Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My friend Heather posted on her blog that she liked leap-day because it was filled with all kinds of possibilities.
I agree.
Even though I am struggling to heal from a nasty and stubborn sinus infection, I am still grateful for today.
A day when we can pray more.  Serve more.  Rest more.  Work more.  Listen for God's message. 
24 more hours with God!  Hours to repent, be forgiven, receive grace, be made whole, experience joy, be a blessing to someone else, try a little harder or let God take the load for awhile.
So much to experience!  And an extra 24 hours to do so.  Wow!
I am grateful for today.  And I hope that God graces you with extra blessings and extra awareness for this day.
For this day is truly God's day!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ashes upon
Bowed head;
Pounding heart;
Beginnings and endings
Reflection and learning
New life begun
Old life gone;
This is how God works.
This is Christ within.
This is Lent.
To new life!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Today, as I was doing my prayer and meditation work, a passage from Ralph Marston's Daily Motivator pierced my heart.  I share it with you:

When you step forward, you will occasionally encounter disappointment. However, if you never step forward, your whole life will be a disappointment.
Disappointment happens, and yet it never has to stop you. Disappointment, as painful as it may be, is a normal part of a rich, successful and fulfilled life.
[If you want to read more, go to]

As I was reading this, I had to ask myself, "How often have I been afraid to step forward" and therefore I missed something truly amazing?
And I so loved his statement that disappointment "never has to stop you".  It has sometimes in my own life although not as much as I've gotten older.  But I would pose the question to my friends out there---Do you let disappointment stop you?
There are so many parts of life, why do we spend so much time on the negative ones?  Pain, sorrow, disappointment, fear, struggle.
Even in these  moments, there is joy to find...there is learning...there is growing and there is GOD.
God doesn't want your whole life to be a disappointment.
God doesn't want you to stop when you get disappointed.
God doesn't always want you to "play it safe".
True, God doesn't encourage activity that is hurtful to you or to another.
But there are RISKS God asks us to take.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I am preparing for the Lenten season--for Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and then, finally, Easter.  And I always find myself a bit melancholy during this time of year.  Many of the days are grey and there is still more coldness to look forward to before the beauty of new life.
The news seems more bleak in these days....death, poverty, joblessness, senseless waste, war, angry words spoken between people who SAY they respect one another, hunger, lonliness, and the feeling that perhaps, this year, it will be too much.

Into this place there come flashes:

memories of laughter with friends;
glimpses of bright color in summer tops and shorts and garden hats;
the stoking of the flame and the warmth that comes when we build up the fire;
pictures of loved ones--here and here before; 
pictures of silly days and goofy looks and carefree moments;
pictures of a loving God-----
clothed in the garb of green in the new leaves coming forth from the ground and in sun  that stays just a little longer each day;
pictures of other years and other days when we were held in the beauty of our loving God and just watched clouds drift in blue skies;
the sounds of children coming home from school and dogs barking their "welcome homes"
pictures of a child tasting a new, sweet fruit for the first time and the smiles that come.
smells of the ground turned over for planting and the first, fresh, new onions from the garden.

Christ has come.  Christ is here.  Christ will come again.  And we, like many years, will dance and sing and celebrate his resurrection and our own.  For Spring is coming.  And life is good.

Friday, February 10, 2012

After surviving the stomach/intestinal flu, it is such a blessing to have food taste like food...small but very important blessings.
So many wonderful people in such need of prayers and God's healing......I'm reminded how many different kinds of healing are needed in the world....physical and spiritual and psychological and end to abuse and neglect and hunger and war....a return to civility and a new sense of respect for one another as God's holy children...
This has been another day of awakening and reminders of the truly important things in life.
I thank you God and ask you to bless all the people I know with a feeling that I've just sent them a big hug and prayers for your presence with them.
Prayer takes many do you need to pray today?
Prayer crosses many boundaries.....where do you need to build a bridge today?
Prayer hopes for the impossible and believes it becomes possible.....what impossible dream do you need to happen today?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

More than enough!

My goodness, how I have felt your prayers and support the last few days!  Wow!  And a wonderful think happened yesterday:  We have a little lady who has a very rare brain disease that is literally shrinking it in size.....and we never know what she will lose next.  For me, this is one definition of Hell.  Anyway, she was to have surgery yesterday and I went to see her.  
She hasn't been talking much...can't....certainly no sentences, just words now and again.  We also don't know how much she really understands. So I went in and talked soothingly and held her hand and prayed with her [and when we prayed, she bowed her head and closed her eyes and I thought THAT was the miracle of the day--and it would have been enough!]  And the nurse came in and explained that they were moving the surgery up as far as time and she was so glad I was there because her family was not going to be able to get there in time [And I thought THAT was the miracle and it would have been enough!]
I left and actually met her husband downstairs and we spent a moment together and then he hurried up to be with her for a little bit before surgery [And I thought, is THAT the miracle?]
He called me yesterday afternoon and she got through the surgery [is THAT the miracle?] but they don't know how the hip will recover.
And then he said,  "When I walked in the room, she grabbed my hand and with a bright smile said, 'Rev. Pat was just here'."
They were ALL miracles...but for me, of course, the last was the sweetest of all...thank you God and thank you Marla....I will NEVER forget that you were glad I was there. 
THAT is MORE than enough!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Haven't written anything the last few days because I've been busy working....normally, that's ok....but we have had some very painful things to walk through together this last week....a dear, amazing Christian man who's faith is so strong he teaches me had to have his leg amputated.  A wonderful lady who used to just almost run up to give me a hug on Sundays has a horrible disease that shrinks her brain and now has fallen and broken her hip.  An young girl who should have had a whole life to look forward to felt that the burdens of her current life were too much [and she did have many] and tried to end her life.  One of the most gracious ladies I ever met has been placed in hospice because her pulminary fibrosis has reached a critical stage.  And then there was the rest of the story.........
I know, this is the life I've chosen.  I know God is more powerful than anything happening. I know that it is not up to me to fix all of these things, but to be with and to be God's presence with these people as they walk through difficult days.
But I confess, some weeks, just some, are too much.  I exhaust myself because I forget to let God's power just flow through me and try to do it all myself.  And I get frustrated with the insignificant problems that walk into my office when all these important things are out there to be done.  And I cannot be everywhere and I get very impatient with my perceived lack of ability.
And maybe, most of all, it hurts when I talk to people--even friends or family--and they make me feel as though what I am trying to do is really not all that big a deal.  It's not REALLY a job or anything.
So what's to do?.............For me, quiet meditation helps.  Exercise--like yoga or tai chi helps.  Writing helps.  Playing with my dog who loves me and thinks I'm the most important thing in the world helps.  God is in all of these moments and then I remember, God was in all the others too.  Sometimes I just get in the way of myself and watching God work.
Am I all fixed?  Heavens no!  I'm crying right now as I write....but....and this might be the lesson.....renewing my awareness of God's presence is the beginning.  
And will I be in this place again?  Of Course!  How grateful I am that I don't have to get it right every time, all the time.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I'm getting really excited about starting our new Bible Study.  I love digging into the texts and studying and learning and growing together in faith.  I guess that sounds pretty hokey, but I don't really care. 
It is simply amazing to me that I can read a scripture passage over and over and get a different understanding with each or almost each reading.  It depends on where my life is, how close God and I are at the moment, what is influencing my thinking, and what is happening in the world.  And once in awhile, it's affected by what somebody just said to me!
THAT is the miracle of scripture to me.  It speaks and if we listen, it teaches, soothes, challenges, calms, refreshes and enlightens.