Awakening a Keen Observer

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Snow Day

Yes, even here in Oklahoma. It's a snow day. Perhaps even more so here because we ar not accustomed to the snow. The cars are shrink-wrapped in ice. Its colder than usual. But I am not complaining. I still have a remnant of cold weather clothes from the last place we lived.
When I was little and lived in Ohio in the winter before big tests we'd all pray for a snow day. Never happened. When I would visit Martha and Janice and it was time to go home we would pray that it would snow and we couldn't leave. It often snowed but we traveled home anyway.
I think though of those who do not have a coat or sweater or a place to keep them warm. I realize that probably there are a lot of people who are uncomfortable because this is unexpected. This is perhaps even more real here where cold weather isn't the norm. In the North people know it's coming and are prepared.
I think too of the people who years ago lost everything in an earthquake in Pakistan and who are still living in tents when it is cold like this for months at a time.
Here I sit, warm, comfy and with 4 coats in the closet.
I am going to take some to the Good Will or the food closet for someone who needs a coat. I can't wear four at a time anyway.
Snow days are great but what about families who now need childcare during school hours because parents have to work? What do they do on a snow day?

Snow day.
A day away from what we expected. Make use of a day out.

God abides
Happy Birthday Mom!
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


...and lack of power.

We lived in a tiny house in northern Ohio one summer. It was surrounded by maple trees and so they called it, "The Maples". It was in a rural area not far from Lake Erie. It was a one lane farm road to get there.

It seemed like the perfect summer for me to learn to ride a two wheel bike. I'd had one for several months but always rode with the training wheels on. Those were the extra two wheels on either side of the rear wheel to steady you as you learned. My dad said come on out and let's try something new. I saw my bike without the wheels and asked my Daddy if he thought I was ready.

I know you are ready and I'll support you he promised. And he did--as I rode he ran behind me holding the seat and steadying me. It was great. We did this for a good long time. I tried not to go too fast so he didn't have to run so hard. We laughed as we went along.
After a good long while I asked him how I was doing and there was no answer. I asked him again and again without reply. I asked one more time before I looked over my shoulder to see him many yards behind. I had been riding on my own.
I didn't fall. I stopped and turned the bike. You left me! I was so surprised. Ride on back he said. I turned and hopped on and rode back to him. He had a bitter-sweet expression on his face along with a look of pride.
You can do it yourself he said You have the power.
The rest of the summer I rode all over including down the dirt road that went a mile or so back to the marsh. It was wonderful. I loved it. I remember him turning that power over to me. In fact at times when I've hesitated I can still hear him in my heart encouraging me.

We have power and ability we don't know we have unless we try. True enough as we start out we may need an experienced hand to balance us. But, alas, all too often we don't even try to use what we've been given. We live our lives with training wheels on---what a shame.

You can do whatever it is that you believe God is claiming for you to do. You can find ways to be strong when you were weak, to be peaceful when you were chaotic, to be truthful, to be most of all most loving.
You have the power. It is the power of the spirit of God that is in you to be about the work of the kingdom. You are ready. You can do this!

God abides in light and shadow
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

thanks Daddy again

Monday, November 27, 2006


A Thanksgiving story was shared with me tonight about a son who surprised his Mom on Thanksgiving by coming home when he had said he was totally tied up with work. She was so happy. He arrived on friday but it didn't matter they had a wonderful weekend together.
We have certain expectations about this holiday time of year. And often because they are unreasonable expectations we become disappointed. It happens. We place so much 'stock' on our own desires, or on the days going exactly as we planned that one thing out of place knocks the whole time off kilter. We become disappointed when we place an unreality before enjoying what we have.
My family often gathered at Thanksgiving. We would have such fun and laugh and giggle that it was so refreshing. Even when my cousins and I were in college we had a great time together. We still do have fun.
Perhaps if we expect every day to be surprised by something wonderful we would enjoy the holidays more. We could be on the watch for that happening and when it comes we would rejoice in its beauty. We could remember those or write them down. Surely there are tasks to be completed. However, it would be a time when we would have such fun being alert. Perhaps too we might have even more than one surprise
each day.
Think about trying that...waking each morning and saying to ourselves. I wonder what is going to happen today!
God abide with you
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Friday, November 24, 2006


We have had a good Thanksgiving weekend here. Our kids were home and my cousins came up to OK too. There were 11 at the table. The youngest 7 months the oldest, well it's not nice to tell a lady's age and she is Val's mom...

But what I was feeling as we worked to get ready was a joy that came over me because I feel equally related. I feel related to my family of origin and to John's family. It is hard to say if I am closer one to another. Then I realized. I was not closer one to another, one had shared more history but the other has been weaving itself in to my life for twice longer than I've been alive. This was good news. There was a binding of me to so som many others. As a former Only child that felt really good. Really good. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to love both...and even more wonderful to be loved myself...
So relatedness has to do with where we put ourselves in relation to other folks. Thanks Be to God, I'm feeling really connected right now.
God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey
nighteo little Edgar you are a sweet sweet child with wonderful parents...

Thursday, November 23, 2006


We had driven from Columbus to Massillion, Ohio. My dad's father lived there so we went to be with him.
One year my cousin was recovering from back surgery. She was in a cast from under her arms to her thigh. It was so impossible for her do move or do anything. She was in this cast for weeks; including thanksgiving.
She and I sat in her bedroom the whole day. How could I complain? We talked and laughed and I even insisted on eating in there with her. We watched the parades.
Then they had more than one big parade. We would watch one after another...and another...
When I see the Thanksgiving day parades I remember her and my Daddy's whole family. They were good salt-of-the-earth kind of folks.
My cousin recovered and became a nurse, married and had several children.
The parades keep coming. I think of those who watched them wondering if memories were being made for them even still?

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Thanks-giving Day

Thanksgiving Day. What's wrong with that? Well I started to think when I heard the third commentator start out is the day that Americans set aside to give thanks for all they have. It hit me then that somehow we are truly missing something if it is The ONE day, as one commentator said. Because truly folks, friends if you will, we should be giving thanks all the time. Seriously All the time.
We have to watch the news reports from Anywhere know that truly we should give thanks all the time.
Today I was in the grocery store with a cart full of food for the weekend. Probably more than we need, well surely more than we need, and a woman coming from the other direction, equally loaded down, frowning, looked at me and said something about me smiling, as if it were something wrong... I said, Well I'm just happy that I have all the money to pay for this food so that's why I'm smiling. I mean really. She was dressed like she could pay for her food and mine. I thought of all those who don't have food.
Then I began to take note of other carts. What did other people have in their carts? Especially, what did those people who only had a few things have in their carts? It is not the day that you would be just shopping for fun. An older couple, (that is older than me) had a few items. Perhaps they were going to someone's home for least I'd like to think so.
So then when I give thanks tomorrow and the next day and the next day it will be for all the things that have given me such peace and joy everyday. So maybe we should think of thanksgiving as a day to remember that we should be thankful all the time.
So whether you celebrate as we Americans do on this day or you are somewhere else I pray you have a multitude of reasons to be thankful.

God abides
--always good news!
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Monday, November 20, 2006

hold it up to the light

My daughter called and suggested I listen to a song. We'd both listened to most of the CD it was on before but somehow this one hadn't caught either one of us. So I listened and it is really good.
This song is too complex to copy here but it has a message that is evocative. It is the kind of song with words that bring out thoughts in you.
One of our professors in Seminary said that the best sermon, or the best talk, or the best story, is one that evokes in the hearer thoughts or images or questions. Something to think about...not all the answers.
I attended a conference in the early 1990's and the speakers were wide ranging and very evocative. I didn't agree with everything that was said but all of the words did indeed bring out questions that linger. Good kinds of questions. I love that in a presentation or experience.
We learn to enjoy being challenged in bringing out in ourselves the new thought or the new wondering. I think when we stop wondering we lose something wonderful that life brings.
If we really had all the answers what would that be like? If we knew everything that was going to happen, if we knew that we were going to experience what would that be like? I think we would just be sliding through our days.
As it is we seem to have too few.
Hold it up to the light. Hold our questions up to the light of God's love... and see what you can figure out.
Oh ok, here are a few of the words.
David Wilcox.
Now as soon as I'm moving - my choice is good
This way comes through right where I prayed that it would
If I keep my eyes open and look where I should
Somehow all of the signs are in sight
If I hold it up to the light
So as those questions come and we want-- some answers perhaps it is a song that can give us some assurances.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Saturday, November 18, 2006


During the college football season there is evidence everywhere of loyalty. Holding on to ...cherishing links we have made over the years.
We become loyal to companies or brands. The advertising folk know this well and depend onour recognizing the Golden Arches or the Nike Check-mark. Some of the shoe brands have figured out that putting that symbol on the sole of a shoe will leave that impresion if you are walking on sand or soft earth. At Arches National Park in southern Utah on one trip there my daughter and I noticed these impressions in the sand. We could recognize several different brands of shoes. Free advertising to be sure.
What brand however do we in our lives leave on the earth? Where we are...with those we know...with those we meet... ?
What image do they have of us, or perhaps even more importantly what image or impression do we leave with them? That is to say what gift we can give another person we meet is an image of themselves that shows something they didn't ever know before. What if we made it part of our life journey to bring out in others the strengthes they didn't even know they had...but that we see...honestly and authentically. Have you had someone do that for you? I have been blessed with others who have done that with me.
So, loyalty, loyalty to being the most genuine people we can be without deception is what calls us this day. Loyalty to bringing hope where people are in dispair. Loyalty to being people of charity and kindness. Loyalty to opening others to their deepest potential is to be loyal to our call as people of God.

So, loyalty, for team or for brand stands pale before loyalty to others who need us and claim us and by whom we are claimed.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

"Faith is not being sure of where you are going but going still"

Rev. Dr. Barbara Giltz McGarey

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thursday Part 2

In a book called Fables, by Lobel, there is one of my alltime favorite stories. It is about the elephant that wanted to do ballet. I can try and relate some of it... There was an elephant that wanted to be a ballerina. And so she got the shoes, and the tutu, and the whole outfit and began to take lessons. She practiced and practiced and it came time for the big performance. She danced. The friends she'd invited watched, almost embarrassed, as she was not very good, they thought. However, she was so happy with what happened on the stage she couldn't contain herself from joyful laughter after she was finished.
Her friends told her that she wasn't very good. Others told her to just give up she would never dance the ballet as it should be danced. She thought for a while. Then she danced, because the dancing brought her great satisfaction.

When we first arrived in Duncan I took an art class. We did basic drawings and used charcoal and pastelles. They were very forgiving tools with which to draw. So ihad a good time. One woman in the class with me would look at what I'd done, when we were copying something, a still life, and she'd say, "Do you like that?" She was looking at my drawing. I'd be smiling and say, "Yes!" I was happy to have the sense of freedom that I felt. Like the elephant that danced I was not that good by other standards but what I did brought me great satisfaction.

What is it that brings you satisfaction and peace? Do you have a way to pause in the day and breathe? I mean really breathe. A deep satisfying breath.
I've offered this before to you. Again...
Breathe in... Lord Jesus Christ
Breathe out... Have mercy on me.

May you find both satisfaction and peace. And may what you do make the world more beautiful!

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

odd sayings

We have a lot of odd sayings in English that we are supposed to understand. Some of these are ones that we know with odd twists at the end. I thought they were odd enough to be funny. I hope you enjoy them. I got them from The Google... odd sayings. enjoy

The early bird gets the worm. but the second mouse gets the cheese

I intend to live forever. So far, so good

If you are not makin' waves, you are not kickin' hard enough

Quantum Mechanics: the dreams stuff is made of

Support bacteria - they're the only culture some people have

Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don't have film

If you choke a Smurf what colour does it turn'?

Who is General Failure and why is he reading my hard disk'?

What happens if you get scared half to death twice.

Energiser Bunny arrested. charged with battery

OK, so what's the speed of dark'?

God abides even in the oddest sayings of the world.
that's good news...
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Monday, November 13, 2006

lost and awe

I drove down a back road to a friend’s house
and because I’d made a wrong turn I was now on a
dirt road.
Was I lost?

But seriously, how could I be lost?
I had not driven off the end of the world
and this road would eventually intersect
with a bigger road and at least take me
back to the place I had started.
The roads out there run north and south
and east and west. I rephrased my thought
I am not lost.

So instead of driving quickly
I slowed down and was rewarded almost immediately
with a hawk right there beside the road
and I realized that I would have missed it.
I would have missed it. I stopped my car watching.
The bird seemed pleased to be observed.

So quickly we move through our days.
We may make notes in a journal to remember
but we may not really ‘see’ even then.
What we need even more,
even more
be alert.

Suddenly there, where it had been all along
was a patch of sunflowers being themselves
along the side of the road.
I would have missed them.
Their perfect form and praise to their creator.
And I wondered
if it could be that
I was the first person
to see them.
Did anyone else who used this road
notice them?
A discovery of beauty that led to awe.
I was found
–not lost at all.

God Abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey
photo by
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Saturday, November 11, 2006


ML would call our house when we lived in Utah about 10 to 10pm. Apparently after 10 was too late to call but 10-to-10 was ok. To be honest we would often be watching the last 10 minutes of some TV program we'd watched for the 50 minutes before and really wanted to see the end. Oh I know, it wasn't that important but we almost got to a point where we laughed when we heard the phone ring. He didn't care which one of us he talked to and to share what was on his mind. What a great guy, seriously, he was a great guy with stories that were amazing.

But the image of ML I remember the most clearly was standing in the snow on 11-11 at 11 am by the Flagpole in the Cemetary. It was often a really cold day. More than once in the dozen years we lived in Utah there was snow on the ground. But the small group of folks who came were always moved by the ritual and the honoring that Veteran group who had passed on before. There were fewer who 'remembered' almost every year.

What do we do to honor those who have gone before? What do we do to honor those who are now engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan and all around the world?

Let us pray for peace. Let us pray for the world that the cover of peace would be with all people. That we are the first to bring that love where we are and to pass it on and on and on.

God abides, always has, always will.

Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Free Floating

Remember the 'magic' trick where they have a table set with cups and saucers and dishes and the magician pulls the tablecloth out so fast that the dishes stay right where they are? I tried that trick with less success. The only good part was that I was using my plastic dishes. However, if that image is in our heads then I think we see life like that...that we can have things all settled and set and even if the table cloth is pulled out from under things stay set.

Cartoon characters in the 50's would often go running off a cliff, and keep going, until they looked down. When they looked down they would try and get back to the edge before they fell straight down. Remember, these are cartoon characters. But the fun/funny part was that they didn't fall until they recognized they could.
I remember being confused about this as a child and daring gravity took a flying leap off the bed toward my Daddy certain that if I believed enough I would fly to him. (this was before Kindergarten). But alas, as you probably already grasped, I didn't fly and instead came crashing down in front of him, though he tried to get to me, and knocked all the wind out of me. I was disappointed more than I was hurt.

These examples should make us laugh. Acting against the laws of nature just doesn't work. That should be no surprise. I mean most of the time gravity is our friend!

But we are surprised. We are suprised when the world behaves like it should. We are surprised when we forget to love and wonder why love seems so far from us. We are surprised when we don't accept God's grace and peace and we remain troubled. We are surprised when we forget to give mercy, to love kindness, to walk humbly with God, and we struggle against the world at every turn.

So in this you can choose.
Be free-floating in the promises of God
or try to walk on air or fly...

When you surrender to the promises amazing life abounds around you.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Monday, November 06, 2006

A roof over our head

It was a beautiful fall day for Golf and my Daddy and I had gone out on the Scarlet Course at the Ohio State Golf Course. I was in high school. We finished the front nine and decided we could 'make it' finishing the back nine before the storm we could see in the far distance would catch up with us. We were mistaken. We got caught in one of the shelters at the farthest point from the clubhouse. It rained.
The shelters were square but the inside was divided into four parts pointing the four directions with a small bench at the back of them. In theory you could find one side that would be dry even if there was a wind. That was the theory but this day the wind kept shifting so by the time the storm passed we were soaked. But it did pass and we played in the last three holes. (the 17th being my favorite on both the Scarlet and Gray Courses) I went to my locker, showered and got some dry clothes, and then met my Dad downstairs for a little lunch.
It was a great day, not because we got wet, or because we played golf, or because the food tasted sooo good. It was a great day because we'd had this adventure together and we were ok.

But the rain had come. As we sat in the shelter we recalled other times we'd gotten caught in rain. Once we were in a duck blind on the lake behind the house we lived in one summer. It was not a great place to be but it was safer than walking on the catwalk across the pond or on the open field we had to cross. We were mostly dry in it.

What if you don't have a roof--or shelter? What if the rains coming are not met with such glee? What if you got wet, and then stay wet because there were not dry clothes in a locker or hot food in a clubhouse? What if you lived in a shelter built of boxes in Dafur or Dallas? Some people feel lucky because they can say they live under the bridge. It is a place that affords some shelter.

What if we didn't have warm blankets in the winter or coolers in the summer? What if we had to hope and pray that our families stayed healthy because there was NO healthcare anywhere for us and a cold or stomach upset could be life threatening?

But we live in warm, save, comfortable houses. We don't get soaked if it rains. We wait... or venture out with our raincoats or umbrellas or both.

Look up ...see the ceiling in the room you are in...see the roof there at the top, God lover is a banner over us in when the sky opens and the showers knock us down instaed of picking us up. We have roofs over our heads. Let us say Thanks Be to God.

Happy November
God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Friday, November 03, 2006

where we are

This NASA photo of the earth looks like we are seeing North America. I think it even shows the center part of North America, where we are. See.... right there... the bottom of TX and then north to Oklahoma? Ok it is a little distant as you can see the edges of our world.
At Edith Bowen school in Utah, and I'm sure in other places, they had a map of the US drawn on the playground. It was huge. We would go there and play a game of trying to find a state once it had been called out. You would run and stand in the state. It gave some perspective one to another.

And it is perspective we get when we see the earth as a globe and when we sort our lives in terms of the whole world. We sort our lives in terms of our family, or community, or friends, or .... But we might want to consider sorting lives in terms of many many others. What our lives can do to bring good, a greater good, all around. There are a lot of possibilites in that. How would anyone have time to be bored?

Perhaps it is human to sort ourselves into tribes or families or communities. Perhaps it is the human desire to find those who understand us or who are like us (or just plain like us) or into those with whom we share similar experience in life.

We read all kinds of stories about folks who have experienced a trauma together being drawn together in an unexpected way because of the 'group fear'.
Would that we were more often drawn together in group joy. Like the opportunity to vote, or those who have food on their tables in abundance, or those who bring peace and laughter in the world. You figure out the grouping that would make a difference to you.

There was a 60's song... "Come on people now, smile on each other, we've got to get together and love one another right now."

It is scriptural you know. Jesus said, love one another, pray for your enemies, and go the extra mile, and.... well you get the idea.
The earth and all that is on it is to be loved. Blessings today in that effort.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey