Tuesday, September 20, 2022



Today was another one of those days I dread. My nephew, Daniel Leon, passed away. He went suddenly, without warning. We were not ready to say farewell. 

Daniel was an intelligent, fun and entertaining young man. He could make a party out of the simplest gathering. He always had a good story to tell or an intriguing idea to toss into a conversation. He was a great cook and at most of our gatherings he would end up in the kitchen. His life wasn't easy. It was complicated and challenging, but he always had a smile for those around him.

There is a big hole now, where he lived his life. Like so many others we've loved, he has moved on. We've lost too many, more than I can count. But I know with little effort I could recall everyone who has touched my life and then stepped into eternity. 

Every time we lose someone to death, I am confronted with the complexity and mystery of life and death. How can a person's powerful spirit be here one moment and then gone the next?

I am reminded of how precious the time we've each been given is. We dare not take it for granted. And I remember the moments when I allowed small-mindedness, petty complaints or a lack of gratitude to take residence in my thoughts - Such a waste.

The Lord God tells us to love one another. How different our world would be if we could do this one thing. And then to remember to tell one another how much we love them. 

I love you, Daniel. And I already miss your big smile and your powerful bear hugs. 

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie Leon  

Friday, September 09, 2022

New Beginnings


An important anniversary passed yesterday. It has been two years since the Archie Creek Fire hit our little town, eating up 72,000 acres in twelve hours, destroying 109 homes, and a total of 856 buildings. It then went on to gobble up 131,542 acres in all. 

When the fire came through, people in this community were devastated, shell-shocked and struggling to get their feet under them. Why would God allow such loss and sorrow?

I can't answer that question, but in all the months since, I've witnessed the goodness of God and of the people here. In the days immediately following the fire people came together, helping one another in any way they could, even giving up trailers for neighbors to live in and donating so much clothing and household goods we had difficulty finding enough space to store the items. People gathered together in the kitchen of one of our churches and prepared food for those in need. And one of our local restaurants served meals free to everyone who walked through their doors. It was remarkable.

Even after two years, help is still being offered.

To this day, we remain a closer community. 

When I look out my windows, I can see my neighbors. Before the fire we all lived tucked away among the forest, and it's been difficult getting used to the change in my view. At first, I felt exposed and uncomfortable, but I'm growing used to it. I will always miss the lush forest that used to surround us, but I like being able to see my neighbors. There's something about looking out at other homes that makes me feel more a part of the world.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I took a drive to look at some of the more devastated areas. We were happy to see that the forest is slowly coming back and there are new homes sprouting up everywhere - beautiful homes. 

So much of what was lost can never be replaced, but we do have a new beginning going on all around us. I was reminded of Romans 8:28, which says, "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them."

The enemy may have meant the storm that came upon us for evil, but God has used it for good. I know there are many who are still heart broken, whose wounds will never fully heal, but with God it is possible for us all to grasp the positive changes that have been bestowed upon us.

When I look out upon my neighborhood, I am reminded of what a blessing it is to be part of this exceptional community. 

So blessed. So loved. So grateful.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Even as I write this, there is a fire north of us near the community of Oakridge. Last I heard, it is blowing up and some are on a level 2 evacuation notice. Please keep the people of Oakridge in your prayers.