Seasons transitions are Nature’s Beauty Pageants. Forest floors carpeted in gold . . . mountains engraved with a 3,000 ft. white line . . . the Last Frontier’s spectacular Fall surrendering to Winter transition.
Here’s a few displays that set my soul singing How Great Thou Art this afternoon . . . gazing in awesome wonder. I M Blessed . . . May U B 2
Oh Lord, my God When I, in awesome wonder Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made
When through the woods, and forest glades I wander And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee How great Thou art!
Wild berries captured my attention on today’s woods-wander.
Perhaps it was the dampening drizzle, or the fading yellow Devil’s Club with its red fruits, that cast an uncharacteristic, slightly glum mood to my ever wandering musings.
It was a pair of raindrops that fixed my gaze. Precariously clinging to high-bush cranberries . . . they mystically transformed into ‘teardrops’. . . Fall’s final fruits perishing to Winter’s impending, frozen death . . . Snap Out Of It Freddy!!!
Back home, tossing another log on the fire, my ‘drizzly’ attitude began to dry out . . . temporarily.
Opening my email, I read Ray’s Daily blog post for today. Ray’s creative, humorous, pensive blog has been a favorite read of mine. I surmise from his gifted writing style he’s an elderly Jewish man, who may actually be older than me 😊
Erma Bombeck was a popular American author, humorist and newspaper columnist. Today Ray posted her poignant, introspective reflections penned shortly before her death in 1996 . . . . food for thought as today each of us find ourselves another day closer to our own Winter . . . the Good News . . . the eternal Spring of Eternity awaits for those who choose to claim Christ as their own . . . now I feel much better😊
IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER
I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life anyone ever gets to assist God in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”
There would have been more “I love you’s.” More “I’m sorry’s.”
But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute…look at it and really see it … live it and never give it back. Stop sweating the small stuff. Don’t worry about who doesn’t like you, who has more, or who’s doing what. Instead, let’s cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us. Let’s think about what God HAS blessed us with. And what we are doing each day to promote ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally, as well.
Of all the places I’ve been blessed to meander throughout this untamed, rugged, awesome Last Frontier corner of creation, Hatcher Pass remains among my most special.
“You can’t see the forest for the trees.” . . . in today’s chaotic word, life’s ‘forest’ beauty is woefully shrouded by it’s tumultuous ‘trees’ of power, greed, bigotry, hatred, and lust.
Paradoxically, whenever my wanders find me above treeline, the calamity of life’s forests below fade, and I catch a glimpse of heaven’s serenity that awaits. Gratefully gazing in mystical wonder, such were where my thoughts drifted yesterday.
As high clouds accentuated the silence of creation’s calming whispers, here’s the ethereal Hatcher Pass scene I wish your eyes could have beheld it with me.
I M Blessed . . . May U B 2!
“Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is Yours.“
Time . . . free and unscheduled from family and career demands . . . is one of retirement’s supreme joys. However, it still requires a modicum of Demanding Responsible Routine (DRR).
My ‘challenging’ morning DRR involves a 5-step procedure I’ve thankfully, somehow, managed to quickly master:
1. Awake to daybreak’s soothing ‘alarms’ of birdsong and wind outside my window . . . at my advanced state of ‘maturity’ awakening has become an event of grateful celebration rather than a probable given.
2. Toss off the covers and get outta’ bed . . . when I’ve mustered sufficient will-power and energy.
3. Plug in the percolator to brew a pot of aromatic java, recently ground by my loving, spouse-tolerant wife who remains ‘undercover’ counting sheep.
4. Contemplate whether a bowl of cereal with freshly picked raspberries, or a slice of micro-warmed apple pie, is healthier for consumption.
5. Stretch out in the recliner and talk with Dad about how to best not to screw-up this new day He has given me 😊😊😊
This morning, in the midst of step #5, I glanced out the window at a storm lifting over the mountains. Looking back down at my Bible this poignant verse lifted from the page . . . I realized anew how truly blessed this ole retired prodigal’s and his DRR is . . .
“… What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes …”
Be you blissfully retired, or still engaged in the daily DRR of family and career . . . whatever storms may cloud your horizon today . . . take heart knowing life’s ‘mists’ will soon fade, and the forever Sonshine of eternity awaits.
Drizzly days disperse sunny day shadows casting the landscape with a muted, impressionist, Monet haze.
Such was mine on a wilderness wander up Castle Mountain today. Other than an unexpected spill crossing a swamp . . . resulting in an ‘invigorating’ mud bath . . . it was an tranquil, color splashed antithesis to ‘fun in the sun’.
A hot shower and scrumptious dinner prepared by my patient, understanding wife was a welcome finale. I M Blessed . . . May U B 2
“He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous.”
Tundra’s fall color peak is an ephemeral event, lasting but a few days. This year we were blessed to catch this incredible kaleidoscopic explosion of colors at Denali National Park.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s 7,000. They scarcely begin to define the vibrant hues of crimson and gold carpeting the vast wilderness that silently awed us in wonder. Wish you could have been there.
“… I stand in awe of your deeds Lord …” – Habakkuk 3:2
“Thanks for the food Lord, and please let the sun come out.” Such was my short breakfast appeal prayed over Wendy’s sausage egg croissants and free senior coffee . . . senior coffee is a freebie at Wendy’s for all ole duffers 😊
Ellie and I were headed north to Denali National Park to visit good friends and hopefully be in Denali’s 30% Club – the mountain makes its own weather and only 30% of folks visiting DNP see North America highest mountain reaching 20,320 ft. into the heavens.
Gray clouds dampened our trip with intermittent to heavy deluges until, ‘coincidentally’, upon reaching the outskirts of DNP the weather suddenly shifted to partly cloudy with intermittent sunshine. We even got to see part of Denali peeking out behind its clouds . . . God hears Wendy’s breakfast prayers, and I betcha’ McDonald’s as well 😊.
The splendor of the tundra’s fall colors is truly indescribable, so rather than butcher it with my shoddy prose, here’s a few pictures of the wonder that surrounded us.
“Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place.” – I Chronicles 16:27
Each fall I’ve been privileged to witness one of nature’s incredible wonders . . . anadromous sockeye salmon (reds) returning to relinquish their own life to create new life.
After spending 1-2 years in their freshwater birthplace, they journey to the frigid waters of the Bering Sea. It’s believed they navigate by magnetic cues, position of the sun, and day length at while at sea, before returning 2-3 years later to their exact birthplace by imprinting on the unique chemical signatures of the waters . . . creation’s original GPS!
Dodging sea lions, seals, sharks, lampreys at sea, they must contend with bears, eagles and man upon their return. It’s estimated that of the 2,000 to 5,000 each female sockeye lays, only 1 in a thousand survive . . a statistic I briefly ponder each time I catch one . . . but it quickly passes . . . they taste so good! 😊
Sockeye’s prized, savory red fillets are attributable to the high cartenoid pigment of their rich marine diet. By the time they spawn their flesh has turned a tasteless white as the cartenoids are transferred to their skin and eggs upon reaching their spawning grounds.
Watching sockeye salmon complete their aquatic life cycle allegorically always reminds of my own terrestrial life journey . . . each a beginning-to-end journey of survival wrought with trials and transitions.
Like the sockeye my skin has often turned red in embarrassment, and has lost its once youthful glow. Unlike the sockeye, many of my trials have often been self-imposed.
Standing stream-side I’m forever grateful knowing I’m still ’swimming’. Somehow, having navigated through my own and sin’s ‘predators’ for 8 decades . . . I’m 1 in a 1,000 . . . but not by my own making. It’s by God’s unfathomably amazing love, mercy and grace alone that I’m still headed ‘upstream.’
Like the sockeye, my life’s journey will someday end . . . but not in a stream-bed. My end will be the beginning of an eternity above with the One whose sacrificial death defeated mine, and all who have accepted Him as Savior . . . hope we share it together.
The Hebrew language richly conveys feeling, intent, and emotion. Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace, is my favorite. It’s used to greet and bid farewell to people, but expresses an all-encompassing peace that is so much more.
Strong’s Concordance defines Shalom as completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, and the absence of agitation or discord . . . today’s world is in dire need of an infusion of Shalom.
Shalom is displayed on our well house. A few years back it prompted a humorous encounter. Arriving home from town one afternoon, a note with a phone number was on our door, “Please call us.”
I called, and a friendly voice answered, thanking me for calling back. Identifying himself as a rabbi, he explained that he and another rabbi had been exploring the rural environs of the Matanuska Borough seeking fellow Jews to invite to their recently established synagogue in Wasilla, AK. They noticed Shalom on our well house and had left the note on our door.
“Are you Jewish?“, the rabbi asked.
“No,” I politely replied, “but my boss is a Jewish carpenter.”
“Could you give us his name?”, he responded.
“Jesus”, I said with a smile . . . he immediately realized I wasn’t a frozen chosen candidate for his congregation 😊
Sometime later I met the rabbi at his synagogue’s booth at the Alaska State Fair and we shared smiles together.
Last evening Shalom silently embraced my soul as the Creator placed an effulgent patch of rainbow across the lake to end the day.
Awakening this morning, Shalom’s peace lingered. Stoking up the woodstove and pouring a steaming cup of coffee, I sat astonished beyond comprehension pondering how, despite the self-hatred of my countless past felonious faults, failures and foibles, and those I may make today in the future . . . I’ll forever remain my Abba’s beloved child.
Opening the You VersionBible app, this Shalom tribute formed in my thoughts . . .
S H A L O M
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
“In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.”
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”
“I have told you these things that you may have peace.In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
“Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and glory are in His sanctuary”.