Awakening a Keen Observer

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

light glow

I sat at a stoplight
at night
in the snow
it was years ago
and as the red of the light shone through the window
the snowflakes gathered in front of my eyes
they were big
they were crystals
they had forms and different shapes
I could see them all in the red light glow

Each one of them was different
I leaned in closer to the window to observe.
perfect view of each one as they began to cover my window
It was late there was little traffic --no one behind me

I watched each one land
some melted if they were low on the window where there was heat
but others just stayed and stayed and stayed

Light changing on other street
mine would soon be green
the flakes would all look different without the red
I would have to go
and so
with a wipe
did all the glorious snowflakes
but no
etched now in my soul forever

God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Monday, November 22, 2004


My family would often travel from Columbus Ohio to Illinois to visit my Aunt and Uncle for Thanksgiving. My cousins and I had a grand time together. Jan and Martha and I would laugh and giggle until we were almost out of control. When we would try and 'settle down girls' at night it was so hard. We would try and then the giggling would start again. Finally one of the moms would come in and say...If you don't quiet down we'll have to separate you. OH NO! We'd find some way to stop...or at least to giggle quieter. Years later when we are together we still laugh...and giggle together.
Both of our Mothers are gone now. It is at times like this we miss them so deeply. That is not unusual for any family.
My Dad loved the way Aunt Dot (Dorothy) cooked pies. She did have the knack for making the best pie crusts for pumpkin and apple pies. She'd keep them on the porch where it was cool and as he'd walk into their house he would often begin saying YUMBO! And they knew Maurice had arrived. It was such fun. I wish I could be with Frank, the only one of the parents who is still here to celebrate Thanksgiving.

I am most thankful for these memories and for all I learned from my parents and Aunts and Uncles..
These memories of my whole family together, as many people's memories are brought out on holidays, can nurture us far beyond their present experience.
I hope that your Thanksgiving week makes new memories of good things in your life.
I'll be writing this week but just start out thinking about some good time..and ways you can pass that good feeling on as you go about your days..

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Saturday, November 20, 2004

my team won

Ok so that means that someone else's team didn't win. But it made me happy. I mean there were some sweet passes and good plays.
But where did we learn that what brings happiness or satisfaction is winning...
When do we really win?

What does success look like...I guess that's another way of looking at it... I mean really... Isn't that so. We look at the world in a way that makes us know that we are indeed the ones who are 'the best'... We're number one...

But then, it doesn't take much to let us know... Ah ha... we really aren't...

but then... how do we measure our lives? Perhaps I've been thinking about that a lot recently for no particular reason. But we all want to live lives of significance. We all want to live lives that matter... I think so..

There are people who don't want to share their lives. Who don't want to give of themselves for or to others on some personal level. These folk make me sad. Because they miss the risk of loving and all it means.

I look up at a picture above the computer....It is of Aunt Belle. Our great aunt who was a medical missionary in India... She, like so many others who gave (who GIVE) their lives away for what they believe in... are the ones who are truly successful. Not suffering, and not sacrifice that was required, but a life lived to the fullness of time... in the fullness of joy... in all things.

Find a way in these days as we approach Christ the King Sunday and then Advent that you can give something of your self... in prayer, in giving, in love...

You will be the richer for it in every measure....
every measure that counts.
God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Friday, November 19, 2004


What lessons does the world have for us each day? I think that we have the same lesson to learn over and over ... Let's think about that.
We learn facts about places and people. We read stories about people in other places and in other times and how they lived their lives. We learn to put numbers together and to make them help make sense of things in our lives. We learn to look both ways before we cross the street and to tie our shoes so we don't trip on them and fall. We learn to eat sensibly. We learn to save and share what we have.... what other lessons have you learned. That's knowledge...what lessons do we learn from these things we 'know'?
My Daddy would say don't argue with someone who won't listen anyway. That is a good lesson...
There are logical lessons. Don't jump out of a moving car. Don't climb higher up a tree than you can get down. Let sleeping dogs lie.

What lessons does the world have?

What lesson --- if you could teach everyone just ONE lesson--would you teach?

mmm? Love God with all your heart and mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself!
Would we need other lessons if we followed this one.. ?

I'm gonna think about that for a while.
God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Rainy Day

I got up and went to exercise class. It was grey and rainy. You could tell it was a little light outside...but then the whole day stayed that same measure of grey...and now it's dark! Wow!
How we depend on the light. We focus on things that we think are important. We expect the electricity to keep us going no matter what happens with the earth and the sun. We are so completely amazed that the world has a way of its own.
I heard someone say. I don't want it cloudy. Were they expecting that wish to change the whole of nature today? I don't know.
Sometimes I think we get the idea that we are in charge. That's easy to do. We are told we are to be in charge. We are told we are to be the ones who 'make things happen.' We are told that we can schedule more things in the day than we think we can and when we do we are successful.
Remember the lilies of the field... they neither toil nor spin...

What is success anyway. To love justice and seek kindness and walk humbly with our God...
Walk..not run...

And then I read an email from my cousin in India who tells of people threatening them as they start an orphanage. My goodness, this is serious threat... Pray for their protection...

And I'm whining about a little rain....... Really!
Take a deep breath.
God abide with you
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Monday, November 15, 2004

early morning long day

Hello, I would have written yesterday but I left at 7am and got home at 10:30. I was only ready to sleep. It was a good and full day.

Good morning! "Blessings on all of you as you arise in the morning. Have strength. Hold on to what is good. Return to no one evil for evil." Rick Ufford-Chase His perspective on life are well written and eye-opening. He is the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church USA.

It is grey here this morning. We had rain most of the night. It wasn't hard just steady.
I am planning today as a Sabbath for myself. Quiet, reading, prayer, planning and wanting to find a little rest and center. It is what we are all to do every week. I mean remember even God rested...
And somehow we think we are better than God and don't need rest or renewal. We need rather just to keep going on and on and on.

Let's look together my friends at what God has planned for us in the coming days...
and then let's get some rest for the journey.
God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Saturday, November 13, 2004

God's eye view

What do you think God sees on a day like today ---'as the world turns'---?

Oh masses of people in odd shaped configurations jumping up and down with 22 people in the middle running back and forth...

Clouds of smoke where there is fire in the rainforests...
A farmer out harvesting the cotton or whatever is the local crop...
a few children playing...less common since it seems most play is scheduled and organized...
thousands huddled in refugee camps without clean water or food or misery but thankful to be alive...
children in those places playing together with whatever they can find...
traffic everywhere...on the right and left coasts...
lots of blue water... less ice on the top...
people on their knees or on their faces or just looking up in prayer...
?what image do you see of the world from God's eye view...

?and what would God find you doing for the kingdom... well maybe after the 4th quarter because your team might come back!
hello God...

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Friday, November 12, 2004

Ever flowing Stream

Where do you go to find peace? If even in your memory?

In my mind's eye that water flows from a rock on a hillside in southern Ohio. I can see the area down in the bottom of a place called Rock Stalls. It is a sacred holy place... where the borders are thin.

Sometime in ancient time the first people would go there when it got cold and live for part of the hardest winters because it was somehow protected from the coldest cold. They would put their horses there in the 'stalls' for their protection as well. The anthropologist tells us so.

Not a large group wintered there. It was the perfect place because there is always water. A spring feeds the area and the water 'is' 'was' good. So you could stay. Protected.

There are foot and hand holds carved into the rock...on the ledge that leads you out...ancient...

It is beautiful in my mind. I have no way of knowing what it really looks like today. But it is always there.

Even in just thinking of this place for me there is peace.

Do you have such a place? Even now? here, I'll lend you mine.

Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

hungry hearts

The Presbyterian church website has a link to their Spirituality Newsletter that is always wonderful. This one "Fall 2004" has article about deepening our roots. It is well worth reading.
The cover though is a scene that looks familiar. I think because it looks like the rolling hills of southern Ohio. Really beautiful. And it also is one of those quiet places.
The Sky East of where I live was lighted tonight with lightening and thunder. It was a long way away and that means it must be a hum dinger of a system. But it looked anything but quiet.
The world affords us all we need of energy and quiet. Of calm and major storm....of water and drought. All these contrasts are part of the world where we live. There are places where people are just thick, living so close to each other. And there are many places where the numbers are so much thinner.
Many ways makes for many contrasts.
There are about many ways to come to that quiet. There are ways of prayer, walking, sitting still, a little of both. There is total silence and there is singing. Our Presbyterian spirituality is often thought of to be 'in the head' not in the heart. We use reason sometimes to cloud our vision. What should we use? Trust, hope, love, and the knowledge of the abiding love of God for each of us.
However you come to that quiet place... Come!
Be where you can hear and be heard.
Listen and find that kind of spirituality that speaks to your soul and know that we Presbyterians have ways to get there as well...
And as John's now often quoted song says..."Oh we all go together or we don't go at all."
Here we Go!!!! al-to-gether
God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

keep singing

Well I just got a chance to sit down and write again. We had a busy and good weekend with the family. Johnny and Molly and Betsy all were home and that is a delight for us. We also got to attend a concert by Bebo Norman. I recommend his music.
We got to the concert early and had front row seats. It was so much fun to watch and see them playing. With John and Johnny both guitar players they could compare notes on the different tunings that the musicians used.
The young woman who sang at one point was doing this great song about Exodus and then there was a line she sang in tune.."I've broken a string".
And she stopped
They came out and made some adjustments and got her back on track and it was fun.
But the thing that amazed me was her singing... I've broken a string.
She didn't stomp or shout. She just stopped and then while they fixed her guitar told about her walk with her faith. It was really interesting.
Perhaps among other lessons the weekend afforded, (never count a win even when your team is way ahead until), this one was a good one.
Keep singing

"my life flows on in endless song, above earth's lamentation. I hear the real though far off hymn that hails the new creation. No storm can shake my inmost calm, while too that rock I'm clinging. It sounds and echo in my soul, how can I keep from singing......"

God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Friday, November 05, 2004


One of my sisters in ministry has a son in Iraq. My goodness how her heart must feel. I can't take from her...her concerns...but perhaps I can carry them with her. I can't make her son safe...but I can pray for his safety...and the safety of all those in harm's way. I can't ... do so many things. We still can do many things.

Isn't that in part what we begin to feel when we hear of such things. What can I do? We feel helpless. Like a parent
watching their child trip and fall...and we can't get there.
My Daddy said one of the worst moments he ever had was once when I went down a slide, "O just one more time, please Daddy!" and then as I leaned over to wave ...fell. He couldn't get to me and he could move fast. I was ok...(some might say that falling on my head explains something ha ha ha!). I'm not sure he ever was really ok with letting me go. Whenever I'd leave he'd say...Double your guard. I think that may have come out of the slide incident. Two stitches later I was ok. Today I still hear his concern.
But real harm's way is not something we grown-ups can protect "OUR" children from...we do the best we can. And we hurt when they hurt, it doesn't matter how old they are.
God's love for us is like a wonderful parent, quick, protective, directive, challenging, encouraging, admonishing, holding, healing, and always always always...welcoming us home.
Children/sons/daughters/ God hold them all in your hand and bring peace.
peace peace!

God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Good good bye


I never liked Good-bye. My family always teased me that I would be the one to shed the tears when we left my Grandmother and Granddaddy in Virginia. And I did. I couldn't see if they were unhappy, and my mother always was, why they didn't cry too. I think for my Mother if I was crying she didn't have to...

Once when John and I had spent the summer with my parents in a Pastoral Hospital Training course CPE in Ohio as we left he said good-bye to the little boy who had lived next door to them and had played with us some. John said, Good by John Beryl we'll never see you again. I was so sad. I didn't think that was the right thing to say. But it was true because they were moving in a couple of months and we would not be back to Ohio before they left. There was the finality of it all.

And perhaps we need to, no not morbidly, think about how we leave people. What do we want to be our parting thought, or gift, or feeling as we leave them. We sing benedictions at the end of church that are meant as blessings to those with whom we've worshipped and blessing one another with them. We wave or beep the horn when we leave home and family some times.
But what if we blessed people, all the people we saw each day. God love you. I'm not even sure we have to say it outloud...because God hears the prayers of the heart. I've said to people I've just met in passing Have a happy life. But what if it was a true blessing.
Children who leave for school with a kiss, blessing, or a hug remind us of how good that feels. But, what if there isn't someone who is there to wish you well each morning, or greet you upon your return...welcome home. Perhaps we need to be for one another those who say Hello as well as those who say Good-bye.
One gentleman in the church in Utah always found me after services for a hug. I realized it might be the only hug he got all week. Everyone would be there in line shaking hands, but he would always hug me. hello...and good-bye...

We want good-good-byes...perhaps we would do well to use the other forms, adieu, or adios... Go with God.
Because that is what a good-good-bye is anyway... bless you...go with God.

God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Rainy travel

On the way to the retreat for Pastors of Small Membership Churches Ann and I were washed in a really torrential rain storm. Even in the daylight it was hard to see where the road was going. But there was a truck ahead of us. An 18 wheeler and it's lights on the top of the back became a guide in the really heavy rain. We all slowed down and drove carefully but we figured as long as we could follow where these lights went at an appropriate distance we would be safe moving through the storm than trying to sit on the side and wait it out.
Last night coming home from a long meeting it was dark and rain began again to fall. It was different though because it was really hard to see in the dark. There wasn't much lightening, just a lot of rain.
And then there was a truck ahead of me so I slowed down and followed it through the worst patches of the rainstorm. It was again it's lights that were leading me though this road was straight. It really helped.
And in both cases it helped to know that the road that I was on was not one that I was on alone. That there was someone ahead. Always ahead. And that they had a different view, angle on the situation and were going along ok.
We have to choose who we follow when the way gets rainy or stormy. We have to take care in knowing the lights are from a reliable source. Most of all we are not to fear.
I remember the adv campaign NO FEAR. O may that be true.

William Slone Coffin in his wonderful book CREDO Quotes the Bible 1 Cor 13:13
"And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three, and the greatest of these is love. Jesus thou art all compassion. Pure unbounded love thou art, Vist us with thy salvation, enter every trembling heart. (John Wesley)"

I believe it
God Abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Monday, November 01, 2004

It's not about God--or is it?

What happens tomorrow in the U.S. is not about God. God is almighty, creator, counselor, lover of all humankind.
What is about God is how faithful we are to peace and the world that God has given us to care for. Peace that is of the heart. Peace that fills the world with joy. Justice- Peace that is about loving our neighbor and nothing at all to do with power over. It is about taking care of one another and loving one another. It is about God's love given to one another through our hands. Not God's hands. It is about God's presence in our world...the whole world...and realizing that we are but a part of that world.
Years ago John and I went to the Grand Canyon. We stopped at the first overlook, it was cool but no where near as great as the ones further in the park. I stood in awe, true awe of the earthen levels so clearly marked, the millions of years exposed. I thought of my part of the earth and the sliver of the earth that shows for when my short life is present. I was without words. A woman hopped out of a car ---ran over to the edge---looked in and said. Whelp. That's Good---let's go! And they drove away out of the park. I think she missed the perspective of life that was layed out before her. She was a viewer not a participant.
That's missing our part of the world and the part we play in it. It is missing the point that we have work to do while we are here to thank God for giving us at least a little work to do. And it is our work to bring God's love.
So, remember as things unfold in the next few days... Perhaps the title is wrong... IT is about God.... But God needs our praise not our direction.

God abides ---and for that I thank God
Bobbie Giltz McGarey