Hunting For Bunnies

A beautiful cat lives somewhere around here. She frequently visits our backyard. With stripes and spots and stealthy movements, she behaves just like a leopard or tiger in the jungle, and I call her “Beautiful.”

Beautiful always comes from the south side of our wooded yard. Crosses through the steep middle section, behind the rhododendron, under  the bows of the cedars, languidly trailing her long tail under the hanging blackberry vines as if enjoying the scratch of the thorns.

She’s looking for bunnies.

Bunnies do occasionally browse in and around our shrubs. I’ve seen them.

But not always.

But Beautiful comes in nearly every day with the full expectation of catching one.

I remarked to myself the other day that Beautiful is a reminder of the importance of persistence and of checking back already-searched areas.

Yesterday I received a sweetly-phrased rejection from an editor to one of my literary submissions.

Of course my first reaction was disappointment, followed by the usual, “I can’t believe they didn’t want this project; it’s so good.”

Then I felt the inevitable, “Maybe I should give up writing.”

After I calmed down, I remembered Beautiful.


How she keeps coming back, again and again.

Because today might be the day that she actually catches her bunny.

So I decide to keep trying, and I thank God for reminding me that survivors—like Beautiful—only survive because they don’t give up.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll catch my bunny in the bushes.

“Patience and tenacity of purpose are worth more than twice their weight of cleverness.” (T.H. Huxley)

Fall Delights

In honor of the advent of fall, my husband and I took a long drive through the Cascade mountains of Washington.

There’s a wonderful spot—I think it’s new—called the Washington Overlook— on highway 20 near the summit. You can park and walk some winding trails that lead to spectacular scenes, like the one my husband snapped of me in front of these mountains.

As soon as we stepped out of our car, we were immediately greeted in noisy fashion by Stellar Jays and Grey Jays. These greedy beggars nearly flew into our open sky light. They hopped right up to us, reading our intent with bold inquisitiveness.


“I’m sorry, birds. No snacks today. Next time, we’ll have plenty of handouts for ya.”

A few hours later we pulled into Leavenworth, a charming, small town known for its Swiss architecture and tourist shops and restaurants.


Leaves are turning and the air is getting crisp. Our drive, and the changing air put me in a mind to find a good fall-type recipe.

So last week, energized by the cool, moist northwestern air, I tried to come up with my own version of an apple and sweet potato hash.

If you’re like me and you can’t or shouldn’t eat regular white potatoes, this Yam/apple hash might fill the bill:

Yam/Apple Hash (@ 3 to 4 servings)

One good-sized yam or sweet potato, peeled and thin sliced and diced

Two apples, your choice, peeled and thin diced

Olive oil or another healthy oil

Four breakfast sausage links.

One smallish yellow onion, diced

Salt (1/4 teasp)

pepper,to taste

cayenne (@ 1/8 teasp),

cinnamon (@1/4 teasp)

optional: Maple syrup (Grade B)

(If you’d rather, you can roast the yams in a hot oven for about half an hour) But I was impatient, so my recipe says:

Peel and thin slice and dice the yam. In a good-sized skillet, brown and cook the yam in the oil until almost tender. Add the onion and continue to cook. Meanwhile, slice and brown the sausage in another smaller skillet. To the bigger skillet, add the diced apple. Stir to mix., and scrape the pan often. When the yams and apples are soft, add the sliced sausage. Sprinkle in the pepper, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon.

Serve with Paleo or gluten free muffins, some eggs, some coffee. Yummy breakfast!

Bruce likes to put a little bit of syrup over his hash. Whatever.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Remember, you can always adjust the amounts and add other ingredients. This is just a basic guideline, and springboard for your creativity.

Enjoy your fall season!

Leave the Results to God


I’ve recently volunteered to help out at a Pregnancy clinic. I don’t know yet in what capacity God will use me.

Months ago I felt a nudging from God to look into volunteering my time in the community. I didn’t know where He wanted me, just that someone or something needed my time.

Then, this particular clinic kept coming up in conversations, a church bulletin, and an ad. So I made a phone call, and the following week I attended my first training session.

Six hours a week for six weeks. I told the supervisors in my interview that I was willing to help any way God directed.

I may not become a client advocate. Maybe I’ll enter data, or help organize events, or write copy. Whatever. This is a whole new thing for me, and I’m…


Not the late-night home alone creepies.

But fear that fills my mind and heart with this message:

“You’re going to be a failure. You’re going to mess up and hurt someone. All the other volunteers are so much more adequate. The evaluating supervisors already know you’re not qualified.”

I know it’s a message from the dark side.

The side of Light wants me to step out of my safety zone and do what He’s called me to do. To ignore voices that don’t come from Him.

To trust Him.

To trust Him to work through me.

To trust that He, not me, is the One who changes hearts and minds. That He already knows that I will fail sometimes, but the outcomes are in His hands, not mine.

That God is pleased and glorified when we place our puny, imperfect selves at His disposal. When we recognize that when great things happen, it didn’t happen because we’re so great.

It’s because He is great. And, as the Bible says, when we are weak, then we are strong. (2nd Cor. 12:10)

I’m counting on Him. Not myself.

Don’t Jump To Conclusions!

Bruce and I decided to spend the day in Vancouver, Canada.

We collected our maps and info of interesting things to see and do in the big Canadian city, and reminded each other to pack our passports.

Bruce’s was in his desk. I’d stashed mine in my sock drawer. Only, the passport wasn’t in my sock drawer. In fact, the passport wasn’t in any of my drawers.

Or bathroom cabinets and drawers. Or my nightstand. Or the closet. Or my box of out-of-season clothes, my box of handbags, my container of scarves.

Bruce got in on the search. “Did you leave it in the glove compartment in the car?”


“Did you store it in one of your purses?”


Your luggage?”

“Argh, no! I remember putting it in my sock drawer.” I wasn’t yelling, but my voice was tinged with aggravation and desperation. I had really looked forward to our Canadian outing and my missing passport felt like a nasty jab from fate.

I went to my office to look through my bookshelves.

Then  a niggling, nasty thought occurred to me. Bruce was an extremely organized guy. So organized that he had a habit of organizing my stuff into slots and shelves, boxes or bins that defied my own sense of reasonable places to store something.

It had gotten so bad lately, with this move from Colorado to Washington state that I had to warn,”Bruce, I know you want to put this (insert whatever item) away, but please don’t. I need it to be on the kitchen counter right now.”

Surely, with Bruce’s penchant for organizing, he had organized my passport into oblivion.

Exasperation grew in my chest. I just knew Bruce had taken my passport and “organized” it.

“What does it look like?” He asked, his voice was coming from the bedroom.

That made me want to growl. “It looks just like your passport.”

I returned to my bookshelf rummaging, all the while angrily imagining my husband putting my passport into a box, labeled “miscellaneous,” and shelving it in the highest, farthest-back shelf in the garage, where it would take a giant muscle man to get to it.

I’ll bet he did it again! I thought while my stomach clenched.

“Found it.” Bruce called.

What?!! “Where was it?”

“The bottom of your sock drawer.”

I ran into the bedroom and threw my arms around my husband. “You’re wonderful!”

But, in my mind I had to confess my nasty suspicions about my husband to the Lord, and ask Him to build in me a less jumping-to-conclusions heart.

Later, when I thought about how I’d checked my sock drawer three times before giving up, I wondered if God made me not see my passport—knowing I’d probably blame someone else—so He could work on my suspicious heart.

How else would I learn?

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.” (Col. 3:15 NIV Bible)

Be Curious

Seems like nowadays lots of people aren’t curious about their neighbors, their coworkers, new people at church.

Which is too bad because if you’re not curious, you miss out on making a potential friend.  Curiosity has gotten a bad rap of late. Most people now link curiosity with being nosy.

i don’t see it like that. My curiosity is part of my drive to know people and to form connections, maybe even a new friendship.

My husband and I made some good friends a few years ago just because we asked some questions. It went like this:

During the greet time at our church, I happened to notice a couple I’d never met.

“Hi, my name’s Dena. We moved to Colorado last year.”

“Nice to meet you,” the man said. “I’m Doug, and this is my wife, Mia.”

We shook hands. (it could have ended right there. I’m glad to say, it didn’t.)

“Where did you move from?” Doug asked.

“Most recently from Southern California, but we’ve lived in lots of different states.”

Mia said, “Us, too. We’re originally from Ohio.”

“Ohio! I went to school in Ohio.”

Doug perked up. “Really? What college?

“Oberlin. I went to the conservatory of music there. Have you heard of it?”

“Of course,” Doug said. “My brother went to Oberlin, but that was probably way before your time.”

Doug appeared to be around my age, so I asked, “When did your brother attend?”

“He went during the seventies.”

“That’s when I went!”

“Oh,” Doug sounded doubtful, “he went to the college. Competed on the swim team. I doubt you’d have met him.”

A spooky but exciting feeling started to zip around my stomach.”Now, this is really weird. I dated someone on the swim team, so maybe I met your brother.”

“His name is Bill.”

“Bill! I knew Bill. Tall, lean, long hair, did the distance races.”

“Yeah, that’s him.”

Doug and Mia and I started laughing .

i shook my head. “This is amazing.”

We finished our conversation, ending with updated news of Doug’s brother, Bill. Then we made plans to meet for dinner the following week. Doug and Mia turned out to be wonderful people and good friends.

It would have been easy to have simply said, “Hi, nice to meet you,” and have sat down again to wait for the sermon to begin.

But if we’d done that, we would have missed out on a truly fun and surprising conversation.

And a lovely friendship where both couples have enriched each other.

Nowadays, whenever I meet someone new, I try to imprint their voices and faces in my mind. Who knows? This new acquaintance might someday become my long-time, loyal friend.

“My father used to say that when you die, if you’ve got five real friends, you’ve had a great life.” (Lee Iacocca)


IMG_0646My twin brother and I shared a bedroom when we were little tykes. He had the upper bunk, but I joined him at 8 in the evening. Because, even though we were supposed to be fast asleep, our next-door neighbors were watching Zorro.

At the age of five, Zorro was my hero. We couldn’t hear the dialogue of the latest episode over the neighbor’s fence and through their picture window, but that wasn’t necessary for a kindergartner. All that was needed to help me fill in the facts of the story were black capes and masks, a beautiful black horse, and lots of horsey chase scenes.

After the program ended, I’d climb back into my bottom bunk and make up stories about my caped hero for another hour or two. (I had insomnia even then.)

A year or two later, my parents started watching the TV program, Dr. Kildare. I was too young to stay up and watch the dashing and compassionate doctor. But through sneaked trips to the kitchen for a drink of water, I got occasional glimpses of my new hero. Oh, I had such a crush on Dr. Kildare, AKA Richard Chamberlain.

From my bunk bed, even though I couldn’t see the program, I could hear the dialogue. After the program, I’d imagine stories where I was Dr. Kildare’s faithful nurse/assistant.

In elementary school, I fell in love with poetry. Emily Dickinson, Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost. (I wasn’t ready for Keats or Tennyson yet.) In my bedroom, shared by my older sister, I composed my own poems late into the night.

In high school I became fascinated by war stories and famous battles. ( I know, it seems like a strange thing for a teenaged girl to be interested in.) My library books educated me about the gruesomeness of war, but also provided me with fodder for some pretty dramatic historical fiction.

I’ve always found the quiet of late nights, coupled with the solitariness of a time when family members make no demands, to be my nocturne.

Just me and my bed, my brain, and the images, situations, conflicts, rescues, chases, and mysteries collected from treasured books and movies and poems. They form die pieces which are cast out onto the mental game board in new combinations, my dreams a sometime-contributor to the pieces.

I hope I have enough time left to type them all out of my brain.

“Imagination is the highest kite that can fly.” (Lauren Bacall)

Cathedral of Cedars

There’s a gorgeous little lake down the hill from my new abode in northwestern Washington state.

Half a mile steeply downhill to the park, another half mile to the lake, then two and two thirds miles around, and another mile back home. A good workout.

On the north side of the lake are basketball courts, a football field, and baseball field and many picnicking areas.

But the rest of the park? Quintessential rain forest.

The trail is well-groomed and wide enough to accommodate joggers, three abreast, and a couple of walkers, maybe even a leashed dog.

At one point, the ground rises on either side of the trail, muffling the shouts and laughter of the picnickers across the lake. The cedars loom, tall and lean, like old deacons looking down at me and admonishing, “Hush, you’re in God’s Cathedral.”

The quiet majesty of the cedars puts me in a mind to pray.

And I thought: I wish there was a place at church like this cathedral of cedars.

Hushed, still, beautiful, conducive to reflection and repentance.

In the stillness of the cedars I can hear myself think.

Better yet, I can hear God’s reminders to me from the words I’ve just read in the Bible, or a sermon from last Sunday, or the whispered request from a friend, “Remember to pray for me.”

It’s easier to do these things in such a place of quiet.

Even when there are no cedars available, there must be such a quiet place for all believers.

I hope there is.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.

He leads me beside the still waters, He restores my soul.” (Psalm 23:1-3 NIV Bible)

Seeking the Creator in nature and the arts


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