Friday, May 25, 2007

For My Son

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

This post is in honor of my beautiful boy who turns 18 tomorrow.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Grace on the Bus

If you don’t know the kind of person I am and I don’t know the kind of person you are, a pattern that others made may prevail in the world and following the wrong god home, we may miss our star. --William Stafford

Do we really know the people around us? Do we even know ourselves for that matter? This week I returned to riding the bus amidst the previous week’s headlines of increased assaults and overcrowding.

It was one of those Seattle mornings where it’s hard to tell if the sky is going to break wide open into sunshine or burst into a deluge of rain. What would the day look like? After a bit of seat shifting between bus stops a middle-aged man landed in the seat next to me. He said, “good morning” which is something different in itself. Most riders just plug into their media (headphones, newspapers, books) and pretend the person next to them doesn’t exist. Soon we were sharing a bit of conversation as he relayed pieces of local good news—a lost runner had been found, baby falcons had hatched. Hmmm. I thought, this doesn’t feel like the bus described in last week’s paper.

The bus felt even lighter on the afternoon ride home even though it was five o’clock traffic and the coach was really crowded. The bus driver was amazing. The word ‘grace’ comes to mind. He let people exit from the back door rather than push through to the front. I witnessed riders offer seats to mothers and children. I saw strangers engage in light-hearted conversation. I saw a woman exit through the back door and deliberately walk around to the front and pay her fare (others had not done this) and then I watched that pattern repeated over and over with no real expectation from the driver.

The bus driver was our guardian for that short period of time and he did an amazing job. He was a keeper of peace, not with enforcement of rules but with kindness and a lightness in the air. Grace. He could have insisted everyone push through the crowd. Instead, he opened another door.

Through what door will I enter the world today? In what small ways might I hope to alleviate someone else’s burden—possibly their need to push and shove to be seen or heard? How will I see goodness and seek to know the person who stands before me or sits beside me? How will I follow my own star and not the headlines of another? How will you?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pay Attention

"Our purpose is that which we most passionately are when we pay attention to our deepest selves." --humanitarian, Carol Hegedus

photo by lucy

Monday, May 21, 2007

Bus Headlines

“Reports of trouble on buses rise”
“Rider-on-rider “assaults” up 30% in a Year”
“Stats define incidents broadly, but rudeness noted”

These were the headlines of The Seattle Times Local News section on Saturday. Having missed my weekly bus rides for about a month now, I was naturally drawn to this piece. Ironically, the continuation page of the article landed right next to the “Faith and Values” section of the paper. Hmmm. Coincidence?

I began to ponder these topics together. What if we responded to rudeness with kindness? What if we reported stories of good deeds rather than angry words? What if we wondered what might be happening personally to people rather than blaming the metro system? What if we offered each other a cup of kindness rather than a shove and push? If we offered our seat rather than turned away in indifference? If we looked with compassion rather than judgment?

What if we did something different? Paid our love forward? “Unplugged” our i-pods and cell phones? Considered people rather than systems? What if we stayed in our seat and let the sleeping man rest? If we offered comfort rather than contempt?

Do you think we could change the headlines?

“Compassion can never coexist with judgment because judgment creates the distance, the distinction, which prevents us from really being with the other.”
--Henri Nouwen

Friday, May 18, 2007

Remnants of Childhood

Remnants of childhood. Mudpies. Dandelion & purple flower soup. Feather beds. Legos abandoned in the yard. Cows on the farm. A hint of manure. Generations of childhood memories woven together. Playing in the dirt. Connecting to the earth. A child’s sandbox. Digging and building. The simplicity of life.

"Whoever inquires about our childhood wants to know something about our soul." --Erika Burkhart

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Yesterday I worked hard. I tended my garden, both literally and figuratively. I inhaled the clean, spring Seattle air mixed with the smell of fresh mulch that held just a hint of manure. A pile of dark earth was delivered to my home. Who knew that a mound of dirt could hold so many opportunities for discovery, such as tiny rocks and other things that somehow survived the composting process?

Is life on earth simply a composting process? Before yesterday I thought of the composting process as only a breaking down or decaying procedure, but interestingly enough the root word ‘compositum’ actually means ‘something put together’. So, I ask the question again, is life simply a composting process?

I wonder, will we allow ourselves to be broken down until only our true self is left, like the pebbles that arrived in my heap of compost? Will we stay in the process until there is no more space for barriers and defenses? Until what you see is what you get? A life as pure as a pebble.

We are called to be true to our nature. A rock is a rock. A bird is a bird. Water is water. People are people. We cannot be anything else. Yet maybe we are most like water as we take on the colors and reflections of the world around us. But when we try to reflect what is not our nature, there is disharmony and confusion. If water reflects a flame, it does not become fire. It is still water. We, too, can reflect many things, but to be at peace—to be whole and true to ourselves and to God—we need only be who we naturally and truly are at our very core.

Some of us resemble rocks and some are free as birds, others are beautiful flowers blossoming anew each day. And, me? Well, I am simply a child playing in this magnificent garden.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Broken for You

Broken for you. These are the words that I awoke with this morning. Many images running through my head. Christ. Mosaic tiles. My own aching bones (from too much gardening.) Shattered families. Cracks and light. Hearts breaking open so that others may fall in. How will we approach the cracks and find the light?

The images then turning to two butterflies dancing in yesterday’s sunlight. White, perfect butterflies greeted me throughout the day. Actually they seemed quite oblivious of me yet they put on quite the show. Sometimes solo, sometimes in a pair, happy and gleeful, floating in the sunlight.

Broken. Broken wings. Broken soil. Broken ground. Broken body. Broken for you. Christ’s body broken for me. Communion. Christ’s beautiful, amazing sacrifice. Broken for me. The communion cup. The bread of life. How will we feed each other? Broken for you.

How are we broken again and again on behalf of each other? How can our own brokenness heal one another? Broken for you. The words ring in my head. Mother Teresa. Gabrielle. Jennifer. People I have never met. Broken for me. How will we fight on behalf of each other? One person at a time. One life at a time. With these thoughts, I begin my day.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Book Meme

Wow! Two Memes in One Day...

How many books do you own?
Enough to use as lamp tables, nightstands and shelf fillers. 200-300 maybe? I'd rather read them than count them.

Last book I read:
"The Namesake" by Jhumpa Lahiri--It is a great illumination on the immigrant experience and the relationship between generations. This book has been selected as part of Seattle Reads.

Five Books That Mean a Lot to Me (no particular order and representing a variety of reasons):

Go Dog Go by P.D. Eastman

The Bible

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Now tag five other blogs:

I promise not to do "tags" more than once a day/week/month??? However, please feel free to join in and leave your readings either in my comments or on your blog. I'd love to know what you are reading!

Seven Things About Me Meme

Tess from Anchors & Masts has tagged me for this meme. How exciting! I'm always up for some fun.

First, the Rules: People who are tagged start by thinking about 7 random facts/habits about themselves. Each player then must write about those seven things on their blog, as well as include these rules. Players then need to choose 7 people to tag and list their names. Don’t forget to leave each person a comment telling them they’ve been tagged.

1. Although I now hail from Seattle, I actually consider myself a bit of a southwestern girl--having grown up in Oklahoma City, OK. A colleague recently said when he found out this fact, "Ah, now I see where you get your fight!" (He didn't realize the 'fight' probably comes most from Lucy :-)

2. Before I really start to dissolve into a belly laugh, I make this kind of guttural snorting sound that my fourteen year old daughter lovingly refers to as 'retarded.' (Not very PC...but, sorry she IS 14).

3. I absolutely love summer! My grandmother used to call me a little brown bear and for years I thought my skin was olive-colored because I always had a hint of tan.

4. When I was little, I dreamed of being Miss America and always wondered what my talent would be. Fortunately, I never went in for twirling blazing batons and gave up the notion of wearing high heels with my bathing suit. I am really glad those photos are not a part of my past or present!

5. I have not always embraced "Lucy." During a personal growth workshop, a friend dubbed me Lucy. I was livid and retorted "I am NOT Lucy!!!!" As you can see, the rest is history. (Sometimes you just have to get over yourself.)

6. For less than a year, we had the most amazing cat named, Larry. He thought he was a dog about half of the time and the other half he knew exactly when to curl up by my side and purr his little heart out. He disappeared about a year ago and I still mourn for him almost every day.

7. I have recurring dreams (both day and night) of being on the Oprah show and impacting thousands of lives in a positive way--either with my best-selling book or my powerful story of survival. Hmmmm.

AND, finally, I have a relatively small circle of blogging friends, many who have already been tagged for this meme. The joy is I have a few friends who have found me that I would like to invite further into the fun and maybe learn a few not-so-well known details about them. So I am tagging Sunrise Sister, Rich, Soutenus, Chimayo Bound, Good for Nowt, Redbarn and Geezer Dude (who has no official site yet, but I am hoping for one.)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Story of Laughter

"Laughter is carbonated holiness" -- Anne Lamott

"The human brain forgets ninety percent of what goes on."
--Jan Milner

"There were two women who shared a house and raised their daughters, two toddlers, together. Then one of the women got transferred to another city and moved with her daughter.

Ten years later, they had a reunion. The mothers asked their kids what they remembered about living together. Did they remember all the books? No. Did they remember a mom in the kitchen every morning, fixing eggs and toast? No.

What they remembered was playing in the pink bathtub for hours, pulling the pink shower curtain shut for privacy. And the morning the mothers sneaked in, turned off the lights, threw plastic cups and spoons over the curtain and cried, "It's raining spoons!" They laughed and laughed.

We are lucky in this life--our minds think laughter is what's worth remembering.

What laughter from yesterday can I remember today?"

from Today's Gift, author anonymous

No original words from me today, BUT I am most deeply known when I dissolve into fits of soul lifting laughter. It is impossible to fake a belly laugh. Think about it. :-)

photo by bill hughlett

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Is It Safe Here?

Over the last several days I have written page upon page of words. Some have been in my head and some actually put onto paper and yet I cannot seem to produce a post. Everything seems to be either intensely personal or bland. I can only speak from personal experience and my experience is anything but bland. It is full of love, hate, fear and passion. I have lived being numb and I hate it. I refuse to live there anymore and still at times I feel trapped as to where and how I can safely share my passions. So where is the balance between sharing what is me and crossing a line where it does not feel safe anymore?

I know that it is my choice what I put here for you to see and yet I have had this nagging feeling of unsafety for the last few days. Maybe it is a result of watching other blogging friends struggle with their own honesty and vulnerability. Maybe it is due to encounters I have had recently in my own life. It also feels a little creepy to know that dozens of people visit this site each day and yet very few (in fact no one for the last two or three days) leave comments. Is this a community as many have suggested or is it a spectator sport? Do you simply want to observe or will you choose to engage? What feels safe to you?

In closing, here are some words from Mark Nepo.

"We waste so much energy trying to cover up who we are, when beneath every attitude is the want to be loved, and beneath every anger is a wound to be healed, and beneath every sadness is the fear that there will not be enough time."

photo by bill hughlett

Thursday, May 10, 2007


A fish cannot drown in water,
A bird does not fall in air
In the fire of its making
Gold doesn't vanish: the fire brightens.
Each creature God made
Must live in its own true nature;
How could I resist my nature,
That lives for oneness with God? --author unknown

photo by bill hughlett

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Women in Christianity

I was going to post something entirely different here this morning, but after seeing this video at my friend, Rich's blog, I could not think of anything else. I wept as I watched this and I cannot yet (or possibly will I ever) distinguish between how much of it is from the pain of watching and how much from the beauty of these young, glorious faces. How can anyone who calls themself "of God" say these women are "less than"? I'd love to know your responses and reactions.

Watch here. Women in Christianity

photo by Mary Jane Hughlett, Belgian Congo, late 1950's

Monday, May 07, 2007

Instruments of Life

Funny how my last post was about wide open space written early on Friday morning and yet here I sit and it is Monday already. My weekend was filled with some wonderful time of solitude along with soccer games, gardening, deck time with my husband and the amazing experience of participating in and witnessing the 2007 commencement ceremonies at my alma mater, Mars Hill Graduate School as well as spending special time with former classmates.

Today I have the privilege of working with another friend as we start the process of transitioning Soltura to the Pacific Northwest. I awoke this morning as she tiptoed into my room trying to catch a glimpse of the bald eagle that was flying overhead. Ah, what a life!

All of these things: watching new counselors and pastors enter the world, preparing a place of personal and family healing in an idyllic setting and especially daily living, bring me back to the prayer shared at graduation:

Lord, make us insturments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and
it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

--St. Francis of Assisi

Blessings to you this day.

photo by bill hughlett

Friday, May 04, 2007


Sunrise to sunrise,
prayerful rhythm of the day.
Will we be awake?

Beautiful and inspiring haiku from my friend, Antony's blog.

"tara's sunrise" photo by lucy

Wide Open Space

“Somehow we manage it: to like our friends, to tolerate not only their little ways but their huge neuroses, their monumental oddness: “Oh well,” we smile, “it’s one of her funny days.” -- Fleur Adcock

The past couple of days have felt like “funny days” for me. Do you ever find yourself with so much wide-open space that you don’t know what to do? I have been known to find myself with entirely too much to do that I become paralyzed. But, how ironic is the notion that not having anything scheduled can be as much of a distraction as having too much? When I have a full schedule, I crave free time and now that I have days wide open before me, I crave a schedule. Julia Cameron says that artists actually need structure and many times must devise it for themselves by creating schedules in “lives that are too wide open to be productive.”

So, this morning I have taken Julia’s advice and following my morning pages I have attempted to bring some thoughts together, but I keep getting stuck. “Friends” has been a topic that continues to muddle around in my head. I love my friends. I miss my friends. And now I allow myself to be distracted about the absence of their presence. Silly girl.

I love the idea of treating alone time not as a space of loneliness but as a gift of solitude. I can relish the quiet. Choose my own music. Dance throughout the house if I like. For I have been given the gift of time. I get to decide what to do with it. What a luxury! So, why can I not settle in to that for now?

Still feeling a little silly and somewhat distracted, I have at least added a bit of structure to my day by making an entry here. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the day unfolds. (I wonder if this falls into the category of ‘little ways’ or ‘monumental oddness.’) Oh well.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Glory of Friendship

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him. --Ralph Waldo Emerson

photo by Mary Jane Hughlett circa 1960 -- Belgian Congo

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

And the Winner is...

REDBARN. Unfortunately, I do not any any contact info for you. If you will give me some contact info, I will send you your prize!

Thank you to all who participated in the 100 Ordinary Posts contest!

plain barn photo by bill hughlett