Website Woes

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the new version of “Let It Flow.”  Amid the rush and chaos of the launch for my new book, The Desert, we discovered a very nasty virus infecting my website.  After two full days of sleuthing, my dear husband was finally able to track it to the theme design.  This has meant setting up a whole new site.  It is now usable, but all its features will not be fully activated for about 30 days.

Blog postings for the preceding 30 days, including the new book announcement, were lost and will be replaced.  If you were “treated” to a distasteful and inappropriate message purporting to be my blog post, I apologize.  That possibility should now be remote.

Thank you for your patience through this, and for your enthusiastic participation in my Amazon “blitz day.”  You made it a rousing success.  Please leave a comment to let me know how you like the new design.

Posted in Books, Publishing, Websites | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

New Book!

Here is my new, beautifully illustrated small coffee table book to delight adults and children alike, and just in time for Christmas.  It is Plura: The Fantastic Adventures of a Drop of Water.   Plura is a tiny droplet with a big thirst for all that life offers.   Her story grew for me out of a happy moment watching water leap (or be pushed) over Yosemite Falls, and imagining what it would be like.  Hers is a small tale for all who wonder . . . .

Find Plura in either hard copy or paperback at: http://www.blurb.com/search/site_search?search=plura&filter=bookstore&commit=Search.  Either version will make a lovely Christmas gift.

 

Posted in Books, Fantasy, Happiness, Nature, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on New Book!

Home

I was no more than two or three years old when a strange but wonderful moment came upon me.  I was watching the passing scene from a car window as rolling hillocks of very green grass flowed by, lit by sunshine from a blue sky.  Suddenly, I was, for just a moment, remembering a familiar Place.  Not the place my parents lived in, but a different kind of native land, a Place I had known before.  Someone there loved me then, and loved me still, and I longed for it (and them) with a deep, contented longing – contented because I knew that life was not gone forever and indeed went on even then.

The moment passed, and life went on, taking me farther and farther away from that Place, but every once in a while a particular scene, a particular expanse of bright sunlit grass, jogs me back for just a moment to that childhood ride and the marvelous Memory.   It only comes when all thought is released, and one simply receives it as a child.

It happened again today.  I was alone on the River Trail, and suddenly the Memory was there.  It lasted a long time, the whole of my walk, and it gave me new understandings.

It seemed to me the trees, especially, are always singing.  It’s a wordless, melody-less song about joy, and suffering, and wisdom, and life.  I think maybe all things in nature sing like that, if we learn to listen.  It seemed to me, too, that the trees can sing like that because they live all the time both in this world and in that beautiful, peaceful, familiar world.  It seemed to me that, walking along, I might at any moment find that I had stepped right into that world, myself. Something in me hoped that would happen.  I want to go Home, and I know that it is there, waiting for me.  But I know it isn’t time yet.

Here is the thing, though.  If the trees can do it, it seems there is a promise that I might, just might, learn to live more and more in the awareness of there, while here.

Posted in Grace, heaven, Home, Innocence, Mystery, The Human Condition | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Being the Image of God

Each of us is a reflection of God.  Isn’t that stunning, when you really think about it?   How far I feel from the dignity and honor of simply, in myself, reflecting Him!

But of course, no one reflects Him completely.  How could the finite fully reflect the infinite?  Yet though my reflection is partial, it is authentic.  It is true.  And when I live it out, I glorify God by reflecting Him into the world.

Here is my suggestion:  Each of us contains, at our deepest center point, some attribute of God that is the very core of his/her identity.  One might be centered in compassion; another in truth, or righteousness; some in various modes of creativity.  We are born with this center, and life may or may not help us develop it; life will almost certainly distort, distract, or attempt to destroy it in various ways so that by the time we reach adulthood, we probably don’t know what that center of ourselves is.  If we are believers, we try to glorify God by doing various kinds of good works that are approved by our religion.

But really, it is much, much simpler than that – and perhaps more difficult.  To glorify God, find that deep place inside yourself that is your core.  It is the turbine that, once found, generates unstoppable energy and fills you with joy.  Once freed, it makes of you a fully authentic reflection of God.

Posted in Grace, Incarnation, Mystery, The Human Condition, What Is Man? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Being the Image of God

Christmas Eve

Christmas comes in many layers.  On the far outside are the stores with their decorations, the crowds, the gift-buying, the Salvation Army bells.  This begins to set the mood and draw us toward the center.  Closer to home, in our neighborhoods, are the light displays in yards and on homes – maybe our own.  Driving at night gives us glimpses into a magical world.

Inside our home is a whole new layer.  Christmas tree with memory-laden ornaments, the smells of baking and mulling, carols playing on the stereo, wrapping gifts and laying them  under the tree, cards from old friends.   There is a pervasive sense of expectation and coming joy.

On Christmas Eve, we go to church.  Suddenly, the carols are speaking to our hearts of something real, something we share in.  The last layer peels away, and at our core, we find the stable in Bethlehem.  Outside, the crowds push and surge, just like downtown.  Up above, the “silent stars go by.”  Within the stable, the mighty power of the universe is concentrated in a quiet explosion of new life.  In one moment, at this one place, “the hopes and fears of all the years are met.”  Everything is suddenly made right, and the deep peace of that rightness covers the Virgin and Child, then the animals, and begins to spread outward – quietly, silently, but invincibly, into our hearts.  It continues to spread, remaking the world until the new Creation becomes manifest, and the old passes away.  But for now, on this night, we are in Bethlehem, in that one tiny point of power.  “Round yon Virgin mother and child, holy infant, so tender and mild, sleep in heavenly peace.  Sleep in heavenly peace.”

Posted in Advent, Christmas, Grace, heaven, Incarnation, Mystery, the world | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Being Creative

Oddly, I seldom listen to recorded music, but I love live performance, of all kinds.  Recorded music, no matter how fine the quality, seems to me dead, because it does not give me the synergistic connection with the performer that makes me feel I
am creating the music along with them, and stirs my own creative energies.

A few nights ago, we were delighted by a concert – highly talented performers (Windham Hill artists Liz Story, Barbara Higbie and Lisa Lynne) making music with an array of instruments both familiar and strange.  Watching and listening, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit, and in my mind’s eye, I could see a joyful Jesus whirling and dancing in the air above them.  I know in my deepest being that God loves for us to create, and joins with us in celebrating our creative efforts.

There are many ways to create.  Painting and writing,  of course – but also planting a garden, landscaping a yard, building a house, building a business, making a happy marriage.  They all make us partners with God in His creative activity.  What
is/are yours?

Posted in Creativity, Happiness, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Theology of Oreo Cookies

Forrest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates.”  But I think life is like an Oreo cookie.  The bottom cookie is the world as we know it.  The top cookie is heaven.  They do not exist apart, but are held together by the sweet stuff in the middle, which is made of goodness, truth and beauty.   These exist in both the world and in heaven, and together are what joins the two. The beauty in the world  is not the Beauty of heaven, but reflects it; the goodness in the world is not the Goodness of heaven, but gives us a taste of it.  The truth in the world is not the Truth of heaven, but aspires to it.  The more accurate the reflection, taste and aspiration, the more complete the unity of heaven and earth.

We like our Oreos double-stuffed.  We always want more goodness, more beauty, more truth, because these things are a sweetness to our souls.  We experience partial satisfaction by finding and appreciating them in the world around us, and as Christians, we are also charged to generate them.  How can we possibly do this?  Only through God’s gifts of faith, hope and love.  Faith, here in the world, leads us to the Truth.  Hope, here in the world, leads us to Beauty.  And love, here in the world, leads us to all Goodness.

Happy eating!

Posted in Grace, heaven, Love, Mystery, The Human Condition, the world | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Grace

God’s grace is one of the greatest of mysteries.  I think a fitting Advent preparation for Christmas would be to try to comprehend more of this great gift than we ever have before.  Paul Tillich described it this way:

“Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley of a
meaningless and empty life. It strikes us when we feel that our separation is deeper than usual, because we have violated another life, a life which we loved, or from which we were estranged. It strikes us when our disgust for our own being, our indifference, our weakness, our hostility, and our lack of direction and composure have become intolerable to us. It strikes us when, year after year, the longed-for perfection of life does not appear, when the old compulsions reign within us as they have for decades, when despair destroys all joy and courage.

“Sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is as though a voice were saying: ‘You are accepted. You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater than you, and the name of which you do not know. Do not ask for the name now; perhaps you will find it later. Do not try to do anything now; perhaps later you will do much. Do not seek for anything; do not perform anything; do not intend anything. Simply accept the fact that you are accepted!’

If that happens to us, we experience grace. After such an experience we may not be better than before, and we may not believe more than before. But everything is transformed. In that moment, grace conquers sin, and reconciliation bridges the gulf of estrangement. And nothing is demanded of this experience, no religious or moral or intellectual presupposition, nothing but acceptance.

Posted in Advent, Grace, Love, Mystery, The Human Condition | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Book Signing

Announcement:  I will be signing books at Copperfield’s in Napa on December 4 from 2-4:00.  The Forest and The Wisdom of Ambrose are now in stock there and at Main Street Books in St. Helena.   Local readers (and gift givers!) take note.  The Christmas shopping season is coming soon, and these will make wonderful gifts.   They are still available, of course, through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and as e-books with both.

Posted in Books, The Forest, The Wisdom of Ambrose | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Book Signing

Strangers

Every time we drive a freeway, we are in the midst of strangers.  My car is a kind of metaphor for the fact that I function within my own world, and the worlds of all those others  are opaque to me when I am driving, as mine is to them.  They all simply flow past me like a moving  mural.  Yet, though we do not even recognize each other as persons, all of our separate worlds co-exist in the same space, and even overlap.   It gives me the scary image of rogue atoms that could fly apart at any moment, unhinged from their proper chemical bonds.

When we watch television or a movie, we become intimately involved in the characters’ lives; we are near to forgetting that they are only actors pretending.  I think the experience of the freeway, and the experience of movie-watching, combine in a huge irony to make the fictional people seem real to us, and the real freeway
people unreal.  And our situation is such that we must needs relate to both by only passive observation with no real interaction.  What effect does this have on how we approach the world, and other people?

Posted in technology, The Human Condition | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments