Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Breathe, just breathe

Today I am working on lesson plans for tomorrow night's class on fasting for the Devotional Life in the Wesleyan Tradition and reading/studying/writing on this week's sermon.  I am also thinking ahead to next Sunday, all Saint's Day because I need to get things in earlier in the week. 

It was just last Thursday that I attended that one day retreat with SoulCare Project at St. Paul's Episcopal and heard Judy Brown's poem "Fire" for the first time.  I wrote about it last week (Sabbath Retreat--Taking Time Apart).  It has come to mind quite a bit in this past week.  What logs do I need to take off the fire in order to have breathing space?

As I live into arthritic pain and have added physical therapy back into my life schedule these days because of hip issues, I am once again reminded to listen carefully to my body, to not over-extend, etc. 

What that meant for me yesterday was that I took a log off the fire.  It was a log I enjoy--coffee with colleagues in the morning at a coffee shop.  But due to needing extra time to get the body going in the morning, I knew I needed to take that off my plate yesterday.  I needed breathing space in the day.  Though I didn't get anything accomplished, I did rest a little longer.  And rest was what my body needed.  Accomplishing things isn't always the best thing, anyway.  There will always be something on the 'to-do' list(s). 

In preparing this morning for tomorrow's class, I am reminded that fasting is a way of making space for grace.  Making space brought back to mind Judy Brown's poem again, so I re-read it and found this blog post from November 2013, Breathing Space.  I decided to put one of my many fire pit pictures with the poem to hand out tomorrow night in class.

In addition to this poem by Judy Brown, I heard a song yesterday on the radio that I've heard a couple of times, "Breathe".  It's by Jonny Diaz. (At least I think this is the version I heard yesterday.  If not, this has great lyrics and fits/resonates.)


Alarm clock screaming bare feet hit the floor
It’s off to the races everybody out the door
I’m feeling like I’m falling behind, it’s a crazy life
Ninety miles an hour going fast as I can
Trying to push a little harder trying to get the upper hand
So much to do in so little time, it’s a crazy life
It’s ready, set, go it’s another wild day
When the stress is on the rise in my heart I feel you say just

Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at my feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe

Third cup of joe just to get me through the day
Want to make the most of time but I feel it slip away
I wonder if there’s something more to this crazy life
I’m busy, busy, busy, and it’s no surprise to see
That I only have time for me, me, me
There’s gotta be something more to this crazy life
I’m hanging on tight to another wild day
When it starts to fall apart in my heart I hear you say just

Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at my feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need

Is to take it in fill your lungs
The peace of God that overcomes
Just breathe
So let your weary spirit rest
Lay down what’s good and find what’s best
Just breathe

Just breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at my feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe
Just breathe

I need to remember each day (sometimes multiply times a day) to take moments to breathe and rest.  "Be still and know that I am God."  I cannot seem to escape Psalm 46:10, but that's okay.  I don't want to.  I really want to and need to come and be and rest at the feet of the One who created me.

There was another breathing space yesterday that I wasn't expecting.  A little time outdoors in the fresh air to share about faith, God, calling, and vision. 

Making space to breathe.  What needs to come off the schedule?  What needs to go on?  The same thing that might need to come off one day may be the very thing that needs to go on another one.  How do you know?  Listen.  Listen closely to the Spirit. 

May there be plenty of breathing space in your life today.

Blessings on your journey,


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sabbath retreat-- taking time apart

What happens when you take time apart for your soul?

Your soul catches up with your body.  Your mind has time to rest, along with your body, heart, and soul.

This is another theme in my life, like grace, that has been a lifeline.  It has helped me live into who I am.  Sabbath rest is a gift of grace.  One that I don't always receive.  It's a gift I must be intentional about accepting, even scheduling, in order to have time and space to listen to the One Voice.

Yes, I make time at home for silence and solitude.  But there is something about making time for that time apart.  Whether it be a day, several days, or a week (or more).  Extended times to get away, to stop doing the routine, to listen to the One Voice and other voices that speak life.

Today is that day.

I had seen this retreat scheduled a while back and put it on my calendar. It meant rescheduling a hip doctor appointment to another day earlier in the week, but that turned out for the better anyway.

This retreat has been a super blessing today.  My soul is being refreshed.  I have been able to "be".  It is said that one needs to slow down in order to catch up.  That is what this day is for me.  I am slowing down in order to catch up.

Though I intend to have a weekly Sabbath rest on Fridays, it doesn't always happen.  Though I intend to take daily silence and solitude time, that doesn't always happen.

Today's gift of time apart has been super.

St. Paul's Episcopal is a beautiful space.  It's my first time here.  They have a wonderful prayer labyrinth that you can get to from the inside of the building.  I was able to do a prayer walk there during our morning session of silence and solitude.

As I began, I noticed a large section of bird poop on the path.

 Isn't that just like life?  We often have to walk through a path of poop (or your word of choice) to get to where we are going.  Whether the stuff was there by someone else's making or even our own stuff, stuff is often on the path.  We might can walk around it.  Or we might just have to go right through it.  But it doesn't have to stop us.  In fact, in the right circumstances (such as soil), manure makes things grow.

Jesus often took time apart to be by himself, to pray, to be with the Father.

"Being" is a crucial part of our ministry, no matter if we are lay people or clergy.  We can't run on empty.  Silence allows us to listen, to get away from all the other voices and demands.

This morning's Scripture was from Mark 4:35-39.  Mark is my favorite of the Gospel writings.  That was a good passage to contemplate today.  The next to last question from the lectio reading this morning was 'what is the name of the storm that Jesus wants to speak to you today?'  As I reflected on that and was honest with myself, I had to say "arthritic pain".

Arthritic pain has become a storm in my life.  It isn't quite a tsunami at this point, but it is a storm.  Yesterday at the foot doctor, I was relieved to learn that my stress fracture has healed.  However, I had gone because I am still having pain in the foot.  The pain is arthritic pain.  Take the pain in the foot, add to it the pain in the right and left hip, and a left hand that no longer does all it can do.... and arthritis has begun working on me physically and otherwise.

When I went through my three years of frozen shoulders and anemia, it was a battle of physical and other.  Here I am again with some challenges.  Listening to one's body in order to best deal with what is going on physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually is a spiritual discipline.

For me to articulate that arthritic pain is a storm that is brewing in my life, well, that's important.  For me to accept Jesus' invitation to come and rest with him during the storm... that is equally important.  God has this.  God has me.  It's about trust and knowing that God truly does have me.

Making time to be apart, to listen, to be.... these days and moments remind me that Jesus does have me, that I am not carrying these burdens on my own.... or, at least, that I am not meant to nor do I have to.

May my heart continue to open up wider with trust rather than effort.

May I continue to lay down my burdens and allow my soul to be rested by the One who created me and is continuing to work in and through me.

There have been some great prayers and poems shared today:  "Fire" by Judy Brown, "Prayer to Welcome the Sabbath" by (I'm not sure), and a rather lengthy but powerful prayer shared at the beginning to our afternoon quiet time.

Judy Brown's poem "Fire":

What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.
So building fires
requires attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.
When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible.
We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.
A fire
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.

We went to the 12:05pm Eucharist at St. Paul and that was a blessing.

Part of my day apart today has been wandering around the building and enjoying the beauty of the art and architecture.

Another part of my day apart has been fellowship with folks, including 3 fellow colleagues in my conference.

Another part of my day has been allowing my soul to catch up with my body.

It has been good to relax, to listen, to allow God into my heart, mind, and soul.  It has been good to commune.

This evening I teach a class on the Devotional Life in the Wesleyan Tradition and am blessed to teach on Holy Communion.  I look forward to the privilege of having communion twice in one day.

Peace and blessings on your journey.  May there be some rest and time apart to listen.


P.S.  Here are some pictures from my time at St. Paul's today:

Grace, grace, God's grace


It's not just a word for me, nor just a concept, nor just a theological term. It is something that has given me life.  Literally.

If you've read my blog for a while, I hope you've seen the word "grace".  If not, do a word search for "grace" in my blog and it will hopefully show up.  [I looked, it comes up 23 times.  Don't worry, I won't post all the links.] The point is: God's grace is what has given me life.

Grace is on my mind today because it came up in last night's Bible Study.  And, because grace came up, somehow, in the moment, I felt led to share how grace has been a lifeline for me and how grace has led me to where I am today.

I shared a part of my story that I have shared in the Emmaus community (from the Prodigal talks as laity to Grace talks as clergy) and in all my paperwork for the journey of Candidacy and Provisional Elder in the United Methodist Church.  It's not something I go about sharing from the rooftops, but I am open to sharing as the Holy Spirit guides.

Last night when the topic of grace came about as we talked about God forgiving and us forgiving others, it just came out.

I knew about grace, but I had never really experienced it like I did when I really needed it.  I had had situations in my life before where grace had been applied, but until the year 2000 when I found myself single and pregnant, I hadn't truly lived into the meaning of grace.

As a Christian, teaching at a Christian college, I knew God's love.  I shared God's love.  I had been through a divorce.  In that relationship, I said I would never do to anyone else what was done to me. That word "never" got me.  It got me when I said, "I would never teach"-- I taught for 24 years.  I also said that I would never move back into my parents' home like my other siblings.  I did that too, when my house sold and I had a two month old child, with no where else to go.  We lived there while house hunting.  The result of all these "nevers"?  I don't use that word.  At least I try not to. In God's grace, teaching was one of the best things that I got into.  As for the others, there were wonderful blessings that have come from them too.

God's grace has taken me from captivity into freedom.  I have learned to live into my true self. I have learned to accept myself and others.  I am much more giving and forgiving these days because I have accepted and experienced grace.

It took me the longest time in my life to accept and receive.  Much like giving and doing for others is so much more easy, accepting grace, a free gift with no strings attached is odd, counter-intuitive.  Yet, God offers it out of love.

God's gift of grace allows me, allows you to live into the freedom of becoming who we are meant to be when God created us.  That is powerful.

When we talk about grace in the Wesleyan world (and other theological worlds), we talk about prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying grace.

Prevenient grace is the grace that was around before we knew about it.  It came before.  In retrospect, I have recognized that it guided me through all kinds of stuff.  For that, I am truly grateful.

Justifying grace is the grace that got us into a right relationship with God.  In parades or in military terms, when you "justify" something, you line up right.

Sanctifying grace is the ongoing grace throughout one's life that keeps working in and through all situations, helping one to grow in the image of Christ.

There are more explanations out there in books, on the web, etc.  This is my simplified version in the moment.

Going back to what I shared last night.  I shared that because of God's grace, I am alive today. Because of God's grace, Charlie is alive today.  Because of God's grace, I am forgiven and have a relationship with my husband's first wife.  

I don't remember the exact words I shared.  But my focus was on God's grace.  God's grace has been a redeeming and wonderful freedom factor in my life, helping me grow into who and whose I am.

I'm still in process.  I'm still learning to be my true self.

It's all about God and it's all about grace.

But I still mess up.  I get caught up in life.  I make mistakes.  I do wrong.  I sin.  I fall short.

Then, there's grace.

I hope that I will always extend grace to others.  I hope that I will always be able to accept the grace extended to me by God and others.

It is life giving.

Several weeks back, a friend sent me a song.  I heard it this morning.  It is by Hawk Nelson and about being who we are created to be, "Live Like You're Loved".

Here are the lyrics:
You're not the only one who feels like this
Feelin' like you lose more than you win
Like life is just an endless hill you climb
You try and try, but never arrive

I'm tellin' you somethin'
This racing, this running
Oh, you're working way too hard!
And this perfection you're chasing
Is just energy wasted
'cause He loves you like you are!
So go ahead and live like you're loved
It's ok to act like you've been set free
His love has made you more than enough
So go ahead and be who he made you to be

And live like you're loved
Live like you're loved
Live like you're loved
Live like you're loved

And live like you're know you're valuable
Like you know the one that hold your soul
'Cause mercy has called you by your name
Don't be afraid to live in that grace

I'm tellin' you somethin'
This God we believe in
Yeah, he changed everything
No more guilt! No more shame!
He took all that away
Gave us a reason to sing

So go ahead and live like you're loved
It's ok to act like you've been set free
His love has made you more than enough
So go ahead and be who he made you to be

And live like you're loved
Live like you're loved
Live like you're loved
Live like you're loved

Live like you're loved, walk like you're free
Stand like you know who he made you to be
Live like you're loved, like you believe
His love is all that you'll ever need

So go ahead and live like you're loved
His love has made you more than enough

So go ahead and live like you're loved
It's ok to act like you've been set free
His love has made you more than enough
So go ahead and be who he made you to be

And live like you're loved
Live like you're loved
Live like you're loved
Live like you're loved

Live like you're loved, walk like you're free
Stand like you know who he made you to be
Live like you're loved, like you believe
His love is all that you'll ever need
Live like you're loved

Another song that was stuck in my head as I woke up today is the hymn with the words: "grace, grace, God's grace".  I had to search to find that one and the rest of the lyrics.  The song is "Grace Greater Than Our Sin" by Julia Johnston.  It was published in 1910 and based on Romans 5:20-21.  It is #365 in the United Methodist Hymnal.  From, it is found in 114 hymnals.

Here are the lyrics:

  1. Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
    Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
    Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
    There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.
    • Refrain:
      Grace, grace, God’s grace,
      Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
      Grace, grace, God’s grace,
      Grace that is greater than all our sin!
  2. Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
    Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
    Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
    Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.
  3. Dark is the stain that we cannot hide;
    What can we do to wash it away?
    Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
    Brighter than snow you may be today.
  4. Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
    Freely bestowed on all who believe!
    You that are longing to see His face,
    Will you this moment His grace receive?

Why am I sharing today?  Because maybe someone needed to hear about God's grace. Twice this past week I have heard promptings and reminders to share our stories with others because we never know what someone might need. The most recent reminder was a quote I read this morning prior to attending a retreat:  "We need people in our lives with whom we can be as open as possible. To have real conversations with people may seem like such a simple, obvious suggestion, but it involves courage and risk." —Thomas Moore (posted by The SoulCare Project on their Facebook page on October 16, 2016)

Did I go into all the details?  No.  Do you have questions?  If so, contact me.   I told God back in 2000 that every bit of the story was God's to use for the glory of God and the good of the Kingdom.  If you need to hear more of the story, if the Holy Spirit prompts you with questions, then ask.

Meanwhile, I pray that you will know God's grace abundantly in your life, that you will be able to receive it, live into it, and pass it on.

Blessings on your journey,


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Les fleurs--unexpected blessings in creation and French

On Monday I took an afternoon walk down the new section of the Tennessee Riverwalk in St. Elmo.  I had been there only once before and had walked a very short section.  I had planned to stay in my car Monday afternoon to read and study, but seeing someone change clothes and get her bike out of her car encouraged me to change clothes and put on my hip unloader brace.  I wear a brace when I walk, hike, or work out because of the arthritis in my left side that has deteriorated things and now requires a hip replacement.

Walking on that beautiful afternoon allowed me to let go, to allow some great creation to soak into my heart, mind, and soul.  It gave me time to breathe and pray.

Click here for a link to the Tennessee Riverwalk, Riverpark.

The one thing not helpful about the 3.3 walk was that the right hip started hurting.  It has been doing that when I wear the brace for the left side.  The left side is set up and protected, but the right side isn't.  I had problems with both sides in 2008, but it was determined then that it was minor, so I was encouraged to live with the pain, keep going, etc.

I had a hip doctor appointment yesterday for the left side, but we ended up focusing on the right side.  The x-rays show it isn't as bad as the left, but it also shows that the hip ball isn't round and has wear and tear (thus pain).  Instead of a second steroid shot in the left side, I got one in the right side.  We are going to see if they can adapt those cool unloader braces to be bilateral.  And, I will keep on keeping on.

After the doctor appointment, I went to Niedlov's for coffee, a normal Tuesday morning activity, to meet with fellow clergy.

When I was getting my 2nd cup of coffee to go, the woman behind me started speaking French to the worker behind the counter.  Le français!  Oh, one doesn't hear that very often here in Chattanooga.  I has happy and joined in the conversation.  French is my third language and I don't get the chance to speak it as I would like.  But, I jumped in there and did okay.  I learned that the lady behind me was from France, that there were other French speakers in the coffee shop that morning, and the barista had been to France to study.  I hung in there pretty well for not having heard or spoken it in a while.  I haven't taught it since 2009 when I had helped fill in at Chattanooga State.  I taught online, so my speaking was in video clips for the students.

Though Spanish is my 2nd language, I adore French and I was super excited to be able to speak it yesterday.  That was a gift to me.  Just like the views on Monday of the river and the mountains, the flowers (which I had interestingly enough posted with "les fleurs" on Monday).

There are rough spots in life, yes.  But there are also some very bright ones.  Unexpected blessings that show up in unexpected moments in unexpected places.  That is grace.

Grace continues to carry me.  There are other blessings and moments of grace that I could share too, but I try to keep these posts fairly short.

What about you? What are the unexpected blessings in your life?  What examples of grace are carrying you?

Peace and blessings on your journey,


A couple of articles on the new portion of the Riverwalk:

the Chattanooga Trend, by Hannah Peyton
Times Free Press, by Steve Johnson

Friday, October 7, 2016

Listening to the voice of truth

Today I've spent some time listening.

Not just today, but throughout this past week.  Today, however, I've gone back over what I heard earlier in the week.  I've taken time to be in the hammock, to spend some time in centering prayer, rest, and reflection.

Earlier in the week on Tuesday, I got together with some colleagues.  This week we read some poems together.  One of the poems we read was Mary Oliver's "The Journey".  It's one I have read several times over the years.  Each time I read it, it speaks to me.

Here it is:

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voice behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life that you could save.

"The Journey" helps me listen to the inner voice inside, that One voice.  It reminds me of who I am and Whose I am. It can be so easy to lose my way in the myriad of voices.

Then, last night, I heard a song I haven't heard on the radio in a while by Casting Crowns, "Voice of Truth".  It was another encouraging and timely word.


Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He's holding out His hand
But the waves are calling out my name
And they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. "Boy, you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"
But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, "Do not be afraid!"
The voice of truth says, "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth
Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant
With just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand
But the giant's calling out my name
And he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again. "Boy you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"
But the stone was just the right size
To put the giant on the ground
And the waves they don't seem so high
From on top of them lookin' down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth
Written by Steven Curtis Chapman, Mark Hall • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Capitol Christian Music Group

When I, when any of us start to be confounded by all the other voices, it is imperative to listen to the voice of truth.  Other voices would have us believing incorrect things, but not the voice of truth.

What does it take to hear the voice of truth?  For me, I need time and space.  Quiet time.  Time in the Scriptures to be reminded of who and whose I am (Psalm 139 and others).  Time in silent connection with the Creator.  Time to be still and know that God is God.

Another word of encouragement came from my Meemo's handwritten note in her Companions in Christ, The Way of Prayer, as I opened it up yesterday: "As you travel life's weary road, let Jesus lift your heavy load."

To step out of my comfort zone, to follow my calling, no matter the cost, to continue to be willing to be in the realm of the unknown.  Following Jesus means being often in this realm.  It's a matter of faith and trust in places that don't make sense.  It's a wonderful, adventurous journey, too, especially when I can remember to keep my eyes on the One who is leading me.

Taking, making time to listen to the Voice of truth, remembering that there is an audience of One, and recognizing that this adventurous journey as a follower of the Way leads to many experiences, I continue on.

There have been other encouraging words, songs, and situations this past week that have reminded me of who and whose I am. I am grateful for each of these to help me stay focused.  God's mercy reigns.  There is amazing grace.

How about you?  When you find it difficult to hear the Voice of Truth through the myriad of voices, what do you do?  May you find some time to listen.

Peace and blessings on your journey,


Friday, September 30, 2016

Hammock time on a Friday afternoon

It's Friday afternoon.  Soon I'll be heading over to the high school for some football and some band.  But since I have some time to relax in the hammock before I go, I'm taking that time.  The weather has cooled off some.  It's partly cloudy.  It is fairly quiet. (Well, there are various neighborhood noises... animals, machinery, road noise, the train...)

I have some time to breathe in and breathe out.

There is a quote I read last week by Bishop John Shelby Spong that has been on my mind: "Not everyone will appreciate your efforts. Security is so much more attractive to people than truth. I hope you will love and not judge those who cannot go where you are leading. Seeds planted today may not germinate in your history for years, but no potential seed is ever wasted. So be patient, kind and loving."

When I read that last week it struck me on several levels.  Being a leader is not easy.  Following the model of Jesus, the servant leader is not easy, but my desire is to take up the towel and serve.  Some days are better than others.  When opportunities come to show love, grace, and hope to others, it is a tremendous blessing.  When there are opportunities to walk the difficult paths with others, it is a blessing.  Not easy, but still a blessing. 

I attempt to remain open to the Holy Spirit for the opportunities to live, love, and lead.  I can only trust that any seeds planted through this willing, albeit broken vessel, will germinate and grow.  

This week has been a week of opportunities.  I can only hope and pray that I have shown patience, kindness, and love.

The beauty of servant leadership is that I am a follower too.  I am still learning and growing along the way.  I am being shaped as I follow the Leader.

How are you being challenged in your faith journey?

Peace and blessings on this adventurous journey, 


Friday, September 23, 2016

O, begin!

I'm reminded once again of one of my favorite John Wesley quotes as I use the Devotional Life in the Wesleyan Tradition by Steve Harper for a GaP-wide study.  [GaP= Georgia Parish] This quote can be found in other texts too.  In fact, because of "Our Covenant Oath" series this month in the GaP, I've been going back through James Harnish's The Disciple's Path to glean information for the sermon series.  Both books contain the quote, with the latter containing it in full.

"O, begin! Fix some part of every day for private exercises.  You may acquire the taste which you have not: What is tedious at first, will afterwards be pleasant.  Whether you like it or no, read and pray daily.  It is for your life; there is no other way; else you will be a trifler all your days."  ~ John Wesley

In this moment I am sitting in my hammock.  I hear the birds chirping.  I can hear the water feature in the background on the patio. There is a slight breeze.  I am attempting to center my heart, soul, and mind while enjoying some of God's creation.

There are many things on my to-do list. Today is my Sabbath rest day, yet....

Because my mind is swirling with things, I know that being still is important.  "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)

Because of all the things going on in life, I also have been reminded (twice) this week of the importance to put on the armor of God daily.  I'm reminded that the situations we face aren't against flesh and blood, but against the powers and principalities.  These are good reminders.  I remind myself that it's all about God, that it all belongs to God.

In a study on Wednesday, the word "unleash" came forth from the study.  Yes!  An unleashing of the Holy Spirit to work and move in and through the people, the communities, to bring healing, hope, encouragement, restoration, etc.  Ah, what would it take for the power of God to be unleashed?!?!  What would it take for the Holy Spirit to be unleashed?!?!  O, begin!!!  That is my prayer.

May I continue the daily spiritual disciplines that I need to in order to live, love, and lead as a follower of the Way.

Resting in my hammock, reflecting on God's creation, and resting in the Word "Be still and know that I am God" is helping.

The spiritual disciplines of silence, solitude, prayer, worship, study, writing, etc. ARE for my life.  They sustain me.  Thank you John Wesley for the reminder.  Thank you God for the time with you.  Thank you community for the small group time Wednesday and Thursday night.

As I left the study time Wednesday evening, I got to see the new cross lit up at night for the first time.  It was stunning.

The cross reminds me of God's love for me and for all. And I think of the song "At the cross" and these lyrics: 'At the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light...'  but I really think of them in Spanish: 'En la cruz, en la cruz, donde primero vi la luz'... and I hear Steve Green singing it.

As you read the John Wesley quote at the top of this post, what speaks to you?  What action will you take?

Blessings on your journey,


P.S. I took some time to "be still" prior to a monthly board call for FUMSDRL (Fellowship of United Methodist Spiritual Directors and Retreat Leaders). My spirit is always more calm and at peace after these board meetings. This board is a great example of how meetings can be spirit filled, led, and transformational--individually and collectively.

One last picture-- a few of the things I noticed in my yard as I was on the call. All but one picture was taken after I got off the call.