Rainbow tear

Who is NOT devastated by Orlando?  I can’t imagine, unless perhaps you have lost touch with your basic humanity.  And we know some people have.  But not all.  As history repeats itself again, another mass shooting rages on in even bigger number, the response is still the same:  Shock, horror, unspeakable grief.  But then….


Stronger.  Fiercer.  More resolute.  More people.  More together.

Like millions of other citizens of Earth, each time this happens we struggle to make sense of the Why?

Here’s what I believe for sure.  It’s not about gay (though that was the “excuse” this time for the mass carnage).  It’s not about the guns, though we’ll argue about that too.  We know extremism that destroys is NOT a faith at all.  Because faith  is about enduring, struggling, persevering, and ultimately proving the worthiness of the faith you profess.  This IS simply the EVIL that resides in one’s heart and finding religious words to justify the barbarism of one’s heart.

Terrorism at it’s core is COWARDICE.  It’s a liar’s glory.  Yes, we will remember the act.  But history and people will forget your name as if you never existed.  We have no need to remember you.  This so-called “faith act” is actually the lack of stamina for figuring out how to be a resident of earth with people that are different than yourself, which NEWSFLASH:  That’s everybody! 

I repeat:  It’s not about the guns, the LGBT community, or God despite the coming arguments about all of that.

We are living in a day where there are two ways of simply choosing to BE:

Good. (To LIVE)

Or Evil.  (To inflict DEATH:  LIVE spelled backwards:  EVIL)

It is the yin-yang of humanity.  It spans across religious beliefs, orientations, and above all it spans across time.

I’ll leave to the philosophers and pundits and religious leaders as to why evil exists.  I have my own beliefs anyway, as do you.

Here’s what I need to tell you:

I don’t care if you are black or white or Asian or any combination of any races.  When I look at you, I FIRST see you, before your color.  I see kindness or attentiveness or arrogance or anger before I see simple things like  brown or black or white or orange.

If you are in a wheelchair, or old, or deaf, or missing limbs I see that as an attribute perhaps of your physical body, but I see YOU first.  You are a soul.   You are a living, breathing human being who wants to live and be loved, and to be respected.  I pray I always greet you in the manner that knows I see you as the individual you are.

I don’t care if you are gay or straight.  Your sexuality does not impact my life any more than mine impacts yours.   I will love you and cry with you and hold you no matter what when you grieve.  In this crazy mixed up world these days, your identity issues are the least of my issues.  I’m too busy struggling with my own identity as a friend, a mother, a wife, a Christian, and citizen in my community and as a girl with dirt who has issues of her own.  I fall so short.  The last thing I need is condemnation or shaming from anyone.  You are no different than me in that regard, I have no desire to condemn you. I seek only to understand you, despite our differences.  I will treat you with love.  Because I care about you, more than your identity.  I respect all the parts that make you YOU, we don’t have to think or believe or love exactly alike.

I can respect you as a person whether you are  Christian or Muslim or Atheist or New Age or you-pick-the-category.  Can you offer me the same respect?  Yes?  We’ll get along just fine then.  We can debate if we so desire.  But can we disagree in love?  Can we still go home friends?  Can we associate without fear that one person is trying to change the other.  I realize that is a fine line.  Sometimes even in our love for someone, it is misconstrued; it is perceived as unwelcome or intolerance or control.    Can we just gently remind each other  when it’s time to just call it a day and say, “I disagree, but I love you anyway.”  Is that so hard?

I don’t care if you are pro-gun or anti-gun.  We have our strong beliefs here.  It’s okay if we don’t agree.  I love my peace loving-activist friends with hearts as big as the sky, but I also love those who courageously protect our citizens in our cities and those who serve our country fighting in wars that they didn’t choose, possibly by people they didn’t elect.  Yet they serve us anyway.  That too is love in my book.  All the brave hearts that go courageously instead of me make me feel small, yet grateful.

I don’t care if you are Republican or Democrat.  I admit I’m passionate about some issues in my “category”.  But I don’t march lock-step with my party.  I’m betting you probably don’t either.    We are all diamonds in the rough.  We have both flaws, yet are capable of brilliant beauty.

This grace even extends to our politicians too.  It’s hard, but think about it.  Picture in your mind the politician or several you despise the most for a moment.  Are they completely wrong in every area of life, in every decision they make?  Do we truly despise another human being because of our profound disagreements that we can’t see even a morsel of truth, or perhaps more importantly a soul worthy of being loved despite polar opposition of belief? That’s a hard one. Yet, are they not flesh and blood as we are?

Think about this.  Meditate on this for a moment.  If we get all caught up in our vastly differing religious, political, and practical approaches to the solution of evil, we ourselves will first become angry.  Then very angry. We will inefficiently argue semantics in rooms, rather then take to the streets and just help.   And if we don’t tame the beast within, we too will become the way evil most hopes we will be:

Like them.

We will begin to rationalize that our identify of self is more worthy.  We know more.  We are “the identity” who cares.

Isn’t it funny how it’s always the identity “OTHER then ourselves” that is usually the problem; they are the enemy–the EVIL one?

That’s how crafty EVIL actually is.  It seeps into our soul, without us even realizing it.  “Our” superiority always knows better than “their” obvious inferiority.

In my faith, Jesus said “You will know them by their love for one another,” about Christians and their faith.  I get that our faiths can be different.  It’s not our identity of anything be it faith, orientation, whatever– that identifies us.  Or at least, it shouldn’t be.  

It’s how we live our identity in the presence of humanity that truly defines us:  

We can choose to be good.  We can choose to be kind.  We can choose to serve and to help others.  We can wrap our arms around them and hug them and love them as if it were our last second on earth.  Because you never know when that moment actually could be.  These painful moments remind us that good-byes come unexpectedly, quickly, and all too often in unspeakable tragedy–not at all.

This is how I FIRST see you:  You are worthy of love.  I will approach you with love.  All I ask in life, if for you to do the same.  And together in life, through unbearable grief, and indescribable joy, we can walk together if you want to.  Bravely, together, we’ll walk–hand in hand, over the sea of tears and across a rainbow bridge to a better earth under a vivid blue sky marching onward together, seeking our heaven.

Don’t leave earth without loving others.









try-this-cowgirl-with-lasso When picking up my nine year old son from school last week, I noticed something bizarre when he settled into the car.  He had a varying-shade of purple yarn tightly wrapped around his wrist. An inch and a half of his arm was wound up like a spool of thread.  He’s a quirky kid, but my curiosity got the best of me.  Especially since his south-bound fingers and thumb were slightly bluish in color.  So I asked him in a non-commital, non-alarmist mom kind of way, “Say, what’s up with the string around your wrist?”

“Well, mom, you know that girl Natasha* (*name ABSOLUTELY is changed here) that sort of likes me?  Well, I found out today she really does like me.  And she gave me this gift today!”

“What is it?” I asked?

      “Oh!  It’s a retractible lasso!”

       “Hmmm!  Sounds like things are getting pretty serious, then,” I said, wondering what in the world is a “Retractable Lasso”.

“Oh, yeah it is.  But you know Mom, I’m really kind of glad.  See I’ve always wanted a girlfriend.”  Another news flash for me.  A minor jolt of electricity to the heart to remind me that nothing stays the same forever.

“Oh yeah?  Well, that’s fairly cool” I exclaimed and raised my right hand high-five style, “Here’s to your first girlfriend!  Totally awesome!”

FIRST LOVE.  Ah, remember?  So sweet.

And though I’m reasonably confident they most likely haven’t even made it to the “I want to hold your hand” stage, one can never be too sure.  I started to open my mouth to speak.  I felt a lecture brewing.  And then a small thought whispered in my head….wait.  Save it for later.

Oh son.  There’s so much I want to tell you about what love is and what it’s not.  But I realize you are only at the Retractible Lasso stage of your first relationship.  So it will wait.


See I know a thing about lassos too.  I may not be the sharpest cowgirl on the block, but I’ve learned a thing or two from the last half-century on earth about all the ways one can cast a lasso and then retract it!

ROPE ‘EM IN:  (The infatuation stage).  This is when you dazzle someone you sort of crush on with a shiny exterior.  If may be your Air Jordans and Hollister shirts in middle school when the girls are about ten inches taller than you, curvier too.  Or your Hugo Boss glasses and silk suits when you become a man.  Ditto, perfect hair, makeup, and wardrobe for the woman.  Your generation will probably just Google conversation starters to impress a potential love–which Napa grapes make for superior Merlot,  or the Conscience of Collectivism or some other form topic du jour that old farts like your Dad and me just call Bull!    This is the part of the game where the goal is to down the calf, score the win, conquest and conquer.

DRAW THEM CLOSE (even when they hurt you).  But don’t TIGHTEN THE NOOSE (when you’re disappointed or angry). That was a two-plus decade lesson I got to practice for a while.   It won’t be long, before the blinders come off, and all sorts of flaws in the other person** begin to manifest.  Chances are, you will look in the mirror one day, and wonder:

 What was I thinking?

If you’re lucky, you’ll be given enough time with someone to practice patience, kindness, self-control, peace-making skills, gentleness, and self-control.   You’ll learn how to forgive, and let go of hurts and needing to be right all the time, but don’t panic if you don’t get this right the first four or five thousand times.  Long-term commitment requires wisdom, and a strength that you actually don’t even possess, only God does.  But you’ll figure that out too.  Or at least I hope you will.  (**Someday, may you be humble  and wise enough to realize who I’m really talking about here!”

You’ll learn that no one likes to be in an emotional choke-hold.  Mutual trust and genuine understanding is a two-way street.  Don’t pull the lasso too tight.  It makes people want to flee in a desperate attempt at self-preservation.   But don’t leave the rope, laying on the ground, while you’re confidently napping, as the one you love questions whether your care at all and begins to quietly drift away.  Ropes on the ground never saved a soul from drowning.  May you be given wisdom to know when it’s time to step in and help save a life or a relationship.



It’s so important that you have the freedom to be who you truly are!  Have an interest, a circle of friends, a passion that belongs just to you.  I beg you not to be needy (okay, I guess that’s a bit of a hypocritical request here), but here’s the point:    It is possible to smother the light and life out of the one you most desire.  Wanting to control, compelled to criticize the “faults” (differences) and the impatience of not waiting for discernment, can shorten a lasso.  It’s hard to love a “master” who controls the behaviors, thoughts, and comings and goings of another person.  Our souls fly freest when we’re given a long lead, but always know how to find home.  Be secure in who you are in Christ, so you will not seek your identity in the reflection of another.  God gave YOU your own light.  Let it shine brightly.

A GOOD LASSO IS DURABLE FOR THE LONG HAUL.  (Don’t let your rope get frayed).  In any long term relationship, you WILL have troubles.  Expect them.  Embrace them.  And during the storms, check the condition of your rope that is the lifeline for both of you.  A rope of three cords is not easily broken.    You and the love of your life and God.  Yeah, God.  That’s a big one.  But seriously, you have to have something bigger than yourself.  Now some folks choose the love of scuba diving, or the love of astronomy as that thing that belongs to them as a couple.  And that’s great and dandy. But in times of trouble, I find it’s best if you can look way high (to God) and find your way down low (on your knees boy!)


Love is an imperfect art.  I could tell you marry your best friend, but your taste in friends will change.  I could tell you always treat the other one how you want to be treated, but you’ll forget how or just forget to sometimes.  I could tell you, if you follow all these steps to the letter, or better yet God’s plan, love will never leave you. Yet, there are no guarantees.    That’s because as free people, we change.  And with change, sometimes loss comes.  And then something better.

Love is not just a feeling, it’s a decision.  It’s an action-plan for the mutual admiration and self-respect club.

Soon enough you’ll be ready to rope in some fillies no doubt.  And sometimes there won’t be a calf in sight.  Just remember the lessons mom taught you about rope-tying and rope-flying!    

Yip yip yippee i a!  With love from your mother!

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Love is a long road…..Tom Petty

Love is a battlefield….Pat Benetar

Love is blindness…..U2

Love is forever….Muse (Neurtron Star Collision)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.  1 Corinthians 13:5-8

U2 and the Black Eyed Peas — Where is the Love — October 2009 — Madison Square Garden

Regarding Baltimore:  It makes me so sad to see a city under seige by those who seek only to destroy.  If I could sing a prayer over the city, this is what I’d sing.

Because this is what U2 fans know.  This is what those who love God and love people know:  Love covers a multitude of sins.  Love changes things.  It heals us.  But it’s costly.  It hurts to give it away when you’re hurting.  God, it almost kills us sometimes!  But in the end, it’s the only thing that will save us.

Wake up world!  We can choose love.  Or we can keep on destroying and burning it all down to the ground.  Which will you choose?

 “Where Is The Love?”

What’s wrong with the world, mama
People livin’ like they ain’t got no mamas
I think the whole world addicted to the drama
Only attracted to things that’ll bring you trauma

Overseas, yeah, we try to stop terrorism
But we still got terrorists here livin’
In the USA, the big CIA
The Bloods and The Crips and the KKK

But if you only have love for your own race
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you’re bound to get irate, yeah

Madness is what you demonstrate
And that’s exactly how anger works and operates
Man, you gotta have love just to set it straight
Take control of your mind and meditate
Let your soul gravitate to the love, y’all, y’all

People killin’, people dyin’
Children hurt and you hear them cryin’
Can you practice what you preach?
Or would you turn the other cheek?

Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’
Where is the love (Love)

Where is the love (The love)
Where is the love (The love)
Where is the love, the love, the love

It just ain’t the same, old ways have changed
New days are strange, is the world insane?
If love and peace are so strong
Why are there pieces of love that don’t belong?

Nations droppin’ bombs
Chemical gasses fillin’ lungs of little ones
With ongoin’ sufferin’ as the youth die young
So ask yourself is the lovin’ really gone

So I could ask myself really what is goin’ wrong
In this world that we livin’ in people keep on givin’ in
Makin’ wrong decisions, only visions of them dividends
Not respectin’ each other, deny thy brother
A war is goin’ on but the reason’s undercover

The truth is kept secret, it’s swept under the rug
If you never know truth then you never know love
Where’s the love, y’all, come on (I don’t know)
Where’s the truth, y’all, come on (I don’t know)
Where’s the love, y’all

People killin’, people dyin’
Children hurt and you hear them cryin’
Can you practice what you preach?
Or would you turn the other cheek?

Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’
Where is the love (Love)

Where is the love (The love)?
Where is the love (The love)?
Where is the love (The love)?
Where is the love (The love)?
Where is the love (The love)?
Where is the love (The love)?
Where is the love, the love, the love?

I feel the weight of the world on my shoulder
As I’m gettin’ older, y’all, people gets colder
Most of us only care about money makin’
Selfishness got us followin’ the wrong direction

Wrong information always shown by the media
Negative images is the main criteria
Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria
Kids wanna act like what they see in the cinema

Yo’, whatever happened to the values of humanity
Whatever happened to the fairness and equality
Instead of spreading love we’re spreading animosity
Lack of understanding, leading us away from unity

That’s the reason why sometimes I’m feelin’ under
That’s the reason why sometimes I’m feelin’ down
There’s no wonder why sometimes I’m feelin’ under
Gotta keep my faith alive ’til love is found
Now ask yourself

Where is the love?
Where is the love?
Where is the love?
Where is the love?

Father, Father, Father, help us
Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’
Where is the love?

Sing with me y’all:
One world, one world (We only got)
One world, one world (That’s all we got)
One world, one world
And something’s wrong with it (Yeah)
Something’s wrong with it (Yeah)
Something’s wrong with the wo-wo-world, yeah
We only got
(One world, one world)
That’s all we got
(One world, one world)

Lyrics by Black-Eyed Peas

    Christinas World 2

Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth (painted in 1948)

How are things in your world today? Perhaps it’s meh. Whatever.  Or maybe it’s utterly fantabulous!  Completely awesome and amazing. Great! Some days are better than others.

     I’ve been thinking though.  On many of our days, it feels like something is missing.  I think I know what it is: Connection.  It’s what binds us to one another.   These days it seems like we’re really all slipping away from one another at break-neck speed.

Sure there’s Facebook and Twitter and email and never ending texting. It’s as if we’re continually close. But in terms of relationships? So far away.

You know what I miss? Real talking. Seeing face to face.   Human touch, a real hug, not a cute sound byte followed by LOL!  Relationships that only time together forges.

It’s like we’ve become shy towards those we already know. We’ve become distant from those in our own families. We’re available by screen connection only. We’re all very very busy. We long for more, but can’t seem to find our way back to a real relationship. Picking up the phone to actually talk feels…well, heavy.

As a very young little girl, I was aware art contained underlying messages that painters and photographers were trying to say.   In my teen years, it expanded of course to music as well. Andrew Wyeth’s famous painting Christina’s World is the first painting I remembered seeing, knowing that I would always remember this. I was probably six or so and remember seeing it on a restaurant wall. Other people were just eating and seemingly unaware at a table underneath it. But I stopped and really saw it for the first time.

It felt like this: I know.

And that was before all this technology of the 21st century!

We all feel like this sometimes. Outside. Looking in. Unable to go another step.   Needing rest and finding none.   Alone. Abandoned. Seeking shelter. Almost there, but not quite.   So close, so faraway.

Maybe that’s just my take, but I doubt it. Everyone seems to know this painting and not even know why they know it. They just do.

I saw this painting again the other day after not having seen it for many years. Immediately, I remembered the first time seeing it as a little girl. Decades of experiences and memories have happened to me in the forty some years since I first saw it.   And yet here Christina sits–forever frozen in time, in a field of grass, just shy of the buildings she sees. What is she thinking? What was she hoping for?

Christina brings color and light to a plain, even dreary world. She also brings pain and pondering. She brings both beauty and sadness.   She brings all of herself and we can almost imagine how she feels, yet we don’t even see her face. It’s like thinking you know someone, and yet knowing really you don’t know them at all.

You may not know this, but maybe you are “Christina” in someone else’s dark world.  Despite your flaws and your dirty dress, just you being in their picture of the world brings light and hope.  Like Christina, you too were created because it pleased our Creator.

Art and music are strange magic for sure. Sometimes it makes us look at or hear the artist and we feel as if we know them. Art and music holds up a mirror to our own life with images and words that allow us see ourselves as we truly are, or perhaps wish we were. But it can play tricks on us too. Sometimes we feel sure we are seeing it the way they intended us to see it or hear it the way we think they mean. We think we know them or what they were feeling when they created something, but how can we possibly?

Maybe it’s just me. But Christina represents human connection. The painting is so powerful because it appears as if she has none. And yet many feel connected to her, a woman who  never really has existed except in the mind of the artist. Or does (did) she?

Art and music binds us through beauty and meaning, even though each of us see and hear that which is created, as well as the creator who made it differently. This mutual admiration of that which delights our soul keeps us close, though in proximity we are all far away from one another.

And in a world of instant information and messaging, but to the exclusion of real relationships, Christina reminds us there is a world outside of thumbs and screens. She’s a silent reminder to stop, stay, and appreciate art, to see beauty, to find the melody that is the rhythm of our soul: to find and connect to those deeper places in each of us and in the world.  At least it does me. I hope I’m not alone.

Song for Someone

This poem is inspired by the song “A Song for Someone” — U2 — Songs of Innocence CD Jacket

I have a song for someone.

I hope they will hear it.

It’s a song for the broken, and sometimes the brokenhearted.

It’s a song for someone I love now.

It’s also for a song for someone I loved long ago.

You may feel forgotten. I’m telling you, I remember.

You may feel insignificant. I’m telling you, you are the light in an all too dark world.

You may have thought you were invisible when people walked right past you.

But I saw you. I know your name. I know every lie and the truest truth about you.

Strangers pass you every day unaware they are in the presence of an angel.

I saw you smile through your tears. No one is a hopeless case.

I saw you when you kept going. I know the storms and the roads that are still ahead.

I only see you as beautiful. I only see you as whole. I envision you as well.

I see you everywhere you go.

I’m closer than your shadow.

I’m the whisper in the winds of memory of all you know that is true.

I’m the blue sky of infinite possibility.

I am the song of joy that plays in your head.

I am the tear-laced prayers you whisper alone in your bed.

Oh how I cried for you. For you know not what you sometimes do.

But I do. That’s why I gave it all away for you.

If you have days left to spend, create them to be beautiful.

See. Hear. Feel. Do.

And let your light shine with all of your soul

Because you were always loved.

I’ll be your song. Because you were always my someone.


My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:12-13

     Hello U2areloved friends.  It’s been a while.  Been off-blog for a while, but will post very soon because I’ve missed writing here! 

     Right now I can’t contain myself.  I really am dreaming with tears in my eyes as I’ve been waiting (how long?) for so long now for a new U2 album.

    Many of you know that my U2areloved blogs are often inspired by the music and lyrics of U2.  Other times, they are inspired by my Christian faith.  It’s kind of where my faith and my passion for music merge with my desire to create through writing and photography. 

     I tease my son sometimes that “U2 follows me everywhere I go.”  Case in point, this week:  Twice he asked if I could change the radio from the talk radio station I often listen to, to the pop music station he likes.  “Fine,” I relented.  It’s a good thing.  A beautiful thing actually.  BOTH TIMES (2 out of 2) U2 was playing.  “With or Without You” a few days ago, and “Where the Streets Have No Name.”   Good decision, I told my son.  A slight cringe from him, because he knows I’m right–they tend to follow me (elevators, bathrooms, movie theater lobby music, grocery stores, Irish restaurants (ok, no surprise there).  Maybe I’m just hyper aware.  But maybe it’s more?

    It’s that strange bond, we U2 fans and friends have with the band and each other.  Sometimes you just think of someone, and well…..they seem to pop up in a message, a song, a thought. 

     It’s what we U2 fanboys and fangirls get:  We are all connected.  Love is the better way.  Music can do a whole lot more than entertain us; it can teach us, it can inspire us to change the world and change ourselves.  Bono has said he’s not sure if he believes that music can change the world, but I beg to differ.  Their music inspires people to write, to paint, to cry, to smile, to remember, and so much more, but above all to love.  That’s a change I can live with.

      And now, U2 is sending all their fans, including the ones they haven’t met yet a free gift (thru 10/13/14).  On the house!  That’s right.  Price is zip, zero, nada!  ENJOY!   So go to I-TUNES now and download U2’s new  free album!  It may not only the biggest give-away of all time, but perhaps the best.

       U2.  They’re BACK!!!!!  



You are lovedToday is Easter. For Christians, we believe today is the day that Jesus rose from the dead three days after he was crucified on a cross. It’s a pretty powerful thing to believe–to take something so incredulous on faith, and just completely run with it.

People who don’t believe it give us a hard time about it. That’s okay. We believe Jesus rose for them too.   But what does it all mean? Why all the brouhaha at Easter?

Even people who don’t believe know the bare bones story about Jesus:   He was born of a virgin birth in a manger near some animals.   He was an amazing kid, upsetting the status quo of the religious elite and calling them out on their hypocrisy, performing a bunch of miracles along the way, and gaining a substantial following long before social media existed. Then he died on the cross as atonement for our sins, and rose on the third day. Why would anyone take such a story from history and make it one of the defining moments of their life?

Some people who don’t want to acknowledge that they are less than perfect (sinless) or most likely, people admit they are flawed, but don’t really need a savior, they can figure things out for themselves. Okay, fine. More than likely, some will hit a wall when something unspeakable, unplanned, unimaginable happens – either catastrophic or miraculous. The miracles we can easily dismiss if we have little or no faith (the ocean keeps rolling in, the sun keeps shining, someone at death’s door suddenly is healed. We either don’t see it for the miracle that it is, or chalk it up to good luck. The catastrophic? Not so much. We want to know why. This is when we really wish we could just believe.

The thing about belief is, that is FAITH in someone, cannot be quantified by mere scientific reasoning alone. Just as you can’t prove you’ll live happily ever after the day you say I do, you’ll waste hours trying to convince others that Jesus is for real, God is for real, heaven is for real, the resurrection for real—all of it, it’s all for real, and it’s all good!

There’s a reason why you can’t prove it: The very anchor of our faith is hope!   It is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1) Faith is simply a choosing to believe in something you can never prove. You cannot prove this to a skeptic, any more than you can prove the solidness of your relationships or the depth of the universe, etc.

So here’s why it defines us, and all the brouhaha that Christians make over Easter: Celebrating Easter means we acknowledge that Christ indeed is risen. He conquered death for us. Not just our physical death, but every death we experience. See there’s more than one way to die.

We die to our earthly life when we leave here to spend face time with Jesus. But while we are still here, we get to choose to die a little every day. We get to choose to die when we surrender a hard habit that enslaves us, surrender a bad relationship that entangles us, lay down a grudge that confounds us, or take risks that astonish even us when taken for the right reasons. We die to arrogance and awaken to wisdom. We die to tragedy and awaken to acceptance and hope. We die to poverty in our own life, and awaken to sharing with others. We die to despair and depression and awaken to joy because we choose to live.

We are a risen people. It’s not always easy. It’s a moment-by-moment, thought-by-thought, circumstance-by-circumstance choice. It is the prism thru which we filter every event of our life and reflect light and color and beauty.  We are far from perfect. We know we never will master everything we wish we could. But we strive for the same goal: To cross the finish line with our soul intact, dignity, and a hope that doesn’t waver.

We are not granted this peace, this grace, this hope or even that which we most wish for by a magic fairy that simply waves her wand. We choose to believe it.

It is in Christ and faith in God; we truly do move and have our being. We experience. We hope. We grieve. We move forward. And we love.   With this love, we find meaning and purpose in our lives. We love because He first loved us. And in so doing, we live. Both here and for eternity.

That is the reason we celebrate Easter. Because He first loved us, we are given grace to love more fully. Because He died for us, we have the strength to die to the things we need to. Because He lived before us and now lives with in us, we are free to live.

Rise up. Be the change you wish to see in the world!


One day you will look…back
And you’ll see…where
You were held…how
By this love…while
You could stand…there
You could move on this moment
Follow this feeling

U2 “Mysterious Ways”

ALMA antennas under the Milky Way

  • Have you ever wondered if God is real?
  • Have you ever wondered if your prayers are heard?
  • Have you ever wondered if your dreams, your hopes, your deepest longings really will come true?
  • Have you ever begged to be spared from a certain suffering, but then you weren’t?
  • Did you ever have moments or days or seasons in your life that were totally beyond your control?

Chances are, if you’re human, you can most likely answer YES to the above questions.

Life can be so beautiful. It’s full of amazing moments: The birth of our children. The day we made eternal promises and said “I do” and “Forever”. The day we accomplished something so amazing, we surprised even ourselves. The day we looked out to the horizon and cried because what we saw was simply beyond words; it was indescribably beautiful. You wanted to just freeze time and stay in this place forever. And that’s always when the first stab of pain hits you. Because you know you simply can’t. Nothing here lasts forever.

When I was a child, I thought like a child. Kind of like Margaret of “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret”. I had the same prepubescent worries as she did. Will I ever even need a bra? Will I eventually become a woman in every way? Will a boy even like me….ever?  Does God exist or care about me?   Like Margaret, I wondered where is God more likely to hang? A synagogue? A cathedral?  A mountain top? At the beach?

But those thoughts passed, as did those days. As a child, you can’t even see yourself as a grown up, when you don’t have to feel so awkward or get your feelings hurt so much. We were young. We were naive. We didn’t yet know what we do now: Those were the best days.

Life would get more complicated, time would march forward whether we were ready or not, for what was headed our way. We were still at the beginning of our journey. We still had more hurt to go.

Sometimes parents divorced. Sometimes they died.   Friends moved away.   We outlived our favorite pets. First boyfriends or girlfriends finally arrived on the scene. But they quickly departed too, taking the first of many bites to come out of our vulnerable hearts. Sometimes we moved away or our friends did. Some friends died inexplicably young. In less than a decade we transitioned from girls and boys to women and men. By the time we turned our tassel, we realized some truths:

  • Life isn’t always fair.
  • The hard work of our lives isn’t over just because we graduated, it was merely beginning.
  • I’m not sure if I’m ready to be who I’m supposed to be.

We continued to learn more. We worked. We said I do and we had babies—babies who grew from toddlers to little kids to teenagers to adults almost as fast as one of those rotating doors in a hotel lobby.   From band-aids on boo- boos to full blown medical emergencies where lives are on the line, the days passed. From seeing many dreams realized and some crashed—all these things happened too.

We went to countless weddings, family barbecues and gatherings, and funerals. Two thirds of them were fun and full of promise. The other third, the funerals, many of which were beautiful, never got easier. They only got more frequent. That too made our hearts heavy. We knew where this is all headed.

Which brings me to the point we all ponder in life, especially in times of crisis? Are you there God? It’s me. It’s you. It’s all of us as humanity, but it’s each of us individually and we want to know are you there? Are you aware of me, in this moment?

It’s the question people struggle with at their core, until they finally decide to choose. Even if you make no choice as to what or whom you believe in, you have made a choice, if only to stay grounded in ambiguity, unsureness, maybe even anxiety and insecurity.

Don’t get me wrong. Believers struggle too. But deep down they know. It’s the essence of faith. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the being certain of that which we do not see.

Faith is truly a tightrope walk. It’s just like life—trying to find balance and not lose your head, especially when you are way out there, fairly far from the gravity of comfort zone, security, familiarity, easy street.   And yet you know, there is a safety net below. Should you fall, you’ll be caught before hitting bottom. It just doesn’t look like it. Or feel like it. You have to get your head and heart in alignment with a thing called trust.

God is like that. He is real. He is here. He is there. He is everywhere.   He sent his Son Jesus to catch us like a safety net, even when we’re way up(or out) there!

Each of us are so precious to him. He knows when we hurt, or fall, are sick, are weak, or when we lose, or succumb, or waver, or any other weakness as defined by us. But He knows differently; something we often can’t wrap our head around: His love is perfected in our weakness. We just have to be the willing Captain of the vessel called Self that will allow him to travel with us, in us, and pass through us in order to change our destination, and thus destiny by simply saying, not my will, but yours.

Jesus said in this world, we’re going to have some troubles and he was by no means exaggerating! But he also said to take heart, for he has overcome the world.   Every time I hear that, I rejoice a little more inside. I reclaim the parts of my heart that which is unfair or unbearable or unexplainable tries to conquer. The truth gets etched a little deeper each time. Because it frees me:

  • From having to have all the answers.
  • From being responsible for fixing that which I don’t have the power to do.
  • From focusing on why (the unfair/hard/unexplainable) of pain, and instead focus on the who I can trust with all this (God/Jesus).

We are not invisible to God. And although the universe is a fairly big place (science can’t even agree on where/if it ends and how long it’s been around), we are by no means small. We are not insignificant in God’s eyes.

We can look from the most powerful telescope billions of light years away and all we see are dots. But God can look across space and time and see us, every bit of us—our tears and our dreams-and all He can see are stars. We are His star, the crown jewel, the masterpiece of His creation.   Whether we are searching outward as far as our eye can see, or inward, as deep as our heart can bare, our heart beats strongest when we choose to simply be still and know He is there.


God is so big, He is real, and is involved in the details of our lives.   Verses (promises) that inspired this story:  Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:5, 2 Corinthians 12:9, Hebrews 11:1, 1 Corinthians 13:11 John 16:33, Ephesians 2:10, Psalm 46:10

Books I’d recommend to anyone who is searching:Purpose Driven Life

Search for Significance

0 MA 370Photo Credit: Romeo Ranoco/Reuters

The mystery of missing flight Malaysian Airlines 370 only intensifies with each passing day.  How can 239 souls simply vanish?  As the investigation has changed from finding a fallen aircraft to searching for evil intent that commandeered this aircraft and where did they all go, the agony of not knowing is surely some of the most unimaginable pain someone could ever know.

I can’t even fathom the pain these families are enduring as they have surely been “all over the map” emotionally, logistically, and probably spiritually.  How does one keep faith and hope alive in an ever-changing crisis?

You simply get up and go on, trusting God in every breathe, moment, and step.  Sometimes you don’t even know you have faith or hope, until you look back and you realize that’s all you had or you wouldn’t be here now.

I have never experienced the depth of unknown that these families have, but the few intensely difficult, extremely painful circumstances I have had to endure, all in relatively short order, has both tested and strengthened my faith.

These are the questions we wrestle with whenever the intensely painful unknown occurs:

Why did this happen?

Did I do something to cause this?  Did I deserve this?

Could I (or others) have prevented this?

Where is God in all this?  Is He even aware I can not deal with this for one more minute, even more so, one more day? 

And yet you do.  You will.    Though time stops in your world, the rest of the world keeps on moving forward.

And everything in life is divided into two chapters:


You know the moment this occurs, from here until the end of your life, everything else will be referenced by assigning whether it happened before or after.  I don’t know why.  It’s just the way the mind works.

I’ve read the posts.  I’ve seen the news.  I’ve heard every speculation imaginable, as have you.  But this is what my heart knows:


My heart hurts because we struggle when we cannot know what only God knows.

It also hurts because each of these souls are so very precious to not only their families, but to God.

My heart hurts because I’ve walked the solitary path of unfathomable grief that only the bravest wish to hear.

My heart hurts because I know what it means to have to wake up with unknowing.

My heart hurts because I know life is brief; and despite our best executed plans, our dreams of how we wish our future to be can’t be guaranteed.

My heart hurts because I’ve known through harsh experiences, what it means to cry out to God to save someone, please just SAVE THEM.  It may be their life; it may be their soul.

Sometimes God seems silent.  I’ve learned not to mistake God’s silence for God’s absence.

We are not in control; we settle for a certain comfort in thinking we are.

Certainly, our soul hungers to know that those we love are okay.  Especially when we are suddenly severed from someone we love.  Like phantom limb pain, our hearts throbs with longing and memory and beats to the rhythm of hope, no matter how slim.  Wherever we are, we feel as if we are held hostage to both yesterday and tomorrow, barely enduring today.

Every time you hear or read a story, remember that talk is cheap and media can dull our mind if we don’t hear properly: that is to say with intention, not just attention.   The investigators have a job to do.  But so do we:

Those of us who believe, have a calling to pray for the souls of each person on board MA 370 as well as their families.  These souls who disappeared in the sky over a week ago are this: BELOVED friend, coworkers, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, beloved grandchild of many remaining souls here on earth.

Pray for wisdom.  Pray for resolution.  Pray for miracles.  Pray for the peace that passes understanding in Christ Jesus.    May you see this and appreciate your own family and life more.  Don’t leave angry.  Say I love you before you say good-bye.   Find, and then focus on what really matters.

Today I pray that God has the souls of Malaysian Air Flight 370 are in the palm of His hand, that they are in His perfect care, as the families carry on in courage and hope.    Because they too were/are loved.

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.  Romans 10:1 

 U2’s  One Tree Hill – Auckland, NZ

Staring at the SunI’m not the only one
Staring at the sun
Afraid of what you’d find
If you took a look inside

“Staring at the Sun” – U2

          It used to be that without my glasses I couldn’t see.  Then I got contacs.  Both helped my vision, but 20/20 sight doesn’t guarantee clarity.

We live in a really busy world.  We know this is true because we spend the majority of our day learning about the news and one another because we watch it on a screen.  Our phones, our laptops—we’re everywhere in hi-def and in real time baby. 

Yet we’re blind to some of our real defects:  Pride—an intransigent intelligence that’s always right.  Fear—standing still because we’re  too afraid we’ll fail or don’t know if we possess the disciplined changes success actually requires.   Apathy—Our permanent chair of comfort and convenience reserved for those of us who refuse to contemplate improving our lives or those around us.

 Can you even name your blindness?  This not knowing, or worse: not wanting to know.   Maybe there is something more than what lies between both your ears and behind your eyes.    What is it you choose not to see?

We are all like the books some of us used to read.  Some of us are titled with names so noble or we’re wrapped in colorful jackets so beautiful, we nearly fall into the laps of those begging to slather us with attention.  Others are like nineteenth century secret tomes with thick, dusty matte covers filled with ancient wisdom and epic adventures lived, but never imagined by others.   And yet each of us still have blank pages left that have the potential to be filled with characters, and events the mind can’t even conceive.

In our endless attempt to know more, we’ve become less.  Our lives don’t tell our stories.  Our Facebook pages and Tweets and Pinterests do.  We’re Linked In but we’re tuned out.  Tuned out of what?



A lot of things…..….

I know.  I’m one of them.  I want to be a writer.  And possibly a photographer.  It’s hard, dare I say impossible to get your name and/or work out there without wall-papering the web with your work coupled with a few prayers.  Noticed is what we aim for. 

We spend hours of our lives now, staring at screens of alternating distractions, hoping to produce something of lasting or intrinsic value.

Always looking out, all eighteen inches of it, but never digging deep, we’ve fallen into a state of perpetual sleep walkers.  No wonder Zombies are in when it comes to entertainment.   These high-definition pasty, distorted, pie-eyed  brain-dead creatures mirror us more than we know.

We’re all staring at the sun.  This never-ending bright sunshine of glass and buzz and liquid crystal colors mesmerizing us with news and trivia and useless information.   It’s crack, and we don’t know it.  Or worse, we do but we grow peacefully comfortable as we slowly succumb to the blissful addiction of avoiding reality.

Try to break free if you can–if you dare.   Find out who you are. To really look inside yourself, you have to step out of that comfort zone!  Turn off the computer and write your bucket list today.  Because sometimes later never comes.   Especially when we’re all so incredibly busy.  Busy, staring at the sun.