Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas at Mt Hermon

Lights reflected in rain puddles, slippery walkways cause some umbrella collisions. Welcoming warmth in the festive dining room. The delightful array of finely prepared foods encourage holiday appetites. Red contrasts with black in many outfits. Friends join around tables. Our table is celebrating a 70th birthday.

We visit favorite haunts, the bookstore and the Christmas craft sale.

On to the concert in the old tabernacle. Plan for the new building are on hold and "temporary" fixes update one of our favorite places. The pews are recushioned, new light fixtures glow softly, and the huge organ bellows and whispers at the will of the organist who helped to make the organ. Roger Williams mentions the buckets available to catch roof leaks.

Glorious music fills the room as if in defiance of slow economy and plans delayed. I gaze at the window, realizing I am sitting in the same area where I sat when I first visited Mt Hermon. I can't see the trees outside but I know they are still there.

There is a peaceful stability in old favorite places even if they leak some.
And the peace comes from the One we are singing about.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Pepper Tree

The contrast of shapes and textures is nearly as sharp as the aroma of the pepper tree in our back yard, 67 years ago. Varigated browns and grays define layers of bark while thin danlging leaves offer lacy sunlight. Accents of red berries play hide and seek within the greens. Possible hiding places lurk among the branches after using the board steps nailed to the trunk next to the rope swing my father made.

The best view to my eyes was the blur of green against blue sky as I pumped the swing higher , reaching to touch extended branches with my bare toes. Then back I flew seeing the earth with its chicken scratches in the dirt, inhaling deeply for the next climb. My stomach tingled as my feet stretched to the teasing twigs, hoping to catch them in their dance.

Time to come in, my mother called. Always there are chores and homework. And always I can return to dreamy flights of imagination, soaring higher than rope and board can take me.

Later I will play at canning fruit in my mother's glass jars, filling them with fallen faded red berries.

A pattern for life - my pepper tree adventures. Soaring and singing and dreaming then returning to earth with its chicken scratches and droppings. Earthbound now, I can reach only as far as the rope of life that holds me. Someday i will escate those earth ties and soar away. I wonder if the spicy scent of pepper tree berries will cling in my memories.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter sitings

Reminders of Easter are everywhere. A tour of the nursery at OSH refreshed my vision, bright colors reaching out to be taken home. Two six-packs of impatiens wait in my patio.

Maudy Thursday service at Menlo Pres was solumn and worshipful. Piano and cello accompanied the choir and it was heavenly.

Unexpected glimpses of the importance of the Resurrection blessed my soul. Friday waiting for eye exam, a man and I began chatting. He had unsuccessful surgery to correct glaucoma, had to cancel a cruise he and his wife were taking. His eyesight is at risk in that eye. He expressed concern over missing Holy Friday mass and said his favorite festival is Easter. We shared the comforting thought that if everything else falls away, we have the Resurrected Christ.

Usually the laundry room is not a holy place. Last evening a Chinese man responded to my question about Easter by saying yes he goes to a Christian Chinese church.

A resident told me someone I know from a prior Bible study had a stroke and can't talk clearly. This Catholic resident was on her way to take her Bible to Mona. She knows Mona reads it very day. Mona may never be back here, she said. So we agreed Easter is a good reminder of our future.

We all need Easter.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


How can I help a pigeon building a nest? I watch him picking at small twigs, rejecting some, finding the one with with just enough weight and flying away to the nest. I lay a few promising twigs on the patio for him to find. How does he know which ones will provide shelter for the eggs his partner still carries in her swollen body? Instinct, God given, directs his movements and choices.

How can parents assure God's blessing on their families? I picture those who love the Lord laying out the materials of faith, watching children grow and mature in the way God has chosen for them. Pigeons don't pray. Parents pray and provide snippets of faith, sharing what God is doing in their lives. Parents rejoice with evey step of Christian maturity and know it is a gift, and inheritance of believers.

I praise God today for His life I see in my children and in thier children.
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Friday, April 3, 2009

Lead us not into temptation

The new-to-me old rusty wrought iron bakers rack outside my window has become a launching pad for birds. I heard thumping noises and looked out to see 2 pigeons and a robin taking turns throwing themselves at the top of the window. I chased them away once, futily. Something up there is so intriguing to the birds they risk a major headache to reach it. Nothing of note hung near the window but I noticed some buggy-looking stuff under the window frame.
Aha, bugs are noteworthy to birds. So I grabbed my insect spray and did my best to rid the area of temptation for birds to bash in thier heads. Is that why we use the term "birdbrain?"

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


My assortment of granddogs has a new member, Leah, a white powder puff of a dog, a Bicheon Frise. Of course Rachael had a hand in naming her since she has a name from Star Wars. Now when visiting my families I also have a dog to play with, from big black lab and golden Lucy to loving Pepper, and a white ball of fun. Now my goal in life is more visits to families.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Oceans of beauty

White sand plus a little water is a recipe for digging a deep hole and building hills. Splashing waves of varigated blue with white foam is the background for accents of yellow, orange, red and purple blooming plants. Add a board walk and happy people and you have a lovely Spring day.
Never mind the chilly wind and the conference of jelly fish or the scavenger seagulls. It was a day to remember.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

this is a test

Trying to see if I can send you to my blog.

Save your fork

We children born during the Depression know about saving: saving string, paper, using backs of envelopes for notes. Our mothers saved the best meat for Sunday dinner, we all saved out newest and most freshly washed clothes for church on Sunday. Even our underwear was marked with the days of the week and the traditionalists among us never wore Sunday underpants on Tuesday.
Some of us saved the frosting on cake for last. (The cake that was saved for Sunday.)
My family laughed each Chrismas as my mother called out "Save the bows" during the gift exhange.
Someone told a story of a woman who was buried with a fork in her hand. She had told her pastor she liked it when a waiter would say"Save your fork" because she knew something better was coming.

Dusty Clouds

Ruth Graham wrote a book of poems called "Clouds are the Dust of His Feet." The sky is busy with their puffiness this morning and I try to memorize the shapes of edges and their flow across the blue. Ever changing, they bring contrast and design to the world outside my window.
Change is refresing design and sharpens my outlook.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Liquid Music

Painting along with the Gaither's singing, I let the sweet old hymns permeate my soul, as watercolors blended on my paper. "Stepping in the Light," and songs of going home to Heaven. I halfway prayed "Why didn't you give me the gift of music?" Something inside me said "Look at what you have in your hand. You are making music with a painting of mustard fields and oak trees. They sing to me. "

Friday, March 20, 2009


The birds are back. A pigeon and a small bird I forgot the name of flew into my patio, landed on the same spot where I had put bird seed last summer. the pigeon looked at me as if to say "Where is my food?" New rules here, no bird seed because the squarrels eat it and become pests. I said to the one climbing up the redwood trunk. "It is all your fault"

Spring means new outside projects, like repainting a rusty baker's rack without shelves. The maintenance man promised shelves. Meanwhile-----

Life in a Garden

I am transplanted into a retirement center, learning to live richly in a blend of backgrounds and ethnic cultures. Colorful diversity descibes my friends and neighbors. Smiles and gestures comprise some conversations with those who speak other languages. Adapting to life in close contact with others requires humor and grace. At this stage of life preferences and prejudices wear deep ruts in our souls.

So many lives, an abundance of life experiences and there are stories behind every door. This is my story and I am opening the door.