Awakening a Keen Observer

Tuesday, August 31, 2004


When I taught Biology at Arizona State one of my students came in and begged to take the final exam early because he had a great job in another city and needed to leave early. The head professor said ok and he came in and took the exam and did ok. About 10 days later John and I went out to dinner at our favorite little restruant and our waiter came up...there was my student. He started his little "Hi I'm Jeff and I'll be your server"-- speech and then actually looked at us and froze mid-word. Apparently his story to get to take the exam early was just made up. I didn't say anything but hi... and went on with our order. Caught...always.

The other day I read a headline that said there was an article-- 20 ways to tell if someone is lying. I didn't have time to read the article but felt that it probably had ideas in it that were familiar. Like watching eye contact, nervousness, glibness. all the things that let you feel that Gut feeling that someone isn't telling the truth. We pretend that if someone else doesn't see our miss-truth that somehow God won't know. But God does know.

The truth sounds different doesn't it. Sometimes we want to believe soneone so badly that we won't hear lies. Parents sometimes do this with their children. Because to know the children are lying about their actiivity but you really don't want to know .
Then there are times when Parents don't tell their children the truth. My dear Mom told us she was doing, 'just fine' when she really was not at all. Perhaps she wasn't lying so much as just tryingn somehow to cope with her life and this was the way she functioned.

Lying is one of the things that Jesus didn't ever do. He never lied about his work, his misison, his care and concern for others. He always contronted people with the truth. And when he did they were transformed. Sometimes the truth was wrapped in a parable and not seen by all. But Jesus saw. The woman at the well was just one example. When she heard the truth she began rejoicing and was the first evangelist.

But it is true that some people in the world lie.

And so what can we do?

Pray that the truth will out. That indeed all God's plan has power and energy to overcome things said that are lies. Pray that those who stretch the 'truth' understand that that being false will always be found out. Know that God always knows the truth.

and loves us still

God Abide
Bobbie McGarey

Monday, August 30, 2004

That time of year...

When Johnny went to college I was happy sad. There were periods of open weeping. I tried to be brave for the good-bye and then just turned and cried. I knew in my heart it would be ok...but it didn't feel ok.

On this day in 1997 Johnny went to Austin College in Sherman, TX. . I left him and drove as far as I could on my way to see Gladys, my mother in law. I got as far as Wichita Falls, Tx, a few hours and stopped. I was going to fall asleep but turned on the TV and there was the report about Princess Diana's accident and death. I already was sad. That happy sad a parent gets when good things happen for their children ---and yet the bittersweet moment of having to leave them.

I cried, about Diana and about her life lost so young. I remembered watching her wedding with my cousin Martha at 4 in the morning in KY right before our daughter Martha Elizabeth, Betsy was born in 1978. All in all a lot of family history had Princess Diana wrapped up in it--and now Diana was gone.

When I got to AZ Gladys and I watched the funeral together, weeping I got up at 3 am to watch it...I figured if I had gotten up for her wedding I could get up for this.. I think I watched it twice. It was so sad her young sons following her casket. The tons of flowers in front of her home and the palace. I watched the service, watched the people pray and realized that around the world people were watching this service and millions praying the Lord's Prayer. She had just begun to grow into herself. Working for the rights of others, against land mines, and for AIDS sufferes. There was that amazing picture ofher with Mother Teresa. She had everything.

Then the same week at the end of the week Mother Teresa died. More tears, more middle of the night funeral viewing, more praying with the mass of people around the world watching this service as well. So different. Mother Teresa died with two sweaters, one Bible, one pair of sandles, and yet she truly had everything because she had Jesus.

Mother Teresa lived a life filled with others needs, reaching out to the poorest of the poor and being congrugent about her work because she lived as they did...all else went for caring for them. Hands always reaching out in blessing.

Live your life knowing that you already have everything. You have Jesus, Jesus, who knows you and loves you still. This is really good news.

May all who are leaving their sons or daughters for education surround them with protection. Don't be embarrassed by tears. Know they are in God's good protecting merciful hand.

God abides
Bobbie McGarey

Sunday, August 29, 2004

single cloud

II was coming home from Church today and the day was/is beautiful. Oddly though I looked over and this one round circle in the field was dark. The rest of the world was bright sunny. I looked through the sun roof and there was a tiny single cloud. Apparently that one cloud was what was causing that one shadow on the ground. I wished for some way to take a picture.

Sometimes in our lives it seems a single cloud, when one small something, can change the whole way the day appears. We thinkk things are going well but suddenly we are in the middle of chaos or dread. Perhaps what we need to do is to take some action.
1. Move out of the chaos. Find the place that is in the light.
2. Realize that the cloud is moving, that chaos doesn't remain forever.
3. Enjoy a moment where things are different from the usual.
4. Accept the fact that: There are always going to be clouds sometimes.

Have a great week. May each day bring something to make you smile. May you bring to each day something that makes you smile.

God abides
Bobbie McGarey

clouds bring rain
that nourshes the earth
all grows
into newness

Friday, August 27, 2004

We belong to God

I heard last night that Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross died in Scottsdale on the 25th of August. I found on her webpage a wonderful quote of hers. Not one that someone else has said about her. But her own. Here is the addresss of the site. the link is that with selected quotes. Her son Ken took the beatiful picture of her.

My Mother in law, Dr. Gladys McGarey was for a while her physican and then became her dear friend. Gladys had turned over her medical care to others when Elisabeth had serious strokes a few years ago. Each time Gladys would visit she would take flowers from her garden. I met Elisabeth once and John, my husband, had a long conversation with her about life and death issues.

What she taught us about not fearing the subject of death -- is what our faith has always taught us.."In life and in death we belong to God". What she gave us however was permission in the world to talk about dying when people needed to do so. Elisabeth, taught us all that we need to fully live. That is what her life is about. About six years ago she decided, after recovering some from one of her strokes, that she needed to dance, to live. She gathered a group of close friends and they had a celebration that included in part her being carried by a friend, standing on his feet, like small daughter's do dancing with their fathers, and dancing outside celebrating her life. It was a freeing time for her.

Now how do we live our lives? We live them each day. We have this day to thank God for our lives by living fuly.

Let's do that with joy. This is the day that God has made! Let us rejoice and be Glad in it!

God abides
004Bobbie McGarey

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


This is the day the Lord has made.
What can we learn from this first line of this hymn.
perhaps to live this day and this time with joy and hope and peace because indeed this is what we have.
And perhaps what we really need to learn is how blessed we are to have THIS day.
To have this time to tell friends we love them. To telll children we love them.

What is it that we have to do to learn.... this is the day that the Lord has made.

So we rejoice in this day. this time, this breath, this moment.

Bless you this day as you enjoy each minute and know that God's love is present for you.

Because it is..
God abide
Bobbie McGarey

Monday, August 23, 2004

Precious Child of God

I haven't gotten a copy of the article about the tribe that doesn't need numbers that I talked about a couple of days ago. I have been thinking about it however. It seems like one of the thing we do as individuals is learn early on that someoone is keeping score.
The Olympics and the Gymnast's choice about keeping the gold when there were error's made in the figuring all seem to enhance this feeling we have that we are spending our lives 'going for the gold'.
We teach children to behave in certain ways. They begin to earn a reward by completing tasks. What are we doing with that? Of course there are ways to tell children that they are precious children of God. What if that was the way we lived our lives. Teaching them over and over this very message. From the beginning...the first words spoken in their ear...
And frankly don't we all need to hear that? I mean be honest! Don't we all need to be reminded of that all the time. And perhaps instead of asking "what would Jesus do?" we would ask...As a precious child of God, what will be my work my life today to day thank you to God for all I am?"

In the movie, one of my all-time favorites Babbette's Feast one of the characters says...
"an artist is never poor...
throught the world sounds one long cry from the heart of the artist ..give me the chance to do my very best." Babbette's' Feast

So as an artist of your life have a good day...
PCC--that's you. Be well today you already have all you ever need and even more by God's Love. So go and enjoy. Nothing you do will ever change that love. "Nothing in all of creation can separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8)

God abide
Bobbie McGarey

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Tell Me the Story

"Tell me the stories of Jesus--I love to hear---things I would ask him to tell me---if he were here!"

There are questions we have for Jesus aren't there? Why did that young mother in Walters die in the car accident with a tiny baby? Why do some little babies have troubles when they are born and need help from the doctors? Why do some people get caught in addictions of action or chemicals?

These are questions that we ask sometimes of one another and know that the only real answers come from God. These questions are ones that wake us at night and that we wrestle with in the day. And in part, I think, the world wants answers. And somehow we don't do the best job of answering them? We perhaps try and salve them, make it feel better, but it doesn't always bring healing.

These questions are ones that we need to be addressing for the world-- and I think we can best understand and answer when we study and share the Bible's stories and insights about God's presence in the world when we walk with Jesus. Unafraid. Fear left behind. Assurance of God's love in Jesus shown to us in so many wonderful ways. Let's look for those stories all around us and I believe we will find them.

Somehow God reaches into the chaos of the world and offers us peace--- though not always recieved by us. Because sometimes it seems easier to spin in the chaos than to accept the peace.

God's peace is all your heart.... your mind...your your heart!

God Abide


Friday, August 20, 2004

This could change the world

On an National Public Radio program "Talk of the Nation" there was this report. I've copied the summary

In a report published this week in the journal Science, researchers describe a group of indigenous peoples in Brazil called the Pirahc tribe. The scientists found that the Pirahc seem to have fewer concepts for numbers than most other cultures. Members of the Pirahc culture have words for one and two -- but one, according to the study, can sometimes mean "around one." Larger numbers are "many."

Do you get what this is...they don't count...not like we do. We count all the time how much we have. How many do you have? I have more! What was your score? What did you get? How much money do you have? It is amazing how much we count... and measure ourselves against others.

But according to this report... this whole culture doesn't worry about that. Their language doesn't need it... They don't need it.

Here's a thought. Tomorrow keep track (count) how many times you measure something by number.

And remember all along with God's love we have all we ever need and even more.
You've already got all you need. now go and enjoy life.

God abides
Bobbie McGarey

Friday, August 13, 2004


There are a lot of people who are happy this afternoon when the Hurricane Charley changed it's course. We will get some wind and rain and tornados are still a possibility but the huge storm is going somewhere else for landfall. Wow! How fast things change.

I think part of being fully human however is not saying Yeah for ME! but "Oh my for you." What if we lived our lives teaching children to do that for others? Not "Yeah for me" all the time, but to say "Oh my for you" ...Imagine being one of the folks who looked away for an hour or two and looked back to see this storm bigger and headed right to them!?! Perhaps they are/were prepared like this area was...but perhaps not. They now are getting the brunt of the storm, huge storm

The People in the Sudan have nothing to say "Yeah for me about". There is war and starvation, genocide. There are thousands in :Camps: hungry, without good water, or medicine, or shelter. Oh ny for you! What can we do? Pray --but you knew I'd suggest that didn't you.. but also give through the PCUSA to their disaster relief. And then perhaps we really could say yeah for ourselves ---for starting to react to other's pain by first saying "Oh my for you... and then let me help..." and then feeling that incredible amazing feeling oh that feels good.

Sigh. Sometimes the Spirit interceeds for us with sighs to deep for words.

Oh Bless all those in the way of the storms of the world! Bless all those who stand in the middle between the storms and the hurting... Bless us when we reach out with all of our bounty and's something for you.... extravagant love given to you.

Yeah for God

God abide
Bobbie McGarey

Clearwater Florida

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Calm before the Storm

Apparently Hurricane Charlie is headed my way in Clearwater Florida. We have seen the storm tack probablities on the news and listened to the concerns and evacuations called for. We already pretty well know we'll be without electricity for a while... Ah vacation.
but right now, the night before it comes up the Florida coast, the skys are fairly clear. There are thunderstorms in the distance, and some really dark clouds off to the west but the bay is calm .. they won't let you cross the bridge to the gulf as that part of the place has been evacuated.

we are safe. so they say..and we believe them. we have bread and peanut-butter and jelly and water and coke and India food from dinner left-over. So we should be fine with food. We have a radio and batteries and candles and matches and other stuff...

we have books to read and some work to do...and the computer has a four hour battery so we could use it for a while.

but it is odd somehow...knowing that winds of 100 plus mph are coming and is the calm before the storm...

but in the world of the faithful perhaps it seems more that life in general is the storm before the calm.

That before we understand that God's will is active and present in the world we live in the storm tossed all the time by the whims of the world...
and then we find the calm in the peace of knowing God loves us...

Live into that comes before the calm

God abide
Bobbie McGarey
Thursday pm

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


The back door of her car shut -hard and glass went everywhere. Cascades of it. Shattered- splilling out on the ground inside the car and yet not on her but everywhere. It was a moment in time that was amazing and just really scared her in every way. But it was ok.
Neigbors walked by as she swept up the chards of glass and asked, "did someone break into your car? No! oh Good!" Well sort of good... No it just broke
The man at the glass store where she took it for repair walked around her car and said, "Don't you hate it when that happens!" Yup, pretty much.
But it was reparied, covered by insurance. All ok...and they fixed some light too. Anyway it was pretty amazing I thought!

Life is something like that glass. Something pushes a little to hard and everything is shattered--Plans, hearts, hopes, the world changes.

But unlike glass. Life can be repaired. Life is always change and change is what happens while we live. And sometimes---to be sure---- things seem to change out of our hands. Out of our plan..
Here's where the Good News comes in. Troubles are not given to us to make us stronger, shattered hearts, or dreams or hopes, are not a test of our faith. This is part of life. Hear this .----Always and forever God abides in these times. Insurance like no other that we are not alone...blessed assurance to the core of our being that God is always present and when we fall or faint or feel like we might, God is present in it as well. And that is wonderful wonderful good news.

God abide
And we give thanks to God.
almost on vacation

Monday, August 02, 2004

vacation assignment

Each day I get a reading and prayer/poem/psalm from this website. It is always a wonderful refreshing challenge. I'm going on vacation and don't know what internet access I'll have along the way so I refer you to this site. Use it while I'm gone. You can unsubscribe when you want. I'll be back around the 18th. Be well and God abide

I'll try and get access to the net along the way...but who knows... God does...
God abide
Bobbie McGarey
The Rev. Ann Fontaine
Lander, Wyoming
All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. Acts 2:44-47

Glad and generous hearts
like magnets
to heavy ironhearts