External Moments Turned Internal

I’m on retreat for  a few days and I’m excited. the Cenacle Retreat Houses around the globe are a warm balance of nurture and nature. Here in Houston, the Cenacle has become my home away from home. What a gift to have sacred space to keep returning to. A place that knows you beyond the familiarity of your name, a place that knows your soul. A place that knows your spirit and swings wide it’s doors and windows and says “you’re back it’s been too long.”  No introductions are needed here, I know all the secret places, the space in the chapel, the parlor and its rockers. (more…)

The Goodness and Greatness of God

The first time my brother-in-law saw the red rocks of Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs, he said, “It reminds me of both the goodness and the greatness of God.” Now I think of that phrase every time we visit the park, driving through its entryway of prehistoric rocks.

The informational placards at Garden of the Gods tell me the park is different each time I visit. Wind, hail, sun make their marks every day, twisting the rock into imperceptible new forms. God’s goodness in the beauty, the unnecessary color. God’s greatness in the height, breadth, majesty of these unconquerable stones. (more…)

Interpreting the Text of a Wildfire

For the last couple weeks, my life has been lived in the smoky shadows of “the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history.” And while the media has inflamed the story of this inferno (our whole town did not burn), it truly has been a horrifying experience.

It was just two weeks ago that my family and I walked out of Chipotle after lunch to witness the horizon split in two by a ribbon of smoke trailing skyward. Our hearts sank. Another wildfire, and a close one at that. Half an hour later, the smoke was billowing, darkening the sky above our heads. With record temperatures predicted for the next week and no rain in sight, I felt sick. I could only pray, God, have mercy. (more…)

Learning Surrender on a Cruise

We need the eyes of faith and the testimony of Scripture to really hear and appreciate nature’s voice. But make no mistake—nature is speaking. If we listen and open our hearts, God can use the voice of his created world to form our souls.

I experience this whenever I’m at the beach or on a large body of water—especially the ocean. (more…)

The Birds and the Bees

I was reading a Psalm on our deck early one Sunday morning when I heard a buzzing sound over my head. Since I am seriously allergic to insect stings, I nervously looked up to see where a bee might be planning an attack on not only my tranquility, but also my immune system. To my surprise and delight the source of the tiny vibration was not a bee but a humming bird poised to alight on some flowers a few feet away. (more…)

Returning to Paradise

On a recent trip to North Carolina, I camped with friends in the Pisgah National Forest, near this beautiful creek.  The smooth rocks, cool clear water, and luscious rhododendron trees along the banks instantly had a calming effect on my soul. This was paradise. Weeks of stress melted away as we sat on the rocks and breathed the fresh air. For my friend Randy, however, this creek was not just calming – it was inviting. An avid rock climber, Randy started hopping from rock to rock, making his way upstream. Following him, I discovered that the scene pictured here repeated over and over as we ascended this gradual waterfall.  For two hours we skipped from rock to rock, waded through knee-deep pools, and climbed across slick stone walls polished by centuries of flowing water.  Paradise was no longer a place to sit and rest – it was an invigorating challenge to never-ending ascent. (more…)

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