Category Archive: Moments

scenic view of night sky with stars
Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

The sky was inky black. I gasped. “Don, look at the sky!” The stars were so brilliant they almost jumped out at us. There in all his glory was Orion; and there, the Big Dipper. Further over, we saw Cassiopeia. And between, millions of stars, twinkling and blinking in glorious harmony. Breathtaking!

We’d left home at 10 am. Don, Paigey and me.

After enjoying our Starbucks breakfast, Paigey her puppucino, we transitioned to Highway 101 for Tracy, where we dropped our little girl off at her “first mom” Mary’s for the next few days, where Paigey was surrounded by adorable Cav pups, aged 7 weeks to 18 months.

Continuing, Don and I laughed, listened to our favorite talk show on the radio, and sang along with CD’s by the Texas Tenors and Kelly Bryant, who we met in Branson a few years ago. Bryant’s are specifically songs of hope, praise, and trust in a faithful God, and my spirit was uplifted as it was filled with the truths she sang.

In Mariposa, we stopped at a Burger King for a potty stop and lunch. The dining room was closed, only drive-through, so a man there directed us to the burger place across the street. We shared a delicious burger and sweet potato fries. Before the food arrived, I wanted to use the restroom. I went the wrong direction and turned into a courtyard where several children were doing their homework. The waitress told us they waited there daily for their mother to pick them up after work. The children kindly gave me directions. One was a sweet ten-ish Hispanic girl, and I wanted to say more to her. But the opportunity didn’t arise.

After Don and I finished eating, I went to use the restroom once more and, there she was – the sweet girl I’d wanted to appreciate. As she walked past I said, “I hope you know how beautiful God made you.” She smiled shyly. “Thank you.” “And he loves you,” I added. She turned around and said, “And he loves you too.” “Thank YOU!” What a God-moment. To hear her affirm God’s love for me when I wanted to encourage her was priceless.

Upper Yosemite Falls cascading into ice and snow

As we entered Yosemite we began to see snow along the roadways, on the rocks, and in some areas of the Merced River. Bridal Veil Falls and El Capitan were colored by the lowering sun. Upper Yosemite Falls dropped into a pool of snow and/or ice before falling down to the middle and lower falls. And Half Dome reflected clearly in the stream below.

We checked in, unpacked, and found our room in a wonderful corner, windows on two sides, with a lovely sense of privacy. There we enjoyed a great zoom call with one of my brothers and sisters-in-law. Then we put on warm jackets (it’s supposed to get down to 17 degrees) and our snow boots and walked over to share a turkey sandwich and chips. As we left our room, I gasped, looking at the stars, uncluttered by the lights of a city. Clearer here than I have seen them in years. Startling. Sparkling. Amazing. Immediately Psalm 8 came to mind.

When I consider your heavens,

the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars,

    which you have set in place,

what is mankind that you are mindful of them,

    human beings that you care for them?

Lord, our Lord,

    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8:3,4,9
At the bridge by Lower Yosemite Falls

Don and I are here for our twelfth anniversary. Our marriage is a beautiful gift from God, and we are enjoying more years together than we anticipated, since Don is twenty years older than I am. And yet, by God’s grace we’re both relatively healthy and enjoying this good gift from the Father’s hand.

I love the words from the song, “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me.

I can only imagine what it will be like when I walk by Your side
I can only imagine what my eyes would see when Your face is before me
I can only imagine Yeah

Surrounded by Your glory what will my heart feel?
Will I dance for You Jesus or in awe of You be still?
Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees, will I fall?
Will I sing hallelujah? Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine

I can only imagine when that day comes and I find myself standing in the Son
I can only imagine when all I will do Is forever, forever worship You
I can only imagine, yeah

I can only imagine when all I will do Is forever, forever worship You
I can only imagine …

I Can Only Imagine

Surrounded by my Father’s grace, my husband’s love, and the million stars we can see from here, I can’t think of a place I’d rather celebrate.

May God’s blessings and presence surround you as you walk through this week and this year. I pray you and I will find small and large moments to celebrate this year. It may be those divine appointments, the beauty of nature, the love of family and friends, the awe of knowing God. Our God is good, all the time!

Visions Completed, Visions Destroyed

Don, Paige and I left home mid-morning. Carmel or Rio del Mar (both California beaches), we asked ourselves. Since we lived near Rio for six years, we decided to take a drive down memory lane by our old home.

Our formerly soft yellow country house with white trim is now dark gray with white trim. The dark gray is a more contemporary color, but we miss the brightness of our warm yellow and white home. But when you sell a house, it’s the buyers’ to change as they wish to make it their own. It was fun to see the large equipment on the property and realize they are making other changes, including installing a chicken and duck coop behind the guest house.

We left Soquel for Aptos, home of Twin Lakes Church, our church home for six years. Before we moved several years ago, the church shared a vision to build a coffee house as a ministry center to the students at Cabrillo College, next door. We loved the idea and were part of that funding campaign. “The Loft” was finished and opened several months ago and I wanted us to see the completion of this particular vision.

“The Loft” is beautiful inside and out. Drought friendly, attractive landscaping welcomes. Inside, the front has a coffee bar, tables and chairs, with a loft upstairs that holds two offices and several more tables. Every table was filled with students on laptops and friends meeting. While enjoying our lattes we ran into Pastors Rene and Adrian and told them how thrilled we are to see this vision become reality.

“The Loft” – getting known by Cabrillo College students

Behind the coffee bar is a large auditorium and stage for meetings, presentations, music, etc. We pray God will use The Loft to reach college students for Jesus.

On to Rio del Mar, a great walking beach for dogs and their peeps. We walked to Seacliff beach, and onto the pier. Paigey loved chasing the pigeons and would have done more had she not been on a leash firmly held by Mummy. We sat and talked and watched the ocean come and go. To our left lay the remnants of the SS Palo Alto, called the “cement boat,” built for service in the First World War but launched May 29, 1919, too late to see service. Mothballed in Oakland until 1929, the SS Palo Alto was bought by the Seacliff Amusement Corporation and towed to Seacliff State Beach in Aptos, California.

For several years, the ship was anchored three miles from shore. This monster party boat included a casino and dance hall, arcades and entertainment until its owners went belly up when the Great Depression rocked the world in the early 1930’s. The ship now rests on the bottom of the Monterey Bay.

The Cement Boat

In the heavy storms of 1917, 34-foot crashing waves broke the stern from the rest of the boat, and eventually turned it on its side.

When I was a child, the pier connected to the boat, which was used as a fishing pier. I remember walking onto the ship, a good fishing spot and bird haven. Now, of course, the ship is very unsafe. It has weathered, deteriorated, and sections have separated from each other; and the end of the pier is gated.

Visions–whether making a home your own, reaching college students with the good news of Christ, or building a ship that could weather storms and war. Which will last?

What will I leave behind when Jesus takes me home? Will I leave memories of loving service, of caring for others in his name, of sharing the good news that God wants a relationship with each of us and has provided the bridge, Jesus, between heaven and earth, between sin and redemption? Or will I leave memories of self-centered decisions and advancement at the cost of hurting others? I know which I want to have as a legacy, but how often I fall short. I’ve been trying to remember to ask Jesus to join me in the little things–driving to an appointment, talking with others, being with my family, emptying the dishwasher. And as I do, I am more aware of his love and presence with me.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

    and do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him,

    and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Moments

Undulating green hills rose and fell as far as we could see, a soft, lumpy carpet interspersed with jagged rocks thrusting up through the soil and grass at periodic intervals. Here were downed trees. There, moss-covered logs. Cattle and horses stood or laid in the fields. Boulders the size of a small house astounded. The Merced River rippled over rocks on its journey down the mountainside. Mountains that had been burned out now sported short bursts of new growth.

As we drove, granite glowed as sunlight shone on mountain peaks. Fluffy white clouds opened to reflect patches of blue peering through. And next to me was my husband, who loves me better than life.

The CD of a favorite male quartet filled our car and Don and I sang along. The view all around us was pastoral, peaceful. In that moment out on the road I was filled to overflowing with love and praise and worship. 

I looked at Don. “Stunning scenery, the two of us together, going to a place we love, singing along out of tune … it doesn’t get any better than this.

It was a moment.

Isn’t that life? We go along day by day, doing what’s needed, hanging with loved ones, laughing, crying, paying bills, doing dishes … just routine stuff. And suddenly there’s a moment, a precious, soul stirring moment that touches our spirits.

Those moments are priceless. Makes me wonder if some couples separate because they expect a life of continuous moments and don’t treasure the moments they do have. My brother Arnold made a comment in a different context that I think fits here … “Pray for the moments but don’t expect them regularly.”

So here’s to love and marriage, to appreciating the routine of the day to day and delighting in the moments.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I Corinthians 13:4-7