Monday, June 30, 2008

Listen Generously

Physician and author Rachel Naomi Remen believes that the way we deal with loss shapes our capacity to be present to life more than anything else. Having struggled with Crohn's disease for over 50 years, she can attest to the idea that one can live a good life - even if it is not an easy one. Her book "Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories that Heal" is filled with the healing powers of telling our stories to one another - here is one of her quotes:

When you listen generously
to people
they can hear the truth
in themselves,
often for the
first time.

-Rachel Naomi Remen

May we listen generously to all who cross our paths today.....

Friday, June 27, 2008

Audrey Hepburn

People, even more than things, have to be
restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed;
never throw out anyone.
-Audrey Hepburn

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Take This Bread

Last year I read "Take this Bread" by Sara Miles and thought it was more than wonderful. Recently I started it again for a small group reading selection and am finding it to be even more earth- shattering than the first time.

This is the story of a woman, raised as an atheist, who wandered into an Episcopal church one day, received communion and "discovered a religion rooted in the most ordinary yet subversive practice: a dinner table where everyone is welcome, where the despised and outcasts are honored." p. xii

This is the story of one woman who answered a call to feed people - especially those at the margins of our society, by starting more than a dozen food pantries in the poorest parts of San Francisco. There is a paragraph from page 95 that describes the quotations found on the altar at St. Gregory's. "The first, in Greek, from the gospel of Luke, recorded an insult to Jesus: 'This guy welcomes sinners and eats with them.' On the other side of the altar were the words of the seventh-century mystic Isaac of Nineveh: 'Did not our Lord share his table with tax collectors and harlots? So do not distinguish between worthy and unworthy. All must be equal for you to love and serve.' "

Oh to be this open, Lord! Oh to be this loving, Lord!
May the Spirit of the Living God lead us into new ways
of embracing our neighbors and all who we meet this day. Amen

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

John The Forerunner

Today is the Feast Day of John the Baptist.
This Russion Icon is from the 17th century and is entitled "John the Forerunner"

Prayer of John the Baptist

Troubler of Israel,
Turner of Hearts,
Last but also First--
John the Baptizer!

Make straight a new path,
Through a new wilderness,
And bring a new people,
To the “Great and Fabulous Dear God”
Who awaits and invites us
To a Message that is always
Bigger than we are.

Like you,
May we grow smaller.


from "The Center for Action and Contemplation

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sweet Blindness

So this morning as I was driving over to P.T. to church I was listening to the 60's station on XM radio when the 5th Dimension came on - remember them? I always thought they sang in such perfect harmony. And so I started to sing along with them...Oh Sweet Blindness is the name of the song - but for some reason I had never really heard the words.....first of all, I've been singing "Down by the graveyard, drink my daddy's wine"......when it actually said "down by the grapevine".....but then i listened a little more carefully to ALL the words and you will find them below:

Down by the grapevine
Drink my daddy's wine, get happy
Down by the grapevine
Drink my daddy's wine, get happy
Happy, oh sweet blindness, a little magic
A little kindness, oh sweet blindness
All over me, four leaves on a clover
I'm just a bit of a shade hungover
Come on baby do a slow float
You're a good lookin' riverboat
And ain't that sweet eyed blindness good to me

Down by the grapevine
Drink my daddy's wine, good mornin'
Down by the grapevine
Drink my daddy's wine, good mornin
Mornin', oh sweet blindness
A little magic, a little kindness
Oh sweet blindness all over me
Please don't tell my mother
I'm a saloon and a moonshine lover
Come on baby do a slow float
You're a good lookin' riverboat
And ain't that sweet eyed blindness good to me

(Don't ask me cause I)
Ain't gonna tell you what I've been drinkin'
Ain't gonna tell you what I've been drinkin'
Ain't gonna tell you what I've been drinkin'
Wine, of wonder, wonder (by the way)
Sweet blindness, a little magic
A little kindness oh sweet blindness all over me
Don't let daddy hear it
He don't believe in the gin mill spirit
Come on baby do a slow float
You're a good lookin' riverboat
And ain't that sweet eyed blindness good to me, good to me
And ain't that sweet eyed blindness good to me.

Can you say "intervention needed"? I think mother does need to know that they are saloon and moonshine lovers, don't you? Here are my questions - Was the person hung over when they penned these lyrics? What does it mean to be a good looking riverboat? Why are they drinking in the morning? And what is the gin mill spirit?

And I'm not even going to mention the outfits that are being worn in the video!!!

Just Forget It!

"Forgiveness built on forgetfulness
is a Christian version of
a frontal lobotomy."

Dan Allender -
The Wounded Heart, p.15


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Summer Solstice

“Today is the longest day of the year, the day most full of light, most full of seeing.
Look carefully and clearly and well at everything you love today
so that on dimmer, shorter, colder days
you may remember what it is in life that warms your soul.”
- Joan Chitister

for another artistic interpretation of the summer solstice click on this link from the Episcopal Church & Visual Arts (ECVA) website:

Friday, June 20, 2008

Party On.....


If God
Invited you to a party
And said,

In the ballroom tonight
Will be my special

How would you treat them
When you

Indeed, indeed!

And Hafiz knows
There is no one in this world

Is not upon
His Jeweled Dance

- Hafiz

and now for your enjoyment i bring you some of God's most wonderful guests as they perform on their own dance floor in their Filipino prison yard

Thursday, June 19, 2008


everything comes to pass,
nothing comes to stay.
-matthew flickstein, journeying to the center

Tibetan monks spend days creating sand paintings of mandalas just to destroy them soon afterward as a metaphor for the fleetingness of life. At first i thought, "but these are so beautiful, shouldn't they be saved"? Until i remembered building sand castles as a child; knowing that the tides would eventually take my creation back into the sea.

Lord, help me not to cling to that which i cannot hold onto...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Living with Risk...

"Life responds when we risk. It meets us more than halfway & almost always demonstrates that the risk was worth taking. The heart's sure release is in moving with that release. It is in taking that step w/o assurances. Do we want to be 70 years old & saying to ourselves on our deathbeds "I wish I had...?" The way to prevent this regret is to live and risk in a never-ending journey deeper into our hearts. Are we willing to die to our old ways and risk the new? With experience our faith in this uncharted path of the heart will mature, and our mind will give up its battle to control. There is no other way to open the door to our heart except by risking our fears. What do we have to lose?"

- rodney smith - lessons from the dying, p.37

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hope Floats!

"Childhood is what you spend the rest of your life trying to overcome.
That's what momma always says. She says that beginnings are scary,
endings are usually sad, but it's the middle that counts the most.
Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning.
Just give hope a chance to float up.
And it will..."
-Birdie Pruitt - from the film "Hope Floats"....

I love the image of hope floating towards the surface of whatever you're facing.......

Friday, June 13, 2008

To Be....A Tree?

"A tree glorifies God by being a tree."
Thomas Merton

so what am i called to be? as i looked at the branches of this tree i was intrigued with the many directions the branches took over the years and frankly it's not that pretty or even symmetrical.
did they know where they were going when they sprouted? was there a blueprint or genetic code for this tree to follow?

i think back over the different turns i've taken in my own life and at times don't see any rhyme or reason to them...and yet....i'm still moving forward - toward that elusive call of God....

"Roberta glorifies God by being Roberta"

and you? who are you called to be?
put your name in the quote and tell me what you see?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Anne Frank Stichting

"Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news.
The good news is that you don't know how great you can be!
How much you can love!"
- Anne Frank - whose birthday is today.
(the picture is of her at age 12 at her desk in amsterdam)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Ultimate Sunblock

For those of us who have been living through this past Winter and now this bizarre Spring, this cartoon speaks volumes.....there was actually hail in Chimacum yesterday!

What's the first thing that You say?

"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
"What's for breakfast? said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It's the same thing," he said.

- A.A. Milne

So however you start your day, have a good one........

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Taize Prayer

Jesus our joy, when we realize that you love us,
something in us is soothed and even transformed.
We ask you: what do you want from me?
And by the Holy Spirit you reply:
let nothing trouble you,
I am praying in you,
dare to give your life.
from Taize

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Take Heart Daughter

Then suddenly a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well." Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, "Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well." And instantly the woman was made well.
-Matthew 9: 20-22

I really can't recall where I found this picture - I've been saving it for when this story came around in the Lectionary......would love to know the artist...does anyone know?

As for me - I get chills just looking at this woman crawling through the crowd on the ground - an outcast from her society - but determined to reach this man she has heard about - willing to risk her life to do so. And God's love being so immense that it could not help but flow forth.... Just who does Jesus exclude from His love? Is there anyone? I don't believe so......

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

More Sequim News.....

Once again the Sequim Weekly has a couple of wonderful entries under their "Disturbances/Suspicious" section of the paper. It seems someone has reported a "Skinny cow tied up in front yard, Sherbourne Rd." Were they concerned about a poor, malnourished cow that had been left unattended? Or were they referring to the logo for the low fat ice cream sandwich known as Skinny Cow?

I've never really looked too closely at this logo until now - does that cow with the narrow waistline, false eyelashes and the red lipstick look a bit "sultry" to you? It's beginning to creep me out! To me, "sexy" and "cow" just don't go together.....however, in the land of my birth "stupid" and "cow" is a very common saying....but back to the subject at hand...i'm guessing that sexy cows sell ice cream?

The other entry that made my day was the following: "Pit bulls barking nonstop for the last two years." Wow! Now that's a lot of barking! I think I would have reported it after 2 hours but hey, I'm not as patient as these people apparently have been....

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Having a Wee Chat with Mary

My sister Rebecca sent me this via email last week. I'm sure it's made the rounds since it was from 2002 but there is something quite magical about this picture. I think it's her hands. She's holding them out in a similar fashion to the way the statue of Mary is holding hers - palms open.

I like to think this little girl is having a real conversation with Mary. Perhaps talking about what she recalls of Heaven, or inquiring about how Mary's garden is growing.....The Celts would definitely call this a "thin place" - a place where Heaven meets Earth - for just a moment.....or am I just being silly?

What do you think they are conversing about?

To be Yourself....that is the Question

To be ourselves causes us to be exiled by many others,
and yet to comply with what others want causes us
to be exiled from ourselves.--Unknown

Well this is definitely my struggle these days. Like Noah building his ark in the face of his stunned and confused friends and family, I am in the same boat (pun intended) with my family. What to do , what to painful as it is I know I must move forward toward the call......hand me that hammer, would ya?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Loving Creation

It is not allowable to love the Creation according to the purposes one has for it,
any more than it is allowable to love one's neighbor in order to borrow his tools.
- Wendell Berry
Source: The Gift of Good Land

what can I say? the man has a way with words!