Do Roses Grow in Heaven Dad?

Happy Father’s Day Dad. It’s been 5 months since you left to be with Mum and I rejoice that you’re together for eternity.  I’ve been thinking of you all week and find my mind wandering … and wondering … upward to heaven.

The weeks have flown by and 8:00 a.m. each day has come and gone and the phone sits there … silently. I miss your familiar ring and our daily chats and even though I know full well you’re not here to call me, the habitual phone call of so many years has left an imprint of expectancy … that we’d be talking, so I thought I’d dial you up in heaven and share some thoughts.

I’m so grateful for those last six days we had together before we had to say goodbye. I’ll never forget our little chats … and meaningful glances that spoke loudly of understanding. No words necessary. I’ll always remember the gratitude you expressed for the life you led and how you reminded and assured me of all the good times we’d shared, and then just hours before you passed I mirrored some of those good times back to you. I still bask in the sunshine of the smile that lit up your face momentarily.

Oh Dad, do you now know how God so favored your life? He surely blesses mine.

I’m wondering. Do roses grow in heaven Dad? Do you still love them or have you discovered a more beautiful heavenly flower?  More vivid, more fragrant and more alive? My fanciful mind races with these unanswered questions, yet my heart believes that heaven, by all accounts and promises, is indescribably beautiful, so why wouldn’t roses bloom there … with every other flower known and unknown to us here on earth?

As I write this I have only to turn my head slightly to catch a glimpse of red roses arranged in one of your skillfully-crafted pottery vases, adorning Nannie’s writing bureau. In the past, a bouquet of real flowers would catch my eye in the store, but too often in the busyness of life, I walked on by, or I talked myself out of buying them. No more! While my garden doesn’t produce an abundance of fresh flowers and dozens of roses, as yours did, I shall buy them regularly and keep the vase replenished with the beauty of fresh flowers … including roses.

I’m doing really well Dad … I thought you’d like to know.

Everyone in the family is healthy, busy and happy, and we are so grateful for many blessings. I trust you know how greatly you and Mum are loved and missed by us all. I had intended to create a commemorative video of your life for Father’s Day, but alas, it would not have done you justice {nor lived up to my standard} for lack of time prevailed and I decided to pace myself and place no deadline on its completion. In spare moments, I’m scanning old family photos into files for preservation, some of which I’ll include in the forthcoming video.

I want you to know that the New House sale has completed and although it was sad to let it go, you’ll be relieved to know that a lovely couple are moving in to make a happy life there. Guess what? Like you and Mum, they returned to England after living in Australia. What a coincidence!  Dad you’re smiling now because you know what I’m thinking!  Yes, it’s too coincidental … more likely it’s by design, part of God’s greater plan. Incidentally, the lady remarked on the abundance of rose bushes in the garden … and I shared the reason why there are so many.  So you see, your stories live on!

Everything we packed up and shipped here arrived in good condition. It is like Christmas as we unpack the old familiar paintings, pottery and other meaningful and sentimental family treasures you left for us. We’re so grateful for the memories each item brings and thankful you used your God-given talents and creativity to the fullest.

All is well Dad.  Each day is full and rewarding. My thirst to live life with passion has never been stronger. My faith in God grows daily. I place my hope and strength in Him. When the inevitable arrows of this world hit hard, He is my rock. I’m as happy as I’ve ever been. Gratitude fills my heart and my soul sings … my cup overflows with joy.

Do roses grow in heaven Dad?

If they do, will you gather a bouquet today?  Consider them a gift from me to you … I wish you Happy Father’s Day … and I thank my Heavenly Father that you’re my Dad!  

Sending love to you and Mum from all the family!

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; Psalm 103:13

My Feet, My Faith. His Will, His Grace!

I just love new beginnings, don’t you? The dawning of each day! Mondays … the first day of the month … the New Year … it’s like we’re given a fresh start over and over again, throughout the year! Oh joy! I definitely want, need and value these chances to begin anew … do you?

It’s January 2 and I’m deep in thought about the year ahead in 2018. How will I make my life count this year? In what way will I maximize the hours in each day to make every day count in a meaningful way? What plans do I have for our business this year? What steps will I take to bring it all to fruition?

So many questions spinning around my head. The answers?  Not coming so easily. Continue reading →

Not Just Any Day. Sabbath!

Yay! It’s Sunday tomorrow!

It’s not like I always leap out of bed early every Sunday with a spring in my step, a smile on my face and a song in my heart.  Hardly.  Many Sundays, I emerge from the depths of sleep, squint my eyes to see if it’s light, peer at the clock, quietly sigh … and ponder the luxurious idea of sleeping in.

I’m definitely tempted to skip church on many Sunday mornings. 

I could do it you know. It’d be so easy … and I’d feel no guilt about missing church .. well maybe a tiny twinge, but I’d be totally fine with my decision. I could stay in bed and pray to my Lord … and I could just as easily listen expectantly for any words of wisdom He might whisper back, or place in my mind or on my heart from that vantage point.

As a Christian, with direct access to my God … I can seek Him anywhere at any time and I certainly do … I partake of that gift He’s freely extended. Not a day goes by that I’m not calling out His name frequently. Wondering how He will answer.  Sometimes I’m frustrated or confused.  Other moments I’m seeking forgiveness for failings and disobedience, asking for guidance, praying for a friend in need, or praising Him for blessings received, requesting strength, comfort, or thanking Him for His faithfulness and grace.

And ever-mindful of His love … His infinite love.

So why then do I go to church … even when I don’t feel like it, when I have access to God anywhere at anytime?  Do I seek the fellowship of like-minded people? Do I go to connect with my church friends seated around us?  Is it for the pastor’s message … the motivation? To praise and worship God? The inspirational music that stirs my soul? To receive biblical information, learn more about the nature of God? Draw closer to Him?

It’s a little of all of that if I’m completely honest, but it’s so much more. It’s deeply personal and meaningful each week. No matter how I feel on the way to church, whether I’m bright and happy to go, or dragging myself there in reluctance, it’s always worth the effort. I leave better than I arrived.

 It’s the Sabbath … not just any day but the stop-what-you’re-doing-and-rest-day.

Life is challenging! Even when all is well, the run-for-your-life-all-the-time rat race and routine demands from people, the workplace and unexpected side swipes of life, pile on stress, fatigue and frustrations, which wear us down, drain us physically, and {worse still} leave us spiritually depleted. The emotional roller-coaster of today’s world empties us. Sucks our spiritual cups dry and relentlessly crushes our souls.

How, when and where do we replenish what’s been stolen … or what we’ve freely given of ourselves to others, as we strive to become broken bread and poured out wine, in service to others?

Of course we can immerse ourselves in nature and soak up a new supply of strength and soul food in the solitude of green pastures, by a babbling brook or breathing mountain air.  Nature refreshes us spiritually and deepens our intimacy with God.

There’s something powerful about the Sabbath.

For me, being in church and worshiping collectively is very powerful … and somehow more meaningful than being alone. It’s about giving and receiving. It’s about being encouraged and encouraging others. It’s gaining a greater understanding of “why”. Why I exist, who Christ calls me to be, how He asks me to serve and give to others … to love my neighbor.

Sunday morning church contributes significantly to my much-needed spiritual growth, and my motivation and preparation for the rest of the day …and the week ahead. When I allow God to challenge me, I’m stretched beyond borders. I am compelled to seek a deeper understanding of God’s ways and His plan for me.

So I will be on my way to church in the morning. Because I need it. Because I want to be there. Because it’s the Sabbath … God’s chosen day for rest and renewal. Sunday morning sets the tone for my week, helps me place my priorities in order, replenishes my soul and restores my trampled faith.  And so I go. It’s always worth the effort.

God always shows up. I worship His holy name.

“I will give You thanks in the great congregation; I will praise You among a mighty throng. Psalms 35:18

The Christmas Eve Robin

Have you ever hummed a catchy tune or song which stayed in your head as if stuck on continuous replay? No matter how diligently you try to purge your mind of the sound, it keeps on playing … unceasingly and completely involuntarily like a broken record! Even if you love the particular music, after a while you find it irritating to say the least … and at worst it can drive you crazy! Then suddenly to your amazement, it vanishes with no explanation … peace and quiet reigns in your head once more. The human mind is amazing isn’t it?

Something similar happened to me this week leading up to Christmas, but instead of repeated music, a vivid vision flashed before my mind’s eye! It arrived unexpectedly and refused to leave. It wasn’t just that it recurred several times a day throughout the week, it was more the poignant nature of the subject that grabbed me.

It struck a chord in my heart and touched my soul. Continue reading →

On the Wings of a Prayer

wings of a prayer

No sooner had my head touched the pillow than an undefined anxiousness filled the pit of my stomach. My mind, refusing to shut down, lit up like a noisy amusement park.  Lol! Or was it my crazy mind darting here, there and everywhere that precipitated the physical sensation of restlessness? Ugh! Continue reading →

A Tribute to My Mother … A year Later

My Dearest Mum,

It’s been a full year since I felt the Holy Spirit beckoning me to your side. I’m so grateful I listened to His call and sped over to you post haste. I wouldn’t have had it any other way, as painful as it was for me to say goodbye and let you go.

Mum, it helps me to write and express my feelings in stories and videos, so I made this video tribute to you. I hope you like it. I chose the accompanying music because I feel it depicts your humble, quiet, yet deep rooted faith and is so applicable to who you are. Your indomitable courage and strength … and the depths of your love. Whatever you were called to do during your life, you rose to the challenge, willingly with a beautiful smile on your face and a song in your heart, no matter what was asked of you. Continue reading →

Gentle Rain from Heaven

I so love the rain …. I feel rain. Of course sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy too, but there’s something ever so much more poignant about the rain. It inspires me to pour out words of soulful expression.

Today I awakened to the pitter-patter of raindrops gently tip-tapping at my bedroom window. Music to my ears and food for my soul.

I will especially enjoy my walk along to Mum’s bedside today. The river, its surrounding green pastures, and the stately trees along the route are adorned in their shimmering, flowing tear drops from above.

Heaven weeps Continue reading →

Take Time Out to “BE”

time to be

Aside from the many treasured moments of being with my elderly parents, one of the reasons I love to return to Dorset, is to give myself a “time-out”. Time out from the everyday “normal” … away from the demands of routine living, a break from the hustle and bustle of self-imposed activity and the endless doing, doing, doing {most of which I admit is self inflicted!}  While there, I’m usually busy assisting my folks, but when I snatch some precious “alone” time to breathe in the tranquility of the peaceful countryside,  I’m reminded how valuable, rewarding {and health promoting} it is to simply BE.  Continue reading →

I Feel Rain

There’s just something about rain that stirs my soul and stimulates my senses to a heightened level of awareness. I’ve always been fascinated by the sights, sounds and smells that accompany falling rain! When I venture out in it and taste the raindrops on my lips, my thirsty soul is refreshed and my spirits revived! You think I’m a little weird, right? Haha! Just wait. It gets better!

Feel the RainWhat I most love about the rain is that I FEEL it! When I see rain falling, I yearn to encounter it, to be IN it! I covet an experience with it. Do you? I mean do you REALLY “feel” rain like that, or does it just leave you cold, grumpy and wet? Do you savor gentle droplets pitter-pattering on your face? Do you welcome it, embrace it, throw on your raincoat and rush outside? Do you crave the sensation from wind-driven, lashing rain hurling down on you so hard it stings your skin and awakens your senses? Now that’s what I’m talking about! Not just reacting in annoyance to its chilliness and its wetness, but experiencing how it makes you feel inside. How it touches you – how it moves you emotionally and spiritually. 

Told you it gets better! By now some of you really think I’m crazy, right? It matters not! I’m good with the way I feel AND the way you feel about rain, and about me. Feelings aren’t right or wrong, they simply ARE! This is just my perspective.

As a child did you fall over yourself to don your wellington boots, raincoat and sou’wester hat, so you could puddle-jump with your friends? Did you laugh and scream together as the gritty rain water splashed over your boots and trickled down your leg?

Have you ever stood in a stream and felt the pull of the water flowing ever faster, ever stronger at your boots, flattening them to your legs – until you jumped onto the muddy grass banks, fearing you might lose footing and get carried away like the stick that swiftly disappeared downstream, tossed about like a toothpick? Was it a thrill? Did you21698496_s throw your head back in the pouring rain, close your eyes, open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue to soak up the succulent drops from heaven? Do you remember how freeing and invigorating that was? I do! Do you recall, in child-like wonder, the simplest of things … like dancing with the raindrops, launching a matchstick boat in a torrent of water flowing down the street gutters? Did you laugh hysterically when your umbrella blew inside out exposing you to the full blast of rain, flattening your hair to your head – and you couldn’t care less because it was the coolest thing ever!! Did that ever happen to you? Was it fun for you?

It was for me. Of course I grew up in England, where weather dominates the beginning of almost every conversation, and talk of precipitation is expected. Rain is a common occurrence there! H-e-l-l-o! Like almost every other day {or more} in one form or another. It’s either the damp, mysterious, misty, tiny droplet variety, the bone-chilling drizzle kind or the steady, soaking rain!

Then there’s the stormy, heavy-duty-lashing, side-driven rain propelled by high winds. Rain that pounds on the roofs and gushes off the gutters, saturating the ground, flooding the streets, gardens and causing rivers to overflow their banks. If you’re caught in this kind you run for shelter of a doorway or even better, seek out the nearest red phone booth, shivering with your “honey” and loving the excuse to snuggle closer for warmth, as the rain splatters against the phone booth windows. Ah-ha! Many fun moments. You should try it sometime!

My Dad is not a fan of rain. {So much so that we moved to Africa in search of sunshine. Then later he and my Mum moved to Australia for much the same reason. Warmer, sunnier climate.} Dad kept a diary of the weather for years to prove how bad it is in England. LOL! He’s quite the character! When it came time to go on holiday, the weather dictated when and if we traveled or not … and what day and time we left. Since it rains so much, our travel plans were disrupted frequently, leaving this anxious little girl disappointed, sadly watching the raindrops roll off the glass front windows, chanting “rain, rain, go away, come again another day.”

It wasn’t that I disliked the rain obviously, but rather I was eager to go away on holiday and it needed to stop so we could get on the road and head to the seaside or wherever! Of course the rain was not influenced by me in the least and always seemed to take its sweet time before pausing and giving way to a dry spell, just long enough for my Dad to give the okay to leave.

You’d think I would dislike the rain wouldn’t you? That I’d be sick of it! That I’d blame it for past disappointment, or associate it with unpleasant feelings. Not so! I admit it’s inconvenient at certain times, but I don’t allow rain to ruin or change my plans {exceptions of course} or affect my mood adversely, or get mad over that which I have no control! But that’s just me, I know everyone’s different.

Back to rain. I wonder at it. It’s always so different, sometimes gentle, drenching now and then, but constantly wet, always fascinating in the way it falls, ever inviting me into its embrace. To experience it. I have always loved rain and the way it moves me, touches my emotions. 

It invites me to lean into it, go with the flow of it. Know its nature. I’m so thankful for it and its provisions to us and our planet. I love that it revitalizes me, and inspires me to explore the depths of my soul for deeper meaning, for greater understanding of who I am and whose I am.

I feel rain. I feel God.

“Ask rain from the LORD at the time of the spring rain– The LORD who makes the storm clouds; And He will give them showers of rain, vegetation in the field to each man.  Zechariah 10:1

PhotoCredit: Girl with Umbrella: Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo