It Is Native

The fall began when noise roiled hot
leaving no space to catch its notice

Drop by drop the fallen exploded
meshing itself within turbulence

I didn’t feel, just empty pocks
within, abandoned tiny voids

To hear Your call I had to learn
it is native, there my ear must rest

Still myself, sink into your hush,
overpass the cry of caterwaul

And like a snowflake first in storm,
no two alike, just me, listen

You called my name and filled the
blanks, Samuel touched the same

Not one of his words fell to the ground
so cherished are You, so devoted

I hear and see your gifts native to
my soul, entrusted only to me

I hold words, safe from slight
I relinquish who I am from Within

My foodstuff is word, my provender
a voice to carry vision of those

long gone, I stand with the fool
and the actor, the poet who

nourish native ground, deep
within where only You and I

are One. I beat a pondering
to pull all in to see. This is my

appointment, my named called,
as Samuel, I too, am the Divine’s servant.



Author’s Note:

Today at Mass I came once more, face-to-face with my life-long struggle. Our first reading was from 1 Samuel 3, God calling Samuel. The final line read was, “The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground.”

None of Samuel’s words fell to the ground.

Of course, they were not Samuel’s words. He was only the vehicle. Samuel’s job was to carry His words. I heard my call again.

As always, Fr. Scott challenges us in his homilies. His own work with the homeless in downtown Denver, our new space that will serve our families in Aurora, and all those amazing people who are in the trenches, cut deep into me.

Here I sit with “drama” and word.

I’ve struggled all my life, growing up with Roman Catholic guilt, wanting to help people.

I heard my call, His call, all of my life. I’ve acted since I could walk. In high school, college, and years of running a traveling theatre for children, that was where I thrived. And just a few years ago, I learned that I have a passion for writing.

But I wasn’t helping people.

And I needed health insurance and some kind of retirement. So I became a teacher leaving my other life behind, covering up the call, trying to ignore it. Fast-forward about thirteen years.

I found a new church, an amazing place, where a dear soul who somehow heard my call brought it back to my attention after years of neglect. He offered a safe place to try it out once more, this time with purpose. Not only have I been given the opportunity to act, but also to write.

I am learning to understand what I do does feed people. Not food for their bellies, but deeper. Most people don’t get this. “Drama” is not really seen as much more than entertainment.

I will continue on my path – writing, of course – but more important, bringing women from the bible to life through my vision and learning.

I will continue writing new liturgy with dramatic elements that challenge because it is an alternate way, not securely tucked into the box of traditional ritual.

Most importantly, I will continue to listen to the Voice from my native ground who grows my soul.

And as I grow up, listen to and believe what I hear, my words will not fall.

Instead, I Went to Goodwill

I didn’t go to mass today
Sunday to pray and sing
grasp how I see the world

instead, I went to Goodwill

There once was a girl
who came upon a box of ribbons
pretty ones in sherbet colors
silky but secure
she tied each to her wrists
the other ends to sherbet balloons
she happened upon along the way

balloons sherbet balloons lifting up satin ribbons a lover’s laugh Spirit words flowing from her fingertips sweet dogs friend smiles little hands covered in glue musty earth under fingernails coyote calls beneath an oyster moon hung in black suburban skies blue eyes rites and rituals question quest Word Wisdom

all tied up, together, too many
I didn’t go
to mass today

I sat under ashen winter clouds
untied a sherbet hued ribbon
a sherbet tinged balloon
diminishing into a pinprick
in ashen winter clouds




Author’s Note:

A few weeks ago, already, I chose the word “release” for my New Year’s Word. I’ve given up on resolutions. I thought I could make good if I chose just one word. It might be working.

Suburban Solstice

The 9th Day of Christmas

It was the first day of the New Year.

Well, the new year according to most of the Western world. The New Year for Zorya started a few weeks prior at the Winter Solstice. Her friends, at least the long time ones, really didn’t know about this new journey she was on. Her family most certainly didn’t know. They wouldn’t understand, being staunch Roman Catholics. Tiptoeing outside the gilded box was not allowed.

She wasn’t flaky, as some would think. She just wasn’t a follower any longer. Her thinker self was beginning to show.

Zorya sat on the park bench. Snow covered her ankles. She should have thought about it before she left the house. She did wear a coat that zippered her tightly against the chill, but she didn’t like it. Zorya preferred to feel the cold on her skin. As usual her father complained as she was opening the front door for her exit.

She thought she was leaving early enough and was quiet enough not to shake up the household. However, the front door was right next to her father’s bedroom and he was up extra early.

“Where you going?”

“For a walk. Be back in about an hour.”

She always had to give the exact time of her return or else he would worry. Old age does that to you. And being an only child, even though she would be turning sixty soon, she was still seen as his “little girl” through his 94 year-old eyes.

Zorya tried her best to slink out the door without further confrontation.

“Put your coat on.”

“I’ll be fine. This sweatshirt is warm and it has a hood.”

Zorya liked hoods. It made her feel romantic, like those women of the past or in those Celtic pictures of pagan faerie-like goddesses in flowing gowns gliding through forests in sparkling sunlight with wild animals gently looking up at her, smiles on their faces.

Part of Zorya’s journey was taking her down this Celtic path. Confusion reigned. Zorya was a city girl, even though she now nested in the burbs, a choice made in deference to take care of her father. This was the closest she ever got to living in what other’s called nature.

She liked the sidewalks of downtown Denver. The bustle wasn’t crazy like London, her favorite city, or in New York where her other passion lived on stages under hot lights and costumes.

She saw beauty in the rush of traffic, a song some found annoying. Art galleries, restaurants, and the vast array of people gave her much to digest.

She grew up next to the off-ramp of I-70, a highway that split her neighborhood in half when she was five. The Denver Coliseum was nearby and her Januarys always included a visit to the National Western Stock Show, something she did with her dad.

She would ride her bike through the underpasses of I-70 around her Globeville neighborhood. Houses were built by early 20th century Eastern European immigrants. White washed gingerbreads were surrounded by neat sidewalks and fences with gardens now falling into disrepair after the highway fissure and the flight out.

She would pass the Russian Orthodox Church where her mom’s best friend Annie attended. The Polish Catholic Church was a block away from the Slovenian Catholic Church. Each having their own schools, hers being Holy Rosary Slovenian Catholic School, sat along her route, too.

She bounced carefully over bumpy railroad tracks that led car after car with coal and other goods through her neighborhood. Her favorite sound was and still is the far off moans of train warnings in early morning hours.

She would see the field and bleachers where softballs flew through the air on hot summer nights and of course, there was the swimming pool. Oh, the outdoor swimming pool where she spent her summer mornings in classes and afternoons in floating bliss.

This was Zorya’s nature. The smelter down the road and up the hill belched smoke. The packinghouses whose waste flowed into the river were beginning to shut down, another flight for more modern digs. The Pespi plant bottling brew that her mother would eventually learn to guzzle instead of Coors.

And the number 16 bus that would stop on the corner near her house next to the bar and gas station and lodge dancehall just outside her bedroom window. She would take the bus by herself on Saturday mornings to walk up and down 16th street gazing in department store windows, The Denver, May D & F, Neusteter’s, and when she was a teen, Fashion Bar.

Then she would go to the Paramount to see a cartoon and a movie, sometimes she would stay for the second feature, too. Finally, there was the root-beer float stop at the Woolworth lunch counter and back home again without anyone ever having to worry about her safety.

She’d watch the factories spewing air-born chemicals and the grey-green Platte River flowing by her bus window on the way home as the sun began to set behind the Rocky Mountains.

Zorya’s nature came to her on bone-chilling mornings when her dad got up through the night to flood the tiny back yard making an ice skating rink for her and her friends. Her mom bought ice skates in all sizes at the Goodwill store to share with any who needed them.

She knew nature’s roar when the Platte River flooded and the police walked up and down Washington Street shouting through their bull-horns to evacuate as the water overflowed its once placid and feculent home.

There was beauty in all of her city-born images. Not everyone could understand this, but poetry and spirit lived there, too.

Presently Zorya made her home next to houses painted and formed much like one another except for a few twists and slants here and there. She appreciated the open space a few blocks away even though it was lit up by lights from the adjoining elementary school at night and recently glowered upon by the new teacher training building placed on the vista on top of the hill that was barren when they first moved in.

“Alllll right, but you’ll get sick,” her father droned and sighed hoping to guilt her into compliance.

So without arguing and to save time she slipped on her fluffily padded, ankle length winter coat, specifically purchased to remind her of the flowing robes of the Celtic saints.

She needed to work on this image.

Zorya knew she was way off in her perception, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it yet. It could be her Slavic soul. Her mother once told her that were from gypsy stock in Poland. She needed clarification, some new understanding. And that was what part of her mission on this first day of the Suburban New Year.

Zorya changed her mind about telling her father the exact time of return.

“I’ll be back later,” she replied curtly as she shut the door, not with a slam. The seal wouldn’t allow a slam. But she closed it tightly with a definite, “I’m taking a stance.”

On the bench, Zorya stared at her feet. The snow was packed inside her shoes. She should have worn socks. Her hands were nestled inside her coat pockets, but the hoodie and fluffy coat hoods rested on her back.

She looked up as the horizon sky beckoned turning a magical shade of gold. Usually, this time of year the sunrise brought reds bleeding into dark blues and then fading into purple that melts into a bright Colorado azure. Today there were no clouds to paint.

Today the sky was golden.

As she looked around her, the grasses, now tan and crisp, held tiny cups of snow balanced on top of their heads. The weeds deepened to a courtly gold. The snowfield sent diamond sparks and her breath was smoky rising into the air.

Here Zorya began to feel again.

The cold hurt.

That was okay because she was able to take the other hurts and mix them together, finally able to release them. She took a breath filling her lungs as deeply as she was trained. An actress, if practiced, breathes from the bottom of her lungs giving her voice resonance and strength.

Zorya imagined her weaknesses, guilt trips, disappointments, and pain flowing into the cold that turned water into ice. They mixed together forming a crystal. With a quick puff from one more inhale, she blew the cancer away. She imagined it pushing high into the morning air blazing backlit in the golden rays. Then all at once she stopped her breath and it plummeted to the ground, shattering into millions of icelets scattered over the snowfield ready to melt as the afternoon warmed.

But Zorya didn’t stop there. Releasing the negative was just the start. Now came time for gratitude. She needed to remember the good and give thanks. She remembered and was grateful for wisdom from the priest who recognized the bard in her and gives her room to share. The joy from the songbird who lifts her spirits, a soul sister who outshines the morning rise. The healing hands of the shaman sister whose energy flows through and heals. The smiles and the laughter of her students. The love and tenderness of her husband. The wagging tail of her dog.

The words of the Word and the new vision of Sophia entering her life.

And, of course, the concern and love of her dad.

These and more she released one by one in a chant through the morning air. This time they did not fall and shatter. Each rose higher and higher into the ether until, like the spark of stars bowing to morning glow, flashed and disappeared.

She was ready. Zorya had room once more. And the New Year began.




Author’s Note:

Sometimes, no, most times, I never know what is going to come out. Instead of a poem, a story on this 9th Day of Christmas. And two posts in one day, my apologies.

Today our writing group was planning on meeting. But for the icy streets and snow, we decided to be safe. We tried Skyping but my old computer and lack of tech skills made us settle on e-mail.

Our prompt was garnered from Bonnie Neubauer’s Story Spinner:

Setting: Inside your head

Starting phrase: The sky turned a magical shade of gold.

Words you must include:  romantic, zipper, flaky and drone

And that’s how my story was spawned. Peace.


I am here to walk with you.
My heart warmed in yours
under the almost new moon.

I breathe in to feel you fill me.
When I breathe out some of
me wrapped in you surrenders.

I let chilled night rest on my lips.
Your kiss to remind me that not
all love is sweet but is always there.

I look into stars and see your eyes.
You watch me with the same wonder
as I reach to you for grace.

I hold you as you hold me.
In astonishment, that two
can walk as One in the night.

Glass Slippers

“Why do you wear glass slippers?”



“Fur. And they are not slippers. Shoes.”

His hand fitted into hers. He liked her soft hand. It was bigger than his, but not too big. It was just big enough to keep the wind and the chill from making his fingers stiff. It was warm and smelled like lilacs, even though in the winter it should smell like pine trees and cinnamon and nutmeg.

“No, they are glass.”


They were a unique pair if anyone would notice. She carried a small suitcase in her right hand. She held his right hand firm in her left. He was about nine years old, but was small for his age. This was due not to just poor nutrition, but genes. She was not his mother. She was no one’s mother.

As Anna and Ralston walked to the Great Cathedral others passed, sometimes bumping into her or him and never noticing them.

That’s how it was in the big city. That’s how it was even when they were at the steps of the Great Cathedral.

Anna’s favorite place to sit was across the street from the Great Cathedral on the park bench. There was a Great Garden where children ran in summer after Sunday Mass in their good clothes. And their mothers would shout at them to not get soiled for their later trip to grandma’s and brunch. But the children never listened, well almost. And the mothers would brush off and try to rub away the green stains from falling down or kneeling under the sun’s rays. Then elbows would be grabbed and little bodies trundled into cars and tires rolled away from the Great Cathedral not to return until next Sunday, to be done all over again.

Sometimes one little girl would obey. She would stand at the side and watch the other children shout and jump. Her mother would give her praises for being good and following directions. And her mother would tell her how proud she was and how much grandma will love to see her all unspoiled.

“Why do you wear glass slippers?”


Anna led him across the street to her little bench in front of the Great Cathedral. They arrived in good time, right before Communion so no one was leaving yet and scurrying down the steps to their real lives.

“You have glass slippers.”

Anna watched as the doors to the Great Cathedral opened with a sigh as the altar boys, not girls, the same age as Ralston but garbed in long magenta dresses overlaid with white lace smocks, used their bodies to hold the doors wide.

“They look like glass. Like Cinderella.”

“She had fur slippers.”

“No. Glass.”

“Fur. It’s from the French. Fur. Furrure. Glass. Verre. You see? Mixed up translation.”



Her name was Anna. She was a saint. Not that kind. At least she didn’t think so, but He did.

He touched her heart, the world opened
It wasn’t worldly beauty she saw
But cracks and crevices diving into blackness
where the color of blood
mixed with loneliness a beauty of its own

Anna walked barefoot, not because she didn’t like shoes. Not because she didn’t have slippers. She wanted to feel. That’s all.

sticks and stone
may break my bone
but names carve
cruel letters
into crevices
black and bloody

Anna sat on the bench with Ralston across the street from the great Cathedral so she could see the bell tower, so she could watch his hands grab the rope.

Wrapped around and around the wrinkled skin
boney knuckles, yellowed cracked nails
first a heave, then a sway
wider and wider until her
skin reverberated
with His lonesome call

Sebastain knew she would come, everyday for the noon Mass, bare feet holding thin ankles. Perfectly shaped.

He smiled at His creation knowing she would be the saint He intended.

Today was like every weekday except that it was New Year’s Eve. Shops would close early for the last big hurray of the season. Offices would start their parties early, too, so the workers could arrive in time to other parties that would take them bleary eyed but hopeful into the New Year.

Anna awoke at midnight of the Eve. She had much to accomplish before Sebastian rang the first bell of the New Year.

Anna lived alone in an apartment just on the outskirts of downtown proper. Most of her suburban friend considered it downtown. She was lucky to get the one apartment in the middle on the top floor that looked between two of the new buildings down a narrow alley that gathered men and sometimes women looking to stave off the cold wind and possibly find some food from the garbage thrown into the dumpsters lining the walls.

This scene didn’t bother Anna. She understood. She understood that some people could not live the lives of daily jobs and paying bills and raising children who would grow up to do these same things all over again. Anna knew there were those who needed to be outside and alone. There were those who couldn’t be stuffed into clothes that constricted like a python living among people who chattered like monkeys. Their skin would crawl in agony in want of release. A soft bed, warmth from a grate blowing dry heat, cooking food to make it taste good, a person getting too close, touching, all these things could make a someone crazy. Anna understood.

Anna was glad for this long dark aisle that didn’t sport pretty tiled patterns and stiff hard wooden pews with kneelers on either side. This aisle to the world gave shelter, minimal and harsh. It was needed and right for those who found it. It smelled of urine and wine from broken bottles and emptied stomachs. She couldn’t open her window in the heat of summer because she didn’t like the smell. But through this glut, there was the view. Through the slit between two shiny new structures, one an office building, the other condos for the young lawyers and executives, Anna could see the top of the Great Cathedral’s cross and just beyond the magnificence of the Rocky Mountains.

She was middle aged, she thought aged “to perfection,” as the saying goes. Her hips were rounded and her stomach, too. Her breasts were beginning to sag, but they were real and soft and many enjoyed their pillow. Her hair was thick and sleek, not curly like her friend Pam’s. It was usually short cut right at her jaw-line. It framed her face perfectly. She didn’t care if men liked long hair on women, she had other gifts to offer. Anna worked as a banker, had a college degree, and cared for her mother in her last year of her life. She had no children.

Anna liked her hands. Her fingers were long and slender with tiny wrists. Ankles, too. If she could stand wearing high heals, her legs would be considered sexy. Gray started to peek out at her temples first. When she first saw it, the grey was ignored. But as the strands lengthened and some started to sprout from the top of her head, she decided that her only vanity was to dye her hair. She didn’t wear make-up. She couldn’t afford fancy clothes other than what she had to wear to work in at the bank. So she decided to dye her hair.

After her mother’s death, Anna didn’t go back to work. She wanted to do something good for the world. So she sold everything and found the small apartment on the edge of downtown. It wasn’t safe and her mother, and her father when he was around, warned her never to go there, especially by herself and, most especially, not at night. It was the first place she looked at for her new home and she paid in advance a year’s rent in cash.

Slowly Anna fashioned the apartment from nothing, except a few rosaries, small statues of Mary and St. Therese of Liseaux, a gold cross that was given to her by Fr. Gold on her wedding day, and her bible. She brought with her a small suitcase. She had been a Catholic all her life. But she was changing. She knew it, but the church didn’t.

Anna started to change the world by going to the Great Cathedral. She went to Mass everyday. She tried to volunteer, but things didn’t work out. She didn’t fit in.

Anna didn’t fit into much. Her marriage. Being a daughter. Her job. It seemed no matter where she went, she didn’t fit. She had a few odd friends, but not odd enough. They no longer understood and they certainly didn’t want to come to her new house for dinner. And she didn’t have a car any more to drive to their safe suburban homes.

She understood that everything needed to change. And it did.

Anna soon found herself out of the Roman Catholic Church. She could no loner make excuses for the incredible wealth the Roman Catholic Church held onto while people were hungry. She could no longer tolerate priests having sex with boys and being redeemed and hidden and excused. At the same time forgiveness and Communion was being withheld or some people were not even welcomed into the church building because they were living imperfect, human lives. Anna realized that, as in the rest of the world, if you were in the “special” group or “in” group, you were forgiven and included. If you were below that, you were a sinner and not worthy until you repented into their way of thought. Anna wasn’t unsoiled.

She was a liar. She lied that she was spotless when she went to Communion, not having gone to confession before. She could never bring herself to tell her sins to a man who might be screwing little boys, or tried to rape her grandmother. How could she trust someone who never apologized to her grandmother and still kept his collar and was allowed to say Mass?

Anna didn’t think this is what Jesus had in mind. So after Mass one Sunday, she walked with Sebastian and Frank out the main doors of the Great Cathedral and across the street to her church under the sun near the Great Garden, as she christened it, on the park bench to give her reverence to God.

Today it was blustery and she would have to dress accordingly. She loved that she had to start over with a new wardrobe, too. She sold her suits and shoes and purses during the move so she could start over here, too. Her favorite store was Goodwill. She could finally dress how she wanted, long broomstick skirts with simple shirts or sweaters. That’s it. They didn’t have to match. Simplicity. She liked the feel of freedom the flowing skirts gave. She liked the feel of the old, much-laundered fabrics against her skin. She didn’t have many, but they were ones she adored. Her shoes were simple slippers. One pair for each season. Fur for the winter. Clear plastic for the spring. When she wore those, she would paint her toenails, each toe a different pastel, just for fun. Flat sandals for the summer. And a pretty orange leather for the fall.

She had a shawl to wrap around her shoulders when there was a nip in the air. It was a black scarf with red roses. It felt as though she was wrapped in St. Therese’s love when she wore it. St. Therese was her favorite saint. One reason for this was that the saint loved to eat. The nuns would often find St. Therese in the kitchen after midnight chewing on a chicken leg. Anna prayed to St. Therese during her bout with cancer. Roses always appeared.

It is said that if you say an Our Father and ten Glory Be prayers to St. Therese for ten days in a row, a rose will appear with your prayers answered. Before her sickness, Anna didn’t believe in such things. But cancer calls for all the guns to come out firing. And every night as Anna was falling asleep, she would say her prayers to St. Therese, as well as her own style of rosary to Mary in thankfulness for those caring for her and for her family and for her friends and for acceptance and grace of whatever the cancer would bring. That was almost twenty years ago.

Spiraled Crooks

Shake off embroidered
robes disguising your shape.
Peel away the gilt blinding sight.
Melt golden goblets too
precious for fingerprints.

Let fall cathedral headdress.
Silence inflated ritual.
Disentangle the ruling class.
May dogma of the martinet decay.
Our Holy One has gone missing.

Our Love has been bricked
over in a wall of self-indulgence,
a show of pomp and honors,
power swelling.

But my soul yearns to rest in the
arms of my Beloved not covered
in brocade but unadorned,
incarnate and gentle.

My soul sings with a Tender
Voice sighing in my joy,
whispering my name in dark
of night, holding me safe.

My souls walks with the One
who stays by my side not
altared on fussy chairs wielding
spiraled crooks, untouchable.

It is in simplicity I want to
dwell with my God, not
prostrate in submission
but surrendered in ecstasy.

I cannot find your heart when
it is so deeply disguised, florid
in its covering, raised so far
above me I am not to touch you.

It is not a ring I need to kiss
on a hand offered in dominion,
but a soft cheek that knows
my tears and sorrow.

He came to be fully human
just like us, not a maker of
rules, a tribune robed and
ornamented in anything but
genuine Light.

Let the grand facade of god
fall away. Pause in Grace, the
only embellishment necessary.




Author’s Note:

When I left the Roman Catholic Church, I didn’t realize all of what I wanted to leave behind. I can no longer accept the pomp. Not the ritual, but the glossy, overindulgent showiness of wealth and power.

I have come to a time in my journey where I now want a simple way of church. But it’s more than just simple, it’s a move to authenticity. Real. Not one of boastfulness. I love the Mass and the consecration of the Eucharist, but it doesn’t need a lot of “stuff” surrounding it.

I long to see our clergy in simple dress, closer to regular clothes with just an elegant and simple statement of some piece of something to recognize their light that shines a bit differently with wisdom than mine. That is respect.

On the other hand, I long to see the gold cups and the fancy robes over more robes and belts and stoles thickly embroidered and hats that look like something at a fancy KKK ball, gone from site. Surrendered so that the chasm between clergy, especially the higher-ups, and us is leveled.

He did not come to make classes of religious worshipers. He came as you and me and lived as a real person with real feelings and emotions and fears. He wanted us to know that if he could do what Our God asked him to do as a real human, then we could also. Dividing us into classes of worshipers was not on His agenda.

They Would Think Me Crazy

I forgot my age the other day as I
crossed the playground on my way
to class. No one was looking. The wooden
frame edging around, gravel filled, called
out to me as it had long ago.

I stepped onto its narrow ledge
one foot in front of the other.
I traced its trail around to the end,
back to the very beginning.

I didn’t fall, although my arms
shot out in preparation for flight
when my confidence waned for
a moment or two. No one was watching
under the grey day sky. Good thing,
I thought. They would think me crazy.

There was enough newly formed spirit
in me to give a little leap as I left the
timeworn timber. I was pleased no twists or
breaks occurred . Why did I ever worry?

I spent my youth meticulously walking
around and round on a splintery ledge
afraid of a plunge onto the rough blacktop,
scrapping my knee at the very least,
being broken to pieces at the worst.
I stayed the course much to long
unable to discern a safe way away.

In all those years, I never fell. I held on
tight. Refused to change. Resolute not to
let go. But as I grew old the game lost its
fancy. Rigid rule could no longer contain me.

Green verdant grass, sweet scented
breath, pure cool water invited me near.
I simply stepped off the black-and-white
merry-go-round, leaving behind counterfeit
passion.  I didn’t break. Only the bind of
false words, misleading tongues, spilt
onto the viscous hot tar.

I trusted the light down deep inside,
an infinitesimal whisper, just go.
I honored myself and the voice I knew not
and left without a blueprint in hand.

I walk a new path, one not yet forged. I
make a new way with Him. You walk along side
me, not above or below, but as one and
His beloved. Why did I ever worry?




Author’s Note:

A new blueprint in hand.

Only one rule: Love.



John 14:15-20

The Message (MSG)

The Spirit of Truth

15-17 “If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!

18-20 “I will not leave you orphaned. I’m coming back. In just a little while the world will no longer see me, but you’re going to see me because I am alive and you’re about to come alive. At that moment you will know absolutely that I’m in my Father, and you’re in me, and I’m in you.

Rare Offering

On the table sits a weathered bowl,
chipped with cracks not so deep it shatters
but lets one know of its fragility,
and, yet, a reminder of eternal refuge

Colors composed with discerning eye,
correct dimensions shaped by a perfect hand
sized to hold the right amount,
a comfortable fit

Inside, cupped in this gentle round,
royal grapes, sensuous pears,
tart apples, honeyed sweet peaches,
a legacy of spirit endowed

Ripe and luscious, each a rare offering
and inside a seed lingers, silent
waiting for the light




Author’s Note:

What continues to amaze me about all traditions of faith is what we have in common.

In my journey these past two years, shedding the shackles of the Roman Catholic Church, being given the freedom to embrace what has always been inside of me but afraid to acknowledge in fear of…well, I don’t know what, looking to other faith traditions and embracing what they have to offer, I feel a grand freedom and rollick in the wonder of the beauty of our souls, the gift we have been given. (How’s that for a run-on sentence?)

Thank you to those who are walking with me. I am so very grateful.

For today’s light, I honor Fr. Scott Jenkins at A Church of the Holy Family, ECC in Aurora, CO for his guidance and wisdom as we study the Gospel of John.  It continues to present itself to me at every turn, every day.

John 1:9
The Message (MSG)

The Life-Light was the real thing:
Every person entering Life
he brings into Light.

Also, Mother Kedda Keough from Emmaus Catholic Community in Olympia, WA for sharing this video, Quakers and the Light, on her Facebook Page.

Art thou in darkness? Mind it not, for if thou dost it will feed thee more. But stand still, and act not, and wait in patience, till Light arises out of Darkness and leads thee.

James Naylor (1659)

And, of course, to Reverend Kathleen Gorman and the Blue Mountain Center for Meditation and my weekly satsang as follow Eknath Easwaran and Passage Mediation.

If you go on working with the light available, you will meet your Master, as he himself will be seeking you.

– Ramana Maharshi


A Tale of Two Churches

I go to two Masses every Sunday. At the first Mass I am only a visitor. I take my father there every week. He is ninety-two years old and I am his only child.

Church One

Today I go to Mass with the hope of being buoyed up, sustained with words that could help heal a broken heart. This is the Sunday following the horrific murders in Newtown, Connecticut.

There is solace to be found in a church, in a Mass, surrounded by others who are also in pain. I am also from Aurora, Colorado where a young man from this very congregation and celebrating his first wedding anniversary was murdered this past summer in a shooting at a movie theatre.

I was hoping for a bit of peace. These are the ideas that the Roman Catholic priest offered to me to help ease my pain.

I need to be aware that there are more than three thousand children aborted and killed everyday and no one offers them tears on the television. He wondered why politicians shallowly mourn for twenty-two when thousands are murdered each day in this country. He said the politicians are just furthering their own agenda.

This priest offered the observation that the President, to whom he only referred to as Obama, has made it his mission to disassemble the sacrament of marriage. Thus creating more dysfunctional families and children. Which will lead to more heinous acts.

He called us morons, those of us who believe that guns are a major part of the problem. He actually used the word moron in his sermon. He implored us to bring Jesus to the people. Then, he promised, these awful things won’t happen.


This is the Roman Catholic Church that I grew up in. The church in which I gave fifty-six years of my life hoping there would be change. There was some hope after Vatican II. But the pendulum swung back and the door locked. I am on the other side of that door.

I am no longer a Roman Catholic. I can no longer stand by and search for excuses to support the pain and alienation this church causes, the blindness that it maintains, and the avaricious wealth it hoards.


Church Two

All are welcome in this church. My new church is a member of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion.

This morning before Mass a woman and her wife settled next to me in the sanctuary. A priest and his wife were celebrating his anniversary of ordination. A Christmas cookie exchange was set up in the lobby of my storefront church. A hayride was being planned by one of the families with everyone from the parish invited. A Jesse tree stood in the lobby almost empty of ornaments waiting for the gifts to be returned and then given away to those in need.

Hugs and kisses fly around the room in abundance. This is a wealth we are all endowed with and can share freely. Everyone is welcome to the Eucharistic table.

The children, at times, run amuck with joy and laughter. We are blessed to hear those sounds when others have lost this precious gift.

When it came time during the mass for the children to leave for religious instruction, our pastor gathered them in front of the altar. They range in age from about three to around twelve years of age.

Our pastor asked them how they were feeling or if something was bothering them. He is good at wait time. Wait time is something teachers develop after many years in the classroom. It is a vital skill that allows for a pause in questioning giving time for sharing by those who may be a bit reluctant.

No one said anything.

He then asked if they wanted to share anything or talk about anything. Again, he waited.

We waited not knowing what would come out of those innocent mouths or how he would handle it. But we have faith in him. He is remarkable and inspirational. He is a true gentle soul with a fierce love of God and high expectations of his congregation. He strives to open our eyes letting us know we are loved and must love with the same passion.

After another long pause, out of the silence came the tiniest voice with talk about Santa. A few sweet comments were shared in the circle and our pastor asked the children to turn around and face us. We knew what he wanted from us.

He wanted us to see how much we are blessed. He wanted us to be thankful for the bright faces and smiles. He wanted the children to see our love for them in our eyes. He told them that all of the adults love them. He reminded us that we must continue to care for the children in everyway possible.

Our pastor then gathered the children close to him and only they were privy to his wisdom as we sang. This happens each week. The children then retreated to their own space to learn more about the love God has for them.

Finally, it was our turn. One of the laity, a woman, gave the homily. In this church, women have a voice and are taken seriously.

We were all given a prayer card with a suggestion of a simple daily exercise to do for the next thirty days. If we follow through, she promises a change. This change will be the repentance, the turning around, that John the Baptist challenged people with thousands of years ago and one that we are still in need of today.

We were given hope today. Solace in knowing that we can make ourselves better and stronger, and therefore, make the world a better place.


It is in our hands to make the change. But we are not alone.

We are loved and loving beings who can do this. If we each take that little step to turn around, away from what hurts us, we will not only change ourselves, but others, too.

But it starts with us, the us that God made. It starts by being inclusive, accepting each other no matter how we appear, because He made us.

God is the good inside of each one of us. All of us. We need to remember He is there, a perpetual light that will never go out. We just need to find it within ourselves and fuel it. Then remember to find it in others, because it is in everyone. Even in the tortured soul of a young man with a gun, the light of God is there. We need to help each other find it.