Archive | March, 2020

Dirt Roads

31 Mar

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My house gets smaller by the day.  Shrinking.
So, on a 73 degree Monday I decided to take a walk.

Two blocks from my home I found a short dirt road that seemed to pull me
away from the hard street surface.  What I found along that road was
curiously calming. It was a feeling, maybe a deeply buried memory of a dirt
road somewhere else at some other time.  When I stepped off the asphalt street
onto the earth, I felt a sense of relief, almost like coming back to a familiar place.
For me, touching the earth does that.  For you?

Walking along three blocks of asphalt primed me for the experience of
stepping off into a slightly different dimension.  Like life generally, the dirt
road was uneven; heavy sand here, ruts in the road over there, not at all
straight like the efficient asphalt surface.  I could see tracks of little animals,
a tiny purple flower waving to me from the shadow of an old, twisted mesquite
tree, and two small birds singing a duet in the distance.

I recommend dirt roads.
But maybe there’s something else you do that helps
lift the load from your back and set you free…just for a little while.
It helps to have a place like that, even if the visit there is only in memory.
When I turned around to make my way home, I looked up and saw the scene
above, an affirmation of strength slowly returning.

“I lift my eyes to the hills.  Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved…”
Except along dirt roads, of course.






















Be Beautiful!

30 Mar

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Nature tries so hard to be beautiful…and succeeds.

My grandfather was a wonderful artist as long as he put the right
colors in the correct numbered spaces.  He was a whiz at “paint-by-number”.
Do you remember the artist Bob Ross?  I used to watch his TV program
everyday.  That soothing voice…the casual way he seemed to
dab a little paint here and there and suddenly produce a
lovely landscape.  Whether it’s by-the-number or the effort of
a truly gifted artist, beauty lifts our spirits and helps us through
rough spots in life.  The trick is to see the beauty, to recognize it and
to appreciate it.  I hope today you will see beauty around you, and that
you will make some to share with the world.

You are the artist today.  Your life is the  canvas.
Be beautiful.

One Step At A Time

29 Mar

If I take one step at a time, eventually I will reach the top.
And if I hold onto the side railings, I will maintain balance.
And if I keep my eyes up, I will see progress.
And if I notice the lush colors along the way, I will value beauty.

How we make the journey makes a difference.
Alone and fearful
in the presnece of spiritual sisters and brothers,
surrounded in love by friends,
valued by so many,
loved by The
Sustained by The Source

Keep climbing!

The Eyes Of The Heart

26 Mar

Bird In Flight (2)

For some reason, I keep coming back to this almost in-focus
picture.  Sometimes life is a little blurry, isn’t it?

Some observations, then you make the story.

The power to do what he has done – take off – is amazing.
I watched her spring into the air, awkwardly at first
Once he became who he was meant to be, he was beautiful
She is perfectly designed to fly
Flying is possible because she allows the wind to lift her
He strikes me as being supremely confident
She is leaving her nest and heading into the ever-changing
He is rising

There is a story there somewhere.  Do you see it?

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I couldn’t resist one more.

Today Is The Day

25 Mar

I saw this not long ago taped to the hallway wall at a local elementary school. Yesterday was a good day to do this. Tomorrow might be even better. But the best day of all is today.

All of us are concerned about the raging virus that is attacking so relentlessly, so concerned that we are isolating ourselves from social contact, something very unnatural for the human species. But if we can’t move in common social spaces, at least we can use our voices to connect person to person. There is no fear of contamination by voice contact…so, Today Is A Great Day To Do A Good Deed!

Bless at least one person today with the sound of your voice. Who would benefit most from a phone call. Please don’t shoot off a text message or a “Hello” email. It’s the sound of your voice that counts, and the gift of your time to bless someone else. You really don’t have much to do today, so pick someone(s) to gift with the joy of human connection that comes through the sound of your voice.

I suspect, too, that the blessing you give will be the blessing you receive. And may the Spirit guide you to the one who needs you most.

Precision and Perfection

22 Mar

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When I saw this small patch of grass at our local park
I thought of several people I know whose lives
are so balanced, so even and graceful.  Life has
a flow and natural precision that exude
contoured confidence.
Only a few.
Most of us live lives that resemble wild weed patches.
Wild flowers help, but most of our days are
unpredictable, filled with unexpected
U-turns, a few detours, and an
occasional dead-end road.
But somewhere embedded
in that wild terrain is a moment of remarkable creativity
or flashes of unstructured spontaneity.  Living a life of
manageable unpredictability makes the air
smell sweeter, roses shine brighter after
the rain, and the faces of passersby
gifts of interest instead of
objects of indifference.

It occurs to me that Jesus lived a kind of spontaneous
relationship with life and life’s Creator.  I don’t
think he was smooth edges and rounded
curves.  There was a tender tension
that kept him alert to the beauty in
a wild flower, or jagged rocks,
or abandoned people.  He
was grounded in the
unkempt ground
of life.
And because of that, He could love without
predetermined limits.  The only limit in
his often chaotic life was that which
came from his understanding of
the purpose of the One who
filled his mind and heart.
Trying to live in the precision of perfection is like
wearing a shoe that’s too tight when all the time
Life is calling us to take off our shoes, feel the
pulsing of the earth under our feet and to
step gently among the wild flowers.

A Little Reminder

21 Mar

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Surrounded by the weight of heavy, jagged rocks;
located at the curb of a heavily traveled
asphalt street, and still she grows.
It takes courage to bloom in these circumstances.
It takes courage to bloom wherever you are,
especially when times are tough.
But, oh, the beauty she brings.
A reminder.

Abundant Light

19 Mar


The ocean is so big and the light is so small.
One light, even of great strength, cannot find all who
wander in the darkness.  One light is simply insufficient
to make the darkness go away.

Ah, but there are more lighthouses than you realize, and
they’re not only on the joining of sea and sand.
They are in the café in Los Angeles, a market in the
heart of Minneapolis, a fast-food stop in St. Louis.

Darkness was chased away when a patron in a Pittsburg
restaurant left  $2,500 tip on a bill of $16.  “Pay your staff if they
get laid off,” the note read.

There is a lighthouse at a local gas station in Round Rock, Texas where
the provider of light and human kindness paid for her fill-up and
left an extra $300 with the manager.  “Watch for the next 10
families who stop for gas.  Apply this money toward their
gasoline bills.”

Denver, Des Moines, Dallas…there are lighthouses everywhere!
And they shine the light of hope all across the land,
especially now as we are feeling more and more
isolated and alone, scared by the sinister
threat of illness.

It is easier to bear the darkness when you realize
that the light of human kindness
still survives.

Circle The Wagons

17 Mar

The mentality of the moment  is “circle the wagons!”  Maybe, though, wagon circling has become our standard mode of operation.  Think about the nature and quality of our political culture.  Circle the wagons!  Or, the results of how we treat the earth.  CTW!  Or, about the specter of violence in our society.  CTW!  Or, the killer that stalks the earth and causes us to strip the grocery store shelves of “essential” products…paper towels and toilet paper…I take more than I need and you get nothing.  CTW!  I am reminded of nuclear blast shelters we used to dig in our backyards.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not making fun of this terrible virus that has caused us to use a seldom heard word:  Pandemic.  Do everything reasonable to avoid the germ.  Follow the advice of experts.  Be cautious.

And don’t think that I’m fishing for some religious meaning in this time of world hysteria.  God didn’t cause this to happen in order to get even or to teach a lesson.  Let’s get that absurdity out of the way quickly.  No, but since you and I are hunkering down for the foreseeable future, why not use the time to put your money where your mouth is…so to speak.

For the sake of your sanity and your soul, use some of your time to practice what you have preached:  “I need to make more time for God in my life.”  “I don’t have time for spiritual development.”   I would if I could, but I don’t have the opportunity to develop (1) spiritual practices (2) prayer (3) study and reading (4) calling Aunt Gertrude and wishing her well (5) writing those notes that are long overdue to friends and family members or (6) ???

What can you do to keep your spirit healthy and your mind intact?  Here are two specific options:  (1) make an inventory sheet and hourly count your rolls of paper towels and other essential paper products.  Increase your anxiety if it appears that supplies are running low.  Or, (2) use what extra time you have to develop a spiritual exercise that will reduce your blood pressure and increase your consciousness of God.

When we finally come through this hard time, and we will, you can look back and say: “My spirit is stronger now than ever before.”  Or,  “Look how neatly I made the check-marks on my Paper Towel Inventory.”


Yellow Flowers

15 Mar



I have a suggestion for you.
See those two saguaros?  Don’t demand a lot of detail
beyond those two cacti.  The scenery in the far
distance is lovely, but there’s no specificity.
Don’t ask more than the scene can give.

But…look what’s at your feet.  You are surrounded
by gorgeous yellow flowers, each unique,
each offering you the gift of the moment.
In a time of uncertainty, better to rejoice
in the flowers at your feet than
focus on the shadows in the

Maybe we need the unknown at the base of
those distant mountains to remind us
of the reality and blessing
of this moment.  Don’t miss
the beauty around you.
You’re standing in
the middle
of it.