Awakening a Keen Observer

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Isle of Conclusions

My daughter is working in her apt and she came across her notes for Philosophy class from college. Philosophy, though on the outside may seem more relative than say mathematics, has it's own rules and laws. There are things which are rational, true, and which are irrational.
Life is all those things it seems. Sometimes it seems to flow so logically and all we do falls into place with what we think we know. Then other times, far from logically, our lives seem to be thrown a curve and we spin as if we were a child's toy top sent twirling by some force beyond us--out of our control.
The movie, The Village, was about a community in which the elders covenented together to create a way of life and sharing and giving that was outside of the rest of the world. Their children didn't know there was 'another world' and the Elders set about creating limits by teaching everyone to 'fear' a thing that lived in the woods that surrounded them. When people or youngsters began to test the limits the 'thing' would appear in the Village and they would have to make an animal sacrifice to pacify the creature. By the small group consesus, because they had been wounded themselves, they wanted to create a safe world, where they controlled the thinking and knowledge of those around them. What hold the power of fear had on so many. Is it a good thing to do? The movie leaves you with questions.
" When I will little I thought like a child, reasoned like a child, acted like a child, when I grew up I gave up childish things. Now we see in a mirror dimly, then we shall see face to face. Now we know in part then we shall know in full just as we are fully known..." scripture paraphrased.
What we knew as children we put together with the experience and knowlege we had then. As adults we are called to use all reason and logic and listening and discerning to get all the information we can from trusted sources, and then to use the brains God gave us to discern even then --the truth of something. To learn the taste of truth.
There are certain people who hold differing opinions on some things that I trust to help me clarify and understand what is what when I'm in a quandry. People I turn to--truths I turn to--experience I have gathered--and faith that God is leading me when I surrender to that leading... that help me know what is what.
We can make leaps in logic. But as in the children's book, The Phantom Tollbooth, when you jump to conclusions it is an island you can only escape by swimming through the sea of logic.
God has a plan. Wow that is Good News!
God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Mother's words

I am not of the Catholic faith but the words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta touch me deeply. She had a way of putting the simplest of ideas in a way that could be almost universally understood. She didn't speak in parables as much as she spoke in clarity and truth.

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."

How powerful these words. These words that turn us and remind us of what we are to be doing here(wherever your Here may be). Peace and power have only the letter P in common though they are both 5 letter words. Faith gives us strength, Power takes our strength as we attempt to 'better' someone else. Faith gives us energy for the task ahead, as Power saps away the Good we would do. Faith is beautiful while fear is cloudy and fuzzy and confusing.
Mother knew, We need to remember that we belong to one another, Every on ever other side from the others, We need to account for the time when we do not share God's love for us by loving others. God is the one who is the judge and redeemer, not we. It is Thy will... not MY will that we pray and raise to God.

We need to be so deeply engaged in peacefulness because of our understanding that we belong to one another as we belong to God. We belong to those who have raised us, nurtured us, loved us, so when we want to be peacemakers we belong to God. To God alone we belong. Even when we are always related to one another and responsible to one another and with each other in all we do.

So, that makes the church sign I saw today, "Have faith, not fear", all the more important. Because our faithfulness as those who are beloved by God makes us bold to be about the work of the kin-dom. That we are related to one another and that we have work to do. Fear is a four letter word---Faith is longer, stronger, sweeter, and more compassionate than fear. Faith empowers us, fear stops us.

God bless you with your faithfulness and your fears will be washed away in the Baptism of God's awesomeness. Because we don't need to remain or to sturggle. God's love is powerful to a debree beydon our counting or our understanding.
Faith hope and love abide these three.
A trinity for our day.
God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Monday, June 26, 2006

Something else to remember

You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body. C.S. Lewis

John used this quote at the top of his update to his church members. I thought it worth considering even more.
Because truly when we beleive we know that God's pesence with us is fullest when we say Yes to God's leading us. We understand that our lives are not ones that lack meaning if we follow the love that God provides. We understand that our hearts are yearning for some sense of purpose and that can be found in our everyday actions toward one another.
Like a ripple in a pond when a rock is thrown what we do has effects on others. Our job then is to make the kind of change in the world's placidness that the world is a better place.

The first time I ever saw the Grand Canyon many things made sense. Mainly all the Geology I'd had in college. But the other thing that it made understandable is that our time here is precious and important because there is much that has gone before and much to follow.

So, today go change your world for good.
You can, really I know you can, go do it I know you can!

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Whose Earth?

Because of our planned travel to Indonesia I've been looking at the activity of the volcano that is there. Apparently this volcano is having some pretty significant activity. I'm amazed. It is awesome and I'm just looking at pictures.

When I was about 8, in 1956 I told my theory about how the land masses were all together at one time because if you put South America and Africa together they looked to me like they'd fit together like a puzzle. Well the Plate theory came and is not well established. And along the edges of the plate are places where the inner earth sometimes breaks through... Volcanic on this line of fire. I'm not the One to tell you about this with two classes in Geology my senior college year. However, The earth remains as awesome to me as it did as we studied the ancient world evidences in the rock.

Later, When I moved from Ohio to Arizona I was awed by the flight to Phoenix across the plains and into the Rocky Mountain Chain. When I saw the Grand Canyon everything seemed to make sense in terms of time and God.

I learned from an Oak Tree about Eternal life, but that's for another time).

Would that we would work with the earth. We might take care where we build along coastal regions and on fault lines. We would look at land masses as they are and not build homes in areas that at some time, even in geological time, were part of the river bed carving out the rock.

And if we believed that we were tenders of the earth and not conquers then perhaps we would take care of it even more.

Deep breath,
Remember we are all made of the stars!

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

I would have missed it

This morning I got to the drug store early and was waiting for it to open and sat in the car with a warm summer breeze coming through the windows.
I was listening to NPR and looked up...
There in the sign DRUGSTORE I saw a birds nest perched in the top part of the R.
There was nesting material coming out. I would have missed seeing that if I'd gotten there on time.
I thought of how many times we miss something interesting if we aren't paying attention. I'm sure I do. We would miss finding joy in the simplest of pleasures and observations.
Later I thought that tucked there in the R was probably a pretty safe place for a nest. If you weren't the 'owners' of the nest you probably couldn't land there safely or even know it was there.
And I thought of all the people who aren't tucked in safely overnight. In places where houses are bulldozed down over night, even if it is a cardboard shanty, where there are not enough homes for refugees, where wind or weather or quaking earth has displaced them, where it is cold even in their summertime and they have no bed or blanket, or where it is very hot,and they have not way to be cool.
So, I gues what I'm coming to is perhaps today we should thank our Creator for the homes that shelter us, protecting us from the storm, keeping us the comfortable temperature, all those things we oft take for granted.
And we feel a nest..tucked in an R...on the front of a store.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


My mother in law drove to the end of a rainbow. She was out in the desert, it was clear the rainbow was beautiful as she approached and then she realized the end of it was right on the road ahead of her. She stopped her car and sat there. I'm not certain how the reflection was for her right then. But it was beautiful.
Once when I was in college, and I may have told you this story some time before, we were studying for exams. My dorm, Taylor Tower, had 13 floors but the top floor was called the laundry. There were wonderful quite spots to study. I had an important exam the next day and several of us were anxious. The storm had come through and we had heard the thunder and rain. Then for some reason a couple of us looked out of the window. Against a storm blue/black sky was THE most perfect rainbow I've ever seen. The colors were deep and true almost so clearly lined between them it was awesome. You could not only count the colors, you could almost touch them. We all looked at each other and said, It is going to be ok.

According to Biblical stories that is what the rainbow was ...a promise. That things would be ok and that God was in control. Wow, that's good news.

I always go out and look for rainbows if I see sunshine after a rain. Let's look for the rainbows.

The promise is there... God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Like an Only Child

I remembered today that when I was in college and took tennis for PE the teacher hollered at me.. YOU ARE AN ONLY CHILD
Which indeed was true.
Why did you say that? I asked her.
Because, you had the put-away shot twice, a shot I know you can make, and you didn't take it. As an only child you learned that if you win, the other person might quit and you have to stop playing.

There are sometimes in the world today where people play with one another, or relate to one another, and they play as long as they are winning and then if things turn and they don't win, ta da, they stop playing. But the funny part, well sad-funny, is that if they were winning and the others wanted to stop they would be shouting about being a bad sport.
And most of the time I've never heard anyone say, Oh I'm so sorry I was a bad sport.
So then, do we live our lives like we are siblings who are willing to play as hard as we can and then congratulate the winner? Life going on.

In the kin-dom I think we'll realize our related-ness and love one another.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Monday, June 19, 2006

Your People will be My People

Some years ago my aunt showed me a picture of a family reunion in South Carolina. To my real true surprise I was looking at a whole bunch of people who looked a lot like me, or I like them. I'd found my 'people'. My Tribe as the modern word for this as we borrow from that kinship of the Native American folks. My goodness they looked like me, and my mother, and my aunts, and ... well you get the drift.
In scripture in the Old Testament Book of Ruth, there is a line where Ruth has promised to turn away from everything she knows and continue as Ruth's daughter. Your people will be my people... She says in a declaration of kinship seldom seen and against the 'rule' of the day where a wife was returned to her family when the husband died. But this statement pulled her away from her roots and replanted them in the family she had married. It was not a blended family. They were one.
And this was wholly Naomi's family. ( And I suppose I could say holy Naomi's family.) Whatever was said between them, whatever bond they had formed was so tight there was not going back.
Years ago, and in some places still, I was listed as Mrs. John McGarey, the former Barbara Giltz. Well you know, I'm still Barbara Giltz. I am just also McGarey. I brought with me all that I was and didn't abandon it, but between us being Bobbie Giltz grew into someone new, Bobbie Giltz McGarey.
Where you go...I will go... Your people will be my people. Could you imagine yourself ever surrendering to another's culture, laws, ways of cooking, everything?
I suppose we could for love. And apparently that love is what gave Ruth the strength to embrace it. Orphah the other daughter in law did what was right according to the law. We cannot discredit her for following what was matter how much she loved Naomi.
It seems that also we often give Ruth all the credit for being so 'brave'. What about Naomi who took on a daughter-in-law with different ideas as well.
I've heard it said we need more faithful people like Ruth who will sacrifice everything for love. What if we were people who were like Naomi--who took into their families, others different from ourselves, who need new families, new people to love them and honor them and teach them and ...
So, then, how do we come to be part of new people? We do so by saying Yes to our Creator who is always leading us in a new way. We don't give up who we are. We don't lose our indiviudality or identity, we just say "here I am, send me, use me." Or like the hymn Spirit of the living God, "melt me, mold me,'
Shape me into someone altogether new...altogether me. Your people will be my people, Welcome home.

God Abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Saturday, June 17, 2006

family stories

Oh I love seeing family and listening to the stories they tell. Each one telling a story that is more fun than the last. It is such a joy.
And they tell them with such love. Not remembering --as much as re-living and re-constructing from another time.
And these stories are not all about miraculous things. They are more about ordinary living and faithfulness. Resting back in a peacefull spirit that fills us all to the brim.

May you be filled this day with the memory of a family story, or creating your own family story, or remembering the voices that echo in your heart.

Do you remember when...?

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Friday, June 16, 2006


My Dad, (seems appropriate to think of him so near Father's Day), My Dad raised me to be observant. When I was young in elementary school we moved to a house that was just newly built. In those days--the 50's when new 'developments' were made they would cut down almost all the trees and put the houses in. So my Dad started planting trees in our yard. A red oak in the front yard, a locust and a maple in the back. The maple was 'my' tree. Somewhere there is a picture of me standing next to it when it was planted. We, me and the tree, were about the same height. Needless to say, but I'm going to say it anyway, the Maple grew faster than I did. Before we moved from that house I was climbing in its branches. I spent a lot of time 'up' there. It was wonderful. About 35 years later my children and I drove past that house. Oh those trees. The Red Oak in the front yard and my maple tree were both still there. So beautiful and mature. It was good to see that the owners of that house over the years liked them as much as we.
When it would be getting ready to rain, or 'fixin-to' as Oklahomans are want to say, I noted on several occasions that the leaves on the trees seemed to be turned backwards, you could see the underside of the leaves. I noticed this for a couple of months before I mentioned it to my Dad.
Together we would watch the leaves before an approaching storm. The observation seemed to work fine. It is apparently part of Weather Folklore. So I wasn't the first to observe this.
John and I once drove down a street and I said ..."That lady has a white haired cat." He couldn't believe I could see the hair on her coat and make that assumption. I had seen it clearly as we drove by.
A keen-ness of eye can open doors to situations around us.
When we are open to seeing---and anticipate good things---they surely will happen. But we have to open our eyes in a literal and proverbial sense and be ready.

Dr. Bob Shelton would call certain people, "keen observers of life". Let's all work on becoming such observers...Of being present to the moments at hand...Of anticipating...of observing and participating...of loving the world... that hands us each day so many many tresures.

God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Monday, June 12, 2006

OH my

Our daughter's puppy, ChiliPepper, and I were watching the PBS program Nature. It was about the animals that had been abandoned, in New Orleans last year during the hurricane, because they couldn't be taken when people were rescued. This was about a group of folks going out and trying to get the pets to come with them to shelter.
It may have been the way the dogs barked when the rescurers came near---fear and confusion-- or it may have been how quickly all the ones they showed responded to human touch when they were held, calm and kind. They were in houses that had been abandoned, some trapped on the roof, some were just skin and bone. All the stories they showed were success. I'm sure there were others and thousands were not saved.
(ChiliPepper would look at the pictures and in her way furrow her brow to look almost like she was pondering what was happening. Ok ok! I know she's a dog. But, sigh, she seemed to understand.)

A couple of nights ago our daughter and I watched an Animal planet program about Meerkat. Meerkat Manor. It was well done. (even though my dad might not have liked it when they talked about them thinking! and reasoning.) One of our favorite, 'characters' was Shakespear. It left us not knowing what exactly happened to him. Talk about tension. On more than one occasion during the program we went "Ahhhhh!" at the cuteness or the funny behavior. This group has been studied for many years and their social structure understood. Ah animal behavior.

We human animals have different codes in different places about how we will behave toward one another. Wearing white in some societies is the color of mourning, not celebration. Some cultures shake hands and others bow to the other person as a greeting. So many different kinds of ways --to be people.

However one thing I think we have in common is compassion. I'll bet if people in most any country saw either of these two animal programs they would have the same responses I did. I'll be they would be touched by the reunion of pet and person. I'll bet they would say Ahhh and laugh when the Meerkat, tired, fell asleep standing up on its hind legs.

What we share is a deep desire to care for one another. And it seems to me, in this world of ours, the humankind one, that we would do well to stretch that kindness and compassion a little further.
Jewel sings a song, Only Kindness Matters.
Here are her lyrics.


If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we're all OK
And not to worry 'cause worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I won't be made useless
I won't be idle with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear
My hands are small, I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
Poverty stole your golden shoes
It didn't steal your laughter
And heartache came to visit me
But I knew it wasn't ever after
We'll fight, not out of spite
For someone must stand up for what's right
'Cause where there's a man who has no voice
There ours shall go singing
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
I am never broken
In the end only kindness matters
In the end only kindness matters
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
We are never broken
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's mind
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's heart
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's eyes
We are God's hands
We are God's hands
In the end, only kindness matters

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Rev. Dr. Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

New Way

On the way to Temple, OK today there was a roadblock. They are putting in a new bridge. So I turned south early and took a different route. This one led me over the lake and through a different part of the county that I've not seen. So beautiful. The very wide open fields, the two great Blue Herons standing by the lake, a red-headed woodpecker on the telephone post, all caught my eye.
Then there was a house, an old one, that is surrounded by trees old old house that the trees were holding up. Surrounding. Protecting.
I often wonder who built that old house. The old house that was about two windows wide, and one room deep. It was placed on the edge of a hill. I could imagine the folks stopping there, seeing the valley, the hillside and saying, "here is where we'll build a home."
We live our lives going one way and risk going another. Then imagine those who lived in that house...those who went a whole different way from family and all they knew to build that house.
Sometimes we have to take a new way. It may open your eyes in way you hadn't expected. New..

God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Monday, June 05, 2006

Life sayings

- Life must move forward but it can only be understood backward." Kierkegaard
Hummmm? This really made me think.

I was reading some background for the sermon this week, Trinity Sunday, and I found this saying. It really touched me because it seems so true.

True because we are to live our lives looking ahead, but prayerfully figuring out things in the past that put life together. I believe that we have a reason to look back at who we were and where we've been---and learn something from it.
I am amazed at folks who don't learn. Who continue to live in fear rather than love...who continue to judge rather than reconcile...who don't listen to the truth but spread gossip...
Have they not learned that God's plan for our lives is to live forward and to turn from those things which hold us or bind us.
One of the first Greek words we learned in seminary was the verb --to loose. I thought it really funny because i didn't think that word would be very handy. However, the more I study scripture it is a verb that I don't think we apply being freed enough to our faith life. It seems to me that many would rather remain bound by prejudice, fear, unhappiness or other behaviors that bind you. That hold you down from being who you were created to be.

Be loosed... Be freed. Forgiven and freed in Jesus...
Go to it now..
go forward.
God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Saturday, June 03, 2006


The Cook two years at Camp Elmhurst in PA was a wonderful woman who was gifted. She knew how to make food for the whole camp seem like home-made just for you. She was great with stretching the camp budget but feeding us well. The first Summer all the girl counselors thought our clothes were shrinking, alas not so. We were so active and's hungry that Bessie's food seemed all the better and we more righteous in eating that we all added about 15 lbs.
One year when the camp's cherry trees were fruiting...mmm...we had to teach the kids who'd never eaten them that they couldn't eat an unlimited amount without result. One of the counselors, Tim, with Bessie's help made cherry pie. We all took turns pitting the cherries. Oh that was good pie.
Bessie spent her weekends by herself just resting and taking care of herself. We didn't see her at all from Saturday morning till Sunday late afternoon.
One time the camp directors wife, a petite woman, had a cold and Bessie gave her one of her cold medications. We left Chris to go to the lake and when we came back she told us of the 'drug-induced' hallucinations she had all day. Apparently the cold medicine had a different effect on one so much smaller. (The patterns on the wall paper were dancing.) She was fine and didn't have a cold any longer.
Bessie would hug the children, and encourage those who were having trouble, she just seemed to sense who they were and she'd call them into "HER" kitchen.
I have no idea where Bessie might be 35 years later. But she lives in the hearts and memories of a lot of people.
Ah Bessie. Got some more of that cobbler?

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Friday, June 02, 2006

Friday 2

When the Polio vaccine came out and we lined up at my elementary school hallway, then cafeteria, watching those who had already had the injection leave for some sign of the level of pain we were about to encounter, how frightened we were. Frightened not of the shot, but of crying in front of our class. It was seriously something none of us wanted to do.
Why they had us line up together and watch the others get their shots remains a mystery to me even after all these years.

There were two people i remember from this day most clearly. Neither name do i recall.. One was a girl who was larger than most of us and the other a boy who was skinner. She was weeping soft tears because she was afraid of the shot. He looked up at her and said, "Oh don't be frightened. Think of how you'd feel if you had to give them this arm", and he held out his own very thin arm. He smiled at her. She looked at him and then at her own arm and laughed as gently as she cried. He said he just hoped the needle didn't poke out the other side.

A kindness for sure.
A kindness of the purest kind. This was not in expectation of anything in return. This was a kindness of caring and compassion between two young kids. They weren't great friends.

He just saw someone in pain and offered her consolation.
What either of them is doing now I have no idea. I have long lost contact with the others at Oakland Park Elementary School of Columbus Ohio.. But this I do know, how deeply this touched me. How even now I think of that little kindness. We all hope and pray we will be remembered some day for simple kindness toward others in pain.

That is good news
God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey


Yesterday the rains came
pouring out like the showerhead in fancy hotels
it fell
for some time
soaking grass
and making small lakes
where lawn had been.

I sat on the porch
the gardenia is blooming
and its smell
transports me
to childhood days

the thunder far off
the rain misting me on the porch
the neighbor greets me with
a holler and wave

when do we take time
to be
in the rainstorm
that covers the thirsty
ground and waters
all the flowers?

God Abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Memorial Tourney

The Memorial Golf tourney is in Columbus Ohio. It has been going on for 30 years. My parents had friends, the McCoys who would get week long tickets but they only wanted to go the last two days. My folks on the other hand loved to go during the week. Especially the practice rounds where the golfers were more relaxed. My Daddy knew a couple of the top golfers of the time personally. They would speak to him by name. It was a real treat for him.
When my mother, many years later, lived with us she would enjoy watching Golf. She would tell our kids. Your Grandfather played with them when we were in Ohio. They would say...Oh Ok Granny. Finally one day I told them the history, that indeed their grandfather knew that golfer personally but had never played with them. (We did all play on the Ohio State golf course)
Each time I watch this golf I remember my parents and their love of Golf. They loved to play and to watch. They loved to enjoy the tournaments at their golf course. I have many hours of good memories of playing with them. Walking, talking, taking time together as we played was a real treat for me.
I hope everyone can find ways to spend time with those they love. Some day --that love remembered --will make you a winner.
God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

i saw a quote today... Is prayer your steering wheel or spare tire.