All Gave Some, Some Gave All

The view is amazing

On a trip to Oahu scheduled over Memorial Day weekend some years back, my husband and I sidelined the regular tourist haunts in favor of those with historical value.  One of the stops on our itinerary was the 116-acre cemetery situated in Pouwaina, an extinct volcano transformed in 1948 to serve as a resting place for soldiers of the American Armed Forces who lost their lives during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

On this particular weekend, the Punchbowl National Cemetery of the Pacific had been transformed. Boy Scouts decorated the 34,000 graves, a service project they perform every year at the site. Locals distributed flower leis. Wreaths, ribbons and other memorabilia dotted the landscape.

 The view stole my breath away—not just the city of Honolulu sprawling in every direction from the top of the mountain, but the graves within the perimeter of the site.  The monument bearing the Statue of Columbia that sits in the center of the cemetery, lists the names of 26,000 servicemen missing in action—people for whom no grave exists.

Walking through the cemetery I could only imagine the history that lay beneath the headstones. Men and women who had given all they had to help protect and preserve our nation’s integrity rested here. At one gravesite, we noticed a package of trinkets.  At another, a Snickers bar. Specific memorials left for unforgotten heroes frequented our tour.  

On this Memorial Day, let us not forget the price that has been paid for our freedom. God has blessed America. We enjoy a lifestyle that is the envy of much of the world. While you are enjoying your holiday, pause for a minute to remember those who gave their lives that you can celebrate today.

Little Bird Sings Amazing Song

 

He looked just like this

Ziiiiiiiiiiooooh twee-twee-twee-twee    Ziiiiiiiiooooh twee-twee-twee-twee 

Like air sliding down a straw, the bird’s song echoed across the backyard.  I could hear the little singer outside my kitchen window and wondered what kind of bird sang so prettily.  Every day I heard the warble—it woke me at morning’s first light and entertained me well into the evening. 

I searched for the songster one afternoon when I heard the familiar call again. I peered high into tall trees and hunted low in the bushes. 

Finally I found the bird sitting on a power line just above the lilacs. I’m not a birder, but an Internet search pointed toward a Western wren. He couldn’t have been an inch long, from the back of his head to the tip of his bill. All of him could have fit into one of those plastic eggs we stuff with jellybeans at Easter.  

 There he sat, gripping the fat wire between his tiny feet, singing. He’d aim his bill at the heavens and let out the first sound, like someone blowing air through a tube and sliding it down to lower the pitch. He followed with a bounce of his tail as he twee- twee- twee’d the rest.  Seeing it in print doesn’t do the song justice.

Psalm 100

Make a joyful shout unto the Lord, all you lands!

Serve the Lord with gladness

Come before His presence with singing

Know that the Lord, He is God

He has made us, and not we ourselves

We are His people and the sheep of his pastures.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving

And into His courts with praise.

Be thankful to Him and bless His name.

For the Lord is good, His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations. 

When life gets tough, and the future seems bleak, finding something to sing about becomes difficult. Caught up in our struggles, we forget to raise our voices in praise to an Almighty Creator.

But let us take a lesson from that little wren, which has no permanent home, has to daily search for his food, avoid the cats, and yet finds strength within him to lift his joyful song for all to hear. His song gives us hope, fills us with joy, and lightens our way. Can we do no less for the One who created us?

A Bouquet of Flowers in Honor of Mother’s Day

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The rhododendrons are coming into full bloom where I live. When I researched information on growing the plants, I discovered the flowers flourish in the Pacific Northwest climate, especially between the Cascades and the Pacific Ocean. Other varieties have been propagated to accommodate weather extremes, like southern California and places in the East, but the native species thrive right in my backyard.

For that I am thankful. The colors are amazing—deep purples, hot pinks, lazy lavenders, creamy whites, rosy reds,–the list goes on and on. Along the coast the wild rhododendrons often grow to mammoth proportions, their puffs of blooms dotting many a coastal range.

Yesterday I read a blog posted by

 Take Two  http://rtbtaketwo.wordpress.com that mentioned how the earth would be uninhabitable if it were not for the flowers and trees God placed here. Plants give us air to breathe, protect us from the heat of the sun and offer shade. Their colors give us beauty. God certainly knows what He’s doing.

Since these flowers arrived in time for Mother’s Day I decided to give you an entire album of them, along with a few brave peonies, a Bridal Veil Spirea, some wild bluebells, and a newly bloomed fuchsia. This weekend is for all flower lovers, not just mothers. So enjoy the pictures as well as time spent with your favorite people.

 

Psalm 24:1 The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.The world and those who dwell therein.

 

Happy Mother’s Day

 

Vast Ocean Life Overwhelms Our Thinking

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Years ago a friend who periodically visited us from Florida always wanted to see the Oregon coast. My husband asked her why she needed more ocean when she lived near one. She told him the eastern shore is plain and stretches for miles. Nothing, she said, compared to the one along our coastline. We couldn’t agree more.

So this past weekend my husband, daughter and I traveled to the coast once again. From where we live the ocean is a mere hour away. We decided to take advantage of the sunny weather and drive highway 101 north to Newport, fifty miles further. We never tire of the view.

Our sunny weather didn’t last. Upon arrival the clouds moved in with rain forecast. We could view the ocean from our hotel room window, hear the surf pounding directly below us and watch the sea birds glide on the breeze past our warm indoor post. No need to brave the elements for a better view, we already had one.

The next day it poured. We chose to see the Oregon Coast Aquarium because much of it is under cover. I never cease to be amazed at the unending variety of species that the ocean keeps beneath its surface. I doubt mankind will ever discover all that lives under the sea. Tank after tank of rare fish, sharks and bottom feeders entertained us for hours. When the weather cleared we ventured out to watch the otters, sea birds and seals mug for the camera. A delightful day in spite of the rain clouds.

The Bible talks of the vastness of the ocean when God created it on the fifth day. Genesis 1:20-21:  “Then God said, ‘Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.

So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.’”

 After spending a day at the aquarium, I can only imagine the mind that could have created such a vast array of life in a single day.