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Showing posts from September, 2009

Influence

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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-…

Deep Water Dividends

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I started September with the story of My Tony's crape myrtle tree, so I thought it fitting to end September with a status update.Crape Myrtle began the month producing hope out of despair, life out of apparent death.I was inspired, my heart uplifted by the little tree's TRY.30 days later, after many quenching drinks, the progress is obvious!Slurping up the desperately needed water, the tree's vitality was steadily renewed.Tiny round buds.Lots of them!Autumn's sunrise broke on Crape Myrtle from behind Mount Diablo, revealing profusions of raspberry pink, frilly, flouncy FLOWERS!!What a comeback!!Here I thought it hadn't bloomed and wouldn't bloom--I thought it was too late, but there it was, bursting forth like the shout of joy when morning chases away the darkness of night.What a beautiful response, all because of a frequent and steady trickle of cool, deep, life-giving water.I love it! What was a sorry, sad, hopeless twig of a tree, has, in one month shown…

Carnival of Distractions

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"Any occurrence requiring undivided attention will be accompanied by a compelling distraction."Robert Bloch Heat waves turned everything to liquid. People looked like melting wax figures, dripping and drooping in the 104° scorcher of a day. The blinding assault from the sun was rivaled only by the suffocating radiant heat rising off the pavement. This was the setting for the Walnut Festival that draws many tens of thousands of people every year for fun, food, carnival rides and entertainment. Yesterday, my son was part of the entertainment for a large portion of the day, playing drums for multiple bands, finishing the day with his own band's 40 minute set. When you are the mother of a drummer, you spend a lot of time transporting his drum set to and from rehearsals and performances. It is a job I love and take on willingly! However, a drum set is not an easy thing to carry around, so you try to pull your car as close to the stage as possible.I got permission fro…

Every Pretty Thing

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Thank You, God, for pretty.Pretty dew-droppy pink. Pretty purple flower stars. Pretty, perfect lavendar bouquets, ready-made. Pretty, pretty, pretty.He didn't have to make things pretty, you know. He could have confined His creation to dull grey, straight lines, purely utilitarian features, no frills. What would this world be like if God had left pretty out of it? What would our lives be like if nothing was the least bit pretty? Even those who ordinarily don't notice beauty in their surroundings would be shocked at how much they would miss the pretty things we see every day.Thankfully, He didn't only make things practical. Thankfully He didn't only make things that served some pragmatic purpose or that performed a service to mankind. Thankfully He didn't relegate us to a useful, but ugly existence. He made most things to be both good for something AND pretty in some way. He even made some parts of His creation solely to BE PRETTY! Th…

Treasure That Cannot Rust

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The old fence no longer holds anything in or out. Posts still stand where hard-working hands placed them . . . when? I don't know. Most of the wire is gone and with it the memory of who put it there or what treasure it kept safe. What is left is weathered, worn and rusted so heavily the wire looks sculpted rather than twisted together. Long years of exposure to water, air and sun have eaten away at what once was new 'til it is rendered useless, though still dangerous. Rusted iron, corroded metal, brittle wire showing the breakdown of its once shining strength--it speaks. In Eden, everything broke, and the first corrosion began. Things began to fall apart, to waste away. Time became a thief, fear entered stage-left and death stalked us all. Maybe that was when we started trying to hold on to things . . . earth things. Maybe that was when we became grabbers instead of givers. Maybe that was when we first fell for fool's gold."They say that where your treasure …

Focal Points

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My camera is one of my favorite teachers. When I look through my viewfinder, there is a useful little rectangle in the center called the focus area. As I decide how I want to frame my picture, I can place that focus area indicator on specific parts of the scene and lock in the focus, which will help me make some important decisions. One decision I have to make is to choose the subject of my picture. What am I trying to capture? What does the scene in my viewfinder say to me? What best conveys the beauty I see? Is the whole scene important, or is there one detail that I want to highlight. I can dramatically change the way a picture looks just by picking different focal points in the same scene. Another decision is how much of the picture I want to be in sharp focus. For some kinds of photography I may want the whole scene to be uniformly as sharp as possible. For other shots, I may want only one aspect of the scene to be in crystal clear sharpness and leave the rest of …

Etched--A Special 9/11 Remembrance

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Some moments from September 11th, 2001 are etched in my memory like names on a tombstone. The first fuzzy awareness in the pre-dawn darkness that something was wrong--what was My Tony saying? Airplane? World Trade Center? Coming fully awake to look through my TV-window-on-the-world only to see the crystal clear New York City sky and realizing it could be no accident. Smoke pouring from the gaping hole in one tower . . . and then there were two! Instant knowing--terrorists! It had to be! Firemen, ambulances, police, reporters, terrified people running pell mell to get away from the surreal devastation behind and above them. Me trying not to sound strange and scared and tight when it was time to get the kids up for school--would there be any school? Suddenly everything was a question mark! Brain on fire trying to think, make sense of something, anything, should I make lunches? How could I do anything but watch and listen and hope someone knew what was going on. THE PENTAGON…

My Alongside-One

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Parakletos. Greek word meaning one called alongside another. It is translated comforter, counselor, advocate, helper, intercessor, strengthener, and standby. This is the word Jesus used to describe the Holy Spirit whom He promised would be sent to be with His disciples and followers. "But the one who is coming to stand by you,the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will be your teacher and will bring to your minds all that I have said to you."John 14:26 (Phi) The "alongside One." It is a much-taught, well-worn truth, but it seems the best known, most fundamental truths can be the easiest to brush past. Well, not today. Today He went on my walk with me . . . and I noticed.When I finish a blog post, I immediately begin looking toward the next one, asking God what He wants me to know--what He wants me to share with you. Usually I have a batch of ideas and thoughts scrambling over one another like unruly teenagers volunteering to get on stage, han…

Newness of Life

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On a recent trip to the summit of Mt. Tamalpais with my family, we walked a trail that circled the mountain just below the summit, treating us to a 360° view of the whole San Francisco Bay Area from the top. At the trailhead, we picked up the pamphlet that would give us information at numbered markers along the hour-long route. At one such marker our paper tour guide told us the name of a plentiful tree we could observe on the hike.
The manzanita trees that were all along this trail were a source of endless photographic fascination to me. They were shedding their old bark in tight little curly-cues like decorative chocolate on a fancy birthday cake. The previous year's bark curled away as the tree shrugged off last year's skin, revealing a brand new, eye-achingly deep scarlet layer beneath.

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My birthday.

A marker. A checkpoint. Maybe a crossroads.

Old year me peeled away. New year me underneath.

Each birth year, each pass by that date on the calendar, is …

High Hopes Out of Deep Water

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It used to bloom. Sometimes it still tries, but it didn't bloom this year.Our crape myrtle, my husband's favorite tree with it's riot of ruffled clusters of bright raspberry flowers, should be capable of growing into a shady green canopy to cool all beneath from the blazing Contra Costa sun . . . but it hasn't. We had such high hopes for it when we planted it shortly after we moved into our house in 2000. Shown here (long before I had a good camera) on that fateful Tuesday morning, September 11th, 2001, when we knew the world would never be the same and nothing made sense, our crape myrtle was healthy and growing, still young and spindly, but going places. It proudly held our courage-flag as we tried to keep hope alive in the midst of so much death and destruction in an event that felt intolerable.That was 2001--this is 2009.Why, after more than 8 years does that tree look like this? There are thousands of these trees in this area, so it's not that it's pl…