Wednesday, August 31, 2011

As the world turns...

Although these photos may look like they are computer graphics, they're not. Lincoln Harrison spent 15 hours with a long exposure lens in the Australian Outback to capture these images.

The star trails were created by the rotation of the earth...

Church only on Sunday?

I suppose I have been blind, or too busy with my own little world...before this morning if you had asked me about the Methodist Church in Fiji, I would not have known there was anything wrong....but now...

The Fijian government has banned all Methodist Church meetings except for Sunday worship in an unprecedented crackdown on religious freedom. This includes house groups, women’s prayer fellowship, choir practice, mid-week communion and youth fellowship, as well as the Church’s governance meetings.

Having withdrawn the permit for the Church’s annual Conference the evening before the event was due to start, the interim government has now notified the Church in a letter from the Fiji Military Council that all other meetings of the Methodist Church are forbidden. All Methodist ministers are also forbidden from leaving the country for any meeting. The Church is responding with prayer and fasting. A planned press conference had to be cancelled last week because of the fear of further arrests. The Methodist Church is the largest faith group in Fiji and the only group to receive this treatment by the Government.

Read the rest of the article here...


Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I can't believe I missed this article concerning Alien Life and Greenhouse gases...

Watching from afar, extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth's atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilization growing out of control – and take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat, the researchers explain.

"Green" aliens might object to the environmental damage humans have caused on Earth and wipe us out to save the planet. "These scenarios give us reason to limit our growth and reduce our impact on global ecosystems. It would be particularly important for us to limit our emissions of greenhouse gases, since atmospheric composition can be observed from other planets," the authors write.

They may attack us because of the destructive influence we are having on our planet...excuse me? Did I miss the part where it has been established that there are aliens in our galaxy?

But if I believe in God and believe Him to be the Maker and Creator of everything, wouldn't He have also created the aliens? Just wondering!

A prayer poem

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;
Cloth with life the weak intent,
Let me be the thing I meant;
Le 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 Greeleaf Whittier

And the winner is...

The 2011 MTV VMA awards program had the dubious honor of being the "most bleeped out awards show ever". For those who may not know, live television programs run on a 3 (or 5) second delay so that censors have time to put a bleeping noise in the place of any vulgar language the artists may use.

I find this somewhat ironic. These awards are for entertainers whose claim to fame is communication. One would think that they would work on the way they speak to creatively make themselves understood. Of course, others would argue that words MTV and intelligent don't go in the same sentence.

I remember when MTV first hit the airwaves. Hubby and I were somewhat fascinated by the conceptual videos that accompanied some of our favorite songs. But even in the early days, I would not allow my elementary age children to watch.

Whatever the reasoning behind crude and vulgar language, I miss the days when people (TV Hosts, actors, musicians, etc.) were able to express themselves without those "4 letter words" that are so commonplace today. I once had an English teacher who told us that if we had to resort to "ugly language" in order to get our point across, we were not using our brains. I have to agree...I'm really tired of hearing these words spoken even on some childrens TV shows.

Can't we learn to speak without using such tactics? Can we not express fear, disappointment, anger, passion, etc. using the dictionary as a guide? While I do admit, I have been known to slip and use a word now and again that I should not, I work very hard at not allowing them to pepper everything I say. I hold fast to Ephesians 4:29:

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

Foul language does not make us look tough or time you are in a conversation with a group of people, make a concerted effort to speak using only "G" rated words and see if anyone notices. Who knows, you may just start a trend!

Monday, August 29, 2011


Everyone on the Eastern Seaboard has been watching and waiting for the storm...although many were catastrophically affected, thankfully she was not quite the monster many feared.

St. John the Baptist

Today is his feast day...

John was born to Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary's cousin. When Mary and Elizabeth saw each other during their pregnancies, Elizabeth felt the child in her womb "leap." So even before their births, John and Jesus were connected.

About A.D. 28, John began to preach repentance and to baptize people in the Jordan River. He lived simply. Matthew 3:4 says, "Now John wore clothing of camel's hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey." (NRSV) Thousands were drawn to his charismatic personality and strong message. He clearly understood his role to be that of the "forerunner," the one who would "prepare the way for the Lord." When Jesus came and asked to be baptized, John felt unworthy, but did baptize him in the Jordan.

John was known for his outspoken condemnation of sin wherever he saw it. He took on church leaders (Sadducees and Pharisees), tax collectors, and soldiers. When he spoke against the immorality of Roman ruler, Herod Antipas, he was beheaded. Jesus said of him, "He was a burning and shining light" (John 5:35, NRSV).
From MethodX

You could say, his birth made his father speechless!
Luke 1: 5 - 25
5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside. 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” 18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” 19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” 21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak. 23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

Sunday, August 28, 2011


True Humility is about becoming honest with ourselves, acknowledging both our strengths and our weaknessess, accepting that we can be both saint and sinner, angel and monster. It's about seeing oursevles as we really are. Humility neither exaggerates nor plays down the truth about who we are. It simply accepts the reality that we are fragile and fallible human beings who need a power beyond ourselves if we are going to become the people God wants us to be. In short, humility is being real about who we are.

Fare for the Soul

God be in your head, and in your understanding.
God be in your eyes, and in your looking.
God be in your mouth, and in speaking.
God be in your heart, and in your thinking.
God be at your end, and at your departing.
Sarum Liturgy, England 13th century

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Dogs are often called man's best friend. Having owned dogs for most of my adult life, and after loving them all my life, I can say this is absolutely true. We live on a farm so all our dogs live outside, but that doesn't diminish our relationship.

Since hubby and I have been married, we've had 6 dogs...
Margo was found one Sunday afternoon in the country, she was with us 2 years but sadly was hit by a bus....

Dufus thought she could help with every aspect of farming...even to hanging tobacco in the barn (but that's a story for another time)...

Cissy, was a "bird dog" in every sense of the word. She was the best I've ever seen and hunted with us faithfully for 5 years before succumbing to breast cancer:

Champ, was Cissy's beautiful, carefree replacement in the hunting department. Boy could cover some ground but not with the elegance and accuracy of Cissy:

We had Bubba, farm dog extraordinaire, for 15+ years and we still miss him 7 years after his death...

And now we have Suzie. She's been with us 4 years now and what can I say? She is everything wonderful that is a Labrador Retriever:

It seems that Hawkeye loved his master as much as any of our dogs have loved us...why am I not surprised? Jon Tumilson was a Navy Seal killed in last month's helicopter attack. Thank you sir, for your service. Our hearts go out to his family and friends...and to Hawkeye.

9/11 Memorial Service?

Wait! It's a Memorial for the 10th anniversary of a horrifying event in which we saw carnage, pain, sorrow and destruction. We also saw acts of courage and self-sacrifice that helped hold us together, these acts gave us comfort and strength in the face of such heartbreak.

NY City Mayor Bloomberg has announced that "First Responders" will not be invited to the service. Neither are clergy, of any type. The Mayor says there just isn't enough room for them. They are merely the ones who rescue us, protect us, face danger for us, tend our wounds, console us, bless us, pray with and for us and bury us. But then again, that is their way. They come to the rescue and then fade into the background once their job is done.

And so, although they won't be at the service, we won't forget what they have done...and continue to do, day after day.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Donnybrook

I've heard this word more than once in my life but never took the time to look up the definition. "Donnybrook: a usually public quarrel or dispute"...It's an Irish word that I knew all along, I just didn't realize it!

You see, we love the John Wayne / Maureen O'Hara movie "The Quiet Man". Set in the 1920's, John Wayne plays Sean Thornton, a quintessential American gone back to Ireland to connect with his roots. He marries Mary Kate Danaher, who pridefully warns him, “I have a fearsome temper; we Danahers are a fighting people.” The highlight of the film is an epic donnybrook pitting Thornton against Mary Kate’s brother, “Red” Will Danaher; it is a fight over cultural and moral understandings, and as the fisticuffs spill through a meadow and into the towns and pubs, the townspeople enthusiastically join in. Other communities send spectators and even the priests and bishops look on and make discreet wagers."

If you have not seen the film, don't judge the clip below too I said earlier, the fight is over conflicting culture and understanding.

It is a warm, romantic film set in an idealized Irish community and it is a true pleasure to watch.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Life begins...

Love and the Pain of Leaving

Every time we make the decision to love someone, we open ourselves to great suffering, because those we most love cause us not only great joy but also great pain. The greatest pain comes from leaving. When the child leaves home, when the husband or wife leaves for a long period of time or for good, when the beloved friend departs to another country or dies ... the pain of the leaving can tear us apart.

Still, if we want to avoid the suffering of leaving, we will never experience the joy of loving. And love is stronger than fear, life stronger than death, hope stronger than despair. We have to trust that the risk of loving is always worth taking.

Henri Nouwen

Fear something most of us battle continuously. Keep your eyes open for quotes over the next few days...hopefully one or more will resonate with you.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Online Practices...

Should you want to be a little more intentional in your spiritual life online, I give you the following:

As I've mentioned before, visit Sacred Space
; a website by the Irish Jesuits

You can light a candle here

Here is an online interactive Labyrinth.

Just to name a few...

St. Rose of Lima

I should have posted this yesterday as August 23 is her Feast day...

Born in 1586 in Peru, Isabel de Flores was nicknamed Rose because of her beauty. She admired Catherine of Siena and even as an adolescent practiced acts of penance and self-denial; Rose was determined to give herself to God. When suitors came seeking marriage, she scarred her face with lime and pepper so no one would want her and she could belong to God alone. When she was twenty she joined the Third Order of Dominic, moved to a tiny hut on her parents' property, and devoted herself to prayer. She wore a crown of thorns to remind her of Christ's suffering.

Besides her deep prayer life, Rose performed acts of mercy, reaching out to Indians, slaves, and the poor of Lima. After her sisters married and left the family home, she used their bedrooms as an infirmary. Word of her goodness spread. When she died at age thirty-one, thousands of people came to pay respects.

Rose of Lima was the first canonized saint from the Americas and is a patron saint of Peru and all of Latin America.

You can find more information here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Say something nice...

A megaphone in the middle of NY City...the only directions being..."Say something nice"...I'm impressed!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rural Churches

Most of the deceased in my husband's family are buried nearby in a cemetery next to an old rural church. I know from history that the first gathering in that area were the "Tent Meetings" held by the traveling Minister. Each year, in August, we gather for what is called "Decoration".

It stems from a time when perpetual care was unknown and families kept the graves of their dearly beloved clean. Once a year, everyone came together to work, pray and eat. Today there is someone who mows regularly but we still gather to put out flowers, reminisce for the "young folks" and enjoy some of the BEST food in the world.

I thought it an appropriate time for this video, reminding us of the roots of Methodism...


Everyone needs a smile on Monday...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Show or Tell?

What an excellent concept! Even so, if I were writing this, I would say "Show young people love..." It's a hard concept to explain. Love must be felt. I would hope they would have felt it before they come to me, but it is not a given. As wonderful as it would be to live in a world where there is no abuse, it DOES exist. How do we tell them about love if the only attention they have ever received is a hand lifted in anger? How do we tell of the love that God created between a man and a woman if they've been sexually abused? How do we tell them about love if they've grown up with people who have only taught them shame and fear?

We cannot explain it, love must be shown. And the showing may very well be a long process. What reason do they have to trust us if we do not work to earn this trust? In most cases, the abuse comes by way of the very people who should have loved them from their first breath. Why should they believe we would be any different? Although one incident of abuse can have a traumatic impact, it usually doesn't stop with happens time and again. And we must love them, time and again until God's grace shows them our love and His.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Say it's not so!

The description reads: 'This book is about a 14 year old girl who goes on a diet and is transformed from being extremely overweight and insecure to a normal sized girl who becomes the school soccer star. (So an overweight child can't join a soccer team and loose weight as nature takes it's course?)

'Through time, exercise and hard work, Maggie becomes more and more confident and develops a positive self image.'

Barnes & Noble, which is already offering the book for pre-order, lists it with a recommended reading age of six to 12. Amazon offers it to an even younger readership, suggesting ages four to eight.

I can't believe it! During a time that children should be playing and learning in a comfortable, safe, controlled environment...up pops a book about being over-weight! Aren't there enough "self image" issues without books like this?

I am flabbergasted! And no, I have not read it so I cannot address the content nor the writing style, I am too shocked at the subject matter! Why can't we let our children be children? Why must we make them grow up so quickly and before they're ready?

My grandson lives with us...and yes, by standards, he would be listed as overweight. He eats a healthy diet and loves to play and I do know that in time, his height and weight will come in line. I also know that if he read this book or even thought someone would apply this to him he would be crushed! And for what? To fit society's image of how he should look? Madison Ave. controls the self image of far too many teenagers and adults...keep your hands off our children!

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Living from 1090-1153, Bernard of Clairvaux was a French Cistercian abbot and preacher. Bernard of Fontaines entered monastic life at twenty-two and was abbot of Clairvaux by his mid-twenties. Although his disposition was contemplative, he became the confidant of princes and prelates, traveling throughout Europe soliciting support for the causes he embraced. Arguably the most influential figure in Europe during his lifetime, Bernard led an active life of a sort that he discouraged in monks. Overly conscientious and sometimes blinded by his embrace of a cause, Bernard nonetheless had persuasive power. ...

Understanding Bernard's contribution necessitates recognizing that he was a product of monastic theology and the most distinguished writer representing the monastic experience. Monastic theology, in contrast to the theology of the medieval universities, is more symbolic and poetic, giving less attention to objective analysis and description. ... In this and more, the monastic way has wide appeal among many spiritual seekers today.

Monastic life gives priority to regular pondering of the Word through lectio divina, so Bernard's work is altogether scriptural. His writing is stunningly beautiful -- prose poised at the brink of poetry. And perhaps because his work is grounded in the common life within the monastery, its governing concern is love more than knowledge. Desire is the key to understanding Bernard's spiritual teaching. He traces the origin of desire for God to the human being's creation in the divine image. Humankind is endowed with a capacity for and compatibility with God. Any movement toward God is the result of this gift, and whatever love is experienced is God's gift. A human being is created with an emptiness that can only be filled through an intimate relationship with God.

(Information from MethodX)

Friday, August 19, 2011


Everything you have ever wanted to know about Britain in 2011....


Seems that church bulletins and newspapers are not the only places to find humorous mistakes...I especially like numbers 9 and 25!

Actual writings from hospital patient charts (medical transcription people are not perfect, nor is docs' handwriting):

1. The patient refused autopsy.
2. The patient has no previous history of suicides.
3. Patient has left white blood cells at another hospital.
4. She has no rigors or shaking chills, but her husband states she was very hot in bed last night.
5. Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.
6. On the second day the knee was better, and on the third day it disappeared.
7. The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.
8. The patient has been depressed since she began seeing me in 1993.
9. Discharge status: Alive but without permission.
10. Healthy appearing decrepit 69-year old male, mentally alert but forgetful.
11. Patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.
12. She is numb from her toes down.
13. While in ER, she was examined, x-rated and sent home.
14. The skin was moist and dry.
15. Occasional, constant infrequent headaches.
16. Patient was alert and unresponsive.
17. Rectal examination revealed a normal size thyroid.
18. She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life, until she got a divorce.
19. I saw your patient today, who is still under our car for physical therapy.
20. Both breasts are equal and reactive to light and accommodation.
21. Examination of genitalia reveals that he is circus sized.
22. The lab test indicated abnormal lover function.
23. Skin: somewhat pale but present.
24. The pelvic exam will be done later on the floor.
25. Patient has two teenage children, but no other abnormalities.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It goes along....

"the stakes for mankind have grown too high for any of us to engage our faith as if our understanding of God represents the only way God's presence may be known in the world." R. Kirby Godsey

This quote is from his new book "Is God a Christian?". I thought it interesting that I ran across this interview this morning considering the piece I wrote yesterday about the Bible. Add that to the book study I've been attending at church on "Love Wins" and it was too coincidental (and since I don't believe in coincidences) not to been mentioned.

I haven't read the book so I cannot give a review...suffice to say, I probably will read it...soon! The interview is certainly worth a few minutes of your time...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How do you read it?

Do you believe the Bible to be the inerrant, infallible, unchanging Word of God? Do you take every Word literally? Do you believe that each verse stands on it's own? Or should we read the whole Bible and see it as a complete story? How do you explain the contradictions?

Exodus 15:3 The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.
Romans 15:33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

John 10:30 I and my Father are one.
John 14:28 You have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If you loved me, you would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
Ecclesiastes 1:18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow.
1 Corinthians 1:19: "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent."

There is nothing wrong with reading the Bible as the literal Word of God. But in doing so, we must take it as a complete do otherwise does not allow God His full expression. The diversity we see in His Word is a critical component in the mystery that we will never fully understand.

If He is the God we believe Him to be, claim that He is, we are committing a grave disservice when we maintain that we are the ones who understand Him. For the Word of God tells us that He is the God of all peoples...regardless of what we think.

Presenting Shakespere...

on the subway no less!

All the world's a stage for these Shakespearean players — even the New York L train.

Two enterprising thespians have taken their brand of street theater to the New York subway, bringing the Bard's greatest hits to the downtown line's commuters.
Read more here...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bilbo's Poem

Hubby, son and I are all huge "LOTR" fans...we've all read the books, at least twice, watch the movies as often as we can and have even learned a few of the elvish words. Who would have thought, that in amongst all this fantasy, intrigue and war, hubby and I would find one of our favorite poems...ever...

Bilbo sings this song while in Rivendell, just before Frodo leaves on his quest...

Bilbo's Fireside Poem

I sit beside the fire and think
of all that I have seen,
of meadow-flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been;

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
in autumns that there were,
with morning mist and silver sun
and wind upon my hair.

I sit beside the fire and think
of how the world will be
when winter comes without a spring
that I shall ever see.

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood in every spring
there is a different green.

I sit beside the fire and think
of people long ago,
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know.

But all the while I sit and think
of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet
and voices at the door.

Self Control...

The Bible tells us there are many fruits of the Spirit...but self-control is one of the least glamorous. Perhaps because it's doesn't sound like we're accomplishing nearly as much when we say "I am practicing Self Control" than it does if we substitute the words...Joy, Kindness, Justice, Peace. Those are outreach...self control is internal. I'm working on me. Society might even say it's selfish.

But how can I truly be a child of God if I don't even attempt to control my own selfish urges? We face a constant barrage of acquire excess. It is no longer what I need but what I want that's most important. Why buy a 60" television if a 72" is available (even though it wouldn't fit in our living room, which means we'd have to rearrange the furniture or perhaps even buy new stuff...)It's a vicious cycle. Advertisements are continuously telling us what we need...without knowing anything about us.

In my own walk toward self control, I've finally figured out it is best not to act on impulse when it comes to consumption. Do I have to convince myself that I "need" this or that? Do I have to figure out a way to pay for it? Will this item really add any value to my life? Why do I feel I need this? Is it, in reality, just a way to fill a void in my life?

I've often thought about what it would have been like to live in an earlier time. When the food on my table was truly the result of the work of my hands, or my husband being able to find game in the woods. What if I had to make the soap to wash with, the candles to provide light...what if we had to chop the wood or we wouldn't have heat? These thoughts do make me appreciate the advances in science that give us a wondrous variety of food, year round. I can flip a switch for light, I can adjust the thermostat for heat...

It is so easy to over-consume in our culture because it's all at our fingertips...and we can pull out a piece of plastic to pay for it! It's just that easy! Problem is, all this "stuff" doesn't make me happy. It just adds more clutter. It doesn't fill the hole. Only relationship can do that...relationship with Christ, relationship with one another. This is what fills our soul and makes us complete. And the beautiful part, it costs no money...and the returns are priceless.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the death of Maximilian Kolbe..

Maximilian Kolbe was a Polish priest who died as prisoner 16670 in Auschwitz, on August 14, 1941. When a prisoner escaped from the camp, the Nazis selected 10 others to be killed by starvation in reprisal for the escape.

One of the 10 selected to die, Franciszek Gajowniczek, began to cry: "My wife! My children! I will never see them again!" At this Father Kolbe stepped forward and asked to die in his place - his request was granted.

As the ten condemned men were led off to the death Block of Building 13, Father Kolbe supported a fellow prisoner who could hardly walk. No one would emerge alive - Father Kolbe was the last to die ..53 years later Franciszek Gajowniczek died.

This is Father Kolbe's story.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I attend the church I do by choice. I am "labeled" a United Methodist, by choice. Of all the different churches and denominations I have attended and studied, the United Methodists most closely fit what I believe.

I love the open Communion table.

I love that we believe in One baptism, regardless of which church you were in.

I love that we affirm our faith with the different Creeds.

And I love that I am encouraged to work out my faith, myself...and that the church is there to help...when I need it, when I ask, when I seek them.

There are other things I love within our church, but these are the BIG ones.

Does that mean I agree with every decision or with every word written in the Book of Discipline? No...I do not. But then again, I don't believe Christ calls us to follow others blindly...but He does want us to be part of a community of faith.

This post is not to be read as "I think my church is better than yours"...I do church is where I need to is the place where my soul is fed. This post is only to tell you some of the things that feed me...and to encourage you to be part of a congregation that does the same for you. If you're already there...Wonderful! If not, I pray that you will step out, with the Spirit's guidance, and find yours. You will be glad you did.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Which one?

Over at Busted Halo, they've asked this question:

Was it Martha’s sister Mary or Mary Magdalene who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair?

And the answer from one of their "spiritual experts"...

Ann Naffziger Answers:

It takes some detective work to parse out the information about the various Marys mentioned in the gospels. The episode you mention is particularly confusing because there are four different accounts with varied details in each of the four gospels.

Mark and Matthew both mention an unnamed woman who anoints Jesus’ head with either nard or ointment. Luke tells us of an unnamed woman “who was a sinner” who bathed Jesus’ feet with her tears, anointed them with ointment, and dried them with her hair. Then, to add even more confusion, John describes Mary of Bethany, aka Martha's sister, anointing his feet with nard and wiping them with her hair. Only in John’s gospel is the woman named as Mary of Bethany.

That said, none of the accounts suggest any involvement by Mary Magdalene. If indeed there was a historical event of a woman anointing Jesus in a particularly extravagant way, we will simply never know who it was that enacted such a loving gesture for Jesus. Perhaps it was Mary, Martha’s sister, or perhaps it was done by another woman whose name has been lost to us forever.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lark Ascending...

One of my absolute favorite classical pieces by Vaughn Williams...close your eyes and you can see the "lark"...thought you might enjoy this at the start of your day...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Peace, hope and love

How do we achieve peace in our hearts during these turbulent times? The threats seem to surround us and to mount every day...gas prices rise as housing prices drop, fear of recession, global terrorism, war, unfathomable government decisions all compound to the point that everyone is walking around in a perpetual state of unease.

I know that God says He will give us “peace that passes all understanding” but only if we give in. Only if we start each day with confidence in our hearts, the confidence that God is indeed in control and that all things happen for a reason. God causes the trials or He allows them...either way, they have passed through His hands before we ever see them.

The Bible is full of uneasy people:

Moses is tending flocks of sheep and minding his own business when God calls Him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. He should leave this life style which even though it wasn't easy, it was predictable and manageable. On top of that, He will have to face Pharaoh...the man he grew up with and wrestle with him for their freedom...and he doesn't even speak well...much less with authority! But he does it. God gives him Aaron for help...and boy is he a big help!!! Moses is rewarded with the task of leading thousands of grumpy, grumbling people through Sinai for 40 years. And all this time he preforms his tasks knowing that even though he has been faithful in much, he has not been faithful enough to enter Canaan.

Abraham is prosperous. He is well known and respected in his homeland. But then God calls him to leave this place and go to another, totally foreign place. They suffered famine during their travels and had to go to Egypt. Lot is taken prisoner and Abraham must rescue him. A few years after Abraham and Sara have their long awaited son, God asks for be Abraham's own hand. Even though he is stopped at the last minute, what agony he must have endured during the journey to the mountain!

Elijah the Prophet is called to turn God's people back. He announces to King Ahab that there will be drought in the land until he speaks the word. He goes into fed by ravens and a widow, he raises her son from the dead, lives under the threat of Jezebel's wrath, has a Sacrifice Show Down with 450 of Baal's priests which of course he wins. Elijah then has the people kill the priest of Baal (which makes Jezebel even madder) the end, the rains come and God saves him.

These are just three of the many. While God will probably never use most of us in such high profile ways, He uses us none the less. How can you discount the work you do? Reaching out to those in need? Teaching those who have not heard? Caring for the weary and the ill? While it may not be front page news, it shows those around us the love of God and His peace. People are impacted by what they see happening in their lives and in their part of the world...not what is on the nightly news.

We can react to these times by showing our confidence in the One we love, the One we know controls all things. The quote tells us...”People will forget what you have said, they will forget what you have done, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Help them feel what you and I feel...


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A day...

This video is about a day in California but as I watched it I realized it could be a day...anywhere!

A Day in California from Ryan Killackey on Vimeo.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Let's start Monday with a video about Time Perspective....interesting stuff, you might even learn something about your self!

Saturday, August 6, 2011


For those killed in the helicopter crash in Afghanistan...

Our prayers are with their loved ones...

In a rut?

"From his interactions with these two figures, it appears that Jesus is no lover of ruts. It's heartening to hear that "in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell" (Colossians 1: 19). And "from his fullness we have all received: grace in place of grace" (John 1:16). Repeatedly, Jesus reminds he came to bring us abundant life, spilling over any rut."

Excellent article about Spiritual Ruts...

A new sport...for the non-athletic!

Now water sports can boast something for everyone!

Friday, August 5, 2011



Society evolves, I know this, but not all evolution is good. What price must we pay to learn the hard truths? While I realize that email, text, Twitter, Facebook and all the other "electronic" ways of communicating are helpful and useful...and I confess to using them myself...something important is lost. The sound of a voice, the touch of a hand, the eye contact. I can't help thinking of this song:

I pray, that in generations to come, we never lose the desire to be with one another...physically present. While electronics can insulate us and keep our little corner of the world antiseptic and clean while giving us the ability to speak to thousands at one does nothing to help build a relationship. Those are messy and hard and must be nurtured face to face...for ultimately they are what we are made for...relationship one with another.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


I was once at a revival listening to the speaker talk about God's gifts. How He wants what is best for us...but the kicker was, He wants what He knows is best for us...not what we think is best. She said, "Don't expect God to drop a gold Mercedes into your driveway..."

Well, it's not gold, it didn't get dropped into the driveway and it wasn't from God...or was it? Technically, it was a gift from former Steelers Secondary coach Ray Horton to a cook in the cafeteria. The story is here. But isn't that the way God works? Doesn't He use others to give us good things?

The wonderful part of this story is the fact that the coach was a willing participant. God can put the idea into our heads but He can't (won't) make us follow through. If we don't do what's asked, it won't get done (or He'll find someone else). Sure, the coach can afford it (I guess), but it's still a great gift...and just think about the impression he has made on thousands of other people. I know the cook was thrilled, but I bet the coach felt even better.

Great Movies

Thanks to my grandson, I've enjoyed some of the best movies made in the last 15 years...all from Pixar! Over time, it has felt like Buzz, Woody, Lightning McQueen, Mater, Sally, Doc, Mike, Sully and all the others have been part of our family. Mainly because of the fertile imagination of a 7 year old boy.

just in case you might have missed one:

If you haven't seen them all, you don't know what you're missing!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Word...

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 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 as 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.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

One of those days...

Ever have one of these days?

My next line was going to be...just when you think you have all your ducks in a row, the wind blows and they go tumbling all over. Corny, right? Yes it is...but true.
When our ducks are lined up...we feel "in control", we can say to someone..."look what I have done"! But control is just an illusion for the wind is always just around the next bend.

But watch what happens to the ducks...once Mama Duck regains her footing, she starts walking toward the babies and they all get back in line...I especially love the part where one of the babies runs over to another...he's looking for the safety and comfort of the familiar. And then Mom finds them both.

Mama Duck doesn't run around fretting, she doesn't call her neighbor and shout "Oh woe is me...I was walking my babies and the wind came and scattered them and I thought I was going to loose them!" She gets up, shakes her feathers back in place and then begins to locate the babies. She's focused on the task at hand.

How do we react when the wind blows? Do we call our neighbor and complain? Or do we dust ourselves off and begin again? Do we give in to the terror or turn to the God who controls the wind and seek what lesson we should be learning?

We can learn a lot from ducks...

St. Basil

Today is the Feast Day of St. Basil the Blessed...

In Moscow's Red Square stands St. Basil's Cathedral, named after the "Holy Fool,".
The dramatic domes are the most familiar image most people from the West have of Moscow and Russia. Ivan IV, the Terrible (1530-1584), commissioned the building and dedicated St. Basil's to commemorate Russia's victory over the Tatars in Kazan, Kazan Khanate (1552-1554). At the time of the final victory over the Tatars, eight wooden churches had already been built. Each was named for the patron saint which was believed to have achieved the individual victories for Russia.

Basil the Blessed who was born in 1468. Trained as a cobbler, Basil soon was known as one who could foretell the future. When he was sixteen he moved to Moscow and began an unusual life. Summer or winter, he walked around Moscow naked, barefoot, praying.
He earned the Holy Fool moniker by acting dramatically to make a spiritual point. He besieged the homes of people he considered insincere with stones, or loudly wept for them. Basil visited taverns to minister to their customers. He obtained help for those too ashamed to ask for it. Basil preached mercy, helped the poor, and hounded the rich into giving alms.
Basil was unafraid of powerful rulers or wealthy people. He was one of the few people brave enough to take on the powerful Ivan the Terrible, who he once criticized for being distracted during prayer. During Lent, when Christians were supposed to refrain from eating meat, Basil gave Ivan a huge slab of raw meat to emphasize the ruler's ruthless killing. The murderous tsar feared the Holy Fool enough to leave him alone. St. Basil died in 1557 and was buried in the cathedral's walls during the time of Tsar Fyodor I.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Worship and Prayer

A couple of videos from the people at Kore...they're short and worth your time!