Click on the image below. It leads to my website:

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanks Giving

Washing machine scraped out final words. Men came to wheel it away and I miss it. Moody as it was. I miss the swish dance while it hummed loud. Happy. And the bam, slam tantrums while it flung clothes around. Unbalanced. And the weekly shimmy-shake thud walk across the linoleum floor. I kept the door open not to invite a walk down the hall, but to block it in. Too many times it stomped cantankerous behind the door and locked me out!

It didn’t want to go. I know by the rusty grip it had at spigot. Two men, a wrench, and WD-40 before it relinquished. Oh. And prayer. Because it threatened to dare involving a plumber. It had cleaned out enough pockets. No plumber.

I watched the burly men pry its rusty fingers wringed around spigot. And I related. Hose is artery. Hose is pump to heart. No hose, no life. Even when the power cord is plugged in. And as my soul has fingers, and it does, I relate to the frozen grip on spigot. Source of life water. The Living Water.

I will not release grip. No more than David’s mighty men could release their swords. I hear it said that their hands were frozen to their swords.

Fiercely held. So long. In battle.

And when the ground was soaked with the drunken blood of enemy armies and with the wine of the wrath of God poured out full strength; and when all were slain at their feet and strewn across battlefield; still they stood. Grip on sword.

I have taken the Sword in hand. Wrapped soul fingers at hilt because there is no other way. Years clamped, morning knees hours cramped, and Sword at ready. Hand frozen to Sword.

I don’t imagine David’s men ever let go. Just learned a new hold once the field was cleared.  A victory hold. A “Be-hold! Glory to God!” hold. A hold on thanks giving and beholden to God worship.

Did they look long and even down length of sword? Red. From tip down blade to hilt?
Glory Sword
I know I have. Even study down lengthy Sword. Sharp Word. Pointed scriptures. Meant to pierce and divide soul and spirit, joints and marrow, thoughts and intents of the heart.
The soul can bleed red. And I find myself braver in battle than in trusting the battle is over. And it’s hard to learn a new hold. Hard to give thanks when I’m still half expecting to thrust the Sword again on this field. It takes time and God is in no hurry.

He is proving His Word true.

“Is it true?” My knees are cramping in warrior stance and the Sword is before me. Ready.

“I promise rest. Enter My rest.” He loosens my grip.

“I can’t!” Pause…. “But how?” Soul fingers release a wee bit.

“Come to the throne of grace and find grace.”

“Grace?” Fingers are tingling blood flow. Soul is feeling…what? Trust?

“Grace. I will do what you can’t. I know how.”
(A Hebrews 4:1,11,16 conversation)

Salt water seeps out ‘neath lashes. Warrior shout and victory call cries from trembling lips. Salt water washes over lashes. Soul wounds. And heals. Salt water weeps over Sword. His hand is over my hand. Our hands are wet together and His hand turns mine.

I’m holding Sword at new angle. Broad face blade to God face bright. I look at our hands together.

"Thank You. Thank You!” And trust starts breathing.

The Sword in hand is long. Very long. It reaches beyond all the over six-foot tall years. And to look at it is like looking straight into the sun. Eyes tear and everywhere is sun spot. Son light. Glory.

And what is glory, really? It’s more than I can wholly grasp. But let the holy grasp me.

“Adoring praise or worshipful thanksgiving,” is one definition.
(World English Dictionary)
God must have a can of WD-40. He’s turned my soul at wrist just so broad side of Sword blade blazes thanksgiving. I hold it, True-Word-of-God Sword raised over my head. And for me this Sword in hand blazing praise; blazing worship; blazing thanksgiving to God is also my “Amen.” Because I know that “Amen” finds its root in “aman,” Hebrew verb for truth. And truth, I read, is a compound word in Greek, “a-lethei,” meaning not-forgotten.

Thanksgiving is my “not forgotten.” My “remember truth.”  My active “Amen.”

I know no other way toward “believe and trust and at the same time hope” pisteuo.

I’m a bit like that old washing machine. Happy, unbalanced, and gripping hard at spigot with trust issues.

But this morning I am filled with thanksgiving.
I hear my morning girl in the kitchen. No doubt pouring a cup of the coffee I brewed. And sitting at my place at table. And, yes, there she is. I hug good mornings. She sips and I pour out “Happy Thanksgiving!”

She looks at me odd. My German looks at me knowingly. He knows me. I’m not good at dates. No good with the calendar.

Oh, I know today is Thanksgiving Day...
but that was yesterday!
written by: Carolyn Roehrig

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Spit, Spit, Wipe

Her hat blew off! A backhanded slap up the back side of fall. Understated lean facilitated whispered gossip beneath brim. Tete-a-tetes of grand old ladies amid the lesser. And how much was directed toward stately pecan tree? Subject, I’m sure, of much curiosity. Quietly, of course.

Romance in the wood blooms colorful in autumn scuffle. Brilliant hats bend discrete and fall fashion skirts rustle attention in wind toss. Leafy. Outrageous! More fun than hats nesting birds and sprouting feathers and growing fruit worn by noble ladies of old. Such hats! And hers no less. Such leafy brim when air itself is gilded warm gold breath. This morning mine is silver chill. I pull up hood.

I have smudgy bathroom mirrors to clean today. Well actually, the whole smudgy bathroom, transparently speaking. “Multi-Purpose Surface Cleaner with Vinegar.”  Nearly empty, it just spits at mirror. Spit, spit, wipe. Spit, spit wipe. It is what it is. And so is the reflection.
I lean over counter and peer in close. Too close for comfort at my age!

But there is window. I turn to the window and see straight through. I turn back to mirror, and there is that hatless tree. Her reflection stares at me in this mirror and I’m overcome somehow.

I want to see clear. No smudges. No missing hats and wild twiggy hair. No grey hair strands of my own, for that matter. A hat? No. Just spit, spit, wipe.

Tree with Hat

I really just want to see Jesus. Clear. Not a smudgy form of His reflection. Not unclear like the blind man. I think about him. Didn’t Jesus spit on him?

I pull the trigger on my multi-purpose surface cleaner. Spit, spit, wipe.

I don’t fancy being spit on. And I wonder why there was no other way for the blind man. For me. But there wasn’t and still isn’t. Life itself makes that clear enough.

But there’s Jesus. And I want to see Him not as a tree walking around. (see Mark 8:23-25).

He does spit. It’s hard for me to say so. It seems so unclean. But my surface cleaner spits too, and it’s not unclean.

And then He wipes. Wipes blindness away. But it’s thick. Blindness. Kind of like the toothpaste blotch on the mirror. Spit, wipe and there’s smudge.

Wipe again. I do, even though it’s just mirror. Because Jesus did. And smudge wipes away. Clear. Face to face clear.

What am I seeing? Not what the blind man saw. He saw all-present Jesus face. Holy present I Am-ness light.

I’m seeing not all-present. In fact, I’m seeing only past. Nano-seconds past, as light travels. But past. It’s not drastic. Not like light years. Not like seeing light from stars that aren’t even there anymore. Or light from our galaxy from tens of thousands of years ago. Or from quasars whose light we see from billions of years ago. No. It’s just the mirror in front of me.

But, oh how I long to see Jesus face to face. Not like looking in a mirror and seeing dimly. But face to face. Like the blind man Jesus spit on and then twice wiped.

I want to see Jesus. Holy present I Am.

There Is Window
I kneel. It’s where His light is present. No reflection. Just His presence. No nano-seconds or light years. Just light eternity. I don’t understand, but His light reflects from eternity and is all-present, too. 
Chin tucks down. Lid dims eye.
“I have felt the spit, Lord.”
I have only a roll of paper towels beside my spitting cleaning solution.
“May I feel the wipe of Your hand?”

I dab eyes with a crumpled piece of paper towel.
“Do you see anything?” I recognized His Word.
I clench the paper towel tight. “I hope to see Your reflection when I look in the mirror. Smudgy me.”
“Smudgy you, yes.”
Ah! I feel His hand. It’s not so bad to see my reflection smudge.

After all, “The things of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace,” is hymn.
I open eyes. Sing hymn.
And I have mirrors to clean. 
Spit, spit, wipe. “See Me in your reflection.”
Spit, spit, wipe. “It’s how I see you.”
written by: Carolyn Roehrig




Saturday, November 16, 2013

When Heart Stampedes Wild Horse

It did rain. And the pecans were toasted with oats and honey. Granola. The way my mother made it. Handwritten recipe card. Her own scrawl and some of the blue ink smeared in a bit of ingredient on counter. And I feel so close to her right now.

Cereal bowl in hand and a heart full of warm, I sit at patio table. Yellow dog sits at my side. Hopeful for a crumb. Nothing falls.

And I chew crumbly. Swallow the sweet down throat. And something else not in bowl. An unease. I've almost forgotten what it tastes like. But it’s there this morning.

Weekend unease from too many weekends that didn’t have enough honey, brown sugar and oil to hold the crumbs together savory and warm. Too many weekends where the ingredients for nourishing sweet times layed cold on a baking sheet and were bumped carelessly and scattered to the floor.

I have cried sweeping weekends up off the floor. Have tossed them into the trash. And it buries down deep. Lump hard to swallow.

How to keep swallowing when it tastes like broken trust? Feels like soul indigestion? It just doesn’t go down right. I have curled in a ball just breathing through it. Breathing through the panic.

When everything that was supposed to be the way it was supposed to be, wasn’t. Even though now the honey is sweet and warming.

When the crumbs were scattered and stomped on. Even though now they are not. 

And it can’t really be explained. There are just life reasons. And I guess I'm really separating the then from the now. What was from what is.

When heart stampedes wild horse and reigns have flown out of hand and it’s hang on for the ride gulping air or pass out in seizure?
I eat His Word, breathe, sleep, and wake to do it all over again.

I cling to His Word long and lean across the sheets of holy page in bed. I breathe in calming peppermint oil truth and trust on pillow.

Inhale all hope essence vapor twining grip on truth.

Peppermint On My Pillow

Sometimes I need to separate the kernels. Spread them out before me like sesame seeds, oats, pecans, and wheat bran on a baking sheet just to see what is what. What is known and what is mystery and what is buried deep and causing my lungs to burn, my heart to scare, my head to spin light til I collapse.

I am separating kernels as much as I can. It’s a little sticky when family history and marriage are in the mix. A little yeasty. There is disease, chemical and hormonal imbalance, misfiring neurons, fears. In short, there is messy life inside and out.

But communion also. Communion with a capital “C.”

Bring life to the table. Set it up around table and seat it there. The Judas stuff and the trustworthy stuff. And Christ breaks the bread saying, “Partake of Me and remember Me even here now.”

I’m at this table. And I’m remembering Christ with every breath for life. Swallowing truth. Every kernel honey clumped.  Tasting bread scent. Warm life rising. Risen.

Bread of life.
Bread come down from heaven.

This bread of the hard thanksgiving broken. And I’m told what it is. “This is My body,” it’s called.

And there is this bread of the wilderness. And I’m not told what it is. Just “Manna,” meaning “What is it?”

And I think about that bread at table. The oddly shaped loaf that I occasionally pull out of my oven and serve at dinner. It’s easy for me to forget the kernel when I make my five pound bag purchase of King Arthur whole wheat flour. And I even watch the yeast bubble alive.

Or I think about the clumpy granola just cooled and bagged for breakfast. Kernels and seeds and the bran and even the honey-sweetened oil. Hmmm…yeast and oil. Something spiritual here.

And I’m more in touch with the “Do this in remembrance of Me” mystery when I’m cracking pecan shells or kneading, and somehow I see it more clearly when I pour the granola or slice the bread.

 I Love You, Mom
It’s what goes into it and it’s seeing what it is.

Known and unknown.

This “Body of Christ” and this “What?” This bread at Passover table to remember Him every time I eat, and this “What is it?” bread when I have no idea what’s going down.

I’m curious about it. How could I not be when it’s called “What is it?” I google and find that in Hebrew it means, “Bread of the Face of God.” Ah. I really like that.

I have made my “baking sheet” list. Separated kernels garnered over years and through generations German and, what am I? Scottish-French? And I eat bread in remembrance untangled. Or try. Because Christ did. He did!

He did share the last meal, unaltered when the Judas stuff was in hand on the table, (see Luke 22:21). And not miss a beat.

He broke the bread. Separated it out. He cared about what stuff every hand at that table had held and did hold. And was not controlled by it. Knew what was what. And did naught to control any of it.

And maybe this is the unease. I am controlled, altered, by what's at hand. I am! And this little codependent admits to controlling those life "whats" in attempt to be unaltered by them. Only it doesn’t work and Jesus did just the opposite and that does work. I don’t know how. Yet. Me thinks I have a lot to learn from this.

Can I gather kernels, twist and roll sheaves, and eat the bread remembering the Body of Christ? With my head in the right place? Heart steady? Unaltered by whatever else is facing me?

Can I do the hard pisteuo even one labored breath at a time? Inhale, “Thank” and exhale, “You” because the bread is the “Bread of the Body of Christ” and is the “Bread of the Face of God?”

I must. It is relief.
“When weight of all the garner’d years
Bows me, and praise must find relief
In harvest-song, and smiles and tears
Twist in the band that binds my sheaf,

Thou known Unknown, dark, radiant sea
In whom we live, in whom we move,
My spirit must lose itself in Thee,
Crying a name-Life, Light, or Love.”
 -E Dowden (italics mine)

I cry His name.
 written by: Carolyn Roehrig

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

It Changes The Shape Of Things

I am at counter packing a turkey sandwich into a brown paper lunch sack and folding my mind around, well, the transfiguration with a small "t" happening right there on the other side of eye looking out over morning. Light transfigures shadow. "Let it happen right here on this side of window to my soul," I rinse apple for lunch sack.

The phone rings. "I was just turning onto Chaparral, you know that corner?" My mother heart turns all worried.

"And when I looked to make the turn..." What dear girl...what happened? I picture her in the big Suburban, jean clad and booted all fall fashion.

"...and the sun was shining such angle across the dew from last night that it looked as bright as snow! I thought it had snowed!"

And light scripts out dark. Scripts out fear. Writes right over it. Because there is no darkness in light.

"Thank you, precious daughter, for this!"

God finger unlatches night sky, unhinges hemisphere door and cracks open dawn and there is light. God eye. Morning sun beam in holy hand.

And I wonder, does God wrap His fingers around sun beam and hold it as pen in mine? Poised? His poised all hope and faith over me to strengthen mine after dark impatient hours? Surely.

Because life is not without shadow or scar. Not without night fall.

Because what falls in night is transfigured bright as snow.

Purple Transfiguration
by: Carolyn Roehrig

I look for transfiguration. Because I know it's there. Still. Because Jesus Himself was Transfigured, a mercy to His disciples who would watch Him suffer. And suffer, too. Faith tried.

Hint of glory hope helps faith endure.

And I practice remembering this glory hope. I have to remember for the decent down the mountain. To keep it top of mind. So I look for it. Listen for it. Visit it often. And if I can, touch it and taste it. An everyday way to move from glory to glory.

Simply put, it changes the shape of things.

Pecans are falling. Whap-thapping on soft ground. And not without stirring leafy conversation on the way out. I hear them better than I see them. Until my eye trains beneath overcast sky and I find one. I rub the shell clean between my fingers and there's another one! And another! And now I'm seeing them everywhere.

Falling glory and pecan hope. Is it silly? No. Not for me. Because right now I place pecan on daughter's breakfast plate next to the english muffin and egg. And we plan to spend time gathering more. Together. And cracking shell.

And if it rains today, we will toast pecans with oats and brown sugar. Change the shape of things and move from glory to glory though there be cold and damp.

I really don't know how it works, but today is shaping up different because pecans are falling and I'm gathering hope.

I pull nutcracker and pick from kitchen drawer, crack the shell and we taste hope. Glory hope. Transfiguration in a nut shell.

I look around. Such holy miracle everywhere. And it's for faith and hope in all times. But especially when challenged.

Pecans in a Bowl

It is for me now remembering twenty-four years ago at altar when the shape of all known changed everything. Joyously. The "I do's" exchanged, "In sickness and health, for richer or poorer, better or worse."

Because the miracle, isn't it especially for this?

Especially for when darkest hours are dragon? When weight hovers as stone over the last opening to light and life? For whatever the sickness or poverty or whatever the worse? It was for the disciples at the very Mount of Transfiguration. It's what transfiguration is all about.

It changes the shape of things.

It's for hope of glory.

It's glimpse of heaven joy. To sustain here. Even here.

Looking for it seems to have become my preoccupation. And amazingly, miraculously, it's there. Here. Just around bend in road. Just outside window this morning. And somehow because pecans are falling.

I bag the lunch.

And eat the last pecan piece on the plate.

written by: Carolyn Roehrig