New Trees and Dead Wood

My husband went to a sale yesterday. I thought it was a farm machinery sale but it turned out to be a consignment auction for pretty much anything and everything. When he drove on the yard and walked through the door the first words he spoke were, “I bought something you will like!”

That really made me curious because I could see the parts of a cultivator on the back of the pickup and I was pretty sure that had never been on my list of “wants. He then dropped the checkbook, ticket stubs and some other stuff on the table and headed back outside.

I couldn’t take it; and curiosity got the best of me so I wandered outside onto the porch. It didn’t take long and, with a huge grin, he hauled out 5 pots of baby Colorado Blue Spruce trees!

To be honest, I was excited! For the last years I have been nagging asking for some more evergreen trees so we could plant another row in our back yard. When I would nag ask for those trees I would typically get the response, “We aren’t that young anymore….we will not see them as big trees.” To which I answered, “Well we AREN”T getting any younger so we should plant some now!”

At this point those baby trees are safely in our garage, waiting for us to make up our minds as to exactly where they should be planted. There is a permanency about planting trees. You have to think ahead to the future and try visualize how big they will get, how much space they are going to take and to stay away from the power lines!

Maybe that permanency is what I like about planting trees. Maybe the fact that you need to have patience, intrigues me? I love thinking ahead to leaving something for the next family that will live here. I also know the reality, that at some point those trees will get old and die, as all things do.

When that happens, I sincerely hope that whoever lives here will let a few of them stand, for the birds and wildlife that need some dead trees. In looking at my little trees, hanging out in the garage tonight, I started thinking about them someday being dead wood.

At first thought, dead wood seems like it would be worthless as it is dead. It always seems like something that is lush, green and growing would have infinitely more value. I started considering that there are beautiful pieces of wooden furniture made from dead wood. I thought about the beautiful carvings made from blocks of dead wood and all those homes made from trees that have become dead wood.

Then my thoughts wandered to today….Good Friday. I thought of that cross that held Jesus as He willingly gave His life so we could have eternal life. The cross, that was at face value an ugly piece of dead wood.

When looking beyond that face value and realizing what happened on that piece of dead wood, I am struck by the fact of the holiness of those pieces of dead wood. They  held the Son of God…..who died for us while we were yet sinners. (Romans 5:8)

If this Good Friday finds you feeling less than worthless….if it finds you thinking that you have no value…if it finds you frustrated and overwhelmed…Do Not Fear! You, like dead wood, have beauty. You have value and you are so worthwhile that the Son of God willingly gave His life for you!

May you be blessed this weekend and may you rejoice in the fact of your great worth. May you look at the promise in the trees that grow around you and know that even when those trees have gone the way of all trees…..there is still a beauty to be found in them……and in you.

God proved His love on the Cross.
When Christ hung, and bled, and died,
it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’
Billy Graham
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“We live to die
We die to live”
Ruth Fondse

Grace and Hope


My husband and I were fortunate to go to a wonderful concert this past Saturday night. We were fortunate in multiple ways. The first way ….. I won the tickets from one of our local Christian radio stations!

KDCR had a call in contest and chose at random from those who had called in during a certain time slot. My name was not chosen first…someone else’s name was. Those people later called back saying they could no longer go! I was more than happy to be second best.

When we woke up Saturday morning, we woke up to a wintry scene. It was snowing profusely and mounding up on the yard. When we went to bed the night before…we went to sleep to the spring sound of thunder and lightening. The weatherman assured us it would change to snow; but only amount to an inch or so. We decided that the “inch or so” prediction was more than slightly off. I really do not like being “inched” on with that amount of snow in the Spring.

Fortunately, yes our second fortunately, it quit snowing and started melting. It melted enough during the day so that we could get the car off our yard, and make it to the concert that featured Matt Maher.

We were blessed by hearing, praising, joining in to sing, and worship that night. We were reminded, through music; of grace, unconditional love, to lay our burdens down, that God is big enough to carry those burdens for us and that hope is something to be truly grateful for.

There is something wonderful about voices raised in song. There is something amazing about people from different faiths, different backgrounds and beliefs coming together for a common purpose.

It seemed especially fitting in this season, where we will soon be celebrating Easter. It was good to be reminded of all those things while we contemplate the sacrifice made for us so very long ago. That concept of giving all and loving unconditionally can be so foreign to us.

To be very honest, being at a concert is, for me, a wonderful place to be. Put that together with a concert that spreads a message of grace and hope along with great vocals and music…..a true blessing.

May this week bring you days filled with grace, hours that speak of hope and may you be blessed as you prepare for Easter Sunday.

Do not abandon yourselves to despair.
We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.
Pope John Paul II

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Socks and Sisterhood


There are times in life when you meet someone or several someones who just seem to “click” with you. The weekend of the women’s retreat I attended, was a great time to gather with those special someones and also get to meet some more new someones.

What really ends up being wonderful, is the fact that so many of those “someones”  turn into friendships….a sisterhood of sorts. That is a real blessing!

I think I love going to that particular retreat because of the very fact of all those relationships. It is a great place to reconnect with women who share in the joy of praising, singing, laughing and serving. It is also a great place to build new friendships.

This year, I ended up working in the same room with a gal who is a fellow chicken owner lover. (She may be even more of a chicken lady than me…..Her girls sometimes get their toenails painted!)

At one point in the weekend she came up to me with an envelope, stood 2 inches from my face and informed me I needed to open the envelope she held in her hand. She then gave strict instructions that what was contained in that envelope needed to be used that very day. I am here to tell you, that it is impossible to refuse a woman who is that determined!

I should have had some premonition that the package was going to contain something unusual. I also should have known that, knowing Vickie, I might be doing something I was not totally sure about…..a journey of sorts without knowing your destination!

The package was opened and out tumbled a pair of socks…..not your typical pair of socks….but a pair of socks. I had already agreed to her terms, so I did have to wear them, for a time, that very day.

I will say it made for a lot of fun, a lot of laughter and memories were made. I have a feeling that some of those memories may come back to haunt me. I also have a feeling those socks will become standard apparel for at least part of a day the next time I work that retreat weekend.

Looking back, I realize that part of the reason I agreed to those terms was trust. I was trusting the bond of the special sisterhood of this group of “someones”. Over the years I have grown to know these women; and to love these women as family.

Like sisters, they may tease, pull pranks and push you out of your comfort zone…but like sisters….they will always have your back, always love you and always hold you accountable. They may not be sisters by blood….but they are sisters of the heart.

Everyone should have that special set of someones in their life. I pray that your life contains a few of those someones and that they form a wonderful sisterhood or brotherhood for you. It is indeed a blessing.



Of all possessions a friend is the most precious.

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It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Dinosaurs and Love



There are times in life that you agree to do something that you later wonder what possessed you. Maybe you have never had that experience but, for some reason I seem to have that every so often.

Last August, when I went to my children’s home to babysit my grandkids…I had such a moment.  My son had a stuffed dinosaur that he thought would be great as a bigger stuffed dinosaur…..I am sure you can already see where this is going.

For some reason, at the age of 33, he still thinks his mom can do things. He requested that I make a larger version of this stuffed dinosaur. My daughter-in-law and I, dutifully went to the fabric store and roamed the aisles looking for the appropriate colored fleece that was closest to the original dinosaur.

I took that fabric home and for the longest time it sat….in the same bag… the same spot by the sewing machine… sat…..and sat some more. I was reluctant to start on it as I had no pattern other than the original critter to go by.

One day I decided to just take the plunge. I hauled out some heavy paper to use for a pattern and cleared the kitchen table. I soon found out that it is pretty hard to make a pattern from a 3 dimensional object. That fluffy dinosaur would only squish down so far so that I could draw around it. It had a alarming tendency to spring back to it’s intended shape every time I took my hands off of it.

I ended up making a drawing on a hand drawn grid. Then I made a larger hand drawn grid and transferred the dinosaur drawing to that. If you are struggling to grasp what I am talking about…do not fear…..I am still not entirely sure I understand what I was doing!

I had thought to iron some fusible stuff on to the green fleece for the spots. I thought if they were a little more solid they would sew onto the orange body a little easier. Did you know that if you iron fleece, even with a dish towel to cover it… will melt? This gets very messy on your iron! I do have to point out; the upside of that, is the fact that you can still learn things at the age of 60.

After much trial and error I did manage to produce a larger version of the original. I am not sure how true to scale it is but I have a feeling there will be no complaints. l did fulfill the basic requirement….it is a bigger version of the original.

I often wonder why I agree to take on projects like this for my kids. I think it is because they are my kids and I don’t want to let them down. I want them to know that know matter how old they get, no matter what good or bad choices they make, no matter how successful they are or how unsuccessful they are, no matter how far away or how close they live….they will always be my children. I will always love them and if at all possible I will try help them out.

Sometimes, a mom’s love can take the shape of a large fleecy orange dinosaur.

Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.
Charles R. Swindoll



Considering Snowflakes


I ventured outside tonight to gather the eggs and make sure the girls had everything they needed before they bedded down for the night. As I stood outside in the quietness, tiny cold snowflakes gently drifted down around me.

For some reason winter is finding it difficult to release it’s grip on our part of the country this year. We are teased with a couple nice sunny days….days that melt the latest snowfall. We get the sticky mud that comes with that melting…a faint promise of Spring and then…..we get more snow.

The last two days were spent watching the snow blow sideways past our windows. Schools once again let out early on Monday and they had a late start on Tuesday. Children rejoiced….I think teachers probably rejoiced right along with them! (In fact, I know several teachers and I can assure you they rejoiced.)

It makes me wonder if we enjoy Spring, when it arrives, as much as we do; for the simple fact that it seems to take so long to get here. The anticipation keeps building with every warming day in February and March. We are urged on in our desire for Spring with every bit of snow that melts and drips from the eaves of our buildings.

So much of life is like that. We get glimpses of the future and the wonders it might hold and then a curtain of snowflakes, once again, sweep in to block that view. Teased and tantalized our minds get twitchy just waiting for that next break in the weather.

It seems to take a lot of faith to believe that Spring will actually come to stay. I think what keeps us going is the fact that Spring has never failed to show up. I am reminded that no matter what happens in life, no matter how much winter seems to close back in…God is there and He has never, ever failed to show up.

I sometimes wonder why it is such a process to make it from winter to spring. I wonder if there is a lesson in there that I am supposed to be learning. Perhaps it is the lesson of patience….the lesson of perseverance?

Perhaps it is the lesson that I need to know, that I am where I need to be and that I need to find and understand the beauty that is hidden in that place and in that season. Maybe I need to open my eyes to the beauty of those tiny, cold, works of art called snowflakes and their place in my life.

Maybe I need to realize that each flake,  each situation, holds a beauty that needs to be held, looked at, and felt to be appreciated.  Perhaps I need to understand that some situations just need to be seen through the lens of faith. The faith that it will change, that I do not need to be in control and that I am exactly where I need to be at that time.

I always think it would be a wonderful thing if I could actually get a photograph of a single snowflake. I have never been able to accomplish that task. Maybe that is okay. Maybe it is a message to me that sometimes life needs to be viewed as the entire snowbank ….a collection of snowflakes that have banded together to make something entirely new.


“A snowflake is one of God’s most fragile creations,
but look what they can do when they stick together!”
Author Unknown


“Are you where you need to be?”
Quote from the Cursillo weekend