Our Collective Journal
June/Aug. 2014

“I have often felt a motion of love to leave some hints
in writing of my experience of the goodness of God.”
–John Woolman 

Chapter 19
When have you experienced the Light through your senses?

Coastal Night.  Twin Rocks, April 2014.  Mark Pratt-Russum.  http://markprattrussum.com/nature

The Scent of Compassion

I was alone in the hospital when our 10-month-old daughter Annalee died.  My husband Fred was 2500 miles away in Boston at the bedside of his father, who had been badly burned.   Fred caught the first plane home, and friends took me to their house to wait. The house slowly filled with other friends bringing food and flowers. Mostly they brought themselves with anything they could to help me.   My good friend Chena... [more]
 
 

Voice of the Killdeer

Between a meadow and the woods, North Valley Friends Church has built a labyrinth. I had an hour to fill on a fine afternoon, so I decided to walk it.   This labyrinth is a medieval design, like the one at Chartres Cathedral, with eleven large circuits, twenty-eight 180-degree reverses, and six 90-degree corners. The idea is that by allowing the twisting path to lead you — eventually — to the heart of the design,... [more]
 
 

Sensing God’s Presence in the Mountains

It is no secret to anyone who knows me that the mountains are one of the places where I most reliably encounter God.  Last month I climbed to a favorite high ridge in Olympic National Park to spend a couple of nights in God’s company – and God, of course, did not disappoint.  While I have many special memories from this trip, this video captures the essence of what I want to say here.  http://tinyurl.com/ksnzm5m... [more]
 
 

Waterfall, Silver Falls State Park

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Reborn

Sensory deprivation may sound terrible at first, but for me, the experience of floating in a soundproof water tank roughly 10 inches deep, at body temperature, in utter darkness, filled with 800 lbs of Epsom salt, has become a safe haven of transformation.   In the early days of floating, I came face to face with my deepest, secret (even to me) fears via various images that appeared in the darkness weaving together the story of... [more]
 
 

Breath of God

Recently I calculated that I have practiced over 1000 yoga classes.  I started because I thought it promised it would give me a lean strong body, and help cure my stress-induced backaches.  I’ve never been talented at athletics, but yoga was something I could easily do and I found it was fun.  It produced all that I hoped, except for the lean part. That would mean I would have to give up sugar, which is... [more]
 
 

Called Home

The mournful Call to Prayer echoed against the dark purple hills of Northern Turkey.  A smoky haze from hundreds of campfires hung in the air like a grey blanket.  After two devastating earthquakes, this small city teemed with green canvas army tents filled with families who had lost their homes and loved ones.   It was December and the holy month of Ramazan (as they call it in Turkey).  For one not born in a Muslim country,... [more]
 
 

Learning Ways of Sensing From the Mother

Somewhere in the mountains of Northern California, a winding dirt road meandered its way down to a sacred space in the small valley floor and welcomed all of us who came to camp, to sing, and to be a part of each other and the beauty of Mother Nature.  This was a yearly summer pilgrimage. The camp was encircled by Mother Nature.  The mountains gently shaped the flow of the river that found its path... [more]
 
 

Migration of the Tarantulas

I found myself driving to work every day on a crowded and dangerous piece of California freeway.  The sense impressions were heat, the smell of gasoline, and the blinding glint of sunlight reflecting off chrome.  Then I found the back road.  It took longer to get there, but I arrived refreshed, nourished.   The sense impressions were stopping the car in a dewy morning meadow to listen to the contrapuntal melodies of meadow larks, glimpsing a... [more]
 
 

Hearing God: Kay at 4

Augusta, Georgia: 1956  I God is alive.  God lives at our house.  God lives in the woods where I play and God lives at church, too.  Sometimes I want to say to God, “Are you following me?”   My Sunday school teacher told us that God is a boy.  But God is not a boy.  That’s silly!   You can’t see God but you can hear God.   God is magic.  God can fly!  God is... [more]
 
 

Light in Gramothe Village

This was my fourth year traveling to Haiti with West Hills Friends Medical Mission Team. In April of each year, I’ve worked as a nurse in Mountain Top Ministry’s extremely busy rural clinic pharmacy in a small village named Gramothe. Processing prescriptions and teaching health care has become fairly routine to me. What has not been routine, are some of the profound experiences I have brought back with me from Haiti!   This year’s trip... [more]
 
 

God – an Image

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Pancakes

One summer when I was in college, I traveled home to Portland from Florida by Greyhound bus.  I had some money in my pocket for emergencies.   Somewhere in New Mexico I woke to a breakfast stop.  In the food line I purchased some chocolate milk, my usual food for the trip. When the line had slowly passed through, with most folks ordering a more substantial meal, the cook came to the table where I... [more]
 
 

 

Stories in this Chapter

 

The Scent of Compassion

 

Voice of the Killdeer

 

Sensing God’s Presence in the Mountains

 

Waterfall, Silver Falls State Park

 

Reborn

 

Breath of God

 

Called Home

 

Learning Ways of Sensing From the Mother

 

Migration of the Tarantulas

 

Hearing God: Kay at 4

 

Light in Gramothe Village

 

God – an Image

 

Pancakes