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Trees shed evening’s rain–silver beads in morning light. 

Who expected jewels from the sky? 

Not I. 

If I stood beneath, I could reach out my hand, unfurl my fingers, and wait to catch a drop or two. 

But from the window I’ll watch and view nature’s work revealed in its canvas of green. 

How smart the branches, the darkened earth; to receive so simply and give back so splendidly. 

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Fuel my heart O God until my soul’s aflame

Guide me on the path towards honesty not blame

Fuel our hearts O LORD until our eyes may see

Your Beauty here before us all conquering and free

Fuel the world dear Father reveal to us Your Love

Let unity and Peace burst forth from up above

My Sacred Little Moments

The seagrass lays wrapped in dried algae. The logs are unearthed and scattered. The rocks though have remained grounded. I think of the three pigs. The path will need a little work this summer. Sunlight sparkles jewels across the water and for just a moment I feel its warmth before the heavy clouds roll back in. I will remember to stick with the Rock. 

I heard it was 75 degrees and sunny at home today. Here on the Island it’s cold rainy cozy, giving me the okay to spend hour after hour on the couch with a book and blanket. Todd made grilled cheese. Yawning, I finally put on my shoes, leaving Sam behind at the door, to get some air and wake up enough to make dinner. I breathe in the moist air when suddenly the sky opens up a doorway to the light far beyond reminding me the Light is with us and in us. 

Easter morning I wake hearing the murmers of my parents voices in my head from the bedroom beneath us. Soon they’d be up and showered for church. The Baldwin piano would be played and there’d be that scent of Old Spice. They would sit at the table eating breakfast together, sharing thoughts and concerns, making lists of what needed to be done to care for those in their lives. I remember their hands holding cups of hot coffee as their knives spread butter on coffee cake. It’s resurrection morning. I think of Christ’s hands. 

Missing them, I pull on some clothes and head outside for a walk wearing my mom’s red jacket over my dad’s blue sweatshirt. With the woods on both sides of me, I pick up my pace hoping to make it to the fork and back. That would be three miles. The sweep of white wings draws my attention to the trees and I wonder what has white wings that size in the woods? I think of the angel who spoke to the women at the tomb, telling them Jesus wasn’t there and to not be afraid. 

We go to the white church on Main Street with the steeple Dad rebuilt. The Cross on its pinnacle shines golden as we park. We’re the last to arrive and we sit in the back corner. Mom and Dad would have been early giving hugs, shaking hands, sitting far front. The pastor strums his guitar, sings loud and off key, and I look at my lap to not giggle. I cringe when we’re asked to turn and greet those around us but I say proudly that I’m Bill and Dee’s daughter. Oh I loved them, the woman tells me. I lost my father last year, she adds, and turns away before I can answer. 

We straighten up the cabin, then eat eggs and toast. We just make the ferry and leave the Island in thick fog. Somehow the melancholy I feel fits. I try not to judge it. As we drive off the ramp the sun beams in blue sky like we’ve risen from a tomb to new life. It’s Easter. I smile and say thank you. 

I have. 

Dancing In and Out

Rising to a new day is like preparing for a dance lesson–you might resist the challenges that lie ahead or step into it with hopeful expectancy. Either way, the opportunity is there to rise to new heights of movement within yourself and with others–moving away from negative thinking, doubts and despair toward work inspired by acceptance, purpose and potential. All that hinders you becomes powerless as you focus on the dance and take the steps. The dancer wakes up and fears become phantoms. 

It’s a misconception that you have to start dance young, be a quick learner and have flexibility. The music is both forgiving and inspiring. The process of learning to dance restores youth, strengthens your mind and gives you poise. The Way to the dance is a Good Teacher, leading you with perfect balance, guiding you, giving you strength to dance well and with others. You discover a new center of existence. 

It’s a beautiful thing to observe the teacher and student and watch the dance unfold. The Teacher opens up the desire to learn more and more and helps the student discover new possibilities. It’s a good partnership–the Good Teacher and you. 

Ignore the grumbles around you. They aren’t grumbles against you but against the dance. 

Prepare to rise to new fullness of life today as you discover the dance within you–its rhythmn echoing throughout the chambers of your being. Rise and join the dance. It will carry you on the wings of Grace. 

(Inspired by Isaiah 60:1)

Picture from my last flight.

The Sand and Surf and la Saladita

We took a road trip to La Saladita on the last day of our vacation to watch the surfers. It’s the wave machine they say—small waves for beginners and long surfboards. It was a scenic drive.

We finally found the spot after a lot of back and forth and twisting up and down narrow back roads. At least we think we found it. There weren’t any surfers there. There actually wasn’t anyone, anywhere. Even the restaurant was abandoned. The surf was low.

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Todd pulled up to the sand and the car sunk a few inches. Undaunted, and used to managing his wheels in any situation, he drove on as the sand spun out from under us. I wanted to say something but the magic of the water held my attention and my tongue. Pretty soon they were spinning and we weren’t moving. So he shifted into reverse, moved us backward then forward. We rocked and spun again. And again, until I smelled rubber and was pretty sure we were in trouble. When I heard his expletive after he got out to inspect the situation it was clear. We were.

I got out of the car wishing I had worn my beach flippies instead of the leather camels. And in my black and white sundress I did what anyone born and raised in the tundra would do when they noticed a shovel shaped chunk of coconut tree bark at their foot. I picked it up and started shoveling. Todd was busy gathering up coconut tree branches for traction. Good idea Girl Scout, he said when he saw my approach. He laid his branches under the tires and told me to get behind the wheel. I pressed the gas and he pushed. Not good. Maybe our timing wasn’t right.

I returned to my digging while Todd disappeared.

By now I was sure we had done major damage to the underside of the car and would have to buy it. But soon he was at my side again with the surfboard that had been nailed to the post I noticed when we drove up, indicating that we thought we’d found La Saladita. The front fender was now under the sand but the tire was looking pretty free. He slid the board beneath it and told me to try the gas again. Tell me when you’re ready this time, he said.

Ready. The wheels hissed and spun and rolled over the board. I backed out a good city block down the narrow dirt road before I stopped. 

That board saved us. We were so happy we didn’t have to walk back that we drove directly home and spent the rest of the day at our beach in Troncones with Beach Dog and Villa Cat and Gecko. I made dinner and we watched the sun set.  I think. Or maybe that was the night before.

Yes, that was the night before. That night we went out for dinner at the restaurant down the beach called Present Moment, and had a moment’s spat when I asked for a second bite of Todd’s fish tacos before he had had even one. What can I say? Next time I’ll order the fish tacos.

It was a good trip–good to get away and good to come home.

Salted

A horse canters down the beach flicking sand from its heels in front of a backdrop of pelicans diving for breakfast. Twelve glide overhead like a beaded necklace strung from the clouds–except there are no clouds. The blackbird hides in the branches of the coconut tree, merry queen of the beach is she, laughing. Not really. I’m not even sure the chirps are hers. 

But I know it’s Villa Cat who made the quack when he came for his goodmorning lap of cream. It must be that he lives near water, that he quacks, not mews. The water…I will miss its melody through the night–the rising crescendos and silent pauses lulling me and waking me synonymously. 

My treasures from our walks lay on the table with the grains of sand emptied out. Fourteen shells, each a story–a history within of life and death–formed and shaped and battered into beauty. 

Will Villa Cat and Beach Dog miss us when we leave tomorrow? I will miss them. But I’ve learned of the heart’s capacity to love and lose and love again. Birth, death, and rebirth, is the story told timelessly. Isn’t that right Beach Dog? 

They told me you lost a puppy just last month. Stillborn. I think you know what I mean. 

I’ll meditate on this beauty and be reminded that beauty impressed on us changes us. 

I’ve never seen so many hungry pelicans. They must have had a big night, or the fish have come in away from the fisherman who have been out there working through the night–swimming for their lives only to lose them. The boat lights looked like stars on the horizon–water merging with sky. We searched the diamond filled night for constellations and saw a falling star at the same time, two nights in a row. What are the chances of that? Mysteries surround us each day. And what are the chances of finding a lost wedding ring in the sand? Todd did. Coincidence? I don’t know. But I do know miracles happen when we have eyes to see them and hearts to hold them. 

I will leave this place tomorrow, and leave behind the seashells–except for the two shaped like shoes–my mini sand slippers. I’ll save them for reminder. And I will leave behind old fears for confidence, past anxiety for peace, all grief for a heart that will love more and more and more. Salted. I will leave salted. 

With Love From Troncones

There’s something out there. It’s white.

Where?

There! Look. A fish.

We both stared out toward the horizon from our chairs facing the ocean as we drank our morning coffee, listening to the roar of the waves. A dolphin! Todd said, and picked up his binoculars.

I looked. I see it! I said. There’s two. Three! Look at them all…they aren’t fish. They’re pelicans. Four, five. Six. I counted.

Wow, they’re really going to town. He said. Where’d they go? He laughed. Those pelicans can really hold their breath.

He was right. They were fish. Shut up. I said and laughed too.

The waves were rolling in, one after another–seven, eight-foot spirals–crashing into explosions of foam. Last night, we carried chairs down to the water  before the sun set and sat taking in all the beauty—Todd calmly clearing his head, and me, filling mine with thoughts, words and sentences to try and capture it. I didn’t want to forget the moment, or this trip to Mexico. 

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Let me know if I’m bothering you, he said.

No. I answered, greedy to record my thoughts at that moment, and continued writing, creating a distance between us. I watched him as he looked out over the water, and closed my notebook. The beauty of the sky, the setting sun, the changing patterns of light across the magnificent blue body of water, and the foam of the crashing waves, had all made their impression on him. We take in Beauty and are changed by it. Then she waits for us to give her back. Todd’s generosity was an example of that. I would return it, preparing dinner.

I could watch the waves as I cooked in our small, open-aired kitchen with its little four burner gas stove. It reminded me of how Mom would cook dinner for Dad on his boat after a long day of sailing together. She could make a gourmet meal on that little stove, he said, and serve the others in their slip. It was a step up from the metal box gas burner she had used for a decade or two, when camping. Maybe I’m connecting to my mother when I cook. Or maybe I just love to cook. Maybe both. My thoughts are serenaded by the sea. I do know cooking for me is about much more than the food.  I find flavors fascinating, blending them, transforming them into something original, and offering it as a gift to those I love. That’s it. Cooking is an offering?

We couldn’t find any sea salt at the store so we’ve been unsalted all week. I love salt. The quantity I consume in a day can make or break me the next. Water retention makes me slow in both thought and movement. I haven’t missed it at all this week. I taste the herbs. I taste the food. I taste the salt in the air. I’ve given thought to how much more I could simplify in my life when we return home. Here, there is one small frying pan, one pot with a lid, and one sauce pan we boil our water in to make coffee in the morning. Two coffee cups, two wine cups, two water glasses, two bowls, two plates. One big clay bowl I’ve put the fruit and avocados in, one square colored container for the bread and bakery. One sharp knife. And I’ve created meals just fine. 

Todd calls our little kitchen with its bar and two stools, Chez Debbie. We eat there at night by candlelight overlooking the water, to the sound of crashing waves. Put your computer away, he said as we sat down to eat. 

But I’m having technical difficulties, I don’t want to lose my post. And I put up with your ten remotes on the kitchen table at home. Leave me alone.

Two, he said. Two remotes.

My sharp words were in dissonance to the sounds around us, and I closed my computer then. I resisted my tendency to sulk when I don’t get my way. I saved the moment by changing the subject. Let. Go. The yoga instructor had said in the class I attended by the water. Breathe in, Let. Breathe out, Go. One class was enough. I’m sore and I don’t want a schedule to follow, but her mantra will serve me well long beyond our time here. I had returned from class and found Todd searching for his driver’s license and credit card. How do you let go of that? I wanted to ask her.

I looked everywhere, he said, as he lifted the pillows up off the couch. I had them in my pocket on our hike this morning. They must have fallen out, but I still have the pesos.

Maybe when you took our selfie?

Right. I’ll go look for them. I know the spot. He was already putting on his shoes.

I thought, Let go, but wanted to say, Oh no, not again! We both seem to lose things a lot lately. Instead I said, I’ll come with you.

The back side of the shoreline is the opposite of the front with its sun-kissed, crashing waves and seagull soaring beauty. The back side is dry with golden dirt, lined with shanties and merchants selling local goods. Dogs take their time moving from oncoming vehicles, men sit with head coverings, hot from their work in the heat. Within minutes on the back roads you need windshield wipers.

Goldencompressed

Making our way up copious amounts of sliding gravel, the tires on our little two-wheel Nissan rental spun and sputtered. Todd shifted into park and gave the hand brake a good yank, right in the middle of the steep incline on the narrow road. Incessant barking presented itself in two thin, mangy, hungry looking dogs. They ran up, protecting their turf. You stay in the car, Todd said.

Who’s going to protect you? I thought but didn’t argue. Dad always said to stand your ground with a dog. Show no fear, and command it to, Stay! It will back down if you hold your ground fearlessly. Todd knows this and the dogs kept their distance. Hi puppies, I said opening my door. How are you? That’s right, it’s okay. Good puppies. They did look hungry, and one had gnawed her fur raw in spots, but soon both tails were wagging. Good puppies, I said again, and held out my hand as I slipped, carefully, out of the car. I was barely up the hill when Todd was already on his way back down. 

No luck. We said goodbye to the pups and coasted backwards down the road we had made a brave attempt to drive up.

Later, getting ready for dinner, Todd looked down at the book on his night stand, picked it up and paged through it. I remember! Ah! I was going to put my license and credit card in the book when we went out! But I thought that would be the first place someone would look if they were looking for money. Here they are! He was standing in front of the kitchen shelf with the plates in his hands. Oh-ho!

We had been told by the villa owners, Mike and Debbie, to keep our valuables locked in the safe box. Of course the situation didn’t seem too serious when we discovered the box was wooden. When I told this little story to Mike, he laughed, and told me he once lost a watch for two years because Debbie had put it somewhere safe. To be honest, he said, in 17 years we’ve never had any trouble here. Once someone lost a pair of shoes, another time someone lost an IPod—from the beach—but they both mysteriously reappeared. Kids sometimes take something like that, but their parents make them bring it back.

So, it’s Tuesday morning in Troncones, Mexico—four days into our stay. We’ve decided not to do our morning “death march,” as Todd calls it, along the beach, hiking and climbing rocks. We’ve traveled it far to the right and to the left–twice to the right. Our feet hurt and it felt good to sit. Honey, Todd said, and I looked up. Your friend is here. A stray dog had followed us on our stroll along the water the night before. Dogs run free here. Mike and Debbie helped set up a veterinary service when they arrived to help spay and neuter, and care for them. “My friend,” Mike told me, is taken care of by Umberto–who oversees their property–and the surfers down the way. This morning, there she sat, staring up at me. Hi puppy! I yelled and ran down to greet her.

I wish I had a camera, Mike said walking up behind Puppy and me watching the water together. She’s had all her shots and papers, if you want to take her home with you. You’ll have to buy a crate though. Her name is Kayla.

But, she’s in paradise here, running on the beach, chasing the horses. I couldn’t take her away from this.

She’s happy, Mike agreed.

Add free, I added.

The waves are bigger today than I’ve seen. As they roll and crash they look like big drifts of snow—I think of home. I felt a little homesick then, even though I’d heard a foot of snow had fallen. I love the drifts that divide the sand from the ice on Lake Michigan. The beauty of the sunrises and sunsets take my breath away there too. Home, as they say, is where you hang your hat. Mine sits over the stool at the bar at the moment, and home, will always be where my heart is.

Kayla and Me

 

Salted or Unsalted?

I would rather pick out my own food at the grocery store than have someone shop for me. So when Todd asked if I’d like to have our groceries stocked at our rental before we arrived for the week, I said, No, let’s go to that grocery store we found in Zihuatanejo last year, because it’s the little things that make a difference. Todd likes his pepper fresh ground, I like my olive oil virgin, and we both like our salt from the sea. Plus, it’s an opportunity to mix with the locals, and I love to shop.

The first aisle of the store is stocked with wine, followed by the bakery–grab some cheese and you could be out of there within minutes. But we will have a kitchen and I love to cook, so after loading up on wine we headed to the bakery. The big disc shaped metal trays and tongs at the counter are for self-service. I didn’t know this last year. I had walked up to the counter with an armful of bread and assorted pastries in filmy sheets of bakery paper. I hadn’t used my hands, really. Only Spanish is spoken in this store, so no words were exchanged. But the store assistant’s expression said a sermon.

This year I was going to get it right. When Todd started to reach for a loaf of bread, I ran over, “No no. Wait. We need a tray and tongs.” I found the trays behind bars at the counter where they wrap up your bakery for you, and waited to get the young man’s attention, while kicking myself for not having studied Spanish this past year. When he glanced my way, I raised an eyebrow and made a big O shape with my arms, held up the tongs, nodding, and pointed to the trays. His confused look told me we had not communicated. “Help self,” the woman behind me said, reaching through the bars and handing me a tray.

“Gracias…” I smiled weakly.

Todd was already off and running. He doesn’t like shopping and I finally gave up trying to stay together. He would appear now and then, but I spent a lot of time hunting down our cart to unload my arms. Now he was looking for raisins and I had lost him again. I was back at an aisle I had already been up and down a couple times in search of pasta–I don’t understand why pasta isn’t with the rice. There Todd stood between two store assistants in front of an entire aisle of rice. All three were studying the screen on the woman’s phone which was in Todd’s hands. She looked at the bag of rice I had been carrying around with me for quite a while, and motioned to the man who looked at her confused.

“Pasas!” Todd blurted out from Google Translate just then. 

“Pasas!” The man and woman said. 

Pasas! I thought. And they all three laughed. 

Pasas are raisons. They thought he had been asking for rice. So with a good supply of raisins, we headed to check out.

“This is why you take them up on their offer to shop and stock your fridge for you before you arrive,” Todd said after an hour and a half in the store. He looked pale.

I was organizing all the brightly colored fruits and vegetables into a nice display on the conveyor belt–I’d never seen such green avocados–when he said, “Pay for two bags of ice.” I asked for two bags of ice, pointing to the coolers he had set down behind the vegetables. “Dos bags of ice?” I held up two fingers. She smiled and nodded enthusiastically. I examined the three aluminum wrapped sticks of Mantaquilla that read, Sin Salt. “Honey, this is margarine. Butter comes in paper. And it says Sin Salt. I’m pretty sure with salt would say, con salt. We have unsalted margarine here.” Just then, I could tell I’d done something wrong. The cashier, Angelica, snapped her finger at the bagger named Jorge. I had a sudden deja vu. She handed him the containers of guacamole and salsa which should have been weighed and labeled in the meat department.

“I’ll take care of it,” I said grabbing the three sticks of margarine along with the two containers.

“Good luck finding your way!” I heard Todd ‘s voice behind me. 

I returned with the guacamole and salsa weighed and labeled, and a small block of butter that was identical to Todd’s sticks. It seems Mantiquilla is butter.

“That’s the same thing,” Todd had already paid for the groceries and was walking up to me with the receipt, but no bags of ice.

“I know. Where’s the ice?”

“We didn’t get charged for it. I think the cashier must have thought you were happy to be buying two coolers.

I paid for the guacamole and salsa, the Mantequilla Sin Salt and the two bags of ice–as I solemnly swore to study Spanish. We made a stop at the ATM for pesos and were on our way. It remains to be seen if the butter is salted, but we know that the water is. And for this and the butter, I give thanks. Cheers!

Return to Mexico

Day 1


I slept, at most, one hour. I repacked my suitcase three times, doing my best to be a hip minimalist. I was so pleased with myself when I unrolled five dresses and hung them back up in my closet, leaving me with one black maxi that converts into a skirt. We were only going to be gone one week. What was I thinking? Who in the world would need six dresses? 

     Next to go was a pair of black heeled sandals and one pair of navy spikes. The navy sundress was out, so I was sure I could get along with the camel leather flippies, a pair of low-heeled tan ankle straps, copper platforms and my Sketchers. I would wear my Converse on the plane. Do beach flipflops count? They’re not really shoes. If not, that would be five pairs of shoes, if so, six. Hmmm. 

     I had tried on my straightleg white jeans, and they were tossed back up to the high closet shelf. Too tight. But now I thought I’d give them another try. They would definitely be easier to pack than the wide legs. I pulled them on, tugging and stretching out the thighs as I went. Out with the wide legs. That would save space and a few ounces. Down to two pairs of jeans–the white, one blue–not counting the black stretch pair I’d wear on the plane, or the soft black cargos for the beach. So..I guess that really is four pairs of pants…on to the shorts. 

     Jean shorts, white shorts, running shorts. A white, a blue and a black bikini. Out went three black tops and a black sweater. Who needs a sweater in Mexico? T- shirts are small, I’m not going to be anal about this. Same rule applies to the sleeveless. Two pairs of Capri leggings, 2 sports tops. One grey lightweight hoodie. I’d wear the the heavier hoodie and my jean jacket. Wear the chunky copper colored scarf and throw in the favorite tan and white striped or I’d regret it. Underwear, socks, tan belt, wear the black belt, wear the tan sunglasses, pack the black Ray Bans. 

     Onto the books and writing materials, fill the assortment of mini bottles and jars, and sort the vitamins into the categories by day. I’m a homebody by nature. If I could pack the pets and pictures, I would.

     I guess I’ll never be a minimalist but I had reduced and reorganized my bag, so I crawled back into bed, being careful not to wake Todd, and closed my eyes for the next three hours, without sleep. He brought me coffee at 4:20am and I proudly shared my news that I was down to one dress. 

     “One dress!” he said. “You can’t wear the same dress every day! Mix it up.” Back in went the blue dress and the spike heels along with a black and white sundress, and at the last second, a black stretchy skirt. 

     The bag weighed in at 40.2 lbs. reducing my usual weight by 12.8. I was pleased.


     Check-in was a breeze, and our Norwegian Airlines flight was already boarded,  35 minutes ahead of schedule. They were looking for the Farrises. Todd had stopped at the loo so the attendant got started on my passport while everyone waited for us. The Norwegians are so friendly. The attendant smiled back, handing me my boarding pass as I quickly texted our housesitter to be sure to fill Sam and Mary’s bowls with fresh water. They both had extra treats before we left and would be extra thirsty. Then Todd was there and within seconds they sent us through the airport door. 

“Where’s my passport?” I stopped and turned back to ask the attendants? They looked at each other and the smiling one said, “I gave it to you.”

     I had no recollection of that as I stopped several feet into the tramway, kneeling down on the floor, and began opening my bags and all the zipper compartments anyone with common sense would have zipped a passport into. I searched through my entire computer bag and carry on. “I can’t find it. It’s not here!” I felt lightheaded and looked at Todd like he would know where it was.      

     “Take your time, dear. I get nervous when I fly too.”

       I’m not nervous. “It’s not here!” I said really nervously. 

     “He’s got it,” I heard one of the attendants say at the door. Who? I crained my neck. Ouch. 

     “It was under her chair,” the man said crossing the waiting area with my passport in his hand. He handed it to the flight attendant. 

     “Here you go dear,” she said. “Good thing you looked for it.”

     “Thank you!” Oh my gosh! What if…? I looked at Todd who was calmly observing all this. 

     “Did I give you my passport?” he asked as we walked down the ramp. 

    “No.”

     “I’m sure I have it,” he said all self assured. He’s always so calm. “I’ll look for it on the plane.” I stared at him. “I just had it,” he nodded at me. 

     We settled into our exit row seats to accommodate my claustrophobia. “Are you sure I didn’t give you my passport?” Todd asked me again ruffling through his briefcase. 

     “Yes!” I snapped, way over reacting. 
His face flushed with emotion.

     “You’re doing it again. Be nice.” He turned away, clearly affected by my tense, nervous, over reactive, if not rude, tone. 

     This is not the way I want to start a vacation. I turned to look out the window, beyond the wing to the blue sky and bed of clouds hovering beneath us, chastised myself then took in a breath. I pulled my bag up onto my lap to prove I didn’t have his passport. “I’m sorry.” I said, still scattered… “It’s just that, I just lost my passport. And you need to find yours.” I unzipped my purse and both of us saw the two passports at the same time. “Here it is…sweetheart…” I said in an unusually high register, handing it to him. “I love you…”

     Todd is not one to hold a grudge like “some ” people I know. Note to self: Continue to work on lightening up on all fronts.  

     Yay! Vacation! Next stop, Ixtapa. 

Living in the Pages of a Well Read Book

My father’s hands wore away the front and back covers of his Bible. The binding is cracked and if he were still around, I know that he’d eventually have it rebound. He took good care of his books. But I like it the way it is. If I’m not careful, the leather crumbles and sheds, so I’m careful. I always give it a kiss when I’m done reading it.

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I discovered this morning where the frayed ribbon bookmark was last laid within its pages and three small tattered pieces of paper sticking out from the bottom of it. I suppose it’s common to only read one section at a time, but Dad always read from four. I feel my heart swell as I realize they mark the last time he read his Bible, and the final time he had held it.

I carefully open the Book to each section—Ezra, Jonah, Luke and Jude—finding the last scripture he had read—appropriately, the Doxology from Jude. To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

I imagine Dad’s head bowed in thought. I’d often find him seated in his chair, Bible in lap, either snoozing or praying–it was hard to tell which. Even though I stood in the same room with him, it was always apparent to me that I had brought him back from another place.

I  can hear him clear his throat as he would before he prepared to speak. His fingers were long and bony—his hands sun spotted from sailing, with one nail deformed and cracked down the center. It never grew back the same and was always a reminder of the sailing trip that had ripped it out and sunk his Bible along with his boat.

Reminded of that, I turn back to the inscription written in the front of the Book—To my Dad the sailor, my hero. Shipwreck August 27. Presented on Sunday, September 1, 2002, with love, your daughter, Debbie—and cringe. Did I really have to remind him of that day every time he picked up his Bible? His sailing years had represented his keen ability to manage his sails in storms. “The LORD was teaching me something,” he would tell me later, implying his ultimate dependence was on Jesus, not on his own abilities.

“Where are you Debbie? Are you depending on Him?” I can hear him ask. Oh Dad. I return to the section I was reading and hear his voice read it to me, For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21). “Yes, Dad, I am depending on Jesus,” I say in my heart.

I hope that one day my own Bible—notated, well-read and worn—will carry my spirit in it for someone I love, as Dad’s does for me. It sits zipped inside a red leather cover to hold it together, and is—for now—abandoned. I prefer to read from Dad’s.

I don’t know if he can see me but I do know that Christ stands between us—and by that we are still connected. And I know that the Bible is God’s Voice given to us, and as we read and live by Its Power and Beauty, I have the sense that our spirits connect with much more than we can ever hope or imagine while we’re on this earth. Dad has left behind a great gift.