I Am Not Afraid

Stumbled across this song by Red Rock Worship this morning while I was listening to some teaching on YouTube.

What first caught my eye was their name, and I wondered if they’re from the red rocks of Las Vegas or  Sedona, Zion or Bryce.  Could they be from the King’s Canyon area, or other parts of the Sierra Nevada where we’ve explored and camped?

I still don’t know because the 2nd reason I decided to listen  immediately sucked me in, and I ended up in worship, tears streaming down my face,  in my kitchen at 6 a.m.

This happens a lot to me lately.  Jesus has been showing up.

ANYWAY, the guy singing this looks so much like my son, Adam, it’s amazing.  And I like to think that in a parallel universe, this IS Adam, who’s a musician and singer himself.  Serendipitously,  we’ll be seeing he and my daughter-in-law later today as they’re down from Seattle.  So it was extra sweet.

But I immediately forgot all that when I put my headphones in, cranked up the volume, and pressed the Arrow.  The first several bars in, and I loved it.  It reminds me of some of the melodies from the 50s and 60s, the decades of my childhood.

And the lyrics! This is literally what I’ve been saying for the last three years in particular, and the last several decades overall:  That I may have to walk through the Fire, but I’ll come out of it not even smelling of smoke, for the Lord is with me.  I shall not be afraid (….saying this even when I have been most afraid….)

God never promised life on earth would be easy.  In fact, we’ll be presented with all kinds of trials and experiences as we journey along.  They come along for all sorts of reasons, but for one purpose:    to demonstrate the power of God to heal, to deliver, and to save.

If you’re going through the fire, please listen.  You are not alone.

The Sabbath Rest

Church in Bodie, CA

I can still see her in my mind’s eye, a young woman…perhaps even still a teenager…holding a newborn wrapped in a blanket.  She was wearing sandals and a sun dress.  Her chin was pointed slightly downward, and her long golden hair hid part of her face as she walked out on stage

Humility.  Brokenness.  Maybe even shame.

I could feel it all over her.  My heart immediately shattered in pieces for her.

Surrounded by a few family members and church staff, she began to gently weep as Pastor Danny began to pray.   With the hands of those close by on she and the baby, and the hands of those of us in the congregation stretched outward towards them,  we entered all into a holy moment together.  A moment when this young mother, having been forsaken by the man who fathered the child, was there to offer herself up as she  dedicated her baby and herself to Christ.

If ever there was a singular moment over the last 8 months that made me glad we joined this little community church, it was this one.  Not a shred of judgement was anywhere to be found.  None.  And I know for a fact others there, like my husband and I, didn’t know jack about this girl or her family.   We didn’t need to know anything except what was happening in that present moment.   Compassion compelled us, all over that room, to join as One to seek the face of God on behalf of this young person. We were with her.

And with tears streaming down our faces, we asked God for strength and courage for this new little mama, and His hand of protection on the child.   Men committed themselves to step up and offer to be fathers to this fatherless child.   The women offered themselves as well.  We would be additional mothers, grandmothers, aunts and sisters to this family, there with our love and support whenever and however they needed it.

By the end of the dedication, as everyone left the stage glowing with peace, I felt connected to “the church” and everyone there in a new way.  A deeper way.  It’s been since 2002 since we’ve been members of a church, and I had forgotten how good it felt when it’s done “right”.   Having a spiritual community, even as new as it is, provides us a level of comfort, connection and commonality that’s been missing.   I, particularly, feel ‘safer’.   A feeling that is hard to come by in a world that feels exceedingly unsafe. The Pastor, 42 years old, is down to earth, funny and wise.  The congregation, made up of every age group and every color, displays the diverse nature of God.

I am so happy….so grateful…that we found Bridge. That’s what it’s called.  Bridge Community Church.  Even the name rings deep within me.  Bridges have always held special meaning to me….sacred symbols of joining, connection, and a way to get from one place to another.

Not everyone likes going to church, and I understand that.  We didn’t go for a very long time.  We don’t do denominations or religion.   But we do love Jesus.  Having a place to go where we can worship God with other like-minded folk is a huge blessing that has brought tremendous healing with it.  Not only a “spiritual” healing, but  positive changes in other areas of our lives as well, from our marriage to our finances.

I think that is what happens when you are where you are supposed to be.

This morning we’ll be celebrating the (re)opening of the main sanctuary.  It’s been undergoing renovations since last year while we met elsewhere on property.  The “new” interior us lovely with an understated, peaceful and intimate feeling.  I think the pews  will hold about 500 – not too big, not too small.  A large rustic wooden cross, against whitewashed brick, is the only adornment on the stage, but the worship team has all sorts of great lighting and technology to use now.   Most importantly about this space, I literally feel God as I walk in.

I navigate life through my feelings, and this building is filled with positive intention and good vibes.   It  radiates a warm welcome to all who enter. A place where faith is strengthened, hope is rekindled and love is made manifest.  A place to belong.

PSALM 84:1-4

How lovely is your dwelling place,
    Lord Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
    for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
    for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
    and the swallow a nest for herself,
    where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
    Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
    they are ever praising you.

Interview With An Alien

conference room

I’ve been around for awhile.  I’ve gone a few places, done a few things, met a lot of people. Hundreds of 1000s over the course of my lifetime, probably.  I’m a real people person, and one of my favorite things is to connect with people who are different from me.

For example, I spent almost 20 years combined in the aerospace and semiconductor industries.  These years afforded me the opportunity to speak with and work with people from all over the world:  Spain.  Ireland.  France.  Germany.  Italy.  Various countries in Asia.

These were lengthy F2F interactions, not truncated virtual ones like experienced on Social Media.  Some of my all-time favorite occasions were the meals.  Potlucks and business lunches, client dinners and corporate parties.  There’s something about breaking bread and raising glasses together that really helps you get to know the people you hang with.

My favorite drinking buddies were from the UK.  The ones best for my ego were the handsome, flirty dudes from Italy.  (Bella!)  I loved smoking cigs and chatting with the French, but for some reason, they tended to have the worst body odor  which even the smoke couldn’t cover up.  My time with them was usually kept at a minimum…or a distance.

And then there were the Germans.  Ah, the Germans. Ich liebe dich, meine Freunde! We looked liked each other.  We shared the same temperament, the same sense of humor.  Occasionally, the same hair.


Albert Einstein (Photo Credit: Unknown)

But professional experience aside, I’m an avid people watcher. Not just the kind done while sitting outside, maybe enjoying a coffee with a friend, talking smack and keeping an eye on the passerbys.

I mean, I WATCH people.  I observe them, carefully, like I would a creature under the microscope, or if I was a detective on a case.  I do this even with people I’ve known for years.

Humans are pretty fascinating, and I often wonder if most of them know just how revealing they are.  How much information they put out.  Not just by what they say, but by what they do.  Their body language.  The words they choose, and the words they don’t.   Sometimes I think it’s what people don’t say…what they don’t do…that speaks the loudest about who they are.

And then, there are the eyes.  The proverbial “windows to the soul”.

My Eyes

My Eyes

Eyes are amazing, and can reveal so much about someone.  They show emotion.  They speak of intellect. Interest.  Shadiness.  Illness.  Deceit.

Ever talk to someone who didn’t look you in the eye when you were speaking?  It’s SO annoying.  Makes me wonder what they are hiding, or hiding from. Eyes give clues.  If you know what to look for, you can – with a high degree of accuracy – determine if someone is being dishonest, or  tapping into a memory, or accessing their feelings.

And really, there’s nothing better than having a great conversation with someone who looks at you straight on. It lets you know that they are engaged and listening. To listen, you have to be Present and being Present IS a gift.

Which brings me to the reason I’m writing today.

This past Monday, I spent 45 minutes with a young woman who, I swear, was one of the most unusual human beings I’ve ever met.  So unusual, in fact, that it was hard to keep focused on our conversation because I was so busy watching her watch me.  I kept thinking, “This is weird.  Her eyes.  They don’t move.  They don’t quiver, even when she speaks.  Why does she look at me like that, like…like… an alien.”

Seriously! I used that word: ALIEN. And I wasn’t on medication or anything!

Tall, lean, and pretty – with long blond hair parted on the side – her name was Shannon.  I’m guessing in her late 20s, Shannon was articulate, professional and thorough.  I was there to interview for a volunteer position that sounded smack in my wheel house:  12-15 hours a week handling social media, blogging, taking photographs for their online resale store, doing event marketing….

Since I haven’t landed a new paying job yet, I thought perhaps volunteering might be the direction to go.  The opportunity certainly read like something I’d enjoy doing, and for a non-profit organization I have a lot of respect for.

Anyway, Shannon greeted me in the lobby and escorted me to a simply furnished conference room.  We sat down and I decided to pick the chair closest to her, on the end. The first thing I noticed about her was her physical energy.  She moved with a level of stillness I’m not accustomed to, as if no effort were being exerted. A dichotomy, right?  Still motion?  And quiet.  Her whole being exuded quiet and calm.  She barely moved and when she spoke, her voice was pleasant, well modulated and measured.  Almost robotic in it’s lack of certain inflections.

But it was her eyes that captivated me.  Large, bright blue irises ringed with a darker color and fringed with thick lashes, there were several occasions when I found myself checking to make sure she was blinking. I have to be honest, it was slightly unnerving and I don’t unnerve easily.  In all my life, with all of the conversations I’ve had, I’ve never met anyone – especially someone so young – who displayed such absolute, intent focus.  It was like she was looking into me, as well as at me.  Not in a hostile or threatening way.  She just sat so motionless, and spoke, and looked. Watching.  Like “staring”, without any  rudeness.

I literally breathed a sigh of relief when she finally blinked, and even  laughed a little.  And when she took her eyes off of me a time or too, I thought, OK….maybe she’s a human after all.  But then, BOOM! She’d be right back with her lazer beams on me again.   A female Spock in a t-shirt, cardigan and jeans.

When it came time to leave, I was graciously led back to the lobby in that still-motion kinda way.   We shook hands.  She said she appreciated my time and talents, still had others to interview, and told me that I’d hear later this week if I got the gig.

Several days later and my meeting Shannon is still haunts me.  Not a big “alien abduction” type,  I do believe there must be life “out there” from a purely “mathematical probability” standpoint, if nothing else. And why wouldn’t our beautiful Blue Planet be a likely destination location for some of them?  I’ve read the stories, and some theories…..conspiracy and otherwise…. of Off-Worlders cohabitating with us human types.  Hell, some of them are reported to be working with and in our own government, if Cory Goode can be believed.

The idea of alien life forms fascinates me and has been part of my consciousness forever.  I am of the generation of the original Star Trek and Lost In Space TV shows.  I stood in line for hours up in Hollywood to see the first Star Wars movie in 1977 (with a major crush on Hans Solo).  And yeah, I’ll admit it.  There have been times when, late at night or early predawn hours, I’ve stared up at the stars – wondering who was out there and secretly longing to meet them.

The Good Guys, that is.

Could it true?  Did I’ve finally meet one?   Did I experience First Contact? Shannon certainly fit the bill physically for a race called the Pleiadians, and her vibe was the most unusual I’ve ever encountered.  She beamed all good things – peace, awareness, altruism.  Even her name means, “Ancient Wise One”.

Whew!  Lots to think about….

I gotta go now.  I got hooked on a show I discovered last week on Amazon Prime and I’m pretty  obsessed with it – staying up late into the wee hours to watch episode after episode until I’m blurry-eyed.  With only a few more episodes to watch of the last season, the storyline is a real cliff hanger:  A post-apocalyptic epic where the Human Race is fighting for their very existence and for Lexi_Alexis_Glass-Mason_S4Planet Earth.  Falling Skies, it’s called.  One of the characters, Alexis, just gave her life to save her family.  Well, her human family.  She was a blonde haired, bright blue eyed half-breed with superpowers…The biological product of an multi-species take over agenda by some real Bad Dudes.

Those eyes….they look a lot like those of my girl, Shannon.