Friday, October 30, 2015

Sanctuary.....Starbuck and I started out up the infamous Daniel's Hill to go toward the Crystal Mill. I told Jon that we were just going to hike down to some spot on the Crystal River and just sit and enjoy. However, as sometimes I tend to do, another direction "called my name." Or maybe it was just plain old curiosity. So Starbuck and I took off climbing and scrambling through a little brush. I saw a rock that was actually part of a cliff face that looked stable. So I decided to see if indeed it was stable. Stable is important when at the edge of the cliff.
Just behind the rock ledge almost growing out of it was a scrubby Colorado juniper. I thought it best to tie Starbuck there so that in her excitement she would not decide to pull us both over the ledge. I carefully found a place to sit on this rock. Starbuck was sitting behind me. The small branches of the juniper were framing me as if they were embracing me. The sun was warm on my face. The mountains across from my perch were covered in fresh snow. The river was traveling its path through the bend and into the gorge below, singing that soothing song that moving water sings. I could smell the evergreen of the juniper and I was at peace.
The moment became holy. I believe that in that moment a bit of the veil between me and eternity was lifted. I felt at one with my surroundings and more importantly, at one with my Creator. I could not utter words even in prayer that would break the sacredness of that moment. I just breathed and I just sat. I felt a very gentle breeze stir and in that moment, I felt as if the breeze was the finger of God caressing my face. On that rock, over a cliff, embraced by evergreen branches, I found sanctuary and discovered His Holiness in a moment in which I was still and I was quiet.  "Be still and know that I am God." the Psalmist

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Extravagant pain........I have a friend here in Marble. I love her and I cannot comprehend just how deep that love goes. I told her that I loved her and did not know why it was such a thorough love! She told me in a whispered voice that sort of love comes from God. She is right.
She is sick, very sick. I was at her home working and visiting. I crawled into bed with her and she held my hand. We said little. Later while others were with her I decided to mop her kitchen. She has a mop but I chose to do it on my hands and knees. As I did so this ordinary act became a holy act. As I went through the motions on my knees I was aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit and I was aware of extravagant pain because of her sickness and because that pain flowed from love. I still call it extravagant pain because this sort of love was bought with an extravagant price; "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son......" Jesus experienced great suffering so that His grace and love could be ours. So to love with this kind of Godly love that comes from the very soul itself is sometimes filled with pain. Yes it is in my words, in my heart, extravagant pain because its very roots come from the extravagant love of God. the sacrifice of Jesus, and the ever "presence" of the Holy Spirit.
I have a friend here in Marble. I love her. I cannot comprehend just how deep that love goes. She told me in a whispered voice that sort of love comes from God. She is right.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Sound of Music Trail 2015......There have been a lot of critter sightings around Marble recently. My friend has spotted three different moose. Jon saw a small bear cub which means Mama was close by. There have been lots of garbage can attacks from bears and of course there are always the usual mule deer, foxes, elk, etc.

So Jon, Starbuck and I took our annual Sound of Music Trail yesterday. We were going along when I acknowledged bear scat (poop for those not familiar with scat). It was relatively fresh but as we say not steaming which is always a relief if you know what I mean. We continued along and spotted moose scat which appeared quite old, a good sign seeing as how moose do not like dogs provoking them and can be quite mean to dog and owner. As we continued just a little further we heard a rather loud snort! All of us stopped dead in our tracks! I asked Jon if he heard the snort as well, since Starbuck and I were ahead of him. He assured us he did and he was scanning below us to see if he could see the critter making the noise. Then there was the second snort! Seeing as how I was warned by a thrashing, running, snorting black bear a couple of summers ago, I was a little concerned. So I stood a little taller and calmly spoke in the general direction of the snort and said, "We are humans and we mean you know harm. We will not bother you, please do not bother us." Thankfully, Starbuck was oblivious to all of this and did not provoke Snorter!

We continued to a spot in which we took a break and I asked Jon what did he think our snorter was: bear, moose, or elk? He said he did not know and that the snort was more or less a warning that the animal was there and for us not to invade its territory. No problem there. I asked him what would our game plan be if Snorter got irritated. He reviewed the "proper" responses: elk, hide behind a couple of trees to avoid being charged; bear, stand tall and do not run and make lots of noise; moose, get behind a clump of trees that you can circle around because moose are fast and not very nice with their hooves and of course, praying could help. Well, that was certainly comforting.....I voted bear since the bear scat was relatively fresh and it seemed as if our chance of surviving a bear over an angry moose might be 1/1000th of a chance better. Thankfully, Snorter stayed in his or her place and we made a wonderful hike and safe return home.

Life is often like a hike. You go along about your business enjoying the day when God allows a Snorter into your adventure. It is comforting to know with whom your faith lies. For if your faith is in God, no matter what confronts you, we know that the Heavenly view at the end of life's trail is breathtaking and worth the journey!!!!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Back in Marble........this morning I sat in the sanctuary of our church praying for the service that started later. I also took time to contemplate the recent loss of my father. I spoke quietly about that loss in the sacredness of the moment and in the sacredness of the place: I am less. And that is true. I am more. And that too is true. I am complete in Jesus. And that is absolutely true!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Tribute to Mother........ My Mother had the challenging task of being a caregiver. She has taken care of my Daddy who just passed away. She watched the deterioration that accompanies Alzheimer's on a daily basis. She and Daddy became inseparable as he became more and more dependent on her to hold on to his memory and his ability to do day to day activities. He would ask her if he looked good as he put on the clothes that she picked out for him the night before. He took joy from being dressed in the "pretty" things that she provided for him. He would wake up and ask, "what are we going to do today?" As long as he was able, he would help her drive verbally telling her where he saw a park or if the way was clear. But he could not remember how to get to wherever they were going.
He held his own for about three years. Then suddenly, he declined into that other world of Alzheimer's. He kept her up night and day. She tried to be as patient as possible with him. She stood her ground that she would not put him in a nursing home if there was a way around it. She was loyal to those vows, "in sickness and in health". Then he declined so rapidly that he was hospitalized. She stayed day and night by his side except when someone else could give her a break.
I arrived on a Saturday evening. In a moment of rare clarity, he recognized me. I stayed overnight with Daddy to give Mother a break. When she told him goodnight, he made a kissing motion with his lips and reached for her. She leaned down to hug him and kiss him and told him over and over that she loved him. By Monday night, he breathed his last breath upon this earth. She had stood by him. Even though her health was compromised, she was there for Daddy. She was truly in every possible meaning of the word a caregiver! She was a trooper! She showed us all true love!
So Happy Mother's Day does not seem enough! Mother, I am proud of you and I love you! So even though it seems inadequate, I wish you a very Blessed and Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Tonight we sat with my Daddy as he breathed his last breath. Sitting with someone you love as they die is a sacred thing. It is a sad thing and a glad thing. Daddy suffered from Alzheimer's and it was a glad thing that he went to his heavenly home but a sad thing to say farewell to your father.
Alzheimer's is a terrible disease. But not long before he died, he told me on the phone that I was his daughter and that he loved me and that I would always be in his heart. I held that close to my heart realizing that he was sharing some insight and wisdom about the disease itself. Maybe God holds those lost things in the heart of the sufferer to be a part of the Eternal.
I am grateful that he did not have to go to an Alzheimer's care facility and that in my heart, God showed mercy by taking him Home. But it is a thing of sorrow to lose a parent no matter how old you are. So farewell for now, Daddy, because I know that one day we will be together again. And in our heavenly home nothing will be lost, but through the grace of God everything will be gained.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

They are here! thing about living in Marble, a remote mountain place, that I have not shared is the importance of the arrival of the hummingbirds. They arrive sometime in April. This is a huge event for us because we consider it the heralding of Spring. We often hear the humming of their wings before we can see them. We get two varieties up here, the Broad Tailed and the Rufus. Everyone puts out feeders and they literally take over Marble in the summer. They will swarm right over your head and by your face to get to their food source. If you hold a feeder really still, they will eat out of your hand. They fight each other to protect their perceived feeder and will sit guard over it. We absolutely adore our hummingbirds in Marble!!

Today as my friend and I were wandering about, we discussed how they should be arriving at anytime! Low and behold, at the end of the walk, we heard the unmistakeable sound of the humming of wings! We stopped, we listened, we high-fived each other and let out a wooooohooooo! The official heralding of Spring had arrived!

My family is going through a difficult time right now with my daddy's battle with Alzheimer's. It is painful to see someone slip into that unknown territory of the brain as it deteriorates. There are really no words to describe it. But hearing that hummingbird today reminded me that the wonders of God are all around us even in our troubled times. We just have to be open to hear, open to see, open to the simple joy of one single moment that reminds us that Jesus promised to never forsake us.........Yes, Marble, they are here!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Good Friday......last night was our Good Friday service here in our beautiful Marble Community Church. There is a woman of God in our community who is suffering with some serious health issues. On a day in which we remember the passion of Christ, she epitomized the way of the cross. God has given her the voice of an angel and she was fortunate enough to be well-trained with her voice as well. Our small choir sang "Lamb of God" by Twila Paris. It was an arrangement that included phrases from "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord." My friend, my God sister sang the verses as a solo.
She was in much pain during the service but when she sang, the church was filled with her voice which could have only originated from Heaven. Her pain was Christ's pain in that from the cross, He knew that this day would come for her. His grace filled her being, allowing her to sing through her pain. And as a result Heaven came down and met us as a congregation at the foot of the cross. As a result there was not a person without tears in the entire church!
There are moments in our lives when we are aware that eternity coexists with our humanity, where the suffering of the cross coexist with grace. Last night was one of those moments for me and I cannot help but be forever humbly grateful that my Lord, Jesus Christ allowed me to share that awareness with my beloved friend and God sister as well as our beloved congregation!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Celebration of a life......I was so very proud of our small historical church here in the midst of the mountains surrounding Marble, CO. We celebrated the life of a long time community member today. She went to her Heavenly home a couple of weeks ago. Our church is small but it was packed with people remembering a wife, a mother, a sister, and a friend. 
A church celebrates the cycles of life. It dedicates babies, marries couples, and commemorates lives that have moved into eternity. So it was today that we as a congregation hosted a family as they remembered their loved one. We cleaned, we set up the fellowship hall, we worked with the family, the florist, and talked with friends of the family. Our little congregation prepared the snacks for after the memorial service. The table was full of food for the large crowd that came for the celebration. I was so proud of our folks. They came through and many worked very hard. The thing that truly blessed me was that everyone lingered and visited for a long time. It was a sign that told me they felt welcome. One guest told me that, "this little church just feels holy."
So yes, as a pastor's wife of a small church nestled between two wilderness areas, I felt a little pride in our folks and a lot of praise for God allowing me to share in the "heartbeats" of a community.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lady.......My newer jeep, I named Lady. She is a 2008 vs the 1995 manly jeep that I had named the Bob Marly. I had trouble letting go of the Bob Marly. I had formed a certain bond with it and just wasn't sure I wanted to part with it. However after jeeping with Lady in Moab, Utah I have thoroughly embraced Lady!!! She performed marvelously on one lane dirt and rock roads! She crawled over rocks, rode into the bottom of Canyon Lands National Park and climbed out of the canyon on a one lane, dirt and rock road through a series of switchbacks that was awesome and a little intimidating! I even drove her on some of these back roads over rocks in four wheel low and I have to tell you I was absolutely stoked!!! What a blast! Of course while I was driving I glanced over at Jon and saw that he was holding onto the handles over the roll bar with both hands. He said that it was just for support but I think he may have been just a little nervous. When I stopped driving, I made the comment that I didn't do too badly for a person totally blind in one eye......perhaps that was the reason for gripping so tightly to the handholds.
So I have totally let go of the Bob Marly. After all he has a good home with Jon's sister, Jonalyn. I think she renamed him Raven or something like that. So farewell Bob Marly or Raven and HELLO LADY!

Friday, February 13, 2015

I stood at the top of the hill after hiking back from the Crystal Mill looking below me at our beloved Crystal River and resting due to the climb in the soft snow. The soft snow added to the cardiovascular work load. So as I stood there, I could literally feel my heart pounding hard and a little elevated in my chest. I liked this pounding! I could actually feel the strength of my heart responding to my body's extra need for oxygen. Alive, alive, alive, that is what each beat said to me. I was surrounded by heavenly beauty, the air was crisp but not cold and with each deep cleansing breath and each pounding heart beat I felt alive.
By the grace of God and the prayers of His people I have thus far survived six brain tumors, all thankfully benign. I have one itsy bitsy, tiny iny, brain tumor left. I have named it Seven. And yes, you guessed correctly, it is because it is the seventh. We are not going to treat Seven at this point. It is so small we may never have to treat it. But one thing I have learned through the journey that I did not choose to make, life is simply as the scriptures teach, "like a vapor." Yet it is precious beyond measure! God made mankind from the earth and breathed life into him, into her!
So yes I may seem a little crazy on a hiking trail. I sometimes shout out YooWoo for no other reason than I am overwhelmed by God's creation. Yes I may sing the "Sound of Music" slightly off key at the top of my lungs. And yes I may push a hike a little further than intended just because I want to see what is just around the next corner or just because I have made some internal destination as my goal, but I love to feel that pounding of my heart that says you are alive! You are alive!
God saw me in my mother's womb so says the Psalmist. God knew my journey and has walked with me in the "valley of the shadow of death." And when I feel my heart pounding in the midst of His world, I know that I too am a part of His marvelous creation and that I am His beloved! My friend, so are you!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

You're the hiker......I was volunteering at the Marble Charter School yesterday when a local gentleman came in. I reintroduced myself to him and he said, "Oh, you're the hiker." That sort of surprised me that he knew me as the hiker. We have really only met a couple of times. I responded after a minute of pause that I was more of a wanderer....
So today I took Starbuck on a short wandering walk in the Old Mill Park which was the site of the mill that carved the marble from our quarry and shipped it out by train in the early 1900s. We went there to avoid the mud from all the melting snow. We were on a hard-packed trail that I knew exactly where it led. I discovered another trail that led toward the river and we, being wanderers, decided to take it. After all, there was no chance of getting lost. The problem was that the snow-packed trail dead-ended.
Not wanting to backtrack, I saw that the trail back to the main mill site was just up a small hill and all we had to do was get past a little "unpacked snow." I looked at Starbuck and thought, how deep could it be? So off we went. Oh well, it was a little deeper than I expected. We were postholing (a term I have learned since moving here) up to my knees. So the little trek was slightly more involved for the both of us than I meant it to be. Not only were we knee deep in snow but underneath were baby trees and fallen buried logs. Once I fell in the soft snow and sank to my elbows. Now try getting up with all your shoes and mittens still in place. I started laughing and Starbuck looked at me as if I had lost my mind and had dragged her where she did not want to be!
The adventure was relatively short and I consoled myself by thinking that I would not need to get on the treadmill because my heart rate had been significantly raised with the new sport of postholing! However, once I was on the road with a much relieved Starbuck, I thought about our little wandering. How many times had God provided the nice snow-packed trail to lead me home only for me to wander off on some other trail just because it was shorter in distance and I did not want to backtrack? I pray that I will seek His path. But it was a comfort to know that I learned a little lesson about errant paths and that God often sees us through those choices as well.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding but acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will make straight your path..." the writer of Proverbs

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Meet Lady.......So before Christmas Jon sold the Bob Marly (my black 1995 Jeep) to his sister. I loved the Bob Marly. He had such character and Starbuck and I could just jump in and go without worry of dog hair or dirt. We would head off to the trail, go on an adventure and return home in the faithful black Bob Marly.
Jon had seen a jeep that a parishioner was selling and briefly asked me if I liked it back in the summer. I did like said jeep. Then close to Christmas he sells the Bob Marly so I was pretty sure the other jeep was going to show up. A couple of days before Christmas no new jeep. Christmas Eve night no new jeep. So......what was I going to drive with the Bob Marly gone? But alas one light weight present I opened contained a key with the word jeep on it. After a search I saw the new jeep parked in the church parking lot from our back deck.
So meet Lady, 2008 Wrangler 2 door, X edition trail rated jeep! She is green and has cloth seats instead of the plastic that the Bob Marly had. She is a 6th speed and shifts into all 6 gears smoothly. So compared to the Bob Marly she is somewhat genteel! Thus the name Lady. Sometimes I even call her the Green Lady.
Just one issue to straighten out with Jon. Number one, Lady is suppose to be mine and secondly, we live in Marble, a deep mountain location and Lady IS A JEEP. So I take her out for the first adventure. I put up the back seats to make room for Starbuck in the back and off we go to park below Daniel's Hill. Starbuck and I make a beautiful hike to Lizard Lake and back. I load her up and we return home. Jon was coming in from the church and I excitedly told him what we had done! He responded, "You took the Jeep and you took Starbuck?" Well yeah I did. He then responded, "You'll get the jeep dirty and get dog hair everywhere." I simply looked at him and said, "Well, Lady is a jeep and you said she was mine and SHE IS GOING TO HAVE TO MAN UP around here!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Jon, a friend and I saw American Sniper yesterday. I am not one to recommend movies but in this case I break that rule. If you want to remember what our troops have to endure and what their families suffer, then this very intense and sad film is a great reminder. It is not for children and it is difficult to watch but there are troops and families still out there who need our support and prayers! There is a world out there that needs our prayers!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Okay, so I live in a sort of "isolated" place in between two mountain wilderness areas........ when our monthly paper came out this month, there was an article by our very own mobile local vet who lives in Marble explaining that a couple of local dogs had an animal encounter! So yeah, that got my attention having a local dog myself. Her best guess was that they had been mauled by a mountain lion! Okay........
On Tuesdays I volunteer at our local Marble Charter school. I sub there as well. So during recess a Marbleite dropped by to warn the school that a mountain lion was in a tree by his gallery. So the teachers let the kids know and just pulled them a little closer in and avoided the trees around the school. Two things crossed my mind: one, I wanted to leave the school and try to get a picture of such an elusive animal and secondly, I truly do live in the heart of of a magnificent mountain location. Do not get me wrong, I would have tried to stay in the jeep to get my photo!!!
I walked home from school with snowflakes falling, mountains shrouded in clouds thinking what a wondrous world that the Almighty has placed me to live.... And I should say, I did keep glancing up in the trees just in case........

Sunday, January 11, 2015

After church during our fellowship time God blessed me with a very special gift! I have a friend, a sister here in Marble who has been and continues to be on a difficult journey. She is battling ovarian cancer. She continues this journey with such courage and grace! She leans on God and shares the things that He is teaching her freely, blessing all those around her.
Today she was sharing with me about the songs she has been singing; she has a God-given angel's voice! She has been singing blues song and laughs as she completes them. She has been reading dramatically some things at the table in English or Southern accents and again laughing. She shared that this week she asked her husband to dance with her and they had no dance music so they started out slow dancing. Then she decided to sing Davidic songs and they did Davidic dances. She laughed and I laughed with her, picturing the dance and hearing the music. We were laughing like two young girls right there in the fellowship room right in the middle of her difficult journey!! I sense God is giving her freedom in the midst of her struggle; freedom to continue to sing, freedom to dance with her husband and freedom to laugh!
This sharing she did with me, this laughter she shared with me was a gift from Heaven itself. Perhaps we will all sing in Heaven. Perhaps we will all dance in Heaven. Perhaps we will all laugh in Godly joy in Heaven.
Praise to God and thanks to my friend, my sister for sharing with me today.......