• How I learned the power of surrendering

     I have always had a problem with the concept — more importantly, the reality — of surrendering. It evoked feelings of inadequacy, loss of control, enslavement and acquiescence to the power of another person or situation. I did not like it — not one bit! Searching the dictionary or thesaurus only added to the upset. Words like yield, concede, capitulate, crumble, cave-in, throw in the towel and forfeit were offered as definitions. None of them eased my sense that abandonment would be wrenching.

  • Naming the 10 most influential people in my life
  • The powerful impact of the first Pentecost can be seen today

     Denominations that use the Revised Common Lectionary and follow the church’s liturgical year will have celebrated the Feast of Pentecost as part of the conclusion of the Easter season. Charismatic communities embrace the power of the Holy Spirit throughout the year. Expressed in religious terms or not, believers and unbelievers alike have an affinity for the spiritual.


  • Grateful witness: Stories from an enlightening journey

     I received a request to review an unusual book by L.S.L. Noble. It is a spiritual autobiography, an account of “fateful occurrences” the author encountered throughout her lifetime. Interestingly, I completed my reading simultaneously with entry into Eastertide — a time when Christians contemplate the meaning and message of resurrection. This is also a period for unique pondering of reality, the entwining of absence and presence, life and death. My reading of this book seemed more than coincidental. Noble would likely term it “synchronicity.”

  • You’ve got to be carefully taught

     I was happily, well not so happily, attacking my morning exercise on the treadmill with the radio at high volume to distract me from the challenging chore when I heard the announcement. “NPR continues a series of conversations about the Race Card Project where thousands of people have submitted their thoughts on race and cultural identity in six words.” My attention was immediately caught.

  • Go beyond the shadow of doubt and find life

     So often we have allowed doubt to cast a shadow on our faith. We let it tinge credence with incredulity, casting the gloom of uncertainty upon the grace of certitude — causing distress and dismay to dog our steps and burden our spirits. We are shaken, but not to the core. To try to dismiss doubt summarily — banishing it to the darkest corner we can find — does no good. Somehow it surfaces when we least suspect and we are, once again, ill at ease.

  • What is important is to notice the stars…not to name them

     I cannot recall where I read this message: “The important thing about stars is not the naming, but the noticing.” I only know the statement gave me great comfort. I have often been dismayed over my inability to remember “star facts” gleaned in grammar school. Those were the days when I spent time craning my neck to spot Pleiades, Cassiopeia and Orion and the Dippers, big and small, in the darkened sky over our backyard. I could name them then...I am unable now. However, I suspect I am more prone to noticing them at this stage of my life.

  • When I look up, I can find what I’m looking for

     Elizabeth Hudson did it again. Her welcome editorial, titled “And Dance by the Light of the Moon” in the February 2014 issue of Our State magazine, described her fascination with the moon and all things lunar.

  • Don’t look for Jesus among the dead!
  • Hospital volunteers anoint the sick with kindness

     Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center mandates an annual educational review for employees and volunteers. Like all mandates, it is not always graciously accepted. However, the option to take the test as a group lessens the angst and even makes it fun.

    I am always impressed with the extent and depth of the questions, despite the fact that they also carry a degree of advertising as a means of corporate public relations. This year was no exception.