Technically, white is the absence of color. Symbolically, white represents an ethereal purity, innocence, simplicity, clarity, cleanliness, goodness, hope, perfection, rebirth.
White inspires emotional peace, restoration, and healing. Bride’s dress in it, and its brilliance adorns Christ’s robes.
The white of snow’s fading grip blanketing Appalachian heights graced my wife on our recent 2,263 miles – 8 state -10 day road trip north . . . evoking nostalgic journeys down memory lane.
Returning south, we witnessed Spring’s white rebirth. True to the adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words”, I’ll cease my ramblings (you’re welcome 😊) and send off couple pics of Spring’s vibrant resurrection of life revealed to this ole ragamuffin today.
Road trips are fodder for unforeseen adventure and blessings. Thus far, our current one has traversed nearly 2,000 miles through eight states. It has been laden with a variety of unexpected adventures and blessings that have God’s fingerprints all over them. Here’s snippets of some that have been ours to experience along the journey.
With eight decades behind me, memorial services are no longer a stranger. They’re becoming increasingly somber, considering mine could be next 😊.
Our road trip began with attending a memorial. A wonderful centurion, Betty epitomized loving life to its fullest while loving and encouraging everyone to who crossed her path. I was my privilege to be one of her e-mail correspondents. Betty would always evoke a smile by signing off each email with a string of XOXOXOXOs . . . she was my oldest girlfriend 😊
Shortly after her 100th birthday Betty passed into Eternity to be with her Abba . . . but not before planning her own celebration of life memorial. The auditorium was packed with people whose lives her contagious spirit had touched with the love of her Savior. The eulogies, music , songs, and personal stories shared by her children, grandchildren and pastors portrayed a legacy unmatched by any memorial service I’ve ever attended . . . truly a live well lived by my oldest girlfriend 😊 – Thank you Betty
Back on the road, the steady drone of the highway was suddenly interrupted by the ominous vibrating sound that churns every motorist’s stomach . . . we had a flat tire!
Pulling off the side of the Interstate, Ellen dialed up AAA. Sharing our predicament, we were told help to remedy our ‘deflated’ dilemma would arrive with 30-45 minutes, and we’d soon be zooming back down the highway. Two frustrating phone calls and nearly 2 hours later, AAA (Annoying-Aggravating-Absent) had yet to appear. Unloading the luggage uncovered the donut- tire . . . will this thing really work???
Just then, a black sedan pulled off the side of the highway, backed up, and a young man stepped out.. Despite my ‘macho’ “I got this” declaration, he insisted on changing the tire, adamantly refusing the $20 bill offered for his much-appreciated assistance. Sam was originally from Philadelphia; recently married; and had just started an emergency transport business with his brother. We exchanged contact information before parting ways, ours at considerably reduced ‘donut tire’ speed.
The next day I noticed a voicemail notification on my phone. It was from Sam inquiring if we had safety made it to our destination . . . Wow! . . . comforting assurance that in these divisive Me First!!! times, Golden Rule individuals like our highway ‘Sam’aritan are still out there – Thanks Sam
Discovering the school I once taught at has been closed and setting vacant for decades made me realize I’m getting old. Unexpectedly meeting a former student and previous mayor of the small rural town the school was located in made me feel ancient! Thumbing through my high school yearbook is like reading the obituaries. Reality confirmed . . . this ragamuffin’s a bonafied ole duffer 😊
The upside, recalling memories with my former pupil was a genuine delight, grateful for past times shared, and sparking hope that dying young at a ripe ole age remains a possibility 😊 – Thanks Susan
One my life’s most priceless blessings has been the trust and counsel of a rare few, openly honest accountability partners. God has graced my life along life’s journey with such special men who listened to my most grievous sins and failures, and transparently shared theirs. When needed, they lovingly spoke hard truth without judging, condemning or condoning, and continued to love and pray for me regardless.
“It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.” – Proverbs 27:5
Some 40 years ago one of these men counseled me as I wrestled with a vengeful, get-even spirit. Ultimately rejecting his wise advice to forgive and reconcile with the one who had betrayed me, I chose an unforgiving “…eye for an eye…” retaliatory betrayal that, if everyone engaged in, would render the whole world blind.
Gratefully, Ed refused to abandon me, continuing to pray and console me as I struggled and suffered the tragic effects of my wrong decisions . . . whose grievous consequences I own, and sadly remain to this day.
Ed has since gone Home. However, it was my privilege to visit his still spry 90-year-old widow Melva and her son and daughter-in-law. Openly sharing regrets that my past unforgiving and spiteful actions had caused them and others, they never once alluded to them. They quietly listened, preciously responding with unconditional love and acceptance of me just as I am today . . . not as I should have been back then. – Thank you Melva, Jim, Diana, and posthumously . . . my faithful friend Ed
This picture was snapped standing in the shadows of dense mountain laurel on the shore of Promised Land Lake. It reminded me that amidst those times of life’s dark shadows, there’s always a patch of light that shines through, and the proverbial “…light at the end of the tunnel…” to press on towards.
My childhood summers were spent in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains at Promised Land State Park. Roaming its forests fearlessly stalking ferocious bears . . . building ‘secret’ tree forts among the pines. . . . and catching monster large mouth bass from its lake was boyhood Nirvana. It’s also where I learned to “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) as nature gently drew me into God’s arms, listening to the still small voices and soft whispers of His creation.
Revisiting favorite places and reminiscing with my wife, names, events, stories and fond memories flooded my mind with remarkable clarity, mystically transporting me back through a portal . . . for a fleeting moment I was a young boy once again (some say I still occasionally act like it 😊) – Thank you Abba
Our road trip will be ending soon, but its memories will linger, and keep getting Gooder n’ Gooder 😊
Life has been an exciting adventure, whose undeserved blessings have far outnumbered my self-inflicted calamities. This ole octogenarian is forever grateful and at peace . . . headed for the Promised Land above someday with a guaranteed reservation. Hope to meet you there at Heaven’s Gate.
“A picture is worth a thousand words.” This one from This DayPictures app popped up my computer today. It triggered a hundred thousand words worth of memories of a solo snowshoe trek ten years ago high up in Alaska’s Talkeetna Range.
Snowshoes hushed shush over a white landscape is a clam like none other . . . my Silent Nuance Of Wonder (SNOW) Abba therapy.
Lord willing, I’m planning a repeat performance next February 28th when we’re permanently settled back home in the Last Frontier . . . provided I’m still fogging a mirror and my decade older bod will still be able to make it . . . if not, it will be a ‘cool’ way to exit the planet 😊
Hatcher Pass, Alaska
“We need silence to be alone with God, to speak to Him, to listen to Him, to ponder His words deep in our hearts. We need to be alone with God in silence to be renewed and transformed. Silence gives us a new outlook on life. In it we are filled with the energy of God Himself that makes us do all things with joy.” – Mother Teresa
“He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray… He was alone there.”
Officially, the first day of Spring is a month away. Evidently, this daffodil didn’t get the memo😊. Heralding life, it validated the ‘silent loveliness’ of our garden stone’s inscription:
How Lovely is the Silence of Growing Things
I’ve been truly blessed for most of my life to reside in the relative calming silence of ‘Rularia’, compared to the chaotic cacophony of ‘Urbania’ environs. Childhood summers were spent roaming the Pocono Mountains’ forests in Promised Land, PA, so aptly named. There, ‘silently serenaded’ by nature, I learned to rest in my Abba’s arms, quietly listening to His serene, still small voices and gentle whispers sung by Creation. In adulthood (still working on that 😊), my career adventures most always found me residing on the outskirts of civilization where, just outside my door, the unending melodies Creation’s chorus could silently comfort my soul.
‘Listening’ this morning to the daffodil’s vibrant first bloom shout . . . Spring’s Here!!! . . . reminded me of how effortless it is to be caught up in the ‘noisy busyness’ of today’s world which drowns out His still small voice and soothing gentle whispers. Throw in some smidgens pride, ego, power, covetousness, and a few other “pleasures of sin for a season”, and our ‘deafness’ hastens.
Not everyone has my luxury of living in the relative solitude the outskirts of civilization affords . . . Go Alaska!!!😊. However, whether we reside in ‘Urbania’ or ‘Rularia’, we’re all equally blessed with 24/7/365 in which to carve out some crucial one-on-One ‘silent listening’ time . . . time alone to converse and ‘listen’ to the One Who always listens to our every request, plea, and heartfelt cry.
During a one-day church retreat participants were asked to write what they thought Jesus would write to them in a letter. A 17-year-old girl volunteered to read hers first. She began by apologizing that she’d “messed up”. Instead of writing what Jesus would say to her in a letter, she’d written a deeply personal, ‘open-heart’ dialogue between her and Jesus. Here’s the still small voice, gently whispered one-on-One ‘silent conversation she humbly, and boldly shared:
“I feel awkward because it’s been so long since I’ve been near you.”
“I’ve missed you too; I think about you every day.”
“But I’ve messed up; I’ve done a lot of things I regret.”
“It’s okay child. I forgive you.”
“I don’t understand. I turn away, I ignore You.”
“I’m still here right beside you.”
“I try to live without you even though I know deep inside that You’re still a part of me.”
“You don’t have to make yourself loveable; I love you how you are.”
“Even after everything I’ve done, and everything that’s happened, would it offend You if I called You bizarre?”
“I am bizarre; more so than you’ll ever know.”
“This may sound strange, but could I please ask You to hold me, for a little while?
“My child, I’ve been waiting for you with outstretched arms.”
May each of us, like this teenage girl, find time each to escape this world’s ‘noise’ . . . snuggle in His arms . . . and ‘listen’ in ‘assuring silence’ to His still small voice and comforting gentle whispers.
PS – When we do so, I wonder if God is smiling and says . . . How Lovely is the Silence of Growing Saints . . . even this ole ragweed 😊
It’s estimated 8 billion grains of sand would fill 8,000 cups and weigh 2 ½ tons. Recently, while I was counting sheep snuggled against my pillow, a group of obviously wide-awake researchers at the University of Hawaii estimated there are seven quintillion, five hundred quadrillion (7.5 x 1018 ) grains of sand on earth . . . that’s Big!
but . . .
When you consider that all the grains of sand in the world are dwarfed by the number of stars in the universe . . . that’s astronomically Big!
but . . .
In his book Spectrums, science writer David Blatner states this mind-boggling number of ‘twinkle-twinkles’ in the universe is quickly matched by thenumber of molecules in just 10 drops of water . . . that’s unfathomably Small! . . . or . . . Big???
Blattner aptly states “…we can’t handle the biggitude…” This minuscule mortal can’t handle either the ‘biggitude’ or ‘smallitude’ of Creation,
but . . . I know who can . . .
The Architect of each grain of sand . . . ‘twinkle-twinkle’ . . . and molecule of water.
Soooooo . . . I contentedly fall asleep each night snuggled against my pillow counting sheep knowing, among the 8 billion people I share this planet with, this littlest one is His biggest favorite . . .
PS – so are you, and each one of the other, 7,999,000,000,000 souls He knows by name.
“When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; what is man, that Thou are mindful of him, and the Son of man, that Thou hast visited him?”
Way back when I was a ‘wee’ one and dinosaurs roamed the earth😊, America was generally a ‘We’ society. Not perfect for sure, but an ambiance of respectful cooperation, collaborative resolution, and unified patriotism prevailed.
Sadly, today’s American finds itself embroiled in a polarized “I’m right! – You’re wrong!”, violently combative, angrily divided ‘Me’ society. I grieve for this divisive ‘legacy’ we’re passing on to our children to navigate.
Such were my gloomy thoughts this morning before going outside for some ‘forest bathing’ therapy in Nature’s peaceful solitude.
Today’s session was on Harmony, taught by four leaves serenely floating on the pond’s surface . . . they silently sang a refrain from a childhood Sunday School song from long ago . . .
“…red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight…”
I continue to pray America will return to peaceful harmony Nature portrays; the “…one nation, under God, indivisible…” our founding fathers envisioned for us to be; and God has promised . . . If . . .
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
For the past several years the Great Smoky Mountains has been America’s most visited National Park. Travelers come from all over the world to enjoy Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg’s endless venue of entertainment attractions, and to explore one of Mother Nature’s premier wonders . . . next to Alaska of course 😊
Living here makes October my most labor-intensive month. Local residents, bedecked in vibrant colors, descend on our digs up here on the mountain > down in the ‘holler’ > over the ‘crick’ . . .
LEAVES! . . . lotsa’ and lotsa’ LEAVES! . . . zillions of billions of LEAVES!
My best Fall friend is only 3 feet tall. Each morning we meet up to remove the leaves that have smothered our 1/10th mile, 40-degree slope driveway since the day before. To neglect this chore would jeopardize us being able to drive up out of the ‘holler’ to the gravel road leading to civilization . . . I love my leaf blower! 😊
After reclaiming our driveway today, I took a woods wander along the ‘crick’ for some shinrin-yoku . . . ‘forest bathing’. The Japanese coined this term to describe the practice of getting into the woods for body and mind renewal. I’m not Japanese, but it works for this ole ‘Kraut’!
Studies have shown just three days and two nights in a wooded place increase the immune system functions that boost feelings of well-being for up to seven days. This includes increased awe, greater relaxation, restored attention, and boosted vitality. Among the health benefits are enhanced immunity, reduced cardiovascular disease, fewer migraines, and lowered anxiety. The same three days in a built environment has no such effect.
Sooooooo . . . while leaf-blowing is not one of my favorite activities, I always look forward to my ‘forest baths’ from whence they came . . . and I don’t even have to get wet 😊. Here’s a shinrin-yoku ‘modern art’ pic from today.
“Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sin for joy.”