Deanne Has A Blog!

Jan. 29, 2019

“Hope is the thing with feathers,

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard,

And sore must be the storm,

That could abash the little bird,

                                             That kept so many warm.” (Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886)

The new President for the 2019-2020 Tournament of Roses year, Laura Farber, announced “The Power of Hope” as the Pasadena Tournament of Roses theme. “With hope – anything, in fact, everything is possible,” shared Farber, “hope is more than simply the possibility of fulfillment, hope is dignity and respect, joy and happiness, aspiration and achievement. Hope never, ever quits. Through hope we can aspire to be our best and, in turn, inspire those around us to reach higher.”

I just loved this, as Hope is my favorite, most enduring, most encouraging, most uplifting concept. 1 Corinthians 13:13 mentions hope, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” But hope is right there with it.

“HOPE is the little voice you hear whisper “maybe” when it seems the entire world is shouting “no!”

“H.O.P.E. – Hold On, Pain Ends”

“The only difference between those who threw in the towel and quit and those who used their energy to rebuild and kept it going is found in the word...HOPE.”

“Once you choose HOPE, anything is possible.” Christopher Reeves

“Where there is HOPE, there is faith. Where there is faith, miracles happen.”

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without HOPE and confidence.” Helen Keller

There’s a concept going around, brought to my attention by Michelle Griep, successful author and blogger. Look her up, check out all her books and be amazed. I’ve quoted her before as she’s always right on the mark. Anyway, the concept is to pick one word to be your New Year’s resolution or mission statement for the year.

There was a book a few years back: My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen. This is so cool as you can immediately dump those high-minded and probably impossible resolutions like the Ten Most Common Resolutions following and tune into one concept to change your life.

  • Exercise more
  • Lose weight
  • Get organized
  • Learn a new skill or hobby 
  • Live life to the fullest
  • Save more money / spend less money
  • Quit smoking
  • Spend more time with family and friends
  • Travel more
  • Read more

Seriously?? Get organized? But exactly how do we do that? When it comes to Read More, I don’t have a problem with that one. Here are a couple of books I’m planning to add to my Kindle: “Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant To Be,” by Rachel Hollis and here’s another by her: “Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan For Embracing and Achieving Your Goals.” Guys, you can read these, too. We all need a little encouragement of the “get on with it!” variety.

The word I picked last year is: HOPE!

And I picked it again this year. I’m going to lean heavily on HOPE to help me make wise decisions about my future. I’m leaning heavily on HOPE to bring healing to a number of people I care deeply about. 

The picture is of our great-granddaughter, Addison Noel Johnson, who was born August 24, 2018. Here she is selecting her very first Christmas tree. Can you think of anything more hopeful than a brand new life?

So that’s my word again for the year, HOPE. I’m hoping you’ll pick one that will work for you. I love the idea of HOPE so much that I have it in the title of a new book that is currently in process, "Sunrises & Sunflowers Speak Hope!"

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a HOPE.” Jer. 29:11

 

Dec. 28, 2018

“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon, planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.” Ps. 92:12-15

I read this Psalm yesterday, December 27th, two days after Christmas, and I was so taken with the concept of bearing fruit in old age, staying fresh and green. Isn’t that an attractive prospect, dear friends and family? Beats the heck out of being permanently out to lunch mentally, while still taking up space this side of heaven. The New Year is right around the bend...2019...can you believe it? And I am hoping that God will fill my mind with His thoughts and creativity so I can count myself in with the fresh and green crowd.

This time of year with a New Year lurking right around the corner, many of us think about making resolutions. Or resolving not to make resolutions. A good friend and fellow author, Michelle Griep, suggested the following:

“It’s a new year. Be awesome. Wear a helmet. Don’t forget to call your mom. Or your therapist. Whatever. Be real.” 

To that I would like to add: floss your teeth, write thank you letters for anything someone gives you, or for something nice someone does. Read your Bible. Yeah, I know, you’ve already read it, but it’s not the continuing saga of Harry Potter, friends, it’s God’s letter to us, telling us He loves us. Look around you. Notice stuff. Like flowers and trees and butterflies and bees. And people. Buy a tomato plant at Home Depot, put it in a pot in a sunny spot, water it once in a while and you’ll be so delighted when a tomato appears. Say nice things to people. Smile. Hug.

Eat healthier. Walk more. Look at sunrises and sunsets. Every day I have a front row seat to another awesome sunrise, and every evening, I walk down to the corner and watch God’s artistry as another sunset fills my heart with admiration for His amazing gift for spectacular sunsets.

Find a cause to believe in. I believe in the Union Rescue Mission; Children International where I share in the support of the cutest little eleven year old girl in the Philippines, Ezekiella Crishay Palma, who is in fifth grade and sends me letters telling me about her life. I believe in Feed The Children where I am one of the supporters of Fred, a neat soccer playing kid in Malawi who sends me letters and likes to see pictures I print out for him. I believe in St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. I believe in Smile Train, where $250 can fix a horribly disfigured little child, born with a cleft palate, doomed to a life of pain and rejection.

Learn to do something new. This past year I learned how to downsize from a big two-story house in Southern California to a much smaller (thankfully!) one story house in Arizona, which is three doors down the street from our youngest daughter, Crissy, her husband, Chris, and our two former Texas girls, Jessie (11) and Emily (8). This past Christmas was my second without my best friend, my husband of 50 years, the sweet and adorable John. It wasn’t as hard as last Christmas was, coming just a couple of months after his departure for heaven on October 9th. I was so busy this year, cooking, decorating, having the girls spend time at my house that I didn’t spend nearly as much time looking back to past Christmases.

I guess my major resolution for the coming year is to be fresh and green, to embrace new things, new people. And to be awesome. To be real. To be kind.

Happy New Year, dear friends! May it be our best one yet, filled with love, peace, joy, laughter God’s richest blessings and sunrises and sunsets that take your breath away.

 

 

Sep. 21, 2018

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies...

The man who never reads lives only one.”

George R. R. Martin

 

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.

The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Dr. Seuss

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free!” Frederick Douglass

Recently, I came across a review of a book by Anne Bogel, “I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life.”

“For so many people, reading isn’t just a hobby or a way to pass the time,” Anne says, “it’s a lifestyle. Our books shape us, define us, enchant us, and even sometimes infuriate us. Our books are a part of who we are as people, and we can’t imagine life without them.”

When I was about 8 years old, my mother and her best friend, Florene, had taken me and Florene’s two children, Glen and Marsha, who were about my age, to the beach to spend the day. I was lying on my towel squinting against the sun and reading. Glen and Marsha were in the water but I could have cared less. I was reading. My mother said to me, “You’ll never have any character lines on your face because you never stop reading long enough to develop any character!” I wittily replied, “Huh?” and continued reading. Well, I’ve developed plenty of character lines and have never stopped reading.

When we were first married, John discovered that I read constantly and I even brought several books on our honeymoon. He got used to the fact that I had a book propped up in the kitchen, one in the dressing room and had several on my nightstand. He read mostly technical journals when we first met and eventually married, but subscriptions to everything IEEE puts out eventually lose their charm when one’s life partner reads one amusing passages from Fannie Flagg’s “Standing In The Rainbow” or death defying excerpts from John Caldwell’s book, “Desperate Voyage,” like the one below, especially when we had actually MET John Caldwell! Here’s a sample of what John has to say...

“From Perlas to Galapagos, and from Galapagos on west, I had uttered such curses as I doubt have ever been heard over the keel of a ship. In every squall, gale, calm, cloudburst, and contrary current, I had unloosed a flood of invective to shame a mule skinner. But more than that...in the height of my extremities I had profaned God Himself. On many an occasion I became so bold as to defy Him, deny Him, and swear I would profess atheism all the rest of my life. I even invited Him on deck – man to man – anything but the obstructing persecution of the elements, anything but the slow crawl when I wanted speed. And now, lost, foodless, without instruments, I humbly bent my knees to the deck and laid my folded hands upon the cabin. With eyes raised, I sent off a most heartfelt plea for forgiveness, a piteous appeal to Pagan’s real Captain.” Now I ask you, doesn’t that beat the heck out of what’s doing with transducers?

Books can infuriate us. Yes, indeed, I read the first chapter of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and threw it in the trash. Thoroughly enjoyed the recent movie, “Book Club,” with Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and so forth, but was dismayed when the book Jane Fonda forced on her friends was “Fifty Shades of Grey!”

I read “Forever Amber” by Kathleen Winsor as a pre-teen and it made such an impression on me that I forbade my own pre-teen daughter, Leah, ever to read it as it was just too sexy. It was pretty racy, even making the Black Plague sound hot and bothered, but nothing like what’s being published now. She still hasn’t read it.

“Little Women,” “Gone With The Wind,” “Lonesome Dove,” “Tom Sawyer,” “Huckleberry Finn,”  anything and everything by Pat Conroy, including his cookbook. And my favorite team, Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child...these guys created FBI Special Agent A X L Pendergast, one of the quirkiest, most enigmatic, brilliant persons ever drawn on a page. Jack London, C. S. Lewis, John Steinbeck, Amy Tan, and about a hundred others are my favorite authors. Recently read and thoroughly enjoyed:  “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles.

Childhood favorites, all “The Black Stallion” books by Walter Farley, “Misty of Chincoteague” by Marguerite Henry, “Lassie,” “Lad: A Dog” I loved them all. “Mr. Popper’s Penguins.” Reading, friends and neighbors, never gets old. Reading can keep you from feeling alone, from feeling sorry for yourself. Can help you while away the time waiting for doctors, airplanes, other people. Reading is always our friend. What book made you fall  in love with reading?

Jul. 9, 2018

“If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day
'Til eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you.

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you.

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do,
Once you find them.
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
Through time with.” (Jim Croce)

“My grandfather's clock was too large for the shelf
So it stood ninety years on the floor
.”(Erich Doll/Henry Clay Work)

As you can see, this particular clock hasn’t spent any time on the floor and I can't make it stand up correctly here. It sat on our mantle for more years than I can remember and was my husband, John’s, blessing and bane. This clock was more temperamental than a cranky two year old and he loved it dearly. It would go faster than it needed to, or slower, or throw its chimes out of sync but it was one of our rituals, before we left for church every Sunday morning, John would wind the clock.

The clock is a Seth Thomas constructed of wood with a Bakelite veneer. It features Sonora Chimes, made in the early 1900’s, and for most of our life, forty-eight years, here in this house we regulated our sleep by hearing what time it was by the chimes marking the quarter, the half, the three-quarter and, of course, every hour. I also knew what time every teen-age Davis actually got home.

John’s Uncle Virgil, who lived in Union Oregon until his death many years ago, was the original owner of the clock and when he went to his heavenly reward, the clock went to John. I suspect Uncle Virgil bought the clock not long after it was born and it has been in our family always.

Last March I took it in to our local clock master-craftsman, Berj DerMovsesian, as it had not been running for quite a while and I needed to see if he could whip it back into shape as I wanted to pass it along to our oldest daughter, Leah. His eyes lit up like he’d just won the lottery and I was thrilled and somewhat relived that he would be able to work on it. He exhibited righteous horror when he removed the back cover, pointing out to me all the atrocities which had been committed upon the clock by past so-called experts. No doubt in my mind it was in the right hands now.

When it got to be mid-June, I went in and asked whatever happened to my clock. Berj said he had just gotten all the parts, was fine tuning it and it would be ready any time next week. So, the next Tuesday morning at 9:00, Leah, her husband, Chuck, and I met at Baldwin Jewelers so Berj could explain to all of us exactly how to care for the Davis Family Seth Thomas Clock. Let me just say that it was seriously complicated and I am beyond glad that Leah and Chuck will be in charge of this precious heirloom. Berj confided that he liked the clock so much that he kept it on his workstation so he could hear it chime while he worked as it has such a beautiful sound. This didn’t surprise me. Waking at night and hearing the clock chime was comforting, reassuring and gave a feeling of permanence and peace

Wanting to know just a little bit more about our clock, I googled it (I love you, Google!) and found Seth Thomas was born in Wolcott, Connecticut in 1785, went to work for clockmaker Eli Terry in 1807, bought out Mr. Terry’s factory together with Silas Hoadley in 1810 and in December 1813, bought out Heman Clark’s clock-making business in Plymouth Hollow. Seth Thomas Clock Company began producing clocks in 1813. According to Berj, this particular Seth Thomas clock is a gem and, even though incompetent hands have invaded it, it is once again in splendid shape. Hearing the Sonora Chimes ring was just plain awesome and brought a vivid picture to my mind of John reaching up, Sunday suit jacket stretching across his back, with two separate keys to carefully wind the clock. No one else was allowed to touch it and Leah was a little reluctant to touch it, even under Berj’s guidance.

Pictures like these that come to mind are a gift from God. I see my best friend and most beloved husband so clearly and think he would be pleased that his precious clock is restored and will remain in the family.

“O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath.” Ps. 39:4-5

Nine months today, John has been hiking heavenly hills, handing heavenly little Milk Bones to angelic pooches, just like he did here on our Mt. Wilson Trail.

Jun. 8, 2018

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”             Mt. 10:29-31

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”         Is. 40:31

There are about 300 verses in the Bible concerning birds. That last one about mounting up with wings as eagles was the life verse of Jay and Leila Davis, John’s parents, wonderful people who loved God with all their hearts and never ceased to pray for us.

God loves His birds. Remember Noah, releasing a raven out his window to see if the land was still covered in water? Then he sent out a dove and that little guy came back with an olive leaf in its beak. Then...

“God! Opened up the door to a world they’d never seen before! Sun was blazin’ in their eyes. Birds flew out and filled the skies. Then two by two, they lost their zoo! Those animals had more fun than anyone! Racing, chasing in the sun! A whole new life had just begun!” *

The picture is a bird who comes almost daily to perch at the very top of this very tall tree, which has to be 50’ if it’s an inch. He sways up there, surveying the world spread before him. He sits peacefully for many minutes. We arrive at the same time, around 6:00 a.m. or so, and he looks at the world and I read my bible and the day’s passage from Jesus Calling. I call him the bird of hope.

On May 24th, the last part of Jesus Calling was this awesome thought:

“There are actually more than four dimensions in this world where you live. In addition to the three dimensions of space and the one of time, there is the dimension of openness to My Presence. This dimension transcends the others, giving you glimpses of heaven while you still reside  on earth. This was part of my original design for mankind. Adam and Eve used to walk with Me in the garden, before their expulsion from Eden. I want you to walk with Me in the garden of your heart, where I have taken up permanent residence.”

This picture...the garden of your heart...made me hope that the garden of my heart is filled with all good things, like the fruit of the Spirit. My friend, Cecilia, said, “The garden of my heart is full of Christmas trees and lights today.” That the picture of flowers I had sent her, “Are reminders that God cares to make all the little things beautiful. He is love.” Gardens usually involve birds.

The bird of hope was on his perch and mentioning him to Cecilia and my granddaughters, Ashley and Nicole brought forth several lovely stories of birds who seem to bring encouragement and...well, hope!

Cecilia: “That bird reminds me of right after I had Sadie (her three year old daughter) I had the baby blues but every morning at 4:00 I would hear the same bird outside my room singing. He was like my best friend. I will never forget the melody the bird by my room sang every day. He really brought me joy when I was depressed.”

Ashley: “There is a hummingbird who comes to my back yard almost every day. He always shows up when I feel anxious or worried about something. I know it is God telling me to relax and he will take care of me.”

Nicole: “I had that same thing when I lived in San Diego, hummingbirds around when I was feeling any anxiety at all. Amazing!”

Scott Daniels, Senior pastor at College Church of the Nazarene, Nampa, Idaho used a phrase frequently to explain wonderful, unexplainable things, “It’s Him again!” The bird of hope is Him again. The dawn singer outside the window, “It’s Him again!”

When I see that bird, swaying on that high branch, I feel that same thing, “It’s Him again!”

 “That is why I tell you not to worry about your everyday life – whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” Mt. 6:25-27

Seen any birds lately?

* “Look For The Rainbow” “Hands!” The Musical -  Lyrics by Deanne Davis, Music by David Wheatley