Remember and Celebrate

November 6, 2014

The Gift of Fall in a Season of Loss

fall low res this one

“First you pursue us with blood maples and tease with your decadent, hazy light. Then you weave through the woods like the scent of decay that surrounds us with every step. Light bathes from above, so plentiful that not even the blood maples or the honey oaks can soak it all up before it overflows the canopy, spilling priceless gold onto the crunchy floor.”  Kelli Woodford, Chronicles of Grace, Oct. 20, 2014 – read it here– A Fall Song

These words of Kelli Woodward, a blogger I read regularly,  paint a picture of my favorite season, helping me connect two things I know to be true about me in the fall.  Until now I just viewed them as two unrelated facts.

1.  I am and have always been enchanted by the beauty of fall. Sometimes it takes my breath away, leaving me speechless with it’s beauty.
2.  For me, fall is a season of remembering, sometimes with tears of sorrow,  sometimes with tears of joy

As  you can see in the pictures below,  many of my family  anniversaries and/or birthdays come in the fall.

family fall

I made the following comment on her blog that  day  and  I began to see the connection between the two things I know to be true about me int he fall.

I wrote:

“The burst of beauty makes fall a bitter sweet time for me.  I have always loved it and it is also a season of remembering those I have lost as most of the anniversaries/birthdays are in the fall season, starting August through Christmas Day (my mom’s birthday).  Gratefully I still love it.  I am beginning to see a gift in all of this.  A season of remembering which sometimes brings times of sadness is also a time of great beauty. I hadn’t thought of it before that way before.  I like this thought.  I will ponder this gift.”

And so I pondered over and over these last two weeks.  And over coffee the other day, my friend Denise and I talked about how Fall coinciding with a “season of so much loss” is God’s grace and sweet gift  to me in this season of contrasts.      Sorrow and joy mingle, and I am not left with only sorrow in the Fall.

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Today, nine years ago today, at 9:30 pm, I received the news that my brother, Gordon, failed to meet his hunting partner as they had planned and he was missing.  Thirty four hours later I would learn he was found, but had succumbed to hypothermia.

And I remember amid the waning  beauty of this season.


christmas mountain

Linking with Kelli Woodford and Chronicles of Grace

Linking with Lisha Epperson and GiveMeGraceCommunity


October 22, 2014

The Sun vs. The Fog

sun does it's magic

May the Light of Your Son 
through the fog 
that forms
for me
and for those I love.


Linking this week with
Kelli Woodword and Unforced Rhythms
Lisha Epperson and Give Me Grace Community


October 12, 2014


My friend asked  me to pray for her that she would be a blessing to the people she was going to be with today.

Praying for her as I arrived at the lake, this sight greeted me.  I snapped a photo and sent it to her with the following message:

The “stiller” you are, the more you will reflect His presence.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

As always, your comments are welcome here

Linking with .Lisha Epperson and “Give Me Grace”
Kelli  Woodford and Unforced Rhythms


October 6, 2014

Through Your Eyes to Mine

red mums
You and I were taking our first stroll through Botanic Gardens since my knee replacement surgery and it was like old times!  As we always do after we walk out of the visitors center, we swung right to walk down to the water through the Ellipse with it's brilliantly colored mums contrasting with the boxwood hedges. It's fall at the Garden.  I am glad we didn't miss it! 

Down by the water, we noticed the mostly red and a little bit of green plant life on the water’s surface.  I hadn’t seen this before.    

“Take a close up of the red and green on the water." I said.  

chicago botanic gargen

“Oh, now take one that shows more perspective or we’ll never remember what this was.”  

chicago botanic gargen

"I think it’s kind of like life," I said.  
"You know when I’m in the middle of it all, 
and I can’t see 
how this is going to fit 
in with the rest of my life
and have NO perspective . . .
And I need someone like you  
to help me see the bigger picture.

And then I got to thinking today about how sometimes I’m not ready to hear another perspective. 
It makes me feel like you are trying to fix me, so I’ll feel better and you’ll feel better.

Sometimes the best you can do is “be with me” and believe for me until I can begin to believe again.  

And Honey, you have gotten really good at that.

We're both learning together and I love being on this journey of life with you.

Love, Me


As always your comments/thoughts are welcomed here.

joining with Unforced Rhythms & Kelli Woodward  - And excellent post today "Pain as a Bridge."  Take time to read it.  You'll be blessed.


September 4, 2014

Courage and Earthly Things

Nick Kelsh photography

Nick Kelsh photography

It’s  19 days “post op”  (from Knee Replacement Surgery) and this is the picture and scripture that I kept before me during these days.  

God does show up in the earthly things.  I have learned more about myself and I suspect some of that learning will show up in future posts.  

God has been with me each step I have taken and in each  reluctant muscle stretched.  

The brain fog seems to be lifting and I feel like I am coming back.

I am grateful for my husband who took on the care-giving role once again as well friends and family who stood by me during these days with  meals, notes, and phone calls and listened to me on the days it all seemed too much. 


(Join me on Facebook.  I'll be glad to see you there.)
Linking with Lisha Epperson, Give Me Grace


August 17, 2014

Earthly things like surgery and God’s Voice

Neither did you know where it would go.  I did.

“There is no time, no place, no event
so earthly that God cannot be there,
speaking through them.

These moments
where earth is crammed

with heaven. . .
will go unnoticed|
unless we realize the meek
and the unassuming way that|
God characteristically comes.”

Ken Gire, Windows of the Soul
Grand Rapids; Zondervan, 1996, 44)

 With this quote the liturgist  opens up our “time of silence” this morning. 

 And I  can’t help but think that having Total Knee Replacement surgery tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM is right up there with being “earthly.” 

 And I want to pay attention to hear what God will speak during these next days/weeks of rehab and recovery. 

 It’s been easy to think this is just something to grit my teeth and get through (the gritting of the teeth is probably more real than I can imagine right now!) so I can get to the other side of this and “move on” with my life. 

 And today the preacher reminds us God speaks into our ordinary lives in extra-ordinary ways and we will hear if we listen. 

 Pray with me that I will be able to hear.

 Thanks for visiting here today and as always I love hearing from you in the comments below.

  – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I enjoy replying to your comments and answer them right here.  Click on the little box that says “notify me of follow up comments” and you’ll receive a notice by email when I reply.  That might take a little longer this week!

Linking with Lisha Epperson and Give Me Grace Community



August 9, 2014

Something profound . . .

There is something profound about being the only one left in one's biological family of origin.

Some years I think about it more than others, but this past week I have very aware that nine years ago my brother and I spent our last day together.  It was August 5,2005 - two months and 27 days before he would get LOST  in the Montana Mountains and die of hypothermia before they found him.

And when I visit his family in Montana, he is not there where he is supposed to be.

Instead, his hat hangs on the wall.

Billings trip

A good friend suggested I was more aware of it now that both of my parents are gone.

And my pondering led me to be more acutely aware that while I am surrounded by my  own family now and many nurturing friendships, no one alive knows me "when . . . ."

Rayna Vaught Godfrey, PhD, a licensed psychologist says:

"...there is a part of ourselves missing after the death of a sibling.
Such a death leaves a seemingly unfillable hole, 
both within  us and within our families.
This is magnified for those 
who lose their ONLY SIBLING
and no longer have someone 
who shares their histories
who can reminisce with them
and can validate their family narratives."

Last night someone asked me how I felt about that.

I said mostly sad.
And glad I had a lovely last day with my brother.

And it seems important to honor this truth by sharing it here.

And inviting you to remember it with me by reading about the last day I spent with my brother, Gordon Eugene Longenecker.  CLICK HERE

Linking with 
Barbie Swihart and The Weekend Brew.
Lisha Epperson and Give Me Grace Community






August 2, 2014

Be Still . . . Be Quiet

be still and know that I am God

“Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

Sometimes what my soul needs 
is to sit quietly.
Absorbing the sounds 
of rippling water,
I have no agenda
no prayer requests.   

I have been eyeing this quiet nook a couple times a week, all summer long.  Often I have considered how I might get back in there and just sit and be quiet.  Today I can't resist and from my spot at the foot of the tree, I find what I am looking for.

Joining today with 
Barbie Swihart and "The Weekend Brew"
Lisha Epperson and "Give Me Grace"
Kelly Woodford and "Unforced Rhythms" 


July 27, 2014

Goodbye’s, Clover and Presence

Of our three grown children and their families, two of them live within a ½ hour of our home. And one of them has lived all their married life in Philadelphia andnow they are moving to the Portland, Oregon area with their 4 boys. 

Recently I wrote a prayer to God in my journal. (A lot of time my journaling is simply “praying at the point of a pen” as my mentor/Spiritual director/friend, Shirley always says.)

My mind has been racing double-time
even here as I relax on my blanket by the lake
surrounded by the sweet fragrance of clover.

clover lake opeka

Todd and his family are moving across the country in a few days

christmas mountain, ff week

And it’s hard
And I support them
As they follow your heart for them.

Some of my friends think it’s just going
west instead of east. 
"Not that much further" they say.

Well, as a matter of fact, it's a LOT further.
tod and mels adventure

Clackamas, a SE suburb of Portland is 4 times as far!    

And every day is closer to the time 
I must stand at the airport 
and wave goodbye to them 

Lord, you know the passion I have for our family 
to stay connected,
how I see my grandchildren as my ministry.
a priority in the remaining  years you give me.

But right now I am floating above the emotion
of it all,
the reality of what this means.
I won’t see them 4-5 times a year anymore
They will only come once a year, not twice.

And floating makes it easier to manage for now
but reality will hit. 
And I need a sense of your presence
as I navigate this change.  

And so I remain here on the blanket,
by the lake.
And the breeze blows.
And there it is again…
The sweet fragrance of clover.  
Considered a weed in the home owners yard,
welcomed at the park it becomes a
symbol of God sweet presence
in the middle of all the changes.

And I pick a bouquet of clover.
It sits on my window sill all week
so I don’t forget.

clover lake opeka

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

I drop them off at the airport
I stop at the lake and pick more clover
on the way home.


The John Deere tractor is here
IMG_5407And they are not. 
And the rocking chair is empty
And the house is loudly silent. 

And clover sits 
on my window sill
so I remember.


Linking with Lisha Epperson and "Give Me Grace."   Lisha is one of the regular Blogs I read.  Follow this link and take a look

Unforced Rhythms, a new community I have discovered and can relate to.


July 20, 2014

Still Water, Lilies and Trust


There it was,
right in front of me.
exquisite beauty
in the waning daylight
still water
and brilliant yellow lilies

And all I could think of were the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:28 & 29

the lilies of the field,
how they grow:
they neither toil
or spin,
yet I tell you,
even Solomon
in all his glory
was not arrayed
like one of these.”

I am reminded once again.
Even in uncertain times,

when what seems like Plan A doesn’t work
through no fault of my own
God knows.
and still has a plan.

And so I wait
paying attention
following his leading.

I will . . . ..
Wait for the LORD;

Psalm 27:1 – Be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD

Joining today with the  musings of
Lisha Epperson, Give me Grace.|
The Saturday Evening Post  with Elizabeth Esther where others sharing their favorite post from the month before (July 2014)