it was You

Was that You who woke me early to let me see the full moon reflected in the still waters of the lake?

So lovely and so peaceful. I’m so thankful I didn’t miss this mesmerizing sight. It remained in my thoughts through the day, and still it does, now.

Was that You, who sent the pleasant breezes?

So cool and refreshing! The wind rippled across the lake, and those wake tips caught Your sun and dappled the surface with magical twinkle lights.

Was that You who caused me to pause and look down at the ground?

Did You help my old eyes see the tiny flowers blooming in the grass, all pink and blue? Did You show me the wild strawberry daisies that are already showing their cheery yellow faces? Did you sprinkle all those sweet violets across our yard?

Was that You who sent the animals my way?

The loon swam and dived near the dock, looking for fish to eat. The turtle surfaced from his mud bed to let me and others know that it’s time to awaken. Did You reroute all the buzzards away from here so that hawk could have the expanse of the sky to soar and swoop on his own?

Was that You who painted the sky such a bright blue and sent the wisps of clouds to twist and turn so gently?

Was that You that gave the shimmer and shine to the new green leaves of the pear trees?

Was that You that formed the slate rocks long ago and helped me find them for the planting bed border?

********

When I talked TO You (and not just AT You), as always, You listened to my heart. And I felt You near. And I asked You to be present with me and help me see You all around. And You did.

Yes, it was You. It is always You.

Thank You for answering my prayer so beautifully. Always.

a new song

At a memorial service I heard (and sang along with) a song that was new to me. But it is familiar to many, I am sure. The words struck my heart:

City of God by Dan Schutte

Awake from your slumber! Arise from your sleep!
A new day is dawning for all those who weep
The people in darkness have seen a great light
The Lord of our longing has conquered the night

Let us build the city of God
May our tears be turned into dancing!
For the Lord, our light and our love
Has turned the night into day!

God is light; in him there is no darkness
Let us walk in his light, his children, one and all
O comfort My people; make gentle your words
Proclaim to My city the day of her birth.

Have we ever seen a time of more darkness? Not in my lifetime. And yet…

We are sons of the morning; we are daughters of day
The One who has loved us has brightened our way

So it is time for us to awaken and arise and welcome God’s light into this darkness. The Lord, our Light and our Love, can – and will – do this mighty, healing work. And we must help.

The Lord of all kindness has called us to be

A light for His people to set their hearts free.

*******

Happy Easter! Joyous blessings to you!

Praise our Lord who has conquered the night and has set our hearts free! What a glorious, eternal gift for us all!

solc22 #31 eyes to see

A lovely sight – dogwood blooms ushering in spring.

Yes, the dogwood tree is the first thing we notice.

But look closer. There are other trees sprouting leaves, and even a determined privet is there below. When thinking of all that new life we overlooked at first, the dogwood is almost a distraction from everything else.

*******

When we write consistently, it helps us learn to look past distractions and see things we might otherwise have overlooked. Bringing new things into focus, new thoughts and discoveries. Making life more full and complete.

********

When we live through two years of Covid, isolation, control, and unexplainable governmental actions, it helps us think more deeply about what is beneath it all. Making life more complicated, but making us more aware.

********

As a society we have been encouraged for years to be accepting and tolerant. Yet there are things we should question, and things we should take a stand for.

What do your eyes see that you wonder about? Hold tight to that wonder, and dig deeper to find answers.

And above all, take a stand for what is right and true.

solc22 #30 old things new again

When we sold our house and “moved” to our lake house while we remodeled the new/old house we bought (are you following along OK?), it was early January. Cold, snowy, cloudy, gloomy, sickly January. We remarked at the time how encouraging it would be to travel the route from the lake to our hometown as the weather moved into springtime.

Now, it IS Spring, in all of its glory. With day-to-day sprouting, budding, opening, blooming, and rebirth.

Changing from barren and shivering, to greening and growing. What a delight!

This cold snap we are having now is Redbud Winter. These pink/magenta/mauve (not red!) trees are beautiful and so welcome, best viewed with a backdrop of evergreens. And their appearance in full bloom marks the first of several stages of the process of changing from winter to summer.

Redbud, Dogwood, Locust, Blackberry, and Cotton Britches Winters come when Old Man Winter can’t quite decide to leave and holds on for another brief visit. But each one gets warmer and shorter and we rejoice as we mark each one off the calendar.

The dogwood trees are already starting to bloom out and soon we will have large beautiful white (or pink) flowers and another cold snap to go along with them. Another step towards shorts-wearing days. Another celebration.

Maybe just in time for Easter this year. If you know the Legend of the Dogwood, you’ll recognize the appropriateness of that timing as we see the Cross in each dogwood blossom, with the crown of thorns in the center and the dent of the nails at the outside of each petal.

Spring brings new life and new hope – every year. My thankfulness overflows.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

solc22 #29 how to name a dog

One of the things we most look forward to about moving into our remodeled house is being close to the neighbors. They are actually the reason we found out about the house in the first place. And since that time they have done countless kind things for us. Already! And we have not even moved in.

In addition to being very thoughtful, they are also very funny. One of my favorite stories (so far) is how they named their dog.

Over the years they have had several Australian Terriers. This is a breed I was not familiar with, and is best described as a Westie or Scottie look-alike, but with deep golden brown hair. When their last dog passed away, and they got a new puppy, of course they had to decide what to call him.

“I know,” said Carol. “Let’s each make a list of five names that we like. Then we will compare the lists, and if we both have the same name listed, that’s what we’ll name our new puppy!” Roger agreed, and they wrote down their selections.

When they compared their ideas, the name Champ appeared on both papers.

“Great,” said Carol. “We’ll name him Opie!”

We look forward to being Opie’s neighbor, too.

A good name is better than precious ointment. Ecclesiastes 7:1

solc22 #28 writing, not writing

I have written all day long, but just realized there’s nothing to post on the blog.

First a card to our daughter’s mother-in-law, congratulating her on being inducted into the Hall of Fame at the school where she worked. Quite and honor, well-deserved!

There were the revisions of the job posting for the board where I serve. Many revisions, but finally final (I hope). And emails to several to get the posting posted.

And lists of tile that has arrived for our new house. It needs to be labeled so we get what we want where we want it. Comparing what we ordered to what we received (it matches – I think!).

Notes I wrote when I spent 35 minutes on the phone with the cable provider to reinstate the “discount promotion” we had last year that had expired.

A letter to a friend who is dying, alluding to the reality without saying it, remembering our good times together and assuring her that my prayers for her peace and comfort are continual.

Minutes from past committees and procedures to follow at future meetings. And figuring out the best streamlined wording for each.

Things to remember in the Bible study I was reading so I can share when I finally get back to the group meeting tomorrow.

And now, a post of sorts, reminding me that even when I am not totally inspired with something profound for fireflytrails, I still am a writer in many other ways.

Words satisfy the soul as food satisfies the stomach; the right words on a person’s lips bring satisfaction. Proverbs 18:20

solc22 #27 rest and repeat

when we go to town

we rush around

accomplishing tasks for the house

***

when we come back home

we spend days catching up

paperwork and cleaning abound

***

those days in between

with nothing demanding

bring rest and renewal we need

***

then we start again

the cycle repeats

each part has its own special joys

Do all things without grumbling or questioning... Philippians 2:14

solc22 #26 loony

My husband noticed some new visitors to our cove of the lake. “They are not ducks,” he said, “but they aren’t geese either.”

I looked out and saw their distinctive head and neck shape and said, “They may be loons.”

All birds are best seen from a distance in my opinion. I do believe they are beautiful (well, most of them), and some have such lovely songs. But up close they have dangerous bills and beady eyes, so I like viewing them from afar.

My aunt and uncle had bird feeders and could tell you each and every species that visited them. I know a robin, bluebird, cardinal, and such, but the little brown ones all look alike to me. Sparrows, all of them? My husband calls them all finches. And my grandfather used to call all black birds starlings. Not a lot of bird lore in our family tree (except for my aunt and uncle, of course).

So how did I know what these visiting birds were? (It turns out they are loons, according to all we read about them.) I’m really not sure. Something just told me that’s what they were.

They have returned for three days. We haven’t seen them before, but we haven’t spent this much time at the lake in previous years either. Maybe this is a stopover on their migratory path? (I need to look that up, too.)

It’s been fun to watch them dive (I didn’t know they did that either) and hopefully they have found plenty to eat. Their black and white tuxedo coloring is pretty, too.

But we haven’t heard them make their crazy-as-a-loon calls, though. Possibly they sense the peace of this place, just as we do.

 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” Genesis 1:20

solc22 #25 unfinished

I did not finish the book before Book Club met this month to discuss it.

This book was long, and reading at night seems to put me to sleep these days, and there is so much else going on that it isn’t a priority, and I did try, but still had 200 of the 576 pages to go. EXCUSES

(But I did have two months, and I often put it off, and as always I thought I’d have more time, and I really liked what I read, and I regretted not getting to the end.) TRUTH

This book (The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles) is a combination of so many characters and so many side stories that it is both hard to keep up with and easy to pick up and enjoy just the part you are reading that day.

So I told the Book Club members not to worry about revealing something in our discussion because I am still going to finish this book, just for the “joy of the journey.” ( The group kept back a few “secrets” from the end, as I was not the only one who had not completed the book.)

In my mind it is like experiencing a Broadway musical. I have found that it is fine – sometimes best – to know the plot of the story before you go to these plays, so that while there you can enjoy the experience of how the music and story work together to tell the tale.

Amor Towles’s words are musical and because of that, even knowing parts of my destination ahead of time, I will enjoy the rest of the trip on The Lincoln Highway.

...in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:6

solc22 #24 lazy river

Have you ever been to a water park and ridden the “Lazy River” ride? The kind where you get in the water – the pool is a narrow channel like a river, hence the name – and grab a large tube as it floats by. You hop on, lay back, and enjoy the ride. The water is flowing and moving you along and all you need to do is – enjoy!

That is how I feel about this house adventure we are currently in the midst of. We had prayed about finding “the right house at the right time” for quite some time. Meanwhile we were enjoying our home of 17 years and quite certain that in today’s crazy real estate market we would not be able to make a move any time soon.

But God had other plans. I told a friend at lunch one day last summer about our hopes of finding a one story house, and within two weeks she called me and told me she had found one. Someone actually called her to tell her about it. The long story unfolded in ways we could never have imagined or even hoped for. Now we have bought this house that came our way, sold our longtime home, moved temporarily to the lake cabin we own, had lots of demo completed, and are ready to start the “finish work” that will make this “new” house our home.

There have been times along the way when we have faced challenges, and other times when we weren’t sure of the next steps. But we have never doubted because we know, deep in our hearts, that this is God’s plan for us. Undeserved, but very deeply appreciated.

So at all times – days of uncertainty or exciting progress – we feel like we are being swept along this amazing ride, and held up by His generous and loving Hand.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

solc22 #23 simple joys

Living away from our hometown as we remodel our new/old home has kept me from spending as much time with friends as usual. We have been so busy that it wasn’t weighing heavy on my heart. I was keeping in touch with others and not feeling isolated or out of the loop.

But today a special friend met me halfway in a small town neither of us was very familiar with. We planned to visit a gift shop with good reviews and have lunch and time to talk together. The weather was beautiful and it was good to be out and about on this fine spring day.

Truth is I haven’t been shopping for “fun” in quite some time. (Yes, I have shopped for toilets and appliances and all manner of necessary items for our house, but not for something I didn’t need but nevertheless would like to have.)

So I was a little overwhelmed with the “stuff” in the shop, but several things made me smile. And we took their recommendation for a lunch spot that was delicious and welcoming.

I was most grateful for this visit with a friend who took the time to come see me. We shared news of our lives and thoughts on the world and hopes for our families and questions about life.

It was such a wonderful day – relaxed and refreshing. Ah, the simple joys of being with a good friend.

 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

solc22 #22 worn out

Recently I was invited to join a small group of childhood friends to gather for lunch. What a treat! It was a delicious meal and a beautiful day, but the best part, of course, was the time we had together as we celebrated so very many years of friendship.

We all went to church together growing up, and so along with sharing those special, longstanding relationships, we also share a love of God and trust in Him that has carried each of us through various hardships that have shown up as we have lived our lives.

We all said it was the best time and we must do it again soon. I hope we will!

Since we are living at the lake these days, my trip to get to the other side of Nashville was a long one. And of course, it was both to… and from. Even so, the hours spent in the car were worth it to have this refreshing time with wonderful friends.

But I was SO tired when I got back home!

Because of traffic – or lack of it, I was able to make a couple of pictures of my route. I had quite a change of scenery as I traveled from one place to another:

slow rolling in town
rolling slow in the country

Ahhhh…. the green, green grass of home!

...a sweet friendship refreshes the soul. Proverbs 27:9

solc22 #21 closing time

One of the few things I like about winter is the exposure. Not to the frigid air and biting winds. But I do like the way the foundations of things are made known when everything is stripped away.

The structure of each tree, with its strong trunk and graceful branches, is revealed in winter. There is an unmatched, unique beauty in every one.

In the summer, so much is covered by tall grass, low growing vegetation, and leaves clustered thickly on trees. Behind all of that, you cannot see the houses hidden on hills, or the stone fences along the property lines. And so many other things, too.

As excited as I am to see Spring appearing, those are the sights I will miss – the underlying supports of plants and trees, and the configuration of buildings and properties “just over there.”

But it is time, so I will check quick and look long. The curtains are closing on this act, Winter 2022, and what will be hidden for a while behind those green drapes will never look quite the same again.

The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:9

solc22 #20 who was the one?

In church last Sunday the prayer leader asked us to reflect on the person who we would each consider to be the main one to introduce us to God and His love.

I remembered so many church teachers I had in Sunday School, missions studies and mission trips, Training Union, youth group, choir, and so on. I am so thankful for each precious soul.

The prayer leader also asked us how old we were when we accepted Christ as our Savior. I was nine. And I remember it well.

So my answer to the “Who?” question was easy. As many influences as I have been blessed to have in my life, the “one person” was my mother.

I don’t recall specific conversations word for word, but I have, deep within me, the recollections of her godly influence. And I knew that I wanted to have the same assurance that she demonstrated – the confidence of her belief, her faith, and her love for the God who had saved her from her sin and who carried her through each day.

So in words and in deeds she showed me how to become a Christian.

Today is my mother’s birthday. If she were still alive she would be 101 years old. She left this earth nineteen years ago, but her presence lives on – in me, in my family, and in so many others who knew and loved her.

Happy Birthday, Mama. The gift of salvation that you led me to has been cherished for many years, and I have prayed to pass it along to our children and grandchildren.

Thanks be to God – and thanks be to you as well. ❤️

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6

solc22 #19 snake!!

“There’s a snake in the water. Look!“

“Oh no. But wait – is that a white snake? What in the world?”

“I have never seen or heard of a white snake in this lake before.“

“Me neither. But man, he is sure moving on. Headed straight to our shore. Oh no!”

“Now he has wiggled his way right into the rocks on the shore. I guess we will be seeing him again.”

Well, that doesn’t make me very happy. Not one bit.”

“Me neither. Ugh!”

**********

“Hey we saw a white snake just now, swimming across the lake. And look, there he is again.”

“Or maybe it is another one. This one seems bigger!”

“We are infested with snakes. Oh no!”

“A snake, huh? I agree it looks like a snake, but I think that airplane and its trail streaking across the sky up there is being reflected in the still water. That’s what has you spooked. The ripples make it look just like it is side-winding right through the water.”

“Oh yeah, you are right!”

“Besides, who ever heard of a white snake?”

“Not in this lake. No way!”

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

solc22 #18 so many…

Ladybugs 🐞 cover the screens on our porch

They tumble and fall all around 🐞

Crawling and wiggling 🐞 and spreading their wings

🐞Without ever making a sound


But ask the animals, and they will teach you… In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.  Job 12:7,10

solc22 #17 time for a change

Today in Tennessee is a beautiful “almost Spring” day, and the weather prompted me to look beyond my typical black pants and heavy sweaters for something more uplifting to wear.

We are staying at our lake cabin while we remodel an older house which will become our home. Space is limited so my “other season closet” consists of a stack of clothes, still on hangers, laid across the bed in the extra room.

I was able to find a few things to pull out and place in my regular closet to brighten my wardrobe in the still cool days ahead. And as I looked through the other things – sleeveless tops and brightly colored attire – I smiled. And I also wondered who that person was that wore those clothes and where she had gone.

The winter has been so cold and gloomy, with sickness and isolation, and we are definitely “out of place” in our living arrangements. The memories of that shorts-clad tanned woman last year is rather dim right now.

Ah, but hope springs eternal, and I know those carefree days are soon to come. That is good news – it is most definitely time for a change.

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  Matthew 6:28-29

solc22 #16 leading the way

Our first grandchild is our granddaughter Madison, now seven years old. How can that be? She was born the year I retired, and as all first grandchildren do, she changed our lives so much for the better. Madison paved the way for the other three Littles to follow, and we are so very thankful for them all.

Madison has been a typical achiever, but the one thing she struggled with has been her level of comfort with unknown things, loud noises, and new people. Her patient mother has helped her overcome these sensory problems and now (most of the time) you would never recognize this in her. We still laugh to think of how scared she always was when her tall, bearded uncle came around. She adores him now, as he does her.

This child is artistic in the most creative way. Madison can picture something in her head, in great detail, and then amazingly get this vision onto paper. She has written and illustrated countless books that describe experiences and events in her life. The detail she notices and then puts into her work is astounding. Her creation of incredible 3-D structures – houses, vehicles, roller coasters, Ferris wheels, etc. – demonstrates yet another remarkable talent.

There is a “knowing presence” in Madison that is truly unique. She has an intuition and a compassion that is definitely a gift. Her kind heart reaches out to others when she senses that they are hurting or uncomfortable in some way. It is a beautiful thing to watch, and when you are on the receiving end of this thoughtfulness, it is most uplifting to your soul.

Currently my favorite thing – among so many – about this sweet child is listening to Madison pray. Where we used to lead her and get her started, she can outshine us all with her candid conversation with the Lord and the expression of her earnest hopes, concerns, and desires. She talks to God about the needs of her classmates, her thankfulness for her family, and her love of God Himself.

Every year and every stage of her life has been a joy to be a part of. While I don’t want to see her grow up too soon, I continue to look forward with anticipation to see what God will lead her to next.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. I Thessalonians 5:12

solc22 #15 towhead

Our second grandchild is our 4 year old grandson Grayson. He earned the #2 position only by three weeks, as his cousin was born soon after he was. My husband and I are both only children and so our children never had first cousins. We have all been excited about watching the cousin relationship grow with these two little fellows.

Little Grayson is definitely his own character. He doesn’t really look much like either of his parents, although interestingly he resembles his great-grandfathers on both sides! He has big round eyes (we ALL have much smaller eyes) that are a handsome blue, and white-blond hair (much lighter than any of the rest of us). He has suffered through some digestive problems that he at last seems to have grown out of – unlike the rest of the hearty eaters in the family.

Grayson has also been quieter than others in his family. He is now growing out of that, and talking quite a lot sometimes. He has he brightest smile that goes from ear to ear. And he loves to play with lots of energy and enthusiasm.

Some would say I am biased, but I know that Grayson is very smart. He likes to analyze and work through things – how something works, where things belong, and what the best way to solve a problem might be. Even when he wasn’t as vocal, you could almost see the wheels turning in his head as he figured things out.

Speaking of wheels, Grayson loves cars. He has quite a collection, with all the racetracks needed for them to roll on. He knows which are the fastest, and which will turn over (which is sometimes a most desirable thing). Included in his collection are monster trucks of all shapes and sizes. Go, go, go!

He also has great motor skills! He can ride anything that moves – scooter, bikes, etc. – with dexterity and balance. He is a good runner and hopper and thrower. He loves soccer, and swinging, and climbing, and any game with a ball.

Plus he has a love/hate relationship with dinosaurs. He knows all their names and can tell you so many facts about each one. But sometimes their roars still scare him. The first loud, light-up dino he had when he was smaller made him run away screaming. Who can blame him for that?

Grayson also loves to read books, or have them read to him. And at bedtime, he likes to have songs sung to him. I have one I sing about him to the tune of London Bridge (“Grayson is a good little boy…”) The last time we kept him, I sang it several times (with different verses – it is very adaptable). When I told him it was time for bed, he asked me to sing a song about Liza, his little sister. How sweet is that? I couldn’t resist.

I told you he is smart!

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. I Corinthians 12:4

solc22 #14 on repeat

Our third “Little” is our grandson Wade. He is named after his great-grandfather whom he never knew, but who was a very positive influence in Wade’s father’s life. Our son-in-law Jamie was so close to Wade (Sr.) that he was delighted to name his own son after this man he loved so much.

And Wade’s middle name is Andrew. The same middle name as his great-grandfather (my husband’s father), his grandfather (my husband), his uncle (our son) and his cousin (our other grandson.)

Wade is a happy-go-lucky charmer. He is a non-stop chatterer, and he loves dinosaurs and monster trucks. He also loves to get his rest, and he is a sweet cuddler when it is time for sleep. He will let you know if he is tired – with words, or perhaps by his thumb stuck in his mouth. Even when he doesn’t tell you, you can tell by his grumpiness. But he awakens energized and ready to go!

My husband kept our grandson recently and as they were playing, Pops sang him the song, “Dominique.” He only knows that one word so he repeats it throughout the entire tune.

Pops sang it through 2-3 times and when he stopped, he asked our grandson how many more songs he would like for Pops to sing.

“Zero,” said Wade, “Zee-Row.” So that was the end of Pops’ concert.

We laughingly told our daughter about this, and she said, “So that’s why Wade has been singing that song over and over the last few days.”

Wake up, wake up, break out in song! Judges 5:12