“The reason one writes isn’t the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald


"But how could you live and have no story to tell?" ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky


"Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph" ~Matt Hardy


“A mother keeps a garden of the heart, planting the seeds of faith and character that give her children hope and purpose for the years ahead.” ~Anonymous


“If your story is never told, it becomes something else...forgotten.” ~Anonymous

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ararat, Armenia and Airports

This posting will be short....I managed to get internet access so thought I would drop a quick note to let you all know....all is well!  A trip developed quite suddenly in the last couple of weeks allowing me to accompany my husband on his trip to Armenia where he is teaching in a DTS (Discipleship Training School) for Youth With A Mission.  I am so absolutely thrilled to be here!  Thirty-five years ago when I joined "YWAM" , this was one of the nations I longed to visit.  God has given me a gift!

When I woke that first morning to see the majestic Mt Ararat right outside our front door, I seemed to be enveloped in "history".  I tried to imagine what Noah must have seen when the ark came to rest on this mountain and the waters receded.  What was it like and how has the land changed in the last thousands of years.....so much to imagine and amazing to be in the midst of this historic land.  

I can't wait to show you photos which will be posted as soon as we return.  (I forgot the attachment for the camera to the computer so it will have to wait.)  We visited a very OLD church yesterday in the mountains from the 12th century.  As I stood in this very dusty, cold and stone chapel, I tried to comprehend what prayers were prayed; what were the heart cries of the people.  Considering the genocide that has taken place in the last century alone, plus all the occupations of Armenia over the thousands of years this land has existed, it goes beyond my heart and mind.  Again, I feel somewhat transported in time to a place with such history.

God is good, even in a land where forgiveness and reconciliation is still being realized.  We arrived on Easter Sunday where for the first time in history Easter and the Genocide Memorial Day fall on the same day.  It usually rains on the GM day, but for the first time again, the weather was fairly nice and seemed significant as the Armenian people become aware that without forgiveness, you cannot celebrate.  

My heart will be full once again when we return and I can share with photos and all that God allowed us to be a part of in this historic land.  I've fallen in love with a mountain and a people....only have to survive the long flights home (there's 3 of these lovely adventures) and the airports....see you soon my friends!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Apple of His Eye

These days I seem to be taking God more seriously at His Word.  When I read the Bible, I want the words & wisdom to be implanted in my heart, yes, so that I do not sin or do wrong against Him or anyone else, but also to feed me and give me life. Our church and small groups throughout the Body, are reading "The Divine Mentor" and I, for one, am being refreshed daily by the insight of this author. But mostly I am being fed as I read and meditate on the pages of my ancient book, which still brings life!

One nugget I came upon recently which just sticks in my heart and mind...Proverbs 7:2 "Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye."  I cannot read my Bible (any book really) without highlighters, pens, my journal and even a dictionary close by.  I bless God each day (& my husband) for my laptop, which now sits close by so I can grab it and log onto an online Bible resource/dictionary.  This phrase..."apple of your eye" grabbed my attention and I thought "where did it come from and what does it mean in this Scripture?"  Some of us are familiar with Psalm 17:8 where David says "Lord, keep me as the apple of your eye." But to guard His teachings in this way....

Here it comes...the original Hebrew idiom means "the tiny reflection you see in the pupil of another's eyes" and the Latin version says "the tiny image of oneself you see when looking into another person's eye."  When God looks into our eyes, He wants to see His reflection.  Hmm...when I look up to God and seek His face, I want to see His face...not mine.  But it brings some joy and excitement to see my reflection in His eyes - I am a part of Him!  Along with that...I want the WORD and His ways, wisdom and commandments to be such a PART of me that it is reflected in my life.  When I look into another's eyes, I want to see what is IMPORTANT AND VALUABLE TO ME....HIS WORD.  And the only way that becomes a part of me is to be fed daily by His Word and in His presence.

(A few other Scriptures that use this phrase...fyi...Deuteronomy 32:10; Lamentations 2:18 and Zechariah 2:8).

Remember the other old idiom..."she/he has her father's eyes"?  Oooh, yes, I (we) want our Father's eyes!!

"Lord, make Your Words the most cherished gift I own - bind them on my fingers and write them on the tablet of my heart.....and reflect them in my eyes...keep them as the apple of my eye."

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Primavera, Fruhlingzeit, Printemps, Vyesna

No matter how you say it....it is Springtime!!  Hmmm, or it is supposed to be.  Here it is April 6th and today it hailed so hard that I could hardly see out of my windshield and slipped and slid on the freeway coming home.  I do remember though...3 years ago when my husband, oldest daughter and youngest son were away in Australia visiting family in April, we experienced snow here in Salem.  So freak weather in April isn't "that unusual".  But I am really so ready for Springtime!  Okay...so I just returned from Hawaii, my tan is fading (or some of it is just peeling away) and my mind is screaming for sunshine, warmth and the smell of spring! 

The other day when we had a few hours in the morning of what you know is a beautiful spring day in the Pacific Northwest, I grabbed my camera and clicked away (in case the coming rain and wind ruined all the blossoms and flowers, I was going to get my memory while I could!).  

I love color, flowers, blossoms and all the smells that come with the birth of Spring!  We live at a slightly higher elevation than the city and have quite a bit of shade, so my daffodils, tulips and all other flowering flora usually blooms at least 2-3 weeks later than a couple of miles down the road. So when they do bloom, I am more than ready for them!  And I get to enjoy them until Bambi and family come along and decide to have lunch!

I have great faith the sun comes out again...tomorrow, tomorrow...there is a song like that, isn't there?...be happy because I know some beautiful days are just around the corner and then we can all stop and smell the roses...or lilacs...or whatever flower happens to find our nose...or camera!  

Friday, April 1, 2011

Love, laughter, luaus and leis

Dear friends...you probably thought I had decided to stay in Hawaii!  It has been nearly a month since I "blogged" (did you know this word is a blending of the words web log??  Can be a noun or a verb...sorry wise old Wikipedia helped me with this one).  Anyway, life has been happening and it has been good.  March was highlighted with Jim returning home from Kamchatka and our trip to Hawaii to celebrate our 25th!  (our son also went on a missions trip during spring break which has its own stories to tell and of which we are very blessed by his involvement!)  God is good all the time and this trip to Hawaii was really a gift from Him.  Through a friend of Jim's, we were able to stay in a beautiful time-share and we also had mileage tickets stored up, so our actual flight was $10 each!

We loved, laughed, attended our first luau - wearing a lei - and had some interesting adventures.  I decided before leaving that unless there are adventures in our lives, we have no stories to tell.  This comes from always praying for safety when we travel and my husband responding with "if we always have safe, noneventful travel, where is the room for adventure?"  Okay, so now I pray for safe, adventurous travel :)

I won't share all but a few of those "adventures"  beginning with discovering at 11:00 p.m. the night before our very early flight the next day that all the Hawaii airports were closed due to tsunami warnings.  We looked at each other in disbelief.  My mother had called a few days earlier to tell me a volcano on one of the islands was erupting and shooting lava 65 feet into the air.  Now our hearts were indeed grieving over the devastation in Japan, make no mistake, but when you are about to leave on your incredible celebration of 25 years - these events were a little over the top!  Adventures indeed!!  In a nutshell, our flight did leave on time and we made it to Kauai (although all the between island flights in Honolulu were either cancelled or delayed due to the tsunami warnings).  Thank God, there wasn't the devastation that could have been in the islands, although a couple were hit but not catastrophically.  Kauai escaped any damage.

We were greeted in this island paradise by it's #1 occupant.....which a friend told me before were everywhere...

A native told us they have no predators and there is really no where to go...it is an island :)   

We went snorkeling (which we absolutely love!)  The incredible creativity of God in the beauty and variety of fish always blows me out of the water (sorry for the pun :)  Several beaches were excellent for this and we had so much fun, one beach you didn't even need the mask/fins as the fish were swimming in about 3-1/2 feet of water and were visible just standing there.  We opted to go on an official snorkeling tour which was 5 hours long, included lunch and took us up the Na Pali coast (west coast of island) which is only accessible by boat, helicopter or very long hikes from the north).  We booked the tour through a recommendation of a friend and the website looked great!  However, adventure #2 awaited us when we arrived @ the location:

Check in desk.....

not really, but it was standing next to the "office"

We wondered if we were in the right place...we were! This particular tour does not provide all the "trimmings" the others in the area do and it does cost less.
In all fairness, we had a great time, the captain and his assistant were wonderful, food was delicious and the group we were with (14 others..all one family....came along with the idea of scattering ashes of a deceased loved one...on a very windy day....Adventure #3 didn't take place as the captain did not like the idea ).  But we did see porpoises swimming right along side the boat (sorry no photos of boat....we'll leave that to your imagination :); whales jumping, turtles swimming, and incredible scenery of the Na Pali coast

This Hawaiian island is known as the Garden Island and is absolutely gorgeous!  We marveled at God's beauty and creation continuously.  I have so many photos I want to share and not enough time or space.  Just imagine PARADISE and you come pretty close!

And I got to spend a week in paradise with my man of 25 years:

So, after indulging in sunshine, beaches, pineapple, papayas, macadamia nuts. poi and kalua pig....we are back home.  Tanned and ready to go the next 25 years (wish our tans would last that long!)  Our hearts are filled with thanksgiving to God and others who made this incredible trip possible.  

Now as we head into Spring and this Oregon rain stops (we pay a price for the beauty we have here!)....we anticipate watching His beauty unfold all around us and continually look forward to being with family and friends and the next "adventure" that keeps those stories coming!  Love and blessings to you today!