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Friday, December 24, 2010

Storms ahead but hope is here!

Ferry crossing a few weeks ago with severe weather warning interrupting radio on mainland

Merry Christmas!
This last month, as we travelled back and forth every week to the mainland, major storms and dark clouds brewed on the way. At one point, severe weather warnings interrupted the radio station as we drove.
All around us friends and family are experiencing other kinds of great storms, (one reason that this blog posting has taken low priority.)

If you are going through dark storms or know of others who are, we pray that this Christmas you might know the amazing light-help that came to earth. Jesus, second person of the godhead, co-creator of heaven and earth, humbled himself, because "God so loved the world"* conceived by the Holy Spirit, born by the virgin Mary, so we, who are imperfect and sinful and in darkness, might have a way back to a Holy God.

Jesus, sacrificial lamb of God, whose birth we celebrate today, came to live a perfect life, take on our sins and die for us on the cross. His resurrected body returned to the right hand of God, and he sent us, who believe and follow him, the Holy Spirit to guide us and counsel us in all the storms of life. We pray you might also believe and and discover the light in the darkness.

"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12

 Jesus calming the storms Luke 8:22-25
* John 3:16 "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Thursday, November 25, 2010


4 year old grandson Dylan held up his placemat

At a Montessori preschool, his first year enrollment, I’ve been bringing him to school on Thursdays when his Mom goes to doctor’s appointments. Last Thursday, attending his Thanksgiving soup day which they helped make, they had a program before the meal when the children said what they were thankful for, reading from their hand woven placemats. Many thankful for toys, pets, parents, games, but Dylan surprised all, saying he was thankful to God.

“Have you never read, ‘from the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise?’” Jesus NIV (Matthew 21:16) from Psalms

“Let the little children come to me for such is the kingdom of heaven.” NIV Matthew 19:14

We wish you a blessed Thanksgiving and may you learn from the mouths of little children.

We praise You, God, even in rough times, for all that you provide, your help whenever we ask, your healing and wisdom in all things.                                                   Have a wonderful Thanksgiving   year.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Changes of the season

Quercus red oak in Autumn glory

 Outside my wrting loft window I notice the oak, putting on new color, readying itself for the bareness of winter. The change comes as a surprise since I have not spent much time at my writing desk lately. Change seems to be happening not just with the season but everything around us.
The grape vine yielding its grapes to birds, bursts into color

 I've stopped writing. Words do not come easy. So here is a link from last October.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Disease spotted and treated

 Spots on the espaliered pear
growth hidden on the underside of the leaves

A month ago, when Ciscoe Morris visited us, he pointed out a canker on the lilacs, mentioning it did not look good, and might be hard to get rid of. Then last week when we were touring the garden with another guest, I noticed similar spots, large red and circular on the espaliered pear. Looking underneath seeing the strange cankors, I immediately picked every damaged leaf off the tree and put them in a bag to burn. I don't know if this disease is systemic and will appear on remaining leaves or external and by picking the leaves off,  no spread will happen. I am hopeful the tree will return to health.

October is a hard month for me because I remember being diagnosed with breast cancer, at the beginning of this month. Because of a quick detection and treatment including radiation and chemotherapy, I am alive and cured after 16 years.

I pray for wisdom and peace for those close to me and others who have been diagnosed recently:
  • the right doctor and treatment would come quickly,
  • be protected from further harm from the wayward cells,
  • filled with the Holy Spirt that penetrates the darkness to remove cancer cells and remove them forever.
  • God, uphold families as they face difficult times. Surround them with your love.
  • wisdom for myself as I separate out my experiences in order to better help others.

Jesus, the light of the world, penetrate the darkness sending out your radiation light to expose and destroy the terrible tumors. Destroy what wants to destroy others and bring healing and health.

"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." Jesus ,John 8:12

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lessons on Joy

Along the path to the cottage, traveled every day is a seasonal bed of lupines and oriental poppies in the spring, shastas and lemon balm in the summer and in the fall anemone blanda. We clear a space of all but the anemones and soon, always seemingly by surprise the autumn crocus pushes through the ground for its glorious display.

In the blank spaces of life, joy appears, hardly noticeable at first, pushing it's way through the bare soil.  It waits underground often in my life until this time in autumn to make its display.

I have been praying for over a year for joy. "O Lord, open my eyes to see your path of life, the sovereign sight that in your presence is fullness of joy and at your right hand are pleasures forever more." taken from Psalm 16:12.  Joy began to appear when a friend asked us if we could house Kitty from Shepherd's House last week for 5 days. I was invited to attend one of her talks and when she started to talk about joy, I took notice. I asked it she could see me, so she showed me ways to increase joy through specific cooperative practice.

  • Meet left eye to left eye with people who are glad to see you, (brain research discovered this goes to a joy center).

  • Look at circumstances in a different way - not "positive thinking" nor "Polyanna" but looking back or beyond the present with the help of Jesus.

  • Forming deep relationships with other believers.

  • Being grateful every day, speaking out loud.
I was skeptical because I have always wanted to be myself, neither having a facade or pretending to be someone else,  nor drumming up joy from my own strength, bucking up. When the prayed-for-joy didn't come, I prayed for wisdom regarding joy  and this week  when Kitty came, the Lord said, "Here are my answers to your prayer for joy."

"These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full." John 15:11  (ESV)
Now I have a way to "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.." James 1:2 (ESV)
Thank you LORD for your unfailing love.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Thoughts of the last two weeks in July

Time has stepped up its pace. Not only does there seem to be an axis change, but a time change. I know the clocks don't get it, but then they are adjusted by man not any other external source..I know the sun and stars are still on track or we would notice.

Perhaps there is just a time when everything seems so much faster so that we have to stop, "get it", evaluate our time and let other things go to create more bare space. Only then do more pleasant surprises appear. Here are several.

1. Two weekends in a row the end of July, two separate delightful families with Rafiki Foundation Inc came to visit and speak at our home and at our church. Called by God to work with orphans in Africa, they followed, left behind all and were greatly blessed as were we to have them in our home. We are privileged to help support them.

Anderson family finishing term with Rafiki in Uganda

Pederson family on furlough from Rafiki Village Nigeria

2. God is not far. He knows the business or times of our days and wakes me up when the day is fullest with his raven alarm clock outside my window...three sets of auk auk auk and two of auk auk. I thank God for the raven. God knew that I needed to seek Him first before the day of debut, when I was asked to sing a song on stage with Doug before a crowd. I asked for God to be evident in what I did by His power and grace,serving some purpose as did the morning raven song. I believe God used me to help Doug grieve his wife's death through this song.

Autumn Leaves

3. Two grandsons, cousins, came for a whole week to visit without parents -a wonderful time with many memories for all.

Grandson cousins on our boat going crabbing

If we hadn't stopped what we were doing and created space in our lives, see what we would have missed.
What in your life can you stop and change so God has a chance to speak to or through you and bless your life?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Serendipity in the bare space

In the space where a dead Kittsgate rose bush lay, teasel flew in.
How many things come into your life unexpected? A new experience, a new vision or a new outlook changes your mood, vision, future or just encourages you.  It often takes a bare space in your life before unexpected changes happen.
I have cleared a lot out of my life, including the writing loft where I don't seem to write. I even stopped the blog for a month as I reevaluated my life and priorities. In cleaning up the loft, a paper came to the surface, husband Neil's list for  remodelling our guest house in 2006. At the top of the list was "grow some teasel," surfacing just after I noticed the weed that had been growing outside all winter was indeed teasel.
God who knows the desires of our hearts, fills in the blank spots in our lives as we turn to Him.
This week I hope to catch you up on some of the serendipitous events of this last month.  This is just a tease -l.
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Going for the gold

Mat-Su Valley from Hatcher's Pass

"Have you gazed on naked grandeur
where there's nothing else to gaze on,
Set pieces and drop-curtain scenes galore,
Big mountains heaved to heaven,
which the blinding sunsets blazon,
Black canyons where the rapids rip and roar?
Have you swept the visioned valley
with the green stream streaking through it,
Searthed the Vastness for a something you have lost"
Have you strung your soul to silence?
Then for God's sake go and do it;
Hear the challenge, learn the lesson, pay the cost...."
"The call of the Wild", Robert Service
We did!

Independence Mine tracks

The next generation of gold miners at Independance Mine Hatcher's Pass

I remember summers in Nova Scotia, listening to relatives talking about the lure of the gold. Relatives on both sides worked in gold mines and seemed to be always on the look out for nuggets in streams and slag piles. So it is only right (or wrong) to raise up the next generation searching for the gold. As Robert Service wrote in " The Spell of the Yukon"
"I wanted the gold, and I sought it;
I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was it famine or scurvy- I fought it;
I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold, and I got it-
Came out with a fortune last fall, -
Yet somehow life's not what I thought it,
And somehow the gold isn't all...."


and panning for gold

at Cooper's Landing,  Kenai peninsula AK

And "Olympic practise" at Wasilla Ice rink
Family time is precious.

But "Lord you are more precious than silver, Lord you are more costly than gold... and nothing I desire compares with you." music and words by Lynn DeShazo

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day

We watched fireworks display this year from our porch.(last year's video)

Here are some random thoughts today as we celebrate our country's independence.

  1. We returned from Alaska to find the barn swallows fledged from the nest outside our back door now independent and new monthly tenants happily taking up residence. Here a video of previous year's fledglings.
  2. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Declaration of  Independence. Pray we can preserve these rights.
  3. How prayer underpinned American Independence
  4. A wonderful day of church, parade, picnic and games in the park, baseball game and celebration of our liberty.(video not put together yet)
We are grateful that we could spend over a week with all our family in Alaska, for the freedom to travel and meet together and for God's blessing on our time. I will try to post some highlights throughout this coming week.

What are you grateful for? How will you pray for your country?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Alaskan adventures

Away in Alaska with family and having too much fun to stop and work on videos and photos and blog. In the land of the midnight sun, we work and play until the day is done - finding it after midnight.
Will try to add a little at a time this week if we can find internet connection.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

"God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,

The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it ...Dad."
- Author is unknown

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Birds and blooms of June

There is an axis of change in our lives, as we are slowing down to catch up in the garden and to prepare for a family trip.
Here are previous year's thought bites relating to present year's sights.
The roses are in full glory: Paul's himalyan musk rose and Paul's scarlet.
The barn swallows by the back door hatched last week.
The violet-green swallows feed just hatched young in the nestbox that we see from our cottage window.
The neighbor mowed their field and the ravens have had a party most of the week on the banquet left behind.
Blooms everywhere. (Pictures coming this week as soon as I can get my new camera adjustedor borrow Neil's)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The slower I go, the busier I get

Why is it that the more I let go the busier I get
I've concentrated on letting go of everything not set
I've let go of coordinating, singing, writing and art
I've been cleaning and sorting, doing my part.
Time to look at life and what is important to it*
I have been so busy, not even time to do it

So for the garden we've hired help
because Cisco is coming, yelp!
He's speaking on our island,
coming on our land and
staying in our house.

I guess that my time has been spent in the rain
Planting, transplanting, weeding to gain
a respectable garden, long overlooked
until that day that Cisco was booked
It's my husband's fault
He's in charge of events-
gets speakers to come
It will be fun!**

*Not sure about priorities yet

**In August

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day thoughts

Updated blog: May 23, 2015
May 2010: We were "off island" celebrating with family last week, and while at a shopping center received a poppy for remembrance of our veterans. So celebration of life and the freedom given through veterans' work and death  has been on my mind.

Instead of poppies, here is a rose in our garden 2010
  Rosa Altissimo climber
 ( we formerly misnamed Paul's Scarlet) 

The Flanders poppies, our former garden signature, are no longer; but the roses are in full bloom for Memorial Day weekend.   The heart shaped petals  remind me to be thankful for those who fought and died for our country's freedom, our safety and all that we take advantage of every day. I pray you, as well, might be grateful and realize your God given freedom in more ways than one.

"God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (to set us free) Romans 5:8 NIV

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Shades of Purple in Plant Pictures

Echeveria with youngsters on steps to the potager

Chives in potager (and in our soup pots)
Spanish lavender taking over stone steps to lower level orchard

neglected nepeta on bank in front of house
Iris tenax on same bank (looks blue here but actually light purple)
Lilacs and lupines in the long border

It has been a busy week and I am without words...but that is what a picture is worth.
Hope your week has been filled with beauty and blessings.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bitter root Judgment

We called the well guy out last week. There were some problems he needed to resolve. For one, the water was extremely hard since he came last and shut off one of the wells into the system. My hair was dry and frizzy, my skin and lips were flaking and I was getting irritated. The water was also a little bitter.

Buddy from Coldsprings pump lifts the root from the tank (plum tree in the way)
When he opened the cover to the holding tank for the well, roots were swimming in it. So he drained it and had his helper climb inside to clean it out. The huge 6 foot root system perhaps from a fir tree 100 yards away had entered into a very small space below ground between the cover and tank. It searched out water.

Fir root after drying out

There are roots that take over our lives as well. We can’t always understand or see them, but feel the effects. Often it is a result of some harm done to you in early childhood which seems to repeat itself in differing ways causing continuing increasing trauma to you. It is often extremely hard to forgive those who have done great harm to you but it is necessary to ask the Lord to help you to forgive. The bitterness that sets in because of lack of forgiveness affects not only you but those around you who are being defiled because of your actions. Any trauma that feels like the original sends the response that was never aimed at the original perpetrator and soon people around you are judged when they had no intention of hurting you. So you perpetuate the situation and end up defiling others unintentionally as well.
Is there any solution?

Call Jesus to the well. He is the living water. Ask Him to show you the root of the problems you may be having. Where do you have anxiety, pain and no forgiveness? Ask for help to forgive the original perpetrator and others and bring your unforgiveness to the foot of His cross. He came to set you free.

Leave it there. Ask Him to put in you a new and right spirit. He is faithful and will make all things new including you and release you from the pain and suffering and cycle of trauma. Trust in Him to clean out the roots and its residue and put in new wonderful tasting water that calms and gives peace and renewal.

(derived from some teachings of John and Paula Sanford)

Hebrews12:15 “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;” NKJV

Galatians 5:1“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a ‘yoke of bondage.’” NKJV

"He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." John 7:38 NKJV

Where do you need renewal?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Longest living herb in our garden

Marrubium vulgare, White Horehound
"What is the most unusual herb you have grown?" was the question for this week on "Garden Writers Today" Facebook page.
I decided on horehound even though I have a more unusual one for the weekly blog.
6 reasons our horehound is unusual?

  • The herb was the source of my favorite childhood candy in Nova Scotia

  • It was growing on the land when we arrived over 30 years ago, so I combined them into a terrace hedge.

  • The deer do not eat it and white crowned sparrows nest in it

  • Some think it is spelled whore hound and shy away from it. :-)

  • The antidote for my vulnerable illnesses, tea for colds and hard candy for coughs and pneumonia
  • Proving again"The medicine lies close to the source of illness," the Onondaga understanding mentioned by Robin Wall Kimmerer in Gathering Moss: A natural and Cultural History of Mosses

What herbs do you enjoy in your garden and how they might help you?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Nest in geranium hanging backet empty

Everywhere I step, baby birds. First a Spotted Towhee’s fledgling fluffy ball of feathers standing in the center of the stone steps to the lower orchard. Next a young robin, noticed as a result of the mother robin’s chip chip chipping. Next a fledgling junco in the grass at the head of the steps to the main orchard, fledged from the geranium hanging basket. I know I need to watch my steps for sure.

As difficult as it must be for mother birds to train the newly fledged, dependent on mother’s foraging for food but free to fly into danger with no tether, it is even more difficult for you mothers. We even more so must watch our steps every day and  pray.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Almost wordless week

Clematis Montana

Clematis Montana climbing up the Noble fir outside gate  --  inside gate with new plantings
Inside gate in back of the cottage,choisya, rhodys, and cornus hybrid"Eddie's white wonder"

clarodendrum bungii taking over in tall sprouts in the hot bed

Few words here because I again took advise from Billy Collins .

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Thoughts on nesting and families returning

Hanging ivy geranium basket with hidden junco nest

nest in basket

Last week, with the warmer weather, I moved the wintered over ivy geranium hanging basket from the greenhouse and placed it undercover on a hook by the back door. By the end of the day there was a junco nest in it.

I can see now that the junco had a sense of urgency since their usual nesting ground in the long border was disrupted this year in order to battle the bindweed.  It made me realize once more how much we need to be stewards of the earth. Where we take away habitat, we need to provide another spot so all can “be fruitful and multiply.”*  I didn't do this intentionally but see it was God's intention.

The nest boxes for the swallows and wrens were cleaned out last week just in time for the violet-green swallows return. How fun to see them return from the far south to our meadow for the first time since thy left last August landing right at the nest box entrances.

Our minds have been focussed on babies and families flying north. Our daughter and two babies flew north this week, returning to the area for a short visit. So we rushed down to see her and and spend time with grandkids and rest of family. So you can see why the blog focus is around families returning and nesting and babies.

Where and how have you provided important habitat for your family to grow and perhaps return?
How are you taking dominion over the land where you are placed including creatures on it?  Is it with love?

*God said,” Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:2

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Can you hear a quiet voice in a storm?

Last week or so, the temperature dropped, the wind came in force, and like snow, fuji cherry blossoms filled the air.

Then it hailed. Here are the large hail, day-after remains, on the shaded sedum

and on the shaded walkway amongst the self-seeded columbine

Dramatic weather changes catch our attention. In an extremely busy week, it made me stop and think. Elijah in hiding came to mind. God met him at his hiding cave after “first the great and very strong wind,” (it could have included rain and hail). Then came the earthquake and fire and next ‘a still small voice.’”* I thought of the earthquake because we are way overdue for one. So I stopped and tried to listen.

God asks Elijah the same question I have been asking myself, “What are you doing?” Am I where God wants me? This week we stopped, prayed and tried to listen as we made great changes in our operation of our church here on this island. Today we passed on our jobs to others so we can be quietly positioned to meet needs elsewhere. I believe a greater storm is coming where we need to hear the familiar, whispered voice of God and act accordingly.

Where are you? What prevents you from quietly listening? Where does God want to reposition you? What will it take? (Hopefully not an earthquake.)
* I Kings 19:12 “…first a great and strong wind, then an earthquake and then fire and after that the still small voice of God saying, ‘What are you doing Elijah?’”
Esther 4:14 “…yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Mordecai to Esther (NKJV)