Thursday, June 24, 2010

Raspberry Moments

I had a bowl of fresh raspberries this morning. And when I took the very first bite of the little red fruit suddenly I was eight-years old again.

I could see my younger self walking across the gravel road outside my grandparent’s cabin in the Wisconsin north woods toward a long patch of wild raspberries. We'd pick them and eat them with cereal or right from the vine when we just couldn't wait. I can still remember those long summer days of freedom and adventure--just me and my two sisters at my grandparent’s lake cottage every two weeks, every summer. Bliss!

I remember swimming in the lake until "our lips turned blue" as Grandma would say. Walking through the woods with my nature-loving grandfather was a given; he’d point out different kinds of birds, plants and animals. He knew a lot and longed to share woodland wisdom with us, but most of it didn't sink in. However, I’ll never forget one important plant: the wintergreen. When you snap the firm leaf in two, it smells like gum! That one I remembered.

We'd take drives in the pine-covered countryside, go horseback riding, or go into town for supplies. Minocqua was a quaint nearby tourist town with water-ski shows and Mass on the lake. Leisurely strolling down the main street, we’d stop to buy trinkets with our allowance. Grandma would always want to look at fall clothes, and we couldn't image why anyone could even THINK about autumn when summer was right here, ripe for the picking. I wanted to stay in my summer state of mind forever.

I remember the smell of Folgers’s coffee brewing early in the morning. As I chomped on Frosted Flakes, I wondered why grownups drank the stuff when it tasted so bitter. Most days Grandpa would take us for a boat ride on the lake. He taught us to fish (and made us bait our own hooks) and clean our catch. Then Grandma would fry up a fresh perch or bluegill dinner, complete with a baked potato and big green salad. Yum.

After dinner we’d take a short walk down the pine-covered peninsula that jetted out into the water. As night fell, you could hear the distant sound of a loon singing his own unique tune and return to the cabin walking on a soft bed of pine needles and mossy green ground.

But back to the raspberries. Funny how a taste can incite a memory. Good memories. What foods give you good memories? What could you taste right now that would transport you back to a time that was happy, carefree, and wonder-filled?

Today mine was a bowl of red raspberries. It sure felt good to be eight again.

Friday, June 11, 2010

When Work Ends

So our company had layoffs yesterday. (Yep, I work full-time in addition to writing books.) It was a total surprise to me and the rest of the staff—including the five others who had their positions eliminated. The economy is to blame for our losses.

But, thankfully, all is not lost. I am keeping the faith and having hope for a better, brighter future. A new road to follow…a path to new adventures…

When a job ends, and when you face unemployment, there is hope. Just “do the next thing” (as wise sage Elizabeth Elliott says) and trust God every step of the way. Invite Him in to your job search process. Ask the Lord to lead and guide you, to find favor and open doors for new oppportunities. Start talking to the people you know, and ask them who they know…and so the process goes.

Sure, you want to do the practical things, like update your resume and look for jobs online and in person (check out, the site that posts jobs from all the other job sites—convenient and time-saving!). But all your hard work will be naught, without the guiding hand of God.

He knows. He cares. He comforts. And the Lord has the power to make real and lasting changes in your work life and your whole life.

So you keep on…

And one day, things begin to change.

And you get that phone call you’ve been waiting for. You go to the interview. And you get the job. It’s your turn. It’s your time.

You may feel like the "land" in your life is fallow (empty), but growth and harvest will come. Today I read, "The LORD will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest. (Ps. 85:12)

Press on! Have faith. And God will grow His harvest of blessings in your life.