Wednesday, April 22, 2015


One of my favorite Minnesota composer/song writers is Doug Wood.  I met him at an environmental education conference several years ago where he was the keynote speaker and entertainer.  As you might guess, the theme of many of his songs is the environment, Minnesota’s in particular.  However, one of my favorite songs of his is “Sarah’s Prayer.”  I would like to share it with you.  It is my prayer for each of you and your children as they grow and thrive in this world.

May your spirit be a free and gentle bird
May honesty and light guide every word.
May your thoughts stroll from the heavens to the sea
May the stars reveal their ancient harmony.
May your clouds be just to soften hurt and pain.
May your face be kissed with quiet summer rain.
May the mountains pluck the thunder form your sky.
May a flower grow with every tear your cry.

And everywhere you go, in everyone your know, Let there be love.

May your windy winter nights be safe and warm.
May the light of reason pierce the darkest storm.
May you know the silent secret of a lake.
May your wisdom grow with every step you take.
May your friends be good and true and always there.
May you always have a happy time to share.
May the hollow hurts of loneliness be few,
The surprise of understanding always new.  
And may the taste of life be always fresh and sweet
And may kindness flow from everyone you meet.
May the mystery of childhood be your home
As your spirit takes the years of life to roam.
And when the hour comes for you to rest
May the love of life be still within your breast.

And everywhere you go, in everyone you know, Let there be love.

Douglas Wood, “Sarah’s Prayer,”  WISH FOR THE WILDS,  copyright, 1978.

Saturday, April 4, 2015


Returning from spring break, I downloaded 200 pictures from our trip to Montana into my computer.  They tell the story of the places we stopped along the way (Pompeys Pillar,) the weather (warm and dry, not the best for skiing,) the friends we were with and the activities we shared (skiing, snowshoeing, board games, shopping.)  I added them to the thousands of pictures that are already saved and organized into events and albums in my iPhoto gallery.  When I find the time I’ll make a photo book about our ski trip to share with family and friends. 
I’m a big believer in the cliche, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”   I guess that’s why I love picture storybooks, too.  Without wading through pages of text, looking closely at a picture reveals the details of the story.  In a photo, the facial  expressions of the participants exposes their reactions to the events being captured in the photo.  Revisiting a photo draws me into the “story” we made and the mood of the day.  A smiley face, sun on the mountain, and baby animals brighten my day.  The picture of my 94 year old dad kissing his new great grandson fills my heart with thanksgiving, tears and joy.  I may drive some people crazy with my camera but they all love seeing the photos and recalling the experience.  Photography is an art form that can bring families and friends back to a common experience and relive the feelings that surrounded them at that time.
In the weeks leading up to Easter I have been attending a Sunday School class taught by Wayne Roosa, Art History professor at Bethel University.  The class, entitled “Visual Expressions of Faith Over the Centuries,”  has been focusing on the importance of art forms, paintings and sculptures, to the people of faith.  Before the printed Word was available, the story of God’s hand in the events of history and Jesus’ life and death were only available through visual art seen in the synagogues and churches.  The details of the pictures told the story.  The expressions and the positions of the characters in the scene drew the viewer into the story and helped them understand the importance and intensity of the event.  When the text was finally available to common folks and they were able to read the stories, the paintings and sculptures gave emotional reality to the printed word.  They could revisit the stories each time they saw the art forms.  Once again I’m back to the idea that “a picture is worth a thousand words.”  

Easter images are all around us at this time of the year.  Look carefully at them.  Allow them to tell the story of God’s love, Jesus’ life, and the agony of his death on the cross.  Feel the intensity of the emotions on the faces of the figures in the image.  Let the visual story draw you into the experience this year.  It will make the joy of Easter morning all the more fantastic!