Sunday, December 28, 2008

Absolute Value

"There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle." - -ALBERT EINSTEIN

Perhaps this statement could also read:

There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is essential.
The other is as though everything is essential.

In math terms, the concept of absolute value based on a number line is viewed as the distance from zero. Absolute value is never negative; absolute value only tells "how far." It doesn't define "in which direction." This means that the absolute value of +3 = 3, because 3 is three units to the right of zero, and also the absolute value of –3 = 3, because –3 is three units to the left of zero. Zero is identified as a perfect circle -- O. By design, it has no beginning and no end. It is the point from which all other measurements begin.

I imagine the positive times in my life (gain, blessings) to the right of zero, and the negative times (loss, challenges) to the left of zero. But no matter which direction, positive or negative, everything in my life, exactly as it is, contributes with its absolute value in shaping my soul.

I believe everything is a miracle. Everything is essential. Everything has absolute value.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Betrayal is a most devastating act, especially when it involves someone we love and trust. I just read a story on a blog about a betrayal of the worst kind, one involving a potential adoptive family. The betrayal came from someone close to the family who made a complaint to the powers that be and ended with...

Well, I won't tell you how it ended. You can read about it here:

The more I thought about the events, the more I was reminded that things are not always what they seem. I see in the immediate, often getting caught up in the injustices and forgetting that our purpose and experience go so much deeper than the tangible.

What I can't see is the shaping of the spirit that is happening because of and in the midst of adversity. What I do see is a growing faith within that all things are necessary. That all things begin and end in love. That nothing warrants judgment that is used to sanctify us.

We are shaped in the darkness. One is used as an adversary for the sole purpose of revelation of the heart and as a means of purification. Adversity reveals what is in the heart by its presence and by our response to it.

Does that mean I celebrate and have a desire for the darkness? For loss? No. It means that I see adversity has purpose. Though one may bring a soul-splitting loss into our life, it is also a great burden for the one through whom the devastation comes. No one has the power to devastate another's life. That power simply isn't theirs. But they are instruments in shaping our spirit.

If I had read this post even 5 years ago, I would not have understood the purpose of betrayal. But now, though I may not fully understand it, I am at peace with it.

What changed?


Saturday, December 20, 2008


I have watched brothers come to a precipice of separation. Locking horns, muscles flexed, a cloud of dust surrounds them as each attempts to dominate the other, like bulls competing for the prize. Verbal blows have been delivered, landing hard in the soft, vulnerable places unique to each one. It's hard to say whether or not they will let the fault expand between them. It's tempting. Justifiable even. Each one is holding to the truth as they believe it to be. But at what cost?

What is most important? Holding or releasing?

We grip tightly to the things that comfort us; things to which we are emotionally attached; things that give us a sense of belonging, a sense of stability, a validation of love and devotion. What we don't see, is the very things that we hold to are the things that hold us back. If we are not willing to release our grip, we can venture no further in love. Something will always come between us.

A Father bestows a gift. Each son interprets the gesture from their perspective of relationship with the Father. The Father's generosity becomes a catalyst of confrontation. Only one can hold the gift. Only one can have physical possession. The gift cannot be divided among the brothers. Technically, it was only given to one. The gift forces a confrontation between the brothers.

So what do the brothers do? Grasp tighter? Demand? Force? Obtain? Keep? Let resentment continue to build? Or is the only hope for love to be found in the release?

What has more value than love?

Release is the only answer. There is no other. Love is released in yielding. Yielding is a hard lesson to learn. Loosening the hold on the gift is the highest form of respect the brothers can show toward each other. It is also the means by which they honor their Father.

Fire and Ice

The recent winter storm left a coating of ice on everything in its path, changing the sounds in my neighborhood. Now when the wind blows, tree branches crackle and pop, like flames in a fire.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Today, I killed a mouse.

Never before have we had a problem with mice in our house, but this fall is a different story. This was number 6 to be annihilated over the past three months. I'm really hoping this is the last one.

Three nights ago, I was awakened at 1 a.m. to the sound of something clanging on the blinds in my bedroom. Followed shortly by a "gnaw, gnawing" on the wood window frame. Ugh! I knew it was the elusive mouse that had left a spattering of droppings for me to discover ON.MY.SHEET!! Gah!

So this afternoon I was getting ready to meet the ladies for knitting when I heard the trap snap. "Woo hoo!" I thought. "Gotcha!"

The snap was followed by a pitiful squeaking. I hurried over to the corner where the trap was set and saw the mouse biting at the trap, to no avail. It kept squealing trying to escape the jaws that held it so firmly in its grip.

I reached over and picked up the trap, thinking surely it will die soon. But it was still alive. I ran out to the garage with it, looking for a screwdriver to pry open the trap. I couldn't stand to see the mouse suffering. I found an electrical adapter plug and bending over the lawn, I pried the jaw open. The little mouse dropped the short distance to the ground and tried to run under the rosebush. But its back legs dragged uselessly behind it. Its back was broken.

The mouse, a soft, furry grey, looked so innocent as it lay on the grass. Dragging itself a few inches toward cover, it paused to rest, breathing rapidly. A few more inches, rest. Finally it curled up under a fallen maple leaf.

My heart was breaking as I watched it struggle.

I didn't feel so heroic anymore. Just really sad.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


For the past 3 years, there has been a group of women, and an occasional gentleman, gathering weekly at our local library annex to knit, crochet, or do needlework. On average, 5-20 women show up every Saturday afternoon for 2 hours of crafting and fellowship.

The women are generous with their time and commitment to others. Help with the craft is freely exchanged as the need arises. New visitors are welcome. Books, patterns, and techniques are discussed. Laughter is always part of the mix. There is warmth in the smiles of friendly, familiar faces.

The brief time they spend together is a little oasis in the midst of their weekly lives and daily responsibilities. It is time they take for themselves, pursuing their craft, without distraction. Like an extended family, they have come to know each other well. As family and friends do, they see each other through good and through difficult times.

In times of illness and personal loss, moments of joy and celebration, uncertainty and concern, faithfully, they come to the table. Like working through a challenging pattern, navigating this life can be challenging. If a problem arises, the women work together for solutions, offering each other their unique perspectives in a show of support.

The women give generously of their time and attention, to each other and to the community beyond. Many items have been made and donated to worthy causes in our community and throughout the world. There is so much more than crafting happening every week during this brief time of respite.

Recently, the women were informed, that after three years, their group no longer fell under the umbrella of "library sponsored program." In short, they were banished from the library annex by the library director. An attempt to appeal to the board of directors fell on deaf ears.

The loss reverberated in the hearts of the women. Where to go from here?

Enter the kindness and generosity of the local newspaper. Having covered the proceedings of the library's board meeting, the news reporter, and subsequently the staff, were aware of the board's decision. An editor called one of the women the very next day and offered the newspaper's conference room, "indefinitely and free of charge" !!

Completely unsolicited, an answer comes from an unexpected source, who requires nothing in return - no umbrella of policy or tax increase - just a willingness and means to meet a need. That's generosity. That's community.

Our collective, hand-crafted hats are off to the staff of "The Times". Thank you.

Most appreciatively,

The Loop Group

Friday, August 22, 2008


Rosenfelder Family:

The other day I was driving in my jeep. I got to thinking, the first time I ever road in a jeep was with Jack Rosenfelder. So I thought about that. Funny, the first time I ever went in a canoe was with Jack Rosenfelder. I really like canoes. In fact, that was the first time I ever went to the canal at Wyanet. There was Jack Rosenfelder's Jeep and his canoe. The first time I ever went to Lock 3 or 4 or was it 5?, we went with Jack Rosenfelder. I think the first time I ever went for catfish we were with Jack Rosenfelder. Shoot, the first time I went ice fishing Jack Rosenfelder came along. We went on our first fishing trip to Minnesota. Jack Rosenfelder was already there waiting.

I asked my Dad, "Where ya going?"
He answered,
"Crazy, wanna come along?"
I wasn't sure yet.
I said,
"Who ya going with?"
He said,
"Joe Sha-bot-nik."
I wondered why they needed worms.

Turned out going crazy was probably going fishing and Joe Shabotnik was usually Jack Rosenfelder.

Years ago I heard this lady speak about having a vision of heaven. My mom told me a similar story. Mom was on the operating table and had a vision of going through the tunnel of light but didn't want to leave the kids behind. This lady talked about Jesus showing her this room in heaven. There were shelves to the ceiling filled with books. The angels were sitting at a desk with little bottles. recording all our tears. I had never heard of that, but a few years later I found the scripture.

Psalm 56:8 You number and record my wanderings; put my tears into your bottle - are they not in your book?

Our sympathy,
Dave & Cindy & Family

My dad, Jack Rosenfelder, passed away July 18, 2008. We received this note from the son of one of dad's closest friends.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Yesterday I saw a man, a prominent person in our community with great talent and equally great humility. He was just diagnosed with a serious illness. I wanted to tell him, "You're going to be alright." I didn't. I quietly prayed for him and continued knitting with my friends. I was aware of the acute suffering he and his family will endure as they walk this path. The community at large is also affected, expressing compassion and concern. But I sensed a spirit of peace in his presence.

Today someone spoke to me about an offense and as we shared, the hidden purpose of darkness became clearer. Like the body is shaped in the womb, void of light, the soul is also shaped in the darkness of circumstances. Events mesh and fuse, exposing us to principles and spiritual truth, just like the DNA in the cells mesh and fuse to form a new life. All this is happening in creation, both physical and spiritual life. This dance of darkness and light bubbles with joy in my heart because I realize I am not intimidated in the same ways I once was by the darkness.

In no way do I intend to marginalize anyone's suffering and when I am suffering, I surely do not see as objectively. But I am aware of a separation of attachment to circumstances.

In light of these events, I thought about the Promised Land and how surprised the disciples may have been when they found themselves humbled at the foot of the cross witnessing death as opposed to glory and honor on a throne. Jesus knew the darkness he would endure and went willingly - despising death, but enduring it nevertheless. He experienced humiliation of a most cruel and demeaning form.

But on the other side of that suffering, eternal life and glory was revealed.

The darkness is of no consequence to the light, but it serves in creating new life. The darkness we endure and suffer in creation is part of the perfect means for shaping us into God's likeness. I am in awe at how He bends and molds us while He remains hidden in the darkness.

My hope is renewed today.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Oh Baby

I watch our newest granddaughter with her momma and smile, thinking of all the things Maya will teach her parents and those around her, things like unconditional love and selflessness. Ordinary daily events aren't so insignificant after all.

Galations 5:22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control.

Babies are great teachers of spiritual fruit.

Makes me think of man's relationship with God. Like children, our vulnerability perfects His love, a circle of life really. Do you suppose He planned it that way?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I Doubt It

Lately, I have struggled with doubt in God. Does He even exist? Have I been deceived and spent years of my life seeking something that isn't there? Is there an after-life?

I have no desire for prayer or faith. All seems like fairy tales. I doubt the scriptures, the intentions of those who wrote them, and the intentions of those who decided which writings would be included in the Bible.

I imagine humans creating the idea of God in order to give life purpose and meaning, to have something to hope for beyond inevitable death. I think about generations of people clinging to the unseen and how society has been shaped by religious traditions. I wonder if we create our own realities.

I have stopped praying and am questioning everything I have held as truth for most of my life. Strangely enough, I am okay with being in that place of doubt. I don't care for it, but I don't judge or resist it. I let it come to me, trusting that even doubt has purpose in shaping me. The irony of my response, faith in the midst of doubt, hasn't escaped me.

Fast forward one month. Nothing spectacular has happened to change my attitude from one of doubt to one of faith. One day, I simply found myself praying again, trusting. Joy has returned. It was a season of doubt that now has passed.

And in the words of Forrest Gump, that's all I have to say about that.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Stain Free

Scrubbing a television set to get it clean, I see firsthand the sticky, nicotine-stained residue of cigarette smoke. It is dark brown against the whiteness of the paper towel in my hand and doesn't release its grip easily. I picture the accumulation of years of smoking on a set of lungs, how it would turn them from healthy pink to brown, tarry-coated, inefficient machines that no longer function at capacity. But this vision I can only imagine as the lungs are hidden from view.

Like cigarette residue, the impact of judging or despising each other is not always seen. The results of hatred also remain hidden on my pock-marked soul, compromising the efficiency with which I function in a day. Oh, I try to pretty up the language to justify my actions, but the fact remains that everyday I am either choosing to function in hatred or in love, in judgment or in mercy, in unkindness or in grace. Either I indulge selfish desires, pick up the cigarette/judgment and smoke it/indulge it, or I don't. Strong language, hatred and love, judgment and mercy, but strong impact of daily habits, nevertheless, that leave their sticky, repulsive residue on the soul.

Every day presents equal opportunities for me to exercise hatred or love, judgment or mercy, unkindness or grace, faith or doubt, His way or my way. Like inhaling cigarette smoke launches a blackened deposit and diminishes the lungs, each time I indulge my ego and pass judgment in thought or word against another person, a compromising deposit is made on my soul. I have chosen the impure over the pure.

But, and this is a big but, the good news, the big news, is that the hidden stains of my indulgences have been removed. God swiped my soul with the cloth of Jesus's sacrifice and forever removed the repugnant stains of my selfishness with His selflessness. The sacrifice of His death cost Him more than I will ever know, more than the elbow grease required to clean the nicotine stains from a television set. The release of my soul from the stain of my sins came at great personal cost to God. That personal cost is the measure, the standard, of His love for us all. He forgives. He loves, more completely than I can even begin to imagine.

My love is often conditional. His love is always without condition. That is who He is, Perfect Love. He sacrificed for us while we were still sinning. You wouldn't want to depend on me for that kind of perfect love. But you can depend on Him.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Even in the most unlikely and conservative of places, you can find sometimes this glimmering idea that God might be bigger than our limited religious doctrines have taught us. In 1954, Pope Pius XI, of all people, sent some Vatican delegates on a trip to Libya with these written instructions: "Do NOT think that you are going among Infidels. Muslims attain salvation, too. The ways of Providence are infinite." (from Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert)

I tend to agree with Pope Pius XI.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

God Speak

So, my husband and I decide the main floor bathroom needs remodeling. He did the work, stripping the wallpaper, washing the remaining glue from the walls, dismantling the sink and stool then reattaching them after rolling two coats of paint on the ceiling and walls. He wants me to pick out a linoleum remnant for the floor. I lug home an armload of samples because the remnants aren't that interesting or they're not the right size. Nothing appealing.

Before I started the search for flooring, I found a sink at a local home improvement store and brought it home, a cute European style bowl with a dark chocolate base cabinet. I try each sample in front of the sink, imagining the flooring expanded to the walls. Eh, a couple are okay but nothing outstanding.

I'm excited about the sink as the vision of a remodeled room begins to form in my thoughts. I found some nice picture frames to match the new wall sconces and a cool luggage rack shelf to hang over the stool. The image begins to materialize as I gather pieces from here and there waiting for the moment they can be set into place.

There is still the problem of the right flooring. I decide to look at some tile and find a few samples. Hmm, tile or linoleum? The thought of new sub-flooring to support and level the tile, resetting the stool to accommodate the additional height, man, that's a lot more work. But the results will be so much nicer. I mull the idea for a few more days then back to the store and happen across a "floating" tile floor that snaps together over the existing flooring and is then finished with a flexible grout. Easy-peasy complete it in a day. That's it!

Nine heavy cartons of 12" tile are loaded into the shopping carts by me and my sister, along with the grout. Getting closer to completion and I like the way the room is coming together. It's going to be beautiful. Back to the Ponderosa, where dear husband awaits.

"I don't want tile. I want linoleum. I'm not messing with the stool plumbing,” his response.

One box of tile makes it into the house, then out again. The other eight are unloaded from the trunk to the garage floor, then right into the van where he summarily heads back over the sixteen miles just traveled and takes them all, along with the grout, to be restocked. “I’ll get the linoleum I want,” his departing announcement. Huh.

I retreat. A few days later he invites me to join him to look for a sink and the elusive flooring.

“A sink? For what?” I inquire.

“In there.”


“The bathroom.”

“I already bought the sink.”

“I took it back.” Poof, and another one bites the dust.

Now I’m finished and ticked. I get in the car and drive away. But this time, instead of indulging my frustration and anger, I literally ask, “What are you saying to me, Lord?” I recall past confrontational moments like this. But instead of indulging that line of thinking, I consider that God may have something to say and that He is using this very situation in which to speak to me.

How do I respond? It’s a freefall once again, and this time willingly, into His arms.

John brought home a top to fit the base we already have, the flooring still hasn’t been selected, and I have recused myself from the bathroom remodel. But more importantly, I am aware of God’s presence and what He has to say in the midst of conflict. Though peaceful isn’t how I would describe my entire demeanor, inside I am aware of something greater than my desire. Something more important than, “to tile or not to tile, this sink or that one.”

A cycle has been broken for me as a new awareness presents itself. Though I may not care for the language or the method, I concede that the Spirit may be speaking through this confrontation. God has something to teach me. Am I willing to yield to His lead? It seems so.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Can You Hear Me Now?

Is every encounter in my daily life an opportunity for God to speak to me, or am I deceived?

He speaks to me through circumstances and through other people. Everything that confronts me in a day is effective in drawing me closer to Him. Everything. How can I question the Potter as He shapes me into His likeness? How can I judge how He uses others for my sanctification or me for theirs?

When I am connected, mind and spirit, I know that everything is perfect exactly the way it is. In peace or in chaos, law or grace, light or darkness, mercy or judgment, life or death, none of these are of any consequence to God because He is in it all.

Some days are better than others. Sometimes I am receptive, yielded to God's leading. Sometimes I resist. But I don't worry about it either way. My faith is not in myself or my ability to be righteous. My faith is in the one who is shaping me. I believe Him when He says that He is faithful to complete the work that He began in me.

How perfect the genius of God's hidden ways and how He uses the ordinary events of an ordinary day to shape us into His likeness.

This is a curious position in which to find myself, much more reliant on the unseen (God/spirit) than the seen (me). My spirit is strangely comforted in a peaceful way, even when I don't sense His immediate presence.

I would like to say that I always respond to challenges in a spiritual way, but I don't. He continues to press and shape me through daily events and people, speaking to me body, soul, and spirit, whispering amidst the chaos, "Can you hear me now?"

Monday, April 21, 2008


Evil is at work everywhere.

I just read a blog about a woman whose daughter was being bullied at school. This mother was then bullied by the bully momma and daddy at a school function. The tirade that spewed from the offenders was venomous and unwarranted. The comments from the blog readers were supportive, some funny, but many ejected vile judgment toward the bully momma, revealing the evil in residence in their own hearts.

Confrontation, false accusations, evil incarnate raises its ugly head periodically in our lives. But the twist for me is how it is also a mirror into my heart and the hearts of those affected by its scaly reach.

Evil is a catalyst for change, a mirror for revelation.

When a confrontation gets personal, I often react in a spirit of judgment, thereby resisting the opportunity for truth to surface, especially if I feel justified in condemning the one through whom the evil comes, yes, even when it comes through me.

But we are all instruments in God's hands, used to reveal Him. Nothing is wasted or without purpose. When I stop resisting (judging) and allow Him to lead me into His rest, I am free from prejudice and able to receive what He intends to reveal.

So the bully momma, though justifiably spanked by the authorities (there's more to the story than I'll go into here), will have consequences for her actions and perhaps her own opportunity for change. The blogger maintained a degree of grace under fire by not responding to personal attacks but following through on necessary actions to protect the children involved. Lurkers of her blogsite responded in kind on their take of the situation, myself included, mirroring our reactions to evil.

But key in the event, the catalyst that provoked change, was the evil first manifest. The trajectories of everyone's lives were affected, mine also, because it shows me in a real life situation that evil doesn't always result in evil but often is a necessary ingredient to healing.

Who could've seen that coming, the advantages of darkness? God, perhaps?

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Yield. Let God be who He is. Allow Him to reveal Himself without preconceived notions of righteousness. Grace is His covering for all ~ this is where I am spiritually and practically speaking.

I've been thinking lately of how comfortable I am with the idea of our ordered paths in this life. I see the benefits of waiting on Him.

I often try to make Jesus' words my own, to somehow stake a claim on His word, on Him, when in reality, He is at work in claiming me. This perspective brings peace.

I see that impatience leads to deception and I am grateful that He compels me to stop resisting and yield to His lead. Incredible freedom in this adjustment which allows me to see Him in more places/people than I have in the past. Previously, I believed and lived from a perspective of works, but now I function from a place of rest and faith. It's better here.

Because of the encouragement to yield, I am open to other's paths; paths that I would have criticized in my previous ignorance and desire to be "righteous" ~ read "perfect". I never realized how offensive and arrogant I was in believing that others had to believe the way I do or how I participated in making a religion out of Jesus' love.

I am no longer offended by other faiths. I no longer feel challenged to "set someone straight" about God. How arrogant, unloving and unmerciful my thinking was for much of my life. I thought that salvation was somehow tied to works/beliefs, even though I espoused that salvation only comes from Christ. Now I know that righteousness will never come from me but must come from His presence in me.

I do not deny that salvation is found in Jesus - I still believe that. I just see more fully that it is God at work in bringing His word to life in me and others and not the other way around. I am completely at His mercy.

I cannot convey the fullness of my appreciation for God and His perfect plan for creation, His perfect love for all. I see that He is in all things as He continually makes His presence known and felt in unexpected ways.

I am in awe of this one I love.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


If your perception is false, then your emotional response to it will be false too. Just because you believe something firmly doesn’t make it true. Be willing to reexamine what you believe. (William P. Young, The Shack, pg 197.)

Truth is not about the grip - grasping, seeking, collecting morsels of information and holding onto them as if the knowledge is salvation. Truth is about the release - receiving, trusting, humbling, allowing. Open the hand, open the heart, let go of knowledge and yield to wonder like a child seeing the world for the first time. There is peace in surrender.

Picture two people on a bricked walkway surrounded by beautiful landscaping, the warmth of the sun, birds singing, and the spirit of God, the unseen guest, hovering over all. An oasis for the spirit is set as two connect in friendship and talk about spiritual matters. Appreciation for each other's paths, though different, now converge into a deeper understanding of God and self.

We serve each other so perfectly by what we bring to this life and in the process of daily living I see the Potter at work shaping each one of us into His image. No small event can be taken for granted because life is perfectly orchestrated to reveal the God we serve.

Surrender is when I am able to set aside my knowledge, stop resisting His advances, and yield to His purpose that is beyond my understanding. On that path of acceptance, I am able to receive what He and others bring.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Feed Me

I’m tired of the excess, the fat, the weight of indulgence. I nibble at judgment like a tasty morsel. I feed discontent with a saucy bite. Swallowing, swallowing, always swallowing, forcing more down the gullet when already I am satiated.

Like excess lard clinging to the bones, hateful, spiteful darkness clings to the soul. I can jiggle the excess on my body and I can spew the excess in my soul. With words and attitude like one who has had a lot of practice, I can transform from light to darkness, from grace to judgment. I’m sure you’ve seen me.

Does that ever happen to you?

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Recent news reports exposed the indiscretions of New York’s governor. As a result, many of us cluck and tsk at the governor's actions, secretly priding ourselves in our own self-control. We like to comfort and reassure ourselves that we are somehow above such traps.

The way of the world is to accuse and condemn. We become vocal in our judgment, myself included, about such risky ventures of indulgence.

If I alter my perception from judgment/worldly to purposed/spiritual, I have a different view. What I see from this perspective is the sacrifice of being exposed in a compromising pleasure. But instead of focusing on deserved judgment, I realize that even this transgression is covered by God's grace.

Offensive, isn't it. The offense of forgiveness and covering of gross immorality is distasteful - unless we happen to be in the position of needing that kind of grace.

No doubt life is painful right now for his wife and children as the force of that falling rock radiates like crashing waves from the point of impact. Eventually the waters will calm again. In the interim, my perspective has evolved from one of judgment to one of grace, something we all need in good measure on a daily basis.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Mind Of Christ

I watched the coverage of the shooting at Northern Illinois University on television as it unfolded. It was surreal. I recognized the building in which the chaos was taking place. Waves of emotion, fear and concern, flooded my thoughts. This is crazy. Brushing tears aside, suppressing the sorrow welling inside of me, I watched.

I recalled an event not long ago when the school was closed for a day because of threats of violence. I wondered if it was connected. Many students from our community attend NIU. My daughter is commuting there two evenings a week to finish her teaching degree. She was on campus the night before it happened.

Information about the shooter was released fairly quickly, a face to put with the crime. Still surreal. Can't imagine the tragedy though my brain tries to wrap around the descriptions given by the survivors.

I hear people discussing the shooter. In derogatory terms as one would expect. But I have to tell you, I feel no judgment.

Though I wish it had never happened, I am yielded to faith and yes, acceptance.

Classes resume next Monday. I can only imagine how hard it will be on the students as they return.

But this is how I imagine the mind of Christ to be...forgiveness.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Light Of Grace

In every darkness/evil/deception/judgment that has presented itself in my life, light/good/truth/mercy has also been revealed. The accuser is present daily - in thoughts and words spoken, by insinuation and innuendo, in attitude, presentation, or intention. In fact, I would go so far as to say accusations are more prevalent in a day than grace.

But occasionally grace manifests and I realize how blind I have been.

Grace and mercy is what I desire for myself but I am often unwilling to extend it. Grace is offensive to me at times, especially when it concerns those with whom I am at odds. I don't necessarily want to cover their imperfections, but I certainly want mine obliterated.

John 1: 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

There is a popular photo of the earth with the moon in the foreground. Viewing it, I am keenly aware of the deep darkness surrounding both heavenly bodies. The earth and moon are visible only by the reflected light of the sun. The planets are not the source of their light.

That is how I see mankind. Though we may reflect the light within us and may even pride ourselves in our understanding of the Light, we are not the source of that light. God's light shines equally on all His creation. The fact that His grace offends me when it shines on my "enemies" in no way reflects His lack of judgment. It only reflects my lack of mercy.

The light shining brightest in my darkness is His grace.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


I just watched a video of two teenage girls in Florida who were caught after stealing Girl Scout-cookie-sales-money from a 9-year-old girl. The teens show no remorse for their actions and are quite vocal about how "pissed" they are to have been caught.

My natural reaction to the unrepentant girls is one of judgment and revulsion at their blatant insolence. Adding further to the incident, the authorities said the teens weren't charged because they didn't use force or take the money directly out of the young girl's hands.

"Say what!?...there's a formula to follow to actually be held accountable?!?"

"Yes, you would have to use force or take it out of her hands or it doesn't count as stealing."

"The money is gone but apparently not chargeably stolen." **My hands and eyebrows raise in bewilderment**

Calming down and further reflecting on my response to the incident, I realize God loves the unrepentant teens as much as He loves the innocent victim. The spiritual merciful response is quite different from the natural judmental one to which I have been accustomed.

Reflecting on the teen's actions and the local authorities' interpretation of the law, I can only say I am thankful that God is the final authority and not me. Gratitude doesn't begin to define my appreciation to Him for His grace toward me when I am misguided, unrepentant, or insolent.

Therein, for me, is good and evil defined. His grace covers it all.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Perfect Love

One moment changed my perspective of life. In that moment, peace, well-being, incredible love enveloped me. Like many things that cannot be communicated but must be experienced, this was such an event.

In one stride, my perception forever altered. There was an awareness, a presence of something apart from myself and the most perfect expression of love I have ever known. An ordinary day, I hadn’t been seeking anything spiritual or praying or asking God for anything. I simply walked from one room to another…and voila`.

When immersed in this presence, I felt as if my soul was suddenly drenched in perfect love. Imagine being submerged in a swimming pool, the water refreshing and cleansing. You are aware of its buoyancy, texture, and engulfing presence. It was like that but the sensation was within. I have never experienced anything like it before or since. Nothing was required of me. It was matter-of-fact, tranquil and familiar, a state of being in which I completely relaxed and breathed.

All tension, anxiousness, distractions of the day and life, floated away. I recalled an event that was hurtful to me many years ago and in that state of being, it no longer hurt. When I say there was no longer judgment from me toward the one who hurt me, I mean there was nothing. The pain was gone and didn't cling to the offender either. It was as if the transgression had never occurred.

In an unexpected moment, I had first hand experience that in Him there is no judgment. I was aware that my sinful nature does not affect His love for me and that His love surpasses anything I or anyone else could do. Like calming the raging storm, judgment literally dissipates in the presence of Perfect Love - gone with no effort or lasting effects whatsoever.

It’s been a while since that day. Though my desire was to remain in that pool of bliss, life quickly returned to normal. I don’t strive to recreate the event but sometimes when I get frustrated with myself, others, or circumstances, I know that in His presence perfect love reigns. I am comforted by that knowledge, but there is nothing that compares to experiencing the reality of His presence and love.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


My grandaughter Breya, age 2 1/2, came into the family room carrying a picture of Jesus nailed to the cross. His face is turned upward, blood from the crown of thorns coursing down his cheek, his right hand impaled by a nail, one of three holding him to the cross.

Breya sidles up to me stating in a somber but matter-of-fact voice, "He's broken. We need to fix him."

Touched by her compassion, I inquire, "Who does sweetheart?"


"Everyone needs to fix him?"

"Mm hmm." (meaning yes)

"He's better now," I responded.

"No he's not. Everyone needs to fix him."

Friday, January 11, 2008

Lighten Up

I happened to be organizing my stash of yarn when my cell phone rang. Glancing at the caller ID, I saw my friend Pat's name.

"Happy New Year, Pat!" I grinned as I answered the phone. "You'll never guess what I'm doing. Putting my yarn into bins to display in my room. Inspiration, you know."

I was pleasantly surprised at her call. Her upbeat voice was welcoming. "I just talked to Ann. We decided two weeks is too long to wait. We're meeting Thursday at Jeremiah Joe's. I'll call the others. See you there."

We hung up, both anticipating our upcoming knitting session. Normally, we meet on Tuesday mornings at the coffee shop and Saturday afternoons at the library. With the holidays though, we were missing two weeks of our routine - some might say therapy. The unexpected call brightened my day.

So many paths to love and friendship. Groups of women gather through a common love of fiber and craft. Conversations flow as freely as the yarn through our hands and needles, sometimes practical, at other times philosophical, and often downright hysterical.

We knit our way into a sisterhood of the heart sharing each other's joys and concerns. We encourage and help each other with challenging patterns and with life's challenges.

And whenever we get together, it is always cause to lighten up!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


My first post is dedicated to our daughter Sarah as it was her encouragement that set me on this path of blogging.


There's a degree of comfort in knowing that my impressions aren't always accurate and that I can wait on the Lord to guide our steps.

Paul says in Ephesians 5:15Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Recently, our daughter Sarah, with her husband and family, celebrated her conversion to Judaism at KAM Isaiah Israel Synagogue in Chicago. Her daughter Simone's Hebrew baby naming was held the same evening. The ceremony was very joyful and loving as Sarah and Simone were welcomed into the congregation.

It was my first visit to a Jewish Synagogue. Before the event, I felt apprehensive not knowing what to expect. In spite of the doubt, I also felt encouraged to trust the Lord for our daughter's faith. I decided to focus on the trust and let go of the worry. Peace enveloped me. It was the right choice.

When Sarah began her path of conversion, it felt like a rejection of our Christian faith and traditions. As her family, we were presented with opportunities for acceptance or rejection, love or judgment. The experience of her conversion has caused all of her family to stretch in our understanding of what it means to love and what love requires of those who seek it.

Yes, the days are evil, as Paul stated, and I don't always make the most of every opportunity by wisely choosing the path of love and acceptance. But I thank God for His Holy Spirit who comforts me in moments of uncertainty.

I am happy to say that my initial impressions of doubt were wrong and I left the Synagogue that night with a heart filled with joy for the love of God and family. It was a blessing to share in the intimacy of Sarah and Simone's special day.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


My purpose in starting a blog is to share inspirational ideas and experiences discovered in daily life. Since 2001, a group of friends and I have been e-mailing, sharing ideas of God and spirituality. This blog is the next step in sharing.

My intention is only to share ideas, not to convince anyone to accept my beliefs.

Welcome to my blog!