Sunny Pathway

Friday, October 2, 2009

Moving Time

Those who read this blog regularly might remember my saying I would need to make two decisions. One concerned my foot and the other concerned blogging.

I’ll address blogging first. I’m making a change now and I suspect there will be more changes in the future. This will be my last posting on Sunny Pathway, but I’m not going away. You’ll be able to find me at a new blog called Solveig’s Insights.

I created Solveig’s Insights about a year ago as a place for sharing daily devotionals, but I stopped developing the site when I began publishing Thoughts for Inspiration on a daily basis.

Now the unused moniker is calling. The new site won’t be devotional in nature—although that might enter in occasionally—and it won’t offer daily postings. To find me you’ll need the new address. The URL is: Or click the title under “you’ll also find me at” in the sidebar to your left.

I’m not going to recount all that has transpired to bring about change now and later, but’ll share a bit. The original purpose of Sunny Pathway was to provide helpful information on how to live with health-related problems—while always keeping God as the center. I have health issues myself and I’ve learned adjustments are necessary. I’ve also learned that bringing God’s light into the dark tunnel of difficult circumstances means everything.

However, the blog I envisioned required resources and connections. It didn’t take long for me to realize my energy level made that impossible. In an attempt to stay on target with my stated purpose, I began writing about my personal health issues, and Sunny Pathway became a personal blog.

Even as this happened, I didn’t like the title as a moniker for a personal blog. Although it plays on the literal meaning of my name, it seems pollyanish—if there is such a word. While God brings light into difficult circumstances, claiming a sunny path as a general state of affairs is hard to swallow.

In addition to Sunny Pathway and Thoughts for Inspiration, I created Red, Red Berries, intended as a personal blog but morphed into an ideas blog. I stopped posting there about six months ago.

Fatigue is a problem. At one point I asked God for permission to quit everything. I felt He told me to finish Thoughts.

While working on the Thoughts material, one day I realized I could close Red, Red Berries. Embarrassing and frustrating, but necessary. (And I still need to figure out how to do it!)

On Sunday and Monday of this week I went into some sort of time warp. When I emerged, I knew living with a moniker I find irritating does not a happy blogger make. If I continue, I should change it—and I should change it sooner rather than later. Even though this doesn't seem like the opportune time.

Which leads me to the decision regarding my foot. I’ll be having surgery on October 14th—less than two weeks away. Feet are extremities and their healing process is usually slow. The next few weeks will be busy as I prepare for an extended recovery period. I might not post two times a week while trying to launch this new venture. That breaks the rules set forth by the exeprts, but I feel God understands and He's the One who matters.

But before I sign off, I want to thank all who have stopped by. Even with the ups-and-downs—and the fatigue—it’s been good. I’ve learned much and God has blessed me in the process. I hope you’ve been blessed, too.

And I hope you make the easy journey to visit me at Solveig’s Insights. The site is not totally ready, but it is up and running with one entry.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Book Review: Abercrombie Trail

It's time for book reviews and I'm going to share something dear to my heart today. Candace Simar, author of Abercrombie Trail: a Novel of the 1862 Uprising, is a friend. Rather than talk briefly about several books, I’ll focus on one.

The Background: The Sioux Tribe is pushed into impossible living conditions. When payments promised by treaties do not come and when fathers have no way to feed their families, the Sioux turn against the settlers. This makes sense to us today. But the settlers, many of whom cannot speak English, do not fully understand, They live on isolated farmsteads and they're afraid. Neither people-group understands the other’s culture, although this confusion is only portrayed by the protoganist. In addition, the ongoing Civil War adds another layer. It all leads to a series of tragic events that profoundly impact everyone living in in the area.

The Storyline: When Evan Jacobson's plans don't materialize after coming to America in hopes of a better life, he finds a job driving a stage coach on the Abercrombie Trail. While at Fort Snelling where the trail begins (near St. Paul, Minnesota), Evan forms a relationship with the historic Bishop Whipple. He also meets and comes to an understanding of sorts with one specific Indian. But on the trail to Fort Abercrombie (south of Fargo, North Daktoa), he forms relatioships with numerous Norwegian immigrants like himself. They become his community.

In addition to Evan’s love interest, there’s the marriage of his friend to Bishop Whipple’s housekeeper. (Her name is Solveig and I suspect she was modeled after me because she has large teeth!) There's a marriage between a Lutheran and Catholic (considered a mixed marriage in the time-frame). There are scenes describing the brutal aftermath of massacres. And more.

As in all good writing, details give life to a story. I found Evan's relationship with the horses especially endearing. They understand him when he speaks to them in Norwegian. He ultimately calls on his personal relationship with them in a run for his life and the life of his passengers.

Reader-Responses: Word of mouth is the best form of promotion. So here goes. My copy of Abercrombie Trail came in July—when it was hot off the press. I glanced at it briefly, thinking I’d read it later. Then I was drawn back and I didn’t quit reading until the wee hours of the morning. But, of course I would like it. I identified with the Norwegian settlers—and I had two sets of great-grandparents who lived close to the trail. I didn’t have to know the author to be interested.

So I decided to test it with my neighbors. Not too professional on my part as all these gals love to read. But they also know what they like. What would they think?

The first neighbor told me she didn’t like historical novels but she’d look at it. I think she was suspicious that it would have an overt Christian messge. A couple of days later she dropped by to tell me, This was really interesting. She also said she read it in one sitting.

(Candy identifies herself not as a Christian novelist but as a Christian who writes novels. Abercrombie Trail isn't specifically Christian, but the persepctive or worldview is compatible with Christianity.)

The second neighbor read it when we were gone in August. When she brought it back, she said, It was so good I read it twice. That's quite an endorsement.

The third neighbor didn’t think she’d get to it right away. After idly glancing through, she read it in two sittings. It was one of those riveting things, she said, and I just couldn’t put down. She grew up in Nebraska, knew nothing about Minnesota history, and isn’t even Norwegian.

The publisher, North Star Press of St. Cloud, is one of the small publishers springing up around the country. I was concerned after learning Barnes and Noble has decided they will not work with the smaller publishers, so you cannot buy a copy through them. I don’t know about other chain stores. But you may obtain a copy through Or, if you prefer, contact the publisher directly at The book is 285 pages long. Cost is $14.95.

One more plug: North Star is printing a second edition because of the demand.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Endings and Beginnings

A good ending is followed by a beginning. I’m on a threshold of sorts.

Some of you may have noticed I list my additional blogs on the sidebar under You’ll also find me at. I find it interesting that people who read Sunny Pathway rarely read Thoughts for Inspiration and people who read Thoughts rarely read Pathway. (No one reads Red, Red Berries anymore, because I haven’t written there for months.)

Everything on Sunny Pathway is current—it's an online journal. Thoughts is a collection of columns originally published on the church page of a rural newspaper from 1981 through 1992.

(An interesting—to me—side note. I was paid $10.00 for each piece—and I have no idea where it went. After the fact, I figured that over twelve years I made $6,240.00. What if I’d stashed it away and it had been accruing interest?)

I stopped writing the columns because, under time pressures, I had begun dashing them off with little thought or prayer. I was doing a lot of writing at the time, and they'd become a sideline. Off and on, however, I felt they’d be published someday. But they’re not devotional—just thoughts. They didn’t fit a genre. I dismissed the idea.

In the late ‘90s, after we retired, while on the way to visit a friend, wondering if God would ever use me again, I thought He told me I’d be a publisher. That was so preposterous that I laughed out loud while driving. But I didn’t forget it.

Sometime during the mid ‘00s, I began surfing the internet, discovered the world of blogs, and decided to give them a try.

It wasn’t long before it occurred to me to publish what I felt were my better Thoughts for Inspiration columns over a one-year-time-period as a sort-of blog. (Today some seem wonderfully thought-provoking and some simplistic.) Publishing them would be self-publishing, but publishing, nevertheless. It was an idea that somehow seemed right.

I didn’t know how exhausting the demands of daily publishing would be. When I learned I could post ahead, I began posting a week at a time—and then two or three weeks at a time. That gave me reprieves.

In June, I began fantasizing about finishing the entire year. In July I began working ahead. During August I focused on our vacation trips, but this month I’ve worked relentlessly with only brief forays away from the computer.

And yesterday I finished. At the end, I focused on pictures. Details aren’t pretty. This was an effort from someone who has never been into photography. (When I wrote as a free-lancer, Ken occasionally took pictures for me!)

As I neared the end, I could hardly think straight. But I had a question: What will I do when I’m done? And as I stretched out on the sofa yesterday after our noon meal, Ken echoed my thoughts. What will you do when your finish?

The question is with me this morning. What now?

There are two decisions waiting. But first, what did I learn?

The obvious is that I’m comfortable on the computer. Perhaps I’ll be able to learn helpful techniques now.

Then, there's the discipline factor. The project seemed foolish at times, but I finished.

Finally, going through Thoughts required reviewing my spiritual journey. As I worked, I spent time in the Word. God brought things to light so I've had to forgive, release anger, give up resentments. I believe I’ve become more pliable and it’s been good for the soul.

I don’t know what's ahead, but I suspect it will have something to do with my interior landscape. I found something intriguing this morning while going through a stack of material. Is that it?

I’ve aged physically and mentally over the last ten years, but somehow feel more alive—albeit a bit slower. God is beyond comprehension and quite fearsome at times. We can’t bring him down to a human level. And yet, I believe this awesome God engineered something in me I couldn’t have imagined. He is a wonderful friend.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Soil. Dirt. Earth.

It’s black where we live. I’ve also been personally acquainted with some that was a yellowish brown and some that was a rusty red.

On Tuesday evening Ken and I had a picnic. Under a waning fall sun in Lindenwood Park—stretched along the Fargo side of the Red River of the North—we walked over dirt from our car to a table.

The park was one of the areas under flood waters last spring. When we visited it shortly after the water receded, the area was gray and filled with debris brought in by angry water—a battle zone.

Now, to the west of us, a toddler took halting steps from the table to his grandma. On the east, a three-year-old played hide-and-seek with a frustrated mom wanting visual contact. Their sounds mingled with the breeze and birds. Trees are beginning to show color. Rich smells of decomposing plant-life tickled my nose.

Oh, I thought, God is good.

I enjoy our condo, but we’re on the second floor and our private access to the world is our deck. There I enjoy sounds and smells—and the strong North Dakota winds—but I don’t walk across ground.

I rarely walk across the ground as part of my daily life. When we go places, I stay on sidewalks. Connecting with dirt requires effort.

I had assumed all dirt was inorganic until I read about it on Wikipedia. It seems dirt contains organic materials as well.

That makes sense. While on our trip, we gathered with Ken’s family at the home of his sister and husband in Spokane. Byron gardens a plot that was part of a horse stable. The soil is rich, and we feasted on unblemished and perfectly ripened tomatoes the size of grapefruits. The ears of corn were complete—sweet, with kernels reaching to the tip and none of them missing. There was a great deal of organic material in the dirt producing those vegetables.

Dirt needs water to produce. We stopped in Havre, MT, for a picnic lunch on the way home. I expected something semi-arid like its surroundings. Instead, one city block featured well-watered grass—lush like the grass of my childhood in central Minnesota—freshly mowed—so thick we couldn’t see the dirt under it. The dirt across the street was of the yellowish brown variety.

Back in Fargo, Lindenwood features manicured flower beds surrounded by grass that survives. But in June, grass planted to restore what was damaged by the flood was the fresh shade of green found only in new growth. All summer long traveling campers pitched their tents and parked their trailers on that grass. Did they know they were standing on soil redeemed by the sweat and tears of people willing to pay a price?

I read recently that our planet is not as solid as we might think. Disasters like earthquakes and volcanoes are not signs of destruction but signs of life. When the plates of soil that make up our planet’s outer layer stop grinding against each other—and when the core of our planet stops erupting its molten content—our planet and all the forms of life it sustains will die.

That brings a new perspective.

How much of this did Jesus understand during His earthly life? The Bible tells us He created the world and He holds it together by His Word. (Jn. 12:1-4; Heb. 3:3) He relinquished that knowledge—His omniscience—when He lived as a man.

But Jesus loved dirt and the things that grow in it. He used types of soil as a metaphor for types of people. He used seeds and grains as metaphors. And He used flowers as the image of artless beauty: Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet . . . Solomon in all his glory was not arranged like one of these. (Lk.12:27 KJV)

Flowers grow in dirt. As a layperson, I might have flashes of insight on dirt—soil—earth. Scientists know so much more.

God holds it all together.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Sign?

The last three posts required more from me than usual. Prophetic acts are a serious subject that is somewhat controversial—and I found the concept difficult to explain clearly and adequately. I thought this post should be lighter—and then a friend wondered if I received a sign after this latest prophetic act.

Well, perhaps. Not a sign as dramatic as an intense storm or as a flock of white birds that didn’t make a sound. (See Prophetic Acts, 1, 2, and 3 for an explanation.) But something did happen that will be quick and easy to write about, so I’m going with it.

An important tidbit: on the evening when Ken and I were at the confluence, we’d already put in a long day. We woke at 5:30 that morning.

But when getting into the car before leaving the confluence—around 7:00 p.m.—Ken looked at me and said, “Man, I feel good.

Now Ken is a laid-back sort of guy. And he spoke with enthusiasm! And he repeated the thought several times! Then he suggested we drive all the way home—that night!

I didn’t think I heard right. Was he trying to save money? “Definitely not worth it, I thought—even while realizing I also felt strangely energized.

I agreed we should drive as long as we could and then, when we were tired, we’d find a motel.

On to Watford City—through some beautiful farm country, by the way. We ate a light supper and we both felt good.

So on to Belfield where our highways intersected. There Ken suggested—being I had slept on and off all day—that I drive for awhile. And it seemed reasonable.

Armed with a coke, a candy bar, and a leftover apple, I took the wheel—and drove to Bismarck while he slept. I didn’t want to wake him.

He spoke before we crossed the Missouri—ready to take over rather than stop. And so he did.

We switched drivers again in a rest stop east of Valley City—after we’d passed all opportunities for a motel. There was nothing to do but keep going.

I was the one privileged to drive into our garage at 3:28 a.m.

Perhaps as remarkable as the trip was our lack of fatigue. We didn’t feel dragged out on Friday—or on any of the days following.

I’m not so foolish as to insist the drive was a sign. In fact, I hesitate sharing it because we had a friend who made a habit of driving while tired—and who died in an accident because he didn’t stay awake.

But when we told others about it, they remembered, they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Is. 40:31)

We don’t intend to drive like that again. We’ve passed the age for such shenanigans. Right now, however, I rather enjoy thinking it could have been a sign.

And regardless, the Bible verse fits. Renewed we were—and very, very grateful. There’s no place like home.”

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Prophetic Acts, part 3 of 3

Jesus said, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (Jn. 6:6 NIV)

Those are difficult words—they tell us Christianity is different from all other religions. And if you know people of other faiths as I do—and if some of them are truly wonderful people—these words are discomfiting. So please remember—regardless of what else I might say in this post—my conflict is not with people of a different faith but with their God.

For I believe the Word and the words of Jesus. And as a Christian, I must stand against other gods because they keep people from Jesus. Furthermore, when I engage in this type of spiritual warfare, I don’t fight with physical weapons but with spiritual weapons.

This all seems very complex and I admit spiritual warfare is a huge subject. I don’t claim to be an expert in the field, but I do know some things that have stood me in good stead. For that reason, I’ll share a bit about an encounter at the spot where the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers meet in western North Dakota. The place where they join is called a confluence and it’s become a state historical site complete with a rather small rotunda.

I learned a group of Buddhist monks would be arriving at the confluence to create a sand Mandela. This would take several days. When done they would dedicate it before dismantling it and releasing the sand into the waters for healing.

I won’t discuss the problem this poses for Christians as I’ve covered that in the two earlier posts. I’ll just say I recognized it was a time to wield spiritual weapons. (To read the earlier posts, scroll down to the two posts just before this one.)

Spiritual weapons don’t make sense to the natural mind, but they’re powerful. More powerful than anything our natural mind could think of. All spiritual weapons begin with prayer—simply talking to God and listening to His voice. Then we respond to Him—do what we believe He’s telling us to do.

It’s that simple. This somehow activates His Spirit. We recognize we can do nothing on our own—that our words or our response to His Word is not the source of power. He is the source of power to come against forces we cannot come against on our own.

It’s possible to take spiritual battles on without God’s leading. The only person to judge the motives of others is the person in battle. If we’re quiet, we know God’s voice and we know our own heart.

In the circumstances surrounding the Buddhist monks at the confluence, I learned a Christian group would be going to the location the evening before the monks arrived. While there, they’d praise God, pray, and declare His Word. Then, individuals or groups of individuals would also visit the site during the days when the monks created the Mandela, praying for God’s grace to thwart any aggressive act of Satan. Those simple acts were their spiritual weapons.

Before we learned anything about the monks, Ken and I had planned to stop by the confluence on our way home from Glacier Park—simply because it’s an interesting and lovely spot—and we decided we’d follow that plan.

We arrived Thursday evening after the door was locked and everyone had gone for the day. I wondered earlier that day what I would do—didn’t have clear direction—perhaps I’d do nothing prophetic at all. I meandered around the building once while praising God and praying and then felt impressed to walk around it again. Then I took a couple of pictures and we were preparing to leave when I felt impressed to walk around it a third time—this time laying a blood-line.

Explaining that is difficult. I simply said—out loud—words about the Blood of Jesus. I declared the Blood of Jesus defeats any work of Satan at the confluence or in any place affected by activities at the confluence. All three times around the building—and especially the third time—were prophetic acts.

Then I was drawn to the boat ramp, and there I felt impressed to throw three small stones from the river’s edge into the water—for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Another prophetic act.

It would be easy to dismiss those simple acts. Others had already been there, followed their leading from God. What difference did I make?

I can’t give an answer to that. Sometimes God tells us to do easy things—and this was one of those times. Sometimes He tells us to do hard things. Whatever occurs between God and us in prayer becomes our walk with the Lord, and it often leads to prophetic acts. Some fit into what seems normal because we are accustomed to them. Prayer walks have become a familiar type of prophetic act in some places. Breaking ground for new church buildings would be a more established prophetic act.

When done in faith, prophetic acts have power. When we’re obedient, God sends faith. He gives us confidence in Him and in His ability to do what we can’t do on our own.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Prophetic Acts, part 2 of 3

For my Biblical perspective on prophetic acts, read the previous post. I think it’s important because prophetic acts can be disconcerting at times if there is no understanding.

Using Scripture as a rationale for doing prophetic acts –
The Bible tells us, All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (II Tim. 3 16,17 NIV)

We need to remember that the early church did not have the New Testament as it’s available today. Much of it hadn’t been written at that point. What had been written was initially available only to the people who received that particular letter. When Paul referred to Scripture, he meant the Old Testament. Today we use the Old Testament to understand many aspects of the New Testament and to learn about God’s ways. (We also need to recognize that the purpose of some OT practices were to teach principles to the Israelites who had been immersed in a pagan culture.)

When we use Scripture as our guide, we have an advantage over New Testament Christians. When we read our Bible we learn about Agabus. His example provides validity to prophetic acts and it strengthens the reality of Christians engaging in prophetic acts.

My early exposure –
Ken and I lived in Phoenix when we were young. While there I joined friends in several prophetic acts—but, try as I might, I can’t remember anything specific. I think they were all initiated by others—but it was such a long time ago and I’m really not sure. I do remember thinking at the time that prophetic acts were significant and that I played a vital role. I definitely knew what they were and accepted them as a valid response to God’s leading.

A story from the not-so-terribly-distant past –
About seven or eight years ago, when living in Minnesota lake country, I heard a news report that Buddhist monks from Tibet were coming to create a sand Mandela in the Fargo/Moorhead area. When they completed their work, they would release the sand into the Red River of the North for the healing of the waters.

This was billed as a cultural event under the umbrella of a local college, but I felt God told me the stated purpose was a disguise—a way to strengthen false spiritual powers in the region and a way to draw people away from faith in Jesus. Just as God directs His people to declare and claim God’s Word by faith through prophetic acts, Satan directs counterfeit acts. And just as it’s real with God, it’s real with Satan.

I also felt God impressed me to ask friends to join in a prophetic act, and I instantly knew what we would do. We would pre-empt the Buddhists by going to the sources of the Red—meaning the source of the Ottertail River and the source of the Bois de Sioux River—and then to the confluence where the two rivers meet between Wahpeton, ND, and Breckenridge, MN.

The Ottertail River begins on a Minnesota reservation where roads are limited. On a perfect summer day we made a journey north to a spot where the river is a mere brook flowing through a culvert under a local road. Making our way down a hill, we stood on an island of rocks and pebbles, sang praises, and prayed while the brook babbled and the birds sang. Then we left.

But nothing in our fallen world is perfect. On the way home, we had to take shelter from a severe hailstorm in the Frazee rest stop. That night the local news informed us that the storm had continued into southern Minnesota where it culminated in a tornado. Amidst much destruction, a man had died. A weather forecaster pinpointed the spot where the storm originated—exactly over the spot where we praised God and prayed—and emphasized that there was no meteorological reason for the storm.

We saw a correlation—and whether or not our act and the storm were actually related, we were spooked. Initially, we couldn’t deal with going to the other source and the confluence. But eventually, everyone was remarkably ready again.

Before our second trip, we prayed for protection for anyone who might be vulnerable. We also told God we’d like a sign to let us know we were following His Word, but that we’d like a gentle, peaceful sign.

And so, on another perfect summer day, we traveled south to the source of the Bois de Sioux which flows out of Lake Traverse along the Minnesota/South Dakota border. We parked by a bridge that crosses the river just as it leaves the lake. People walked past with their fishing rods, but no one was interested in us as we sang praises and prayed.

As we finished, a flock of about fifteen large white birds with black tips on their wings swooped down in v-formation just above our heads—and then lifted without landing in the water. They didn’t make a sound. We learned later that they were pelicans. We received the birds as our sign, and I felt the silence was a sign that no violence would follow.

On the way home, we stopped at the confluence which is near the main bridge connecting the downtowns of Wahpeton and Breckenridge. Cars whizzed by as we parked in the “Y” between the rivers. Again, no one was interested in us. And again, we sang songs of praise and prayed. Then we had lunch and came home.

As far as we know, the monks did not come. There were no more news reports of their arrival or activities in the area—but we don’t have inside information. By faith we believe God did something.

Next –
Before leaving on our recent trip, I received an email about Buddhist monks from Tibet visiting the confluence where the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers join in western North Dakota. My heart sank—and then I remembered that Ken and I had already planned a stop at the confluence as part of our vacation—and I realized our stop would coincide with the monks activities. In that moment I felt God told me that I would do a prophetic act.

I’ll share what happened. It was not a solo act because others were involved.

Also, at some time I’ll say something about how I think we should feel about non-Christian religions as they make inroads into the fabric of American culture—and how we should respond to the people who bring them. They key has to be sharing God’s love. But how?