Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Unknown and yet...

I was seeing something I had seen before and yet, I had never been in this place. Unknown and at the same time familiar – a sensation that is hard to grasp and much harder to find words to adequately describe but it was and is what I am experiencing.

The sun is the same glowing orb that rises over my home every day.

And there, it too shines brightly.

The wind is fiercely blowing through the trees outside my window. As it passes by me on its never ending journey.

It is much like the breeze that caressed my cheeks on the top of that mountain.

Indescribable creation beyond my borders…

Indescribable yet familiar…

God’s handiwork

Begging to be seen

Hungering to be touched

Longing to be loved




I am ever grateful for the opportunity I have had to travel to see God's creation.  I am amazed by the beauty and humbled by the abundance that He has given us - color; sounds; heights; depths; smells; animals and above all, His precious people.

My heart continues to be awakened from its slumbering state and amazed by His handiwork.

I continue to recount my meager thanks

- safe travel to and from Guatemala
- the breathless dance at 12,000 feet
- the indelibly marked vision of a little one chasing our bus through the fields
- experiencing it all with my husband by my side
- the opportunity to hold such beauty in my hands
- the grace to pray with these little ones

holy experience

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Depraved Indifference

I just saw this video and I am without words.  If you have the time, please watch. 

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2010


I am afraid.  I wouldn't be honest if I said otherwise.  However, it is not a fear of my physical safety but rather one of my heart.

A heart that still beats fractured from a small, island experience.

A heart that knows there is more breaking to come.

It is what I have asked for...

"to be broken by the things that breaks His heart"

Still and yet, this weakened vessel knows what lies ahead. 

At this moment, I ponder my gratefulness ...

- suitcases crammed with shoes, books, soccer balls and blankets
- a plane ticket to Guatemala
- the grace of opportunity
- prayers of a church last Sunday
- a heart that still beats fractured

I may be afraid, my precious friends.  But long ago I was told by a friend that the blessing is in "doing it afraid".  There is truth to be milled there.  We have not been called to the safe and the cozy.  For in safety our clay crafted vessels remain intact. 

Intact vessels keep to themselves what was never theirs to keep.  What is poured in is meant to be shared.  It is the broken and fractured vessel that leaks the grace that fills it.

On my way to being shattered.

holy experience

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

There is nothing but God’s grace. We walk upon it; we breathe it; we live and die by it; it makes the nails and the axles of the universe.
-Robert Louis Stevenson

Sweet breath inhaled on a early morning walk

Sounds of dripping dew

A visual and tangible reminder of  a morning's devotion..."What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." 

Lots of shoes and the feet that are waiting for them

Warm cups of tea

Letters to a mother

Soft pillows, clean sheets and a warm home

Gentle and kind words

My very breath is a full measure of His grace.  For neither the remainder of today or the plans for tomorrow are guaranteed. 

Here and now my gratitude and His grace are meeting.  May it not be the only time these two shall dance within my heart and on my lips.

Grace and gratitude belong together like heaven and earth.
Grace evokes gratitude like the voice an echo.
Gratitude follows grace as thunder follows lightening.
Karl Barth

holy experience


© A Sacred Longing 2009-2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Please Pray...


The outpouring of support for this family was in one word, overwhelming!  This picture was taken from my phone as we began to gather.   From that point, the number of people expanded in length and depth.  While I wish we weren't having to stand there remembering the loss of a young man, I considered it an honor to do so.

Apparently, those who chose to protest did so but were about 1/2 mile away and I don't believe the family ever had to encounter them.  I know that they had no impact where we were.  I am grateful that we did not have to endure their ugliness.

The Patriot Guard escorted this funeral procession to Arlington National Cemetery.    What an awesome sight!

Thank you for your prayers!

Original post: 

On my Veteran's Day post, I asked for prayer for an upcoming funeral.  This morning the funeral will take place and I come again to ask for prayer.

There are people that wish to spew their own twisted thinking onto those who are grieving.  These people travel from Kansas just to disrupt the memories of those who have fallen in service.  They are ugly and hateful.  Neither of which are representative of God and of Christ.

I will be leaving shortly to stand in silent tribute to Lance Corporal Honeycutt a very young man who gave his life in honor and service. 

Again, please pray that those who want to disrupt this funeral will not succeed.  Please pray for TJ's friends and family as they say their "final goodbyes" to their son, brother and friend.  Please pray for those that continue to serve with distinction and honor.

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2010

I have turned off comments.  Please just pray.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Worthy of a Veteran

I was privileged to have a father who served as a medic in the midst of battle torn Europe in World War II.  I remember for years he would not or possibly could not even speak of his time in service.  It wasn’t until span of years and length of age allowed him the opportunity to ponder and share those days with us.  A few photos and some time-softened memories are all that remain.  (my dad is on the far right)

I have also been honored to “serve” alongside my husband for 21 years as he stood prepared in the Air Force. And now while he no longer wears his dress blues, our hearts remain steadfast in honor and reverence. We choose not to forget the distinction and sacrifice of a life lived in service.
Now like many others who enjoy the graces of freedom and liberty, we stand this day in pensive pause. Ponder well, my friends the sacrifices of those who serve in uniform.

And yet, I sit here with thoughts and frustrations of what is to come.

Soon, a young man will be honored for the ultimate sacrifice and I have just found out that there will stand people who will use their voices and their signs to picket this funeral. They stand “in the name of their god” and spew hatred and ignorance.

I am sickened.

I am angry.

Their words are not worthy of an audience. Yet they will force their hatred upon those whose hearts are heavy – an additional weight this family should not have to endure. And yet, it is the sacrifice of this son and many others like him, they can stand in freedom and vomit their hatred.

I am having a tough time with this, can you tell?

Please pray with me that this day will be more than a day off from work but a pause to ponder the sacrifice of those who have and who are serving in uniform.

Please pray that this Monday the voices of those that hate will fall silent upon those whose hearts are heavy.

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thankful for the Sacred Graces

I wonder sometimes where my thankfulness gets lost.

I start out well with good intentions and then before I know it my thoughts are jumbled and crossed. In the midst of such confusion, my heart soon wearies. I let the weight of the present fall heavy upon me. Under its burden, I miss the grace that longs to be seen.

Simple things...

Sunshine breaking through a cloudy sky

A red-crested woodpecker pounding away on a hard maple tree

Time to gather my thoughts and my words

Friends who are patient even when I am not

Faithful furry friends who stay closer than a shadow

The smell of his cologne that lingers well past his leaving for work

Memories recalled within spaghetti sauce and meatballs

An abundance of shoes waiting for feet

These simple graces are ones that transform moments into memories.

In the seeing I feel the breath of my Creator upon me. His Presence made manifest by a heart begging to bear witness. 

Weary not I pray, of my feeble attempts to be attentive.  Instead join me in counting the graces and giving thanks.

A late edition to "Multitude Monday - One Thousand Gifts", but a start nonetheless. 

holy experience

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

Until we meet again...

The death of the Beloved bears fruit in many lives. You and I have to trust that our short little lives can bear fruit far beyond the boundaries of our chronologies. But we have to choose this and trust deeply that we have a spirit to send that will bring joy, peace and life to those who will remember us.
- Henri Nouwen

Once again we have made that sad journey back home to our beginnings. These painful trips have come much too often of late for my husband’s family. Less than two years ago we said “goodbye” to his father and then to his mother and now, to his baby sister.

Hers was bittersweet. I guess most are.

It was only a year ago that she had a horrible fall which left her paralyzed and on a ventilator. The days that passed were never easy. Battling infections, poor medical care, bedsores – a weary warrior who tried to fight but the victory was not to be here. So at 45 years, her story ends and our stories change.

Rest in peace, Robin.

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Moment of Quiet in the Roar of the Waves

This is what I usually see in my early morning

Not exactly the most relaxing, restful and beautiful sight, is it?!


This is what my morning has been looking like...

I beg you to keep me in this silence so that I may learn from it
the word of your peace
and the word of your mercy
and the word of your gentleness to the world:
and that through me perhaps your word of peace may make itself heard
where it has not been possible for anyone to heart it for a long time.
Thomas Merton

It is a sanctuary for my soul.  A place where I come longing to be emptied of all that has distracted and overwhelmed me.  A place to be awash in His grace and mercy.  A place to be nothing more than His.

I am not sure why I feel it most in these watery places but I do. 

I can't help but wonder if we each have that place that beckons us to come. 

Contemplation is the response to a call; a call from Him Who has no voice, and yet Who speaks in everything that is, and Who, most of all, speaks in the depths of our own being:  for we ourselves are words of His.  But we are words that are meant to respond to Him, to answer to Him, to echo Him, and even in some way to contain Him and signifiy Him.  Contemplation is this echo.  It is a deep resonance in the inmost center of our spirit in which our very life loses its seperate voice and re-sounds with the majesty and the mercy of the Hidden and Living One. 
Thomas Merton

Losing my voice but finding His in the roar of the waves.

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

And so begins the slow fade of summer...

I am not sure where this passing season has been. No exciting beach moments – no trips meandering through interstates – no barreling down roller coasters or even being amused with a carnival game. Much like the words that have failed to find their mark here, my summertime has been somewhat of a ghost. And now its warm breezes are fading quickly.

I am not sure I am ready for it to go. Then again, I can’t say that I embraced it while it was here. So where is the loss?

Yesterday a friend asked me what I had been up to and all I could muster was a simple “I’ve been”. Seemingly these days have passed in virtual anonymity. Potential misplaced in the numbing routine of the ordinary.

Something, I read recently has resonated deep. An uncomplicated thought that “our doing flows out of our being.” I can’t help but hope that within this simple summer of being will be found something more.

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Finding my radical faith...

Has it really been so long since I have written?!

I wish I could say that I was on an exotic adventure but that wouldn't be the truth. Rather, my absence has been more of a tilling of the soul.

This dormancy on my blog has been born out of a seed planted in March. A seed, in truth, that was planted long before March 2010. A seed that found itself trapped in soil that was too hard to allow its birth. My experience in Haiti appears to have provided the crack in the clay of my soul allowing what was sown long ago to sprout and grow.

Sadly, I am not a gardener. My parents were and we enjoyed many fruits of their labors but I have grown little more than basil with any great success.

Gardening is not for the complacent and comfortable. A seed must be planted in soil that has been broken, prepared and cleared. A seed must have the right nutrients and be continually nurtured in order for it to grow. Weeds must be removed. Pests must be kept at bay.

…somewhere along the way we had missed what is radical about our faith and replaced it with what is comfortable. We were settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves.
excerpt from Radical by David Platt

Somewhere along the way I settled for the comfortable faith. Could I tell you when? No, I fear that the majority of my faith walk has been comfy and contented. For the most part, I did the “right” things and I said the “right” things. Of course, the gauge I was using to measure the “rightness” of my actions was, shall we say, not as accurate as it should have been. Then came this tiny island with an immense disaster.

My “rightness” felt maimed when my feet walked next to tents housing families. My “rightness” fell silent when requests for food echoed in my ears. My “rightness” became wrong in a matter of a mere seven days.

So this is where I have been of late, figuring out how to trade my comfortable life for one that is radically abandoned to Christ. It isn’t an easy process but it is one worth all the sweat and tears.

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

We meet again...

She sits under the shade of an umbrella watching people pass by. It has been awhile since I have seen her. Yet in the passing days, I haven’t stopped wondering – who is she; what is her story.

We all have them, don’t we? Stories that is. Some are filled with abundance. Some are full of joy and laughter. If you were lucky, you had a good measure of both. There are those, however, whose stories carry more sadness and pain than we can ever guess to imagine.

Those stories aren’t easy to read. They lie hidden behind the eyes. We don’t get access to them with formalities and acquaintance. The pages only turn with grace, love, compassion and time. You earn the right to know the story. Not by what you give but by what you are.


Today, her story unfolded just a bit. In the warmth of July afternoon we shared time, a cool drink and a few words. Today, I know her name and now she knows mine.

Joan has a story.

And so do I.

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2010

I am joining in at Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chatting at the Sky.  Join us in the celebration of the moments that make up our lives.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tuesdays around the World

The "dog days" of summer are hitting here.  Looking for somewhere to nap and keep cool.

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

A 4th to Remember

Sizzling morning sun
Church in a ballpark
 Who on first
What on second
Great decisions today
     at home base
Scorched skin
Brisket on the grill
Fresh green beans
    simmering all day
An evening baseball game
It was a good day.

How was yours?

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Inhaling deeply

It was a deep breath morning.

I need mornings like this.

Lots of them.

Mornings when I can sit on my swing in the sanctuary of my surroundings and hear Him speak to me. When my emptiness is wanting and His abundance is waiting.

This morning was full of an evanescent quiet. Fleeting as it was, I found myself enveloped by a gentleness that danced into my awakening.

A childlike moment that is as simple as blowing dandelion seeds into the wind.  A deep breath casting the seeds of grace to carry me through the day.

Joining in today at Chatting At The Sky's Tuesday Unwrapped

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Rainy Trip to Ohio

Really and truly, I think that it always rains in Ohio.  It has become a constant joke that each and every time I visit the rain clouds come out.  So, I wasn't surprised that as I crossed the border from Pennsylvania into Ohio the moisture began to accumulate on my windshield.  Wasn't surprised but definitely disappointed.  Yet, rain or not I was here to spend a few days with my mom.  And, that is what I did.

Growing old isn't as graceful for some as we would wish.  Sadly, my mom is one that has aged in a less than kind way.  Parkinson's has taken more from her golden years than should be fair.  I wish it would be different but wishing doesn't make things so.  Still and yet, I was here for a whirlwind visit and rain or no rain we were going to do something fun.

Gratefully, my nursing background gives me the knowledge on how to transfer mom from wheelchair to car.  So, off we went on a little excursion.  We traveled around the old town.  Drove by the old homestead.  Time has not be kind to that neighborhood either.  We passed by the university and saw the new stadium and dorms.  Thankfully, this once vibrant manufacturing town has a growing university to fill the empty spaces.   Soon, we found ourselves at P.F. Changs because Mom had a hankering for Chinese food. While she didn't quite understand why there were no Chinese people (servers) in the Chinese restaurant, nonetheless, she enjoyed the food.  Every good meal should be followed by  a yummy dessert and soon we were parked in front of our favorite frozen custard stand.  A few more stops and we were back "home".

"Home".  It doesn't seem right to call this place "home" but for her right now, that is what it is.  All my best promises and intentions meant nothing when Parkinson's and dementia came knocking.  What I am left with is a good bit of sadness, a tad bit of guilt and a lot of gratefulness that Mom is happy where she is. 

The raindrops weren't falling when I left Ohio - only my tears.  So, all you Buckeyes put away your umbrellas and hand me a kleenex, please. 

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A morning walk

Fresh air, warm sun and the slow awakening of the world around me was a moment of grace at the start of my day.  In this very brief moment, I am able to gather in deeply the beauty of life and creation. 

Too soon the day will become busy and distracting.  It was never His intent.  Nor is it His making.  It is mine.  All mine. 

Nonetheless, the Creator's canvas is always before me.  Beauty and grace appear with each stroke of His hand and whisper of His breath.  These moments are never meant to be brief and fleeting.  Rather, with eyes to see and ears to hear I would encounter the unimaginable beauty that surrounds my every breath.  A beauty that should bring me to my knees.

His Spirit beckons me to pause. 

To see.

And hear.

Then be changed.

I am learning to turn from the chaos and seek the calm of the Creator.  To look deeper into the eyes of the one I am talking to.  To listen beyond the words but to the heart.  To wander beyond the obvious into the deep. 

It is a faith walk, my friends.  A simple path to the place where heaven's grace caresses the earth.  Prepare to remove your sandals because we are standing on Holy Ground.

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2010