Thursday, July 18, 2013

Summer Sanctuary

            Summer is passing much too quickly, I muse. Desiring to enjoy summer before it slips sway, I grab my Bible, devotional book, tea, and a sweet cream, blueberry biscuit and step outside. I settle on my porch swing. I read from Sarah Young’s, Jesus Calling: “Stop worrying long enough to hear my voice.” Then she writes about “weaving webs of anxious confusion.” I needed these words today.

I look up the suggested verses in my Bible as I sip tea, nibble on my biscuit. I ask God to help me set aside the worries and concerns of the day, while allowing him to renew and transform my mind. I remember the scripture that says, “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2Corinthians 10:5 NIV).

            Then I sing, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning my songs shall rise to thee….” The little chirping finches seem to join me in praise under the cloudless blue sky as they dart in and out of the bird bath.  Tree branches gently sway. A butterfly dances by.

            I cast my cares aside for the moment and thank God for this sacred space. I promise myself to return to my swing, this summer sanctuary of sorts, many times before cold days arrive and force me inside to another sanctuary.
(c) Marlene Depler

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Recently, I read the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Below are my thoughts on one specific section. Enjoy!

“Sanctuary of Time”---Excerpts from pages 64-77

            In this section, Ann talks about busyness and hurry verses living in the present moment. All of life doesn’t have to be lived rushing, hurrying. “Hurry hurts the soul.” Everything is not an emergency. Ann says that when we live eucharisteo, we “redeem time from neglect and apathy and inattentiveness” as we “swell with thanks.” In giving thanks to God for the moment, we actually “multiply the moments” and time is made enough. According to Ann, “It’s ridiculous how much joy a moment can hold.”

My natural propensity is to make lists, to feel good when I am checking things off, and to feel overwhelmed and frustrated when I’m not making satisfactory progress. When I lunge and plunge head-long into preparing for what’s ahead, hurrying toward something and someday, I fail to notice the gifts of the moment, the joy of the here and now. How can I say, “Thank you” for all the blessings, the gifts, if I am rushing past them without even noticing.

Imaging driving up Hwy. 1 along the Oregon coast and failing to notice the breathtaking splendor of the rocky coast as it touches the crashing waves. What if all one did was read the map, look for road signs that give the distance to the next town, check the time, and glance over at the speedometer.  What a shame it would be to miss the beauty of the moment, while of staring at the pavement ahead, fretting about getting to some destination ahead.

It is sad but true---I have at times been like that. What have I missed along the way? Slowly, I am changing. As I look for and anticipate the “gifts” and then give thanks, I am more and more living in the present. I don’t want to miss the goodness of God in a single moment.  While a case can certainly be made for making preparations for the future or having goals, the future can’t always take precedence over the glory and grace of the present.

Like Ann, “I want enough time. Time to breath deep and time to see real and time to laugh long, time to give You glory and rest deep and sing joy, and just enough time in a day not to feel hounded, press, driven, or wild to get it all done.” “I want to slow down and taste life, give thanks, and see God.”
             I want to notice more, enjoy more, and worship more. When my joy level increases, my focus on the negative decreases. The problems and struggles in this broken world are tamed by gratitude.  My attitude and perspective are improved, my spirit is renewed, and gradually I am changed.  I don’t want to miss any of my “one thousand gifts.” Thus, I will go on naming and numbering God’s goodness.

             Eucharisteo. Living more fully by thanking the Giver of all good gifts.

(c) Marlene Depler. Permission needed to reproduce or publish in any form.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Autumn Musings
Autumn morning:  The house is quiet. I start my coffee in the espresso machine and look out the window to the East. Vapor rises from the pond and pink sunrise streams through the mist, looking ethereal. Seven robins squabble like siblings at the outdoor fountain.  Another robin stands guard in the middle of the bird bath, chasing away the finches that approach. A blue and white Stellar Jay hops around the rose bushes. The garden is spent except for a short row of beets that I should harvest. A few roses have survived the cold snap. I sip my latte and say, “Good morning!” to God.

Autumn afternoon: The late afternoon sun hangs low in the southwestern sky, streaming through the neighbor’s two red maples. Clear blue sky stretches over the mountains. Two foxes dart through the neighborhood—probably the same ones that I saw in our back yard a couple of days ago. A few leaves float to the ground from our Purple Autumn Ash, aptly named for its beautiful purple this time of year. Pruners in hand, I head to the rose bushes. I snip the last seven fragrant blossoms to enjoy indoors.


Sun brings the day, and moon and stars grace the night. I marvel at the predictability and rhythm of the turning of earth and the coming and going of days and seasons. Birds and foxes reproduce after their “kind,” as do all manner of flowers and vegetables. I acknowledge and thank Creator God for creation—for life, for my life and the beauty of this fall day. 

(c) Marlene Depler Permission must be granted to reprint in any form.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Book Review: The Same Kind of Different As Me

By Ron Hall and Devner Moore with Lynn Vincent

It’s often said that truth is stranger than fiction. So it could be said of the unlikely, true story of Denver Moore and Ron Hall. One black. The other white. One the son of a dirt-poor sharecropper, an ex-convict, homeless man. The other a college-educated man, an international art dealer.

What could possibly bring these two complete opposites together? Read this heart-warming, New York Times Bestseller and be amazed at how God works in ordinary lives. Fix a cup of tea, find a comfy chair, and start reading. Don’t let a bit of a slow start stand in the way of finishing the book. You will be glad you did.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rustic Marinara or Meat Sauce

In the summer when there are lots of fresh veggies
in our gardens or at the farmers market, this is a
wonderful recipe to try! Also check out the
variation at the bottom of the post for a side dish.

In small mixing bowl, combine:
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dry oregano flakes
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasonin
1 Tablespoon dried parsley (or fresh if available)
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper, to taste.
This is enough for two 8x10 baking pans.

In the bottom of 2 8x10 glass baking pans, place:
1 large onion, rough chopped
8-10 cloves of garlic whole or smashed
Divide this between both pans.

Cut tomatoes in half, quarters, or chunks, depending on size
of tomotoes used. The ones here are small Fourth of July
tomatoes. Italian tomatoes are also good. Any type of tomatoes
should work fine. As much as possible, place skin side down.
Cover the bottom completely, overlapping. Don't be skimpy!
Drizzle half of the olive oil mixture over each pan.
Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for one hour.
Half way though cooking time, switch pans if they are on
two different oven shelves.

Oh, this smells good!
Take the roasted tomaotes out of oven and let cool.
When cool, put 1/2 the mixture in the blender or
food processor and pulse to the consisteny that you
prefer. Repeat. If you want a meat sauce, add browned
ground beef. This is really yummy served over steamed
zuchinni and yellow summer squash or the traditional pasta.

The finished product!!!
This can also be frozen to use at a later date.
I use freezer zip bags.

A variation for a side dish:
Add zuchinni chunks and/or yellow summer squash chunks in the bottoms of the pans before adding tomatoes. After removing the roasted tomatoes and veggies from the oven, sprinkle with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, and serve warm!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sorting things out...

When my children were young and spring came, I started pulling everything out of my children’s closets and dressers. Piles everywhere. Would anything still fit for summer? I sure hoped so.

Thus my seasonal sorting began. Which things were acceptable and which things were too small? What should I keep for another younger sibling and what clothing should I either pass down to another child or box to sell at a garage sell.

It took some serious time to get through all the clothes of three children. Mostly what I discovered was that either they had grown more than I thought, or I had seriously shrunk all their clothing. Pants were too short. Shoes were too small. Dresses were too short. The piles of things we pulled out of the closet were much larger than what we put back. Then I was faced with the reality of what we needed to buy to replace so many outgrown items. I wondered how we could afford it all.

When autumn came, the process began all over again. And so this sorting continued year after year until my children left the nest.

Even though that particular variety of sorting ceased, I’m still forever sorting something: cupboards, closets, files, stacks of papers, books, recipes, and photos. What to keep? What to give away? What to discard? What still has usefulness to me—or maybe someone else? What is just clutter? Oh, and my office! I try, but every time I start working on writing submissions and other projects, things seem to explode. Then I have to sort, organize, and discard all over again.

I wonder if my now grown children will one day feel overwhelmed when they have to sort through all the stuff that I leave behind upon my passing. Then I determine to sift and sort some more things. This is often followed with at least one more box going out the door to a local charity.

But the truth be told, it’s not only tangible possessions that I sort. My mind and heart does an unending sorting as I attempt to un-clutter my thoughts.

I wade through a barrage of information and opinions on hundreds of topics coming at me from every direction. What do I accept and what do I discard?

I weigh priorities and perspective. I decide what is important over and over again.

I consider options and try to make wise decisions.

I examine problems and look for solutions.

I sort out relationships. What’s going on with so and so? Is she under stress or has she pulled away for some reason. Do I let it slide for now or should I address it. What can I do to make the relationship better between me and whomever?

I sift through both old memories and hopes and dreams for the future.

I ponder over my questions. My doubts and confusion.

I look at my worries and fears, releasing them once again to God.

I need solitude for periodic internal sorting. That is what I like about walking time—prayer time—gardening time. Uninterrupted moments where I listen to my heart. I listen for God.

Save and discard. Save and discard. Save and discard. It’s time-consuming, but it is part of life. The tangible, the intangible. The external, the internal. Deciding what to keep and what to toss aside. I pray for wisdom as I sort my way through life.

(c) 2010 Marlene Depler

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer Blooms

“Gardening satisfies our cravings for fresh air and sunshine. Gardening soothes our souls and replenishes our spirits. When we garden, we learn to appreciate the rhythms of the seasons and the patience to wait for spring flowers to bloom, for summer vegetables to ripen on their vines.” “...gardening is. . .a way of life that returns us to the serenity of nurturing life from the soil.” Linda Hallam, Editor, Garden Style, (Des Moines, IA: Better Homes and Gardens Books, 1999), p. 7.


Friday, June 25, 2010

I'm Back!


Where has the time gone! I can't believe that it has taken me so long to post.

I am finding that I can only focus on just so many things at once. So what have I been distracted with:


  • Spring clean-up and gardening. I love to work outside!
  • Mother's Day and Father's Day celebrations
  • Oldest granddaughter graduated from 8th grade
  • Several spring concerts and middle grandson's soccer games
  • Trip to the Oregon coast
  • Youngest granddaughter's 2nd birthday
  • Teaching my second oldest granddaughter to sew
  • Garden tour with two blog friends
  • Letting grandchildren each come by themselves for some one on one time
  • Health program with a naturopath
  • Facebook. I started doing facebook so I could stay connected with nieces and nephew, but found it has consumed more time than I had anticipated.
  • Organizing my office---AGAIN!

I will try to be more consistent with posts! And I will add a few photos that might interest you.


Sunset on the Oregon coast from our room

Rainbow over the ocean

Double Delight rose in my garden

Fresh product from my garden

Mommy duck escorts her ducklings up the driveway though our back yard to the pond behind our house.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Walk in My Shoes

By Marlene Depler

"Lola gets what Lola wants!"

It would be impossible for me to count the times that I was teased with that line as a young child. What no one knew is that in my mind this was not true at all. Who would have believed that this little blonde-haired girl with natural curls framing such an innocent face desperately wanted something that she could not have?

I wanted shoes—girl's shoes. Yes, there were other things that I desired, such as a hula-hoop and a "bride doll," but shoes were the foremost cause of my discontent. It was the mid-1950s, and black and white saddle oxfords with bobby socks were the prescribed fashion of the day for girls. I wore brown, clumsy oxfords—boys' shoes handed down from my boy cousins. In those days, shoes for boys and shoes for girls were quite obviously different.

I was convinced that everyone noticed that I wore boy's shoes. My embarrassment made no difference in my circumstances. My father was a young minister for a tiny church in the southwest corner of Kansas, and his pay was meager. There was no money for what I coveted most.

I went to school each day filled with shame, certain that everyone was staring at my shoes. I made a conscious attempt to keep my feet hidden under my chair. If the teacher asked for the class to sit on the floor, I hid those ugly brown shoes under my skirt. Fortunately for me, the skirts of dresses were very full in those days! My feet were the only ugly ducklings in a world of swans.

I remember being invited to Susie's birthday party. One of her gifts was a pair of plastic, dress-up, high-heeled shoes. Even her gift of play shoes was reason enough to strike a chord of envy. Sadness descended over me. It was such a hopeless plight. Lola did not get what Lola wanted.

After the second grade, our family moved to the coast of Oregon where my father became the minister for another church, slightly bigger than the previous one in Kansas. We left Kansas in our blue and white, 1955 Chevy station wagon, pulling everything we owned in a U-Haul trailer. We were off to see the world, and temporarily, I forgot about the shoes on my feet.

While we were in Oregon, my father started selling shoes out of a catalog to supplement his small income. One day he showed me a picture of black velveteen shoes in his catalog. On the glossy page, they looked simply beautiful—more beautiful than anything I had ever seen before. He then proceeded to measure my feet. The order was placed. I spent days in eager anticipation.

At last the shoes came! As I slipped my feet into their velvety, black softness, my world changed. I was a princess with the most exquisite shoes in the kingdom. My feet danced, and my heart sang. Black velveteen shoes—more wonderful than anything I could have ever imagined! From that day forward, I never wore boy's shoes again.

It's been many decades since then. I no longer go by my first name, Lola. (I am sure that you can guess why!) Instead, I use my middle name, Marlene. Just yesterday I saw some shoes in a Wissota Trader catalog that caught my eye. The advertisement said, "Velvety nubuck leather casuals...." I just may order them. Sometimes Marlene gets what Marlene wants!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Let There Be Light

By Marlene Depler







Light from campfires

          Light from our hearths

                    Light from candles burning

Porch lights

          Street lights



          Traffic lights

                    City lights


          Light of the world

                    Light of truth

                              Light in our hearts

                                        Light on life’s long pathway home

                                                  Let there be LIGHT!

(c) Marlene Depler 2009 Permission needed from author to reprint in any form.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hold on to Hope

Dear Readers:
Today I thought I would share a devotional that I wrote. I hope these thoughts and Scriptures bless you.

Hold on to Hope

By Marlene Depler

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galations 6:9).

Gardeners all have moments of weariness. They prepare the soil and plant seeds. They fertilize and water. Weeds are pulled until the back aches and perspiration drips. Gardeners may rest along the way, but they soon return to their toil. Why? Hope of harvest spurs them on even when they are tired. They anticipate slicing the first juicy tomato and cutting open a sweet watermelon. In time, their diligence and perseverance are rewarded.

Life is much like gardening. Doing the right thing and living well aren’t always easy. It takes effort to obey God. In the process, everyone experiences the malady of weariness from time to time. The cacophony of daily challenges and difficulties has a way of depleting energy. Physical or emotional exhaustion sets in. Efforts to serve may seem pointless. Weeds of discouragement take root.

Does this describe you? Are you worn out? Are you in the midst of something that has left you weary? Demands at work? Financial pressure? Health issues? Concerns over your children? Relational difficulties? Lack of appreciation for your ministry sacrifices? Have your best efforts failed to obtain the desired outcome? You are not alone.

God recognizes the human propensity towards giving up during seasons of weariness. He knows how easily hope is diminished and perspective is skewed. Thus, through the words of the apostle Paul, God encourages each believer not to give up. Because he knows that the heart craves hope, God reminds his children to refocus on the promise of an eventual harvest.

When the weariness sets in, know that it’s normal. Use it as a warning sign. You may be in need of rest. Jesus knew what his disciples needed when he said; “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31). As we allow God to strengthen and refresh us, we can regain renewed vigor to continue loving, serving and giving. Once eternal perspective is regained, you can again eagerly await God’s promised harvest at the appointed time. Endurance eventually pays off. Hold on to hope!

Questions for reflection:

  • In what ways are you experiencing weariness or discouragement? 
  • What needs to be done to help to re-energize you? Rest? The encouragement of a friend? Renewed perspective on the promised reward?
  • Think of a past example of when perserverance paid off.
  • Within your circle of family and friends, who needs your words of encouragement right now?
Today: I will not lose hope. I will share this hope with a friend who is weary and in need of encouragement.

Additional References:

Isaiah 40:29-31

Matthew 11:28

Psalm 62:5

Romans 5:5

Hebrews 11:1

(c) Marlene Depler Permisssion required to reprint in any form.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Winter's Walk

by Marlene Depler

Winter days, long and cold: I hunker down within my walls.

I have little enthusiasm for going out and about.

Today the sunshine coaxes me to overcome my hesitation

to brave the cold. I pull on a second pair of socks,

my coat, and purple gloves, stepping outside under a canvas of clear blue.

Fresh, cold air fills my lungs. I watch my breath---

then fall into a pleasant rhythm: right, left, right left.

I find room for uninterrupted contemplation in this open space.

I think about dormancy in nature as I view leaftless trees and barren rose bushes---

then wonder if I am in my own season of dormancy.

I notice the contrasts around me: the soft, virgin snow and the hard, crusty ice,

turned brown from passing cars. And the never-fading evergreens with the bare-

branched variety. Life is filled with contrasts, I conclude. Joy and sorrow, pleasure

and pain, success and failure. On I walk alone with my thoughts, one thought

cascading into another, until I finally turn to follow my lengthening shadow home.

I haven't seen a singe critter, I muse. Where are the birds and squirrels and fox?

Just then I am startled by a bird huddles in a nearby barberry bush,

soon followed by a honking "V" of geese flying directly overhead.

I smile. I walk on in pleasant reverie. I arrive home invigorated.

I promise to rendezvous with myself for a winter's walk once again---and soon.

(c) Marlene Depler 20010

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

O Christmas Tree

Putting up the Christmas tree is on of my favorite things about Christmas tree. The twinkling lights, the shimmering ornaments, endless possibilities for creativity, the overall beauty brings---all this brings me much satisfaction. Some years I use blue, some gold, and others the traditional red. This year it's PINK! It is fun to mix it up.

A full view! I almost have the presents wrapped.

A little closer shot. I really like the white birds!

Butterflies and watering cans bring in my love for nature and gardening.

On the fancy side! A little Victorian shoe!

My little gardener makes me think of spring!

A gift from a friend! She approves of my pink tree.

Right down to the wrapping paper! It looks so pretty when the packages match!
Gotta' love pink velvet ribbon!

And something fun for the grandkids! I was so surprised to find this one at K-Mart!

Thanking God for the gift of his son---and for family and friends. A Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Book Review: The Gift of Years

Book Review by Marlene Depler

The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully by Joan Chittister

I look in the mirror and see the signs, the wrinkles and the gray hairs tucked between my highlights. Some signs sneak up almost unnoticeably while others are not so subtle. One thing is for sure: I AM aging! With this marching on of time, I am experiencing a wide range of thoughts and emotions. Some I bemoan to my husband or close friends, but many thoughts I never verbalize. And in spite of my best efforts, I see myself becoming more irrelevant in the world in which I live.

Recently, I started reading Joan Chittister's book, The Gift of Years: Growing Old Gracefully. What a breath of fresh air! Her perspective is both honest and insightful. In the introduction Joan writes, "It is time for us to let go of both our fantisies of eternal youth and our fears of getting older, and to find the beauty of what it means to age well." I couldn't agree more.

Joan has written forty short chapters filled with wisdom. Some of the chapters included are Fear, Forgiveness, Fulfillment, Faith, and Freedom. Others chapters are Legacy, Limitations, Loneliness, and Letting Go. Each chapter bears pondering. Don't expect to fly through this book like a novel. I'm reading mine with a highlighter in hand to mark the passages that I want to reread again.

In the chapter titled Regret, Joan writes how that often what "pretends to be reflection" and "claims to be insight" slips into brooding, dragging us down. She says, "Regret is a temptation. It entices us to lust for what never was..." Then we may "doubt the God who made us."

Joan's overall message is to see aging is a gift. (It means we didn't die young!) We should not abandon our lives prematurely---before life in this world is truly over. This season is different that the previous seasons of our lives. Nevertheless, we can embrace it and live it fully.

Joan's words are making me often say to myself, Don't quit the game in the fourth quarter! Play on to the finish! This is a book I will read multiple times in the coming years. (I'm even considering leading a discussion group using this book as the focus.)

I hope you will pick up this book---maybe buy it for yourself for Christmas. Then if you enjoy it, recommend it to a friend. Whatever you do, appreciate your days and years, live fully until the time comes for "melting into God."

(c) 2009 Marlene Depler

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pacific Rim Sunset

Read then see photos below!!!
Psalm 92:4-5a The Message: "You made me so happy, God. I saw your work and I shouted for joy. How magnificent your work, God!"
Pacific Rim Sunset
by Marlene Depler
Silently, I sit in my front row seat
on the edge of the earth
where land converges with sky and sea
Sinking sun shimmers over crashing waves
as the Master Painter takes the stage
He lifts his brush to the canvas
pink and then lavender--
wide pastel strokes across the heavens
Next he adds bold highlights
of orange and plum
then smudges the rocks and trees
into black silhouettes
Hushed I admire the beauty
of the evening masterpiece
until the sea swallows the sun
Just when I think He is finished
He dips his brush in gold
signing his work with a simple cresent moon
My heart cries out as I jump to my feet,
"Bravo!" "Encore!"
He bows and waves, "Perhaps tomorrow."
(c) 2009 Marlene Depler
Reprints in any form only allowed with author's permission

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Beauty Abounds

These are from our recent travels: Pike Market in Seattle, Tofino and Ucluelet (Vancouver Island, B.C.), and Victoria (also Vancouver Island, B.C.) Enjoy!

Flower boxes across the street from Pike Market, Seattle.
The beginning of a visual feast!

Flowers galore (Pike Market).

Fresh veggies! (Pike Market)

Succulent fruits (Pike Market).

Crabs in rows! (Pike Market)

Huge lobster tails! (Pike Market)

Rainbow of chilli peppers! (Pike Market)

From the bay side of Tofino.

Chesterman Beach looking toward Frank Isand

The Inn from Chesterman Beach

A room with a view.

And more views!

Pacific sunset on first night.

Sunset on second night.

The Amphitrite Point Lighthouse in Ucluelet.

View from the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet.

Strange roots seen on the trail.

Fishing boats on the bay side of Ucluelet.

Another shot of the fishing boats.

Abkaki Garden in Victoria.
(We saw Buchart Gardens on previous trips. We had just enough time to
check out this once private garden now open to the public.)

Another shot of the gardens.

The Empress Hotel in the harbor of Victoria.