Thursday, September 18, 2003

Leaning into the Day

This morning on my way back from taking the boys to school, I sat at a four-way stop next to a man in a little red sports car. He looked ready for the day, in his crisp white shirt and dark sunglasses. His left hand clasped the steering wheel as he waited his turn; his right held a danish he was munching hungrily. He leaned forward, eager to go--not anxious, not aggressive, just eager. As I drove past him, I thought, "How often do I so eagerly lean into my day?"

I love these early mornings--they are thoughtful, reflective times. In the many years since I started my business, I've changed from "hitting the ground running" every day to "spending a little time leaning on God's windowsill." The mornings are calm, simple. The busy-ness comes soon enough.

But my thought this morning was that sometimes, particularly in times of uncertainty and struggle (like now), I hesitate before the day, tentative but hoping things go well, counting on God to bring the right projects, to open the way, to calm the anxieties. There's a power that's missing, a claiming I forget to do, when I allow myself to peer through a cloud of nameless worry into the day (and days) ahead. How much better to claim God's promise and presence and lean eagerly forward into the day, excited to see what God will do, confident that we are helped and blessed and loved, knowing--and acting on the knowing--that the way will open as we share ourselves and our days with God.

Sunday, September 14, 2003


Journal entry, early this morning: "All is peaceful. A quiet rain is falling on this First Day morning. I see myself as part of the movement of the leaves, the ripples on the lake, the sound of the rain, the gleaming droplets of water on the back of the chairs. I am part because I witness--I am linked through experience and appreciation to what I behold. And so I am to God, a changing part of Divine Expression as I participate in this life. How good God is!"

And tonight, late, my mood plummets as I hear that words of reassurance I gave to a loved one were used in a hurtful way against someone else. How I wish I'd fought the impulse to make everyone feel better! Sometimes the words of comfort that come so easily really would be better swallowed. Perhaps others sometimes need me not to comfort them. Perhaps in some situations I am meant only to be a witness to their struggle and stay connected with them in its midst.

Thursday, September 11, 2003


Well, I had one of those tough phone calls just a little while ago. A project I dearly loved, something that was wildly creative, fun, fast-paced, and collaborative (with a partner I looked forward to working with every day), got cancelled. Just like that. We'd been running flat-out to launch a new magazine within a very short timeframe--we saw everything falling into place, beginning to take shape, emerging in layout with color, energy, life. It was beautiful--it was good--it hit the mark. Every day I thanked God for this gift of a project, an unusually bright spot in what can often be a quiet, studied, solitary type of work.

I got off the phone and the waves of disappointment rolled over me. I went outside to sit and think and pray, trying not to grumble and complain or cry. And the words, "plans to give you hope and a future..." echoed in my head. Yes, Lord, I remember that verse. It's Jeremiah 29:11, a verse that has pulled me out of many dark places in my life:

    "For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"

I know that wherever I work and whatever I work on is God's call to make, and I know there is a reason underneath all this that has something to do with trust, love, hope, and faith. But I come face-to-face, yet again, with the difference between God's will and my own. And I choose His, I really do. Even when I don't understand it.

Just last weekend I was talking to a friend who was having trouble with her teenager. "The great thing is that God isn't done with this situation yet," I reassured her, "the story isn't finished." Now those words can comfort me. There's more to come. The God of creation is still creating in us, through us, and with us, this very minute. When I remember that God is busy at work creating, even in this disappointment, I find that "hope and promise" for the future and know that the next hour, maybe two...I'll be able to thank God even for this, knowing and claiming that what God has done before, He will do again--and more.

Sunday, September 07, 2003


A poem presented itself to me this morning, watching the birds and the breeze in the early light:

    Every thought flies to God, within God,
    Every movement moves the Divine,
    Every choice is the Universe in action,
    Every tear feeds the ocean,
    Every laugh sends a bird into flight
    or causes a flower to open.

    It is because of You in us, dear God,
    That Your creation continues,
    Alive now and ever unfolding.
    May we live this day in Your Holy Presence,
    Alight with wonder and
    Delighting in You."

Blessings on your day, everyone! :) k

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Really and Truly

I've started taking classes at Earlham School of Religion and my mind is jumping for joy with all the new ideas, connections, associations, and possibilities it is discovering. What a gift to be able to explore God in this way, in a community of faith, at this stage in my life! I've been devouring the reading, reflecting on it and turning it over in my mind, posting my thoughts and discussing with others the new ideas this is opening up. It's fabulous, and I'm thankful. :)

But this morning, before my eyes opened, I heard myself thinking about a fellow classmate's posting in our online course. My brain spun around and around the issue, tapping at it, toying with it, trying it on for size. About 12 inches south, my heart sighed. "The brain's getting all the attention," it complained. "What about me?"

I realized very quickly after waking that all this study about God is going to ultimately be a good thing only if I enjoy it with God. I missed the quiet, the calm sense of One, the deep breathing in of Spirit that I traditionally allow for in the early morning hours. My brain was so excited that it jumped right into the day and began processing and associating from the first minute of consciousness. My heart, my spirit, understands the brain's excitement, but needs to be the listening power. I realized that what I needed, really and truly, was a bit of together time with God.

So I sat. I didn't read. I closed my textbooks. I withdrew my eager energies from solving online puzzles. I just sat, and looked at the lake, and waited for the ducks to wake up. And slowly, I became aware of God's presence again--in the crickets' song, in the sunlight dancing on my hands, in the movement of the leaves. I felt the peace spread and my brain relaxed and I just settled in to wait, soaking up that remembering. Ah. That's what I needed. Really and truly.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003


Have you ever read, The Game of Life and How To Play It, by Florence Scovell Shinn? It's a practical little book written in 1925 by an amazingly clear woman who understood that "the power of life and death is in the word," and "as a man thinketh, so shall he be."

Written in Christian terminology, The Game of Life shows us how what we say impacts, blocks, or twists what we create in our lives. The book found me in a Columbus, Indiana library about 10 years literally fell off the top shelf on my head when I was reaching for something else. I started to put it back because I didn't like the title (I first thought it was some kind of manipulative sales tool), but something prompted me to open it and look inside. The clarity of thought--the power of the word and the beliefs behind it--jumped right off the page. I knew I needed it. I checked it out and read it, and then I bought first one copies, and then many copies.

I've underlined and reread the book probably twice a year every year since. I'm called back to it when I get stuck in something in my life--the clarify of thought helps release me. I remember what to pray for and how to pray it--I remember how I get in my own way with the words I speak and the thoughts I hold, and it helps me dissolve them and get back into the nestle of God's arm.

I've been trying to hold on to a clear idea I gathered from Florence's book just a few days ago. The section was on taking responsibility for creating (in partnership with God) the highest ideal for my life. She said the only thing that gets in our way is a conflicting message or thought in our desire, our faith, or our words. So I began to work on the idea of congruence, and I came up with three questions that help me determine whether I'm all in line with what I think I want to create in my life:

  • What do I desire? (get a clear picture in my mind; confirm with God that it's right for me)

  • What do I believe about what I desire? (do I believe it's reachable? Do I believe it's God's will for my life? If not, go back to question 1)

  • What do I say about what I believe and desire? (do I go around saying, "it's too much for me," "there's no time," "I can't do it," "I'll never get there"? Those negative words and others diffuse the desire and the faith so that ultimately whatever I'm hoping for won't happen.)

  • That's what's on my mind today. I hope you desire good things, believe they can happen, and speak what you know about our faithful God who draws us ever closer in truth and in love. "And mercy and goodness shall follow us all the days of our lives, and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." :) k

    Tuesday, September 02, 2003

    Making Do

    In the last 24 hours, Indiana (specifically, areas surrounding Indianapolis) received just under 10 inches of rain. It's a new state record. I've never seen anything quite like it--torrential, constant, unrelenting rain. I awoke half a dozen times in the wee hours of Monday morning, wondering sleepily, "Is it still raining that hard?" Yesterday we watched the water rise. It swallowed our dock and made its way toward the house. The dogs were nervous. Neighbors wandered about in raincoats and t-shirts, pulling logs from the water, shaking their heads, watching the rain. Cars stopped short of venturing into what could be fast-moving deep overflows across nearby roads. At one point our small community was an island, for an hour or two, while the creeks and drainage ditches struggled to accomodate the sudden outpouring of abundant water.

    Everything changed in those few hours. We went out only if we had to. We allowed more time. We knew it was likely there would be impassable roads, roadblocks, and traffic backups. We were ready for anything. And when it came time to go, prayers were said and hugs were tight. "Be safe," and "Call me when you get there," and "Don't take any unnecessary chances," replaced our regular afternoon goodbyes.

    What struck me, though, was how grateful we were. Grateful and slow. Glad simply just to be dry, to be safe, to be able to care for each other. Someone who might otherwise be irritated at me for being late was now simply glad I made it there. Pressure I might have otherwise put on myself to go to the store and cook a big family dinner faded to the comfort of homemade potato soup and BLTs. We made do, because we remembered what was important. Care, concern, prayer, and compassion ruled.

    Today we've got the mess, but we've also got the memory. We know what's important. We instinctively return to it in those times when our priorities are once again made priorities in our lives. I can see why into every life a little rain must fall. In fact, I think a good flood now and again (Indiana, not Genesis-style) is good for the soul. :) k