Pescadero and Streams in the Desert

In 2016 we visited my husband’s family in California. His brother and sister-in-law told us about a place called Pebble Beach. Not the place in southern California where they play golf. This is a special attraction like no other beach in California. They warned us that collecting was prohibited there.

My husband found the location with no trouble. As we approached the walkway down we noticed two women coming up from the beach. One had a large 5 gallon bucket with a lid from the hardware store. She immediately put it down and sat on it. Her friend continued on to their vehicle with a small shovel. We wondered to ourselves if they had been collecting pebbles?

Was I ever surprised at the sight!

Yes! A close up of the same rock because it is so amazing! Those are tiny ocean formed pebbles in the openings the ocean carved into the larger rocks!

“When My glory passes by, I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I’ve passed by.” Exodus 33:22

I have been reading the devotional Streams in the Desert for many, many years. Originally published in 1928, it has been reproduced in many forms including an online format. I was astounded this morning when I read this entry from July 7th and realized I knew exactly where they were writing about! They record the experience this way: “There is a very famous “Pebble Beach” at Pescadero, on the California coast. The long line of white surf comes up with its everlasting roars, and rattles and thunders among the stones on the shore.

“They are caught in the arms of the pitiless waves, and tossed and rolled, and rubbed together, and ground against the sharp-grained cliffs. Day and night forever the ceaseless attrition goes on – never any rest. And the result?

“Tourists from all the world flock thither to gather the round and beautiful stones. They are laid up in cabinets; they ornament the parlor mantels. But go yonder, around the point of the cliff that breaks off the face of the seas; and up that quiet cove, sheltered from the storms, and lying ever in the sun, you shall find abundance of peebles that have never been chosen by the traveler.

MIND YOU in 1928 and before, there was not a prohibition against collecting. For more information about this beach, actually called Bean Hollow State Beach, see https://www.californiabeaches.com/beach/pebble-beach-at-bean-hollow-state-beach/

It explains in some detail the tree like formation in the tafoni rocks in first photos published here.

Oblique, Obscure, or Transparent

Oblique has many definitions including misleading or dishonest, not direct. Obscure can mean out of sight, hidden, not readily noticed of seen, inconspicuous, not clearly understood or expressed, ambiguous or vague.

Lord, I do not want my writings to be oblique or obscure when it comes to my relationship with you. Help me bring You into the foreground! You kept us on that journey of 7,000 miles and even more so this journey of almost 49 years of marriage. And You have definitely kept me on this journey of almost 69 years of life. I want to declare Your glory and Your hand in my life!

Song of Songs 6:2-3 (NRSV)  My beloved has gone down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to pasture his flock in the gardens, and to gather lilies.  I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; he pastures his flock among the lilies.

Day 14th on the road: We drove from Nevada into Arizona and what a blessing! After all the junk of Las Vegas, after Hoover Dam, we entered a seeming wonderland as roadside flowers burst into bloom before us along Route 93! Not the deadly poppies of the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz, but natural beauty brought about by God’s grace. There had been significant snowfall and the abundance of flowers reflected it! What a delight. We stopped at a tourist information stand place in Kingman to see if they had a folder on spring blooms. They did not but the lady at the desk was eager to assist us. She called up a website on her computer. I knew a few of the flowers, but here is the listing she showed us: California poppy, lupine, desert asters, penstemon, scorpion weed, globe mallow, brittle bush and Indian paintbrush. Enjoy!

Song of Songs 2:12 (NRSV)  The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.


Matthew 6:28-29 (NRSV)  And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin,  yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.

Lord, instead of only having these grow in hidden places where few would get to see them, You let them grow and bloom right along the roadside for travelers to enjoy. I thank You. Help me remember that my journey here on earth is only for a short time, just like the flowers.

1 Peter 1:23-25 (NRSV)  You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.  For “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls,  but the word of the Lord endures forever.” That word is the good news that was announced to you. (also Isaiah 40:7-8)

My Head and My Ears

Someone asked me recently if I found it difficult to make a silent retreat. Frankly, I find it more difficult to keep a daily time of quiet.

In Scripture it says Jesus often went to pray at the Mount of Olives. It also mentions praying at the Garden of Gethsemane. http://israeljerusalem.com/garden-gethsemane-mount-olives.htm says “The Garden of Gethsemane is located just east of Jerusalem, across the Kidron Valley, at the foot of Mount of Olives.” Either place, it was a place of prayer and surrender. Help me abide there, Jesus, even when It requires suffering as You did, Lord. Help me, Lord, to yield gracefully to You.

He went to the Mount of Olives, to Gethsemane, as was His custom, to pray. I want to enter into Your Presence with all of me and receive everything I need from all of You.

The mountain signifies? Well, any mountain can be remote, removed from daily human life. Take me Lord to Your mountain. Lead me, speak to me. Help me to do Your will. I wait for You in meditation and peace, listening and trying to only listen … not plan or use words, just listen for Your voice.

Listening is hard work. Silencing thoughts is extremely difficult and it takes practice. Hundreds if not thousands of judgements, decisions, conclusions per minute occur in our brains and per half hour is an equally ridiculous number. So to be still is almost beyond us in 2019 without practice and discipline.

Your ear canal is small. I once broke off a pencil eraser in mine, As a child, I found math excruciatingly hard. My father died of heart disease when I was eleven. He was the family member who always helped me with my math. Working at math homework sometime after he died, I was so frustrated, I stuck my pencil in my ear and before I knew it had broken off the eraser in my ear. I feared to tell my mother. Within a few days my ear told my mother. The doctor looked in my ear, saw it was blocked and prepared to suction my ear out. Eventually, we heard a “Pop” and the tiny eraser bounced across the floor. Yes, I had some explaining to do! You know the approximate size of your ear canal if you ever tried to find the perfect fit of earbuds for music. Notice most are sold with various sizes of interchangeable tips!

Now I find my ears are too clean (according to the ENT specialist) likely because I have slept with ear plugs for years. When I focus on my challenge of getting quiet, the trouble is not with my ears so much as in my head.

Imagine this familiar image with ears!

My head ( my home) is clogged with all those thoughts, judgments, etc. per minute. Slowing down the tide, clearing the channel bed, aiming for listening and inner silence is hard. I am not talking about vacating my soul – just getting still as God commands us in Isaiah 46:10 “BE STILL and know that I am God.” Can you be still? Not more than a moment without the discipline of practice. When you turn off all of your devices, you still have to quiet your mind. Good luck with that!

Practice! Practice! Practice!

Me, GE, Whirlpool and Maytag

As a nanny, helping with infant twins and a four year old I learned to do laundry by rote. Then moved on to help with a family with infant triplets. Three loads a day seemed to be the minimum amount. I called it bringing order out of chaos. Doing laundry for our family of four was relatively simple after that.

Then our family dwindled to three and eventually just the two of us.

I found when my adult kids were behind in their household affairs or in crisis, I could always do laundry for them.

When my son faced a recent health crisis, on many levels there was little I could do to resolve the situation. But I could always do laundry. Load after load, seemingly endless amounts of underwear then britches, a few shirts, and bed linens. I can always do laundry.

The rhythm of sorting, loading, changing machines to dry the fabrics, then the meditative process of folding and sorting into piles. Yes, I can always do laundry.

Stain treatment is likely to involve the pent-up energy of other unresolved situations, but the stains eventually yield, if not totally, then enough to reflect my efforts.

Yes, I can always do laundry… and when I am too old or frail to do laundry, hopefully my children will do the laundry for me. May I not prove to be a burden to them or crisis for them to resolve.

The Holy Wild

Mark Buchanan wrote a book called The Holy Wild. Mine is copyrighted 2003. Ann Voskamp refers to it in 1,000 Gifts. I finally bought it and am loving every chapter!

holy wild

He mentions that God makes only three promises with a guarantee. He guarantees that If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Also 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NIV2011) “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. “

And he says God is faithful to get us home to Him citing, Luke 10:20 that our names are written in heaven. He writes, “It’s written there, not by your hand or by your work, but by God alone. None of it depends on you. It all depends on the God who promised. And He is always true to Himself.”

All of this was rolling around when I wrote about my house of cards augmented with Lotions and Potions. Psalm 71:5-9 (NRSV)  For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth.  Upon you I have leaned from my birth; it was you who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you.  I have been like a portent to many, but you are my strong refuge.  My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all day long.  Do not cast me off in the time of old age; do not forsake me when my strength is spent.

The Lord did take me from my mother’s womb. My parents told the story that I was a “blue baby.” When my lungs began to work my Dad wanted to call me “Cherry”. My mother compromised with Cheryl. I began seeking the Lord as a child, especially after my Dad died when I was eleven years old. At first, I was likely trying to find a father-figure replacement. And wow, did I! The Father of Lights, holy and almighty. He assures me in Psalm 71 that he will not leave me now that I am aging.

I have been reading a book by Maeve Binchy entitled Echoes. In this book set in the 1950’s there is a character whose mother has crippling arthritis. I am thinking likely rheumatoid, because I have osteo and have some different symptoms. As my hands get weaker and lose their flexibility, I am comforted that so far, typing does not cause the discomfort that writing by hand does. Bob reminds me that there is software for dictation and typing out there, encouraging me to keep on with this writing discipline.

Though many times I write about “circumstantial, the insubstantial, the ephemeral. Do not rejoice in what can be here today, gone tomorrow, in things whose roots are in thin soil, whose footings are in sand” as Buchanan says. Though I sometimes write like that, I am hearing the Lord in that lovely bird chirping outside my window. The one I can hear but not see whose chirping seems to fit perfectly with the recording of “Verdi Without Words” that I am listening to as I write.

Do not cast me off in the time of old age;                                                         do not forsake me when my strength is spent.

Psalm 71: 9 New Revised Standard

And so my life goes forward, I am spending my writing life trying to put into words my life with God, the Holy Wild One, the God who walks with me on “My Companioned Way.” And as Kari Jobe sings so beautifully ..

Her lyrics are “You amaze me, redeem me and call me as Your own” and I would add “You amaze me sustain me, and call me as Your own!” The lyrics were written by Austin Davis, Ben Davis, Dustin Davis, Dustin Sauder, Grant Pittman, Kari Jobe, Marty Sampson and Mia Fieldes! That is a bunch of inspiration and input!

At Times, I Can Feel Him

On rare and holy moments, I can feel God rushing over me. There is a sense of something other than myself at work. Acts 2:1-4 (MSG) says  “When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them.”

You know they had to FEEL something with all that movement. I recently bought the new Toby Mac recording called “The Elements.” The lyrics to this song caught my attention the other day. Hope it blesses you, too!

Advent Illustration

“Here am I, stuff of earth” is what I posted yesterday.

Today I’d like you to see illustration I made to go with the poem.

advent

When our Savior was born He was placed in a manger where the animals usually fed. The manger might have been a wooden log that was hollowed out to hold the feed and hay. A humble beginning and the place where I await Him. Thus the overall shape above.

But the figure is me. Awaiting the Lord’s coming, His fresh in-filling, His power from on high. My heart is marked with the symbol of the cross: I am His forever. I am placed there as an infant. I am His child. I do not have the answers to anything. Receptively is how I am yielded for His will and ways for me. His power, courage and propulsion to fill me in making His dreams for me come true. May my very life be a gift to Him this Christmas and always.