Piece By Piece


My dear friend’s words come to mind, “Let it begin with me.”

She is wise beyond her years- literally.  Betty passed this year.  She left me a wealth of wisdom to sort through.  And she is not the only one who left me a neat pile of clear thinking; which I sort through.  Every piece of wisdom is folded carefully.  Each waits to become part of a treasured quilt, a thing of joy.

My hands are busy.

In the doings of my undoings- I let God choose when and how the pieces will come together.  After all; who better than God to create something new?

Let it begin with me.

Please God, let your work begin with me.

Please, prepare me to be a fashion of your complete will.  Please, go ahead…

But haven’t you always gone ahead of us promising you would be there for us when we arrived?

Who would have guessed that from this surrendering to you, God; I would be set free?

Surely not myself.

Dear God,

I see the harm I have done to others and to myself by trying to be everything for them.  What a good opinion of myself I built up to serve my poor self esteem.  This was done without my intent to fail their need to their own responsibilities and to their own growth.  But it was a control that stunted them.  It also stunted me.  I must have thought I knew more than you; of course without thinking my actions might interfere with your will.  Sorry…

I reached the end of me.

There you are, in wait.

My thanks and praise Dear Lord for your ever considerate love.
Please keep it coming.

My trust is in you.






The Benefit of Truth

Truth is a powerful mother…

During the past few days; I’ve had a chance to look at truth straight in the eye.  Believe me; it’s been looking right back at me.

God called me on this one.  And He certainly has my attention! Let me share with you what I have learned.

Remember the operative word here is ‘motive’.

We can knee jerk from actions of others.  We can also ask God’s hand to steady us and reveal what is going on.  Though I believe it is essential to respect His timing.  In the past; I’ve knee jerked my way along.  I’ve thought of it as an action when really; it was a response.  So, what’s the real difference?

I’ve come to learn; a reaction is not asking the question, “What is my motive?”  A reaction is a response driven by a learned behavior.  In my case; I learned how to respond because I was afraid.

An action usually involves a strategy and a follow through.  Of course, strategies require that you take stock of your resources, consider the goal, assess when the time to act is optimal, consider the possible outcomes, understand your opposition or challenge and estimate your loss or gain if taking this action.

If you’re a devoted Christian like I am; then it also requires turning all of this over to His will. It means you will serve His will and defend His truth as well; when called to do so.


So, I understand much of what motivates me has been fear, hoping to win the approval of those near and dear, hating to let people down and doing for them what they can’t or won’t do for themselves.  Oh brother; what a wake up call this is…

One of the other and most important thing I’ve fastened my brain around is this: we do not cause, we cannot cure and we cannot control the illness of addiction.  Addiction can be with money, power, alcohol, food, drugs, sex, compulsion, work, control and probably some others I do not know about.  These illnesses cannot be cured with words, controlling, monitoring or anything else.  They cannot be cured by our hope of a better life for those near and dear. For instance, you cannot cure addiction from any of these responses any more than you can cure the illness of diabetes or cancer.

Ministering, talking, teaching or even doing things to keep things going smoothly will not cure, curb or control an illness.

Where does that leave me?  Well, for one thing; I understand why none of my responses worked in the past.  I understand what my motives were.  Secondly, I am relieved to understand that addiction is not a behavioral issue.  It is an illness.

Now, my action is to ask what my motive is before I get wrapped up in something “too big of me”.  Mable, a wise woman, learned this saying from her grandson Jason, “It’s too big of me.” So I’m saying it now.  Thanks so much for these words Mable and Jason!

I’m very thankful that God has taken me up and reveals to me these things.  How powerful and graceful he is to find the right time to heal me of my former self.

I wish to thank you God.  And I hope dear Jesus, you enjoy my sharing your truth.


Break Every Chain

Yesterday’s post needs a reference point.  Please continue reading…

I attended church Wednesday night.  Pastor Bill and Jen sang, “Break Every Chain.”   Much of what drives my methods is linked to fear.  This song reached into me.

This fear inside me wants to be freed.  I needed these lyrics to sing this truth into my heart.  I needed to take complete security in knowing I could give it up and turn it over to Jesus.

Thank’s Pastor Bill!  Thanks Jen!

The world around us gives us too much opportunity to be fearful.  God, in His own way at His own time calls us.  He can rein us in.  He can choose what HE wants us to recognize, when and how.  Isn’t it his Master plan after all?

My post “Oasis” is simply reporting my truth and my continual discovery of Jesus’ design of my life.

My post was written to free up from fear, admit my imperfections, misery, burdens and perceived disadvantages.

We are ALL responsible to our own path and journey with Jesus or without him.  As Christians we learn different things at different times for different reasons.  All of which I have no clue about.

I strive to walk with Jesus in my heart as much as I am able.  I trust the content of his lessons.  I thank Jesus that the position of being a victim is no longer at assembly within me.  I gain more strength and courage to speak of my process as these lessons are learned.  I learn to accept myself more fully right where I am.   I strive to accept you where you are, as well.

And yet there are these occasions:

Distracted at times- yes.

Incapable- yes; sometimes.

Ineffective-certainly this is also true.

Let’s not fear the truth about ourselves or how we influence or project ourselves to others.  Doesn’t Jesus call us to see the truth about ourselves, our situations, our behaviors; and yet He still redeems us…

I thank the people in my life who honor my process in my walk with Jesus.  I thank them for encouraging me to pursue the freedom to be with Jesus fully and yet imperfectly.  Isn’t this real good news?


I thank you

for taking

my words


a grain

of salt.



Find the Oasis

At a time when another holds an opinion of you that reduces you to a little less than nothing; what do you have left?  You have God.  You have his son, Jesus.  You have the holiest spirit of Christ with you.  And you may also be fortunate enough to have a few loving, dear friends at your side.

Recently, I was subjected to the experience of verbal abuse.  It wasn’t fun.  It was a hurtful thing.  The wounds cannot be detected on my skin.  They run deep.  In God’s timing with his will; they shall heal.

In the abusing, confiscating, debasing behavior that I experienced; I found humor.

Now, I’ll tell you something I hope you can laugh about.

I was smiling inside myself about the monologue that came spewing my way-but not at first.  It did take the afternoon to settle into God’s peace.  Then, I realized that all of what I had been told that morning was “fake news”.

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about “fake news”.  Fake news is false reporting.  It is something other than the truth.  You can’t trust false news to be accurate.  You can’t rely on it.  It just isn’t so.

I am not a looser.  I’m not a financial weight or burden.  I am not the reported reason for another’s burden of work and subsequent misery.  I am not the reason for someone else’s feelings of scarcity.  I am a contributing, hard working asset to this marriage.  I bring a lot into this home.  I contribute financially, emotionally and most importantly, spiritually.

This is not my opinion of myself, but rather the truth that Jesus shares lovingly with me as he comforts me in HIS truth.  For this my gratitude is infinite.

Can you just imagine all the “fake news” Jesus was subjected to about himself by others?  Wow, there was a lot of fake news going on about him at that time!  He found his way through it.  Somehow, he even made peace with it or peace into it.  Isn’t Jesus amazing?

I don’t feel above my husband or better than he.  I do think we have different lessons to learn.  Some of my work is to love him even when he poses himself as my enemy.  “Love your enemies,” Jesus says.

When things go wrong, don’t go with them.

Go directly to God.

P.S.  I love how Jesus gets me to write about him and share his good works…

Thank you most heartily dear Lord


Patience To Love





Years bring wisdom.  Years bring acceptance.  They bring patience. In turn all of these bring joy.  The form of my joy this summer is a month of family time with my daughter and granddaughter from Berlin, Germany.

Chaos is disorder.  But if you ask me; it’s also the means of great possibility.  My house has been taken over by a three year old.  Sure we pick up the games, toys, play-dough and books.  But when you look around and see these things about in our small little home and our very large garden; you know they represent a great amount of joyful times and memories in-the-making.

Last night we put together a 25 piece puzzle with our granddaughter.  There… in the midst of sorting pieces and fitting them lived great exuberance and delight!

I wonder if God looks at us and says; “Yes, this is the kind of delight I enjoy all of you making out of the messes in life.  Great work, keep it up!”

Anyway, whether God likes the messes or not or what we do with them; I thank Him for the delight that our small home (and large garden) is cram packed and filled with this month.

Our family has healed from some pretty big gaps and discord into a colorful, accepting, loving, peaceful band.  We thank God for this.  We thank him for the tender hearts he continues to accomplish in all of us.

I said to Archie, “If there isn’t enough patience; there probably isn’t enough love.”


To Be of Use- A Memorial for Betty

(At the Memorial for Betty)


For those of you who don’t know me
and for those of you who don’t recognize me; my name is Shelly.

My friendship with Betty began in 1981- 36 years ago when our family moved to Pope Valley in the old Gardner place. We were both young raising up our families.

I have not come here prepared– I was not ready for Betty’s farewell.
How can we fully prepare, for someone we love,
to take leave?

But with as much preparation as we are granted– we continue.

Betty and I shared a love of poetry.
I would like to read a poem by Mary Oliver that Betty might enjoy.

The title is “Mysteries Yes”

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing

in the mouths of lambs.

How rivers and stones are forever in allegiance

with gravity

while we ourselves

dream of rising.

How two hands touch and the bonds

will never be broken.

How people come, from delight

or the scars of damage,

to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep company always with those who say

“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,

and bow their heads.

In my reading this poem- I admit- I custom fit it for Betty by omitting a few sentences.
They didn’t fit.  I know Betty would have approved!

Let me read them to you now…


I know Betty worked to close gaps- not keep distance. Betty, as I knew her, always moved directly forward.  She always knew the right path by seeking the right questions.

To me….this is far greater than knowing the answers.

And now a poem that reminds me very much of Betty. The title is

“To Be Of Use” written by Marge Piercy

To Be Of Use

The people I love the best jump into work head first without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.

They seem to become natives of that element, the black sleek heads of seals bouncing like half submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves,
an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience, who strain in the mud and the muck
to move things forward
who do what has
to be done

I want to be with people who submerge in the task, who go into the fields
to harvest and work in a row
and pass the bags along,

who stand in the line
and haul in their places
who are not parlor generals or field deserters but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in
or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is as common as mud. Botched, it smears the hands,
crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done

has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.

Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vessels that held corn, are put in museums but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person…
for work that is real.

In honor of you Betty……where love will always fill the gap. Thank you, thank you….Everyone.

A Poem by Wendell Berry

The Real Work
It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.

By Wendell Berry