Remember and Celebrate

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.

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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)





July 11, 2014

Red Floaty Things and Grace

From my chair a good 50 yards away I see it – a bright red spot in the middle of the mess of algae along the shore of the lake.

thingy 2
They tell me they don’t put chemicals in the lake anymore, so while the fish are coming back and the lake is actually healthier in many ways, the algae is taking over.  A team of college students from Concordia College are here during the summer, pulling out the algae  and hauling it away – looks like this end needs a little attention again.  

Walking closer I see it is a bright red fishing floaty thing  -- with apologies to my fishing friends who would know what this is!  

There it was, a spot of color, even beauty in the middle of the mess.  

It reminds me of how God shows up in the middle of my messes.  

When all that I can see is ugly, Grace appears.
grace zentangle

 One of my dear friends gave me the book, Grace Happens Here by Max Lucado, in which he calls grace unexpected and undeserved I created the above image to help me focus on the truth of GRACE and remind me to watch for it. Maybe GRACE is always unexpected. Lest I start to think I deserve it.

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Joining this week with
Weekend Brew and Barbie Swihart
Give Me Grace and Lisha Epperson


June 14, 2014

Making it easier for your kids!

Proverbs 20:7 (The Message)
God-loyal people, living honest lives make it much easier for their children.


camp speaker handsome man

Today is the first Father’s day without my dad.  I knew this day would come and used to wonder how I'd every survive.  The grace in this loss is that I had him for a long time.  He was not taken from me early and I am grateful.

I remember finding this photo some years ago and thought what a handsome man he was – downright cute.  No wonder my mother lost her heart to him!  It’s one of my very favorite.  Here is is teaching at a Bible camp along the shore of Blue Lake, Alabama.

In the early 90’s I was challenged to “bless” my parents  while they were living instead of waiting until they were gone and then read something at a funeral service when they could not hear me. Here is the blessing I wrote for my father.

From your integrity, I learned to trust you and others.
Many are reaching their potential because you believe in them and I am too, because you believe in me.

Special treatment from others surprises you.  You don’t take advantage of your success and position.  That’s why it is so much fun doing things for you.

Even when I was a child, you always knew when something was bothering me and took the time to ask.  That’s how I have learned to be sensitive of others.

You have taught me to enjoy life wherever I am  

Dixie, Alabama nestled in he beautiful pine forests of South Alabamaphoto 1

exploring the back roads of Illinoissacred in the ordinary

the Big Sky, the wide open spaces and mountains of MontanaIMG_4349

the waterfront in Racine, Wisconsinphoto 2(Ever the optimist, you were positive if we just waited, the weather would clear and the Air Show would begin.  The most exciting thing that happened that day was the Coast Guard helicopter that flew by.)

Lake Michigan, the crowded streets and the city lights of downtown Chicago01-01-09 New Year's Navy pier046

You always found places to enjoy, people to meet and fun things to do. 

You have taught me to laugh
I love how you tell a good joke as you laugh hilariously about it.

These gifts and many more you have given to me.
I love you and thank you for the part you have played in making me the wife, mother, grandmother and friend I am today.  

In remembering you on this Father’s Day, I am acutely aware of the truth of this paraphrase of
Proverbs 20:7 (The Message)
God-loyal people, living honest lives make it much easier for their children.

Dad, in another week, your “east coast family people” as you called them when you prayed) will remember and celebrate you in another memorial service in Marietta Pennsylvania at Community Bible Church, your “home church.”  You’d probably be amazed at all the attention and wonder what all the fuss was about!

linking this weekend with:
Lisha Epperson and GiveMeGrace
Barbie Swihart and The Weekend Brew
Jennifer Dukes Lee and Tell His Story


June 7, 2014

Today’s Experience

i get to have todayLosing an elderly parent 
"when it's time"  . . . 
It’s a strange
         mix of 

It's hard to file these feelings 
into folders marked  

It's more like the "curious blend" I referenced here on this blog a couple of weeks ago the day after my dad died.  

Confusing at best, it became more confusing when people with loving intent began to tell me how I  was going to feel.  It seemed like they knew.  

After talking about this with my counselor, he gave me invaluable advice, saying, 

“Carol, you get to have this day's experience."

I remind myself of this as I move 
slowly through my days
     taking time to be,
           feeling the feelings,
               refusing to judge them.    

So on mornings when all I know is 
it feels good to eat breakfast
together on the patio again,
when I sit in the swing in the evening
and the tears come freely, 
I remind myself,
"I get to have this day's experience."

And then I think about how 
God is not only GOOD
he also DELIGHTS in me.

Zephaniah 3:17
Your GOD is present among you,
a strong Warrior there to save you.
Happy to have you back,
he’ll calm you with his love
and delight you with his songs.   

And I am comforted.

Oh and the next time I am with one who is grieving the loss of an elderly parent, I think I'll say something like "You'll probably feel a lot of things.  Just know, you get to have this day's experience.  Every.Day." 

Linking with
Lisha Epperson
The Weekend Brew


June 1, 2014

God Speaks Without Words

This morning the reading from Psalms was this passage from Psalm 19 and I remembered the displays of God's greatness I have seen at my lake. And I share them here with Lishsa Epperson and the "Give Me Grace" Community.

Psalm 19:1-4
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;

night after night they reveal knowledge.
sunset Lake Opeka

They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.

God's way of speaking, 
burrows into my heart 
and into my soul
but especially in these days



May 24, 2014

One Generation to Another

Psalm 145:4
Generation after generation
stands in awe of your work;
each one tells stories
of your mighty acts.

This we will do.
It is up to us now to tell of God’s mighty acts.

Papa Neckie, as he is affectionately known by his Great Granddaughters has now joined Great Grandma in heaven.
They are no longer here to tell the stories.

LORD, You have given us a rich heritage

12H Family Fun 2013 - Page 006

And we will tell of your faithfulness.
The Obituary for my dad is in the paper today.
Linking with Lisha Epperson, Give Me Grace Community –  Lisha blogs through out the week and I appreciate her honest writing.  I think you will enjoy her too. Most weekends you’ll find me here with other like-minded souls in this community.