The Silent Oak Speaks

Folding chair hard beneath me, I gaze at the silent oak before me.  A strong and steady display, with limbs reaching out in comforting embrace.  His cremated remains lie between me and tree. 

The bitter sweet sound of taps heard in the autumn air.  A dichotomy of heart-emotions, both sorrow and pride.  And one silent tear falls before the silent oak.

He must have done something real special in the war.

What do you mean?

A Colonel presented the flag at the graveside ceremony.  That’s not done for just anyone.

We checked the records; we didn’t know.

And the silent oak finally speaks the unspeakable from far beyond the grave.

* * * *

My father passed in October 2017.  He was a decorated Korean War veteran, being one of very few who survived the infamous Battle of Chosin Reservoir in North Korea in 1950.  He never spoke of it to his family.  He did admit he hated having cold feet.  When asked why, he simply said, “My feet were frostbit in the war.”

Thanking God that my father lived, that I might live, that my children might live, that my grandchildren might live. Remembering and honoring those who did not.

Nightmare at the Chosin Reservoir

Remembering those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for justice and freedom.

The Meaning Behind the 13 Flag Folds

Open air therapy

Photo by Dzenina Lukac on Pexels.com

Lost in the woods.  Not lost as in, “Where am I?”  Rather, lost in self.  Blessed to lose myself for half an hour spending mindful time in the woods.  Refreshed, renewed and reawakened in body, soul and spirit.  The Japanese have known of it for years:  Shinrin-Yoku; literally, forest bathing (being in the presence of trees).  I like that. 

Studies show that those who spend just two hours a week outdoors report substantially better health and psychological well-being.  I believe it.  In times of despair, the still small voice within me often whispers, “Daughter, go outside”; and I go. 

Open-air therapy—it costs nothing and has no ill side effects. 

Gazing over the countryside, I day-dream of the little writer’s studio, perfectly situated along the little creek bordering our property.  It’s a dream I’ve had for quite some time—one yet to manifest.  When suddenly ,,, shhh, quiet; it’s the whisper once again.  “Daughter, look around you.  This is your writer’s studio, perfectly designed with you in mind”.    Blessed speechless.

I believe in the woods, and in the beaches, and in the fields and mountains.  God’s sanctuary of healing, rest and peace.  A place of absolute freedom, where creativity flows.  A place perfectly designed with mankind in mind.

So, whether practicing social distancing, or in a Covid-19 self-quarantine, I’m spending time outside, wrapped securely in the loving arms of my Creator God.  Surrounded by the Heavenly Cure. 

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.  Henry David Thoreau.

Hope Springs Eternal

Bluebells speak to me in my heart language–a prophetic sign of better days ahead. My husband has given me a bouquet of first blooms every Spring since we were teenagers. We came across these little beauties on our walk yesterday. Hope springs eternal.

Love & Peace,

And, who would have known that …

In the United KingdomH. non-scripta is a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Landowners are prohibited from removing common bluebells on their land for sale and it is a criminal offence to remove the bulbs of wild common bluebells.[26] This legislation was strengthened in 1998 under Schedule 8 of the Act making any trade in wild common bluebell bulbs or seeds an offence, punishable by fines of up to £5,000 per bulb.[10][27]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyacinthoides_non-scripta

Our True Colors?

Looking for the beauty in every season of life. Thank you, Mitch, for this beautiful reminder. Love & Peace.

Mitch Teemley

tumblr_static_autumn_leaves_on_road-2560x1600

love to see the leaves change color in autumn, don’t you?

Except that it’s a myth. Leaves don’t change color.

My wife and I often walk in the woods. We’re blessed to live near Mount Airy Forest in Cincinnati, the oldest “urban forest” in the U.S., and what we’ve learned (as transplants from Southern California) is that those shimmery yellows, oranger-than-a-pumpkin oranges, and sunset reds are actually the leaves’ true colors.

And, oh, how beautiful they make the world!

All that green?  It’s just a cheery chlorophyll veneer. But when the cold “snaps,” the chlorophyll rushes down to hide amongst the roots, and the leaves’ true colors become visible. It’s then that we see how beautiful—and unique—each leaf truly is. Though, sadly, some are burnt by the sun, or turn bitter-brittle when the chlorophyll abandons them.

I pray that as we reach the apex, the…

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Something Natural, Something Spiritual, Something Peaceful

I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery–air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”

The Bell Jar by Sylvia path

The words capture me. I read them again, “I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery …”. A surging rush forward of mesmerizing colors and sounds. I breathe it in, nature that is. My senses quicken. Yes, this is what it is to be happy, I say to myself.

Nature is the living, visible garment of God.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I am a peripatetic soul. I’m at my creative best when I’m moving about outdoors. Nature, sunlight and movement inspire me. I walk out my imagination in creation.

Ninety-three percent of all communication is non-verbal, the researchers say. For me, movement in nature is a means of non-verbal communication with God. I move into a state of flow, a place of deconcentration that opens The Way to something bigger, something beyond my own self.

Something natural, something spiritual, something peaceful happens while moving in nature. I become wrapped in the living, visible garment of God and for me, that is what it is to be happy.

For in him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28.

Love & Peace,

About Sylvia Plath, whose quote I reference above…

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) is a poet whose troubled life and powerful work remains a source of controversy. Plath suffered from bouts of severe depression throughout her life, her first serious breakdown occurring in 1953 and later remembered in her autobiographical novel The Bell Jar (1963). During an extraordinary burst of creativity in the autumn of 1962 Plath wrote most of the poems on which her reputation now rests. However, that winter was particularly severe and Plath became increasingly isolated and depressed: on February 11th 1963 she committed suicide by gassing herself in the kitchen of her flat.  https://www.poetryarchive.org/poet/sylvia-plath

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones. 1-800-273-8255.

No Regrets

Eyes wide open.  A rude, unnatural awakening.  A bad fall, not out of sleep but into wakefulness. 

Mind racing desperately to grab hold of the finely-woven dream threads now quickly unraveling.  Please God, help me remember. 

A thin thread of a man’s voice reading a book, a really good book, a best-seller-kind of book.  A familiar voice, one similar to the voice of my own thoughts, yet not my thoughts, now gone.  Completely forgotten.

I remember only one thing … I am the protagonist of the forgotten book.

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

Later, as I ponder this nighttime parable, I’m reminded of Lucy in the Chronicles of Narnia.  Lucy reads a magic book and soon discovers that the right-hand pages, could be turned; the left-hand pages could not.  As much as Lucy tried, she could not remember all the wonderful things she had read, and she could not turn back the pages of the book to read it again.

When Aslan, the great Lion King of Narnia and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea appears, Lucy asks him,

“Shall I ever be able to read that story again; the one I couldn’t remember?  Will you tell it to me, Aslan?  Oh do, do, do,”

“Indeed, yes, I will tell it to you for years and years.”

Like Aslan, the great Lion King (the God-character in the storybook), there is One Above (or should I rather say within) who is the author of my life book.  One who has been telling me my story for years and years. 

As long as I have breath, I live page by page, unable to go back for there is no use in that.  I’m speaking of the regrets, the whys and the what-ifs.  For as Aslan explains, no one is ever told what would have happened.

So, I’m learning to live a life of no regrets. It takes trust, it takes faith, it takes loving myself. And that kind of love comes only from the Author of my book, who will be telling it to me for years and years.

I may never know what a different ending holds, and even if I did, it may not be what I expect, which is why it’s best I get rid of all regret.

Lois Stephens

Love & Peace,

“… looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, …”. Hebrews 12:2

Circumnavigate the World

Photo by Stas Knop on Pexels.com

Standing at ocean’s edge, scanning far and wide;
From here, all lands in reach.  
To the East, castles of Europe; 
To the Southeast, African children wave.  
Circumnavigating the world;
Within the compass of blue and green.  
An ocean traveler, having never left the sands.

“He’s the owner of every ocean, the engineer and sculptor of earth itself!”

Psalm 95:5 (TPT)

Love & Peace,

Nature speaks

Every time you feel in God’s creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thoughts to God and say: “O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy are Thou Thyself, Creator of all!”

Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

Love & Peace,

Nests In Your Hair

My brothers and me, we got trust issues.  Here I am, my 6-year-old gullible self, once more the target of their good-natured, little-sister teasing.

A warm summer evening; the sound of the brothers laughing.  I go outside to investigate.  Big mistake.

The brothers are shooting bats.  Yes, bats—with BB guns.  Saturday night entertainment and I find myself the star of the show.

“Watch out!  Bats love to fly into little girls’ hair!” Brother 1 yells.

“What?!” My heart begins to race.

“Yeah,” Brother 2 joins in, “They’ll fly into your ratty hair and make a dirty old nest!”

“What?!!” My hand instinctively reaches up to my tangled, uncombed head.

“Duck!” screams Brother 3, and I hit the ground hard. 

To this day, I hate bats.  I know they are God’s creatures and all, but I still hate bats.

»»————- ♡ ————-««

I re-read the words of Martin Luther,

You cannot keep birds from flying over your head but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.” 

I’m reminded of the bats. 

But, it’s not about bats or birds or any such thing.  It’s about negative thoughts. Fearful thoughts.  Lying thoughts that cause me to hit the ground hard.

I can’t always prevent a negative thought from entering my mind, but I don’t have to allow it to build a nest in my hair.  I have the power to choose what I believe and what I allow in my mind.  And that’s a powerful thought.

So when a negative thought flies over head, I count backwards from five.  Five, Four, Three, Two, One … and I shoot. Sometimes more than once, but eventually, the thought hits the ground hard, not me.

Love & Peace,

“… and we take captive every thought …” 2 Corinthians 10:5

The Good Eye

“I wonder why I didn’t see it there before …”. Belle, from “Beauty and the Beast”

“You have a good eye”, she says.  “A good eye for color.”  I like the sound of that.  A good eye–my heart smiles.  I feel artistic, creative, color-full.  Yet, what does it really mean–to have a good eye?

I read the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “There is no object so foul that intense light will not make beautiful.

He says it, too, the beast/prince to Belle in the fairytale, “Try to find me and know me…no matter how I may be hidden from you.”

Is it possible to see this world with a good eye?  To see the prince in the beast? To see beauty in the ugly, in the wretched, in the unlovely?

The eye is the lamp of the body.  If your eyes are healthy (good), your whole body will be full of light“, the words of The Good Book reveal.

Full of light.  To be light-full.  No hate, no disgust, no evil intent.  Soul eye clear of life’s distorting cataracts–those shifting memory-shadows that shade, darken, infect.

A view through the lens of wabi-sabi: finding beauty in imperfection. Eye-filling goodness that transforms. 

Centered only on the prevailing light of the good eye of the Father of Lights … the bad eye becomes the good eye, seeing through the wretched to the hidden good and perfect gift within. 

 “Try to find me and know me…no matter how I may be hidden from you.”

Is it possible to see the world around me with a good eye? I’m not sure. But I think I’m willing to give it a try. At least I want to be willing. And maybe that’s good enough for now.

Love & Peace,

Note: Updated from my archives.

Our hearts are with the victims and their families in Dayton and El Paso. They remain in our prayers.