A Mountaintop Experience


 

 

 

I celebrated Palm Sunday at Mount Hermon Christian Conference Center in Felton, California last weekend.  This was my fifth visit to the mountaintop retreat center in as many years and is, without a doubt, my favorite writer’s conference.

 Twenty three states were represented by attending conferees. Many came from as far south as Texas and the southernmost states while I met others from as far north as Minnesota and as central as Chicago. Another friend I’d made at a past conference came from Guatemala. The teacher of the morning track class I attended arrived from Florida by way of England where he lives six months of the year

.Considering what a diverse group of people this conference attracts, you would think that we would have difficulty finding common ground. Not so. The spirit of the campus is one of a united passion—finding ways to communicate to a lost and dying world the love and saving grace offered through Jesus Christ. The turmoil and chaos in our world today became a common thread of concern—from the keynote speaker, McNair Wilson, to the editor panels. 

The feeling of community is heightened by the communion service held on Sunday where editors, agents and authors alike meet together to worship at the foot of the cross. No other conference comes close to the spiritual emphasis that is maintained at Mount Hermon.

The Bible encourages us to come together and pray for one another. In Matthew 18:20 (KJV) Jesus says, “ 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

That sense of the Savior in our midst permeated every day of the five days we spent together. Thank you, Mount Hermon staff, for keeping the emphasis where it needed to be. Focused on the only one who can truly CHANGE the world. Our lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

                                                                                                          

 

When Did Spring Sneak Up on Us?

One blossom the night we sprung our clocks forward, a garden full when we awoke the next morning.

Spring is Here? Surprised by the date on next week’s calendar, I have to ask myself when spring snuck up on me. Have I been slogging around in the muddle of winter, overpowered by world news and current events, oblivious to the changes around me?

The birds have certainly been trying to tell me. They flit and flirt in the trees beyond our bedroom window, delightful little tunes coming from their throats. Twitter pated, that delightful term coined by the Disney movie, Bambi, describes the fervor of these happy little creatures.

The squirrels have caught the fever as well—dashing across the lawn, up the tree trunk, and along the top of the fence. Soon our resident mother squirrel will parade this year’s young across our yard, showing them the path she follows through the apple tree, over the roof of the house next door and down the camellia bush to the Ponderosa pine in front. Baby squirrels are so much fun to watch.

The rapid onset of spring has a positive side. Warmer weather, pretty flowers, Daylight Savings Time and Easter. The night we sprung our clocks forward we had one daffodil blooming. When we awoke the next morning, a garden of yellow trumpets greeted us, the sun had come out, and the street where we live came to life—lawn mowers, bikers, parents pushing strollers to the park at the end of the block.

Easter, March 31, which follows the spring solstice, brings another kind of renewal. Jesus came to earth to offer man a bridge to heaven, an escape from sin. His death at Passover, and his resurrection three days later conquered death forever. Because he took on sin, we became righteous in him.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (NASB)

21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Enjoy your spring and the renewal it brings, leaving the dark of winter behind. Embrace the newness Christ offers to you and find spring in your soul.

Happy Spring and an even happier Easter!  I’ll be gone this next week. I’m traveling with a friend to the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in Fenton, California where we’ll join  a host of others fine-tuning our writing skills, connecting with publishers and celebrating Palm Sunday together. See you in two weeks.

Depoe Bay–Laying Claim to the World’s Smallest Harbor

While visiting the coast in February my husband and I booked a room in Depoe Bay, Oregon.  A charming little town on Highway 101 north of Newport and south of Lincoln City, its scenery offers a breathtaking view of the Pacific Coast and the city lays claim to maintaining the world’s smallest harbor.

From our balcony we could see the ocean rushing up to the land, breaking just before it splashed over the highway.  In a winter storm, I could only imagine what the fierce waves might do. To the south of our deck, the beach wandered like a slithering snake in and out of inlets all the way to the Heceta Head lighthouse. To the north, jutting rock and rugged terrain hovered over the ocean below.

I admit I’m in love with the north Pacific coast. I’ve seen California’s beaches and glimpsed the Atlantic once from a ferry, but nothing compares to the breathtaking rock and menacing mountain cliffs that dot the Pacific ocean’s coastal landscape. The highway meanders in and around steep hillsides. Beyond every corner waits another breathtaking view of the ocean—the whitewater and the huge, crashing waves tumble over one another in a hurry to reach the sand.

When I consider the mighty hand of the One who created this beauty, I stand in awe.

In Matthew 8:27-28 Jesus, standing up in a boat in the middle of a storm said, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” And the men who were in the boat with him said, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” (NKJV)

Watching the rage and fury of the ocean outside my motel, I still wonder at His might.

Book Pick–Author Sarah Sundin and Wings of Glory series

Great new romance

One of the most pleasurable accompaniments to our trip to the Tillamook Air Museum in February was the WWII book I took to read, Blue Skies Tomorrow, by debut author Sarah Sundin. A romance in the time of war, Lt. Ray Novak and Helen Carlisle find their way to love despite the bombs, politics and social mores of the time.

Lt. Novak is a pilot who is stationed stateside to train bombardier pilots for war. When the position changes and only pilots with battle experience can keep the job, Lt. Novak must choose between serving as a supply clerk or going to war. To prove his bravery and to win the heart of the woman he secretly loves, he chooses Europe.

Helen Carlisle, widowed when her first husband died in the line of duty, must keep up the pretense of being the serviceman’s widow while living in the shadow of her controlling, former father-in-law. Only the men he approves will she be allowed to date. When dashing and longtime friend Ray Novak comes on the scene she is torn between what society expects of her and the desire to act upon her heart’s wish.

Sarah Sundin has deftly captured the flavor of the times, her attention to detail and her innate ability to write with a fresh voice and delightful asides make this novel outstanding in its genre. Two other books are part of the Wings of Glory series—A Distant Melody and A Memory Between Us. Published by Revell, all three books are available, both in paperback form and on Kindle, from Christian Book Distributors and Amazon books.

You won’t be disappointed.