Thursday, March 31, 2011


"If these were silent, the stones would cry out!" proclaims Jesus to the Pharisees as they demanded His disciples cease their "Hosannas!" Luke 19:37-40

During the course of Holy week, we see the disciples fall away one by one. No longer courageous followers but meek and fearful...What if they remember me? They might imprision or worse, kill me too! Why has it gone this far? Why does Jesus not call upon His Father for help? Why doesn't He protect us? I can't say all these questions went through their minds...but given their actions, it would not be surprising.

On Palm Sunday Christ entered Jerusalem to loud Hosannas...Bravely and boldly the disciples followed Him as He rode into town. But things turned ugly and they didn't know what to do. Even though He had warned them, more than once...they just weren't ready! So they fade into the background...less conspicuous that way. No longer singing Jesus' praises. But there were others. Regular people who, by their words and actions, take the place of the disciples to become the "stones who cry out" in Scripture...

**Blind Bartimaeus, who found his way to the road in order to be there when Jesus passed by...he cried "Have mercy!"
**The woman who anoints Jesus with Nard. We do not know her name but we know she stepped out in faith to prepare His body.
**The servant girl in the court of Caiaphas (again, no name) but she is the one who pointed out Peter as a follower of Jesus. She had a part to play in his first denial.
**Pilate's Wife who spoke out concerning a dream..."Don't have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him." (Matthew 27:19)
**The Women at the Crucifixion...Mary Magdelene, Mary the mother of James and others who had followed Jesus and attended His needs. They did not leave Him in His final hours but sat at the foot of the cross, even at their own peril.
**The Centurion who watched Him die. "Surely this man was the Son of God" (Mark 15:39)
**Joseph of Arimathea who went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus body (Mark 15:43). Not timid, not grovelling, not begging...BOLDLY as a follower of Christ.

There were more who are barely mentioned in the Bible and others whose stories are lost in time. Those who became the stones and cried out "Hosanna" in Jesus' last hours on earth.

Intelligent Conversations...

Don't you wish you knew what they were saying to one another? Makes me smile all over!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Today on Busted Halo's Lenten Calendar we see the following:

March 30th, 2011
Strength and Wisdom are not opposing values. — Bill Clinton

FAST from using your strength to affect other people negatively.

PRAY for wisdom in our leaders at this time.

GIVE at least 30 minutes of physical activity today.

Mental Illness

I grew up in a family that included persons with mental illnesses. Of course my opinion was a little warped as a child because in those days the only treatment for Manic Depression was Shock Therapy. I haven't researched the treatment thoroughly but I do know it didn't help.

It was drilled into our heads that this was something to keep to ourselves. It was spoken about in hushed tones...don't let the neighbors find out. If they did, we would be shunned. Isn't it a shame that the things most needed by those suffering (love, acceptance and support) were the things denied? Anyone with mental illness was made to feel as if they were second class at best...unreliable, untrustworthy and tainted at the worst.

I would love to say that today, because of research, treatments and enlightenment, things have changed...but have they? How do you view mental illness? Does it make you uncomfortable? Why? It's not like it's contagious...and even though you cannot see the symptoms (as you would with a broken leg or after a surgery), they are very real.

Please view the videos below...Comic Relief in the UK is working to provide funds to help those in need...and they do a good job of speaking out...It is time to change!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Do you get excited when the calendar rolls around to Ash Wednesday the way you do the first Sunday of Advent? Is there the anticipation of the 40 days that we are called to penitence, sacrifice, contemplation that there is while we await the birth of the Christ child?

Between the two, if you had to make a choice, would it be Advent or Lent? I suspect an overwhelming majority would say Advent...after all, what is more fun in the church year than the anticipation of Christmas? That being said, which do we need more? Advent or Lent?

Have you ever stopped to think that Advent is a celebration but Lent is a gift God gives to show us the Meaning of Life...God Himself? Perhaps we are meant to take our eyes off all the distractions of our lives and focus on the One who brought us Salvation through the cross. He calls us to look with an open heart and clear eyes so as to remember that we are His children. We are the ones He loves...we are His treasures. Not because of any great thing we have done, but because in His eyes we have value, we are worthy of His Love (even though it so very hard for us to believe).

During the season of Lent, God prepares us to once again behold His mighty love through the actions of His Son and our Brother, Jesus Christ. This is not a gift one can receive without preparation...Lent is our time to get ready.

Come ye Sinners...

The Wesley Singers from Tennessee Tech University visited our church recently...they sang beautifully...

Although this is not their version, I felt the need to share the song...what an appropriate choice for the Lenten season!

Monday, March 28, 2011


Just about the time you think you've seen and heard it all...

Not judging...just wondering...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

God's Will...

Take a moment to read Adam Hamilton's thoughts on the Japanese Earthquake...

"As a pastor, I've spent 25 years working through the problem of suffering with my congregation. While it is natural, in the midst of intense grief and loss, to blame both God and ourselves for terrible tragedies (God is punishing me for something I've done/God is punishing our nation for something we've done), these answers miss the mark."

Japan's Earthquake and the Will of God

If you take the time to read the "Comments" section (I almost never do)...please do so with Rev. Hamilton's thoughts in mind: As you read the comments you'll see that there are a lot of folks commenting with pretty negative responses - not so much to my essay I don't think, many did not seem to have even read the essay, but to the very idea of God. I've noticed when someone posts an article mentioning God on most secular news site these days there is an increasing hostility towards religion in the responses.


According to my calendar, last Sunday (3/20/11) was the date of the Jewish festival of Purim. If you've ever heard that someone was raised up "for such a time as this", then you know the story. But just in case...

Oh, and it is customary to eat "Hamantaschen" on Purium

Friday, March 25, 2011

Chocolate and all the good stuff...

Each year, as Lent approaches do you find yourself in a quandary? Whatever shall I "give up" this year? Will it be chocolate? Will it be soft drinks? Will it be eating out? I have not conducted a scientific poll but I'd be willing to bet that a majority of the people who choose to "give up" something choose food. Why? Is it really sacrificial? Or do you hope to accomplish more than just feeling good about giving something up and perhaps drop a couple of pounds along the way?

Does giving up food bring me closer to God? Ideally each time you would think about eating or drinking whatever you've chosen you would instead use this time to draw closer to God through prayer or meditation or scripture reading. Does it happen that way? Or do you, like me, obsess about it? Or even worse, pat myself on the back because I've made it one more day?

Another question. When Lent is over, do you go back to the same habits you had before? Do you feel you've earned it because of your sacrifice of 40 days without chocolate?

I am not belittling those who have chosen to give up food or drink...but some kind of conversion should take place during Lent. A change in the way I live my life. It may not be a huge change (after all, Spiritual practices may take years to mature), but there should be something different. It should be something that will continue to grow through the rest of your life.

This year I've decided to eat my usual diet including all those indulgent things I love and instead "add" something. I've chosen to read a book or two, specifically chosen because of where I am in my faith walk and where I feel God is leading me. It is my prayer that He will speak to me through these "words" and help me look a little more like Jesus each day of my life.

New idols

An idol can be any thought, word or action that we place between ourselves and God. With the ancient Israelites in the desert, their idol had form, if no substance. One could reach and touch the golden calf, it was on view for all to see.

In today's world we still have our physical, cars, homes, jewelery. But there are just as many, perhaps more, that cannot be seen with the naked eye...power, prestige, the cult of celebrity and even politics. We have reached a point that any idea, law or topic boils down to "us vs them". We've left ourselves no place to meet in the middle. Everyone is viewed as either red state or blue state, conservative or liberal. You are labeled and hated simply for the choices you make and the way you choose to live your life. Hour upon hour is spent on television and radio trying to convince us that this side or that is the best. Page after page and website after website are dedicated to those we "support". Mere humans are placed on pedestals too high for mortal man to achieve. And woe be unto you if you should speak against "our person"!!

We have lost our ability to choose a leader without emotion or fervor. To rate their abilities on past accomplishments and current stances. We are made to feel that if we do not go "all out" for our person we are somehow attacking those who are. We are not allowed to see any weaknesses in them and are duty bound to hate the other side.

This is, without a doubt, another form of idolatry. ANYTHING that gets between us and God...and the politics of hate definitely blocks our access to Author and Finisher of our faith. When we choose to set one human above another, we are offering up another brick in the wall we build between ourselves and our Creator.

This Lenten season, we would do well to sacrifice our idols for the sake of our nation as well as our very souls.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It was bound to happen...

The article states that a couple who had been married for 15 years submitted their profiles to an On-Line Dating site to test their compatibility. And it just went downhill from there. Read the article here

I must say hubby and I have discussed this...and thought it would be funny to find out if we would be "matched". Needless to say, we didn't go through with it but you know someone is bound to have tried it. What would you do if you found you and your mate shouldn't be together according to the experts? It is an amusing thought to find that after living together, raising children, supporting one another in sickness and in health and the thousand other things married people do, that you might just not be right for one another.

If you're single and have tried this method, believe me, I'm not making fun...but please don't get so wrapped up in the technology that you forget to open your eyes to those around you.

In case you didn't notice, the linked article is by Newsbiscuit, a very tongue in cheek reporting of the "news before it happens".

What you must do...

A writer tells of an assignment given by her mentor. The object was to begin to set goals in her life. She was to make two lists...the first was all the New Year's resolutions she WANTED to keep and the second was a list of resolutions she WOULD keep. She was to write the "want" list first. She says she spent several hours working on the lists. Her "want" list swelled to fill an entire page and contained all her visions for living an ideal life. The second was easier to write. She committed to ten practical resolutions that were both realistic and helpful.

At the next meeting her mentor asked her about her lists. She said "The first contains all the things I SHOULD do and the second contains all I COULD do." He asked to see the second list and without even glancing at it he ripped it into tiny pieces. She was annoyed to say the least. After a few minutes (to calm down) she realized that the second list was really a "cop out" and the first was the only one that mattered.

She then handed him the first list...without reading and in silence, he crumpled the paper into a ball and threw it away. She was livid! Why would he do such a thing? Then her mentor began to speak "What you SHOULD and COULD do with your life no longer matters. The only thing that matters from this day forward is what you MUST do." He then handed her a folded piece of paper from his back pocket. She carefully opened it and found one word in the middle of the page: "Love"...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Phil Fox Rose has written an excellent article on the subject of lying on Busted Halo concerning Radical Honesty. The list below is his "Tool Kit", you'll want to read the whole article.

Before you lie

1. Pray for guidance, turning your will over to God, and asking for insight.
2. Pray also that your intentions be loving toward the other person and free
from personal gain.
3. Ask yourself these questions:
* “Am I treating this as the serious moral decision it is?”
* “Am I being the person I want to be in this moment if I do this?”
* “Is this lie for personal gain?”
* "Does the person I’m considering lying to have the spiritual capacity to
grow from the truth or would the truth just harm them?"
* “Am I denying them the opportunity to truly know me? Am I withholding
part of myself from them? Why?
4. If this is a matter of lesser of two evils, thoroughly weigh your options.
5. Tell trusted friends and advisers (therapist, spiritual advisor, mentor,
sponsor) and, if appropriate, seek their opinion.
6. If you don’t want to bring it to others, what is that telling you? Are you
afraid they’ll think you are wrong for wanting to lie? Does that suggest you
don’t really think it’s justified. Do you really want to do it even though you
suspect it’s wrong, and are afraid they’ll tell you not to do it? Sit with
7. Pray again, asking that God free you from fear, and show you the right
actions, so that you might be of maximum usefulness and lovingness.

You reap what you sow...

"Sons have traditionally been preferred over daughters in many parts of China, India and South Korea due to social, cultural and financial motivations. Sex-selective abortion is outlawed but can be difficult to enforce."

I have always taken issue with limiting the number of children a couple is allowed to have and thereby forcing them into choices that should not have to be made. This phenomena is giving rise to a whole new set of concerns in Asia. 94% of the unmarried people in China between the ages of 28 - 49 are male. 94%!!! How can they ever hope to marry and have a family of their own? One can understand the hopelessness in which they live...

Read the rest of the article here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ocean of Memories by James Horner has nothing to do with the movie and everything to do with the song. This is one that when you listen you pause, close your eyes and let the music wash over you...Music can be an heavenly language all it's own.


These are the books most often checked out of the libraries of the UK. How many have you read?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Discerning the Presence...

The Gospels are filled with examples of God's presence in the word. Personally, I am always touched by the story of Jesus in the synagogue of Nazareth. There he read from Isaiah:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
for he has anointed me
to bring good news to the afflicted.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives,
sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim a year of favor from the Lord.

(Luke 4:18-19)

After having read these words, Jesus said, "This text is being fulfilled today even while you are listening." Suddenly, it becomes clear that the afflicted, the captives, the blind, and the oppressed are not people somewhere outside of the synagogue who, someday, will be liberated; they are the people who are listening. And it is in the listening that God becomes present and heals.

The Word of God is not a word to apply in our daily lives at some later date; it is a word to heal us through, and in, our listening here and now.

The questions therefore are: How does God come to me as I listen to the word? Where do I discern the healing hand of God touching me through the word? How are my sadness, my grief, and my mourning being transformed at this very moment? Do I sense the fire of God's love purifying my heart and giving me new life? These questions lead me to the sacrament of the word, the sacred place of God's real presence.

Henri J. Nouwen

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A thought for Lent...

In order to arrive at having pleasure in everything, Desire to have pleasure in nothing.
In order to arrive at possessing everything, Desire to possess nothing.
In order to arrive at being everything, Desire to be nothing.
In order to arrive at knowing everything, Desire to know nothing.

In order to arrive at that point where you take no pleasure, you must go by a way that gives no pleasure.
In order to arrive at that point where you know nothing, you must go by a way you do not know.
In order to arrive at that point where you are free of possessing, you must go by a way you do not possess.
In order to arrive at that point at which you are nothing, you must go through that which you are not.
— St. John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel, book I chapter 13, section 11

Stations of the Cross...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Boys vs Girls

A thoughtful piece by Anthony Ensolen quoted by The Anchoress Online:

Why, I wonder, do boys these days get no love? What have they done to deserve their treatment at our hands?

Recently, a boy competing for his high school in the Iowa state wrestling tournament chose to forfeit his initial match rather than wrestle against a girl. He spoke about his decision with an admirable reserve and good sense, saying that wrestling could be a violent sport, and that in this case he had to follow his conscience and his faith. He believed, in other words, exactly what in almost any other circumstances he would be taught as an absolute rule, and that is that a man is not to raise his hand in anger against a woman, and that he is not to touch a woman who is not his wife in the way that wrestling makes necessary — grabbing under the legs, pressing chest to chest, and worse.

And there are other considerations, harder to talk about, but ones that should have occurred to sensible people — should have, that is, if there were the slightest thought for the feelings of the boy in question. The boy would have been peculiarly vulnerable. The wrestling suit is skin tight. What if he should be aroused? What if he should hesitate to use certain holds, out of embarrassment — an embarrassment, I might add, which is natural and to be respected? Nor is the girl in exactly the same situation. She can only win, and he can only lose. If she loses and he wins, well, that is only what is “supposed” to happen, given that even before they grow tall and broad shouldered, boys are still usually stronger than girls. But if she wins, her name will be on all the sports pages across the state, as well as his.

We can say all day long that he should not feel humiliated, conveniently forgetting that it is not a man we’re talking about, but a boy, and one struggling, like all boys in the straits of puberty, to grow into his manhood, to become, wiser people would say, the sort of man who would take for granted that his duty is to protect women, not to pin them to the ground. That struggle is the more acute as the boy in question is small and light, wrestling at 112 pounds. What sport can a 112-pound boy play that would allow him to be an equal member of a team of his mostly bigger and heavier and stronger brothers? The one sport that affords him the best chance of it is wrestling. Why, then, should the smallish kid be placed in this predicament? Why do his feelings and his needs count for nothing?

Read her whole piece here...

To stay young

A very dear friend of mine once gave me a re-usable calendar. Even though I have kept it on my desk for many years, I never grow tired of the quotes and Bible verses it contains. I am continually learning something new from it...

The quote for 3/18 is by an Unknown Author:
"To stay young in spirit, keep taking on new thoughts and throwing off old habits."

Followed by Psalm 92:14 "Even in old age they will still produce fruit and be vital and green." New Living Translation

If we look up the same Psalm in other versions of the Bible, any doubt or concern about what it means becomes clear...
The NIV version of the verse: "They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,"
The Message version: "They'll grow tall in the presence of God, lithe and green, virile still in old age."
The King James version: "They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;"
But I believe I like the Good News version the best: "...that still bear fruit in old age, and are always green and strong."

But who is the Bible talking about? If we go back and read verses 12 -14...God makes it plain...
12 The righteous will flourish like palm trees;
they will grow like the cedars of Lebanon.
13 They are like trees planted in the house of the Lord,
that flourish in the Temple of our God,
14 that still bear fruit in old age
and are always green and strong.

Who are the righteous? The dictionary describes it as: acting in an upright, moral way; virtuous: a righteous and godly person. That's's each and every believer.

Society would have us believe that once we reach a certain age (which is not very old at all) we are basically worthless. We must be young in order to bear fruit, the world would never describe a middle age or elderly person as "always green and strong". But that's how God sees us, and it's how He expects us to behave. So the next time someone tries to convince you that your best years are behind you, remember this verse and know that Our God and King can use us to the very end. We are never worthless in His eyes.


Thoughts on Lent, by Thomas Merton:

The purpose of Lent is not only expiation, to satisfy the divine justice, but above all a preparation to rejoice in His love. And this preparation consists in receiving the gift of His mercy–a gift which we receive insofar as we open our hearts to it, casting out what cannot remain in the same room with mercy.
Now one of the things we must cast out first of all is fear. Fear narrows the little entrance to our heart. It shrinks up our capacity to love. It freezes up our power to give ourselves. If we were terrified of God as an inexorable judge, we would not confidently await His mercy, or approach Him trustfully in prayer. Our peace and our joy in Lent are a guarantee of grace.

Friday, March 18, 2011


You just never know when or where the next Flash Mob will appear! There's dancing in this one!

You can dance anywhere, even if only in your heart. ~Author Unknown


How many times have you heard men say..."I just don't understand women at all!"? Sure, we can be confusing creatures but the answer has been out there since 1983...all they had to do was listen to Cyndi...

Thursday, March 17, 2011


And lastly, in honor of the day, a few Celtic symbols...

The Celtic Cross includes a circle which symbolizes wholeness, unity and inclusion.

Celtic symbol for the Trinity (Triquetra)

Celtic Harp

A Celtic Love Knot...They can take many forms but represent the union of two souls intertwined and inseparable.

What do you know...

Man on the street interviews about St. Patrick's day...from Busted Halo! Do you know what they're celebrating?

St. Patrick's Breastplate

Much has been written over time about St. Patrick and his conversion of the Irish. Some truth, some speculation...but there are lessons none the less. He was captured and held as a slave for 6 years. He escaped and returned to his native England.

He left Ireland, but it didn't leave him. He dreamed and heard Irish voices calling him back. Not to the back breaking labor of his slavery, but in order to lead them to Christ. They called and Patrick answered...How many of us would return to spread salvation to a people who held us captive against our will? It is said he planted nearly 500 churches prior to his death on March 17th. His mission was blessed by God and soon the entire island had been converted. Today, St. Patrick might be a little surprised by his world-wide fame...and I doubt it ever crossed his mind that he would be associated with green beer and parades but I have to believe he would be pleased that his message still affects us today.

However you choose to celebrate the day, remember the man and his mission...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nice Girls

We are not a large Youth Group...and in many ways, I love that. Each person knows the other and is connected...we have relationships! I have been blessed to lead the group for several years...

I haven't particularly followed the "Mean Girls" phenomenon...perhaps, given that I work with youth, I should have. I have witnessed them face to ballgames, a large youth events, etc. but never in my group. I have "Nice Girls"...those who speak to the 7th grade boys even when the girls are in high school and are with their friends. They encourage one another. We were recently planning to take a trip in which a "new" girl would be a part. Because she doesn't attend the public school, the girls didn't really know her. She's also 4 years younger. As it happened, she wasn't able to go with us. I announced to the group that we would be one short on the trip and received the following reaction, "Did we do something that made her nervous about going?"...I answered "No, she's just not ready." They responded with "That's a shame, we were really looking forward to getting to know her." I could have cried!

Looks as if I am not the only one having experiences with "Nice Girls"...John Moe wrote an article for the NY Times...

Down North Smith we rode, past the hospital, up Grand. The girls talked in overlapping bursts and lots of sentence fragments, a little too loudly, but everything was friendly and positive. These weren’t mean girls. These were nice girls. As we passed over the freeway, I capitalized the Nice Girls in my mind to give them a title, to make them a team in the hope they would stay together. I needed them around when Kate got older. Maybe she could join them! Maybe they could get jackets made!

Read the whole article here.

Creator and created....

We are surrounded by people who are constantly trying to reconcile the Bible and science. You will hear (or may ask) questions especially about the beginning of the world, the great flood, the plagues in Egypt and on and on. Where does the Bible tell us about dinosaurs? To the best of my knowledge, the word dinosaur isn't in there (unless they are the behemoths listed in the OT).  Did they exist? Obviously so, their bones are everywhere but on what day were they created? Were they created at a later time? Why did God allow them to die out? My question to you is...what does it matter?

The writers of the Old Testament weren't really concerned about the "how" of creation. Their concern was mainly with the "who" and "why"..."who" set everything in motion and "why" do we exist? These were (and are) the important questions. The technical explanations didn't matter to them nearly as much as describing the relationship between the Creator and the created.

Scientists will never know the answers to all of life's questions and what they believe to be true today could very well change next week. Their study is like a puzzle without all the pieces; the picture is constantly changing.  I am often fascinated by what science has to offer and what they can tell us about this wonderful creation we live I can learn, understand and grow in the knowledge of the natural world because I am sure that the Truth learned from studying God's word is just that, Truth. It may not spell out the answers to a biology quiz but it gives me all I need to know to be in relationship with you and my Creator.

Higher Love

Higher Love
Songwriters: Winwood, Steve; Jennings, Will;

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beware the Ides of March...

On March 15, 1917, Czar Nicholas II was forced to abdicate his throne, ending the Romanov dynasty.

On March 15, 1939, the Nazi's invaded Czechoslovakia...the first non-German speaking country to be invaded.

Most famous of all...
In 44 BC Julius Caesar was killed...even though he had been warned:

According to Suetonius and Plutarch, sometime in March when Caesar was making sacrifices, a soothsayer or astrologer named Spurinna warned Caesar of danger on a date no later than the Ides of March.

According to Plutarch's account, written in 75AD, Caesar had decided, wisely, to remain within the safety of his chambers on 15 March. However, Caesar's 'friend' Decimus (Albinus) Brutus (not Marcus Brutus) managed to convince him that the astrologer's warnings were nothing more than superstition; so Caesar attended the Senate anyway on that date. On his way to the Senate, Caesar contrived to meet up with Spurinna and, upon seeing him mocked, 'The Ides of March are come'. Spurinna replied, 'Yes, they are come, but they are not past'. Later that day Caesar's enemies assassinated him in the Pompeii theatre, at the foot of Pompey's statue, where the Roman Senate was meeting that day in the Temple of Venus.

The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious.
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answered it....
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me.
But Brutus says he was ambitious,
And Brutus is an honorable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill.
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar has wept.
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,
And Brutus is an honorable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse.
Was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,
And sure he is an honorable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause.
What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?
Speech by Mark Anthony at the funeral of Julius Caesar
From the play "Julius Caesar" by William Shakespeare
Act III Scene 2

A song for Lent...

A most fitting song for the Lenten season:

"My Lord did trouble me" Lyrics:

When I close my eyes, so I would not see,
My Lord did trouble me.
When I let things stand that should not be,
My Lord did trouble me.

Did trouble me,
With a word or a sign,
With a ring of a bell in the back of my mind.
Did trouble me,
Did stir my soul,
For to make me human, to make me whole.

When I slept too long and I slept too deep,
Put a worrisome vision into my sleep.
When I held myself away and apart,
And the tears of my brother didn't move my heart.

Did trouble me,
With a word and a sign,
With a ringing of a bell in the back of my mind.
Did trouble me,
Did stir my soul
For to make me human, to make me whole.

And of this I'm sure, of this I know:
My Lord will trouble me.
Whatever I do, wherever I go,
My Lord will trouble me.

In the whisper of the wind, in the rhythm of a song
My Lord will trouble me.
To keep me on the path where I belong,
My Lord will trouble me.

Will trouble me,
With a word or a sign,
With the ringing of a bell in the back of my mind.
Will trouble me,
Will stir my soul,
For to make me human, to make me whole.

To make me human, to make me whole.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Prayer during Lent

One of the Spiritual Practices emphasized during Lent is prayer...because of this and because of how this practice has impacted my life, I thought I might offer a few "tools of the trade" if you will...

When you're trapped at your desk during the day...make a quick visit to Sacred Space. It can last as long as you'd like (or as little as 5 to 10 minutes). The Jesuits of Ireland have created a really wonderful place in cyberspace.

The "Jesus Prayer"...while beads are not necessary, I find them very useful. I made the particular set I use (this is just a random picture, choose any beads you like): a piece of string or yarn...14 small beads and then 1 larger bead x 3 then add 14 small beads and one small cross (1.5")(again, just an example)
...tie together and Voila! Prayer beads! For each of the small beads repeat, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner", for each of the larger beads, repeat the Lord's Prayer. When you have worked your way around to the cross, repeat the Apostle's Creed. I find the Jesus Prayer most helpful in times of distress when I can think of nothing to pray or at the beginning of my prayer time as an exercise to quiet my mind and center my heart.

If you can find no other time to do so (or in addition to other times), pray in your car. Turn off your radio and spend time in your very own sacred space. Now, those you pass may wonder what you're doing, but let them wonder. At the start of your day, or on the way home, this can change your focus and bring you peace and contentment...especially if you get stuck in traffic!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Word of God...

Hebrews 4:12-13 tells us:"For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."

Can you see the image of the sword? Instead of a blade that is sharp only on one side and as such is limited in use, this sword is a formidable weapon no matter what direction you swing it. God's Word is just such a weapon...except it is not a weapon for dealing death but LIFE.

Sin whispers through the desires of the flesh and rationalizations of the mind..."You won't have a chance in the future if you don't cheat on this test". "You won't be noticed if you don't dress a certain way". "You won't have job security if you speak up about dishonest practices at work". "Your life will be wasted in this relationship, you should just get a divorce". "Only a fool would go around looking weak instead of getting revenge".

All of these statements are lies. It is the deceitfulness of sin. Those lies sometimes lodge themselves very deep in the heart. Thought and intentions that seem unshakably true because of the hardness of the heart that encloses them like a dark, sealed casket. In that condition, unbelief has the upper hand. We are not believing the promises of God, we are trusting in the promises of sin. The Word of God is living, active and sharp and it will penetrate deeper than the deception of sin has ever gone and reveal what is truly worth trusting.

Stations of the Cross, 21st Century...

Although I do not belong to the Catholic Church, the Stations of the Cross have always spoken to me. Each Sunday during Lent, I will have a different post concerning the Stations of the Cross...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pictures of devastation...

Lest we think that we are somehow in control, pictures of the aftermath of yesterday's earthquake and tsunami. It is so hard to imagine, unless you are there...

Swirling waters....

Crushed Cars....

Homes in flames...

Like toys thrown about by a giant hand...

Fireball in the sky...

A highway turned on it's side...

A crack in the earth...

Bread of Life

by Cities Apart...

Friday, March 11, 2011


This is what an 8.9 magnitude earthquake looks like on a graph. The photo below shows us what it looks like in the real world. Our prayers go out to the people of Japan and the entire Pacific region....

A Lenten Cross

Full story by Reuters:
Thousands of Filipinos lined up across a football field in Manila to mark the start of Lent by forming a human cross they hoped would go down as the world's biggest.

Officials at the University of Santo Tomas, a Catholic university that at 400 years old is the nation's oldest, said the Ash Wednesday event was also a proclamation of the school's stand against abortion and a controversial bill on reproductive health currently being debated.

More than 20,000 people, including students, faculty members and university personnel, the students wearing black t-shirts or white school uniforms, stood side by side to form a two-colored Dominican cross while prayers were recited and songs sung.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I enjoy reading as much as the next person...perhaps more than many but this is a "wee" bit bizarre!

Medical Breakthrough!

I am pleased to announce that doctors have discovered a vaccine against Bieber Fever! The wonders of modern medicine!

In case you weren't aware...Newsbiscuit is not your ever day "news" network!

A Lenten Prayer

by Henri J. Nouwen

Dear Heavenly Father,
The Lenten season begins. It is a time to be with you, Lord, in a special way, a time to pray, to fast, and thus to follow you on your way to Jerusalem, to Golgotha, and to the final victory over death.

I am still so divided. I truly want to follow you, but I also want to follow my own desires and lend an ear to the voices that speak about prestige, success, pleasure, power, and influence. Help me to become deaf to these voices and more attentive to your voice, which calls me to choose the narrow road to life.

I know that Lent is going to be a very hard time for me. The choice for your way has to be made every moment of my life. I have to choose thoughts that are your thoughts, words that are your words, and actions that are your actions. There are not times or places without choices. And I know how deeply I resist choosing you.

Please, Lord, be with me at every moment and in every place. Give me the strength and the courage to live this season faithfully, so that, when Easter comes, I will be able to taste with joy the new life that you have prepared for me.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

International Women's Day

In addition to being Ash Wednesday it is International Women's Day...the following was made in the UK but presents some facts about equality around the world.

Bravo Daniel Craig...

Calendar for Lent

Busted Halo has a unique approach to Lent — the very popular Fast Pray Give Lent calendar.

Lent is about more than giving up some favorite food, so we’re inviting you to take a closer look at its true meaning. Each day throughout Lent, starting on Ash Wednesday, the calendar’s link for that day will become active, revealing a Daily Jolt of spiritual contemplation relating to Lent, and new and practical ideas for fasting, prayer and alms giving.

Check it may just keep you on your toes this Lent!

Ash Wednesday

Memento homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris

Remember, O man, that you are dust and to dust you shall return

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Nature of Love, a book review:

The Nature of Love by Thomas J. Oord

I hate to start a review negatively but there is one aspect of the authors arguments that sets the tone for the book. Others may take my only major critique as a “feeling” rather than fact, but I cannot disassociate myself from the way a book makes me feel. His ideas would be much more approachable had Dr. Oord chosen to define the book with those theologies with which he agrees with rather than those he does not. While I realize that showing the way one disputes a theology can be an effective way to present ideas, is a little disconcerting that his arguments for the “ theology of love” are presented as disagreements.

That being said, he does make a convincing case that Christian theology, the church if you will, needs to return love as the center of their teachings. He makes the point that love (promoting the over-all well-being of others) is central to the works, teaching and ministry of Jesus Christ.

Using insightful definitions of the Greek words used in the Bible: “Agape (an intentional response to promote well-being when responding to that which has generated ill-being)”, “Eros (acting intentionally, in response to God and others, to promote overall well-being by affirming and/or seeking to enhance value )” and “Philia (acting intentionally, in response to God and others, to promote overall well-being by seeking to establish deeper levels of cooperative friendship)” he demonstrates love’s primacy in the Bible. He then goes on to offer a reason that the theologians have all but ignored it. Love is not an easy word in that we don’t all mean the same thing when we use it. Many feel they know love and yet no one has really articulated a good solid definition. Contrary to what media would have us believe, love is not a feeling so much as a chosen action.

Dr. Oord introduces us to his theology “Essential Kenosis” (kenosis being the Greek word for emptiness). Love is God's nature. God does not force us, He persuades us. Essential Kenosis provides that God loves us perfectly. It is against His nature to override the freedom of choice He gave us at creation (that, in itself, is an act of love, the giving of Himself). He knows of the evil in the world, He could do something about it, but does not because of this act of love, this freedom. The self-giving nature of God is the foundation for everything else there is to know and say about God.

While I did critique the style of the authors arguments, I would recommend this book for the insight into the nature of God and His relationship with us.

St. John of God

Today is the Feast day of St. John of God. His life was transformed when he heard a sermon by John of Avila...

"...John of God worked as a nurse in the hospital until he left to rent a house and care for homeless sick persons. He and the others who joined him begged for funds to support their ministry, forming the Brothers Hospitallers Order."

After saving a drowning man from a flood, John of God became ill and died on his fifty-fifth birthday on March 8, 1550. More information here...

The Brothers Hospitallers still serve the world today...

One word at a time...

I read the following piece written by Rabbi Lewis...the message is to be savored and is unique as it is written using only 1 syllable words. This is an ancient discipline which is meant to be simple but not simplistic.

What if God were to speak to us now; to give us a fresh look at what's real, true and the core of our world? Might God say, "Be just, be kind, care, share, give, take, love, laugh, cry, feel the pain and dance in the time of joy"? And what would we hear? Would it be what we want to hear or what was said? Could we each hear in our own way? Must we all be of the same mind? Must the one who hears at 12 feet fight with the one who hears at 12 yards? Will the black one and the white one and the child of the land all know God in the same way? And if not, will they fight?

What if God said, "I grant you a gift: a world full of peace, health and food for all. I give you a time, now, when each may sit by his vine and by her fig tree and none will cause you fear"? Would we heed the words? If God came to each of us in a dream, would we hold the dream in our hearts and souls, or would we cast it off as just a dream? What would it take to look deep within, where we live and know truth, and there to find the one God, who cries for us and waits and hopes and says, "I am here. Do not fear. Live, love, talk and walk hand in hand with me. Let no child learn war anymore, but let each bring what is right and just in his home and in her land"!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Oh me, Oh my...

Political correctness gone awry! These privileges are extended.

While this couple has been told "There's no place for Christianity within the British Judicial system". By the way, they've been told not to appeal because there is "no way" the decision will be overturned. Given that, along with the fact that they'd have to pay the opposing sides legal fees if they lost, the couple will not be pursuing the case any further.

Please don't say..."It could never happen here..."

Alpha and Omdga

Isn't it wonderful when, during the course of an otherwise normal day, you are offered a nugget of truth?

The Youth are finishing a Bible Study that has been going on through the school months for 3 years now! Looks like by the end of the 2011 school year we will have finished ALL the books of the Bible. Of course, that means that right now we are beginning the Book of Revelation.

In preparation for last Wednesday night's study, I was reading through a commentary on the book. Now I have heard Jesus called the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last for my entire life. Long ago, I packed this information away and have since thought very little about it. This commentary offered a new dimension: Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. In order to form words, one must use the alphabet...and thus Alpha and Omega help make up the "Words" of God...another name for Jesus.

Amongst Jewish Rabbi's it was common to use the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet to denote the "whole" of anything. Jesus' followers would have known this.

Alpha and Omega speak to the eternal nature of God, affirming the Deity of Christ. Because of this, Christ has the power to carry out the Father's plan of redemption. Perhaps, unlike me, you had already taken your thoughts on the Greek letters to their natural conclusion, but I had not.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

Sunday, March 6, 2011


536 years ago today, Michelangelo Buonarroti was born in Caprese, Tuscany.

Several years ago, I had the great good fortune to view a small portion of his works which are housed in The Louvre in Paris. It is absolutely amazing that a man with chisel and hammer can work a piece of stone and make it look as if it should be breathing...Breathtaking is a perfect word for his works.

As I have mentioned before, of all that I have seen (either in person or in picture) my favorite piece is without a doubt, the Pieta. Perhaps some day I will see it in person!

Michelangelo's Pietas
Loneliness and sorrow were Michelangelo's companions in the last years of his life. His younger friends, Vittoria Colonna and Luigi del Riccio were already dead, and in 1556 his faithful servant Urbino died too. In this period, he insistently produced studies and drawings of the Crucifixion and the Lament over the Dead Christ.

They were also the years of his last sculptures, including the Florentine Pietà, carved for his own tomb. Dissatisfied with his work, Michelangelo attacked the sculpture with a hammer, breaking off a leg and an arm from the figure of Christ and one of the Virgin Mary's hands. Another sculpture the so-called Rondanini Pietà, consisting solely of the figures of the Madonna and Christ, may have been begun by Michelangelo before 1550 but had remained unfinished.

Now his friends - we are told by Vasari - had asked him to start work on it again "so that he could continue using his chisel everyday." Still perfectly lucid, the almost ninety-year-old Michelangelo created one of his most spiritual images, in which the Mother and Christ almost interpenetrate in an indissoluble union, beyond passion and physical death.

Ironically, this Pieta is housed under the dome that Michelangelo designed in Rome, which is the dome of the Sistine Chapel.


Teresa of Avila said, "Humility is to walk in the truth of who you are. Accepting our weaknesses and our limitations as gifts of God as well as our gifts and talents." It is so very hard to be thankful for a weakness. But in order to grow in the likeness of Christ we must accept it as coming directly from God's hand. It is His express purpose to lift us up through guidance and instruction. Unless we practice humility and open our hearts, how can He teach us? Especially if we think we already know it all?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A giraffe named George...

When we took our children to Florida on vacation for the very first time, we tried to pack in as much fun and adventure as possible. We planned to save Disney World for another trip. We stopped at Marine Land, stayed a couple of days in St. Augustine, a few more days in Daytona and then headed to Silver Springs ( Our day there was filled with rides on Glass Bottom boats, watching the alligators, the beautiful crystal clear water and various other sights. Just before we left, we decided to make a round and visit a few more animals.

My son was fascinated but rather small at the time so hubby perched him on his shoulders for a better view. It was perfect, he was just the right height to see it all. Unfortunately for hubby, a male giraffe named George must have thought they were just as interesting as he was to us. He wandered up to the fence to check out these two humans who looked like one.

They stood there for a few moments, almost face to face (son and George that is) just looking at each other. While son sat mesmerized, George decided he liked what he saw...and proceeded to lick my husband...from the base of his neck all the way to the top of his head. As he was holding on to son, there was nothing to do but stand there and take it.

Needless to say, covered in giraffe slobber and with the hair on one side of his head sticking straight up, hubby was not happy...but son was thrilled! You see, as George licked, son put out his hand and rubbed part of George's exceptionally long neck. How many children from our part of the world can say they've petted a giraffe? After a quick trip to the rest room to freshen up, all was well and hubby had decided it was worth the indignity. Our son's joy lasted the rest of the trip.

As time has passed and son began to realize what his Dad did for him that day it's taken on a different meaning. A source of ribbing for Dad but a source of love and pride for son. What a beautiful example of the lengths a father will go for a child.

A lesson while driving...

Have you noticed you may take vacations from work and home but you can never take a vacation from God? Once, while traveling home from Charleston, SC , I was driving in the center lane. There were several signs that the right lane was ending. I noticed a car over there but didn't really pay attention. After all, it's their responsibility to merge, right? Needless to say, they continued on in the right lane until it ended and then proceeded over into mine. Fortunately, I had not completely dismissed them but did have to slam on my brakes to avoid an accident. God's hand was seen as the car behind me was not tailgating and was able to slow down and not hit me in the back. To say I was livid is an understatement. My poor Hubby had to listen to me fuss for the next 10 minutes. I won't repeat what I said but suffice to
say, I exhausted my self righteous indignation!

An hour or so later, it was my turn. Traveling in the left lane, I turned on my blinker to merge right and continue on with the slower traffic. Even though I thought the lane was open, it wasn't. Thanks to some quick thinking (and their horn!), the other car let me know they were there. There wasn't an
accident but I was severely embarrassed. I then said a prayer of thanks for avoiding an accident and for the driver of the other vehicle. But wait, I wonder if their response toward me was the same as I had toward the earlier driver? It was was then I realized I had been very unfair toward them. The first driver didn't know what I had said, but I did.

Don't you just hate it when you get to feeling all high and mighty only to be brought back to reality? I don't really hate it, I am thankful that He continuously teaches us and uses opportunities when nothing is lost except a little pride. I once received a gift that said "Dear Lord, please put your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth!". Ah, humbleness! Guess I need to pray that one a little more often.

Friday, March 4, 2011

7 Billion....

A series by National Geographic...

Do you tend to use the words "typical" and "normal" interchangably?
typical: Of the nature of or serving as a type or representative specimen
normal: conforming to the standard or the common type; usual;regular

"Representative specimen"..."conforming to the standard"

By virtue of the fact that there are 9,000,000 men "of this type" they are typical. But, out of a population of 7,000,000,000...this is not the "normal" face we see every day. But then again, if you've watched the clip you know that even the makers of the video say that "typical is relative".

A joyful heart

Have you ever met someone that you would call joyful? Did you find yourself infected with this joy? Did you allow yourself to give in to this feeling and just go with it?
While joy can and does define our characters, it cannot be forced. Joy just happens when we open ourselves to it.

So many people have lost their joy...had it suppressed...or have never fully experienced it. Day to day living can leave us tired,hurting and broken. True joy is an external expression of praise and thanksgiving to God. It is the worship of our Creator God. We can live our lives with joy in our hearts because of His ultimate victory over the world. Praise is the overflow of a joyous heart.

It has been said that true worship happens when heaven hears our praise and comes down to kiss the earth. Greet each and every day with a joyful heart and you will be amazed!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Please tell me this will NEVER happen!

Asbo Jesus

St. Katharine Drexel

Today is the Feast Day of St. Katharine. Born in 1858 to a wealthy Philadelphia family she felt a pull to the spiritual life rather than one of a socialite. At her father's death, she inherited $14,000,000.00.

With this money and her devotion to the poor, she founded approximately 50 schools for African-Americans, 12 for Native Americans and helped sustain 145 Catholic missions. One of Mother Katharine's crowning achievements was the founding of Xavier University in New Orleans.

She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in November of 1980.

The image of Christ

We belong to a generation that wants to see the results of our work. We want to be productive and see with our own eyes what we have made. But that is not the way of God's Kingdom. Often our witness for God does not lead to tangible results. Jesus himself died as a failure on a cross. There was no success there to be proud of. Still, the fruitfulness of Jesus' life is beyond any human measure. As faithful witnesses of Jesus we have to trust that our lives too will be fruitful, even though we cannot see their fruit. The fruit of our lives may be visible only to those who live after us.What is important is how well we love. God will make our love fruitful, whether we see that fruitfulness or not. Henri Nouwen

We experience Nouwen's words every day of our lives. And the constant upgrades in technology do nothing to help our desire to see and have it all, right now...even when it comes to our spiritual lives. We would do well to hold the simple desires of this poem in our hearts and use it as a guide for living. Not so we may demand credit for ourselves, but so we can be seen as the image of Christ.

If there be some weaker one,
Give me strength to help him on;
If a blinder soul there be,
Let me guide him nearer Thee;
Make my mortal dreams come true,
With the work I fain would do;
Clothe with life the weak intent,
Let me be the thing I meant;
Let me find in Thy employ,
Peace that dearer is than joy;
Out of self to love be led,
And to heaven acclimated,
Until all things sweet and good
Seem my natural habitude.
John Greenleaf Whittier

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Our Children

On Children
by Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Pillar of Fire

Exodus 13:21-22
21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. 22 He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.

Although this image was taken during a fire and according to the article is called a "Fire Tornado", I couldn't help but wonder if the pillar of fire God used to help the Israelites may have looked like this.

As a child I would conjure images in my head as my Grandmother read me stories from the Bible. It was awe inspiring (even before I knew the meaning of the word) to think of what the Pillar of Fire would look like to the people. What more did they want to know with certainty that the God of Abraham was rescuing them from bondage?

Although there have not been any reported pillars in recent history, it's enough to know that God did it once, and could do so again...if the need arose.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have joy in your soul regardless of the circumstances? The Apostle Paul lived this way through all his trials and tribulations. He is a testament to a life lived that is neither dependent on circumstances nor changed by difficulty.

This beautiful child is showing us an outward manifestation of joy...tell me it doesn't make you smile...Don't know about you, but I want this in my life!