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Black and White

Have you ever looked at a picture in color and then looked at it in black and white? It’s startling. It’s almost as if you’re looking at a different place and time. There are contrasts in the black and white that I miss while looking at the beautiful color.

And so it is with me in my “black and white” days. These days are punctuated with great truths; exaggerated even. But they hold such a weight. Deep down, if I’m prodded and poked, I must admit, I find great value here. It’s like the “aha” moment my soul longs for, but can’t quite grasp in color.

If I’m commentating on these days, I might use words like “blah” and “bland”, “raw” and “colorless”, “overcast” and “bleak” . But then I take a look at the photo. My breath catches at the clarity that the harshness highlights. Even the grayness soothes like a cool drink to a parched soul. Comfort and proaction is here in the bright and dark.

Social injustices become startlingly clear in black and white. Someone (in full color) asks me, “What do you think about refugees?” Hmmm, so many colors and opinions  are zigzagging in and out of so many worlds and then wrapped in this colorful question.

What do I think? What do I think? I take a minute to shift from color and examine the black and white photo…and I know.

The person in front of me is the one that matters. Refugee or not, I know exactly what to do; how to love; when to take action. There are NO polarizing mantras that will sway my focus from that face; those eyes; this heart. This is what the sad gray can do.

To be honest, I wish I didn’t need it now and again to remind me of something I knew but have forgotten. But…

It reminds me that light is strong and steady.  It has power. I have power. WE have power.  Our light (and love) pierces and highlights and has a place in this world. It can be trusted. It silhouettes and focuses like none other.

It reminds me that my mundane feelings of gray (inadequate as they feel) are the backdrop to most of my life. It’s as if the sooner I appreciate gray, the more it freely gives to me. I suddenly see the grandeur in the slightest of these “shades”.

Yes, pain is evident here in the black and white, but so is the honest and brutal truth. What a gift.







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Where magic, mystery and divinity meet


For ever weary soul-
May the vision of a wave rolling in be a calming and invigorating force for the task ahead.
For every cluttered mind-
May the winds that take our hair up on end and toss it in directions unfamiliar be a clearing and cleaning of all things unnecessary for abundant living.
For all who are lonely-
May the stroll along the shore bring the power of loving and longing together like the form of a shell at our feet, symbolizing the grandeur of hope.
May the power and force, sound and rhythm be the cadence of newness; freshness; purpose for the path ahead. May every particle of sand symbolize deep and abundant love. May the patterns we see in the sand and water be reminders of the beauty of surrender.
May we take in the breath of this moment and share it with all we hold dear with hopes that even through our virtual connections we may feel the closeness of a hug, a tender smile and a shoulder to lay our head.
This is the magic, mystery, divinity of the ocean meeting the shore.

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Held Hostage by CHANGE



We’re in our RV, parked with foothills to the west and prairie to the east. Today I see dark gray clouds in all directions. I check the weather and see it’s 66 degrees and the forecast predicts cloudiness all day. It’s a stark change from yesterday’s full sun and 92 degrees.

The wind is gusting. It makes the awning make quite the racket. The top of the awning has just enough “give” to billow and make a lot of noise as it feels the wind. In a split-second this morning I thought the sound was someone coming up to the door, or maybe leaving?  I do feel something coming, something going. Well, look who it is.

“Hello, CHANGE”.

Do you, like me, have a love/hate relationship with CHANGE? No miracle thoughts seem to come to me with CHANGE around. Maybe with enough intention, I can squeak out a little rainbow thought, but I tell ya, CHANGE has a lot of power, always humbling me to the core. Every single time, CHANGE holds a mirror up to me. Hard as I try, CHANGE won’t let me look away. Maybe that’s the scariest part. I’m a hostage as I’m put in the back seat of the car, kicking and screaming. Helpless. There’s that stupid iron gate between me and the front where I want to be. CHANGE is wearing a dark jacket with a hood, face hidden. ‘Typical of those who hold hostages’, I think to myself and roll my eyes. Of course I could bang on the windows, shout and scream, bark threats and display a stoic poker face like I’m in charge, but I’ve always been so tired after that tirade and it’s never served me. CHANGE has no ears, only eyes. Oh, the irony, that I even know this and am that familiar with CHANGE. If only CHANGE would look at me, I would be able to make MY point.

This time, I surrendered.

On this day with CHANGE, I sat back in the backseat and looked out of the windows at the moving landscape with anticipation, confidence, excitement. I noticed color and shape and let it move me and soothe me emotionally. I welcomed the mystery and I didn’t give power to the doubt-thoughts, even though I knew nothing and felt uncertain. Knowing that I knew nothing felt different, freeing. I took in a deep breath.Yes, I admit the air was both bitter and sweet, cold and hot, fickle and unpredictable. It called on me for something deep. It called for gratitude for air itself. I looked at the back of CHANGE’S hooded head and for the first time thought something positive. CHANGE is unique as both a noun and verb.

(Then the awning stilled). The car stopped moving. CHANGE opened my door and stood quiet. I got out and did a quick panoramic sweep to see where I’d been taken. I breathed air as if was familiar. It only took two breaths this time. Maybe I’m making progress? I saw an unfamiliar trail head in the distance. ‘It could be treacherous. It could be magical’, two thoughts warred in my mind. In that moment, I looked over at CHANGE who slowly took the hood down and handed me gifts for the trail. I blinked long to let the shock settle. I had imagined CHANGE’S face a million times before, as harsh, steely, unfeeling… That’s not the loving, familiar face I saw before me..

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book hair

The exquisiteness of a moment –  (this very moment), stands poised and intent, waiting for my eye contact; waiting for me to see, to feel…to know it’s rarity. Anticipation is in my breath.

And in that “teetering-on-the-edge” split-second, I have a choice. I can numbly follow the routine, the expected, the “musts” and “have-to’s”, to give weight and value to that which takes from me, or, I could go off-trail to find the soul-light I know waits for me in this yieldedness.

And I go.

I find it, full and glorious, pouring upon me like light falls into and through the small crevices between the leaves onto the forest floor. This is the very anointing I needed, but there were caveats. I had to leave mundane. I had to believe that I would see it. After all, it IS a faith journey.

The sun warms my soul and body as clouds float by like cotton candy. The gift of this day- this breath, this bite of food, this joyful thought, humbles me as I sit in the sunshine casually reading my book. I see the shadow of my hair dancing onto the page before me. I let myself go to feel the power of ONE moment and what it represents. I am alive, so fully alive!


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The 7 “Wonders of the World” has Rivals




The 7 wonders of the world has rivals. And I’m not really talking about the “New” 7 wonders. All of them, old and new are majestic, soul-stirring, breathtaking visions, to be sure. But I think the real rivals are nestled amongst the busyness of each day- something just as magical. Dare I say that? Dare I push a little further and say that not ONE day gets missed?

Not one day has missed the sprinkling of the “divine”.

They come in thoughts, visions, segments, sometimes so brief, you could miss it.

Maybe your mind is awhirl and your thoughts are scattered, but you glimpse through the window, the sun-rays are hitting the landscape in a way it never has before. The hue is different. The mood is different. Haven’t you see this a thousand times? Your breath catches at the sight. You realize the REAL difference. YOU are different and changed since “last time”. You smile as JOY invades.

Maybe you woke in the morning stillness…too early. But before you move from the comfort of bed, you hear the bird singing in the darkness. It feels personal, private, necessary. You have been serenaded into PEACE.

Maybe as the day is fading and fatigue is at hand, you glance and see those you love all huddled together, laughing. Heads are tilted back in full abandonment. Even from a distance you can feel the presence and power of LOVE. Everyone is safely themselves.

Maybe your spirits are down and you have no strength. But for one teensy second your eyes drift to look beside you. You see the selfless one who cares for you without complaint. You know you are being carried like a raft in the river riding the current. Directed. Guided. Powered.

I stand behind my claim. The “7 wonders of the world” has rivals.

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Do we have power over feelings?



This is a controversial post. It’s not an easy subject because FEELINGS have become so integral in the perception of our “happiness” or unhappiness”. But I’m considering that feelings are in actuality much less powerful; that they are light like butterflies. I can blow them away with my breath. My theory is that I may not control that they have landed on me but I might control how long they stay. Feelings are not iron-clad weights that can’t be moved, only indicators of something. Unless I manually pile up the rocks to hold the water, Feelings are not meant to be stagnate but are like ever moving river waters that come to refresh and teach me something as they pass by.

My theory is that the only way to NOT be controlled by feelings is to accept them… but then as quickly as possible, release them. I’ll admit it’s hard. We put more value in the REASON behind how we feel than the feeling itself.

We have good feelings, bad feelings, feelings from circumstances, feelings from interactions with people, feelings from inside of us, feelings from the enemy of our soul, feelings from… The list goes on. We deal with the negative feelings that come from circumstances into daily life with much more grace. Example: The hot water heater dies. Yes, we FEEL frustration. But we tend to “feel” the frustration and move forward to solution-mode rather quickly. We want hot water and we take action to fix it. On the other hand, when a negative feeling comes to “land on us” (disappointment, rejection, sadness) after interaction with someone we love, we don’t “let go” as easily. Why?  We’re surprised? We’re jolted out of security? We thought they would never make us feel ____. It’s not that we don’t have the same power, but it is attached to something/someone of value. The weight suddenly appears iron-like. And the justice meter inside of us starts blinking. ‘How dare they make me feel ______. They shouldn’t be able to ruin my day. They shouldn’t be able to steal my joy and confidence and …’ a bit of resentment comes bubbling up…

side note: But are they really the reason behind the feeling? My theory is that negative feelings come mostly from our negative beliefs about ourselves.

…But we hold onto the feeling because we have assigned blame and we value making sure they understand “what they’ve done”. Teaching them a lesson by holding onto the feeling becomes more valuable than our own peace. Yet, ironically, it’s in letting go that we can be balanced again.

I don’t have a particular blanket answer, only a few tips:

1.We must take responsibility. (this is the most difficult). We naturally want to blame. And I’m not advocating becoming an emotional zombie. We must feel to be fully alive. But accepting a feeling and letting it pass through is different than living with a feeling as a fact. Accept that we have control AFTER we feel. And then assess if this is coming from a lie we are believing about ourselves.

2.We must pursue communication. It can be awkward. At the least, in this scenario another person was involved with us having some unwanted feeling.  (no judgment because they could be completely oblivious). And if so, if we can deal with it alone, we should.  But let’s say it’s something our spouse said that seemed to make us feel negatively, and we know this will root deeply and grow ugly. We owe it to the person who cares about us to discuss it. We don’t want resentment to be a part of our life. And sometimes even in just communicating we can release it. We are talking about dialogue that assumes the best in the other person. Dialogue like “When you said/did _______it brought about feelings of ______, which I am really working hard to blow away.  And I thought you’d want to know since I know you don’t desire to be a catalyst for me having to deal with such a negative feeling.” In this example, we are still the manager of our feelings (however they got there). But we are letting the person know we are in a mode of “dealing with it”. And while they cannot undo it, the other person has a chance to support and love. They have a chance to know our vulnerabilities in a deeper way.

I’ve always loved the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” I still like it. But I think it’s more accurate to say “no one can make you believe you are inferior or keep you feeling inferior without your consent”.

Feelings come.

Accepting them as THE CORE of who I am, well this is the problem.

They are just as light as a butterfly and I can blow them away.


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Our fatal attraction makes us long for another set of eyes…

Wow, it’s a war out there. We’re walking down the road of life minding our own business when we see someone in the distance, walking toward us. We can’t help but squint our eyes and wonder who it is. The fog swirls around him like the last scene in Pride and Prejudice, when Darcy is making his way through the field to declare his love for Lizzy.  I love that scene. Oh, but I digress.  Let’s get back to the story….the long cloak and steady eyes come into view. We see him coming, dressed to the nines and sauntering toward us like a man on a mission.  Our breath catches for an instant as his voice calls out loud and strong mandating a conversation.  We should be wary. We’re not. That’s the difficult nature of this encounter.  We’re so intrigued. He’s dressed so nice. He looks so…inviting.

He has many names-Power, Greed, Hate, Lust, Selfishness, Bitterness, Envy…He always looks this good and alluring. He is quite beautiful, articulate, decisive, and as much as I hate to admit it, so captivating.  At one point or another we come face to face with these “beauties” and for a while we feel strong and justified, that is, just before the smack right across the face. He’s a soul-eater. Caught off guard, we shake ourselves awake. A fight ensues. Days of fighting for our life…

I think it’s right about this point of exasperation and bone-tired weariness that we come to the end of it all, the end of ourselves.  And that’s ok.  That’s exactly how this story is supposed to go.

Our fatal attraction makes us long for another set of eyes, eyes that see beyond the confidence and outward opulence of the fine dressed gentleman. We long for eyes that see the truth behind the masquerade because before we know it, we’re on our backs with dirt in our eyes, bruises on our bodies and stripped of all that’s valuable. All that’s left is a humble, needy soul. Why didn’t we see it coming? We’re enamored with the sparkle. That’s the short of it. Human. That’s the even shorter of it. But this is a glorious place when we think about it. There’s an unshakable dawning that happens here. Like a sunrise.  We can’t UNsee it.  A knowing seeps deep inside. We need someone bigger than ourselves.

And…He comes. Always. When we want Him.

He doesn’t saunter but walks sure and steady, with purpose. He wears plain clothes and somehow that relieves us, insuring us that He’s not selling, sweet-talking, or gimmicking. No, He comes to do the dirty work. He comes with gentle eyes, and arms that reach and feel and soothe, to hold us close and wipe the dirt from our eyes. With his touch the pain diminishes and we FEEL the lovely emanating from within Him; the light that cannot be darkened is alive, healing us from the inside out. And so we walk again and hold Him close, or more accurately, He holds us close. Either way, Jesus has come for the journey.

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Mermaids and Purple Powers

After work I meandered down to the pool with a book.  It was just me and a mother with her three children.  I was pretty engrossed in my book when I overheard the kids.  The older brother and his two little sisters had been playing all sorts of games.  I was admiring their imagination.  Then the mom told big brother to leave the girls alone.  I’m not sure how he was bothering them but the girls went on merrily playing “mermaid” (I assume a game they made up). Maybe it was my mother’s heart, but I felt badly for the boy.  He was about 10 and there were no others to play with in the pool.  (no, I did not jump in to the rescue, but I wanted to).  The boy went closer to the girls and said with a question, “you don’t have an ice mermaid.”  “Yes we do”, the girls yelled emphatically.  “We have every kind of mermaid…any kind we want”.  Silence.  He was shut down.  The boy was offering himself as a mermaid and it still didn’t work.  A few minutes passed.  I could almost hear the boy’s brain at work as if they were splashes in the pool. He finally declared his other brilliant idea- “I could be a shark that that you have to avoid”.  Somehow this passed the test and they once again played, splashed and laughed.  Eventually everyone had a mission to find the “purple power”.  It sounded so fun. I was kind of thirsty at this point and imagined “purple power”  as a delicious raspberry, blueberry drink, icy cold and so refreshing.  I wished I could jump in and discover the mystery.  About an hour passed.  The littlest girl, about 6 years old said. “This is the most funnest day of my life”.  I smiled and looked across to the mom, wondering if she really savored those beautiful, dramatic words.

I left before they did, all the while re-living the imaginative world of the young.  What remarkable things could happen if we could keep these gifts among those we guard in our “mature” world.