Tuesday, July 31, 2007

How About a Little Help Here?

I really must contact the public library with a suggestion. Wheelbarrows. Yes, wheelbarrows -- stacked at the door for its patrons.

I visited the main library today. A familiar thrill bubbled up in me as the double doors sensed my approach and politely opened for my arrival.
You see, everytime I enter this huge 5-story building, I'm like an alley cat that's been accidentally locked in a fish market overnight. Such a feast! Where do I start?

But today my time is limited. I must restrain myself and settle for a small nibble; an audio book I've reserved is now waiting for me on the "hold" shelf.

Okay now Suz, with audio book in hand go directly to checkout, do not pass bookshelves, do not collect 200 books.

One audio book, four DVD's, seven art books, and three how-to writing books later, I make my way to the elevator. Juggling my treasures in both arms, using my chin to secure them, I press the elevator button with my elbow. It's at this time I think, "Good heavens, I sure could use a wheelbarrow about now!"

Thus, my suggestion.

P.S. Because of my desire for so many books at each visit, I have a problem keeping track of them. Maybe that explains my $9.00 library fine!

"Do not store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves. Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be." ~Matthew 6:19-21

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Desert Fantasy...NOT!

rain (reyn), noun. 1. water that is condensed from the aqueous vapor in the atmosphere and falls in drops from the sky to the earth.
2. a rainfall, rainstorm, or shower.

It was necessary for me to check the dictionary to be sure that what I was witnessing outside was what I understood rain to be. Sure enough, that’s what was happening. We haven’t seen much of the stuff here in Phoenix for the past few years.

It started as a true desert storm, with the dark cloud buildup and wild winds whipping up the dust and causing my plastic patio chairs to do summersaults across the yard. Then came the first flash of lightning off in the distance. As the thunder grew louder I began to pray that this not be just another all-talk-and-no-action storm leaving the crocodile-skinned soil still begging for relief.

I stood at the door and shouted, "COME ON!! YOU CAN DO IT! GO AHEAD, LET LOOSE. SHOW US WHAT YOU’RE MADE OF!"

I waited.
Even the wind died.

Then slowly, a few wet marks appeared on the concrete patio, but rapidly the drops grew in number until the rain gutters were overflowing causing our patio to flood. Yes it really happened. Not just one of those pretend rains that deposit a few damp circles on the sidewalk to tease you into thinking that you should run to turn off the automatic sprinkler system. No. This was an all out gusher -- the whole shebang.

My plants and I are thankful.

"The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my Word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it." Isaiah 55:10,11

Friday, July 20, 2007

Results of the Primo Paintbox

While walking home from Starbucks one day, I snatched this dying leaf from a tree.
As I looked closely studying the veins, I thought...

Okay now. This leaf was green at one time – a mixture of blue and yellow – no trace of red in it. (The artist in me is speaking here) Yet this leaf has turned red.

The color green could just as easily fade from the leaf upon death and become an ashen gray like the one on the right. But, it doesn't.

Maybe because this world is created by the Master Artist?

He is wild about color and has designed our eyes to see the beautiful colors of His world.

So.......let's enjoy this gift.

Allow time for a magnificent sunset to take your breath away.
Enjoy the variety of colors in flowers.
Tropical fish – oh my goodness. Incredible.
Study the beautiful color of your eyes.
And yes, laugh at the color of that zit on your chin!!

I know there’s a scientific explanation for all of this, but I like to give credit where credit is due.
God created our eyes to distinguish color.
He didn’t have to.

YAY!! and AMEN!!!!!
Well....so much for my art lesson/spiritual meditation.
Have a great and COLORFUL day.
Psalm 139:13,14 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! (NLV)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Summertime...and The Livin' Ain't Easy

Another 110 degree day in Phoenix. So...what's new? Everyday is the same. HOT! Don't bother to listen to the weather report. It's always the same. This is the time of year Phoenicians forget why they moved here. Nevermind that eight months out of the year we have weather that many people would give their eye teeth for.

Here we are with yet another hot sweaty day. The monsoons have arrived so we have humidity to boot. We can’t even boast to the summertime visitors of the "dry heat" of which we're so proud. I still haven’t figured out why anyone vacations in Phoenix during the summer.

Today, even some of the birds, who are drinking from a source of water I've placed in the back yard, are panting. Well, I don't actually HEAR them panting, but they look like they’re panting. Especially the California thrashers, as they walk around with their beaks hanging open. So, I say they're panting.

I thank God I can jump from my air-conditioned house, to my air-conditioned car, to my air-conditioned office, or store, or theater, or whatever. Needless to say, we Phoenicians spend no more time than necessary outdoors during the summer.

Wait! Unfortunately, that last sentence isn’t true. I have visual reminders of this everyday. I’m speaking of the homeless. Not only do they battle the heat of the day, but often the temperature doesn’t get below 90 degrees at night. Yes, I know there are some who prefer to live the homeless life, but many are thrown into that lifestyle through an unexpected situation. My heart hurts for them.

I thank God for the organizations here in the valley to help. One that I’m familiar with has a different approach than feeding and giving shelter. It’s called The Open Table. They go beyond taking care of the necessities for comfort; they help people get back into a state of self-sufficiency.
You will find there website here

But if anyone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help--how can God's love be in that person? ~I John 3:17

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

No Man is an Island

How many of us have passed a person on the street and looked away, not wanting to connect, not even acknowledging his presence? Instead, you might look at your watch, check you cell phone, busy yourself with adjusting your backpack, or just stare straight ahead. Why do we do this?

When you look at the big picture, you see how ridiculous it is. Afterall, here we are, two intelligent human beings sharing the same small space on this huge planet, at exactly the same time, and yet we act as if the other person doesn’t exist. We can't even say "Hello!".

I was reminded of this a week ago. I was enjoying a break from the desert heat at a beautiful lake in the mountains of Eastern Arizona. While walking up the stairs to the camp store to get an ice cream bar, I passed a gentleman coming down the stairs. I could tell by his manner that he had no intention of connecting with me. Well....I decided not to let that happen.

"Hello" I said. That was all. Just...Hello. He acknowledged my greeting with a smile and went on his way. It isn't much, but I feel it was a way to confirm to him that he is special enough for me to acknowledge his existence.

Just a simple, "Hello".
That's all it took.

How wonderful it is, how pleasant, when brothers live together in harmony! Psalm 133:1

Picture from www.flickr.com/photos/pebaline

Friday, July 13, 2007


Poppies in Arizona Desert

It would seem that wildflowers are created for our enjoyment, but how many of them bloom and die never to be seen by the human eye? Perhaps instead, they bloom solely to please the Lord.

Maybe we could learn from them.

Matthew 6:28,29 And why worry about your clothes? Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Shaped by the Potter

A few years ago I took a class in ceramics. I often enjoyed watching the advanced students work their creations on the wheel. It was exciting to see the end result … each creation was different. In fact, no two jars were exactly the same.

The clay is placed in the center of the wheel; just a mound of clay with no apparent shape. The potter sets the wheel spinning and gently begins to press and pinch the clay, and soon he sees a slight form emerge. He cannot continue to press and pinch or the jar will become unbalanced. To protect it from collapsing, he must often enclose the jar in the palms of his hands to keep it centered on the wheel. Through a process of pressing, pinching and protecting, the mound of clay becomes a one-of-a-kind treasure created by the potter.

An old worship chorus sings the words: “...you are the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me….” So, I considered what it would be like to be the clay.

First of all, being placed on a spinning wheel could be an unpleasant experience. By looking out horizontally, one could become dizzy and confused with one’s surroundings. But looking up, keeping the potter as a focal point, one finds stability and realizes the potter has everything under control.

Time for the shaping to begin…
Being pressed and pinched can be a bit uncomfortable, but trust the potter’s judgment. He knows that without the uncomfortable situations, the mound of clay will never become a masterpiece. He realizes just how much pinching and pressing the jar can handle and does not allow more than is necessary to protect it from breaking. Throughout the procedure, he is there with his hands gently around the jar to keep it secure.

The potter never leaves his creation unfinished. He has his finished product in mind and will not quit until it is completed to his satisfaction.

Aren’t we fortunate that our Potter is the Lord of the Universe.

.... As the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand. ~Jeremiah 18:6

Grandma's Sanctuary

The year is 1950. A pleasant summer evening has arrived in the quiet little town of Mineral Point. The sun has finally hidden its face bringing an end to the warm humid day. A cool breeze is a welcomed relief.

In the kitchen, Grandma removes her apron and hangs it on a hook in the pantry. As she does every evening at this time, she heads for her favorite sitting spot... the big wooden rocker on the screened porch.

I watch her get settled as I sit cross-legged on the wicker loveseat while putting the finishing touches on my Magic Slate drawing. She is my most favorite person in the whole wide world. With child-like wonder, I watch her. How can she just sit there, doing nothing, saying nothing, just rocking? Isn't she bored? And my wonder intensifies as I see a faint smile appear on her face.

When I am eighty-two,
my hair will have lost its luster...
And I may wear the same dress three days in a row.

The big old wooden rocker
will be my sanctuary...
And I will sit for hours with my memories vividly painted on my eyes.

Loneliness may be my only company,
relentlessly holding me in its grasp.

But still...
I'll remember you...
and smile.

P.S. The old house is still standing on Fountain Street, but it saddens me to see that the porch has been removed. So many memories were birthed on that screened porch.
When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember that the dark days will be many. ~ Ecclesiastes 11:8

Saturday, July 7, 2007

My Father's Hand

The Lord brought me through a recent bout with cancer, so as a cancer survivor, the following means so much more to me now than it did when I wrote it many years ago. Oh, by the way, the photo is of my friend who also looked into cancer's ugly face. We are both praising God for his Amazing Grace.

My walk with God is like hiking a mountain trail. When my Father first suggests we climb to the crest together, I am like a child... running ahead... anxious for the adventure... impatient to see the beauty from the top.

The slope is gradual at first, and I enjoy my surroundings...taking time to pick the wildflowers...studying the sunbeams dancing through the trees...laughing as butterflies chase each other.

My father, happy to share in my joy, reminds me He has even greater things for me ahead.

So... we travel on... together.

After a few bends in the trail, the path begins to narrow and grow steep. Soon I become tired and stop to catch my breath. Father offers His big hand to help me, but I wish to make it on my own.

The woods have grown dense now....sunlight can't break through. Wildflowers along my way go unnoticed. Rocks grow out of the ground and cause me to stumble.

The higher we go, the steeper the climb. Tree roots stretch their fingers across my path...they seem to grab out at my feet as I pass. The obstacles are getting too great.

I stumble and fall again and again. Bruised and exhausted, I can't go on any longer.

My Father say, "Come child, we're almost there."

With arm outstretched I finally cry, "Then please Daddy...hold my hand"

Psalm 118:5,6 In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and rescued me. The Lord is for me, so I will not be afraid.

Friday, July 6, 2007

It's About Time

The title of my blog explains where I am in my life. Over the years I’ve collected many books about writing, viewed numerous websites about the subject, and have tried to keep a daily journal. Let me emphasize the word “tried.” My journal has many sections where whole months are absent of writing;
either because I can’t find the right time, the right environment, the right pen, the right chair, etc. Okay, let’s name it for
what it is…procrastination!

Well, it’s about time….to change. The kids are grown and gone, retirement is looking me in the face, and it’s time to make use of the last quarter of my life.

I’m expecting this new venture will be fun. There is no pressure to impress you with my sentence structure (what is a dangling participle anyway), my vocabulary, or an interesting storyline. There’s no stress to get a good grade or be accepted by a publisher. What freedom! I’m hoping my posts will be short, interesting, humorous, and maybe even profound at times.

Since this post is about time, I'm including some quotes on the subject, the first one from a favorite artist of mine, Georgia O’Keeffe:

“Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven't time, and to see takes time - like to have a friend takes time.”

"Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein." ~~H. Jackson Brown

“Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back.” ~~ Harvey MacKay

The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1 that “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”

NOW is the time….my time....to write.