Sunday, November 30, 2014

She who prays

Sometimes the smallest thing is the biggest.  At a Convention where I feel faded in the crowd, I am introduced to someone who says this:

I know Catharine
He says,
She has been praying for me
For years.
All of a sudden I am she who prays.  This is more than enough.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Shop small

On Thanksgiving a guest said he understood the color of our guest bathroom when he saw the mirror frame made from potato chip bags.  The orange came first.  We looked a long time for that mirror. Then... there it was.  We continue to shop small.  We never know what we'll discover.

Today I will shop small,
Engage the artisans
From around the world:
The one 
Who crafted the frame
Of our bathroom mirror
From potato chip bags,
It perfectly matches
The high-gloss orange
On the walls;
The one
Who made
The orange peel angel,
It hangs from the lamp switch
On my office desk;
All the ones,
All those ones
Who see the world
Through different eyes,
Know that orange peel,
Potato chip bags,
Hold even the wealth of possibility
To match
Our bathroom walls.

Friday, November 28, 2014


The day after Thanksgiving.  The house is very clean and ordered, many thanks due to the daughter home from college.  The refrigerator is full of leftovers.  I wonder now if the crowd listening to Jesus somehow didn't need as much to eat because of the cornucopia of Jesus himself.  A new thought while the turkey is being made into soup.

We used every dish and plate,
Every piece of silverware
We own.
With all that food
We ate less
Than we usually do.
We talked more.
The turkey was almost forgotten
In the oven.
It collapsed in on itself
A crispy brown mass,
barely recognizable
As a baked bird.
We laughed
And ate more sweet potatoes.
I woke this morning
Wondering about the plural
Of the word cornucopia
How does a person
Pluralize abundance?
Horns (or baskets)
Full of bread and fish?
A refrigerator full of leftovers?
The beginning of turkey soup
On the stove?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving and coffee

Fun fact for today:  Ethiopia has a temperate climate, and it is the place coffee originated.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey in the oven
We rearrange the house
For guests.
We each
Have our own pace.
It will all happen
Before 4:30.
Over coffee
We read the history
Of Ethiopia.
Coffee began there.
We raise our mugs
In honor
Of Ethiopia.
We hope the turkey
Will be done in time.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The gift

I actually had to write this before I could get to the end of it.  It's amazing to me what putting words on a page will do.

The gift of Thanksgiving this year
Will be making sure
The vegan
Possibly fasting
Ethiopian woman
Will know herself
Utterly and completely included.
The gift of Thanksgiving this year
Will be the presence
Of every single person
Around the table
No matter what
Each one of us
Can eat.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The whole of it

Feeling philosophical this morning.  Sun shining.  Clouds stunning.  Whether I am conscious or lose consciousness, there's still a lot of life yet to be lived.

So much life
Left to be lived:
Yet somehow still
We never know
The whole of it
Even when we think,
Even when we act,
As if we do.
So much life
Even though
We never know
The whole of it.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Yes and no and maybe

I am home offering slower things.

With the lively one home
The pace quickens
Around me.
I practice doing
What I can do,
Saying no and maybe
And occasionally
Let your yes be yes.
Let your no be no.
If it is maybe
Make sure
It is a possible yes.
The pace quickens.
I still practice doing
What I can do
And offering
Slower things.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Room at the table

Convention was different this year.

And so
Lunch in hand
I stumbled upon
The retired clergy
Gathered at a round table
In a quiet corner
Of Convention.
I knew them all.
Come sit with us
They said
There’s room at the table
They said.
So I sat
And ate.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Figuring out new ways to engage Diocesan Convention.

Last night
I honored who I am
Not who I used to be.
I ordered room service,
Simple spaghetti and meatballs
Delivered on a tray
By a smiling woman.
I honor who I am
I will join the throng
When I am ready
To join the throng,
Not one moment

Friday, November 21, 2014

Now is to sit in the sun

I have many things to do today.  Now is to sit and soak up the sun.  Maybe the cat is onto something.

Now is to sit
In the sun
Full on my face
So full and bright
I can barely do anything
But drink my morning coffee
Marvel at this light
Come into this morning world
Remind me that now
Maybe stunningly
Is to soak in the sun
Leave the rest
For later.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Today begins again

It seems I have mastered the art of going back to bed for that extra sleep.  My beloved is winging his way to Denver to pick up our daughter, most of her worldly possessions, and a van.  I love them both. I am home, beginning the day again.

Today begins again
With sun
No gold leaves
But full sun the cat has found
On the bed upstairs.
I went back to bed
After the taxi came,
Fifteen minutes early
In the dark,
A cardinal sin
For your 5 a.m. challenged soul
Especially when you stayed up
Rather later
Than you might.
Today begins again.
You are in the air
Sound asleep.
I am home.
I pay attention
To the cat
The turtle
One client this afternoon.
Today begins again.
There is sun.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Driving or not driving... a decision made day by day, sometimes hour by hour.  I am still getting used to this part of my identity.  Some days it comes easier than others.

I drive home
My music plays.
I sing along
For these moments
I remember who I am,
Even if tomorrow
I ask for a ride.
This is also part
Of who I am
These days:
She who asks for rides;
She who drives when it is safe
For her to drive,
Plays her music
And sings along.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


In 2007 I left parish ministry, stopped paying into the Church Pension Fund, after 27 years.  Every year I get a statement saying:  if I will only retire, if I will only begin receiving the money I have earned, I will be removed from this limbo, back into the land of the living, albeit... retired.  There is more than one way to live life on the edge of things.  I seem to have discovered more ways than many.

I dropped off the face
When I stopped paying into
The Church Pension Fund.

Monday, November 17, 2014


My beloved, the political scientist, sees compromise as a good thing.  He teaches students the importance of compromise, to see that all good political decisions involve some level of compromise. So often we see compromise as something we need to settle for.  I did not choose this, we say.  This is unfair, we say.  My beloved, the political scientist, offers the idea that compromise just might be a good thing.

Again I think
I am compromised.
To move
Just slowly enough,
More and more
To stand on the edges,
To watch the cat
Sleep in the sun.
Again I remember
Not to rush
In my half-full brain
Not to think of this
As compromise;
Not to think of this
As my lot in life;
Not to think of this
As forced retirement;
But instead to see
The possible gift.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Healing prayer

This morning reminded me of Quaker meeting, particularly the silent space in the middle meant to provide room for healing prayer.  Even though no one went forward.  Still... there was healing there.

No one went forward
For healing prayer today.
We all knelt in place
Listened to the cello.
Three priests stood at the altar rail
With oil for anointing.
They were ready.
The lessons were about waiting
For Jesus to return.
Something about
The absence of words
The cello
The waiting
In the middle of the service;
Something about the silence space
In the middle
Spoke to me of healing
Even though no one went forward
But instead
Knelt in place.
No words
Were necessary.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Sometimes I find it odd what gains, then loses, our attention.

The normally bland face
Of Uranus
Is now extremely stormy.
The camera on the comet
Has shut down
In the dark.
Eyes trained on the heavens
The melting ice cap,
Have lost
Their audience.
Wars and rumors of wars
The man or woman
On the streets
The person in the pew
Beside us,
They join
The periphery.
We wait for the comet
To streak closer
To the sun.
We hope more light
Will start the data stream
Meanwhile Uranus
Is stormy.
No one knows why.

Friday, November 14, 2014

What I saw and heard yesterday

Some days there is so much to remember, so much to be appreciated.  If I had known it was ginkgo day, I would made a ginkgo tour.  The alphabet en espanol brought back memories of junior high. Then there was the orange peel angel.  I will have to figure out where she will live in my office.

The ginkgo did
Its all-at-once shimmy of gold. 
The sea of yellow fans dropped,
A one-day pleasure.
The Spanish class
Learned the alphabet
Twenty minutes at least
All the way to end
Over and over.
I saw.
I heard.
In between
I was gifted with clients
Words and presence and even
An angel
Made of orange peel.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


I am in the process of un-queuing.  I never was much of one for lining up, but this seems different. This is part of the process of subtraction, and hence, of redefinition.  As Diocesan Convention approaches, I am even more on the sidelines, learning how to kiss this thing, whatever it is, on both cheeks.

I un-queue,
Step out of line,
Stand to the side,
Or perhaps better yet,
I sit,
What I need to do
To be me:
Accept it,
Hold hands with it,
Maybe give it
A kiss on both cheeks,
The way the French people do.
I un-queue.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

As long as it takes

A prayer, I think.  Yes, a prayer.  We still wait... as long as it takes.  Amen.

As long as it takes,
I will not count.
I promise
Not to count.
As long as it takes,
Even if forever is multiplied
By forever.
As long as it takes
Until lion and lamb
Sleep together.
As long as it takes,
Until Hell freezes over
And everyone is gifted
With ice skates,
The ability
To do figure 8s.
As long as it takes
For the Kingdom to come.
I will not count.
I promise not to count.
As long as it takes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


I am sitting in the church library.  At least five people have rushed around me, working to get more things done in a short amount of time.  It seems I cannot rush these days.  So I write pieces on the advantages of sitting still.  I try to convince myself.  I would still rather rush.  The sun just broke through the clouds.  I saw it.  

Everyone rushes,
It seems,
Except for me.
I have learned the value
Of sitting still
Not because I chose it.
It chose me.
I would still
Rather rush.
Every time
I think of one more thing to do
First I must sit still
So it may rest in the place
Made for it,
One more thing
To be done
Or not.

Monday, November 10, 2014

I wonder the colors

Last week was mostly gold.  An unusual week.  I wait for the colors this week will bring.

I wonder the colors
Of this week coming,
Maybe not the golds
Of last week
But surely colors,
Surely more
Than simple shades of gray.
I wonder the palette
Of this week coming.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The day ended gold

A complete gold day, beginning to end.

The day ended gold
With rice and beans,
Cilantro and tomato.
The day ended gold
On complete hospitable ground.
Light in the darkness,
Gold in the conversation,
Possibility at the dining table,
Children running circles,
Prayer in the living room.
The day ended gold
Light in the darkness.
More treasure in a hidden field

Friday, November 7, 2014

Good times

I love fall mornings like this one.  I am home today, coddling my cough and cold with water and hot tea.  This morning is still, pure, gold, a day begun with laughter.  That first shoe may never even drop.

In the still gold
Of this morning
We speak of how we are,
Each one of us.
Bad things come in threes
I say
Then laugh:
I’ve not even
Seen the first one yet.
He says
That’s a good one.
It’s like waiting for the first shoe
To drop.
We laugh
Move into the day
Still gold at its beginning.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

I live for this morning

I still feel the clarity of yesterday, even with the gray sky.  Sometimes I am able to live in the moment, take things as they come.  These are gracious times.  I do not always live here, but this morning...I do.

This morning is gold
Against silver gray
The sun is behind
Thin clouds.
They say the cold
Is coming soon
And with the cold
More winter things.
I live for this morning
Gold leaves
On the palest gray,
Burning bushes still green
In my front yard.
The snow may catch them
I will take it
As it comes.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Clear eyes

I woke early this morning with clear eyes.  An amazing thing, really.  They have been clouded with allergies and fog-brain as of late, for at least a couple months. Clear eyes.  Here they are again. Alleluia.

The sun shines gold
At this early reclaimed hour.
Enough yellow leaves remain
To filter gold light
Against blue tint,
Just arrived,
Morning sky.
And me?
I woke with clear eyes
To see it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Different parts of the world

I traveled to Santa Fe this past weekend to visit my sister.  We have some things in common.  We are sisters, after all. We are also very different.  We have separate roads to travel.  It was a good visit.

We pay attention
To different parts of the world
My sister and I