Tag Archives: Friends

April Letters

I love getting “snail mail”, do you? April – National Letter Writing Month – write one letter each day! I did this last year and had fun looking up significant days and integrating some of what I found in letters.

This year, I’m doing a letter a week and I like the pace of it. I got this connection from Barb, who has been the inspiration for my more regular correspondence. I don’t remember how I connected with her, but I think it was a FB link from a writing site. I have so enjoyed reading her posts, following her on Instagram, and, getting letters from her!


Several letters came in the last two weeks and I plan to enjoy responding over the next few days with this lovely new pen from my brother and cups of tea. April is a wonderful time to send a letter or a post card, try it!






The way we measure out life in minutes,hours, days, years.

Taking time and using it wisely and well.

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:

I read that April was National Letter Writing Month, from Barb.  This took me back into my love for snail mail and I accepted the 30 day letter writing challenge.  30 days to think about relationships, to mark the days and honor those put on the path of my life. It was a time to remember events that brought people – unique and wonderful people – into my time.


On the 15th of April, on FB, I read of the death of the Mother-in-Love of an old acquaintance. Over several months, Libby had briefly shared the illness, the frustration with medical care and finally, their decision to bring this lovely lady into their home until she passed into the arms of God.  Now it was time to write sympathy, condolence, a time to acknowledge a life well lived and loved.

I met Libby when we were young. She spoke highly of this lady through the years we shared an office and on every occasion before and after she married into that family.

A time to be born, and a time to die… a time to plant… a time to heal… a time to build up…


Death is never an easy thing to face. Whether long or short, a life is a great presence and its passing is loss that can make us fragile while it seems to expand our hearts.  Acknowledging the grace gift that is life is so important.

a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance;

spring bloom

I’ve mentioned that I’m reading Looking for Lovely. Annie Downs started her chapter, “Tragedy” with the text of Matthew 11:28-30 NIV,  and eventually drew me into Ecclesiastes*. She speaks a truth I’m learning, that only in Christ Jesus, can I find rest in the weary and burden and tragedy of life. Only if I look to Him, choose to come to Him in the pain and suffering. And that is not my usual response, my first response.

Like me, you are probably not a stranger to pain and suffering. No one wants to live in pain, sadness, loneliness, rejection, shame, war, tearing down, ripping apart… I want to  avoid it. Annie writes of this pain and tragedy and says, “I’m not sure I’ll find beauty in this. But the only way to truly see beauty, for my heart to grow in capacity and in ability to love and cherish, is through pain and heartache.”

Later, she continues, “I don’t know exactly how it works, I just know that the more I hang on and feel, the more I am able to feel; and each time more balm gets rubbed into the wounds of my soul.”  She finishes the chapter with these words, ” But there is beauty in choosing to feel that pain, in calling hurt what it is, and not pretending everything is okay.”

calla lily

The world is not comfortable with pain and often we are encouraged to ‘just get over it’, move, on, count your blessings. But the wise man said, there is a time to weep… a time to mourn…  And somehow in the mourning, in the weeping, there is a balm that is rubbed into the wound.

rain on the window

May 1, 2016. Sunny. Changing to sheeting rain, creating impressionist art outside my window. Reducing seed heads to earth stars.

dandelion star

May 1, 2016, checking FB updates in the afternoon, I found get well prayers for Libby. These were followed all too quickly by posts of grief at her death. Shock is not really an adequate word to express my state that evening.

Many old relationships just die a natural death, but some go on, changed, but connecting us to our history, our lifetime scrapbooks. She was one who knew me “then”; who was part of bridal and baby showers. We went to each other’s weddings. For Libby and I, our lives unfolded in different places and ways and we rarely took the time to meet although we promised in every Christmas update — next year!

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to gain, and a time to lose;

Looking for the lovely, the good reports, the praiseworthy things**, I continued to read the FB updates.  I believe that the many seeds of goodness and love planted by this gracious woman will produce a harvest in the many lives she touched.

Dear Libby, you leave gaping spaces in the hearts of so many.  You will not be forgotten; your legacy will endure.  I’m so glad our lives touched.

white blooms of May

*Ecclesiastes 3:1-8   ** Philippians 4:8


January 6, 12th Day of Christmas, Epiphany

It makes me sad to see Christmas trees on the roadside December 26. It seems that folks are missing the best part of Christmastide. Resting in the beauty of Christmas and the lights and decorations. Yes, our tree is still up and at least for tonight, the lights will continue to brighten the long evening of rest and enjoyment.

2016-01-06The journey of the Magi through the nights and days seems to take a lot of conferencing and convincing – at least that is my imagination story – because it would probably have been my story had I been privileged to see the star and make the journey.


In fact, I probably would have wanted to bring along a whole menagerie and everyone I knew so no one would miss out, all the while the time would grow later and later for the journey. Distractions.

Epiphany – revealing – my life is a constant revelation of God to me. I would like to see that revelation, the directions, written in the sky. I think it would keep me from distractions. But skywriting looks like this …

20160106_073420 or this  20160106_080221 or even 20160106_082815

All mystery, and like the books and scrolls that appear in my dreams, unreadable…

After my last post on Father Time, I set some time apart to again consider last year and to ponder whether or not to engage with the One Word concept this year. This time I thought about “well” as a thing – a hole dug in the ground to access water. I’ve read of wells that dried up and became trash bins full of broken things, garbage and such. Wells in which weapons or treasures were hidden. Abandoned wells, unmarked and a serious hazard to those who might stumble into them.

I remembered the story in Genesis in which Isaac had to re-dig the wells of his father so that he would have water for his flocks. They had been stopped up with earth by their enemies. I began to see that my cleaning out had been a process that could be like a cleaning out of my own wells clogged with earth stuff so that fresh water can now flow. I found a lightness to my spirit as I thought about this.

Bonnie Gray has been an online friend and mentor for quite some time now. Her book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace, was really a guide to clearing my wells even though I may not have been conscious of it as I went about my season of de-stashing. Bonnie is hosting a new feature this year and would love for you to join her and the others who will link their hearts and words of encouragement at #OneWordCoffee on Wednesdays on her web site, FB or Instagram. OneWordCoffee_Badge2Her word, her theme, is “beloved”. I’ve been hearing that this is my word for 2016. Since the well of my life is being restored, I’m ready to believe.

Do you choose a word for the year?


Earth dreaming

The Snow Moon will shine tonight. February 14 Whether or not we will see it or just more falling snow is still unknown. There was much snow this week; much more than I cared to shovel. But shovel we do. Dig out the heat pump and shovel a path to the bird feeders. Then there is the driveway to consider. Normally we don’t consider it too much any more; Joe plows for us. Except when his rig breaks down, like it did yesterday morning leaving us with 14 inches or so to contemplate today. So we shoveled and chopped ice and made phone calls and repeated the process. Then the phone rang and our new neighbor offered to come with his tractor. Such blessed relief!

February 14

Today I learned the proverb, “St Valentine brings the keys of roots.” Within it is the thought that this is the day when plants start growing. Last week I noticed a slight swelling of the magnolia buds and I found this…   IMG_2401  a snowdrop! It is now blanketed with deep snow but its bravery was a sign of the earth dreaming Spring!

Remember me…


This afternoon we went to pay respect to the life of an older friend. In these last years that I have known her, her conversation would always flow to family and festivities and the cakes she would be baking. The list of cakes would sometimes include a 1,2,3,4 Cake and always a Hot Milk Sponge Cake, both of which would make me yearn for my mom’s cakes. So we would talk cake and Brownies – actually, she would do the talking, I rarely bake and no one is going to give my cakes rave reviews – just saying. I never had an opportunity to sample her baking but I always had a sampling of her heart in the joy and love radiating from her as she anticipated the occasion.

So I talked about cake today and watched eyes fill with memories and tears and heard again of the Hot Milk Cakes. I also listen for stories and today I heard, “She was very old school and wrote letters and cards for everyone. No one does that these days.”

When it was time to leave I noticed an amazing assortment of beautiful hanging baskets of flowers. In an unusual and gracious gesture, her sons had purchased these for their visitors to take home, to remember.

So, in remembering LaRue, I share my flowers and I write to you.

Peaceful dreams to you this night.

The best of summer in "Bawlamer"

When the weather is steamy hot, as it has been, the best Sunday afternoon is spent with good friends in Baltimore or “Bawlamer” – a kind of southern slur through the letters. And while Maryland is south of the Mason-Dixon line we don’t really need or even want super sweet tea, just plenty of ice!


Add newspaper, knives and mallets and we’re done with the formal table setting.


Crabs. Blue crabs turned rusty red by steam and crusted with seasonings accompanied by steamed corn on the cob, tomato- cucumber salad and homemade cheesecake with fresh blueberry sauce, the best of summer eating!

We stayed long at the table of friendship!

Anniversaries are for remembering goodness

“Who is my neighbor?” someone once asked. Twenty years ago several people stepped up to be good neighbors to us. The first, unknown to us, took time early on a busy day to be neighbor as he went to a nearby house and reported a fire. And those neighbors, stalwart farm folk, called for help. Good neighbors from our volunteer fire company came and put out the fire.

Our farm neighbors stood by caring, emptied a freezer and carried away the food for safe keeping and then did the really hard thing to gently, kindly, call us home from vacation. In the months that followed, we counted on their support and presence.

The stuff of life and the fun of shared birthdays knit neighbors into friends.


Time passes and seasons change and a For Sale sign hangs across the road at the old farm. I miss my neighbors. I hope you have good neighbors and treasure them.

A legacy received

I was searching among some little used jewelry and found a pair of earrings that needed repair. Silver and shell transport me back in time and I remember Margaret’s curly red hair, ready smile and infectious laughter.

Margaret was my Scout leader who came to her position by the pleading of her nieces when their leader resigned. She became a greater part of my story through the years of adolescence, teens then young adult as she became friend and mentor. She always seemed lively and carefree although the facts I didn’t know probably told a different story of life; she had a serenity that carried her through. I thought of her as young, like a youthful aunt or older sister and was dumbfounded to find her older than my mother!


I stared into the cool shell colors and remembered our last time together. I stood by her hospital bed, held her hand and spoke to her in the coma of her cancer stricken body of kindness, love and gratitude and her leaving, too young. Leaving me too young. I looked back amazed at my twenty-something self’s composure, grace and peace.

I’ve had the earrings repaired and I will wear them again and enjoy the small gift. The real gift, the great legacy of kindness and joy, of friendship and time spent together, had lived large in my memories through the years. And I always smile in gratitude.

Do you ever wonder what legacy you are building?

A prayer


Last night I waited in the lamplight of a parking lot forming my thoughts for a friend into written prayer. The door opened as I finished and tired folks wandered out into the February tease of a balmy night. A familiar voice called out a greeting to me and I lowered the window to ask how she was doing. The reply captured me. “God is making a Genesis week out of the chaos in my life. And I’m loving it!”

I had to quickly write this as a closing to my prayer for my far away friend, widowed in the early hours of the day – O God, in this time of chaos in my dear friend’s life, may You breathe on her and bring about wonderful, creative, amazingly beautiful things for her in this time of new beginnings. Amen.