Edition 48-Wednesday’s Word

October 27, 2010 | My Jottings

Don’t doubt in the darkness what God told you in the light.

Unknown

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A Place in the Woods

October 25, 2010 | My Jottings

No matter how vigilantly we guard our lives, clutter, busyness, noise and exhaustion always nip at our heels. I have been trying to set aside time occasionally to go someplace where my heels are protected and I can find simplicity, solitude, quiet and rest. It’s not practical for me to do this often, but if I can make it to Pacem in Terris once a year, I’m grateful.

Recently I made my second visit there, and hope to go again next fall. Pacem is a Catholic silent retreat center almost three hours south of where we live, with sixteen beautiful little prayer cabins, or hermitages, in the woods. I’m not Catholic but I have learned that many of the hermits who visit Pacem for prayer and quiet are either Protestant, or spiritual seekers.  I love it there.

The different hermitages are named after saints, and mine was called St. Francis of Assisi, and was the farthest into the woods of the sixteen cabins, and because I went in the middle of the week, one night I was the only person on retreat. I never saw another soul as I walked through the woods.

This view below is taken from the front door looking inside – there’s a rocking chair, a foot stool, a table, an altar, and windows all around to enjoy the view of the trees and Tamarack Lake in the distance. There is no electricity, but there is a gas wall heater which kept my little cabin toasty at night when the temperatures dropped.

Each hermitage has a wonderfully comfortable single bed. No radio, no television, no computer, no phones….when it got dark it was time to sleep. When the sun rose, it was time to get up and sit quietly in the rocking chair, watching and contemplating the beauty of God’s creation.

There’s a side door that leads out to a nice screened in porch. I kept the water the kind people at Pacem provided for me, outside on the porch to keep it cold.

Most of the maples and birches had dropped their leaves and it was starting to look Novemberish. But the woods there are primarily oak, so many of the huge trees still had full crowns of leaves at their tops. All during my stay, there was a constant, drifting, gentle rain of leaves falling all around me.

There are peaceful paths for hiking, and as I walked I could hear blue jays call and downy woodpeckers drumming, and squirrels chattering, making their presence known.

This is a photo of another hermitage in the woods:

Below, this little chipmunk scolded me loudly and gave me the evil eye from a fallen log as I walked too closely for his liking.

A cross, a silent reminder of one true thing on which we can depend.

At one end of the Pacem property is a beautiful prairie, and I sat here counting my blessings and thanking God for His goodness and faithfulness, no matter what circumstances around me look like.

I happened upon this wooden walk, and wondered where it led.

Aaahh….the lake, which was full of cat tails and paddling duck families.

The end of this dock was floating, and I had to balance carefully as I sat on this chair and put up my feet.

I meandered back to my hermitage and chose this perfect acorn as a reminder of my stay.

Deer tracks right outside my cabin:

It took me almost the whole first day to settle in, to grow accustomed to the quiet and the lack of a lengthy to-do list, meals to cook, a house to clean, people to care for. I have heard that some people come to Pacem in Terris and can’t stand the deafening silence, and leave within hours.

I took my Bible and a notebook, and I sat and rocked and read, tuning my spiritual ears in to see if I would be able to “be still and know that He is God…” Ps. 46:10.

I thought about the converse of this – “don’t be still and so don’t know that He is God.” And I was sobered.

The staff at Pacem drives you out to your hermitage when you arrive, and they provide a basket of food to each visiting hermit. Two small round loaves of whole wheat bread, some organic cheese, a home-baked bran muffin with dates and walnuts, and fruit. A feast!

There’s a cabinet in each cabin with tea and coffee bags, a flashlight, extra blankets, a first aid kit, and everything one could possibly need while on retreat. There’s a gas cooking ring and a tea kettle in the room, and making myself a hot cup of something to sip, took on new delights as other distractions were stripped away.

Here are some notes about Pacem from a previous hermit named Bill:

“Living Pacem time…I rolled over and went back to sleep for an hour.

I didn’t eat breakfast at 7:00, lunch at 11:30 nor supper at 6:00.

I prayed outside.

I had an all-day meeting that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I didn’t shave and no one noticed.

I looked at no screens and did no digital communicating.

I got a glimpse of myself — without a mirror.

There was nothing to be on time for.

I watched the wind help the trees give praise.

I heard Him say, “I love you.”

When the sun went down, so did I.

I wet my pillow with a tear of joy, knowing I had spent the day in His perfect will.”

Sometimes you have to look hard or listen intently to find the one true thing.

Jesus is my One True Thing. He’s always there and promises to never leave me or forsake me. I go to Pacem to be still, to be alone, and to be reminded once again that He is God over all of my life.

Puff Daddy

October 22, 2010 | My Jottings

I regret to inform you that this is Michael and me.

The year was 1986 (o, thou illustrious decade!), and I assure you when we were driving to the photography studio we did not know we looked so, uh, distinctive.

It may seem hard to believe, but for glasses, people really did wear small windshields on their faces that reached almost to the bottom of their noses. You may also doubt this, but it was not considered particularly strange for men to have puffier hair than their wives. And for approximately seventeen days in the mid-eighties, it was thought to be very stylish to wear our shirt collars standing straight up.

We were chic.

We were exceedingly dynamic.

We were young.

Now we are none of the above.

Twenty-four years later, Michael’s hair no longer bears the slightest resemblance to his locks in this photo, and neither does mine. So much has changed since this shot was taken.

But one thing has not changed, one thing is still true about us after all these years.

We’re still smiling.

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…He puts a smile on my face…He’s my God.

Psalm 42:11b – The Message

Jesus Is

October 20, 2010 | My Jottings

Several years ago I heard a presentation done at a Christian gathering that I have never forgotten. As I listened to the following piece being slowly read I got goosebumps and my eyes filled with tears. Everyone in the room appeared riveted as they listened to the title of every book in the Bible being reverently read out loud, along with how Jesus Christ is woven through all sixty-six of those books.

What are our needs today? Do we need a friend who will stick closer than a brother? Do we need to be avenged? Do we need refuge? Do we need something broken to be made new? Do we need someone to bear our burdens? Do we need hope?

I need all those things.

Take time to read the following slowly and prayerfully, and realize who Jesus is….

In Genesis Jesus is the Ram at Abraham’s altar

In Exodus He’s the Passover Lamb

In Leviticus He’s the High Priest

In Numbers He’s the Cloud by day and Pillar of Fire by night

And in Deuteronomy He’s the City of our refuge

In Joshua He’s the Scarlet Thread out Rahab’s window

In Judges He is our Judge

In Ruth He is our Kinsman Redeemer

And in 1st and 2nd Samuel He’s our Trusted Prophet

In Kings and Chronicles He’s our Reigning King

In Ezra He is our Faithful Scribe

In Nehemiah He’s the Rebuilder of everything that is broken

And in Esther He is like the Mordecai sitting faithful at the gate

In Job He is our Redeemer that ever liveth

In Psalms He is my Shepherd and because of Him I shall not want

In Proverbs and Ecclesiastes He is our Wisdom

In the Song of Solomon He is the Beautiful Bridegroom

In Isaiah He is the Suffering Servant

In Jeremiah and Lamentations it is Jesus that is the Weeping Prophet

In Ezekiel He is the Wonderful Four-Faced Man

And in Daniel He is the Fourth Man in the midst of a fiery furnace

In Hosea He is my Love that is forever faithful

In Joel He baptizes us with the Holy Spirit

In Amos He is our Burden Bearer

And in Obadiah He is our Savior

In Jonah He is the Great Foreign Missionary that takes the Word of God into all the world

In Micah He is the Messenger with beautiful feet

In Nahum He is the Avenger

In Habakkuk He is the Watchman that is ever praying for revival

In Zephaniah He is the Lord mighty to save

In Haggai He is the Restorer of our lost heritage

In Zechariah He is our Fountain

And in Malachi He is the Son of Righteousness with healing in His wings

In Matthew “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God”

In Mark He is the Miracle Worker

In Luke He is the Son of Man

And in John He is the Door by which every one of us must enter

In Acts He is the Shining Light that appears to Saul on the road to Damascus

In Romans He is our Justifier

In 1st Corinthians He is our Resurrection

And in 2nd Corinthians He is our Sin Bearer

In Galatians He redeems us from the law

In Ephesians He is our Unsearchable Riches

In Philippians He supplies our every need

In Colossians He is the Fullness of the Godhead Bodily

And in 1st and 2nd Thessalonians He is our Soon Coming King

In 1st and 2nd Timothy He is the Mediator between God and man

In Titus He is our Blessed Hope

In Philemon He is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother

And in Hebrews He’s the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant

In James He is the Lord that heals the sick

In 1st and 2nd Peter He is the Chief Shepherd

In 1st, 2nd and 3rd John it is Jesus who has the tenderness of love

In Jude He is the Lord coming with 10,000 saints

And in Revelation, lift up your eyes, Church, for your redemption draweth nigh;

He is our King of kings and Lord of lords!

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Today I am so grateful for the amazing grace that means that He is mine, and I am His.

Do you need His love, His power, His amazing grace?

Window Whimsy

October 18, 2010 | My Jottings

We have lived in this big house for two and a half years now, and unless we are directed otherwise, we are still planning on putting it up for sale in 2011, and downsizing. After an amazing amount of remodeling and redecorating, not much is left to do. But even though the kitchen was completely renovated before we moved in, I never put up any valances until recently.

I wanted something 1) blue and white, 2) something with a large print because the kitchen is good-sized, 3) a little different but not outlandish and 4) very easy to make.

These are simple rectangular panels sewn from Waverly fabric (sun resistant) I found very inexpensive online. I bought the off-white curtain rods and the rings with clips online at Penney’s. When Sara first saw them last week she said, “Mom, they don’t hang, they dance!”

So that’s what I think when I see them now. Dancing valances. (You can click to enlarge the photos if you like.)

I think every room needs a bit of whimsy and I like the result. Here’s where I would like your input. One person who saw them said I need to put up more rings to clip to the curtains. Another person thought they had just enough. I’m undecided, and I do have extra off-white rings I could add.

When you look at these photos, do you think I should add a few more rings, or keep the valances as they are? Please leave your comments, and I thank you for your opinions!

UPDATE added on Oct. 22: I took the advice of the majority and added four rings to the kitchen valances. Here’s a new photo:

Thank you for your input!  I like them better….

Have a blessed week!

The Auds

October 15, 2010 | My Jottings

Audrey Elizabeth will be three years old in December. I like to call her The Auds. Last week she came over to our house and when she ran in the back door she smiled that brilliant smile of hers, threw her arms around my knees in an enthusiastic hug and then squealed, “Hi Grandma! It’s me! Audrey!” I then had to tell a few dozen people that Audrey did that, because it was the sweetest thing I’d heard in a long time.

I try to have a grandchild or two spend the night on a regular basis. There’s nothing like one-on-one time to read books, to lay in bed and play I Spy, to make peanut butter chocolate balls together, to build with Magformers, to talk, to snuggle. We have a guest room that our grans could sleep in if they wanted to, but they always choose a pallet made of blankets on the floor of our bedroom. I make a big deal out of covering them up and tucking them in, singing with them and praying for them before they doze off. Then I climb into my own bed a few feet away and look at the innocence on their faces and I try not to cry. I’m getting soft in my old age, in more ways than one.

Anyway, Audrey spent the night at Grandpa and Grandma’s a while back and here’s a photo of her enjoying her peanut butter toast at breakfast time.

The Auds is not blasé about anything. If the words she speaks could be seen written out in the air above her, the end of each phrase would have ten exclamation points after it. And she says things that are so endearing, like “Can I wear my swimswoop?” and “Gwamma, can I have a squishy byvin?” (vitamin), and she calls her siblings “Cwehwa, Hyja and Weevy” instead of Clara, Elijah and Vivie.

What are the auds that when Audrey is thirty she’ll still be saying swimswoop and byvin and Weevy? I know the auds are not good because she’ll probably be on a world speaking tour by then, but I’m keeping my hopes up nonetheless.

I was eight…he was sixteen

October 12, 2010 | My Jottings

I was eight years old and growing up in Southern California when this picture of my husband Michael was taken during his junior year at Proctor High School. It was 1965 and he was sixteen. He grew up near a lake in northeastern Minnesota and loved to hunt and fish by the time he was ten.

He joined the United States Marines two years after this photo was taken, and after boot camp when the boys men were asked to volunteer for the front lines in Vietnam, he courageously raised his hand.

Three days after arriving in Da Nang he had his first encounter with the carnage that would eventually become an almost everyday occurrence during his tour there. Three young Marines took a direct hit from an enemy mortar while they sat at a table eating their meal. Their bodies were completely blown apart. Michael was spared.

The next eighteen months were filled with days and nights that only his fellow Vietnam vets can truly comprehend. Trudging single-file through the jungles, sleeping very little, hardening their hearts in order to witness the destruction and do the killing the government required them to do, and watching close friends step on land mines just a few feet in front of them, was all part of a day’s work. He did not have any sort of faith then, despite growing up with a devoutly Catholic mother. He wondered why so many died around him and he survived.

Michael was a muscular 192 pounds when he went to Vietnam, and came home fifty pounds lighter thanks to dysentery. When he was notified that his service in Vietnam was over and he returned to the States, he was not expecting the hurled tomatoes, the angry jeers and the “Go back, baby killers!” placards waiting for them at the Los Angeles airport. No one had debriefed them. He was not expecting that his parents would not want to hear about what he had experienced in Vietnam. He did not know that for years if a passing car backfired he would instinctively drop to the ground, or that he could never again handle being near strobe lights.

When Michael was sixteen, he couldn’t have known that going to war was just around the corner, and he obviously couldn’t have known that his future wife was eight years old and growing up in a decent but slightly unstable home in southern California. He probably didn’t know that much of his entire life would call for bravery and strength. But God knew.

When Michael was thirty years old someone told him that Jesus was real, that He loved him and would change his life here on this earth and in the one to come. Michael believed the message with his whole heart and never turned back; His faith in Christ has been the central part of his life since 1978.

He and I “met” when I was twenty-three and he was almost thirty-two. We had only been in each other’s company once before marrying in 1981. He did not know that marrying me and being a daddy to my two little girls would require strength and courage. Even though he would dismiss my saying this today, I know it has taken great strength to stick with me all these years. He has a backbone most men don’t have. And he has humility and patience that I rarely see in anyone.

Four decades after his stint in the Vietnam war, Michael fights another enemy. This one stalks his brain, silences his speech, and stiffens his joints and muscles. This one has stolen pieces of his life and abilities, bit by ruthless bit. But he resists this enemy in the power and grace that Jesus gives him each day. He continues to be strong and courageous right in front of his family’s eyes, and he is deeply loved and respected by us all.

(However, he is by no means a saint. Even though I wish to honor him here, he has an annoying trait or two that has tested my patience over the years, and I know he feels the same way about me. For example, Michael could very well be the male version of Sarah Winchester, a strange woman who kept compulsively adding on to her huge California house until the day she died. Michael has a penchant for continuous building projects as well, and recently built a “small” storage shed I call The Taj Mamichael in our backyard, much to my dismay surprise.)  :)

When I was eight years old and reading my Nancy Drew books in my sunny pink bedroom, I had no idea that a handsome sixteen year old boy living in the north woods of Minnesota would someday be my husband. When I was ten years old and swimming every minute possible, I could not have known that a strong and courageous eighteen year old who would someday be my children’s daddy, was steeling himself each day to face the horrors of war.

But God, who numbers our days and orders our steps, knew.

When I look at the photo of my husband when he was a junior in high school, I see the core of who he is today. Out of His great love, God preserved Michael’s life for me and for our family. Out of His great power, God has made Michael a strong and courageous man to face the many challenges that life has presented to him.

6“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”   Joshua 1:6-9

All these years later, my strong and courageous husband is still teaching me by his example to be strong and courageous myself.

I have so much to learn, but I have a brave, handsome and kind teacher.

Looking For Moose

October 7, 2010 | My Jottings

Michael and I recently drove north to spend some time in Grand Marais, sitting, reading, pondering, resting and refreshing ourselves. We returned to the Croftville Road Cottages, one of our favorite spots on the north shore. Three little wonderfully renovated cottages sit right on the edge of massive Lake Superior, and they’re much more spacious than they appear from the road, are reasonably priced and always clean, and the proprietors, Teresa and Mike, are so friendly and helpful.

Grand Marais is famous in our neck of the woods for its abundant moose population, and I was personally looking forward to seeing a moose on this trip. There are moose crossing signs on the highway, several businesses with moose themes (The Mangy Moose Motel!), and a well-known hiking trail that leads into the woods of moose country, where people can supposedly catch views of these creatures that weigh up to 1500 pounds and measure seven feet tall.

It rained for most of our drive up, but we knew there were two cozy fire stoves in our cottage waiting for us. The leaves were just past their color peak, so many trees were almost bare, but there were still some gorgeous reds and golds to be seen.

This is the first photo I took after we arrived, looking toward the lake right outside the back of our cottage. Most of the birch and poplar trees had lost their yellow leaves, but the bushes were still ablaze.

Here’s one of the two comfortable bedrooms in Cottage 2:

There’s a framed print on the wall that reminds guests that Lake Superior is the graveyard to over 350 shipwrecks, many over 100 years old. According to legend, “Lake Superior seldom gives up her dead.” This is because of the unusually low temperature of the water, estimated at under 36° F (2° C) on average. Normally, bacteria feeding on a sunken decaying body will generate gas inside the body, causing it to float to the surface after a few days. The water in Lake Superior is cold enough year-round to inhibit bacterial growth, and bodies tend to sink and never surface.

This is alluded to in Gordon Lightfoot’s haunting ballad, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” The Edmund Fitzgerald’s 29 crew members all perished when “the gales of November came early” in 1975 and “The Mighty Fitz” took on water in a fierce storm with thirty foot waves, broke in two and sunk within minutes.

Here’s a satellite photo of Lake Superior…1333 feet deep, and the largest freshwater lake in the world:

The little town of Grand Marais is touristy in the summer and very quiet in the winter. Most eating establishments close in late October. We’ve had The Crooked Spoon Cafe recommended to us before and had never been there during its operational months, until this last trip. We decided to eat dinner there on Friday night. Here’s Michael outside — we had to wait 40 minutes to be seated.

It was fairly plain decor inside the cafe, but the food was unique and delectable.

Michael chose French onion soup en croute with melted gruyere cheese, and “fresh Lake Superior whitefish, sauteed with a light cornmeal crust and served with lemon basil aioli, oven-steamed Minnesota wild rice and sauteed broccolini.”


I had the special of the night, the “pan-roasted beef tenderloin with port wine demi-glace, buttermilk smashed baby red potatoes and grilled balsamic asparagus.”

But first came the delicious salad with homemade blue cheese dressing:

After dinner we strolled around downtown and bought some gifts, and then went home to our cottage, happy to go to bed early and sleep as late as possible the next morning, which is a rarity for us. The cheery fire in the stove was the perfect ending to a relaxing evening.

When one is accustomed to getting up at 5:30 a.m. seven days a week, however, one’s internal clock isn’t easily reset, so I was up at the crack of dawn and took these photos of the sunrise on the lake. These were taken from the living window at the back of the cottage.

We ate breakfast at home and enjoyed the freedom to lounge and read and revel in the peace. We walked down to the cliff by the lake and sat on the swing, as we have each time we’ve visited this place.

The clouds had passed and the morning was delightfully crisp and sunny.

I decided to wear my moose-hunting scarf.

We opted to drive far up The Gunflint Trail, go looking for moose, and have a north woods lunch at The Gunflint Lodge.

About a third of the way up the Trail, there’s a sign pointing to a parking area which leads to a hiking path that goes deep into the woods. These particular woods are known to be frequented by moose, and there’s even a “moose-viewing platform” near an overlook on a small lake. We had no place we had to be, no phone calls to make, no schedule to adhere to, so we decided to search for some moose. Here’s Michael at the beginning of the path:

Not far from the moose meeting place was this plaque, telling us how to spot signs of moose:

Then we happened to see an eerie sight off into the woods. It would have been easy to miss, and I gasped when I saw it. It was an old, ruined, semi-buried car, filled with what looked like decades of forest debris, and its doors were strangely open. (Update: A reader informed me that the car is a 1955 DeSoto Fireflite Coronado.) When we got home I showed the picture to Carolyn and she raised her eyebrows thoughtfully and said, “Hmmm, I wonder what is inside that car?” *Shiver*  A DeSoto in DeWoods. Yikes.

Below is a partial view of the swampy lake where apparently large numbers of moose congregate. We were standing on the wooden platform and could hear the wind in the leaves of the huge trees all around, the chattering of red squirrels and the calls of jays.

But we never saw a moose, much less a moose congregation.

So, we enjoyed our walk through the woods, back to the car and drove further up the Gunflint Trail, oohing and aahing over the brilliant fall colors. I never get tired of them and I’ve lived here almost thirty years.

Gunflint Lodge is a long-established cabin resort on Gunflint Lake, and we stopped there for a hearty lunch. It was so hearty we didn’t want dinner on Saturday night. Here’s a distant view of part of the large lake. If you enlarge the photo you can see the napping ducks on the shore:

The Red Paddle Bistro at Gunflint Lodge is quintessential north woods. There were animal skins and a moose head on the walls, canoes hanging from the ceiling, and all the paraphernalia to make it seem like a true Voyageur’s camp from long ago.

Michael loves to catch and eat walleye in almost any form, so he had the battered walleye sandwich with bacon, fries and a side salad.

I had a wonderful salad composed of field greens topped with spiced pecans, fresh Minnesota blueberries, crumbled blue cheese, served with a maple vinaigrette dressing.

Back outside we fed a female mallard duck some cracked corn. I took this picture because I liked how the tips of her wing feathers matched the flowers nearby.

As we drove slowly down the dirt road away from the lodge and back to the Gunflint Trail, we saw something in a small crab-apple tree.

We parked the car and got out, hoping to get a little closer.

Sure enough, it was a medium-sized black bear, chomping away on the tiny crab-apples. We were shocked that he had climbed such a young, slender tree and it was actually supporting him without any branches breaking.

Closer yet. You can enlarge all these pictures by clicking on them — look at how dexterous he is with his paws and how much he seems to be relishing his autumn snack. Soon a half dozen other people had gathered and although we were all quiet and still, the bear finally noticed us, grunted a bit as he effortlessly backed down the tree, and sort of galloped off into the woods.

Well, at least if I haven’t seen any moose, it was fantastic to see this bear, I thought. Back on the road, less than one minute later, a large timber wolf ran across our path into the woods. I tried hard to stop in time to get a photo and I did, but only the most observant and patient will see him. Enlarge the picture below, then zoom it with your computer if you can, and if you look to the left of the tall pine in the center of the shot, you might be able to see the tail and the back leg of the wolf, dashing toward the left of the scene. It takes concentration to see it, but it’s visible.

Delighted that we had seen a wolf and a bear all within a couple of minutes, we turned onto the Gunflint Trail and headed back down toward Grand Marais. In less than a mile I spotted something trotting along the side of the road ahead, and as we approached we couldn’t believe it. It was another timber wolf, a young one, and she seemed to have a destination in mind. Her ribs were showing and I wondered if it had been awhile since she had succeeded in a fresh kill. I slowed down, determined to get a picture this time, and right as I was about to aim I saw there was a line of cars behind me and I was holding them up. I sped up and held the camera with my left hand, hoping something of the wolf would end up in the shot. I was tickled that most of her did.

Back at our little cottage we got into our jammies (well, I did anyway — Michael doesn’t wear or even own “jammies”) and we read, played a game, listened to soft music, and turned in early. We were feeling a little wistful that we would have to be leaving for home before noon on Sunday.

As we were leaving the cottage I stopped on Croftville Road to take this picture of Lake Superior and its typical shoreline that always seems to combine tall pines, colorful birch and hardwoods, and rocks. The water in this lake is the best tasting I’ve ever had.

We’re looking forward to our next time up the shore, which might be many months from now. As we drove home we continued to watch for moose on the sides of the road but we never saw one.

I thought that sometimes life can be like that. You want in the worst way to see a grand and elusive moose, and you even ask the moose’s Creator to arrange it so you can spy one. You do your part. You drive to the local moose capital and start scanning. You drive deep into moose country and hike to a moose-viewing platform in the heart of known moose territory. And then you ask God to do the rest — the part you’re unable to do. You ask Him to prompt a moose to go to the vicinity of where you are waiting expectantly.

And instead of a moose, you end up seeing a bear at close range gobbling crab apples. You see a female duck with iridescent purple wingtips and she’ll eat corn from your hand. Instead of a moose you see not one timber wolf, but two, one of which jogs right alongside your car for as long as you’re able to stay with her.

How many times have I asked God for one thing I really wanted badly, only to receive something I didn’t want nearly as much, but later saw the blessing of? Too many times to count.

So God hid His moose and showed us His bear and His duck and His wolves instead.

We’ll go looking for moose again someday, but right this minute as I type this, I’m thankful and thrilled with what we saw.

Have you ever asked God for a moose and gotten a duck or a bear instead?

Edition 47-Wednesday’s Word

October 6, 2010 | My Jottings

My friend Ember left a wise comment last week for Edition 46 of Wednesday’s Word, and I asked her if I could quote her.

In response to Samuel Johnson’s words, “Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not,” Ember wrote:

“I find I tend to get fond of the people I am kind to, and grow to dislike the people I am mean to.”

Penelope Wilcock

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Hopefully,

Housewives’ Song

October 4, 2010 | My Jottings

Every once in a while you might find a song that so speaks to your life, you want to listen to it over and over again. This is one of those songs for me. The song is by a young woman named Maron Gaffron, and it’s from her CD called “Uptown.”

I like all the songs on this album but today I’m sharing “The Housewives’ Song,” and you can read the lyrics below.

Every time I go to the grocery store or to Target, I’m surprised and saddened by the magazine covers that sit in plain view for little girls (and boys) to see.

When I was young, there were beautiful models on the covers, but they were dressed and they weren’t selling sex — they were mostly selling Prell shampoo and Cover Girl Peeper Sticks and Bonne Bell Pot o’ Gloss lip gloss. Today at eye level we see bulging bosoms spilling out over tiny garments, airbrushed perfection that is never attainable but whispers to your daughter that she should try to attain it anyway, and article headlines about what men and women really want, that you in your married and monogamous stupidity never knew about or experienced.

Sometimes I wonder how little girls can retain their innocence these days when they’re bombarded by the messages on television and on magazine covers. This is how you should look…this is how you should dress…this is what pretty is…this is what will bring you happiness is the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) ubiquitous message vibing out to girls and women.

I’m a grandmother now, so I guess some could say I’m out of touch with the times, or have grown a little stodgy. That might be true, but I know what beauty is not, and it is not found on the cover of Cosmopolitan or Vogue. Yes, the women on these magazines might be beautiful by the world’s standards, but I think true beauty is so much more than just a symmetrical face, white teeth, large eyes, a narrow nose, long legs, full lips and flawless skin.

If I could wave my magic wand and perform one good deed today, I would want the truthful lyrics of this song to be sung over every little girl, every young woman who thinks her happiness is found in how much attention she gets from the opposite sex, every middle-aged woman who peers in the mirror and frequently sees new lines and sags in her face, and every elderly woman whose physical beauty has long ago faded. I would want the words of this song to go deep into the hearts of all who listen, and take root. I would want this song to drown out the lies being force fed to our little girls and young women, and I would like to see little girls allowed to be innocent little girls who are not exposed to the media’s barrage of propaganda.

Click on the title below:

Housewives’ Song

Don’t look for your beauty in the eyes of your children
Don’t look for your beauty in the eyes of your man
Don’t look for your beauty in the eyes of the world
Your beauty, you’ll find it in the Lord

Don’t look for your worth in your friendships
Don’t look for your worth in your pay
Don’t look for your worth in the things you do each day
Your worth now, you’ll find it in the Lord

‘Cause it’s like a mirror looking in
When you find the strength to stand
It’s not you, it’s the Father inside
And when the storm clouds pass on through
And they’re only raining on you
Run for cover, in the Father you can hide

Don’t look for your strength in your coffee
Don’t look for your strength in your routine
Don’t look for your strength in your diet and exercise
Your strength, you’ll find it in the Lord

Don’t look for your rest in the glow of the television
Don’t look for your rest on the telephone
Don’t look for your rest in the shopping mall, sister
Your rest, you’ll find it in the Lord

‘Cause it’s like a mirror looking in
When you find the strength to stand
It’s not you, it’s the Father inside
And when the storm clouds pass on through
And they’re only raining on you
Run for cover, in the Father you can hide

Charm is deceiving and beauty is passing
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised
He said, “Come unto me all you weak and heavy laden
And I will give you rest.”

They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength
They shall rise with wings as the eagle
They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint
Teach me Lord, teach me Lord to wait

“My strength is made perfect in your weakness.”
He said, “My strength is made perfect in your weakness.”

Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and now He shall strengthen your heart

Just wait on the Lord….

Words and music by Maron Gaffron

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Getting down off my soapbox now,

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