Autumn’s Arrival–A Gift from God

Colors change as if driven by an unseen hand. (compliments of freephotosonline)

With the lingering summer season in the northwest, I was surprised to drive down my street yesterday and suddenly find all the trees dressed in new colors. As though some giant hand had pressed a button marked autumn, the season paraded itself in shades of yellow, orange and red.

The change surprised me, since I had only finished making the concord grape jelly and stored my canner last weekend—a sure sign at my house that summer has ended. But wasn’t it just last week temperatures hovered in the eighties? Did the trees wait for me to be through so they could change their clothes?

Autumn is one of my favorite seasons of the year. Like spring, the weather remains mild and the colors around the yard leave me awestruck. I need the transition time. Like a squirrel, I stash things away for the coming winter. Percale sheets are exchanged for flannels, flower bulbs are mulched under layers of leaves, and windows are washed one final time before the rain drizzle  grays out the sun.

The seasons are a gift to us, part of the covenant God made with Noah after the flood. In Genesis 8:20-22 (NKJV) Noah offers a sacrifice to God for saving his family. God, in turn, says he will never again curse the land man walks on, nor will he destroy every living thing. Instead, God says, (vs. 22)  “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.”

This verse makes autumn much more special, knowing all the brightness and flaming color is an ordained time for us to prepare ourselves for winter.

 Not to mention a banquet for our senses and a salve upon our spirits.

Heavenly Orchestra–Something to Experience

compliments of fre photos online

Duh-duh-duh-dunn. De-de-de-duh.

Recognize the rhythm?

Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

My family has enjoyed many musical productions at the Hult Center, our local performing arts theater in Eugene, Oregon. When the opportunity arose this summer to buy season tickets to the Eugene Symphony Orchestra’s concerts, I did.

Last Thursday my daughter and I went to hear the work by Ludwig van Beethoven.  The concert also included metropolitan opera soprano Christine Brewer performing Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs as well as a work by Maurice Ravel,  La valse

According to Wikipedia, Beethoven faced the onset of deafness early in his career. Listening to this symphony, which was composed during his middle period after the deafness had begun to plague him, I wondered if the strength of the work, the repeated stanzas, and the striking downbeats helped him “hear” the work because of the rhythms produced.

 One would not have to hear the notes to sense the pulse of the music. The repeated motion of the bows on the violins, the booming of the timpani and the call of the trumpets would all have produced a resonance anyone in the audience could feel, even if they could not hear.

 In Psalm 150 (NKJV) we are told to praise the Lord with trumpet, lute, and harp, with the timbrel and dance, with stringed instruments and flutes, with loud and crashing cymbals. The beauty and physical impact of the music Thursday made me think of the angelic annunciations surrounding Christ’s birth when the angels gathered over the shepherds and sang, Glory to God in the Highest, the volume of the voices and the overwhelming display in the night sky frightening those humble men who tended their sheep. 

Sitting there Thursday night I could only imagine how beautiful the music will be when we reach heaven and sit before the throne. I’m convinced I will feel as well as hear the power and majesty of the heavenly orchestra.  

Putting the Pollsters in Perspective

The phone is ringing as I step from the shower.  I drip my way to answer, only to hear the question, “If the election were held today, would you vote Democrat or Republican in Congressional District 12?”

I groan, then tell the bright and cheery voice that my husband and I decided several years ago we would not participate in telephone polls. The voice sputters, thanks me for my time, and hangs up.

I told the pollster the truth. We believe polls negatively impact the democratic process by projecting who will win ahead of the election. Those voters who have not studied the pamphlet and not made a decision based on the candidate’s qualifications, experience or character, vote for the poll leader simply to say they voted for the winner.

It leaves me wondering how effective the election process is.

But this week I read the blog: “To Appreciate the Right to Vote, Live in a Country that doesn’t have it”  Writing colleague, Ann Gaylia O’Barr, writes about the importance of our elections.  As an adult, Ann worked overseas as a Foreign Service Officer in the United States Department of State from 1990 to 2004. Assignments included tours in U.S. embassies and consulates in Saudi Arabia (Jeddah and Dhahran), Algeria, Canada, Tunisia, and Washington, D.C. (Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and Bureau of Intelligence and Research). She watched 911 unfold from the other side of the world.

In her blog Ann wonders why we take our right to vote so casually. Having lived in countries where choosing one’s leader is not an option, she has had foreign citizens stare at her absentee ballot as if it were an “object of reverence”, wishing they had the right to vote where they live.

Ann’s blog helped adjust my attitude toward the upcoming election. The pollsters, the ads, and the piles of mail all represent the protected right of every citizen to live in a country where we have a say in who will lead us.

God makes it clear in His word that leaders are put into power by His divine appointment. Romans 13:1 (NKJV) “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”

Likewise we are exhorted to pray for our leaders in I Timothy 2:2 (NKJV)  The apostle Paul says “. . .first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”

So I would say to you, before you vote, pray over your choices. Seek God’s input. But above all, exercise your right as a citizen to have a say in who will lead us. Don’t take the privilege lightly. There are those among us who hope you won’t use your vote in order for their agendas to be shoved to the top. Guard our freedom.


Additional Author’s note: If you’d like to read Ann’s blog in its entirety click on the link below.  Ann gave me permission to use the link.

I’d like to recommend Ann’s books.  I just read Searching for Home  (available at Amazon Books and Barnes and Noble). The tale is a delightful mix of romance, foreign intrigue and travel adventure all compiled together in one great read.  Other books by Ann Gaylia O’Barr: Singing in Babylon, Quiet Deception, Distant Thunder and a Sense of Mission.                         

Leaving Dallas–Get Me to the Plane on Time


y'all come back now, y'hear?

 When I learned the American Christian Fiction Writers conference would be in Dallas, Texas I harbored mixed feelings about flying, especially worried about the new security measures. I read the ACFW first-timers orientation e-mail loop like a concordance, gathering travel tips like bread crumbs.Apparently the tips paid off because I slipped through the security line without incident. But trouble still lurked. When weather delayed my flight, my connecting plane in San Francisco flew without me and I landed in Dallas five hours later than originally planned, tired and hungry.

I hoped the trip home would be less tense.

I checked in from my hotel computer, paid my baggage fee and printed my boarding pass while standing in the lobby. The shuttle driver dropped me off at Terminal E without so much as a second glance. Except I stood outside gate 42 and I needed gate 8.

I pitied the passenger who would have to sit next to me on the plane as I pulled two suitcases and carried a tote down the sidewalk in the hot Dallas sun. I slipped through security once again and found myself in front of gate 8. How fantastic was that?

  I put myself back together—jewelry tucked in a plastic bag in my tote. I checked the flight monitor and didn’t see my departure listed, but knew I had a long wait, so I didn’t worry. I took a picture of the only Dallas cowboy I saw, a gentleman attending the information desk.

As time drew nearer to my flight, I wondered why there weren’t many people around me and why the waiting area monitor kept reading Newark, New Jersey. A voice niggled at me, “Check your ticket.”

 I pulled out my boarding pass, put on my glasses, and realized I’d misread the ticket—I needed gate E6. Heading that direction, stopping long enough to buy a sandwich, I sank into a padded chair. No sooner had I taken a bite than I heard my name being called over the loudspeaker. I approached the attendant, identifying myself.

“Your plane is boarded, ma’am. Do you wish to fly?”

Embarrassed, I yanked my boarding pass out, had it screened and hurried down the jet bridge to my flight. I apologized to the waiting attendant. “I was at the wrong gate.”

He laughed and said it happens all the time. I found my seat, still clutching my sandwich and my drink and sat down with a whoosh, my panic not yet abated. I thanked God for His protection over me.

I’m glad I made my flight, but as I sat there waiting for my heart to still, I thought of all the blogs I could have written had I been stranded in Texas.

 Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Philippians 4:19 (NKJV) “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”