (a bonita) right as it was getting dark, and we were all set for catching our "bugs." (that's what lobsters are 'affectionately' called--because that's what they look like and what they sound like, too!)

Here am I, sporting D's fish, looking like I'm quite the fisherwoman! (note the famous Casino building in the background)

This is what a lobster net looks like: The bait goes in the little section in the middle of the net. You drop the net into the water and let the rope out until the net has settled on the ocean floor. The rope is then tied to a railing or whatever is handy to which to secure it. And then, you wait a little bit for the lobsters to show up for dinner. The unsuspecting lobster notices a delicious squid and bonita dinner and walks across the net to take a nibble or two.
While the lobster is down below munching on calamari, we were up on the dock waiting for a bit of time to pass. After 5 or 10 minutes (I was rather excited and impatient to try my hand at this) you VERY QUICKLY grab the rope and fast, fast, fast! pull the net up out of the water... ideally, catching up the feasting lobster. And hopefully, you will have something like this in the net:

My first one (a GIANT one, by the way!) was not IN the net but hanging on the outside of the net. As soon as I had pulled the net up out of the water, we all cheered at the big bug on the net! And then we all cried out in dismay as he casually let go and fell back into the water. So sad. He would have been a tasty one! : )

As you can see in the photos above and below, our lobsters do not have claws. It makes them much less scary to pick up, though I was still quite trepidatious to grab one out of the net! They are very active and quick and strong, and they don't really like to be handled! I did get the hang of it, though, I didn't pick up the biggest ones we caught...they were just a bit too intimidating for me!

Between the three of us, we probably brought in about 20-25 lobsters that night. Only about 4 of them were of legal size to keep. We had several that were just a little tiny bit too small, and they were tempting... but we threw them back to grow some more. This big girl below was the prize of the night...
Look at the size of that beauty!!
And in the background, you can see the face of the one who caught her...

Look at the size of the smile on D's face!
I'll bet he was thinking about the size of that tail
and what a tasty treat it was going to be!!
So, this is me...bravely (ha!) holding a lobster up for a photo...
and it's not holding as still as it looks!

What a beauty!
(in an odd lobstery sort of way!) I think I caught the bug (ha!) for this lobster fishing thing that night! It was a good time out in the fresh sea air under the dark cover of night...the sound of ocean waves, the stars overhead...good friends, good atmosphere...
and good eating later this week!

...and maybe tomorrow I'll show you what else we caught in our lobster nets!