Monday, July 30, 2012

Standing on God's Word

This is no mental exercise in believing but a physical reality.  For some things there are no words, no explanations.  For some things there is only the need to trust.  To take off our shoes, feel the 'hidden ground of love' on which we stand.  Spoke a bit on this during retreat and someone snapped this photo of me.  A little photoshop fun and viola!  Like a snapshot that elicits memories of days gone by, it brought to mind and heart gratitude for the journey that has been and a prompt to remember God's own companionship in my life for whatever lies ahead.  Thanks for the memory!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

“… that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love …” Colossians 2:2

After the retreat I carried in the Jesus woodcarving whose hollowed out shape draws me to his Sacred Heart. Good folks had laid their burdens down upon his shoulders with bits of twine.  I left him standing in my prayer corner.  Coming from the kitchen, I saw Kyla sitting by the window, her back to me, facing him, quiet. I asked her what she was doing.  She sat still, turned and in a hushed tender voice told me,
"I'm braiding their prayers together in love".

After sharing this on retreat, it's here by popular request!

you can pause music playlist at bottom right


Monday, July 23, 2012

The 23rd Psalm

  The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing that I want.
 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk
through the darkest valley, the shadow of death
I will fear no evil
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Probably one of the most well known and beloved of the psalms, it was only recently that I saw how this song of blessing reveals the shift that makes all the difference, the turning that transforms. 
Do you see it?  At first, David speaks about God, third person, academic, an idea, however personal the thought.  But then midway, we see a change, he speaks face to face, intimately. 
"You are with me."  The movement is interior. 
There is now personhood, relationship, recognition. 
And that changes everything

Monday, July 16, 2012


Today is the birthday of St. Clare of Assisi, born in 1194. When I was first drawn to catholicism, I saw the film Brother Son, Sister Moon and fell in love with Francis and Clare. When I was baptized I chose Francis as my namesake and imagined myself not unlike Clare. Like her, I was drawn as a teenager to the young Francis of Assisi preaching the good news, living in simplicity, peace and harmony with all creatures. At 18, Clare knew her calling as a joyful privilege that enabled her to live the way of Jesus. To this day, joy and simplicity is still the magnet of God’s love for me; the ‘Infallible Sign of God’s Presence’. I am thankful today for her life, for the spirit-prompt in the midst of this crazy world. And I am grateful for this film so full of beauty and unabashed sentimentality which gave me a feeling and an image of a person touched by God, driven by faith and love that spoke to my young heart...
In what seems to me an ironic twist, Pope Pius XII in 1958 designated St. Clare as the patron saint of television. (Now I understand that look on so many of the saintly portraits!  It's an ancient expression of "Are you kidding me?!")  Why television?  Well, when she became bedridden near the end of her life, it's said that she was able to see and hear the Mass while by all appearances she simply stared at a wall of her room. Even in sickness, she could still ‘taste and see’ the goodness of the Lord.
I am in the midst of preparations for a retreat I am giving this weekend entitled Trust in the Journey and I have been considering both the outward journey of life and the inward journey. Clare’s feast coming today begged the question of me – when I am staring at a wall, what plays in my head? For the moment, it is the scene in the grain field, breaking the bread, the prayer of St. Francis. 
And for a moments levity, a few saintly portraits that have mastered that aforementioned look...
Clare of Assisi

Francis of Assisi

See what I mean? I'd know that look anywhere! 
Now can you imagine yourself a saint?!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Desert Get-away

Desert View

Every morning these two birds perched on the kitchen window
amidst the many more whose irrepressable joy celebrated the start of each new day

Desert Determination-what thirst can do

If our own rocky periods shown


The world is his

Meadow grasses

Weathered well

Father/daughter Cairn

Nature artists leave their mark

In each layer, beauty

Sunset from the aerial tram

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Everything will be all right in the end. If it is not all right, then it is not yet the end. (Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)

Love this quote!

Honoring the Survivors

At the 4th of July Parade yesterday this lovely lady was among the Veterans being honored;  survivors of war.  Her smile captivated me, and I imagined her a nurse, full of capability and compassion.  I know, she could have been anything, but that's where my imagination went straight away. (My grandmother was a nurse).  I wanted to hear her story, her answer to surviving, her joy so triumphant, so evident in the moment.  She was somehow familiar, like a distant relative whom others see in me, whom I could not recognize myself.  And then they pull out an old photograph and ahhh, there I am!


Stay near to me and I'll stay near to you —
As near as you are dear to me will do,
Near as the rainbow to the rain,
The west wind to the windowpane,
As fire to the hearth, as dawn to dew.

Stay true to me and I'll stay true to you —
As true as you are new to me will do,
New as the rainbow in the spray,
Utterly new in every way,
New in the way that what you say is true.

Stay near to me, stay true to me. I'll stay
As near, as true to you as heart could pray.
Heart never hoped that one might be
Half of the things you are to me —
The dawn, the fire, the rainbow and the day

"Hinterhof" by James Fenton, from Yellow Tulips: Poems 1986-2011