On the Go…

Soon we’ll be in Huntington Beach again gathering for my BIL’s services and funeral. As we age we face the reality that family gatherings contrast dramatically between joy and sorrow. The last time I was in Southern California my time was divided between the Critical Care hospital waiting room and a beautiful setting at a joyful baby shower for a much anticipated arrival come January, a new grand niece.

I will do a full post on the lovely baby shower in the future.

This time when we head to Southern California more of us will gather around my sister and her kids as we lay Nick to rest at the Riverside National Cemetery. We don’t grieve as those who have no hope. We have hope and confidence that God has prepared a place for Nick. We will hug old friends and the Russians among us will welcome each other with a kiss.

When I was spending time in the waiting room at Cedar Sinai Hospital in Beverly Hills my eyes were opened to other families in the waiting room and how similar different cultures are at these critical times. Our first night at Cedar’s there was a Hispanic extended family taking up every chair and some on the floor of the waiting area. At least 20 or more. They vacated some chairs so my sister and I could sit down, too. As some of them left to go home they went around to each of their friends and family and gave them a hug and a kiss on the cheek. They even turned to us and gave us a kind farewell. The longer we sat together the more connected we became. The matriarch of the family offered us some food. She also shushed any of the younger folk who’s chatter got to loud. When we left we said goodbye and God Bless you. Their eyes lit up and they smiled and said God bless you, too.

We were glad the waiting room had large windows that made the space feel lighter.

We all find ourselves in a variety of waiting rooms throughout our lives. What are you waiting for? What is your hope?

Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. Galatians 5:5

For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:10

O Mystery Tree, O Mystery Tree…

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Our Mystery Tree tradition is continuing this year. On Sunday we put the back seat down in the jeep and headed to the Home Depot to pick out our tree. Our round trip from home to the store and back again took a little under 45 minutes total! We arrive, we spy out the trunks of the trees in our height range in the piles where the trees are still all tied up, we pick one, buy it, throw it into the back of the jeep and head home where the stand is ready and waiting. Dear cuts off a portion of the trunk and gives it a good thrust into the stand. Tighten the screws on the trunk and get ready for the reveal…

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It’s so much fun to stand back and watch as Dear cuts the string off the branches.

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Tah Dah!

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When I got home late last night Dear had put the lights on the tree so I can now finish decorating it. We’ll see what gets done today.

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Little by little it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around this old house.

Life continues to keep us on our knees in the midst of this joyful time of Advent and more and more we look to the Hope we have in Christ. We had one of those 3 A.M. phone calls where you know the news can’t be good. A Brother in law had a heart attack that was caught in time and arteries were cleared. He’ll be home soon. We know the reality of how fragile life can be. We always wait for good news from Afghanistan. “Made it back from the Mission, I’m O.K., going to bed now, talk more later.” We rally around each other supporting each other in whatever life throws our way.

Faith

I will have faith,
However dreams are shattered;
I will have faith that righteousness can live;
I will have faith e’en when my heart is breaking,
To work and pray and give!

I will have faith
When troubled is life’s ocean,
When low-blown clouds the Pilot’s face shall hide;
I will have faith when my fair ship is battered;
I will await the turning of the tide!

I will have faith
That God is still in Heaven;
I will have faith that He is by my side;
I will have faith though every star is darkened,
That He and truth abide!

The Residence, Denver

If It’s Tuesday…

…this must be Belgium Chilliwack! Do any of you remember that film from the 60’s? Anyhoo my life seems to be on a whirlwind tour right now so I thought this title appropriate. Today Katie and I are on our way to Chilliwack, B.C. (not Belgium)  to pick up a little gift I ordered for my niece’s upcoming bridal shower from Wink’s .  We are meeting up with some special residents of Chilliwack for lunch while we are there!

These next photos have nothing to do with our trip North across the line. These are random shots, one from the past and new photos from what is springing up around this old house.

It seems I have always wondered what to do with my hands when someone is taking a photo of me. This is a photo from the 50’s in front of our home on Oak Street in Pico Rivera, California.

What a fun surprise to see these on Monday morning. I sort of remember replanting them from containers I had inside last Spring. Are they Narcissus?

My Lenten Rose never ceases to delight! What an appropriate name as it always blooms during Lent!

Such a humble plant with it’s face looking down. I have to get on my knees to take photos…another appropriate stance for this season and always!

More than usual this season of Lent has brought some significant sorrow to the door of friends and to us. We stand with them in hope for better days ahead and ultimately for the Hope we have as believers for what Christ has done for us and what He promises us.

My dear sister-in-law Nina who passed away in 1993 from complications due to Cystic Fibrosis had these verses highlighted in her personal journal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Praying for God’s light to shine through his presence in us to the world around us.

Hoping your week is going well and that you have hope for your future…

Signs of Spring…

On Monday when I stepped outside I had a nice surprise in our front planter. My Lenten Rose is showing promise of blooming just in time.

Such a nice day to be out in the yard. I was able to do some long overdue raking of leaves and cleaning out some of the planters. It was wonderful to see little evidences of new growth here and there. After filling our yard waste bin my only regret was that I did the work outside after my shower instead of before. Oh well, at least I looked more presentable as I labored in the yard!

Where man sees but withered leaves,
God sees sweet flowers growing.
~Albert Laighton

Hope your week is starting well. I’m preparing for a trip to see Mr. Taxman tomorrow. Blessings!

Winter in His Heart of Gloom ~ Hymn

Winter in His Heart of Gloom

Winter in his heart of gloom
Sings the song of coming bloom:
So over death our souls shall sing
’Lays of the eternal spring.

Then decay shall be no more,
And, the weary seed time o’er,
All the dead in Christ shall rise
For the harvest of the skies.

Wheresoe’er the faithful sleep
Angels shall go forth to reap,
From the dust and ’neath the foam
They shall bring the harvest home.

Bodies of the saints, whose bones
Rest beneath sepulchral stones,
Or are lost on every wind,
All, those messengers shall find.

All from earth to Heaven shall soar
In that flesh which once they wore,
Deathless now and glorified,
Like their Lord and at His side.

This is life’s eternal spring!
This the coming joy we sing!
Look we ever toward this day,
Be it near or far away!

’Mid the sorrow and the strife
’Tis the music of our life,
And the song hath this refrain—
Our Redeemer comes again!

Words: Samuel J. Stone, 1866.

Advent Begins ~ O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

 

The first candle (purple) “CANDLE OF HOPE” means His promise and hope. We can have hope because God is faithful and will keep the promises He made to us. Our hope comes from God. (Romans 15:12-13)

The lyrics echo se­ver­al pro­phet­ic themes. The ti­tle comes from the well known Isai­ah 7:14: Be­hold, a vir­gin shall con­ceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Im­man­u­el. Im­man­u­el is He­brew for God with us. The Rod of Jesse refers to Isai­ah 11:1: There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jes­se; Jesse was the fa­ther of Da­vid, se­cond king of Is­ra­el. Day-Spring comes from Za­cha­ri­as, fa­ther of John the Bap­tist, in Luke 1:78: The day­spring from on high has vis­it­ed us. Thou Key of Da­vid is in Isai­ah 22:22: The key of the house of Da­vid will I lay up­on his shoul­der, which in turn re­fers to Isai­ah 9:6: The gov­ern­ment shall be up­on His shoul­der.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Refrain

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.

Refrain

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.

Refrain

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Refrain

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

Refrain

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.

Refrain

O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.

Refrain

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

Refrain

The Blue Star Service Banner

Katie received her Blue Star Service Banner in the mail this week and we are proudly displaying it in our front window…

The Blue Star Service Banner was designed and patented in 1917 by World War I Army Capt. Robert L. Queissner of the 5th Ohio Infantry who had two sons serving on the front line. It quickly became the unofficial symbol of a child in the service.

On Sept. 24, 1917, an Ohio congressman read the following into the Congressional Record: “…The mayor of Cleveland, the Chamber of Commerce and the governor of Ohio have adopted this service flag. The world should know of those who give so much for liberty. The dearest thing in all the world to a father and mother – their children.”

During World War II, the Department of War issued specifications on the manufacture of the flag as well as guidelines indicating when and by whom the Service flag could be flown or the Service Lapel button could be worn.

The Blue Star Service Banner typically displayed in windows is an 8.5 by 14-inch white field with a blue star(s) sewn onto a red banner. The size may vary but should be in proportion to the size of the U.S. Flag.

Today Blue Star Service Banners are displayed by families who have a loved one serving in the armed forces including the National Guard and Reserves of all military departments. The banner displayed in the front window of a home shows a family’s pride in their loved one serving in the military, and reminds others that preserving America’s freedom demands much. It can also be displayed by businesses and organizations as well.

There are some sorrowful things in our world and my world right now. It is wonderful to have hope in all God has done for us through Jesus Christ…

Hope you have hope in the one who is able to save all that is lost.

Corinthians 4:16-18

New International Version (NIV)

 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.