Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

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Going to Seminary | Photos

Happy Halloween! Here are some photos from the 1970s. Never a dull moment. Back then we seemed up-to-date and modern. Not an electronic device in sight, yet there was more than enough adventure and excitement going on. I’m feeling a little nostalgic today, as you can see.
Elouise

Telling the Truth

1974 Feb Den chaos Scott and Sherry

Time for a bit of end-of-the-week fun! Our son and daughter are in the den of our Altadena home. Don’t miss the double door knobs. One worked and one didn’t; it was that way when we moved in.

It looks like Son is deep in thought. I don’t know what that red thing is in front of his mouth. I think he has

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Thank you, Louis Armstrong….

Louis Armstrong’s birthday is today (born on 1 Aug 1901), so this is in celebration of his life. It’s also going out with hope that we’ll learn to look each other in the eye as neighbors. The kind whose “How do you do” is a way of saying “I love you.” Elouise

Telling the Truth

Thank you, Mr. Armstrong, for recording this amazing song, first released as a single 60 years ago today. Your smooth and grainy, gravelly voice is an inspiration. The seniors among us remember what it was like in the USA in 1967.

  • Viet Nam war drags on with no end in sight
  • About 2500 mothers of drafted soldiers storm the Pentagon, demand a meeting with Defense Secretary Robert McNamara
  • LBJ doubles down–determined not to ‘lose’ this war
  • Edward W. Brooke, Attorney General of Massachusetts, seated in the US Senate as the first elected Negro Senator in 85 years
  • Muhammed Ali refuses to be drafted into the Viet Nam war, is stripped of his world heavyweight boxing championship
  • Anti-war protests break out across the United States
  • Blood poured on draft records by a Roman Catholic priest and two companions
  • California Governor Ronald Reagan suggests that LBJ ‘leak’ the possibility of nuclear weapons…

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A Day! Help! Help!

Are you ready for today? Am I? I commented on this poem in March 2017. Since then our country, this entire world and the future of our children has descended into what sometimes feels like chaos. Can we re-imagine the world as a great dance choreographed by our Creator, the true Host of the Party? We don’t need to see in order to believe. We just need to take courage from the Host and get out on the dance floor, stumbling our way along if needed. Sometimes doing amazing pirouettes with unexpected partners. Can you hear the music playing?
Elouise

Telling the Truth

I think Emily wrote this little gem just for today. Read on. My comments follow.

A Day! Help! Help! Another Day!
Your prayers, oh Passer by!
From such a common ball as this
Might date a Victory!
From marshallings as simple
The flags of nations swang.
Steady – my soul: What issues
Upon thine arrow hang!

c. 1858

Emily Dickinson Poems, Edited by Brenda Hillman
Shambhala Pocket Classics, Shambhala 1995

Emily Dickinson wrote this poem in the years leading up to the Civil War (April 12, 1861-May 9, 1865). I can’t help making a connection to what’s happening now in our country.

The short poem grabs my attention. There’s no such thing as an ordinary day. Like an arrow poised to fly through the air, each day arrives full of potential for Victory. Which I take to be a Victory for good. The good of all who dwell on ‘such a common ball as…

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The Angels and the Tiger

Sometimes readers lead me to old posts that seem more relevant today than ever before. I wrote this one over three years ago. Today there’s a tiger loose in our country. Please pray for us. We need calm courage and discernment in the face of daily discoveries and difficult choices. Happy Thursday to each of you. Elouise

Telling the Truth

Tiger_Paw_Print_by_feystarlight

Here’s another Amy poem for children everywhere. Especially, but not only young children in unsafe situations. Amy Carmichael spent most of her life in South India living with and for young Indian children.

Most were girls; some were boys. Many were temple children,

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by the feet

Dear Friends,
I’ve revised this old post, added the photo, and am sending it out as my Good Friday offering. It still speaks to me–given the number of family members missing from my old photos. As they say, life isn’t for sissies. Neither is death. And we have a faithful Shepherd who won’t abandon us.
Elouise

Telling the Truth

George and Louisa MacDonald with their 11 children
plus eldest daughter Mary’s fiancé

Maybe it’s my age. Or the ever-present reality of death in our media-saturated world. I’m grateful for these words from George MacDonald. Good Friday invites me to consider death with my eyes wide open.

March 21 and 22

O Lord, when I do think of my departed,
I think of thee who art the death of parting;
Of him who crying Father breathed his last,
Then radiant from the sepulchre upstarted.—
Even then, I think, thy hands and feet kept smarting:
With us the bitterness of death is past,
But by the feet he still doth hold us fast.

Therefore our hands thy feet do hold as fast.
We pray not to be spared the sorest pang,
But only—be thou with us to the last.
Let not our heart be troubled at the clang
Of hammer and nails, nor dread…

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Prayer

I’m sending this out with a prayer that someone out there might be encouraged by it. I wrote it last year, just 5 weeks after I fell and broke my jaw. Today I’ve been a bit down about all the catastrophic events we’re experiencing. Things that ‘shouldn’t have happened.’ Yet they did. George MacDonald helped me then and is helping me this evening. Your friend, Elouise

Telling the Truth

Lion-And-Lamb-Picture-HD-Wallpaper-1024x574

Dear Friends,

This week was a roller coaster. Highs and lows one after the other. Still, I wrote in my journal and will post some pieces later. The picture is messy. Not because it’s ugly, but because it isn’t logical or sensible.

In the midst of the ups and downs I’ve followed George MacDonald’s sonnets for May. Some keep drawing me back for another read. Not because they’re profound, but because they’re simple and speak to my heart and situation right now.

Here’s one I’ve read over and over the last few days. It comforts me during this extended, unexpected Sabbath rest.

May 26

My prayers, my God, flow from what I am not;
I think thy answers make me what I am.
Like weary waves thought follows upon thought.
But the still depth beneath is all thine own,
And there thou mov’st in paths to us unknown.
Out of strange strife thy peace is strangely wrought;
If the lion in us…

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Dear Mom | Missing You

Last night as I slept, one of my followers visited this Mother’s Day post from May 2015 and left a like. It includes several of D’s gorgeous photos from Longwood Gardens. To my surprise, it cheered me up this morning, though the subject matter is a bit heavy. I hope you also enjoy it. Elouise

Telling the Truth

P1050693

Dear Mom,
I’m sitting here trying to put together a really nice letter for Mother’s Day. So far I’m getting nowhere. It isn’t because I don’t have ideas. It’s because I’m feeling a little lost today, and my ideas seem to be falling flat on their faces.

Last week was sad. Sister #2’s husband died, leaving us all gaping at the huge hole this left in our family. Sort of like the huge hole left when you died. Like yours, his death was relatively peaceful. Though he was in pain, his caregivers found a way to manage it so that his children and his nine grandchildren could be with him and Sister #2 when he died.

Some deaths are difficult. I’ve been reading a small book by Henri Nouwen called In Memoriam. It’s about his mother’s death. He talks about how many deaths he witnessed as a priest. Most were peaceful; some were…

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Hi, I’m Smudge. . .

Happy Monday! I’m just back from Smudge’s annual checkup and routine shots. Here, in his very own voice, is the story of his rescue, plus photos. I first published this in September 2014. Today he’s one of the loves of my life. Hope you enjoy his take on the event! Elouise

Telling the Truth

Prince Oliver Smudge the Second, August 2014 Prince Oliver Smudge the Second, August 2014

while Queen Elouise
is away Prince Smudge will play
be-bop-a-lula!

*****

I’m her baby
And I don’t mean maybe!

***

How’s that for my very first haiku + poem?
I think it’s way past time for you to hear about ME–
straight from the cat’s mouth!

*

My Short Long Tail Tale of Being Lost and Found

Someone abandoned me in a state park!
Lost, lonely, scared, hungry and soaked with rain,
No one seemed to care about me.
I cried a lot.

One day I looked up and saw two very large, long-hair animals
standing on two legs each.
They smiled a lot, talked sweet and held their arms out to me,
but I knew better.
I wasn’t about to let them get their big paws on me!

After a long time they left without me.
I didn’t know whether to be relieved or…

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Lord, I am weary of the way

Reading through my older posts, I found this gem, published over two years ago. I needed to hear it today. Perhaps you might find it encouraging as well. It’s my offering for this week’s Sabbath. Elouise

Telling the Truth

This poem is for anyone who, like Amy Carmichael, finds life changed in a heartbeat. Anytime. Anywhere. My comments follow.

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Framing Freedom

Here’s an Independence Day (July 4) post from two years ago. My small contribution to what it means and doesn’t mean to be a ‘true patriot’ in this country. Today’s inflated rhetoric about freedom pushes the envelope when it comes to the meaning of freedom, much less free speech. What does it mean and not mean to live in freedom?

Telling the Truth

re-framing freedom, seedquote

I’m writing this on July 4, Independence Day in the USA. A day that’s all about freedom. That intangible, inalienable ‘right’ highly valued in our national rhetoric.

When I was teaching theology I couldn’t help noticing how many seminarians defined Christian freedom as free will. The kind that makes choices—yes or no. As some said with fervor, ‘You can take away my house, and even my life, but don’t you dare try to take away my free will!’

I understand what they want to protect—their own freedom of choice, as a kind of inalienable right. Something God gave them that needs to be protected at all costs. The freedom to choose right or wrong, this church or that church, to believe and live this way or that way.

The ability for human beings to makes choices of any kind comes from our Creator. Yet I wonder. Do we understand the meaning of Christian freedom?

Even…

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