Awakening a Keen Observer

Saturday, October 30, 2004


How we look at something, our angle, the position we stand in, makes a difference in what we see. We all see with eyes that avoid sometimes seeing those who are really truly in need. Check out this article, and the series of reports that go with them. A friend referred me to them. They give our lives some perspective.

And just when we think we've figured it all out something like this breaks in... and we suddenly feel some sense of priviledge and power. Power because we have the means and the ways to make things happen that save us from most of the misery that is felt in the world. We are inside somewhere reading this with electricity in a probably most comfortable place. We have too much too do sometimes because we have too much, too many clothes to wash, shelves to dust, floors to vacuum...etc. You know this I don't have to tell you.

So what do we do after we have prayed for those who are bringing aid to those most in need? What action can we take in this world that would make a difference? Others have had good ideas and carried them through...why not each one of us...why not? No reason except that somehow we have been made to feel powerless when really we are so very powerful.

As the sabbath approaches, Reformation Sunday and Monday All Saints day. let's look to those who have gone before and made a difference. Let's be empowered by those who have shown the way. it was no easier for them. Listen! I believe God is calling you... Get ready...Your chance to say YES is coming... be ready.

God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Friday, October 29, 2004


I was away for a conference for Pastors of Small Membership Churches. It was well done and we worked hard while there as people trying to support and lead.
Then the lunar eclipse moon ...and it was spectacular from where we were in the Hill Country of TX at MO-Ranch.
A few of us after Chapel went to the Tennis courts where there was a clear view of the sky and the full moon. We waited. Laughed and watched and then saw the beginning as a slice was taken from the lower left of the moon. As it grew we watched, sometimes more patiently than others. And then...Is that totality? Is that? Is that? And when it happened we clapped and cheered and laughed. It was pretty incredible! Awesome in fact. And it lasted and lasted... far longer than we thought and then the deep clouds rolled in and the whole of the moon was gone.

But really part of the amazement was that as the bright light of the full moon was obscured during the eclipse...there were more and more and more and more stars. The deep blue looked at one point like a Georgia O'Keeffe painting. And then we saw the Milky way. One woman hadn't ever seen the milky way and was surprised when we said it was that thick white band of stars...see right there.

We can't always see the individual stars because of the light of the fullest moon. In life we can't always see the light of the sweetest kindest people who hold up the sky because of those who are 'stars' in the world who get the attention and the praise and the awe.
And it is the good people, everywhere, not the 'star-celebrities' who hold up the world in love.

It is the people who helped out the woman stranded by the road with a flat tire. It is the people who helped the child when she was lost from Daddy in the store. It is the people who say thank you and leave a generous tip to the waitress who made their meal extra special but who was overworked and tired. It is the people who smile. Randomly and wave howdy from their car. It is the people who teach, who wait, who clean, who serve all the others most of the time without individual praise or thanks.

Those are the ones who make up the Milky Way of Good in the world. Let's see if somehow we can't join them... not eclipsing them... just joining them.

Good to be home
God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Saturday, October 23, 2004


I caught up on reading my email and discovered that a friend had twins a couple of days ago. Both really full size infants! What a mom! Anyway we now have a new Alexandria and Andrew in the world. Welcome

What can we promise them...or any other of the new-born's of the world. It's different here than in some places you know. Children here have a lot better chance of making it to their early birthdays. There isn't any discrimination between girls and boys on that account. What can we promise them?

Are we willing to promise them that we'll work to clean up some of the polluted water before they are old enough to take care of that themselves. Can we promise them we'll work on the healthcare system so that it will work where it's not working so well just now? Can we promise them that we will be a country known for it's peacemaking efforts first? Can we promise them education to the best of their abilities? Well let's see. We all had this ourselves pretty much. Why aren't we working harder to pass it on?

Did you have someone to read to you as a child? You could read to someone who doesn't have anyone home to listen to them read. Did you have someone home to greet you after school? You could find a way to help provide care for children till their parent/parents got home from work. What is the best thing your family did for you? Could you find a way to pass that on to someone else.

Think about this.
I think we could when we work together. ... make a difference for all the Alexandrias and Andrews of the world... or just next door.
God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

I'm heading for MO-Ranch (you can look it up on the internet if you want to see pictures). There is a gathering in the Synod of the Sun of Small Church Pastors for M-the. We should have a good opportunity to share information and stories and ideas and support. Pray for us all as we gather.

Friday, October 22, 2004


I knew a young woman in college whose name was Joy. She was a beautiful delightful girl who smiled and seemed to be filled with that which her name She wanted all the people she met to know joy. She was bright and witty and lived into her name.
Names are important. Gladys McGarey, my modern law once delivered a baby as part of her practice the mother named Stormy. Gladys said...Oh please. The mom said well she is here now because I had a fight with the neighbor and she'll have to fight as well. What image does that name evoke.
Some names have meaning that link the individual to parents, grandparents, other generations. Some names it seems these days are brand new. People creating wonderful names for the most part for their children.
The Biblical stories show us over and over how important names are... Because they are changing people's names to have new particular meaning.
Is there a name you would like to have had? Did you have a name that fit you right at first or one you 'grew' into using?
If you could have any name in the world... what would that be?
Be well... God loves __________________ (your name inserted)

God abide
Bobbie McGarey

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

always God's

One of the lines in the Brief Statement of Faith by the Presbyterian Church is...In life and in death we belong to God.
Isn't belonging one of the key parts of our development as humans. We want to identify and belong to a family. A family that will nurture and support us. We want to belong to a group of friends as we get older and recognize there are others outside of our household group. We want them to like us...and to be 'like' us as well. We want to belong to a group of people who believe and think and talk about God in the same way. We want to belong to a .... party, golfcourse, clique, club, life-style, etc... kind of gathering.
We just don't want to be a-lone.
And whaHoo! Here's the good news.. WE are never ever alone. Because we know that God abides with us. God recongizes us, God has a place for us, God understands us even when we can't express ourselves clearly, God knows us and (you should know this by now) God loves us still.
There is never a time we don't belong to God. No matter!
Don't be afraid... God goes before you always...
Have a great day...
God abide
Bobbie McGarey

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

home again

I got home from my course at McCormick tonight. It is good to be hone. It is still fall but the temps here in OK are in the 80's and that feels good. I'm not quite ready for colder weather. I got to see my cousins while in Chicago...always brings me great joy.
Ahhh the trees up north. They glow really they do. The reds and the bright yellows and the sun in them is amazing. And even some days, as a friend said, the yellows emit a color-light all their own.
When I was young and lived in Ohio we would go to the Hocking Hills and see the trees there in the fall. Those rolling gentle pre-Appalachia mountain hills were so very beautiful. I can see them in my mind and almost smell them. I remember many many hikes there with friends and family. I miss that part of the world sometimes.
I even brought some of the leaves home. They are slightly pressed, a little dry, but still color beautiful.
Press in your mind something wonderful about the day. Let it be as a marker in your life, a new day. Keep your memories keen but your dreams for this day even keener and sharper and in focus and then live into it.
I am no longer young. I am younger than I will be tomorrow. And you know, that is OK!.
Deep breath, It is mid-October and time to be ready, the days shorten but that means we are one more day closer again to spring.
....and if you don't have dreams, well friend, now this the time to claim some for your own.
God abide and send you the 'dream'
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Thursday, October 14, 2004


Be healed. It is easy to be able to tell someone when things are hurting. Oh my knee, ...Your knee my foot! But is it as easy to tell when things are going well. When all things seem to fold together for good? How do we do that? How do we do that without sounding like we are bragging.
When was the last time you met someone and when you asked how they were...said OH I'm Great! That happens now and then, but not often. We'd rather tone down our good feelings and raise up our pains.
What is it in us that needs that kind of energy or attention.

Take your bed and walk, be healed, little girl rise up!

Jesus welcomes us into a place of healing. Let's look for places where we've been we can know that in times of pain, or "dis-ease" things will change.

Hold tight to the power of God, because the good news is that God is holding tight to you, Really ! honest! Yup I think so! I know so!

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Power lifts us up. Power can raise something off the ground. Power in a jet engine takes so many flying. Power, or illusions of it or hopes for it... power of that kind makes people hurt.
Here's the test...
Would i be willing to give someone else an equal amount of power that I have. Then we work together to make the world in the the Kin-dom of God.
Long day, today and tomorrow...Great day all aound.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

God's amusing plan

I am in Chicago, IL working on my D.Min at McCormick Theological school. My class is wonderful as are my classmates. We work hard, but it is great interaction. We aren't easy on one another, but it is fun.

But today for the first time, for several reasons, we went to Chapel. It was a great service. We were introduced. As I looked at the bulletin I saw a name that looked familiar, , Irene Pak and thought...I know that name... then I said to myself...nooo i just think I know everyone. The beautiful young woman got up to lead the liturgy. I thought...We'll I'd sure be proud if I knew here...mmmmmmm? she does look familiar. But ....

After the service she came up to me and I told her what a great job she had done. . She said I think I know you... I said well I thought the same of you. She asked if in 1995 I'd been an advisor who took a group of kids to the presbyterian youth triennium from Utah. She was one of the kids! Oh my goodness. And now look she is a 2nd year Seminary student! Yeah God!

What a treat. We had a delightful dinner together tonight. I am still awake it was so refreshing for me. She is a great woman and I am so happy that some day I'll know even if I'm not working there are these wonderful women in ministry coming along. SarahD, AmyS, and IreneP!

Friends, what you do today, makes a difference-- in today and tomorrow...and tomorrow... your thoughts and energies, words and deeds, are like the seeds that fall to the ground and spring up where and when you least expect it.

God abides..this I know for certain

Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Sunday, October 10, 2004


I am heading to Chicago to McCormick theological seminary. I should have access to the net so I hope to continue to keep in touch.
I pass an abandoned school or church on the way out to the Parish. I watched the school building go from full standing, to leaning, now just a heap of wood. Collapsed.
what went on there? I am sure someone could tell me but I like to imagine sometimes that it was a school house on the edge of the prairie. That children came every day from far away to learn lessons, to write on slate tablets, to read and do math. Who were these children? Where are they now?
i imainge that on the weekend it was turned into the church or gathering place. Many of my Parish churches are 100 years old though the buildings are not... but I can see groups of folks gathered there. Probably no denominational competition, just folks who loved Jesus or who wanted to hear the storiess.
So different from Chicago.
There are more people in the airport than there are in two counties where the parish churches are.

So, as you look out wherever you are, be grateful for those things that stand, for churches, schools, homes. realize that you are blessed.

god abide
bobbie giltz mcgarey

Saturday, October 09, 2004


I was listening to my Ohio State football game, alas not so successful today, and they were saying that there were 100,000 thous in the "horseshoe" where the games are played. When I went to Ohio State there were only 87,thou. Wow that's a lot of people.
Especially when in the counties where I work there are less than 14,000 total population. That's pretty awesome. When I read about the numbers of folks in the central states, between Oklahoma to Canada, being fewer than the people in the LA basin in California, it seems like there are some distribution problems.

What if all those people used the energy they brought to the game to go out into the world and do something good? They've been involved the whole day! What if that energy, and money for the tickets now, was used to build habitat houses? or repaint a soup kitchen, or... you fill in what needs to be done where you are.

It is an awesome thought. And that is just one NCAA game. There were so many played today. What if each of those people gave $10. to their home churches? (that's a couple of cokes and a hot-dog.) Imagine how many people in Florida could be helped.
That would be awesome. What if one Saturday in every NCAA football stadium people were offered the opportunity to give to the most pressing need in the community? Wow. this is an amazing idea.

Each January on Super Bowl Sunday many churches have Souper Bowl events to raise money for the hungry. What if that happened every Saturday or Sunday? Let's think about this? I'm getting dizzy. So let's do it. Let's start the idea.

Be well and happy.

God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Friday, October 08, 2004

And the winner is!

The winner of the Nobel Peace prize is...Wangari Maathai of Kenya. This woman realized that her country had lost 90% of its forests and woman and girls had to spend a large part of their day looking for wood for fuel. So she organized a movement that planted over 30 million trees. Fast growing trees. What an amazing thing to do.

It is not just about the environment, it is not just about women and girls, it is about everyone. She is now environmental minister of Kenya.

So. What are you going to do today? Like Maathai you have the power to change things in the world for the better. It's early, make a plan.

God blesses you
God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Thursday, October 07, 2004


We all want to have a sense that we can say, my life, what I do, has some purpose. Am I right about that? Now that doesn't mean it has to have some grand showy purpose. But there is a yearning for quality of life, a life well lived. Am I right about this?
There are times when we are young we look to others to tell us what we will do ... When I was four I was on a local TV program and they asked all the children what they wanted to be when they grew up. The girls said nurses the boys said doctors, wait wait it was 1952. I said I want to be a zoologist. My dad and his buddies, (he was a zoologist) were watching this at home and he said they all whooped! The interviewer took the microphone away...
I studied zoology, biology, ornithology, and really loved what I learned. Because there was such an incredible beauty and order to what was in the live animals we observed and studied. It made sense with the faith life I had acquired in the church I grew up in. God was in control, whew! that's taken care of... Telling others about this mystery and wonder brought renewed meaning to its study.

So, back to the topic of meaning, we do want some way to say at the end of the day, that was worth it. Somewhere along the line I shared God's grace with someone else. Somewhere along the line I got the chance to bring a little order out of chaos. Somewhere along the line in the midst of my own pride God found enough love to say, do this for me, in remembrance of me.

So as you being the day or as you end the day, remember... Do this good work in remembrance of Jesus who knows us and loves us still. That is mystery and wonder all together.

God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Monday, October 04, 2004

New things

God is always doing a new thing. It is a different minute now than...just then. We are different people and the world has changed, babies born, some pass on, and we all are in that part of our life's formation between.
We don't know where we are in that cycle. We have to be here now and be here in the world that needs us. We are here for a purpose all of us. Somehow we have to work to continually figure out what that is... Just now...and now.
Because sometimes that purpose changes. We may 'do' the same work, but the purpose of that changes. We are to be ready and even more willing when the call comes.
And so back to that listening thing I seem to ramble about so often. I do that because it seems that the chaos of the world must mean that some people aren't listening. Not to the call for peace, not for the call to bring us back to the Garden.

I read an ironic headline...the Dahli Lama, (a man of profound peace) The Dahli Lama blasts China for nuclear weapon testing.
He never never would blast anyone... He might admonish someone or call them to task or reckoning. But he wouldn't blast someone.
So maybe what we need to listen for are ways that our language promote chaos instead of peace...and work hard to make it more peaceful where our words become ideas.

God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Begin and End

I was listening to a Garth Brooks CD. as I drove today. The song that caught my attention was "Standing outside the fire." Wow what a powerful message. "Life is not tried it is merely survived if you are standing outside the fire"
Most of the time we really want to stay out of the troubles of the world. I mean honestly isn't that true. But this song challenges us all to be more than we think. To live our lives fully, all the way, not just 'make' it from day to day..But make each day wonderful.
Starting and ending at the gas station reminded me that without the energy that comes from God's love there isn't any where I can go or anything I can do...that will get me anywhere. But with the love of God ...that I find so real in Jesus...everything can be done.
May this week bring you into the real life. Tried and true...
God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Saturday, October 02, 2004


I was once at a college retreat and the breakfast room was filled with loud voices, talking laughing. I stood on a chair and got everyone's attention, could we have a moment of silence please... and i poured milk on my Rice Crispy cereal and we all listened. Then we heard it, snap-crackle-pop. I said thank you and everyone laughed and went back to their conversation.

Later that day one of the other leaders had everyone, about 60 of us, rub our hands together, we did suddenly we began to hear clearly that sound. It could change depending on what part of your hand you rubbed together: just fingers, over the palm, fingers and palm. It was unlike any other sound and the more we listened the louder it seemed. Some fast sounds some slowly moving. The more we all got the idea the more it sounded like something in the wind. He thanked everyone and we stopped.

On a crisp morning, when there is silence all around us we find ways for our hearts to listen.
The odd chirp of a bird, the wind in the trees, the lawnmower at a distance, and then ...

What do we hear? We hear what we are attuned to hearing.
If I hadn't stopped all the other conversations we would not have heard the snap-crackle-pop. We needed to filter out all the other things that were distracting.

What do we do? All too often our lives are filled with so much, we don't 'hear' a Crisp morning...or the snap crackle pop of the world that is right before us.
is that your heartbeat
or the sound of the world saying love?
or are they the same.....

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Friday, October 01, 2004

Litmus Test

Rev. James Forbes is quoted in the wonderful report by the Presbyterian Church's Moderator Rick Ufford-Chase.
In it, if you haven't read it yourself is a discussion by Forbes about faith and fear. This line was one that moved me,
"In the end, our biggest problem is that we don't believe in our own God's transcendence, in God's ability or interest to do something with us. We are simply unsure that God has a compelling influence on our time."

Is our love of fear something that keeps us from having to do, to act, to live our lives fully? If we are fearful we have then a reason not to risk. Because there is something out there, real or imagined, that will stop us. Then are we not living our lives as we see them and not as God sees them.

Jeremiah wrote: God has a plan for your life.

And the litmus test about what we do might be if we are stopped from doing something because of fear is that God's plan.

I do not negate reason or reasonable care about our actions. But over and over and over... do not be afraid...was given to us as God's children.

Go now... don't be afraid.
"Be not afraid, I go before you always, Come, follow me and I will give you rest", are the words of a hymn that can lead us all.
Have a Good Friday!
God abides,
Bobbie Giltz McGarey