An abandoned baby sounds pitiful, not promising with no lineage, so to speak.  But read the Promise and it sounds to me like a promotion.   "COME HERE, SWEETIE."

Really?   ‘Adopted children are more than twice as likely as children raised by biological parents to attempt suicide.’   Now that doesn't sound so good. 

Nature, nurture, the debate continues but His Promises never fail.

Natural, Supernatural.  Aha!  Take this ‘debate’ to the Highest Level:  HO!

There are oddities nearly indescribable for people who are given up at birth and then adopted.   I wasn't born on Mars but I always knew,  I was just a lit-tle bit odd.  I wan't like my family.

Adopted children don't necessarily synchronize with their new parents, we don't naturally share their traits, their features, or what comes naturally to them.  For me, with wonderful parents, it was a like looking at family life through a bullet-proof  enclosure and of lot of life couldn't get in.  I was a part, a participant,  but I was a visitor and apparently, from their reactions, from another planet.  I heard "My!  Where do you get that from? That's so strange!" which emphasized me being the stranger in the perfect home. 

Adopted children don't always harmonize well with the family song.  Or maybe we sing the same tune but in different keys or a different beat.  Hint: if your kid, adopted or 'natural', is quirky, just go with it. Maybe your child's gifted . . . . . 

Beyond our fields at the far end began a dense forest.  Out of the top  of the trees tiny airplanes buzzed. I asked my Dad about them, where did they come

“Through the forest on the other side there’s a clearing on top, it’s a private airstrip owned by Troh.  Don’t ever, ever ride your horse through that forest!  There's cougars there and they can kill a cow or take down a horse.  It’s so dark in there you’d get thrown, the branches, the undergrowth would spook Goldie.

“I thought maybe I could wash planes for a summer job” I ventured not timidly but certainly with great respect.  I was 14, I was a good kid.

“Oh, you dreamer!” my Dad  laughed.   “Troh!! Troh shoots people he finds up there, it’s his property.  Don’t go up there unless you want to come back fulla buckshot,”  and he returned to his flowerbeds laughing, throwing his hand downwards: 'dismissed!'

I really did listen to what Dad said.  Most of the time I did exactly what Dad said.

The best of a country morning is hearing the birds, walking out to your horse in the field and finding she's already looking for you.  If she's awake.  And if she's sleeping in the early sun, moisture rises from her hide and sparkles upwards in fairy dust.  I would creep inside her legs and lean my head on Goldie's belly and she'd nicker gently but not startle or stir.  Goldie was a quarter horse put out to pasture when she broke one of her hind legs.  She was still very spirited and the uneven gait made it even more . . .  fun, to ride her.  One day, actually our first day, she threw me seven times.   Ooooooops..  The only difficulty was finding a hay bale or fence post or tree limb to get me up high enough to give it another go.  I think I saw her smile. 

But she never ran away, she just pretended she knew how to be ground tied and made snuffling noises in the grass while I grunted and groaned getting back up on her.

Going into the forbidden woods the first time I remember it got so dark so quickly as Goldie and I crossed from field into the forest, spooky in this untrodden world.  The sun never got through the dense old forest so its colors were all shades of grey.  We passed a cow, dead,  most of its skin gone.  Didn’t want to study it and thankfully it appeared in grey tones because of the darkness.  We heard a big cat scream and kept moving. It was a long time in there, and then

We reached a dirt road on the other side of the forest and back into the sunshine.  I wondered where the airstrip was.  The long, dusty trail finally broadened until we were in a field on top of the world.


What are you doing here?”  

It was "Ol' Man Troh", Hank Troh himself.    Oh, Father!

He was big but he didn’t look so mean or old.  I didn’t survey the tractor he was riding to look for the shotgun.  I stared straight into his eyes, careful to maintain
eye contact.  Scared to death of this stranger on a tractor, but his eyes, even staring back at me, his eyes were kind.

“I’m looking for summer work.  I was hoping I could wash some of your airplanes for a job.”

“Where are you from?”  This wasn’t an easy place to get to, especially on horseback and Mr. Troh wondered just how on earth . . .

“I came through the woods.”     

Mr. Troh raised his eyebrows and stared and said nothing.  He just kinda looked me over in amazement, then motioned  me to follow as he turned his tractor around.

Soon I saw some of those small airplanes and a wide dirt road leading to the end of the mountaintop: air-strip!  A bit further and there were some corrugated metal buildings and a house.

I tethered Goldie and Mr. Troh showed me how to wash an airplane:  “Here’s the hose, here’s the plane, show me,”  and he walked off.  I can say it now: I love this man.

The sun was hot on top the mountain and I worked as well as I knew how.  When I thought the plane might be finished, I looked around for Troh.  He had turned his back and walked away, but I guarantee that somehow he'd never lost sight of me.  

Then h
e showed me how to put the hose away.

“That’s where you’ll get it tomorrow, and just put it back when you’re done.  Come on.  Wanna take a ride on the tractor while I show you around?”

Oh yes I did!  I sat on the front of the tractor with one foot on each of those bug-eyed lights and off we went like old friends, which we were.  For the girl who'd never belonged, somehow Mr. Troh and I belonged.  I give him all the credit, he took time for me, he was gracious and good to me, and Mr. Troh was just getting started.

The sun didn’t bother me a bit anymore,
everything was exciting and my new friend was, well, he was my friend.  His eyes crinkled with smiles even when his mouth didn't and we seemed to share that secret joy of creating adventures.

“Wanna fly?”

“Yes, sir!

“Come on, let’s go.”   And he helped me get into the passenger side of a Piper Cub.  He got in the plane and did all those pilot things, lots of dials and switches, and then we were bounce-bounce-bouncing down the dirt road.  Noisy, exciting and I never questioned a single moment.  It was as natural as supernatural can be.

Then the noises changed and I noticed, uh ~ the earth was missing and we were way up in the air.   Oh!  We zoomed around while he showed me the countryside from a new Perspective.  Oh my goodness!!  It was just amazing.

“OK, you ready to fly this plane?” 

“Oh, Yes, sir!

“Great!  She'll fly anywhere you want.  You just say ‘right’ or ‘left’  OK?  And you tell her where to go!”  I took a deep breath and wondered what tone of voice to use.

“Right”.  And lo and behold, she turned gently right then straightened out again. Whoa!

“Left!”  and sure enough, she turned left and then she straightened out again and it was so easy and gentle, WOW!

This marvelous, great man kept up this joyous adventure in flight ~ until I heard his feet moving the pedals, moving the flaps.

He grinned. 

I chagrined,  and we both laughed really hard.  Nicest man I'd ever met.   Kind, generous, to a strange young girl with a big yellow horse. 

I had a very long trip home to consider whether to fess up or not, my earnings already burning a hole in my pocket. 

So I showed Dad the money before I told him where it came from.  He wasn’t speechless but he was dumbfounded. 

“I just can’t believe it!  You mean you had the nerve to get all the way over there and back, he let you wash a plane, he took you flying – Ol’ Man Troh?  Well, I just can’t believe it.” 

I was the quiet little girl.

"Mr. Troh, Dad, and he isn't old at all!"

Dad walked away shaking his head.  And Mr. Troh, my friend, and I had a wonderful summer together.   Mr. Hank Troh was and is a great man:  "Your gentleness has made me great."

And I had a new love:  being up in the air in a tiny plane.  Yay!

The next summer I somehow got it into my head that I wanted to work at the county courthouse.   My Mama pursed her lips mockingly and said 'Suuuuuure, sounds great'.  Translation:  "Who do you think you are? And where do you get these ideas?"  It's never ever been 'who do I think I am?"  It's Whose I know I am.

So that summer I worked for District Attorney Roger Rook, the District Attorney for the entire county, no less.  He was also the President of the National District Attorney's Association, wow!  He let me do all his correspondence for his NDAA position.  Wow!

I recently attended a special event at Clackamas Community College and there's a beautiful, brand new building there:  The Roger D. Rook Building.  Never, ever underestimate what your DADDY can do.  "YOU ARE THE HEAD AND NOT THE TAIL."  Of all the men I could've bumped into, I bumped into an officer and a gentleman and learned from him.  I learned principles, professionalism and compassion.  Why on earth he ever took me on, took me into his legal practice, is beyond me.  But it's not beyond my DADDY.

The next summer I quietly announced I wanted to join the circus.  Of all things, Clackamas High School had a very professional  circus which even toured South
America.  The circus held tryouts each fall,  and I explained to my parents (hiding behind newspapers trying not to laugh) that if I could just climb a 28-foot Spanish web, I’d be in.

“Oh, you dreamer! " Dad snorted, "You don’t have any strength in your arms, you could never do that!”  Dad felt pretty safe putting that rope up in the huge old barn – way up. 

“You go right ahead and try, Sissy, you’ll see, you never make it up there.  You have no strength.”


Mama didn’t object, she knew I’d never make it.

Mama was pretty terrified at my first performance and Dad, of course, was dumbfounded.  “Well, Sissy, I just can’t believe it.”

“You certainly didn’t get that from me!” Mama said. 

She and Dad said that a lot.  An innocent remark which made me feel like I came from somewhere else.  Turns out, I did.   And  it must be a good place because good things were found in me and good things kept Happening.   Maybe strange, but very good.


Playing the piano was my childhood claim to fame.  I’d get up early before my parents to practice the piano about 5AM.  At age seven, it might have been more mischievous because the old upright player piano stood against the wall adjoining my parent’s bedroom.  Gooooood morning!

When we moved, my folks bought a new studio piano and put it between the kitchen, dining room, and family room as a room divider.  Mama would turn from her cooking to conduct piano concerti with a carrot stick.  There was nowhere in that A-frame house that the piano wasn’t heard and I played nonstop, so they heard a lot. 

Year after year.  After year.

I  won little student awards, had my name in the paper, very rewarding for my folks who had really done all the work.  I joined the Music Teachers Association when I was 12 with my Teacher Certificate in hand and six students.  But Mama's the one who did the work, who made the investment as she drove for hours and sat for hours for my piano lessons. 

I toured Europe on concert tour at 16, 14 countries and a very special performance behind the Berlin Wall.  Getting into there required flying low at night, and I missed Mr. Troh for sure.  I went to Japan on concert tour next - and I went by ship.

There was one big  problem, and it was very big:   although I could sight read Beethoven like the flies on the barn, I could by no means what-so-ever "just sit down and play!" by ear. 

Christmas time:  “Sissy, why don’t you sit down and play some carols for us?”

Family reunions:  “Just play 'Happy Birthday', honey.”

It was  painfully awkward as the ‘audience’ froze with smiles in place and I'd  stammer and die right on the spot.  I couldn't do it.  Mama was always pretty mad, ok: angry, her smile more frozen than the others.  But I just could-not-do-it!  I had no idea about how to play by ear or where to start, no-thing!  

“I just wish that for once, that you’d just sit-down-and-play!” and she'd stomp out.  Understandable, she had made so many sacrifices for me to play the paino.

“Oh, Gret-chen!”  Dad wasn't coming to my aid - he was just tired of hearing about it.  It was a long-standing family embarrasment and I felt like dreck: "Not good enough!"

“I HAVE LOVED YOU WITH AN EVERLASTING LOVE, YOU ARE PRECIOUS IN MY SIGHT.  SING UNTO THE LORD A NEW SONG.”  "DADDY loves you, sweetie, you're My favorite and I just love to watch you open My gifts.  HERE, SWEETIE"

Years later, Dad and Mama came to California to visit my new baby and me (my husband had left, he hadn't signed up for parenthood.)  I had rented a furnished home with a piano.  Just as years before, my folks were sleeping in the next room, I got up early, my fingers found the keys ~ but I didn’t have any sheet music and it had been more than 20 years.

Then my fingers began to move as DADDY began to play.  New music, beautiful, heavenly music.  D-flat, tangerine-hued infused with rose gold.

“Sissy, who’s out there with you?”  

“No one, Mama.”

“Oh come on, who’s playing the piano?” 

Coming around the corner, out  poked mama’s head with her blue curler cap.  I kept playing and Mama was indeed speechless as she sat down quietly to listen. 

For years she had heard me play the piano, she knew ex-act-ly what and how I played, every single note

“It’s the Lord, Mama, it’s the Holy Spirit,” I said.  I could feel Him.  Mama could hear Him.  Which is why she grabbed the camera and took this picture:  SomeThing wierd was going on here.

“Well, you didn’t get it from me!”  Yes, Mama, I know.

The next year my daughter and I visited them up in Oregon.  We took off for a camping trip at Camp Meriweather on the coast.  How exciting for Dad to show his granddaughter around his beloved boyhood camp.  For years, Dad had been a camp counselor for ‘troubled’ boys.  My Dad knows just about everything and he can handle just about anything and he had a heart for those boys.   Dad was a helper his whole life, his gifts brought out the best in him, too.  And now he was helping his granddaughter discover the Pacific ocean and the Great Northwest. 

Give Dad a wilderness or a crisis - and he is in his element!

Dad's an expert in so many things, incredible knowledge coupled with seasons and seasons of experience.  Like hiking all the way out to the end of Cape Lookout to see the wreckage of an old plane.  Guiding groups out to the marine gardens nestled on the south side of the Cape Lookout teeming with wierd sea life and experiences.  I'm still impressed with how much my Dad knows!

Note that not only is Dad knowledgeable, he hasthe stamina of an ox crossbred with a Sherman tank, he's, hmmmmm, shall we say 'peppery'?  'Spirited'?  If you've ever watched "The Deadliest Catch", you've seen pretty rough and tough seamen, and these men are more pampered than my Dad ever was.  Dad didn't have sonar and there was no coast guard  to rescue him.  He's just that tough.    He was stern stuff with either a twinkle in his eyes or, murder, with a very short fuse in between.  I love my dad.

Returning now as an adult with a small child, Cape Lookout still looked far away and Dad still said “Just put one foot in front of the other, one foot in front of the other.  One, two, one, two!”  I was a little girl again with my own little girl in tow.  But now, Dad knew better than to yell "Oh, quit your complaining!  Come on, you gotta toughen up a little!" at his granddaughter.  When Chloe tired, he carried her - he loved it.  We made walking sticks out of beach treasures and jump ropes out of humongous seaweed.

Way up ahead a pack of dogs barked and barked and danced around something.  A group of people stood watching.  The dogs were yapping and would bite and tear on the thing – what in the world did they have? 

Psalm 146:15

Oh, how awful when I realized it was a dead seal!   My daughter was beside herself watching the dogs tear at it.  The poor thing!  What to do?  I ran at the dogs clapping my hands and shouting.  Phooey on the dogs' owners.

I crouched next to the seal and put one hand on it and my dad started screaming “Don’t touch a dead animal!  Sissy, it’s got vermin, it’s dead, NO-O-O-O!” 

So I prayed, thinking it might soothe my daughter, never ever thinking that what happened would happen, that God would do what I asked.  The deflated seal first filled up with Air then began to breathe and the  watching crowd gasped.  He breathed several breaths, then a big sigh and he opened one eye and blinked a few times.

The seal didn’t move a bit.  But he kept breathing and my dumbfounded dad took a picture, “Sissy, this is a miracle!   This really is a miracle! I'm gonna show this picture to people to prove it!”  Then dad's normal reasoning kicked in because, after all, he didn't believe in miracles:
“Well, it won't matter.  The tide’s going out and he’s stranded way up here and he not gonna survive."

Reason had returned and the mist of faith evaporated -   "There’s no way he’ll live with the tide going out.  Come on, it’s over, let’s get going.” 

I love my dad.

And we continued on to the marine gardens.

When we got there we couldn’t venture out onto the rocks into the oceanic treasure hunt because the tide was coming in, covering all the sea secrets.

We had walked all that way for nothing because my dad had been wrong about the tides.  And this is a miracle! Dad was wrong.   So we trudged back looking for the seal carcass.

But no seal.  Only curving lines trailing in the sand where he’d made his way back home to  the sea.

We had by no means made the trip for nothing.

“It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me.” Daniel 4:2


Dedicated to my Loving Parents
I have set the solitary in families.  Psalm 68:6

The Beauty of Biblical  Contradictions

Here's the beauty of biblical contradictions:  there aren't any.

Dad moved last week.

I laid down on the sand covering Dad's coffin and grieved beyond words.  It was raining hard, so I was alone between mounded flowers on the new grave to his right and the hole dug for his neighbor to come on the left.  
He wasn't easy to find.

His name hadn't yet been entered in the kiosk grave locator, an ATM of the deceased.   There are loops and loops of roads meandering through Willamette National Cemetary up the hills and down the hills surrounded by the woods that dad loves so much.  Bulldozers  huddle in several locations perpetually preparing for inevitable expansions.  So it wasn't easy to find him.
I had almost given up looking at every tiny temporary marker until I saw a huge mound of flowers on the far side of the field.  Dad!  I ran through the mud towards the flowers, stooped to read the marker and it wasn't dad at all. 

There, stuffed in the margin between all the flowers and the adjacent open grave was another temporary marker:  Dad.  He wasn't easy to find.  Road construction  posts got in the way, but was there really even enough room there for a coffin?

No flowers had marked his passing.  He had asked that the money for flowers to be donated to The Boy Scouts of America.

I had brought a boquet of yellow roses, Dad's favorite roses, to add to his memorial.   There aren't enough flowers in the world to honor my Dad appropriately.

The yellow roses were suddenly extravagent, being the only flowers there.
For a moment I contemplated slipping down into that empty grave site next to Dad to perhaps touch his coffin, it couldn't be more than a few inches away.  Grief was doing strange things to me.  Then I thought about the possibility of not being able to get back out again and it made made me laugh, almost.
I stretched out again and again embracing the soil and sand as though he'd come back, like Elisha bringing back the dead boy.
I poured out the flower freshener guaranteed for  extending life and it had no effect on Dad whatsoever.  A cheerful heart doth good, and even in laughter there is grief.
 Only the heart knows its own sorrow.  But I laughed at the deer tracks over his new grave.  Did his favorite pests visit to have the last word, or pay homage for all the fruit he had fed them over the years?

I wish I could tell you that I embraced the Word and it gave me great comfort.  I could not,  no.
"The Word became flesh and He dwellt among us, and we beheld  His glory . . . "  The Word embraced me.  The Holy Comforter, Who brings all things to our remembrance, whispered the Word around me as a blanket in the cold:

  • Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of one of His saints.
  • Absent from the body, present with the Lord.
  • He cannot return to me, but I shall go to him.
  • Why are you seeking the living among the dead?
  • God is not the God of the dead, but of the living
  • For we have so great a cloud of witnesses . . .

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares [us], and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,"  From Hebrews 12, verse 1

The Word assures me, and I know, that now at this moment and forever, my dear Dad is very much alive. More alive now than he ever was here on earth in the flesh.  But this is where my quandry with biblical contradictions starts.  

Right before Hebrews 12, above, comes the chapter Hebrews 11, the 'Heroes of Great Faith' .
"By faith, Abraham obeyed,"  But he didn't, he had several glaring moments when he told Sara to pretend she was only his sister and not his wife and let others take her away to save his own skin ~ oooooops.   And then there was Hagar . . .

"By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed,"  But Sara laughed at the very idea of having a baby and God called her on it . . .  ooooops, great faith?

David is infamous more for his failure with Bathsheba than famous for his heroic triumphs and what he did for Israel.  And God said He'd have given David more wives if he'd just asked, but instead, David sinned.  I think that's beyond just saying ooooops.

Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines and God blessed him with more wealth than the world has even seen, yet Solomon, mature and wise, turned away from God to pagan idols. 

Jonah made a big wrong turn, ate the tuna packed inside without opening a can before he cried out to the Lord and decided to cooperate.  Is this obedience???  Pretty sure God is the first Person to say "Let's get'er done" and He smiles when He says it.

Peter was the brutish goof of the new testament but oh! how he was transformed into a gentle, gracious counselor of faith.  How'd that Happen?
And many more of the heroes that are extolled in glowing terms - they had grossly flawed lives which God records in explicit detail in the Bible.   

Aren't these contradictions?

NO.  These are Divine Transformations.  Ordinary people changed by an extraordinary God. 

God is wilder than cgi or sci fi  and He is real.

All these are examples of grace, of being saved by grace and not by ourselves or what we do. It's the free gift of God:  you don't work to get it and you can't work to add to it. 

Grace and everlasting life are God's heart for you.  "Your sins and lawless acts I will remember no more".  God sees us as pure, blameless and holy through the finished work of Jesus Christ if  we just believe Him.    God sees the best in us through the blood of Jesus sprinkled on the mercy seat.  God sees us as we will be, what He created us to be, and not as we are, because He sees what He will complete in us now that Jesus has paid our debts.  All of them. 

And my favorite contradiction at the moment is that in my grief  I am thankful and filled with confident hope about seeing my Dad again!  Dad is finally all that God created him to be without any of the sin nature that fights all of us on earth.  For "no flesh shall inherit the kingdom of God", especially mine.  And yours.    

Hey kids, Dad's Home!
  Dad loves to fly and now, he isn't angel and he doesn't need wings.


'Whosoever believes in Me has everlasting LIFE." John 3:16

Mama went Home to be with her Beloved Husband in August.    Buried together but neither are there. She is a remarkable woman, a remarkable woman! and she's so happy to be Home, with Dad and DADDY. 
 "Why seek the dead among the living?" 

Too soon to tell you more about my remarkable, beloved Mama.  "Reaching forward to those things which are ahead", especially in grief, especially when you have no idea what you're reaching for.  There's a Purpose for you and your Plan isn't done, it's a plan to do good things for you especially when you can't. Only Daddy knows what those things are: 


Mama's Homegoing was more than a blip on my radar and I wasn't getting back on course.  I laid down in the afternoon hoping to sleep through to the next morning, hoping to wake up my happy little self again. 

And speaking of miracles, remember that whenever you get to the end of yourself, God has already provided your rescue:  my phone beeped with the message "Are you ready to go flying?"  Really?  Really.   Here's the picture: Jesus in disguise.
   Jesus in Disguise ~ Brandon Heath

We are so  loved.
    John 3:16-17