REFLECTIONS

TODAY

September 23, 2020

Dear Church Family and Friends,

I begin with this quote by Abraham Lincoln: “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”

This quote from Lincoln captures well my own coping in recent days. There are moments and plenty of them lately when the heaviness of life threatens to exhaust all that I have to give. It is in those times I find myself going deep within. Reaching into my soul listening for the voice of God, of the Spirit that I might find strength, peace, hope and assurance. Driven to that place where though I may not see, I will be seen; where I may not hear, but will be heard; where I may not know, but will be known; where just being present with an open heart, I discover solace. It is that place upon the knees of prayerful presence that is enough in these moments.

This going deep within brings fond memories of the well that was just outside my grandparents backdoor. When I’d walk by I would peer through the latticework door that sat atop the stonewall surrounding the well the damp cold air rising up from the darkness. There was mystery in the depth, a wondering. Then, too, there was the wonderful satisfaction when the bucket was cranked up carrying the best tasting water around. They had running water in the house, but it just wasn’t the same. Perhaps you could taste the mystery of the depths in the well water. Perhaps it was a spiritual moment that gave flavor to it and was deeply satisfying.

Our soul is like that well, a deep place within ourselves where we encounter the mystery of all that is – God, Spirit. It is a place where we don’t need to be anything else but ourselves – hopeful, hurting, healing, honest. We may not descend to those depths everyday, though that doesn’t make it less present. It is always available to us like prayer, but with fewer words spoken and a greater awareness of simply being.

To me Abraham Lincoln’s words refer to those moments of great searching when we realize that we don’t have the answers, we are not sure what to do, how to respond to the challenges before us. His use of “driven” paints a powerful image of surrendering to the need for greater wisdom than we alone can impart. I’ve been there many times in my life, driven to my “knees”. I’ve been there often, lately. It is what helps me gain a clearer perspective. It keeps me from becoming too negative, too discouraged. It is where, as I wrestle with fear and worry, I discover strength and hope. May it be the same for you.

Blessings and peace,

Doretta

September 8, 2020

Dear Church Family and Friends,

I have had the joy of spending a few days on the coast, our grandsons climbing over the rocks making forts and collecting stones and shells. The weather has been perfect. One couldn’t ask for better. Sun. Cool breezes. Clear nights.

Sharing with the boys brought back rich memories of old photographs and stories told of our family trip to Acadia when I was two years old, pockets filled, I am told with periwinkle shells, empty and some with inhabitants, that my mom had to coax me to release. We don’t retain in our conscious memory all the things we did and thought when we were so young, but being with the boys woke up a deep awareness of things noticed and retained in the archives of my mind.

The observances of children are wonderful. Open. Purely open to everything around them from the grand to the very small like the tiny red-specks in the sea-polished white stone that was found. Remembering the talk about specks of red garnet on Turtle Rock, I was asked, “are these garnets, too?” The fascination with seaweed and barnacles that cling to the rocks, waiting for the ocean to rise over them again so that they can fill themselves with microscopic food. The shells and rocks of different shapes, sizes and colors. Some collected as treasures in pockets or hands, the rest to leave to others, the sea and the sand.

There was a strange quiet when they all pulled away to head home. It took me the rest of the afternoon to shift back into this alone time and reorient myself to the reading and writing I planned to focus on. In the wake of their leaving, I reflected on their collections of stones and shells. Their choices were diverse. Some were small and smooth. Some were almost too big to fit in the palm of their hand. Some with interesting shapes and colors. Each one attracted their attention and was deemed worthy of adding to their collection.

Later, I sat on the beach to ponder as I ran my hands through the sand, the tiny shells, the stones. Some were polished smooth. Some revealed jagged edges. Pieces of larger shells and rocks. All shaped by the churning waves of the ocean. Sometimes gentle. Sometimes brutally harsh. I could not help but think of this varied beach covering as symbolic of the diversity of humankind. Different, yet all touched and shaped by the realities of our individual lives and in that a similarity of place within humanity, equally residents upon this Earth.

Perhaps we can train ourselves once again, as when a child, to see the treasures within each one, each person. Like the polished stone with specks of garnet that most of our adult eyes wouldn’t take time to notice. Or the tiny yellow-spiraled shells tucked within the patches of seaweed. Worn pieces of brick, now shaped into small rectangular stones. A host of colored sea glass in varying stages of ware.

Would that our eyes can see the treasure in each human life, hear the breath of hope, and embrace with gentleness the common ground upon which we stand.

Peace, Doretta

Psalm 133.1 “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!

September 1, 2020

Dear Church Family and Friends,

As summer slips into autumn, I always have a deep feeling of contentment. There is satisfaction standing back to scan the canning jars filled and the freezer stocked with summer’s harvest. I enjoy splitting and stacking the firewood, putting the vegetable gardens to rest, rolling up the hoses and lighting the first fire in the wood stove. I know not everyone feels the same. What I find comfort in as we prepare for winter others see as sad reminders that the long joyful days of summer are coming to an end.

I admit there are some things that disappoint me at summer’s end. In particular, it is the closing up of our porch as the weather gets cooler, knowing that I won’t be spending my early mornings taking in the view as I do all summer long. Yet, as it has been said, “every new beginning comes at some other beginning’s end” and so in this transitional time, I see the coming autumn and winter as opportunity for something new. For one, I have a stack of books I purchased over the summer just waiting for me to sit by the wood stove and enter into a world of insight recorded on the pages.

Our dog, Bentley, has come out of his summer lethargy of lying under the ceiling fan with minimal outdoor time once the heat set in. On these cooler days he has transformed into being playful and laying on the driveway a good part of the day. He’s a whole new dog!

Change – whether it is the change of the seasons or a shift from one thing to another requires something of us. I think of that in light of where we find ourselves in these deeply challenging times as we struggle with a pandemic, with the disturbing awareness that hatred and violence have increasingly come out in the open again and that our environment, our precious home, aches from continued abuse.

Change. We can accept it or deny it, but we cannot stop it. Change happens. And when that change is filled with negativity and mistrust, we can find our voice to speak up about a better way. We can take action to demonstrate what it good and hope-filled. Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Here’s the change I am wishing to see: immeasurable kindness, unity in striving for the common good, solidarity in abolishing injustice and inequality, respect, love, peace, harmony….. all things that bring humanity together for the betterment of all.

The changing of the seasons if one thing, the changing of the heart is another. Today, as we stand on the threshold of fall and the coming winter, I will keep the promises of spring and summer alive in my thoughts and actions. I will look to sow a seed of kindness wherever I can in the hope that it will take root and flourish in the springtime awakening of another heart. I am making a pledge to not only wish for change in our world, but to do my best in being that change more and more. I hope you will join me in whatever way you can. Together we can make a difference. Together we will be the difference.

 

Peace,

Doretta

August 27, 2020

Dear Church Family and Friends,

Today, I am overwhelmed with emotion in the wake of continuing examples of racism and violence. I am angry, disappointed, disgusted and disheartened! The perpetual hatred driven by ignorance and greed is beyond my comprehension. I just don’t understand. This is not okay. Yet, I will not be discouraged for the only way toward change is to keep moving forward; to keep calling out wrong by standing up for what it good and right.

This is who we are called by faith to be – bearers of justice, of love, of change, of hope. And since we are called to carry these honorable attributes into the world wherever we are, in some manner, action is required of us beyond shaking our heads in agreement. We need to ask ourselves what that action looks like personally. It will no doubt be different from one person to the next as we use whatever abilities, talents and experiences we possess. But it is absolute that action is required of every one of us no matter who we are, what our age and what our ability.

In the Old Testament book of Micah 6:8 the prophet says: "What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." All of this depends on our embrace of Christian love that envelops every human being.

May we garner encouragement and strength to find our place in our communities and in our world as witnesses of that love in all that we say and in all that we do.

God’s plan for the kingdom of love to abide on earth includes our part in making that happen.

Blessings and peace,

Doretta

August 25, 2020

Dear Church Family and Friends,

One of the most beautiful views we have from our hillside perch is the morning fog lifting from all the low-lying areas of lakes and streams and rivers. It is a breathtaking sight! One that is equally magnificent every time. Most in this lake region have some experience of nature’s unveiling of the new day, especially as the moisture rises off the lakes – Earth’s delicately balanced water cycle of condensation, evaporation, transpiration, and precipitation.

This morning condensation is dripping off our roof and as I look at the hills the rising moisture defines each with a halo of white haze like a washed out white line. It doesn’t last long as the sun climbs over the horizon and the warming air creates a breeze. I always thought that if I were an artist I would attempt to capture the beauty of this ever-changing landscape of color and beauty, particularly the magic of mornings like this.

On occasions when the fog is thick and visibility barely reaches the other side of our pasture, I am reminded of times in our lives when we might feel that we are emotionally, even spiritually in a fog, not sure of what lies ahead. We might even be uncertain about where we are in those moments – lost, alone, stuck without a vision forward.

Those times in our lives are undeniably difficult. I’ve been there and I would guess that you’ve had your own similar experiences. What helps to pull me out of the fog of life is the promise that we are never alone, that the Divine Love we have faith in tells us so and when we trust in that promise our eyes are opened to that truth.

Here is a passage that has always lifted me when I have felt caught in that place where my vision has not been as clear. It comes from Psalm 139. “O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up, you discern my thoughts from far away. Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, your right hand shall hold me fast…. Even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.”

Faith is trusting that the way forward is there even when we are not able to fully recognize or see it.

Blessings,

Doretta

August 19, 2020

Dear Friends and Church Family,

The other day I sowed carrot and arugula seeds in our high tunnel greenhouse setting the stage for early spring carrots and arugula through the winter. There was something so rewarding while in the midst of harvesting squash, tomatoes and all the wonderful garden bounty to also be sowing seeds with the promise of future harvests. 

That awareness spoke volumes to me as I considered the places we find ourselves in this moment in our history and the promise of better, freer days ahead. It also spoke to me of patience and diligence. As much as I would like to have those carrots and arugula now to fill the gap in between, no wishful thinking will make them come sooner and without my care in keeping them weed-free they will not flourish. So I must wait and I must be diligent about weeding and watering.

In that same vein we, in our current situation with the pandemic (a word we are surely tired of hearing!), need to give consideration to the same – patience and diligence. As a community and especially as a faith community, we grow ever stronger when we demonstrate our unity in care, compassion and love for one another, when the common good is lifted up as a model of discipleship and we make choices that, while they are difficult, are the best choice for all. I say this not only about re-gathering in worship, but also in our daily decisions.

When Jesus was asked which were the greatest commandments, he answered by combining two lessons for life that all humanity would benefit from: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.” When love is at the center of our lives, the driving force for all that we do, in the decisions we make and the actions we take, then we see that our self is not set apart, but a collaboration of all life and spirit.

May we find the strength within as we face these days when impatience to return to “normal” challenges us to search ever deeper for what is just and right for all.

Blessings,

Doretta

August 11, 2020

Dear Friends and Church Family,

At first light each morning, as night transitions to day, our hummingbird feeders are already teeming with activity. Two of the feeders are suction-cupped to our porch windows and one in the kitchen window on the back of the house. Our advantage point is perfect for observation and we watch regularly. There has been an increase in vying for the feeders among the birds. It seems the chasing away and darting from nearby perch to feeder has stepped up in volume recently and perhaps it has to do with this time of preparation.

Mary Holland, in her post, Naturally Curious, tells us that the hummingbirds, in getting ready for their journey across the Gulf of Mexico, are “nearly doubling their weight from about 3.25 grams to 6 grams.” It’s no wonder we are refilling the feeders more often lately. In some cases these tiny creatures of beauty will take a “500-mile nonstop flight over 18-22 hours.” How amazing is that!

Considering the preparation these hummingbirds are making, I started wondering about how we prepare for our days – not packing bags for a long journey – but preparing ourselves for everyday. What gives us nourishment for our daily journeys? What feeds us physically, emotionally and spiritually so that we are prepared for what comes our way? What we take into our bodies and minds matters. Making healthy choices, keeping a positive outlook, trusting in our faith that assures us of hope – these give us the strength we need everyday to live vibrant, purposeful and fulfilling lives.

If you don’t already, you might consider taking a few minutes each morning to reflect on positive thoughts/words that will feed your body, mind and spirit. Meditating, praying, reading and even observing the beauty of our natural world in wonder around you is bound to give you a meaningful start and will fuel you with good energy that will last throughout the day. It’s a great way to begin and then when you tune into the news and face the challenges each day may bring you can do so with a much healthier perspective and attitude.

Refuel your life each day with food for your journey that feeds your soul with hope.

In faith,

Doretta

August 5, 2020

Dear Friends and Church Family,

Yesterday morning the sunrise was extraordinary. The low ceiling of gray clouds were touched with lavender and pink. The increasing golden glow from the rising sun made it okay to be up at 5 a.m. even if I was not fully awake!

In quiet reflection the word “one” came to mind. As I mulled it over in my thoughts, I become aware of how different its meaning can be. It can stand for our individualism – I am one, unique and standing alone. It can represent solidarity – we stand together as one in purpose and action. Both of these have their place and both can coexist. We possess our own uniqueness and at the same time join together in common cause. We are one, but not alone. We are one, but not set apart. We are one within the whole of humanity. It is this oneness that envelops my thoughts and with it hope for a world of harmony and peace.

These words of John Donne, the English poet and Anglican cleric have stuck with me ever since I read them back in high school: “No man is an Island, entire of it self; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main.” He penned them in 1624 and though power and greed continue to challenge such thought those words speak truth still today. We are deeply interconnected with one another and adding to that, our environment of which we are a part.

Desmond Tutu said it well: “Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another.”

This morning, like yesterday morning with its beautiful sunrise welcomed another day. In between was the rain and wind that knocked power out for many in our community, but still the sun rose on a new day and with it opportunity. We have the change to lift ourselves out of the storm and into the promise of a new enlightened perspective of how God inspires us to live together in harmony with one another, celebrating our uniqueness and discovering joy in community.

Blessings,

Doretta

July 29, 2020

Dear Friends and Church Family,

 

If there is one thing about farming that I find tedious and exhausting it is trying to keep up with the weeds. I say “trying” because you never get ahead of them! It is a regular routine, at least it ought to be, except I never am able to have that sort of schedule. Instead, I do what I can in the moment, then come back to weed again when the opportunity or necessity arises. It is usually the latter – necessity – that drags me out into the vegetable and flower beds to separate the weeds from those things I planted. Sometimes that is not very easy to do and I risk losing my perennials as I uproot those invasive unwanted weeds. But alas, it gets done one way or another.

 

When we stop to consider our lives and what is growing in the gardens of our hearts, minds and souls we are led to recognize some interesting correlations. Though we strive to plant positive, well-balanced, healthy and peaceful thoughts we always find ourselves challenged by worries, fears, doubts and a host of the negative that attempt to sow discord within. The blossoming hopes, promising dreams, and faith-filled plans we have sown require our diligent attention as it is natural for weeds to wander in and take hold. In this case, my when-I-can-get-to-it efforts of weeding will not do. Instead, I realized a long time ago that the garden within requires day-to-day support in order to flourish and remain healthy.

One of the invasive vines that has slowly crept its way in among my flowers is bindweed. I think it is also known as wild morning glory and while it has a beautiful pink flower that can dupe one into falling for its appearance, in a flowerbed it quickly wraps itself around anything growing near it, binding it up and choking it out. It takes a regular routine of weeding to keep it under control.

 

On a personal level, staying in touch with our faith, our spiritual selves, through meditation, prayer and reflective thought is about keeping clear our personal gardens of those things that inhibit our wellbeing and spiritual growth.

As we face these days of great change that bring equal challenge, may we work ever harder on building and nourishing the positive within that sustains us and promises hope for our lives. 

 

Blessings,

Doretta

July 23, 2020

Dear Friends and Church Family,

 

Here’s another weeding the garden story – an activity I do more than I’d like! The other day I spotted two caterpillars munching down on the leaves of a young milkweed that had found its way among my flowers in my perennial garden. I immediately recognized them as those that would become monarch butterflies so chose not to disturb them. As I continued to work around them my mind went to a story I heard once about two boys who upon finding a cocoon with an emerging butterfly decided to slit the cocoon in what they thought was an effort to help. What emerged was a butterfly with a plump body and wings that never were fully developed. It turns out that the process of emerging from the cocoon is critical for the butterfly’s complete development.

I think about that in light of what we are going through as a church community right now. Without a doubt it has been hard not to gather in worship for such a long time. There is something special when we come together on Sunday – a spiritual, renewing energy that washes over us through the elements of our worship service and simply being side by side. It has left a gaping whole that we are filling in a variety of ways that have helped ease the sense of loss we feel. We’ve recorded sermons, scripture readings, music and now a “virtual” choir! We have gathered for friendship and conversation several times on Zoom. In the front of the church is the heart we made for our float last year and a message board on how folks can find us on the internet. We are in a time of transition that has offered us a tremendous opportunity for renewal and growth. As part of our mission statement we seek to reach out to our community. We are doing that in ways that we previously had not considered and are now reaching many even beyond our immediate community!

Still, we are eager to get back “doing” church the way we have for years, but the reality we is that when we go back to church it will likely be different. While that may seem sad and disappointing, we can also look at it as an exciting opportunity to worship together in new ways that we have never explored before. I am sure you have experienced a resistance to change that in the end opened up new and wonderful doors in your life. So it can be with church.

Until then, the most important thing we need to remember as people of faith, as followers of Jesus’ teachings, is just because our sanctuary doors are closed for now, that does not mean our faith and action are on hold. I’ve said it before: we are the living church outside our sanctuary serving wherever and whenever we can in our communities.

This is a time of growth in our personal and spiritual lives. It is a time that challenges us to look at church through new lenses. It is a time that asks us to consider how we can continue to live our faith actively and meaningfully. It is a time from which we can emerge as something new and beautiful discovering ways to be the church, to be the people of God’s love through significant ways we may never have considered before.

Blessings on this journey,

Doretta

July 14, 2014

Dear Friends and Church Family,

The rock outcropping in the cove just beyond our cottage has been commonly known as “Turtle Rock” for as long as anyone around here can recall. When the tide is up you can see how it got its name. It resembles a larger-than-life turtle floating as it suns itself in the shallows. At low tide you can walk out to stand on its back and many a visitor to the island does just that. There is something intriguing about traversing seaweed-laden rocks and soft muddy sand that are underwater more than half the day. A secret pathway exposed to those who are patient enough to watch and wait.

We have a ringside seat observing those who ascend and descend over the slippery seaweed covered rocks. I’ve noticed the differences in those that use caution and others that eagerly embrace the scramble up and down. Generally speaking, my observance is age-related – the wise of age being familiar with the discomfort of a misplaced foot, while the less experienced of age throwing caution to the wind.

There is definitely something to be said in regard to the wisdom of proceeding with caution on slippery rocks and other potentially hazardous pathways – literally and figuratively. But all too often our tentativeness, that we convince ourselves is about being wise, may be holding us back from taking important steps forward on a number of paths that can improve life for ourselves and others.

Trust can be a bit nerve wracking, yet it is directly related to growth and freedom from negative restraints that cloud our vision forward. In Matthew 14 a story is told of Jesus’ invitation to Peter, one of his followers, to step out of the boat and join him in walking on the water. All is well and good until Peter takes his eyes off his goal and instead begins to notice the wind and the waves. In that moment he stops trusting. Doubt takes over and his very fear becomes a reality – he begins to sink. Jesus’ out stretched hand that lifts him out redirects Peter’s focus on the possibilities once again. “Oh you of little faith, why do you doubt” are the words that seal the story.

The message is there for us to learn from – trust over doubt; confidence over fear. May we take this to heart as we consider the steps we set out to take along our life journeys individually and in community.

In faith,

Doretta

July 10, 2020

Dear Friends and Church Family,

The rain had driven me indoors three times. Just when I thought I could venture out and finish the task I started, the thunder rolled and the rain began to come down. A heavy mist at first that I thought I could work through, but then the soaking downpour. After three tries, I decided to work on indoor projects instead. There is always plenty to do!

Ted and I have our “staff meetings” over morning coffee reviewing what each other’s plans are for the day. It’s amazing how often those plans change in a heartbeat on the farm – an animal needs special attention, an opportunity presents itself that we’ve been waiting for, the tractor breaks down, a sudden change in weather. The list goes on. You know what I’m saying. It isn’t just on the farm that these things happen. Unexpected change is part of being alive! How we respond and react sets the tone for whether we move forward or allow these changes to stall us or render us helpless.

This doesn’t mean we have to like the sudden changes that alter our course, but after we stomp our feet, shout out our frustration, wipe away the tears, how we take the next steps forward matters. We can either fall backward or fall forward – leaning into our challenges. The core of our inner selves, our faith, our guiding principles offer to us what we need to lean in and turn our challenges into opportunities.

In Ephesians 5:8 – Paul tells the early church “for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light.” Being Light is living with the awareness of the Spirit within us that provides wisdom and strength for our journeys and in so doing results in positive actions. Galatians 5:22 defines those for us: “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

As we find our way through these turbulent times in our world, as we face personal challenges we hadn’t counted on, may we lean into our faith, embrace the Spirit within ourselves and move forward in confidence and strength. We may not always be able to choose what happens around and to us, but we can choose how we respond.

In faith,

Doretta

It’s enough that our whole country and world seem to be shaken up with unrest, let alone have the earth literally move beneath our feet! Of course, there is no need for worry in regards to Waterford’s minor earthquake, but there absolutely is 1 concern for the divisiveness that we are witnessing in these days. It is made harder still, by the pandemic that keeps us more physically and necessarily apart. While we are not joining together face-to-face, we most certainly are invited to come together heart-to-heart in a movement that carries the banner of LOVE that unites ALL people, that stands for right over wrong, kindness over cruelty, hope over fear.

July 7, 2020

Dear Friends and Church Family,

 Perhaps you noticed or heard that at 2:23 a.m. on Saturday there was a 2.1 earthquake in Maine with its epicenter in WATERFORD! I was clueless about it, though I did get up briefly around that time. Whether it triggered my getting up or not, I don’t know, but my sister, Sharon, heard and felt it – a bang and shake of the house. She got up and looked around. All was quiet and so she went back to bed. It wasn’t until morning that she saw the news and realized that’s what she experienced – an earthquake in Waterford!

Our faith is a constant reminder that unity is the only way forward. The common good is the only means toward growth and prosperity. Therefore, may we take up this cause that offers light and hope for our future by lifting ever higher the values that bring us together in compassion and love.

From 1 Corinthians 13:7-8a “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”

 

I invite you to share with me your stories of hope and strength that are helping you through these days. Email me at colburndoretta@gmail.com.

 

Peace and love,

Doretta

May 30, 2020

Dear Friends and Family,

The drops of rain dancing on the roof were a welcome sound this morning. Their gentle pattern assured me that our driveway wasn’t getting washout again by another deluge, but rather a soft well-needed watering for our fields and gardens. This is the second day of rain. I’m not complaining. The worries of a depleting well are eased and the parched earth is refreshed.

The assurance these wet days bring to the landscape serve as a reminder for me of hope. As the rain washes away the dust that has accumulated on flat surfaces and quenched the thirst of the dry ground filling puddles in which the birds drink and bathe, there is a sense of renewed hope not only for the environment, but also for ourselves. The clouds lift to reveal a clearer view, a brighter day of growth and promise. The sun’s rays that break through the clouds cast a richer landscape of lush greens, yellows and reds. I watch a tiny hummingbird perched atop a twig in a nearby bush as it sways gently in the morning breeze. Is it, too, feeling hopeful as the horizon becomes more visible?

Sometimes, it takes being in the rain, the darker days to see more earnestly what the days of sunlight and clearer skies have to offer. I find that to be true about life in general. There is a rebirth that unfolds every time we move from the darkness into the light, an opportunity for renewal. Being aware of that truth brings strength and courage, especially as we hold on to the promise of brighter days yet to come. Yet, there is truth, as well that even within the dark and gray clouds that loom around us there are moments of inspiration that cast the light of hope.

We are in such a place now with worry about all that is happening in our country. We yearn to be less divided on many levels and joined together in making our world one of peace, health, harmony, justice and love. I won’t give up on that dream, but I also won’t say that it doesn’t come without hard work because it does. Yet, I believe we have it within ourselves to be the force of hope that brings us together, that builds bridges, that scales mountains of obstacles, that lays the groundwork for love and peace.

 

May we continue the work that the following passage spoke of Jesus’ life …“to give light to those who sit in darkness … to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:79

In Constant Hope,

Doretta

June 25, 2020

Dear Friends & Family,

The stillness of the early morning is my favorite part of the day. The first light silhouettes the curve of the hills to the east. Birdsong begins with one melody then another until a chorus declares the new day has arrived. Sometimes the air is still, but this morning the breeze makes the tree branches gently wave as if to join in a dance along with the increasing birdsong. Even the woodchuck that has settled into a rock wall below the barn stretches out as if to watch the sunlight cast a golden glow on the hills beyond defining their slopes. That same glow rests on the open window over the barn door beginning the day-long flit of swallows in and out in countless flights.

It occurs to me that the “stillness” of the early morning is not really all that still, but rather nearly void of human sound. The trucks and cars haven’t begun their daily journeys along the newly paved road. The sounds of lawnmowers or phones or voices have not yet broken through the air. Instead, the “stillness” of morning that fills my soul is made up of the call of natural things tiptoeing at first across the dawn until the air is filled with both audible and visible beauty that only nature can inspire.

It is in such moments, I find renewal. Without the clutter of the day having yet broken through the chorus I can think more clearly, see more vividly, hear and feel the wonder that is everywhere to be known around me. This time helps me put in perspective the looming challenges that sit like dark clouds on the horizon, the hard decisions needing to be made, the awareness of my place and role within the whole of this life. Wonder. Gratitude. Hope. Peace.

 

The sunrise crests the hill. Its brilliance brightens the whole porch where I sit. One more cup of coffee. One more deep inhale of goodness and thankfulness. Filled. Recharged. Renewed. I’m ready to embrace the day.

One of my favorite hymns, I Sing the Might Power of God, captures the awe and wonder that brings me joy and assurance. It was written by Isaac Watts in 1715.

   I sing the mighty pow’r of God, that made the mountains rise,

   That spread the flowing seas abroad, and built the lofty skies.

   I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day;

   The moon shines full at His command, and all the stars obey.

 

   I sing the goodness of the Lord, who filled the earth with food,

   Who formed the creatures through the Word, and then pronounced them good.

   Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, where’er I turn my eye,

   If I survey the ground I tread, or gaze upon the sky.

   

   There’s not a plant or flow’r below, but makes Thy glories known,

   And clouds arise, and tempests blow, by order from Thy throne;

   While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care;

   And everywhere that we can be, Thou, God, art present there.

Peace,

Doretta

May 23, 2020

Dear Friends and Family,


Frequently, in the heat of summer I will sleep on the porch where the night air is cooler. Two nights ago I was into a deep sleep when Bentley barked and woke me up. It was about 3 a.m.! I’m still not sure what disturbed him, but I ended up being grateful because when I looked out into the darkness of the night, I saw a most beautiful sight. Fireflies were everywhere! Initially, in my sleepy state of being, they appeared like burning embers floating in the air. I sat up and watched in amazement for a little while before need for more sleep beckoned me to close my eyes.

 

As they dotted the dark night with flashes of light, presumably a part of their mating ritual, I considered the glimpses of light that we can be in the dark moments of our world joining in community to create places of hope and beauty. How often the church has been referred to as a beacon of hope in the world. Symbolically, the building can be when we look on it to consider its history and its future. More importantly, we who make up the church are given the opportunity each day to share the light that we possess.


With everything that is going on in our country today, there is much that is calling to us to reflect and act on as those who believe in a circle of love that includes all people and all of creation. For me, some of the best times of reflection can be in my garden while I’m weeding or sitting looking out at the hills from my Adirondack chair. It usually includes being outdoors where there are no walls, the floor is the blessed Earth and the ceiling is the endless sky. Indeed, some of my best thoughts and awareness come to me in such places.

 

I am reminded of the beautifully maintained Meditation Garden we have behind the church that offers such opportunity to anyone who wishes to use it. Yet, whether it is outdoors or in your favorite corner of the room, I invite you to take time to pray, meditate and reflect on how the Spirit is moving you in these days.

 

Be still and listen. Discover how God is using the light in you to shine hope into our world. And perhaps visit the Meditation Garden. It just might be there that you will recognize more fully the gift of light that you are.


Blessings,
Doretta


Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world.” 

June 16, 2020

Dear Friends and Family,

So much in our world is changing around us at a rapid pace. Many of us feel uncontrollably drawn to the news in order to check in on the latest circumstances affecting our health, our climate, and our humanity. Like shifting sand beneath our feet the changes come with one headline and then another leaving our heads spinning and our hearts weary. I’m grateful we don’t have a television to pull me in! Instead, I read the news and have begun guarding how much I read – enough to know what’s happening, but not so much that I become locked in to what seems like a perpetual rollercoaster of ups and downs, twists and turns that I am left with my head spinning and my stomach churning. Too much of that and daily life begins to feel deeply overwhelming! My guard against that downward spiral is to read to be informed, to be aware of what is happening enough to know and decide how that knowledge impacts my life, my values and in turn, what does my knowing require of me.

I think of the scripture in which Jesus uses the story of the *WISE and FOOLISH BUILDERS – one who builds his house on a rock and the other who builds on sand. When the storms come and beat against the house, the one built on the rock remains, yet the one built on sand washes away. It’s in Matthew 7:24-27 – a worthy read in these times. It is a reminder of the strength and hope that is ours when we choose to build our lives on the foundation of love and all that such love means to our living faithfully and positively in an ever challenging world.

In Faith,

Doretta

*The WISE and FOOLISH BUILDERS

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 

25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 

27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Dear Friends and Family,

 

I found this prayer and hope that it will be meaningful to you as it has been for me. As we move forward each day, may we find strength in our faith and the knowledge that we walk together in the common cause for justice, peace and harmony throughout our lives and across the world.

For All That Is Our Life  By Liz Weber

 

Spirit of Life,
help us to be present with all that is our life,
both our deepest sorrows and our greatest joys,
so that we can truly live:
engaging fully in our own life and in our community.

Spirit of Community,
Help us know how linked we are,
how each one of our cares touches us all.
Help us to ask for support when we are in need,
and offer our support to others when we are able,
so that we may rest in the solace of one another's love.

Spirit of Love,
And help us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves,
so that we might fully embody love and resist hatred.

Spirit of Resistance,
help us to stick up for what is right, 
even when we are tired or afraid.
Help us to dream of the world as it should be
and act to bring that world about.
Help us to find hope each day.

Spirit of Hope,
Help us through this day and each day.
Help us to be present for all that is our life.

For all this we pray;
amen and blessed be.

 

Peace, Doretta

May 10. 2020

Dear Friends and Family,

 

Today, I begin with the following scripture that has given me great strength throughout my life. I find it a powerful reminder in these days to stay the course in the pursuit of justice.

 

Hebrews 12:1-2

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

 

One of the comments I have been hearing a great deal in the midst of peaceful protests and the push for reform, is “will this last; will this be the time for real and significant change?” I sure hope so! It requires perseverance and the commitment to examine the brokenness that has created such disparity in our society, as well as consider what might be our own role in it. Admittedly, this is all very hard to pursue and sets the stage for a defeatist attitude expressed in ways that suggest the situation is too big, too overwhelming to tackle. That might seem true, but rest assured, nothing has ever changed without hard work and dedication. We have the strength to move forward. We know that equality is a necessity for the benefit of all. It is written into our faith. It is part of who we say we are as Christians – everyone matters, all are important, fairness and opportunity are not restricted to a few, but to all. The love and grace we value in our faith applies to every human being. Let us then put our faith into action through our words and what we do every single day, expressing our sincerity to do our part in whatever form we can. Let us set our vision on the great goal of justice and equality for all and when the road seems daunting and the way overwhelming, hold fast to our faith and our shared mission to bring about change and be the change that we might celebrate that change with one another.

 

Blessings and peace,

 

Doretta

May 6, 2020

Dear Friends and Family,

 

When I was in fourth grade, I saw one of my classmates knockdown another while calling her the “n” word. Immediately, my teacher stepped in and recess was over. But it wasn’t until I got home and explained to my mother what I saw that she revealed the ugly truth of racism and prejudice. Up to that point I didn’t see color. Karen was a good friend. The dark color of her skin never factored in to our playing together. Over the years I have thought about what it must have been like for her and her family. They and their relatives were the only families of color in our “white” town.

 

That brief moment has been etched into my memory all these years. The ache in my stomach when my mother explained to me what took place has never gone away. Time and time again, we hear, we witness, we read and sometimes we ourselves may even speak racism in subtle ways that we aren’t even aware of – so much is part of our culture, imbedded in our society. And then, the unspeakable happens like George Floyd and we reel from the reality of deep hatred and racism that is still so prevalent in our society. We say to ourselves, “this time it will be different. This time we will work to fix our broken system that perpetuates such inequality. It’s about time.”

 

And it is about time we make that change. As people of faith, as followers of Jesus’ principles of justice and equality, it is our duty to act. Above everything else, we are called to make a positive difference in our world. So let us act beginning today by:

Becoming aware and sensitive to the subtle racism around us

Pushing for change that demonstrates equality for all

Calling out racism where we see it and demanding better

Using our positions of privilege to influence positive change

We have the capacity within to change this world for the better, to build bridges, to tear down barriers, to unite our voices in common purpose. Let us not only pray for change, but be that change.

 

Blessings, 

Doretta

June 2, 2020

Dear Friends and Family,

Over these past few days, I have grown even more deeply disturbed. The chaos in our country continues to escalate and exposes, more than ever, our need to come together for the common good. Those two words I do not use lightly. It is essential and the central point of our faith. My Sunday “armchair sermon” was about that. We celebrated what Pentecost means to us as Christians – the birthday of the “church”. 

 

Over the years history has limited the meaning of “church” to define a structure, a building in which we typically gather with a spire that points to heaven. As historical and beautiful as that is, we cannot forget that WE are the living church in our communities. With that comes the responsibility to carry out the message our faith lifts up – the message of love. There is no color code to love, no criteria that excludes, no justification for injustice. Our faith is about one thing – creating a circle of love that includes everyone. Judgment has no place. Judgment is driven by greed and power. Our faith is driven by love alone. While there have been similar moments in our history when the sounds and actions of love and justice have been greatly needed, this is our moment in our movement of love to raise that banner higher than ever.

 

This is our wakeup call to dig deeper into our actions as followers of Jesus! He once said, when asked which commandment was the most important, “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” And then he said there are two others as equally important: “love your neighbor as yourself. On these hang all the law.” We cannot love God in any other way. Today, I pray from the depths of my soul for peace and love to prevail. I hope you will join me in that prayer.

 

Peace, love and hope,

Doretta

May 29, 2020

Dear Family and Friends, 

 

Recently, when we were at the coast I took some time to sit on a rock looking out from the cove taking in the solitude. The rhythm of the waves, the sounds, the smells, the cool damp air, brought a sense of tranquility and peace. An osprey flew overhead then, in another moment a diving duck emerged through the glassy surface and sent a ripple of waves that arced out from the center in an ever- expanding circle.

 

My observation turned to contemplation as I considered the ripple effect our actions have on our world, on one another. Immediately, positive examples come to mind – ways that what we say and do make meaningful differences in the lives of others.

 

Our faith reminds us that what we do has great implications on building a world of justice, kindness and peace. May we become intently aware of how who we are and what we do makes a world of difference.

 

The saying – “be the change you want to see in the world” is worth repeating as a mantra for our lives.


Blessings,
Doretta

May 21, 2020

Dear Friends and Family,

The signboard on the Waterford Common now reads “Be Still, Find Peace”. 

 

This is an in between time that has powerful potential for our lives. In ways I see this wilderness time much like the season of Lent that was ending just before we stopped going to church. Then it was an event on the Christian Calendar that we were invited to contemplate each in our own way as we desired. This wilderness experience that we are going through now we did not invite into our lives, yet it is here. How we choose to use this time can greatly deepen our spiritual strength. Psalm 46:10 reads: “Be still and know that I am God.” In this moment in time, when we are asked to stay physically apart from one another, we can use as a time of spiritual closeness that builds us up in faith and inner wellbeing; a time to contemplate our life journey – the spiritual path we walk in harmony with all of life. Our ability to use this time to rest, renew and reshape our lives offers invaluable lessons for what our future holds individually and for our world.

While stillness may be difficult for some, it is an important avenue for personal growth, especially when we trust that within that stillness the incredible presence of all that God is joins us in that space and moment. We might be apart, but we are not alone.

May you find peace in the stillness today and in the days that lie before you.

Blessings,

Doretta

May 19, 2020

Dear Friends and Family,

When I am in need of peace and solace, when the challenges of this life weigh heavily on me and I become overwhelmed, I consider the words from John 14:27 – “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: I do not give to you as the world gives. Let not your hearts be troubled, do not let them be afraid.” They offer inner tranquility and help me see beyond this moment’s troubles to the amazing assurance of God’s loving presence in all things and at all times. How easy it is to get side tracked and pulled down by negative thoughts. Still our faith reminds us again and again that we are not in this alone, but that God, the incredible presence of divine love as witnessed in all goodness, takes every step forward with us. Our task is to open ourselves up to that awareness and when we begin to see goodness around us, we will start to see it everywhere from the loving acts of kindness and care among people to the marvelous works of nature.

Just last week a hummingbird came to our porch window and hovered looking in. It happens every year if I don’t get the feeders out by the time they return for the summer. I smiled and chuckled at the reminder and went off to make the sugar water and hang the feeders immediately! It brings to mind the subtle and not so subtle reminders that God continually places throughout our days of peace and love and hope and joy.

I invite you today wherever you are emotionally, spiritually and physically to rest in the assurance of divine love and allow peace to wash over and embrace you.

“I am holding you in the palm of my hands.” Isaiah 41:13

 

Blessings upon blessings this day and always,

Doretta

May 15, 2020

Dear Family and Friends,

 

Writer Max Ehrmann wrote Desiderata in 1927. I imagine you might know it.  For the whole piece you can easily “google” it, but for today I want to pull out a few lines for us to reflect on.

“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,…

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

Rest in those words for a moment. Take in the deep resolve, peace and sense of contentment they impart. Consider the blessings of your life, of this moment and lift them up with gratitude and joy. Ninety-three years ago Erhmann penned these words. They are just as profound today, as is our faith in unending love and hope.

Blessings,

Doretta

May 13, 2020

Dear Friends and Family,

I find so much inspiration on my early morning walks around our farm with Bentley, our Bernese Mountain Dog. Today a slight chilly breeze and a bit of frost announced that winter has not released its grip entirely, but the promise is there in the cherry blossoms and the resilient daffodils that have withstood being covered by snow last Saturday only to rebound and dance once again in the wind – vibrant yellow.  

 

These sights always move me to reflect on the deeper message of hope and wonder that they inspire. We are surrounded by incredible beauty and remarkable resilience wherever we look in nature. When my eyes are opened to them, I am always moved to recognize those same qualities within the human soul.

 

We will overcome these days and move more freely in our world again and when we do may we remember the lessons of love and hope, of inner peace and calm, of community and compassion that we are witnessing every day. And while we watch and wait, in responsible actions of safety, let us hold on to our faith that assures us again and again that hope never fails and love never abandons.

Let us be that hope and love today for one another.

Blessings and peace,

Doretta

May 8, 2020

Dear Friends and Family,

This morning I woke up to the moon setting over the hill behind our home. I bundled up to face the wind and cold to venture out and stand in awe and wonder. It was breathtakingly beautiful – full and a stark white that I had not seen before. I kept moving around the farm to keep it in view for a little longer until at last it dropped slowly down behind the hill and became to me a memory I will not forget. As I turned away, totally caught up in the moment of natural beauty and a bit disappointed the experience ended so quickly, I was in awe once again as I faced the sun rising a little to the north of Rice Hill. Caught in the middle of those moments, I realized that such is the flow of life – one experience ends only to open us up to a new experience, a new day filled with all the promise of possibility and hope.

This day is your new day. Embrace it with fresh wonder. See in it the beauty, the hope, the promise that it brings to you. Share that goodness as a gift to those you encounter today wherever you find yourself (social distancing, of course). The world will be a better place when awe and wonder, love and hope become the rhythm of our days.

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
― W.B. Yeats

Blessings and peace,

Doretta

5/5/2020

Dear Friends and Family,

I watch my chickens in the wind this morning. As soon as I open their coop they rush out into the day and immediately start pecking the ground – scratch and peck, scratch and peck. They’ve scooted off behind the house where they are a bit more sheltered from the cold wind. Before I put up the fencing to protect my raised bed, they “worked” beside me as I prepped the soil. I used my hand rake and dandelion weeder. They’d dive in for the bugs and worms! I think they thought it was teamwork, but I cringed every time considering the loss of one more worm in my garden!

For the most part they stick together, sometimes scattering about across the lawn, but never far apart and and always with their coop in sight – their safely zone. Lulu, our one guinea hen, seems to have taken charge of the flock and often is seen sitting separately, but watching the rest and calling out warnings when danger is near.

They are entertaining to watch and on occasion I catch glimpses of ourselves in their behavior. There’s the sticking close together for the safety of all, the occasional scuffle over a worm or bug, and their finding shelter under the lilac from a storm. There are also some pretty negative behaviors that chickens have inspired names to like “hen-pecked” and “pecking order” that I will stay away from in this reflection.

Quite simply this morning, their togetherness holds a message of solidarity that binds them as one flock and makes me hope for the solidarity that holds us together in these difficult times. Jesus’ teachings have always taught that everyone matters, that love is the most important value above everything else, that the common good is always better than individual desires.

If there is one thing this pandemic has taught us, it ought to be how important our coming together for the benefit of all is the most important thing we can do. The strength of community can overcome adversity.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller

Blessings and peace,

Doretta

May 1, 2020

Dear Friends and Family,

I’m exhausted these days! Yes, I’ve been working hard, especially now that the growing season has really kicked in, but it isn’t the physical exhaustion that I’m feeling. Rather, it is the emotional tiredness of this moment in life – day in and day out worrying about our loved ones, our own well being, our country and world. The hours we spend with the news, hoping always for something dramatic to happen that would make our circumstances better and put the past behind us. We want nothing short of a miracle and if we stop and take notice we will see that unfolding around us. Okay, it’s not the sudden disappearance of the virus, but it is the incredible coming together of community to stand side-by-side in compassion and love. It is the deep breaths the Earth is able to take in this time of decreased environmental impact as we stay at home and close to home. In life we learn that there are always some things we cannot control, but there are others that we can and those are the lessons I pray we are able to take away from this time that is touching everyone throughout our world.

 

May you find rest in the embrace of peace and hope on this first day of May 2020 and know that you are not alone.

Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

Blessings,

Doretta

April 28, 2020

Dear Friends and Family,

Yesterday morning I had a lovely conversation with my oldest granddaughter, Norah. She lives in Connecticut and is often here on the farm every summer. We chatted about a whole lot of things from how she’s dealing with on line school work, missing friends, being at home with her younger siblings day in and day out and our lack of getting together. We didn’t dwell there though. She held an optimism that I needed to hear, a joy that resonated from her soul, a love that came from her heart and a confidence in better days to come.

I often wonder what today’s children will remember from this time, how they will be affected – in positive and negative ways, of course much of that has to do with the attitudes of those around them. It’s a matter of choice – embracing with hope our circumstances whatever they are or grumbling and complaining about them. An awakening to hope is ultimately what brings success and healing.

 

The signboard on the Common was changed today with these words: HOPE HOLDS THE FUTURE OF THE WORLD. Our next breath, the remainder of this day, and all of our tomorrows rest in the hope we cling to today. As our faith reminds us that we are not alone, may we convey the same to those around us today. When we do, they will not only be lifted, but we will as well.

 

Blessings and Hope,

Doretta

4/23//2020

 

Back in the day I was an avid runner and ran many 10K races in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. I vividly recall my very first race. It was a hot summer day. The 10K course ran along the shoreline and was relatively flat, but the heat off the pavement made the air temperature even hotter and like most novice runners, I started out too fast and paid the price the remainder of the race. I burned out early and though I crossed over the finish line, for the last few miles a race walker and I switched back and forth between last place. In the end, the race walker moved ahead motivated by the sight of the finish line and then I headed down the shoot and crossed over the line – dead last.

 

learned a few lessons that day – pace yourself, resist the voice in my head saying “give up” and gratitude for those who stuck around to cheer me across the line. That final lesson has had the greatest impact on my life – the support of others who could have gone home, but chose to stay and more than wait, offer up cheers that ushered me to my personal victory. How much the support of others, of community has given me strength and hope. The goal, the drive to reach for it, and the community of support along the way gives meaning and purpose for each of our lives. I am reminded of the passage in Hebrews 12:2: “Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of faith…”.

 

us not give in to discouragement then when the road gets more difficult and the way is hard to see. Instead, may we cling to the assurance when we strive for the principles of love and justice toward everyone and choose to walk gently on the Earth, through our strength and determination we will achieve our dreams, we will reach our goals.

Blessings today and always, 

Doretta

4/21/2020

Dear Friends and Family,

Yesterday I changed the signboard on the Waterford Common, yet again.

 

This time it reads “Be Strong, Stay Well”.

 

I chose those words because I hear more and more in people’s voices a growing restlessness. The pandemic has consumed our minds and our actions to the point that we all are growing weary, but that is just when we need to find the strength within to stay the course and stay together in spirit. 

 

In faith, we are called to place our trust in the one thing that can bring us together – love. That love asks of us to be patient with one another, to be compassionate and caring, to listen and to hear, and more than anything else recognize that we are in this together, not divided.

 

My prayer today and as we move ahead, is that the core of who we are as fellow sojourners through this life, though different and yet the same, will find us working toward a common goal for the common good. Our faith in action is to build strength and hope in community.

 

In faith and hope,

Doretta

4/17/2020

Dear Friends and Family:

I know that we are all beginning to feel antsy. We’re tired of being cooped up. We’re frustrated that we aren’t able to visit with friends and family the way we are accustomed to. In fact, we are grieving. We are grieving the loss of our sense of security and the freedoms we have grown so used to. And in our grief we need to know that we are here for each other – emotionally, spiritually. It’s been a month now and we are wanting it all to change tomorrow – the doors flung open and life to return to normal. Yet, that simply cannot be for now while we wait and do what we can to keep this awful virus at bay.

And so in our grief that makes us tired and irritable, unable to focus some days, may we be kind to ourselves and others, compassionate and forgiving. These are hard times, but within these times there is always hope that is ours to trust in and to share with one another.

Jesus said to his followers “Lo, I am with you always”. Indeed, that presence of love is with us constantly. May we take this time while we wait for the doors to be opened again to recognize that presence among us and may it impact how we choose to live beyond these days when we can walk over the threshold freely to live our lives more fully once again.  

Peace and calm,  Doretta

4/15/20

 

Today I changed the signboard on The Common to read – LOVE ABOVE ALL ELSE.

 

I think we need the reminder of love’s broad reach into the hearts of everyone and our world. As these lengthening days of our important “stay-at-home orders”, wear on each of us in different ways, I find solace in the compassion and care that continues to express itself wherever I turn.

Like my daffodils that were crushed by the snow that slid off the roof the other day only to shake it off and lift their heads again toward the sun, this moment in our history, as painful and heartbreaking as it is will not keep us from reaching for better days and even seeing within the suffering the beauty of love made real in compassionate care. It’s what our faith is founded on – “Love one another as I have loved you…” John 13:34

In Love & Peace,

Doretta

4/7 /20 

 

This week I changed the signboard on the Common to one of Hope.  I believe hope is the most powerful tool we possess as it give us strength and determination to bring about positive change.

 

During this Holy Week we are invited by our faith to look deep within ourselves that we might renew hope in the face of extraordinary love and grace.

 

Watch our Facebook posts and the church website  https://www.wccucc.com/maundy-thursday-x for recorded Maundy Thursday reflection and music, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

 

Blessings, Doretta

4/6/20

Dear Friends & Family,

There is no question that this is a strangely different Holy Week. None of us every expected at the beginning of our Lenten observances that its culmination would come amidst shelter-at-home orders that have us finding unique ways to practice our faith and stay connected.

 

This moment in time does not diminish Lent and this holy week between Palm Sunday and Easter, it rather enhances its significance in our lives as we are invited to examine our spiritual relationship and how we choose to live daily with compassion and kindness; how we make choices that find us walking gently on this Earth and leaving a legacy of love.

Traditionally, our Lenten journey finds us joining with the lessons of Jesus’ experience of darkness that lead up to the glory of Easter. It is uniquely dark this year and yet in that darkness, as we examine closely our living and believing, we have been given this opportunity to make positive changes that the resurrection story may become deeply personal and profound.

Let us walk together, side by side yet apart, through the spiritual darkness of this Holy Week and our current circumstances, holding on to the promise that there is always light in the darkness as revealed in the resurrection story.

 

In Faith,

Doretta

4/2/20

Dear Friends and Family,

Our time to stay at home is as important as ever. These next few weeks are critical for “flattening the curve” as the people in the know tell us and our best response is to do so. It’s not easy.

 

Most of us find great importance in our connection with one another, but that connection needs to take another form. It might be via phone, FaceTime, Zoom or a whole lot of other means (thank goodness for technology). We’ve been doing much of that ourselves lately like when we celebrated our grandson, William’s, 6th birthday on April 1st. How much we would have loved to be there with him. Instead, this year his grandparents, aunts and uncles came together via Zoom to sing Happy Birthday and watch him celebrate with his siblings and Mom and Dad.

 

I am reminded in these days that there are bright moments like those with William that shine through the dark and the grey. There are moments of love and compassion, of being “there” while being apart that can fill us with hope and peace.

 

Our faith speaks of love above all things and in this time that love is being revealed in deeply meaningful and powerful ways. I long for you to be able to see the brightness in your life and that it brings you a sense of peace and hope. You might even take a moment to write down for yourself a few reasons for gratitude today. For one thing, it helps to keep us focused on the goodness of life over that which drags us down.

Blessings,

Doretta

3/31/20

A few days ago a friend sent me a joke that Ted and I laughed so hard over that it brought us to tears. You know those breath-catching laughs that hurt your sides! Boy did we need that!

 

But in the middle of my tears of laughter a wave of sadness emerged and my tears gushed out the anguish built up inside me. I imagine you might know of what I speak. This time in our lives is without question one that challenges us on every level. Grief for the loss of our freedom, mobility, sense of safety; sorrow for the disconnectedness we feel from our families and friends – FaceTime and Zoom are great, but a bear hug, closeness would be more of what we need in this moment; fear about “what if”; anger – whether misplaced or not.

 

These are legitimate feelings and while we boldly and maybe not-so-boldly face them, it is important that we notice the goodness we see in the midst of these times. It is vital that we continue to look ahead toward better days for they will come and our planning for them offers us hope and strength to cope with today.

 

If you can, take time for a short walk and notice the buds on the trees, hear the birds singing, feel the warmth of the sun on your skin and let the beauty of nature fill your soul and ease your mind. We are so amazingly made that we can grieve and in the same moment know hope that sustains us with peace. Let us faith in God, in a higher being and purpose, bring comfort and assurance to you today and in the days ahead.

Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Peace and calm,

Doretta

3/27/20

We have within us the capacity to rise above our fears and anxieties by shifting our focus to hope. In hope there is the awareness that we can choose to maintain a positive attitude in every situation and take action to support our inner strength. Our hope allows us to be open to the reality that while we cannot control events outside of us, we have the power to control our actions.

Our faith invites us to live in that hope and trust in the lessons of love that transcends all things. Isaiah 49:16: “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;” When you feel overwhelmed today, allow yourself to imagine leaning back into the presence of God’s embracing love.

Peace & love, Doretta

3/25/20

In this season of Lent when we model Jesus’ time in the wilderness, which to him were the wilds of the desert, we are invited to look deep within ourselves at our relationship with God, with the Spirit that dwells within us and how that connection is made real in our daily lives.

 

This year has placed us in a wilderness of our own whether we intended to go or not. It is a place of worry and fear; a time that challenges our faith in ways we have not been challenged before. Some days we want to put our heads in the sand and hope that when we pull them out it is all behind us. It seems much too much to comprehend and to bear. Other days we get sucked into the news and feel our faith threatened by a sense of hopelessness. And then within the darkness, there are moments when we witness the outpouring of compassion and love as our communities pull together to help one another. That to me is hope; the light in the darkness. 

While what we are facing is a frightening reality, strength comes as we hold ever tighter to the hope that shapes our faith; a hope that believes we can overcome; a hope that sees promise in the midst of heartache and peace among the turmoil. Hope gives us the eyes to see beyond where we are today and empowers us to move forward with the confidence that we are not alone. Hope gives us purpose and grants us opportunity to stand as one in faithfully serving others and rising above the clouds of darkness to see the brightness of a new day.

We did not choose this particular wilderness experience, but we can choose how we live and act within it. May you find hope in these days that you are not alone; that our God is as close as our breath and in the comforting presence of one another.

 

In Faith and hope,

Doretta

Our normal enthusiasm as Spring begins to unfold – the promise in green leaves breaking through the earth, buds forming on branches, returning birds filling the air with song – is tainted with the heaviness of this moment in history. Yet, we are resilient people never losing sight of the possible. Like the daffodil bulb that forces its way through the hard ground, we continue toward the light of hope.

 

3/22/20

It’s a cold, clear morning in Waterford, Maine. The quiet of my morning walk was interrupted by the crunching of frozen ground beneath my feet. Being stealth wasn’t possible and the bison, eager to get to a new field, stood and watched intently hoping I would open a gate so they could venture away from their winter feeding areas. They are ready for new turf and so are all of us.

We are a people of faith and that means trust in the dark places of life, confidence in the presence of love that sustains and strengthens us, the conviction that goodness will always prevail. The bulbs will continue their push toward the sun. The buds will open in fragrant beauty. The days will grow warmer and summer will come. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope…” Romans 15:13

Blessings, Doretta

3/19/20

I started to say to someone the other day about how blown away I have been with the care and concern that I have been witnessing these days, but in reality I'm not surprised. Indeed, I am deeply touched by what I have been seeing, but I believed in the goodness of people, the sharing and caring that, while it is always there, steps up to the plate in times of need and support. May we find strength in these days as we find creative ways to reach out to one another in whatever way we can. It absolutely matters!

Blessings, Doretta

ABOUT US

The Waterford  Congregational Church is UCC-affilliated.  We serve the community of Waterford, Maine and its environs. 

Our church's vison for congregrants encompasses Service, Music and Spirituality.

We embrace our rich history as well as  work toward a healthy and sustainable future.

 

(207) 583-6381

 

15 Plummer Hill Rd

PO Box PO 59

Waterford, ME 04088

 https://www.facebook.com/waterfordchurchucc/

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