Monday, November 16, 2015

Things Unseen: Dare to Love

Dare to Love

In a world filled with hate, we must still dare to hope. In a world filled with anger, we must still dare to comfort. In a world filled with despair, we must still dare to dream. And in a world filled with distrust, we must still dare to believe.
--Michael Jackson

And in a world filled with violence, we must still dare to love.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Things Unseen: Silently Drawn

Silently Drawn

Let yourself be silently drawn
by the strange pull of what 
you really love. It will not
draw you astray.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Things Unseen: Emerald Prayer

Emerald Prayer

Birth day. Death day.
Between days,
   crying laughing,
   laughing crying...

No difference, you know.

Draw a circle
   around this moment.
Say an emerald prayer.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Photographer's Journal: Devil's Eyebrow

Coming Down Was Easy

Actually, coming down wasn't exactly "easy." Mostly dry stream beds in the Ozark Mountains are never "easy"! But the climb back to the top where our cars were parked was definitely harder, and this aging hiker was somewhat embarrassed to bring up the tail most of the way up.

And that blue sky reflected in this spring-fed pool? Yup. We couldn't have asked for a more glorious day.

It was a fantastic field trip led by my Google+ friend, Eric Hunt, at the Arkansas Native Plant Society meeting last weekend. We are in the Devil's Eyebrow Natural Area, a well-named treasure in the Ozark Mountains just a few miles west of Eureka Springs, Ark.

Highly recommended, folks.

Friday, August 21, 2015

WATERLINE: landscape with voices
By Bette J. Kauffman
Photo book

The Hurricane Katrina WATERLINE book is for sale! Go to Blurb and check it out. About a quarter of the book can be viewed via "Preview."

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Photographer's Journal: Gateway


This photo is so deceptive! I could barely stand in this opening between huge rock walls to shoot. The wind was cold and hard in my face, so strong I could barely be still enough for this handheld shot, even on a bright, sunny day. But in the distance, clouds are rolling in. More glories of the Oregon Coast!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Brother, give me a word...

The Haystack, Cannon Beach, OR
God created us in his image with the capacity to love, and love requires freedom. And with our freedom, we have the capacity to do great evil as well as great good. God took a tremendous risk in making us.
-Br. Robert L'Esperance
Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Let Go

Let Go
If we’re not paying attention, we can find we’ve accumulated a vast treasury, truck loads of fears and anxieties, trunk loads of resentments and grudges, crates of unrealistic expectations and boxes of presumptions and unreasonable demands. Remember to leave all this baggage behind, to travel lightly on the way. Remember to travel forgetfully and follow Jesus.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Things Unseen: Two Breaths, One Body

Two Breaths, One Body

I am the One whom I love

And the One whom I love is I--

Two breaths and spirits

sharing one body.

And when you see the One,

you see us both.

--Mansur al-Hallaj


Friday, April 24, 2015

Things Unseen: Becoming Love

Becoming Love

You Are Love Becoming Love
--Richard Rohr, Daily Meditation, November 26, 2014

Your True Self is who you are, and always have been in God, and at its core it is love itself. Love is both who you are and who you are still becoming, like a sunflower seed that becomes its own sunflower. Most of human history has called the True Self your “soul” or “your participation in the eternal life of God.” The great surprise and irony is that “you,” or who you think you are, have nothing to do with its original creation or its demise. It’s sort of disempowering and utterly empowering at the same time! All you can do is nurture it, which is saying quite a lot. It is love becoming love in this unique form called “me.” 

It seems to be a fully cooperative effort according to St. Paul (Romans 8:28), and according to my own limited experience too. God never forces himself or herself on us or coerces us toward life or love by any threats whatsoever. God seduces us, yes; coerces us, no (Jeremiah 20:7; Matthew 11:28-30). Whoever this God is, he or she is utterly free and utterly respects our own human freedom. Love cannot happen in any other way. Love flourishes inside freedom and then increases freedom even more. “For freedom Christ has set us free!” shouts St. Paul in his critique of all legalistic religion (Galatians 5:1).

We are allowed to ride life and love’s wonderful mystery for a few years—until life and love reveal themselves as the same thing, which is the final and full message of the risen Christ—life morphing into a love that is beyond space and time. He literally “breathes” shalom and forgiveness into the universal air (John 20:22-23). You get to add your own finishing touches of love, your own life breath to the Great Breath, and then return the completed package to its maker in a brand-new but also the same form. It is indeed the same “I,” but now it is in willing union with the great “I AM” (Exodus 3:14). We are no longer absolutely one, but we are not two either! (Think about that if you can.) 

--Adapted from Immortal Diamond: The Search for our True Self

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Happy 2nd Easter!

Easter 2015

If we really "got" Easter, this world would be a different place! See my sermon for the 2nd Sunday of Easter here: Transformed by the Risen One?


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Things Unseen: Courage

But You Can't Keep Me Down
Camellias - the South's blessed testimony to resilience and the beauty of woundedness!

Last Saturday morning I had a few minutes at St. Thomas' to wait for a friend to arrive for our trip to Camp Hardtner for a Congregational Vitality Institute day--a wonderful one, too, BTW!

The many camellias planted among the trees between the church and Bayou Dr. were clearly damaged by our icy weather, but blooming beautifully anyway.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Snow day!


Today's question: How do you picture a day spent "being"--as opposed to "doing"?


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Photographer's Journal: Camp Hardtner

Invitation to Stop
And I did. And took in the emerald water, the green grass, the golden brown of last summer's grass-like plant, and the balmy breeze coming across the lake. 

For Lent this year, I am following an online series by the Brothers of Saint John the Divine. It is about our relationship with time, which was the first thing in creation God called "holy." 

It has not been a surprise to me to learn already that my own relationship with time is pretty disordered.

Yesterday's lesson was about invitations to stop during the day. For the brothers, the monastery bells invite them to stop what they are doing for prayer four times a day. 

Scenes like the one above are my monastery bells. They are invitations from the universe to stop for a moment, drink in the beauty, give thanks. That I do so with a camera makes it no less prayer.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Camp Hardtner

Perfect Peace
Home from Happening 53! What a blessed experience in a beautiful place with some fine young people. The Spirit was with us.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Wildflowers: Arkansas

Blue Sage (Salvia azurea)

In October, I attended the Arkansas Native Plant Society annual meeting in Texarkana. One of our hikes was in the White Cliffs Natural Area of western Arkansas. It is situated on a large outcropping of chalk that overlooks the Little River and gives the area its name. We saw many interesting plant species. It was October, so only a few things were still blooming; this lovely little blue flower was surely one of the prettiest!

on a large outcrop of Annona Chalk, rising out of the Little River floodplain (now Millwood Lake) and includes a 100-foot high chalk bluff over the Little River, from which the area derives its name. - See more at:
on a large outcrop of Annona Chalk, rising out of the Little River floodplain (now Millwood Lake) and includes a 100-foot high chalk bluff over the Little River, from which the area derives its name. - See more at:
on a large outcrop of Annona Chalk, rising out of the Little River floodplain (now Millwood Lake) and includes a 100-foot high chalk bluff over the Little River, from which the area derives its name. - See more at:
on a large outcrop of Annona Chalk, rising out of the Little River floodplain (now Millwood Lake) and includes a 100-foot high chalk bluff over the Little River, from which the area derives its name. - See more at:

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Kisatchie Splendors

She Walks in Beauty
I had just 30 minutes to spare when I arrived in the vicinity of Camp Hardtner this morning for a Congregational Vitality Institute day. So I turned west on FS 120, just across from the southern entrance to Camp Hardtner, drove about a mile and parked at the end of this old logging road.

Last summer I set out to find an area of the Kisatchie that was reasonably close to home, an area along Hwy 165 where I could easily stop en route to and from Alexandria and Camp Hardtner. This was my third visit and I love the place more each time.

This morning, after parking my car and getting out, my phone rang and it was an important call. I leaned against the back of my CRV facing the road, finished the phone call, then got my camera off the front seat and began walking down this road. I had gone no more than a few feet when a young deer--probably last year's fawn, based on size--bolted from a thick patch to my left.

I was still adjusting the camera, setting shutter speed and depth of field, checking white balance, deciding which lens to use, etc. But, you know, it didn't matter. I just stood there and watched the deer, all rimmed in morning light, bound across the path about 70-80 yards in front of me.

See it? Of course you do!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

My Awesome 5 to Welcome, 2015!


I have never been any good a New Year's Resolutions. So, instead, because a friend of mine on G+ started it, I took a quick look back. So here's My Awesome 5 that are the jumping off point for 2015:

1. My son got engaged and now I have a lovely daughter-in-law-to-be, plus the hope of grandchildren! How awesome is that?

2. One of my G+ photo posts surpassed 100 +1's for the very first time---all the way to 349 +1's! Yes, I know and agree, the point is not the numbers. Nevertheless, after 3+ years of participating really quite a lot on G+, it feels like an awesome milestone. (For you FB'ers, a +1 is a "like.")

3. And just to say it wasn't a fluke, within a couple of weeks another post went past 100 all the way to 373 +1's! I hope that means my photography is getting better! Awesome.

4. I got wonderful support from many G+'ers and FB friends for the book project I've been working on. It has really kept me going and now I need to get cracking and finish it!

5. I have set a date for retirement. This might seem like an odd one, but... for me to know that in May 2017, I'm walking away from full-time teaching, come hell or high water, is liberating. It's an objective that will help me focus my efforts on doing the things that most need doing to make that happen. I'm excited.

BTW, I took this photo at Restoration Park in West Monroe, which really is a rather awesome place. I'm proud of West Monroe for healing that land.