Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Multitudes on (Monday) Tuesday ~ February twenty sixth

here are my gifts,
not that i want,
those i already have
given by the Giver of all

141.  da baby giggling on the phone when Ama says “funny”

142.  hearing someone say, “love” rather than give up

143.  seeing art find its way home

144.  mending with other women
145.  brave words being heard

146.  soup suppers

147.  finding treasures

148.  opening doors and letting God lead

149.  owies that lead to a dream

150.   almond macaroons

151.  twenty seven minutes and fourteen seconds on skype

152.  doc visits that feel like visiting home

153.  yellow flowers in unexpected places
154.  coffee shop hugs

155.  independent baby girl

156.  birds beginning to nest

157.  making bread

158.  watching twins remember Sunday School with grandma

159.  Psalm 51
160.  being unmasked

Friday, February 22, 2013

sneak peek friday ~ february twenty first

Remember last week’s birds that I was less than happy with?

This is what they grew up to be…

sorry for the glare!

 Amazing what a few book pages, 
some inks, 
and some cool calendar 
pics can do!

What did you create this week in your studio**?
Please share here or over at Studio JRU.

**remember a studio is anywhere 
you find yourself creating art***

***art is what you do 
when you bring beauty into this world 
and we are all artists 
who happen to use different tools

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

shyness unmasked

For an extrovert I can be really shy …ok maybe not shy.  Can one really be an extrovert and shy at the same time?  Apparently one can according to a quick Google search.  But this thing, it doesn’t seem like it is shy.  For as much as I long for community and reach for it, I am beginning to realize how much I run from it when it comes my way. 

I recently had the chance to begin moving into a deeper relationship with a woman I met through an (in)courage group.  For some reason we connected via conversations about life, faith, children, and grandchildren.  She sees something in me that led her to reach out.  I was honored and blessed because I think she is a great writer and she is a hero in many ways.  Yet each time we were supposed to chat via phone or computer, I suddenly “had something come up.” 

Then you know that one friend who has seen you at your absolute worst?  You know the one who has shared too many tissues, too much chocolate?  The one you call when the tears are coming so hard she can’t understand you, but reminds you to breathe any way? 

Yea, her…  She recently moved even further away and we have talked about Skype time, but I just couldn’t do it.  Why?  Well…she would see me.  I mean SEE me.  The day off, tired, cranky, grubby clothes me who was in the midst of a pity party me.  And that wouldn’t be pretty.  (yes she has seen me at my worst, but this was “different”).

As I tried to unpack the baggage that goes with the disconnect between my love of connecting with people and sharing stories and this me that runs away from community, I realize this is nothing new.

It goes back to that same place I hid as a little girl and then as a teenager and later as a single mother.  The one who was afraid to let people in because they would see the real me.  The one who had secrets at home.  The one who tried so hard to fit in she belonged nowhere. 

If you don’t see the real me, you can’t dislike me, right?  Or so I told myself (and others apparently). 

When I finally was brave enough to be honest to the (hopefully still) new friend and my sister friend it was like an elephant crawled off my chest.  Oh it wasn’t easy, but I did it. 

I even lasted longer than 30 seconds on Skype.  Joshua Brayden Beast stayed right there and let me pet him to stay almost calm.  And I even said the words out loud.  I.  Am.  Afraid. 

Last year I read this great book and took part in an online study group about masks.  For all I got out of it, I have quickly unlearned just as much.  That mask taker upper has reemerged in my life. 

As one who seriously lives a liturgical life (even my table cloth at home matches the season) I am living that desert time called Lent.  That time of heading into the desert to face the tempter and temptations.  The ones that take my eyes off God. 

When I look in the mirror, I realize the biggest tempter stares back at me right there in the mirror.  Her eyes that won’t quite meet mine.  The tilt to her head that she thinks keeps her safe.  She is frightened and that is sinful. 

Because she is wonderfully and fearfully made. 

By a God who loves her even more than the friend who sees her at her worst. 

And that running?  She isn’t running from intimacy with friends or even herself…

She is running from God. 

Because there? 

There is no hiding. 

And that has nothing to do with shyness and everything to do with fear and doubt.

So for Lent this year? 

She is going to try to be brave.  She is asking those who love her (including God) to not let her hide. 

And maybe someday that mask taker upper can be patted gently on the head and thanked for helping her hide when she needed to, but now?  Now she doesn’t need masks.

Because God has this.  

And her.  

Right in the palm of God’s hand.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

First Sunday in Lent 2013

Here is Sunday's sermon as requested:


We are back in Lent (again, weren’t we just here?).  A time the church observes every year and one we treat less like a joy and more like a flu shot. 

We understand that Lent is necessary, that it's good for us in much the same way as Brussel sprouts or spinach might be.  

A recent twitter chat held by the Huffington Post made it clear that not only are most of us who say we observe Lent unable to explain it, we have limited understanding of why we observe it. We still do not understand it.

We take part in it by adding spiritual disciplines to our routines or giving things up without looking at the reason behind our actions. We do these things sometimes for no other reason than that we have always done it. 

We add a new bible study; attend Morning Prayer, increase our time in personal prayer.  We cut out white sugar, caffeine, or red meat.  We tell others we to do these things for forty days to prepare ourselves for the celebration of the resurrection.

To an outsider it likely seems more like a diet or preparation for a spiritual marathon.  If we don't have a good explanation for our Lenten behaviors, if we don't seem to fully understand the focus of the season, how meaningful is what we do?

Let’s look at the words shared on Ash Wednesday in the Book of Common Prayer (page 264): 
 The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith. I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word.

Lent is then a time to prepare for Easter according to our traditions.  Through self examination and spiritual disciplines we prepare for Easter. 

In the Revised Common Lectionary every first Sunday of Lent we travel with Jesus into the desert after his baptism by John.  This is to remind us of other biblical retreats, yet it is different from the retreats of Moses, Elijah, and the Israelites.  The forty days Jesus spends in the desert follows the tradition that taught that it takes forty days for one to hear from God.  Yet Jesus has already heard God, in fact is God, so why retreat into the desert?  Jesus knows already God intimately.

Is it about his interaction with the tempter?  In this time he is both fully man and fully divine.  None of the temptations presented to Jesus are outside the realm of his power.  At any time he could have left the wilderness, could have filled his belly, changed his circumstances.  Yet he stayed until the “testing” was over.  Why? 

Perhaps the lesson for us today has less to do with what we do during Lent and more to do with why we observe Lent.  Paul’s words have been used as license for cheap grace….  if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

If that is all it takes, there is no need to observe a holy Lent.  The work is done, isn’t it?

I go back again to the tempter.  If we think we need do nothing at all, he has won.  We are not consumers of Lent though, rather we are children of God in need of mending. 

I believe that is why we are called into a holy Lent.  To remove those distractions, those temptations, those pitfalls that we and our society place in the way of our relationship with God. 

This time with Jesus in the desert is more about remembering that on our own we will never win the battle.  Just as Jesus waited there in that seemingly barren place, so too are we called to wait with God.

We are children of God who win the battle only as we surrender our wills, our hearts, and our souls to the One who loves us unconditionally.  Our external actions are not those that count during Lent; our motivations and intentions are what matter.  Not human affirmation, but rather those things we do that glorify God. 

That is how we experience a holy Lent.  This time in the desert is the time to meet the tempter and our temptations and surrender those things that take our eyes off of the God who loves us in spite of those obstacles we let fall in the way.

So whether we wore ashes all day last Wednesday, wiped them off as soon as we got to the car, or never had ashes imposed, a holy Lent is a time about the heart, not action.  It is not about the bible study, the lack of red meat; it is about a heart set toward God.

Stop and listen, let go the rush and noise.
Let all that you are wait quietly before God.
Let the busyness of your body rest,
Let the worries of your mind rest,
Let the doubts of your heart rest.
Hear God's call to holiness.
Allow the Spirit to transform and recreate,
Busyness into peace,
Worry into trust,
Doubt into hope.
Let all that is within you rest and find God.

(c) Christine Sine 
http://godspace.wordpress.com/  (used with permission)

Monday, February 18, 2013

multitudes on monday ~ february eighteenth

here are my gifts,
not that i want
but those i already have
given by the Giver of all

121. modern day heroes
122. this outside my window

123. blueberry pancakes
124. my last prayer with a beloved reminding them they are dust
125. imposing ashes with clergy colleagues in a coffee shop 
126. a sister's hands on my shoulders in prayer when i have no words
127. burning palms with one who "gets it"
128. da baby's first day of school
129. transforming a space into a holy place

130. heading into the desert with Jesus
131. connecting those who have gifts with those who need them
132. re-remembering i need not "copy" someone to be an artist
133. learning new tricks
134. Lent Madness
135. my first ever attempt at spreecast
136. blankets fresh out of the dryer
137. remembering it is about true love 
138. unexpected lunch plans
139. words that help me remember why i do what i do
140. reality checks that stretch in the best of ways

Friday, February 15, 2013

sneak peek friday ~ february 15th

I was on retreat last week and never got around to posting.  I learned again what happens when I try to "copy" someone else's work...

I hated the results and these pieces will be gessoed over and begun anew.
I re-remembered that when I have a picture in my head I take God out of the creative process...that is a problem for me and likely why I do not like the results.

Pieces begun while on retreat and finished this week:

both gifts for some amazing mentors on this journey.

This was inspired by what I saw out my window.  
Not sure what it will grow up to be.

How have you co-created with God this week?
Please share here or over at Studio JRU.

Monday, February 11, 2013

the joy dare ~ february eleventh

here are my gifts,
not that i want,
those i already haven,
given by the Giver of all

101.  being silent in community
102.  sunsets on the mountain
103.  morning naps 
104.  Isaiah 54
105.  epiphanies about sacred space
106.  art in silence
107.  learning to "speak" again non-verbally
109.  robins hunting
110.  labyrinths
111.  the valley waking up
112.  "do not fret"
113.  food made in love
114.  turning back to THE "default setting"
115.  permeable barriers
116.  being liminal
117.  letting God get in the way
118.  silent hugs
119.  burying hallelujahs
120.  journeying with brothers and sisters

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Last Sunday After Epiphany

I have not been posting my sermons 
for many reasons.  
Today i had requests to post, 
so here it is...

A time set apart.  On a mountain.  With God.  It does something to and for a person.  The Celtic Christians call such places and times “thin.”  Places and moments the distance between heaven and earth is so thin you can almost reach out and touch heaven.

This morning we see Moses as he comes down from Mount Sinai.  He has been with God.  As he comes from the mountain, his face is glowing from being in the presence of God.  Aaron and the Israelites are afraid and hesitate to come near him.  Moses places a veil over his face, a covering signifying he is no longer in the presence of God. 

This is the Moses who sees a burning bush and argues with God about going to pharaoh and leading his people out of bondage.  He says he can’t speak well.  God still wants Moses.  God gives Moses a fancy stick and his brother Aaron as a spokesperson.  Remember the end of the story?  Today we remember what happens when Moses allows his time with God to transform him and his people.  Moses has been to a thin place.

Moses did not want to be a leader, yet he became one of the father’s of our faith and his stories are preserved for all time.  A man who tried to run from God, a man who then lets himself be transformed by God.  On a mountain, in a thin place.

Jesus heads up a mountain with Peter, John, and James.  Suddenly Jesus’ face changes and his clothes become white.  Moses and Elijah appear. Peter is so astounded by what he is seeing comes up with a plan to build houses for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah.  Perhaps hoping to capture this thin place for all time.  Then a cloud covers them and they become afraid.  In the cloud they hear, “this is my son, my chosen, listen to him.”  

We often focus on Jesus when we talk about the transfiguration and what happens to him in this thin place, but for now, let us look at Peter, James, and John.  In this time on the mountain they are transformed by God.  They are in a thin place that day.  These ordinary men who go on to do great things.  They are by no means perfect, one will even deny Jesus later, yet in this thin place, God transforms them.
Gathered with our bishop and canon and other clergy on a holy mountain I was blessed to be in a thin place this week.  One many of you know well.  In our time together we reflected on letting the veil between us and God be lifted. 

We looked at how we make a place thick….

how we block God from our presence…

how we so fill our time with “stuff” that the barrier between heaven and earth becomes a place so thick we can no longer get to the other side. 

Unlike Moses and his veil, we put things between ourselves and God in the guise of being in control and being productive.

Our speaker, Canon Peter Doll, called these our “default settings.”  Those things we hold onto that place barriers between God and ourselves.  We get so good at moving to these default settings that we lose sight of the holy.  We allow ourselves to be transformed by the world rather than by God.
Yet God continues to beckon us from the other side of that veil.  God continues to reach out to each of us.  Here in this place, we are able to meet God in one another, at this table, in our prayers, and even in our silence. 

In those times, do we allow God to transform us? 

Do we allow ourselves to step into that thin place?  That place where for just a moment the veil drops and we are once again in God’s presence?

Soon we head from the time of Immanuel, God with us, into a season of reflection.  A time set aside to go into the desert with Jesus.  A place we often fear and yet truly a thin place.

Will we allow ourselves to be in God’s presence in this season of Lent?  To let the veil drop?  To let God become our default setting once more?

One of the ways we allow a place to become thin is the journey we take, the pilgrimage.  A place is made holy because the people of God make it holy.  We have times we get so caught up in busy-ness that we forget we come to holy places and there we are able to journey.  Journeys with God that can take place right where we are…

through bible study


quiet time

physical acts that quiet our minds

and in many other ways.

This life of faith is a journey.  A journey back to God.  A journey to thin places.  Those places we experience God.  Those places we let God transform us.  The God who If we do not seek, we are unlikely to find.

As we enter lent we are given the perfect time to enter a journey back to God.  A time to voluntarily go into exile from those things that place barriers in our hearts and lives.  Barriers between God and ourselves.

My brothers and sisters, will you journey with me into the cloud of unknowing?  To the mountain to be with God?  To return again to our default setting that allows God to work in and through us? 

In this season to come, will you allow God to transform us?  To remember again how to dream dreams of God?  To show our love for God by resuming our mission to love God, God’s creation, and our neighbors?

Stop and listen, let go the rush and noise.
Let all that you are wait quietly before God.
Let the busyness of your body rest,
Let the worries of your mind rest,
Let the doubts of your heart rest.
Hear God's call to holiness.
Allow the Spirit to transform and recreate,
Busyness into peace,
Worry into trust,
Doubt into hope.
Let all that is within you rest and find God.

(c) Christine Sine 
http://godspace.wordpress.com/  (used with permission)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

i wanna be a rebel
who puts the mouse down
and picks up my hands to seek after you
i wanna run to your love
rather than from human fires
i want to be thirsty for water
living water
i wanna break the chains
that tie me to the earth
i want to seek You
that others may also find You 

Friday, February 8, 2013


heading in my steps are leaden
the journey seems long
the end in sight
then lost again
desolation overtakes
then center found
communion shared
arms uplifted
knees strengthened
the reminder i am never lost from Abba's sight
the journey out 
steps come quickly
like running down a hill
hands held by my father
the One who holds me dear
this journey of stone
a re-remembering ...
i am never ever alone.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I am here
in this time
in this place
I have never left you
quiet your worry
put down the burdens
(they are mine any way)
you are called to seek me
nothing more
I am here
be still
with me

Just returned from a silent retreat held at St. Mary's Sewanee.  The retreat was entitled "The Veil Parted: In Search of God" and led by the Canon Peter Doll.  When I quieted my head and opened my heart, these words came.  

Monday, February 4, 2013

joy dare ~ feb 4

81.  more robins than I can count in the yard
82.  visions that become ministry
83.  snow!

84.  packing art supplies for a trip!
85. words that remind me i have gifts
86.  new bracelets
87.  this sky

88.  these words:   "To forgive is to love despite being sinned against...Love is a work of God in the human soul that compels one to give oneself for another, regardless of the cost, so that the other might love God more deeply." Robert Cheong 

89.  prayers answered so far out of left field you know they are from God

90.  da baby going to school!
91.  walking with other brave women
92.  brother bowl
93.  love chapters
94.  red beans and rice
95.  the reminder that all things are new
96.  the Mr.
97.  snow days
98.  Joshua Brayden beast remembering the snow 

99.  God sized dreams
100. retreating!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Sneak Peek Friday

It is Friday!  
time to peek into each other's studios.
remember to visit Jennifer @ Studio JRU
(she has yet another gift for us today).  

As I was beating myself up for
an "unproductive" week others
 allowed me to recognize
the voice of the discourager.
These were the words
I shared,
the words meant for

a reminder about art...
it is not always about paint, fabric, pens, etc. 
It is about creating beauty 
wherever you are 
as you do what you do. 
My greatest lesson last year 
was that I want 
to make loving others art. 
So as you cook? 
fold clean clothes? 
You are creating beauty. 
That is art. 
End of soap box. 

Will you share your art from this week?
Here or over at Studio JRU.