Odd Things of Beauty

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I went for a walk the other day on a park trail and I came across this tree.

It caught my attention because of the unusual markings up and down its trunk.

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It sparked this thought in my head:

“Wounds, when properly healed, are beautiful decorations to ones character.”

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Proverbs 27:5-6 says, Open rebuke is better than secret love.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

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When the palm fronds fall off, the tree doesn’t look so great. The marks are kind of messy.

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New growth faithfully comes in all it’s freshness

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In all it’s sweetness new things come.

And the marks of old things shed are not so messy anymore.

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Isaiah 61:3 says, The Lord provides for those who grieve in Zion –

to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,

the oil gladness instead of mourning

and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,

a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.

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When your life appears to be burnt up

Remember ashes can turn to joy

Scares can be a thing of beautiful.

It just depends on your response to it all

and how you look at it.

LOOK UP, Julia French

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Inner Healing, Outer Running

I had an interesting running experience today that for me was kind of a “break through” of sorts so I thought I’d post it here for memory sake.

The morning started off like most…. dropping my child off at school… wanting to go back to bed but heading for the track instead.

Coffee in hand I begin my circles hoping my body would wake up and want to run.

The sky was / is so blue today. The air so fresh and breezy. The trees make quiet noise that I like to hear. Every now and then I stop to listen. I like the breeze in the trees. Now I feel like waking up. I do some simple stretches the only sounds around are the trees and distant cars on the highway. When I’m in down-dog-pose I look at the blue upside down  sky and out across the dirt field. Little upside down birds peck at the ground looking for breakfast. If I hold very still and very quiet in a down-dog position the birds forget I’m there and come really close to me. They were so sweet I stayed like that extra long this a.m. just watching them upside down.

The first 3 miles I just walked. Whispering prayers for whatever came to mind. Stopping every now and then to stretch, listen, watch the funny birds. Honestly if you don’t stop you’ll never see the birds or hear the trees. They just blend together like a humble backdrop. You’ll go right by them and not ever notice them if you don’t stop.

A certain Bible verse came to mind when I looked at the sky. When I thought about this verse it ran through my system and healed me from the inside out. I don’t really know why this verse (as opposed to other verses) healed me but it did.

It is Psalm 36:5-6 which says:

Your love O Lord reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.

Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep.

O Lord you preserve both man and beast.

Accepting His authority, acknowledging His righteousness, His justice, it just does something on the inside of me. Something clean and kind and gentle…. I can not deny there is power in His words.

Then I felt like running. So I ran. For me running is a slow process of constant circles. It seems much easier on the tracks than on the streets. The ground is softer, shady trees, singing birds. The place is very familiar. The repetition doesn’t bother me. No traffic to contend with but I know my “track time” is coming to a close.  The walkers on the track sometimes get annoyed with me for running around them. They are very polite about it of course but I can see it on their face. “The track is for the retired community and I’m in their way.” Well really if I ever plan to run a marathon I’m going to have to suck it up and get on the streets. I know it… but I still hold out for the gentle, the calm, the familiar, the trees, the birds…. oh God I’m such a baby. Wa-Wa-Wa a 50-year-old baby. Who needs it right? I sure don’t and I’m the one saying it!

Psalm 29:11 — The Lord gives strength to His people; He blesses His people with peace.

I’m just going to have to believe God’s word and move on.

Last week I ran on the streets. I lived. I’m fine. What’s my problem?

I’m at a cross roads again. I’ve been at the spot so many times. Here I am again.

I feel like I had some kind of emotional healing moment today with the Bible verses while I ran. The process has been going on for several months actually. Today was key somehow. Some things finally worked through my system and I’m good. Now a new hurdle is in front of me. Not really a new one but one I have not yet successfully overcome so in a way it is still new to me… moving out to the streets again. Obtaining victory there too. Not just privately in my heart but outside with real people, real life, real streets. No stress, no injury, peaceful and strong again. Ok I can do this. I think… maybe… we’ll see…. wait, what…. Ok I can do this… I’ll try to do it again…. I’m good, yes, I can do this.

John 16:33– “I have told you these things, so that in Me (Jesus) you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

In closing I’d just like to add a link to a poem of a fellow blogger that I thought was especially nice.

http://danfrugalberg.com/2014/10/31/listen/

Have a great day living, listening, learning, and running

Running doesn’t start with an “L” but oh well, Julia French

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Take your place

Dear Readers,

This time of year things are cooling off… so I’ve been working on my running. Attempting to regain some momentum that was lost during the past, hot, busy months.

I think the track is the easiest place for this.

Some think the track is boring, uneventful.

But that is why I like it. The ground is flat ect. so you can focus on just what you are doing, alone.

The runner, the walker, the baseball, whomever is there…. they are the event, what they are doing is the point of interest.

Later on, when a person builds up strength the challenge of unpredictable terrain and unforeseen conditions seems more inviting I guess. Rightly so. The stronger you are the more challenging you like things to be. Fair enough.

But for myself however, I already have a lot of unpredictability going on in my life. I don’t want it in my “down time” too. Not right now anyway. Maybe later when I build up some more strength. Will see….

Anyhow, what I’ve been doing is alternating walking a lap / running a lap until I hit, 12, 16, or 20 laps, depending on the distance I’m wanting to go.

Yesterday I walked one opening mile first then ran 20 laps in the alternating method of run 2 / walk 1. I wasn’t tired at all when I was done. It was great.

This morning I just walked 1 / ran 1 until I hit 12 laps or 3 miles which ever way you want to say it. I don’t feel tired doing it this way so I have energy to face all the other unpredictable challenges that the day brings.

Key is –> do it

No matter how it is for you

Keep it moving

slow or fast

weak or strong

Take your place

find your pace

Don’t look back

just GO

I’ve also been studying the Hebrew calendar recently. It is kind of like that. There is a day set aside to just remember God’s goodness. Just that. Just remember God’s goodness.

It landed on our September 25th. On that day you just stop and do one thing. Praise God and remember His goodness.

Just like going to the track. You stop everything else and run. That’s it. Nothing else.

Next is The Day of Atonement. It lands on our October 4th. It is the day payment was made for our sins. Down through Hebrew History lambs or bulls were sacrificed yearly for the sins of the community on this day. The whole community would get together and repent. This was why Jesus died on the cross. He became the sacrificial lamb for our sins. No more animal sacrifices, Jesus was it once and for all. He is both our sacrifice and our High Priest. Anyone who calls on His name can be forgiven their sins.

On the Hebrew calendar there was a day set aside for just this. Just atonement. Which means: repentance + sacrifice + pardoning = atonement. It was done yearly.

Now, on any day of the week a person can repent + accept what Jesus did for them on the cross + and be pardoned = be atoned for, be accepted into the family of God.

Anyone at any time can just stop and do it. No waiting for a particular day.

Next would be The Feast of Tabernacle. This year this Feast falls on our October 8 and goes on through the 12th. On these days we are just supposed to hang out with God because He wants to dwell with us. Having awesome fellowship together!

Now how in the world could Jesus have orchestrated His death and resurrection all by himself when so many people were involved?

God did it.

And Jesus, the Son of God, our Savior, the Lamb, obeyed His heavenly Father every step of the way.

No one matches His level of obedience. No one matches His level of holiness.

He now sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession for the saints.

Hebrews 12:1 –> throw off everything that hinders you and run with perseverance the race marked out for you.

Key is –> do it

No matter how it is for you

Keep it moving

slow or fast

weak or strong

Take your place

find your pace

Don’t look back

just GO

It’s better than halloween for sure, Julia French

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Wings

I’ve been thinking about wings….

I saw some random pigeons at the convention center recently.

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I thought it was very sweet how the male strutted around the female.

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He doubled in size when he puffed up his feathers for her.

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The female pretended to ignore his efforts at first.

But eventually she came around.

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Psalm 94: 14

He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge.

His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Psalm 63: 7-8

Because You are my help, I sing in the shadow of Your wings.

My soul clings to You and Your right hand upholds me.

Malachi 4:2

But for you who revere My Name

the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in His wings.

And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.

Luke 13:34

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you,

How often I long to gather your children together,

as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.

WINGS

Under His wings, that is where I want to be.

There is a song with that title.

“I just want to be where you are”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfUdm7S7YnI

Have a good week under His wings, Julia French

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Walking and Writing

It’s summer so

Of course I’ve been taking lots of walks in the morning.

On today’s walk I was accompanied by a beautiful fragrance.

The fragrance of  Plumeria flowering trees in full bloom.

Plumeria tree flower

Plumeria tree flower

Plumeria tree flower

Plumeria tree flower

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As far as my writing goes…

The editing of Daisy and Connor’s World continues.

I’m on chapter 48 now.

Daisy and Connor are still moving headlong into their future.

You know what they say…

If you can’t fly, run

If you can’t run, walk

With whatever strength you can muster

move forward

Julia French

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Waiting まてます

Flower name in Japanese is げっと (Ge-To)

Flower name in Japanese is げっと (Ge-To)

 Maybe 14 years I’ve had this Ge-To plant in my garden. Only leaves, no flowers.

たぶん14年 わたしの にわに げっと しょくぶつを ありました。はぱ だけです。はなは いないです。

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On Monday I was watering my garden and I found two flowers on it!

げつよびに わたしの にわに みずを かけました。ふたつ はなが みつけました!

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Yeah! I was so surprised and happy!

わあああああ!びくりです!うれしです!

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 いまは とても ちさい しろいの ばらも ありました。

I also have really tiny white roses now.

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スズラン Lily of the Valley

スズラン Lily of the Valley

Maybe 1 year back I bought this plant but it quickly died.

たぶん1年 まえ これの しょくぶつを かいました。しかし それが はやく しんだ。

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So I put the pot behind the house and forgot about it.

それで ポトを おちの うしろに おきました と それが わすれた。

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On Monday it suddenly had leaves and flowers! Wow! It’s alive!

げつよびに とつぜんに はぱ と はな ありました!びくり!それが いきている!

Until next time, Julia French

 

 

 

 

 

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Chapter 43: Running and Driving

“Zzzzzzzzzzz…”

“Wake up boy!” Davis slapped Connor’s feet to make a spot for himself on the side of his son’s bed and sat down.

“What? Am I supposed to be somewhere?” Connor murmured in a groggy tone.

“Not yet, ” Davis bent over to lace up his steel toed work boots, “But later today you and Daisy need to come to work. So wake up.”

“Da-a-a-a-a-d, ” he moaned. “It’s still the holidays. I don’t have to go back to school yet.”

“School holiday yes, work holiday no. Palmer has got its annual New Year’s Eve party come ‘in up. There’s a lot of clean ‘in to do. You two need to be at work at 3 o’clock sharp, got it?”

“Yea. Alright. I got it.” He pulled his pillow up over his head to muffle more moaning as his father left for work. Connor wanted to go running with the gang in the afternoon, everybody was going. Having to be at Palmer by 3 really threw a wrench into his plans.

“Maybe the gang would move the time up and run in the morning instead of the afternoon,” he wondered to himself. “I’ll have to call ‘em and find out.” He got out of bed and shook his sleepy legs. He twisted to the left and then the right giving his back a good crack, “Aaah.” After a few more stretches to get the blood flowing, he started making phone calls to his friends.

It turned out that everyone could make the switch. So at 8 a.m. Connor was knocking on Daisy’s front door. “Hey Day, let’s go girl!”

Daisy said good-bye to her Grandparents and they left for the boardwalk.

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At the boardwalk, Mark held hands with Susan as she chattered on and on about something that had happened to her over the holidays. Andy leaned against the platform railing with one arm loosely across Maria’s shoulders. Grace was to their left, sitting on top of the railing, while Willie leaned up against her, completely satisfied with his comfortable position. Everyone was laughing as Susan told her tale.

The teens were in high holiday spirits but the mood of the boardwalk was very different. Shops were closed for New Years. Except for the Maxwell bunch, the place was vacant. The sky was brooding and heavy with clouds. The water was a dark gloomy grey backdrop behind the chatty circle of friendly kids.

Connor knocked knuckles with Andy, Willie and Mark. “How’s it going, man?”

Andy looked up at the sky. “It’s probably good that we moved our running time up because it looks like it’s gonna storm big time. There’s gonna be no chance to run later on.” Everyone looked up at the dreary sky and nodded their heads in agreement.

Mark punched Connor in the arm. “I heard you got your Dad’s car for Christmas, man! That’s great! How’d ya talk him into that one?”

“I never tried to talk him into it. I think he just got tired of having George drive him to meet Peggy when I had the Firebird. He’s ditch ‘in George. That’s what I think.”

Everybody eyed their companion and grinned with understanding.

“When’s the big day for the happy couple anyway?” Andy asked.

“June 30th,” Daisy answered dreamily then added, “Peggy wants all of us girls to be in the wedding as bride’s maids and she wants you guys to be the ushers. George will be the best man, of course.”

“I like George. He’s a nice guy. He’s been hang ‘in around my Mom a lot. He had dinner with us and Maria on Christmas,” Andy shared.

“He’s pretty cool,” Connor agreed.

“Mom has had too many bad boyfriends. I wish she could settle down with somebody who would be nice to her, like George,” Andy confessed.

Everyone agreed that it was about time a nice guy came into Cindy Victor’s life.

“I think George would be absolutely perfect,” giggled Daisy.

Thunder boomed loudly from a distant place and everybody jumped with excitement at the sudden, untamed sound.

“We better get started,” Mark suggested.

“Yea and don’t stop at the end. Let’s loop around and come back down. Maybe we can miss the down pour,” Andy instructed.

Due to the weather, they skipped stretching out. They took formation quickly, guys on the left and girls on the right and were off.

After a short warm up distance of about a half mile or so, Andy pulled out from the group hollering, “Let’s take it up a few notches! I don’t like getting wet!”

Everyone picked up their pace in unison. A flash back of Grandpa Joe’s military photos popped into Daisy’s mind. She always had thoughts of Grandpa’s military days when her friends ran in perfect sync with each other.

They lifted sober faces, focusing straight ahead now. There was a light, misty drizzle that accelerated into a light shower. The rain gave them an additional reason to run faster. When they hit the end of the boardwalk they circled the center bench and ran straight back the way they came.

“Pick it up guys!” Andy yelled.

The simple shower turned into a drenching down pour.

“We all want to beat the rain but the rain is faster,” Connor thought to himself. Nature always seemed to speak to him and give him ideas about God. It was speaking to him now. “You are fast Connor, but I am faster… race Me. Pull out of formation and race Me.”

Connor pondered the words that he thought he was hearing, then grinned. “Was God wanting to actually race with him? Wow, how cool!” He continued to listen.

Thunder boomed suddenly like the shock of a gun in a race, and Connor automatically took off at top speed. He pulled out of formation and passed Andy without even noticing him. He was now racing with someone else!

Connor’s sudden burst of speed exhilarated Andy and the rest of the gang. They all copied him and pushed to do their best. They stretched, pushed, and pressed to catch him. For the first time ever, Andy could not catch Connor!

They were elated when they finally hit the original starting spot. Running in circles with their hands on their hips, breathing deeply, they slowed down. Turning their faces up into the pouring rain they laughed at their soaking state.

Connor spread his arms out wide. “God likes to run with us!” He yelled with all his youthful strength.

Everyone listened to Connor’s praise as they stared up in awe at the dark, pouring sky.

Andy slapped him on the back. “That was fantastic! How did you do that?”

Connor’s shining, wet face turned in Andy’s direction, noticing him for the first time since the booming crack of thunder told him to go. “I think I heard God say, ‘Race Me!’ So I did!” Uncontrollable laughter burst forth from Connor and he shouted some more. “It was great!” he yelled out to God and all the world around him.

The rest of the group ran around playfully stomping in puddles and chasing each other energetically.

Connor grabbed Daisy around the waist and spun her in circles. They laughed together enjoying the rain until they were out of breath. When he put her down he gave her a traditional victory kiss (No need for the water bottle tradition since she was already sopping wet). Then Connor stood still, just holding her in the rain. He could feel her steady heart beat against his chest. Her heart had a calming effect on him. Finally, he exhaled and relaxed. He turned to his friends, “Well you guys, it’s been great but we have to go. Daisy has driving lessons and then we have to go to work.”

He knocked knuckles with each of his wet friends and they all sloshed through the rain to the cars.

“Hey Connor, since you have this great car now… can you give us a ride to Grace’s house?” Willie grinned hopefully. “We don’t really fit in Maria’s car.”

“Sure, get in.”

Grace and Willie got in Connor’s car. Andy, Mark and Susan got in Maria’s car. Connor dropped Willie and Grace off at Grace’s house. Then he returned to his apartment building with dripping wet Daisy at his side.

“Give me a call when you’re dressed. We’ll go to Shop-Smart and eat in the deli then drive around the parking lot for a little while before work.” Connor kissed the side of Daisy’s head as they parted in the apartment hallway.

“Kay.”

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Daisy and Connor made their way through the holiday shoppers of Shop-Smart to the back of the store where the deli was located. The line was long and the place was crowded but after some time, they managed to order a large sub sandwich and find a booth.

Connor smiled and stuck out his hand. “Let’s pray, babe.”

She took his hand and bowed her head.

“Dear Lord, thank you for this food and this time together. Thank you for Your peace and Your strength. We ask that you help the police catch Mr. Adams soon, amen.” He passed Daisy her half of the sub sandwich and took a giant bite of his half. “Mm… good. I was starving…”

Daisy just held her sandwich with a studied look on her face. “Connor.”

“Hum?” He looked up with chipmunk cheeks full of sandwich.

“God spoke to me too. While we were running…,” she hesitated to continue.

“What’d He say?” Connor stopped eating and stared at her curiously.

“He told me not to be afraid. Why would He say that? I mean, I’m not afraid. So why would he bother to tell me not to be?” She fumbled with her sandwich, unable to decide which end to bite.

“I don’t know,” he took a swig of his tea, “Maybe there’s something come ‘in you don’t know about.”

Daisy’s eyes enlarged. “You think something scary is gonna happen?”

Connor watched Daisy’s expression move from puzzled to alarmed. “Now, you see that?” He pointed his finger at her. “You see how easy you changed your emotion? I just said m-a-y-b-e something was gonna happen in the f-u-t-u-r-e and you’re ready to have a panic attack. How should I know what’s gonna happen?” He shrugged his shoulders. “But no matter what happens, God told you, don’t be afraid.” He went back to his sandwich.

Daisy’s expression moved from alarm back to puzzled again. “Hmm.” She finally took a bite of her sandwich and chewed slowly. After a while she spoke again. “He told you you’re strong.”

“Well actually, He said I’m fast but He’s faster, Race Me.” Connor pushed up his sleeves and proudly displayed his muscles. “Look at those bad boys!” He slapped his biceps. “I’m fast and I’m strong!” At that, Daisy giggled with all her heart. Her outburst gave Connor a huge amount of pleasure. He couldn’t help but laugh too.

When they finished eating they walked back out to the parking lot and Connor tossed her the keys. “Don’t kill me babe, I still got a lot of living to do.” He laughed at his own little joke.

Daisy rolled her eyes as she got in the car.

The Firebird was a standard vehicle, but it had a stick shift between the bucket seats that you used to put it into park or drive or reverse. Connor explained this, and a few other driving tips to Daisy, while she started the engine.

She carefully pulled out of the parking spot and drove around the perimeter of the lot. As her confidence began to build, so did her speed.

Her mounting speed made Connor a little nervous. “Speed bumps, speed bumps, speed bumps coming!” His voice got louder with every word.

Ka-boom!

“Crap, Daisy!”

Daisy ran over some speed bumps going way to fast. After a brief airborne moment the car returned to earth with a gigantic bang. The banging car scared Daisy even more than Connor’s hysterical yelling did. She floored the brakes which caused the car to slide sideways and skid noisily to a halt, leaving a rather long line of black tire tread marks on the pavement.

“Oh God, oh God, oh God,” Daisy chanted, nearly in tears.

“It’ll be okay, babe, everybody does that once,” he assured her as he tried to catch his breath. “But, uh, you have to understand, there is a reason for speed bumps. Whenever you see speed bumps coming, you need to slow down. Okay, babe?”

“Okay, I’m sorry. Should I stop now?” she asked meekly.

“No, no, you can keep going, but just watch out for the speed bumps.” Connor leaned back in his seat and tightened his seat belt.

Daisy drove around the perimeter again, at a snail’s pace this time.

“That’s much better. Why don’t you go down that back road over there?” He pointed to a road shooting out the back.

She drove slowly through the small, quiet, residential area behind the store without incident.

Connor looked at his watch. “You’re doing great. Now go back to the parking lot.”

She did so perfectly.

“You’re not too bad.” He smiled and relaxed a little more. “I think you could drive to work. Why don’t you try?”

Daisy left the parking lot again. She went down the street to the Palmer Company which was just a few blocks away.

When she finally got the car parked exactly the way she wanted, in the middle of the white lines, she looked over at Connor quizzically. “Do you think I could pass a driving test?”

“You did great, but uh, just for confidence sake you should practice a little bit more. Plus you need to learn some of the laws. I’ll have to get you a book for that. Maybe tomorrow, okay?”

“Kay.” She played with the steering wheel and pushed some buttons on the dash. “What do these do?”

Connor laughed at her playfulness while he un-pushed everything she pushed. “This one pops the trunk. This one is the gas tank cover. This one pops the hood.” It suddenly dawned on Connor that there might be more to sharing a vehicle than he had originally thought. “Let’s get inside. Dad’s gonna be look ‘in for us. He says there is a lot of cleaning to do.”

They hopped out of the car. Connor pushed the hood of the car shut then went to the back and shut the trunk on the way inside the Palmer office.

 

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