Reflecting on Infinity….

Beach and Beyond by Gillian Barr Nov 2019
As time goes by, I find the simplest things bring up more than one memory or association. The longer I live, the more I bring along with me, the more that can weigh me down or lift me up. This photo of the sunset on the beach near San Diego is a good example. I recall visiting my friend Gillian when she was ordained and probably walking on that same beach. I think back to work trips to San Diego, always a respite from the office in LA. Yet today one memory stands out more than the others. As a young officer and later as the wife of an officer, I spent almost eight years living near the beach in Los Angeles. I frequently ran or biked along the beach after work, passing the same scenery on the way out and the way back. This time of year, the sun was low in the sky, prompting me to be distracted by the scenery yet also cautious of delaying too long. The evening brought the homeless to their perches along the path. Some were friendly, others were at best benign. Either way, it was not the place to be as a young woman after dark. Yet while the sand harbored the lost, the sea and the sky stopped me in my tracks, like the lone bird in this photo. I would stand in awe of the majesty opening before me, too large to conceive of with my mind. The symphony of waves crashing along the beach drowned out the cares of the day and my heart and soul were renewed. Perhaps to open my heart I needed a scene larger than my imagination, a scene that continued beyond the horizon to distant shores on the other side of the world. I need a glimpse of the infinite to even begin to understand the Holy of Holies, to let go of my rational mind and to see and hear the Alpha and Omega with my heart. Make time today to ponder beauty and majesty in your surroundings. Perhaps there is a place to pause along your commute, or a short walk from home. Pluck a bloom or pick up a leaf, resting in the colors and intricacy of the tiniest thing. Consider taking a photo and folding a piece of creation into your daily work. Most of all, let yourself be surprised by what seeks you out – our Lord is waiting to enfold you at every turn.

Text by Connie Chintall ©2019, photo collage entitled ’Beyond the Sea and Shore’ by Gillian Barr©2019, used with her permission, All Rights Reserved


Reflecting on the Edge….

Boys on the EdgeIt has been many years since I have lived on the edge. As a young airman working on the flight line in 1978, I was living on the edge in more ways than one. I was one of only two women repairing electronics on fighter aircraft. My pay was so low I couldn’t afford a car. I rode a bicycle to work for over two years. I was taking college courses and working crazy hours because we were on alert from the Iran hostage crisis. That edge wasn’t a cliff or a wall. That edge shifted and snuck up on you, like ocean waves along the shore. So this peaceful photo of my friend Timmy and his son on the beach at Lewes draws me back to times on the edge. Most important of all, it brings me back to other memories of that stage in my life. I recall riding horses in the desert with my friend Rose, the other woman who worked with me. I recall spectacular sunrises over the hills almost every morning. I recall barbequed quail for breakfast after shifts that lasted way too long. It was a time of extremes, a time of strain and struggle, but also a time of intense friendships and great beauty. My military service formed me in ways I still do not fully understand or appreciate. I know the edge when it arrives. I know how to orient myself and push forward when others crumble and fall. Most of all, I know how important it is to take time to walk on the beach and allow the beauty to seep into your soul. Pause to enjoy what life has to offer you here and now, and share that moment of awe and beauty with those you cherish and love. Make a memory that will sustain you the next time you face that edge. Text by Connie Chintall ©2017, photo entitled ‘Boys on the Edge’ of Timothy and Sid Miller by Ingrid Miller©2017, used with her permission, All Rights Reserved.

Reflecting on Focus….

It’s a cold, clear morning after a week of snow and rain. The weather has been alternating between winter and spring, sometimes in the same day. So I was drawn to this beautiful photo of Kourion Beach in Cyprus taken by my new friend Tomasz. I love the contrast between the frothy surf at low tide and the storm clouds rolling in from the horizon. The blond boulders stand out against the dark pebbles and sand, echoing the shapes of the clouds above. Yet the surf seems serene while the clouds seem menacing. It can be difficult to focus on the peace that lies beneath our feet when storm clouds gather overhead. Each day offers a strange mixture of experiences, some pleasant, some awkward, some downright awful. We can choose to focus on the unpleasant, allowing disappointment to overshadow even the most delightful parts of our day. Or we can allow the delight to outshine even our most outrageous experiences. I know, saying it and doing it are two very different things. That’s true, if we simply seek a human solution. It’s only when we suspend judgment, and trust in the sovereignty of God, that we can see past the difficulties of life and open our hearts to give thanks. Take time today to focus on the simple blessings of life. Call a friend to just talk, or offer to help another in need. Allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with each breath in, and release anxiety with each breath out. And remember, when we see the world through a grateful heart, we find peace right beneath our feet. Photo by Tomasz Huczek, to see more of his photos, go to

Reflecting on Tides….

This morning is cool and clear, yet it will be hot and sticky before long. It seems like fall in the early morning and summer in the afternoon. We are in that funny in between time, looking forward to the colors of fall but already missing a day at the beach. So I was drawn to this amazing photo taken by my cousin Katie at Huguenot State Park near Jacksonville, Florida. It’s difficult to tell where the water stops and the beach begins. The tides have created a transitory work of art, to be washed away and rebuilt day by day. Our oceans and rivers ebb and flow, thanks to the pull of the moon. When this cycle is disrupted by a hurricane, water is transformed from a life giving force into a destructive force. Yet how often do we turn our own lives into a flood? We are tempted to press ahead, and double our efforts, to finally get everything done. Instead, we end up working ourselves to the point of exhaustion, and even becoming ill. Without periods of rest and relaxation, our bodies force us to stop, and we end up in bed, face up to God. We create a hurricane of activity that disrupts the tide of life. The life giving force becomes a destructive force. Sometimes the greatest harm comes from haste. We say things without thinking of how our words affect others, we simply don’t listen or see those we love. We bowl over those we cherish like a flood, bent on our own agendas to the detriment of others. Take time today to rest and relax. Pause and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you. Truly listen to your own heart and to those you love. Allow the natural rhythm of life to take hold, and you will create a transitory work of art, a life well lived, one day at a time. Photo by Katie Collett

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