Impressions 17 May 2018

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Who are the people who’ve made an impression on you in your life? Have they collided into you like a comet streaking through the sky? Have they stopped your breath because you’d never known they were missing from your life? Have they made you stop and take notice, pulling you out of the world you were stuck in? Have they enriched your life such that you know you will never be the same?

Are they the one you cannot wait to see again? To meet for supper? To spend a quiet evening with? To share the chaos of any day in a life? To work for or with? To open your eyes and see first thing each day? To come together with after a long day and listen?

Photo: A Goerner

Do you want to remember all the tiny little things that make them who they are? To remember every little moment you’ve had with them? All the times they kept you safe? Warm? All the times they lifted you up? Walked with you? Fought with you? And in the midst of that fight, you still knew that you would not ever want to live without them?

So tell them.

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Impact 16 May 2018

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Webster defines an impact in two ways: “the action of one object coming forcibly into contact with another,” and “have a strong effect on someone or something.”

There are so many things I can think of that have an impact. This time of year, hail is one of the first that comes to mind. The wheat is growing, the chokecherries and fruit trees are blossoming, and everything outside is young and needs nurturing. We need rain, but it can come with the impact of both hail and wind. We’ve had a male pheasant around all winter and he struts his beautiful, and iridescent in the early morning sun, feathers as he swaggers across the tops of the hay bales. He had an unfortunate impact with the side of our house and lay stiff and dead when we found him.

I can also make a list of what has a strong effect on someone or something. The sun impacts the way the rain is absorbed into the ground. The bulls impact the shape of the piles of hay we put out for them. The smell of warm brownies coming from the oven impacts everyone who wanders in the door. My fellow writing students impact the way I put my stories together. The Psalms impact my spirit and soul, lifting me when it seems all is lost. “I lift my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.” Psalm 121: 1-2,8

We are impacted every single day and in every single moment, and each one is a story all in itself.

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Fearfully & Wonderfully Made 10 May 2018

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In Psalm 139, verse 14, the psalmist writes, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. (NKJV)

These words popped into my head today as I saw them, literally, in my heart projected in an ultrasound. I didn’t know what an echocardiogram was, but my doctor said I had to have one because of a bunch of fluid around my heart as seen on a CT scan for something completely different.

I could see all four chambers as they slowly, very slowly, opened and closed circulating my blood. At times, depending on the view, it looked like a snowman or a pyramid, but always beating. The tech turned the sound on and the rhythm was so ethereal and I wondered if the sound pulsed out of my feet and into the depths of the earth, or out of my head and high up into the stars. I was spellbound by this incredible machine powering my life and the Creator who designed every little piece of it with love and longing for the life it would become.

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The tech asked, “What is your normal heart rate?”

I said, “Usually somewhere between 38 and 42, why, what is it?”

He said, “It’s 39. What is the reason for that?”

I said, “I don’t know. You’re the heart tech.”

He said, “Hm.”

Fearfully and wonderfully made.

Post Script: My heart is fine.

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A Rare Quality 1 May 2018

Picture of a professional photo by Elaine Olson

“You have a soul in you of rare quality, an artist’s nature; never let it starve for lack of what it needs.” Marcel Proust

What makes you excited? Get your juices flowing? Makes you grateful? Brings you that total body experience of enjoyment? Makes you smile until your face hurts? Gives the feeling that all is right with the world?

What makes your environment just right to serve that creative best that is in you? We all have it, whether a writer, painter, singer, sewer, fencer, yoga-er, party planner, traveler, dreamer, mother, father, empathizer, actor, and list goes on forever and to eternity.

What do you want to learn? What are you committed to? What do you want to accomplish and what is holding you back? What gives you courage to go on? What do you need to leave behind so you can move forward? What are you so afraid of? Why?

Wind is blowing everything around here today and so it is a good day to rearrange, to prepare, to let go, to chase dreams. What are you starving for? Take that first step and the rest will become easier and as you head down the path you were meant to be on in the first place, the burden will lighten, and you will know such joy. Let it be.

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Home 27 April 2018

“There’s a fire softly burning, suppers on the stove…” John Denver’s words in “Back Home Again” are a comfort. The images in the lyrics are all things that represent home. I’ve always known that home is more than a structure because I’ve felt at home in a tent, at a camp, on a road trip, on a trail, with my horse, in a house, and in many more places. What does home mean to you?

For me, home is where I’m safe. I’m loved. I’m accepted. I’m challenged. I’m blessed. I’m held accountable. I count.

I share many of the images of home in John Denver’s song, but I do have others as well:

Hot chocolate smothered in marshmallows, and even sometimes the blue and white Frozenones, and this on a cold and snowy late afternoon around dusk in the winter, or around a camp stove high up in the mountains on a pack trip or hunting trip.

Days so bright with sun and blue skies that I can see forever into the distance and be reminded of the Creator who brings warmth after such dark and cold.

Awaking in the night, safely entwined with the one I love, while thunder and lightning create such a show out the windows.

Taking long rides down country roads or on mountain trails with a PB/J and some Cheez-Its in the saddle bags, broken cookies, and the good company of friends with dreams and plans to change the world.

Early morning runs and pouring out my prayers to the one who painted the sky with stars and knowing that I am made from that same dust that twinkles far above me and will shine still when I am gone.

 

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Wind 24 April 2018

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They say that wind can make people crazy. I don’t know about that, but I do know that it makes people cranky, especially when it blows hard day-after-day. It makes animals spooky so that horses who have grazed around the same corrals every day of their lives, all of a sudden decide that those corrals are possessed by the devil!

The wind brings new life, sweeps out the old to make room for the new. If that is the case, then there is nothing old left around here and plenty of new has already blown in. The wind sculpts the snow to look like frozen white waves along the ditches and drives the tumbleweeds leaving drunken trails through the dirt and what little gravel is left on the roads. 

The wind is the call of the spirit, it is the breath of the universe, it is the giver of life, and the sign of what is to come. The wind can whisper or wail, howl, sigh or hum. It can rip the door right out of your hand or cool you on a hot summer day. The wind can sing you softly to sleep or fill your eyeballs with hay when you feed.

I love the wind. I hate the wind. I want to ride the wind, soaring alongside the eagles and hawks and all the v’s of honking geese in the fall.

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A Tiny Bit of Love 19 April 2018

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Stretching, she stood and walked over to the guitar stand where it stood by the antlers hanging on the living room wall, echoes of old elk hunts. In Christ alone, my hope is found. The notes floated through her mind unbidden. Marlee could see Heather and Frankie on either side of her and lifting their own voices to sing with her. He is my light, my strength, my song. The small congregation was on their feet and there was her dad in the front row. She could hear his rich tenor: This Cornerstone, this solid ground.

Marlee pushed back against the memory, but it wouldn’t let her go. Firm through the fiercest drought and storm. No, it wasn’t firm. The solid ground had turned to quick sand and was suffocating her. Her eyes met her father’s there, in some in-between place where he held out his hand to her. She stretched up out of the pull of the thick wet pit but couldn’t quite reach him. Struggling, she sank deeper. No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand.

Grasping to find the edge of the pit, she was quite suddenly lifted. But the scene had

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changed. The congregation was gone. Her father was fading right into that place where earth met sky way out there on the distant horizon. Marlee wanted to scream, to call him back, but all she could do was stand on the rim of that pit.

“Marlee?”

“Dad? Where are you?” Suddenly, the room came back into focus. She was standing there, one hand on the wall. Whoa. What just happened? Turning toward the hallway, she heard her dad calling her again. “Coming.”

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