A Fiery Mouthful
“People cherish the person committed to right action and rich in understanding. That person, knowing the truth, walks steadfastly on the path.” - Buddha
“Delicious are the world’s delights and frauds. Eat less of them, for they’re a fiery mouthful.” - Rumi
“Praise be the the Lord for he has heard my cry for mercy.” - Psalm
Taking tangents and straying from the true path.
Can ask the heavens, “How have you brought me here?”
(I remember my choices. I remember their results.)
Yet, when I call on You, You answer me.
Patiently, graciously, like a true and loving father.
(I know what to do, why can’t I do it? Hesitating. Vacillating.)
Untamed Heart. Lacking Self-Control.
Please continue Your work within me, Merciful Father.
Forward: This was written several months ago - and although troubling, I prefer not to gloss over these types of prayers. Many of the psalmists and prophets went through times of questioning and doubt - because they were people, like us, and shared the same joys, sorrows, triumphs and sufferings that are common to us. So, here’s one of my days of sorrow, doubt and struggle:
Today I woke up angry and was halted by every stoplight.
Today I hesitated when I should have rushed forward
and let my heart hold me back
Today the wind worked together with my heart
and blew heartily against my face.
The world is filled with mysteries
we can never comprehend.
The mystery of my life is how to move forward when my needs are met.
The mystery of my life is how to face uncertainty and disappointment without faltering.
Has my path become a
footstool whose one purpose
is to keep me still?
Today that old voice I cannot train out of me tells me it wants to die - and how it wants to die - and the steps I can take to kill it. To kill me.
All the wise ones say we must
die to self in order to gain wisdom.
Intellectually I understand that this desire for death is truly a desire for the path of wisdom and a better, less broken, life.
Intellectually I understand many things.
I am taught that the
heart is deceitful and
wicked beyond all measure.
(I think the heart is less deceitful and more ignorant -
Often ignoring what
is plainly visible to
Today my needs are met but I am far from going into Your courts with thanksgiving and entering Your house with praise.
I am disobedient. Forgive me. Amen.
Wailing Into Dancing
“The wise man, by vigor, mindfulness, restraint and self-control, creates for himself an island which no flood can submerge.” - Buddha
“The fire and water will become your allies.” - Rumi
“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.” - Psalm
The wise man built his house upon the stone
and no flood could submerge it.
Restless wandering heart, I can feel your walls of sinking sand.
Thank You, Merciful Father, for Your grace -
building an enduring shelter for our weary souls.
Please continue in Your providence.
Imbue our lives with Your majesty.
Please guide us to Your will.
Comfort and protect us on our journeys.
Help us to be mindful and
diligent in all the tasks You’ve set before us.
Please bring revival to the hearts and minds of Your people.
This painting began as a charcoal mandala. I don’t usually paint this type of subject. Well, let’s be honest, I don’t usually paint. This was fun! :)
Prints available here.
The World’s Musicians
“Let the wise one guide, correct, and deter others from what is base and vile. He will be treasured by the good and spurned by the evil.” - Buddha
“O you, who have become the world’s musician, become ‘deceased’ like me, to gain release.” - Rumi
“Sing to the Lord, you saints of his; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment but his favor lasts a lifetime.” - Psalm
One cannot hide a city upon a hill
or a light under a bushel.
Likewise - the shining truth surfaces
no matter how well guarded.
Listen to the birds sing
without hesitation, pride or shame.
How effortlessly their songs fill
teaching the reality
underlying our theology.
Life-giver. Bird-bearer. Grace-maker.
Guide me. Correct me. Deter me.
I will direct my songs
to Your glory.
All Eyes And Ears
“Avoid attachment to both what is pleasant and what is unpleasant. Losing the pleasant causes grief. Dwelling on the unpleasant also causes grief.” - Buddha
“Whatever human beings struggle for, the King of Souls is all eyes and ears attending.” - Rumi
“O Lord, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit.” - Psalm
Sunday after church, the music returned briefly.
There is connection between the
music and participating in
There are things I must do or face regret.
Reconcile my debts.
Complete my education.
Invest in my art and music.
Devote myself to the stream-winner’s path.
“Complete what you’ve started, then you can move on.”
Lord, You are holy and I am not.
Together we look on and observe this disparity.
Please grant me the resources, desire, ambition and insight to live in your presence and fulfill Your will for my life.
Thank You for Your providence, grace, forgiveness, peace and charity.
“Do not cling to the pleasant, let it pass, so that the separation will not diminish you.” - Buddha
“O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.” - Psalm
I worry sometimes that I subconsciously seek disaster in order to gain the feeling of being lifted by the hand of God.
You have brought me out of the depths time and again. I am sorry for my falling - but I love the feeling of Your presence.
Teach me to lift others as You have lifted me.
I know there are difficult things You’ve asked me to do. Please give me a clear vision of how to accomplish them with grace.
Please help me to find the right community to dwell with.
Please guide me to right actions and thoughts in my career and relationships.
Please help me to be a present and beneficial father to my son.
You know my every need - and also the every desire of my heart.
Conform my desires to Your will and please help me to be an agent of positive transformation on Earth.
I love You,
For this mandala, I needed distance between the non-photo blue sketch and the inking. Time. A day passed. Two days. Three days. A week. I began to regret sketching it as I couldn’t bring it to fruition. Then, I sat and inked. New inspiration came. It bloomed in new ways. It changed and gained new life.
Time passes. A day, two days, three. A week. A month. Sometimes we must let it sit. Devote new perspective to it. Come back to our situation and let it blossom in new ways. There is presence in the waiting.
Prints are available here.
Water Drops In The Depths
“Although it is hard to gain this freedom, sorrow leaves the man who overcomes this toxic craving, this clinging to the world, just as drops of water fall from a lotus leaf.” -Buddha
“I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths […]” -Psalm
please guide my thoughts away from toxic cravings and obsessions.
Teach me a peaceful fruitful way.
Please heal my son’s broken heart -
many of my own flaws and weaknesses are mirrored in him.
Continue to lead us to Your light and enact Your salvation within us.
Thank You for the insights You provide into Your unknowable ways.
Please turn these troubled times - past, present, future - into a redemptive song of gratefulness and praise!
I love You,
A Fool’s Hunger
“What a fool hungers for is false fame, authority, power over others, and generous offerings. He seeks recognition as a doer, a wielder of power, a knower of right and wrong. His craving and pride are insatiable.” -Buddha
“Be always scraping on this path and scratching, not idle once until your final breath.” -Rumi
“I will exalt you O Lord for you lifted me out of the depths[…]” -Psalm
I have been the fool.
Fools are fun.
They even entertain Kings.
They are playful.
What shall I seek?
”To dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Redeem my misguided desires, merciful Father.
Continue to bring Your work to fruition within me.