The gift of a


I learned a profound Jewish teaching from a Franciscan priest! 聽馃檪
Father Richard Rohr learned it from a Jewish Rabbi and speaks about it often. 聽It gives me great comfort in my life.

In Judaism the true name of God is not spoken. All the names we use are nicknames. The true name of God consists of 4 Hebrew letters (讬讛讜讛) (yud, hey, vov, hey). When these 4 letters are put together there are no consonants.

Many believe that we don’t speak the true name of God because it is taboo or because of the commandment, ‘thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain’. 聽This is only partially true.

The real reason we do not speak God’s name is because it can not be spoken. The closest word is the sound you make when you inhale and exhale.

Just take a minute to think about this.

God’s true name is the sound of your breath.

Inhale. 聽Exhale.
Do it again.

You are breathing the name of your maker.

We are alive when we are able to breathe.

Gen 2:7 聽讜讬讬爪专 讬讛讜讛 讗诇讛讬诐 讗转志讛讗讚诐 注驻专 诪谉志讛讗讚诪讛 讜讬驻讞 讘讗驻讬讜 谞砖诪转 讞讬讬诐 讜讬讛讬 讛讗讚诐 诇谞驻砖 讞讬讛變

“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul” 聽

Breath is life. 聽Breath is The Spark of God within us. 聽It is also His name and our own personal prayer.

It is our first word uttered when we are born. It is the last thing we say when we die. We pray it all day everyday. 聽 It is unique to each person and free to ALL.聽 It is our built in ‘fail safe’. 聽All the times we doubt ourselves and our worthiness, we are breathing our own affirmation. 聽God has it covered.聽 It is not required that we believe in it. 聽It will happen for us regardless.

When ever I am having a hard time. 聽When I am tired and overwhelmed. 聽All those times I am not sure I am doing ‘whatever’ right.

All I really have to do is remember to breathe. 聽It contains all that I need. It is prayer enough, it is life enough, and it is powerful enough to carry us through. 聽Trust your breath. When you feel especially lost or heartbroken. Just focus on your breath.

Father Rohr offers a beautiful meditation from Psalm 46:10 to lead you back to your breath:

“Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know
Be still”
May your Breath be with you :))

The Forgotten Path


Why do I get so much joy and satisfaction watching my children play in nature? It is something I have wondered about myself. 聽One of my favorite activities. 聽I like to play with them in nature, but honestly, I like sitting back and watching them even more. 聽I struggle here, to put it into words.

I use the term ‘my children’ loosely as I have taken on 18 other children each week out in the woods. 聽 Watching children in deep play outdoors is something I love. 聽Why?

Freedom? 聽I know that when they are unencumbered, outside and unstructured they are free. 聽Maybe it is the sitting back that is so rewarding. 聽 I move out of their way. 聽I step back from the telling and the teaching, and create a sacred space for their freedom to step forward. 聽I love watching where they take it. 聽There is a deep sense of peace that descends on a creek when children become engrossed in what they and the creek decide to do together. 聽Two puzzle pieces, the creek and the children, fitting together perfectly and suddenly it all makes sense. 聽Freedom is definitely an essential ingredient. 聽Yet…

Wild is the other.

When children set out on their own adventure into wilderness, they are seeking a relationship. 聽They are looking for connection with each other and me. 聽But deeper than that, they are seeking connection with the wild. 聽They know on some soul level that when they find that tadpole and hold it in their hands, it was created in just that way, at just that moment, just for them. 聽When they are mining for gold in the creek and they find a ‘crystal’, they believe that rock was put there at that moment in time, just for them. 聽 When they sit in their secret hide out, hidden from the rest of us, they are not alone. 聽They know that this secret spot was created around them, for them. 聽 They don’t seek connection with the man made bridge, as much as, they are drawn to what is flowing and growing and swimming and winding beneath it. 聽The wild.


Two weeks ago when a pouring rain just happened to find us outside looking for adventure, they embraced it as the gift it was. 聽How could this not have been created just for them? 聽The joy as they received this gift however they chose, was something I will never forget. Standing back and watching them dance with the wild was my joy.

They went home high.

The next day I heard reports of “the best day ever”. 聽One child told his special grownup that it was “the best day of his life”. 聽Then he changed his mind. 聽“It is the second best day of my life. 聽The best day was the day I was born.”

I watch this and I remember. 聽I remember what I was born knowing and then forgot. I remember my own freedom dancing with the wild. 聽I seek relationship with What created the wild. 聽I catch a glimmer of conversation with my Creator.

The Forgotten Path. 聽Children are born into the world knowing this path. 聽It is not forgotten for them. 聽By protecting space for them to play on their own path, I remember. 聽They are my guides. 聽They teach me how to recall all that I know. 聽It is as much for me as for them.





A spiritual journey

Exodus 2013

God seems to like making my Sunday school lessons real and experiential.聽 I am not complaining, don’t get me wrong.聽 Just laughing at myself, that I still never expect it.聽 Why would this Passover be any different from the others?

Our family had an exciting week leading up to Passover.聽 Richard was supposed to leave Monday night for Atlanta, but after a long night in the airport waiting out tornadoes in the south,聽 had to cancel his trip and come home.聽 I had the ominous feeling something was brewing.

It was.聽 Tuesday I was sick with what seemed like the flu and could not get out of bed.聽 This snowballed quickly by Wednesday into a fever, to a doctor’s visit, to a chest x-ray, to an emergency cat scan, to the ER, to being admitted to the hospital with a severe case of pneumonia.聽 Although, thankfully, I never felt as ill as I actually was, it still took quite a toll on us all.

I couldn’t help feeling God’s hand in the timing of having our priorities made clear for us.聽 I think of Passover as the time to take a good look at what we are enslaved to in our lives and make an attempt to set ourselves free from those things.聽 Our family had a very hands on education about the things we need to let go of, and the things we have to hold tightly to.聽 It is still always surprising to me, how many things I get tricked into thinking are important along the way.聽 Things that really don’t matter when the chips are down.

I think Moshe comes to each one of us in some form at Passover and invites us to follow him out of our slavery into the desert to freedom. 聽The Midrash reports that many Jews did not follow Moshe and actually chose to stay in Egypt in bondage. 聽I wonder if sometimes it is so hard to recognize that we are enslaved.聽 When Moshe comes knocking we just don’t recognize the call for what it is.

Pneumonia is not what I would have considered a way out of slavery. 聽But it in fact turned out to be just that.

As I came home from the hospital and looked at all the chores to be done to prepare for Passover, I felt a sense of despair come over me.聽 It was just days away and I could not fathom how we would get from the pile of laundry and housework in front of me to the great Passover Seder we were blessed to have.
Yet, I could not lift a finger. 聽I was forced to let it go and sit down on the couch with my kids and soak them in. 聽When I did, a deep sense of peace and thankfulness washed over me.聽 Thankfulness for all the blessings that are right in front of my face, but I am many times too busy to stop and drink them in.
Richard made the comment that God doesn’t fix聽IT for you but instead fixes聽YOU for it. 聽I needed fixing for Passover. 聽The stress filled idea I had in my head was overwhelming. 聽Once I surrendered to my reality something much better took its place.
God also seems to send you the help you need. 聽I was humbled by the help he sent to our family. 聽From the tornadoes that kept Richard home, to the Dr. who had a “gut instinct” and followed it, to the families that completely wrapped themselves around our kids during the crisis, to the amazing cooking and pitching in that so many people so unassumingly did.
Now a month later, I am still trying to get back to “pre-pneumonia” status.聽 It is a slower more frustrating process than I anticipated.聽 I have not been able to run as many miles, keep up with as much laundry, or even stay up as late as I could before.聽 But I am still benefiting from the lesson.聽 Maybe this year will be a year of creating balance.聽 Stopping to rest more and appreciate the wonderful blessings that are completely undeserved, yet right in front of me.