Monday, April 23, 2018

The Race





Do you remember the movie, The Perfect Storm? It was based on a true story of a fishing boat and its crew who were caught in the midst of several storms. No matter what the captain tried he could find no way out. They were trapped.

The ship went down with all crew members.

I've kind of felt like I've been in the midst of a perfect storm for most of the last year. With the illness and death of my sister-in-law, then my sister's battle with cancer and her death, and my mother's home-going in February, I felt like a hapless captain going down with his ship. 

I've mostly been in a grieving place as well as struggling with my loss of vision and physical challenges. Life has been hard. 

But even when we feel there is no way out of our storm God has not forsaken us. He provides for all our needs. 

I am so thankful for the many friends and loved ones who have held me up in prayer. Thank you. I'm beginning to rally. I still grieve (that process will take time), but I'm beginning to feel more like myself.

I was recently reminded that God has given me gifts and talents and long ago He set me off on a race He wants me to run. And so I put on new running shoes and have set off once more to run my race, the one given to me by the One True God.

I'm working on my health and making changes to help me deal with vision loss. And I will be working with a new publisher, WhiteFire Publishing. I have every reason to believe we will do great things together. 

I've plunged back into my novel and am feeling good. I love to write! 

I will try to do a better job of staying in touch with you here on my blog and will keep you up to date on my new story. I think you're going to like it. 

I pray you are feeling God's presence and that you are enjoying the beautiful world He created for us. And I pray you are running your race. Remember, we don't run alone. 

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie


Friday, January 05, 2018

She Was Special





This is a photo of my sister on her last trip to New Zealand. She loved New Zealand because her daughter and grandchildren live there. This was taken after she had completed a difficult hike. She always loved a challenge.

I wanted to post sooner, but my heart has been hurting too much to do it. My sister Myrn died on December 22nd. She was diagnosed with stage IV renal cell carcinoma in June. We knew the battle would be hard to win, but hoped for more time.

Even now when the truth of my sister's death hits me my heart catches and I lose my breath. It doesn't seem possible. She was the one who was supposed to still be puttering around her garden in her 80's or 90's. Again, I am reminded that God's plans are not necessarily the same as mine.
Myrn was one of a kind, handcrafted by God. She was born in Yakima Washington on March 1, 1954 and was number four out of five children.

She was intelligent, well educated, and a gifted vocalist, musician, and artist. She loved God's Word and was a skilled teacher and mentor. She was a dedicated servant of the Lord.



Myrn's garden revealed how she loved to make things grow. She never tired of fishing and was always up for a new adventure. Her love of family was powerful.

                    
                   

When God called her and her husband, Steve, to Naukati Alaska, where they were to pastor a church she took a huge risk, but bravely trusted God. I've always admired her courage.

She grew to love Southeast Alaska, Naukati and her new church family on Prince of Wales Island. 



Whenever possible she traveled to see family and friends and made many trips across the globe. I always cherished our time together.











Myrn and I were close, but we couldn't have been more different. She was adventurous and always looking for fun. She was the one with the bright smile  on her face who never met a stranger. Mom always told us that if someone knocked at the door Myrn would charge across the house to greet whomever it was and tell them all the latest family drama before they could step inside. 

Even though we were different we were good friends. We spent hours playing ourdoors - red light/green light - Mother May I - Duck Duck Goose - baseball - football. We loved to ride horses, but we didn't have any of our own so we would hang out at our neighbor's place and hope they would take pity on us and let us ride their horses. On summer days we would lay out and tan, but I couldn't take much sun and usually gave up after 30 minutes. Back in those days, Myrn could spend hours tanning.

Indoors, Myrn and I loved playing out dramas with our Barbies and Ken dolls. And we thrived on the competition of board games.

It wasn't always easy to be Myrn's sister. She was So good at everything - an excellent student, musician; she was even a good seamstress and cook. I suppose I should have been jealous, but mostly I was proud of her. I'm still proud of her. 

Myrn was special. She had a way of brightening up any event.
She was creative and helpful, hard working. She was the one we knew could pull off an event. When our mother turned eighty we had a fabulous party. All us kids helped, but Myrn was the one who pulled it together.
 December 22 I lost my best friend. Myrn was the one who knew everything about me. She was the one I could call ... anytime. She'd have a word of encouragement or advice. She'd pray with me. And she prayed for me every day. 

Myrn was a gift, not just to me but to everyone who knew her. It doesn't seem right that a bright light like my sister has been called home so soon, but I know that above all things she loved and trusted God. She loved His Word. In Eccleciastes 3 it says, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance ....

Myrn lived and loved and served. And for reasons I can't understand her time here is finished. Now she is dancing and singing and serving in heaven. I wish there was more time to listen to her sing. More time to admire her newest paintings. More time for morning chats over coffee. And more time to laugh and to be quiet while we rest in the shade on a warm summer day.

Myrn trusted God and I know she understands what it means to grieve. Her daughter Crystal went to heaven eleven years ago. They are together now. Myrn wouldn't expect those who love her to let her go lightly, but she also wants us to get on with life and to fulfill the purpose God has given each of us. To trust Him with our lives. 

My heart is shattered, but how blessed I am to have known her and to know that this farewell is only temporary.

I had a dream a few days ago. I dreamed most of my family, including Myrn, was at a very crowded restaurant. By the time I got to the table there was no place for me. Myrn cleared a spot and pulled a chair up next to her. When I sat down I woke up.

At first I was pierced to the heart, knowing that it wasn't real and that Myrn was gone. But after thinking for a few moments I saw more clearly -  Myrn is saving a place for me at the table, the Lord's table. One day we will be together again.

On her last visit here late this summer she longed for time in the sunshine. She took this photo.




I'll be seeing you, Sis.



Wednesday, November 29, 2017

HOLIDAY GIFTING

CHRISTMAS IS COMING! And I love to give books as gifts.

In celebration of this Christmas I'm holding a book giveaway. I'll be gifting three of my books. 







All you have to do for a chance to win is share your favorite Christmas tradition or memory or just one word that describes  Christmas to you. You can share here on my page or on my author page on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/BonnieLeonAuthor/ and I'll throw your name in the hat. I'll be drawing on December 6th and will make sure to get the books to you by Christmas.

Can't wait to hear from you. 

Merry Christmas!



Saturday, October 14, 2017

Sometimes All We Can See Are The Weeds





I love that God speaks to me when I least expect it, even when I'm not listening.

A few weeks ago, while at my acupuncture appointment, I was lamenting the state of my garden ... it hadn't done as well as I'd hoped and the weeds had gotten away from me. I needed better soil and should have spent more time ... and on and on I went. Quietly Heather, my acupuncturist, interjected, saying she thought my garden had done quite well. The green beans were plentiful and happy, as were the potatoes. There were more tomatoes than we could eat, and there had been enough peas early in the season to add to our salads. The cantaloupe were few, but sweet and we would have pumpkins for Fall carving. Plus my newly planted grapes were doing well with the promise of fruit in seasons to come. We also had young fruit trees that bloomed and produced their first harvest. 

Yes. Heather was right. The garden had done well. 

There was so much more than a profusion of weeds - more than vegetables. My family and I spent many hours creating the garden, planting seeds and watching with excitement as plants reached up through the soil in search of the sun. We cared for the plants together and together we picked the produce while youngsters chatted about bugs and teens whispered about crushes. With the heat of the sun on our backs we talked about life.

Sore muscles complained, and an aching back and hips didn't want to move. Yet my body grew stronger. And breathing in the fragrance of damp soil and feeling it between my fingers while sweat rolled down my neck lifted my spirits.

It felt good to be alive.

Life is messy. Sometimes it's makes us groan and we only see the weeds, but if we look more closely there is more - there is hope and love, and people blooming as they reach for the Son. 

There will always be weeds. They can wind around our feet and try to trip us up. Even so, there is living and loving to be done, and if we look with our hearts and our spirit we will see the beauty our eyes cannot see.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Moving On





What a summer it has been. I decided to not write and went on summer vacation instead. I've been gardening, swimming, camping and traveling. It's been fun. 

This season has also been physically and emotionally painful. 

My body hurts more than I can remember. Beware - gardening can be harmful to joints and muscles.  





I loved getting my hands into the dirt and watching plants grow. And I've enjoyed the fresh vegetables on my table, but I'm not sure the additional pain is worth it all. Likely I will not have a full-blown garden next summer.

I do have a plan B, however. How about a green house where I can grow citrus trees, and an avocado tree along with a few veggies and herbs? I'm thinking about it.

There's been a lot going on in my family - too much to include here. But I feel a need to share a couple of heartbreaking events. 

Early this summer my dear sister-in-law Sally lost her battle with cancer. 


Sally with her daughters and grandson.

She fought hard. It is a great sorrow to all who love her. She was a fine person and the most dedicated mother and grandmother I've ever known.





The other terrible news is that my sister has renal cell carcinoma. Knowing the battle she faces makes my heart ache, but my sister is tough and with the courage and strength of the Lord she's got her dukes up. 

She's recovering from a big surgery and will be starting treatment soon. 





I've spent many days in the swimming pool this summer, good times with my family, and I've worked in my garden, which is nearly done for the season. The potatoes are just about ready to harvest and the tomatoes are ripening. 

It's time to think about returning to work. 

After my diagnosis of MacTel II (Idiopathic Juxtafoveal Telangiectasia, type 2) I decided to retire. My vision had become so poor that the hours spent on my computer were difficult and draining. But, try as I might, I'm not ready to quit yet. I have more stories to tell. I'm learning to use technology more and my eyes less so I can move forward. And I hope to complete another novel in the coming year.

I'm excited. I'm loving the story. 

It's a mid-nineteenth century historical that take place in my own part of the world, here in Southern Oregon. There were Indian wars going on, and brave souls daring to make a new beginning in the wilds of the Oregon Territory. It's a perfect time and place for the story that's rambling through my brain.

My female protagonist, Emmalin Hammond, has only known the life of the affluent in Philadelphia, but after her mother's death she can no longer rely on her uncles's kindness and sets out to find a father she thought had died before her birth. 

She's naive and spoiled, but determined and possesses courage she didn't know she had. Nothing will be the same. There will be sorrows and challenges for Emmalin, but life still holds hope and joy as she treks into the unknown. I'm excited to experience her story and that of the other incredible people who become part of her life.

I will share more in the weeks and months to come as I return to storytelling. 

Grace and peace to you from God.



Thursday, June 29, 2017

There Will Be Dancing



Last night I posted, Nothing is too difficult for God, on my Facebook page. The thought stayed with  me through the evening and when I climbed into bed it haunted me. Did I really believe what I'd written, or had I simply jotted it down without conviction?

I know God pretty well. We've been walking together ever since I met Him forty-two years ago. I was only twenty-three. Since then, I've experienced God's deep love, I've been filled with unfathomable joy and peace, and received miraculous answers to prayer. But all of the days have not been easy or uncomplicated. There have been times of confusion, fear, and disappointment, and moments when I've asked, "Why God?" 

Scripture tells me that God is never confused. He is not afraid. He is never double-minded. It also says He is always wise and full of knowledge. He knows the beginning and the end of all things. And He loves me, even when I don't deserve it. 

God listens to my heart. He has answered my every prayer. I have no reason to doubt Him. Yet, I do.

Perhaps it's because I know He will do what is right. His answer to my prayer may be yes, but it could wait or even no

I've never been good at waiting and I don't want to hear no. I want things my way. But God's answers to my prayers can't be about me and what I see in front of me. There is so much more ... plans I can't even imagine. And God knows what must be done to accomplish His purposes.  

Why then do I sometimes lie awake at night and imagine the worst and allow sorrow and fear to creep into my soul. I suppose it is because I am  human--imperfect and self-centered.

I don't want life to be painful or difficult for me or those I love. I want to feel cooling breezes that caress me with sweet fragrances. I want to dance through fields of untamed blossoms, wild and free. 

One day I will.

For now, I am tethered to the earth where sometimes life hurts. But I'm not alone. None of us are. The Creator of all things, our protector, our healer, our Father is with us. He reaches for our hand and whispers, I am here.


Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie

Monday, May 29, 2017

It's a Wonderful Life



If you've been following my blog,  you know there have been a lot changes in my life recently. The biggest is that I'm losing my eyesight. That was a shock, and I've been in a quandary - what to do.

When I settled into bed tonight I talked to the Lord and asked Him, "What am I going to do with my life now?" He reminded me of a time when I asked that same question. It was many years ago - 1991. An auto accident left me with injuries that would never heal and chronic pain. Sometimes my pain was debilitating. 

I sank into a depression. I wasn't the person I had been before a log truck barreled around a corner, tipped over and hit my van.

I wasn't the wife or mother I had been. I couldn't take care of my family, they were taking care of me. My body was wounded, but worse than that was my damaged spirit. I asked God what could I do? What kind of life could I have? What use was I?

God lifted me and set me on a new path. He opened doors that led me into the life of an author. I grabbed hold of my feeble courage and stepped through those doors. I spent more than twenty years writing and publishing books. I was a thrilling adventure.

Here I am again asking God to show me what to do, to lead me down an unknown path, and to trust Him. 

A new adventure awaits me. I don't know what it is yet, but I want to share it with you. I will join you here on my blog and let you know what's up with me. And I'd love to hear what's up with you too. 

There is a scene in the movie Secretariat when Penny Chenery Tweedy stands up to people who tell her to sell Secretariat, thinking her foolish to keep the horse. She says, her father's legacy to her is not about money, then says, "You must have the will to win if you can and live with it if you can't. It's about life being ahead of you and you run at it because you never know how far you can go unless you run."

Such powerful words. They inspire me to run the race set out for me because if I don't run how will I know what God set out for me to do. And so I will run (figuratively speaking - I'm a bit gimpy). I will take one step at a time, one day at a time. 

Please cheer me on. I need you. And I will cheer for you too. 

Let's go. We'll do this together.


Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie

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