Beware of What you Tell Yourself – by Summer Raven

Beware What You Tell Yourself  

By Summer Raven, 1975

 (Thanks to Dan Fischer for sending this to the inner peace blog. 

It comes from a song that was sung at The Living Love Center in Berkeley in the 70′s)

Beware what you tell yourself,

Children of light.

Demanding and judging

Will alter your sight.

And forcing your way

Always leads to a fight,

’Cause nothing is wrong

More than anything’s right.


Wherever you wander,

Don’t leave love behind!

Whatever you’re giving

Is what you will find.

Accept what life shows you

Or live like the blind.—

The beauty or ugliness

Comes from your mind.


When life didn’t please us

We made ourselves sad.

When we couldn’t control things

We made ourselves mad.

This kept us from loving

What we already had.

What we want we call good,

What we don’t we call bad.


Remember our spirit

And follow your heart.

We can make our own troubles

Or take them apart.

When the tragedy ends,

Watch the comedy start.

In the story of life

You’re just playing your part.



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Love or Hate? You decide!


During this political season you probably “hate” one candidate and “love” the other

or maybe you like neither?


We harbor both love and hate within our Mind however, your true identity is attached to light and love.

Go through the clouds and enter the light that is your guide to peace.

Hate is the unwanted intruder into your beautiful mind.  You are in “charge” of what you thin.

You are the boss!  You can decide not to hate anyone – including yourself.  You have that POWER!  You are the decider!

Say: ”I refuse to hate myself or anyone – it makes me miserable and I let all the grudges and judgments GO!”  Really!  You can do this.  Why do you hold onto the old grudges that make you miserable.  Do you like being miserable?  Nope –  so let it ALL Go!

It is that EASY!  TRY IT!!

For example – Decide you will be happy for the next hour!  Look at the clock – write down the time.  State your decision….I will let go of thinking about _______ and worrying about ______ or fretting about ________.  I will spend the next hour releasing and breathing and focusing on being pleasant.

You are the Decider!  You are the Boss of your thoughts.  Oh yes  you are!  Don’t believe every thought that occurs to you.

Sally McKirgan facilitates the Tidings Inner Peace Column and a study group on the spiritual book:  A Course In Miracles.

Contact her at  or visit her blog at   for more information about A Course In Miracles

AND If you or anyone you know is contemplating suicide visit:


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Is Eternal Life Possible by Jim Hatton


By Jim Hatton

 The prospect of eternal life is a very attractive one. Especially when it is combined with the idea of living in a peaceful, blissful state with endless beauty and all the material items one could want. As Morgan Freeman pointed out on his recent television series, the Story of God, on National Geographic, many of the great traditions has used the offer of eternal life as a tool to draw people into the tradition and a Heavenly State will be achieved if one acts in certain ways and professes certain beliefs. Mr. Freeman also demonstrates the idea of someone or something keeping track of the actions and deeds in our lives helps to control the masses into conforming to a pre-subscribed group of ideas and beliefs.  I call this the “Great Scoreboard in the Sky”.  It is a common belief both in and out of religion especially in western society.

 In doing spiritual counseling I find that, the greatest fear that many have is the fear of Death. That fear of death is not so much the fear of eternal punishment but the fear of Non-Existence.  In other words, many have the fear of after this physical life is over, we “go blank” or ‘wink out”. There is nothing left of us, we go unconscious forever.

 I recently attended a Celebration of Life service.  During the service the following passage was read:

 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have not hope. For since we believe that that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.

Christian Testament: Thessalonians 4:13-14 NLT   

 As I listened to these words being read, I had the thought that in order to have the prospect of eternal life, we must assume that we are not eternal already. The common fear I spoke of earlier of “winking out” must weigh heavily and consistently on many people’s consciousness.

 But what if we didn’t have to worry about doing the right things, and believing the right way to obtain eternal life?  What if we already knew that after we are done with this “space suit” body that our awareness, soul, consciousness, or whatever we want to call it is, in fact, eternal?

 In the tradition of the Kabbalah, we humans are all Emanations of the Divine.  That is the qualities, likeness, presence of the Divine are part of our inherent nature.

 Earnest Holmes writes:     Man is born of eternal day, not because he wills or wishes it, not because he labors or strives toward it, not because he earns it as a reward, but simply because the Spirit has breathed life into him. And the Spirit which has breathed this life into him has breathed Its own Life and cannot unbreathe It or take It away.

 You Will Live Forever-Holmes Star Publishing 2012

 The idea of eternal life is not one that we live in our current physical bodies forever, although ancient texts elude to living 800 years or more. Our current bodies are a specially designed “space suite” in which to enable us to experience the physical world.  Although closely tied and connected, our bodies are not “Us”. We will eventually discard this magnificent vehicle to move on to greater and greater expression; much like a lizard out grows and sheds its skin as it grows in stature.

 If we can accept and embody that what we are, which is pure consciousness, does not have to do anything to obtain immortality, but that we are already immortal, we can set aside all fears and live with a deeper inner peace.  

 Jim Hatton, is the author (under the name James Apollonius Alan) of “A Spiritual Master’s Guide to Life” available on Amazon or at


The above article appeared in the Ashland Daily Tidings, Inner Peace Column on Saturday July 30, 2016

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Quieting the Mind by Lucie K. Scheuer

Quieting the Mind produces peace 

by   Lucie K. Scheuer

I recently completed a 21-day, guided meditation provided by Deepak Chopra and the Oprah network. As I opened my eyes on the last day, I felt empty, almost let down. I asked myself: “why?” The answer came very quickly. It was the first time, in a long time, I had allowed myself to really relax and let go. I actually had set aside half an hour each day to just be quiet and listen.

It wasn’t easy at the start. Thoughts would swirl up like a swarm of bees. I had to gently brush them away.

It wasn’t until ten minutes or so into it – that I could feel the tightening in my arms and legs begin to give way.  As I followed my breath, I noticed it became more regular. As the air flowed in and out, I began to realize how out of sync I had been with my own existence. Eventually I jump-started the practice on my own, and it has recharged my life.

We are bombarded on a daily basis, by sounds, requests, demands, obligations and news. These ever-present stimuli can be extremely stress-producing. It is easy – not only to become distracted, but to become used to the negative feelings all this bombardment produces. Adrenaline and cortisol begin to run our lives. Stress becomes less of a motivator and more of a curse.

With these daily meditations I realized, I was barely getting things done; while playing catch up all the time.  It was like sitting at a red light with my internal engine in overdrive. I knew if I continued in this manner, I would eventually burn out.

I think sometimes we forget that stress is an energy created from many sources: our thoughts, our assumptions, our environment, the weight of our responsibilities and our relationships.  If we don’t take the time to occasionally examine these sources, we run the risk of becoming addicted to the stress they create, or worse, losing ourselves and a sense of purpose.

Ask yourself, “Do I have a safe place in my home to unwind? Do I take time during the workday to unplug from the noise and hectic schedule? Am I able to say “no?” Are my expectations of myself and others causing me to feel a constant sense of disappointment and/or frustration? Have I lost interest in things that I love or that used to matter?” Your answers should tell you a lot about what you need to do next.

Years ago, my husband, formerly a photo-journalist, decided to take up landscape painting. With his photographer’s eye it wasn’t long before he was sharing his views of the Ashland rolling foothills in beiges, browns, violets and greens. My favorite still hangs in our bedroom.  It is a simple painting off Eagle Mill Road looking towards Mt. Ashland.  At the base of the painting sits a familiar octagonal sign. It reads STOP – sending a bright red message with a sense of urgency. And then you see the hills rising above the sign and suddenly – there you are – in the present.

Find your now; it is in the afternoon pauses; the short walks; music in the headphones; a half-hour comedy; maybe dinner with good friends.  Don’t forget to play. Run with the dog.  Play hide and seek with the cat. Read to your children. Make S’mores. And on a daily basis, don’t forget to put the work away and if you can, learn how to meditate.

As the mountains reach up into the clouds gathering water from the sky to send

down to the lakes and rivers

to flow into streams

bringing renewal

thank the mountains and the heavens

thank the clouds for their benevolence

earth molds and forms according to the laws of the universe

as do we

Lucie K. Scheuer is a Writer, Substance Abuse Counselor, and owns a consulting business to nonprofits in the Rogue Valley, “Silver Lining Solutions.” Contact her at:

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On Prayer by Dan Fischer


On Prayer  by Dan Fischer


Here are four possibilities:

1) there is no god, no spirit, just a mechanistic universe that is open to scientific thought.

2) There is a benevolent god who takes an interest in what we do and think .

3) There is a god who created everything and let it go and is disinterested in us. And,

4) there is a malevolent god who toys with us and gives us suffering.

One and three are easy to deal with. If there is no god, or a god who set the universe in motion and is no longer involved, our prayers are not heard.  That does not mean that prayers are of no value.  Prayer helps us get clear about what we want.  A clear “want list” is helpful for personal happiness. Without it there is a general malaise, a feeling that things just aren’t right. Prayer can help to crystallize one’s thinking. Prayer can help us to see what we want and how to get there.  And prayer can help us see that what we want is out of our reach and if we need to find a way to deal with the loss. In these ways prayer is of value even to the atheist. 

If there is a malevolent god who toys with us, our prayers aren’t going to be answered. Personally I don’t believe in the possibility of this type of god.  It makes no sense to me that someone powerful enough to create the universe would want to interfere with the creatures in it. There is order in the universe.  If it was created, it doesn’t make sense that the order of the stars and galaxies would remain but the personal lives of intelligent beings would be tampered with in a malevolent way.

Now let’s suppose there is a benevolent god who created the universe and everything in it.  . . . In catholic school I was taught that God is perfect, that God loves me, that God watched over me, that God cares about me, that God takes care of me. This is the God that I choose to believe in.

We love our kids. We try to do what is best for them. We give them food and shelter. We send them to the best schools we can afford. We take them to the doctor, not only when they are sick, but when we think they need a checkup or a shot.. We love them and we treat them as if we love them. We grant them some of their wishes and deny others. We try to anticipate their needs and desires and grant them before they even know them.

If god is all wise and God loves us, wouldn’t God give us what we need or want before we even know we need or want it? Wouldn’t God allow pain if it was in our long term interest like we allow the doctor to give our kids shots?  God allows our pain for reasons we do not understand. If we really believe in God’s greatness and caring should we not be grateful for all we have, both the joyful and the painful?  My cancer may be God’s equivalent of my kid’s flu shot.  Cancer may be just what I need, even if it kills my body.  If I believe in a caring personal, loving God I must accept what happens to me as God’s will. God being perfect and all knowing and caring and loving, what is happening to me must be good and right even if I don’t understand.  Whatever I’m given is given with love. I should be grateful. I should pray “Thank You!”

 I do not understand poverty, disease, war, child suffering or other unpleasant things that happen to people. But if I have faith in a loving God I must accept things as they are. If I am inspired by a loving God I must do good as I see it. So I contribute to alleviating suffering to whatever extent I can.

So, the only two prayers that are appropriate are “Thank you.” and “Thy will be done.”

Praying for God to be different or to act different or to give me something else is fruitless. It is even arrogant. God is perfect, I am not. What right have I to ask God to change?


Dan Fischer lives in Ashland. He occasionally teaches at OLLI at SOU. His blog is or google “The Crazy Mud Caper.” —–

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Imagine by Jim Hatton


Thank You John Lennon for the Inspiration


Imagine a God who loves all unconditionally…

            And you will be free


 Imagine a God who loves all unconditionally…

            And there will be no Judgement


Imagine a God who loves all unconditionally…

            And there will no Punishment


Imagine a God who loves all unconditionally…

            And there will be no Heaven or Hell


Imagine a God who loves all unconditionally…

            And there will no need to Worship


Imagine a God who loves all unconditionally…

            And there be no religion


Imagine a God who loves all unconditionally…

            And there will be nothing to kill or die for


Imagine a God who loves all unconditionally…

            And there will be no need for greed or hunger


Imagine a God who loves all unconditionally…

            And there will be no need for countries or borders


Imagine a God who loves all unconditionally…

            And there will be no possessions


Imagine a God who loves all unconditionally…

            And that will be the reward itself.


Imagine a God who loves all unconditionally…

            And you will live in the Now


Imagine a God who loves all unconditionally…

            And you will start to see the Divine in all.


Imagine a God who loves all unconditionally…

            And you will live in Joy


Imagine a God who loves all unconditionally…

            And you will see God see Itself in you


 Imagine a God who loves you unconditionally…

            And you will find Peace


God loves you unconditionally……



In Love and Peace,


Jim Hatton 


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Joy is Infectious – by Victoria Leo

Joy is Infectious, Part I  - By Victoria Leo

 What do you think is the most popular category for re-pins on Pinterest and for responses and shares on Facebook?  Inspirational sayings, right?  Part of it is a reflection of economic realities.  Having economic fears and anxieties simply means that you’re aware and paying attention. Our health is a legitimate concern as well.  For the first time in history, life expectancy and overall health measures of adult Americans are declining.  [If none of these categories apply to you, have compassion and generosity for the rest of us.]

In a reality where glib “don’t worry; be happy” platitudes are lacking in wisdom as well as empathy, how can someone like me insist that Happiness is the goal of ALL of my programs? 

The first reason is physical health.  Anxiety and worry depresses your immune system, raises your blood pressure (which damages kidneys and arteries and leads to premature death and an end to sexual function), and wrecks your skin. 

The second is that joy is infectious.  All your other problems start easing, when you approach other people with a glow.  You can talk your bankers into outrageous rule-changes, you can encourage discounts and more-time-to-pay from nearly everyone, you can blind hiring managers to your flaws and weaknesses, and you can convince everyone else to have hope for their future as well.  You can even have the faith to commit to healing of long-festering problems if your expectation for your future changes.  One caveat:  Don’t allow a preference for a positive twist on your situation to morph into suppressing your first duty to tell yourself and others the truth about your life.  But joy can be part of Truth, too.

Carve out time in your day, every day, for joy.  Joy is your natural state when you are fully present in your body, in your reality.  So –

  • Stop rushing from place to place, so you have time to breathe deeply and look up at the clear blue sky or the new daffodils or the cute dog walking your neighbor.
  • Have less things on your to-do list, if you have to, but make time for Reiki, tapping (EFT), yoga and meditation.
  • Give yourself time to breathe and be still, accomplishing nothing tangible, unless you count better physical health, sharper thinking and – joy.   As one of my Pinterest pins reminds me, “It’s just a bad day, not a bad life.”

And make time, at least once a week, to be creative. 

  • Build something.  Go to a craft shop, just walk around and when something catches your heart, don’t talk yourself out of it, second-guess or shame yourself.  Buy it. Take it home.  Try it out.  When you let go of the desire to “do a good job,” and get others’ approval, not only do you create great art – because “great art” is anything that is an authentic reflection of your feelings and your vision – but you will feel such an intense upwelling of pure joy, it will take your breath away.  Keep going into mindfulness, to keep the critical voices at bay.  It is the PROCESS of the creation that reduces stress, gives you new insights into your life and makes you bubble with joy.
  • Learn a new skill.  There are hundreds of tactile skills like crochet.  Sign up on  for free online courses,  the local SOU OLLI, or another learning site.  When you are learning, your pre-frontal cortex lights up, and when it lights up, so do your joy circuits.  And your Pride in Yourself circuits.  You deserve to feel that good. People like the Dalai Lama, who encourage you to seek joy in the midst of your troubles (while also having compassion for your legitimate pain and difficulty), are your true North Star if you want a life that soars.

Next week – Joy Part II

Bio: Victoria Leo offers both science-based and spiritual solutions that really work! Visit and choose the program that will transform your life.  You deserve to soar with dragons! Victoria’s Facebook group Healing Minds, Healing Bodies welcomes you, as does her blog You can find her books on Amazon or at Bloomsbury Books.


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Prayer and Action by Jim Hatton

Prayer and Action by Jim Hatton


As we see and experience yet another large scale act of violence in the world, the question we all ask is “What can I/we do to help promote Peace and spread Love?”


Spiritual leaders will always say “Pray for Peace”.  Indeed, this is necessary to change the consciousness of our world so that we may all get along and express our power to manifest in more creative and productive ways.  Another powerful tool to change consciousness is visualization. 


Shifting consciousness, first in ourselves and the world, is always first and foremost to call forth a different experience.  Nothing changes until consciousness changes.


As we practice our affirmative prayer, meditation, visualization, etc. to shift our own consciousness, we are often motivated to take some sort of action.   But what sort of action will be in alignment with Spiritual Principles. Let’s keep in mind that the Law of Attraction is inclusive rather than exclusive.  So any intention or action against something will bring more of the very thing we don’t want. Examples:  Anti-War, hatred, condemnation, more laws to prohibit certain actions, etc.  All are against the very things we want and the Law of Attraction will bring us more of the same.


So to effect the change we desire, we must turn our attention, intention, and inspired action to what we want.  In light of recent events such actions may include:


  • Express acts of inclusion to any minority or group of people who may be experiencing oppression. (racial, sexual, religious minorities)
  • Performing unexpected acts of kindness to someone.
  • Giving unexpected gifts to someone new; a flower, a smile, food, even money or donations.
  • Giving a hug.
  • Telling someone that you love them, or telling someone that they are loved.


If we all set our intention to do one at least one act of love today, to people we know and to people who we are may not close to, our intentions will spread and our prayers will be answered.


“We must become the very thing we want to experience”


So today, I will do my prayer work, I will intend to change my consciousness, and then allow myself to be inspired to express Love to people I met today.  I invite you to do the same.



In Love and Peace,


Jim Hatton 


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Navigating Alzheimers by Herb Long

On Navigating Life’s Journey with Alzheimers by Herb Long

Hearing the Alzheimer’s diagnosis was a shock – one I’m still trying to assimilate.  It’s like living under the sword of Damocles, not knowing how long it will be before, or when my memory will fade away. And it’s not just a matter of fading memory, making plans for anything has also become difficult and anxiety evoking.  Biologically this refers to the brain’s executive function and mine seems to be increasingly out to lunch! 

For example getting ready for a trip to Portland I needed the encouragement of my partner, Marcia, to relax and not worry so much – get on with the packing already.  Trying to write this is also accompanied by anxiety.  I’m writing it because I hope I can at least give an account of what’s happening. And in the moment, tears are close to the surface. They’re tears expressing regret, fear, and loss – all of which, for me, accompany the diagnosis. And worst of all, I’m concerned for the wellbeing of Marcia when the last thing I want to do is put her in the role of care-giver.

The first issue I have to address is the simple acceptance of the fact that I have a disease that’s neither curable nor reversible. I’m taking a medication that may slow its progress but there’s no guarantee that will actually happen. It’s not easy to accept something that seems so out of control that anything I think or do has little chance of making much of a difference.

Thinking about acceptance is also anger-evoking – it pisses me off that I have to address the multitude of issues arising as a result of having Alzheimers. Then there’s the stigma around it and the question whether or not to be “out” with it.  At least I’ve answered this question for myself and the fact that I’m actually writing this is my attempt to open a dialogue about the implications of living with this damn disease. There’s also the part of me that asks whether there’s a gift element in having Alzheimer’s.

To begin with, I have a deep awareness that I live in the midst of mystery – that mystery is actually the context out of which I’m living my life.  So, for example, I can go to considerable length in describing something – an object, a person or an event. But if driven to say what anything “IS”, I immediately encounter mystery. Still, it’s also been my experience that the very essence of mystery itself is love – that everything is connected, that we are part of an evolutionary process whose ultimate end is a continual unfolding and manifesting of the Beloved.  And Alzheimer’s? It’s a letting go into mystery, into love, into friendship.  Those moments when I can let go are sheer gift, an opening into a fuller, richer and ever deepening life.

  Herb holds a BA from Stanford, a B.D. from the San Francisco Theological Seminary, and a Th.D. from Harvard University and is a Diplomate in Process Oriented Psychology, Zurich, Switzerland and Portland, OR. He has served as: Dean of Students and Peabody Lecturer in Theology at Harvard University Divinity School; Associate Professor of Religion, U. of Hawaii; Senior Fellow, East West Center, Honolulu; Vice President, Labo International Exchange Foundation, Tokyo, Japan; co-founder, faculty member and chairman of the Board, Process Work Institute, Portland, OR; faculty member, Marylhurst University; and Process Work therapist in private practice. Herb moved to Ashland in 2008 and is now semi-retired.

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God In the Thunder by Shirley Patton

God in the Thunder by Shirley Patton

 Twenty years ago my husband Bill, my mother and I were on vacation in Kauai.  We had visited Princeville before and were always delighted with this small, beautiful island town.  We loved the softness of the air, the scent of tropical flowers, the foliage, the beauty of the people, the cliffs and of course the sea.

 One afternoon while Mother was engrossed in her novel, Bill and I decided to go swim in Hanalei Bay.  We’d been swimming laps for years, five days a week, at the college pool. Vacations, however, gave us a change of scene.  Swimming in the surf was fun!

 It was overcast that day and windy.  It looked like rain, but it was warm.  Who cares if it rains when you’re going swimming?  You’ll be wet anyway!

 After we got to the Bay and found some rocks to hold down our towels, we noticed we had the beach to ourselves.  Thinking nothing of it, we rushed toward the water and dove in and started swimming parallel to the shore.  I’d go a certain distance and then turn around and go in the other direction.  The water was choppy and as I stood to adjust my goggles, I heard Bill call, “Come back!” in that sharp tone reserved for times he didn’t think I was taking care of myself.  I began to swim back to him, but in a few strokes I realized I was making no forward progress.  “Come back!” he yelled again.  Couldn’t he see that’s exactly what I was trying to do?  But I was being pulled out further and  further.  My feet couldn’t find the sand.  I think I called “Get help!” but it may have been only a thought, for by then I was struggling to find times to breathe amidst the churning waves.  I kept trying to go toward the shore but quickly tired.  I knew I didn’t have the strength to succeed.

 My efforts were useless.  I would have to surrender to the strength of the sea.  My best bet was to float for as long as I could.   I turned onto my back, grabbing quick bits of breath when I could.   And I thought how easy it would be to be a brief notice in the Garden Island newspaper: “Tourist drowns off Hanalei Bay.”  No.  Make that “Stupid, Non-Observant Tourist drowns off Hanalei Bay.”  Out there, buffeted by the waves, trying to relax and conserve my energy, I thought of the people who mean so much to me and how deeply I would miss them and the lives we shared.

 About this time I felt a warm contact against my side.  I flipped over and it wasn’t a dolphin.  It was Bill.  He had our little boogie board and pushed it toward me as he shouted,  “Hang on!”  I started to cry.  “I can’t kick,” I gulped. “Just hang on,” he repeated over the noise of the churning water.  Then a large wave swelled beneath us.  Buoyed up we were rushing to the shore on its crest.  The wave retreated and we were left on the sand.  Weak in the knees, we couldn’t stand up.  We crawled up the beach to where our towels lay under those solid rocks.  We held each other and cried in the rain on the empty beach.

 God was there.  God is always there.  And here.  If the story hadn’t had a happy ending God would still have been there.  Welcoming me, a foolish woman who didn’t realize there was something wrong with the picture of a popular beach with no people, no life-guards.  God would also have been there to comfort those who would miss me.

 I believe it was my sense of God that kept me from panicking in the surf.  I was in trouble, lacking strength and skills, but my assessment was calm in a turbulent place. I think it was God who told me to float, to stop the struggle and rest on the sea.  And when I did, my salvation came that day in the person of Bill.

 And when I asked him, “Why didn’t you go for help?”  He answered “I’d never leave you.”  And that’s an echo of Jesus, isn’t it?  “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:10)

 This experience sharpened how I look at nature.  I have a keen respect for the oceans of the world, and earth’s lakes, and rivers—particularly in times of high water.  I realize that large rocks may dislodge and come plummeting down into fields or onto highways, sink holes may open up and avalanches cascade down mountainsides.  Volcanoes send molten lava down their slopes or high into the air. There is an awesome beauty to these acts of nature and an implicit danger as well—-a danger present equally to the just and the unjust.

 I am humbled at the wonder of God revealed in nature, in the beauty and complexity of all creation.  And I am also in wonder and awe of the part of creation that was revealed to us through the life of Jesus.  Foremost Jesus taught us to love God wholeheartedly and to love and care for each other.   He showed us how to take down barriers and invite others to the table.  Whether God speaks to us in the thunder or the wild surf or the still small voice, may we open our hearts and minds and ears to hear the voice of peace. 

This was originally a reflection during worship at First Presbyterian Church as part of a Lenten series “Gifts of the Dark Woods.”   Shirley Patton has lived in Ashland for 58 years.  She is an actor and the voice of JPR’s “As It Was” history series.

The above article was published in the Ashland Daily Tidings on Saturday June 4



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