Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Pacific Northwest’

I Can Hear The Leaves Falling!

Trail in the woods

Trail in the woods (Photo credit: blmurch)

 

Today we took another one of our walks on this trail near our house.  The path of the trail leads through a very wooded area, dense with trees, vines and bushes.  At times we have been lucky enough to spot a deer standing perfectly still like a soldier at attention.  Sometimes a bunny rabbit or squirrel will make its presence known.  And today a tree frog sang out to us as if to say, “look at me, look at me!”

English: The New England Tree Frog (Litoria su...

English: The New England Tree Frog (Litoria subglandulosa). Because this photograph concerns a rare and/or protected species, only an approximate location is provided: Ebor, Australia Français : Litoria subglandulosa. Ebor, Nouvelle-Galles du Sud (Australie). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were walking along, talking about this and that – when all of a sudden Greg said, “listen!”  I stopped and heard a rustling noise – more than the rustling of an animal stalking us in the bush beyond where we can see.  I looked up and to my surprise, I saw the MANY leaves falling from the tall trees far above our heads.  They made quite a demonstration of it – crackling and bumping the tree branches on their long descent down.  It was really breathtaking.

And so we continued along ever mindful of the change in the path, now covered with crispy newly fallen leaves – and the turn in the weather in the last few days.  The 29th day of August – it is official.  Fall is already here.

As I contemplated this, I must admit that I was sad.  I love fall – don’t get me wrong.  Living in the Pacific Northwest has been beautiful this summer but very short-lived.   I am sad that we have to wave goodbye too soon.

Still – I do love the crisp and cool mornings and the smell of the earth as things change in the weather.  I love the fall colors and the season that it precedes.

And there is nothing like falling leaves – full of color, as they float to the ground.  Sometimes they are silent and fall without our knowing.  Sometimes they make a BIG NOISE as they fall.  But they fall just the same.  It is a fact of life.  We can either accept them and their ultimate demise – even if we think it is before their time, or we can cover our eyes and ears and say, “NO!  I won’t accept this!”  Either way – it is going to happen.

Autumn leaf color

Autumn leaf color (Photo credit: INABA Tomoaki)

Fall is a time of death.  It is a resting time for nature.  It is a time to regroup and take a nice long nap.  The beauty of those leaves reach their final peak of brilliant color – just as they are about to die.  God designed that even death would have its own beauty.

Take a walk today – observe what is happening in nature. Another turning of events – another season unfolding before our eyes and ears.  And in the long winter months – we can be assured that just as things had to die – they will be reborn again.  Spring is coming.

God Bless

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Surviving The Weather

Today I took an innocent road trip with Greg to Bremerton – about an hour and a half or so from where we live. It was raining a little when we left Renton – but as we headed south the rain really picked up.

Something you should know about me – I’m not comfortable driving in the rain. I have a car that sits very low to the ground and inhibits me from seeing well especially in rain. Larger trucks and semi’s have a way of passing me really quickly and then spewing all their water on my windshield – prohibiting me from seeing ANYTHING for a couple of seconds. This releases sheer panic in me.

I have much history driving in the rain. Anyone who lives in the Pacific Northwest has to sink or swim (no pun intended) as the case most often is when living here. I remember many times driving on the freeway because of necessity either to get somewhere or to get home – usually in the rain – sometimes in the dark – sometimes both. Can you guess the other least favorite thing of mine? That’s right. Dark. Specifically driving in the dark.

So I try not to do either of these whenever I can avoid them.

But today I was riding shotgun and Greg was driving. As I get older I must be getting much more paranoid or something because it REALLY FREAKED ME OUT driving in the pouring rain beside semi’s and other enormous trucks all of them spewing water on our windshield. I know I wasn’t driving – but it still bothered me – and when the brake lights would come from vehicles ahead of us I would feel this rising panic. Greg is not afraid and drives aggressively which may be the reason for my concern. I am not an aggressive driver – especially in the rain and/or dark. I’m always just glad to finally get home. And I’m usually glad when someone else is doing the driving.

One time on the freeway when I was driving – I saw brake lights ahead and thought everyone was just slowing down – no big deal – but then I had to quickly SLAM ON MY BRAKES as the vehicles ahead were at a STAND STILL right in the middle of the freeway – no warning – NOTHING. It really freaked me out – and now every time I see brake lights on the freeway – I say to Greg, “how can you be sure they are just slowing down?” It really concerns me – especially at high speeds in the rain – and in the dark.

And though I know I will possibly always feels this way and never be comfortable on the freeway with less than perfect conditions – I know I must learn to trust others who have no fear – who have a flawless track record and have logged many hours and miles in dangerous conditions. I know there are others who have a handle on it – and I have nothing to fear. And though I can’t see it as being safe – knowing that others are confidant is HUGE.

I wonder if the Lord feels the same way I know my husband must when I’m in the car with him – and I’m really unhappy and untrusting. I wonder if He wonders why I don’t trust Him – when He sees the big picture of my life and can navigate from His great vantage point. He probably wonders why I just can’t relax – enjoy the ride and let Him get me to the places that He needs me to be – without me fussing and fighting Him.

The next time something is happening in your life that is scary or less than pleasant – try thinking of it this way: God is with you – He is in the driver’s seat. He will get you where you need to be. You are safe. It will be alright.

I am still learning this. Mine is a continual journey of trust.

God Bless

We Are More Alike Than We Think

United Methodist Church, in

United Methodist Church, in (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Greg and I have had the privilege lately of visiting churches on Sunday mornings here in the Pacific Northwest.  We have been open to trying other denominations and have listened and taken everything in with no judgement or bias (well…maybe a little bias) and have appreciated things new and unfamiliar to us.

In our search we have met some really wonderful people, seen and heard some great music and teaching ministries. The most impressive have been the people in these different denominations.  Deep down inside I’m forced to admit, that I expected people who didn’t think and believe exactly like me to be unfriendly, hostile, pushy and illiterate, lacking depth and reasoning skills.  Pretty dumb.  But the teachings of childhood are hard to shake and once we get a preconceived idea in our head – it is very hard to change it.

As Greg and I have journeyed through our denomination and seen many changes happening in the music, it has been both good and bad for us.  Good in that our kids really enjoyed the progressive trend toward all things modern and new and bad for us in that some of it is just too much the same, some too hard to follow, some too loud etc.  We are somewhere between modern and 20 years ago – and to be honest the music of 15 years ago still suits us best.  Take away choir and orchestra music of our denomination and you’re left with just a worship band with not much variety.

So we have explored music of the more traditional denominations that we thought we would NEVER be interested in.  The Presbyterian and Methodist being among our favorite choices so far – for their depth of teaching, variety of music and beauty of the service.  I was never familiar with a more liturgical service (thought it was only in the Catholic church) had been to a Lutheran service once or twice where my Dad is the organist and was convinced that it was not for me.  But there is a beauty to the order and planning of every scripture reading – hymn chosen and scripture song sung for the message.

Nothing can compare to the pipe organ and huge choir at 1st Presbyterian Church in Bellevue.  The pastor is very interesting, uses humor and deep teaching to make his points clear – and honestly, it’s the best music in “church” I’ve ever heard.

But proximity is very important if hoping to become involved – and we are a couple of miles from Fairwood Community United Methodist Church where I visited yesterday.  I’ve always been curious because this is the lovely little church that I rent twice a year to have my recitals with my students.  I’m not sure what I expected – but it was certainly different (in a good way) than what I thought it would be.  The people were so friendly – had two people engage with me (I was late) before I even got into the sanctuary while standing in the foyer while the choir and teenagers being confirmed were on the platform singing an opening number.  They treated me like I was already one of them.  Then I found my seat toward the back and a nice older man behind me helped me as I stumbled a few times, wondering what book they were singing from.  There were 6 eighth graders that had been confirmed in the earlier service and were a part of the beginning part of the service that I was in – with introductions and explanation to the younger children and adults (like me unfamiliar with confirmation) of what was being done.

The pastor of this church is a woman.  I did not know how I would feel about this.  But my concerns were quickly diminished when I heard her speak and saw her with the children.  She uses humor and relevant topics to convey her point – yesterday she spoke on “Heroes” and used “The Hunger Games” as her premise.  It was relevant and interesting.  I looked around and saw many people just like me.  The same needs, concerns and place in life.  Many have never walked the road in ministry that we have – or ever will – they will never know what we have experienced in another denomination – never see things around the country and here in our own city inside a different type of church – and yet – I realized this:  we are more alike than we think.

I’m not sure where our journey will ultimately end – but in the meantime, I am reassured that God is not just restricted to one denomination.  He is everywhere – relevant to those who seek Him.  Ever present in our songs of worship, our traditional choir anthems and in our prayers offered up in reverence.  We have good friends from the Tri-Cities area who have been pastors like us in our denomination and have found themselves feeling quite at home in the Methodist Church.

When was the last time you visited something different from what you’re used to and were forced to removed the box where your God exists for you?  When was the last time you were really open?  Will it surprise you to see some people from other denominations in heaven with you?  We are the ones who put people in denominations and categories of “spiritual” and “non-spiritual” – God does not.  He just sees the heart.

Lord help me to be open to things that are different.  Help me to see people the way you see them.  Help me to engage in a way that I am always open to your leading.  Amen.

God Bless

In Like A Lion

Snow Cat

Snow Cat (Photo credit: clickclique)

It is March 1st today and there is no sign of warmer weather in the Pacific Northwest.  I was reminded of the saying, “In like a Lion, out like a Lamb” and sure hope that will be true this year – as we are all freezing here!

I was born in Calgary, Alberta and up until I turned 8 years old.  I am a March baby and  I remember snow on my birthday every year when living in Canada.  But from then until a few years ago I had not seen snow on my birthday here in Washington State.  March is typically rainy in western Washington – but usually not cold enough to snow.  However the weather patterns have been slowly changing and the things I don’t remember in the seasons 40 years ago, or even 10 years ago – are indeed happening today.

And so we make a fire almost every night – bundle up when we go outside to take a walk and try to stay warm in the house during the day – and pray for warmer weather to finally arrive.

And so Happy March to all of you whether you are in cold weather or experiencing spring already.  We will more than likely catch up with you at the end of the month when we get that “out like a lamb” kind of feeling.  Lambs are definitely much more preferred right now in Seattle 🙂

God Bless

The Perfect Storm

English: "Besides disrupting transportati...

Image via Wikipedia

Last week was miserable in the Pacific Northwest with all the snow, ice and then the warmer temperatures and high winds – melting all that snow on trees and caused significant damage and power outages all over the state.  There was a night and day that were LOUD as snow and ice would fall on our roof and branches of trees would snap, crack and gyrate, hitting our roof and sides of our home.  It looked like a war zone in our yard – and the noise was constant.  Our 4 month old puppy, Daisy – did not like it one bit – and we couldn’t explain to her what was going on – or that it was just something normal that happens as things warm up and melt.  She was just FREAKED OUT.

But like any storm, and melting thereof, it soon passed.  Things returned to “normal” around here – at least for her.  Then last night, just before bed – a strong wind-storm swept in and rattled things around AGAIN.  Instead of just ‘hunkering down’ and going to sleep, every little burst of wind and rattle against the sky light and window would cause her to jump to attention and bark – then cower and whimper.  Soon she jumped from the bed and paced from room to room crying and would NOT be consoled – no matter what I did.

Greg was gone, doing windows at his night job.  Finally when he did come home after finishing his work – he found a very frightened but excited puppy – and his presence seemed to comfort her enough that she was able to snuggle up next to him and finally go to sleep for the remainder of the night.

I was reminded of something while she struggled last night during her ‘perfect storm’ – being distracted and frightened by gusts of wind and rain pounding against our house – that I too often struggle against the ‘noise’ of this world – things I can’t comprehend and things that ‘freak me out’ because they are loud, or feel funny, or just scare me.  How often am I distracted by things that are really just ‘normal’ in the big scheme of things.  Is it a reminder of how BIG God is – and how small I am – and I am not meant to understand everything?  Is my “perfect storm” really just a way of coming to Him, like a frightened puppy does when her daddy finally comes home?

There’s safety trusting in our Heavenly Father – who made the wind, rain and storms.  And He has ultimate control, not only of the physical universe – but of the spiritual realm as well – and can calm my own personal storm by just a whisper.

I’m reminded of the storm in the Bible where the disciples and Jesus were on a boat.  Jesus was tired and had gone down below to sleep and a storm whipped up and the disciples were FREAKED OUT thinking they were going to die.  When they awakened sleepy Jesus they said, “Don’t you care that we’re all going to die”  He simply spoke to the storm, “Peace, Be Still” and it was quiet again.  And they were all amazed.

This same Jesus is here to calm the storms in my life and yours.  What seems difficult for us to understand or wrap our minds around – Is NOT too difficult for Him.

And like a puppy who simply can’t comprehend when it is imaginary or real danger  – so we are prone to get distracted by wind and rain in our own world – thinking that it is the BIGGEST STORM we’ve ever had – when all it is – is just noise.

What is your perfect storm?  Are you in one right now?  Does God speak peace to you through the noise and confusion – or are you TOO FREAKED OUT to hear His voice saying, “Peace Be Still” in your own situation?  If you trust Him and know He is in control of the winds, rain and bad storms in your life – then what bad thing can happen?  

Dear Lord – help me to hear your voice through the distractions and noise of my own personal storms.  Help me to see you reaching out your protective arms of peace and strength.  Help me to be soothed by your very presence – drawing me in to snuggle up beside you and just simply trust.

Amen

Driving Opposite On A One-Way Road

Mount Rainier

Image by dherrera_96 via Flickr

Yesterday was a rare and beautiful day here in the Pacific Northwest – the mountain (Mt. Rainier) was out and sky blue and cloudless.  I got in my car and  headed south to go and visit my daughter and son-in-law – and found myself in a parking lot of freeway traffic for an hour and a half – on what normally would have been a 25 minute trip.

I had never driven to my daughter’s new home before – only been a passenger, and like so many of us that are passengers – we just simply don’t pay very close attention to the exit signs.  Greg told me which one – unfortunately I did not have his GPS and was confident that I could find it without one – after all, hadn’t I been there several times before?  The exit sign looked different to me – and I was looking for a name that was in smaller print on the sign and therefore missed it all together – finding myself several exits south – in another town!

I was so distressed by this – the traffic was bad – the weather HOT and I pulled down a side road and called my daughter.  She told me I had gone too far – and to get back on the freeway and go 2 more exits – just what to look for from the freeway and I would find it.  I thought to myself, “there’s NO WAY I’m getting back on that crazy freeway” – but since there was no back road – I had no choice.  So I turned the car around and made a left hand turn to go back to the on ramp of the freeway – following another car.  When all of a sudden I realized that it was a ONE WAY STREET!  The car ahead of me had made the same mistake and quickly got himself to the intersection and darted across to the other side without being noticed.  Me, however – was NOT so quick – and I had cars from the oncoming lane HONKING AND YELLING and I’m sure one even gave me the finger too.  It was most humiliating.  So I made my way to that same intersection where the other car had magically disappeared – leaving me looking like an idiot – only I was STUCK THERE.  There was NO WAY to get across – as I was clearly in the wrong place and there was no stop light for me.  I must have sat there for a minute or two wondering what to do – and it seemed like HOURS!  Finally I waited for the red light and no other cars coming from the other way – and I GUNNED it across the intersection with 3 cars sitting there GAPING at me.  Yeah.  It was stupid and gutsy and ridiculous – and I felt MORTIFIED – but I got through and eventually got on that stupid freeway again.

This is a true story – I made nothing up – how can you make stuff up like this?

Have you ever had this happen to you?

Do you ever feel like your going down a one way – on the wrong side of life?

Please share 🙂

 

God Bless

Happy April! And That’s No Fooling! (via Cindy Holman’s Blog)

As I am usually QUEEN of the April Fool’s pranks – just wanted to post last years blog post on this day – telling of some of my better pranks 🙂 I’m still trying to think of a few for my son and husband – the day is still young –  Shhh!

So to you and yours – HAPPY APRIL to you!!  This year I’m watching MY back 🙂

 

God Bless

Happy April!  And That's No Fooling! As I look at my blog post from last year – I read how it was SNOWING here in the Pacific Northwest!  What a good “April Fool’s” that was!! This year – it’s still pretty cold out – but at least it’s SUNNY!! I am very mischievous by nature and have pulled some WONDERFUL April Fool’s “pranks” over the years – my family knows me well – and never know just what I’ll do to them on this day!!  My favorite one happened when my husband Greg was in seminar … Read More

via Cindy Holman’s Blog

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