I hate uncertainty.  I am happiest when I am clearly shown the path I need to take, but that so seldom seems to happen.  Perhaps it is more my fault than God’s, since I rarely take enough time in my day to practice God’s presence.  When I do, there seems to be far less uncertainty, and still I do not do it with any regularity.  I sometimes wonder if we humans actually enjoy being in pain on some level.

We have always had natural disasters and we will continue to have them — earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes — stuff like that.  But now we have man made disasters that seem to crop up with no warning and can happen anywhere.  If we leave the security of our own homes, we are putting ourselves at risk!


Anderson Gardens 09 017I have always been a bit afraid of flying since I was born in those past years when man rarely left the ground.  But these days?  Terrorists abound in airports, and planes.  But then, they can also be in restaurants, theaters, shopping centers, subways, and trains.  Is any place safe?

My personal belief is that our Creator meant for us to be happy, joyous, and free.  We can’t be that way if we are always afraid something bad will happen to us.  The vast majority of bad things we fear will never happen to us.  But we can’t really count on that with certainty, can we?

Do I want to be a hermit?  I’ve considered it.  After all, the confines of my brick house are relatively safe.   But is a safe life what I really want?  Isn’t there more to life than just staying safe?  I am just starting to cogitate on all these things, so I have yet to come to real conclusions, but I am thinking that perhaps if I truly trust God, than I can believe that nothing truly bad can happen to me.  If God is with me, am I not completely safe?  I need to do more thinking on this, but would appreciate any thoughts you who might read this might have.


There are times when it seems difficult to understand why God allows excesses in some places and scarcities in others. We have droughts and we have floods. We have heat waves and “bone chilling cold.” Balance and moderation don’t seem to occur with any regularity.

In the last few years, I think I have finally reached a place where I have stopped asking God why things happen the way they do. Life is what it is! I could never really accept that God’s will causes unhappiness, struggle or pain. Today I believe (honestly) that God’s will for us is that we have freedom, joy, and happiness.

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However, God has given us freedom of choice and He/She does not intervene in the natural order of things. We are free to be happy or sad, and even though we frequently don’t want to fully accept this fact
, we are free to choose. We often choose to be miserable. I suspect it is part of the human condition that we sometimes enjoy our own misery.

I will never understand God, and today I don’t believe I was meant to do so in this human life. I’d like to think I will understand better at a later time. When I look for help, though, I find it in many places along the journey. One I would recommend to everyone is a small book I read years ago for the first time and still read today. It is called “The Will of God” and it was written by Leslie D. Weatherhead.

In the book, the will of God is discussed in three separate parts. First there is the intentional will of God. Then comes the circumstantial will of God (God’s plan within certain circumstances) and lastly, God’s ultimate will. Looking at it this way has helped me enormously to put life, death, catastrophes, pain, and suffering into perspective.

We have all seen great good come out of terrible suffering. Today I choose to believe that God never causes suffering, but does not intervene unless called upon to do so, and then the inventions come in ways we may not expect. We can’t see what lies ahead of us in our journey through life, but God can. All we must do is believe He/She desires the best for us all.

“But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. (2 Pet. 3:13)

It’s good to have new beginnings, despite the tendency of humanity to resist change. Yesterday’s future becomes today’s present and by tomorrow will be in the past. We can often become too invested in time. We may find ourselves wishing to hang on to the past or possibly regretting things that happened there. Because the future is an unknown quantity, thoughts of it can sometimes cause undue suffering.


The year that just passed will never come again, but we can benefit from lessons we have learned while living through it. The past will never come again, but we carry it with us; our experiences in the past become part of the perspective with which we face each new day.
Only the present is real and eternal. With each passing year, we can work toward becoming more aware of how great a gift the present is for us. We have a new, fresh year before us. What we do with it is up to us.”

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This was taken from “Talks with our Creator” for January 2nd and as I read it over again just now (on January 11, 2015) I thought that all of this is true but that following through on it is terribly hard.   Staying in the present moment is, and always will be, hard work.  Personally, I find I manage it well at times but at other times I fall well short of the goal.  My usual tendency is to then berate myself because I know the right things to do but am unable to always do them.

Perhaps this is what makes us human.  We are not perfect, and we were not made that way.  Hopefully, it can become our goal to strive to be the best Self we are capable of being, one day at a time.  From my point of view, if we believe there is a Higher Power that can aid us with this struggle, we are well ahead of the game.  I pray that all will find strength in faith, and will come to believe that anything is possible as long as we keep living and trying.  Happy 2015!

Christmas Day is only a few days away, and my mind is very focused on holiday concerns, but there is something that keeps returning to me so perhaps I need to write about it.  I found a statement about a month ago attributed to Tagore Rabindranath which said, “Faith is the bird who feels the dawn and sings when the world is dark and still.”  

Why does this grab me and not want to let me go?  I have faith.  I am able to believe in things I can’t actually see with my own eyes.  Perhaps I want the kind of faith that bird has — the sense (intuition, intelligence, extrasensory perception), to not be afraid because I know there is certainty, absolute certainly, somewhere in this world.

I tell others that I truly believe that, while on the surface of life things are often troublesome, upsetting, sometimes actually evil, underneath it all there is a power in the universe where all is always well.  I do believe that, I think.  And yet —- I do not have the faith that bird has when it sings to the dawn that has not yet come.  That bird trusts.  It knows, it truly and certainly knows, that the dawn will come, so it sings.  That dawn may break on clouds, or storms, or gentle rains, or glorious sunshine — it doesn’t matter to the bird.  It sings anyway.  I want to be able to do that.

Winter Gazebo

Does this connect to Christmas?  Who knows!  I have spent years trying to figure out why my mind works the way it does to no avail.  It is what it is, and it does what it does, and my life percolates along so much better when I simply accept that whatever the current reality is, it is the best reality for me at the time.  Christmas is always a mixed blessing.  I will see some loved ones and will not get to see others.  I will be happy, but also unhappy.  Life will go on, until it doesn’t.

I have always wanted miracles.  Possibly the great miracles are in those things that just happen every day.  The sun rises and sets (whether we get to see it or not).  The dawn comes, and that bird will sing before the dawn even gets here.  It knows the dawn will break so it sings.  It is programmed to sing.  As a human being, I do not have that same programming, so I question things.  I think about them.  Still, I muddle through, and I hope that one day I will finally realize that my muddling is


The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid. (Ps. 27:1)

Today, imagine you are sitting at the base of a beautiful waterfall. As it cascades down, the droplets of water glimmer in the sun. You are comfortable, warm, and at peace. Stay here for several minutes—or longer if you like.


Why are we fearful? Most of us are, now and then, and some of us are afraid much of the time. We might want to ask ourselves what it is that we fear. What do we think might happen? Are we simply afraid of feeling fearful?
When our faith in God is secure, we might think that we should be fearless. Many of us may have faith, but still find ourselves afraid at times. Perhaps our fear is a warning and we need to take action to avoid hurt. More often, our fears are that we will not get what we want or that something we have will be taken from us. If we have sufficient faith and trust in God, we will know deep inside that nothing will ever happen to us that we can’t handle as long as we have God’s help.
There are times when God sends that help through other people, and we need to be cognizant of this. If we have prayed to have fears removed, we should then be alert for some form of assistance that God may be sending us. Often we fail to receive God’s answer or offer to help because we aren’t aware of the means God has used to send it to us. We may get relief from fear, from very unlikely sources at times. Can you recall such times in your life?
Today, be aware that God answers prayers in many different ways.  Be on the lookout for anything God may be sending to you, no matter how small or insignificant.   And be sure to also say thank you to God for all that you have been given.

Taken from “Talks with our Creator” for November 17th.

Anderson Gardens 09 013I think I need a shepherd today.   The world’s violence is getting to me, and as I watch various news media and get differing takes on what, if anything, I can do about the awfulness of things, it gives me a headache and one of those stomach aches that makes me feel queasy.  I have not read by own book recently, so I went to see if I could find solace and this passage helped.


The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Ps. 23:1)

As you quiet your mind today, imagine that you are a shepherd, alone on a hilltop with only sheep and Mother Nature around you. Add any kind of trees, flowers, bushes, and the like that you enjoy to your imaginary picture, and keep this in mind as you meditate.

The reference to shepherds appears regularly in the Bible. I sometimes wonder if this means we are all sheep. Let your mind play with this analogy for a few minutes. When you used the image of the shepherd with his sheep as you were meditating, did you get a sense of peace?

In our troubled world, it might occasionally be very restful to be a lamb on a hillside with no cares and a shepherd standing by to make sure the lambs come to no harm. The shepherd sees to it that the lambs have food to eat and water to drink. There are other lambs around to frolic with now and then. There are trees with shade for resting or napping, and at day’s end, the lambs will be taken to a place of shelter for the night.

If we truly believe that there is a shepherd who guides us day by day and hour by hour, we really should not want. We should know that everything we need will be provided for us when the need arises. Our Creator cares for us and watches over us, so we need have no fear. We can allow ourselves to feel protected by God’s loving arms. Whenever you need to, today, go back to that hillside and rest in the care of that shepherd.


Taken from Talks with our Creator for September 5th.

Soren Kirkegaard said : “The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”   I read this years ago, liked it, and promptly forgot about it, but I found it again in another blog I follow last week and it has been haunting me.  It is so true, and yet I still pray for selfish reasons because I am in pain and want God to help me.  Most of the time I remember to not pray for things but for the strength I need, but my prayer life is still selfish.  I want something.

Is this a bad thing?  I chastise myself on a regular basis for being selfish, but in many ways, self interest is what motivates humanity.  I think we humans often do good deeds because we want to feel good about ourselves, and I am not so sure this is wrong.  In fact, in recent times, I have taken to wondering about things that are right and things that are wrong.  Who am I to know?  To be sure, I think it is a bad thing to kill, and a good thing to love and give help to others.  But beyond that, there are so many gray areas, and I have spent so much of my life wishing I had the “right answers” to things.

Perhaps there are no right answers — at least not specifically.  How many times have we thought something was right only to find out later that it wasn’t at all.   Who is making the judgment call?  We can even do right things for wrong reasons at times, and vise versa, I suspect.  My  life seems to go best when I simply keep telling myself that I am doing the best I can with what I have been given.  Life is what it is.  It is often not what we would like it to be.  Oddly enough, it is generally what we need it to be, but we rarely realize this until a lot of time has passed.

Has praying changed me?  Oh yes!  I haven’t prayed in order to obtain those changes — and sometimes I even have prayed because I didn’t want to change.    But praying does indeed change the nature of the one who prays.

Brown sunslowers - Version 2

Every now and then, something happens in our lives that really impresses us.  Such a thing happened recently to my sister who lives in Florida, and I felt a need to share this with others.  It was a sign of hope for me — one of those synchronicities that seem to sometimes come when we most need them.


Florida has many great places to take walks, and my sister is fortunate enough to live near Tampa Bay and thus has many places where she can walk along the water.  One such place is Phillippe Park.  She related to me that recently she went further than expected and became very tired.  There were many huge homes facing the Bay but most had high walls or were screened in some way from the public walkway.



She was very pleasantly surprised, therefore, to walk past the home pictured above (and we show just the place by the water and not the home itself).  She was struck, as was I, by this note of welcome in this world where so many these days feel the need to barricade themselves behind high fences, strong walls, and heavy security measures.

This is not to say that we don’t need security measures.  In order to live safely today, most of us are very concerned with security measures for our safety and that of our families.   Nonetheless, the resting place and the sign pictured above speaks to those who still want to share what they have with others.

When I walk around our neighborhood, I often see resting places in the yards of the home by which I walk.  There have been a few times when I would have loved to sit down for a few minutes and rest.  I keep meaning to suggest to our local park district that they place benches in more of the small parks our village has scattered here and there.

I even wondered briefly what my neighbors might say were I to set a few chairs near the street and put up a welcome to rest sign.  I doubt I would have the guts to do it — and the rest of my family would likely protest.   Still, I am old enough now to be aware of how much our world has changed and how often our reaction to others is to pull away rather than welcome.  Could we be more welcoming to our human brothers and sisters?  Should we be?

I wonder.  And yet I greatly admire the people who live in the house by Tampa Bay who were gracious enough to extend a welcome to those walking by.

Tress of Life

Tress of Life


They say that time flies when you are having fun.  For me, time has been flying whether I am having fun or not, and I realized recently that I have paid little attention to this blog of mine.  It began because I hoped a few people would want to purchase my little meditation book.  I still do.  If you would like me to send you a copy at a reduced rate, leave a comment and I will get back to you.


MEANWHILE, I think I have done enough with giving you a sense of what the book if about.  I am not sure if this will work, but I would like this forum to be more interactive.  It is very hard to practice the presence of God.  Easter Sunday is tomorrow, and yet Easter fails to mean quite as much to me as it once did.   Whether or not you are a Christian, Easter can remind us of rebirth.  This past winter has been very hard (and destructive) but most of my little plants are attempting to rise above ground level, and some of the yards around us already have daffodils blooming.


Life goes on, day by day and year by year.  It is now 2014, and I have written nothing new here.  If you will assist me, I promise to do better.   I invite you all to use this forum for a discussion on how we maintain our spirituality — if indeed you are interested in doing that.   I often watch Bill O’Reilly on the Fox News Network, and I agree with him that our world is becoming more secular and less religious.  Is this impacting we humans adversely?  Do we need to be religious to be spiritual?   What does it mean to be spiritual?  How can we make religion more attractive to those who want no part of it?


I will commit to writing about these questions in the days ahead, but I am hopeful that some of you will jump in and add your own ideas to this blog.   I’d like to take this blog in a new direction and I need help to do that.  Please help.

I used to both love and hate the holidays.  In many ways, I still think my “best” holidays were when I was a child and when my children and grand children were young.  Having youngsters around helps us all to see holidays through the eyes of a child, and that is something we all need now and then.



Over the years, I have prepared for myself a virtual kit of tools that allow me to enjoy the holiday season and keep my sanity.  The tool I use the most is keeping my expectations realistic.   I used to have so many people in our house that I often wished for smaller celebrations.   I know God has a sense of humor, because he lets me know that when she gives me something I wish for, I am still frequently unhappy with it.  Our celebration these days (and for some past years) has become much smaller so I have learned to enjoy what I have instead of yearning for what it not possible.



My next most used tool is trying not to overdo anything.  I send fewer Christmas cards, I try to eat less sugar, I make sure I get more rest, I plan my shopping in small junkets.  I accept whatever physical limitations I have.  They vary from year to year, but with the aging process has come a few that are with me all the time.   This year I have had some back difficulties that make bending over painful, so I am wrapping less boxed presents and using more gift bags.


Another tool I need to pull out of the box frequently is to ask myself if I am having fun.  If I am not, I can ask myself “why not,” and then go on to ask myself what I could do that would make things fun for me.   Sitting by my parlor window with a nice warm shawl, a cup of coffee or tea, and a few Christmas cookies while I watch the snow fall can make me feel very peaceful and happy.  I have learned that I also need to stay focused on the fact that I am, indeed, feeling happy.  Awareness is a beautiful thing, but it is transient and needs to be cultivated.


I wish you a blessed holiday season, whatever you might be celebrating.   Use some of my tools or create some for yourself.  You will be glad you did.

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