At Trail’s End—in Memoriam…

Maureen’s “Hometown” Girls—Prayer Hikes and other adventures…

The most unlikely of friends in many ways… Wild and crazy Maureen, helpmeet to a hard-headed but God-loving logger and student of the Word. Always ‘up for’ an adventure, or at least a new trail, a little further out, a little higher up…She had the truck. She sent out the weekly invites to join her on a prayer hike. She was always there with the backpack full of papers to keep us on task—scrawled prayer requests, newspaper clippings, lists of topics to cover in prayer…And she had the spray paint so we wouldn’t get ourselves lost, and the watch so we’d put in the full hour before a lunch break…that was Maureen.

She was away this past weekend with an old friend of hers. Her last words affectionately addressed to us ‘hometown girls’ were: “…hopefully be out on the trail next week. another person asked jesus into their life this week plus an amazing encounter must tell you all about. god bless, m.” That was Maureen, always looking for opportunities to ask people if they knew Jesus and to challenge ones who had wandered from the teaching they’d heard as children…she knew so many people in our town. She reached a whole sector I never rub shoulders with. She stepped on toes sometimes. She faced rejection. But she shed tears over the thought of people going to hell and she just couldn’t let a chance to mention Jesus pass. “God Bless” was on her lips… But Maureen was mortal.

An email message came from our pastor this morning (May 28). “This email is to let you know that Maureen Hein passed into the presence of the Lord about midnight on Sunday.” Just like that, a massive heart attack. And unbeknownst to me, as I was tucking my chin under the covers Maureen was waking in Jesus’ presence. She won’t be out on the trail this weekend. She’ll shed no more tears of angst for wandering souls in need of Jesus. The job is left for someone else. I’ll have to wait for the story of her ‘amazing encounter’. Maureen always had stories, of real people whose lives she’d brushed up against. She had a way of intersecting with people in unusual moments. And she always had a word of encouragement, often written on a scrap of paper so you’d not forget it. I have such a scrap tucked away somewhere….

Maureen was one-of-a-kind. We didn’t see eye-to-eye on everything. Our backgrounds were as different as they come. I got under her skin at times. We argued our doctrinal differences. Drove each other a little crazy in spots. But we always parted friends, determined to walk together, to pray together, to respect each other and to care for each other’s interests.

Maureen knew the kind of good-time I love. She liked to introduce her friends to the worlds she knew best. She invited me to tag along on errands for the logging crew and I got to see a logging operation first-hand and visit remote lakes I’d always wanted to see…She took me on a walking tour of the island neighborhood where she grew up…including a peek over the edge of a precipitous spot and a swim in the fabled Texada quarry….Maureen was like a seal. She loved water, be it ocean, lake or stream. If it wasn’t the dead of winter, it was ‘warm enough’ to dive in. We usually watched. On occasion I had to try it too… Brrr. And we took off in the motor boat a time or two, once with bikes aboard which we rode to the end of Savary Island, just to see how far it was, even though we had next to no water and no good sense how long it’d take. We lived to remember the adventure… Maureen introduced me to mushroom picking in earnest. And sent me home with a scary looking bit of fungi to try. She was right. It was delicious, whatever it was!

She was more daring than I, more tough, more zealous… But she always asked, always cared about my family. Always cheered me on. Always rallied us ‘hometown’ girls to get moving on Saturday morning, rain or shine. And now she’s among the witnesses that have gone before to mark the path of faith. Maureen wasn’t perfect. Wasn’t even always ‘nice’. She fumed and ranted, cried and agonized. She was real. But she never let her want of perfection keep her from offering to Jesus what she had and reaching out to take others with her on the trail… I’m going to miss her.


Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Heb.12:1,2


Chasing Bumblebees…

Just in from chasing bumblebees in the garden… a fine pastime for a sunny spring day, while the sun plays peek-a-boo with encroaching clouds–some fluffy white, some frowning gray…

P1060624bee kale

The eider down of dandelions-past-their-prime, now reseeding for future generations, is upstaged by the glow of buttercup faces…But the real draw is the overwintered kale now gone to seed, the garden’s first brightness in spring.


The peas are peeking out; potatoes are eyeing sunshine from their dark furrows. The comfrey’s come back with all the power of a mighty weed.


How did I think I would let this season go, for a change, and not do any gardening? Sheer nonsense. I can’t keep myself out of the beds—searching for emerging seedlings, planted and otherwise…on the lookout for new life, excited by the growth that comes once my precious seeds are committed to the dead earth…


It’s hard to let them go. What if they don’t germinate and grow?  All will be lost. There’s no instant manufacturing of more seed, only a long season of growth and fruitfulness and maturity.  And then the gathering and the storing and the patient waiting for spring. Once in the seed packets, nicely labeled, the seed is mine—holding all the potential of  a flourishing garden of veggies and blooms.  But it ‘abides alone’, useless really, (no matter how lovely the packaging), if I fail to take the plunge and commit my precious seeds to the ground….


The painful part is passing now.  Most of my seeds are planted and hopeful I ramble through the yard bending to see the first shoots, and finding the rewards here and there and the springing hope of summer’s bounty and autumn’s harvest…Yes, it’s a fine day for chasing bumblebees in the garden…

And so glad I am for the plants that reliably spring out of hibernation every spring, mature and  ready to bloom where they’ve been planted in bygone years… They brighten my hopes for the rest yet to come!





Wishing you a happy ramble with the bumblebees, rejoicing in the hope of springtime…


“He that goes forth weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing bringing his sheaves with him.” Ps.126:6


“…unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone…” Jn.12:24



For a close-up of some of my precious seeds, go here.

seed macro collage

Unexpected Joys

Life is full of unexpected joys when I slow to notice.

How many times have I looked out our front window to see this grand old house—a patriarch of our neighborhood only just changing hands for the first time now that its family has grown up and old and moved on to the old folks’ home…

There’s something permanent and friendly about its demeanor with the old apple trees all ‘round in bloom…an unexpected joy.


…as is living in this, ‘our town’ beside the sea…Nothing earth shaking happens here.  We’re a sleepy place, I suppose, but it is an unexpected joy to look down and see spring coming to our town and know that this is home, for now…


The wild strawberries are in bloom again…masterpieces that yield a quiet joy when one stoops to see their simple faces…


Mother’s Day has come ‘round again to remind me of this unexpected joy of being a mother to a brood that rises up to bless my heart –and fill my mouth with good things they’ve in turn created…


And then there is the sea so close at hand…the meandering ride along the seawalk on Mother’s Day for the joy of a shared afternoon, the dipping of the feet in the ocean for the first time of the season—shiver—in anticipation of warmer days to come… and nearly treading on this disguised anemone…


And while we lean down to study the  kelp underfoot, an eagle cries from his perch in the sky…


Days later in the garden, I look up spade in hand, from digging earth to bury potatoes and spy my raving beauty of a rhododendron putting on a show in her shady knoll where yard meets woods…I hadn’t seen it coming.  Unexpected joy!


And today, climbing reluctant from warm covers to meet a new and unknown day,  I peer through my sheer drapes to see Miss Crabapple in her best dress, with primly crossed ankles, morning sun brightening her blush… Just when all the other blossoms begin to fade she is at her brightest.  Unexpected joy.  This too a gift to us…


How good to be ‘the sheep of His pasture, the flock under His care.’ Ps.95:7NIV— An Unexpected Joy


Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is His also.

The sea is His, and he made it: and His hands formed the dry land.

O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.

For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Ps.95:2-7