Lenten Journey, Week 5 – 2015

artfully woven


What is this?  Who created this lovely, iridescent, shiny fabric?


detail of pattern


On a sunny day in January, I walked to the end of the dock over Lake Washington.  Something sparkly  caught my eye.  When I looked to see what it was, I could hardly believe my eyes!  The railing on our marina dock held this lovely piece of artwork. I had my camera in tow and at that moment felt overwhelmed by the gift I had been given.  A tiny member of God’s creation had used its instinct to do what it does best.

At that moment I felt a kinship, a kind of peace, with the tiny spider as I was using my own creativity to record this treasure to share with my readers.

This is my last post for the Lenten season 2015.  The thought I leave with you this week is again from Psalm 139 , verse 14 this time:  “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Peace be with you all.



Mt. Rainier view from Crystal Mountain ski area



Posted in Art, Faith, Mercer Island, photography, seasons | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Lenten Journey, Week 4 – 2015

Barbara Brown Taylor, in her book, Learning to Walk in the Dark,  states a premise that I hadn’t thought about very much, but stood out today as I read it:  “I have learned things in the dark that I  could  never have learned in the light, things that have saved my life over and over again, so that there is really only one logical conclusion.  I need darkness as much as I need light.”  In Genesis, chapter 1, verse 3, “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ … and he separated the light from the darkness.”  So, instead of just a light showing us the world from the very beginning, a darkness changed the look of it for us.  There must be a reason God did that.


Chicago sunrise


As a photographer, I find it interesting that the switch from dark to light that is visible to us is one of the most beautiful sights in the sky on some mornings.  And, the reverse is also true when we look up in the evening to see the spectacular change from daylight to darkness at the end of certain days.

Midnight Sun in Norway

Midnight Sun in Norway


UP of Michigan sunset










Did the creator want humankind to notice and think about the importance of these two daily events in our lives and learn to appreciate both equally?  I have experienced dark things in my life.  I chose to not let them destroy my faith or keep a hold on me.  The light always came back to me in full force and even in a stronger presence than before the dark encircled me.  I know that it was both the dark plus the light that gave me many valuable lessons to learn and put to use in my daily walk in this world.

Thanks to Dr. Taylor for her enlightenment about living in the darkness.

Seattle waterfront

Seattle waterfront


Posted in Faith, Michigan, photography, seattle | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Lenten Journey, Week 3 – 2015

Michigan lighthouse

This morning Psalm 107 invited me to add to my Lenten Journey. I was surprised to read “…Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story – …” If that is not a big prompt, I don’t know what is!
Going on in verse 2 and 3 “…those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.” I meet people in my community every day that have been “gathered” from all compass points around the globe. My faith is not located in a particular church or location on the map, it is within me and God reminds me daily that although the Midwest is hugely ingrained in me, I need not travel back there to recapture my spiritual side. The Pacific Northwest is now my home and the Holy Spirit has accompanied me. Thanks be to God.

Atlantic Ocean


Chicago, Illinois









Pacific Ocean



Posted in Chicago, Faith, Michigan, photography, retirement, seasons, travel | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lenten Journey, Week 2 – 2015

My busy schedule has slowed enough for me to put down some thoughts during this Second Week in Lent.  Like the Psalmist’s expressions in Psalm 139 that follows, I have not always realized how much God pays attention to my thoughts and feelings, always knowing the content of them.  I don’t try to run to the farthest limits of the sea, but I do run from God’s call to me as if I know best what my needs are. If only I would let God accomplish what God had in mind for me from the beginning, my  life would show the light of God’s love for every human being I encounter.

Forgive me, Lord, and help me to be more confident in the strength of your hand guiding, leading and keeping me. May my lighthouse shine strong because I am following you.  AMEN

O Lord

You have searched me

and known me.

You know when I sit down

and when I rise up;

You discern my thoughts

from far away.

If I take the wings

of the morning

And settle at the

farthest limits of the sea.

Even there your hand

shall lead me,

And your right hand

shall hold me fast.

Psalm 139: 1-2, 9-10

my home on Mercer Island, Washington

Midnight Sun in Norway

Midnight Sun in Norway


Big Sable Lighthouse, Ludington, Michigan

Posted in Faith, Mercer Island, Michigan, photography, seasons | Tagged | 4 Comments

Lenten Journey, Week One – 2015


Here is just one flower poking its head out of the ground in late February.  It’s beauty is noticed by people passing by and by my photographer’s eye.


Sometimes God speaks to me in a small, beautiful part of creation.  A verse in an old hymn comes to mind this Lenten season as I see this flower that is showing me the beauty of our Lord, Jesus Christ — “When the sun of bliss is beaming light and love upon my way, from the cross the radiance streaming adds more luster to the day.”  (In the Cross of Christ I Glory)

When I remember my baptism during this season, I feel God’s welcoming and quenching love and remember the water that symbolizes my new birth in Christ.  May this season remind me that I am loved by a God who shows me an exquisite treasure nearby just waiting for me as a gift to enjoy.  I am his and he is mine.

Thanks be to God!



Posted in Faith, Mercer Island, photography, seasons, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Ending of Lent, Week Five

“What shall I look at first.”  I wondered? The bright sunshine and milder weather drew me out of my little hideaway with my camera around my neck this afternoon.  The colors of flowers, bushes and trees amazed me today.  First, I looked at bushes of flowering varieties.  Here is a mauve-colored azalea and then a brilliant coral-red one.


DSC_0001 DSC_0014



Many trees have blossomed with pink and white flowers during the last week and I found one of them near the north end of our community. 



Then, walking further, I really wanted to see beauty in a more minute form and record an example with my camera.  My prize came when I noticed a “bleeding heart” bush nearby and stopped to look at its blossoms.  A perfectly shaped heart came into my line of sight and then an entire row of them on a branch.  Recording this moment, on this day, in this week of April 2014 is something special and my personal blessing to hold in my own “heart” for the rest of the day. It was a day that will never happen again and I am thankful that I allowed my longing for natural beauty to lead me today.  I left the “housework” until another time. 




My photo walk today reminded me how I have so many things of beauty to observe in a day in the world I have come to know here in the Northwest. I am so grateful for the beauty I see in this community and know that there are people who spend many hours pulling weeds and pruning branches as I saw many of them doing today.  I am thankful for these garden lovers. 




Spring is my last season to experience in my first year of living in Washington.  Summer was my first season living here.  In a few months, I will begin my second year of residence in this “evergreen” state.  I anticipate more days bringing me inspiration.  Bring it on!


Posted in Mercer Island, photography, retirement, seasons, seattle, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Lenten Journey 2014, Week Four

“Place matters,” says Kathleen Norris  in the group study “Embracing a Life of Meaning.”

The word place can mean many different things, such as:  home, rightful place, place in the scheme of things, place of beauty, and so on. And, I add the opposite of place, displaced.



I can identify with people who feel displaced – it happened to me almost 20 years ago.  In a matter of minutes, a fire on the floor above my apartment forced me out into a cold December evening onto the sidewalk and not seeing most of my belongings for close to a year.  How would I find “home” in a hotel room with Christmas approaching?  I needed to find my “place” and establish some stability in my life. It took me a long time to find “place” after that experience, but with the help of faith, friends and family, I did.

Home and place sometimes mean the same thing to me and maybe to you.  Since that crisis, I worked at making my place and home within myself.  Something stable that would not be separated from me should that physical displacement happen again. My relationship to God and his Holy Spirit grew to be something that was an important part of my daily life, moving ahead in faith but not losing my “home.”  I was finding an inner strength that was stabilizing me and my quest for “home.” 



Moving to Mercer Island created another situation where I lost a physical place, but it felt different this time – my spirit was at peace with my inner “place.”  My place is right where it has always been and my “home” is traveling with me on my journey circling back to faith and God.

May you all find your “place.”

Posted in Faith, Mercer Island, retirement | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Lenten Journey 2014 – Week Three

Community Matters

Kathleen Norris made this comment about a particular community – the church.  “The church is the place where all should be made to feel at home, educated or not, wealthy or poor — all just ordinary, flawed people who gather because they need to be reminded that God made us and accepts us and loves us and wants us to share that love with others.”

What?  You want a place for people to just drink coffee and chat with each other during Christian Education hour on Sunday morning?  I had missed the point back then, that community is not necessarily established by just sitting in a class together during that hour.  It requires time and effort for many people to establish a community that matters to them within the church.  So, connecting with people around the coffee pot on Sunday morning can be just as important as the learning taking place in a classroom on Sunday morning!  Connecting – that’s what people should do in a church community! 

Moving to a new city where I did not know anyone except my family, forced me to think about what type of community I wanted to be part of.  After almost nine months I have begun the process of becoming part of several communities.  I see that it will take time and work, but I have already been blessed with new friends that value the concept of “community” in a similar way as Kathleen suggests.  

Women's Wed. Bible Study

Women’s Bible Study

the knitters

I mourn the loss of several communities in the city I left behind – the Women’s Bible Study group, my knitting group, and the Saturday Breakfast Bunch.  And most important, the church body with which I worshipped.  So, it was one of my top priorities to find a new church and establish myself in a new “community.”  I am also finding “community” in special interest groups at the retirement community in which I live.

At some points in my life I am not sure what I would have done without “community.”  The experience of an entire church community surrounding me with care plus action when my child was hospitalized and no family members were nearby to care for the other child.  I will never forget what “community” did for my family during this difficult time.  I want to be a responsible and active member of a community that cares for people in this way.  

Arctic Cathedral, Tromso, Norway

Arctic Cathedral, Tromso, Norway

Posted in Faith, Mercer Island, retirement, seattle | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Lenten Journey 2014, Week two

Why does the Bible matter to you?  A question that might elicit a quick answer from you or one you might need to think about for a few minutes.

Kathleen Norris, in our weekly Lenten study, gave us this thought – “ The Bible is a mirror where we find our own lives truthfully reflected.  Sometimes we may not like what we see, but we can still experience the essential wisdom it offers for our living.” 


Florida sunrise

If I put the Bible away every time I read something that I didn’t like, I would never read it.  But, I have continued to read it and learn from all the wisdom in Proverbs, the comfort of the Psalms, even the confusing and contradicting texts.  I manage to skim off the unnecessary layers to get to the small kernels of truth and meaning for my life – my personal truth. The Bible, imperfect as it may be, points us to God who is trustworthy.  He is love, light and spirit. That is enough for me for a lifetime!

I feel a new freedom to connect to God in many other ways than just reading the Bible.  I think, since God made everyone unique, we each create our own stories of connecting with God.  I am thankful that I see God in nature every time I walk outside.  I notice the small things – I have purposely slowed my pace.  When I see the images my camera collects, I am constantly in awe of the beauty around me.


Oregon Coast


small rock garden

Posted in Faith, photography, retirement, seasons, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Lenten Journey 2014, week one


The mention of author/poet, Kathleen Norris, always gets my attention because I can identify with her struggles of faith and belief in God. So, attending the Lenten study time on Wednesday nights at my church during Lent was a no-brainer.  The study is five sessions long.  In the first sessions we watched a short video with Kathleen sharing some thoughts with a small group around her.  Her topic was “Why Belief Matters.”  Our study book lists her main thoughts for us to discuss with one other person in the group and then later with all the people gathered for the study.  Here is the quote that I was drawn to – The verb “to believe” in its origins means “to give your heart to.”  Belief comes from your whole self and not just your intellect.” 

I admit that in the first half of my life I was trying to ignore what my heart was feeling and thought I should believe in God the way the Bible told me I should.  Now, after walking the path of faith and belief for a long time, perspective is changing toward finding my own connection with God and faith in my own way. I work hard to get away from what my intellect alone tells me and ask God to open my heart as I use my eyes to look around me each day for all the things I have overlooked in the past.  I want to be more open to people who find God in other ways than I do and listen to the stories they have to tell. I want to stop and look around me as I walk outside to see what gifts I can find there. The freedom that will come from going in this direction is just over the hill for me and I am walking toward it day by day with great hope for love to really fill my heart.


A prayer from Martin Marty – Lord, let us be faithful in ordinary tasks and ready for extraordinary calls. Amen

Posted in Faith, Mercer Island, photography, seasons | Leave a comment