Awakening a Keen Observer

Friday, March 30, 2007


As is often the case in SW Oklahoma this time of year we had storms that came running through yesterday. I was in OKCity most of the day and it rained so hard several times one woman said it was time to build the ark.

After the storm passed in the early evening I headed home. When I left the building the sky was dark to the east but the sun was shining. So I went outside of the parking garage to see if there was a rainbow. Couldn't find one. I got my car out of the lot and began driving and minutes later there it was...and it was a beauty. When I finally turned south again it was bright and pure off to the East. I looked behind me and could see the other base of the bow... As the sun set it continued to get brighter. For a minute I could see a complete arch..clearly touching the ground. Oh and parts of a second larger one were visible for a while as well. To be true I am not sure I was paying as much attention to the road as I should have been.

Ancients looked to the sky for the rainbow promises. In Biblical times it was said that God put the rainbow in the sky as a promise. Interestingly enough we all hang our own promise needs on the rainbows. Am I right about that?

Once a long time ago my uncle had a medical procedure done and as I was driving home to Kentucky from Tennessee I was thinking of him. Then came a rainbow. I took it as a positive sign. He did well and I new the two were linked.

But perhaps what we forget all too often is that's not about us.
That is to say that the rainbow isn't so much about us and our need but more about God's promised presence.

"I Come Rain Or Come Shine
by Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen

I'm gonna love you like nobody's loved you,
Come rain or come shine.
High as a mountain and deep as a river,
Come rain or come shine.

Perhaps a stretch.. but it's still the promise that the rainbow gives.
In 1861 Lyte wrote these words
I need thy presence ev'ry passing hour.
What but thy grace can foil the tempter's pow'r?
Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me!

God abides --
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Monday, March 26, 2007

Buffalo people

There are three ranches not far from me that have buffalo. Yesterday driving to Grandfield, Oklahoma I saw about 20 grazing in one of the green fields. They are big, stately, and they almost appear wild. I don't know if in their 'memory' is the time when they ruled the range far and wide.

Is it in their 'bones' that they are creatures meant for more than fences?

I suppose that the question for all of us is to wonder what's in our bones? What's in the deepest part of us that we sense is to be fulfilled? And, have we done that? Are we doing that? and if not..why not...

What is on our hearts to do and be? How do we work to weave together all that we are into the tapestry of our time of life? Would we be as helpful in the world if we had been born 100 years sooner? Or are all of us born for such a time as this? Are we resent here and now where we are supposed to be?

What if we lived our lives each day seeking to fulfill the purpose God has set out for us? Here am I - send me-- use me--.
It may not change anything you do. It may change everything.

Some times I wander and wonder
What brings a day such as this?
Phone calls bring messages of hope
Phone calls bring tears and remorse
Letters fill us with the memory of friends
Letters haunt us like ghosts

What are we buffalo people?
forgetting where we should be now
letting the fences placed round us by other
that keep us from being here now.
Knowing that deep in our bones'
there is nothing that is holding us back
Wanting to be who we were created to be
let's start right now to do that.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Almost Easter

Almost Easter

Green wheat in the fields
growing quickly in the warm air and rain
waiting for more nourishment to come to harvest

Time passing
laughter and tears
all around the people we love

Easter coming
over the green fields
bringing the promise of life all a- new

First through the 'valley' we will walk together
Knowing that sunrise is just over there

Easter is coming
nothing to stop it
nothing can stop God's love on this earth
perhaps we can welcome
the new green of Easter
Peace to the green fields
and all over the world.

God Abide
Rev. Dr. Bobbie G. McGarey
first posted on

Friday, March 23, 2007


A Pilgrim is not just one who came from Europe to what was not accurately called the New World.
A Pilgrim is one that goes on a journey, a religious journey, for a reason. Years ago, in the '60's Annie Dillard wrote the book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. She wrote about her every day life in a cabin along a stream and in a deep woods. I read and 'drank-in-deeply' the images and the peace that she shared in her watching the world go quietly and slowly by. I still read parts of the book sometimes as the seasons turn and the time passes and I need to pause.
In the Christian world right now we are approaching the climax of the Lenten season. We will remember the Easter happening that is for Christians the turning moment.

But do we pause at all in our days to celebrate the ordinary beauty of the world around us? I listen to a small bird chirping outside the window right now. I hear this little chickadee and know how it looks and I stop writing to watch it flit from branch to branch.

There is part of me, probably growing out of being an only child, that enjoys quiet. And that quiet is what Annie Dillard writes about and invites us to join.
What do we do in the middle of our lives to breathe?

I invite you in these days, find a place of quiet. Breath and enjoy the world as it is this day.

God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Water Day II

Found this article online.. Celebrating World Water Day
In many parts of the world, water engineering is a feminist issue.

Carol Lloyd
Mar. 22, 2007 | Today is World Water Day -- a day devoted to raising awareness about the scarcity of fresh water on the planet. That it comes in the middle of Women's History Month and a couple weeks after International Women's Day is both utterly fitting and utterly depressing. Even as technology has suffused our world, allowing me to connect with you in the blink of an eye, around the globe from India to Kenya to Peru, women and girls travel extraordinary distances in extremely harsh conditions to collect water for drinking, washing and cooking. And as precious H2O grows scarcer in certain regions, women's jobs as the providers of family water grow more difficult. They travel farther, wait in longer lines, and suffer more illnesses related to a lack of safe water. Even in relatively affluent countries, women bear the brunt of water crises -- like last September in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, when women traveled great distances and stood in the sweltering heat for hours to get precious water coupons which would only sometimes result in receiving their rations.

According to UNICEF about 1.2 billion people have gained access to safe water since 1990, yet that number doesn't come close to meeting the Millennium Development Goals, which would cut the number of people around the globe with unsafe drinking water and no sanitation by half. Currently, every year, an estimated 1.5 million children under the age of five die from diarrhea, largely associated with a lack of safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

Here is a description by Caryn Boddie, an American writer who traveled to Kaikungu, Kenya to assess water-treatment issues and found that local women regularly walked 11 hours to fetch water for their families: "...during the dry season, the women have had to wake up at 2 A.M. on many mornings, leave their husbands and children still sleeping in bed, and go off to fetch water in the dark. They have walked to the Watumba River or have gone to buy from others who have wells. After they access the water, they carry it home, not returning home until 1 P.M. When the women complete the journey, they are too tired to do anything else in their homes or on their shambas (farms). Sometimes, they have walked to get water and back without any breakfast or lunch."

It's not just a matter of sheer neglect that has kept so many families without safe water, but also the fact that many water projects -- spearheaded by governments and non-profit groups -- don't work for the communities they are supposed to serve. (Sometimes wells are drilled but not outfitted with pumps, or wells which would require residents to pay for water are drilled close to a natural (and free) water spring and end up endangering it.) Women continue to travel to ensure their families' supplies, and water engineering has become an explicit feminist issue.

Among those on the forefront of the movement to address the problem is Susan Murcott, a water engineer from MIT, who works with the women in rural communities to create their own water solutions. (Murcott was the focus of Yoko Arisaka's essay "Women Carrying Water: At the Crossroads of Technology and Critical Theory" (PDF) several years ago.) In a small community in north Burma, she introduced residents to home water purification systems, where most of the local hospital's patients suffered preventable waterborne diseases. The success of the systems led to the residents designing and building their own water treatment system. This month, in an article in the Journal of International Development, she describes her more recent work with communities in Nepal and Ghana in what she's calling "co-evolutionary engineering design."

So on this day of appreciating the liquid at the center of all life, let's raise a toast to unsung heroes like Murcott, and the women who trek mountains to bring water home to their families.

-- Carol Lloy

Keep this in mind...
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Cup of Water

As I understand the United Nations has declared Thursday world water day. To focus on the plight of all those who do not have access to drinkable water. According to one article I read One Child Every Seven 7 minutes dies from dehydration and poor santation. According to this article....
More sustainable community-led solutions not only saves lives, but allows women who generally are responsible for collecting and using water to be more involved in decision-making about water and sanitation and young girls can attend school instead of spending hours everyday fetching water."

Are you suddenly thirsty thinking of this. If you would think just now where is the closest Natural water source to you. Not the lake made for the highway or houses. Not the swimming pool in the neighbor's yard. Where is the nearest river or creek or stream? How long would it take you...yes you... to take a 2 gallon water jug and walk there to get enough water for morning cooking? How far would you be required to walk.
What kind of things can we do as people related by the water of the earth do to help one another have access to clean water? Tube wells are dug by the missionaries and gifted to the rural villages. Presbyterian Men and Women's groups have helped to put these wells in place both with donation and labor. They ask the women in the village where the well should be built.
So, pour yourself a glass of water. Put it in front of you and pray about your thanksgiving for having this resource right there for you when you want/need it. Remember this water situation when you take your next shower or bath and be thankful that to have this luxury you didn't have to haul it yourself.
blessed we are and blessings we can be...blessings we shall be.

God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey
Happy Spring Equinox

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

William Sloane Coffin

Back in the 60's Linda Ronstandt sang a song with the title, When will I be loved? It still has a sound we who heard it when we were young remember. For me it is one of those songs that 'gets into my head' and I'm likely to have it singing for some time.

Perhaps we all live our lives asking this question in one way or another all the time. We try to prove ourselves acceptable to others by what we wear, how we talk, what car we drive, where we live, what we eat/don't eat, and on and on.... But, we
have the best response to this question of love from William Sloane Coffin who wrote in his book Credo...

“God's love doesn't seek value; it creates it. It's not because we have value that we are loved, but because we're loved that we have value. So you don't have to prove yourself -- ever. That's taken care of.”

So, then, what if we truly lived our lives in that knowledge. What if we lived our lives in the affirmations of the psalms... Let your heart take courage, lead me beside still waters, Truly it is God who saves me,...
What if all those who 'claim' their faith lived into it fully? To be perfectly hones I would have fewer nights when I fall asleep worried about __________ something.
What if we lived our lives so completely believing what we claim to be our faith tht we already have this knowledge that we are loved... no go out into the world and 'Do it'. Whatever it is that God has before you to do... To be the ones brining this love to others...To knock down barriers of exclusion or judgement... ! Do it! Because you are claimed by God's love already. There is nothing holding you back from bringing the love of God into the world around you.
Let's Go.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

PS Another Quote from Coffin... Even if you win the rat race, you are still a rat.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Olivia Rose

Bittersweet and Beautiful
The daughter of a friend had a beautiful baby girl. Olivia Rose was her name. She lived only a few months but the love she brought into the world was tremendous. This child, who by accident of nature, was beautiful but with her brain was damaged in birth. She never opened her eyes or laughed or smiled. She was not in pain. But her 'being' her soul brought out of hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people love. They sent their love in prayers to her and to her parents. They hoped and hoped for the miracle they knew would not look like the one they called for. People who didn't even know they had it in the to love so deeply were touched by her. This Angel .

We...we...recognized in the tears of strangers to her and to her mother that she had brought from the heavens an ability to met even the hardest heart. What a miracle baby she was.
Her parents, adoring, knowing, her grandparents the same, held her and talked to her. Her father was given time off to stay with her...given time... and they were there when she died.
We cried.
We cried or her and for her family. Even now, years later she touches my heart.

Our daughter, who was in high school at the time stayed with me that day. Remember take your Daughter to work? Well this day I went to Olivia's Funeral. My daughter came along. The church was packed. These people who came all came to be with the parents and family. Her Physician spoke about the journey they'd all been on...The heartbreak and the hope all in one. Bittersweet.
Her Grandparents, surprised to see us ran up and thanked us for coming. We were the only two from their home town who had come for the funeral about 80 miles away. Of course we were there. We were there to help them tuck her in and hold her memory with them.
A beautiful picture of a perfect looking child was on the table by the tiny casket.
Now, now... don't you be sad.

Remember Olivia Rose in this way. her life Evoked, drew out, a full measure of love, more than many people do in a long lifetime.

So, it's your turn now. Yes YOU. Pull out into the world your measure of love and share it with someone new. Let them know that you care and that it is important they keep in touch. Your turn to bring hope and hope and hope and hope into the world. Savanah did this in a few months... Surely you can as well. Work on it.. It will satisfy you beyond measure.
Let's start. God love you...

God Abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey
*** Earlier I had her name as Savanah Rose. But that was a baby girl born about 6 months after Olivia. Savanah's parents, members of the church, heard us talking about this sweet baby and praying for her and said they wanted their daughter to have the name Rose. I told Olivia's Grandmother and her Mom and they were both touched. As was I

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


When we first traveled to Park City Utah for a retreat it was fall. There was only snow on the tops of the mountains. But as I stood at the bottom of the slope it seemed like the mountain went straight up. It looked like if you would stand there you would just fall over, no fall off. I was amazed.
When we traveled in Kotigiri visiting family in Southern India the slopes of the tea plantations seemed almost as sheer. Really. But planted with rows and rows x100 of tea bushes. They were trimmed low and we were told they were very old. The top tiny little tea leaves were the ones that were picked. Picked by women who stood bent over at the waist, a bag the size of their backs on their backs, with the back of their legs supported some by the row below them.
We had seen several groups of women, in their colorful clothing, in the fields but this time as we drove by I waved. One looked up, then another, and they all stood and smiled and waved. They waved, hard, until we were out of sight.
I carry their smiles with me. Somehow my waving had given them pleasure. But not as much as the treasure of their faces in my memory.
Don't fall you are precious to me.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Full Moon Again

Not long ago on the night of the most recent full moon I slept in the early spring coolness with the window near the bed open. The protection of the covers of my bed were comfort.
Outside the window in the mid of the night the coyotes started their calling to each other. It was loud and it made me want to go and find them though I know that impossible I could hear their wail and echo. One to another and then in choras the air was filled for a wonderful long time. Then stopped.
Not long after the small owl that perches in the ceders near the house began to call. This sound muted and regular. Again I listened and imagined it's waiting for a call in return. Only one heard.
Later the neighborhood cat came by calling it seems to our cat inside. It sounds mornful and longing. We have not fed it. But it is our other cat.

Sounds of time passing--moon moving--life living.
l i s t e n...

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Friday, March 09, 2007

Under the Tree

In the middle
of a field where cows roam
there is a large tree
that has obviously stood alone for some time
it's branches reaching out in all directions

under the tree
there is green
when there is no green on the grass without shade
there is green
and often the cows will be there
when it's hot

under the tree
whose branches reach out like welcoming arms

be cool
I'll always be here speaks the tree
for as long as I stand
alone in the field
surrounded by grass

God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Saturday, March 03, 2007

too much information

There seems to be a limitless amount of information that can be read, gathered, saved, understood, processed when you are on the internet. One thing leads to another and you find yourself reading about a subject that is several degrees apart from where you started.

When we flew to India the last time we had a 16 hour flight across the Pacific. You have a little tv screen on the seat ahead of you, headphones, and a selection of movies that seemingly would take you 16 hours to watch. There were language lessons and there were video games. (Alas the controller was not very good and it became quickly frustrating.) We all had books, paper, and ... well enough to distract us you would think.

I re-read a Jane Austin novel and was happy to see it turned out the same as it had the times I've read it before. Ah..Mr Darcy.
There was time for visiting with family and of course the airlines fed you through the trip.
Oh, and of course, sleeping. The sleeping however was for those who could somehow find a point of comfort. To be honest I envied others of my family as they seemed to rest more than I could.
I did finally find that if I put on the eye shades, the head phones with no sound, then I could be in a 'space' where I could consider some of the things which I don't often have time to contemplate. I prayed for the varied concerns of those near me and those whose troubles are hardly a rumor. I prayed for the world's peace process to be stepped up. I prayed for all the things that rested on my heart. One memory I met made me laugh out loud. Luckily my seat-mate was sound asleep.
What do we do with our time? Do we spend it or save it? Do we apply it to the good of the world?
Do we surf the web of the world around us moving so quickly from one issue to another in a random fashion.
Or do we stop? Stop now and then and make room in our hearts for the world? What if we set a clock and for 15 minutes every day we would concentrate on one thing alone...a word or an image? How might that change our lives and the lives of those around us? sigh...let's try.

God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey