Friday, September 28, 2012

Grasp:To Embrace

Grasping at straws. Sifting through sand. Wandering through the wastelands of my mind, wondering why this desert season?

"Grasp my hand." A faint call from across the universe. I step closer, incline my ear. "You are not alone. Take my hand." I reach out and the distance seems unreachable, but you are infinite and able to reach me before I fall completely in the dust of despair.

You grasp my shoulders in an embrace, steadying me on the path. You dust me off, offering a drink of Living Water from a well I did not see through my tears. You are the God who sees me, who sees ahead and has seen the wilderness before.

You were here, yourself, a long time ago, wandering and wondering and waiting. Tested and tried. Weary and worn. Hungering for bread. Thirsting for water. Training for the Cross.

You grasp it all. You get my despair. You were tempted like me, yet without turning your back on the Father or grumbling against His intention for Your life. You took hold of what I can never totally comprehend. You clung to the goodness of your loving Father all the way through the sweat and blood and pain, enduring it all. Grasping for the JOY set before time, the JOY of seeing and providing for the great hunger and thirst left from the scars of Eden.

I get glimpses and every once in a wilderness, grasp how wide and how long and how high and how deep is this LOVE.
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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thrilling Guest Thursday: Juniper Gillian

Lately, I've been thinking about the purpose of a blog. Is it for encouragement? To share God's Word and God Stories? Or is it a place to publicly journal and share photos? Do I blog for me or for an audience? I haven't come to a conclusion, but I do know that the blogosphere has great potential. Potential to share our hearts, express with words what our lives are about and how life impacts us.

Today, I want you to meet one of my sisters. One of my mother's daughters. I have many spiritual sisters, but only three flesh and blood sisters, who each share in the spiritual with me.

Here is Juniper Gillian, aka Jill. I am going to link you to her post about her new name and her awakening, which is beautiful to behold. Sometimes this world tries to make us go back to sleep. This is my challenge to Juniper Gillian to stay awake, because she has so much life to live and she makes this world a beautiful place to share.

Juniper Gillian

I just thought of another reason for blogs...they are storehouses of our musings. Often I just read the post of the day on the blogs that I follow. However, archived posts can be a depository of literary gems. The following links take you back to some posts that JG wrote while in Scotland, as well as more recent ones. I am not just bragging on my sister, but she has a style that resonates. I look forward to more of her offerings in the future.

Tomato Cage Love
Shades of Grey (The blog she kept while in Scotland, I definitely reccommend digging through the archives to mine some valuable gems...such as "The Community of the Coal" and "Elemental")

Oh yeah, another purpose of share our lives through snapshots. Here are some glimpses of our recent camping adventure with JG and her brood.

playing checkers on the boat

campfire circle on our own sandbar

my own "Ernest Hemingway"

Intuition beached next to the campsite
mama and boy
our own "Patriot"

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Doubt: To Lack Confidence In

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. ( James 1:6 NKJV)
The Intuition Diaries 
About midway through our Lake Michigan boat trek, I had a bout with doubt.

We left Rock Island early to cross the wavy sea to make our way to Escanaba, a small town on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The waves tossed us to and fro, as we were travelling in a beam sea, which means the waves push your vessel from the side. Nice rocking motion if you want to put a baby to sleep, or get seasick.

I tried to fight the motion sickness, and Les offered me the remedy; drive the boat. But even taking the helm was difficult today, because at first I had nothing on the horizon to focus on. I had to go on faith, trusting the computer chart to direct me. I wanted to quit driving, but I knew the alternative would be worse, headache with nausea all day.

I had to roll with the waves, and trust the unmarked route. I had to rely on the tried and tested navigation aids that would get us through this turbulent sea.  Several minutes into the rocking and the rolling, I spotted a stationary object on the horizon. Just the focal point I needed to persevere on the path.


This light stands out on the middle of the lake far from the shore. It marks an underwater shoal, a natural rock wall that can cause damage to a ship. Before this adventure, I didn’t even know that these lights existed on Lake Michigan.


This person of faith may know her destination, but at times when nothing is on the horizon, doubts buffet me like the waves of a beam sea on a vessel crossing the water.


Thanks be to God for putting unexpected markers along the route to realign my faith in Him, and lead me to the ultimate destination—forever with HIM!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Window: A Means of Entrance or Access

When I look out this window, what do I see?

Every beautiful thing, Lord, which you have done for me.

The earth, the moon, the stars, the sea;

Every quirky friend, each member of my family.

The times of plenty and the times of need,

When I was sowing, and you were planting seed.

The song of the bird and the wind in the tree,

The mountain in the sky and the valley down below.

Everything you thought of too great for me to know.

Even the suffering and things of misery,

All you have allowed, so your glory I can be.

When I look out this window,

I’m in awe of what I see,

Your simple pleasures and awesome majesty.

O, God, you humble me.


“The View from My Kitchen Window”

April 19, 2012

To Kel, with true love,

Earlier this year, my husband and I were out exploring the Mississippi River on our boat. We were moored to a floating barge near Kimmswick, MO. We were at Hoppie's Marina, a famous stopping point on the river. Many boaters who travel the Great Loop stop there for gas before they head down river to Kentucky. I was doing the dishes after dinner, and as I looked out the little window the wide, rolling river carried my cares away. In that moment, I remembered how I often wished I had a window over my kitchen sink back home. I have always wanted to gaze upon a calming scene, while I did the dishes. That day on the river, I marvelled at God and this gift to see so many new scenes out the window of the boat. (Having a boat, was a mid-life, surprise venture that we decided to embark on about three years ago. Beyond my wildest dreams of where the future would take us.) I snapped the picture to try to capture that moment. I texted my friend, Kelly, because she loves nature and I knew she would share my awe. She sent me a poem to remind me that the window of our soul has so much to rejoice and reflect upon. Thanks, Kelly!
The moorings at Hoppie's marina


Monday, September 24, 2012

Empty: Lacking Reality, Substance, Meaning or Value

“And do not turn aside after empty things
that cannot profit or deliver,
for they are empty.”
1 Samuel 12: 21 ESV

Empty nesters, a phrase applied to a couple whose children have flown the coop. I resist the label. This season doesn’t feel as empty as I thought it would. My life is full with both joy and angst. Really nothing has changed, except the circumstances.

These days, I have more time to contemplate my tendency to chase emptiness. How can empty things be so appealing? As God told the Israelites through Samuel, “Empty things are empty. They don’t gain you anything and they definitely cannot deliver you from the emptiness that you have been running away from.” The Israelites had been delivered from bondage in Egypt, moved into the Promised Land, got distracted by the local gods, then cycled through their judges like fans and their American idols.

They tired of God and the judges, so they asked Samuel for a king. Samuel consulted with God, who told him the downside of having a king. But if his people were bent on having a king, he’d give them one, and so started the cycle of kings.

In Samuel 12, Samuel confronts the Israelites one last time about their tendency to worship other gods, and their foolish desire to have a king. A surprising twist in the narrative finds me marveling at God’s frankness about their sin, and His gracious desire to remain in relationship with His wayward ones.

And all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for ourselves a king.” And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty.  For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name's sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.” (1 Samuel 12: 19-25 ESV)

Basically, God says “Yes, you have done all this evil, but I really want you to follow me. Return to me and stop chasing emptiness. I have loved you with an everlasting love, and I am drawing you back with cords of kindness. I will not give up on you; however, if you go back to your wicked ways, there will be consequences.”

God tells us the truth and He gives us the way out. He loves us and He warns us where the empty life leads…to separation and destruction.

Oh, how I want to turn aside from emptiness and chase the One who is “full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 ESV)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Wide: Having Great Extent; Vast

wide-eyed wonder. wide open spaces. a wide berth. deep and wide. there’s a fountain flowing. deep and wide. how wide. how long. how deep. how strong is the love of God.

wide-eyed and bushy tailed. open wide the eyes of my heart to see the wonders of Thy law.

in the whole wide world there is none other who widely accepts and lavishes love on everyone.

where in the wide world can I find a love that lasts for as wide as the east is from the west? so far removed from memory is my sin in His wide open eyes that see all.

open wide to Me and I will give you LIFE!

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Psalm 36:5 NLT

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thrilling Guest Thursday: The Urban Hermit

This week's contributor remains anonymous,
yet the words she shares bring awe to our hearts
as she glorifies our Creator Father and His mysterious ways.
God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Ephesians 1:9-10 NLT

As a grandmother, I often find myself creating surprises for my little ones. I delight in the gift, but the real purpose is the delight I watch them express when they are caught by surprise and gifted with something to enjoy.

My sister shared an email with me that listed some of the amazing surprises that our Heavenly Father has prepared for us. I've copied out the lists of ways that our Father gifts us. Hopefully, you'll find it as amazing as I do.

God's accuracy may be observed in the hatching of eggs....
- the eggs of a potato bug hatch in 7 days;
- those of the canary in 14 days;
- those of the barnyard hen in 21 days;
- the eggs of ducks and geese hatch in 28 days.
Notice that they all are divisible by seven: the number of days in a week -- and the number that is used in the Bible to represent perfection.

God's wisdom is seen in the creation of an elephant. The four legs of this great beast all bend forward in the same direction. No other quadruped is so made. God planned that this animal would have a huge body, too large to live on only two legs. He gifted it with four fulcrums so that it can rise easily from the ground.

The horse rises from the ground on its two front legs first. A cow rises from the ground with its two hind legs first. Even though no explanation is given, I'm sure there's a reason that shows the Lord's wisdom in these examples as in all of His works of creation!

It's certainly revealed in His arrangement of sections and segments, as well as in the number of grains.

- Watermelons each have an even number of stripes on the rind.
- Oranges have an even number of segments.
- Each ear of corn has an even number of rows.
- Each stalk of wheat has an even number of grains.
- Every bunch of bananas has an even number of bananas, on its lowest row, and each row decreases by one, so that one row has an even number and the next row has an odd number.
- All grains are found in even numbers on the stalks, and the Lord specified thirty fold, sixty fold, and a hundred fold -- all even numbers.

- The waves of the sea roll in on shore twenty-six to the minute in all kinds of weather.

God has caused the flowers to blossom at certain specified times during the day. Linnaeus, the great botanist once said that if he had a conservatory containing the right kind of soils, moisture and temperature, he could tell the time of day or night by the flowers that were open and those that were closed!

All of this makes me aware that God is constantly thinking of us, surprising us, providing for us. If He puts this much planning into His animals, and fruits of the field, which only last a season, then consider how complex and loving are the Holy Arrangements he makes for each of us. And though I don't always see the pattern, I can trust that my life, and the lives of those I love, are ordered by our Lord in a beautiful way for His glory.

All Praise and all Thanksgiving to our Wonderful, Loving, Amazing Creator Father.

May you be richly aware of His many blessings this day, and all the days of your life. Let us pray for each other.

The Urban Hermit

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Solitude: The Quality or State of Being Alone

[Jesus] said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. (Mark 6:31b-32)

The Intuition Diaries

Solitude has become something I highly value. As a very active person, and one who isn’t very comfortable with being alone, it is hard for me to believe that I crave solitude. I am not talking about loneliness; I have never liked being lonely. I was lonely at times as a child, so I escaped to my imagination. I was lonely as a single woman in the Air Force, and so surrounded myself with people. I have been lonely as a wife and mother, which may be surprising, but it is a very real ache. In these lonely times, ultimately God draws me close and whispers, “I will never leave nor forsake you.” Solitude tunes me in to the Spirit and refreshes my soul.

While we were in Sister Bay, I was graced with some extended time to pursue solitude. Les was off on a bike ride in search of the famed Door Country dried cherries, so I walked over to the beach to write and sketch in my journal.


When the shops opened, I decided to browse. In the past, I might have been reluctant to go by myself or I would have been towing around two children. I have to admit, I didn’t mind being alone.

I embarked on a treasure hunt for unusual souvenirs. First, I went to the Ace Hardware store to see if I could find some insulated mugs for cold drinks. They didn’t have those, but they did have an ice pick. I bought it for Les. (The ice gets stuck together after awhile in the cooler, and I wanted him to be able to get some ice cubes apart to put in the mugs I had hoped to find.) I giggled to myself when I left the hardware store, what would people think of me carrying around a single ice pick? (I recently read a murder mystery, and my mind tucked this away as a kernel of an idea for a murder mystery. Murder by ice pick…hmmm.) I continued on down the block in search of the town library.

At the library, I picked up the free “Door County” tourist guides. On my way there I noticed a sign for a rummage sale, so I walked over to it. Bonus! This was turning out to be a wonderful morning. I found a couple things (a vintage hardcover novel to make into a journal cover). It was a great sale, but I knew better than to bring back too much; space is limited on a boat.

Next I found a collage art gallery/shop, where I bought some ephemera for my own collage attempts. I had to stop in the used bookstore next door. I bought The Big Year, a fictionalized story about birding on CD for us to listen to while we bounced across the lake. I quickly ran into Al Johnson’s (the restaurant with the goats on the grass roof) to get some postcards. My last stop was Secondhand Sue’s, a resale shop. And you are not going to believe it…the first thing I saw was two oversized insulated cups ($2 each) in the window…for our iced drinks! My morning was complete.

We left Sister Bay for a totally different setting that afternoon. We headed over to Rock Island, which has Wisconsin’s oldest lighthouse on it. We went from the bustle of small town to the solitude of nature. We were able to rent a spot at the State Park dock. It is a first come, first serve operation, so we were fortunate to be the first boat to arrive.

After arriving on the island, we hiked the path to see the lighthouse. From the streets of Sister Bay to the tree shaded path of Rock Island. Both settings lent themselves to different kinds of solitude. In the morning, I had the adventure of finding treasures. In the afternoon, I treasured the adventure of climbing to the top of my first lighthouse.

Pottawatomie Lighthouse



On the way back down the path, Les and I walked in silence, which is very unusual for me. I just wanted to see what it was like to walk silently. Our silence was broken by Les asking a question, and then passing a young family on the path. They were looking for a pileated woodpecker. The woman and I fell into pace together and struck up a conversation. Les walked with the husband and the kids.

The family had been at the lighthouse, and the one son wanted a souvenir pin from the shop. It had a lighthouse on it that lights up. I had bought four to bring home. I decided when we saw the family to give them a pin. The mom was delighted. We ended up visiting with them and showing them our boat, while they waited for the ferry to take them back to Washington Island.

Solitude isn’t always about being alone; it’s sharing your aloneness with one another. I had been concerned about being away from “sisters” on this trip.  My husband and I are great companions, and he graciously listens to me chatter, but it was nice to have a “sister” to visit with that afternoon. (I’m sure it amazes some men how easily women connect. Frankly, it’s a gift that I cherish.) The night before in Sister Bay, this couple pulled up into the slip next to us. Immediately, the wife and I were laughing and poking jokes at our husbands. Each husband had been held hostage by our “self-analysis” talk during the day. Her husband got a kick out of that comment; he knew exactly what I was talking about. The guys were glad to let us chat, while they shared boat stories.

There’s a time for society, and there’s a time for solitude.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dream: To Consider as a Possibility

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Ephesians 3:20-21 The Message

Monday, September 17, 2012

More Running the Race

“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1b-3 NIV)

Five Lessons from the Race

1.       This is my race. Don’t compete with the others.

2.       Race in progress. Keep going, it’s not over yet.

3.       The agony of victory keeps you racing.

4.       This race was designed for you to finish.

5.       You’ve been training all your life for this race.

Yesterday, three of us piled into my friend’s car with our bikes securely attached to the bike rack and headed to Milstadt Parks Biathlon. Our first ever attempt at a combo bike/run. We each went through various moments of nervous doubts to “we can do this” affirmations.

When we pulled into the parking lot, our enthusiasm deflated. Next to every car we passed, a very athletic looking man lifted his bike effortlessly off the car rack. Are we at the right race? What did we get ourselves into now? Eventually we did see some women and met some first timers as we checked in, put our bikes in the staging area and walked over to the start. By the time we did all this plus took our obligatory bathroom break, we were standing at the back of the pack.

This is my race. Don’t compete with the others.

Before the race, I told my friend to just take off and I would run my own race. I knew I couldn’t keep up with her or her other friend because they have more experience. Once we were off, it was hard not to run really fast to keep up with the main group. About a few hundred yards into the race, I decided again this was my race. So I throttled back to my own pace.

I had two goals for this race…participate and hopefully finish. The race included a five mile run and a 22 mile bike route. The description for the race seemed a bit overblown, since we knew that the highways around the town were fairly flat. Here’s how their website described the race:

TAKE THE CHALLENGE!! Be a part of one of the largest and most challenging races in the central states region! This event not only tests your fitness level, but also your cycling skills. The high speed turns, rolling hills, and scenic farmlands make this event the largest in the metro east area.

Since I didn’t really believe this description, I just plunged in, thinking how hard can this really be? About halfway through the run, I knew how hard it could be. My goal of participating had already been met, but I also really wanted to finish. I kept my pace. I figured I was in last place, but I didn’t look back to check, I kept my focus on the race ahead. 

When I was about two miles in, the other runners were doubling back from the half way point. Some would shout “Good job!” Their encouragements kept me in the race. I even told one of them “Good job!”  I made it to the halfway water station, took a cup of water, drank it as I walked, threw the empty cup in the trash and resumed running. I gave myself permission to run/walk the last half.

Race in progress. Keep going, it’s not over yet.

Running around the turn, heading back to the bike staging area, a volunteer gave me my time: 1 hour 3 minutes. That announcement pleased me, because before the race my husband told me, if I ran the five miles in an hour, I would be able to finish the race.

I climbed on my bike, adrenaline pumping through my body while my legs pumped the pedals. The route out of town was flat. I was fantasizing about catching the rest of the racers, when I met one of the speed demons returning up the hill that I was flying down. Hills are definitely a rush going down, but there’s always one to climb straight ahead. I never caught up with the pack. I went back to my original mantra: “This is my race.” I found my biking pace, blindly hoping that I could keep a 10 mile per hour rate to finish the race under 3 hours.  After several rolling hills and steep inclines, I made it to the 10 mile point. At the water station, I declined a drink and asked what time it was. The volunteers replied “10:05am.”

The agony of victory keeps you racing.

I had fifty-five minutes and about 12 miles to go to beat the mandatory sag wagon pick-up. They have a strict policy of racers being off the route by 11:00am. I drank some water from my water bottle, zoomed down a hill and hit a steep one on the other side. I shifted into low gear to march the bike up the hill, my legs were screaming and I heard a car behind me. I decided to get off the bike and walk the hill, so the car could pass.  They didn’t pass. I looked back. It was the red pick-up truck assigned as the sag wagon. Uggh! I kept walking, they stayed back. I got to the top of the hill and climbed back on determining to at least make it to the 15 mile marker.

This race was designed for you to finish.

I sensed that the sag wagon was back there, and was surprised that its presence actually motivated me to keep going.  I ate an orange flavored power bar, drank water and kept pedaling up and down the rolling hills of Milstadt. I had no idea of the time. I climbed yet another hill and saw the town ahead. My last burst of energy kicked in and I headed towards the finish line.

I rode across the line and the clock read: 2:56:46. I made it. I finished with a few minutes to spare and no sag wagon in sight.


You’ve been training all your life for this race.

While out on the course, the last principle entered my mind. My whole life I had been training for this race. As a young girl, I often spent my afternoons riding my bike over hilly country roads, my husband  and I have biked with our boys across the Midwest and I have been training to run these past few months.
These race lessons parallel my spiritual journey. My relationship with God is mine. And when I compare it to others, I get discouraged. The little signs posted along the race route that read “Race in progress” reminded me that my growth as a Christ-follower is in progress. God’s not finished with me.
I often struggle with the agony of defeat, and the repeatable sin patterns in my life, but I was reminded during the race that Jesus suffered the agony of victory. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross. The joy was to be reunited to each one of us through His own sacrifice.

The last two principles really offered me hope as I continue to walk with God. He designed us to finish. He’s not making our journey harder than it needs to be. Life is only as difficult as it needs to be. He has provided everything that we need in order to finish, including our past experiences and the current progress our of lives.






Friday, September 14, 2012

Focus: Directed Attention

Some mornings I find it difficult to focus. I have routines, but they are ever in flux. I get up and want coffee. But then I think maybe I should go run. I have been thinking of setting office hours, so I can be more focused on writing. I have been blogging five days a week now for three weeks. It is nice to have a rhythm going.

I have been running to get ready for a race that a friend invited me to run with her. It actually includes biking as well, so they call it a biathalon. Talk about needing focus. But I’m not sure if that’s really what I have been after these past few weeks. Sure I have a goal to get ready. So I run or bike every other day, challenging myself to push a little further each time. But the focus is not on the race, as much it is on plodding along and conditioning my body to be ready for the race.

I need both the goal of the race, and the focus of the moment. It’s a strange mix, but it does keep me going.



Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win.  All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches.   I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.

1 Corinthians  9:24-27 NLT

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thrilling Guest Thursday: Lynn D. Morrissey

Lynn D. Morrissey, is a Certified Journal Facilitator (CJF), founder of Heartsight Journaling, a ministry for reflective journal-writing, author of Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy through Written Prayer and other books, contributor to numerous bestsellers, an AWSA and CLASS speaker, and professional soloist. She and her beloved husband, Michael, have been married since 1975 and have a college-age daughter, Sheridan. They live in St. Louis, Missouri.

You may contact Lynn at

Please feel to comment on this post, as she will be checking comments. As all writers do, she appreciates feedback and your responses to her work.
The first time I met Lynn, she was sharing her passion for the written word at a Women's Retreat. I reacquainted myself  with her many years later, when I recognized her at a local Christian bookstore. She has been encouraging me ever since with her journaling passion and love for all things writing, but most of all her rich, extravagant love for Jesus. Here's a beautiful tribute written about a beautiful woman by another equally beautiful friend and woman of faith.
What a Friend
by Lynn D. Morrissey
Myrtle was dead. The shriveled brown body encasing her generous spirit let go at God’s command. Like autumn’s last leaf, thin and brittle as parchment, it drifted effortlessly to its final resting place.                                      
I met Myrtle years ago. What an unlikely pair we were, our backgrounds and temperaments as variegated as fall’s foliage. Myrtle was a venerable octogenarian of African-American descent–gracious, humble, and gentle. Yet her soft-spokenness was peppered with crisp humor and laughter that tinkled like a flurry of wind chimes. Her diminutive ninety-pound frame housed a prayer warrior who regularly conferred with her Captain and best friend, Jesus, whom she claimed could fix anything. And He did!
I was a thirty-something Caucasian with an impetuous nature. I loved God and His Word, but was frustrated by my faith that seemed to fluctuate like a round of Simon Says—two baby steps forward, three giant steps back. Solidly standing with feet firmly fixed on her Rock, Jesus Christ, Myrtle’s faith simply was.
I stuck close to Myrtle, hoping to absorb her faith secrets, and she was only too willing to share them. Every Sunday, we met in our church’s tiny chapel. Myrtle always left the doors open so people could join us for prayer, but few ever did. Myrtle, whose arthritis might have dictated otherwise, insisted we kneel at the altar rail. Inch by inch, she pleated like a weathered accordion, and with one heavy sigh—shooo—finally dropped to her knees. I preferred my comfortable pew seat, but knelt out of respect for Myrtle. She knelt out of respect for God.
Myrtle prayed like she talked, simply and sincerely. I, who had struggled with prayer for nearly ten years as a Christian, was amazed at the effortlessness of her petitions, as if she were chatting over the breakfast table with an intimate friend. One knew that when Myrtle prayed, Jesus knelt alongside us, His presence palpable.
Myrtle didn’t just pray to Jesus, she sang to Him, too. Her favorite hymn was What a Friend We Have in Jesus, and that was no surprise. She sang to her friend Jesus while she baked, washed, dusted, or tended the generational dozens of children entrusted to her care over the years. She told me that singing gave her spiritual strength. Myrtle sang most heartily in church, where she shone like polished piano ebony among mostly white keys.
Sometimes it disturbed me that Myrtle demonstrated what I considered to be a subservient attitude towards her Caucasian counterparts, calling each lady by Miss or Mrs. and her surname. Myrtle is just as good as they, I thought, and knows her Bible better and can pray rings around them!
In retrospect, although I believe Myrtle hailed from a generation plagued with societally imposed racial distinctions, I learned that her personality was characterized by subservience to Christ. His humble servant, she showed deference to others. Her humility humbled me, and I longed to be more like her.
What a friend I had in Myrtle. I called her day or night, asking endless questions or relaying uncontrolled fears. She patiently listened, never criticizing, never minimizing my wrestling. She’d offer a Bible passage to enlighten, a prayer to uplift. “Jesus will fix it, Lynn,” she assured and I was soothed, though not always persuaded. My faith needed to grow.
Sometimes trials loomed larger than life, seemingly insurmountable. One morning at work, I made a desperate call to Myrtle explaining that some board directors thought I was negligent in raising critical funds for the agency for which I was executive director. Some wanted me fired. “Jesus will fix it,” she insisted. “Let’s pray.” We did and He did! I had never been one to toot my own horn, but at the next board meeting, I had an opportunity to explain that I had personally been responsible for generating a large percentage of support in both cash and in-kind donations. A naive young woman, I had done my job without reporting it. In response to Myrtle’s prayer, the Lord gave me courage to speak, and He gave me favor with the board.
Another call to Myrtle was even more desperate. I was forty and pregnant! This was a circumstance that couldn’t be fixed or altered by any amount of praying. And yet, in the ensuing months, as I confessed my anguish to my faithful, non-judgmental friend, Myrtle, Jesus answered our prayers by fixing my attitude. When my daughter was born, how proud I was to be her mother. And how proud Myrtle was to be included at Sheridan’s baptism as her great-godmother.
Certainly arrogant pride was not one of Myrtle’s characteristics. “Why would you, a college graduate, ask advice from me?” she sometimes queried. I thought the answer was obvious. Myrtle possessed the God-given wisdom that I needed.
Yet near the end of her life, Myrtle’s wisdom was harder to discover. Her quick mind and quicker wit were overshadowed by the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease, scrambling her language into a kind of verbal Morse-code gibberish. She could no longer talk to others or to Jesus. 
One afternoon, in what was to be our last visit, I pulled her dusty hymnal from the piano bench, asking her daughter-in-law for permission to play for Myrtle. As I played the old familiar hymn, with tears streaming down her cheeks, Myrtle began to sing, “What a friend we have in Jesus…” Although she could no longer talk to Jesus, she was singing to Him just as she had throughout the years. While Myrtle couldn’t tell Him, she knew He was still her best friend.
Several days later, Jesus fixed Myrtle good as new. And now she’ll never stop singing!
(Copyright 2012. All Rights Reserved. Lynn D. Morrissey)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sojourn: A Temporary Stay

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
(1 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV)

The Intuition Diaries

As we travelled from port to port, we would either rent a transient slip (a boat “campsite” at a marina, assigned to those passing through) or we anchored out.

Upon arriving in the Door County area, we chose to anchor out near Sturgeon Bay, WI. We had a pleasant morning puttering our way up the coast of Wisconsin. We stopped in Kewaunee to use the post office and pick up a few groceries. We used their public dock and literally had to climb up to get on solid ground.

It was a quaint, quiet town with a very slow pace. Two things happened there that made us smile. Outside the post office we saw a man run the lawn mower up the sidewalk, while it was running. We had no idea why he did it, but he did. The postmaster was a hoot as well, whenever I made a comment, he would say, “You’re probably right.”

 I thanked him for being so agreeable.

We left there, and headed to the canal that cuts through the Door County peninsula via Sturgeon Bay. There we were greeted by a light that marked the canal. We stopped for gas and ice at one of the marinas along the canal. We were marked by peace and settling into this pace of travelling by boat with the expectations of more adventures and relaxation ahead.


With all the beauty around us, you’d think it would be hard to become discouraged, but even on vacation we faced “light and momentary troubles.”

Last night after we anchored out in a very picturesque cove, named Sawyer Bay, we were accosted by flies. The stillness invited the flies to swarm around our boat. I had brought along a handy all-natural fly contraption to catch them. It had some debris in the bottom, so I thought I’d just dump it in the lake. In doing so, I dropped the plastic container. In my desire to rid myself of pesky flies, I jumped into the lake to make a rescue effort. In my haste, I forgot that I had my glasses on my head. The impact of my kersplash into the lake caused me to lose both the container and my glasses.

We looked and looked for the glasses. I waded around in the three feet of weedy terrain under the water to feel for the glasses with my feet. I cried and cried because of my foolish attempt to rescue a plastic container. I went to bed discouraged.


But joy comes in the morning.  (A good cup of coffee and the rising of the sun reminded me that God is good, even if I am foolish.)

Temporary upsets cannot outweigh the Presence of God in our lives. He never leaves or forsakes us, even when we temporarily lose our common sense.

I never found the glasses, but I did find out that God loves me despite my reckless attempts to rescue something that I really could live without. The flies still pestered us, I never found the glasses, and I cried myself to sleep, yet in the morning I was still able to rejoice in God and his goodness.
I did have contact lens with me, but somehow after this experience I felt like I had clearer vision, as result of losing the eyeglasses.