Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Leafing through a catalog
My mind began to drift
What is this I see
A man standing by a maple tree?
Doubt it was the intention
For it was no one he represented..
No lifestyle they'd be selling here-
Just he among
These trees & hedges
Like a far off nursery rhyme

I wondered at this kind of man
Who's clothes were out of time?
Then gathered in this quiet refrain
What nearly strained my mind

That it is we
Who have this treasure
In jars of clay
To show this power
Is not from us
For God has said-
Let light shine out of darkness
The light of the knowledge
Of the Glory of God
In the face of Christ

And we groan and are burdened
Wishing to be clothed
In our heavenly dwelling
So what is mortal
May be swallowed up by life
(Scripture taken from 2 Cor. 4 & 5)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Harbour at Night

It won’t take a Pulitzer in poetry to recognize I am NOT a poet. But I love poetry and I have this book on how to write it which basically says “Just do it!” So here is an attempt. Although it isn’t overtly about faith, there is a subversive faithfulness living on a boat (as anywhere) which may or may not be caught here.

Thanks for having me,
Kim Petersen

There are certain elements of living
on a boat
that sink like a stone in slow motion
to the bottom of your soul.
Like now for instance
a stiff breeze blows
off the coast of northern Sardinia;
the resulting swell
curves around the breakwater
and hits each hull stacked
up like dominos
along the dock
at a slightly different interval
their rise and fall
reminds me of the human wave
rolling across Mile High Stadium
during a Bronco game.

With each upward motion
there is a crescendo of groaning lines
a creaking of fenders rubbing together
that blends
with the eerie howl of air
rushing by the mast of the sailboat next to us.
The winds version
of blowing
into a plastic 2 litre pop jug.

They are familiar sounds-
as familiar to me as breathing.

over the breakwater
ships make their way in the night;
but here in the harbour
we make ice cream sundaes
which drip on the floor and are licked up by the dog.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Grace comes,
softly unfolding
before us
as a river
finding its' course.

although grace desires
to flow
and softly
upon the landscape
of our souls;
it will not be stopped..

Grace will find
a way
to deal with
our hardness and
meanness of

It will break through,
surprising us with
its' power,
moving our
inner obstacles,
traversing our
personal deserts.

And we will
find ourselves
as we make room
for grace,
as we yield to it's touch.

For grace will not
let us be
as we were,
but will find
a course, and
have its' way
with our hearts.

Grace comes,
God's gift,
our hearts,
our minds,
our lives..


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Got to Contemplating

While contemplating my present state
And rather attribute it’ all to fate
I figured in blooming, perhaps I was late
That for all my sincerity
It seems a bit queer
In extending a hand
Could lose you a fan

I gave some more thought
Then smoked a little pot (just teasing)
Now I’d set out to pray
Figuring it the best way

But all attempts you see,
Had been abruptly assailed-
Thoughts became scattered
Like moths in the night

I thought of my son
Probably caused him duress
My cheeky comments
To those blogs he’s been mounting
True true, it’s merely a guess
But just like a freight train
It picked up no less

Then Jennifer Anniston
And the fuss about her nose
Flooded my mind
Like a garden hose
Angelina Jolie, the U.N. and Brad
Those orphans and Billy Bob
An if that’s why he ran?

Closed my eyes tight
To help get a grip
Always conscious
Of my own little sin
But this proved brief
As I managed a spin
Perhaps that I should’a
Been on my knees

Now it’s all just a blur
Why it occurred just then
That I’d never tried
Any Limburger Cheese!

Then I thought of the poor lady
All covered with burns
Wondered at the menu...
An the sausage she’d ordered,
All smothered in rum?
The waiter who lit it
Their party gone numb

Before you get to feeling
Ever so obliged
Offering advice
Be it humble or nice
Just make sure
It hasn’t happened
To you more than twice-

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Myna's & Mulberries

Thanks to my son Jesse, I've made friends with the common Myna. He retrieved them from under the eves of his friends new house while helping him with the roofing. Although I hand fed them from babies, I'm sure we could of developed a tighter bond if there were just one and not three!

See, our Love Bird Peach generally gets to fly around the room for a spell -once in the morning and once in the evening. One reason the Myna's don't is because their poop is triple the size of his, ya. Makes sense huh?!

Well, a friend of mine happens to have three as well. So when she realized I move their cage outside like her in the morning, she suggested I might want to use a small cage for easy transport...this was after I pointed out a small scratch I made on the couch. Soo, I plunked a small dog kennel outside under the avocado tree (where they stay) instead and proceeded to cart them out one by one.
The last one managed to get loose then flew into the wild blue yonder...up up an away. That's just what it looked like- first on top of an Ohia- then up on over into the forest he went.

Truthfully, I didn't hold out much hope of seeing him again. Evidently he nevah had a plan...couldn't catch a worm even if his life depended on it. In the morning Jesse & Joe were trying to situate the cage where he could easily enter.
Well, he ended up on the lower limb of the avocado tree and appeared to be a bit hungry. I shook the food dish and gave him a few pieces...then he actually scooted on into the open kennel! Amazing!

OK, so the next two shots here are of the Mulberry tree. One is a view of the last of a few wonderful berries I'd been harvesting now for the past month or so. The other is supposed to be a half eaten one but Joe (my husband) was in a hurry to ride his motorcycle, so the photo he took is a bit of a blur but it looks more like it's undeveloped. I would try to get out there before any of the birds got a crack at them. I'd circle this tree and couldn't help turning my nose up at the half eaten fruit...but then I realized, this was God's way of providing for them. I mean, we took these birds in as a necessity but out there in nature our Heavenly Father promises to take care of the birds of the air.

I can't complain either, I made two Mulberry/Rhubarb pies and a bottle of syrup. I bet Claudia's made Mulberry wine? Anyway, I have one more bag in the freezer to boot.

Delicious Mulberry Rhubarb Pie w/Crust

2 1/2 cups mulberries
1 1/2 cups finely chopped rhubarb
1 1/4 cups raw sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch single crust pie

Mix together mulberries, rhubarb, sugar, and flour.
Pour into unbaked 9 inch pie shell. Dot filling with butter and add top crust.
Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake until pie is done, about 30 minutes. Enjoy-

1 & 1/4 Cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/4 Cup ice water

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Intro Into Organized Religion & The Educational System

My Intro Into Organized Religion & The Educational System

I tend to forget much with the passage of time, but have noticed some windows can still be viewed with amazing clarity just by the impressions made. Looking through one such window takes me back to a brief period of time I’d spent during my formative years growing up in S. Cal. By the way, in order to stay on track, I’m not going to delve into my experience with the public school system for which I spent a number of years…but let me put it this way, due in part to both; you could say I have a problem with blackboards maybe in the same way a dog might take issue with a broomstick!

My dad once told me "you'll either grow up to be a basket weaver or you'll have to marry someone rich" This lie coupled with my own recognition of failure and limitation was exactly what set me free...but not free necessarily from the result of stupidity.

Was my spiritual awareness really opened for the first time during a typical morning drive? It would be one of many I'd take with my mom and siblings while passing the convent on my way to what would be a brief time spent at St. John’s elementary school.

I remember vividly, thinking in my young mind (that of a first and second grader)-what it must be like to know those Holy but loving people who lived there? I mean I assumed the setting of the church convent must have indicated a spiritual connection? Leaves fell and scattered as we turned the corner. Behind the low trailing wall the sheer beauty of those lovely premises beckoned and seemed to speak of what must lay beyond giant trees casting huge shadows over mysterious grounds; creating an ere of enchantment. I was rather astonished at what I encountered, as I discovered it had nothing to do with it?

I can recall without much difficulty, the habits the nuns wore, the way they carried themselves (with an overall aloofness) -set against the stark backdrop of large imposing blackboards, towering over those old wooden desks. Here we sat, dressed in soft brown and white uniforms with similar matching shoes and haircuts staring up beside neat rows- rows from which I can still recount the sensation of long voluminous black robes as they brushed against my leg. I can tell you just what it felt like to have my chair yanked up to the front for talking too much...only because it happen so often. An older student and friend of my brother happened to come into the room on occasion. He asked later if that's where I always sat?

Funny, this stands out like an odd penciled sketch… as if to say no, I wasn’t really mistreated, yet it’s the irony now over the absence of much life (what religion generally represents). I mean the student’s are dressed in a way that identifies them with the school and religion they’re affiliated with; similarly, the nuns and priests dress and reflect the religious order they took their vows with. Still, I realize with either public or private school you have to account for the large classroom size and the fact each child can’t receive adequate attention unless they happen to be singled out (negatively or positively), hmm??

To be fair, I have to mention why I’m still grateful for Catholicism to this day. It’s significant in that as much as my parents devoted themselves to this religion and its principals, our family in turn benefited. For example, they basically followed the Ten Commandments and taught us the same, so as a result they remained faithful to one another; therefore marriage was seen as sacred. There was love and consistency through the meals my mom prepared as well as my dad getting up and going to work -both everyday. Homework and chores were expected and television and movies were carefully monitored. Besides a strong work ethic, they exemplified moderation. All of this provided cohesiveness, structure and discipline; grateful for all I could rely on, later in life.

I believe they laid out what they felt was important, and helped them -then tried to demonstrate this as best they could; hoping for what we could in turn fall back on as well. But all these I mention are and were flawed because each individual simply has free choice. So, it all trickled down like water- despite failure and the many inconsistencies. But you have the law so it’s important to note that there was and is, always a choice -either a wrong or right spirit in response to that law.

Well my observation in regard to school, typically, those who were more academically inclined seem to do pretty well…they were treated better too. Of course things tend to shift according to ones circumstances but if you were a teacher, what pupil would you rather have in class; one who stares out the window daydreaming, chatters- while unable to concentrate like I was, or one who just went with the plan? If we did poorly, it was never the teacher’s/systems fault I might add.

So was it the misery of not knowing how to confront in the early days when I tried desperately to fight back, but found no words? Then the reality behind 1 Co. 1:27-But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

I think I would of been as bitter as the next person but somehow I wanted a solution, this coupled with a drive, lying mostly shrouded in a mysterious canopy that captivated me.... the mystery unfolding... always just ahead, silently but powerfully leading me on. Initially, it wasn't something I could really define but- would discover, propelled me like a mighty wind. You could say it was like layers of deception that had poked through the fabric- this despite all efforts to conceal it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Bustle, Bustle

bustle, bustle
the shopping bags rustle.
the shoppers line up
looping around store corners,
stamping their feet against the cold.

presents for everyone - the rich and
the poor, family and friends. Good will
and profit margins and sales too good
to miss.

and I, I just want to curl up, slip
away from this glittering world of
knick-nacks and gizmos, and things
that I never knew I needed (and things
I didn't need after all). Slip away from
the madness, the Black Fridays and the
Boxing Days, the blowout sales, the buy
buy, buy, now, now now.

(Sorry about the disappearing act, all. It's been a very dry season for my writing. Even now, I'm very rusty )

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Free to stand tall- Reflections on Luke 13 : 10-22

Bent double, crippled inside and out, that had been my life for the past eighteen years. Eighteen years of pain and doubt and fear, fear the crippled me from the inside out ....
I had always been a worrier, as a young child I carried the cares of the world on my shoulders, listening intently in the night to my parents whispers of concern over whether or not they could eke out the provisions until my father received pay for his latest work. My father was a craftsman, a carpenter, strong and steady, a perfectionist, often their whisperings were concerned with the speed of his work, a little more speed a little less perfection my mother would urge, the pay would be the same. but he would have none of it, a perfectionist to the end.
I would lie awake and worry, worry that the burden of a daughter, an extra mouth to feed was to much for them, my two brothers were already learning the trade, becoming useful, but that was not the way for me and so I worried.
I worried as I grew older, no man would look at me twice for I was no stunning beauty, neither did I have a dowry to speak of. I worried that I would continue to be a burden. Slowly but surely the fears and the worrying ate away at my insides.
My mother died first, she was not old, and so I took over keeping house for my father, cooking and cleaning, caring for him. My brothers were married now, living close by, they and their families would gather with us to celebrate the Sabbath meal, a happy time, and yet one where I would sense myself sinking further and further into the background.
Eight years I lived in this way, caring for my father, when he became ill with a fever, I nursed him day and night, it took him a week to go, and suddenly I was alone. Alone, and afraid!.....

more here.
Artist- Njuguna

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Self Deception

I can surround myself
with books,
with music,
with prayers,
written and
yet I remain far from you.
I can read blogs
and web-sites
hoping to find
a crumb of
words of solace and relief,
yet I remain far from you.
It is only when
I look within,
when I discover the barriers
of self-loathing,
that I understand, the obstacle
to your love
is me!
How easily I declare
myself unworthy,
How easily I reject your love
and fail to understand that
in love you long to
include me,
enfold me,
embrace me.
Come gentle Spirit
Help me to tear down
these walls,
these lies,
this blindness,
that keeps me
from you

Corss posted from Eternal Echoes

Thursday, October 11, 2007

An outcast amongst outcasts no more... Musings on Luke 17: 11-19

It is strange how my story is told, for everyone assumes I am a man, but that is not so... and my predicament rendered my thrice excluded.... a woman, a Samaritan, and a leper... for leprosy is no respecter of gender...
I was truly untouchable, an outcast amongst outcasts..
I lived within a mixed group, there were ten of us, we drew together for comfort, we became family, we had to, there was no other way.
For six years we'd lived together, surviving on the generosity of the towns folk who would come so far but no further, leaving gifts of food and clothing... always in a hurry to get away. And who could blame them?
Some of our number recognised family members, coming and leaving food, remembering better times they were caught between thankfulness, anger, and weeping. Not so for me, I had travelled away from my home, a stranger in a strange place, an outcast amongst outcasts, somehow it was less painful that way.
I had not seen my family for six long years, would I recognise my children now, my beautiful daughter... I wonder sometimes in the night if she is married, if I have grandchildren, she is of that age. My son, has he followed in his fathers footsteps, does he have a trade, is he strong ? In my dreams I hold them close, but when daylight breaks my misery returns, and I find myself in a strange place, with these people I call my family, and yet I know deep within I am an outcast amongst outcasts...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Narative musings- a voice from the crowd (Luke 15; 1-32)

His teachings were astonishing, amazing.... but more than that this preacher, Jesus, was happy to come to us, to sit with us, the outcasts, long ago rejected by polite society we would gather together for friendship and for comfort.
We were a motley bunch, shunned by the Pharisees and their followers, we were tax collectors, and prostitutes, lame and blind beggars, and ordinary people who struggled to live up to the Pharisees demands, finding more acceptance from the outcasts than from the religious leaders.
He taught through stories, wonderful stories, and spoke with such compelling warmth that we clamoured for more. He was with us that afternoon when the Pharisees came sweeping into our part of town, looking for him, when they found him sitting amongst us telling stories they started muttering and tutting. I guess they'd hoped to find him chastising us for our wicked ways, not sitting at our tables sharing our bread!
He heard the muttering, and the tongue clicking, as they growled, meaning to be heard; , "He takes in sinners and eats meals with them, treating them like old friends." Their grumbling triggered these stories;
More here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

From servant to brother- Onesimus' story

Don't misunderstand me in this- I believe slavery is wrong and pray and seek through any practical means I can to see it come to an end. But I also believe that the letter of Philemon calls us to look beyond the surface, to discover true freedom and accept true reconciliation...
These are my narrative musings...
I ran away it is true, I thought that freedom was what I was looking for- but freedom is not what it seems... for even free I was a slave... a run away slave is not safe anywhere...
I spent weeks hiding, travelling under cover of night, scrapping for food wherever I could... sleeping fitfully during the day, afraid of being found, of being punished... there was no dignity in my so called freedom...
It was early morning when Demas found me, I was sleeping in an Olive grove, he was taking an early morning walk he was seeking space to pray...
I was in a terrible state, hungry and dirty, he knew at once that I was a runaway slave. I was too tired to care about what might happen, at that point death seemed a welcome relief...
..imagine my surprise then when he took me home, helped me to bathe, gave me fresh clothes and spread a meal before me...
...I stumbled over my story, explaining my desire for freedom, all the while he listened carefully, and when I had finished he smiled slowly... perhaps he said I should take you to Paul, he will tell you what true freedom is...
..anything seemed better than capture, and Demas apparently had no inclination to turn me over to the authorities or collect a reward, so I nodded my agreement...
We set off then to visit this Paul, the man who would tell me about true freedom; another surprise awaited me, for when we reached the house where Paul was I noticed immediately that it was under guard... Paul the expert on freedom was a prisoner! I must have looked oddly at Demas, who simply smiled back at me, you'll see he said.
Paul was a small man, yet his voice had a confident authority as he welcomed me, he motioned for me to sit, and it was then that I noticed he was in chains...
Now he smiled, much like Demas had, as if they knew a secret beyond my imagination, he lifted his hands, "these" he said indicating the chains, "do not hold me!"

more here

Friday, August 31, 2007

Freedom poetry

Christine at Abbey of the Arts held a poetry party recently;

This is one of my


True freedom
lights me from within,

and though the cage door

is closed,still I am free!

For these bars do not hold m

eand even in the dark night my

heart will sing.Songs of joy

will burst forth

until the cage

melts away,

and freedom,true freedom,


all that

seeks to hold

me captive….

my other entry is here

Monday, August 13, 2007

Unexpected Poetry

This arrived in my inbox today:

" Blurring the terrain,
The pain of being born into matter. Not daring to oppose
Is the moon to grow Out of the picture of life, as it were, out
And Mère Chose's square of world, even as they Of Boyg of Normandy..."

Can any of you make any sense out of it?

Sarah's Story

It is interesting really, because people remember me because I laughed! I laughed it is true at the preposterous suggestion that I an old woman might bear a child... I did laugh, and my laugh was a mixture of incredulity and delight... I couldn't help myself, I wasn't mocking God, though that is what I am remembered for- my apparent unbelief...
Abraham my husband on the other hand is remembered for his faith, commended for it, and people seem to forget that we both left our home, we both swapped our house for a tent to go who knows where... to follow God into the unknown!
Abraham whose faults are so often glossed over- like the time he passed me off as his sister, fearing that my aged beauty might be a danger to him!
Yes I laughed, for I couldn't see how this was going to happen, Abraham was older than me, and I'd long since come to terms with my barrenness... a child for this womb, for these shrivelled breasts... yes I laughed, but hope was rekindled in me that day.
Read more here

Friday, July 27, 2007

Trust in the Slow Work of God

And so I think it is with you.
Your ideas mature gradually -
let them grow,
let them shape themselves,
without undue haste.

- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. You can read the rest here.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Marthas Story...

I was hot and flustered- and it has to be said not a little angry. I'd been working all day to ensure an appropriate welcome for my guests; Jesus and his disciples- they'd arrived earlier than I'd expected, and as usual a crowd had gathered to hear Jesus, to ask him questions!
To be honest I would have preferred to have just a couple more hours to prepare the meal, and to tidy the room to make sure everything was ready. If I'd been able to do that without constantly tripping over people; fighting for room in my own home, then I too might have had time to sit and to listen like Mary.
Mary, my dear younger sister, sitting serenely at Jesus feet, oblivious to my workload- just sitting and listening, a slight smile on her face, totally absorbed in what Jesus was saying.
"Selfish and thoughtless" I muttered to myself " leaving me to do all of the work alone"..."selfish and thoughtless"...
I tried to make it to the front door again, to collect some herbs from my small garden, they were always better fresh picked, the flavour so much richer- and this was a special meal, for special guests. As I made my way out I tripped over someones foot- I don't even know whose it was, there were so many people crowding into the small space....
It was then that I lost my temper completely, surely someone had noticed my busyness, surely someone would be grateful for the time I had spent cooking and cleaning. I pulled myself up to my full height, placed my hands on my hips and rounded on Jesus.....
read more here...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Like a Thousand Red Birds

"We clutch our tiny bits of faith in tight fists,
shoved firmly into our pockets.
We clutch it suspiciously, so unwilling to let it go -
we don't want to lose it."

Read the rest of Phil Porter's poem here


Check out Sally Coleman's retelling of Luke 7:36-8:3.

It originally appeared on her blog earlier this summer, and I liked it so much that I asked her if The Ooze could reprint it.

Friday, July 20, 2007

A Thought on Temptation.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NASB) “No temptation has overtaken you but such as common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able; but with temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.”

No temptation is easy to resist – otherwise it wouldn’t be real temptation, would it? If you are troubled by a certain temptation and are having problems avoiding it, here is a simple story that may be of great help to you.

There were two dogs. The dogs were exactly alike, except one was black and the other white. Both dogs were equally strong and fierce.

One day the dogs got into a horrible fight. (and no – Michael Vick wasn’t there)They struggled and fought. They bit and tore. But because they were exactly alike, neither seemed able to finish the other off.

Two men came along. One said, “Which dog will win? It’s impossible to know.”

The other said, “I know which one will win. I can make either dog win if I so choose.”

How could he do it?

The answer is simple. Whichever dog the man chose to feed would eventually win. While that dog would grow strong with nourishment, the other would become weak with hunger.
The same idea applies to your struggle with temptation. If you feed the temptation – by hanging around the wrong people, for example – the temptation will be too strong to resist. You’ll win the battle if you feed the “good” dog.

Practicing the Spiritual disciplines. Pray. Get into God’s Word. Have fellowship with other believers. Those are some of the keys God has given you to help endure temptation.