Wednesday, November 12, 2008

glorious reflection

like a blank canvas
the sky's clarion blue
forms a perfect backdrop
for fall's flaming palette of
molten reds and golds
yellows and oranges

not content to merely
showcase against the azure sky
she passionately flings
her fiery colors
onto the lake's mirror stillness
multiplying the splendor
of her incredible beauty

and merging sky and earth
into a grand and glorious
reflection of their Creator

Thursday, November 6, 2008

divine energy

It is important that whatever we do and wherever we go, we remain in the Name of Jesus, who sent us. Outside his Name our ministry will lose its divine energy. (Henri Nouwen)

A good reminder of the source of our strength and power, and our need for dependence, as we minister to those around us.

Friday, October 24, 2008

morning prayer

in the morning, when i rise,
give me Jesus....

Our Father, Who art in heaven,
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)

hallowed be Thy name.
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)

On earth, as it is in heaven.
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)

Give us this day our daily bread,
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)

And forgive us our debts,
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)

As we forgive our debtors.
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)

And lead us not into temptation,
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)

But deliver us from the evil one.
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)

For Thine is the kingdom,
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)

and the power,
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)

And the glory forever.
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)


"in the morning when i rise

in the morning when i rise
in the morning when i rise
give me Jesus

give me Jesus
give me Jesus
you can have all this world
but give me Jesus"
(fernando ortega lyrics in italics)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

a blossom and a butterfly

on my walk, i said a prayer for you today.
i prayed for your heart,
your pain, your not knowing.
and as i prayed,
God showed me a cactus
blooming late, unexpected....
there in the midst of many thorns
lay a beautiful, white
solitary blossom,
like a promise of hope
in the midst of pain.

on my walk, i said a prayer for you.
and as i prayed God sent
a majestic monarch butterfly,
like a promise of hope,
richly robed in orange and black.
as this regal creature flew by
he dipped his wings my way,
and lifted my prayer from off my lips
before soaring up and away.

i said a prayer for you today,
and God listened, and answered
with a blossom and a butterfly.

Monday, September 15, 2008

at last

slipped outside early,
inhaled deeply and
embraced the cool caress
of the morning breeze
with closed eyes,
eagerly nuzzling the
slight sharpness of the
air enveloping me,
as one would a lover
finally returned after
a long summer away.

stood there
savoring the moment,
heart aroused
to joyful anticipation
of intimate encounters
with God
in nature

hints of fall
in the desert ~
at last.

"there is...a season for every activity under heaven. "
(ecclesiastes 3:1)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

thoughts on art and creativity

Here are someone else's thoughts regarding art and creativity that I can't easily pass over. How much does my thinking need to change and be renewed in this area concerning myself and my abilities, and how I use them? These are some things I'm wrestling with on my journey....

In the book, The Christian Imagination, poet, essayist, and teacher Luci Shaw writes about beauty in her essay "Beauty and the Creative Impulse". Here's a snippet from that essay:

"Art is what we say, what we sing, what we show about the beauty that is bubbling up within us like a pot on the boil. It cries out for recognition and response. Because it is so significant, so full of wonder to us--this upwelling from our creative imaginations--we want to show and share it with kindred spirits. And so we have poetry readings and art galleries and concerts and square dances and films and fashion shows and coffee table books."

From Franky Schaeffer's Addicted to Mediocrity:

"Any group that willingly or unconsciously side-steps creativity and human expression gives up their effective role in the society in which they live. In Christian terms, their ability to be the salt of that society is greatly diminished" (24).

"Christians must free themselves from the misconception of more than a century that everything must be measured in terms of its usefulness to the cause of Christianity" (40).

"Creativity, human worth, the arts, cultural endeavor, the media, communication, enjoyment of beauty, creativity in others, enjoyment of our own creativity, enjoyment of God's creativity--all of these need no justification. They are good and gracious gifts from the Heavenly Father above" (39).

"There is no Christian world, no secular world; these are just words. There is only one world--the world God made" (47)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

the sand

(the following is a poem i wrote for my best friend when we graduated from high school many years ago - my first and only poem until last year)

you are like the sand
which the restless sea
can rest upon
and leave
and come back to
again and again
and always be greeted
by open arms

the changing sea
rushes to cry
on the sand's broad shoulder
or to dance and ripple
joyously with it
or leaves for a moment alone
always returning to the sand
after every retreat

the sand is unchanging
as the sea tosses aimlessly
or pounds it
in a moment of misunderstanding
after which the sea
creeping slowly and ashamedly
back to the sand
begs the forgiveness
which is given freely

and once again the sea
and the sand
join hands and romp together
the sea noisily whispering
it's secrets to
the staunch and faithful sand
who in turn reveals
it's silent secrets

and so the sea and sand continue
so completely different
yet inseparable ~
and so our friendship continues
given to us by our Father
who made the sea and the sand
and you and i

Friday, August 8, 2008


I've been thinking a lot about fear recently, and how much it can shape the way we live. I've been taking a deliberate look at some of the things I am afraid of in my own life, and seeing how much power they have to influence what I will and will not do. I realize how oblivious we can be to most of our fears - we just think and live a certain way, and that is how life is for us, or what is true about us. I "can't" do something, "that's not me", I "don't want to", etc. But why is that? Are those really true statements? What drives us to believe those statements?

As I'm looking more closely again at some of the things in my life that I've voiced those views about, I'm having to reconsider more honestly the veracity of those statements - especially when others in my life seem to be seeing and saying something different.

Part of what got me thinking about it again was being with different friends recently and talking about some of their fears. I can so easily see some of the lies they are believing and the bondage that fear has put them under, and how it hampers their moving forward in certain areas of their lives. But as I thought about it, I realized that I am no different than them. My fears may be different than theirs in some ways, but they have the same net effect on me. They are keeping me from moving forward in certain areas of my own life. When I think of doing certain things, there is a paralyzing fear that rises up, though it is more cleverly cloaked in "truth" that says, "I can't do that, I don't have the ability." Or even better, it can be spiritualized like, "God's not calling me to do that. I don't have any desire or passion for that." Really? Or are my fears blocking me from hearing and feeling God in those areas?

It's hard and uncomfortable to get really honest before God over some of my fears. Some are obviously not good, and I can identify them and stand against them more easily. But others have been woven into the fabric of who I perceive myself to be, they are part of my identity, they are my "truth" - however warped they are in the light of real reality and truth.

They have become a safe and comfortable place to hide, a safe place to operate from, a safe way of seeing my world. And it's kind of scary when I look at my fears that way. Scary because I don't want to just live a "safe" life and never change. God is calling us all to change and transformation and trust. And trust is what is needed to move forward. I need to distrust my own perceptions and views. And I need to be willing to trust what others, especialy friends and God, see and say about me more than what I've experienced and feel, and therefore believe.

This is the crux of the issue. Who and what am I going to choose to believe? It can feel scary and unsafe to step out believing others more than myself. So often, when I look within for confirmation to take a certain action, i feel like my legs are cut out from under me, I feel totally void of affirmation. It feels impossible, like no way do I have what it takes to proceed. Yet I am slowly finding that if I make myself take even a baby-step, it is not as bad as I feared it would be, and my confidence is growing as I am being inwardly renewed.

The key point is making myself trust and act on someone else's words - and the Word. I have to choose to believe that their words and sight are more accurate than my subjective feelings about myself. And so often when I trace back my objections or unbelief, they are deeply rooted in fear; and fears aren't going to just pack their bags and move out the minute I ask them to. Fears have gotten quite settled in and intertwined with my living, and are very happy to be part of my life.

The enemy's purpose is to use fears to keep us from God's purpose over our lives, and we need to be intentional and persistant in resisting and ousting fears. Some fears can be made to leave fairly quickly, but others are more deeply rooted and require a firm, steady, continual resistance. A daily saying no to them; a daily speaking of the truth in their face, when they feel more true; a daily choosing to not let them be in charge, until the truth - God's truth - really takes root in our hearts and there is no place for the lies to reside anymore.

So this is where I am finding my own self as I see some of my friends realizing and confronting - or sometimes blind to - their own fears, and the profound effects they can have on their daily life. It makes me realize how blind we all can be to areas in our lives where we've assumed a certain reality is truth. I know from my own, and others, experiences that it takes courage and determination, and prayer and the Word to stand against old patterns of thinking and acting. It takes letting others into my life, and learning to trust them more than myself in certain areas.

I am glad for the light, though part of me dreads it too. We tend to be settlers by nature. We get comfortable in ways of thinking and living that feel most safe for ourselves, even if it is limiting. Change requires something from us, and often is uncomfortable. I am trusting the Lord for the grace and courage to take the necessary steps out of my own comfort zone and warped view of myself, into God's view and purpose for my life.

I am so grateful for my friends who are standing with me and patiently speaking truth into my life, encouraging me on with every little step, and loving me when I fall down or slip back. And I am glad for where God can use me in that way in their lives too. Together we can go forward, together we can overcome the lies and fears - with one another's help and the help of the Holy Spirit.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."
(Jeremiah 29:11)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

frenzies of untrust

Sometimes we forget who God is. What he said he'd do and be for us. Sometimes we get blindsided by fears. Fears that drive us to frenzied actions of untrust that seem right and safe to our logic, which is largely informed by our wounded hearts.

We have parts of our heart that need the gospel - the good news - to be believable again, so that the faith of lilies-in-the-field and birds-of-the-air is renewed in us. We need to know and experience God as our healer and restorer of hope.

Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed;
save me and I will be saved,
for You are my praise.
(Jeremiah 17:14)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


draw me to honesty, God
for only in real honesty
am i genuine

only in honesty am i
truly able to receive
the real help that i need
the deep down
transformational help

not merely angry
or reactive honesty
but honesty without defenses
deep and painful honesty
naked honesty
honesty that confesses
i can't but You can

take me to the naked place inside
a letting go place
an acknowledging of God place
a surrendered and bowing place
a trusting place
a place where i am little
and You God are big

a place where You speak
and i listen
a place where deep connection
and deep healing can happen
a place of real freedom
of joy and hope
and change

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

when i am weak

God, give me courage
when i am weak
take the yellow
and make it gold
take the cowardly
and make it kingly

Monday, June 30, 2008

an altar to God

"Let us arise and go up to Bethel; and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone." Genesis 35:3

There have been different points along the way of my journey when I have had the distinct desire, like Jacob, to build an altar to God. Sometimes the altars have been big, and sometimes they've been small, but they all mark some kind of transaction significant to me and to God.

There have been times when God has converged things in my life together in such a way that I had a fresh epiphany. Not long ago was a deep realization again that I owe everything - all I am , all I can do and all I have - to my God who has faithfully been with me and over me in the many different ways I have gone throughout my life. I was drawn to look up Romans 12:1 and the four verses preceding it:

"Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways! For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give Him advice? And who has given Him so much that He needs to pay it back? For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to Him forever! Amen. And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him."

When I stop and consider that I live and move and have my being in Him, then the very least I can do is to offer myself with my whole heart back to Him in gratitude.

He is so worthy of this kind of worship.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

morning by morning

morning by morning
breathe on me Holy Spirit
breathe hard your holy breath
blow away lifeless gray ash
stir dying embers
fan into flame again
that gift of God within
cause my heart to burn hot
with love and desire

"create in me a clean heart, O God
renew a right spirit within me
do not banish me from your presence
and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me
restore to me the joy of your salvation
and make me willing to obey you"

(Psalm 51:10-12)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


in vain i
chase after brainswirls
~ thoughts driven
in haphazard flight

like helpless kites
on a windy day
that wildly swoop
and dive

ah Lord God
draw my weary soul
ever closer
ever deeper

still the sharp swirling
of my thoughts
shut up the drivel
of my fears

quicken my ears
that i may hear
your call to stillness
and to knowing

swirl my heart
deeply and freshly
to love and trust

"be still and know that I AM God...."

(Psalm 46:10)

Monday, June 23, 2008

little bird

my soul
wants to hold tight
to what feels safe
in my life

it is hard to step out
beyond the inward bounds
of the comfortable
the familiar

fears wait
in the shadows
ready to whisper their lies
in my ear

who am i ~
where do i belong
my questions still...
am i forever like

a fragile little bird
with broken wing
who dares not leave
the safety of it's cage

or is my cage
not really a prison
as perceived but
rather a place from which

God wants to teach me
new songs to sing

"he stood me up on a solid rock
to make sure i wouldn't slip
he taught me how to sing
the latest God-song
a praise-song to our God"

(psalm 40:3)

Friday, June 20, 2008

creative travail

how do i funnel my impatient self down into the deep place - a God place - where elusive words, fleeting glimpses of ideas, and smatterings of thought come together into cohesive expression? into the hidden birthplace of creative?

it is hard sometimes to wait patiently for embrionic form to uniquely take shape and grow; to wait until it has enough strength and substance to be birthed; to wait until it is the right time for it to emerge and speak it's heart with grace, yet with honesty and transparency.

"may the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."

Friday, May 23, 2008

words of mine

a winterish chill bites hard the air
that should be late spring warm
a freakish storm
a welcome reprieve from
the relentless approach
of summer heat

the cold keeps me inside
cozy with books and coffee
thoughtful from the things i read
yearnful and a bit peeved
that i cannot write
like the ones whose words
my soul leans into
and admires

anxious to know when words of mine
that tease and play hide and seek
and other mind games that
cause them to run from me
will at last come home

and show their true selves
bold and unafraid to give
revelatory voice
to the muffled deep

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


i want to draw near
but i have some questions
i'm wrestling with
that want to push me far

i pray that i would not let
my questions become
a wall between us
but i would allow them
to bring me nearer You

that they would be
a bridge to You
and not a door
shut between us

i do not want
to leave You
i do not want
to be far

keep my heart soft
in the midst
of my wrestling
i know the answers
are not found
apart from You

the answers i need
are found in You
if i will press deeper
if i will not let myself
be too dismayed
by this awkward place
if i will keep coming
to You

You who stretched out the heavens
who laid the foundations of the earth
who formed the spirit of man in him

You who are steadfast
and big enough
for all my questions
all my wonderings
all my wrestlings

Monday, April 28, 2008

in the beginning

creative power
"let there be..."
and there was

this word is mighty
this word calls things
not being as being
this word holds everything
in the universe together

this word incarnated
this word walked
this word spoke
this word graced
this word truthed
this word loved
this word wept
this word touched
this word healed
this word set free

in the beginning ~ the word
the word was with God
the word was God

Friday, April 25, 2008


here you are at the dance
in your pretty new dress
and new high heels
in your rented black tux
and starched bow tie

you look self-consciously
at each other
feeling stiff
while the music flows

so just kick off your shoes
rip off your tie
open your heart
and close your eyes

and dream
and dance
dance your dream

who cares
what you look like
what does it matter
if you breathlessly collide
or your feet get tangled

listen to the music
in your heart
let loose and dance
the dance within

hear the song
God is singing to you
and let it
set your being free

Monday, April 21, 2008


i sit in silence with my words
i sit in silence with the Word

my words become speechless
in the presence of Word

my words fall prostrate
at the shining of Word

my temporal words cease
dissipated by the beam
of eternal Word

Sunday, March 2, 2008

hope in desert places

God waters
the barren land
the desert places
and new life
springs forth
in response

this is the mystery
of the desert
that seeds lie
seemingly dead
and without hope

who would guess
the secret of life
that lies hidden within
the heart of the seed
locked in parched earth
for the drought
to end and
water to come
and the power
the life-force
within the seed
to be released
and to push its way
through hard dry ground
to blossom
in breath-taking

this is hope beautiful
hope triumphant
hope realized
hope of life
hope of the seed
hope of the flower
bursting forth
in power
in beauty
in vibrancy
in triumph
over adversity
over death

is the triumph
of divine life
and this
is the power
is the promise
of Christ
as the life-force
planted deep
in our hearts

the desert places
need not discourage
let the hope
of resurrection power
give strength

and courage
to wait patiently
to trust
to believe
to not lose heart
to endure

and in time
to rise again
from the ground
and bloom

"And when He comes... springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland....The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy!" Isaiah 35:6,1-2

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

this awed creature

the trail wends its way upward
through verdant splendor of spring
and desert flora.
arriving breathlessly at a welcoming saddle
nestled between freshly watered slopes
nature beckons me to sit awhile
to bask in the warmth
and gentle breeze
and listen to the music
of carefree bird-songs
and humming bees.

poppy patches are gaily splashed
across luscious green hillsides,
vibrant yellow and orange faces
open wide in joyful response
to the sun’s bright, warming rays.
as my bursting glad heart
smiles back at them,
hymn-phrases begin singing within.

“Fairest Lord Jesus!
Ruler of all nature!”
“Awake my soul, and sing of Him!"

"Crown Him with many crowns!"

with delight and wonder this awed creature
rejoices in creation and Creator.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

heart overflow

in gratitude and awe
i come with heart overflow
to worship you
God who is love
lover of my soul
tender and patient
melter of my fears

with heart overflow
i lift up heart and hands
stringed instrument and bow
in exultant praise
at the work of your hands
to creator without equal
to you, my God

let the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you,
oh Lord,
my strength, my redeemer

you have made this day
Lord, my God
the earth
and all it's rich fulness
i will rejoice
and delight in it
yes, i will give thanks
deep thanks
to you

in everything
i will give thanks to you

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Made into Bread for Others

This is a quote by Oswald Chambers, and it speaks deeply to me every time I read it. This view gives purpose and meaning to my life and the difficult things I pass through. My life is not just about me, and often I don't understand my life fully until it is put into the context of others I come into contact with.

"By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." (I John 3:16) Jesus Christ was made broken bread and poured out wine for us, and He expects us to be made broken bread and poured out wine in His hands for others. If we are not thoroughly baked, we will produce indigestion because we are dough instead of bread. We have to be made into good nutritious stuff for other people. The reason we are going through the things we are is that God wants to know whether He can make us good bread with which to feed others. The stuff of our lives, not simply of our talk, is to be the nutriment of those who know us." (Love of God)