While walking my dog, I saw a grandma and her grandson at the park.  The little boy, probably 2 or 3, was calling to her; "Gramma, Gramma, see me slide".  "Gramma,  see? see?"  The grandmother was sitting on the bench, eyes glued to her phone.  He kept talking and running around trying different things to play on. Once in awhile she looked up and said, “Oh good,  that looks like fun,” and immediately went back to her phone.  She was not present with her grandson, she was a bystander seeing him from a distance.   As I watched, I wanted to yell at her, “WAKE UP!!  BEHOLD LIFE!  IT IS ALL AROUND YOU, SHOUTING FOR YOU TO SEE AND TO JOIN IN!! IT IS GLORIOUS!”  She missed the opportunity to see life through her grandson’s eyes…to experience the joy of being free and unburdened.    Later that day I was at Panera and there sat a grandpa with a little boy, about the same age.  They barely talked to one another, but they were communicating deeply.  They made faces at each other, wiggled their noses, laughed, then silent again…and ate.  The grandpa was present. He experienced life through the eyes of his grandson… Not a bystander…The grandpa was beholding life.  And it was delightful to see.  Spirit God, I know so often I am distracted by so many things that I miss seeing you at work.  I miss out on life, on joy, on  being with  others .   I know you are calling to me… calling me to SEE!! to see your glory, to experience your love, to play and jump for joy and participate WITH you in life!  You are calling me to have intimate times with you…simply being together.  You call to me over and over, through nature, though others, through my family, my dog!  But so often I am like the grandma…too immersed in what I think is important…How much am I missing!!! How little I see!!! How little I hear!!! Oh God, I know you are present. I know you are present within me…I know your Holy Spirit is a fire within calling me to BEHOLD LIFE!  I know when I sit with you, when we simply …are together….as one…You and Me God… it is a place of peace and serenity and utter JOY!!!  It isn’t just about being mindful of life…of my interactions with others… of being there with my loved ones…. it is about being PRESENT WITH YOU!! It is about seeing life through YOUR EYES… experiencing life…the good and the hard, …through your love… Oh Divine glorious spirit…within me… that I so often ignore.  Let me be still, let me join you at the table of my heart and soul….and be together as one.    Thank you for the reminder…to be present with you.. to behold life ….through you…because we are one… 

While walking my dog,I saw a grandma and her grandson at the park.  The little boy, probably 2 or 3, was calling to her; "Gramma, Gramma, see me slide".  "Gramma,  see? see?"  The grandmother was sitting on the bench, eyes glued to her phone.  He kept talking and running around trying different things to play on. Once in awhile she looked up and said, “Oh good,  that looks like fun,” and immediately went back to her phone.  She was not present with her grandson, she was a bystander seeing him from a distance.   As I watched, I wanted to yell at her, “WAKE UP!!  BEHOLD LIFE!  IT IS ALL AROUND YOU, SHOUTING FOR YOU TO SEE AND TO JOIN IN!! IT IS GLORIOUS!”  She missed the opportunity to see life through her grandson’s eyes…to experience the joy of being free and unburdened.  

Later that day I was at Panera and there sat a grandpa with a little boy, about the same age.  They barely talked to one another, but they were communicating deeply.  They made faces at each other, wiggled their noses, laughed, then silent again…and ate.  The grandpa was present. He experienced life through the eyes of his grandson… Not a bystander…The grandpa was beholding life.  And it was delightful to see.

Spirit God, I know so often I am distracted by so many things that I miss seeing you at work.  I miss out on life, on joy, on being with others.  I know you are calling to me… calling me to SEE!! to see your glory, to experience your love, to play and jump for joy and participate WITH you in life!  You are calling me to have intimate times with you…simply being together.  You call to me over and over, through nature, though others, through my family, my dog!  But so often I am like the grandma…too immersed in what I think is important…How much am I missing!!! How little I see!!! How little I hear!!! Oh God, I know you are present. I know you are present within me…I know your Holy Spirit is a fire within calling me to BEHOLD LIFE!  I know when I sit with you, when we simply …are together….as one…You and Me God… it is a place of peace and serenity and utter JOY!!!  It isn’t just about being mindful of life…of my interactions with others… of being there with my loved ones…. it is about being PRESENT WITH YOU!! It is about seeing life through YOUR EYES… experiencing life…the good and the hard, …through your love… Oh Divine glorious spirit…within me… that I so often ignore.  Let me be still, let me join you at the table of my heart and soul….and be together as one.  

Thank you for the reminder…to be present with you.. to behold life ….through you…because we are one… 

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Bailey, my dog,  gets excited whenever we go to the park and I take her ball with her.  She wags her tail and stares at the ball, waiting for me to throw it. I love to play fetch with her, most of the time… she seems so amazed when I throw the ball…runs, prances to find it, grabs the gift eagerly and runs back to me and drops the ball….tail wagging and a smile on my face watching her joy.

 Unfortunately, she doesn’t  always “get” how to play fetch.  I throw the ball and sometimes she starts running for it, gets distracted and wanders off to smell something.  Maybe she noticed a bird, or squirrel, or found some obnoxious smell to roll around in, completely forgetting about the ball I’ve thrown.  Sometimes she doesn’t see where the ball lands and just keeps looking all around, her nose to the ground, but misses it entirely.   Other times she runs to get the ball..and simply stands still with the ball in her mouth looking at me as if she is saying…what now?  …instead of returning the ball to me in order to have more fun.

    God, I realize I am sometimes that way with your blessings.  When I think about your love, the gift of Divine Love residing within me, I of course am excited…knowing that my relationship with you is the most important thing in my life.  I hear you and see you at work in my life…and in the lives of others.  I can receive Your blessings, take hold of them with joy and bring them back to you in the form of gratitude, praise, and sharing the blessing with others.  Sharing your love with others.  That is easy to do when the blessings are obvious…like spending time with family or seeing  the beauty in your glorious creation..  or even a word you’ve given me to share as encouragement.  

But other times, I look for your blessings, but get distracted by the noise of the world.  The things I think I must do.  The demands I put on myself or others put on me…. I get so immersed in this world, that I forget to even look for you within or without…I forget your presence in my life…and I go head strong into trying to create my own blessings.  During those times, I am controlled by my own ego, my fears, and my desire to please others.
    Other times, it is just hard to see you, experience you, or even know you exist.  Thankfully, that doesn’t happen often anymore, but when it does, I feel lost.  I don’t know what to do… I look and search for you, but all I see is pain, anxiety, disappointment, darkness  During those times I sometimes want to hide or run….life seems too hard….too confusing.  Fear or sadness seem to overtake me.  
    Other times, I experience you, and know you…but I hold on tight to your blessings, afraid they will leave, afraid that something will change and the blessings will be gone….. I grasp at what you’ve given me and instead of giving them back to you in the form of gratefulness and praise, I tighten my grip.  When I am holding on like that, I can’t share your love with others, I can’t be Your light in the world, because I am shining the light only in my own life…Other times I accept your blessings, and try to take credit for them  myself.  Instead of giving you the glory, I pat myself on the back…

    Open my eyes, open my heart, to see Your Blessings and Give You Glory.To Witness to the Love and Wonder of You.  To Run back into  your loving arms with an attitude of amazement and praise….so that your blessings will be shared, so that Your light will shine….that your blessings, light and love will be made manifest throughout the world… so your love in me will shine.
 

Trees

Trees

My prayer chair must always be in view of a tree. I learn so much from seeing the branches reaching up, even twisting towards the sun, the roots, reaching deep into the earth, sucking up water and nutrients, taking in all life has to offer. At the same time the tree is providing a home and blessing to so many animals, from tiny insects, all sorts of birds, and squirrels. Trees are a source of joy to little people climbing them—trusting in their strength or swinging on a firmly attached to a steady branch. They are a source of peace and quiet to those resting in their shade. Their strong root never waver yet their branches wave with the breeze…almost in celebration. The leaves, clap in unison with the wind creating a relaxing melody and a beautiful sight and sound.

When I am rooted in my faith…my belief that the Divine is present within me and around me, I am able to receive the blessings and be a blessing….I am able to reach out my arms with joy and with giving….and delight in life....and share my delight with those around me.

SKF
 

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Cut Glass

My prayer alter has a candle holder with cut glass.  Nothing expensive, I found it at a thrift store, but the glass is cut with geometric lines..stars, triangles…so as the light is reflected, it makes beautiful and intricate patterns. The light seems to dance within its container, creating new dimensions and shadows. The glass works in union with the candle, together creating a warming glow.  Together, they draw me into their light and the beauty.

The glass is a lot like my life, like everyone’s life. Life isn’t all smooth  There are cuts and edges throughout life due to pride, anger, selfishness. Our lives have often been cut by tragedy, abuse, and pain. And while our lives contain many moments of complete and utter joy, love and grace, it is through the jagged edges of life that God’s love and grace shines through to bring wholeness and beauty.  Those are often the times when we feel closest to God, and those are certainly the times that God uses us to reflect God’s beauty and transformative power with others. Accepting the cuts and edges instead of hiding them or running from them, allows the Light of God to dance.

If I tried to hide the edges and cuts, and present my life as all smooth, God’s love would certainly still shine,  but it is through the  brokenness of life, the jagged edges I sometimes try to hide or smooth out, that can beautifully reflect the loving, merciful light of God. Spirit and I can work together to draw others to God’s light and love.

Thank you, Oh Wonderful Creator, for creating beauty out of the cuts and edges of our lives.   Thank you for sustaining us during those times, and for the courage to accept our life as it is, because it is beautiful indeed.
 

Freedom

Oh God, creator of life and love…. thank you for the gift of two birds visiting my screened in porch. The outer door sometimes doesn’t close and if Iam not careful, a space is left as an open invitation to creatures of the world to enter. The little sparrows were most likely seeking warmth from the cold, an escape, a refuge, and they thought the eaves within the porch would offer freedom from the wind, the chill in the air, and the snow.  Little did they know that if they remained, they would be unable to gather food and sustenance, and their refuge would only lead them to ultimate death. Oh God how they fought my attempts to rescue them!  They flittered and panicked, flying from one screen to the next, knocking over and breaking some of my decorations in the process.  

I propped open the door and tried to guide them out, only to increase the panic and speed of their flight.  They would fly from one side of the porch to the other…flying right past the door to freedom.  They could not see, could not notice, could not understand that it was their only path to to life.  After leaving them alone, one bird managed to find the doorway of escape, but the other remained for hours.  Whenever I went out, I heard it fluttering within the eaves, and again I would try to guide it to freedom only to increase its dismay.  I finally left the porch door open, hoping no other birds and critters might join it in its search for warmth.  After leaving it alone, the bird must have found the doorway.  For finally after checking the eaves, no bird was found.  

I know I am like those birds sometimes….fluttering in panic….going here and there in search of life…unable to find the path to freedom…to love…to peace, to You, God. What can the birds teach me?  What lesson were they trying to make me see?

Oh my beloved Sue…. yes you are like the birds…so focused on what you think you need/want…you try to find refuge in things other than Me….Sometimes in relationships, in achievements, in places you think are safe but in reality only lead to death…death of your spirit and death to your unique and authentic self. I try to guide you to the Truth, the truth in Christ and my love for you that makes you complete, gives you LIFE….but you panic and flutter around,  going all different directions except thru the doorway of Love and Freedom.  But you were patient with the birds, and I am patient with you…. When you relax, when you are still, when you are not focused on yourself, but allow me to open your eyes and your spirit to truly see… you are drawn to that door…..and you experience true warmth, true freedom, true Life.  

And yes, you will again enter into the porch…into situations where you forget, and you will again struggle, …and panic…and go elsewhere for sustenance.  But I will remain, the door will always be propped open, for you to return to Me….and I will welcome you with wings of love, open and ready to embrace you and hold you.  

Patched Walls and Finding Peace

I wanted to have some rooms painted in my home but the walls needed to be repaired first.  There was fake brick on one wall —it  served a purpose at some time and I’m sure looked OK when the room was used as a nursery, but it was peeling away, was damaged by moisture, and now looked ugly. It served no purpose. Other walls had old peeling wallpaper that now I know was put up to cover holes in the wall.  The first person that came out to do the work made a terrible mess pulling down the fake brick.  He probably did more damage because he was trying to do it quickly and just ripped it down.  The mess actually made me sick due to all the dust.

A second man came out and took his time.  He patiently patched holes, sealed cracks, put mud on the walls, and gently sanded them so they were smooth.  It took much longer than he anticipated and he said he had never seen walls like mine before.  When the repairs were complete he painted the rooms and now they are simply beautiful.  Shimmering with new color…the rooms look wonderful and I want to spend time in them.  They now feel like home.

Oh God, during this process you showed me that the walls are like my life—and finding peace and beauty…finding you, God…has been messy.  I have had so many false gods, false loves, walls of protection, worldly desires that had to come down. Sometimes I thought I knew the answer to my pain but just like the first man that carelessly ripped down the fake brick, what I thought was the answer just caused more pain.   I had to have them completely taken down…completely given up in order to see you clearly and to experience your love and beauty.  But you have been so gentle…and have taken your time.  It has taken much longer than I wanted, and I know there is still patchwork to be done…but the more I allow you to do your work in my life, the more I surrender to you, the more I can see your beauty…the shimmer of your love…and want to spend time with you. I want to spend my life with you. You have made my life, once so painful and lonely, into something truly beautiful.  Thank you, Lord.

I invite you to use the meditation time to allow God to do some mending in your life. Let God expose all that keeps you from Him and allow him to do his work.  Consider what work he has already done and be in praise for your new life with God.

Finding God in All Things

I had an amazing day.  The power was out in my neighborhood and there was a steady and hard rain. I spent the morning in quiet reflection and meditation- centering on the love God/Creator/Jesus has shown me throughout my life. I meditated on the pain I was able to endure only because of the Holy, I thoughtof all the love I have been gifted through family and friends.  I became grateful for each breath and each day that has been given to me,  all the joys, the heartache, the confusion that has lead me to thisplace where I welcome the Mysterious Divine Spirit of God, of Jesus, of Love into my heart with a tight embrace. I decided to take a walk in the rain.  As I was walking, with a heart of love and gratitude, I saw God, Jesus and Spirit in every drop, every glistening leaf, every bird call, every color, every puddle. The world was shining with radiance. I experienced the Holy Mystery,  feeling incredibly blessed, grateful and full of joy. My joyful tears mingling with the rain drops.

Yet the next day, I felt nothing.  In truth, I felt grumpy.  I was once again bound to the earth.  I am indeed human.  But when I have such tastes of God’s glory and love, I long for more…and realize I need to DECIDE.  Decide to spend time with God, to SIT with the Divine Mystery, to INVITE and EMBRACE the presence of God.  

Yes, life is busy and hectic, hard and can be incredibly painful.  But each day, each moment I have a choice.  I can choose to be bound to the earth, to my Self and my pain, or I can let go and release my Self…so I can seek, see and experience God.  Life must go on, tasks must be accomplished, chores done, but I can choose to seek God in the midst of those activities, looking to see and experience God in the midst of everything and anything. Because God is There.  Jesus is There, Spirit is There….in the middle of the muck.  In the middle of the mundane, in the middle of the celebrations, in the middle of ALL.

Soaking Up the Divine Spirit

I want to wear sleeveless shirts this summer but seem to have a permanent tan line from short sleeve tops.  So, I sat out in the sun today. Soaking up the rays, ultraviolet radiation. Although I can’t see these particles of energy, I knew they were there, knew they were powerful, and knew that they would change me….at least change the color of my white skin.  The sun’s energy wouldn’t simply cover my whiteness, they will change the chemical reactions in my body,  make me look different, and if I stay out too long…make me feel different in a painful way!

It was a gentle reminder of the need to Sit with You God….to Sit and Soak up the Divine Energy…the Divine Spirit, the Holy Spirit. But first I must TRUST that the Divine Spirit is present…within and without…an unseen yet life changing energy.  Then I must make the CHOICE to do it, to stop what easily occupies my life and return to You, the Source.  I must give myself TIME……to sit with the Spirit.. to be still and to listen instead of running to my next task…. I must make myself VULNERABLE…uncovering my pride, my anxiousness, my depression, my loneliness..whatever emotion or feeling I am clothing myself with at the time.  And finally I must WAIT…allowing the Spirit Energy to work within me, to begin to change me…The results aren’t usually immediate, I must be patient.

The result?  Gradually a deeper communion with God, the removal of my resentments, my anger, my judgements and the gift of  greater peace… more meaningful relationships, and richer love.  I know this.  I have experienced it, yet there are so many times when I don’t DO it!  Why is it so much easier to stay busy, to stay worried and hassled, to keep going and going and going…than it is to SIT and SOAK UP THE DIVINE?  

Thank you, Creator, for the gift of your Spirit…that is within me —and around me—and is ready to change me, to better me, to envelop me and love me.  Thank you for simple reminders like today…that the more time I spend soaking up the Divine, the closer I am to You, and there is Nothing I want more.