Tuesday, July 31, 2007


reflections from bermuda #4
let me fly to worlds on high
listen dear for words so clear

photo by bill

Monday, July 30, 2007

Gombey Dance

reflections from bermuda #3
The gombey dancers spin and twirl bringing color and life back into a day that has been clouded with conflicting emotions and gray skies. Paradise. Heaven. Will there be both dark and light in heaven? Are we in reality already living in the heaven or hell of our very own making?

Choice. We get to choose how we will be but sometimes the choice feels out of our hands. Old hurts and childhood (often childish) responses get in the way and even when we want to respond otherwise, we hold tight to the preferred reply of the moment—hurt; anger; bitterness; confusion. The clouds appear too thick to see the sunshine. We can only hear the thunder roaring in our ears.

Yet still a piece of our heart reaches for the light. The heaven that lives inside our soul. The light that is as old as time. Created in the beginning. “Let there be light.” We struggle. We push. We yearn, but we are stubborn—strong—proud. And so the battle goes. Hang on. Let go. Hang on. Let go.

And then as if by magic you begin to hear, to feel a different rhythm. A soft pounding of drum and heart. It is slow at first (possibly even annoying) but soon you feel the pull to follow the new rhythm. You are drawn to the beat. Two hearts—multiple hearts—sounding as one—spiriting joy into the world. And then the crowd parts and the dancers spin and twirl bringing color and life back into a day that has been clouded with emotions and gray skies.

The skies are blue again. The light shines all around. Your heart leaps and you begin to smile and dance for this you know is heaven. Music. Color. Rhythm. Life. Young and old. Mother and child. Husband and wife. Friend and friend. Unity. The world spinning and twirling as we choose to experience heaven on earth.


photos by lucy


“How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterward.”
--Spanish proverb

I stumbled across the above proverb early this morning (as I am still running on Atlantic UTC-4 time versus PST or simply put--a 4-hour time difference.) The proverb seems highly appropriate today as I am trying to decide how I shall “re-enter” my “normal” life after two weeks away. My mind is full of memories, thoughts and ponderings as well as “lists” of things that probably need my attention. So, I am not really sure where to start.

To name the time away as doing “nothing” would be a gross injustice for it was full of life, adventure and miracles. I think I might state the proverb more truthfully for myself as “how beautiful it is to do nothing except that which our heart calls us to do, and then rest afterward.” Some might call this interpretation slothful or unproductive, however, I believe that when we are truly attuned to God, our hearts engage in a life full of meaning and productivity. (We just may need to shift how we define words like meaningful and productive ☺).

And so, today I think I shall re-enter blogging with a simple “hello” and “it’s good to be back.” My adventures led me on a wonderful trip to the islands of Bermuda preceded by an amazing workshop at Soltura. The coming days will most likely be sprinkled with more “reflections from Bermuda,” so I hope you will revisit often.

Have a great day!

photo of st. peter's church by lucy

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Thunder's Applause

reflections from bermuda #2

The thunder sounds like applause rippling across the gray Bermudian sky. Clapping for us here at Paget Parish—
away from the rush of the normal day. Read. Rest. Write. Those are the words I heard this morning in my quiet time. Today I have slept the sleep of the drugged—washed over by the cool sea breeze until the blowing rain prohibited leaving the balcony door open.

Lines are imprinted on my face like that of a sleeping child awakened too soon from an afternoon slumber. The skies continue to rumble and soon my stomach will join in for I have slept away half of the day and it is now well past lunchtime. Read. Rest. Write. Today it is heaven.

At present I do not mind that the sky has gone gray providing cover from the brilliant sun. It is so quiet; even the birds have retreated for a while. I imagine their feathers full and heavy from the summer rain. Maybe they, too, are napping on this glorious overcast day.

If it stays this way for the week will I still call it glorious? I hear the applause of the sky again. The majesty of God. The rumbling of the universe. I need rest. My stack of books awaits me and my computer sits nearby ready to transcribe my handwritten notes. Read. Rest. Write. Rejuvenate.

I am called to marry the week of holy work before with a week of wonder at this paradise around me. The yin and the yang. Both were entered into without concern for clock or schedules. Small boundaries to keep things in check: hunger, exhaustion, laughter, overload. The cycle of day and night.

It is magic when we can connect to our natural cycle. Today mine is read, rest, write. The thunder sounds like applause confirming my choice. Amen.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Simple Pure Stunning

reflections from bermuda #1
In the center of the lush landscape perches a magnificent yellow-
breasted bird. Simple. Pure. Stunning. It is me. Simple. Pure. Stunning. Quiet and still. Allowing space for God. Emmanuel. Always—Simple. Pure. Stunning. Quiet. Still. Alive. Participating in my own life. Gentle as an ocean breeze. Powerful as a summer squall. Tears and joy. Solitude and laughter. Present to what I need.

Right now there are no others around me. Only the energy of the universe. Breath. Air. Water. Flight. Heat. Subtle. Simple. Pure. Even when “nothing” is going on, the world is alive. Can I be present to my own life? Can I be the elegant swallow ready to take flight? The bird at the center of my landscape?

Everything radiates out from me. Concentric circles of energy—floating out to one another. Intersecting and colliding. Uniting and meshing. Passing through. Ripples of life touching each other. Tide—flowing and ebbing. Exposing the rocks and sand. Filling the deep.

I am the center of my own lush garden. How will I choose to see what is around me? Will I sing with joy? Sob with sorrow? Ache with pain? Melt from heat? Weep? Laugh? Sing? Dance? Breathe?

Today breath feels important. Breath. Yahweh. Emmanuel. Simple. Pure. Stunning.

photo by bill

Saturday, July 14, 2007


The last few days I have woken up with lists running through my head. Why lists? Why not poetry or even prose? We live by lists. Do this. Do that. You are not successful if you don’t get things done. What defines “things”? What defines “success”?

Slowly this morning my list shifted away from ‘to do’s’ and toward ‘must do’s’. Watching a beautiful sunset. Listening to my dog breathe. Breathing myself. Stopping to smell the roses. Moving my body freely not always with intention or purpose. Listening to God. Prayer. Constant, ongoing, everlasting prayer in the way I live—the way I simply be.

Emerging. Moving outward. Why do we hide? Why do we hold back? Sunrise Sister posed the question “Why do we always cry at the happy moments?” Tears are a release of emotion. We hold too much inside and our hearts are created to live not hold back. Tears are sacred and beautiful. They are meant to be used. They wash away sorrow and make room for peace, joy and happiness.

To pursue happiness, we find ways to allow space and make room for it to find us. And so, we write our lists and mark them off—not to be successful in the worldly sense—not to show how much we have accomplished, but to make space for joy and living.

Sure there is still joy in completion of a task, a pat on the back, a line through a job well done, but for what am I making space? Hopefully, not more lists! So, I ponder this question today: What do I really have to do? Simply speaking, the list is quite short.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Luke 10:27

So, what’s on your list today?

image from here

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Unconditional Love

Often we confuse unconditional love with unconditional acceptance. Nowhere is this more profoundly seen than in relationship whether it be our relationship with God, ourselves or others. The parent/child relationship is a powerful example . Are we not often like naughty children who treat each other poorly, test boundaries and push hard to see if our parent will still love us no matter what we do? We test the boundaries of love to see if acceptance will still follow. Henri Nouwen says, “It is important for us to hold on to the truth that God never gives up loving us even when God is saddened by what we do.” No matter how hard we push God is there for us loving without condition.

Being the parent of two strong-willed teenagers brings this truth to light daily for me. Do I love my children? Absolutely! Do I love and accept their choices and behaviors? Not always! However, I can accept (when thinking clearly ☺)that the choices are theirs to make just as we have free will to choose our own path.

Does God love us without condition? You bet! And, I am certain there is sadness when I forget the beautiful core of my being and respond to the world in an unlovely manner. Whether I recognize it in the moment, the sadness is carried within me for I am created to respond out of love rather than fear and hatred. The key is finding the resonance between our actions and our soul. Scripture gives us the recipe.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Luke 10:27

I return again and again to this passage. It is simple. It is pure. It is truth. It is the key to unconditional love. I will share more on this “key” in subsequent posts.

For today, spread a little love with others and with yourself…preferably without condition ☺.

madonna image from here

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


What speaks to unconditional love better than a big, wonderful, unabashed hug??

Today I would like to share a couple of my favorite hug messages. The first is an excerpt from a newly received book, Just Like Heaven. (It was a long-distance "hug" from Tinman #1).

So this is heaven, thought Mooch the cat.

Then Mooch came upon a big dog chained in a yard.

The big dog growled (as unloved dogs often do)

and let out a BIG BARK.

In the past, Mooch would have gone all fuzzy with fear and run away.

But here and now, Mooch wondered, What would you do in heaven?

So he opened his arms and said...

"Hug Time!"

And they did.

Wow, thought Mooch. What a great place.

Isn't it nice when we experience a little heaven here on earth? I hope you will experience it a little more with my next favorite hug message.

Free Hugs. Click here.

Sending hugs & unconditional love your way this blessed summer day!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Love's Eternity

I own a lovely little book called Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning purchased at a delightful oasis in Post, Texas called Ruby Lane Books. (Ruby Lane is a whole story by itself better left for another day.)

Anyway...sometimes this little book calls to me which was the case a couple of weeks ago when I ran across the following sonnet (Number XIV). The "spirit" of this poem has stayed with me (I say "spirit" because I am not one to be able to recall anything word for word) and so today I wanted to share it with you and also capture it for myself. So, without further ado...Sonnet XIV

If thou must love me, let it be for
Except for love’s sake only. Do not
“I love her for her smile—her look—
her way
of speaking gently, --for a trick of
That falls in well with mine, and certes
A sense of pleasant ease on such a
For these things in themselves, Beloved,
Be changed, or change for thee,--and
love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love
me for
Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks
A creature might forget to weep, who
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love
But love me for love’s sake, that ever-
Thou may’st love on, through love’s

My very simple analysis of this work is that it speaks of unconditional love. In other words, love me for me. Nothing else. Simple. Pure. Everything else may change, but unconditional love will hold "through love's eternity."

Many thoughts are stirred for me, so this could be a series in the making...or possibly not.

Love on.

Monday, July 09, 2007


Coming from one whose primary medium of art (at least here) is the written word it can seem odd to say that it is not the words of life that count, but the moments. While reading Mark Nepo’s words today, “when I think of those who’ve taught me how to love, moments come to mind, not words,” my mind was flooded with moments (many of them from the last few days.)

A hug. A smile. A laugh. The simple words of “eagle, eagle, eagle!” as the majestic bird flew past the shoreline. My son and his girlfriend head to head on the beach looking like two carefree children studying the tiny crabs. An arm slung over my shoulder and a kiss on my forehead—feeling cherished as a child by the son to whom I am mother. A joke and laughter shared that I cannot recall the words. Sitting with friends around a fire. Breaking bread together. The splendor of flowers at the market filling the air with fragrance and beauty. A car full of teenagers spilling out and wrapping me in bear hugs before they went off to play. Fireworks. Hard work. Quiet moments.

Moments. It is not the words I will primarily remember about the last few days, but the moments. The moments I knew that God was speaking to me through the beauty and wonder and glory of the creation surrounding me and teaching me that I am beloved.

What are the moments that speak to you of love?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Friend Time

Hanging out with friends. Will check back in soon. Cheers!

"The greatest sweetener of human life is friendship. To raise this to the highest pitch of enjoyment, is a secret which but few discover." --Joseph Addison

Monday, July 02, 2007

Let the Little Children Come

So, when and how do we cease to be childlike? Must we? Is it a requirement for adulthood? Jesus said, “Let the little children come.” It sounds so inviting. It certainly feels to me that I am closer to God in a childlike and simple state than in all the seriousness of adulthood.

When did things get so complicated? When did I become the grownup? Is there a button that gets pushed? Is it irreversible? I think the change begins when the world starts to press in. The negative messages start to come. “Don’t do this.” “Don’t do that.” “Don’t act like a child.”

Why the heck not? The kingdom of heaven is for the children of God. Get it? The children—not the grownups—the fuddy duddies—the policy makers. Blessed are the poor, the meek, the humble. Who is more poor (and therefore rich) than a newborn babe? Who is more meek (and thus bolder) than a child who knows no condemnation? Who is more humble (and consequently more brilliant) than one who does not recognize (and yet somehow fully knows) his own beauty?

When does it change? Must it?

“We do not quit playing because we grow old. We grow old because we quit playing.” –Oliver Wendell Holmes

photo by geezer dude

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Why I Am A Poet

Last night before retiring, I read the chapter “Why I am Mystical/Poetic” in Brian McLaren’s aGenerous Orthodoxy. McLaren referenced several points from theologian Walter Brueggemann’s introductory essay to Finally Comes the Poet which speaks of the Gospel being a “truth widely held, but a truth greatly reduced. It is a truth that has been flattened, trivialized, and rendered inane.”

Both authors go on to make the point that “reduced speech leads to reduced lives.” The point being how do we resurrect a truth that is buried in prose. Here is what Brueggeman suggests:
“To address the issue of a truth greatly reduced requires us to be poets that speak against a prose world. The terms of that phrase are readily misunderstood. By prose I refer to a world that is organized in settled formulae, so that even pastoral prayers and love letters sound like memos. By poetry, I do not mean rhyme, rhythm, or meter, but language that moves like Bob Gibson’s fast ball, that jumps at the right moment, that breaks open old worlds with surprise, abrasion, and pace. Poetic speech is the only proclamation worth doing in a situation of reductionism, the only proclamation, I submit, that is worthy of the name preaching.”

Makes sense to me. Have you ever tried to describe a deep feeling with words? When I struggled with how to describe Jesus in three lines, prose felt totally inadequate. When the words would not come, they made their way in poetry.

So, here’s to the poets of the world! Which leads to one last offering. This morning I read Tess’ Sunday Collection (always a Sunday favorite!) which aptly this week is a tribute to poetry. Take a look. Read a poem. Maybe write one if you feel so called.

photo by geezer dude