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

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Road Untrodden

The Untrodden path is unknown but it is still a road
It begins somewhere and leads somewhere..
The Believer walks in a way prepared of the Lord.
The Way is a unit, every part a part of the whole.
Each part leads to the next and the next is the result of what went before.

Today is the sum of all yesterdays, and each tomorrow is the issue of the day before.

The continuity remains.  The end and the beginning belong to the same road.

Before each of us, is the untrodden road of a New Year.

In such cases, for the pilgrim two things are sure:

     the Presence of the Lord
     and the sufficiency of His Grace.

That is all.

That is enough.

Lo, we can tread rejoicing
The narrow pilgrim road;
We know the voice that calls us,
We know our faithful God.

Thoughts fed by those of Samuel Chadwick (1860-1932)
Poetry from Gerhardt Ter Steegen (1697-1769)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Surprised By Truth. Again

Just in the quiet course of today's reading there came that "touch it to see if the ink is dry" moment.

Reading Walter Riggan's commentary to the book of Numbers, this definition of shalom was written:

"...the peace which alone reconciles and strengthens,
which calms us and clears our sight,
which frees us from restlessness
and from the bondage of unsatisfied desires,
which imparts the consciousness of attainment,
the consciousness of permanence
in the midst of the transitoriness of oursel'es and of outward things."
~Montefiore, Jewish scholar.

This is the peace we are promised by our Lord, the peace from Him which the world cannot take away.

That's the word for This Day.

It is enough. 
It is more than enough.

Lord, grant this peace this day.  
Blaze it through each moment,
that in my life  any semblance of this peace can be clearly seen as being from you alone. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Moving House, or "Here We Have No Continuing City"

The time has come.  The editing of our life has begun in all seriousness.  This will be move # 28 for us in 56 years of married life.  While considering myself an expert packer, moving house is still one of life's traumatic events, let no one tell you otherwise. 

The scale to which we must reduce chattels is major. It isn't so much that I've been a collector as such, more that I've been a saver.  [You don't know what you might need next time round, in the next home etc.] Alas, it adds up to a houseful no matter how it is sated! 

Hopefully, after this move this time, there will be no next time. Lord willing, from this new abode coming, we will simply lift off when we hear The Trumpet.  No packing required.  Or go underground to await that Trumpet.  No packing required for that either.

How does one edit?  Delete? (How I wish there was a 1-click button for this process.) 

In the early years of the Home & Garden channel programing, one addressed out of control homes where clutter ruled.  The family members were shown how to bring order out of chaos, how to let go, get rid of things.

The woman who led this was a gracious woman but ruthless.  One of the phrases she oft repeated, when faced with an item on which much sentimental stress was placed "This is not your Mother" (or father, grandmother, etc).  "Hold the memory", she said.  "If necessary take a photo, but let go".  Sterling advice to this professed Pilgrim.  I'm trying.  With all my profound and spiritually minded statements in times past, I humble acknowledge that I'm a clinger.  I know its stuff.  I know its temporal and "all going to burn."  But still....

 When it comes to closet and clothes editing, my daughter laughingly keeps before us both what Franciscan John Michael Talbot says when choosing the outfit for the day: "Shall I wear brown or brown"?  Its not likely I'll reduce to that extent, but I'm aiming to make the maxim a reality:  "Simplify, simplify, simplify".

So Dear Reader, this is where I've been and where you find me This Day.  There are innumerable cartons to fill. Yet, in the days ahead I will have more thoughts and comments to make, no doubt.  Bear with me and keep tuned in.

In the meantime, eendeavoring to ever keep before myself the absolute and certain fact that truly here we have no continuing City; and that we are looking forward to the City which has a fixed and firm foundation, whose Architect and Builder is God. 

Yet, for now, looking forward to moving to the home of a much beloved daughter.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Now I Remember Why I Love Springtime

Today is one of those blissful days of Northwest Spring.  
The sky is blue, the clouds white and fluffy.  It is bright.  
The air smells of honey.
The birds serenade, singing their tiny hearts out.  
Mourning doves coo on the wires overhead.  
The Man Himself is in the Holey Land golfing with his chum.

The garden is full and gloriously green.  Even the weeds look fine and healthy.  Naturally.
And so into the garden.  Whether it is moving seedlings, weeding or just enjoying the scene,  it feeds the soul.  (There is also the unkind reminder that winter time indoors with books and things, while most pleasant, does nothing to keep muscles up to form!)

Today the particular delight is digging up extra baby things to give to a gardening friend who is just beginning.  Ladies Mantle, Welsh poppy, tiny pink violets, all will be shared.  These are among my favorite spring things and being a passionate gardener, I want others to thrill to those plants and thrill me.

Back to other gardening delights. Working and weeding among the herbs remind me why I began gardening 30 years ago.  The bracing smell of rosemary, the  sweet licorice fragrance of Sweet Cicily, this you can almost taste.  Setting out the basil bring to mind all the good eats in the season ahead.  The sage is looking lovely, the nobby heads of the chives are just beginning to color.  The lovage, which is one of my garden essentials, is tall and lovely and has already made its way to the salad bowl.

The red currant bush is now in fruit, its tiny green jewel-like clusters hanging generously about.
The rhubarb has  begun to be 'sauced'.

So there it is for today.  Nothing brilliant or wise to be said.  It's only to share the stirrings that move the soul to the wonder of The Promise.

"While the earth remains,
seed time and harvest,
cold and heat, summer and winter, 
and day and night shall not cease.
Yet He did not neglect to leave some witness of Himself,
for He did you good and kindnesses, 
and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons,
satisfying your hearts with nourishment and happiness."

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Long View

Some day of days!
Some dawning yet to be
I shall be clothed
with immortality!

And, in that day,
I shall not greatly care
That Jane spilt candle wax upon the stair.

It will not grieve me then,
as once it did,
That careless hands have chipped my tea pot lid.

I groan, being burdened.
But, in that glad day,
I shall forget vexations of the way.

That needs were often great, when means were small,
Will not perplex me any more at all.

A few short years at most (it may be less),
I shall have done with earthly storm and stress.

So for This Day,
I lay me at Thy feet.
O, keep me sweet, my Master!
Keep me sweet!

~Fay Inchfawn

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Psalter, Wall Words and Small Boys

The small lad in question is the eldest of the great-grands.  He is the fearless leader, the little sister's champion, the one who harasses the next closest cousin.  He is bright, always questioning, gathering information. Now he is learning to read.

On my walls words are stenciled.  Small Lad grew excited the first time he recognized this design as words, words to read.  Up he hopped on the back of the sofa (not an action approved by his mother, by the way) so he could get close enough to read the archway.  It occurred to the Grand-Nan that these were important words and to assist in his reading.  "Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations...."  That is why this photo, while lacking in resolution, is so important.  He is listening as the words are read aloud, those dear words that have come down the generations.

Today's Psalter reading begins with Psalm 102.

"..My days are gone like a shadow:
and I am withered like grass.
But Thou,  Lord, shall endure for ever;
and Thy remembrance throughout all generations...

that they may declare the Name of the Lord in Sion..

The children of thy servants shall continue
and their seed shall stand fast in thy sight."

That is the reason for wall words, for repeating them to Small Lad.
My time 'as the grass' is definitely in the withering stage.  

But my prayer for all our dear Grands and Greats is that they will grow, 
stand fast and shine forth in their generations.

And that they will always love words..particularly the Eternal words of Truth.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

On The Passing of a Friend

Dora Saint

April 17, 1913 - April 7, 2012

(Miss Read)

A friend is one who is a trusted, a comfortable, easy companion.

While Miss Read and I never actually met, we have walked down those charming Cotswold lanes countless times together. She has pointed out the beauties of that countryside as well as relating to me quirks and foibles of those who live in her favored villages.

How I love Cotswold scenes. They have been my secret place ever since childhood. But I didn't meet Miss Read until adulthood. We were introduced by Beloved Niece and I'm ever so grateful to her, to them both.

Visiting Thrush Green and Fairacre in the companionship of Miss Read has been a favorite escape through the years. These books, these scenes have become delightfully familiar.

They have become places of comfort. And laughter too.

In truth, during these past darkish months, I've pretty much lived in Fairacre; at least in a constant bedtime visitation.

So to you Dora dear, dear friend, rest in peace and thank you for the many hours of pleasure you have provided myself and so many others through the years.

I will continue to visit with you in your countryside in future days.

Count on it.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Blessed Easter To All

"On this glad day the glorious Son of Righteousness arose...."

These words, penned by Charles Wesley on the one year anniversay of his conversion, express for us all the simple Truth we celebrate This Day.

It is only fitting that this phrase is in the larger hymn familiar to us 'O for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemers praise.'

This hymn of Charles' is all about the freedom we have because of Resurrection power. Each verse tells of yet another freedom that is ours in Christ.

In keeping with this, and the thought that has been impressed on me most this Lenten season is that "He breaks the power of canceled sin...." The Fact of cancelled sin we acknowledge. Yet so often, like Marley's ghost we travel on our way dragging our rattling sin-chains behind us. May we ever remember that sin was canceled and chains broken by the Power of the Cross .

May we walk in freedom as He intended, as He intends.

May we ever remember what Love cost to purchase our freedom.

This Day and always may we rejoice in that great gift. And truly a thousand tongues are insufficiant to sing our Great Redeemer's praise.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Quaint Words Like Arrows~

Devotion is a worthy darling,

that God sends to the heart to glad it with;

but unworthy is he to have this gift,

that make no dwelling homestead in his heart to it.

We see that above us is with our belief,

but it savours us not,

for we are so full of earth that we have lost our taste.

~ 15th Century

These words charmed me with their sweetness as I read, and then came the last phrase: for we are so full of earth that we have lost our taste.


Losing ones taste, ones appetite is a sad business. It happens and for one who enjoys food, the delight of living is diminished. Nourishment becomes lackluster routine. Duty.

So it is in the spiritual realm as well, isn't that so? When we become so full of earth, so focused on the here and now, we not only lose sight of what we are to be about, we lose our appetite for the rich and wondrous food on the table prepared for us in the wilderness.

This may seem for you, Dear Reader, a very random thought as this Lenten season draws to a close, but my confession is that This Day, these were the words needful to this drooping soul

and spirit.

May we truly provide 'homestead for the Darling given us'. May we "seek those things which are above", as the Apostle Paul commanded us.

May our hearts truly be glad for gifts given.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Thinking Like The Birds

"...abiding under the Shadow of the Almighty,

it sits on its little twig content,

and lets God take care."

~Martin Luther

photo: Cornel lab of Ornithology

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Perscription for Wellness

Take one small cottage,
fill with family round a table of food,
voices in harmony around that table singing the Doxology
and there you have it.

No, that's really not all, only the beginning.

The Son & Heir and his family visited this week. All other family able joined in for the day, each after their day's work. Effort was required by all but family gatherings have become most important these days.
Eighteen in all gathered, including the three Littles.

Such a gathering reminds me once again of my vast storehouse of blessings, blessings in human form followed by the blessing of sweet memories to keep close to the heart for coming years.

We are four generations now. That fact alone causes wonder. In a quiet kitchen moment my 6 foot plus tall grandson snuggled in and asked "Nana, did you ever think you would be a great-grandma?". Frankly, it never occurred to me. And in addition to the wonder of that fact there comes the sobering truth. What memories will this present generation of Littles carry through their days? What seeds will settle in their little spirits that will sprout and grow, and hopefully bring forth good fruit?

This thought burned in my heart as I watched (I know, the eyes should have been shut,) their little faces as the family sang praise to our God. Their eyes were large with wonder. Each of them know the hymn but their little mouths were tight closed as they too watched and listened. How I pray that this sound of praise will take deep root and carry through their lives.

But there are and were assorted other moments to store up. There was the science teacher uncle holding deep conversation with the grown up grandson. There was the daughter sitting at the The Dad's feet just chatting in the common way. There was the wonder of a grand daughter, now wife and mum chatting as an equal with the auntie.

There is much silliness that goes on with our group, there is singing - and this time even ukulele playing - but best of all for me is witnessing the quiet conversation between this one and that in the midst of the commotion. There is always a making time and room for such talks.

One of the sweetest events was a sharing between the tiniest of the Littles, 18 months and the tallest of the grandsons, nearly 20 years. They sat gazing at each other in wonder softly singing the alphabet song. Will she remember this kindly giant who lovingly entered her little world? He will no doubt, as will I.

There were many more moments, of course, not the least of which came at the end with Son & Heir sharing his composition set to Isaac Watt's hymn of Psalm 116. This was a special gift to The Dad.

Did I mention blessings?
Oh my yes. Blessings indeed.
And good medicine?
Absolutely. The very best.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Two For This Day

Some days the thoughts are scattered, the spirit unsettled and searching. Then everything picked up, regardless of the source speaks to the issue at hand.

For today, Dear Reader, I shall offer only two voices with one and the same thought. The style varies, the words are different, the message the same.

And yes, both answer the question of the day that is on the heart, the question regarding future decisions, choices, steps.

"It has been well said that no man ever sank under the burden of the day.
It is when tomorrow's burden is added to the burden of today that the weight is more than a man can bear.

Never load yourselves so, my friends. If you find yourselves so loaded, at least remember this:
it is your own doing, not God's.
He begs you to leave the future to Him, and mind the present."

~George MacDonald

"As for the things which God has prepared for those who love Him, the Bible tells me that no man can conceive them.

God has conceived them;
God has prepared them;
God is our Father.
That is enough."

~Charles Kingley, Sermons for the Times, 1855

Yes. I touched the pages to see 'if the ink was dry'.
It was.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Differant Sort of January and Habakkuk's God

It has been a January like no other and I can say I'm ever so glad it is behind me.

January has always meant cleaning out closets, putting order where clutter festers, and reading the book of Deuteronomy.

I began Deuteronomy, some clutter was routed and other than that, nothing. It was a month of blizzard conditions. Much of our area was without power. With grateful heart I report that Mercy saw to it we remained lighted and heated.

The month was mostly spent in this ER, that doctor's office, that hospital room. Much has been learned through this and much reflection over the year has been made. (More on that later)

There were bright spots to be sure. The church where we have served for 10 years put on a lovely 'retirement' party for us. Forty years of ministry was acknowledge by the coming of many from far and near. That afore mentioned snow business hindered many from attending. However, in His way, as is always His way, the Lord brought just the right people and gave the perfect measure of grace and strength for the event.

Now we go forward in the days ahead - into the unknown as always, but assured - finally and again - of the One who leads the way.

These have been testing days, long days followed often by longer nights, but here we are. And through it all, the stored up promises of scripture and hymnody have been what carried and kept the mind in order, the spirit fresh, when there was little time for little more than snippets and sips of the water of the Word.

And once again, I stand next to the prophet Habukkuk taking comfort in his words penned so long ago. These are words to which I've run clinging so often through the years.

The Chaldean hordes may have threatened but God proved once again to be the Everlasting Rock. Dreams and plans lay in crumbles but "the earth was filled with the knowledge and the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." All so often seemed hopeless, helpless, lost, with strength gone and the fabric of life unraveling and yet.... AND YET! That glorious, resounding, magnificent 'nevertheless', those grand familiar words of so long ago calling out once again from the watchtower.

Though the fig tree may not blossom,

though no fruit is on the vine,

though the olive crop has failed

though the fields give us no food,

though the folds have lost their flocks,

and in the stalls no cattle lie,

YET in the Eternal we will find our joy,

we will rejoice in the God who saves us.

The Lord, the Eternal, is our strength,

He makes our feet sure as the feet of hinds,

and helps up to keep our footing on the heights!

Praise His yet again!

~James Moffatt trans.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Rousing Prayer for the New Year

Frank W. Boreham


Frank Boreham's writings are among my favorites. There is a shelf of him, well as shelf and a half to be more accurate, in my cloister chair corner. Forty titles in all, and this is not all of his books. I have read my forty all, at least once. Some repeatedly.

Today's quotation begins a compilation Daily Readings from F. W. Boreham. Mine is a battered paper back copy, a treasure found in a used book shop in North Bay, Ontario. It is a treasure by its content but also because it was found on a most memorable trip trans-Canada the Husband and I made in 2000.

Boreham was a preacher, pastor, essayist. He had the poet's gift and the human touch. He was staunchly evangelical. He wrote with gentle humor but also thrilling passion. While his writings sometimes seem too sanguine, possibly verbose for our times, still Dear Reader, I recommend him to you. He will lift your spirits, open your eyes to the common place wonders of Creation, and encourage your walk with the Creator.

"Come, O Thou Conqueror Renowned", I cry,

"and repeat on the battlefield of my heart

Thine ancient and glorious triumphs!

In all my daily warfare with the world, the flesh, the devil,

let me feel Thee slaying Thine old-foes all over again!

By Thine Almighty Power -

the Power by which the worlds were made;

the Power of Thy resurrection -

secure in me the victory

over everything that cools my affection for Thyself,

over everything that impedes or arrests my spiritual pilgrimage,

over everything that obscures my vision of life's real issues

and of life's true goal!"

The faith that overcomes is a living faith in a Living Conqueror.

I place my hand in His.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

...gang aft agley-ing

[With a slight nod to Robby Burns who said it first about the best laid plans of mice and men.]

Truth to tell, there are two sets of plans. Always.. man plans and God plans.

The grand finale here was planned for Christmas Day in the morning. All the children and grands, geographically able, would come to share the final worship service with us for the Patriarch's last day in the pulpit. A retirement, it was labeled, but it was oh so much more than that.

For our family, it truly was an important event. Generations of preacher/pastors have been the way of things. With this leaving, the line at least pauses until we see who the Lord may raise up in coming generations.

To make this closing a reality, some of the family units put aside their Christmas plans already in place in order to come. Others were scheduled to join our table for dinner following.

The day dawned. The Preacher was unable! Swift calls were made "if you haven't left yet..." sort of calls. Those coming from afar had indeed left yet and in fact were nearly at our door.

Because the change was sudden, alas, I was still sporting my not so glamorous, mismatched early morning attire. [Isn't it sad how we go for comfort when we don't expect callers? - the elegant pink fleece Laura Ashley remained in the closet.]

Group by family group began assembling. [I did manage to dress appropriately on one point, although the Stewart plaid slippers remained for the day.]

As it turned out, it was a lovely day, a fine gathering. The comings and goings of all over-lapped so that each saw the others. That hadn't happened on a Christmas Day in donkey's years. There was much gentle visiting. Each of the children and grandchildren had alone time with the Dad/grandpa. Also a rare happening.

Those that needed to go, went and hopefully with joy. Those who remained ate the planned meal and with joy.

The only traditional element that remained that day was the singing of the Doxology after the prayer, before the meal. The harmony, the spirit are always meaningful. Some how through the years, this has become the centerpiece of any gathering.

So the day's plans were quiet turned on their head. But as it was, our God-planned day turned out to be sweetly memorable in every way. The Ending didn't take place with fireworks and bangs and a cast of many, but rather with a soft sighing and in the bosom of the family only. It was a day oddly blessed in every way.

Now the Christmas trappings are all away in their boxes waiting another year. With them go the already precious memories of this season just past.

This is a simple account, and provides a gentle reminder to hold all our own scripted plans carefully and with open hands.

What better attitude for the unknowns in our year ahead?

So we go handed, carefully and with joy, confident that His plans are already in place and will be revealed one by one when the time is right.