Give me my scallop-shell of quiet,
My staff of faith to walk upon,
My script of joy, immortal diet,
y bottle of salvation.
My gown of glory, hopes true gauge,
And thus I'll take my pilgrimage.

~Sir Walter Raleigh

A hiker, walking for pleasure, likes to choose between several alluring trails.
The pilgrim desires only the road that leads home.

~Frank W. Boreham

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Retrospective

Family gatherings..just the words conjure up thoughts, memories, all sorts. Our family Thanksgivings have been the one holiday we gather together. In times past, each family unit has someone involved in ministry making a Christmas feast difficult, nay impossible. So Thanksgiving was chosen for the yearly coming together.

Generally too, it has been at least a two day affair. Each member must come with a name and occupation chosen for the time. [think: clever, silly, downright daft but never serious]

Each family unit also must come prepared to perform some talent [ very seldom serious].

When it comes to cooks in our clan, there is nary a clinker. Always the food is too good and too plentiful. Conversation flows constantly, laughter erupts frequently. We enjoy each other, the youngest to the eldest, back and forth and all in between.

But with all the changes that have or may take place there is one constant.

Following the giving of thanks, as we stand circling the table and still holding hands, someone leads out in the singing of Thomas Ken's wonderful words of the doxology. This is sung slowly, meaningfully and in full harmony.

Through the years it has become more precious. It has become the family anthem sung together in times of sorrow as well as in times of joy.

It is lovely thing, the way simple things 'just happen' and so become meaningful traditions to carry on through all generations.

Praise Him!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Thou that hast given so much to me,

Give one thing more, a grateful heart...

Not thankful, when it pleaseth me:

As if Thy blessings had spare days:

But such a heart, whose pulse may be

Thy praise.

~George Herbert


Photo: Jaclyn Louise Peterson

Monday, November 21, 2011

Changing Course

It was 40 years ago, minus one, that Himself came home and announced that he resigned his teaching post. The very next day he came home announcing that he had been offered a position as a youth pastor.

Yesterday morning Himself again came home and told me that this was the day the men of his board felt that his resignation from the pastorate should be given to the congregation.

So you see, Dear Reader, there has been yet another dramatic change in our lives. It is not one of falling into a dark abyss - that was the first time. This is more a re-routing of the journey.

Much is and will be changed. My posts will reflect this. Looking back does not reveal a life of chance but rather Providence - the Sovereign God's Hidden Hand - moving us through each day of that part of the journey. Bear with me as in this journey ahead I share frayed rags and pieces of thought that make or will make whole cloth.

For this new phase, I'm sustained by the fact of the nearly-here Advent season and the reminder of Immanuel - God with us. Isn't that grand? The God that has led in the past is still with us guiding the future days. Ebenezer!

For today I am leaning hard while embracing all the pain and puzzlement of the Eternal Now and the uncertainty of future days.

Today's Psalter reading begins "Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name...sing to of all His marvelous deeds...."

That's a good thing...always is, was and shall be.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

This Day

Joy is a victory signal.

It is the quiet confidence that what God has begun

He will accomplish


He is in charge of the details of our lives.

~Joseph C. Aldrich

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Shaky Hands and Eternal Truths

Written in spidery script in the flyleaf of my mother's New Testament, a last companion of her last days, is written two lines of a hymn. The lines ring Truth. This Day I simply needed to find the entire hymn. Oddly enough it is not included in any hymnals on my shelf. Blessings on Google who came to my rescue.

Thou art my Rock, O blessed Redeemer;

Thou art my Refuge where I may hide;

Thou art my Rock to shelter and bless me;

Ever in Thee I safely abide.

Thou art my Rock, O blessed Redeemer;

Thou art my Rock when trial is near;

Thou art my Rock when sorrow is smiting.

Thou art my Rock; why then should I fear?

Thou art my Rock, temptations defying;

Thou art my Friend unchanging and sure'

Wholly on Thee my soul is relying.

Ever to keep me faithful and pure.

Thou art my Rock. when kingdom and nation,

Ruler and crown, have crumbled to dust,

Thou shalt remain my Rock of salvation-

Rock Everlasting, Thee will I trust.

Thou art my Rock, O blessed Redeemer;

Thou art my Friend and Thou art my Guide;

Thou art my Hope, and Thou art my Savior,

Thou art my Trust; In Thee will I hide.

Deep and heart felt gratitude is mine to a faithful Christian mother as well as to a faithful fellow pilgrim. These two left records of their Trust in The Rock that is the Rock of my life as well to encourage me,for such a time as this.

The hymn was written by Carrie Elizabeth Ellis Breck, 1855-1934.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Reason For Thanksgiving

From these treasures, many more have been added. These, a joy and delight from early days has only increased. We, the Vicar and I, speak often of how very blessed we are. The original four have increased the tribe 22 times.

We could not have imagined the rich joys to come,

to bless us all our days,

to warm our hearts,

to strengthen our spirits,

to lighten burdens,

to grace and ease the journey.

With all the gifts and abilities included, has come the gift of laughter.

Laughter in hard times must be among the greatest gifts of all.

Oh so very much to be thankful for at this season.

"So what is our hope or happiness

or our victor's wreath of exultant triumph

when we stand in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming?

Are not you?

For you are indeed our glory and our joy!

~ I Thes. 2.19, 20, Amp.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ah, Peace

It has been the pattern of my life, the ways of the Father with His child. Always, before a change in course, a mountain to climb or perilous events coming, the Lord has prepared this heart ahead of time. This has taken different forms to be sure. Often it has been through His Word, or the writings of others. Sometimes by something said by another in conversation. My thinking is that, at least in part, it is because He knows how I dislike surprises!

Regardless of His reasons, I'm so very thankful that in His mercy He has done it.

Recently I came across the thought in an old record concerning our Lord's bequeathment to his disciples and so to us as well. Christ's last will and testament, His bequeathment to His beloveds was His peace! The peace that kept Jesus as He faced Gethsemane, the cross and His earthly end, is the peace that will keep us. It's a promise! It is a peace that gives rest amid the constant changes of life and certainly through all the uncertainties of our earthly pilgrimage.

"Peace I am leaving behind for you.

Peace which is mine I am giving to you.

Not such as the world gives, do I give you.

Let not your heart continue to be agitated

neither let it be fearful."

John 14.27,28 , Wuest trans.

That scripture immediately sends the mind back to Isaiah's statement in chapter 26. "Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee. So trust in Him forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock, the Rock of Ages."

Imagine! In an imperfect world, in my imperfect nature, I am granted perfect peace.

And this peace is absolute, through absolute trust in my immovable, everlasting Rock.

That, Dear Reader, is the good news for This Day, for any day as a matter of fact.


Photo of our precious lad by Julia Valovich

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Stirring it up

Stir up we beseech Thee, O Lord,

the wills of Thy faithful people,

that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works,

may of Thee, be plenteously rewarded;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

So reads Bishop Cranmer's Book of Common Prayer collect read for this Sunday.

All our actions have a point of origin and when it comes to our will, it is clear that what we will, we do if at all possible.

The good bishop, I believe, is reminding us to focus on the use of our will in faithful and fruitful efforts. O how we often stumble at these points. In the Church, stirring up strife seems to be a major 'spiritual gift' rather than stirring up to good ends.

The apostle Paul reminds young Timothy to "stir up - rekindle the embers, fan the flame and keep burning - the gracious gift of God...." [ II Tim. 1.6, Amp. trans.]

That's the thought for This Day on the spiritual front.

On the purely temporal front, in High Church tradition, this is "Stir Up Sunday".

Certainly a reference both to God's power and to man's will.

It is also a reminder that it's time for members of the household to set about taking turns stirring the Christmas pudding in preparation for that feast coming soon.

May we all go forth stirring This Day.

Friday, November 11, 2011

When morning gilds the sky,

My heart awakening cries,

may Jesus Christ be praised.

This was just such a morning with just such a gilded sky.

Praise Him!


Photo by Jaclyn Peterson whose joy infects our hearts, our souls, our lives.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


'Kid-bits' is my own coinage for those fragments of joy, either acts or words, that come from the children. Most often these days, these are left by the Great-Grands. These are the sweet things, often so tiny or brief in themselves yet they leave an awe trail. These cause ponderings,
and sometimes beyond the delight great spiritual truths are seen.

Our Little Lad is most often very much a man of action. From his greeting as he enters the door, there is a path of activity that resumes from his last visit. But he is also given to quiet in both his play and his person.

A favorite point of action, and one for which he is always reprimanded, is that of scaling the sofas and walking their ridge. This is easy and made fun by the fact that they do not sit against walls.

This last week he was lying, his small person spread the length of the love seat. He was still, contemplative, looking out the window. Momma spoke, reminding him that was forbidden territory. Laddie turned and quietly said: "I'm waiting for *Truck". Equally quietly, momma left the room and made a phone call to the one awaited.

The thing is, the Lad had no way of knowing if Truck would come or not. He only knew that often he does come. Laddie was waiting in quiet anticipation. [In response to the phone call, Truck did shortly arrive.]

Pondering this scene reminded me of all those scriptural admonishments to wait on the wait for His wait for the Holy wait for His appearing. Most often the waiting meant is that of quiet, hopeful anticipation.

As adults we must fill all our moments with busy and alas, busy drives away quiet and anticipation. Busy sidetracks, busy clutters.

Lord, may we re-learn quiet. May we be willing to settle down, looking out the window as it were, in anticipation of your presence in our lives that we may not miss the blessing of the arrival!
*Truck was the title given to the Patriarch of the clan. This is the second generation to call him so.

The lovely photo was taken from the BBC some time ago. How I wish I remembered the name of the photographer in order to give proper credit. But I do thank him or her anyway.