Showing posts from August, 2009


It has been a long while since I have posted anything here. I have been busy completing three years toward my B.A. in English and my senior year is underway. My current class (Creative Writing) has finally given me the space to take off the tight harness of academic writing rules, and it feels SO GOOD!! After reading my first assignment, Mom and Daddy gave it their thumbs up and suggested I make it a blog post, so here it is. It is my story and their story. It's a little longer than my usual posts, but as with everything I have ever posted here, I pray it encourages you to run "up the sunbeam to the sun" (C. S. Lewis).

"Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV

I sat above them on the stairs. Looking down through the window-like openings in the partition between the living room and the stairway, I listened to the basketball players, football players, baseball players, wrestlers, track athletes, both the lettermen and the also-…

Free Indeed!

In the 1964 movie "Lady in a Cage," Olivia DeHavilland plays a handicapped woman being held prisoner in a cage hoisted high off the ground, like an oversized bird cage. It's hard not to cheer out loud when her captors meet a violent end as her overwhelming desire for freedom drives her to unthinkable lengths to gain her release.God never intended for us to be caged. He put an ache for freedom in our hearts, and yet because of our first-parents, Adam and Eve, we were born in captivity. From conception we were in the grip of a master we had no strength to overcome on our own. We were locked up, locked in, locked out--we were prisoners to a brutish thug who possesses no mercy--we were slaves to sin."Jesus replied, 'I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.'"John 8:34 NIV Like the Lady in the Cage, we were immobilized by our brokenness and confined to a life of constant dying. We were compelled to miss every mark we aimed for, except th…

No Flapping Necessary

Here in Northern California we have a lot of turkey vultures--maybe you have them where you live too. I used to find them mildly irritating to watch because at times they give the impression of being incredibly clumsy. When they fly, they go along just fine flying gracefully, and then for no visible reason they look like they are losing their balance and teeter unsteadily until they regain control. I caught this one in flight over my back yard recently. After watching several turkey vultures for awhile that day, I decided I wanted to know why they had such an apparently hard time flying.The information I found put me in my place--I should have known God had a great design when He created this impressive bird. Turkey vultures are masters at conserving energy. They are among the most skilled gliders in North America. Turkey vultures wait until the morning air is warmed by the sun, then take off from a lofty perch. They circle upward, looking for thermals, or pockets of rising wa…

Happy Hats

One of my favorite characters in the movie "Finding Nemo" is a fish namedDori, who responds to every setback with a happy little tune, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming." Maybe that is why I love this picture! It just makes me smile. Every time! What a happy hat!My Daddy used to have this funny hat with purple and green flowers on it that he called his "happy hat." We loved to tease him about it, which was great because he wore it often. As a high school teacher and coach of forty years, he taught a lot about attitude; he used to say to his students, "There are a lot of attitudes out there. Now go pick a good one!" He teases his grandkids, saying, "If you don't smile, we'll send you back." At least I think he's teasing. They all smile a lot! My husband shares with audiences he speaks to, "Attitude is a choice!" He says it with conviction and they believe him. I do too. He chooses a good attitude on a daily …

Time Creeps

Last time I wrote about how speedy time is and how hard it is to slow it down.Well, that is only half the story.Time is also exasperatingly slow!Slow?Yes!Time creeps like the slow-motion mechanics of a never-in-a-hurryturtle.Think it doesn't?Think it only goes too fast and you never have enough of it to get everything done on time?Well, think again.Remember the summer you were 6 and you were waiting for Christmas?Time creeps.How about 10 miles down the road on a 3-day car trip to Grandma's house--"Are we there yet?"Time creeps.Have you ever had a migraine?Time creeps.Remember the last hour of every spring-fever school day in high school?Time creeps.What about standing in line at your favorite ride at Disneyland?Time creeps.Let's see . . . pregnant and past your due date?Time CREEPS.Ever been in a waiting room, hawk-eyeing the door for the surgeon to bring what you pray will be good news?Time stands still.Time also creeps when we're waiting for God's timin…

Time Speeds

-- Great philosopher, FerrisBueller once quipped, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

"Blurring . . . Whirring . . . jumbled colors . . . sight and sound . . . does life ever feel to you like a scene in the old Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie? You know, the one where Willie Wonka puts them on his whimsical boat and they sail off into a tunnel filled with disjointed and terrifying images projected all around them while he screams bizarre and disturbing poetry into the strange glow? Everyone is so relieved when he yells, "Stop the boat!"

Life does move fast. Life is filled with change and challenge, the unexpected, the unwanted and the uncalled-for. But life is also filled with joy and laughter, dreams and fulfillments, pursuits and triumphs, the tried and true, the glorious, the counted-upon. It IS a bit of a jumble, priceless treasures thrown in the same blender with hideous gargoyles an…

My Drop of Honey

I am new to the blogosphere, both as a writer and as a reader. For the last several years I had heard about blogs, and had known of their benefits, but until recently I had not been in the habit of reading blogs. I had been encouraged by small business consultants to start a blog of my own--they said it would be good for business. Well, I wasn't about to start writing something strictly as a sales technique--that's just not how I'm wired, but I WAS intrigued with the blog as a vehicle for communication.

Once I finally zeroed in on what my message was, and what I really wanted to write about, I jumped in wholeheartedly to begin writing Up the Sunbeam. Writing my own blog led me to reading other blogs, and as you probably know from the ones you follow, one blog leads to an exponentially increasing number of other blogs. They're like potato chips--you can't eat just one!

I have been so blessed by so many of the blogs I've chased from one link to another. Ho…

Superabundant Grace

Grace is not our native language. In our development from infancy onward, it's clear that we are neither graceful nor gracious at birth. Our first attempts at moving our ungainly, head-heavy bodies from one place to another are clumsy and peppered with tumbles and crash landings--no, we are NOT naturally graceful. When my daughter was little, I saw in her pediatrician's office a poster listing the "Toddler Rules of Possession":

1. If I like it, it's mine.
2. If it's in my hand, it's mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it's mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
5. If it's mine, it must NEVER appear to be yours in anyway.
6. If I'm doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
7. If it looks just like mine, it is mine.
8. If I saw it first, it's mine.
9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
10. If it's broken, it's yours.
I laughed out loud that day and that list…

Drop by Sparkling Drop

 "Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise."

So go the first lines of one of my favorite hymns. It rightly characterizes my Heavenly Father as the "Fount of every blessing."

A fountain . . . a constant, gushing, rushing flow of water under enough pressure to launch it high into the air, making the beautiful arcing patterns we so enjoy watching. What is known, but isn't so easily noticed, is that the flow of a fountain is made up of millions of individual drops, all directed by the design of the fountain.

Blessing. I like blessings! Blessings never ceasing? Yes, please! I am so conditioned by my very BLESSED Western culture, and by the desires of my own flesh, to want a constant, gushing, rushing flow of blessings. Whether they be spiritual, physical, financial, emotional, personal, I love to be in a state of obvious blessing. Sometimes, especially right now in thi…

Fall River Flood

-- In 1903, a group of farmers built an earthen dam across Roaring River at the mouth of Lawn Lake high in the mountains above their farms near Loveland, Colorado. The dam was approximately 35 miles away, almost 11,000 feet above sea level, and nearly 6000 feet above the valley floor. This reservoir of water enabled them to irrigate their crops, and it enlarged and enhanced already beautiful Lawn Lake. For years the dam did its job and the farmers enjoyed the benefit of having a ready supply of water for their land.
Fast-forward to the morning of July 15th, 1982. Early that bright, sunny morning, the dam broke, sending the water behind it rushing downstream at an estimated 18,000 cubic feet per second. Gathering trees and boulders in its crashing current, the cascade reached and overwhelmed another dam at Crystal Lake, causing it to fail too. The normal courses of Roaring River and Fall River below it were dwarfed by the new channels cut by the 25-foot high, 100-foot wide wall o…