Here and Now

Spring peeks through red-tinged tree tops.170304_111836_COLLAGE-1

She inches her way onto the scene, unfolding in delicate hues of green.  In the purple of the crocus and the vibrant yellow of the daffodil, I am reminded of the inevitable.

Winter is coming to a close.

A few more snow storms may descend upon the northern lands and temperatures may remain low for a while, but Spring, and all of her bird songs and blossoms is waiting just behind the curtain, eager for her time front and center.

And know this.

I have hated her subtle entrance for years.  I cannot tell you how many crocuses I have cursed; how many tender, young leaves I have despised. In truth I am a Winter creature who grieves in Spring the  arrival of Summer and the dreaded heat that accompanies it.

In the last few months, I have been practicing mindfulness, striving to live in the moment and appreciate the here and now. And so it happened.  On a walk with my dogs, a cluster of purple crocuses engaged me in true delight!  Yes, in that mindful moment the beautiful Spring bulb that gives most people hope that winter will soon end, graced me with joy.

The Apostle Paul, in the close of his letter to the Philippians, gives thanks to God for their “renewed concern” for him.  “I am not saying this because I am in need,” he tells them, “for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:11-13).

Paul learned in his ministry how to be content in the here and now.  He understood that in putting one’s trust in God he could make it through anything.   As we move further into Lent, a time of personal reflection, may we continue to draw on that same promise.

Remain with me here.  And now.  With our eyes on God, hearts rooted in Christ, and souls nourished by the Holy Spirit.

Ready to Meet God?

ReadyI see this sign about once a month on my way to visit patients in Sweet Home. (I could have easily “met God” that day trying to take this picture on a road with very little shoulder!)

I get the message.

The concerned Christian who stuck this sign in the ground seeks to persuade folks to change their ways, repent and be saved that they will one day ascend to heaven.

I have visited with similar individuals and marvel at their theological stance.  It’s ALL about the end-game.  All life’s questions and problems are resolved through Biblical scripture about the end of times when Jesus returns.

But that isn’t enough for me.

When I am struggling, it is not enough to know that there is a place for me in heaven or that God will restore the earth and make all things new after the second coming.

Without a doubt, I believe we should turn away from our destructive ways and discover more grounded, peaceful, and loving ways to live out our lives.  I am also convinced that in doing so we are indeed spiritually preparing ourselves for death.

But what I want to know—what I NEED to know—is that in my moments of grief or sadness or pain or bitterness that my High Power, my God, my Savior has my back TODAY.

So when I pass a sign that asks if I am ready to meet God I say, “Absolutely.”


Every day I am ready to encounter the Holy.

I am seeking God in the midst of my conversations with the dying.

I am praying that a divine grace and peace fills the heart of someone grieving when I am at a loss of the “right” words to say.

I am watching for the light of Christ illuminating from the eyes of a kind stranger.

I am on the look out for God’s Spirit at work in my life and in the world.

You see, long before I reach heaven’s gate, I plan to experience this Kingdom of God that has already come*, to be transformed by grace and to walk side-by-side with my Savior—everyday.

So…How do you plan to meet God today?


 Nor will people say, Look! Here [it is]! or, See, [it is] there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you [in your hearts] and among you [surrounding you].  Luke 17:21 Amplified Bible

Opportunity Missed

Today’s Spiritual Prescription:

maple cotton candy It was all MINE!

At the county fair in Vermont where we lived, I purchased my first and only batch of maple cotton candy.   Made only with cane and maple sugars, it tasted heavenly!

I ate it slowly and, not wanting to share my glorious, sugary delight with my husband or kids, I hid it in our pantry when we got home.

Ironically…I forgot about it.  It was discovered a long time later—a shrunken brick of simple carbohydrates.

Truly devastating!  My miserly action led to my own loss in the end.

With this tragic tale, I offer today’s Spiritual Prescription:

Be Generous!

Resist the urge to horde or be miserly.

Don’t pass up an opportunity to share or to give.

It may be painful at first or feel unnatural.

Perhaps it’ll even feel like you are being taken advantage of.

That’s how I felt that day at the fair.  I didn’t share my delectable cotton candy because each family member had already devoured his or her own treat.  Why should I share mine, right?

But now, looking back, how wonderful it would have been to pull out my sugary treat a few days later to celebrate the fair all over again with my family .  It was an opportunity missed.

Proverbs 11:24 advises, “Sometimes you can become rich by being generous or poor by being greedy” (Contemporary English Version).

So be generous today and see if you don’t feel a bit richer as a result!


Sacred Space

Today’s Spiritual Prescription:

Create Sacred Space

I have finally created a space in my home that offers me serenity–an escape from the brightness of the Desert sun.  Thanks to a rich, melted, dark chocolate colored paint, my bedroom has been transformed from a room… into a womb.  I enter that space and immediately sense my body soften and relax.  It has become my indoor sanctuary.

I am working on an outdoor oasis as well. Gardening is a joy for me, but the challenge (on so many levels) of growing a lush, beautiful flower garden in my yard is–for me–nearly futile.  I have discovered, however, that my covered deck is ideal for exercising my greenish thumb. And so my second sanctuary (to relax in when the weather is tolerable and to view when the heat to too oppressive) is beginning to flourish. ( I have a long ways to go to reach top oasis status, as you can see above, but the process itself has been healing.)

I will honestly say I had not fully realized the spiritual, emotional and mental value of these sacred spaces until I created them. Now–I cannot conceive living without them.

With that said, here is your Spiritual Prescription:

Where do you go to experience that sacred peace?  Is there a corner or room in your home?  A place where you can experience a sense of Just Being? of Peace? of Letting Go? of Rejuvenation or Escape?

If you don’t have such a place, wait no longer. Fashion for yourself that sacred space.  Design your Man Cave.  Set up your meditation or reading corner.   Transform a room into a womb.  Remember, it may only take a fresh coat of paint or intentional rearranging of furniture or placement of objects of meaning.  If the outdoors brings you joy, then take the time to grow, seek out, or create your natural oasis.

A simple change would be setting up an altar. Inside or out, arranging specific sacred objects or images can be beautiful and grounding to look at. Check out this altar (on the right) and its creator’s website, which I discovered “serendipitously” looking for an altar image:  Fran’s got wonderful things to share about sacred spaces and more!

So, do it today. Create your Sacred Space.

And tell us here at Desert Sojourn what you came up with and the impact that space has had on your life.

In the Now

Here is a beautiful poem I came across in my doctor’s office.

When the compulsive striving away from the Now ceases,

the joy of Being flows into everything you do. 

The moment your attention turns to the Now,

you feel a presence, a stillness, a peace.

Eckhart Tolle


You will quickly learn from many of my posts that I am not someone who loves living in the desert.  I have grumbled, complained, whined and felt sorry for myself for the longest time.

Within the last few months, I have come to terms with my life here in the land of endless summer. I have ceased compulsively striving away from the Now and have accepted that this desert is my home.  I have been able to let go.

And yes, thank God, I have felt that presence, stillness  and peace.  And you know, I might even add that I am joy-filled. Praise God, indeed!

May you, too, turn your attention to the Now and find therein a deep, deep peace.