Sunday, March 10, 2013

Pondering over Pancakes

I was listening to NPR this morning as I was cooking pumpkin, strawberry, and chocolate chip pancakes. (Not all in the same pancake!) In the introduction to an "I believe.." segment I heard the following statements. "I believe that life is a spiritual journey" and "I believe that God is in the space between people". As I flipped the pancakes I found my mind flipping back and forth between the two.
"Spiritual" stirs in me thoughts of connectedness, wholeness, and mystery. An awareness that there are powers at work beyond what I can see, hear, and touch. Something Holy, Sacred. "Journey" implies that I cannot stand still, stagnant. My encounters with the sacred are ongoing, evolving. It is only after I mix the flour, eggs, milk, etc. and heat on the grill do the ingredients come together to be pancakes. So too with my "spiritual journey".
As I serve pumpkin pancakes to Mary and chocolate chip pancakes to John I think about the second statement. The one about God being experienced in the space between people. The pancakes I've created cannot serve their purpose unless I serve them to those who will enjoy them. The truth is; I do not like either pumpkin or chocolate chip pancakes. What I like, is watching the people I love enjoy what I have been able to create. Maybe this is what Jesus meant when he said "Love one another as I have loved you."

Saturday, February 23, 2013


      "Happy" is the title of a critically acclaimed documentary film made in 2011. When most people are asked what they want to accomplish in life, the answer is to be "happy". What do they mean? How does one  go about "being happy". Are some people just naturally happy? Are wealthy people happier than those who are not wealthy? Why do some people bounce back more quickly from tragedy and sadness than others? What role does spirituality and religion play in happiness? Is there a connection between compassion and happiness? These are just some of the questions that this film addresses in an entertaining and challenging manner. It made me smile (a lot) and also brought tears to my eyes.
     Did you know that our happiness depends only 10% on our circumstances? 40% of our capacity of happiness depends on decisions and actions that we personally take. Learn more about the film at the link below. It is available on Netflix as well as dvd.

“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. (John 15:11 MSG)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Half Full

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they'd be asked the "half empty or half full" question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: "How heavy is this glass of water?"

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn't change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." She continued, "The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything."

It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down! (from Science is Madness)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Listening to the Divine

Read an interesting article this morning regard prayer.

Florida Post

I'm going to attempt to post some photos here of this past week in Florida. We purchased a new Canon AS2300 point and shoot for 79 dollars and it seems to be working pretty good.

 And I thought that I knew how to stick my neck out!
 Saw many beautiful vehicles at show but was especially impressed with this truck.
 My first pic with new camera. John with an icee drink!
 Sawyer on swing at park.
 Manatees in park.
 John on special swing for disabled folks at park.
 Sawyer at Pine Island.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Last Piece

Our daughter-in-law shared the following story about our grandson, Noah, age 8.

Tonight after I finished putting Clara down for bed, Noah said, "Mom, I want to show you something downstairs." At the dining room table, was the insanely hard 200 piece puzzle we have been working on for the last two nights. The puzzle look completed until I noticed he was holding up piece for me. He said, "I saved the last one for you for you mom." His sweetness is sometimes beyond me.

How does this story fit your understanding of life? Of faith?
Who has saved the "last piece for you?"
What does the "last piece"represent?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Drive-Thru Ashes

Here is an interesting story. Silly? Maybe at first glance but it is certainly an example of going "out to the people".

Monday, February 11, 2013

Can't see the Gorilla right in front of your face

".....what we're thinking about — what we're focused on — filters the world around us so aggressively that it literally shapes what we see."

I heard this interesting story on NPR this morning about sight and focus and blind spots. You can read it or listen to it here:

It seems that when you are told to focus on a particular thing, in the case of radiologists that would be cancer cells, you can miss even the sight of an angry gorilla right in front of you. This has got me thinking about what I am focusing on and what I might be missing. Is this a good thing? I think it might be. If I choose to focus on kindness, love, and joy does that blind me to selfishness, hate, and sadness. No, of course not, because those things are a part of me and the world. Maybe what we focus on determines the power of particular things over us? However, if it is a real angry gorilla in my face will he not do me harm whether I see him or not?

Smith Wigglesworth - “I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe.”

Sunday, February 10, 2013


"...attack this day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind....Life's too short not to enjoy it You've got an opportunity every day you wake up, an opportunity to do your best and have fun doing it, have a lot of juice." Willie Taggert

Check out this page to jump start your enthusiasm.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Seeing what you don't see

Mary and I were delighted to watch a film, The Magic of Belle Isle, on Netflix recently. It is actually the first movie we have ever watched on Netflix having just acquired this service. In this film, Morgan Freeman stars as an alcoholic author who has given up on writing and on life. He has moved to a rural community for the summer to drink and wallow in self-pity. There he is befriended by a single mom and her three daughters. The middle daughter, 9 years old, wants the author to teach her how to write "stories". This relationship is the core of the movie as Freeman's character challenges and guides this young girl in the use of her imagination. He encourages her "to see what you don't see". 

I like that phrase and what it implies. For me, "to see what you don't see" is to live in a way that focuses on the possibilities, the potential, and the promise of life. It is to see through the eyes of your heart where love is in a world that seems to be shadowed and shaped by distrust, selfishness, and hatred. "To see what you don't see" is to perceive the Divine Spirit moving among and within the friends and family members that God has placed in our lives. It is to have "Faith". This way of "seeing" might be a good way to approach Lent as it begins this Wednesday. Not squinting our eyes in order to see only what we want to see but with eyes and heart and mind wide open to the miracles of life all around us.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013


God's grace has a drenching about it. A wildness about it. A white-water, riptide, turn- you- upside- downness about it. Grace comes after you. It rewires you. From insecure to God secure. (Max Lucado writing in GRACE)

So that got me thinking. How would folks, including me, finish this sentence.

"I experience grace when............" And here are some of the ways I would finish it.

......I come home from my morning walk and Mary has made a fresh pot of Kona coffee.
.....our son, John, hugs me and says; "Dad, I love you so much".
..... I see my grandchildren's faces when they greet me with; "Hi, PopPop!"
.....I walk in the Florida sunshine as it is 18 degrees back home.
.... I am standing in front of people on a Sunday morning and they are actually listening.
....we gather as the Organic Faith 518 community at a coffee shop every other Wednesday.
.... I realize Mary and I will celebrate 46 years of marriage next month. dawns on me that we will celebrate my 30th anniversary of ordination this June.
....a book that I chose at random to read turns out to be a delight.
....I observe the wonderful adults that our children have grown up to be.
....a movie moves me to tears or laughter.
...I realize that this list has just begun.

"grace has been defined as "the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it",(Wilkipedia)

Monday, February 04, 2013

Transfiguration Sunday

Here is a reflection on the Transfiguration by John Aurelio that I really like. I love the descriptive language he uses as he brings his imagination to the story. I have had this in my files for awhile and no longer know where it was printed.

When they reached the mountaintop, Jesus with his arms extended was dancing and laughing and calling out to Elijah to carry him home. The wind was blowing and the dust he kicked up swirled around him like a great cloud. The sun blazed behind him so that they had to squint to see him.

"I have never seen him like this," Peter said to John.
"Nor I, isn't it wonderful?" John and James took Jesus by the hand and they circled and danced together.

"Master," Peter called to Jesus, "Let us never leave this place. Let's stay here forever. Let's set up our Galilee."
They set down to rest. The effort had exhausted all of them. They were still breathing heavily yet still relishing the magnificent moment.

"Master," Peter said again. "Why not stay here?" He tried not to look in the direction Jesus had set his gaze, south toward Jerusalem.
The sun was setting. It had been an extraordinary and eventful day. They were tired and happy. Jesus started toward Jerusalem. 
"There is one more mountain to climb," he said. "In Jerusalem".