Jul 30, 2014


I linger over a photo of our precious little grandsons; 
standing side by side on the pristine beach, gingerly venturing out into the foaming surf, thrilled by the cold blue waves and the tickle of Gulf shore sand washing against their feet. 

In the way that thoughts wander, 
in my mind’s eye 
I travel across that same blue sea stretching vast across the planet 
to the Mediterranean shores where it is not safe for other little children to play. 
Places where wars rage.

Then I imagine being able to visually draw back from these beaches just as the satellites do; taking in more and more land mass until its the large curving surface of our living planet that is seen spinning endlessly beneath its cameras.

On that ever rotating mass of miraculous alchemy of water and earth 
there are billions of life incidents occurring. 
Billions of human actions taking place. Billions of actions enacted with mercy and compassion. 
And then there are the others. 

In seeking God’s peace
the response seemed to be, 
"Have no doubt."
All of it is enacted under the gaze of our Holy Creator God. 
And all of it will be redeemed by His incomprehensible power, 
in His good time.

"From heaven the Lord looks down
and sees all mankind;
from His dwelling place he watches
all who live on Earth –
he who forms the hearts of all,
who considers everything they do."
Psalm 33:13-15


Linking with Emily, click here at Chatting At the Sky as we bloggers gather to muse over what we learned this summer and with Still Saturday where the gifts of Sabbath thoughts are shared.

Jul 28, 2014

Approach from a Different Angle

While squeezing some semblance of life out of hard, uncompromising circumstances solace arrived in the strength of a single wild bloom. 

During an early morning walk it appeared unexpected and incongruent, like a sun-yellow flag planted in a moonscape of rock. Living green and spiraled gold surrounded by the sharp edges of dry, nonsustaining stone. 

A water seeking, nutrient dependent creature can perish in such an environment. 

Living seems just so at times. All that is visible appears to offer not a mite of support to ease basic survival through treacherous times.

Approaching the bloom on the return circuit of the walk, passing by from a different angle, changed the perspective, changed the understanding. 

Consider instead, the protective qualities of impervious rock. No lawn mowing blades arrived here to slice through a wild bloom. Flooding rivulets of rain washing down the rocky bank were channeled around the shallowly rooted, errant seed until its roots grew a deeper grip. The sharp and uneven rock surfaces prevented the smooth terrain seeking footsteps of humans. 

The seemingly rigid and hard may be providential protection and an opportunity to thrive.

Revisit the harsh and uncompromising circumstances. It may be that the presence of sacred grace, a veiled blessing, is obscured by a narrow perspective.


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Jul 19, 2014

My Strength

My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart 
and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:26


The heart shutters at the darker events of its time; shutters and howls in grief for fellow humanity suffering from the varied forms and wretched consequences of trauma. 

A young loved one debilitated by chronic pain or global humanity shattered by ancient battles: in faith  we grasp for the sacred response of fervent prayer.

 Knees bent to the floor, head bowed, hands clasped, whispers wringing out pleas for mercy that can only come from the almighty power of Holy God. 

Prayer re-enacted across the course of our breath filled hours 
is witness to the faith and hope in our souls.


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Jul 13, 2014

Enter Silence

When life is heavy and hard to take, 
go off by yourself. 
Enter into silence. 
Bow in prayer. 
Wait for hope to appear. 
Lamentation 3:28 MSG

Richard Foster writes on the Discipline of Solitude 
and the gifts that this practice offers to the searching heart: 

“There is the freedom to be alone, 
not in order to be away from other people 
but in order to hear the divine Whisper better.” *

Further in the discussion of solitude Foster adds:

“The dark night (of the soul) is one of the ways God brings us to hush, 
a stillness so that He may work an inner transformation upon the soul.” *

Settle into silence,
still enough,
to capture a universe of watery orbs spilled across a single blossom. 

Such moments welcome the Holy whispers of wisdom.

*Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster.

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Jul 5, 2014

A Reading Mother

Marlene, 1978

Sunday’s, after church and lunch, mother would read the Sunday paper. Glasses would perch low on the bridge of her nose. She sat, legs crossed, on the couch, still in church clothes, heels kicked off, a long string of pearls and that small pocket watch on a gold chain graced her slender neck. She read closely, page by page, throughout the afternoon well past the sun’s brightest rays spilling across the hardwood floor. 

In the quiet evening hours mom was frequently found reclined, pillows stacked behind her head, book in hand. The thick volumes of historical fiction and poetry on her bedside table and the half a dozen National Geographic or art books stacked on the living room coffee table were ever changing. She was a devoted library patron who scoured those shelves for history, culture, and faith in every genre. Her home was littered with books and her life was peopled with fellow readers. Book Clubs were not common in small town midAmerica in that era and yet, mom had one. The community of women gathered monthly to enjoy the brisk conversation that good reads foster and I had the privilege to be their guest one summer morning. Suffice it to say that one does not really know their mom until you have heard her converse articulately about the literary merits of a classic book of fiction or a recent best seller. I was startled by her range of knowledge and impressed by her articulate manner of discussion. It was a watershed moment for me, seeing her in the fullness of her character.  

She read to to be inspired. She read to study and she read to teach. There were years that read to her young children. There were years that she taught adult Bible study classes. Then there were years that she returned to the University.  A corner of the living room was set aside for portraits of her children under which was placed her desk. It was a beautiful, oval, antique oak, writing desk, place at an angle from the framed, wide beveled glass, window. It was paired with a carved oak chair with a caned seat. Their uniquely grained surfaces and finely carved details were stunning. It is poignant to recall her seated there, under the lamp light, with opened books leaning against each other, spread out in front of her as she studied. She relished social sciences, Russian literature, Women’s Studies, and Biblical history. Tolstoy, Friedan, the Gospels, Hebrew texts, and multiple versions of Bibles covered her desk in those years. During this season of life Mama Marlene’s slight frame seemed to gain noticeable stature. She stood taller. She spoke with even more eloquence. Her mind was lit up by academic pursuits. I will forever remember the joy and passion that she claimed from the rigors and knowledge of advanced learning. Her reading was perennial. Every season, any hour, life long. It is fair to say she read voraciously.

Her children too, became readers. Our professions and interests mirror hers, in reinvented interpretations of our own. The wellspring, undeniably, was our mother’s example and her passion for the wealth of imaginative, intellectual, and spiritual inspiration that can be found in the printed word. 

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