Mixing it Up: October 2005

A box of books--12-step, psychology, birth order, sexual abuse....I pull out a hardback with no dust jacket and ruffle the pages. THE CHALLENGE OF ART TO PSYCHOLOGY by Seymour B. Sarason. This looks really boring. I place it on the this-looks-really-boring stack. The desk is covered with stacks: prayer, healing, 12-step, family, steals, boring. Later as the desk thins out--books shuffled onto shelves--I remember that the mixing of Art and Psychology is an important part of my writing classes. I look at the book again and decide to take it home.

Gloria: November 2005

Since people of different traditions staff The Word Shop, our faith and knowledge expands as we encounter the variety of perspectives. The downside is that I regularly find rare treasures from one tradition priced at a mere pittance by someone who didn't recognize the diamond in the dust. Or, as was the case last week, discovering a handful of recently acquired books stuck outside on our free shelf. "Yikes," I said gathering up Thomas Merton's SIGN OF JONAS, a book on the Trappists, and a couple of others. "These we need to price and sell."

Refreshing Paws: December 2005

Running the last gauntlet of errands before Christmas, I feel the desire for a new notebook rise up. Ten running feet of spiral notebooks already lurk on various shelves, many notebooks only half or three-quarters full. Pads proliferate. Lack of paper is not the issue. More tantalizing is the desire is to start fresh, to bask in the shimmering potential of empty pages, to sit in a small room with a wide view and be able to hear myself think.

The Three Chairs: March 2006

Once upon a time there were three chairs: A great big leather papa bear chair that Adrianna gave us ten years ago, two twin soft mama bear chairs that Sherrie gave us and a wee baby bear chair Devorah decorated, which doesn't enter into the story at all.  One day Julie was enjoying lunch in one of the mama bear chairs, when she noticed the arm was loose. "This chair is breaking," she said.

"Maybe the Lord will send us another chair," I said.

Company of Saints: April 2006

On Monday, Sunnie saw couple of ten year-olds take an armful of books from our window. She was a bit concerned but reasoned that the sign does say "Free Books" and we do want people to take them. Then the kids returned and put some back. Turns out they had cruised the neighborhood asking if anyone wanted a book. Two people came into the store that afternoon as a result of their efforts. Best PR we've had all year. Sunnie said we should add them to the payroll. Jelly beans and chocolate eggs.

People of Prayer: May 2006

Four of us prayed weekly in the lower room--a huge crowd in the annals of our Easter to Pentecost prayer time. Healing and direction for ourselves, our families and friends. Healing and direction for our country, our churches, our communities. "Why are we always praying for healing and direction?" I blurted out mid-prayer one afternoon.

"Because we are broken and lost," Stephanie answered.

Recognition: June 2006

Tromping along Pacific Ave. one day, I glanced in the window of the Thomas Kinkade gallery and saw a portrait on the back wall. "Hey, I know that guy," I thought and went in for a closer look. It wasn't until I got right up to the picture, that I realized it was a painting of Jesus.

In an autobiography of some actress (I forget who, maybe you can tell me) she wrote of a trip to Israel. She was looking through the fence of the garden of Gethsemane when she saw Jesus in there praying. "Why am I seeing Jesus?" She wondered, "I'm Jewish." Jesus looked up and said to her, "So am I."

Sand Castles: July 2006

People often ask which church supports The Word Shop. The answer is, "Yes." The Church through the ages has constructed various groups, houses, denominations and organizations to meet the needs of her people and to proclaim the love of God in Christ Jesus to a diverse and hurting world. The shifting tides of cultural conditions wash away some structures and modify others. The amazing thing is that the Church survives at all.

One Bread: August 2006

Sometimes, while sitting at table, I dunk a crust of bread into my glass of wine and chew it slowly, rejoicing in the simple pleasures of bread and wine, in the intimacy of family and friends round the table; marveling that our Lord would choose to meet us through such simple, homely means.

Sometimes, when moving from bread to wine in the Eucharist feast, a sweep of sadness crosses my heart. Whose sadness is this, Lord? Yours? Mine? Theirs? Broken fellowship, absent loved ones, hearts divided....what?

Hugs: September 2006

At a healing service one night I look up at a big stained glass window of Jesus and I want more than anything to hug him; to fling my arms around him and bury my nose in his neck.

The next day Bill shows up at Toastmasters and gives me a tremendous hug. Later, I'm walking at the beach and come across Justin, who flings wide his arms and gives me a giant hug. The following day I go into The Word Shop at the changing of the guard. Phil stands up at the desk and moves out to hug me. Joanne comes in with a whole hubbub of people and sweeps me into a warm embrace.