The Walking Stick

DSCF2842

Tucked in the woods to the east of the cabin was what Grandpa called, “the shop.” Not a retail shop but a place where he could work on his projects. Wood mostly and once in a great while, metal.

When Lisa was born, he created a wonderful wooden rocking horse. Not the kind you really ride but a small replica. Different parts of the horse would move and no one was ever able to figure out how grandpa created such an amazing gift.

When his wife died, there was solace in his shop. A beautiful wooden cross took him months to finish but those were months of memories of his wife and their many years together. The cross was for her grave but in his heart, he knew it was for him too. He knew she would be pleased.

Every now and then, she would come out to the shop when he was working. Always with some sweet tea and something to eat. They would visit and she would always remind him not to be late for dinner. He always laughed when she said that…all these years, and not once had he been late to dinner! Her home cooking was nourishing with love being the main ingredient.

Ever since Lisa asked for a walking stick like his, he knew it would be a very special gift. Many mornings he could be found walking through the woods looking for the perfect tree limb. One that had fallen recently would be the best to work with. He would carry a few back to the shop to study them. Most of them made it to the little fireplace in the corner. Warmth from the fallen.

He was at peace when he was walking. He talked with God and asked if it was ok to talk with his wife. If not ok, he asked God to give her a message: how much he loved her and how much he missed her.

One day while talking with God, he noticed a tree that appeared to have been hit by lightning years ago. How did this happen without burning down the woods? It was if God then guided him to the perfect limb from that tree. Been through the fire. Charred. Stronger. Perfect.

Her walking stick had been found.

all rights reserved

excerpt from new book

Rocking

IMG_0312

When Lisa was a child, she would sit in the rocking chair with her grandfather. There were two rocking chairs on the front porch. In her teens, Lisa would sit next to him in the other.

Their favorite time was sunset. Talking and rocking as the sun slipped behind the highest peak, yet remaining light for some time.

One of her favorite conversations always started like this: “Please tell me more about grandma.”

Grandpa would continue to rock when she asked that question and she could see a smile slowly appear on his face. He always took his time answering.

“You are sitting in grandma’s chair which reminds me so much of the sunsets we watched together. She loved to watch the sunset over the peak. She always said, if God creates such beauty for us here, imagine what awaits us in heaven! She loved you so much and would be so pleased that we are carrying on this tradition. She would read you Bible verses before you could even talk…there were times when you would simply fall asleep as she read to you.”

“Did you ever walk with her to meet the bell ringers?

“We would walk up to the clearing where you have been and heard the bell. She loved the echo of the bell as it cascaded through the valley. For her, the clearing was far enough. The rest of the climb is far more difficult. She always told me to take you to the clearing to hear the bell if she wasn’t here to go with you.”

Lisa noticed a tear wetting grandpa’s worn face.

A tear of remembrance.

She would never forget.

all rights reserved

excerpt from new book

Simplify It

218

One of the challenges I faced this week was trying to complete a task at work. On the surface, the template seemed simple enough. Not the case. There were formulas in some lines which were to be left alone. There were calculations to be made for other lines before one could just fill in the blanks.

I’m still not done. What I was trying to accomplish could have been accomplished with the asking of one question.

There are times when I have complicated my  walk of faith. One of my most comforting revelations is the presence of God’s Holy Spirit in my life.

That’s it. Not complicated. Pure.

Please be encouraged to add a comment with a scripture for this post. I pray for us to simplify our walk of faith….when…and where we can.

Thank you for being here! Blessings for your day!

Memories

IMG_0312

Lisa loved the walks with her grandfather and the climb up the mountain behind his cabin. They traditionally made peanut butter and jelly sammiches to enjoy at the half way point, where there was a beautiful clearing.

From an early age, Lisa loved to question her grandfather, especially on the walks:

“Why do the leaves change colors?”

“When can I get a walking stick like yours?”

“What kind of tree is that?”

“What kind of bird is that?”

“What kind of fish is that??’

“What’s the difference between brooks and streams?”

“Do the fish die when the water ices over?”

One sunny afternoon as they were enjoying their sammiches, they heard a bell echo through the valley. Lisa thought that was the most beautiful sound she had ever heard.

“Did you hear that, Grandpa?”

“Where did it come from?”

“Can we go find it?”

Grandpa would patiently answer her questions. He was amazed by her curiosity and always told her she was whys beyond her years. Years later, he filled her in on the spelling. Little did he know, questions from Lisa would uncover more questions…and her life-long search for answers.

“The bell was from the top of the mountain. Monks have lived up there for years. Old monks who rarely climb down the mountain. I don’t know how they survive the winters or how many are left.”

“Can we go, can we go, can we go see them?”

Grandpa smiled and said, “I will take you when you are ready.”

“I’m ready, I’m ready…..let’s go!”

“When you can tell me the difference between brooks and streams, I will take you.” I will take you to meet the bell ringers.

For some reason, all Lisa heard was the word, “brooks” and how beautiful it was. All the way down the mountain to the cabin, Lisa thought about brooks. She thought if she ever had a son, Brooks could be a beautiful name.

Brooks

Monks

Bell Ringers

Her mind was racing with ideas as she held her Grandfather’s hand down the slippery trail to the cabin.

all rights reserved

excerpt from new book

The Key To The Dream

IMG_1134

He never had a problem falling asleep and can still hear his mother tell him, “that’s a sign of a clear conscience!” He always found comfort in her words of wisdom.

He was sure he was having dreams but for some reason, he could only recall one or two.

In the middle of the night, he woke up, startled! He calmed himself by thinking it was only a dream as he reached for the light on the table next to his bed.

The key was gone!

Again, he tried to calm himself by thinking this was also part of the dream.

He rubbed his eyes, focused on his Bible and could see the key being used as a bookmark. His Bible was closed and only the end of the key was visible.

He slowly turned off the light, wondering where in the Bible the key was placed.

all rights reserved

The Key

IMG_0488

After leaving with the key to the bell tower, the young man unlocked the door and stepped inside. He softly closed the door, sat on the floor and prayed.

He spent most of the afternoon in the bell tower, simply praying. During his prayers, he realized how symbolic a key is to so many life events. He prayed for guidance, asking God how He wanted the tower and bell to be restored.

He carefully locked the door, walked around the tower and headed for home. He held the key in his hand the entire time as he walked through town. He always enjoyed his Sunday afternoon walks in town as it was not crowded and properly buttoned up, as his Mother used to say.

A day of rest and family time for most. For the next six months, he planned to work on the tower and restore the bell to original beauty. He planned to wait until everyone left the church service and then begin his work.

Upon arriving home, he opened the door and walked in. He never locked his door, hoping that if someone were to break in, they would truly be in need of what they wanted to take. His Bible was on his bedside table. He gently placed the key on the cover.

He made his lunch for Monday and laid out his clothes for morning.

He fell asleep thinking about the bell tower and how proud his Mother would be right now. He wasn’t sure how his father would feel, but prayed to meet him someday.

His last memory before falling asleep was looking at his Bible and the key. The key to so many which he could not yet imagine.

all rights reserved

excerpt from new book in progress.

 

And God Said

DSCF2931-1

“And God said, “Let there be light” and there was light.”

– Genesis 1: 3

Imagine for a moment…and there was light.

God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.”

– Genesis 1: 4

As I talk with God and meditate in prayer about these verses, God revealed the word: choice.

For many years, I walked away from God. Free will. My choice.

Want to know what brought me back? Prayer.

Prayer.

Free will. My choice. God heard every word of every prayer that was lifted up for me. Coming back to faith was a process of hesitant steps. Even today, some days my faith seems like those hesitant, early steps, however, there is a difference.

God’s Holy Spirit is with me. Always has been. Always will be.

Choice. Free will. It is my choice to accept and welcome God’s Holy Spirit to be with me.

If God saw that the light was good, I eventually was able to see that living with God is so much better than living without Him. Father. Son. Holy Spirit.

I once described this process as a heart decision. I continue to believe that is true. We can talk about God all we want, but unless we open our hearts to His Holy Spirit, talk will be just that.

I appreciate everyone who has taken the steps to be a gentle witness to those in need in our hurting and confusing world.

Pray. Listen. Listen some more.

Be available. Be God’s light in someone’s life.

It is good.