Awakening a Keen Observer

Friday, March 31, 2006


This morning as I drove to Norman, OK for a Presbytery meeting to the East was a bank of clouds that were along the 'dry line' that crosses OK and often causes storms and trouble. But these were like billows of clouds like a wave of white coming stretching across the sky from north to south. Evenly layered but with layers with in the billows the height of it to give it some depth and form.
I thought of pictures I'd seen of the Tsunami and how it overwhelmed those watching and those who were surprised by it.
Then I thought of the mountain ranges I've seen in the US and India. The high peaks that rise out of the plains are stunning and always a surprise. What do we do with images of the power of nature, and the sky which reflects it at times. Have you ever seen a sky that looks like water on the sea? Clouds spaced here and there.

I remember as a child Susie and I would lie in the back yard and look up at the sky in Ohio and try and figure out what we saw in it. We spent a lot of time watching the skies. Dreaming as young girls.

Take time to dream. Give yourself a time to catch a breath. Do it as you sit on a porch, or walk by the river, or look out your window. Be thankful for your freedom to dream and listen to the Creator's call to you.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Michael Damish

Once when I was in college two couples went to a concert. On the way back to school the only place open to eat was like a Dennys. We went in and there were only about 7 people there. When the waitress came over I jokingly said to the other guy, Oh I love you work and even though we've been friends for some time could I have your autograph. He said Oh sure, took a napkin and wrote Best Wishes always ---and signed it with a flurry. Michael Damish. We ordered and watched the waitress tell the others that ...Michael Damish was at that table. We had fun eating our dessert and left. He left a good tip and we went out. She waved and said it was good to meet you.

What is it about people who are famous? In a world where we claim that everyone is equal in the eyes of the Creator we hold some people to be more famous than others. Really it is as if some deserve more... But it is honesty and respect that we all deserve not special service or care ...

Michael Damish...not my friend's real name... is the name I think of when people are acting above others. As if they should get special treatment.

Treat everyone you meet with the same respect you would treat the person you respect the most. See if it changes your world.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A glass of Water

Pour yourself a glass of water.
Today there was a solar eclipse. You couldn't see it from Oklahoma but apparently there wee lots of people looking at it. There are places where life is in an eclipse. Somalia, Ethiopia and other countries where there are so many children who are in a threatened position with hunger. I can only imagine the pain of a parent having to watch a child die of hunger. The people watching the animals dying and then the earth cracking like it has never seen water in the drought. It is so hard to see them but we should watch. Watch because these are indeed our sisters and brothers our children our world.
The eclipse comes when the moon gets between the sun and the earth. Somehow we need to be an eclipse between the people and this frightening hunger. Water for drinking is being saved as it dips off the back of a truck so that none is lost.
In the midst of a tragedy, like the horrible sunami last year, we seem to find a way to give out of our bounty but all too often it takes something as tragic as a huge wave to get our attention. What can we do? These people for no fault of their own have for 10 years have had little rain and this year none. It is a crisis because there is on second place to turn. The people were herders but without water/no grass/ nothing to do. They have lived this way for 100's of years. So what is next for them?
Pour yourself
another glass and drink deeply and pray that you will find a way for you to give to these needs. To reach out as God's hands to those who are most in need. Wherever they are.
God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Keep in prayer those who need most to be protected from greed.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Monday 2

So after I wrote the last musing I thought I'd better share something that a friend sent me. It is an interesting link and here is part of it..

Laughier on the Brain
The physiological study of laughter has its own name -- gelotology. And we know that certain parts of the brain are responsible for certain human functions. For example, emotional responses are the function of the brain's largest region, the frontal lobe. But researchers have learned that the production of laughter is involved with various regions of the brain. While the relationship between laughter and the brain is not fully understood, researchers are making some progress.
For example, Derks traced the pattern of brainwave activity in subjects responding to humorous material. Subjects were hooked up to an electroencephalograph (EEG) and their brain activity was measured when they laughed. In each case, the brain produced a regular electrical pattern. Within four-tenths of a second of exposure to something potentially funny, an electrical wave moved through the cerebral cortex, the largest part of the brain. If the wave took a negative charge, laughter resulted. If it maintained a positive charge, no response was given, researchers said.

During the experiment, researchers observed the following specific activities:

The left side of the cortex (the layer of cells that covers the entire surface of the forebrain) analyzed the words and structure of the joke.
The brain's large frontal lobe, which is involved in social emotional responses, became very active.
The right hemisphere of the cortex carried out the intellectual analysis required to "get" the joke.
Brainwave activity then spread to the sensory processing area of the occipital lobe (the area on the back of the head that contains the cells that process visual signals).
Stimulation of the motor sections evoked physical responses to the joke.
This is different from what happens with emotional responses. Emotional responses appear to be confined to specific areas of the brain, while laughter seems to be produced via a circuit that runs through many regions of the brain. (This means that damage to any of these regions can impair one's sense of humor and response to humor, experts say.)

So, if we deduce from this article that we do our brain a service, exercise, energize, empower, heal by laughter then we owe it to ourselves to do this laughter thing. There are laughter groups all over the country now, in fact all over the world like in India. These folk get together and laugh. It is healing. Norman Cousins in his study found that laughing increased the healing cells in his body.

Last week I was with a group of clergywomen and on more than one occasion we found ourselves laughing. Not at anyone, not about jokes, but on the funny-ness of our lives and the happenings. It was great fun and healing for us all. When I saw one of the clergywomen who was about 6 weeks from the birth of her daughter, that was great laughter and joy.

Find a way to laugh. I suggest Sesame Street or a funny movie that you know will turn out well and laugh.

Seriously---ha ha ---laugh
God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey
@2006 part 2

Looking up

When I was young
we got a call
in the middle of the night.
my mother wept for her father
held her Bible and wept
and said, oh no oh no....

When I was older
we got a call
and we went to his side
my daddy...
he smiled and he talked
blessed me with pride
and we held his hand
it's ok... go.

When I was older
we got a call
as church was starting
Christmas eve.
I got there to find
she had already gone
but with a sigh and 'mmm that's good'.

Now don't be sad
with the telling of stories
of passing of people who've gone
Their memory lives in us
and through us and with us.
and this we believe
every day.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Easter Grass

Neither of our children liked that stringy plastic 'easter' grass in their baskets. It was something about the feel of it I think that would really bother them.
Today as I was driving home from Greg and Kelly Goode's wedding I noticed the fields that had been burned. The blackness of them was remarkable next to the brown dry grass. But what was even more remarkable was that really the blackened fields were the only ones that were green. And green they were with sprouts of plants coming up in stark contrast to the burned fields. It was really beautiful... Not that it had been burned but that out of this 'dead' looking ground Life Arose.
We are still in the season of lent.
And yet
the Easter grass coming up from what seems at first to be dead ground.
Gives us hope for our lives, the world and well...Just about everything.
the beauty out of the loss.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Friday, March 24, 2006


Some of the clergywomen were together this past week and it was good to be with others who are doing the same work, in varied places, all over. We had a good time. Some of them I've know for some time and others are new faces though now we have made a connection.

Together---To gather we did to mark the 50 year women have been ordained in the Presbyterian Church. I have been part of that group for 28 years in September. Whew. I feel honored to be among these women and all the men and women we follow and now hopefully continue to blaze the trail for others yet to come.

I got to meet one woman Sarah D, a friend of my daughter, and we had a good time together. It warmed my heart to look into her eyes and see the hope and the joy so real. I am excited for her and her husband. Another clergy-couple!

What can we do, in whatever we do, to guide and encourage those who follow? Sometimes, sociologists tell us, people in their later years begin to destroy the very institutions and work that they spent their lives building up, civic, educational or religious groups. This is odd and interesting to me. I am surprised by that.

Years ago when I was a camp counselor and leading some of the music I got a phone call, an unusual event, at lunch. I took the call and when I got back Jay was leading 'my' song. There was a moment--or two--I stood to the side and was angry...My song... Then it hit me... Someone else leading means the song will go on.

Isn't that what we want to do with our lives? Sing the song and pass it on.

To -gather-ness we need to do to remind us of our song...

God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Old House

Along the road I drive most days for the past five years was an old house on the hill. I had always thought it would make a good picture. A caption...Nobody's home. As the house was empty and had the look of being empty for a long time. But thinking about it at some time in its history someone did indeed live there. Someone built it, lived in it, planted trees around it to break the wind and loved it. I imagine a family choosing to build their house on the edge of a hill where they could see over the valley.
I imagine folks sitting on the front porch and talking about their lives, or their children or their parents and what was happening in their lives. It impressed me and in the drives I made I would create in my imagination a story around them. When and how did they came to Oklahoma? What encouraged them to leave their first homes and venture into a new place? Were they happy even if life was particularly hard? What impact did they have in their world?

Last Sunday on the way to church the house looked particularly vulnerable. There were marks of a fire that had passed nearby but not in the house. I thought I could see through it easier than I could the last time I passed.

Five hours later, on the way home I got to that spot in the road and looked for the house. It had collapsed. It was roof on walls on the ground! The time had passed for a picture of it standing. Time had passed to discover what it looked like up close. It was amazing I said Ahhhh out loud to myself.

Would that the family would have passed on to another family this house--home. Would that we would pass on to others something that is important to us. Then those things we treasure would be loved and maintained and perhaps not fall down.
Consider giving away something you love today--passing it on to someone to follow you--so that it may be loved as well.

God abides- I thank God!
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


What purpose do tree roots play? Ok, I can see you now just going..what... They connect the tree to the ground. When we would go to Arches National Park we would see some really outstanding examples of how roots work and how strong they are. Driving to Austin TX today I noticed on a rocky outcrops along the highway where big blocks of stone/rock had been split apart. Not by some machine or strength of humankind....but rather by a root boldly cutting it's way through the stone until it split. Awesome.
In South East Ohio in Rock Stalls in the Hocking Hills there was a most wonderful tree root. It was from a tree hugging the edge of the rock wall. The root had grown down and then made a complete turn and started growing up and then found a place to attach to the edge of the little bit of soil so the tree could live. I still think of that root.
My Daddy had gathered a piece of root from a gulf-side beach that started as one branch, had split into two, and then found itself again and merged at the other end. We lost that beautiful life-art but I can see it clearly.
We need to be rooted and grounded and held together as best we can. We need to branch out sometimes on our own. We need to be allowed to change our path if the way we were headed just isn't working.
But what we really need is to hold on. Sometimes what we need to do is just hold on and let the root bring us nourishment.
We sometimes need to hold on for one another in whatever way we can and that we do sometimes better and better.
So claim and name your roots and all that you hold onto. And be the ones who help others find their stableness as well.
Final image for tonight. I found a picture I had taken in Arches national park. The beautiful red/coral colored rock had a tree growing on it. But what was most amazing was that the root of this tree was growing out, for some time, seeking a way to find water, to get nourishment, to do the work roots do. It found a way. Not the normal way that roots set out. But a creative new way. That when we see it --just makes us smile.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Monday, March 20, 2006


I watched the movie "The Village" again the other day. Basically the Village is a place where the elders have agreed to all live with the same myth governing their lives and the lives of their children. I won't say more.. Except I found it an interesting although troubling concept. They raise their children in a safe place though surrounding them with something fearful that keeps them from ever leaving or trying to leave. One line is "I hope that I shall always be ready to risk everything for the just and right cause."

What if collectively a group of people make some decision about how they will look at the world. How they will frame every bit of information that comes to them. This kind of deception has often been the core of stories. The book 1984 was like that with everyone agreeing to one way of looking at the world.

Some societies really don't want their women to learn to read, even now, because ...Reading would free them from those who would rule over them. There have always been groups who want to keep others un-informed so that their decisions will only be based on one view.

When we make decisions about the world, about our lives, about how we view issues we need to do so with all the information we can. We need to be informed by people with whom we agree and those who see an issue from a 6 different perspective. We all look at life with certain 'lenses' that our life experience has. But we need to be reminded that there may be other lenses. Other ways of looking.

Fear comes, when one perspective is seen. Hope comes from the whole sky opening to you. When all the truth is before you. When Love is the law you live by.. Only love.

Odd that they are both 4-letter words... But opposites... 'perfect love casts out fear'. And in this we live our lives in thanksgiving and joy.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Sunday morning
We have been finally blessed with rain. You can hear it on the roof right now. It sounds good. Saturday was a rainy day. I don't know the totals but it sounded good and made for a good day. I am just praying that it got to the farmers who needed it so badly and that the weather pattern has changed more to normal.
But what is normal? I am not just thinking of the weather. I am thinking of what we have set by some short term memories of what is 'normal' for individuals, for families, for how people treat one another, for...
We all have norms' we work by. We have ways of caring for each other, loving one another, talking to one another, and being in the world together. For faithful people it is even more important that we set aside anything that urges us to harm, or gossip, or speaking of others, and we instead be an example in a world that has somehow left behind some of these ways of treating one another.
WE have the opportunity in the world to shine like the sun/Son and to reflect that light-of-love into the places where there is chaos. We have the opportunity and responsibility to do so with incredible love, forgiveness, hope and peacefulness about our hearts and our countenances. We have the opportunity to be who God created us to be.
So, what stops us? Desire for power. Judging others. ......_________

I'm not saying, and let's be clear, that we are righteous in any of this. In fact if we think we are--righteous-- then we probably are not....
But let us work to be kinder. Jewel sings..."In the end only kindness matters." And Jesus said, "let us love one another as I have loved you."
Let's instead be the ones in this world wherever we live who b r e a t h e
Inhale --Lord Jesus Christ
Exhale -- Have Mercy on me.

God abides and I thank God.
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Thursday 2nd musing

The March newsletter from Austin College's Rev. John Williams ACOLYTE had this quote in his musings

"There's a cool poem by Hafiz a Persian Sufi poet from the 14th century. I think it might be about road trips.

"Every child has known God,
Not the God of names,
Not the God of don'ts
Not the God who ever does anything weird,
But the God who only knows four words
And keeps repeating them, saying:

Seems like on this day we should read this over and over. It reminded me of the hymn Lord of The Dance, HYMN...
"I danced in the morning when the world was begun...and I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun..."

And it reminded me of Miriam dancing and celebrating the freedom of the Hebrew people as they escaped from Egypt, Some theologians believe this to be one of the oldest texts in the Biblical literature.

And it reminded me of dancing folk dances in PE class in Junior High. And it reminds me of first dances after weddings. And it reminded me of John and I winning a dance contest in Divinity School, (even though our 50's costumes were so good some of our friends didn't recognize us. And it reminded me of dancing with a friend in a wheel chair holding on to two scarves. And...
When did you dance ...
Not the Jr. High run around in packs of girls and boys acting cool and giggling after one another.... but really dance. Leap in the air --and laugh...?

You are invited by the loving Creator to celebrate. Glumness is not one of the fruits of the spirit. Neither is gossip, or rumor, or lying or...

But dancing...
Ps 30:11 -
You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
Ps 149:3 -
Let them praise God's name with dancing, making melody to God with tambourine and lyre.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Coffee Before Dawn

Before the dawn ...
Ah the wind has started blowing outside and our daughter's dog Chili Pepper really doesn't like that wind.
Somehow she is squeezing under the bed. We know her eyes are not good but apparently her joints are just fine.

So awake now-- I decided to get a cup of coffee and sit for a few minutes and wait for the dawn. I hear a few birds, welcoming the dawn but it is mainly the wind. Chili has her nose to the open window and is sniffing the wind and then again getting under the bed.

There are some people who hide like that too, don't you know, who hide from the truth. People who hide from themselves. Who spin the words of others - for their own purpose and often someone gets hurt. . Then-- if caught --they pretend they were 'with you' all the time. Uh oh... you know someone like that do you? Sigh, it makes me sad. How can one live that way and still claim to be faithful? It is beyond me.

The dawn comes only in the creators' hands and at the creator's bidding not mine nor yours.
Babies are born and welcomed into the world.
People learn and become who they were created to be.
And life goes on.

What do we say when someone is afraid of the wind? Jakob Krusi, at 102 years asked us "where does the wind come from and where does it go'. Then he would smile. Knowing he knew he was in God's hands.

Hear the dove now calling the gentle " a-ha COO COO COO." Hear now the cardinal in the background and somewhere now and then a robin? Peace is yours for the taking. b r e a t h e ..
It must be the full moon. Minerva the cat is crying now and running full tilt around the den.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Coyote Moon

When John came home last night he called me outside to see the moon. One of those moons that rises huge- just right there on the horizon. We watched it rise and get a little smaller but still quite so beautiful. ( By now, if you've read this blog often, you know that I love the moon and its cycle. )
As we stood out there in the cool perfect night we heard, in the not to distant area , coyotes calling to the moon. More than one singing not too far away. Howling, welcoming the moon. It was a lovely sound.
Now I know that coyotes, wild as they are, get into trouble and cause some people to try and get them but then I thought they were here first right? We didn't bring them in. They are not wild dogs. They were here and live here and no doubt in many places have their role in the chain of the ecosystem. It is we humans who have come to where they are. And apparently we keep coming.
When we lived in Utah in one of the mountain side housing developments a couple of young children saw a mountain lion walking by where they were sitting in their yard. If I remember it was caught and taken back up into the wild. But this is in town-right in the middle of a lot of expensive houses- wild animals. We had deer in the area where we lived. I mean a herd of deer one with the most beautiful 'rack' that ran down the street. Silly me when we first moved there I wondered why they trimmed the bushes up to a certain height. Duh, that was a high as the deer could eat. Wild animals.
Coyotes greet the full moon full out. We are still here.
We may pretend that we should be here. We are only passing through... Maybe we should sing to the moon?

God abides
Bobbie giltz mcgarey

Friday, March 10, 2006


According to an article I read some time ago people can outlive many predictions of their 'time' when they are waiting on someone. A friend's mother waited until her son arrived, (though we hadn't told her he was coming), and came out of semi-unconsciousness to say hello to him as he walked in the door and so good to see you! The friend and I walked into the hall and cried together. I went back in for only a few minutes and left the sister and brother to be with her as she finished her 'end of life labor' and died. It was an amazing experience. It was a few days later when we explained to the brother how truly amazing it was that she had stayed for him.

We wait for those things we know are coming and for those things we hope will come. Surprises are fun to be sure but the anticipation of someone visiting that we love is often almost as much fun as their actual arrival. It is all so much fun to prepare and get ready.

My cousins and I used to wait for the other to come and watch by the window the whole day though they weren't expected until afternoon, just in case they came we wanted to be ready to greet them. It was always such fun to be with them with multiple episodes of girl-giggling after bedtime until they threatened to --separate us! oh oh no! We would usually settle down or hunker down under the covers and press our faces into the pillows so as not to be discovered when the giggles came again. I have absolutely no memory of what we giggled about...what we talked about... what we shared that seemed so very precious to us that we could not absolutely at all wait until morning. They are however some of my most favorite tender moments...Golden.

We wait for rain. We wait for sun. As one writer said in Oklahoma here we have the following season, Tornado season, Summer season, still-summer season, and winter. This year we've only had that still summer even over the 'winter time' and now we wait for rain that is long long past due. A watched pond never fills? I don't know but have the feeling that the ducks that are flying through are doing as much walking on the bottom of the ponds as swimming. Waiting.

We wait and we busy our selves during that time. We wait for promises to be fulfilled, to find out test results, to hear from family far away, to hear about peace coming to the world, ....for..

Let's be about the good news of sharing the love we've all been given and then perhaps that other person won't have to wait another minute to find out they are loved. Now that would be something we could all do.
God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Sunday, March 05, 2006

cup of a moon

Did you see outside the moon. It is already in the western sky. It has gone beyond the rising in the east and by this time is already over there---chasing the sun. And some time it will catch up. But until then the earth is casting a shadow... and we don't get all the moon shine.

The brown earth here cries for rain. There is none to be seen. We have fires that come and spread so fast and water doesn't quench the earthy thirsty-ness of this part of the world. We've been dry here before, the dust bowl it became--hold on to the soil and hope for plantings to come.

March and its 80 degrees. Warm beyond the season. Hoping for the shift of the big currents that swirl over the earth. Some places have too much rain... Distribution problem?

Dances can be done, prayers can be raised. Hope looking to the skies. We are not the only place dry. We have water that runs in the pipes and down the street when people water their grass too much. Water to spare? We act like it and the water runs through the drains for no particular reason.

Hope abounds. Will it come. Sometime yes. But just now the cup of a moon lights up the brown grass like beach sand.

God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Friday, March 03, 2006

Almost Birthday

My husband John will be 58 on Sunday! Whee. Then he will be the same age as I am. Wow! I have always thought that cards should be sent to your parents on your birthday after all without them and all they did along your path you wouldn't be around to celebrate. Alas it may be come a whole new outlet of cards... For your mother on YOUR birthday.

What can we do in this world that doesn't become another source for merchandise? We sell holidays, all of them and some invented, and we sell moments in peoples lives, graduations and promotions and many more. I can understand that we need to have ways to mark important times. Seriously I do. I've studied about this. But what I wanted to say was that we need in our lives to mark some of the days. Like saying, "Today was a good day, the doctor said I'm fine." or "Today could have been better with you to celebrate." Oh ok, no smusshy stuff.

What can we do in this world that cannot be sold ? We can share joys and pain. We can share our accomplishments and when things just are great. We can give away a smile or a touch. We can give away an affirmation or let someone know you have thought about them in particular.

What if we could sell this...would it become a commodity? Kindness. Here have two measures of kindness to be used now or whenever.

One of my friends gave her friend a plastic little bottle. She sealed it and wrote a note with it and it said, "Whenever you need it most hold this a promise that I'll be there for you. " it was kept for years.

Friends you have more power than you know to bring peace in the world... give it away...more will come..give it away...more will come...

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Tom Paxton sang
" But if somehow you could pack up your sorrows and give them all to me. You would lose them. I know how to use them. give them all to me."