Awakening a Keen Observer

Monday, September 25, 2006

Word Power

Words do have power. Who of us can't remember a parent's admonition that turned our behavior toward more acceptable action? Hopefully, we too, can remember one or more words of praise from a parent that still gives encouragement in times of need?
Words do have power. I have tried reading different Biblical texts adding my own interpretation of what might have been the emphasis given to the Psalms perhaps that makes them different.
I've chatted before about the first time in chaplaincy that I had to shout the words of the 23rd Psalm to a woman whose husband had just died. Perhaps we don't 'shout' enough of the Psalms or the gospels or some of the readings so as to understand how they may have beeen spoken or used, or attended to be used.
We like to read all too ooften with a soft spoken voice..when perhaps the horrors of the text demand a stronger voice of horror or revenge or demand.

What shall we do with our faith? Shall we couch it in the sweet words or will we raise it up in the truthfulness those words deserve?
--- "like th 22nd Psalm or the 27th Psalm? ---or the stories of Sampson, --or the Sermon on the Mount in the New Testament.
Think about it and do some reading.

God abides
bobbie Giltz McGarey

Saturday, September 23, 2006

One thing at a time

My computer is downloading a podcast of Folkways album information, there are some software updates coming through, I'm reading the news knowing when the updates are through I'll have to restart the computer so I'm waiting to finish work on the Word document I was writing...
One thing at a time.

I remember my Daddy saying that to me. Perhaps we need a sign with that on it in all of our houses.
These days if you don't have the wash going, the dishwasher unloaded and loaded, the computer booting up, the phone headset on and your palm pilot (I don't have one of those) working you just aren't functioning to your full capacity.

When did we evolve into humans who could do all these things at once? You hunted for food, you carried water, you cooked over an open fire, one thing at a time.
Now trust me when I say that I don't want to begin that kind of life that so many people in our world still have. Seriously. But is there something to be learned or perhaps remembered about life being solo-tasked not multi-tasked?

One thing at a time.
Sit down and breathe in and out slowly. What? How can that be productive? I suppose if all the other systems around us are running we can sit down for a minute. But shouldn't we have our plans before us. Sit down and breathe in and out slowly. How can that be appropriate behavior for someone who is engaged in the world there is so much to be don? Sit down and breathe in and out slowly. But look at the "to do list" for Saturday and Sunday there is no time for...

There is no time --for there not to be time--- to do one thing at a time...
"Jesus went away to a quiet place."
Sit down breathe in and out slowly.
and when the time is right the rest of the world will be waiting. And for the most part it can wait.
oopes almost time to reboot...
but 'not yet'

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Who was that?

There is a time when I pass a hitch-hiker. I saw this man today walking on the side of the road. He looked like he's come straight out of the '60s plus cowboy boots and hat.
Where was he going?
Even more interesting..where had he been. Who was this man that all of us passed by? Where had he come from in his life? He'd been a lot of places you could tell. What was his story? Could he have told it to anyone? Did he have a family he was leaving or trying to go home? Was he married and did he have children? Did they know where he is now?

These things I'll never know
As there are many things I'll never know.
That uncertainty is something we all have in our lives.

Where do you plant your feet? What is your Rock, your ground? Questions some wrestle with their whole lives...and others just jump over --that leap of faith...and land
on solid ground. "Jesus is the rock of my salvation, his banner over me is love."

God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Bane or Blessing

! Baby Abby Found !
What a headline. This small newborn had been taken in a violent act from her mother and claimed by the second woman as her own newborn who had been stillborn. Everyone was looking and wondering what 'really' happened. The mother had been attacked violently. What a frightening story...but the ending is good.
Infants can be really hard to identify. Baby Abby had a birthmark on her forehead. The woman who took her tried to cover it with makeup--but it was discovered. Baby Abby returned home to her family.
What some might have thought was an 'ahhh too bad about that birthmark' was the very thing that saved her.
Bane or blessing. Blessing
Perhaps we may be slower to judge for someone else --or for ourselves what is a bane or a blessing.
God abide

Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Thursday, September 14, 2006

ancient sigh

Years ago
When they were moving
And giving away ‘things’ they had collected
My mother-in-law gave me an old pot
That had been given to her
By a Medicine Man
From the Plains

She said it was special
And she knew it was
Because another Medicine Man had seen it
And was worried she had just ‘found’ it
“No” she said, “It was a gift from another Medicine Man.”
“Well then,” he said with a relieved sigh, “then it will be safe for you to have it.”

She gave it to me with the story that I share
And I have wondered at times
What is held inside

To be honest
I have held it in prayer
Not praying ‘to’ it
But “with” all the prayers that were raised with it
In some ancient time

It is fragile
As are many of our prayers
When we don’t believe
In the One who listens

Not magic at all
Thanks be to God.

Bobbie Giltz McGarey
@September 14, 2006

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


The Plumber
One of my favorite old Sesame Street routines was a plumber outside knocking on a door..and inside a voice, "Who's there?" and the plumber replies, "It's the plumber, I've come to fix the sink." The inside voice replies, "Who's there?" The plumber speaks louder and the voice continues to answer "Who's there/" repeated ...the voice is a parrot which we can see but the plumber cannot. There is not going to be a resolution to this situation and the longer it went on the funnier it became. (My adult children remember this routine too.)

But having a plumber come to your house is both good/bad news. Good news because something will be resolved, bad news...because something needs to be resolved. Good News because unlike many parts of the world there is plumbing to be fixed. Bad news because in many parts of the world there is no plumbing to be fixed. We should take care how we choose our complaints.

Is life like this ...not like stopped up pipes...but can one thing be both good and bad simultaneously? Humm let's think about that for a while.

We have trouble that needs to be resolved and we work to resolve it. Do we learn from that situation? I'm not sure? But one would hope so. We can learn from things that seem like stopped up pipes perhaps more than when everything runs smoothly. Do we become complacent? We might. Then do we 'wait' for someone shake us from that complacency we can be the heroine(hero) and fix it? What does history--ours or corporate history--teach us?

What brings satisfaction?

Let me try and put this together with a quote from Margaret Wheatley (thanks to Aaron Carland for telling me about her writings)

Solving, not Attacking, Complex Problems
A Five-State Approach Based on an Ancient Practice
Margaret J. Wheatley and Geoff Crinean ©2004

Organizations today suffer from a severe disability when it comes to solving problems. In virtually every organization, regardless of mission and function, people are frustrated by problems that seem unsolvable. Every attempt to resolve a problem results in unintended consequences that dwarf the original one. Relationships worsen as people harden into opposing positions, each side insisting on its own solution, unwilling to consider alternatives. Too many problem-solving sessions become battlegrounds where decisions are made based on power rather than intelligence.

Consider the language used to describe problem-solving. We "attack the problem," "tackle the issue," "take a stab at it," "wrestle it to the ground," "get on top of it." If colleagues argue with us, we complain that they "shot down my idea," "took pot shots at me," "used me for target practice," or that "I got killed." In the face of opposition, we "back down," "retreat" or "regroup." (Sometimes there are gentler metaphors in use–we may "float an idea," or test it to see "if it has legs.") Such aggressive descriptions of problem solving point to a startling conclusion. We experience problem-solving sessions as war zones, we view competing ideas as enemies, and we use problems as weapons to blame and defeat opposition forces. No wonder we can’t come up with real lasting solutions!
(There is more to come from this...)

Do we thrive on good/bad news? Or can we live with what IS without it being either.
Can we say, "this is the way it is let's deal with what that means"?
As individuals and as group let's see what we can do to
Just to be who we are where we are dealing with the situations before us.
That should be purely good news.

God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Who ARE you?

There are two new babies in the parish right now a girl and a boy. When I went online today to see his picture...she was born last month... I looked over his and then at several others...ok a bunch of the others...and marveled at their varied beautiful faces and wondered...who are you? Names are listed, several the same, but it only tells us a little as they grow into their names.
We have the genetics that put them together now all finished with this part of their development and will continue to influence their physical makeup....
but what are we...those of us in their world...what are we going to teach them?
How will we bless them? How do we draw out from them the best that they can be?
How do we give them ground and root and wimgs so that they can grow into who they are meant to be? Deep breath
How do we live our lives in a way that brings them to their fullest potential?
And as someone recently the end don't we all just want to do our best?
How do we make this world, (and the world of all the worlds' children) a place where they can do their best. Where they can become whole in body and spirit. Where they can become filled with the energy of their Creator's love in a way that makes for the good of all around them..where they have joy and fulfillment in a life well lived and love both given and accepted... to live holy and joyful lives
Those are tasks to be taken... tasks that we've been given every day when we meet matter their age..or our age..
How do we live our lives that those around us can know they are loved and know how to give love out to their world? i think you know.
"love is something if you give it end up having more."
Love one another as I have loved you...Jesus
Love your Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind, and your neighbor as yourself...
These are gifts for all the and me included.

God abide with you
and with all the children of the world

Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


John and I lost a friend over the weekend. It wasn't someone we had seen in quite some time as our lives have taken different paths, still, his death came as a shock. We don't know all the details we just know he was swimming or surfing and had a terrible accident. His son was with him.
Who do we count on? There are people we count on 'being there' even if they aren't right by us. We count on them being part of our whole world even when we don't hear from them in some time. They are part of the fabric of our past and then suddenly gone.

So what does that make us want to do? It made us want to get in touch with some of those folks we count on but hadn't talked with in some time. We'd like them to know they are still part of who we are and what we've become.

I remember a time with this friend when we went out to eat and the young waiter came up and started his line. Hi I'm George and I'm your server I want to tell you about our great specials today. Before he could go any further this friend said well Hello George, and he proceeded to introduce the rest of us by name, we're going to be your customers. George hesitated, looked a little shocked and started again. Hi I'm George and I'm your server.... This is one of the memories I have of this friend. A funny story part of our lives that we think of whenever a server comes to the table with a set routine... remember when...

So, We'll be in touch with his brother and ex-wife and son and hope that we can offer some solace letting them know we remember... and will remember them in our prayer.
Do others count on you? Do you count on others...let them know. Now

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

all together now..

In our parish we are getting ready to welcome a new baby. He should arrive any time now. We pray for the delivery to go well.
Even more we feel linked with other new parents. We've had two babies this summer. We welcome them all.

we welcome them to this place that was created/is being created by God. We welcome them to a globe that i hope shows up in the image above.

when I was young we would go to a libray in the Ohio State Faculty Club after we had eaten. There was a comfortable well worn leather chair that seemed to embrace me. I loved to sit in that chair and read the New Yorker Magazine, to be true the cartoons in the New Yorker).
But right by that chair was a huge floor globe. The kind that has the big meridians marked and that you can turn and it is on a slanted axis and lookes so beautiful. I would wonder about the countries, many whose names have changed. I wondered about the children there my age and about their lives. I thought for a long time they were the same as me. You know had a home, parents, food, clothing, education and all the things that went with my middle-class but priviledged growing up.
Later, when realty came to me I realized how differently lives were in other places. National Geographic became my magazine of choice after the New Yorker and I loved the stories and the pictures of far away places.

I did not get to visit those far away places until I was in my late 40's. The trip we took this summer was focused on the churches in some of these places and the people and their joys and struggles. Rural communities striving to be the best they could be. Communities trying to find ways to keep their young people at home because few jobs were there.

What will we provide for "my" new children where we are? What work will be there for them? Will they stay in these lovely communities and have good work or will they move on to other places? They need to choose to be sure when the time comes but we need to consider what we can offer them when that time comes.

Are not these smaller communities where everyone watches out for the others, where school programs are a community event for all to attned, because the children though they may not be blood-kin are still family? Where housing is affordable. Where neighbors watch out for neighbors. Where you check on each other and where the seniors meet to eat and enjoy each other because it is a social time... All these things have such positive images.

The the challenge becomes how do we 'attract' business to such a place? How do we
get food stores and drug stores to stay. What about health care or home care to come and stay?

It's not just my personal musing. These are questions for so many communities "in the middle" of the US.
For me, even more personally I constantly pray for an answer as to how the church is a witness to God's love for them all?
Answers welcomed
Welcome little ones
God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Friday, September 01, 2006

change feet first

Ralph Peters in the online Weekly Standard writes in an article about globalization and talks of 'tribes'. One line he writes, "Men talk of change but cling to what they know." (the language is his)

Is this true? Do we cling to what we know. A familar chair or sweater or parking place or pew in church is ours we don't want to change. We have fallen in love with the familiar and in that way have dangerously jeopardized our lives.

If we didn't change, our cells replenish, our bones grow, our bodies would have died long ago. We would not have trouble with old age for no one would make it there at all. Wrinkles would be a badge of honor not horror that plastic surgeons wipe away for a younger more alive look.

Change happens in the most likely and surprising ways. We go with the flow and GROW with the flow or we break. Have you ever tried to swim up river against a current? Now I am not saying here that we bend or float with the whim of the world. What we do say is that we look ahead. We were taught when going down a river in an innertube or if we'd fallen in to try and keep our feet in front of us...bumping us off rocks and it would help to stablize us. Perhaps that's what we need to do with change..
keep our feet first
Are we willing to change ourselves or precious things around us or are we 'stuck in the mud' and fear that we will not learn anything new to save us so we hold on tight and wait for change to wash over us? What are the consequences of that action? We should know by now!
"Change is the very most natural thing and life is merely attitude and timing."

Remember the joke how many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb.
one..but the bulb really has to want to change.
Dream and do... it will bring great joy.

labor day
God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey


The dictionary online says that it is "a diversion of attention" (Mirriam-Webster dictionary)
I think it is something that happens in the world that is not connected to the Good of the world.
If we are believers we can see distraction a work of those who would knock us off the path to God's peace.

Remember the song "Keep your eye on the prize" that we sang in the 60's? That sense of finding a goal and everything you do is focused on that goal is one that we've lost. We multi-task, we talk on the phone, and open our computer and read off the web while we have conference calls for an hour, while we have the wash going, while we watch TV with the sound off and the text at the bottom to be read wonder we are tired and chaos has it's way in lives and communities. We are not paying attention...and separation happens and we fall.
The other day while we were at the end of packing some of our daughters things I moved from one task to another and back to the first. She just started laughing at me. I laughed too when I realized what I'd done. There just seemed to be so many things going on at once and I wanted to do them all at the same time. I needed to complete one and then move to the next.

It's not just me is it that gets distracted now and then? It has happened to you, right? BabaRam Das wrote a'60's book: Be Here Now. Jesus said, Be Alert.

May you have a day with focus and purpose and all pointing to your life goal.

God abide with you
Bobbie Giltz McGarey