Thursday, September 30, 2010

Don't Give Up!

One of the hard things I have learned (to some degree) is that if you want something you have to be willing to work for it. If you want to get to the hidden lake you must be in condition to walk the long trail. If you want to ski down the mountain you might have to take some lessons and train before going on a ski trip. If you want to fit into those ski pants you must change some eating and exercise habits.

Each of these vistas I could not have seen from the road. I had to walk quite a distance on trails to see them. Each site was a thrill, and its own reward for not giving up. The beauty of such panoramas was enhanced by knowing that so few people get to see them; that I could share them, because of my perseverance, with folks that might never get to view them otherwise. I have these places in my memory, accessible for visits to remember smells, flowers, mountains, and special time with my husband. I treasure them, especially because I worked so hard to get to a place to see them.

I encourage you to persevere, run the race before you, and don't give up!


Do not be one of those who, rather than risk failure, never attempt anything.
Thomas Merton

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Olympic Peninsula Beaches

When we were hiking trails down to the beaches on the Olympic Peninsula it was a little disconcerting because it was different from what I am used to seeing. The rain forests were full of moss, mushrooms, lichen, slugs, and decaying trees. The beaches were windy and cold, overcast, and filled with gulls that flew way too close. It took a little deep breathing to let myself just be in the space of immense rocks and expanse of waves. The transformation was quite incredible.

I found myself thanking God for the mysteries and things He leads me to that are not clear. The enormity of what I do not understand is overwhelming in the face of oceans and huge cliffs. It amazes me when I look at a huge sky or mountain as well, and know that God made them for us to enjoy. Life is manifesting on misty beaches, glacial meadows, rain forests, and deserts. We truly serve an amazing Creator!


By wisdom the Lord laid the earth's foundations,
by understanding he set the heavens in place;
by his knowledge the deeps were divided,
and the clouds let drop the dew.
Proverbs 3:19-20

Monday, September 27, 2010

Asking Big

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us...
Eph. 3:20

Do we really believe this? Do we let our imaginations fly and our dreams go wild when we ask? We limit ourselves so much, often believing that we will not get what we ask for. We know, if we are honest with ourselves, we do not want to work for those things we dream. We stop short of the leaps of faith that engage us in courageous and outlandish pursuits and astonishing victories. We settle for the mundane because we do not ask for and work for something bigger.

To be sure, I don't get everything I ask for. I wanted to see moose and bears in the North Cascades of Washington State last week. Didn't. Saw incredible turquoise lakes, beautiful waterfalls, bountiful vineyards and orchards. My basket was full of harvest even without the bears.

Then came Mt. Rainier. We were on a 7 1/2 mile hike up Mt. Rainier. As the trail grew in elevation and difficulty, and the temperature dropped, I sent my husband on to finish and turned at an intersection to take a different trail through wildflowers down to the Paradise Inn. I could catch my breath and take pictures of the wildflowers at my leisure. To be sure, it was still quite a trek to go as far as I did.

We had heard earlier that there were bears sighted at a different trail. It was not the one I was on. Nonetheless, I prayed, "Jesus, you know my heart. I SO want to see a bear here. I am so thrilled to be here in this glorious place. Thank you for making all things come together for us to be able to come see this place. I love you..."

As I neared the Inn, I saw a small crowd. Since I had seen a deer in the parking lot that morning I assumed they were seeing deer. When I got closer I could see that they were watching a black bear and her cub. WOW! I was invigorated and decided not to go inside. I turned around and started down a small .3 mile hike to Myrtle Falls. The autumn colors were fantastic, and I knew Eric would not be in for awhile from his continued hike higher up the mountain. As I neared the Falls there was a brown black bear up on the hillside. As I followed him with my lens he ran in and out of view. Then he stopped and stood up. I have seen many bears in my travels, but only one other light-colored black bear. I have NEVER seen one stand up! I was giddy in thanking God for this gift.

I don't believe that prayers should be a shopping list of 'I wants'. However; I believe that we are to ask boldly and joyfully. God loves all his kids; but I think being a parent myself, that He delights in grateful kids. That attitude of gratitude keeps my heart pointed with great expectancy to joyful pursuits. I get to come home and offer praises back to God through my blog to encourage you all to ask big!

Sensing the Sacred

We drove into the south entrance of Mt. Rainier around 5:30 headed for our night's lodging at the Paradise Inn. The drive was quite ethereal through barely visible roads due to intense ground fog. We knew great mountains were all around us, but could not see a single rock. The outlines of trees were the only things to guide us safely on the roads. We finally made it to the Inn and got tucked in for the night.

As I opened the curtains the next morning I was pleased to see a deer in the parking lot and two grand peaks clearly visible. I knew neither one could be Mt. Rainier because they were equal in height and not covered with snow. I dressed quickly to run outside the Inn and see where the grande lady stood. I nearly fainted as I saw her rise above the fall-colored hillside. It was quite startling to realize how much she rose above the other towering peaks that in their own right were stunning.

I heard from several fellow travelers that they had been to the park several times and never saw her totally uncovered. In fact, only an hour later she was covered by clouds. After a quick breakfast and short hike we got in the car to see if we could get her reflection in the lakes down the road. Success!!! But later on a midday hike she showed her peak above a massive expanse of clouds. It was extremely shocking to see how far above the clouds she stood. The vision was mind-boggling because the amount of distance between the treed hillside and the peak above the clouds was almost impossible to connect to the fact of the rest of the mountain being hidden behind the screen.

Experiences like this help me to practice sensing the sacred. I cannot see God but can surely sense His love, direction, grace, compassion, invitations, sweetness, grandeur, and spirit. It is good to stop, be still, and KNOW that He is God. What a joy it is to know I am His child! He is so grand, but close enough to hold my hand, fill me with freedom, and dance with me through a joy-filled life!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Long Stretches

This year has been full of some long stretches; difficult pathways that would lead to very different endings. My mother has suffered excruciating disintegration of her spine. I went to help her with convalescing; a long drive by car of over 900 miles each way. Ten and twelve hours driving two days in a row is a new experience for me. I can report that mom is doing great, and feeling better than she has in 20 years.

The other long stretch is the final journey by our long-time friend, Jim, to his death on September 9th. He was noticeably declining for almost a year. As he lost more freedom, more friends found him and surrounded him with care in his last months. The meeting of these different groups of people has formed a harvest of some amazing new friends.

I was fortunate, along the roads through TX, OK, KA, NE, WY, CO to be blessed with wonderful fields shouting God's glory even when I could not. I felt a little lost at times; both physically and spiritually.I was inadequate in both journeys,(my friend and my mother), but believe that God gave me grace in words, actions, and courage to keep on the lighted path. When I was lost He would find me. The prizes, after tough races, are especially beautiful. Furrows in fields may mimic added furrows in my face, along with some gifts of understanding, maturity, and humility that have stretched my heart.

These fields along the way to and from my mother, spoke of harvest, sowing and reaping, planting seeds, and most of all the generosity of our God. Even in death there is life. As the seed falls to the ground, giving up its essence, there is new birth and new life to come in the next season.


Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths.
Ps. 25:4