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يونيو 2016

Much is being written and talked about being grateful today.  With all our social media opportunities one can find many sources of grateful quotes or passages.

I remember hearing the quote attributed to Meister Eckhart that if the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.

It’s easy to be grateful when all goes our way.  However when we experience struggle or suffering it’s more difficult.  We can say the words but it’s hard to feel them.

Being grateful and sad at the same time may seem like a contradiction but we can have many different feelings at the same time.

When we’re struggling with a situation we need to acknowledge what the struggle is.

Denying it doesn’t help.  Once the issue is identified, we can explore it more realistically.  Then, even though the situation remains, we can be thankful for other things.  We can be thankful for nature such as sunshine, colorful flowers, plants that grow in offices with only florescent lighting.  We can be thankful for pets that welcome and comfort us.  We can be thankful for the health or limited health we have.

We can be thankful to the people in our lives, those who planted, harvested,  transported, sold, etc. the food we eat.

Most of all we can be thankful for God who loves us just as we are.  Psalm 138 is one of the grateful psalms that we can pray. (From The New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Version: Oxford University Press  c.1995)

Psalm 138

I give you thanks, O God, with my whole heart;

Before the gods I sing your praise;

I bow down toward your holy temple

And give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and faithfulness;

For you have exalted your name and your word above everything.

On the day I called, you answered me,

You increased my strength of soul.’

All the rulers of the earth shall praise you, O God,

For they have heard the words of your mouth.

They shall sign of the ways of God,

For great is sthe glory of God,

For though God is high, God regards the lowly;

But the haughty, God perceives from far away.


Though I walk in the midst of trouble,

Your preserve me against the wrath of my enemies.

You stretch out your hand, and your mighty hand delivers me.

God will fulfill God’s purpose for me;

Your steadfast love, O God, endures forever.

Do not forsake the work of your hands.

يونيو 22, 2016 0 comment
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Gusty winds blow strongly, spreading dandelion seeds, casting out dead branches, causing power outages.

Where do they come from?

What brings these wild gusts?  Why are they so strong today?

Just when they seem to calm down, they blow strong again.

Objects that aren’t grounded are blown away.  Trees with strong root systems bend with the wind but don’t break.

Meteorologists give us explanations, but we still wonder.

The gusty wind makes me think of life.  There are times when we feel almost blown over in our lives.  We may feel blown about like a dandelion seed.  We feel overwhelmed when many things are demanded of us at the same time.  We may feel like all our energy is gone. The challenge is getting connected to our  Divine Energy.  Perhaps it’s time to reflect on what are the dead branches in our lives. What are the branches that aren’t life-giving?  How are we rooted and grounded in God?

That’s when my prayer is the beginning of psalm 130:  “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.  Lord, hear my prayer, let my cry come unto you.”

The situation doesn’t generally change but usually a glimmer of hope comes.

Holy Creator of Wind, thank you for your presence.  Blow your wisdom in our overwhelming situations.  Assist us to stay grounded and know we’re surrounded by your presence.  Give us your energy to deal with each situation in an appropriate matter.  Help us let go of what isn’t life-giving in our lives, knowing that you will guide us to new energy.  Amen.

يونيو 12, 2016 0 comment
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I’ve heard a rooster crowing in the morning here in my apartment complex.  It reminded me of one of my aunts. She had raised chickens in her back yard.  I remember going into the chicken coop to throw the chickens some corn or to carefully gather eggs.

This connected with a Gospel passage where Jesus said, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills prophets and stones those who are sent to it, How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings and you were not willing.”

Jesus must have known something about chickens.  I wonder if he fed them and gathered eggs when he was growing up.

Reflecting on this Scripture I wondered how God gathers us under God’s wings.  Are we willing to be gathered?

There are times when I may not be willing, when I don’t consider God in my decision making.  I get too absorbed in what I think is best.  Then, God usually uses ordinary life events to focus me into what is better for me, even when I’m resistant.

One example was the time I was getting some gentle nudges that it was time for me to move to another city.  I liked my job, my co-workers and friends and I was comfortable where I was, except for the cold SD winters.

The winter we had bitter cold, snow and an unusual amount of ice for an unusual length of time I knew that it was time to move on.

I was sure God was calling me to the Rocky Mt. area so I sent out many resumes.  No response.  Letting go of my own thought and asking God’s guidance I became willing to look elsewhere, though not in the far north.  In 6 months I had 7 on-site interviews and a new job.  God had called me into a place where I could grow spiritually in a new way under God’s wings.   There are still many difficult times in my new place but when I remember to let God gather me into a place, then I can deal with the difficulties better.

May you remember that God wants to welcome and shelter you under God’s wings, too.

يونيو 6, 2016 0 comment
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I first became aware of the spiritual value of dream work during a directed retreat many years ago.  I was having a hard time focusing on how God was a part of that retreat.

The retreat director suggested I put pen and paper by my bed each night and record any dreams I remembered.  During the rest of that retreat I remembered three dreams each night.  Discussing those dreams with my spiritual director helped me focus more on how God was working in my life.  This started my dream work spiritual practice which I’ve continued in my own spiritual journey.  I also invite those who come to spiritual direction to consider dream work as a spiritual practice.

After that retreat I began exploring the importance of dreams in my life.  Several books helped me deepen this spiritual practice.  Morton Kelsey wrote a small book Dreams, A Way to Listen to God.   He and John Sanford, author of Dreams and Healing were among the first of contemporary Christian authors to write dream books for the general public.  Each has written many books on the topic.  The books of these Jungian authors were invaluable in my process.

I had the privilege of attending a workshop which Morton Kelsey presented in Minnesota.  I remember his saying that many of the major events recorded in the Acts of the Apostles were results of dreams or visions of the early Christian leaders.  This led me to reread that book of Scripture.  I’ve also become more aware of how often dreams and visions are in the Bible.

I’ve continued the practice of recording my dreams, praying about them and reflecting on the symbols within them.

Dreams often seem strange to our waking minds for they are very symbolic. It’s important to identify our own dream symbols and explore their meanings for us personally.

Many books are written about dream symbols.  However, I believe we learn more by reflecting on our own individual associations with the symbols.  For example, I remember a dream in which I was teaching people to polka.  As I reflected on the dream, I realized I needed to be more playful or light-hearted.  Had I just looked up polka in a dream symbol book I might not have reached that insight.

By recording my dreams, reflecting on and praying about them, I find they truly are a  way for me to listen to God.



يونيو 6, 2016 0 comment
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