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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Papa's Music

Singing these praise lyrics brings me joy and I yearn for our Lord God: God of wonders beyond our galaxy You are Holy, Holy, The universe declares your Majesty, And you are holy, holy. The God of Details of my life and The God Who created this earth.

When I was a child, I watched my Mom holding a flower, studying it. I asked why, it was just a flower to me. Mom taught me and continues to teach me through her words and her writing to see the details of
the flowers, the songs of the birds, the shapes of rocks, the greens of trees and the gathering storm clouds to see Our Lord. As I determined what to write today, I was drawn to re-read from Mom's book, now out of print, "The Lines are Fallen". This book is the story of her family. My granddaughter recently twittered, "Music music music music music....." She will know as she reads this blog why her life is created and defined with a song when she reads this blog.

Here is Anna Daisy's story about her dear Papa:
"Do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do" is not a part of the Greek alphabet but a musical scale used to build melodies. Julie Andrews, using a progression of these notes arranged by Richard Rogers, flung the beloved, "Do - Re - Mi" from The Sound of Music against the European sky. She won the heart of America. Her well-trained voice was surrounded with sweeping violins and other instruments to achieve her success. However, our Papa climbed his Alps alone except for a tiny instrument of steel -- a tuning fork. Papa carried his tuning fork in his vest pocket. For each song the fork was lightly struck against wood or a hymnal to vibrate its long tines. His ear caught the A. From that one note, Papa could pitch any key correctly. Music surrounded Papa as he grew up. Grandfather taught music and all his children knew how to read notes, sing, and harmonize. Of all my uncles, only Uncle Henry went beyond the single tuning fork. Instead of children (they adopted one daughter) he had instruments: organ, piano, violin, mandolin, accordion, concertina, banjo, guitar, and harmonicas. He played them all. After Grandfather Suderman died of cancer, Papa was chosen to lead church music and direct the choir. He farmed for a living, but his joy was music. Learning new songs meant reliance on his inbred knowledge of music and the tuning fork. Choir music was not in the church budget. Often one copy of music sufficed if Papa used the "Vorsang" (fore-singing) method. He sang one phrase and the choir repeated it. Phrase by phrase the song was taught. Monotonous? Perhaps, but the melody was firmly embedded and the theme made its impact through repetition. Harmony was easily added. If the melody was known, Papa only quoted the words. In this speaking-singing dialogue the old German chorales became favorites to touch the hearts of worshipers. Nothing would ever take their place for those who sang them often. Each Sunday morning Papa dressed early; then, with hymnal in hand, he selected songs for the morning worship. If, however, the minister said, "Brother Suderman, could we sing another song?" Papa never hesitated. It was always "Zwei-und-siebzig." Number 72 was "In the Sweet By and By" - Papa's favorite.

Music was not only for church. We sang at home and Papa closed every day with an evening song. Whatever w
e did -- a checker game, school lessons, hand work -- whenever Pap began "Mud bin Ich, geh' zur Ruh'," we knew our day was over. We sang with him and evening prayers followed the song. I often played this evening song, but I never saw the music. When I finally found the song in Jubeltone, I noticed Pap's melody had veered from the original song. I asked my sister Irene about it. "O yes," she answered, "my brother-in-law told me, ' Your father often changed the melodies to suit himself.' But I think Papa's melody is better than the original, don't you?" Yes, I do, however, the words have not been changed in this lovely evening prayer: Wearied now, I seek my rest. Close my eyes in slumber blest; Father, let Thy loving eye, O'er me like a cover lie.......If perhaps I've sinned today, Lord, forgive my sinful way; For Thy grace and Jesus' blood, Cleanse all sins beneath the flood....All my loved ones in this land, Let them rest within Thy hand; Every person, young and old, Shelter safely in Thy fold.....Restless hearts, Lord, give them peace, Close wet eyes so tears will cease; Let a full moon shining bright Watch Thy sleeping world tonight.

After Papa's hand accident (a cross-saw cut), he took a course in directing music from Dr. Schmutz at Tabor College. Those practice sessions of arm-waving arcs and figures delighted and entertained us for hours. His direction was always precise and graceful. Papa's favorite position during these sessions was leaning against the wall in a kitchen chair. With hymnal in hand and tuning fork read, he found the right key and "do, re, mied" his way through soprano, alto tenor and bass. Then he announced to the world at large, "Now this is a good song!" How could he tell by singing one part at a time? The day Papa's chair slid out from under him, we howled with laughter, but he did not think it was funny. We tried to wipe our laughter from our faces in a hurry.

Papa never condoned frivolous things, but music was a necessity. He traded a horse and cow for a new Kimball piano. Lessons began. He spent hours behind me counting his accurate "Eins, Zwei, Drei, Vier" (1, 2, 3, 4) into my ear. When my piano teacher offered me a prize if I could learn "Rock of Ages" correctly in one week. Papa doubled his effort. I had to count with him. I still have "Roses Without Thorns" by Gustav
e Lang to prove my success. Or, was it Papa's?

Voice lessons were provided for Alma, Eli and Bernice. Irene and I had piano, but Jonas would rather go fishing. After I could play hymns, our Sunday afternoons were spent around the piano. We sang until I was deafened by the ring of voices bout me. Often Papa's hand was on my shoulder patting out the time. I gave me an enduring sense of rhythm.

n those days, music publishing houses sent out sheaves of new anthems to choir directors. Papa received these packages several times a year. After I could sight-read well enough, Papa said, "Why don't you play through these and select the best songs for our choir." After supper or on rainy days, we checked them together. Those were times of pure joy.

My desire was to play for Papa's choir but he said, "No, you sing until you are sixteen. Then you may play for me." I chafed when he separated me from my cousin Louise in the alto section. "You and Louise are good altos but you must help Blanche. She will stand between you." When I complained about the quality of her sing, Papa said, "Hold it! She is one of my best choir members. She's never late, always there, and never complains about anything." I sang with Blanche until I was sixteen (1925).

Papa's crippled hand only bothered him in winter's cold and at music festival time. Grandma Loewen took care of the first problem, but no one had a solution for the times all area churches gathered to hear the choirs sing. Papa's pride kept his crippled hand in his pocket while the right hand directed music and flipped his pages. Papa's hard work and many prayers resulted in a good choir. One day Mama met Professor Rupp, my last piano teacher, in the store. She told Mama, "I'll be at Ebenfeld Sunday for the music festival. I wouldn't miss Mr. Suderman's good choir." Mama fairly bristled with pride.

While we were at our dinner table the Sunday before Christmas in 1924, we heard the company telephone ring. Many short rings was an S.O.S. call. Everyone listened. I sat closest to the telephone and received this message: "The church is on fire!" I repeated the words and Papa ran. By the time Alma and I found our coats, Papa was halfway there. We ran after him...praying and crying. Smoke billowed from every crevice of that old building. Without water or a fire department the whole building was soon engulfed in flames -- visible for miles. We looked for Papa. Where was he? Finally, he emerged from the basement door-- coughing and sputtering from smoke inhalation. All he brought out was one song book and a green class dividing curtain. His precious stacks of choir music were beyond reach. We all stopped short in our work of removing dishes when the large concert organ crashed into the basement. We cried. Papa had wanted an instrument for so long and now it was gone. With a fresh shower of flame the balcony thundered down and finally the roof gave way to burn itself out..........When winter shadows lengthened, only smoldering ashes in the basement were left. Someone lassoed the tottering tall chimney and it toppled its bricks to send ashes flying. Ebenfeld had no church house. How would we celebrate Christmas?

The Gnadenau church graciously allowed us to have our Christmas program in their building. Many offers came with help and the church men gathered to plan and decided to construct a rough "tabernacle" where we could meet until a new building was completed. I remember the straw-covered floor and the backless benches. A wooden frame, set in the middle to keep straw away, held a large heater that scorched those nearby and left the outer rim of worshipers freezing. I also remember a donated pump organ that droned one note continuously, regardless of the song I played.

As the new building rose, Papa bought new choir music. We worked hard to memorize songs for the dedication service. Not only was the music new, Papa insisted all girls wear white dresses. Yards and yards of white poplin were purchased at Uncle John Suderman's store with narrow laced Peter Pan collars. These dresses featured a narrow panel down each side where flat pearly buttons marched down to the edge of the skirt -- exactly ten inches from the floor. The Dedication Service began in the tabernacle and we marched in a solemn procession into our new building. A glorious day for Ebenfeld for now we had a sanctuary to worship God and a place for weddings and funerals. Papa also had a new piano for his music.

Victrolas were on the market before we were teenagers but Papa was not satisfied with the quality. When Edison came out with unbreakable records, Papa bought a machine. John Charles Thomas, Madame Shumann-Heink and other great musicians entered our home. We delighted in taking turns 'cranking' the phonograph before we set the needle down. When Madame Shumann-Heink came to our area, Papa drove 50 miles to Wichita for her concert. I did not realize the quality of music Papa chose for his choir until I selected music for my own choir. He loved the songs of the masters: Beethoven, Hayden, Stainer. The last song I played for Papa's choir (1928) was Mozart's "Gloria"......... A year later, Papa decided to retire from his choir work on his 55th birthday (1929). Why not let a younger man take over? The choir disagreed. They planned a birthday party complete with a candle-topped cake. They presented Papa with a gift and a touching speech...."We can't sing without you." Papa collected his second-wind and kept the choir going for another five years. The choir gave him mountain peaks in perfection; but also brought him down to dungeons of despair at times. Sopranos get their feelings hurt discordant notes sneak in, and words are not clearly enunciated. Papa became literally ill at times. Mama was Papa's balance wheel. She finished chores so he was free to sing. She consoled him when problems became unbearable. AND she chided him when he was dissatisfied with near perfection. Mama wore old clothes and remodeled ours so Papa had money for choir music. After Papa retired he sometimes complained about the quality of choir music. Mama always told him, "If you don't like the music, keep your mind on the words. Did you realize how lovely they were?" .....Shortly before Papa's 'going-home', Albert Karber (son-in-law) made a record of his singing voice. One side was "In the Sweet By and By" Even at seventy-five hears old, his voice rang out clear and true. Papa often complained about his voice lowering in range through the years and he frustrated choir tenors by jumping octaves.

And now, Papa sings with angels and saints of God...his voice soaring in joyous bell-like tones throughout eternity.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pocket of Thoughts

Grandmother Suderman was not dressed for the day until she put on her apron to protect her dress. I can see her now putting chicken feed into the apron as she held it up with the other hand. Her apron 'pocket' helped her do chores. I watched as she flung the feed in a circle about her. The free ranging chickens scampered with a flurry of feathers to eat. After her supply of grain was gone, she went into the hen house. She again held the apron in a 'pocket' and gathered eggs in it.

Once in the kitchen, she used the apron to shield her hands from the handle of the iron skillet on the wood stove. She went into the bathroom and pumped water into a container to heat water to wash dishes. That apron had many uses, even as our pockets do today. I loved to watch Grandma Suderman, hands wrapped in her apron standing at the kitchen door.

Later, aprons sported pockets. Mother made many pockets in her lifetime in the clothing she made for all of us, in my brothers' clothes as well as mine. When she wore pajamas every day in the last days of her life, I often had to add a pocket to her sleep-wear because she needed that pocket.

The other day, I carried in my pocket the flash drive that contained this week's message to be transferred to the church website. "A sermon in my pocket." This began my interest and search of the genesis of pockets.

The Internet is rich in all manner of information. One that I found intriguing contained this information about pockets:
Why We Oppose Pockets for Women - From the book Are Women People? by Alice Duer Miller, 1915
  1. BECAUSE pockets are not a natural right.
  2. Because the great majority of women do not want pockets. If they did they would have them.
  3. Because whenever women have had pockets they have not used them.
  4. Because women are required to carry enough things as it is, without the additional burden of pockets.
  5. Because it would make dissension between husband and wife as to whose pockets were to be filled.
  6. Because it would destroy man's chivalry toward woman, if he did not have to carry all her things in his pockets.
  7. Because men are men, and women are women. We must not fly in the face of nature.
  8. Because pockets have been used by men to carry tobacco, pipes, whiskey flasks, chewing gum and compromising letters. We see no reason to suppose that women would use them more wisely.
Questions I wondered include:
What was the genesis of the word, pocket?
  • People in early Bible times did not have pockets. They simply used bags to carry their coins. During the Dark Ages the pocket was out of had to be.
  • Originated in 1250–1300 - poquet (pochet, pochette), poque, poke
  • It was in the 1700's that pockets were sewn on or in the clothing.
Is a pocket a fashion statement or a necessity?
  • The more 'civilized' we have become, the more we have needed pockets to carry things.
  • In 1716, A sudden theft of a woman's tie-on pocket with its contents and it was worn beneath skirts and petticoats.
  • Our grandmothers had large pockets in their flowing skirts - carrying keys, yarn with needles stuck in it, spectacles, cookies, doughnuts or an apple,
  • In 1812 - 'In one is her handkerchief, and any heavier matter that is not likely to come out with it, such as the change of sixpence. In the other is a miscellaneous assortment, consisting of a pocket-book, a bunch of keys, a needle-case, a spectacle-case, crumbs of biscuit, a nutmeg and grater, a smelling-bottle, and, according to the season, an orange or apple, which after many days she draws out, warm and glossy, to give to some little child that has well behaved itself.'
  • In 1819, Theresa Tidy wrote the 18 Maxims of Neatness and order - the essentials for a pocket. - 'It is also expedient to carry about you a purse, a thimble, a pincushion, a pencil, a knife and a pair of scissors, which will not only be an inexpressible source of comfort and independence, by removing the necessity of borrowing, but will secure the privilege of not lending these indispensable articles.' - Objects of Vanity - Many pockets held objects essential to personal grooming, such as a mirror, scent bottle, snuffbox and comb.
How were pockets used by my ancestors? When my ancestors traveled to this country, what did they carry and how?
  • " href="file://localhost/Users/emilycombs/Library/Caches/TemporaryItems/msoclip1/01/clip_filelist.xml">
  • ·Recently I saw the items that were packed in the trunk in Russia to come to this country in the latter 1800’s. Beside the winter wheat chosen seed by seed – all they could place in one trunk was brought by each family to begin a new life in this country. Bags, satchels were used besides the trunk.

What was the number of pockets in the garments of men and women?

  • Fully dressed, men had from 5 to 7 pockets in their suit, and 5 - 7 pockets in their overcoat, and several in a vest and shirt - 1898 - NY Times And now men use pockets to carry billfolds, pen, pocket change, receipts, tickets, comb, mints, gum, cell phone, mail, ipod, handkerchief and many other items. Meanwhile a woman has allowed fashion designers to limit the number of their pockets, necessitating carrying a bag (purse), diaper bag, or knapsack to carry important items they cannot hide in their clothes.

To my surprise there are many historical subjects covered in Pocket Histories of countries, people, events, etc. Then there is the pocket watch, the pocket book, the Hot Pocket, pocket change, pocket toys, pocket notebooks, pocket pens..... And there are phrases that abound, I've got him in my pocket, I've got the ball in the pocket, and playing music - Roby, the guitarist, teaching rhythm - get it in the pocket, and a teacher accompanying a line of elementary children down the hall, keep your hands in your pocket.

I remember Ed's Dad, my Grandpa Suderman and Great Grandpa Loewen using pocket watches with long gold chains that dangled from the pocket to the belt loop. Learning the time at any given moment was not a quick glance but a dramatic fluid and practiced gesture of removing the watch, snapping open the lid, looking at the time and making the announcement. My Dad had a pocket watch, but never could afford a gold chain. Then wrist watches came to be for a less dramatic way of learning the time. Sneaking a peak during a long sermon or a long meeting became a slight of hand motion.

One of the things our youngest son enjoyed was going 'out-tide' and checking things outside like his Grandpa Siemens did. He would jam his hands in his pockets and stroll around the yard.

Pockets tend to be a private matter. A personal place to secret many things. The objects change from the boy who kept a top, a yo-yo, and a worm, a small pocket knife in his pocket. Sad it was, if the only thing it contained was lint. Of course, in today's world, not emptying pockets can create havoc for the laundry.

Girls' pockets became the purses today. A fashionable carry-all that can cost from $15 to more than $10,000. A badge of honor and status. Recently, in our small group, we played the 'whats-in-your-purse' game. I did not participate since I gave up carrying a purse that soon becomes an impediment and fills to the brim with useful and not so useful things.

The definition of pocket is also a bag. Interesting that babies are carried now, near to their Mother's hearts, in a pocket-like sling.

I submit to you that the heart is a pocket of secrets, dreams and things we hold dear including our beliefs and memories. The beliefs can lead to life....spiritual eternity. Just as the heart holds our life here on earth. Mother had a gold locket she wore close to her heart. In it was a picture of her true love - Dad. Her locket was a pocket to hold something precious to her.

In the heart, we treasure our hope and our dreams to arm ourselves to face each day. In our pockets we put our earthly possessions - our things. But the lasting treasure in within the heart, where neither rust or thieves can enter. That treasure is faith and trust in God.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. Matthew 6:19 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, Colossians 3:23 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' Matthew 22:37


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's Time

How many times have I heard these words in 80 years....."It is time!" A verbal nudge to propel activity. I remember Dad's rousing cry in the morning, "Up and at-tem!"

The importance of time came to me when I was about 7 years old. We had one telephone and a live operator would say, "Number, please." Dad told me that I could ask the operator for the correct time. He coached me as to the proper way to ask. My little brothers watched me as I made the important call and asked for the correct time. Dad asked what the time was when I hung up. My answer became a family story that my brothers loved to tease me about, "She said that it is 6:66." To this day I still believe that is what I heard.

When Mom got a new kitchen stove with a 'dinger' (timer), she decided that in order to make short work of the chores, she would set the 'dinger' and then we would be compelled to 'beat the dinger' with our dusting, dish washing, or whatever chore when we dwaddled.

I often wondered where and how did time come to be? So many things operate on time (or late) with schedules for every thing from schools to factories, from airplanes to trains, from offices to shopping malls. If there were no schedules, no one would be late. It is interesting to see how man created a sun dial, used the traveling shadow and finally the digital time piece to chronicle the passing of time.

Time came to be in the very beginning of creation of our world. Our world began with 'In the beginning God'. The God who can see the span of time of the universe. The God who is in control of each of our lives over a span of generations. The God who is with each of us at conception and knew us and gave us His purpose for our lives before we drew our first breath. The God who gives us hope through Jesus Christ. He created us as eternal beings to live with Him for an eternity - if we choose to do so.

God created the heavens and earth, the seasons, the sun and the moon, He created time and times. Solomon knew this when he said, There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

From the time I remember hearing, "It is time....."
As a child, I heard - It's time to..... wake up, get dressed, set the table, wash the car, clean your room, go to school, wash the dishes, get ready for bed, to practice piano, wash your hands, get a hair cut, go to church, feed the chickens, gather the eggs, milk the cow.
Then it's time to.....find a job, go to work, save money, go to college, get married, make a home. The farmer, fruit grower and gardener lives by seasons and say, it is time to.....plow the field, to plant the seed, to water and weed, to harvest the crops, to sell the crops.
When I think of our family history...flung across many lands, I know that God has led us to where we are for His purposes in His Time. Traveling across many countries in search peace and freedom, uprooting the family to begin again in the face of many challenges. Did the family heads say, "It is time...." It is time to search for a home where we can raise our families and worship God freely despite a new language, a new government, a new culture in a different location. Did they hear God's voice in their hearts? "It is time...."

I can imagine my Grandpa Jacob Siemens, as he dropped his suitcase at the railroad station, and didn't realize it. He knew his time on earth was short on this earth as paralysis set in.

I remember Grandmother Suderman who entered a nursing home say, "I just want to be decent about it." And my Grandfather Suderman who told me that he wanted to be with the Lord, beside the still waters - a week later he was there. Dad had a smile on his face as he crossed the threshold of heaven. I remember Mother saying, "I wondered what God will choose as my Exit Lane from this life."
Exit/Entrance When travel slows with age and pain an exit lane shall take me home, through evening gloam where gathered saints and angels sing and gold harps ring in Paradise beyond blue skies Though things of earth may disappear I shall not fear that final breath to walk through death.
Time is not my enemy, it is my friend bringing the realization of my hope in Jesus. Now I feel the passing of time and know that for me it is soon lose my independence, to lose my health, to say goodbye to my loved ones, and I know that this time to die is also a time to live with my Lord where there is no time. Then I will return to the incredible feeling when there is no hurry, no 'dinger', just a peace that passeth understanding, a joy more great than I experienced as a child in the lazy summer time in the sandpile under the backyard elm tree.

"With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day." II Peter 3:8. Eternity is where love is realized and expressed, where I will continually praise my Lord. This is where my hope is.

Zephaniah 3:17 - The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."

One quote I found is this: "Don't count every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count!"

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 - Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.


Monday, September 07, 2009

The Tree

A tree photographed in Oklahoma by cousin, Jessica Eitzen, sent me into a whirl-wind of thought. Thank you, Jessica for sharing this. Jessica thought of two words to describe this tree - independent and strength.

I see a tree that gives shade, resting in the shade of a passing cloud.....
I see a tree who doesn't ask why, but grows and flourishes where it is planted.
I see a tree that fulfills its destiny to harbor birds and squirrels.
I see a tree that is nourished at its roots - watered and fed by the Lord.
I see a tree with a message: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ....Philemon 1:3.

What does this have to do with family? To get another perspective, I asked my second son what his thoughts were when he looked at this picture...the tree reminds me of the pasture behind the barn in Watonga (OK) before there were trailers or the tornado. There used to be a tree like that down in the corner and it was all by itself. If you walked down the hill, avoiding the sheep droppings, soaking up the hot sun you were rewarded with cool shade under the tree. And once there, it was a good place for thinking. And I usually thought about some day having my own pasture with a nice tree in the corner. I still think about it once in awhile.

He sees a 'thinking tree'.
As a little tree, it didn't know about the storms, the hot Oklahoma sun, the tornadic winds that would 'sweep through the plains'. As its roots reached for nourishment as the rains soaked the prairie, it continued to grow. When I was a teen, the imagery of the following poem caught my heart:
I think that I shall never see
A poem, lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast.
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray.
A tree who may in summer wear
A nest of robin's in her hair.
Upon whose bosom snow has lain,
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me.
But only God can make a tree.
Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

While living in Collinsville (IL), we planted a tree in our yard. We began marking its growth by taking a series of pictures of our daughter Anna beside the tree. Slowly the tree grew, and soon stood taller than she did. With our usual sense of humor, when guests came and the conversation lagged, one of our children intoned seriously, "We've got a tree in our front yard...." Recently (a year or two) Dan, our oldest, drove by our old house, and sent us a picture of Tyler, our great grandson, standing by 'the tree in our front yard'. That tree grew and was trimmed and new growth is visible. A tree that remains alive, a tree planted for another's shade, another generation.

In the Old Testament are so many 'family trees' whose begats extend its branches on through generations. A family tree can only be as strong as its roots are solidly rooted. Once I realized that I came from Ham, Shem or Japeth, a g-g-g-g-g-g-g-g-grandchild of Noah. It was an experience to think of as a child, wondering what to call Grandpa Noah. How many greats would there be?

A family tree is a symbol of unity. A counting of those who belong. A growing through the usual events, celebrations and sorrows of a family. Mother pictured her family by painting a tree. She included a broken limb to symbolize our twin to Dan, who died at birth. I love the teddy bear and the swing. (The picture enlarges if clicked on)

How often we sentimentally visit the thought of the last rose of the summer and the last apple on the tree. When a parent dies, the mortality of life is indelibly imprinted in the child's mind. When one's spouse leaves in death, how empty life seems. It is beyond sentimentality but through the reality we groan. Then it is time to evaluate our relationship with our Maker. Who do we depend on?

With whom do we share all the common memories of the past? What will take the place of that unconditional love? We feel alone. Just as the tree, we lift our arms in supplication to our Lord.

It is then we realize that we are not alone...."But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me." John 16:32.

We learn just as King Solomon did, that our foundation must be faith in Him who lives above the sun - a spiritual foundation must be in Jesus Christ. We may be alone here, but we are not alone when our Father in Heaven is our hope. And in Jesus, we will be reunited with family beyond number. How I treasure that promise.

Acts 17:26-27 -
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

God determines our birth date and our death date, and he determines the exact places where we shall live to serve God as He has purposed.....just like the tree in the photograph. May we gather strength and joy as we realize that God is not only in control of our lives, but loves us dearly. So dearly He gave his only begotten Son to die on the cross, so that we can learn to be holy, even as our Father in Heaven is holy.
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you. and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12