life: acoustic & amplified

poetry, quotes & thoughts about life

Archive for the month “December, 2012”

a new year

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
-T. S. Eliot

important reminder list

1The most destructive habit……………………….Worry
The greatest Joy……………………………….Giving
The greatest loss………………….Loss of self-respect
The most satisfying work…………………Helping others
The ugliest personality trait……………….Selfishness
The greatest “shot in the arm”…………….Encouragement
The deadliest weapon………………………..The tongue
The two most power-filled words…………………”I Can”
The greatest asset………………………………Faith
The most worthless emotion……………………Self-pity
The most beautiful attire……………………….SMILE!
The most prized possession…………………..Integrity
The most powerful channel of communication……….Prayer
The most contagious spirit………………….Enthusiasm
The most important thing in life…………………..GOD
The greatest problem to overcome………………….Fear
The most effective sleeping pill………….Peace of Mind
The most crippling failure disease……………..Excuses
The most powerful force in life…………………..Love
The most dangerous pariah…………………..A gossiper
The world’s most incredible computer………….The brain
The worst thing to be without…………………….Hope
– Unknown

The lord is not intimidated by the darkness or by the rejection of his own. His light is stronger than all the shadows. – Gustavo Gurièrrez

Spiritual depth, if it is true, is the working of God coming down and penetrating to the depths if our hearts, and not of our own soul’s climbing. No ladder of mysticism can ever meet or find or possess God. Faith is a power given to us. It is never simply our ability or strength of will to believe. The spiritual experience that is truly genuine is given to us by God in the coming of his Spirit, and only as we surrender our whole lives to an active expression of his will.
To put it quite simply, spiritual experience, whether it be faith, hope or love, is something we cannot manufacture, but which we can only receive.
The service of God makes the most impossible demands on us, demands which we know our strength cannot carry out, or which our hearts cannot bear. But our calling is obedience, even to the hardest demands; and we must take them up in the faith that our minds or bodies will be supported by the strength of God.

– Philip Britts


3 more days of 2012!


These are the last days of the year
I feel like I want to slow them down
Drain them dry
Not sure why
First time i’ve had this feeling
Between Christmas
and a New Year
Usually I can’t wait
for the page to turn
Im always ready for
the bright shiny new year
To come and bring new things
Shimmering with possibility
Glimmering with potential
Empty slate-start over time
This year I feel these last few days of 2012
Are important for me
To grasp
In ways Ive never felt before
In three days a lot can happen
A death and burial
Even, on occasion,
a resurrection

AL 12/27/12


At Christmas time we think of the “Christ child,” though we know nothing of Jesus’ childhood. But there is this: Luke says when Jesus was twelve, when his family went to the temple in Jerusalem they accidentally left him behind. After three days they found him, in the temple.

Insert your own funny family story here of the kid being left somewhere (ours is a gas station). But wait― three days? Clearly, this is not a biographical story, but a symbolic one. It’s a story about losing and finding, being with and without, separation and reunion. In the Bible three days is not chronological time, it’s symbolic time: Abraham and Isaac on the mountain… Jonah in the whale… Jesus in the tomb. Three days means loss and transformation, death and resurrection. And it comes at Christmas time.

Because Christ comes to us to be with us in our death. Christ comes to us because we are broken hearted. The peace and joy of Christmas is not just for fun, but because we need it. We need the healing for our sorrows, the mercy in our terror, the company in our wanderings. Christ comes to be with us because we are lost, and searching, and alone. Sometimes, like his parents, we feel like we have lost the Holy Child with us or within us. We feel death’s shadow. But the good news is that we haven’t lost God; we are not alone; death does not have the last word. The light of Christmas shines on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.

For many people the ribbons of Christmas are braided with sorrow. And this year it has been for us, too. My wife Beth’s youngest sister Paula passed away suddenly and unexpectedly last weekend, two days before Christmas. Family is gathered, yet sundered, both lost and united. We have been more aware than usual that the promise of Christmas is not happy times; the promise is that God is with us, even in the sorrowful times. Sometimes we have to search for three days to know it. But when we return to the sacred center, we find that it is we who have wandered, who have not seen the presence of God. We are not alone. And death never has the last word.

There will be sorrows and fears; there will be times when we feel without God. But “after three days”―beyond the appearances of time and space― we will be reunited with the Beloved, and we will find ourselves in a holy place.

This Christmas pray for all those who do not yet see light in their lives, who are in sorrow, or searching and feel alone.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light



In the tiny villages of the night sky
a star’s windows gleam, waiting,
longing us home.

Your being, quiet as a star,
leads the hopeful
to a place of belonging.

The simple star
offers its gift with open hands
to the plains
with their little towns,
to the star-blind cities
and the furrows of the sea.

You do not need to know
that your compassion extends
to all living beings
for it to be so.

Deep in the black sky
a star gleams
its glory and hope
upon the little child.

Bright one,
never doubt
that your light is beautiful,
nor that what it shines on
is holy.
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

12 more days

The day has come, the carols sung,
the bells of Christmas have been rung,
the gifts were given, the feast was served,
and one day off of work observed.
But all of that was yesterday,
and even now you’ve put away
the Christmas plates and started to
return to what you always do.
The living room that had been strewn
with toys and clothes all afternoon
has now been tidied up and swept,
(while on the couch your uncle slept).
And with the garbage you might see―
already!―someone’s Christmas tree.

But Christmas isn’t over yet.
We have twelve days in which to let
the child be born in us anew,
to let the holy light shine through,
twelve days to love and give our gifts,
to say or do some thing that lifts
another’s spirits, or their load,
or shines a light along their road,
twelve days to fight the world’s pull
to be asleep and comfortable,
but be awake in trust and care
because the Holy One is near,
twelve days to shine with love, made sure
that we are just the way we were
(and always are) on Christmas night:
in love, at peace, and full of light.

So every day for twelve good days
embody love in simple ways:
share food, write cards, befriend the poor,
do someone else’s dirty chore,
stand up for justice, sing a song―
let all you do for twelve days long
be what you give and do and are
for Mary’s child beneath the star.
Let each day be a Christmas prayer
of joy and thanks and loving care,
each day, though it be bright or blah,
a day of gratitude and awe:
amidst the dark, a day of cheer
for our Beloved One is here.

Merry Christmas

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

May your days be merry Your sorrows be small


with open arms

The world today needs people who have been shaken by ultimate calamities and emerged from them with the knowledge and awareness that those who look to the Lord will still be preserved by him, even if they are hounded from the earth.
– Father Alfred Delp (condemned as a traitor for his opposition to Hitler, Delp, a Jesuit priest, wrote these words from a Nazi prison shortly before being hanged in 1945)


For while all things were in quiet silence and the night was in the midst of her course…
– wisdom of Solomon 18:14-15

When all things lay in the midst of silence, then leapt there down into me from on high, from the royal throne, a secret word. – unknown

I will sit in silence and harken to what God speaks within me, said the prophet.


ode to mr. snowman

A sparkly little Snowman
Brightens up my phone
He wears a little santa hat
the cutest little grin
I smile each time I see him
and he smiles right back at me
He puts me in the Christmas mood
When life just gets me down
And even tho he’s just a photograph
I think he knows my name
He glitters and he twinkles
As happy as a clown
And even when I have to cry
He never has a frown
So thank you little snowman
For being awfully sweet
This Christmas is much better
With you right here with me

al 12/22/12

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