My sentimental journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God.


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She Flies With Her Own Wings

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“Alis Volat Propriis” is the Latin words for “she flies with her own wings”. Discovering this little gem , written on my Albertson’s shopping bag while unloading it from our van. My eyes finally catching the full scope of the brightly colored bag’s design. Initially, the artist’s vivid scenes of Portland Oregon distracted me from the writing encircling the base. As a native Oregonian of nearly 54 years I may have already heard these Latin words when studying the history of Oregon.  Forgetting that on May 2, 1843 the Oregon Country Settlers voted to make Alis Volat Propriis our state motto forming a provisional government independent of the U.S. and Great Britain. Whether I learned this once before or not, these words are fresh and relevant for my here and now .

May 1st will be indelibly etched in my mind as the day I lost my mother. Sorrowful thoughts of what life would be like without her deemed unbearable to ponder while she was alive; now have become my altered and difficult reality. God’s word is a comfort to me and to all those who mourn, promising in Psalms 27:13 * “that we can be confident to see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.” His goodness descends from Heaven, gentle reminders of His love lessening the chasm of grief, bringing comfort to my heart.

On May 2, 2013 the day after my mama’s passing I wanted to get my mind off all that had happened, exhausted from mom’s illnesses, her death, and painful false accusations against me. I decided to watch American Idol that was recorded on May 1st. When the opening group song started I could not believe my ears… they were singing, “Mama told me not to waste my life she said spread your wings my little butterfly, don’t let what they say keep you up all night, they can’t detain you, wings were made to fly”.

Tears streamed down my face realizing that God had sent me a message about my mama; encouraging me not follow in her footsteps of worrying about what people thought of me. She is fully experiencing freedom from the fear of man that had become a snare, now in Heaven’s glory liberated from its’ restrictions.

My journey towards audacious liberty began at that very moment, albeit I didn’t know it at the time. This butterfly message fluttered once again and came into view a couple of months later. Appearing while my feet dangled out of the small opening into our attic. Staying seated close to the light as I sorted through the few boxes of my mom’s belongings. Grieving her loss was more stiffing than the attics dense, windowless air. While sifting through her stuff I became saddened she had thrown out a lot of her belongings before she moved from her last spacious two apartment, into a much smaller one bedroom apartment. One of those precious item’s I missed was her beloved roller skates. Having fond memories of my brother Troy and I taking turns skating around in our basement as children. The list of missing items was long, realizing her dementia probably was a factor in her out of character decision to toss them. Far beyond the scope of these earthly mementos was the loss of my parents. My soul felt darker than the farthest corners of the attic breathing in the stale air as a orphan. Intermittently, wiping tears from my flushed face as I divided mementos into designated boxes for family members that lined the attic’s opening.  As I continued  to gently look through her belongings I was suddenly surprised to see a bright pink butterfly on a 3X5 index card.  Excitingly pulling it out to examine it closer I flipped the card over to read “All That the father Hath is yours.” My Little butterfly Love Al. My dad had written this to my mother on April 9th 1977, one of the few things she had kept that he had given her. This orphan girl finding solace in his simple yet powerful words

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A few weeks after that profound discovery my sweet Bff and her hubby surprised me and my husband as I celebrated my first birthday without my mama. Debbie crowned me with a Birthday tiara and my eyes were masked to veil the secret of our destination. Once we arrived and mask removed, I was handed tickets to the American Idol concert. Joy and excitement bubbled within me as we made our way into the coliseum to our amazing seats. Just in time to hear this familiar opening song, “Mama told me not to waste my life, she said spread your wings my little butterfly”. God is over the top with his love and attention to detail , and Mama, you would be proud of me for I’m learning the true meaning of Alis Volat Propriis.

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Perhaps your longing for more freedom in your life? Whether your weighted down by a loss, rejection, fear or shame. Whatever the need, God wants to set you free!… for those He has set free are free indeed. Go ahead, fly with your own wings because God is the wind beneath them.


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When the cherry trees don’t blossom

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During the past few weeks I could not but help notice the cherry blossoms that were in full bloom at the Portland Adventist hospital where mama was staying.  Nor the trees yielding showy pink blooms along the route charmingly called Cherry Blossom Drive. Choosing  this quaint direction from time to time to mix up the daily mundane freeway scenery that I viewed during each trip to the hospital.  My spirit yearning for abundant splatters of joy in the midst of my grief stricken senses. Regardless, it didn’t matter how stunning  those cherry blossom trees were, still my heart was painfully  heavy not being able to hear my mother’s joyous comments about their frilly radiance. Never failing to do so when nature showed her spring splendor.  My childhood home was a showcase of these fair trees framing our corner lot , edged with God’s breathtaking creation. Though show stopping with filigree elegance, they were hard work keeping them that way. When properly maintained, the mailman was ridiculously happy being able to drive his truck up to the mailbox with ease. Once, there was a time that my mother was extremely weary with these beastly beauties threatening to severely prune them down .Wasting no time to beg her to “save the trees”  allowing  for the spring time blooms to appear. Solemnly promising to help her prune them when  she needed to. Thankfully she agreed to hold off her certain plans waiting to prune them after their bloom season had ended.  When that day came I watched out our living room window as my selfless mother trimmed  all the trees while I cozied myself our champagne velvet sofa for a nap. Looking back, not one of my prouder moments!

It’s no surprise why the book of Habakkuk resounded in my spirit as I sat  reading it next to my mother’s hospital bed.  “Though the cherry trees don’t blossom and the strawberries don’t ripen, Though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted, Though the sheep pens are sheep less and the cattle barns empty,  I’m singing joyful praise to God. I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God. Counting on God’s Rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer. I feel like I’m king of the mountain!  Habakkuk 3:17–19 The Message Bible
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Slowly losing my precious mother to dementia and a severe infection;  taking a toll on her fragile body.  This being her third time in the hospital within the last five weeks  lessening her ability to bounce back after each return visit.  Yesterday, I watched my mom peacefully sleep while the family gathered to meet with hospice, discussing her care for the days that lay ahead. Feeling numb as my husband and I left her room;and seeing we would be greeted with blustery rain and hail if we decided to head to our car. Instead drawn to wait out the storm in the hospital chapel.  A picture of Jesus painted larger then life on the wall, a box of tissues saying, “It’s my grief and I’ll cry if I want to.” Sitting on the pew, my husband’s arms and prayers consoling me. The cherry blossoms are fading, the rain and hail knocking the last bit of bloom the tree had to offer.. and God’s word rings true…

“To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven.”

A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance..” Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

Lord, help me to trust in you at all times,even if the cherry trees don’t blossom and the strawberries refuse to ripen.  When I’m frightened, heartbroken, or grieving; help me trust in you even though life does not make sense.

Counting on your rule to prevail, so I take heart and gain and strength in knowing you are good all the time.