Saturday, August 20, 2011

Blueberry season...............

It is blueberry season and out here...berries flourish! They are huge and sweet and so much fun to pick. Part of the picking is the eating while you are picking. They lost money on Michelle and I. I had to keep checking that I still liked blueberries. What a better way than to check every bush...okay, so sometimes I checked if the blueberries were good on each branch. What can I say?
This year felt a little different. For the first 3 years, Betsy and Jon and the kids were here for fair week and to pick the berries.
Simon and Mazie LOVE blueberries. One year, Mazie must have been about 11 months and we went picking and we set her down on the grass between the bushes where we were picking. All of a sudden, we realized that she had eaten ALL of the berries in the tray that was under the bushes. We moved her and she saw the bucket of blueberries...we moved her. Her little hands were moving those Blueberries into her mouth faster than a flash. Then she saw the bush...oh stopping her.

Simon, on the other hand, is a serious picker. He didn't eat any because he had a bucket to fill. My picture of him, very serious, picking the berries one at a time and dropping them into the bucket is so precious.

Last year, Jon's mom, Betty and I went out. We picked 2 huge pails...about 25 pounds of berries...and you may remember...they went home with her!

This year as a friend, Michelle and I were picking, these pictures flashed across my mind like a slide show. I started to much that I had to use my t shirt to dry my eyes so I could SEE the berries I was picking. I was also laughing because I felt silly that I was's me!

I had pulled it together when the lady in the next row call, "Emma, I am over here!" and I lost it again. Our little Emma hasn't picked blueberries yet.

As the slide show was playing in my head, I was reminded of how thankful I am for the mind and heart pictures of our family. Not all of the pictures are clear and pleasant, there have been times when we were out of focus and silly. We have had times of stress and times of heartache but those times are precious because they are wrapped in the presence of God.

I am so humbled by the men (my sons-in-law are amazing) and women of God that they are becoming. They continue to grow in His love and the awe of His Word. His wisdom rests on them and they trust in Him. They are raising our grandchildren to know the presence and the love of Christ.

I cried because I did miss them and it is one of the things in this move that has been difficult to be away from them but God shows me over and over that there are reasons for me to be here in Ferndale. The tears in the blueberry bushes this week, were tears of joy and sadness. Joy for the adventure He continues to guide us in and sadness to be away from our family.

I praise Him for His plan is the plan we seek to follow. I praise Him for the family that He has given me. And...I praise him for the blueberries!

PS....both families got their blueberries yesterday. Monday...we are going back out to pick more fresh blueberries...this time they go to the freezer!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Love when there are still surprises....

Surprises make me happy.
Some friends from North Dakota came to visit. Lynn was a fellow Speech Path with me and taught in Steve's school. They had been traveling and were on their way home from Alaska and stopped here so we were able to show them a little bit of our world...
The first night we went to Blaine and some people were fishing off the dock. They told us that they were fishing for SHARKS. We laughed and humored them until we saw a man pull this guy in....
Being the quiet person ... okay, I screamed...look it's a shark. So this man was very patient as we photographed the sand shark and I reevaluated EVER going into the freezing water!
On the way to San Juan Island, we saw this sailboat and I loved it...
Of course, this is one of the sights at Roche Harbor ...
And following the theme... this is the name of the outhouses on the island...
On our way around the island, we saw a couple of foxes. We had never seen them before but google says that they do love hanging around the south end of the island. We stopped to survey the water and were looking for the resident pod of orcas....As we were looking out at the water, Lynn said...Steve, turn around slowly and get into the car. This little guy came up and sat in the front of the car. He wasn't afraid! He waited until we had taken all of the pictures we wanted, got into the car, and left...
It's fun experiences surprises when you are seeing familiar sights with friends.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mentors that daily impact my life...

Marge and Ray
Ray and Marge were one of the first people that we met when we went to Cornwall Church. There was an instant bond...not only because we both had ND roots, but because we knew more of their relatives in ND than they did. We were sitting at a table when they invited us to join them. In that one act, I learned the importance of including others. I have watched them embrace many more "newbies" and invite them into their circle of friends. I know that when I ask them to pray...they will pray. I know that they care. Their positive and caring spirit is evident in every aspect of their lives. They are active in our church, serving as greeters and helping in the Salt on the Street ministry (our Bellingham food for the homeless.) I watch and know that age has nothing to do with service. In these two people, I see God at work in and through them and I praise God that we have had the privilege of being their friends.

Alta Ruth
What can I say about this woman? She, too, is such an encouragement to me. Alta Ruth's husband is suffering with dementia and she is his care giver. I watch her and see the love that she has for this man that God has given her. She is patient and kind with him and rarely if at all do I hear her complain about the life she is leading. She continues to praise God for the blessings that He has given to them. Last week in the service, during the song time, Lyle put his arm around his bride during the songs...what a testimony of the love that they have for one another. But that love goes beyond the earthly love that one thinks of...this week during the worship songs, we sang Amazing Grace. (NOTE: Our church doesn't usually sing a lot of hymns.) During the song, Lyle's one hand went to hold Alta Ruth's and his other hand was lifted in praise. His voice rang clear for all of the verses. I know for me, I got a glimpse of the man that she fell in love with, with his strength and his faith. Now, she is the caregiver and I pray that I can show the grace that she has shown in her life.

Helen, I may get this wrong, is 97 years old. She is still driving her truck to church although more and more her grandchildren will pick her up. Helen weeps over those who do not have a personal relationship with the Lord. Her missions vision is so much greater than mine. Her prayer life is vibrant and full, another one who will pray for me when I ask. Helen knows all about me and my family. She will tell me that she missed me so much and then ask how my trip to Nebraska or North Dakota went. One time when she was at our house for a Christmas brunch, she rejoiced because a newsletter had reported that there was clean water to the orphanage in Haiti. Missions and home, her heart is huge and she has blessed me more than she will ever know.

Ann is younger than Helen by about a year, I think. I get these two mixed up. But when you are either 96 or 97 I am not sure it matters. Ann sits in the front row of church. For anyone who has not visited our church, our music is LOUD. VERY LOUD...but Ann is sitting right there! She walks 3 miles a day. When she comes to church, she doesn't take the elevator to the 2nd floor, she takes the steps. Her wonderful English accent is delightful. Ann has a joy about her that allows those around her to experience the joy. The joy is not from her circumstances but the abiding joy that comes from Jesus. When I invite these ladies and some other wonderful ladies to our home at Christmas, I do tend to worry about them climbing the steps to our upstairs (they all want to go up and see the Christmas trees in every room of the house). I try to follow them or have one of the other hostesses that help me be close. About the 2nd time that we had the brunch, I looked up and saw Ann almost to the top of the steps. She doesn't seem to give up. She continues to be actively involved in life.
There are others that impact my life, but as I sat in church this morning, I began to think about these Saints of the church and marveled at the depth and the richness that each of them add to my life. I am so thankful that God placed them in my life and love each of them dearly.
It also is a reminder that there may be people in my life who are watching me. What will they see? A woman of faith? A woman of prayer? A woman who tries to follow God? A woman who is one who reaches out to others? Father, help me to be the woman you want me to be. Thank you for the many people you have placed in my path to show me what it means to follow the precepts of Micah 6:8
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.