Friday, January 30, 2009

Blame others

We habitually erect a barrier called blame that keeps us from communicating genuinely with others, and we fortify it with our concepts of who's right and who's wrong. We do that with the people who are closest to us and we do it with political systems, with all kinds of things that we don't like about our associates or our society. It is a very common, ancient, well-perfected device for trying to feel better. Blame others. Blaming is a way to protect your heart, trying to protect what is soft and open and tender in yourself. Rather than own that pain, we scramble to find some comfortable ground.

Pema Chodron - In the Gap Between Right and Wrong

I think that guy on the right is to blame, don't you?

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Several people have shown some interest in learning more about the Enneagram. As with most subjects there is a myriad of information available. I find this book to be one of the better books for discovering one's type. It contains the paragraph test which I believe to be a better indicator than some of the other tests out there.
The Essential Enneagram - The Definitive Personality Test & Self-Discovery Guide by David Daniels, M.D. and Virginia Price, PH.D.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'm an 8

I am exhausted physically and emotionally. lots going on within the family & ALL is beyond my control. and as an eight (the challenger) on the enneagram (an ancient method of discovering your giftedness and your brokenness) i'm all about being in CONTROL!!!.....this poem from "The Labyrinth and the Enneagram" says it best regarding the way i tend to perceive life -

"It's not right," I rage, "Not fair!"
The familiar words leap from my belly,
my passion for justice roused up.
One more time I charge ahead,
confronting what needs changing
or extending protection
to someone oppressed.

Why is it then when the truth,
which is so obvious,
calls for strength and action,
I look around
and find myself alone!"

"Enneagram type 8 is characterized by being strong-willed, self-confident, and confrontational. Feeling strong, secure, and courageous is important. Energy is directed to fighting back to resist being controlled by others and to right injustice. Validation comes from being powerful, in control, and through effecting change in the world. When so much energy is focused on confronting the world, the truths about oneself, vulnerability, and emotional connection with others will be elusive." The Labyrinth & the Enneagram, by Jill Geoffrion & Elizabeth Nagel, p. 90

Any other 8's out there?
To get an idea of what # on the Enneagram you might be, determine where you would be sitting at the dinner party.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

cracking the shell

the events we regard as
our deepest wounds
are in fact initiations
that broke us out of
the unhealthy enchantments
of innocence,
violence or
-Tom Daly

Monday, January 26, 2009

coming to god as we are

"If we don't live out of our own center, we live out of something or someone else's center. If we try to live out of anything less than ourselves, we can't get far in the spiritual life, because we pass before the face of the Divine One like strangers.

We bring nothing genuine for God to love, and there is nothing authentic we present for transformation. If we are unwilling to reveal ourselves as we are to God, or even to ourselves, we remain hollow." - John Gorsuch - An Invitation to the Spiritual Journey

Art: "Empty on the Inside" by Simon Tsang

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Take short views of life

"In times
of depression,
take short
views of
human life -
not further
or tea."

Rev. Sydney Smith
(18th cent.)

I talked to my sister tonight who had just returned from the hospital. Our father may be drawing closer to the end of his journey & I need this gentle reminder to not live in the "what ifs" but to stay in the present moment.
Perhaps you struggle with this too?
art work: "Tea Time Dreamer" by Regina of Creative Kismet

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Much Beloved

"A hundred years ago a baby was about to be born in the fishing village of Aberdeen on Hong Kong island. Its gender was not known. Boy babies were highly prized. At that time, in that culture, a bowl of ash could be at hand to smother unwanted new-born girls. The baby who was born on 5 May 1907 was wanted. Her Christian father, a doctor turned headteacher, valued his new daughter and called her Tim-Oi, “Much Beloved.” That decision began a chain of events which has changed the Church.

Tim-Oi completed her primary schooling at 14, but her five brothers and 2 sisters meant there were no funds for further schooling until she was 21. She left school aged 27.
While a student she joined an Anglican church, and at her baptism took the Christian name Florence, because her birth-month, May, is a month of flowers, and because she admired Florence Nightingale.

In 1931 she was at the ordination in Hong Kong cathedral of an English deaconess. The Chinese preacher asked if there was a Chinese girl also willing to sacrifice herself for the Chinese church. She prayed: “God, would you like to send me?” That call never left her. In 1934 she started a four year course at Union Theological College in Canton, where her New Testament tutor was Geoffrey Allen, later to be Bishop of Derby, England. Her family couldn’t afford the college fees which were paid by the Anglican church. While at college she led a team of students rescuing the casualties of Japanese carpet bombing, and narrowly escaped being a casualty herself.

Time does not allow to tell her full story: of her licence to preside for two years at Holy Communion in the absence of a priest in Macau; of the bishop brought up in a Tractarian [High Church] vicarage who was not happy with lay celebration and ordained her a Priest of God on 25 January 1944, because God had clearly shown that He had already given her the gift of priesthood.

After the War, pressured by what I call a “Purple Guard,” to the dismay of the Bishop, she resigned her licence as a Priest, but not her Holy Orders. She was put in charge of a parish near Vietnam, and there she started a large maternity home to ensure that new-born girls were not smothered at birth. Her witness to the value of every child, girl and boy, made many friends for Jesus—making friends for Jesus was her mission in life. But also she showed that “It Takes ONE Woman” to change the culture of her community."

From “Memories of Li Tim-Oi” by Canon Christopher Hall, Lambeth Palace, 30 April 2007;

HT to Vicki K. Black @ Episcopal Cafe

Above Icon was written by Rev. Dr. Ellen Francis Poisson, OSH

Friday, January 23, 2009


During a conversation today, someone used the term "closure" regarding the recent ending of a relationship. I could feel irritation rising within me for that word "closure" bothers me.
I do not like this concept used in reference to people....Use it for stores, and freeways and Guantanamo Bay but please, not for living and breathing entities such as ourselves who have been created for eternity.

The late John O' Donohue had this to say (and oh how I miss his voice!) "Due to the current overlay of therapy terminology in our language, everyone now seems to wish for 'closure'. This word is unfortunate; it is not faithful to the open-ended rhythm of experience. Creatures made of clay with porous skin and porous minds are quite incapable of the hermetic sealing that the strategy of 'closure' seems to imply. The word completion is a truer word. Each experience has within it a dynamic of unfolding and a narrative of emergence." - John O' Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us, p. 157

Another O'Donohue quote in this same vein can be found here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cat on a hot tin stove

"We have to be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it and stop there, lest we be like the cat that sits on a hot stove. She will never sit on a hot stove again and that is well, but she will never sit on a cold stove anymore.
-Mark Twain

I know, I know....I'm completely overdoing the whole cat picture thing lately - but there is just something about their faces - i mean, just look at that face. what do you see? disdain? disgust? that is a GREAT face!

and as for this quote - well when i was in the 4th grade i answered a question in front of the class and was ridiculed by the teacher - the rest of the class laughed - it was a real "charlie brown" moment in my what did i do? i made a decision that day to never answer a question again - silly, huh? but i kept that promise to myself until another teacher coaxed me out of it years later.

there have been numerous other experiences in which i have tried to somehow protect myself from being rejected or hurt - not realizing that there was something to learn from the experience i was in that didn't necessarily have to be applied to all other experiences of my life!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


"I Listen"

- Mother Teresa
in response
to the question,
"How do you pray?"

Monday, January 19, 2009


Power at its best
is love
the demands of justice.

Justice at its best
is love
correcting everything
that stands against love.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


I've never understood the term "Finding Jesus"
as if He were lost or playing hide & seek -
which is why this particular take on it tickles me.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Letting Go...

I Teeter on the Brink of Endings

"O God of endings,
you promised to be with me always.
even to the end of time.
Move with me now in these occasions of last things,
of shivering vulnerabilities and letting go:
letting go of parents gone,
past gone,
friends going,
old self growing;
letting go of children grown,
needs outgrown,
prejudices ingrown,
illusions overgrown;
letting go of swollen grudges and shrunken loves.
Be with me in my end of things,
My letting go of dead things,
dead ways,
dead words,
dead self I hold so tightly,
defend so blindly,
fear losing so frantically.
I teeter on the brink of endings:
some anticipated, some resisted,
some inevitable, some surprising,
most painful;
and the mystery of them quiets me to awe.
In silence, Lord, I feel now
the curious blend of grief and gladness in me
over the endings that the ticking and whirling of things brings;
and I listen for your leading
to help me faithfully move on through the fear
of my time to let go
so the timeless may take hold of me."

Ted Loder - Guerrillas of Grace - p. 83 - Augsburg Press

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The purpose driven life

"Our purpose in life
is not to remain
upright at all times
but to collapse
with grace
when that is
what has to happen."

David Richo

It is what it Is

"Acceptance is the the answer
to all my problems today...
I can find no serenity until I accept that
or situation
as being exactly the way it is supposed to be."

a paraphrase from Alcoholics Anonymous
taken from "Wisdom for the Soul" by Larry Chang

Monday, January 12, 2009


I'm back! To those who stop by here on a regular basis I want to offer my deep gratitude for all the kind words and wonderful prayers you've given both me and my family this past week. As of this moment, my father is a permanent resident of the Huntington Memorial Hospital's ICU unit. This was not what he wanted but as we all know, you don't always get what you want in this life. One thing I've learned is that just because your father has a DNR order in his will does not mean that your mother will honor it. My sisters and I said our good-byes - it was a sad time but rich with grace and holiness. We've done all we can. Now it's up to my mother.

It's good to be home - it's even better that I have the ability to make that choice for myself. May my dad's determination to enter the doorway to the brilliant light of eternal life overcome my mother's fear of being left alone. Amen

Friday, January 9, 2009


I woke up this morning and had no clue as to where I was. I was frightened and then the events of yesterday slammed into my memory bank. I'm at my sister's house in california - in her son's room. Our father is in ICU at Huntington Memorial in Pasadena. Ah yes it's all coming back to me now.

Just yesterday I was sitting with members of the Church of the Living Room (small group that meets in my home) when the phone rang in the middle of Lectio Divina - it was THAT call - you know the one - GET HERE NOW. The next hour was a complete blur as Kim, Karen, Andrea & Bethany made flight arrangments, picked up a needed prescription & laptop and helped me pack. Next thing I knew I was driving down 101 with my husband for the 2 hour trek to the airport. I didn't even know what airline I was flying out on until I looked at the paperwork someone had placed in my purse. Do I have the greatest friends and family or what?

And now I'm here - but from the look of my father - I'd say he's here in body only - a machine is doing his breathing - this will be a difficult day. May my father be allowed to return to his Heavenly Father today. Amen

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


First we had snow, then ice & now flooding here in the Northwest. This was taken today by my daughter Roshane of their front yard in Snohomish. In the boat we have Sugar (the boxer), Jeremy, and my 2 year old granddaughter Rita - who thinks rowing around her yard in a boat is the coolest thing ever! (click on picture to see full size)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Feast of the Epiphany

There will be no camels;
we are going on horseback,
at least for some of the way.

And we won't arrive there
a few hours after everyone else.
It will be weeks, perhaps -
or months.

We are not in a hurry.
That is not the way we work;
we are not Europeans.

We will discuss the phenomenon -
the star -
and if it does not go away,
and if we still feel curious,
we will travel.

We will look in the wrong place.
Yes, I admit that,
because wise men, potentates*, intellectuals -
call us what you will -
are not infallible.

We expect a new power
to emerge from the side of the old one.
We expect the destination we seek
to resemble what our common sense deduces.

We will be upset, angry even,
to find that Herod is ignorant
and that his residence is not the birthplace.

We will find it hard
and intellectually demeaning
to bow the knee to the son of refugees.

And all this....
all this upset will be compounded
when it comes to journeying back
and we discover
we have to go home by an alternate route.

That is the trouble with God.
He does not let you leave as you came.
He sends you back,
stripped of your presumptions,
making for home by an alternate route

The Wise Man's Journey
from Cloth for the Cradle - Iona Community
Wild Goose Woship Group, 2000 pp. 125-126

Artwork: The Magi by He Qi Copyright © 2001, He Qi

*potentates: a Ruler or Monarch (Latin potens powerful)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Prayer for a Best Friend

A Prayer for a Best Friend
Dr. Stephen Helmreich
By Josh Thomas

Dear God,
I give you praise and thanks for my friend N, who has graced my life with wisdom, love and laughter since we met. When my life is going well, I can’t wait to tell her*; when I am hurting, she consoles me, and when I have failed, she accepts me. You have made my friend a bearer of your love for me; I see the light you made to shine in her. Shower my friend with blessings today, O Lord; make me worthy to receive the gifts she brings each time we’re together, and help me return in full measure the love I feel for her. You have made us one in your Spirit, O Lord; thanks be to God, Amen.

*yes, I changed the gender - feel free to change it back.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Less Clutter in 2009

The next time you consider what to do with all those items that are cluttering up your closet, consider this....

"The bread you do not use
is the bread of the hungry.

The garment hanging in your
wardrobe is the garment of
the person who is naked.

The shoes you do not wear

are the shoes of the one who is barefoot.

The money you keep locked away
is the money of the poor.

The acts of charity you do not perform
are the injustices you commit."

St. Basil the Great

It's a new year -
may we endeavor to live more simple lives in 2009.


Friday, January 2, 2009

Relating brings us into Reality

"Our relatedness brings us into reality, provided we are open to it. For instance, we prefer to avoid those people who annoy us, upset us, rub us the wrong way, push our buttons. Yet these are precisely the people who can help us to grow. Our reaction to them exposes the egoism we try to hide, the fear we suppress, the spite we pretend isn't there. Let's ask ourselves, 'Who is the person I most hate to be around?' We need that very person in order to be real.

Relationships show us what's truly happening in our life, if we have the courage to face it. They reveal this separate, unreal self of ours who wants to isolate us from the rest of the human race.... If we come to church on Sunday with the notion, 'I'm here to be alone with God, I'm here to do my private devotion,' we're living in a dream world. There is no such thing as a solitary Christian.
Terrence Grant: The Silence of Unknowing

Well now, doesn't THAT put a new spin on "personal relationship with Jesus Christ?"

Redemptive Ripples

'Like a stone on the surface of a still river
Driving the ripples on forever
Redemption rips through the surface of time
In the cry of a tiny babe'
Bruce Cockburn
click here for the rest of the lyrics of this classic re-telling of the story

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Year's Prayer

I Hold My Life up to You Now

Patient God,
the clock struck midnight
and I partied with a strange sadness in my heart,
confusion in my mind.

Now, I ask you
to gather me,
for I realize
the storms of time have scattered me,
the furies of the year past have driven me,
many sorrows have scarred me,
many accomplishments have disappointed me,
much activity has wearied me,
and fear has spooked me
into a hundred hiding places,
one of which is pretended gaiety.
I am sick of a string of "have-a-nice-days."
What I want is passionate days,
wondrous days,
dangerous days,
blessed days,
surprising days,
What I want is you!

Patient God
this day teeters on the edge of waiting
and things seem to slip away from me,
as though everything were only memory
and memory is capricious.
Help me not to let my life slip away from me.
O God, I hold up my life to you now,
as much as I can,
as high as I can,
in this mysterious reach called prayer.

Come close, lest I wobble and fall short.
It is not days or years I seek from you,
not infinity and enormity,
but small things and moments and awareness,
awareness that you are in what I am
and in what I have been indifferent to.

It is not new time,
but new eyes,
new heart I seek,
and you.

Author: Ted Loder
from Guerrilas of Grace, 1981 - Augsburg Books
pp. 120-121