New Blog Page

 

This was my first entry on this new blog site and since then I’ve found a new publisher (but haven’t republished my book yet). I’ve tried to move this entry to a better spot, but can’t seem to accomplish that task, so thought I should update the entry.  This is updated in January of 2016.

My publisher is in a scandal.  Can you believe that?  I went to my blog page, which is housed within their system, and I kept reading “Firefox can’t find the server at janbonn.authorweblog.com.”  After an internet search, I discovered news on this scandal.  I’m certain I’ve lost my archived blog writing and if I need more copies of my book, a new publisher will be required.  Here is another lesson for the truth from Matthew 6:19-21:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

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gratitude

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“The Lord will guard your coming and going both now and forever.” Psalm 121:8

“…..provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.”  Luke 12:33

How do I develop a grateful heart? My prayers are full of requests not thanks.  For example: A beautiful sunrise should tug words of praise, but my prayer sounds something like: “Wow God, this is beautiful. Thanks. Bless this day to your glory.” You see, I always seem to end my prayers with a request.

For years I’ve pondered this lack of gratefulness in my life. Then I was given a wonderful lesson which I don’t want to forget, so I’m writing to keep it fresh and hopefully develop a new habit of grateful praise.

God’s lesson was simple and powerful. My last trip to Portland, I rode the Greyhound bus so Elizabeth and Claire could bring me home and stay for a few days. I arrived at the Portland station, but my suitcase did not. It went into the storage area under the bus in Baker City, but as I stood on the walkway in Portland, my suitcase didn’t roll out of the hole with the other bags. Since an elderly woman sat next to me on the bus, we were the last people to descend down the bus steps. I wondered if someone took my case accidentally. Then, I assumed a homeless person (which there are many close to the Portland Bus Station) simply walked up and took what wasn’t theirs. Why is blame one of my first steps to a problem?

By the time I got into Elizabeth’s car, I had a headache and couldn’t pray. I didn’t want to ask God for a miraculous return of my suitcase and be disappointed when God said no. Why did I think God would say no? I want to live stouthearted in a “God’s will be done” attitude, but usually I wallow in self pity and pout. In the past, when God answers a prayer with no, my trust in God being loving is tested. I didn’t want to be tested, so I didn’t pray. Instead,  I was thinking about the items inside the bag and how to replace them. I was thinking about Claire’s birthday book where  Pete the Cat says: “Stuff will come and stuff will go. But do we cry? Goodness, No! We keep on singing. Buttons come and buttons go.”

Later that evening, I got a phone call from a gentleman in Seattle and he had my suitcase. It took Greyhound 24 hours to move my bag from Seattle to Portland, but nothing was taken.  During the 24 hours of waiting, I became acutely aware of the many times normal events could turn into disasters. It was as if God was showing me his protection. I began earnestly thanking Him that my slip of feet didn’t end in a broken hip fall, that Clay’s car door broke in his driveway and not in Bi-Mart’s parking lot, that the soup I made was tasty and didn’t burn. Anything can have disastrous results. Since Jesus is our all in all and “in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17), my normal safe life is because of His protection. I need to view what could happen and be extraordinarily grateful that God protected me from the disaster.

This is the lesson. This can jump start my gratitude attitude. I need to notice the normal boring expected experiences as blessings. Am I worthy of those blessings? Goodness, No! I need to keep on singing of how God’s blessings flow.

Lord, I thank you for your protection. Thank you for returning my suitcase even when I couldn’t trust that you would.  Thank you for shepherding my days with your comforting rod and staff. Thank you for green pastures and still waters. Thank you for pursuing me with goodness and mercy. Thank you Lord, thank you.

 

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Poem-a-Day…..My Mother and Lucille Clifton Have Tea by Parneshia Jones

My friend Joan sent me this poem from Poem-a-Day. She said she thought of me when she read it.

Parneshia is right. We don’t have a name. I’ve told people that we are a club that no one wants to join. Yet, these brown and buttermilk women drinking lukewarm tea and eating potato chips are discussing the very fact that we have no name. Such a large, sad conversation with such ordinary, or could I say, poor-man food. I see paper plates and mismatched cups with this big, not in anyway, ordinary conversation.

I’m sending this to Rosy, and Jeri, and Sandy, and Rosemary, and Jean, and Debbie, and Darlene, and ………

My Mother and Lucille Clifton Have Tea

 

Parneshia Jones

When I get to where I’m going
I want the death of my children explained to me.

—Lucille Clifton

They meet over tea and potato chips.
Brown and buttermilk women,
hipped and hardened,
legs uncrossed but proper
still in their smiles;
smiles that carry a sadness in faint creases.
A sadness they will never be without.

One asks the other,
“What do they call a woman who has lost a child?”

The other sighs between sips of lukewarm tea.
There is no name for us.

“No name? But there has to be a name for us.
We must have something to call ourselves.”

Surely, history by now and all the women
who carry their babies’ ghosts on their backs,
mothers who wake up screaming,
women wide awake in their nightmares,
mothers still expected to be mothers and human,
women who stand under hot showers weeping,
mothers who wish they could drown standing up,
women who can still smell them—hear them,
the scent and symphony of their children,
deep down in the good earth.

“Surely, history has not forgotten to name us?”

No woman wants to bear
whatever could be the name for this grief.
Even if she must bear the grief for all her days,
it would be far too painful to be called by that name.

“I’ve lost two, you know.”
Me too.
“I was angry at God, you know.”
Me too.
“I stopped praying but only for a little while,
and then I had no choice. I had to pray again.
I had to call out to something that was no longer there.
I had to believe God knew where it was.”

“I fear death no longer. It has taken everything.
But should I be? Should I be afraid of what death has taken?
That it took and left no name?”

The other who sighs between sips of lukewarm tea
leans over and kisses the cheek of the one still with questions.
She whispers…

No, you don’t have to be afraid.
Death is no more scary than the lives we have lived
without our babies, bound to this grief
with no name.

 

 

 

 

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Hello Lighthouse….Summit Point Lookout…..Herding Sheep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I remember your wonders of old and I meditate on your works, your exploits I ponder.”  Psalm 77: 12&13

What do you want to remember? Celebrations? Historical events? Certain special smiles? The actions of God Almighty?

This year’s Caldecott book remembers the lives of lighthouse keepers. The book is called Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall and this isolated, boring/exciting, sometimes dangerous, job of keeping a lighthouse no longer exists. Sophie Blackall wanted us to remember this occupation. After reading, I wondered, “Does Eastern Oregon have similar isolated, boring/exciting, sometimes dangerous, jobs?”  Sheep herding and Wildfire lookouts came to mind.  So, being the educator grandma that I am, I interviewed Dad about sheep herding and took two hikes (with grandkids) to the Summit Point Lookout to visit Joanne. I wanted them to “remember” these dry land occupations as they read about the moist work of a lighthouse keeper.

Oh my Lord, give my grandchildren a desire to remember your deeds recorded in the Bible. But also, open their eyes, ears, and hearts to your protective guiding hand in their lives today.

Here are a few videos and pictures for our memory books. Unfortunately, my family will probably “make fun” of my ability, or should I say, lack of ability to handle the camera in video work. This is certainly not a documentary, but a memory jogging tool. Maybe someday, they’ll appreciate it.

 

 

 

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Rocky Mountains of Canada

“Whoever has ears ought to hear.” Matthew 13:43

Shouldn’t we listen to all of Jesus’ words? Why did Jesus instruct us to pay attention after this particular parable of the weeds in the field and not all his parables? Shouldn’t we also look for the Spirit’s work as well? Mostly, shouldn’t we obey after listening and looking? The obeying action is probably the hardest of all. That’s where I struggle.

I read this story of weeds in the field while we were visiting God’s beautiful Rocky Mountains in Canada. “Magestic” is only one word that describes the beauty of this area. The rugged granite peaks, colorful blue waters, crisp clear air, is worth rubbing elbows with the million other people who also want to view God’s creation in this corner of the world. Why would Jesus point these words out during this grand vacation? Maybe because of the crowds? Maybe because my devotions took second place to our busy “lets check this out” mentality?

For my sieve-like memory mind and any of you who want to look at vacation photos:

A family vacation lacking one group who we texted often. It was wonderful to tag along Irene’s carefully planned family vacation.

 

 

We road gondolas to the top of two different mountains. One was a ski lift, so we could choose a chair lift instead of a car. When we got to the top, we walked through a museum/restaurant, then we hiked even higher to view Lake Louise and the mountains on the other side of the Bow Valley.

 

 

We swam/soaked in hot water pools. In this picture, we’re looking at a man made water fall of hot water that feeds the pool we swam in.

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Tony and I were trying to get a Christmas picture. Which one would you choose for our family card?

 

 

Some views of God’s handiwork.

 

 

Even though it is beautiful up north, I’m glad I live in the high desert country of Eastern Oregon. Our Wallowa Mountains are majestic too. The Rattlesnake Canyon and the Chief Joseph Canyon are very impressive. On our way home we hiked to the Blue Hole on the Imnaha River. I hadn’t been there since I was a kid when I rode a horse down from the wilderness area from higher up. It wasn’t a hard walk and instead of a stream of people on the trail, we met a deer. Yes, Banff, Canada is a great place to visit, but I like my corner of God’s creation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Acts 3:1-11

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Cairns, Inuksuk, Ebenezer….rocky vocabulary

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffered the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.”  Matthew 7: 24&25

I’ve been thinking about rocks since last Sunday. Tuesday’s readings included Abram (Abraham) building an altar to the Lord. (Genesis 13:18) Yesterday I looked for Jacob’s rock story and found it in Genesis 18:22. Today’s gospel reading are the above words from Jesus.

What started my “rocky” thoughts? Last Sunday, we visited our nephew and his family and I looked at a couple of cairns that he and his nine-year-old daughter built along a trail on their property. Cairns, another new word for me. I kept thinking Cairns wasn’t the right word for a stack of rocks, so when I got home, I needed to check my memory mind. I used the helpful internet to support what I thought I knew. I remembered my friend Ginger having her art students do something with inuksuk after the 2010 winter Olympics. That was the word I was trying to remember during our Sunday visit. The cairns along the trail were a stack of rocks from big to little, whereas the inuksuk is a stack of rocks that looks personable . I also remembered a word in the hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”, which means “stone of help”. That word is “Ebenezer”. Now I have three “rocky” words I’m trying to remember.

As I’ve thought about rock vocabulary, I started looking at the rocks I have in my life. Since Sunday, I’ve past the rock jack in the Powder River Canyon that prompts me to repeat the 23rd Psalm while thinking about sheep herders and Jesus my shepherd. I’ve looked at the rocks holding my skylight sheet covers to block the summer sun while I hang clothes on the line. I’ve moved one of Dorothy’s painted rocks that holds my bedroom door open. I’ve thought about Haystack Rock close to Canon Beach and Twin Rocks close to Rockaway Beach which stand in wonderful, refreshing memories of vacations by the Pacific.

Jesus, you are called the corner stone. Help me listen to your wise words, but more importantly, help me obey and act upon your words.

 

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Acts 2:22-28

 

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