Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Lion’s Roar or When Our Hearts Are Ready for Anything

A quote by Tara Brach from the blog: Make Believe Boutique

You might ask yourself: “Can I imagine what it would be like, in this moment, to have a heart that is ready for anything?”
If our hearts are ready for anything, we can open to our inevitable losses and to the depths of our sorrow. We can grieve our lost loves, our lost youth, our lost health, our lost capacities. This is part of our humanness, part of the expression of our love for life. As we bring a courageous presence to the truth of loss, we stay available to the immeasurable ways that love springs forth in our life.
If our hearts are ready for anything, we will spontaneously reach out when others are hurting. Living in an ethical way can attune us to the pain and needs of others, but when our hearts are open and awake, we care instinctively. This caring is unconditional—it extends outward and inward wherever there is fear and suffering.
If our hearts are ready for anything, we are free to be ourselves. There’s room for the wildness of our animal selves, for passion and play. There’s room for our human selves, for intimacy and understanding, and for creativity and productivity. There’s room for spirit and for the light of awareness to suffuse our moments. The Tibetans describe this confidence to be who we are as “the lion’s roar.”
If our hearts are ready for anything, we are touched by the beauty and poetry and mystery that fill our world.
With an undefended heart, we can fall in love with life over and over every day. We can become children of wonder, grateful to be walking on earth, grateful to belong with each other and to all of creation. We can find our true refuge in every moment, in every breath.    Tara Brach

For A Few Bucks And A Wooden Horse We Go From The Mountains To The Thrashing Sea

These photos of New Zealand make me so hungry to see it myself! I’m just so glad that my dad got to experience it before he died. He said it was his idea of heaven and I can see why.

Adventures in Wonderland


5-9 March 2015. New Zealand doesn’t have historical buildings dating back hundreds of years, or ancient ruins dating back thousands. It doesn’t have exotic wild animals and birds like Africa, the Amazon and Australia. It’s not laden with must-see museums of the world’s great treasures like New York or London or Paris. What it does have is spectacular scenery and some of the best hiking in the world. Tramping they call it. In some countries it’s called trekking, we’ve always called it hiking, but in New Zealand it’s tramping and oh there are some magnificent places to tramp. It’s one of the great things to do in New Zealand.

There’s the four-day Kepler Track, the four-day Milford Track, the three-day Routeburn Track, the five-day Heaphy Track, and the one-day Tongariro Crossing, to name a handful of hundreds. We knew we weren’t fit enough to tackle even the nineteen kilometres of…

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Freedom of Speech and Freedom from Listening on Face Book

Reblogging this to help friends and family who do not understand my particular combination of love of Jesus and love for all people, including those that do not understand it.

Laughter: Carbonated Grace

Regarding homosexuality: I want to free any friends and family to un-friend me that are offended by gay marriage. Homosexuality runs in my family at least all the way back to my great-great aunt who was brilliant and courageous enough to manage to become a pediatrician in the 1800’s and loving enough to start a clinic for the poor, but was never mentioned in our family because she lived with the same woman all her life. I think the purpose of life, including the Christian life, is to learn to love unconditionally and to serve others. The best, though not the only, school for learning unconditional love is marriage. Living with another person and learning to truly love that person, even someone of the same gender, while also serving others meets my criteria for spirituality and I believe with all my heart that it meets God’s. I respect others’ opinions and…

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Sometimes the USA Gets it Right – Finally

The Supreme court of the United States has, in one paragraph, made the perfect statement about love, equality and dignity: “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfilment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

Grace a la Manure

A long time ago, a city girl princess moved to her own Winnie the Pooh hundred acre wood. This was accessible only by dirt roads that ran through a creek. She, her husband, and five children were the first new family to move into this particular “hollow” since before the civil war.  And yes, it did turn out to be more like Green Acres than Winnie the Pooh.

There are many stories of their adventures in the Tennessee wilds.  Most are funny or  happy, but some are scary, and a few are sad.   And then there are some that are all of these.  This is one of the those.

In one  six month time span several years after moving to the country;  the family’s finances became severely reduced, there was a serious crisis affecting the future of one of their teen-age children, and the queen mother, who was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, came to live with them. The princess was seriously considering buying one of those tacky bumper stickers that said, “Shit happens.”

One morning in the middle of this collage of challenges, the Princess was driving out their country road, harassing God, “God, I’m up to my neck in manure here. Where are You in all this?”

At that moment, she happened to glance toward the side of the road.  There sat an incredibly humongous fresh cow patty covered with dozens of glorious monarch butterflies.

It was such a typical God answer, that the princess had to stop beside the road, because she was both laughing and crying with joy.  What a ridiculous, but perfect symbol. Where there’s manure in our lives, there’s grace.  In fact, often the manure is the grace.  It’s what God uses to help us become the people we were created to be.

And a few days later, the princess just happened to come across a bumper sticker that read, “Grace Happens.”  She bought that one instead.

Church is Like a Hospital

This is the latest blog post from my favorite blogger and describes my take on church and religion. Some people seem to survive and be good effective people without it. Some of us can’t. Jesus came for the sick, weak, needy, and sinful. And I am in need of grace in all of those areas.

Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane Blog


Sitting in church today, grumpy and petrified for Steven’s future, I barely listened to the sermon. During my mind meanderings, I heard Pastor suggest we all think of church as a hospital for those with broken peace. Yes, that is me! Broken peace! I started listening more closely, and he was speaking to ME! To paraphrase the sermon, church welcomes everyone looking for peace. Everyone is living their lives often faced with many challenges, tragedies, illnesses, possible prejudices against them and sadness. As much as I would like to think so, life is not all daisies and sunshine. Steven’s life sucks, and will continue to suck. How/why that happened or why God would “let” that happen is of no consequence. It happened. It is.

My peace was restored when I realized that in the scheme of this whole eternal universe, the time spent on earth is only a drop in…

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This is my favorite blogger and mom. Her book is one of the most interesting and hope giving I’ve ever read. But here is her latest challenge and it seems overwhelming.

At what age is privacy a right? a voice silenced

Lea gives many silent victims an articulate courageous voice. Bless you, Lea.

poetry, photos and musings oh my!

Write, write, write. It can save your life. You don’t need lessons, just pour out your thoughts and your pain. But only when it is safe to do so. 


What man art thou that, thus bescreened in night, so stumblest on my counsel?” – William Shakespeare

Privacy is not something that I’m merely entitled to, it’s an absolute prerequisite. – Marlon Brando


At what age is privacy a right? a voice silenced

Years ago

I saw a painting

the rolling stone

of damnation 

the agony

of the wicked

said to be


I heard the story

but knew

I had been there



like childhood

the pain – eternal

escape beyond reach

attempts to record –

purged, destroyed 

that was before


from the frying pan

to the inferno

from there it

became worse

he too a victim

his choices were


i remained silent

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The Healing of Our Autism

Gathering material to organize into a book of some kind. Keep rediscovering posts that really say and describe what’s in my heart. So I’m re-blogging this. Forgive me, if you’ve read this. It’s an awesome story.

Laughter: Carbonated Grace

Because one of our grandchildren was diagnosed at two years of age as suffering from Autism, I’ve attended many classes and conferences on the subject.
The documentary Looking for Me of dance therapist Janet Adler working with two pretty little girls, who were severely autistic, seems to me to illustrate beautifully what God has done for us by becoming fully human in Jesus.
One of the girls was close to three years old and the other was almost four, when they began therapy. Neither of the girls had ever wanted anyone, even their parents, to hug or hold them or even touch them. They made no eye contact. In fact, they didn’t respond to anyone’s presence except to try to keep their distance.
One little girl walked on her toes while waving or shaking her hands. She was in constant motion. Even when she tired, she would sit on the…

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East Cape: our last day.

@Heather, Ashley, Josh thought you and the children might enjoy this.

Jill's Scene

Our last day on the Cape, the road was empty and the conditions easy.

Homeward bound Homeward bound

We stopped often – no surprises there. There were many examples of whare whakairo, traditional carved meeting houses, and pou to admire. If you would like to know more about the art of Maori carving click here.

DSCF6303 Te Kaha Marae

Of all the East Cape marae, Te Kaha, is one of  the most well-known. Technically marae, or meeting place, refers to the open ground in the front of the meeting house (wharenui) but the word is often used to refer to the entire complex itself.

Each marae is not only named after an ancestor, in this case Tukaki, (who has links to Kahungunu, the iwi from our region) but its structure represents the body of that ancestor, and is therefore sacred. Wandering on to a marae without an invitation is as much a social…

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