courage, Devotionals, Life Challenges, Life Lessons



As often happens when I’m away from home, I awaken early.

4:05 a.m. to be exact.

Rossi Place


I finally get out of bed around 5:00 and brew a pot of coffee.

Still in my nightclothes, I make my way onto the deck of our neighbors’ house on Lake Hamilton.





As the sky lightens, I notice a swing on the landing halfway down to the water. I go down the stairs but see that the seat is still drenched in dew, so I stand and sip my coffee, taking in the landscape.



To the right, steps fashioned from railroad ties curve downward. Worn and mossy surfaces betray their age, and there’s no handrail.

Not for the faint of heart.



RossiNewPathOn the left, a newer stairway, constructed from decking and concrete, gives way to flat stone steps. It looks stable. And there’s a sturdy wire handhold.

I opt for the newer, more secure path and head to the dock and over to the seating area at the bottom of the old railroad-tie steps.



RossiMistWisps of fog hover over the lake. Somewhere across the way, a bird welcomes the new day with song. I wish one of those little clouds would drift close enough for me to reach out and touch its dream-spun softness.

I lift my head and breathe in the peace I always feel near a body of water. No wonder working people retreat here for weekends.

IMG_5769As I return up the rock stairs, I notice ferns and moss softening their hard faces.


Later, I find myself pondering the two paths. Although the older route would have appealed to a younger me, I’m acutely aware that at this stage of life, I would need a walking stick to maneuver down those ancient steps. Two scriptures come to mind.

Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ Jeremiah 6:16

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me
. Psalm 23:4

I find myself praying for the wisdom and courage to choose the right path even when it appears rugged. I recall past experiences when the way felt rocky and hard, but every time I held onto to God real tight, He delivered me safely to my destination.



What about you?

Are ever tempted to take the easy way out?

Whatever path you find yourself on today, whatever you are facing, I wish you peace and the revelation that when Jesus calls us to follow Him, we can trust Him to keep us.


For I hold you by your right hand— I, the Lord your God.

And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.

Isaiah 41:13



courage, Memorial, Widows

Rememering Friends

Today I’m thinking about two good friends, Jerry Simmons and Bruce Smith, who stepped into eternity during the month of January.  

I met Jerry in the late 90s through his wife Sandy, a co-worker, who became my lunch buddy at Baptist Medical Center.  Bruce and his wife, Becca, and I were classmates, so I’ve known them a long time. Becca’s part of my birthday lunch group.

These two couples didn’t  know each other, but they had much more in common than just my friendship. Both Jerry and Bruce dealt with major health issues over a period of years and were blessed with wives who truly lived out their vows to love and care for one another “in sickness and in health.” 

Since Jerry’s and Bruce’s deaths, I’ve thought a lot about how we’re all on our own individual journey of faith as we move from this world into the next. What happens during that last step into eternity is a mystery to those left behind.  

Becca mentioned she prayed to see the angels that would come to accompany Bruce to heaven. Even though she didn’t, she still believed someone was there to help him on his way. 

Jerry’s son, Alan, spoke of a conversation he and his dad had about Jerry’s faith during his last night on earth. That conversation brought comfort to the entire family. 

These families’ experiences made me think about how on some mornings I awaken to see the entire river valley below me covered in fog. Even though I can’t see the river, I know it is flowing faithfully beneath the white shroud.

Often that fog will totally envelop the interstate bridge spanning the river down the way. There was a time when I crossed that bridge every morning on my way to work. On such days, driving into that billowy cloud was almost an act of faith. But I was familiar with the road and knew the bridge was well constructed, so I just adjusted my speed to the conditions and stayed in my lane until I came out on the other side. 

Somehow, I think Jerry and Bruce’s transition from this world to the next may have had a similar feeling. By the time it arrived, they knew they had business on the other side and, bolstered by their faith, they were ready to get on with it. 

I can’t image the thoughts that may keep their new widows awake at night. Their worlds must feel totally out of control. 
But then I think about the ways of our God, who is more faithful than that river, more dependable than that bridge spanning its banks. Even when the world around us is obscured by conditions beyond our control, He is present. When we can’t see the way ahead, He is always on course.
And His Word is a dependable road map. If we will slow down and look to Jesus, Who is our Bridge to the Father, He will bring us safely to the other side of whatever comes our way.

I believe He will guide Sandy and Becca through this new season of their lives. He knows the things He has planned for them until they see Jerry and Bruce again. In the meantime, I also believe God would say to my dear friends, “Well done, good and faithful servants.”

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 
Psalm 52:3 

Copyright ©Reflections from Dorothy’s Ridge 2015. All rights reserved