Buttes of Utah’s Zion National Park appeared as I turned the calendar to August. Such majesty in the rugged cliffs, vibrancy in the blue sky, and hushed quietness in the stream wending its way down the page. How old are those cliffs? In contrast, how new are the leafy trees dotting the slopes near the stream? How frequently is this particular spot observed by human eyes? Who knows exactly? And yet, there they are in all their grandeur and quiet beauty beckoning, “Come, rest a while here.”Read More
“Maps help us to get where we need to be; they help us from getting lost; they keep us moving forward and in the right direction; and they often take us to far-off places we can’t otherwise get to on our own. Some maps are even filled with mystery and intrigue, like a pirates map leading one to buried treasure”Read More
We have recently returned from a three-day vacation to Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California. The first day we stopped at the Sundial Bridge in Redding and saw the mighty Sacramento River. It was still carrying a lot of water and flowing rapidly, and we tried to imagine what it was like before it got dammed up at Lake Shasta. How much more power it must have had! How it must have periodically overflowed onto its floodplain, creating the fertile soil in the valley.Read More
. . . there has been a lot of challenging behavior and conversation recently. “Mommy” he said to me as we processed the consequences of some of that behavior this week. “I am afraid it is going to be different.”Read More
I recently began swimming, actually treading water, on a daily basis. I did this to try to increase my mobility and, frankly, to make Jackie happy. Honestly, I did it more to make Jackie happy than anything else.
How often do we make decisions because we think they will make someone else happy, meet someone else’s expectations, or so that somebody doesn’t get upset? If you are like me, human, it is more often than we like to admit to.Read More
My first job after art school was as a designer for Muirson Label Company in San Jose. At that time Muirson was a nationally recognized leader in the industry that supplied local cannery’s and fruit packers in the Santa Clara Valley with appealing can labels as far back as 1916.Read More
Opposites seem to be part of our everyday life although these contrasting connections are often overlooked. For example, for a flashlight to make any difference, the area needs to be dark. Even the name “flashlight” is questionable. You count on it to produce a steady beam, not a flickering light. What can you glean from this example that will enhance your Journey?Read More
We have to ask ourselves, are we willing to engage the long struggle for justice? Or does it feels safer to hold onto our hostility? Can we trust the possibilities that God has in store? Or do we just tack on “seekers of justice” after “Progressive” in our titles and do nothing.Read More
Big Tuesday has always been a reference for when candidates are trying to become their Party’s candidate for President of the United States. In the last year Big Tuesday showed us what we already thought we knew. We were going to have our first woman President.Read More
If you are a long time Bay area resident you have undoubtedly passed Vacaville’s Nut Tree dozen’s or even hundreds of times on route to Sacramento, Lake Tahoe and beyond. And it’s likely that you stopped to visit the toy store, restaurant, airplane collection and gift shop, and maybe ride on the Nut Tree Railroad.Read More
Deserts seem to come and go as you journey along. Deserts can be defined as those places where you feel “stuck”, bewildered, firmly positioned in place, blocked, angry, envious, discontented, not seeming to progress, or simply “Blah!” You long for an oasis, a place of cooling shade, a refreshing taste of water on your parched tongue, a resting place for your weary heart. What to do?Read More
In recent weeks we have been raising baby chicks at Clivie’s school. It has been a community endeavor. We all watched with breath held and eyes wide open as the little cracks appeared in the eggs, and the chicks wriggled out one by one. We have carefully adjusted the temperature, fed them, and watched them grow. For me, the chicks were the perfect embodiment of the new life of the season of Easter.Read More
“How cool is it that the same God who created Mountains & Oceans,& Galaxies, looked at you & thought the world needed One of You TOO!”
I don’t know whose quote that is, but it certainly made me stop and smile. It also made me think about that concept for a while. Imagine a world where we all believed that God thought that the world needed each one of us. Imagine if we all believed that. Imagine that this same concept applies to every single molecule of creation as we know it.Read More
Prayer – which is one way to deepen your relationship with the Lord - takes many forms too. We are familiar with prayers of praise, thanksgiving, petition, personal devotions and meditation. Consider this definition: “Prayer is lifting the mind and heart to God.”Read More
"She was beautiful, but not like those girls in the magazines. She was beautiful for the way she thought. She was beautiful for the sparkle in her eyes when she talked about something she loved. She was beautiful for her ability to make other people smile, even if she was sad. No, she wasn't beautiful for something as temporary as her looks. She was beautiful deep down to her soul." F. Scott Fitzgerald
I saw this quote, and it drew me in. I wondered how many of us really look at each other. Do I even take the time, when I look people in the eye, to see who they are, how they are, or even gather them into my heart? We human beings are a strange people. Somehow we get into worrying so much about ourselves that we forgot that we came to be who we are by caring, communicating, meeting, playing, working, believing, and being with each other. Then, I look at the city, county, state, country, and world, and I think to myself, why am I surprised that peace seems all but impossible?
Why does my heart ache when I read the news and see pictures of people in harm’s way who suffer daily without having what they need just to survive? How can any of us sit idly by and merely worry, or just talk about how senseless things are, - while condemning those who make laws, decisions and move in unjust ways - without at least making phone calls, writing letters or offering to listen to those who are working to make a difference? This is not to say that any of us, including myself, are doing nothing.
Why are we so afraid of those who are different than we are, that in reality, we don’t have a smile or a hello for them? Are we so afraid of the unknown that we choose not to even read about different religions, other cultures, our history, or our politics? Fear shouldn’t stop us, and we don’t have to let it.
We just had a week where we relived the life of a man whom we choose to follow. Did He take away the sting of a crown of thorns? Did He make the whips like noodles? Did He make the people choose Barabbas? Did He make the cross lighter? No, He said yes to the whole horrible experience. In the heart of His own suffering, Jesus had time for the others who were being hung on crosses. Can you imagine the strength and courage it took to do that?
My Easter Season will be spent being more aware of others, making a difference where I can, and acknowledging everyone I see, pass, and meet. I hope I can make it a habit so that when an injustice is done to me, I will hold my head high, have patience, not give in, and God willing, see whatever it is, through to a just and peaceful end.
What are you going to do this Easter Season? -Chris L.
Trusting Jesus during his public ministry seems fairly easy to the disciples as Jesus feeds the multitudes, cures the blind, heals the sick – things are going well. And then - Wham! One fine Friday their entire world turns upside down! Their perspective is thrown out of whack.Read More
In years past, tourists and locals traveling between the Bay Area and Santa Cruz would pass several roadside attractions including alluring signs encouraging travelers to stop and experience the wonder of the “Worlds Strangest Trees”.Read More
What I need to do is to pay attention to the fact that all in life is holy, we don't see miracles because all of life is a miracle, the Scriptures are Holy and all words are holy. How shall I walk in this? How shall I speak this? How shall I pick myself up when I miss the mark? What is my strength in life and how do I use it?Read More
On the International Day of Women, I reflected on the women who have gone before me and helped make me who I am. I don’t want to write about the women who were famous “first” women or those who fought for and won rights for women. I know I owe them gratitude for a multitude of rights that I take for granted. I won’t even write about my mother and my grandmothers, or this article would get much too long. Instead, I would like to remember those “other” women who touched my life and formed me.Read More