Mt. St. Helens & me 40 years ago today

MT. St. Helens

I was living in a village near the bottom of Mt. St. Helens when it blew.  We had lived there for eight years. We had taken our children up to it and gone sledding, building snow forts, making snow angels, the works. 

It was our mountain. Our beautiful mountain. It reminded me of an upside-down ice-cream cone.  It was perfect in every way.  Everyone knew it was a volcano, but it had formed thousands of years before and would continue like it was for thousands of years in the future. We knew this because the local Indians told us it had last erupted a thousand years earlier.  Now it was our mountain, and it belonged to us to do with as we pleased.

But it wasn’t our mountain.  One morning I looked outside. It seemed as though we had been plunged into the inside of a furnace with all its ashes. I stared. It was snowing gray ash.  I stared more, wondering what the birds had done.  Relieved, I saw them huddled together under bushes.

Of course, the radio and TV had switched to Emergency. We were told to stay indoors because ash is deadly to the lungs since it is a form of glass. If we did go out, we had to wear surgical masks. If we drove, we were told to put nylons over the air filter and to not go over 10 mph.  Even then, the ash flew everywhere. Our freeway entrance and exit were blocked. The most disturbing thing I heard on the radio (yes, everyone kept their radios on) was that we were at the top of the San Andreas Fault.  And so, we like the birds, huddled and waited for more unknown.

After about a week, the “snow” quit falling and the radio told everyone to go up on our roofs and shovel the ash off.  Snow is heavy but ash is heavier. People’s roofs were in danger of collapsing.  Of course, some people could not climb up there, so the neighbors pitched in.  No one was left without help. After a few days, snow trucks made their way down the streets pushing the ash out of the way.  Next, we were told to shovel the ashes off our lawns and sidewalks and pile it all in the street next to the curb.  In a few more days city dump trucks made the rounds picking up and hauling away Nature’s trash.

I volunteered for a telephone hotline where people called in to find missing relatives.  Anyone who had been even partly near the mountain a few days before it blew were asked to check in with us.  We had a running list.  Many made it out alive, but it was harrowing. And many did not survive.

The locals couldn’t believe this friendly mountain would ever be anything different. So, life went on as usual for many.  Campers went camping up near the mountain as usual.  Hunters went hunting and fishermen went fishing up near the mountain as usually.  The mountain was “just blowing smoke” to scare people.  The government tried to corden off roads that led to the mountain, but many went around the blockades and went happily on their way.

When the mountain blew, the fiery blast of heat out of earth’s core rushed like a cyclone and burned people’s lungs. Since most were up there along the Tootle River fishing and camping, they put their coats up over their head, rushed to the river, and plunged under water. They held their breath as long as they could, and when they had to come up for air, their lungs felt as though they, too, were on fire.

And the Tootle River?  It had a tidal wave 30′ high.  For years, we could see the ash where it had mingled with the water and cover the trunks of the highest trees.

Everything impossible was now happening. Everything unreal had entered our reality.  Not only was our mountain turned inside out, but our world was too.

People have expressions that something is “as eternal as the mountains” or “as old as the hills.”  Not true. Nothing on earth is eternal. That also includes things, people, power, position, belongings, even dreams.  Eventually, they quake and sway and are gone. 



#MtStHelens, #vocanoeruption, #ashessnowing, #TootleRuver, #twentyyears, #May181980, #nothingiseverthesame, #lifechanges, #unknownfuture, #terror, #fear, #noescape, fortyyears

Ah, my heart is about to burst.

3 Great Kings Kindle-ThumbnailHow can I praise you, Lord, to the degree you deserve? I cannot. How I wish I could. May the stars sing praises to you. May the waters declare you water of life. May the earth bring forth early buds of spring to remind the world you are the life-giver, you are life. May the frisky animals of spring growl and squeak and chatter and bark and flutter as they daily proclaim you as their Maker.

Ah, my heart is about to burst. You, God of glory, are a friend to all who seek you.  You fill my loneliness, wipe away my tears, hold me, smile with me, laugh with me. Then I am not lonely anymore. You are the Ultimate Friend. You never desert me no matter how rough things get. You are my life. When I leave you, you wait for me to return and finally run after me to bring me back to yourself. You have never left my side over all these years unless it was I who ran away.  Even through the times I could not see you or feel you or touch you, you were there all along. Your loyalty is too great for me to deserve. It is backward. It is I who should be forever loyal to you. You are my forever Friend. Thank you.


I pen my thoughts and stories to touch souls. Will you help me tell people about today’s book?


3 Great Kings Kindle-Thumbnail3 GREAT KINGS is book 8 in A CHILD’S BIBLE HEROES series.  Saul was a great warrior until late in life; David was a great poet, Solomon was a great wise man. Together, each did their part to make the new kingdom of Israel great.  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this……….


#stars, #oceans, #birds, #flowers, #squirrels, #creator, #GodourMaker, #3greatjkings, #ForeverFriend, #KatherynMaddoxHaddad,  #inspiration, #devotional, #worship, #vespers, #meditation,. #godliness, #Christianity, #JesusChrist, #church, #Bible, #Scripture, #HolyBook, #religion, #love, #truth, #praise, #worship, #prayer

Your glory gilds my songs

Supper-Front Cover-ThumbnailYour glory gilds my songs of praise to you. You send out majestic beams of heavenly rays on all people, great and small. You brighten my day and enlighten the world around me. You give and expect nothing in return except love. Love begins as a spark and grows in glory the nearer it is to you. You give my soul wings, and I soar to you.

Your blood, oh God. Your blood slipped out of your body that day so long, long ago. That which ensures life was taken out of you in order to provide life for a lifeless world held captive by Satan. Blood ransom. Satan’s price was high.  Too high. No one could pay it. So, you materialized and offered your own flesh in my place. You offered your own blood in my place. You offered your life in my place. How can I thank you for freeing my soul from Satan? Unworthy, I rush to you, fall at your feet in eternal gratitude, and worship you.


I pen my thoughts and stories to touch souls. Will you help me tell people about today’s book?


Supper-Front Cover-ThumbnailTHE LORD’S SUPPER: 52 READINGS WITH PRAYERS is perfect for either public or private meditation each week during the Lord’s Supper. To BUY NOW,  click a book cover or paste this……….



#worship, #adoration, #creator, #bloodofGod, #bloodofJesus, #sacrifice, #crucifixion, #salvationfromSatanandhell, #inspiration, #devotional, #worship, #vespers, #meditation,. #godliness, #Christianity, #JesusChrist, #church, #Bible, #Scripture, #HolyBook, #religion, #love, #truth, #praise, #worship, #prayer

Smile. The world will wonder why.

07-Samson-KindleThumbnailThe scripture for today, May 16 (5/16), is 1st Thessalonians 5:16 (KJV) as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“Rejoice evermore.”

But how can we rejoice when something terrible has happened? How can we rejoice with a pandemic raging around the world?

The Apostle Paul, who wrote this knew that the Thessalonians were being terribly persecuted (2nd Thessalonians 1:4), but he still said, “Rejoice evermore.” How could he say such a calloused thing amidst their suffering?  Had he no feeling, no empathy?

 Sometimes we have to suffer so the true nature of bad people pretending to be good can be revealed to the world.  Sometimes we have to suffer so we can build our spiritual muscles.  Sometimes we have to suffer so we can understand others going through the same thing.  Sometimes we even suffer so people around us wanting to do a good work will have someone to do a good work for.

There are many reasons for suffering. But none of them take away the pain. Just remember that, just as God was grieved when his Son suffered on the cross, he is grieved when you suffer. And just as God was able to bring something wonderful out of his Son’s suffering, he can bring something wonderful out of your suffering too.

In the meantime, chin up, shoulders back, stand straight, be brave, and smile. The world will wonder why.


I pen my thoughts and stories to touch souls. Will you help me tell people about today’s book?


07-Samson-KindleThumbnailSAMSON smiled when they bound him in new cords and did other things to weaken him.  But he smiled.  He knew he and God could overcome anything they did to him.  This is BOOK 7 in the series A CHILD’S BIBLE HEROES.  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this……….


#Pandemic, #Covid19, #whysuffering, #inspiration, #devotional, #worship, #vespers, #meditation,. #godliness, #Christianity, #JesusChrist, #church, #Bible, #Scripture, #HolyBook, #religion, #love, #truth, #prayer

How I spent my birthday in a pandemic

Image may contain: 1 person, shoes
At 6:00 last night, I stopped working.  I put my bamboo stool in my car and headed out to see some friends. 
First I went to see Jeanne whose husband and daughter died just a year ago.  I put my bamboo bench on her front porch and told her to go get a chair so we could visit through the screen door. She took a picture of me through her screen.
Then I went to see Carolyn, my same age – her on her side of the screen door and me on her porch.  We roomed together at the Red River Encampment in NM last year.   We visited about twenty minutes while a nosey bird in a nearby tree squawked at us.
Then I stopped at a grocery store around the corner and drove up near the door and waited.  Finally a young lady came out smiling and I called out to her asking if she could do me a favor. She had a store shirt on and said yes.  I gave her a $10 bill and told her I was 80 years old today.  I asked her to go to the bakery dept. and picked out a 6″ cake for me.  She came back after a while with the cake and said she knew the baker and the baker put “Happy Birthday” on the top.  Oh, and I got $5 change.
Then I drove over to see my friend, Linda, who has been blind all her life.  As always, we visited through her screen door. These new ones people can’t see through and that always annoys me.  Didn’t bother Linda since she’s blind anyway. 
It was getting dark, so I grabbed up my bench and resumed my birthday party.
I drove to see Billie who lost her husband just a few months ago and still reeling from it.  She kept insisting I come inside, but I would have been black listed by her daughters who insisted the first of March she not go to church without long sleeves and gloves on (nearly 100 degrees here by then).  So she sat on her side of her door and me on the outside.  JJ, her husband’s little black and white dog, always liked me and began annoying her because I wasn’t coming in to see him.  Finally, she let him out and he jumped up into my lap. 
When it was nearly 8:00 and pretty much dark, I drove on home.  I still had two of my Muslim English students to grade, so did that until 9:00 ish. 
Then I turned on Netflix and saw that end-of-the-world flick where there’s a steel “ark” that looks like a tank in China that will hold zillions of people and the star of the show gets there with his family from the US as the earthquakes do their thing.  The boat rides a tidal wave of all the oceans and ends up on Mount Everest (not Ararat, but close enough), and everyone on the ship walks out into a brave new world.
While watching that, I got out my birthday cake, determined to eat the WHOLE thing.  Well, that didn’t work.  Only able to eat half of it and am paying for it today.
So, that is how I spent the last few hours of my first day of being 80 during a pandemic.