Awakening a Keen Observer

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Where is the Mountain

"Every time you climb a mountain-you get a little stronger--but it sure is hard on your shoes." Bobbie Giltz 1968

Where is the mountain? Is it where it needs to be? Is it in the place it was created or has it moved. I took geology my senior year of college. I loved it and when I finally saw the whole of the different western mountain ranges the folds in the earth, the edges of the ranges, all the geology made sense.

We've been told in faith words that if we ask for something in prayer and believe we can 'move mountains'. We can say to the mountain go from here to there...and it will. One of my mentors, Hetz, tried one afternoon to move a mountain. He believed with his whole heart, he released it to God, he prayed, the mountain did not move. He decided after this long afternoon and the next two days that God didn't move the mountain because it was already exactly where God wanted it to be.

Do we try and move mountains that are already where they are supposed to be?
Think about it. Do we try and manipulate God, or situations or others by our will?
Do we? Or are we open to things being as God planned them already? Not settling in any way but in saying ... those are your mountains.


God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Monday, August 28, 2006

Birthday Whee

today is our daughter Betsy's birthday. She started off the morning with her Grandmother, Gladys, who was present when she was born. Holding my hand while we three were still one. It was a most precious moment in my life.
Every year I have told her the story of the day she was born, what I remember and all that surrounded it. We do this together in a way because as she spoke with me she reminded me of one of the parts I'd forgotten to add at the right time.
so, since she's traveling again, i have watched a movie that is a favorite of 'ours' and thought about her all day. While on the road she heard from a friend who called to chat while she too was driving across country. They caught up on News between them. What fun.
we'll talk to her i hope a couple of more times today and tomorrow we will celebrate with her here late in the evening.
growing things help us mark time. We don't see ourselves growing sometimes. i recently asked a friend what lessons had she gleaned from her 45 years since she graduated from school. it was good to hear her reflection.

perhaps we should learn again how to mark time with reflections of the lessons learned and what we would like to share with others.
i should ask our daughter that question and see how she replies.

God abides and for this I am most completely thankful
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Summers were a time when I did a lot of reading. Depending on my age I read all kinds of serial books: Like, BobbseyTwins, Nancy Drew, Edgar Rice Burrows, the longest books I could find in the library, books recommended for literature classes. I found that reading was great to do wherever I was.
My cousin had a great collection too of Comic Books, all kinds of series of them. We would spend rainy days getting a handful of them and reading then, tossing them back in their spot, a cupboard under the washer, and getting some more to read.
We read. I realize how lucky I am that I had readers around me. I still enjoy a good book. I sometimes read a favorite or well written book more than once. I read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin twice while traveling this summer. The language is so beautiful and clever.
While we were traveling I would pick up a magazine or book where I was and look at the words in a language or script or alphabet that I didn't know-this is how it is to be unable to read--Either because of language or vision deficiencies. You know there is a story 'in' there but you can't get it out because the letters don't make sense to you or you don't know the words.
What can we do to share a love of reading with someone else. I know part of my love is because my parents read to me. I remember trying to read a book when I was in 1st grade called, "The Biology of the Frog." Ok, so not a child's book but I still tried to read it.
Find something that brings you joy. Find a book that makes you laugh. I really hope you do.
And then share that book with someone else.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Friday, August 25, 2006

Who ?

"Who's afraid of the Big Bad wolf? The big bad wolf...the big bad wolf?
Who's afaid of the big bad wolf? la la la la la

I remember this as a little song that was sung in a cartoon of Little Red Riding Hood. Perhaps this and other things that made not sense about some of the 'common' fairy tales is what made me not teach many of them to my children. They didn't make sense. I'm not so sure that other books we read were reality-based by any means but at least they didn't give them nightmares.

I remember wondering and asking my Daddy how could the Grandmother and Little Red both be in the wolf's stomach without being digested?? I guess there was an early biologist in me all along. But I couldn't figure it out and so I'm not sure we read that story often. I loved radio/record stories. I loved Danny Kaye singing the Hans Christian Anderson songs about the Inchworm and the Ugly Duckling.
But I didn't worry about being eaten by either of them.
Guess fear was something in me eh? Well sure it still trips me up some times and makes me wonder...what if...??? and make a list of things that might happen, go wrong, blah blah blah.
But that's not what we're supposed to be
My parents bought a music tape for our children that was all different.
It was about who was in charge of the world, the animals etc, who knows how things work in the world? Why things happen?

"God does that's who"

Amazingly what do we want people to remember?

who is afraid? or
Who wants us not to be afraid? God does, that's who.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Thursday, August 24, 2006

off to College

Both of our children are young adults who went off to college. They were several hundred miles from us and not in one of the home-for-the-weekend-laundry situation. Not that that is bad, after all it is what John and I both did, but it is different. I broke into 'open weeping' before they left. Joy I kept saying, it was joy! But it was bittersweet kind of joy.
I was happy that they had worked hard and done well in high school and had chosen and been chosen by a fine school. They were both ready as they can be. The question was..are we?

There is a lot about how children are ready or not for school. For example when our son had is ready for 1st grade test he failed 'tying' shoes. He'd never had to tie a shoe as he'd worn velcro latching or flip-flops. He learned that night and went in to show his teacher. She already knew he was ready as he had read not only his part of the 'ready to read' test as he had read her part upside down from where he sat. Ya, he was ready.
There was the woman who sat next to me at lunch at the college-- with her mother and when I said, "Well i know that when he comes home it just won't be the same after this experience." She looked at her mother and said, "What does she mean?" The grandmother looked at me, at the daughter, at the grandson and just smiled. "You are right." the Grandmother said. "What?" said the mom.

But are parents ready? I remember seeing a mother walking a small child away from a school and she was just weeping. I thought to stop and offer aid, then I remembered it was the first day of school no doubt she'd just taken an older one off to Kindergarten and realized the changing of an era.
How about college? I cried at the College President's reception at my son's school. I walked in and asked if that was the place for open weeping? they laughed and I started crying. They remembered me for that for several years the weeping mom.

We are ready to teach our children how to walk and how to walk away.(from a book called Men are Just Deserts) I read that when Betsy was 5 months old.
True, it is true. We need to teach our children all of that...
and then we need to teach ourselves how let them know we believe they are ready for all the life that is before them.
We are ready to walk into our new life.
Wow, no wonder parents are tired. We work hard to get them ready.

Are the parents ready? Good work and be gentle with yourself.

Bless you all who are sending them off...

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

ah Rain!

What's that sound? What? Rain? Finally it seems it has come. It rained enough this time that my birdbath outside the dining room window has water in it. We've had a couple of those wet-air-not-hit-the-ground kind of rains but this was a real one this morning. It was monsoon season when I was in India in June. It gave the term downpour a whole new meaning. It was amazing how quickly it came how much it would rain, and then stop almost as quickly as it had come. Like a big spigot had been turned on and off. Would that rain could go to the drought suffering hit parts of the world.
We have heard of the real deep drought here recently and farm ponds are mostly dry-- we will need some more of these soaking kinds of rain to in any way nearly catch up. We aren't there yet. We are blessed to have gotten some however. Our grass may even look greenish and not crunch when you walk across it.
We've not been watering to conserve water. It is just the way we are in terms of the lawn.
I do love a green lawn and my Daddy always kept a beautiful one. The first year we moved into our house on Dunedin in Columbus, Ohio the front of the yard had sod but the back we had to plant ourselves. My Dad in his early 40's by then started to try and rake the yard and make it so he could plant seed. He couldn't put the amount of pressure he wanted on the rake there were big clods of dirt and some rocks. I was out with him trying to break up the clods by jumping on them and picking up the rocks and putting them in the corner of the yard--great fun! I was in Kindergarten. He said, "Bobbie, stand on the rake and hold on." I stood up on the rake...ta da... he pulled me...up and down the yard. Wow. How much energy and strength that must have taken! I remember stopping for water, that holding on was hard--ha ha! We finished and I helped him hand seed the yard, and lightly raked it without me on the rake and then spread hay over the top to try and deter the birds. We watered and waited. There was one corner I wanted for 'my' own part and I hand seeded it. It was the lushest area in the yard. (I later learned he had re-seeded after I had done my best so it looked great.)

Water, rain, grass, memories, and being the kind of parent that helps a child succeed. What more could I want in my musing on this rainy day? Come on rain some more especially on the farms that need it so very much! My grass can remain crunchy if that's a bargain I can make successfully to have it rain on the fields.

Sermon to write but this is a good start.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Monday, August 21, 2006

Snakes on a Plane

No, I've not seen this movie but the whole premise is amazing. Seriously --or really not so seriously -- What a hoot tht it has become such a hit. Why do we think that this could bring a relaxing evening?

With all the 'security' on planes today I remembered that once I tried to fly a Teju lizard named Earnie. Well the Earnie part doesn't reaaly matter but we did have to transport the lizard.
Ok,here's the back-story. In 1968 I was a Junior in College and a camp counselor at a presbyterian camp in Cresson, PA, Elmhurst. There's a long story about the camp that involves no I'll tell you that story another time.
Mike, Rick and I had pooled our money one very boring Saturday afternoon when we were in a Mall in Pittsburg and purchased this Teju lizzard. I don't know who gave him the name but Earnie fit. He was about 2 1/2 Ft. long and they said...."He's fast--he can move really fast." That we never ever saw in Earnie. He did lap up a raw egg with a little enthusiam and we did walk him with a jump-rope size leash on him so that he didn't DASH away into the Western PA woods... I do have to say we had fun telling the kids on overnights that right over there was where we found Earnie.

Ok ok so it comes to the end of the Summer. Three of the six of us were from Ohio and had flown over and were flying home. But wait, what about Earnie? So, I was given the task of calling the airlines and asking, Can I fly my lizard? I described him, said he was friendly, we'd have him in a secure box that would fit under the seat. That he made no noise and really wouldn't be problem. There was a long, and I mean long, pause on the other end of the line and then almost laughing the person said, YOU are our supervisor calling to test us aren't you? You are trying to trick me! You don't have a lizard. And she began to laugh before I could say, well, I am a young woman with a lizard...may we fly him?

Even then Earnie was not deemed a worthy passanger. We knew the cold would be too much for him so we made arrangements to meet someone part way from Columbus and have them drive Earnie --across state lines.
Some time I'll tell you more of the Earnie story as it gets better in a bittersweet kind of way. Mike McNeil had custody of Earnie and through one of the other couselor's Mom, Mrs. Yorde, kept Rick and myself up to date on Earnie and how he was doing at Ohio University.
Snakes on a plane. What a funny name for a movie. What how many millions has it made? A bunch I bet.

Remember, when they ask you if you have anything with gel or liquid in your carry on, Would you have to say... no gel but a lizard.? I don't think they would laugh.

What in the world do you think would bring a smile? I hope this Earnie story has...
It gave me a smile thinking of it. Thanks for letting me share.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Saturday, August 19, 2006

34 years

Today, the 19th of August and it is our 34th Anniversary. We were married at 11 in the morning in Columbus Ohio at First Community Church. I remember it was a warm beautiful summer morning. The big trees in front of the church shadowing the walk and it was so wonderful. I wore the dress John's Mother wore. My cousins and John's sister were my attendants. His brothers and a cousin stood up for John. His grandfather, . John C. Taylor and my minister friend, Richard Horn were the ones who officiated. My father walked me down the aisle.
We made our vows and then we read a paper we had written. Part of it was thanking those who had brought us this far and also that we would serve God by serving others. Who knew? Who knew--God did---that's who.

So here we are 29 years for John serving as a pastor and 28 for me serving both ordination anniversaries in September. Who knew

My how time flies when you are having a good time. That goes for our life together, our wonderful now grown children and our work for God.

I pray we have many many many more years for all of these.

God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Friday, August 18, 2006

Summer time?

The heat surely bespeaks of it being summer! It is over 100 again today. My goodness.
And children are going to school!
Back in 'my day' we didn't start school until the week after Labor Day. We lived in Ohio and the schools had no airconditioning. At least the elementary schools did not have anything but windows to open and hoping that there would be a breeze coming through.
Schools have changed. In this part of the US there is always airconditioning and more rare are the windows in schools.
The children in some parts of the world just have classes outside when it is hot inside. That makes sense. But then they are writing on slates with chalk not pen and paper or computer.
Jackie, Susie and I spent more than one summer in Ohio playing canasta (card game) that would go on and on and on. We played inside, on the porch and under the tree. We also played jacks (jack-rocks) a lot too. In fact once the school had a summerprogram with a jacks contest. There were the traditional 1-10 pick up and then several other kinds like, pig in a poke, egg in a basket, around the world and I think some others I don't remember these some years later.
What have you done this summer, no matter your age, to give yourself a sabbath from the rest of the year? Anything? Well consider reading a book or doing something creative as a way to celebrate summer and maybe something fun before the end of August.
God abide with you
Take care
God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Welcome little one

We have a new little one in our parish. She is so welcomed and we are all happy she is here!
What would we tell her? What wisdom would we want to share with a little one? Recently I got to hold and rock my 'nephew's" baby and I sang to him and talked to him and told him how much he was loved.
Isn't that what we all want to hear? It doesn't really matter how old we are! We just want to know that we are cared for, that people look forward to seeing us, that we matter in the world. Really? isn't that part of what you want? Isn't that what makes us buy billions in makeup or hair color or mouthwash or so many of the things that are sold to that we will be acceptable and loved?
Well, think about it. What is it that you want most? Think about this question and how perhaps you could be sure that someone else has it. I remember reading a statement that you have truly forgiven someone when you wish for them what is YOUR heart's desire.
What do you wish for these little ones? What in their life do you want them to know? Because to know you are loved is greater than anything one might 'have'.
Blessing to you
God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Welcome little one

We have a new little one in our parish. She is so welcomed and we are all happy she is here!
What would we tell her? What wisdom would we want to share with a little one? Recently I got to hold and rock my 'nephew's" baby and I sang to him and talked to him and told him how much he was loved.
Isn't that what we all want to hear? It doesn't really matter how old we are! We just want to know that we are cared for, that people look forward to seeing us, that we matter in the world. Really? isn't that part of what you want? Isn't that what makes us buy billions in makeup or hair color or mouthwash or so many of the things that are sold to that we will be acceptable and loved?
Well, think about it. What is it that you want most? Think about this question and how perhaps you could be sure that someone else has it. I remember reading a statement that you have truly forgiven someone when you wish for them what is YOUR heart's desire.
What do you wish for these little ones? What in their life do you want them to know? Because to know you are loved is greater than anything one might 'have'.
Blessing to you
God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

what do you remember

I was reading an article in the New York Times about a school where the children are memorizing the Koran and that is what they do. They memorize part of it, they recite a new passage to the leader, then they recite the five or six before that and then they go on.
What do you memorize? The article said they do this so that the Koran makes it in their hearts and minds.
Roy Burkhart a minister of my youth memorized the Biblical Sermon on the Mount and would recite it from memory. I have never tried to do this but I have copied it out of the Bible several times as a discipline.
Once John's grandmother recited a poem from her youth. It was pages long. I was amazed to hear her. She was in her 80's. Mother Daniel had a gift and as a youth she like many of her time, would have to memorize a lot of verses.
In graduate school in AZ one of the professors gave a test that was verbatim from a handout that he gave us to fill in. You would read through the book, fill in the blanks of this 26 page paper and then the exam was from that handout. He would take the exams and randomally circle 10 pages or so of the handout and you had to fill in those blanks. A friend of mine memorized the whole thing and wrote it out. I did the best I could to remember and logically fill in what I remembered. I did ok on the test but thought that the memorization of the text to be unhelpful. See, I don't even remember the name of the book.

But texts of our faith, whatever that text may be, should have a much stronger hold on us. We should have those texts in our hearts so we know how to deal with the world and what kind of decidsions our faith would bring. The children in the Children's Homes in India memorize a bible text every day.

Good luck

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Monday, August 14, 2006

But it feels like

Hello, again
I was reading the weather report and it said it was 99 outside but it feels like 100. We'll sure it does! When I first moved to AZ years ago someone said it gets hot there but not to worry there's no humidity, it's a dry heat! Well in case you don't already know this 110 is hot with or without humidity! I remember John and i came out of a movie at 10:30pm and it was still 103. Hot is hot.
We were warm in our travels to Bali/Java but we didn't have a way to tell the temp. I said what difference would it be if we knew the numbers. What we felt, hot, was going to be hot no matter what the numbers said. Sometimes I think too that the numbers only confuse our senses. If it is in the 90's we don't need to know the exact point to know that we are warmer than we might want to be.

We have many senses that we use clearly, sight, taste, touch, sound, and then there are some that we don't use. Those senses that tell us when there is trouble ahead, or anger in the room, or love in the room, and we need to refine those senses as well. We need to trust our 'gut' as well as our logic and intellect. We have a saying, "I have a gut feeling". We don't listen to that sense as we should.
The Bible tells about Jesus seeing someone and acting with compassion. That literally means he felt it strongly in his gut. He loved so much, cared so much, wanted to heal so much, wanted good things so much, that he had compassion. With Passion he felt that which was around him and with him.

Try for a little while just now to listen to your inner self that gives you clues and cues that help you understand what is going on in the world around you. And then into that world...pray for love to abide, for love to win out, for love to heal, for love to protect, for love to calm, with love to feed, with love to do all that is needed to heal the whole world.

God abides
Bobbiie Giltz McGarey

Take Two or Three

Somehow this morning I've had more trouble than usual composing my thoughts. I've started this three times now. The first was about Secrets. The second was about sharing, but this will be the one that I share with you all.

We live in a world, (there's a generalization coming) that is, filled with wonderful lively exciting experiences. Each of us however lives in a different part of this world, some who read this are in a different hemisphere than others. But it's the same globe on which our feet rest. In some places we rest on peaceful days and in other places, way too many other places, there is war and chaos and hunger.

So, look there at your neighbor. Right here, the people nearest you. How are they doing today? Are they ok? Is your neighbor well, or hungry or lonely? What is it that your neighbor would like to hear from you?

I asked people along the way in our journeys. "How shall we pray for you?" it is an intimate question. It often stopped the conversation and then most all had a fairly ready answer. It seemed several times to be a prayer request that they couldn't pray for themselves but others could hold this in prayer "For" them. I was often moved by the purity of the request. Most often the request was for some situation outside of their own need and that had an impact on the 'kingdom' around them. Prayers for others.

How shall we pray for you?
Here's how you can pray for me today. Pray for peace. (God knows the particulars of this prayer request)

Thanks be to God and thank you for your prayer.
God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

morning musings

My Daddy would take me for field trips as a very young child and we would sit and observe the natural world. Awesome, he would say, awesome.
My Daddy was a PHD biologist and I majored in biology in college and taught biology for a year as a grad student. What I learned was that the more I learned the more awesome the plan that set it all in motion. The Creator became even more alive and even more awe inspiring as I studied the cell or the organ systems composed of cells or the life forms of all levels of complexity and simplicity. The changing-evolving life forms just made the picture more magnificent!
Later when I learned of other cultures having their own creation stories I realized that God spoke to people about the beginnings in languages they could understood. So, if we are 'advanced' and 'scientific' perhaps evolution is merely the creation story in language we can understand. The awesomeness of God is magnified by the daily findings of science. After all even if we can name what is happening, by goodness, we didn't make it happen---did we?
No conflict only Awe with creation that brings me to my knees. Let the church teach the God-part and education teach the other... Still we are pointed to God's love for us all.
OH look at that butterfly--wow how beautiful
God abides
Bobbie McGarey

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Quiet imposed

Monday morning we got a couple of calls and then it got really quiet. Then we discovered the email wasn't working and neither were the phones. We did all the plugging/unplugging we were supposed to do and then we discovered by talking with the phone company that the lines were out and would be till mid-Tuesday at least. So, without the phones, (an my cell phone charger still missing) there were no calls the rest of the day, neither was there any email.

I decided to use the time in reflection about all the things that I've experienced. How to put together the information from the church in Bali and Java? How to look at the work done in India both the South and the North. What to do with all that was seen there and make a bridge between that work and make a bridge between our work here.

We have so much to learn from one another. When you think of the history of the USA and that the explorers were looking for a faster way to India and they bumped into the Americas instead leads us to understand I believe how deeply connected we really are. The hopes and desires of the people are the same everywhere. The expectations just have different looks to them.

One question I asked in our travel group was--what makes for happiness? Surely not a simple question nor a simplistic answer to be had. We spend so much time and money chasing happiness, reading books on happiness, how to succeed and what success looks like.... Others have happiness and a lot 'less' to encumber them, what we have to learn!

So, phone back on, at least for the moment. I'm still pondering how to put together all I have seen. I will go back to the paper I wrote on the train traveling in Java and see how that fits. This especially with the India experience added on to the whole of it. The churches, the prayers, the hopes and dreams of the women and people I met.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Sunday, August 06, 2006

What the World Knows

Grace and peace this Sabbath day

In our recent travels we were impressed by many things. One thing that stands out is how the rest of the world knew so much about us, but we lacked knowledge of them for the most part. They knew about the President, the war, the other government leaders and their stands on issues and details. I am afraid other than England's Blair, I know little of other world leaders. I wonder why this is?

One man, while we were in Java, asked us if he could have his picture taken with us. John and i complied and were delighted to have our picture with this man and then with his family. We stood head and shoulder taller than all of them. The man said he knew where Oklahoma was, somewhere in the middle, and we used that to describe the location of our state from then on.

We were asked what life was like in the USA I suggested, in very response to this common question, 1- it was not like you might see on TV or in the movies. 2- that we have many of the same hopes and dreams they had 3- that we could worship as we choose 4--and that we were concerned for those who need to be represented.

We found suspicion of Americans and puzzling looks until we would smile and say hello. Then with almost every case there were smiles in response and children would giggle. When I got back to the LA airport, those ready smiles were replaced many times by individual looks of incredulity. You? Smiling at me? I don't Know you.

We are all together in this world of ours. Let's not forget. And let's reach out each day to someone who needs to know how much they are valued in the sight of their Creator and Redeemer.
What do you know of the world? Learn something new today about a new place in the world.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey
home again

Saturday, August 05, 2006

my pillow

After being on a wonder-full God-full study and experience in July, on Tuesday all I really wanted was my pillow. I was traveling across land and sea missing time zones and repeating days. I wanted my pillow.
Such hospitality I've encountered all along the way, new found friends, amazingly similar hopes and dreams by all, the love of Jesus at the core of so many of the lives...such hospitality.

From the smiling eyes of a Buddhist Abbot, to the hands of the Confucious Monk, to the animated-chart-writing Muslim Imam, to many hands of the pastors we enoountered all wanted peace. Not peace like "I" see it from each different view. But peace that is soul-deep and heart-true and justice-balanced and protective of those who most need our protection.

Separated from news by language and electricity and access the world roars on -- our prayers for the peace continuing not even knowing what we were praying for specifically.

But me, I just want my pillow, alas my personal comfort and familarity is what is most important to me-- because I deserve it !?!

"Lay your burdens on me and I will give you rest...." So we lay the burdens of the world on the feet of Jesus and ask for the blessing for each of us to be the change we wish to see. (Gandhi) "In gratitude to God, empowered by the spirit we strive to serve Christ in our daily task, living holy and joyful lives even as we watch for God's new heaven and new earth praying, Come! Lord Jesus!" (Brief statement of Faithy pcusa)

Last night, I fell asleep, walking only in the morning to discover that was not my pillow i slept with.. but another.. and you know i slept well.

God abides I'm happy to be with you again.
Bobbie Giltz McGarey