A Christmas Pledge

Help Yourself to My Life!

 

“Help yourself to my life”, Mary seemed to say,

never knowing full well how her life would change.

But if seedling faith moves mountains, Mary moved them well,

Believing in her God that day by saying “help yourself”.

Giving up dreams she’d made, letting God change her plans,

taking a road unmarked, going to Bethlehem.

 

“Help yourself to my life”, Joseph bowed his head,

knowing what God asked of him, he could not understand.

But if ever hope was living, in his heart it swelled,

trusting in his God that day by saying “help yourself”.

Giving up all he knew, trusting in righteous plans,

taking a wife with child, walking to Bethlehem.

 

“Help yourself to my life”, God announced with stars,

even from a manger bed, he could see the scars.

But if ever love was given?  Only God knew how,

loving us with all his might and saying “help yourself”!

Giving up his only son, planning his birth and death,

watching him take his cross, out of Jerusalem.

 

“Help yourself to my life”, I can hear him say…..

 

So will I be a Mary, will I be a Joseph strong and brave?

Will I stand to follow when he calls my name?

And will I give up all my dreams, just to have him use me?

Jesus you know me so well, will I say “help yourself”?

Jesus you know me so well, will I say “Help Yourself”?

©Cindy Palin

My Master is Painting

Driving alongside the Columbia River that divides the Washington and Oregon States. Even in the rain I see Him.

My Master is painting

I see his hand as we drive by

Broad strokes purposefully plunging the earth into the Columbia

These mammoth hills, his naked canvas

Rock, layered upon layer

Tufted with narrow upward strokes of straw grass

The tip of his brush stamping texture

 

Dabs of color, drips and runs the rain

He breathes in close and fog shrouds the sun

He steps back just one universe’s width, before

Smiling in yellow to highlight the peaks

He stills the wind with an upright palm

Rests his brush on Mars

and admires this valley

I turn to look out our rear view window

“This isn’t goodbye” I whisper

“The road ahead will lead us to more of You”!

©Cindy Palin November 11th, 2012

 

Is Distraction Waxing Your Heart Cold?

What is it that is keeping you from the Truth tonight, tomorrow’s almighty “to do” list?

Beware of busy, anything that keeps you moving long enough and fast enough to wax your heart cold. Beware of distraction, anything that makes you look good on the outside, but sucks the life out of your insides.

Is truth being traded for a movie, with far too many vulgar words for Christ to watch with you?

Is Truth being muffled by negative thoughts, self-pity and pain, walls of justification?  Those walls may feel like protection but are barriers to peace and forgiveness, that keep the Truth at a distance and allow bitterness to carve a lonely canyon for the sound of echoing broken promises.

Beware, those faults you once found others guilty of could become your own.

Is Truth being crowded out by technology, one more trick to learn or game to play or hour to waste, of the precious time Christ bought for you – with his blood?  This gift of time has always been meant for simple trust, childlike faith, close accounts, repentant tears, light-hearted joy – revelation and communion.

Is Truth being stomped out by our personal muscle flexing, our conquests to conquer, as if somehow we’ll rack up points, get His attention, earn His affection, or at least our peers?  We’re doing what, in who’s name?

He is the Truth, the Way and the Life, He is our super-hero, and everything He calls us to do is to accentuate His work, to bring Him Glory.  It is His name we proclaim, we are not here to make a name for ourselves.

Recommended Truth Reading:  Matthew Chapter 6

 

 

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Those things called; Feelings!

Depersonallization disorder

Sometimes discouragement comes from not being the “real” you, you’re tired of having multiple personalities, different faces for different people, someone for your Mom and Dad, someone else for your friends.

 

Then there are those times when you know who you are, you have the spouse, the family, but someone in your inner circle doesn’t like you.  They second guess your smiles, mistake your work for “making an impression”, question everything you do as if you’re their latest science project rather than their Mother, and hear things you’ve never said.

 

I thought it was tough trying to figure things out when I was in High School.  College brought a new kind of scary.  Now that I’m a Mother, everything would be just great, if I didn’t have those things called; feelings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Hope is found….

Wasn’t able to keep up with my travel blog, but that’s the beauty of listening for God‘s guidance.  Sometimes we need to put something down and pick something else up.  We’re home now and it’s been a struggle to kick into gear in my studio, especially at this time of year – the season of Christmas!

There is always a lesson to be learned when it comes to balance and this week’s particular, is one of utmost importance.

I must continue to guard my time with the Lord.  I must continue to make time to write.  As I pace myself in the shop, I must continue to focus on the each project as the person they represent and enjoy, and breathe.  I must also call it all to a halt when the days no longer hold enough time to reach Christmas deadlines.  And if Jesus says “go” I must be ready to “go” and do what ever it is he has for me to do.  Even if I think I have enough to do.

And above all I must remember that we are all on this life journey in search of hope.  And guess what?  That hope came down at Christmas for us all.  That hope has a name, and he isn’t just some vague “higher power” or the “man upstairs”.  People have a tendency to keep him at a distance by using those general names.  It’s hard to believe the God of the universe sent His son to a manger, and then the cross for peons such as ourselves.  But He did.  So say His name “Jesus” and be filled with “Christmas Hope”!

Christmas Hope, available on iTunes!

 

What Freedom Looks Like

 

Harris Beach, Oregon

The lady at check-out had told us to stop off at Harris Beach, if we got the chance.  She didn’t say our lives would never be the same, if we didn’t.  She should’ve.

We followed a brush shaded walking path, generously covered with a week old, chocolate/gold leaf carpet.  Then out into the open, to paradise.  I carefully stepped over an ancient washed ashore tree and saw what freedom looks like.  Immediately my lips sang words in praise of you, out loud, as if I’d always known the song!

Barefoot I stood in the sand watching the left over lace from a powerful receding wave, tickle my toes and erase early morning deer tracks.  Scattered mini mountains soldiered the shoreline as if they were my personal guardians.  As the surprising November sun warmed my face, I felt your watchful eye upon me.

My arms lifted from my side without permission, a signal to my spirit’s invisible wings to fly closer, higher and light upon your shoulder to hear your morning whisper and feel your breath in my hair.   I heard you and replied, “What you have made is good indeed, my Lord!”

White knuckled waves clinch the rocks before me, shake the earth beneath me, thunder all around me and I tremble in reverence.  But I only bow to you.  The faith pulsing behind this mortal frame, because of the cross – is stronger than this sea.

My body is but a pebble on this glorious shore, but a pebble with a purchased soul. This pebble sized faith can speak to this untamed leviathan as if I were the moon’s gravity itself and freeze the tide mid roll, if you asked me to, just as Moses stretched his staff towards the Red Sea.  It parted, folded back on itself, lifted towards the heavens and for what?  For your Glory!

I could live on this beach, I could lay in this sand for eternity!  I recall a prayer spoken one year prior, an ache for a beach, and a rest, a vision of sand and sun.  Here I am and here You are!  And knowing You and Your love, should I be surprised?

 

 

 

A New Kind of Oxygen

Hiking through Lady Bird Johnson Redwood Grove, California

Was gold discovered here – thus the name “Eureka”?  Didn’t think to ask a local if that’s how the town was named.

Our day’s travels through the dense west-coast forest of the Northern California Redwoods had filled our lungs with wonder, something more invigorating than oxygen.

 

 

We dumped our bags in our hotel room and flopped our “Gumby” bodies on the bed.  Soon dreams of animated towering trees fluttered behind our eye lids, filtering their sunlight like the sea sifts her sand.

The forest canopy lifted its arms through the mist in praise to our Maker and remnants of holy rain, fell as an offering to the forest floor, to resurrect the dying, to kiss our awe-struck faces.  Rare windows framed with branches on carefully carved turnouts, reveal billions of tree tops for a thousand rolling hills and a sobering awesome truth envelops me.  We could be lost, but they know we’re here, Jesus knows we’re here and without Him what would all this mean?

We descend as sharply as we had ascended, for mile upon mile, twist upon turn, to find a mighty King tree who graciously allows us to drive right through him.  We reverently go around and park nearby.  Our necks cannot bend back far enough to see his crown, but I know it’s there between the clouds and stars, rusted by salt air, blown in on the Pacific wind since the beginning of time.

 

 

Mendocino Majesty and Beyond

Early Saturday morning we made our way back to Mendocino for breakfast and Operation, Exploration, this time in the sun!  We found this amazing bakery/coffee shop “Good Life Cafe and Bakery” that sold fair trade coffee and home-made Quiche, breakfast burritos, and everything else under the sun – gourmet!  Looked like a “family affair”, Mexican perhaps?  We sat on stools by the window so we could people watch while we ate our burritos.  To our left on the street corner, we spied two angels with scythes (long blades usually carried by the Grimm Reaper) high a top a building that resembled a church.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to know the story, but the birds had no trouble keeping their company.

I noticed a sign across the street in front of a Victorian style, white house.  After breakfast, it was our first stop, and we read the sign; Sallie Mac.  Would you believe it’s French inspired?  Amazing, I found three chandeliers I wanted to buy on the spot, but didn’t.

We rounded the corner and on to main street, through book stores and gift shops, a particular ladies boutique packed full of “one of a kind” designs, made in L.A.  Lloyd found a plaid skirt Julie might like – not.  Hand crafted wood furniture, the finest we’ve ever seen, leather, wool – everyone knits or crochets in Mendocino, I’m convinced.  One particular kitchen wares shop had two vintage french chickens resting a top a high shelf.  I never knew I loved that stuff, I know now.  The only trouble is, my kitchen has no pink in it, one was a soft pink, the other a pale blue.  I’m going to miss their tiny heads and friendly disposition.

Once we had walked through every last shop, garden, gallery, connected path, back alley and side street, we hit the board walk that lead to a well-worn path, just past a white picket fence.  First the path wound its way through sea grass which then became overgrown with a plant that looked like wild raspberry, tangled and twisted, taller than my head and shoulders.  No wonder I had a hard time finding a beach.  No guard rail, no sign, just a tree, not sure what kind, but its canopy looked manicured and majestic, even if it was hanging in limbo between cliff and sky.  Speaking of “majestic”, “The Majestic” was filmed in Mendocino, so was Alfred Hitchcock’sThe Birds“.

the cliffs of Mendocino

There to the left of the tree was a young man-eating a bag lunch.  He looked lonely and I wanted to strike up a conversation, but I concluded if he wanted to talk, he wouldn’t be out here hiding under this tree!  To the right we spied hundreds of hand dug stairs in the side of a jut out cliff, leading down to a small sandy patch, you might call a beach, if your beach towel’s short.  Keeping my bad knee in mind,  we took pictures instead, besides there was no hand rail.  At the other end of the path, back through the white picket fence, lay a preserves shop where Lloyd bought his favorite; orange marmalade – home-made in Fort Bragg.

One more coffee for the road, from the same bakery and a plan to take the “coastal view” out-of-town.  As we got in the Envoy I looked up to see Elvis and Marilyn staring down at us from two upper story, Irish Pub windows.  The coastal view exit did not disappoint and we marveled at the parts of Mendocino we had to leave undiscovered.

Point Cabrillo, California

On our way back north, just before Fort Bragg we took a two-mile hike out to the Lighthouse at Point Cabrillo and got an hour’s worth of California history; ship wrecks, gold, Chinese imported artifacts mixed with native treasures.

Back out on the highway, I kept my eye out for another sign I had seen the night before – Caspar.  We took the turn out and wound our way down to a lovely hide-a-way beach, got out of the vehicle and walked out onto the sand.

Next up, north and out of Fort Bragg towards Eureka California, but we had no idea what lay before us.  Just a mile out-of-town, the coastal 101 took a hairpin turn, and straight down to reveal yet another breath-taking stretch of beach, rocks and tidal pool.  Quickly we pulled off the road and ran out onto the beach, snapping pictures, watching the waves crash ashore and felt the mist tickle our skin.

Just north of Fort Bragg, California

After a leisurely walk in the sand, we returned once again to our vehicle.  Before we jumped back in, I asked Lloyd to take a picture of how the trees formed a canopy over the highway up ahead.  We thought Eureka was just up and round another bend, but like I said before, we had no idea what we were about to experience…..

A natural “tunnel like” entrance to the Redwood Forest
formed by the tree canopy converging

Connecting the Dots, Point to Point!

Point Arena, California

Our initial plan was to drive from Sacramento to Eureka, California, then due north from there, but after talking to Cory, “Disney on Ice” Show Director, we changed our plans.

We took Interstate 80 west and then highway 37.  Our first stop was Point Reyes, where we bought a coffee from a quaint bakery and asked for directions from a jeweler who informed us we were standing on the San Andreas Fault.  And may I say – sunshine all the way from there, through the Sonoma Valley, trying to decipher between salt water from fresh, farmland from marsh?

Always thought purple was a man-made color, but apparently it’s another one of God’s specialties and he paints some of the flowers here in California – purple.

We thought we’d stay in Bodega Bay, but decided to go further up the coast, destination Mendocino.  Tuned the radio to a local station called; SKUNK, and hummed along to “Heh There Delilah”.  Who sings that song?

Passed quite an expansive development on Pebble Beach, called; Sea Ranch.  All the houses are built with the same materials, color and style.  Must look up that development when I get a chance.

Took a two-mile detour out to Point Arena lighthouse, by this time the fog and rain had socked us in and the lighthouse looked more like a forlorn statue than an angel of light.

Somewhere we happened upon Point Stewart where family had begun resurrecting an ancestral landmark.  Walked into a converted house to find an incredible Deli with mixed gift-wares and antiques.  I had chicken cranberry salad on rye, Lloyd had a marinated beef sandwich, of which we cannot remember the exact name.

Stopped at a vista point before Mendocino and sang along with Huey Lewis and the News.  Lots of Cypress trees, one particular root system fought with a fence, not sure who won.

Passed a sign “Tsunami Hazard” as we descended rather rapidly into a low-lying area of the highway.  Construction slowed us to a halt where we were warned our wait might be as long as fifteen minutes.  Work on the bridge ahead.  The good news, the highway worker was friendly, the bad news; the sign read “bridge completion 2014”.  We might be a while.  I decided to text our children and let them know we were alive and well, but there was no service.  We sat on the road in the middle of what seemed to be “nowhere” rocking to “Keep on Rocking Me” by the Steve Miller Band.

On down the road we drove, past a beautiful grove of Cypress, all in a row, towering over us like guardian soldiers.  On our left, we whizzed by a large barn like shop with a funky name; Sisters……., we decided we missed out on a rather hip flea market, or large garage sale.

We rolled into Mendocino early enough to still see, but too cold to walk around and find a place to stay, so we pressed on to Fort Bragg for lodging with the hopes of returning in the morning.

 

Unless you Own a Cape…

Thanks for a wonderful show, Disney on Ice! We love you!

Thursday am we finally made a point of getting John’s camera in the mail, bought a GPS for obvious reasons, bought a camera cord and I spent quality time with two employees from Best Buy trying to find out who a mysterious musician was on late night television.  I still don’t know who he was, but will soon.  I’m convinced – he’s amazing, and not the “American Idol” kind of talent, better than; -real, unique, indie, maybe even hipster, and certainly not cookie cutter!

Eric and cast had a show to do, and I didn’t want us to tire him out before hand.  What am I thinking?  “Tired” isn’t in his vocabulary.  However they did lay low and we met them at the lobby around 3:30 to take them for their ice time.  Warning!  Do not run GPS and iPhone at same time – conflicting directions can cause a headache.  But we did find the arena and also discovered it has three names, now that’s as clear as mud!

The show was amazing and in Chuck’s words “it never gets old”.  But….never pose with the cast after the show unless you happen to own a cape and stand six feet two.  Especially avoid standing next to Elastigirl from the Incredibles.  I thought I looked rather short and dumpy before, now I’m positive.  Not to mention, all those photos won’t be publicized anytime soon.  Besides, those of you who know us, don’t need a picture to remind you what we look like.  And Chuck, if you can hear me, you had better destroy your copies or our friendship could be in peril.  On the lighter side – your picture (Chuck) and yours (Lloyd), turned out!  Perhaps I can Photoshop my head on someone else’s body?  I need to ask God why men age better?  Statistically speaking, women may live longer, even after giving birth several times, but men age better.

Cory, thanks for your travel advice for driving up the West Coast.  We took your advice and made sure to slow down and smell the ocean air!

P.S. Kate you are amazing and we appreciate all you do!  And of course, we love you Eric, Mariko, Callum, Tommy, Taylor, Miranda and others…Great Skating!