Posts

Disconnected Time

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Beach Time Circa 1996 Long before our cell phones connected us to everything, it was so much easier to disconnect. Imagine going somewhere without your phone now… That’s why it was so unusual to see two teens without phones. I heard them before I saw them.  I was on our trail that heads down to the beach—doing my spring time clean-up of the foliage overgrowth. It was a Saturday—full of sunshine and promise. Normally, it’s quiet, except for the sound of the waves and the birds. But there was the unmistakeable sound of voices. I peered through the forest and tried to glimpse who was coming. It was coming from the creek. The creek is mostly shallow this time of year—but it’s like an avenue to the sea. When we first came here it was a place lots of neighborhood kids loved to play. That was long ago. The voices carried over the water so I could hear excitement and laughter. Then I watched as two boys made their way to where the creek meets the sea. They had their shoelaces tied togethe

A Horse Tale for Mother's Day

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April 1945: A group of American WWII soldiers made a most unusual and notable rescue along the German-Czechoslovakian border. A regiment of enemy German soldiers knew they were hemmed in and faced eminent attack. But they were also caring for the highly valued and rare Lipizzaner horses—that had been seized by the Third Reich. With the Red Army advancing, and the anticipated annihilation of both men and the prized horses, the German leader surrendered to the Americans and asked for their help in saving these tremendous horses. Thus a group of GI’s, along with some emancipated Allied POW’s, and the surrendered Germans fought off attacks by the Waffen-SS troops as they made the rush to safety. May 1952: An American teen girl had been forced to miss her senior year of high school in order to accompany her diplomatic father as he completed a project in post-war Germany. She’d left behind her friends and the excitement a senior year holds, to go to a country that meant little to her. Ev

My First Chance

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It was my first chance to stay a couple days with my grandson. Well, maybe not my first chance, but it’s the first chance I’ve had since he’s become a young man. He’s closer to adulthood than ever. His folks had a scheduled trip, and even though he’s long past needing “babysitting” I thought it would be a great time to follow up with his request to re-paint his bedroom. The last time I painted his room he was a young boy. I used the vibrant green and blue colors of the NFL Seahawks. With my novice painting talents, I taped the edges so the bright green didn’t seep into the brilliant blue. It was striking, even with some painter imperfections. Seahawk posters and championship regalia added character. He loved having his poster heroes as roommates.  That was years ago. He’s long past the childhood dreams of being a pro player. My homemade Seahawk curtains are coming down, along with the matching team-themed bedspread and pillows. Goodbye, player posters. That’s not who he is any more.

Children of the Garden

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Some of the kids in my community are living in poverty. Through no fault of their own they come to school hungry. A few have slept in tents. A few have slept in vehicles and abandoned buildings. Some are living in travel trailers that have become permanent homes. This post isn’t about their parents and their circumstances, or the root causes of this kind of poverty—that’s for another time. This is about the kids. For these children, school is kind of a haven. Sure, school is about learning and sometimes that can be hard—but school is also laughter, togetherness, food, and a future that is being built beyond their home life. Years ago, Barb, an energetic and compassionate elementary teacher, envisioned a garden where “her” kids could learn to grow food. In our rural area gardens grow spectacularly well. So, she wrote a grant and literally got seed money to begin. Other teachers joined in the effort. It really became a school-wide thing. Some parents and community volunteers helped to

College Recruiter’s Advice

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It was my son’s junior year in high school and the prospect of looking towards his future must have brought him a blend of excitement and trepidation. His grades were top notch—and his small high school offered all the required courses and a limited choice of electives to fill his course load. Then came the visit with a college recruiter from a big Texas university. I was invited to join, so Tommy and I sat across from him in a Seattle hotel lobby. Tommy’s vital statistics were spread in front of this age-40-something, tie and sports jacketed, cowboy-booted professional.   I saw the man’s eyes narrow as he looked at my son’s current course load—besides the required courses, Tommy decided to take Auto Shop as an elective. The man shook his head and advised Tommy to double down during his senior year and not “waste” his time on courses that didn’t look good on his transcript. The recruiter didn’t see the merit of a trade course—and many colleges don’t. But he didn’t realize that Auto

Attention Wives

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  I wasn’t aware that there was such a thing as Husband Appreciation Day. It’s not until April 17—so there’s time to plan something nice. Long before marriage books like Love and Respect or The 5 Love Languages were written, there was Grandma Gracie. By the time I was a teen, she was my personal romantic advisor. She questioned my choice in whom I dated. She observed some of my annoying habits, and gently reminded me that someday someone was going to share my home, and if I wanted it to be loving, then I needed to curb my sarcasm, and offer encouraging words instead. Gracie and her sweetheart, Don, eloped secretly so she could finish nursing school (nurses had to be single). Their Great Depression marriage involved sacrifice. But Gracie always said—just because you have less, don’t make your man feel less. Always remember that having one another matters most. Long before a national day of recognition for husbands was created, Gracie had set aside three absolutes—and they involve

It is finished

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 Romans 8:22   “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers together until now.”     I heard creation groaning last week. It was a mournful cry along the shoreline. Approaching closer, I saw a goose. It kept up its pitiful cry as I drew near. Then I saw the reason for his anguished call—another  goose was resting on the shore—his mate. Desperate, pleading cries continued as he paced back and forth. I’ve seen loved ones pacing like this in hospital waiting rooms. But the goose resting in the sand didn’t move. I walked by her quietly and respectfully. She looked comfortable, as if she only stopped to enjoy the sun in this quiet cove. Instead, she’d taken her last breath. I looked at her mate—waiting, calling, wondering, probably knowing, he was now alone. The sorrowful scene made me ache. His pleading call echoed over the shore. Creation groaned. Good Friday is the day when Jesus died on the cross. The Son of God groaned. His final words were, “It is finished.” With tho