Thursday, May 26, 2011

An Angel Dropped by to see me today

It was a sleepless night. Wind, storms, lightning. I kept trying to write in my head. The word gooey kept me awake. I want gooey writing. Writing that sticks in someone's mind. Writing that is unforgettable, like sticky fingers that licking does not cure. Traceless words that empower not defeat. Thoughts that germinate action.But gooey didn't do it.

Yesterday, one of my special friends died, Catherine Cowell, of Camden, TN. I met her a decade ago through her daughter, Sandy, who is a nurse friend of mine. Catherine was a quilter, always making a quilt for a new baby, or someone in need. She has always been a joyous person, looking for the best in others. Her funeral is to be Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Cowell United Methodist Church near Camden. I was looking forward to going and being with the family.

At 6 am this morning, the phone rang. I missed it. In calling back it was about Janet's Aunt Opal who had died during the night. She was 96. The oldest child of ten brothers and sisters, she was the inspiration for us all. The active one who climbed high mountains even in her eighties.  Janet's Mom, Georgia, was one of the younger sisters. Speculation was the funeral will be Saturday in Livingston, TN. a 200 mile trip from Camden. The same day. Two funerals I wanted to go to. What made it worse was that a few weeks ago two of my best friends, Hubert Jarvis and Louis Wilkinson, funerals were at the same time 200 miles apart.

I just stumbled through the thought, a grief unexplained, sadness surrounded by loss and being separated. Then, Janet said, look out the window. There it was two fifty foot tree limbs broken during the night, the yard full of broken limbs. I was stunned. I had been cleaning up the garage  for days. Now a setback of grief and broken limbs. All more than I can handle. Too much. To many tears. Exhaustion setting in on me.

At 8:30 am a young man was to come and help me weed some of the yard. When I went outside it was cold, to cold for an old man to work, freezing, and cloudy, more rain maybe. I called the young man to not come, but the phone did not work without his area code which I did not know. I looked out of the window feeling hopeless! Tearful. A what is the use moment.


We have been told in the book of Hebrews about angels unaware, unexpected visitors from God, who may take on our burden and help us, a Michael, or a Gabriel. When Witt arrived I showed him the mess. He weighed about 120 pounds and was from Thailand trying to make enough money to survive and go back and be a missionary. Then amazingly he went to work! With chain saw in hand he demolished the trees and had them piled high for someone to carry them away. Even an earlier tree limb up fifty feet high he climbed the tree and was able to get it down. Of course I was not much help. At 67 I can work 15 minutes then I have to rest.

By noon I was exhausted and came in the house to lay down only to find that the cat had messed all over our new cover for our bed. Every step required another step. Do you know what I mean?

By 5 pm Witt had done the impossible, trimmed 18 trees, sawed up three, removed limbs all over the yard, trimmed all the hedges, and weeded the entire place. Like a whirlwind he kept doing things I could not do. All I could think of was God had provided an angel when the winds had grown to powerful, when the third watch of the night had caused disciples to feel the hopeless of the winds. Yes, an angel.

When he left eight hours later I told him, "Witt, you were an angel in my life today!" And, I meant it!

P.S. I checked Amazon today and found my book, Spiritual Journaling listed, three months before the publication. That was an exciting meaningful moment to conclude the day. Check out the book on Amazon.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cultivating Grace

In silence and stillness we cultivate grace. Seeing the birds fly past, trees swinging in the wind, the smile of a small child, a friend laughing. These are items of grace we often miss.

When was the last time you experienced his grace?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New grandbaby Luke.

Babies are so much fun.

Friday, May 13, 2011


I finally got things together enough to update Thomas Merton and Spiritual Directions. Thomas Merton is unique as it adds a couple of things that I feel will be helpful. On the new Thomas Merton page is one link that tells everything you need to know about the upcoming, June 9-12, International Thomas Merton Society meeting in Chicago, IL. Lots of famous Merton scholars will be leading sessions during the three day conference. The full schedule can be found on updated site.

Also, PBS last Friday night did an interview of Brother Paul Quenon, a monk for fifty years at Gethsemani. He has lived outside for the past 50 years and this is really a great show about a friend of mine. I first met Brother Paul over 15 years ago and we have discussed Thomas Merton many times. He has led me around the monastery campus to places I did not know existed, including St. Anne's, and a statue of St. Benedict, hidden in the far woods. This is an inspirational TV program, well worth watching. To view these go to:

Another update is found on my Spiritual Directions page, with updated retreat information, including retreats on Merton, Grief, and Spiritual Direction.

Be in prayer for me as I begin some new spiritual endeavors. Thanks.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Ultimate Morning

This is the first morning this year it has been warm enough for breakfast, two hard boiled eggs and toast, on the patio. A neat experience.

I watch birds zoom across the sky and chirp, read from the gospels and the Imitation of Christ, and journal. In two weeks we will have our 50th high school reunion, the Clinton, Tennessee, class of 61.

Luke, our new grandson, is doing well. His parents, Mike and Melinda, love him very much. His big brother Jack is always willing to help, and especially willing to remind us to pray before meals so he can say Amen. He is three plus years old.

Yesterday I mowed. Today is limb and pine cone day. As for today, my prayer is that I may be an instrument for noble purposes useful to the Master. (2 Tim.2:21)

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Luke awake

Baby Luke after bath.

Friday, May 06, 2011

New Day Luke Daniel McReynolds

My second grandson, Luke Daniel McReynolds, was born on May 3, 2011. He weighted 7 pounds and one ounce. Born at 3:51. Excited about the new family member. We will send pictures very soon.