Thursday, January 17, 2019


Since we moved to this mountain a small chorus of crickets has chirped in my ears. Tinnitus is not uncommon for high level dwellers.  A few days ago these phantom critters brought their relatives.  A diesel truck delivered them.

When something unusual shows up I call Cathy and Rick, my next door neighbors to see what they think.  They came.  They listened/   In the tenderest tone of voice such as is reserved for very small children and elderly neighbors, they said to me:  "Jo, there are no crickets and there is no diesel truck." 

Yesterday C and R. insisted on going with me to my doctor.  Dr. Hall cleaned out my ears. ...or tried to.  One of them is refusing to give up whatever is stored in there,   so I am oiling it for a few days.  Meanwhile, the band plays on and the truck keeps right on running.  

I'm on a roll, so I might as well tell you about my eyes:  They have little whirling circles in them. ballerinas in tutus.  There is no cure. 

Because it is becoming frustrating to read I listen now to books on audio.   C.S. Lewis' "Screwtape Letters"  seems to be  what I need to counter the current aggravations.    

We are fearfully and wonderfully made. 

Love,  Jo

Stop it!

Since we moved to this mountain a small phantom chorus of crickets has chirped in my ears.  They have thoughtfully kept the volume low.  I have been able to tune them out.   A few days ago suddenly the United States Army Cricket Marching Band showed up,  along with a diesel truck , with motor running.   It was a startling moment.

When something unusual shows up I call Cathy and Rick Nextdoor.  (That’s their last name:  “Nextdoor”.) They hurried over.  walked around and through my house, then in the tenderest possible tone of voice such as is reserved for very small babies and elderly neighbors,  they said:  “Jo, there is no truck and  there are no crickets.” 

Yesterday, the three of us went to see my doctor.  (Her name is Dr. Susan Hall.  She comes to my Summer Singalongs;  therefore I like her.)  Her P.A. went to work.  ...pushing a pointy light into first one ear, then the other.  Whatever was in one ear dislodged.  Not so, the other.  Meanwhile, the band plays on and the truck keeps right on running with a steady, low-pitched hum. 

 I am guessing that some of you suffer from Tinnitus.  One person told me about the “ear candle” treatment.  I am not a big fan of pain, so will  stick with my doctor’s efforts to get rid of whatever is chirping and roaring.

I'm on a roll, so I might as well tell you about my eyes:  They have little black and red whirling circles in them that go ‘round and round. ballerinas in tutus. This pesky distraction also has a name:  Macular Degeneration. 

Those parts of me are all I want to talk about today. ...maybe ever.  Send only tried and successful suggestions. 

We are fearfully and wonderfully made. 

Love,  Jo

Friday, January 11, 2019

Now, Lord?

You actually had to be there to believe it.  No one who lived during The Jesus Movement of the 60's and 70's saw it coming.  We were swept up in it.  We remind one another that it can happen again. This would be a good time for it, don't you think? 

Love,  Jo

Friday, January 4, 2019


Over Christmas I spent five days with members of my family who live to the north of me.  Our son Jeff and his dear wife  Carla are in full- time ministry as counselors and professors in universities.  One of their daughters is in law school;  the other will soon be a third-generation Dr.Stone.  As she watched her grandfather’s life ebb away from a cancerous brain tumor she made up her mind to become a brain surgeon.

We all need purpose.  What’s mine?  As my 90-year-old body tells me daily that it is 90 years old I must adjust my thinking regarding what is “purposeful”.   Some days,  just getting out of bed and getting dressed feels like an accomplishment.

My love language is "words of encouragement."    I love to give them and I love to receive them.  Deeds are  good, but without words, something is missing.  "Silly?”  you say.  Probably.   Over sixty years of marriage my husband sent me many birthday and anniversary cards with carefully chosen printed words he simply could not articulate.  I kept them all.  As he lay in his hospital bed for eleven months I read those cherished words back to him.  He would smile and sometimes squeeze my hand.

Pulling the New Covenant card on Our Father will not cut it.  The First Commandment has always been and always will be His requirement.  You know what it is.  Like Rachael,  Jacob’s favorite wife,  we can try to hide our idols by sitting on them, but  God knows who, what and where they are.  He wants us to finish our race unencumbered by idols that needs be pitched into the ditch by the side of the road.

Some fellow pilgrims carry a weight of guilt from being told they do not have enough faith.  This question comes to mind:  "How much faith was required of Lazarus as he lay dead for four days in a grave outside the little town of Bethany?"  I think the question better asked is: "How GREAT is my God?"   

Love,  Jo

Friday, December 21, 2018

Cherry Picking

 I walked out of my garage onto my driveway.  The morning sun was shining on three big bucks and their girlfriends.  We stared at each other.  Were they plotting to “do me in”  like the reindeer that ran over Grandma? 

I pulled up a chair,  took a first sip of fresh-made coffee and settled in to watch the wild life show.  After more staring,  the Big 'Un  made a decision,  rose to his full stature and bounded up the hillside that leads to the upper level of my property.  There stands the thousand-year-old Mighty Oak. "The Five" followed their leader,  leaping effortlessly.

Many years ago Ted and I sat in the swing under The Mighty Oak and prayed that many people in the beautiful Valley below us would come to Christ.  God is still answering that prayer.   Under the branches of  The Oak both of our sons were married to their beloveds.  For a third of a century many folk have gathered for fellowship while enjoying the splendor of Bear Valley a thousand feet below.  Grandchildren have climbed The Oak and pushed each other in a swing that still hangs from a high branch.  They stood on "Pride Rock",  imagining themselves to be Mufusa, the Lion King. 
 In centuries past, probably Kawaiisu Indian families lived in the summer beneath The Oak.  Here,  they may have ground acorns for food.  Pestles and grinding rocks are still being found in Bear Valley.  They roasted their wild game over an open fire;  slept,  conceived and raised their children on this mountain. The Mighty Oak saw it all. ...forcing its roots down and down so The Tree would not topple when assaulted by blizzards,  high winds and earthquakes.  This Oak and others on my property drink from deep running springs that never run dry.  I do not water these majestic trees lest the roots creep back up to the surface, causing the trees to weaken and fall. 

 If,  at this Christmastime we are feeling some sadness,  why wouldn't we?  We humans cherry pick our memories,  telling ourselves that all of our Christmases were white,  and all the family gathered in perfect harmony.  The truth is that most holidays were jammed with too many activities...too many command performances. ...too much travel. ...too many generations to please,  and we drew a sigh of relief when they were over. why don't we just be content with where we are in life and enjoy who and what we've got left?

What verse trumps the fray?    I would love to hear yours. 

Here's mine: Jesus said:  “Because I live, you also will live."   John 14:19

Love,  Jo