Sunday, December 31, 2006
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Who knows what to say today?
Why do we keep killing people to teach them not to kill people?
Does the violence never end?
In our words, our works, and our choices every day
we do violence to ourselves and to others.
In one spot on our planet today they hung a despot - Saddam.
Soldiers and civilians died on the streets in the same country.
On the other side of the world, a nation mourns a past president - Gerald Ford.
Yet, some ask why lower the flag for a guy who was president so long ago?
Why not lower it every day that a US soldier or civilian is killed by violent action?
Hm. Would it ever fly high?
In another place an elderly woman folds laundry to get things in order
for the coming year. All clean and fresh.
Somewhere else a teenager contemplates suicide. Another gets drunk.
Another gets high. Yet another gets pregnant.
A child is abused, a wife is beaten. A store is robbed.
A grandmother weeps over her ailing grandchild.
And the news goes on and on.
A black preacher enlivens a group of white teenagers in a rural southern town. And a dozen or more young people step forward for prayer or conversion. And the band plays on.
WAIT. This is different. A welcome change in the midst of all the bad news.
An act of peace. An act of worship. An act of praise.
A protest against violence against each other and ourselves.
A call to be the best we have been called to be.
Thank you Brandon and Marcie for sharing God's gifts with us tonight.
Perhaps in some way this is a balance in our universe.
One by one barriers are broken.
This probably could not have happened 30 years ago in Alabama.
So we are blessed by this little ripple of faith exposed and hearts stretched tonight.
"If today you hear God's voice, harden not your heart."
Saturday, December 23, 2006
I know the favorite song for Christmas is Silent Night.
But I think the angels were winging and singing loud enough for all to hear.
So. Make a joyful Noise.
Go tell it on the mountain.
Let Peace begin with us- - - each of us- - -
Let Christmas-time be the jumpstart to change our hateful and negative attitudes.
Choose to make a difference for ONE person today.
When you see how good THAT feels, do it again tomorrow for TWO.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Reading Santa letters is a sobering and humorous adventure.
Sobering because it illustrates the intensity of consumerism at the earliest of ages. The number and complexity of the gift requests is staggering.
Yet, it is amusing to see these charmers telling their tales as they wrestle with belief and disbelief.
One that I treasure today is the question about:
How DOES Santa get all the way around the world in one night to every house?
Well, answers ranged from magic to fast raindear to good weather to Christmas spirit and then there was one that stood out.
A Touch of Science.
The child said.
He doesn't. It is night on our side of the world when it is day on the other side, so he only does half of the world in one night.
Now why didn't I think of that?
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Understanding Solstice is central to understanding seasons on our planet.
The proximity to Christmas makes it even more interesting.
Essentially the Winter Solstice is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. It happens during December 20-21. LIKE now.
I like to light some candles, since I have no fireplace here. And sit quietly in the night, if it is warm enough, I will be outside enjoying the moon and reflecting on people who have been doing this for ages and ages.
Sometimes, when the weather is nice, I will sing or dance in the yard as a celebration of the winter season.
For me, this is a ritual that feels more important than the calendar New Year. Why? Because the Solstice is directly connected to our planet's relationship to others in the galaxy and the New Year is simply a calendar issue.
For more information about what a Solstice is, use the title to link to another site packed with good information.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
A woman was Christmas shopping with her two children.
After many hours of walking down row after row of toys
and after hours of hearing both her children asking for
everything they saw on those many shelves,
she finally made it to the store elevator
She was feeling what so many of us feel during the holiday season:
overwhelming pressure to go to every party,
taste all the holiday food and treats,
making sure we don't forget anyone.
Finally the elevator doors opened revealing a crowd in the car.
She pushed her way in and dragged her two kids
and all her bags of stuff in with her .
As the doors closed she couldn't take it anymore and blurted out,
"Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be found, strung up, and shot."
From the back of the car, a quiet calm voice responded,
"Don't worry, we've already crucified Him."
The rest of the trip down was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.
Remember to keep Christmas in perspective.
If we all would, just think how much better this world would be.
Jesus is the HEART of the season.
Wise men still seek Him.
Wise women do too.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
In a hurry.
Buy Buy Buy and then go to a party and then back to buy some more.
That sure seems to be what Christmas has become for so many people.
Do we even remember to take time for the joys of the season?
Why not toss a pebble into the seasonal sea and create an alternative
I observed some of that ripple effect yesterday at Wally...
Everyone was restless ... so was I.. the lines were moving slow.
So, to calm myself I thought.
"I knew there would be lines.
I KNEW there would be lines.
Lines mean wait.
No one else needs to be on time except Santa and the Train Engineer."
Except, I said the last line outloud.
For three lines around it seemed like TIME stopped and everyone was looking at me
with either bemused or amused or annoyed fexpressions.
The lady in front of me said: Now There's and Attitude for ya!
I smiled with some surprise that I said it out loud and repeated it.
You know it really is true:
No one else REALLY needs to be on time except Santa and the Train Engineer,You
know the engineer on the Polar Express-- The one whose watch says ON Time/ Late/ Almost or Early.
She smiled. Yes, I saw that movie. No I did not remember the watch. Cute.
But by then the atmosphere had changed, the energy was no longer gloomy and impatient.
It was almost as if folks shifted focus and were trying to think of something else besides the lines... Maybe they were thinking of my absurd statement.
Maybe not. I will not ever know. But it certainly had a transforming effect.
I felt a lot more relaxed and calm for the duration of my wait.
Try doing something like that this week.
Disrupt the CRUNCH of the commercial corners in our lives.
Spread some peace and good will.
Even good humor
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Santa Claus Is a BY- Product of Christmas and
Is it easier to believe in Santa than it is to believe in God? Maybe.
We simply need to remember it is NOT Santa we worship.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Like the twin brothers fighting in the classroom, beating each other up over some dumb thing.
Yet, they were so violent they hurt each other. What did they do at home?
What Will they do later? How do they learn to choose another alternative?
Who will show them? What did you do when you saw it happen?
How did I respond?
I recall saying something like. . . good grief. . . if you two boys cannot learn to get along what hope is there for peace in this world?
As I pulled them apart that day I thought, even the preventive measures had to be hands on and physical.
Did they stop fighting? Yes, that day. Yes, in my presence.
But it remains hard to tell if they learned anything really about HOW not to fight with each other.
How might I handle it today? I really am not sure. I think my initial response would be physical intervention again. And anger that boys are still fighting for no reason at all. (in my mind.)
Friday, December 01, 2006
Unless we Live Peaceably we cannot claim to be at Peace.
Unless we curtail Global Warming we cannot expect a world without conflict over environmental resources.
Make the connection.
Live with justice.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
"If the only prayer you ever say is THANK YOU, it will suffice."
Thank you for reading and sharing by email.
Thank you all for being part of my life.
Thank you to the God of all creation who makes this life possible. And gives us peace.
Peace within must precede peace without.
Monday, November 20, 2006
I am pretty good with geography so when they started talking about this on the radio today I began to wonder.
I have been to Plymouth Rock, Seneca Rocks, Red Rock, Slippery Rock and others but have no recall of ever having visited this Warner Rock.
So I turned up the volume and listened closely.
They are now talking about Iowa. Is that the rock with all the flags painted on it? Is the artist named Warner?
They are talking about a TIMETABLE for the WARNER ROCK.
Yes. The war in Iraq.
God Bless all the Warnerock victims.
Let us have NO MORE WARnerock.
It really is what I thought they said!
Sunday, November 19, 2006
People make War.
This bronze sculpture was made by an Iraqi artist who melted down some of his earlier works to make this memorial to those soldiers lost in the war.
A child expresses comfort to the mourning soldier.
We all make choices every day.
Thank You Karat for making this choice to honor those who changed the regime of Saddam. And thank you Bill for sending the story and image to me.
You did not need those bronze heads of his anyhow. We can all learn from this.
Let us choose a path of peace .
Thursday, November 09, 2006
How does it feel to be the prey?
I nearly felt it today.
Seated in my car at the farm in the shade on a sunny afternoon.
I just arrived and had not even turned off the car so I am sure I witnessed something that was underway before I even stopped. Cool.
Swooping towards the windshield at high speed was a hunting hawk!
She flew less than arm's length from my open window.
I felt the air movement when I pointed to her.
I watched the follow-through in my side view mirror.
The target was a black and white cat hunkered down at the edge of the driveway.
I guess I was enough of a surprise to jolt the hunter a bit because she stopped diving and with just a flick of her feathers was gliding upwards and away.
The poor silly city cat was still hunkered down with flattened ears. It looked like it was stunned. The other farm cats scattered into the brush, no dummies.
But I cherish the moment. Another reminder of my totem creature at a critical time in my life.
I recall tonight how I earned my nickname "hawkwoman" and feel very connected with my mentors and Earth and indigenous peoples. More than I can capture in a few words right now. But I had to tell you.
If you do not recognize the name Marsh Hawk, it is an older name which has been changed to Harrier. (Circus cyaneus) Falconiformes.
Look here for a little of its natural history. Yes, I saw it close and in real living color and could tell you it was a female. There are color differences. http://www.1000birds.com/latest20050219NHA.htm
What a gift to see her. Thank you.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Leaves changing colors. Autumn in full swing.
Raking ranks HIGH on my list of things to do.
The kind of day you want to stretch out on the hammock and let the falling leaves cover you.
But after chasing only ONE LEAF, I got busy.
It seems we always have more to do.
Well, there will be more leaves to play with tomorrow because it is raining hard tonight.
I love how the ash tree loses all of its leaves before most of the other trees really get started. Then it is fascinating that the individual leaflets fall one day and the stem falls a few days later.
I would like to say that is a "smart tree" conserving water resources and not letting anything leak out an unsealed petiole, but then someone would accuse me of humanizing the tree and that would be an injustice to the tree.
I think the ash tree in our yard is perhaps one of the most peaceful places around here. Echoes of an old song ring in my mind. . . down yonder green valley the ash grove enchanting... ta dee dee I forgot the rest of the words at the moment. ... I pensively roam. tis there where the blackbird is la la la la singing and so it goes.
Peaceful and enchanting.
Wish more of the world could be that way.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Yes, this posted today on a news link. Sounds like science fiction doesn't it. The emphasis in italics and bold are mine.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
WASHINGTON - A team of American and British researchers has made a Cloak of Invisibility. Well, OK, it's not perfect. Yet. But it's a start, and it did a pretty good job of hiding a copper cylinder.
In this experiment the scientists used microwaves to try and detect the cylinder. Like light and radar waves, microwaves bounce off objects making them visible and creating a shadow, though it has to be detected with instruments.
If you can hide something from microwaves, you can hide it from radar - a possibility that will fascinate the military.
Cloaking differs from stealth technology, which doesn't make an aircraft invisible but reduces the cross-section available to radar, making it hard to track. Cloaking simply passes the radar or other waves around the object as if it weren't there, like water flowing around a smooth rock in a stream.
The new work points the way for an improved version that could hide people and objects from visible light. Conceptually, the chance of adapting the concept to visible light is good, cloak designer David Schurig said in a telephone interview.
Their first success is reported in a paper in Friday's issue of the journal Science.
And we think immediately of military applications!
It makes me think of the Star Trek phrase "Cowboy Diplomacy". It does seem that there is more of that floating around these days too.
I am indeed a science minded person. I simply want us to be cautious and extremely ethical with what we are doing.
Is that too much to ask? I think not.
Think first. Then act. Please.
Think Peace. Think Justice. Think Ecological Sustainability.
How will we harvest "invisible crops"? Or capture "invisible drug lords"?
And if one research group can do this, who is to say how many others will try their own versions?
Invisible Food for Thought.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
What does it mean to Live Justly? Wow.
Some people live their entire lives learning how to do that.
Others could care less. Others are clueless.
Perhaps my mother has a clue to this.
She is 91 years old now.
Sometimes she wonders why she has lived so long.
Sometimes we respond "because you are needed"
Sometimes we tell her "because you have not run out of love"
Now and then we tell her "because God still has work for her here."
That is the one she seems to believe.
~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~~~~~~
Recently I ran into Psalm 71 and I see what she sees now.
If you have a Bible handy look at verses 17 through 20.
'Dear God, do not forsake me even with my old age and gray hair.
Let me continue to proclaim your truth to this new generation, there is much
I can teach and much they can learn.'
Perhaps this is living justly.
Or maybe it is Just Living.
I am grateful to have such a strong and wise woman in my life.
And for so long, too.
And I continue to learn from her every day. . . and sometimes she learns from me.
That seems to be a lot more than Just or only living...
it is blessed living for sure.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Thursday, September 21, 2006
We need to seek common ground rather than seek out miniscule doctrinal differences.
Focus on the things we have in common. The need for food, water, clean air, shelter and decent spaces to live in. From that comes health concerns. After that come social concerns and education.
Let us learn to live justly and avoid "knee-jerk" reactions to surprise viewpoints.
A long time ago, a friend told me " Please tell me if something I say offends you by accident." I was so startled by the concept we engaged in further conversation.
You see, if no offense is intended, it is neither fair nor reasonable take offense or to react from a position of defensive posturing.
This was a simple method of reminding us to be mindful of our words and their intent. We both spoke more carefully and actually less often out of consideration for the quiet spaces we both needed in our lives.
So, for me, that is one way to cultivate peace.
Another is to click on the title and freely give food daily to a hungry person. Live justly and peace can follow.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
A friend of mine lives in NY and serves with the Red Cross disaster team. She shared her reflections of this year's 5 year memorial and said I could post it if I wanted to. It feels like the "right" thing to do. So, with gratitude for grace and compassion under duress, I introduce you to my colleague, Pat Berliner, SJ, PhD.
SABAT MATER: 9/11 Five Years Later
Once again, I was privileged to be present at a World Trade Center Memorial service. This, the fifth year, seemed especially significant, probably because the number 5 sounds different than four or six.
As always, those of us representing Red Cross gathered off-site at about 5 AM and went together as a group to the site, where we set up our tables of tissues, cookies and water…meager sustenance, but signs of manna in a desert of loss and sorrow, anger and pain.
This year, I was the Mental Health Leadership person at the “Family Viewing Area.” This is a long walkway area between the stage and the ramp to the “footprints.” From early morning, people lined the area, many with pictures of their lost loved ones, many with tee shirts with pictures and poems and other forms of remembrance for them, introduction to their loved ones for us. Overall, the entire site is filled with quiet sadness.
All day, I walked the area, carrying with me a box filled with our tissues, cookies and water, sustenance in the desert. As the first sets of names were being read, a young Marine asked me to speak with a woman who seemed very upset. As I started to walk towards her, the first bell tolled, calling to our attention the first plane crashing into the building. I, with everyone, stopped, standing in my aloneness and in my connectedness to all those around me.
Then, I walked over to the woman, a mother held in her grief. We hugged and spoke with our eyes. I, never a linguist, spoke with her in my terrible Spanish, saying (I hope) “the pain is always there, isn’t it?” She nodded, sobbed, held me tightly, as I held her. For several minutes, we were one in the grief…and in the recognition that it would be part of us forever.
When I went back to my “line of command,” the young Marine and I shared a look of gratitude to each other. I was impressed at the sensitivity of this young man and of his understanding that it was best for him to reach out; he, glad to have had someone to reach to.
Throughout the rest of the day, I extended the kindnesses which make us the human community…a bottle of water, a pack of tissues, a fig Newton bar or pack of Oreos, reminding us of younger and better days. Throughout the rest of the day, I felt deeply the power of the reciprocity of compassion. All of us were hurting; all of us were part of the healing.
At three o’clock (how significant) the site of Ground Zero, the place of the footprints, was closed. I had just before that made my last visit to this sacred ground. We do not know if or where our lost sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, relatives, coworkers and friends will be commemorated next year.
For the grieving mother there is, now and forever, even within her heart, no final resting place.
Thank you Sister Pat.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Perhaps the worst terrorist attack since Pearl Harbor, this event has touched the lives of most Americans and many peoples around the world.
REVENGE seemed foremost on the minds of most people.
Not likely. Not for generations.
Now we wage war in Iraq. Is it an improvement? I think not.
Change comes from within each of us.
World Leaders are humans too. We work with the best we have. Or try to.
Let us learn a better and more peaceful way to live.
PRAYER FOR PEACE/PLEDGE FOR TOMORROW
Loving God, help us to realize that true peacemaking can only become a reality in our world today if it is first a matter in our hearts.
9/11 reminded us that our country has been blessed with tremendous resources that we must use wisely in the service of others, both within our own borders and around our world.
We ask for the gifts of civility and charity so that we can treat others with
respect and love.
We ask for the gifts of faith and hope to strengthen our spirits by placing
our trust in you.
We ask for the gifts of courage and compassion that will move us to action
to help those in need.
We ask for the gifts of humility and kindness so that we may put
the needs and interests of others first.
We ask for the gifts of patience and perseverance to endure the
long struggle for justice.
Hear our prayer, O God, in the name of Jesus. Amen
Shared by a friend.
Let us learn ways of non-violence.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
If you are not hungry, be thankful.
Click the title to feed someone who IS hungry.
I had a typo and that first came out be thinkful.
I have a feeling there is more to that than we realize.
I invite you to experiment with me.
Each time you think an angry thought during the next 10 days, stop and tell yourself.
I believe an attitude of gratitude makes a HUGE difference in how we live our days.
Let me know how it affects yours.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
War and violence and distrust and deceit is indeed everywhere.
AND there are people of peace lurking or living in all corners of the world.
I begin each day with reflections and action. Online action always includes the link above, where my simple and free visit to several sites can help build a world where justice is normal, not unusual.
Where Peace is the normal condition of life, I pray.
I share this scripture lesson with you in peace, today. I thank the friend who sent it to me, too.
A reading from the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians. (Eph 2:13-18)
Now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
For Christ is our peace; in his flesh he has made both Jewish people and Gentile people into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.
Christ has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it.
So Christ Jesus came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through Christ both of us have access in one Spirit to God.
May peace fill your heart today.
Monday, July 10, 2006
It probably has been said before.
"One nation shall not raise arms against another-
training for war will be no more.
God alone is the source of peace.
Let us walk in the holy presence."
from Isaiah Chapter Two
I wait for days of real peace in this world.
I know it is unlikely in my lifetime.
People have been at war since the beginnings of time.
But it is the hope for a better future and a stronger NOW that
Let us each make a moment of peace in our lives today.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
I always read my horoscope the same time I read the "funnies".
They are a reliable source of entertainment.
Sometimes I am surprised by how they seem to ring true:
... you will find that connections with others prove to be extremely rewarding.
People are starting to see your perspective on things, and peace is the name of the game.
Lead the way in promoting harmony and balance among your circle of friends and associates.
When I saw this one, it made me STOP in my tracks.
It felt so good. It resonated with how I was feeling and thinking.
Wouldn't it be great if we COULD get more people to put peace and justice on the front plate every day?!
We can only truly change ONE person in this world ... ourselves.
We can strive to influence others, but understand they are responsible for their own changes.
So think PEACE. Act Justly. Daily.
DO YOU WANT TO subscribe to a newsletter I will be sending via email soon? Send me an email with your address. I will not abuse your information.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
People ask me all the time what I am doing with my time.
I try to keep things simple.
Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I get distracted.
Remembering to keep it simple helps keep me focused and centered.
That helps with balance and serenity too.
They start to believe me and then they see that I am working some programs online and it seems to be contradictory.
Most often it is because they are easily distracted and unfamiliar with the positive potential of online work. They have been scared away by all the scams and even some hype too.
I have had some bad experiences out here in cyberspace. But I have also learned ways to do things that I do well and be paid for them. Most often that is writing, editing or coaching people and helping them find their own answers.
One of the first things I started doing was READING PAID EMAILS. I tell people that and they think... WHAT?
Well, yes. It means someone out there is paying me pennies to open ads and view them. They hope, of course, that I will like their product or program and spend money at their page.
I have been using this site for several seasons now and have learned to trust the guy who owns and runs it. THAT makes a HUGE difference in the decisions I make regarding online activity.
It is simple. Relatively mind-free. So those days whrn I have trouble focusing or nights when I cannot sleep, I actually can pick up some spare cash.
I define spare cash as that which I did not plan on having available to me at the beginning of the month. It is not really SPARE.
But before I do any of those things I start my day with prayer and action.
I will share more about these another day.
But one thing I do everyday is to go to THE HUNGER SITE and feed some hungry people.
Perhaps that helps some folks understand how and why I might be doing things online.
We can DO a LOT of good if we know where and how to do it.
The companies I have listed on this page represent doorways to stores online. For one reason or another, I have added them to my list and invite you to enter these stores through my doorway. That is how I get paid for putting their name on my page.
Peace to you and yours.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
It seems anger is the first response to things that surprise them.
It seems anger is the first response to the slightest change in the direction of their days.
Do THAT many people still believe they are the center of the universe?
Do that many people still believe THEIRS is the ONLY way?
Where do we learn this?
Or perhaps it is more apt to ask, where do we UNLEARN this?
I have anger sometimes. But not often. And rarely is it about some little thing.
Perhaps annoyance or irritation, but not anger.
Anger is for the BIG things, the injustices in this world which need to be corrected.
Many years ago, I read that Gandhi said he had stopped HATING things.
At that time I began to look at what, if anything besides strawberries or bugs in my sleeping bag, was worth HATING in my life.
It was not too long after that I realized how much energy it took me to HATE something or someone. Where did the energy come from? What else could it be used for if I stopped HATING?
Soon, I found it close to impossible to HATE anything.
I wonder if that is why I find it so difficult to comprehend so much instant ANGER.
It is not Road Rage. Sometimes its Parking Lot Rage. Or Waiting in Line Overload.
We have all seen the screaming child in the supermarket at some time.
The other day I watched a young mother dragging her screaming red faced toddler through a store. I prayed for them. The toddler will never learn from the mother who ignores the situation. And NOT one person in that store was happy to see either of them, I am sure.
Is not being compassionate more desireable than anger?
I believe it is.
The old "golden rule" Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Give peace to find peace.
Give up anger and what do we find? Perhaps a more gentle way of living each day.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
What a whirlwind of activity we had out here yesterday!
Never let anyone tell you teenagers are all punks or apathetic.
We can tell you a far far better tale from direct witness experience!
It was HOT like most Alabama summer days.
But this fantastic youth group worked their tails off without complaint.
What the 10 of them did in 4 hours saved the Farmer about a week of work!
At this time of year, that is especially important.
Thank you all.
Let me try and recall who was here from Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church and St. Paul's Lutheran Church. But I will omit last names. One because I don't remember them and two because I don't think it is appropriate to post them without their permission.
with extra help from Taylor, Bonnie, Lisa and Mauro.
Diane and Donna are really pleased to be the ones who won the bid at the Youth Group auction.
Grateful for a Great Day!
Sheryl, Jean and Lisa continued the work after the group left, so now there is a flower bed beside the Prep Shed where Donna showed you weeds and poison ivy and Virginia Creeper at the beginning of the day!
Come on back later in the season to see the native oakleaf hydrangeas on the path to the chicken coop.
The door that Mauro and Lisa were working on is completed and it IS a WORK OF ART.
Thank you all again for everything.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
How many times did you hear that as a kid?
Did you know that in many Native American cultures the Hawk is considered to be a messenger from the grandmother world. I learned this many years ago and often the primary message from the hawk is quite simple PAY ATTENTION.
For me this has taken on a meaning like MINDFULNESS. Occasionally, I have been warned of impending danger by the appearance of a flying hawk. Simply because I see the Hawk, I assume a more watchful demeanor. This has been very valuable when driving on long trips.
It is almost as if the Hawk is giving a WAKE UP CALL that reminds me to be MINDFUL to PAY ATTENTION.
Maybe you saw or read the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Long ago it was considered subversive. Now it is considered wacky humor.
But DONT PANIC no matter what and keep your towel with you for your travels across the galaxy.
One section was really special for me. As the main characters tried to run across the barren plains to a great fortress, each time any one of them had a thought, a signpost popped up out of the ground and smacked them in the face. It was the barren plains of NO THINKING ALLOWED. The antithesis of PAY ATTENTION.
I have often thought of this image. It was hilarious then. It made me remember all sorts of times when my ideas were slammed down or shut out of a discussion. Those silly signs made THINKING an undesirable activity. BUT to reach their goal the main characters HAD to think somehow.
It is almost a Buddhist koan to think without thinking. Or how ideas form without thought.
So when I fell flat on my face the other day, I decided it was as if the Universe was saying PAY ATTENTION.
To what? Obviously to the hole in the ground that caused the fall. But what else?
I literally crashed face first. One hand landed in gravel and the other on grass. My chin BOUNCED. Ouch.
So I am lying on the ground assessing the damage to my body and I think PAY ATTENTION. DON'T Panic. I have no towel but my trusty bandana is handy in my pocket,
What could the message possibly be? Hours later. It comes to me that I FELL again and it hurts. So I want to avoid that. What lesson might I learn from this falling incident.
My hands were really hurting. My attention is on my hands. Are they behaving properly?
Am I leaning on them? Am I using them well? AH. Follow that thought.
HOW AM I USING MY HANDS?
Think about it. Where your heart is, there also lies your treasure... or some such...
Who am I serving with my hands?
Am I using them to their best potential?
What might I do differently?
AH. My hands crashed into the ground. Real attention getter.
Touch the earth. YES. This resonates well with me. I almost imagine hawks keening above me in circles.
YES. I need to get back to the LAND. RETURN to the LAND and do more with it.
And that fuels my spirit in ways nothing else can.
Hand labor. Hand weeding. Digging. Mowing. Planting. All of the farm tasks that demand attention.
I listen. I hear the call to spend more time at the FARM and DO things with my hands and the earth. TOUCH EARTH and touch spirit.
In my mind, I hear the song, touch the earth with gentleness, touch the earth with love, touch her with your future by the way you live today.
God has given us the power to create the world anew, so let us touch the earth together, me and you.
Yes. Pay attention. Touch my heart. Touch Earth.
How about you?
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
A couple of friends of mine were discussing the ups and downs of their adult lives. Both seemed agitated.
No conclusions were reached. No suggestions were offered.
How often do we engage in conversations of similar circles? Each of us following our own circuitous logic and only half listening to the circle of content pouring forth from the other person.
Neither of us actually has a clear picture of the topic or problem, and surely, neither offers suggestions. Jokes are sometimes passed along or witty comments and a sense of congeniality seems to happen. But I wonder how often these conversations are meaningful.
How often do we each speak of whatever it is that matters most to us?
How often do we encounter a friend or colleague who has actually considered the question?
Listening can be hard work. But aren't we each worth the effort?
If not, why not?
Think of a time when you have listened to someone you know and actually HEARD was said in a way that could make a difference in your life or that person's life.
How often does that happen? What can you do to engage in less superfluous chatter?
Learning to listen takes time.
Listen to someone today.
Actually talk WITH someone tmorrow.
Peace to you my friends.
Friday, April 21, 2006
With all of the preparation for and involvement with Easter and Holy Week, this is now a time for many to step back an recover.
Yet, Wait. This weekend is EARTH DAY! Let us not forget to celebrate the new life of spring and spread some hope around with our good earth actions.
Don't know what to do? Simple stuff like picking up litter is fine. Or planting some flowers to beautify your corner of the earth. Or participating in a community Earth Day event. Or writing letters to legislators on environmental issues.
Why not set up a folder which will make it easier for you to put your hands on the names and addresses of those people and put some postcards and stamps in it too. That way when you are inspired to write, you are also READY to write.
What about putting a Big Star on one day in each month and let it remind you that we live on a planet travelling around a star and YOU want to do something special that day to celebrate or preserve or protect it. Then tell me what you did, if you want!
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Easter is remarkable.
Filled with the beauty of springtime...
Full of paradox of life and death. . .
Rich with the joy of the resurrection.
And Christians all around the world greet each other
He is Risen.
Yes, He is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
O God, I rest in hope,
for I know that you will raise me up.
This is the waiting time. Use it in sacred ways.
We have an advantage over the twelve apostles.
We already know there is an Easter on the horizon.
Allow yourself to feel the grief they must have felt when they did not know this.
Give yourself permission to be solemn but with a joyful heart.
What did you do to keep this day holy?
Friday, April 14, 2006
And what is good about it besides having some time off from school or work?
It is a time of sacrifice for Christians. Remembering the suffering and death of Jesus Christ whose enemies called him King of the Jews.
His kingdom was not and is not of this world. They did not understand that.
Christians and people of faith have a responsibility to care for the environment. God calls us to be stewards of the Earth, and taking care of creation is both a sacrament and a duty of religion.
In the words of Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ:
In our day the human race is inflicting deadly damage on the life systems that keep this planet a habitat for life. The twin engines of destruction are over-consumption and overpopulation. In 1950 the world numbered two billion people; now, at the turn of the millennium it numbers six billion; and by the year 2030 there will be ten billion persons on the planet. Think of it this way: the Earth's population will have multiplied five times during the lifetime of someone born in 1950.
To translate these statistics into a vivid image: another Mexico City is added every sixty days; another Brazil joins the planet every year. Our species now uses up resources faster than Earth's power to replenish itself. By a conservative estimate, in the last quarter of the 20th century, 20 percent of all living species have gone extinct. We are killing birth itself, wiping out the future of our fellow creatures who took millions of years to evolve. We live in a time of a great dying off.
I invite you to another view of this Passion.
Peace be to you.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
O God, you are the rock of our strength.
Teach us to walk the path of truth.
The Tridium is a sacred time for Christians. It tells the
story of the passion of Jesus Christ, beginning with the Last
Supper on Thursday night. It is central to the Christian faith.
Follow with us.
Walk these days with reverence and anticipation.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
On Wednesday, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will be
That won't ever happen again.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Our pastor did die. We are in the mourning process.
And remembering of the good we have shared with him... remembering the gifts that were uniquely his...
For every Good Friday there is an Easter. And always in between is a holy waiting time. A quiet time of reflection and sorrow and anticipation.
Peace to all tonight.
Friday, March 24, 2006
A dear friend is quite ill. Yes, this is a difficult time. The anguish of uncertainty. The anxiety of theunknowns. We so easily drift into the worst possible scenarios for EACH of us.
What we are called to do is remember the Grace of God and hold Pastor and his caregivers and family and loved ones in tender loving care that only our gracious and merciful Creator can give.
We find no peace on our own. We calm no fears independently. We heal no ills alone.
We serve each other best when we serve as children of the Living God and extend love and forgiveness and healing thoughts and prayers to those around us; when we embrace Pastor with the love not only that we feel, but the love he has given to us over all of these years and with the ever present love of our heavenly Father.
I cannot attend this evening's prayer service in person, but know that we are holding him and you all in our hearts and prayers from where we are.
I share a prayer that has accompanied me through many trials.
" God has given us the power to change our ways, heal the broken, loose thebonds, live welcoming to all." May we each be blessed to remember this loving God of all creation who loves us beyond understanding.
And when words fail, a song or a psalm may suffice... as simple as Jesus loves me, or the 23rd psalm or silence. Allow ourselves to be emptied of negativity, of fear of evils and allow the love and light of the Holy One to fill every cell of our beings and to fill all the hearts and minds of those who are caring for Pastor and for him too.
Love is so powerful. Let us apply it well and be mindful of God's will prevailing throughout.
Peace my friends ... peace.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
How fragile we are. Humans. Life comes. Life goes.
When a loved one is ill, we all feel the suffering.
If we do not, something is missing.
Holding our beloved Pastor in prayer together today bonds us all.
"Let there be complete silence. No whispering, no speaking."
from the Rule of St. Benedict
Let us all listen to the Word of God in our hearts today.
Listen Listen Listen.
Listen for the healing.
Listen for the peace.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
And a friend asks me today, so... what did you say? What did you do?
I must smile. I had to go back to see what I said that was leaving the mystery! Thanks for the feedback. I gave the flavor and the wherefores but left out the specifics. Typical for a motivational speaker!
But, not as helpful as direct communication. Lest I be perceived as the latest politico with a peace feather to wave in the wind... here are specifics. Remember this was a conversation among friends and family. Not always a safe place to speak words of peace.
Precisely? The easiest approach has always been to redirect. Deflect with humor and change the focus of the conversation. Like an oppossum... "play dead"... and the enemy/predator goes away and I live another day.
But I gave up my 'possum days a long time ago. Though often I choose silence or absence as my passive approach. (Note the use of the word "passive" instead of "non-violent".)
On the topic of the gunpoint robbery in the local parking lot I heard one woman say THAT is why I do not go anywhere without my husband anymore. AND I felt a surge of "Omigod where is this taking us next??" I resisted the antagonistic response of our childhood days... Well La te DAH what about all the rest of us without husbands or little old ladies?
Instead, I accepted a moderate redirect approach. Acknowledged how terrified the victim was and how dreadful it is that such a crime can happen in our backyard. Yet, are we not fortunate that it has taken this many decades for this kind of fear to strike our town? In the cities where we grew up it was commonplace. We learned to cope. We walked with purpose, parked by the lights, planned our trips and did not ever enter a parking lot with anything less than full attention to our surroundings.
A room with some nods now and less fuming.
Yes, even as we once were living in the wilds in primitive days we needed to pay attention to our surroundings in order to survive. Not everything was going to be easy for us in a world with an increasing predator population. Not then, Not now.
So, I drew an analogy with the dangers of the primitive world to bring some perspective to the very real dangers of our out-of-touch world.
Sending out a call to PAY ATTENTION. Be Mindful.
Peace is possible one moment at a time.
It does help to have a strong sense of confidence and have your mind already made up about what kinds of responses you will allow yourself. I find it extraordinary how many threatening ==yes-- even life threatening -- experiences I have encountered and survived with a variety of humane responses, sometimes playing to the crowd or the ego, sometimes showing bravado, sometimes it felt like I was dancing on the head of a pin. Sometimes there was fear, sometimes not. Hard to explain. Maybe another day.
Monday, March 20, 2006
What did YOU do today to further the cause of peace in your home, your town, your workplace, your nations?
I wept when I read about the young Afghan convert to Christianity who is being persecuted because it is a crime to do so in the Islamic society in Afghanistan.
There are so many other countries where Christians are persecuted, we hardly even know. And yet when the story of one young man hits the press, we at least are made aware of it.
So what do we do?
Prayer is certainly our universal vehicle of communication.
So. Pray Daily for the health, well-being and protection of persecuted Christians around the world.
Actually, why stop at persecuted Christians? WHY not pray for peace and healing for all of the hated and misquided and oppressed peoples of our planet? In some small way, our prayer energies may counterbalance the evils we see around us.
What did I do today? I rejected a violent response. Friends and family were irate about the first robbery at gunpoint in our little town, in the Walmart parking lot. All sorts of evil and angry thoughts bounced around the conversation in the room.
I listened. I thought. What would be my appropriate non-violent response to a situation in this small town?
Peace. So fragile. A single lunatic or drug addict can turn us all upside down and inside out. So critical for each of us to be strong enough in our convictions that PEACE is worth it that we can and (we hope we will) stand firm and bless those who offend us and pray for their guidance.
NO. Not in some holier than thou sanctimonious way.
Just simply. As one human to another.
So what? You say we have no common ground with THEM?
I say... Who among us does not have a belly button?
Is that not evidence of common beginnings?
Can be start where we are now, today and absolve centuries of hatred overnight? Unlikely. But perhaps in our little circles of friends and families we can learn to have the courage to speak out and shake the silence. Speak against the mainstream when it screams retribution without thought.
Be gentle with our victims and treat our criminals as misguided fellow humans, not as animals.
Seek Peace and pursue it.
A couple of websites that help guide my path:
http://www.thebiblesite.org/ Click here to donate translations for free.
http://thehungersite.com feed hungry people with your free clicks.
http://www.care2.com Click here for eco-justice
Friday, March 10, 2006
So why not seek peace in simple ways?
Teach me your ways
that I may follow them faithfully.
Give me discernment
that I may observe your law
and keep it with all my heart.
Guide me in the path of your commands,
for there is my delight.
Incline my heart to your will
and not to love of gain.
Protect me from all that is evil;
by your word, give me life.
To the one who holds you in awe,
keep the promise you have made.
In your great kindness
turn away the insults that I fear.
I long for your precepts;
in your justice, give me life.
OSB translation 1998
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Peace Please. Perhaps that is what we need more than peace PLACE.
Because we all need peace. And we all need it now.
Justice for all peoples can only follow peace.
Eco-justice for all of Earth needs peace to flourish.
it is Peace PLEASE.
Saturday, March 04, 2006
How we miss you.
So, too, do we strive to honor your life
with our living and being.
Often against all odds, being in concert with truth.
Remembering on March 4th
the most positive day of the year,
we March Forth with memories of you held in our hearts.
~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~
Remembering Mary Louise St. John, OSB
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Recovery from discord lies in stillness.
Be still and wait in patience,
for God’s promise is forever.
Monday, February 27, 2006
Sun is shining today. I hung two flannel sheets to dry in the morning breeze. It felt so good to do something so simple again. This afternoon I gave them about 10 minutes in the light dry fluff cycle just to be sure there is no dampness remaining. Or BUGS. Humid here.
Reflections today on Psalm 130:
Out of the depths I cry to you;
O God, hear my voice!
Be attentive to my cry, my pleading.
My soul waits for you;
I count on your word.
My soul longs for you
more than the sentry for daybreak.
~ ~ ~ ~
Out of the depths I cry aloud.
Friday, February 24, 2006
Are you thinking peaceful thoughts? If not, why not? Just because the world around us is lunacy does not mean we need to be negative and nasty too.
Actually for each negative thing I see, I feel called to do at least two related positive things to act as a kind of counter-culture to the nasty norms.
Listening to some folks this week discussing what they plan to "give up for Lent" and I felt like I landed on another planet.
Not that there is anything wrong with personal sacrifice, just that I feel it needs to be something of substance, of lasting value. Like... a friend of mine gave up coffee for Lent one year and she drank a cup of hot water at suppertime instead. She never went back to the routine of an evening cup of coffee.
Think of the savings.
So I am reflecting on what additional ways can I minimize my impact on this glorious planet. I already do not use my car at least one day each week. Perhaps I can plan my days more carefully and return to using the solar dryer more often. Hanging my clothes used to be fun.
That sounds like the focus for me this season.
How about you?
Thursday, February 16, 2006
From the writings of JoanChittister, OSB:
"Benedictine spirituality is as much about good order, wise management and housecleaning as it is about the meditative and the immaterial dimensions of life.
Benedictine spirituality sees the care of the earth, and the integration of prayer and work, body and soul, as essential parts of the journey to wholeness that answers the emptiness in each of us."
I ask myself am I truly integrating all of these components?
Apparently not. I see significant gaps in the order and management in my own life.
No one can change that but me.
How about you?
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Today would have been my Dad's birthday. If he were still alive, he would be 92. He forfeited his life to cancer in 1976.
Mother is 90. We shared memories today. It was too chilly for her to go out to the cemetary with the flowers we have purchased for his gravesite. So we will enjoy them here for a while and wait for a sunny day.
I was often clumping around, being somewhat noisy as a kid.
I thumped down the stairs from one "calamity" to the next.
Daddy affectionately called me Calamity Jane.
This morning I was living up to that name.
Before breakfast I must have dropped everything I touched.
Later in the day I told my niece I did not actually DROP the cereal box, since I never touched it. But I did CAUSE it to fall to the floor by bumping into the container adjacent to it!
We all had a good laugh about that.
As dear Bob Hope said... " Thanks for the memories. . ."
And may you find peace on your journey today.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
From Psalm 37
Put your trust in God and do good;
you will live and enjoy security.
Find your delight in the Holy One;
your heart's desire will be granted.
Commit your life to God,
and justice will dawn for you.
Your integrity will shine like the noon-day sun.
Be still before God and wait in patience.
So today is calling me to trust and do good.
It calls you to do the same.
The world might be a better place if we all did these two things every day.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Today my prayer is for all people who are in assisted living or nursing home situations.. .
That they might find grace to accept the involuntary changes occuring in their minds and bodies. . .
Each day we all awaken to something physical that has begun its process of diminishment. . .
Each day we can each choose to honor that which we still can do . . .
Each day we face the new reality of our mortality. . .
Mother was sick this morning.
She has recovered.
We both hold those tenuous moments clearly in our hearts.
May we each be blessed with grace and Spirit to live with these truths with dignity and assurance and peace.
Saturday, February 04, 2006
Is God Dancing On Your Potato Chips?
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Not too long ago I had "one of those days." I was feeling pressure from a writing deadline. I had company arriving in a couple days and the toilet was clogged. I went to the bank, and the trainee teller
processing my deposit had to start over three times. I swung by the supermarket to pick up a few things and the lines were serpentine. By the time I got home, I was frazzled and sweaty and in a hurry to get something on the table for dinner.
Deciding on Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup, I grabbed a can opener, cranked open the can, then remembered I had forgotten to buy milk at the store. Nix the soup idea. Setting the can aside, I went to plan B, which was leftover baked beans. I grabbed the Tupperware container from the
fridge, popped the seal, took a look and groaned. My husband isn't a picky eater, but even HE won't eat baked beans that look like caterpillars.
Really frustrated now, I decided on a menu that promised to be as foolproof as it is nutrition-free: hot dogs and potato chips. Retrieving a brand new bag of chips from the cupboard, I grabbed the cellophane and gave a hearty pull. The bag didn't open. I tried again. Nothing happened. I took a breath, doubled my muscle, and gave the bag a hearty
wrestle. With a loud pop, the cellophane suddenly gave way, ripping wide from top to bottom. Chips flew sky high. I was left holding the bag, and it was empty.
It was the final straw. I let out a blood curdling scream. "I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!" My husband heard my unorthodox cry for help. Within minutes
he was standing at the doorway to the kitchen, where he surveyed the damage: an opened can of soup, melting groceries, moldy baked beans, and one quivering wife standing ankle deep in potato chips. My husband did the most helpful thing he could think of at the moment. He took a flying
leap, landing flat-footed in the pile of chips. And then he began to stomp and dance and twirl, grinding those chips into my linoleum in the process!
I stared. I fumed. Pretty soon I was working to stifle a smile.
Eventually I had to laugh. And finally I decided to join him. I, too, took a leap onto the chips. And then I danced. Now I'll be the first to admit that my husband's response wasn't the one I was looking for. But the truth is, it was exactly what I needed. I didn't need a cleanup crew as much as I needed an attitude adjustment, and the laughter from that rather funky moment provided just that.
So now I have a question for you, and it's simply this: Has God ever stomped on your chips? I know that, in my life, there have been plenty of times when I've gotten myself into frustrating situations and I've cried out for help, all the while hoping God would show up with a celestial broom and clean up the mess.
What often happens instead is that God dances on my chips, answering my
prayer in a completely different manner than I had expected, but in the
manner that is best for me after all. Sometimes I can see right away
that God's response was the best one after all. Sometimes I have to wait
weeks or months before I begin to understand how and why God answered a
particular prayer the way he did. There are even some situations that,
years later, I'm still trying to understand. I figure God will fill me
in sooner or later, either this side of Heaven or beyond.
Do I trust Him? Even when he's answering my prayers in a way that is
completely different from my expectations? Even when he's dancing and
stomping instead of sweeping and mopping:? Can I embrace what He's
offering? Can I let His joy adjust my attitude? Am I going to stand on
the sidelines and sulk, or am I willing to learn the steps of the dance
he's dancin' with my needs in mind? I'll be honest with you: Sometimes I
sulk. Sometimes I dance. I'm working on doing more of the latter than
the former. I guess the older I get the more I realize that He really
does know what He's doing. He loves me and I can trust Him. Even when
the chips are down.
-- Author Unknown
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
It seems there is always more to the story than we first see.
Might we not all benefit by stepping back a moment and taking a wider view.
Soar above the scene with the 7x vision of a hawk.
Pay attention to what you see and hear and feel.
Look around at the beauty in the sky.
Can you see it in the situation yet?
Take a moment to reflect on your choices before you act.
You may be surprised by the results.