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Jeremiah 31:3

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”
The first time this was read it touched me in a very strange way.
For days it seemed like it followed me around, the words, ‘I have loved you’…
that is a personal statement.
I… the LORD… have loved you… meaning me… meaning you… meaning each of us.
With an everlasting love, when I looked that word up it brought light and depth to the verse.
The meaning is: continual for a indefinite amount of time, consistent, on going.
As a parent it felt like it was very much the same as a parent’s love for their child, at times we get frustrated or weary, but we never tire of our love for them.
Then I moved to the word, drawn. “I have drawn you …” and I wondered what did that really mean for us?
The word drawn means a tense pull or force in a direction towards oneself; to attract and move continuously.
So He is saying, “I have drawn you closer to me with unfailing kindness.”
We all like to be with others who are kind.
When I first started therapy with my last counselor I was ‘drawn’ to him by his kindness.
I could relate to that verse since I had felt it and observed it within myself.
He was gentle, his words were soft spoken and very tender.
It was unfamiliar to me, yet it came to be a safe place for me to share because he was non-threatening.
His kindness as the definition explains, was sympathetic and compassionate. He was genuine and concerned.
I could feel that and it did pull me in so that I wanted to go back week after week.
It made our work together easier because I knew he was invested in the process with me.
So when we read the promise, from the Lord.
“I have loved you with an ever lasting love, ongoing and continuous, and I have drawn you, pulled you near me and attracted you to me, with kindness”
We can be assured that he means it and that he is not ever going to let us go.
In the message version of the bible the verse is written like this.
God told them, “I have never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love and more love.”
Isn’t that an amazing promise?
Nothing we do can separate his love for us. Unfailing means we can’t do anything to change it.
I hope that brings you a peace and hope for the day…knowing “you are loved.”

Psalm 90:12

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
Another version says, “Teach us how short our lives really are so that we can be wise.”
And another version says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to you a heart of wisdom.”
Oh what kind and gentle thoughts. Very similar to a prayer.
In order for us to be taught anything we must be willing to receive it.
This verse is sharing with us that our life is a journey as we are passing through it.
The older I get I realize it is short, and it is fleeting.
In a moments notice something could go wrong, and we are faced with heavy hearts.
A year ago some good friends of ours were killed in an accident that was totally devastating to everyone who loved them.
They were out for a bike ride, just an afternoon outing, when a car slammed into them and killed them.
Life was shattered. Life ended. In one afternoon.
I learned through this experience that none of us know when our time is closing in.
None of us know if we are going to be here next year or next week.
Our days are numbered and our ability to impact others with our words, our faith and our love is shortened.
I realize it might sound doom and gloom, but in reality we cannot know what is ahead of us; and really we wouldn’t want that ability, even if it was possible.
We have six grand children and I pray we are able to see them all graduate from high school and possibly a few marriages.
We went to a wedding ceremony yesterday and it was the continuation of a circle, the circle of life.
The pictures displayed of grandparents who went on before them, of their own parents who stood beside them.
The circle of life continues to spin around us.
I like the ‘gain a heart of wisdom’ part, because as I age I feel like I am gaining a new awareness of what is important.
When I was younger it was important to have a nice home, decent car and a job.
Now that I am retired I find it is more important for me to have comfort in my home, good friends and time spent together that is positive and life building.
God often talks about heart conditions.
He knows without a ‘heart change’ we won’t learn and won’t receive from him.
I think this verse is more like a prayer, “teach us Lord, to number our days,” to not expect more than what is here in front of us.
I think it speaks of being wise and mindful, that each decision we make affects the whole picture, of not only our lives but the lives of others in our path.
A heart of wisdom tells me we need to be thoughtful, watchful and careful of not only our words but our plans.
It is a good thing to be open to the lessons with open hearts and open hands.
For if our days are numbered… let us make the ones that we have, good and treasured ones.

It is all in the timing

“I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior.
I have revealed and saved and proclaimed–I, and not some foreign god among you.
You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “That I am God.”
Isaiah 43:12
The word revealed is in the bible 95 times, that is pretty significant to me.
It is a word that as I have shared before, a taking off the mask.
It is a powerful way of allowing trust and vulnerability.
In the book of Daniel 2:19 it reads:
[During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God in heaven.]
I have had things come to me in the dark of the night, when it is quiet and all is resting.
It is a revealing of what needs to take place at times.
Or it is an awareness that all of a sudden, something comes to me; sort of like an aha moment.
Reveal is a powerful word. It is very close to the concept of removing the veil and exposing what is hidden.
It can go many directions and with many different aspects that share it’s meaning.
In Romans a book in the New Testament, of the bible chapter 8:18 it reads.
[I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us.]
Revealed to us, when we are ready, when our eyes are open and we are willing to receive.
In Luke 24:32 it reads,
[“Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the scriptures to us?”]
They were chatting among themselves and he (Jesus) arrived and began to walk with them as a stranger.
Yet they did not recognize him. They did not see him because it was not the right time.
“They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.” Isn’t it great? I found it fascinating that HE (Jesus) was not out to show himself until it was the right time for their hearts to receive what they would see and experience.
Later he did reveal himself to them, as they spent more time with him and participated in familiar settings.
vs 30 it reads, [When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.
Then their eyes were opened (revealed) and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.]
They asked each other, “were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the scriptures to us?”

It is a question worth repeating.
I love the words, “our hearts burning within us.”
Have you ever had that kind of experience of deep knowing, anguish almost and of great intensity?
When we choose to reveal our lives to each other, we make a choice to be known.
When we choose to be vulnerable in a sharing way, our hearts are open to the needs of others.
Just as Jesus had to choose when it was the appropriate time for the men to ‘see him’.
We have to choose when it is the appropriate time for others to know more about us.
It is all in the timing.

Reveal… it’s always about sharing life.

When I shared about the word reveal on my last blog writing, it was hard to ‘open’ my life up and speak about my health issues.
Often times when we are growing up we are told or instructed to keep things private.
Either told to us by someone or a self imposed, ‘I must be silent’ about some things, we learned the lesson.
It is true we must not share everything in our lives like an open book, but to share some things is learning to let others in.
I am not good at that. By nature I am a private person.
I am cautious and careful and choose my words wisely. I choose my sharing even more wisely.
The Lord is showing me that in order for me to let others into my life, I have to share matters of my heart with them even if it uncomfortable to do that.
They cannot guess for that would be foolish. They can know truth so they can walk alongside me and also pray.
Just as I would want my ‘good friends’, to allow me to walk with them through a valley of sadness or sickness.
That is what friendships are for, sharing life, sharing disappointments or joys.
It is in the revealing of oneself that we learn to grow in a relationship with others.
As I wrote before ‘reveal’ is to open up. It is to become aware when we didn’t know before.
I didn’t know I had a blood sugar issue. Once I learned the truths of it, I became aware of how to treat it.
The same thing would apply to a heart that is broken or a wound that is infected that is making our spirit ill.
The body is a combined effort of physical, emotional and spiritual feelings.
When I was sick, for many years my emotions were numb.
I had spiritual feelings but my heart was protected with self imposed ‘doors’ surrounding it.
After being hurt over and over, I wore caution and protective gear over the soft side of me.
When it became clear to me that I had to start sharing and revealing what was going on inside my ‘broken places’,
God led me through a process of revealing the pain and trusting someone with those pieces of me no one was ever allowed to see or know.
Life threatening illness can change our thinking, we no longer speak of ‘what I am doing in ten years,’ we speak of what shall I do today, or tomorrow.
We move from long term plans to short term plans.
It is always about sharing life openly and honestly, and also allowing ourselves to accept our new truths about ourselves.
Just as my best friend has to learn to take care of herself and to follow doctor’s orders for her good.
I have to give up and release my enjoyment of ‘ice cream’ or chocolate cake.
It is not good for me therefore I will exchange one ‘treat for a healthier option’.
In this life I have now, I am able to say, “oh I can’t have that,” and move forward without regret.
Is there something in your life you need to be honest about?
Has God revealed something to you that only you can fix or take care of?
It is in the revealing, when we share life with others, that we open our hearts and trust them.
Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.
Proverbs 27:9

My word of the year

In January I often move into a time of prayer and ask the Lord for a word for the year.
It is a pause for me, as I wait for the right word, and then later watch and wait as it comes to life during the year.
Every word has proven to be the right one for that particular season of life.
This year it was a deeply felt feeling that the word would be ‘reveal’.
I wasn’t sure what it was about or why, I just felt like it was the right one.
The meaning of the word is this:
1. to show clearly
2. to make known through divine inspiration
3. to make (something secret or hidden) publicly or generally known
4. to open up to view: display
I struggled with the word reveal, it speaks to me of exposure.
Of opening oneself up when often it is not the right time, to do so.
I am by nature a very private person so when this word came to me it was hard to grasp.
This year has brought new changes for us.
Retirement has been an adjustment.
Revealing to us the ‘days and the hours’ of spending together.
This year has brought new financial decisions and practices for us.
Revealing a budget that is not tight but not wide open either.
This year has brought to us news of health changes for both myself and my best friend.
Revealing a life threatening illness for her and revealing a diabetic diagnosis for me.
She has to take medications to keep her from getting more ill and I am not needing insulin, just a diet adjustment.
This year has brought home the reality that life is short, and precious and not to be taken for granted.
I struggle with the changes and I challenged God at times and asked why?
He doesn’t have to explain anything to me, the questioning is only for my grumbling attitude to find a voice.
My friend has a beautiful home, a husband who loves her, a family who adores her.
She is a grandma and a precious friend.
She is an amazing women who loves God with everything in her. So why the new challenge for her?
My own diagnosis of diabetes is something I would never have expected.
It is a challenge for me to think of food in a different way now.
For years I didn’t think of food except for the fact I had to eat to live.
I weighed under a hundred pounds many years. It was not a priority for me.
This year I have learned food is my guide, my course, my way of keeping the numbers down.
Not being one who likes needles I tell myself every day when the little poke in my finger takes place,
“this could be worse.”
I suppose it could be life threatening too, if I did not pay attention and ignore the signs or symptoms.
It is a pause for me… to pray about and over this season of our lives.
My friends life and mine.
Oh and the above description of the word ‘reveal’. (to reveal a messy room)
Yes I do have those, in our home. Doors are shut so others do not see the disordered mess.
Exposure is hard when one is learning to reveal parts of themselves.
Whether that be exposing one’s lack of organization or exposing heart conditions that questions why, in the middle of trusting.
I do not understand or pretend to know why our lives are changing.
Those life altering moments I so often write about, is just as revealing as anything we can experience.
During those hard moments of truth, we must decide, I will remain in a posture of thanksgiving.
I will trust in a God who has reasons unknown to me, the why.
I will have faith in the process of living each day as a gift to unwrap and enjoy.
What those moments, reveal to us as the lesson is learned, will open up the divine purpose and inspiration.
As we come to embrace all that life has to offer us.

The next day we were out exploring the area

We set aside a day for exploring, planning meals out and snacks.
The weather was beautiful and we didn’t even have to wear coats.
We went down to the section of the beach that held the wreck of the Peter Iredale ship, the remains have been wrapped in sand for years and it is just a shell of what it was at one time. From wikepedia:[The Peter Iredale was a four-masted steel barque sailing vessel that ran ashore October 25, 1906, on the Oregon coast en route to the Columbia River. It was abandoned on Clatsop Spit near Fort Stevens in Warrenton about four miles (6 km) south of the Columbia River channel. Wreckage is still visible, making it a popular tourist attraction as one of the most accessible shipwrecks of the Graveyard of the Pacific.] There are many pictures in the history of Oregon beaches books if you are interested in the full story.
WE tried to get pictures when people were not standing around it.
After seeing that area of the beach by car, we drove down the road to a place where the intersection of the waters of the Columbia River and the ocean meet.
We had never seen this beach before so it was pretty exciting for both of us.
Powerful and moving, we saw the pelicans flying over head as we were watching dogs splash in the oceans waves.
The beach was calm and beautiful. We were able to see ships out in the ocean and the beauty of the majestic ocean surrounding them.
It is a powerful thing to see a massive ship moving through the ocean fast. It is one thing to watch I cannot imagine how it feels to be on it.
We never get tired of the ocean. It is beautiful and peaceful and ever so powerful.
We love the sounds of the birds, and the waves and the fresh air and occasional ‘person’ who chats with us as we watch the beauty around us.
This time it was a little Mennonite lady dressed in her homemade dress with shawl sewed in her collar.
Her hair pinned tightly under the hat that seemed a bit disheveled.
She was asking many questions of us as they were traveling from Ohio and was not sure which direction to go next.
We finished sharing and we walked back to the parking lot with her and I could not believe her husband was in the passenger seat with grown beard and looking like a typical Amish man or Mennonite man. It was very interesting to see her climb into the drivers seat as they drove away.
Life is full of surprises and we never know who we might meet in the process.
Our days were ending in the campsite and we were heading out the next day to head home.
It was a fun adventure and also relaxing and it also taught us to look at something differently in a new and exciting way.
Next time we will get the same camp site and be more prepared for a better, longer and easier walk.

The trail we hiked

At the campground at Fort Steven’s we discovered a great walking trail.
Since we both are in the ‘walking mode’ and so far like to do it, we ventured into the walk.
It was a clear and beautiful walk. The sidewalk paths were easy to climb and the pathways were amazing.
We walked and talked and enjoyed the occasional bike rider who would come by our way or another walker heading in a new direction.
The walk continued on and was every so beautiful, very peaceful and very easy to maintain our pace.
I love the natural tall grasses. They fill up the spots that might not grow.
There is a ‘beauty to them’ all on their own.
By the time we finished this walk we had made it over five miles. Not bad for older folk who are just trying to learn the fine art of walking.
The area was so pleasant and we just took in the beauty around us as we walked and talked.
Then headed back to our trailer for a rest before having dinner out.

Looking at life differently

Fall is here. Trees are starting to change and the air is becoming more crispy.dscn2054-2
Children are back in school and learning new classes and friends.
Expectations change for everyone. Life is a series of schedules and lists to do.
We have enjoyed this season of ‘relaxing’, and just got back from a trip to the coast.
It was good and surprisingly nice. Normally we didn’t care for the area we decided to stay in.
But this time it was different, we looked at it through different eyes and mindset.
Before we had tent camped in the setting and it appeared dark and overcast with trees.
This time we were in a trailer and we were proactive in finding a site that was open and sunny.
What a difference it was, then we learned the trails all around us and walked them.
One day we hiked over five miles before we headed back to our trailer.dscn2101
We explored the city of Seaside one day and it was much different than we had remembered.
There was a very long boardwalk where we added in a mile or two on our walk.
A lovely beach setting with historical markers.

I found it very fascinating that we had gone this direction with a ‘mindset’ of what we had seen
many years ago and thought we would not enjoy it, but decided to give it a try one more time.
We even saw a ‘old fashioned phone booth that actually looked liked it worked.
Isn’t life like that? Change and surprises.
For instance I am on a new diet program and must eat high protein foods and lots of vegetables.
I have heard that hummus is very good for you. If you don’t mind garbanzo beans it’s a great snack.
Most of the kinds I have found have not been good and thinking there must be one out there I can like,
I kept looking. One day while shopping this one was on the shelf.
I love black olives actually olives of any kind, and then to add fresh vegetables and use it as a dip was a pretty good idea.
In fact today the thought came to me as I was eating a salad, the hummus could be used as a dressing if stirred into the salad.
Thinking new thoughts and out of the normal box is good for us.
Just as we discovered to not believe everything we thought we knew for sure.
We liked the campsite, we liked the day of exploring and now I like this new hummus.
If you are asking how do they ‘all fit into the same blog post?’
It’s all about change. Thinking differently. And being willing to learn new ideas.
How is it for you? do you like change

Fall is here and I am happy.

My favorite time of the year is fall. I love the colors of the trees, the coolness of the air, I love sweaters and boots.
We even got married in the fall, so we could enjoy the season and also get the discount for fall/winter.fall drive b
Soon the season will be here for hot teas, and soups. Raincoats and umbrella’s and flannel sheets.
I don’t so much like winter other than the Christmas season but fall…brings many warm feelings for me.
This November we will be married 43 years. As I look back and reminisce about all the years. It is good.
I am not much of a baker but I do love to create soups and sometimes chicken pot pies.
Oh I also remember making applesauce with my oldest grand daughter, she loved helping me out as we stood by the stove smelling apples and cinnamon.
Warm fuzzy memories hoping she will remember it too, as something special.
Oh and when the children were in school fall was always a beginning point of the new year.
They would get new clothes, shoes, notebooks and coats. So much newness and fun anticipation of what was to come for them.
Fall is always a time to decorate with colors of the season, I bring out leaves and flowers in oranges and browns changing the roses to leaves.
It is fun to rearrange and re-do the house. If only for a few months. I am anticipating a good fall season this year.
My husband is home now and we can travel or do nothing. It doesn’t matter what we choose since we are in our retirement.
A season of change is good.fall-pic-5
I hope for you a wonderful fall. A time for reflection and for taking the time to be ‘thankful’ as we begin to move in this ‘season of change.’

Finishing our vacation finally

In the middle of the blogging and sharing our trip we took off for another one and the story got sidelined. So now I am back to finishing the vacation story.
We left Idaho and headed to Oregon one more time as we were heading home.
One more time through Baker and then one more time through North Powder which is where my grandma’s restaurant used to be.IMG_1753
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We had the opportunity to see beautiful birds, beautiful wild life and beautiful scenery and of course it is always nice to come home.
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It was so hot even the birds knew how to get into the shade to cool off.IMG_1839
At the Powder River we found a spot to remember our parents, my sister had purchased a bag of fresh flowers, she sprinkled into the water in honor of them.
We watched as they fell and then moved into the rivers edge, and some downstream.
It has been hard and sad to have our parents gone. In memory of them, the flowers fell and danced among the ripples and waves. It was a peaceful setting.
We then spent the day finding the old homes we used to live in, as little girls.
I remembered one, the rest of them I didn’t remember.
We found our grandma’s old run down restaurant. The powder club.
As little girls we spent a lot of days and nights in this place, grandma would make us many meals and we would sit in the round bar stools and twirl them around till we got dizzy… I can almost still hear her say, “You girls go play.”
The building across and down the street used to be some store.
The post office is still the same as I remembered it.DSCN1978
The next day we found a few of the old houses we used to live in as well as the houses in Haines and Baker. That night we had dinner at the Haines street steak house.
It was wonderful. Good food and great atmosphere.
The next day after doing a lot of sight seeing and memory making we ate at the historic Baker hotel. It was very good too.
The vacation was ending and soon we would begin to head home.
The next day we would meet very harsh winds through The Dalles and Hood River areas and also we heard later, there was a wild fire following us on both sides of the freeway which my sister and her husband drove near. It was a long and scary trip home.
It was a good trip and one we will remember for a very long time.
I hope it was a good ‘retelling of the story’ for you who have stayed with me on this journey. We travelled almost 2800 miles and through three states.
The miraculous part of it all, was when we got things all put away at home, we headed to the store for groceries and our car blew up. Yes we were 6 minutes from our house within range of AAA and cell service. You ask me if I believe in angels who watch over us?
Yes absolutely. The car is fine now and running better than when we left.
Thank God we were home. Thank God we were safe. Thank God our neighbor is a mechanic.