November 2008

bronzy cypress

From the Wakener of Purpose
From the Caller of Compassion
I take my song this Winter morning.

— Caitlin Matthews, Celtic Devotional


bull eating cake

Bull Eating “Cake”

It’s been nice for me,
the big white, Charolais, bull
staying in the barnyard these weeks,
in from the pasture,
mending an injured shoulder.
Munches on a big round hay bale
that may way a ton,
yet he nudges it
and it moves.
Curls his neck into it and scratches himself,
the bale rocking back and forth.
He likes cake best
and hollers for it,
(I can feel the rumblings vibrate the floor
and enter my chest,
even inside the house)
then he growls
when it isn’t immediately forthcoming.
He walks over to the fence,
his enormous head reaching to me
as I feed the cats.
He seems gentle,
and is,
but so strong,
I resist the urges to reach out and pet him.
I stand looking into his open eyes,
sending him every good intention
that his shoulder heal,
because if it doesn’t soon,
he’ll be heading to town,
never to see the pasture again.

Gentle Bull

November Sky

For my son Will,
mother, father, sisters, cousins.
For friends,
For water, shelter, food.
For the opportunity to live
on the prairie
under this wide swathe of sky.
For the sun’s appearance in the morning
and colorful disappearance in the evening;
the ability to see the stars at night.
For Kye,
Maisy, Joe,

For seekers and finders who share:
Beatrice Bruteau,
Eckhart Tolle,
Thomas Berry,
Briane Swime,
Wes Jackson,
For the vision and work of the General Board of Global Ministry
of the United Methodist Church.
For Deaconesses and Home Missioners.
For the courage, intelligence and heart of Barack Obama.
For hoping again.

For the discovery
that God is love
and we are too.
For the chance to live it
now that I know…

I give thanks.

When I learned that people in Atlanta, where there is a long drought, are saving millions of gallons of water each month, by using gray water from their showers and filling their toilet tanks, I began to wonder why I couldn’t do that.

Each time I do something new that is sustainable and helpful for the environment I feel good and it makes me want to do something else. So, after getting used to taking my own bags to stores, recycling paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, and cans, replacing regular light bulbs with compact florescent bulbs, growing some of my own fruits and vegetables, and hanging my clothes out to dry, I have started something new.

I discovered that I use over three gallons of water to take a shower and my toilet uses about the same amount each time it is flushed. So now, when I take a shower, I put the stopper in the drain. Then after my shower I use that water to fill gallon bottles which I sit next to the toilet. Then, as the toilet tank is filling, I manually pour a gallon of water in the tank. That means I am saving a gallon of water every time I flush the toilet by using the shower water rather than fresh water. When I am home alone I also choose not to flush the toilet every time and save another three gallons.

It’s a simple thing. It only takes a few extra minutes, but I figure that over the course of a month I will save approximately 100 to 150 gallons of water. That is one person. That is truly amazing.

If you have never traveled to Oklahoma, let me tell you, it can be windy. Chicago may be known as the windy city, but Oklahoma must be the windy state. If you check Accuweather you might see the word “breezy.” That is an understatement. Winds are often in the 25 to 35 mph range. When traveling you always look at the temperature. It really doesn’t cross our mind to ask, “Will it be windy?” In Oklahoma you don’t have to ask. It will be windy.

You get used to it. You make allowances for it. There are somethings that just have to wait until the wind isn’t blowing – such as spreading leaves for mulch. Just doesn’t work on a windy day.

But, there are actually days that are totally still. To me those are magnificent days. Truly glorious! I want to stay out all day; bask in the stillness. I don’t know if I would appreciate them as much if I didn’t have something to compare them to. So I celebrate both and rejoice in the diversity of life.

Still Day in Oklahoma

Still Day in Oklahoma

wall and trees

canyon wall too

Even if you live at a retreat center,
you need to take retreats.
I took one last week.



It was one of the Five-Day Spiritual Formation Academies that the Upper Room offers.
It was at Canyon Camp, which is an Oklahoma Conference United Methodist Camp in Red Rock Canyon, near Hinton.
The Canyon is beautiful and this time of year, the colors of the sandstone canyon walls are about the same colors as the leaves on the trees.
There is a herd of goats, which breakfast on the ridge above the lodge every morning as we entered and then exited morning prayer.
The moon was full while we were there.
And hiking deep into the canyons was soul-filling. The silence is profound.
I saw evidence of beavers and watched a woodpecker every morning.

It’s different from retreats on the prairie.
But any retreat in this beautiful and varied creation is a gift.

Red Leaves

If you want to know the Creator, first understand and know creation.

— Columbanus

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