Friday, November 8, 2013

For Sharon

Peace, my heart, let the time for the parting be sweet.
Let it not be a death but completeness.
Let love melt into memory and pain into songs.
Let the flight through the sky end in the folding of the wings over the nest.
Let the last touch of your hands be gentle like the flower of the night.
Stand still, O Beautiful End, for a moment, and say your last words in silence.
I bow to you and hold up my lamp to light you on your way.
    Excerpt from Tagore's The gardener 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Look at your feet. You are standing in the sky. When we think of the sky, we tend to look up, but the sky actually begins at the earth. Diane Ackerman

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Listen and attend with the ear of your heart - St. Benedict

When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you've had since childhood
and watching it fill up with
cold, fresh water.
When it balances on top of the brim,
you are understood.
When it overflows and touches your skin,
you are loved.
When someone deeply listens to you
the room where you stay
starts a new life
and the place where you wrote
your first poem
begins to glow in your mind's eye.
It is as if gold has been discovered!
When someone deeply listens to you
your bare feet are on the earth
and a beloved land that seemed distant
is now at home within you.
-John Fox


Tuesday, September 10, 2013


The commonplace miracle:
that so many common miracles take place.

The usual miracles:
invisible dogs barking
in the dead of night.

One of many miracles:
a small and airy cloud
is able to upstage the massive moon.

Several miracles in one:
an alder is reflected in the water
and is reversed from left to right
and grows from crown to root
and never hits bottom
though the water isn't deep.

A run-of-the-mill miracle:
winds mild to moderate
turning gusty in storms.

A miracle in the first place:
cows will be cows.

Next but not least:
just this cherry orchard
from just this cherry pit.

A miracle minus top hat and tails:
fluttering white doves.

A miracle (what else can you call it):
the sun rose today at three fourteen a.m.
and will set tonight at one past eight.

A miracle that's lost on us:
the hand actually has fewer than six fingers
but still it's got more than four.

A miracle, just take a look around:
the inescapable earth.

An extra miracle, extra and ordinary:
the unthinkable
can be thought.

~ Wislawa Szymborska ~

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Praying for family (Day of Prayer and Fasting for Syria)

I gathered prayers all week, rising early to offer my holy hour of prayer and fasting as the people of the world unite today for peace, though in truth the prayer for peace has been companioning me through these days. Why wait...
My own heart overwhelmed with the immensity of need, I found myself placing the need constantly before the Lord, only held out my hands and offered one word - Syria - to the Father's heart.
This morning, though, I read through those gathered prayers.  I prayed them slowly and with full intention in early morning darkness. I thought of all the others who were joining me in prayer unseen this morning...some in the comforts of their homes, some in churches, but also in shelters and on streets, in temples and especially those living in the midst of the terror we are praying to end.  When I got to the last, a litany of Mary of Nazareth, my heart broke wide open.  The myth of separation was again torn apart... those written prayers did their work, words I never would have thought of on my own pointed the way and I did follow. 
The power of prayer is not just to change circumstances...the very act of praying changes us!  May the example of Mary's humanity and the full humanity of her Son Jesus bring us all home to the oh so very human FAMILY of GOD...

Friday, September 6, 2013

God bless Fr Sheahan. Gifted with 2 loaves of gorgeous homemade Irish bread he kindly shared. Perfect ending to the day and saved a bit for morning too!  

Friday, August 30, 2013

Rest in Peace Seamus Heaney. So often your poetry did 'catch [my] heart off guard and blow it open'!


And some time make the time to drive out west...
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightening of flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully-grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you'll park or capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open

Seamus Heaney

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


"I believe that God wants a personal relationship, an adult friendship, with each of us and that prayer is the best way of engaging in that friendship. By prayer I mean what occurs when I am conscious in some way of God’s presence. So prayer can be as simple as watching a child trying to speak words, looking at sunlight glancing off snow-covered trees, playing with your dog, feeling the wind on your face, hearing birds sing, smelling bacon sizzling in a frying pan, looking at someone you love; all can be prayer if you’re aware of God’s presence as you take in these experiences."

--Excerpted from Praying the Truth by William A. Barry, SJ.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


I just returned from Indiana for our family's 50th reunion. 
We live 2000 miles away, so it was wonderful to reconnect, to feel the love and share the memories, to sit outside in the cool of the evening with late lingering talk, slow and easy.
But something else was happening as well.  It started when I saw my cousin, heard that voice so familiar though I hadn't heard it in eons...
With amazing physical clarity, keenly sensate  (which is not the same as accuracy, mind you)
I remembered the feel of the air along the path behind Uncle Wes' that led through a wild field to adventure...
The hall's quiet captured light at Uncle Charlie's that led to Kathy's room, where we'd sit on the bed and talk in secret...
Uncle Daryl laughing affectionately with me beside his shining car, with his sparkling smiling eyes, standing in the driveway...
My hands on the edge of the counter, waiting to get an ice cream with Uncle Tony...
Danny's bike with the playing cards clothes-pinned to his back wheel...
The gravel crunch under my feet at Uncle Dickies car lot...
Grandma's old colander in my hands picking blueberries ...

The power of place, of objects, of things we pay no attention to in our youth, but find, as we grow older, how they have laid their claim on us none-the-less.  The gifts we receive unawares...

My Mom with two of her brother's, Danny & Daryl


Smiling Chai, Laughing with Kyla

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Summer's evening is for this...

I know the idiot's warehouse is always full
I know each of us
could run back and forth all day long
and show everyone our vast collection
though tonight...retire from the madness for an hour.
Gather with some friends or sit alone
and sing beautiful songs to God.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Uncle Tony

My Uncle Tony, Lord rest him, has gone to God. 
He was a gem of a man - the patriarch of the family (big brother to a dozen siblings, including my mom!) when his own father died. A man of good humor, constancy and a great appreciation for life! He is threaded through my childhood memories.
He taught me to value curiosity:
He worked in the steel mills and his garage/workshop was scattered with magnets - magic for any child.  We could search out magnetic bits in the dirt like treasure hunters!  He knew how to play, explore, wonder.  Introducing us to magnets was to make of us appreciative explorers of the mysteries before us.

He taught me how to pluck a chicken:
A sight and experience I recall, but not pleasantly, so I will spare you the details...
He taught me to while away an afternoon in a backyard hammock:
I must have complained of 'nothing to do' because he led me to the backyard with great sobriety, to a hammock on a stand in the shade, and he lay down with me beside him.  Will you look at those branches.  We chatted awhile, and he told me this was a good thing to do when I didn't know what to do, just to lie here and look, to think about anything or nothing at all.  Then he went back into the house.  But he took the time to teach me a valuable lesson firsthand.  And he got me out of his hair!
He taught me to hang out in the kitchen for the latest scoop:
He was always there.  Sitting at the kitchen table, or standing with a dishtowel in hand.  He'd quietly laugh at the things he heard, a good listener.  Unobtrusive, he got all the juicy details.  He'd watch me, watching him, chin on the table, let me stay until the conversation took some turn and he'd shoosh me out.  I always wondered what it was the grownups talked about that I couldn't hear.  But it didn't bother me.  I just headed out to the hammock...

Without Intention

I wake in the night.  Cricket song fills the air, so expansive I can barely hear the hum of the fan at the foot of the bed as I lay beneath the thin summer sheet.  I listen awhile and then realize I am thanking God for such a moment, and all the graces this has stirred within me.  Thus occupied, thoughts flow easily in gratitude until I am overcome.  And then I hear it...silence.  The crickets have quit their song.  I hear the hum of the fan at the foot of the bed as I lay beneath the thin summer sheet.  I hear my husbands steady breathing.  I roll over, settle in, and sleep.
Helen Masacz - Empty Bed / How Can You Sleep At Night. Oil on Board

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sunday's Gospel...

This image of Martha and Mary caught my we listen to Jesus from 'a safe distance', even while in the same house, doing what is necessary in our own minds, or will we allow ourselves to be drawn intimately closer...

Sunday, July 21, 2013


The thin veil, communion of saints "Walking, I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. 'Be still,' they say. 'Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.' "  ThankFULL for all the love that I have known...for all the love that I have received unawares...

In the world to come I shall not be asked,
"Why were you not Moses?" 
I shall be asked, "Why were you not Zusya?"

-Rabbi Zusya

Friday, June 21, 2013


  by Naomi Shihab Nye
These shriveled seeds we plant,
corn kernel, dried bean,
poke into loosened soil,
cover over with measured fingertips
These T-shirts we fold into
perfect white squares
These tortillas we slice and fry to crisp strips
This rich egg scrambled in a gray clay bowl
This bed whose covers I straighten
smoothing edges till blue quilt fits brown blanket
and nothing hangs out
This envelope I address
so the name balances like a cloud
in the center of sky
This page I type and retype
This table I dust till the scarred wood shines
This bundle of clothes I wash and hang and wash again
like flags we share, a country so close
no one needs to name it
The days are nouns: touch them
The hands are churches that worship the world

Friday, June 14, 2013

Love this

So that your own heart
Will grow.
So God will think,
I got kin in that body!
I should start inviting that soul over
For coffee and
Because this is a food
Our starving world
Because that is the purest

Monday, June 10, 2013

Lord, the air smells good today, 
straight from the mysteries 
within the inner courts of God. 

A grace like new clothes thrown 
across the garden, free medicine for everybody. 

The trees in their prayer, the birds in praise, 
the first blue violets kneeling. 

Whatever came from Being is caught up in being,  
forgetting the way back. 

Rumi (Lord, the Air Smells Good Today, 13th Century)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Unarmed Truth & Unconditional Love

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.  
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I love this image of 'unarmed truth'.  We hear that phrase 'to speak the truth in love' but his words move it from a pious phrase to such a visual image of true humility. 

unarmed: without weaponry ( anything to injure, defeat or destroy) to have empty arms, to not hold something that provides security, strength, or efficacy to defend oneself...

This is how my husband speaks to me; with unarmed truth and with my closest human experience of unconditional love.  He speaks the truth to me; and even if it stings I see it is because the truth wants to live in me more fully and I have, in that moment at least, resisted.  He disarms me.

When I think of my human experience of unconditional love I think of my own children (and for that, all children) in that wonderful baby to child phase of wide open arms.  How they would rush into me with joyous abandon whether in affection or need.  How they could speak to me, even without words, and how I long for that truth to live in me more believe I am loved unconditionally, and to be that same love.  This is my image of God.  And from that place, as james taylor sang, to shower the people you love with love

My failings are close to home.  Those moments when unarmed truth is not chosen and I pick up the weaponry (I am right, or the one in control here, or just too tired of this)

Thankfully, I don't have the final word.  Dr. King was right.  Unarmed truth and unconditional love do have the final word, not in some last day when the world reaches it's conclusion, but each day, and having received, I offer my deep felt amen to God's grace.  May unarmed truth and unconditional love have the final word in me and you.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


This photo of our grandson always prompts gratitude and a smile...
to remember how securely love holds us...
and to savor the many blessings of life with wild abandon and confident joy

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hello World

Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid.        Frederick Buechner

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Picking Blueberries

When I was a girl I spent my summer days with my brother at my grandmother's house.  I tagged along with her each day, her 'helper', while my brother looked for mischief with Danny, our youngest uncle.  We did the laundry and she would let me run the wet clothes through the wringer (once getting my hand and arm stuck, which remarkably did not cause me to lose my arm though that is what flashed before me as I saw myself looking more like my uncle Dickie -who'd lost an arm to polio as a child).  We baked sticky bread, and ate it with cups of cream with a splash of coffee.  After lunch we'd sit on the porch to rest awhile, watch the weather, quiet.  Sometimes, standing in her kitchen, grandma would call to me, hand me an old colander, and say 'let's go pick some blueberries'.  She had bushes along her back yard, and I'd hold the handles, lifting it's bowl to catch the berries she'd drop in by the handfuls. 
I was browsing when I came upon an old colander that conjured up this memory.  I had never seen one like grandma's in all these years, and there it was.  I was glad for the prompt.
Months later, I came across it again, still there in the etsy shop, and this time I bought it.
By the time it arrived, I'd forgotten again.  We were standing in the kitchen when I opened it, lifted it in my hands while the surprise of tears spilled out.  I was 9 years old, my hands feeling the handles as though it were only yesterday, the patina of memory timeless.  I told my husband I don't know why I'm crying, and he looked at me smiling.  I think he saw the girl I was remembering...

Sunday, May 12, 2013


This came in the mail from our oldest - Jessica.  Part of her Mother's Day package to me.  Included in her note so full of love and thanks was this line, "to allow that 'place' to develop, to grow, to bloom". 

This mess is a place -  This place a mess that we tidy a thousand times over, pick up the tossed jacket, the dirty dish, the Band-Aid that fell off, the damp towel off the floor, the moments glory lost in embarrassment, the laundry stacks to put away, the baby crying in the night, pick up the papers with stick figures smiling- sunshine tucked in the corner, pick up the blanket and cover them again, the shoes under the sofa, pick up the dirty socks and turn them a thousand times, pick up after practice, after the skinned knee; the fall from the tree, pick up the tab, pick up the hair in the sink when she cut her first bangs; he cut his curls, pick up the rag and wash behind the ears, pick up the pieces and start again, pick up the toys, the popcorn in the cushions, pick up a boy by his feet, pick up a girl and put her in the swing, pick up the room while they play, pick up the prayer that began in a dream, pick up the Christmas gift, the birthday card, the medicine, pick up the note, the one I can hardly lift anymore but still needs my full embrace, pick up the pillow and talk, pick them up and over the waves, pick up the pieces after the fight, the paint and crayons and threads,  pick up after the dance, the game, the moments of shame, pick up the pizza, the dog poop, the broken heart you want to mend, pick up the keys and hand them over, the one thing they had to have, the trash overflowing, the homework they forgot, pick up the things left behind as they grow and go, let go.

I have spent the biggest part of my life bending down in this mess of a place we call home.  I have bent crooked, imperfectly, begrudgingly and gloriously.  I still am asking to tidy up - to make room for another beautiful mess.  My walls have strange markings left from crayons and growth lines charted through the years, (so do I, come to think of it).  I woke this morning, picked up the stuffed animal in the hall on my way out to the kitchen, picked up my glasses, my heart full to overflowing, I pick up that prayer again and again.  Tonight we will gather round the table, pick up the conversation, the mess of dishes and food on the floor, pick up a child, a husband, a bride.  Every bending down, every picking up to offer thanks to the God who has blessed me beyond belief through this ordinary grace. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

If God said, 
"Rumi, pay homage to everything 
that has helped you 
enter my arms."
There would not be one experience of my life, 
not one thought, not one feeling,
not any act, I
would not


Monday, April 1, 2013

For Easter Monday

Self-knowledge is not clarity or transparency or knowing how everything works, self-knowledge is a fiercely attentive form of humility and thankfulness...David Whyte

Saturday, March 30, 2013

This is the night!

This is the night
that we gather in the darkness,
and watch while the Easter fire jumps
from wick to wick, from hand to hand. 

This is the night
that light spreads
From neighbor to neighbor
And friend to friend
On the hillside behind the parish.

This is the night
That we lift up our voices
And cry, “Lumen Christi!  Light of Christ!”
As we follow that fire
Into a dark and waiting church. 

This is the same fire
That spoke to Moses in a burning bush
And lit the spark of freedom. 

This fire once moved through the desert,
And led God’s people out of bondage. 

This fire once burst into a quiet room
And filled the disciples
With a Spirit powerful enough
To claim the world. 

This is the night! 

This is the night that we gather around the fire
And remember who we are-
The night that we pause to tell the story.
It can’t be neatly bound
Inside the covers of a book,
And it won’t stay put upon the shelf.
It can’t be tamed or controlled
Or even completely understood,
It demands faith.

This story can be told a thousand times
In a thousand different voices,
And somehow, each time, we hear something new. 

This story is so powerful
That it explodes galaxies into life. 

It is a story so enduring,
That time and death have no meaning. 

This is the story of a fire so bright,
It can illuminate each and every corner
Of an empty tomb.

Tonight, that empty tomb
Stands open before us,
Not just as the happy ending of a familiar story-
Not just of a personal invitation,
Or an eternal promise-

But as a challenge. 

This isn’t a story
That can simply be told and retold
Among families and friends.

This isn’t a fire that can be used
Just to warm our own hands.

 It’s not something to be lit
And blessed and passed
From neighbor to neighbor
And then blown out. 

This is the night
That the Alpha and the Omega,
The beginning and the end
The past and the future
Meet in the present.
Right here in this church
Right now among us.

Tonight Christ invites us
To look inside the empty tomb
And promise that our light
Will be bright enough
To transform the darkness. 

Tonight Christ leads us to the font,
And reminds us that this water
Must be deep enough
To flood a parched land.
Plunged into His death through the waters of baptism
dying to sin and the old ways
We are likewise raised to newness of life with him. 

Tonight Christ feeds us at the table
And asks that we share this bread with a starving people. 

Tonight we can’t just light the fire
And tell the story. 

We have to be willing to take
This light and this story
To every dark corner-
To places of pain
To places of need
To places of terror 

Lumen Christi!
Light of Christ!
Beautiful words, beautiful liturgy.
But unless we are willing to become the fire
And the water and the bread,
We don’t really understand this story at all. 

Two thousand years ago,
Some frightened and mournful women
Went to a tomb
To anoint a friend.
The emptiness they discovered there
Still has the power to fill the world. 

Christ is risen!
The tomb is empty!
This light is entrusted to you!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Happy Holy Thursday

So here is Mary Oliver again...

The Vast Ocean Begins Just Outside Our Church: The Eucharist

Something has happened
to the bread
and the wine.
They have been blessed.
What now?
The body leans forward
to receive the gift
from the priest’s hand,
then the chalice.
They are something else now
from what they were
before this began.
I want
to see Jesus,
maybe in the clouds
or on the shore,
just walking,
beautiful man
and clearly
someone else
On the hard days
I ask myself
if I ever will.
Also there are times
my body whispers to me
that I have.

Monday, March 25, 2013

To Bless the Space Between Us

May I live this day  
compassionate of heart,  
clear in word,  
gracious in awareness,  
courageous in thought,  
generous in love.  

John O'Donohue  

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig!

The Blessings of St. Patrick! Here is a gorgeous rendition of both the heart of his message and the very way he was able to do what he was called to do. And the same for us, eh? Though for you celebrating today, St. Brigid did describe her vision of heaven as a great lake of beer! 

Friday, March 15, 2013


For the wind no one expected

For the boy who does not know the answer

For the graceful handle I found in a field
attached to nothing
pray it is universally applicable

For our tracks which disappear
the moment we leave them

For the face peering through the cafe window
as we sip our soup

For cheerful American classrooms sparkling
with crisp colored alphabets
happy cat posters
the cage of the guinea pig
the dog with division flying out of his tail
and the classrooms of our cousins
on the other side of the earth
how solemn they are
how gray or green or plain
how there is nothing dangling
nothing striped or polka-dotted or cheery
no self-portraits or visions of cupids
and in these rooms the students raise their hands
and learn the stories of the world

For library books in alphabetical order
and family businesses that failed
and the house with the boarded windows
and the gap in the middle of a sentence
and the envelope we keep mailing ourselves

For every hopeful morning given and given
and every future rough edge
and every afternoon
turning over in its sleep

"Prayer in My Boot" by Naomi Shihab Nye
When we tug at a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world.   John Muir

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Moments and Memory

We were heading out in the car, stopped at the red light, when she looked over and said the man in the car next to us was a hippie.  I glanced right, and saw an older man, looking like he was heading to work, no signs of hippie to my eyes.  "Why do you say that" I ask, and exasperated, she says, slowly and surely so I can 'get it', "because he drives like he is hip!" And she puts her arm out on an imaginary steering wheel, wrist on top, hand hanging down..."a hippie"!!!

And I instantly see in my minds eye my own dad, much younger (I am a child beside him) driving with his wrist on the wheel - a cool customer.  Flash to years later and he stops by to visit his daughter, living with her hippie friends, for a morning cup of coffee (I made him a smoothie).  I walked him out to his car after.  He put his arm on the wheel, sat there smiling at me, lingered with his hand dangling, and then slowly turned, looking over his shoulder, backed out the drive. 

Thanks Dad.  This memory makes me smile.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Hymn by Edgar Allan Poe

At morn--at noon--at twilight dim--
Maria! thou hast heard my hymn!
In joy and woe--in good and ill--
Mother of God, be with me still!
When the Hours flew brightly by,
And not a cloud obscured the sky,
My soul, lest it should truant be,
Thy grace did guide to thine and thee
Now, when storms of Fate o'ercast
Darkly my Present and my Past,
Let my future radiant shine
With sweet hopes of thee and thine.
As the story goes, Poe was living near Fordham University and was irritated by the bells ringing at 6:00, noon, and 6:00.  He went to complain, and the Jesuits there explained to him the Angelus - a prayer of devotion to the Incarnation. Its name comes from the scripture verse (in Latin), Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ. 'the angel of the Lord came to Mary'.  His Hymn is poetry and prayer...
Here is one of my most favorite pieces; and yes, I wish the bells rung here, constant reminder of our not being alone, but accompanied by Grace, calling us to prayer.  I love his poem, and how he too found consolation here. 
The Angelus by French painter Jean-Francois Millet


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lessons from the ashes...

From Egotism and Cruelty
to Love of Ones Neighbor and Friendliness
to Prayer and Faith
Love the title pages in this film!
Part 2 can be viewed on this same link

If my life had title pages for the lessons I've learned, or rather, like Cinderella,
pointing to the lessons I am about to's a fresh perspective on perspective, eh?
There is something innate to the human soul that knows that, every so often, one must make a journey of descent, be smudged, lose one's lustre, and wait while the ashes do their work. All ancient traditions, be they religious or purely mythical, abound with stories of having to sit in the ashes. We all know, for example, the story of Cinderella. This is a centuries-old, wisdom-tale that speaks about the value of ashes. The name, Cinderella, itself already says most of it. Literally it means: "the young girl who sits in the cinders, the ashes."  Moreover, as the tale makes plain, before the glass slipper is placed on her foot, before the beautiful gown, ball, dance, and marriage, there must first be a period of sitting in the cinders, of being smudged, of being humbled, and of waiting while a proper joy and consummation are being prepared. In the story of Cinderella there is a theology of lent. ~ excerpt by Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI

Friday, February 15, 2013

We should try unceasingly to allow each one of our actions to become a moment of communion with God: not a studied act, but just as it comes from purity and simplicity of heart.
~Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

My Little Brother

Today is my brother's birthday.  Even now, (at our advanced age - I know, I'm older) I can still see his wide open smile from boyhood that shines fresh and engaged in whatever is happening in any moment...the only thing wider than that smile are the arms he opens wide to all, huge hearted and welcoming.  I'd love to ride our bikes together again in that wide dirt circle, speeding through the carport again and again, plop against that old barn in the back and talk about nothing which was everything, read together, oh,oh,oh, and him insisting no, no, no.  He is our kids favorite!  They have felt all this and more from him!  I love that in our adulthood we can still run to the bridge and wish on the moon, hold hands and pray in the Father's love, relish all that is good while holding in open hands all that breaks our heart.  I love the tenderness of his heart.  I love his laugh, his serious side, the way he zooms in close, forehead to forehead, connecting with people, while the world holds it's breath, waits (watching love in action does that to the world)  I love you little brother, and I miss you every day.  Time to book a flight!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Minute to Win it!

Feasting before the fast, we play a quick game of one minute write all you are grateful for, then share with one another.  It's a fun and simple way to honor God's Blessings before the fast.  Just as Jesus entered the desert "full of the Spirit" it is good to recall the fullness of God's love experienced in our lives as we enter a season of simplicity, seeking to deepen that life in us.  I love her list! 
Your turn...what are you grateful one minute?  Go ahead, write it here!

A Blessing for Ash Wednesday

All those days
you felt like dust,
like dirt,
as if all you had to do
was turn your face
toward the wind
and be scattered
to the four corners
or swept away
by the smallest breath
as insubstantial—
Did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?

This is the day
we freely say
we are scorched.
This is the hour
we are marked
by what has made it
through the burning.
This is the moment
we ask for the blessing
that lives within
the ancient ashes,
that makes its home
inside the soil of
this sacred earth.
So let us be marked
not for sorrow.
And let us be marked
not for shame.
Let us be marked
not for false humility
or for thinking
we are less
than we are
but for claiming
what God can do
within the dust,
within the dirt,
within the stuff
of which the world
is made,
and the stars that blaze
in our bones,
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge
we bear.
~Jan Richardson

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Love this

Family-a Cosmic View

I get these daily astronomy photos and find them so awe-inspiring,
but this weeks description drew me into playful reflection...

Bold lines are from the original description of the above photograph...
Typical in grand spiral galaxies
( aka the massive and complex family tree in which we all live and from which we all come)
dark dust lanes
(you know who you are and where you’ve been)
youthful blue star clusters
(the delight of youth's unique gifts that keep perpetuating the legacy)
and pinkish star forming regions
(ah…love making; love begetting love)
trace spiral arms that converge on the bright nucleus of older yellowish stars
(the embraces shared with love-worn elders, big-hearted wisdom, grandparents)
But this composite hints of two anomalous arms that don't align with
the more familiar tracers

(two who were once strangers fall in love, make a life, and the family expands)
Seen here in red hues
(passion, blood & roses, the cost and glory of love, like God’s own self-donation in Christ)
sweeping filaments
(the mysterious ties that bind)
seem to rise from the central region
(heart/gut, home)
evidence of energetic jets of material blasting into the galaxy's disk
(don’t need to spell this out, do I?)
The jets are likely powered by matter
( and what matters, the daily lived reality in which we cling to one another)
falling into a massive central black hole! 
(Could be your child's room, the disorienting busyness of life,
the way the days turn into years,
or the deepest mystery that holds us all) 

But look...isn't it glorious, residing in the heavens, bigger than anything
I could ever imagine, and more magnificent than I have ever dreamed.
Now tell me this imagery doesn’t speak to the best of the experience we call family…

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Luck of the Irish

Today is my Dad's birthday.  I have this picture from his childhood, with his mom and dad, my grandparents.  I do not remember my grandmother at all.  She passed to God when I was very young.  But my grandpa and I had many fond times together.  I remember mostly the time he always had for me; how he would listen, tell a story, and especially his easy, slow laugh.  Now my Dad is the grandpa and his own father gone too.  From the Child to the Father to the Old Man, time is a funny thing.  Time flies, they say, and you don't believe it, the days dragging on with work and busy-ness, until one day you look back with wonder, and if you are lucky, buckets full of gratitude for the love and life you've known.  Me...I'm feeling lucky!  Happy Birthday Dad!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013