Call to Prayer

I A few weeks ago Joe and I had a business appointment in Houston and stopped by to get lunch in a busy restaurant that is famous for the delicious enchiladas prepared in its kitchens. We enjoyed our lunch, but the food is not what stopped me on my way out. In the middle of an adjacent dining room sat this magnificent carved prayer rail. It might have seemed oddly out of place if not for its careful placement on wonderful Mexican tiles and my sudden realization that it delivered a powerful message:  You can pray anywhere.

I quickly took my photo and wondered if anyone ever takes the invitation to kneel. All the way home I wondered about the prayer rail and thought of the stories it could tell.  How many bent knees and clasped hands have rested on its dark wood? The same God who heard those prayers heard mine offered in gratitude.


Word Gathering

IMG_2832These words are powerful all by themselves. At times when I am feeling overwhelmed or bewildered, I sometimes choose one just one to help me focus or to use in a breath prayer. But I love seeing them gathered like this.






all gathered together

leaning on each other


The Color of Hope


Texas has received devastating damage throughout the state delivered by deluges of rain, tornadoes, and rivers out of their banks. 46 counties have been declared disaster areas. In our town alone, a severe storm system which produced more than 11 inches of rain in 11 hours began a week that finds the entire metropolitan area of Houston in the throes of  historic flooding. Lives have been lost, homes destroyed, motorists stranded. Rivers continue to rise.  The Brazos River, near my neighborhood, is expected to reach flood stage tomorrow.  We have a good levee system here and should be OK, but two nearby communities which are near other stretches of the river are already evacuating. I pray for strength and peace for  those who are suffering tragedy and for those who will face unknown trials in the next few days. And I claim hope, the kind of expectant waiting that provides strength and endurance and perseverance. .It is so needed for those in the throes of crisis now.  It will be needed in the days to come as people who are hurt and grieving must begin to rebuild not only their homes but their very lives.

in the Jewish faith, blue is the color of hope, in Christianity, purple candles in the Advent wreath symbolize hope, a time of waiting and hoping. Others say green is the color of hope as it comes to us when spring is on its way, in hope and expectation of a new season of growth.  I like that.

Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!  ~ Romans 15:13    The Message


“Solvitur ambulando – It is solved by walking
— often attributed to St. Augustine

Prayer Garden

Prayer Garden

Walking is something I am doing very differently for the present.  I am entering my fifth week of either non or partial weight bearing for one side, and have  as many weeks to go  plus months ahead for therapy. I am thankful repair was possible, for good medical direction, and help from my husband, our family and friends.. I am learning or choosing different ways to be and do. Since walking the  labyrinth in our church’s prayer garden is not an option for me , I can use this finger labyrinth given to me by a good friend.

IMG_1934Today I realized that since we have had so many days of cold, rainy weather, I most likely would not have been out there in the prayer garden with my umbrella anyway, and I smiled. As I trace my finger along the spirals into the center of this little pewter labyrinth I can pause to look out at my own garden and be grateful for all the different ways open to us to recognize God’s presence.  I put my thoughts if not my feet on this path inward, then outward,

Not everything, of course, is solved by walking. But a good deal is. And if it isn’t solved, it is reorganized, refreshed, or revitalized so that new responses are possible. Walking changes perspective. It offers a path that moves us forward, literally and figuratively.”

Carolyn Scott Kortge, author of Healing Walks for Hard Times, and The Spirited Walker


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Still our prayer, for 2015…


For the New Year 1981
I have a small grain of hope–
one small crystal that gleams
clear colors out of transparency.

I need more.

I break off a fragment
to send you.

Please take
this grain of a grain of hope
so that mine won’t shrink.

Please share your fragment
so that yours will grow.

Only so, by division,
will hope increase,

like a clump of irises, which will cease to flower
unless you distribute
the clustered roots, unlikely source–
clumsy and earth-covered–
of grace

~Denise Levertov

Christmas Path

In many ways, Advent is like walking a labyrinth for me.  I begin the path inward and walk steadily toward centering my heart in a space that leads nowhere else but to Christ, born once again in me. But I cannot stay in the stable.  I must get up and begin the outward spiral.

I  step on one stone which draws me outside in,

Centripetal propelling of self toward center.

One step, then another, a walk on a labyrinth path.

Seeking, finding

A center for refilling, refueling, refreshing.

Then reverse, return.

Stepping in an outward spiral,

The centrifuge which slowly spins and scatters this gathered grace,

Inside out.

~Mary Ann Parker, January 19, 2010

Called to Christmas


After an early freeze this year, there is more intense color in our Texas Gulf Coast trees than I remember seeing in 20 years.  These Bradford pear leaves glisten in cold drizzle, their red and green echoing Christmas colors appearing inside our home.   As I turn the pages of our calendar and my Advent readings, I feel called to Christmas, beckoned to astonishment once again.

Prayer from the Unsettlng Season, by Donaald J. Shelby

“Lord, the calendar calls for Christmas. We have traveled this way before.During this Advent season we would see what we have never seen before, accept what we have refused to think, and hear what we need understand.  Be with us in our goings that we may meet you in your coming.  Astonish us until we sing “Glory!” and then enable us to live it out with love and peace. In the name of your Incarnate Word, even Jesus Christ.  Amen”

Morning Meditation

 dawn casts veiled promise
through this day’s window
I come to the quiet
in shifting shadows of morning light
inhaling peace
exhaling all that I need to release
grace settles like a shawl around my shoulders
dance of stillness, silent song