I Believe in Angels

Christmas Lights in Honolulu
Christmas Lights in Honolulu

 

I wrote a blog several years ago called “Talk Story.” The second post I made on that blog was this essay. That blog is no longer active, so I’d like to share it with you again this year.

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When I was a little girl, I used to picture the angels from that first Christmas Eve night as a great heavenly choir with well-trained voices singing something that sounded like a Bach Chorale to a bunch of ranchers taking care of sheep on a hillside, who would have probably preferred good old country-western music.

My ideas on that may or may not have changed much since I was a child, a preacher’s kid. But like many of you, this much I do know, that angels are real. I know that we are surrounded by a powerful heavenly host of angels, singing our kind of music; and I am more aware of these angels at this time of year.

The custodian of a church where I was once pastor, said he often woke up to the flutter of angel wings. It reminded him that his angels are always with him. Another friend in that same church related his story about an angel visitation when he was serving in Viet Nam. I also have heard stories out of England from World War II that tell how planes continued to fly, even after the pilots were killed.

I have many stories about the personal help I have received from angels, but one fairly unspectacular angel story comes from a Christmas trip many years ago. My husband and I, with our four children, were traveling across country in a camper to visit relatives for the holidays. It was bad weather with icy roads, and we were on a limited time schedule.

We decided to do some of our driving at night while the children were asleep, which meant we were not always wide awake as we drove during the daylight hours. The children and I had gone to the back of the camper to take a nap, leaving my husband to drive the next stretch.

Not long afterward, he was visibly shaken when he came back to wake us up. He said, “I just now pulled over to the side of the road, but I honestly don’t know how I got there.” Later he said he’d realized he was falling asleep and felt himself lose control of the camper. Suddenly he woke up to find himself parked in a safe spot off the highway, even though he knew he hadn’t driven it there by himself.

Many of you can tell similar stories of visitations and assistance by heavenly hosts. The angels are there to sing to us, to minister to us, to protect us, to bring us messages, and often gifts. And they are out in full force every Christmas. I have a feeling that they wouldn’t miss out on our holiday events for anything and that they are surrounding each of us right now!

I kept angel cards on my office shelf for many years. My oldest daughter was visiting once and I was afraid she would think I was too “woo woo” when she saw them. She asked what they were. I told her I would draw one occasionally to give me guidance. She drew one that said “healing,” and she held it against her jaw saying, “I have a bad toothache.”

A spiritual community in Findhorn, Scotland strongly believes in angels and the devas, or plant spirits. The people in that community called on their angels in creating a Garden of Eden in an abandoned dump area.

In one of my churches, we played the game of “Angels and Mortals” every year. Even though it was a large congregation, those who were interested drew names and you became an angel for a mortal, and vice versa. It was great fun finding out who your secret angel was on Christmas Eve.

But it isn’t just a game. We can be an “angel” to someone else every day, and we are also “mortals” to someone else. Angels come in all sizes, shapes, ages, and appearances. Sometimes we see them, sometimes we don’t, but they are always there.

Be ready to be an “angel” to someone at any time. But also be open and aware of your angels, not only your personal guardian angel, but the ones that are about looking after you and loving you.

Who knows? They may bring you tidings of great joy!

A hui hou!

Lava Homestead Update

 

I’ve thought of the succulents and snapdragons that are all over this acre as really nothing more than weeds. Why? Because I didn’t plant them, they sprout up unbidden, then grow without anyone’s help, and they aren’t something I can eat. But I realized just how much they add to my landscape when I caught this shot of them. I think you’ll agree they are beautiful.

As we move into the last month of the year, I thought I would catch you up on what’s happening in my lava garden. It’s been about two months since my last update.

One of the most exciting changes lately has been my coffee berries – they are turning red! I may only get enough out of this first crop to make a small pot of coffee, of course. But I’m sure it will be the tastiest cup of coffee I’ve ever had.

 

I picked the ones that were ripe enough. Now I need to get the pulp off the beans, dry them, roast them, grind them, and drink!

 

The red mustards I planted several weeks ago are beginning to look like something edible.

 

I’ve had trouble keeping my cat (Kaimana) out of my raised beds, so there are large patches where nothing is coming up. He likes to scratch around and make himself comfortable.

Is that pot big enough to sleep in?Is that pot big enough to sleep in?

 

At the same time that I planted the red mustard seeds, I also put in another batch of beets. They will give me several good meals this winter.

 

With the help of one of my students, I planted some ginger cuttings she had brought. It took them a long time to root, but now they are showing good growth and soon I will transplant them to a permanent location.

 

It’s been almost a year since I planted this red scarlet chard, and it’s still going strong. I eat off of it occasionally, stir-frying it in olive oil with lots of garlic. When the leaves are still young and small, I sometimes cut it up and put it into a salad without cooking it.

 

Like the chard, my arugula plants just keep producing. I love fresh arugula salads. A friend said, “A little arugula goes a long way,” but I like the spicy bitterness more than most folks do.

 

I’m not sure if these papaya plants are going to do much at this elevation, but I keep nursing them along. They were also a gift during this past summer.

 

My garden club has a plant gift exchange at Christmas. The gift I received last year was this pikake plant, now full of buds and blooms.

 

I had a lovely gardenia bush that suffered during the worst of the sulfur dioxide fumes from the volcano. Today, it is growing back and producing a few buds.

 

I put out a bunch of cuttings of a purple-flowered bush (don’t know the name of it), and every one of them is showing great signs of growth. When it finally blooms, I’ll find out what it is and post more pictures. At this point, it’s great fun to see something grow from a bare stem stuck in the soil.

 

I have what I call a smoky bush (don’t know the real name of that, either) that is showing leaves from another piece of twig put in the ground. These two plants (red and purple) seem to take off right away with a little soil and water.

 

Still another plant that seems to root and grow profusely without much care is this magenta geranium. I’d put in just a couple of small cuttings from a friend, and now they are filling in the blank spots, giving color to an otherwise gray landscape.

 

The lilikoi plants that grow against my shed were eaten back by fuzzy black caterpillars. Now they are showing new growth. Unless someone gives me a bunch of lilikoi, I won’t be making more lilikoi butter this year!

 

The brugmansia were in need of some drastic cutting back. Once I did that, they started sprouting all sorts of new leaves and they are looking twice as healthy.

 

The poinsettias take over the island at this time of year. Soon I’ll have a chance to get more pictures of those. When they are mingled in with other colors, and especially the white flowering shrubs, they are a breathtaking sight. Some of the “Snow on the Mountain” are blooming on my property.

This plant is sometimes called Snow-on-the-Mountain, and is closely related to poinsettia, crotons, and the other members of the Euphorbia plant family. It is a native to the Pacific Islands. See the full article here.

 

We’ve had little bits of rain here and there, not enough to overflow the tank, but to keep it at a decent level. That’s a critical element in the grand scheme of life here on my little homestead. If it keeps up like that over the winter months, I’ll be in good shape. At least we are not worried about snow storms here!

A hui hou!