Thursday, March 22, 2007

Out (to Lunch?)

I will be away from computer land until April 1. I invite you to take this opportunity and cruise around my blog...maybe check out some of my favorite videos or other blogger links (found in the sidebar)...or read some past posts you might have missed.

Let me know what you think. I love to know that the "gang" is stopping by and maybe missing me a little too :-)

Let it Blossom

“How can you follow the course of your life if you do not let it flow?” Lao-Tzu

Everywhere I look, Spring is bursting forth with life and new birth. Blossoms, babies, puppies and green grass. And, the question, “What is blossoming in me?” keeps showing up. It feels like the rest of my life is waiting to blossom, but the “live in the moment” side of me says, “Wait, don’t get ahead of yourself. What about today?” Nevertheless, I am at a bit of a crossroads. Decisions need to be made surrounding my career path and I desperately want to follow what is my calling. Fortunately, the two are closely interwoven.

How will I step out? How will I bring me, first, to myself, and then, how will I bring myself to the world? For there is only one Me. Lovely, kind, and free. Fiercely tender. Funny. Smart. Quick and contemplative. Bold and shy. A paradoxical being. I am a woman ready to spring forth into blossoms—maybe one at a time or maybe a whole bed of crocus bursting at once.

There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy,
a quickening that is translated
through you into action.

And because there is only one of you
in all of time this expression is unique.
and if you block it, it will never exist through any other
medium and be lost.

The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is
nor how it compares with other expressions.

It is your business to
keep it yours clearly and directly,
to keep the channel open;
whether you choose to take an art class,
keep a journal, record your dreams,
dance your story or live each day from
your own creative source.
Above, all else, keep the channel open.

--Martha Graham

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Spring Haiku


tight bud of pink plum
holding firm to branches bare
how will you unfold?


bursting blossoms come
with blankets of lush green lawn
spring ushers in life

Sunday, March 18, 2007

What Time of Day am I?

Okay. I really like this "I AM SUNRISE" opposed to last week's "what kind of puppy are you?" which defined me as a chihuahua!!! Somehow the image of a chihuahua at sunrise doesn't work for me. What time of day are you?

You Are Sunrise

You enjoy living a slow, fulfilling life. You enjoy living every moment, no matter how ordinary.
You are a person of reflection and meditation. You start and end every day by looking inward.
Caring and giving, you enjoy making people happy. You're often cooking for friends or buying them gifts.
All in all, you know how to love life for what it is - not for how it should be.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Blossoming Compassion

Yesterday morning I wrote of Compassion and ripples and water and cleansing. Then I went to my last session of Awakening the Creative Spirit. There we were posed with the question, "What is blossoming within you?" The first thing I thought was "nothing" and then I remembered the words: 'compassion for myself.' Neither felt like something I wanted to share with this group of blossoming women.

Our task was to select a photo of a blossom from the table in front of us. A very pale Iris petal (neither my favorite flower nor color hue) chose me. These are the words I read from the back.

Spring and all its flowers,
now joyously break their vow of silence.
It is time for celebration, not for lying low;
You too - weed out those roots of sadness
from your heart.

The Sabaa wind arrives;
and in deep resonance, the flower
passionately rips open its garments,
thrusting itself from itself.

The Way of Truth, learn from the clarity of
Learn freedom from the spreading grass.

Pay close attention to the artistry of the
Sabaa wind,
that wafts in pollen from afar,
And ripples the beautiful tresses
of the fields of hyacinth flowers.


Need I say more?

Friday, March 16, 2007


“When the wind stops, the trees still move, the way my heart creaks long after it bends.” --Mark Nepo

Compassion is a word that has been entering my vocabulary and thoughts on multiple levels these days. How do we find it and give it (not just to others, but) to ourselves? Our feelings are like the ripples of the wind. The effect of the emotion lasts long after the event stops whether we realize it or not.

Tess’ “Unguarded Thoughts” highlighted this as she speaks of thoughts that pop out when we don’t even understand from where they may be coming. I wonder if they are the ripple of events gone by. So, again the question: how do we flow with the ripple and find compassion for ourselves?

My dreams lately have been filled with water. Water covering the streets. Water overflowing from the shower. Water surrounding land as if it is an island. The thought I have been pondering is how we quickly want our emotions to be washed away. If we stop to feel them at all, we hurriedly move on to the next thing as we let the emotion slip down the drain. (We don’t take time to be joyous or feel pain deeply.) It is here that I have the image of our emotions running into the sewer and becoming part of the muck and mire—festering and turning into a stinky, rancid mess—waiting to be dredged up. Yuck!

What if rather than pushing the emotions down the drain, we put the stopper in the sink and the covers over the manholes? What if we allowed ourselves to be washed with emotion thus being cleansed at the same time? What if we chose to dance in the rain rather than put up our umbrellas? What if we “experienced” rather than “stuffed?” The water could then take its natural course to the sea rather than man’s forced journey through the darkness of tunnels.

So today I say, let the water flood the streets. Let the shower spray everywhere. There are plenty of towels to soak up the excess. Have compassion for Me. My dreams are telling me to sink into the emotion and feel it, so then it can follow its natural course. I can be washed clean. God of the heavens and earth, the Creator of the trees and the wind, the lover of my heart is with me. Compassion abounds if only I will choose to sprinkle a little on myself.

photo by Mary Jane Hughlett circa 1962

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Leap of Faith

The earth is indeed lovely, I realized.

And so I decided to take a leap of faith. Life is, after all, a series of leaps of faith. Falling in love and believing that I will grow old with my husband is a leap. Losing a parent and believing that I will recover is a leap. Giving birth to children and letting go as they grow, hoping they will lead safe, happy lives is a leap. Living in a world of chaos, believing good will prevail over evil, is a leap.

Maybe I could hold God's hand as I leaped.
--Priscilla Warner of "The Faith Club"

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Remembrance toward Freedom

Why is it such a challenge to be the people we are created to be? It is my belief that we each innately hold the knowledge and truth of who we are deep inside our hearts. It is always there whispering to us what we know to be true. Often, however, the whisper needs prompting to move the truth out of storage and toward remembrance and life.

We are well aware when the truth shows up. It is the moment our heart sings with recognition—a smell, a sight, a voice. You know you are home. You know you are safe. There is intimacy in memory. It sustains us and nurtures us here and now so we can remain rooted in the midst of this crazy life. It is memory of Christ. Memory of home—the truth of our very being. The knowing that we are whole and pure.

We spend so much time wallowing in the mud and muck of life. The truth, however, remains rooted inside us like an everlasting friend whose voice is always a welcome sound. It is a song for your heart beckoning you to remember who you are. To walk daily in freedom, we must remember our past stories of both tragedy and redemption, we must dream of future hopes, and we must choose to love God, our neighbors and ourselves in the present moment.

We are anchored in Christ—through humanity—through the magnificence of the universe. There is a great knowing of something that we can’t quite seem to remember yet know is ancient, everlasting and true. This knowing holds me above the waves of life, buoyant as a bird in flight, cradled in the embrace of a friend.

It is my desire to remember the anchors of my life. The smells, the tastes, the sounds and sights that draw each of us toward becoming the people we are created to be. It is through remembrance that we can walk in freedom.

photo by bill hughlett

Monday, March 12, 2007

Yield to Simplicity

Ponderings of today. Simplicity is the word that is speaking to me during this season of Lent. I believe simplicity draws us closer to God. Simplicity and humility. Not pomp and circumstance. God is not interested in a popularity contest. He does not need everyone to acknowledge Him--to cheer him on. Jesus did things in obscurity and subtlely--often striving to remove himself from the crowds and seeking quiet time with God.

The world seems to think that in order to be successful, everything must be bigger and better. Giant churches. Huge projects. Best-selling books. The list goes on. What is big enough? What would it look like to reach people simply--one by one--heart by heart? Quietly and subtlely coming alongside and joining fellow sojourners as they come to know God and themselves in big, quiet ways.

I think I'll close here with this poem found at Milton's site.

I Feel Sorry for Jesus

People won’t leave him alone.
I know He said, wherever two or more
are gathered in my name . . .
but I’ll bet some days He regrets it.

Cozily they tell you what He wants
and doesn’t want
as if they just got an e-mail.
Remember “Telephone,” that pass-it-on game

where the message changed dramatically
by the time it rounded the circle?
People blame terrible pieties on Jesus.

They want to be his special pet.
Jesus deserves better.
I think He’s been exhausted
for a very long time.

He went into the desert, friends.
He didn’t go into the pomp.
He didn’t go into
the golden chandeliers

and say, "the truth tastes better here."
See? I’m talking like I know.
It’s dangerous talking for Jesus.
You get carried away almost immediately.

I stood in the spot where He was born.
I closed my eyes where He died and didn’t die.
Every twist of the Via Dolorosa
was written on my skin.

And that makes me feel like being silent
for Him, you know? A secret pouch
of listening. You won’t hear me
mention this again.

-- Naomi Shihab Nye

photo by bill hughlett

Saturday, March 10, 2007

God's Ways

Count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit Me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds.
Matthew 5:11-12 from "The Message"

I wrote a word of Peace.
The reader said, "Too pat."

I spoke a word of Rest.
The hearer said, "No way."

I read a word of Grace.
My heart said, "I believe."

God's ways are not our ways. They are hard to believe with a "rational" mind. They are impossible to hear with a worldly ear. They are indisputable when received in the heart.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Grief--Emotion or Stalker??

The grief is up already. It is an early riser, waiting with its gummy arms wrapped around my neck, its hot, sour breath in my ear. Now it follows me down the hall to the bathroom, tapping my shoulder the whole way.
Try to pick up your toothbrush, it says.

--Lolly Winston

Thursday, March 08, 2007


Be present to others and yourself.
In that way you honor Me.

photo by bill hughlett

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Blessed Comfort

"Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted." Matthew 5:4

Grace. In her book, Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh speaks of being aware of times in our lives when we seem to be "in grace" and other periods when we feel "out of grace." "In the first condition, one seems to carry all one's tasks before one lightly, as if borne along on a great tide; and in the opposite state one can hardly tie a shoe-string."

Today I tied my shoe-strings a little easier with the help of those who surround me: God, friends and family, both near and far. These words greeted me in my morning reading: "the mourners are called blessed not because mourning is good, but because they shall be comforted." By sharing my grief and sorrow, I have allowed those around me to bring me comfort. It has come in the form of blog messages, phone calls and inspired readings. It has come from me, too, as I have allowed myself to be still and listen to my own rhythm for a few days.

Grace. How often we believe we must give grace to everyone except ourselves. Thank you for the grace and comfort you show me. How will you show yourself grace today...tomorrow?

Finally, I would like to share a poem sent to me by my friend across the ocean, Tess.

Poor human race that must
Feed on pain, or choose another dish
And hunger worse.

There is also a cup of pain, for
You to drink all up, or,
Setting it aside for a sweeter drink,
Thirst evermore.

I am thy friend. I wish
You to sup full of the dish
I give you and the drink,
And so to fatness come more than you think
In health of opened heart, and know peace.

Grief spake these words to me in a dream. I thought
He spoke no more than grace allowed
And no less than truth.

by Stevie Smith

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Breathing is Hard Today

Breathing is hard today. For several days I have been plagued with a horrible cold and have not felt my usual self. I wish I could breathe deeply, but I cannot. Longing for breath consumes my days. I went out for air and sunshine and a milkshake yesterday. The milkshake machine was broken. I drove to the beach but could not make myself pull over and park. I stopped for a Diet Coke and bought Cracker Jacks when I really wanted Crunch n Munch. Desires that seem so simple and inconsequential become heaps of angst. “The ground is always littered with our longings.”

I am grieving and I don’t even realize it. My friend Dawn has died. She is younger than I. My son feels abandoned and I cannot rescue him. My health feels crummy. My house needs cleaning. My daughter is 14. My world feels numb and since writing my Lenten prayer, I’m not sure I have given myself fully to anyone. “The ground is always littered with our longings.”

Longing for connection. Longing for wholeness. Searching too hard. Can I just be? Just rest and be me? What am I doing? Searching. Looking. Asking. Seeking. Flat dull spaces block my path. And then I hear my own words, “Let us not move too quickly to the Good News and thus dismiss our pain and sorrow.” Can I sit in the sorrow for a while? Will I allow myself to be present for myself? For my losses?

Death and dying. New birth. New life. Breath seems so important. My mind is muddled. The rhythm of life speaks to me. The pendulum. The ground littered with our longings. The question is how to remain faithful to all the necessary deaths while leaving room for resurrection. The only way to get through grief is to grieve. The only way to take in fresh air is to breathe. Breathing is hard today.

"I write to discover what I know." Flannery O'Connor (& me)

photo by bill hughlett

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Lucy--An Other's Perspective

I am feeling a bit playful this morning (even though still in bed with a really crummy cold) and felt like lightening things up a bit as heavier thoughts have been the topic for the last few days. So I have decided to share the insights of other people in my life (still being about me, of course, since this is my blog.) Here are some diamonds from others and a few glimpses of Lucy from another perspective.

This photo was sent to me by my sailing friends of the Georgia J.

I received this poem earlier in the week from my friend, Molly. I am honored and humbled to see myself through this woman's eyes.

Lucy is deep and vast like a river
That flows to the ocean – a blessing, a giver
It takes all her heart, you can see in her eyes
To integrate, not compartmentalize
This woman is brave, she will bare heart and soul
So that we can learn to be healthy and whole
And it’s her struggle too, and we love her so much
She walks beside us, companion, not crutch
In her willing exposure of laughter and pain
We see that this journey will not be in vain
Encouraged by Lucy, we’ll walk near or far
To enjoy the gift of God’s shining star.

And, finally a quiz result about my "intelligence." I found the link at my friend, Antony's blog. You should be able to click on the link below and take your own quiz.

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convincing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

Cheers to you! I'm off to make some Chicken Soup.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Doubt and the Bible

Today while reading Tess' post on scripture, I was reminded of my own struggling with the Bible and how to personally reconcile what I believe to be God-inspired and the inerrent truth and that which is potentially the product of man's interpretation.

It was in graduate school that I was first introduced to the concept of hermeneutics. Much discussion was made of our personal hermeneutic and what we bring to the text as well as historical considerations, context, etc. In my religious upbringing I always considered that others had studied this before me and they, therefore, knew the "right" interpretation of what I was reading. There was little room for doubt or opinions that differed from the "correct" interpretation.

I remember in graduate school, however, becoming more brave and writing a paper on one of the gospel stories while really listening to my heart and bringing my own interpretation to the text. The grader was a bit taken aback with his more traditional view as I had stepped out of the box. He actually commented that I seemed to value my own opinion over that of the Gospel writer. While i certainly did not profess my interpretation to be the "right" one, I do believe it could be considered at least a possibility--particularly for me in that moment. Who's to say that one man (or woman's) interpretation is more correct than another's?

Today after reading Tess' post, I listened to a podcast with historian Jennifer Michael Hecht on her book, "Doubt: A History." She had some great comments on how doubt has actually shaped much of the great religions. I particularly like this quote from social reformer Elizabeth Cady Stanton:

"When I first heard from the lips of Lucretia Mott that I had the same right to think for myself that Luther, Calvin and John Knox had, and the same right to be guided by my own convictions and would no doubt live a higher, happier life than if guided by theirs, I felt at once a newborn sense of dignity and freedom. It was like suddenly coming into the rays of the noonday sun after wandering with a rushlight in the caves of the earth."

This quote gave me hope that it is okay to question the Bible while still holding it at the center and core of my spiritual beliefs. I believe God does want us to live with a sense of "dignity and freedom" rather than oppression and fear. Questions of doubt are often extremely hard to discuss with Christian friends because there seems to be so much fear around questioning and doubting that every bit of the Bible is not "literal." Is it possible that God inspires us (you and me) today just as he inspired the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament writers? What if the Bible is fluid and not stagnant? Can it be the ultimate Truth without being rigid and unforgiving?

It's a bit scary to throw these questions out there, but they seem so important to me right now. Maybe it's the season of Lent and further reflection. Who knows, but I hope you will join me in the conversation.

"Somerset Cross" photo by bill hughlett

Friday, March 02, 2007

For Dawn

“How shall there be redemption and resurrection unless there has been great sorrow? And isn’t struggle and rising the real work of our lives?" --Mary Oliver

Ever since I wrote my Lenten Prayer, I have been acutely aware of the pain and sorrow existing so close to my own heart. Nothing highlights this more than the news I received today that my beautiful friend, Dawn, died this morning at 7:45 a.m.

How do you pay tribute to one who touched so many people so deeply? Less than an hour before she died I prayed a prayer of release for her. Did I play a part in her death as I believe I did in her life? I don’t know, but if somehow I helped ease her pain, then I am grateful. She fought a long hard battle with cancer and she was ready to let go. It is we who are left behind that now have the long road ahead of us.

If you are a praying person, please keep her family in your prayers. While I believe she is whole and pure and complete again, her family (including a loving husband and four amazing teenagers) is now heartbroken. I pray God’s peace and comfort over them in the days, months and years to come. I will miss my friend deeply.

Let us not move too quickly to the Good News and thus dismiss our pain and sorrow.
Let us grieve—holding the sweet moments of memory and raging for a life released that we do not want to concede.

"Faith" photo by bill hughlett

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Heart Lament

Sacred One, I cry out to you. How much pain must I bear?
Heart outside my body.
Walking. Tripping. Falling. Weeping.
Will it cease to beat?
Where is resurrection? Resuscitation?

My heart bleeds. Slowing to a stop.
Where, oh where, is life?
Pain and sorrow.
Breaking. Wrenching.
Existing is too hard.

How will joy sustain? Gentle flame flickers in winds of despair.
I ache. I yearn, oh Lord, for your comfort—your gentle breath upon my face.
Breathe life into me, I pray.
My heart is breaking wide and I am falling in.
Take my hand, oh Lord. Keep me from despair.

Shine your light that I may glow—
Ever so gently—ever so dimly—waiting.
Waiting for my heart to calm—the wound to heal—a scar remains.
Wounds of your hands. Wounds of my heart.

Where are you, oh Lord? I need your help this day.
Heart inside my body.
Quiet. Still. Resting. Beating.
I feel your breath upon my face—the sigh of my heart.
Here is resurrection. Resuscitation.