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We have all been there

I am often amazed at how much the word of the Lord integrates and feels familiar in our lives.
There are very few problems we cannot find in either the Psalms or the Proverbs.
I love the way they relate to us on many levels of our heart cries, or our hunger for something deeper.
In Proverbs 17:22: we find these words:
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.
Have you ever had a broken spirit? It is heavy and it weighs you down. I was in this place before.
It was deep and empty like a well, you could not see the bottom or see where it would stop.
I had to keep trusting in the process even when the process wasn’t clear.
I had to push forward and past the terrible darkness I felt deep inside my spirit.
It was like breathing with no air, walking with no energy. At the time all I wanted to do was sleep.
My heart cries often felt like this: in Psalms 77:1-6 :
I cry out to God; Yes I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me. When I was in deep trouble I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted towards the heaven, but my soul was not comforted. I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help. You don’t let me sleep, I am too distressed even to pray! I think of the good old days, long since ended, when my nights were filled with joyful songs. I search my soul and ponder the difference now.
We have been there. All of us. Even those who don’t admit it. Darkness has followed us at some point in our lives.
Each of us have had nights of lost sleep, we have walked the floors with a deep heaviness of soul. From the depth of emotion there is a difference.
There is a deep unsettling. A deep stirring and agitation of spirit. We wait. We pray for healing and we heal slowly.
Then in time we begin to realize, as we heal, that we have never been alone. He was always there.
But he was waiting… for us to ask him to remove our heart ache and turn it to a deep appreciation for HIS deep love for us.
It is hard to imagine but, sometimes when we are in our dark places that is where we grow the most. In the unseen places of spirit and soul.
When it happens and we feel restored, than we can once again say, what we find in Psalm 108:1 :
My heart is confident in you, O God; no wonder I can sing your praises with all my heart.
And I love this visual ‘representation of His love for us.’
I can see it, the imagery of HIM who loves us… bending down.
Have you ever allowed yourself to go to a child’s level? leaning in to listen?
Psalm 116: 1-2 :
I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayers for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!

A quiet voice

As I was going through some old writings of mine I found notes about the passage in 1 Kings 19:11-13:
Our Pastor shared with us.
[“Go out and stand before me on the mountain” the Lord told him. “And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there as an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle and quiet whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”]
This passage gave me much to think about.
It is a logical question when Elijah was supposed to be with the people. Only he was fearing his life and didn’t want them to harm him so he decided to hide.
God knows our hearts and sometimes he has to ask us the hard questions, even when he already knows the answers.
If you read the passage Elijah tried to explain to him what the people were doing and how it frustrated him. In order for God to have Elijah ‘get the point’ he had to show power and gentleness in the same lesson.
The thought I had tossing in my mind like a dryer full of warm clothes, God addressed him in a whisper. In order to hear a whisper we must lean in and focus.
God whispered… whispered in a soft quiet voice. It is that spoken word, we read about in Genesis when he SPOKE life into existence.
We have all heard about the horse whisperer book, and maybe even watched the movie. Then there was a baby whisperer book, dog whisperer book and perhaps more that I don’t even know about. But the thought I am trying to share is this. In order for someone to hear a whisper, one has to slow down and quiet their heart.
The purpose of those books is to teach the reader how to calm down and quiet a scared and unruly behavior.
In a very quiet way, teaching gently in order for trust to take place.
I would love to challenge us today to ask how often we slow down long enough to hear a ‘small soft whisper?’ Do we unplug ourselves from the phone chatter or other daytime noises to really listen? We make time for other voices but do we make time for the gentle voice of God?
This passage tells me how much God will do to get our attention. The powerful then the peace. Both are effective only one is more intimate.
To be relational from the standpoint of silence. It is calming. It is ministering to the inside spirit of us.
When you think of a whisper it is intimate. Private. For just a few.
One day my grand daughter came into the den where I was doing some writing. She said “grandma I have a secret, let me tell you.” As she came closer to me to whisper it in my ear, I realized it was for her and I only.” She told me and then she giggled. Knowing that her secret was safe and heard and I wouldn’t share it.
Isn’t that kind of like what God is doing? In order for us to hear him we must stop what we are doing, lean in and listen.
It’s a holy hush moment.
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Be still, know my power. Pay attention I have something important to ask or share with you.
God showed Elijah power before he showed him peace.
The calming effect of a whisper is a gift given to us. I challenge you today to grab a piece of paper, brew a cup of tea and quiet your heart, so you can begin to hear the whisper he is sharing with you. Be quiet, settle in, listen with your spirit as He says to you: “Be still and know that I am God.”

Fathers day reflections

Today would have been my dad’s birthday..HPIM1048
He was born in 1927 a long time ago. He saw many changes in the world he was born in.
He was a cowboy and a good one too, and was well known in the area where he lived, a sheep shearer, auctioneer.
He was one of the best and many people knew his name.
I have shared on this blog how, when we were little he left us. It was always a hard thing to realize he was gone.
As far as we knew he just went somewhere.
They were married about 10 years and then, he was gone, just drove away not knowing if he would ever return.
Soon our reality came to be, just our mom and us little girls.
I never went through a lot of blame and anger or accusations or bitterness. I just grew up without a Father’s love.
That impacts a little girl. She learns confidence from her dad, she learns many things from a dad who walks beside her.
When he was gone we had to fill in our own gaps, of self esteem, of hope and life lessons.
Kind of hard when you are a little girl, confused and not always capable of understanding adult decisions and choices.
I would love to have given him cards and gifts, throughout the years.
I couldn’t as we didn’t really know what he was up to or where he lived.
Questions followed me for years, as to why a dad would leave?
Feelings felt deep within could never be shared or felt.
Crying was not ok in our home. The deep sorrow and sense of loss, were hidden very deep and life was hard for us as we began a new life without him.
Sometimes I remember having the thoughts of ‘was I not important enough?’ for him to stay and be with us.
I know it was the thoughts of a child, but abandonment reaches deep inside the core of who we are, and teaches lessons we were never supposed to learn.
We were left unprotected and vulnerable. I don’t know why it has never angered me, I learned after years of therapy, I didn’t need to know the reason why he left our little home.
Our mother was lost and confused herself so she really couldn’t reach out to us, her three little children.
She managed. We had grandparents too who helped, but that could not fill the void of a dad who was never there.
Years went by, many schools, many experiences and many birthdays, came and went.
Dad’s birthday is the same as Father’s day to me. His day, his time to be special.
Only we had a day in May and then a day in June, filled with a quiet time of reflection.
No celebrations. No cards or gifts. Later on as he grew older he entered back into our lives.
They even remarried. The first love never left, it was just put on hold.
I could send him a card then, and even call. It was nice to say ‘Happy birthday dad.’
For the first time in years we could build a relationship as adults.
I can’t do that now. He passed away three years ago. The deep loss returned only this time it was more resolved.
They were living in an assisted living home together.
It was hard for him to give up his independence, but he did it for her.
Life changed for them by the time they were in their 80’s their bodies were broken and worn, and the energy just to survive was all they could gather, and between the two of them they needed caregiving in a secure setting. 
Today I wish to say Happy Birthday dad. It is your day, just like Father’s day. A day to reflect and remember.
I learned to forgive and heal and grasp hold of the memories of a dad I had come to know, but perhaps HE was the one who gave me a gift.forgiveness-b
When he healed my heart.heart-for-blog.

Reflection on Mother’s day

This was my second year without a mother. DSCN1032DSCN1032IMG_3462.
She died two years ago from a terrible condition called Parkinson’s disease.
It takes so much away from the ‘one who is ill.’ She managed it for a few years until it got more than she could handle and my dad was pretty weak.
So they ended up in an assisted living home. It was a big sacrifice for my dad as he was a cowboy who loved to be outside.
He had COPD and couldn’t breathe without oxygen, and then he got congestive heart failure.
So for them to be in a care setting was both safe and good for them.
Although he grumbled about the food, and the ladies who lived there. Most of the time ladies are the one’s who are in these places since they tend to live longer.
Mom progressively got worse and got to the point of needing help in standing, walking, feeding and bathroom duties.
It was very different to see her so dependent on others.mom alone (2) She could stand but not for long, she could walk using a wheeled walker with hand brakes, although she would often forget the brakes needed to push down in order to work. She could talk in little whispers, and she sometimes had a very funny personality which was a new ‘experience for us’.
When we were growing up as little ‘kids and older’, she made it very clear to us she didn’t like animals. Didn’t like the hair or the mess.
So when she became older in these care homes, she softened and began to be both fond of and fascinated by the house dogs.
They had two pugs that were slightly round. Very sweet and very friendly.
When I realized the fact that she liked them, I began the process of knowing she was not the same mother I have known.
Parkinson’s took a lot of who she was away, and most of the time she could not process the words she wanted to share.
We would ask her, “do you like the dogs?” and she would say, “yes”.
Not a lot of chatter just a  simple answer to the question.
mom 2013 with Pug
My husband lost his mom 6 year’s ago. My mom left two years ago, we don’t have our dad’s either.
So Father’s day and Mother’s day are just not the same now, even though we are parents and grand parents.
It is different. Each year brings new and old memories. Our thoughts drift back to years ago when it used to be a big deal
to present the mom’s with pansies and viola’s and geraniums too.
It became a tradition until it wasn’t anymore.
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A reason for the word

Three weeks ago we were in the hospital, I was viewing this as I waited for my husband to come out of surgery.
IMG_1181 [737541] view 1
The mountains and the valleys are beautiful where we live and it was a nice ‘change from the hospital walls’.
view two
He is doing well, his leg is healing, he had a set back with a major infection but that is healing and I think it is a time for us to move forward with our retirement plans.
Anytime someone is in the hospital there is a certain amount of stress. Also a change of routine and schedules.
I ate foods I normally would not eat the first day and part of the second day I took my own snacks.
He came home with a walker, cane and not much of an appetite.
Drugs have a way of doing that, which could be good except they also can be upsetting.
I know I am not one who can take strong medications, I have a high pain tolerance and usually do fine.
Our next plan is to get him driving as he doesn’t really like mine.
Then we will go see some travel trailers or motor homes.
Once we settle on the camping type rig we like, it will be fun to go and enjoy some time away.
Soon summer will be here and the grandchildren will be out of school.
We don’t have to wait any more for the weekend.
He retired and so we are free to go anytime we choose.
reveal
The Lord has been showing me many reasons why my word of the year turned out to be reveal.
I will share as I get more ‘information and validation.’ It is very clear there was a reason for this word.

A few pictures

depoe bay b our Oregon coast.
fall drive c Our valleys and vineyards
beautiful tree A few old trees
IMG_3603 A covered bridge
meal-time.-mommy-and-baby-bird A bird family
july-2011-033 A picture {can you see it?}
beach The beach
Oregon-by-Shelley-Collis A green valley

Resting and re-grouping

This last week or two have been quite the interesting ones.
My husband had a full knee replacement surgery. It went well other than a few glitches and issues.
He is recovering as far as the knee goes, he can bend it and it is healing properly.
The new problem is an infection and that is being treated very aggressively.
Prayers and good antibiotics have helped in this process.
The thing he has to do now is rest and let the healing take the time to do what it needs to do.
I know it’s hard but he has no choice.
Next week the 29 staples will be removed and he can learn to bend again without pain.
Before his surgery he was given a day of fun. He had a two hour flight scheduled out of Hillsboro and it was just what he needed.
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They took off in a small plane and decided to go up and over Mt Hood. Before doing that they flew over our house and neighborhood.
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The views from up high are way different that what we see below.
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This is a field by his old work site. It looks totally different from the level of a car.
They flew over Portland and the city buildings were amazing I don’t have those pictures yet.
They flew over the Oregon City bridge and water area, he said it was amazing.
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The day was beautiful and sunny. They had clear skies with fluffy clouds. Heading to Mt Hood it was beautiful and majestic.
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The majesty and glorious mountain covered in snow, with rugged beauty.
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Our God is so amazing to create such beauty and power in a mountain. Very much like Mt St Helen’s before the volcano changed it’s look.
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When he came out of the sky and back onto land his smile was wide and he was so happy.
It was a gift of a lifetime.
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As soon as he could he was ready to share the stories and pictures to anyone who wanted to see them.

The reason

I haven’t written for a little while because my husband retired, we had a party at his work, we had a few days off and then helped our son and his family move.
He had a full knee replacement surgery on the 12th and came home on the 14th.
So we are in a recovery mode.
It will take a few weeks for his pain level to even out, and then he can one more time learn to walk on a new knee.
There were a few complications but all in all he did very well.
Two days in the hospital and a night of sleeping in the recliner chair.
He is ready to get back to our familiar routine.
I made home made dinner last night and he wasn’t too hungry, I think the pain medications affect the appetite.
This afternoon the door bell rang and I opened the door to find a delivery lady with a bouquet.
He is sweet, sneaky guy, don’t know when he set that up.
I am taking a short pause before I get back into long term writing again.
Until then hang in there and remember God is with you always.
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Retirement

Today is my husband’s official day of retirement.
He left the company yesterday knowing that he would not return.
The first few months won’t really feel any different, next week is a week off. That could feel like a vacation.
Then he will have a full knee replacement surgery which will also require recovery time.
I don’t imagine retirement will hit him till at least the first week of June.
He has been on the job for 37 years. That is a long time. A lot of designing and planning.
He was a design engineer for a dental company designing all aspects of the dental units.
It seems strange to say “was”… he still is a designer but that skill won’t be used as much now.
He wants to find a motor home, or a truck and trailer. He wants to take some time to fish.
Just times for relaxing. He deserves it.
a-man-and-his-boat
He won’t be using the phontoon boat as much and he doesn’t have a dog.
But retirement could still mean a lot of fun.
We are figuring it all out and soon it will be a blur of memory and a wonder why, we were so ‘concerned.’
I think he feels a bit strange, to know he is not going back there to work.
He might even feel a bit displaced because for a man, identity forms within a job title.
He had his exit review. They wanted to know why he was retiring early.
His answer to them, “because I can.”
Yes because we can. That is a good enough reason.
a-man-and-his-boat-and-dog

Happy Easter Weekend

We start our weekend out with a birthday breakfast for our grandson Josiah, he turns eight years old today.
The tradition is for each grandchild to go out for breakfast with grandpa, the choice is theirs where to go.
Then we will go to his house for a party with his family.
After that we have softball game for our grand daughter Hannah who is 12.
Then we will get ready for our ‘dinner’ for tomorrow, the traditional ham and potato’s and assorted dishes to go with that.
Tomorrow will be Easter service then home for dinner and relaxing.
A good weekend that is both busy and full of family.
Happy Easter to my faithful encouraging readers.IMG_20160325_145717 [2843460]IMG_20160325_145813 [2829557]
[Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him, for the Lord is your life.]