Awakening a Keen Observer

Friday, November 30, 2007

All I want

I read an article in Presbyterians Today... All I want for Christmas. They were touching and good reminders of deeper gift needs than the plethora of catalogs that come daily to my house. (I thought I signed up not to get those anymore?)
I think you can access Presbyterians Today online.

Yesterday I saw a young mother with her little one in a store. I looked over at the babe, and said, "Well all you need is a bow and you've got the best present ever!" She smiled, teared up and said, "I know". I wanted to hug her but settled for a smile in return.
In the Presbyterian's Today article Ann Weems, who is a well know writer, started her paragraph, all I want is a miracle.

Miracle Yes I can think of a few of us who have those in mind. Miracles that change things that we cannot change. Perhaps a miracle is in our seeing how little change can come through us.

What do you want for Christmas? Right now, this moment, I'd like to sit in front of my Aunt and Uncles' fireplace and take a picture with my cousin, like we always did at Christmas, and have the whole family around. That won't happen for many many reasons.
But I can put that memory in my heart and know that it is there, and the love that was shared has sustained me all these years, and that has to be ok.

What do you want for Christmas? A reunion with a loved one? Peace to break out all over the world? Peace in your little corner of the world? A loved one to be well and healthy again? Purpose for your life? Children blessed with their deepest desires?
Think on what you would say, right now. Leave a comment below and let me know what you wish, thanks.

God Abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Happy Birthday Mom! We love you!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

What is is all about anyway?

Late this afternoon on the way home I stopped at the Craft Store in Lawton. They had 1/2 off a lot of Christmas items. I bought a few. I listened to the carols that were playing and saw the people looking at everything and bought a big Star. I think I needed that star to shine some light right now. It just gets dark sooo early.
Then I went to a Hallmark store for a Birthday card for my Mom and found one that was good. As I was checking out a woman came to buy a scented candle. The clerk said, if you buy two it's a better deal. She said, I only need one, my husband is in Iraq and he asked to have one of these sent. Before I could say anything the woman standing behind me said. Please, Miss let me pay for that for your husband. I insist.
Had she not spoken up as quickly as she did I think everyone in that store would have volunteered to pay for that Candle.
"Its the most wonderful time of the year.'" Song heard while shopping..

I have told folks to be Gentle with themselves when they've experienced a loss. I think I've recently written about that. Read 11/19/07
But it's true. We have expectations of things we can do, but we cannot do everything we might like. Things don't get done, others expectations don't get met. We are all disappointed.
But when you are sad, disappointments, and feelings of being let down by trusted folks, or even strangers, come to the surface quickly. We make rash decisions and sometimes rash responses. It is as if we have tripped and landed face down in on the ground. Kinda like being tackled by an unseen force. Wham, there you are. And sometimes it's hard to get up.

'Have yourself a Merry little Christmas.... I'll be home for Christmas..." Two other songs heard while shopping..

A friends father died on Christmas last year. This will be his first Christmas since his loss. I understand how he feels. Yes-- really I do. My Mother died on Christmas Eve. There is no changing that and even thought it's been some years we really really miss her this time of year.

Be gentle, and kind, and well, isn't that what God's love in Jesus is all about anyway? I think so.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Gentle Mary laid her child, lowly in a manger.... sing along

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


When I moved into the Pulpit at Valley Presbyterian Church in Scottsdale, AZ on the 18th of November to give the sermon at the funeral of my sister-in-law, I took off my shoes. No they were not 'stupid' shoes but comfy ones. But I wanted to stand flat-footed on solid ground, holy ground.
Where we had stood the days past before waiting and praying of Analea in her crossover to her new life... We took off our shoes...I think in part ot be quiet as we came up Mom's steps, but also it did seem like holy ground.

Where do you find holy ground? I find it often where people are sharing some great joy or some great sadness. This was he way we were at Analea's service, I described the time as Bittersweet...
Bitter because we loved her so
Sweet because we loved her so.

It was holy ground. Standing before the family, all her siblings, nieces and nephews, her mom, aunts, and many friends I knew that the task before me was awesome. God is good and perhaps that came because I was flat barefooted at the pulpit.
Holy Ground because that time was one time for all time and would never come again. The tears shed never to be cried again. The pain in the faces of those who loved her. The sadness for those who grieved expressed by so many. The readings by her nieces of poetry and scripture.
17 hours early she had drawn and expelled her last breath. We waited for another, it didn't come, it wouldn't come. Her heart stopped beating. Holy Holy Holy time.

Make some place in your world intentional Holy Ground. Visit that spot often, rejoice in the presence with God, and pray for Goe's incredible mercy.

Blessed is the ONE who comes in the name of God.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Pink Capiz Moon

Tonight as we turned East toward Altus and home in Duncan, the moon, that big one from last night, rose so beautifully over the horizon. This time it was pink, and bright, and clear. It seemed to just light up the sky and you could see clearly the markings on the surface. It guided us for some time until some clouds caught up with it.

At one point we thought it was snowing, those big fluffy flakes, no, it was hay coming off a truck in front of us, (stop laughing) Anway it was fun for a minute.

God was good to us on our journey. It is good to be home, to have Chili Pepper sitting on my feet, and to get to sleep in my own bed.

It has been an amazing 7 Days. I pray the next will be less full of sadness and filled with more joy.
God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

did you see the moon? I sent it over to you...

Friday, November 23, 2007

capiz Moon

Have you ever seen a capiz shell? It is like someone took a thin thin slice of a pearl.
Well, tonight as we traveled East a huge capiz shell moon came up over the highway. It was amazing. We are traveling home to OK after our time in Arizona with the family.
We also saw a sign about that time that there were winter conditions ahead and to proceed carefully. We decided that when the Moon could no longer be seen we would take that as a sign to stop. We also had looked at the weather maps and know that the snow is now between us and home but we didn't want to drive in snow at night.
We stopped.

We did see snow on the higher mountains and imagine tomorrow we'll see even more. Then it will no doubt turn to rain before we get too far into Texas.

The wonders of this world are many. How can the moon look so much like an ocean shell? How can the clouds sometimes look just like the sea? How can it be 80 in one place and 9 hours later it's 35? how can... well you get my train of though.

We live in an awesome time in an awesome place, no matter where Your place may be.
Enjoy the creation...and thank the Creator. God still likes to be appreciated.

God abides
and I am most heart felt grateful for that presence.

Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Amazing Day

ee cummings
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of allnothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

A friend of mine from years ago, Ed Key, were working with the middle school kids at a church in Columbus, Ohio. One morning I was reading this poem and thought it might somehow work into the worship service we were planning. I brought it with me to church.

As I entered, Ed a gifted organist, began playing this wonderful piece. I was amazed. He and the minister and I started talking and I said how beautiful the music was. He said, "Well, I was just thinking of this ee cummings poem and I couldn't find it." I said, "This one?" and handed him the book with the poem marked. "Yes", he replied. We were good friends after that.

May this day before we here in the US celebrate Thanksgiving be one with your ears awake and your eyes opened.

Beauty is here. Wherever your here may be.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

how beautiful the sunrise in a clear Arizona sky
making daylight and day come with yellow-blue hue
the birds begin to welcome day
are we ready for another

yesterday is past and tomorrow only a dream
live this day it is a gift
yours to open and yours to share
come, lets being to dance

Monday, November 19, 2007


Analea McGarey, one of my dear sisters-in-law died on Sunday morning. No matter how one anticipates loosing a loved one, no matter how your know that they may not survive and event, no matter it is a surprise.
I think that is because there is a hole in the universe of your heart. That the way that your heart is arranged shifts. It doesn't mean it will break but everything shifts around. It is like pulling a can out of the bottom of a pyramid and watching everything on top tumble.
It is never the right time. But it is THE time.
Gentleness with yourself is most important. It is what holds us together. It is what patches us up when we feel like we are falling apart. And it is what we need to be with ourselves, gentle, when we are hurt.
Gentleness is most helpful when we are hit by the 'wave' of grief that comes over us. That wave that seems to come out of nowhere and suddenly you are on your face on the ground.
30 years ago I was walking down the hall in Vanderbilt Seminary. Suddenly I was on the floor on my face. I wasn't hurt, there was no one around, I didn't stumble. Odd I thought. I returned to the main library and they stopped me and said that I had an emergency call. It was John calling to tell me my Grandmother Bane had died. That time coincided with my falling. Oh, that's what that was.

Gentleness is what we need for ourselves, but also for others. What if we treated one another always with the gentleness we do of a newborn babe or someone who is about to be born in a new way? What would the world look like? Would we find that we who received gentleness would more readily passed it on? Probably. What if we practiced that gentleness with ourselves and others for the next week would we keep doing int? I imagine so.
Be Gentle with yourselves and others.

God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Saturday, November 17, 2007

so close to the stars

driving in the middle of the night
mid New Mexico
the stars the only light
except a few cars here and there
the stars reached to the horizon
and were bright and clear
how close the stars.

sleeping on the roof
under the stars
once again so close
feeling the touch of the gentle blue heaven
so close the stars come
and take us up into a whole new world.

God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


This is the time of football rivalry and the 'big' game. I read an article on gambling addiction and the first line was.
How much must we win to feel successful?

Perhaps that is a challenge that has not so much for most of us on gambling as in finding some meaning in our lives.
What counts in the end as success? Is it marked in how many 'toys' we have or how big our house is, how new our car, or clothing, or music player? Is it a question of how many gigs our computer or palm pilot holds?


Jewel sings a song that ends... In the end only kindness matters.
I've quoted it before but it seems timely.


If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we're all OK
And not to worry 'cause worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I won't be made useless
I won't be idle with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear
My hands are small, I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
Poverty stole your golden shoes
It didn't steal your laughter
And heartache came to visit me
But I knew it wasn't ever after
We'll fight, not out of spite
For someone must stand up for what's right
'Cause where there's a man who has no voice
There ours shall go singing
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
I am never broken
In the end only kindness matters
In the end only kindness matters
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
We are never broken
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's mind
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's heart
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's eyes
We are God's hands
We are God's hands

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hope and Suffering

Some time ago I met a professor at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary named Ellen Babinsky. Ellen is a person of experience and wisdom and a great sense of humor. Two years ago she wrote the key article in the Austin Seminary Journal Insights. I have put a link to it on the end of this note.

Hope and Suffering are for believers interwoven in a truly miraculous way. This weaving is one that keeps us from either falling in a pit or floating away like a helium balloon.

One of the quotes from Ellen's well thought out article is:
I desire a "firm heart that could turn to God", to pray for the strength to trust that somehow the adversity will be turned to good, and that I might be given the spiritual sight to recognize the gift and praise God."

One of my dear sisters-in-law is quite ill. The family has gathered as we can, a few at a time. Her mother and sister, both physicians, attend with hospice to her physical and emotional needs. We, at a distance pray constantly we can attend to their spiritual needs and energy with our prayer and through God's mercy.

We all seek a firm turn to God.

Thanks for your prayers for us...
God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey
sorry I can't get the html link to work... but if you'll copy and paste in your address line it will take you to the full journal. Ellen's article starts on page 4">

ON a different note here's a poem I wrote the other day.
> learned quickly
> how to come in his door
> without a key
> we want to walk through doors the same way
> no lock
> just pushing it open
> and walking through
> but humankind has want of a lock
> to keep out and in
> how strange
> open wide the door
> to house and heart
> come in friend-come in

(my cousin once made up a name --she wanted to be Key Lockwood. I thought it
> was the best name ever!)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I arise each day through the strength of heaven

Theresa of Avila wrote the title words.

I write this note almost daily to share or to record some of the things I'm thinking along my day. Often while I drive I see something or hear something on the radio that I think more about and want to write. If you are reading this drop me a comment at the end. I'd just like to know. you can comment below on the comment line. thanks

When I think of my sister Analea who is quite ill I think of all the fun times I've had with her and as usual wish for more. When she was pregnant with her son Gabriel, she in a new mother mode told me that having a baby wasn't going to change her... but then came wonderful Gabe and everything changed. He is a wonderful young man. I was present when he was born because Analea invited me to be. It is a strong bond between us all.

When I think of the things that we wished we had done over our lives I remember the essay that Mary Chapin Carpenter shared on a radio story,
"This I believe"

It is worth your time to listen and to reflect with her. It's call A learning curve of gratitude.

God abide with you
I arise each day through the strength of heaven.

I'll be on the road the next few days and don't expect to have a computer. keep in touch.
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


"There are two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle."
Albert Einstein.

So in the world of 'great thinkers' Einstein had in this saying an understanding of the wonder of life, the forces that impact us, and how we look at the day.
What if -for today- you set before you a challenge to see the miracles in your world. Like the tree there that has the golden bright leaves. The child that is skipping down the street. The cat that learns to use a door to the outside. What if we looked at all things with wonder. Perhaps not everything is miracle, but everything is wonder and sets us to wondering. What joy even on a grey rainy day as well as those days that stay bright.

Look for the into the miracle

God Abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Sunday, November 04, 2007


Grace and Mercy
Sometimes when I have a prayer to raise to God I might begin by saying...In the great scheme of things this may not seem important, but it is to me, and then I pray. It is all a matter of perspective what is important or what gets priority.

When a loved one is ill one's perspective changes too. Memories become precious. Conversations and experienced together become precious. Time, even time when apart, becomes precious. Just knowing they are still 'here'.
One of my dear sisters-in-law is not well right now. She is a person to be treasured and her path ahead is unclear. Her present unwellness puts things into perspective.
What me, get upset about something trivial? What me, imagine that a decision about what cereal to buy is important? What me, worry about a tiny ache in my toe when real discomfort is felt by so many all the time. All of the concerns of others put my 'little' troubles into perspective.

The preciousness of those we love is lifted to new heights in times of crisis. The petty actions of others can drop us to new lows because in the great scheme of things, small things don't matter but take so much energy better spent on essential need. Plans for days ahead all hinge on what we hear from family nearby.

These things are important: Loving one another, being faithful to our promises and to our Savior, reaching out to others, feeding the hungry (in body or Spirit), being grateful for all we have already received, being thankful for each breath we take..." these are a few of the most wonderful things"

Do you have some important things to add?
What is most compeletly important to you. In perspective with the needs of others, where do your own needs or concerns stand? Perspective tells us what is most important and our being sensitive to the world around us can bring us direction.

I'm distracted. Holding Courage and Faithfulness for 'our' Analea.
God abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Truly the Fall

Here in the Eastern part of Pennsylvania it is truly fall. With the trees so close all the time and the colors so rich and varied the glimpse of the sky you get shows the blue-grey of fall. And you also know because you are looking through so many colors that fall has come.
(And here we even changed our clocks. It pretends to be light early but sunset will come at 4:40 today. Ah the wisdom of daylight savings time still is a mystery. )
I imagine the tress loving the Fall. It is the one time of year they get to show their great diversity. Most folks don't notice the branch shape or the bark differences to be able to discern one from another. The green hues may well be different but basically green tree is green tree. Fall brings out yellow and red and orange-red and rust and varied colors sometimes on the same tree. Some sidewalks are color wonders this time of year.
We ought to learn something from this and remember that although we may look one way, believe we blend, in our skins we are all unique... made that way...with our own gift to give to the world.
Enjoy the diversity in this
world where we live and be yourself.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Ok the people around here are tired of me saying...OHH look at that tree it's so beautiful in the fall colors.
Gabriela Mistral writes. : Beauty is the shadow of God on the universe.

Wow, even that takes my breath away. It is so great. It is amazing that we walk by beauty.
I know this is short...but I'm going to go out and see the trees in the morning.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Evidences of mercy

In May while traveling in India one of my daily disciplines was to write down an experience of mercy-- Observed, or done for me. It was a good way to focus on the presence of God in the midst of a different culture from my own.
I have always tried to be what Rev. Bob Shelton called, "A Keen observer of life". That is to say to look into the happenings around me, the world around me with an open eye and heart. Some days I do this far better than other days. Some days, to be honest, find me spinning in my own concerns about situations or people or dynamics around me. When I do that kind of self-absorbed living I miss those Mercies that are everywhere near.
Why do we do this? Why do we as faithful people spend our time this way? Missing the mercies abundant in this world when we consider ourselves the center of it all. (No mater what that "it" is...) Sigh

In India I experienced mercy each time someone took me in, or found me in a crowded train station, that is hospitality to the pilgrim. There were many other times mercy came my way. I am writing a paper on mercy to put it all together.

In the meantime- look for mercies around you, tender mercies that you can do, or that are done for you. The opportunity is there everyday.
Psalm 23 Surely goodness and mercy follow me (and you) all the days of my life (our lives) and I (we) shall dwell in the house of the Lord, forever.
Where mercy is --God is.

God Abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey