Monday, September 30, 2002

Inside Everything

Hi there. This weekend, I spent a short-but-wonderful rest in New Harmony, Indiana. It's a peaceful tiny town in southern Indiana that lives out the whisper of a dream Richard Owen had in the 1800s of harmonious, communal living. The experiment he began before the turn of the century ultimately failed, but the New Harmonites hold on to the peaceful ideal and the welcoming gentle hospitality on which their culture was founded. I was entering a serene, circular garden with a gentle fountain in the center and a brick walkway leading through shady lush hostas and billowing ferns, when I happened to look down at a stone at my feet. On the stone these words were engraved :
    Lift the stone and find Me.
    Split the tree and I am there.
This was worth the 3.5-hour drive to me. A simple reminder that we cannot be where God is not. I needed that just now. Wishing us all a peaceful week, remembering. :) k

Friday, September 27, 2002

A Little Rumi

To end the week, I thought I'd pass along a little verse of Rumi's that encourages me when I'm learning new things (as I always seem to be doing):

    God turns you from one feeling to another
    and teaches by means of opposites,
    so that you will have two wings to fly,
    not one.

Have a good weekend, everyone. :) k

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Letting Peace Be

I've had an uncomfortable thought rattling around in my head this morning. For the past several weeks, I've been running through my life in stress mode, trying to juggle numerous projects, get the kids to their school functions on time, and so forth. It seems that "I don't have time!" has become my mantra. And although it's come upon me suddenly this time, this acceleration and stressed-out mindset isn't something new for me--I've been in this place many times before. This morning, in my journaling and prayer time, I suddenly thought, "Why won't I let myself have peace?" And I understood clearly that I have been choosing this lifestyle, maybe because it has some hidden benefit for me, and maybe because I don't know what my life would look like without it.

I have known people who seemed addicted to crisis...they go from one major problem to another, month to month and year to year. Being honest with myself, I have to admit that functioning in time-crisis mode is exciting--days are full, energy is high, and I feel that what I do is important and urgent. But I'm ready for something else, something kinder, a mindfulness and appreciation worthy of this gift of life. Can I learn to allow myself to have real, lasting peace in my life? Can I make choices that enable me to feel that time can be savoured and enjoyed not simply spent quickly--or promised away--before it arrives?

I'll say right now, to you, to God, and to myself: I'm sure ready to try.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002


I read something this morning that I really liked. It was a new definition of maturity. Here's the quote: "Maturity doesn't come with age or intellectual wisdom, only with love." -Ruth Casey

Isn't that a nice thought? The more we open up to love, the less we close out, the more mature we become. This is much better than the typical "be-rational-about-everything" model of maturity that I sometimes try to hold myself to. I may not be getting wiser as I get older, but I sure am learning how to love better. Thanks, God. :)

P.S. The quote comes from the book A Woman's Spirit by Karen Casey.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Use Your Fruit

I've been thinking, today, about the two paths that present themselves when we face a difficult situation or person. We can protect ourselves against the person or event, we can call out to God, we can wonder why this is happening to us and what we did "wrong" to bring it on. Or we can use our fruit. The thought is that knowing God doesn't guarantee anyone a carefree life; rather it gives us the resources to transform a dark and difficult path to one filled (or at least beginning to glow) with the light of understanding and love. I sometimes forget that I carry that light. And, I'm sorry to admit, I sometimes forget that you carry it, too. We've been given a great resource, a magic potion, a truly transforming elixir that every hurting person in the world (including us) needs: "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against these there is no law." We all know it: Love changes things. :) k

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

A Big Oops!

Well, my web scripting inexperience is showing itself. If you tried to subscribe to BlogOfficeXP, my blog with tips and such for Office XP users, and you've been receiving this blog, Practical ~faith~, instead, my apologies! If you'll drop me a note by clicking here, I'll get you on the right list right away. :) k

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

I Have to Laugh myself for that last title. I was writing about staying present in the moment, and yet the only title that occurred to me was "Being There," as opposed to "Being Here" HA! :)))

Being There

Here's an idea I've been playing with for a while. We all know that the secret to relaxing is to be able to simply be fully where we are. Watching a ballgame, cooking dinner, sitting on the deck, soaking in the tub. Whatever. When our minds are not digging in the past or planning the future, they can be here now...and they can be at rest, receiving the gifts this moment has to offer. Even though I know this, living it is a tougher task. There are deadlines and barking dogs and arguing kids and ringing phones to deal with. But not long ago I borrowed a phrase from God that helps me be present whatever I'm doing. The phrase is I AM. God said to Moses, "I AM THAT I AM," and I must admit I thought that was pretty cryptic at first. But when I apply it practically in my life..."I AM petting the dog...I AM taking a deep breath...I AM driving the boys to school on this beautiful fall morning..." it brings my mind to the present--NOW--and frees it from the illusion of past or the promise of present. Sometimes I realize that God is here waiting for me when I finally return to this moment. I AM writing this, thinking of you all and wishing us moments of special clarity today. :) k

Friday, September 13, 2002


Today I received sad news today from my friend and fellow writer, Natalie Zee (coauthor of HTML & Web Artistry 2: More Than Code). Her roommate Wendy, age 25, died Wednesday, September 11 after a one-and-a-half year battle with skin cancer. Today I saw Wendy's picture for the first time and I was so touched by the life and joy in her face--especially those beautiful blue eyes. Those eyes tell the story of a life that was never really touched by illness. I wanted to share their beauty with you, too.

"Stories were once as important to survival as a spear or hoe. They gave counsel. They connected the living with the dead. Stories distributed the suffering so it could be borne."
--E.L. Doctorow

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Asking the Right Questions

Some things you read, even on a tender and sad day like this, make you want to stand up and cheer. Take a look at this essay written by Ed Murray, CEO of Faith & Values Media, and you'll see what I mean: Light

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Leave It to Eleanor...

I read this quote this morning and it really struck me:

"Somewhere along the line of development we discover what we really are, and then we make our real decision for which we are responsible.
--Eleanor Roosevelt."

Sometimes I feel that I've spent much of my life searching for that something, trying to discover what I'm here to do, how I can best use what God's given me to do whatever it is that I need to do. But this quote reminds me that the decisions we make--and whether they are right or wrong for us--depend so much on our perspective, our understanding of ourselves, and our own growth. I've been growing into what I really am, like a tulip opening, and I think I expected to find it somewhere along the "road," outside myself, a moment of Aha! that just fit and explained everything. Instead, I am growing into more and more me, and finding God within and without and all around. The more I open, the more I'm aware of Love itself breathing life into the universe.

Friday, September 06, 2002

Ministers R Us

I read something this morning that was a good reminder for me. The book was talking about how God uses even those we can't fathom him using--the lady impatiently honking at the elderly man in the Target parking lot, the surly telephone solicitor, the bossy lunch lady, the kids teasing on the playground. We tend to look for signs of godliness in kindness, peace, love, acceptance, and respect--those, after all, are God qualities. But God is not limited to our perception of him or our expectations of others, thank goodness, and we know he often works in the darkest places to bring his transforming light.

Thursday, September 05, 2002


How could we ever forget? This time last year we lived in an innocent ignorance; this fall as we come to the anniversary of 9-11, we have, through great pain, experienced a broader world-view and perhaps a new understanding and appreciation of lives, moments, and God-with-us. Here's a beautiful presentation from that tenderly touches the very human faces of 9-11: In Remembrance of September 11, 2001

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

The upcoming year anniversary of the September 11 tragedy is putting lots of people in reflective moods. Here's a thoughtful look at how or whether our faith was shaken (or strengthened?) by the terrorist attacks and the following violence.frontline: faith and doubt at ground zero | PBS

Slippery Slope

Isn't that a strange phrase? I heard a business guy say it in a meeting once and I thought it sounded cheesy; one of those faddish phrases people toss around, like "I'm so jazzed about this new product!" But this week I think I'm learning about--and maybe walking along--a slippery slope of my own perspective. That whole "know yourself" thing is really a lifetime effort, you know. Just when I think I know what I'm talking about, something comes along to show me that I don't quite have it cornered just yet. Finding the faith to keep taking steps in the dark, trusting that there's understanding here and acceptance even before understanding comes, is what it's all about.

Monday, September 02, 2002

To Know That You Do Not Know the beginning of wisdom. So Lao Tzu says. Is that supposed to make me feel better? Life has blind spots and faith is the only thing that fills them in. Knowing you're okay--and loved--in spite of. Thank God.

Apply What You Know

The thought this morning is to apply the lessons/ideas/inspirations I'm given each day. Eat the manna and know there's more coming tomorrow. If I don't use the understanding I'm given today, why should I be given more? So many things I already know--things about my pressure points, my blind spots, my vulnerable places--and yet I simply walk into them time and time again, telling myself, "I just didn't see that coming." If I apply what I am given, I will see what's coming, and I'll do know what's best for me. When I'm willing to hear what I need to apply, I am constantly guided. Sometimes, Lord help me, I just don't want to hear. This is one lesson I truly want to learn. Now.

Sunday, September 01, 2002

Reminds me of a sticker I had on my Mac Classic years ago: Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.
Once upon a time I read "The Tao of Pooh" and considered myself a taoist. The cork tree is perfect as a cork tree. It doesn't have to be turned into any other product or do any other thing besides what it does so naturally and so well. This really does fit my approach to life and, I think, to people. Things are as they are, and that's okay. We invest our energies in what we want to create (either consciously or unconsciously) and then we play out what we ourselves have created. The part I haven't figured out yet is where we cross the line--when are we messing around in someone else's creation pot? What if someone wants to live in a chaos they find comfortable and we've been trying desperately (for our own needs as well as for their own "good") to help them clear things up? Ultimately we learn that it is not our choice. Life is very humbling and large. I think I need to sit under a cork tree for about two weeks.
I found this peace summit online this morning. It looks wonderful. Anyone up for a trip to Geneva?Millennium Summit