Tag Archives: journey

You are the Everlasting Lord

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You are the everlasting Lord;

You make the sun rise

And hover in the vaulted blue sky.

You are the everlasting Lord;

You paint the glowing pink sunset

And let me know it is time to rest.

You are the Everlasting Lord:

You brighten each day with your light

Showing me which path to take; which way is right.

You are the everlasting Lord;

You are Creator of the heavens and earth

And each spring you create new life and give us rebirth.

You are the everlasting Lord;

You created the flowers and the trees

And pave the path for my daily journey.

You are the everlasting Lord;

You continue to watch from the heavens above

And live in my heart and instill me with your love.

You are the everlasting Lord:

You generously provide all that I need

As I trek through this world to my final destiny.

You are the everlasting Lord:

You watch over me as I sleep at night;

You stay by my side in case I awake in tears or fright.

You are the everlasting Lord;

You give us a heavenly view and new hope

Through the lens of your word; your own telescope.

You are the everlasting Lord:

You save and forgive me for all that I have done wrong

And wait to welcome me in heaven with praise and song.

You are the everlasting Lord;

Reigning forever and ever,

You are Lord.

Reposting: A Letter, A Journey and a Gift of the Heart

 

Pics from Camera 2-8-2015 127

Two days ago, a dear 2nd cousin of mine was severely hurt in a fire. Today she is in a trauma ICU on a long road to recovery. She is a beautiful young lady with a beautiful spirit deep inside.  And she is constantly on my mind and in my heart. Her mother, my 1st cousin, is one of my best friends in life who has been a wonderful source of encouragement and inspiration to me.  Many times she has been my personal cheerleader when no one else is around; always just a phone call away. So, today, I am reposting this story with some revisions to hopefully portray the strong yet gentle beauty that both these cousins have lovingly revealed to me:

Time frame: late 1980’s. While attending college in Minnesota I embarked on a quest to find my cousin, Kathy whom I last seen at age 10. I had told my roommate about her and she encouraged me to try to find her. We last saw each other when we were 10 years old when she, her mom, and dad came to visit us in Wisconsin. When we were five, my mother took a photo of us in the kitchen. When we were 10, we visited on the front lawn on a warm summer evening and I piled kittens on her lap. I thought those kittens were so cute but I am not sure she liked having them all on top of her. While I grew up on a farm in the Midwest, Kathy lived in southern California. Kathy’s parents divorced when she was 11; she could not return to visit her Wisconsin relatives. She also couldn’t travel easily because she had cerebral palsy and used a wheelchair. My immediate family never traveled as far as California. We lost contact with Kathy during the years following the divorce. Although I only met my cousin just a few times in my life, I often wondered about her.

Determined to find Kathy, I met with my grandmother who had written her occasionally and she had written back. But, time again passed so my grandmother could only give me Kathy’s last known address. To make things more complicated, my cousin had married acquiring a different last name. My grandmother couldn’t remember her new last name. Not wanting to give up, I wrote Kathy a heart-felt letter using the wrong address and the wrong name mailing it with a stamp and a sincere prayer. I needed to believe that God would answer my prayer.

Weeks and even a month passed. One day, I arrived at my apartment and found a letter from California.  The return address contained an unfamiliar last name but as soon as I saw “Kathy”, I knew it was from my cousin. I could hardly believe it.  Eagerly, I opened the letter and found that Kathy had poured out her soul in that long, detailed letter. She described some incredible events in her life. She unexpectedly gave birth to a baby girl.

Doctors told her that she couldn’t get pregnant. Sometime later, Kathy began experiencing extreme pain and was taken to an urgent care clinic. She was misdiagnosed as having a kidney stone or perhaps a bladder infection. The very next day and while on medication for a possible bladder infection, she returned to the clinic due to increasing pain. She was found to be in labor and was rushed to the hospital by ambulance. Kathy and her husband were shocked and amazed for the unexpected and miraculous birth of their daughter, Kristie Lee.

Through the years, Kristie would be an inspiring source of joy to her parents, relatives, friends, and to all who truly get to know her. She would prove herself to be intellectually brilliant, artistic, and to have an eye for beauty she discovers in nature.  She also possesses inside her soul a quiet and tender spirit which you might not see unless; you truly take time to know her.

Later Kathy told me that she and her husband tried to revisit her urgent care doctor who had treated her.  With her newborn daughter in her arms, Kathy wanted to show him her beautiful but misdiagnosed “kidney stone.” They were promptly told that the doctor was no longer at that clinic. Can you imagine the shock and surprise of everyone in that waiting room?

I wrote again and we began corresponding; by letter and by phone. We became more than cousins but friends who could talk about anything.  While Kathy told me about her married life and cute stories of her young daughter, I told her about my job working with adults with developmental disabilities, family in Wisconsin, and my personal life.  We shared about our common faith in Jesus. While Kathy had married, I had remained single which enabled me to do some limited traveling taking in time and limited budget considerations. At this point though, most of my solo journeys were short excursions to Wisconsin to visit family and friends. I had made occasional trips to Iowa too. Like I said, limited traveling.

Several years later, Kathy invited me to visit her in California and I was terrified, “I actually have to get on a plane?” Later and with lingering fear I was up for the adventure of traveling cross country. My first journey to San Diego was a direct flight taking about a three and half hours across mostly sunny skies; I watched from my window the changing view of cities, forests, and mountains.  Farms resembled quilt blocks of grassland and crop fields.

When the jet journeyed downward, the rising topaz-tinted desert appeared on one side of the plane and the deep-blue ocean on my side. Sun rays brightened the clear sky and glimmered on the ocean’s surface making the scene sparkle like a sapphire gem. This picturesque view showed me God was there and was blessing my journey. Apprehensive though, I braced for the final approach as the jet glided towards land and jolted as it touched ground.

At the airport gate, I gathered my belongings, and walked through a curving tunnel. With nervousness, I rounded the last corner stepping into the terminal. The afternoon sun glistened through the airport’s vaulted windows and in the midst of a blinding glow; I glimpsed my cousin in her wheelchair. After 17 years we had reunited. I hurried to give Kathy the warmest hug I could.

“Welcome cousin,” she said in such a warm voice that I forgot my shyness.  Kathy, a sensitive and loving person and we soon felt like sisters and even best friends. During this visit I became acquainted with Kathy’s husband and her daughter, Kristie. While I visited that first time, we managed to visit both Disneyland and SeaWorld. Surprisingly, Disneyland was a disappointment especially for Kathy. Many exhibits and attractions would advertise that they were “handicap accessible” but they really weren’t so; at least not for someone who is in a wheelchair. We did find one interesting attraction that was truly accessible; the Mark Twain Steamboat ride. Kathy was easily able to maneuver onto the boat and find a safe place to park her chair. We all enjoyed the gentle and scenic excursion along their recreation of “Mississippi River”.

Disneyland did have a few other attractions that interested young Kristie and one include “It’s a Small World after all”; a small boat ride through a series of scenes depicting children of all nationalities. Also, I still remember the Alice in Wonderland Teacup for Two Ride. This amusement ride is comparable to the Tit A Whirl which you might see at county fairs. Kristie and I climbed aboard our little teacup and waited for the rid to begin. She notice a turning wheel in the center of our teacup, “What is that for?”

“I don’t know,” I answered and then tried turning the wheel. We found out that the wheel caused the teacup to spin. So I instructed Kristie, “Oh! That makes us spin around. Let’s leave it alone.”

Four year old Kristie did not leave the wheel alone; she did the exact opposite by turning and cranking that wheel as hard as she could. By the way, Kristie is no weakling; when she cranked that wheel, she made it spin faster than any other teacup on that ride. I was convinced we were the fastest spinning teacup in all of America. I became dizzy as the world blurred around me. Finally, our unstoppable teacup came to a halt as the ride ended. I have never forgotten that ride or the adventurous spirit hidden in Kristie.

SeaWorld proved to be interesting as all wildlife exhibits and presentations there were truly accessible for Kathy; this made our visit more enjoyable for all. While there we saw two orca whales, Shamu and Baby Shamu who we learned was just a few weeks old and shared the same birthday as Kristie.  We could see Mother Shamu teaching Baby to swim and turn in the large pool. Another highlight was seeing the splashing, playful dolphins. As I held Kristie in my arms, one eager dolphin flew in the water to our side of the pool showering us in a huge spray of water and parked itself next to Kristie.  Kristie was soaked from head to toe but she delightedly reached out to pet the friendly animal. Over the years, I would also see that Kristie held a special love and fondness for animals and somehow they were attracted to her. She had rescued a number of cats and dogs who became pets. And when one passes away she deeply grieves and suffers a broken heart. At such moments, I realize that she has the softest heart of anyone I know.

Over time, I visited my cousin Kathy and her family as much as I could. We went on adventures together forging new memories and deepening our friendship. We also shared bus-related misadventures and trips to the beach on warm, sunny days. In one bus related mishap, Kathy was stuck, mid-air, on a broken bus lift and we waited hours under a steamy summer sun for her to be rescued. In another misadventure, we boarded the wrong city bus but did not realize this until the bus turned onto Eucalyptus Street heading in the wrong direction. We then got off the bus as soon as we could and endured a long walk home in the dark as no more buses were available that late in the day.

Also taxis were not an option as I was not strong enough to transfer Kathy into a car seat. During this time, accessible transportation options for my cousin were very limited. To keep ourselves calm, we kept up a steady conversation and prayed for God to keep us safe. Kathy’s courage inspired me to remain brave. Today, I don’t remember what our conversation entailed; I just remember the long walk along those California streets in the darkness like venturing through a dimly lit tunnel. Also, Kathy at this point used a manual wheelchair so I pushed her along until we were safely home. I have no doubt that Jesus was watching over us during that journey in the darkness.

Some years later, we camped on Mount Palomar where the sun-filtering forest surrounded us like a colorful, woven blanket handmade by God; it was a quiet refuge from the demanding world far below. We basked in nature’s peacefulness venturing through the woods, picnicking, and relaxing around a campfire.  We visited Mount Palomar Observatory and stayed up late looking through large telescopes, set up in a mountain meadow, to view stars, planets and nebulas. Kathy’s husband and I took turns pushing Kathy’s wheelchair through the long grass so she could gaze through as many telescopes as she wanted. It was a special evening of admiring God’s glowing creations, glittering like jewels embedded in the deep night sky.

The tranquil, emerald-colored mountain was a vivid contrast to the traffic-filled streets, and the sun-scorched climate of Kathy’s everyday life. Years later, she and her family moved to Washington State where they were amid perpetual greenery. Kathy’s daughter, Kristie, who is an artist and nature lover often shoots photos depicting nature’s inspiring beauty. She once asked me, “Do you remember how green it was on Mount Palomar? Well, it’s like that here but it’s everywhere.” The experience of Mount Palomar affected us all and remained a cherished memory in our hearts.

Over the years we’ve all persevered through life’s heartaches and disappointments praying and encouraging each other. In the same year, Kathy’s father passed away, my mother unexpectedly died; together we faced each family holiday with grieving hearts and feeling the emptiness of our parents being gone too soon.

We also encouraged each other in new aspirations. Kristie has grown up and continues to bravely forge out a new life of her own; life is not always easy but she courageously endures and keeps pressing on in sheer determination. She is an example of strength and bravery like I have never seen. In recent years, Kathy, growing in confidence and a desire to do more in her life, took on the tasks of completing her college degree and exploring professional work opportunities. She has earned one college degree and is working on another. We all have met unseen challenges and continue to endure the next chapters of our lives.

Several summers ago, I visited Kathy in her Washington home and we again indulged our adventurous spirits by hiking around woodsy Lake Padden. It was a long, winding journey with a paved trail circling the shimmering lake. The thick green forest surrounded us like a warm and familiar cloak. I instantly remembered Mount Palomar where we had camped, hiked in the mountains, and gazed at the stars. Kathy now used a motorized wheelchair and could easily propel herself up and down the sloping hills of that curving, woodsy trail. However, I worried about the battery losing its charge as we wandered along.   This had happened before with one of Kathy’s previous motorized chairs. Thankfully, that had been a lighter wheelchair; I just needed to switch the gears to manual and push her home.

But now if that battery died, I realized I wouldn’t be able to push her back home again. Not this time as the chair was much heavier. But Kathy knew her wheelchair and her battery readings better than I; she was confident and eager to continue our trek. We finished our journey and with a beaming smile, she exclaimed, “That was my first rolling hike.”

When I think of Kathy and her family, I remember the love and friendship we all share; I also am reminded of God’s words about treasures in heaven when in Matthew 6:20-21 of the Holy Bible we are told, “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is there your heart will also be”. I went on a quest to find a lost cousin. In return, I had found a new sister and a lifelong friend. I also treasure the friendship I share with her daughter, Kristie.  Each friendship is an unseen treasure granted from God in heaven and a precious gift instilled in my heart.

 

Becky’s Haiku: Pine and Grief

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For a different road

I pine letting grief obscure

This journey of mine.

 

I have just attempted yet another haiku challenge from Ronovan Writes blog using the words “pine” and “grief”. I am enjoying the challenge of trying to use such seemingly different and even opposite words in such a short poem. These prompts from Ronovan can really be a challenge to the mind.  If you like poetry challenges and haiku’s then I invite you to also accept his latest challenge at this link: https://ronovanwrites.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/

Writing 201 Day 5 Map, Ode, and Metaphor

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Ode to a Journey to Wyoming

One day I awoke to prepare once again

To go on journey to visit my friend.

I have traveled this same route several years ago

But the adventure of going on a trip never grows old.

 twice I have endeavored on this solo journey of

Traveling from Minnesota to the land of Wyoming.

The familiar towns and landmarks along the way

Are dear old companions who greet me and wave

While silently proclaiming, “Yes we are still here;

So glad to see you travel our way this year.”

I passed through several small towns and by farmsteads too

And oh my, Lake Heron is a splendid sea of blue.

I drove by several state parks along the way

And note, “I must visit there on another day.”

The morning was full of bright, illuminating sunshine

As I drove along the interstate crossing the first state line.

Onward I drove with my intent eyes peering into the horizon

As I joyfully anticipated revisiting my high school friend.

And lo, how we both know that we don’t visit enough

As times can be hard and cost of travel just too much.

With the consistent rain through the summer months,

The ground has remained emerald green; deep and lush.

For usually, the further I journeyed westward from home,

The atmosphere became more and more arid while I drove.

But on this trek the land remained moist and green much longer

And I chose to enjoy this and not ponder and wonder.

So forward I drove and gladly journeyed

Into the horizon; a vast green and blue sea.

Near the end of the day my traveling was done

As I paused beneath the vaulted ceiling of a glowing sun.

While it slid down settling in the distant west,

I knew it was time for a long night rest.

I opted to stay at on a hilltop of green sloped wonder

In a motel overlooking the winding Missouri River.

For the wide flowing blue stream curved this way and that

With an iron scalloped bridge uniting one land mass to the next.

Next morning arrived and soon I was on the road

Anticipating new places to see and sights to behold.

“I can’t help it,” I chided myself with a frown,

“I must visit once again that old ghost town.”

Soon I found the right off-ramp and pulled in

And found myself wandering the old streets again.

I strolled past the old schoolhouse and the church too

Wondering what life was like back in say…1882.

I drove on nearing the Wyoming border

And noticed the rugged mountains coming closer.

After another long day’s drive,

To my friend’s house, I finally arrived.

I was there for a week, treasuring each day;

And we embarked on a few adventures along the way.

Such a sweet time to spend with a dear friend,

That my heart ached with sadness at the week’s end.

Turning around I started the long journey home

Thankful for friendship which nourished my soul.

So now, ode to a Journey I took to Wyoming,

I have a new treasure of memories inside of me.

Poetry 201 Day 4: Imperfect, Limerick, and Enjambment

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Imperfect Journey

One bright

morning, I

ventured on a

long

autumn drive

To see

the vibrantly

changing

trees

along

the

riverside.

But this once

blissful

and

carefree

day was

marred

by

closed

lanes on

the highway

As rows of

cars

became

stuck, unable

to

move;

just

sitting

side by

side.

Poetry 201 Day 3: Skin, Prose Poem, and Internal Rhyme

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A Day in the Sun

Skin; that external organ which covers my entire human body; it cleverly contains some small openings so that I can hear, taste, smell, and see. My skin is pale white and even paler under florescent light. How I sometimes do wish, I wasn’t as white as a fish. Certainly more sunshine would be good for me. Stay outdoors a little more during those sunlit hours and soak more of that sunshine into me; and let it cover my head to my feet. On a bright and beautiful day with the sunlight brightening the way, I did try to take some extra time and venture more outside. I wandered along the county road passing houses, a church, and the new high school.  I traveled to a nearby gym, walked on a track, pedaled on an exercise bike, and considered taking a swim.  Then I wandered back outside. Back into the glistening and warm sunlight which has brightened the sea blue sky. Deep inside I rejoiced as I felt gladness at this choice of spending this day outside being exposed to nature and the soothing sunshine.  I traveled along the road again at a leisurely pace and not really wanting my journey to end; there is no need to race. I heard the wind in the swaying trees and my bare skin was tantalized by the softly flowing breeze. In the spring if I am lucky enough, I might pass by a lilac bush, and oh how its aroma gives my senses such a rush. With the soft touch, my exposed skin feels the flower’s velvety coolness. Happily I tarried along the way not wanting to miss the warmth of this day.  For the sun’s reaching, transparent beams have engulfed my arms, my legs, and all of my bare skin from my head to my feet. Feeling satisfied and pleased, I think to myself, “how, I have had some warm sunshine covering me, and soon I’ll have a fine tan: I can’t wait to see.”  But lo, oh no that is not what I see. I looked into the mirror and much to my shock and horror; I am now as red as can be with my sunburned skin peeling most embarrassingly. Oh, woe is me!

Writing 101 Day 6: Trying to Write with Meaning

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I am sitting with my mind as blank as can be

As I struggle on what to write meaningfully

which others will like to read and see.

I started my blog over a year ago now

Not knowing, not evening guessing how

It might grow through many posts and photos

And reach others who might gladly follow.

For I do not write near enough

As I find daily writing a bit too much

For me to endure and keep up.

However, I have learned with some consistency

I can write and post with some regularity

And so build up my blog continually.

I try to alter and vary my topics

Not knowing what others prefer to discuss

When through my blog they scroll down and up.

I explore the faith inside my heart,

 About my life journey so far.

And new ideas that cause me to wonder.

I write some prose but mostly poems

As I sit and think here at home

Pondering my days and where I have roamed.

Perhaps it is time to write something else;

Maybe more fiction and less of myself?

I do enjoy sci-fi and history as well.

Or perhaps a guest biography

Or something in the news, I see.

Writing such new posts would be a challenge

Making my mind turn and bend

To still write for others to still comprehend.

I try to write concise and with clarity

Making sure each line makes sense to me

And hoping it conveys a message meaningfully.

One thing I hope my blog to be encouraging

To anyone who comes scrolling and reading

And that they find something worthy with meaning.

Therefore as you stop and look at my blog today,

Please know that I am thankful you wandered my way

Taking a quiet moment to read what I have to say.