Category Archives: family


Dear God,

I’m on an airplane right now on the way to Sydney, Australia.

I am so grateful to and for Rachel, my champion and cheerleader, my second mother and favorite sister, my warrior and worrier. She’s worried about me and all that’s gone on in this past year of my life. She’s spent only You know how much to make this trip happen, this childhood dream and sister adventure come to be. I don’t know how to thank her and you enough. She is good, generous, protective, under-appreciated, and she deserves to have a good time, too. Help her to relax, not to stress about pleasing me, not to worry too much about her beautiful babies at home and Richie, too. Please take care of them and mom who is helping take care of them, too. 

Thank you for times of rest. And for restoration. And for the things that come next for which our rest prepares us. There are big things I want to get moving at the church in Edinburg, and it’s hard to let go to enter this time. It’s hard to let go of those ideas I believe you e given to me. I want to restore a fire and passion for your will and your people –all your people– but I also know it’s not always our work to do. Help me to accept the role you are giving me. Help to accept the rest you are giving me. 

May your will for creation and your people be restored. 




Dear God,

For all the saints, I thank you.  Saints are kind of funny, you know?  I mean, in the sense that we’ve taken the noun and turned it into something that can be an adjective – saintly – and what does that mean?  Were all the saints actually “saintly”?  Or should saintly be informed by the reality of who the saints have been in their lives?  I’m thinking of some of the oldest saints, like father Jacob.  He’s not exactly saintly, you know?  But then neither am I.  So I look to him as a hope for me, as an example of how you are so incredible, God, to stand by us “saints” who are less than saintly.  It’s you who makes us holy, not us.

I also think about the saints of my life, the ones who are resting from their labors, and it’s still funny to me.  My grandfather, for instance, John Phillip Ruth, was not a saint in his life.  But in my memory, my Pawpee was perfect.  He was a saint.  He was the funniest, the most full of life, the friendliest, the biggest, the best at everything, the one who could fix anything, the fullest laugh, the greatest Pawpee there could’ve been.  The one all other Pawpees should model themselves on.  He made me feel beautiful.  He made me feel special.  He did that for a lot of people.

But I know he wasn’t a saint, too.  He was mean to others, to his own children.  He was a grouch sometimes.  He didn’t believe in paying taxes for education while he didn’t have children in school, which is something I react severely to in my adulthood.  I didn’t know these things about my Pawpee when he was here on earth with me.  And I guess I think that we get wrapped up in this idea of saints like St. Francis, surrounded by his animal friends like a Disney Princess to the Nth degree, and his beautiful prayers, his ascetic discipline, and I think ‘how could I ever do that?’ How could I ever be that saintly?  But instead, I have to remember the saints you’ve given me are still saints and they’re always saints in the first place because of you.  How will I be a saint in this life (and in the life to come, for that matter)?  By your grace.  By your grace.  By your grace.

For all the saints – let your name be praised.  Because it’s you who made them “saintly.”  For all the saints, by your grace, have helped form me, inform me, and remind me that it’s not about me.  I may not be saintly, but by your grace, God, I can become a saint despite it all.

So let me pray a prayer of one of the saints before me, knowing it is you who forms me, you who is holy, you who is in control:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it’s in giving that we receive.
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned.
And it’s in dying that we are born to eternal life.



Dear God,

Thank you for my sister.  What do only children do?  I hope you provide them someone who is their comfort and their partner and their other self and their conscience and their guide and their hope and their critic and their sparring partner and their hand-holder.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for my sister.



Dear God,

Can you feel the wind, too?  Do you feel it the same way I do?  Do you feel it like a stomach ache or a heart flutter to me?  Or are in you in wind itself the way my thoughts are in me?  Or both?  Does wind really end or does it just keep going around and around until it has seen the whole world, and then it keeps going again?  Does it like seeing new places but also like coming back to something familiar?  Are you afraid of tornadoes?

It’s been a gorgeous day.  The wind has been that warm and yet still refreshing kind.  I’m pretty sure a storm is coming and tomorrow will be rainy and cold, but that’s okay.  Thank you for today.  I bet I’ll be afraid of many tornadoes that will pass through my life and if I ever get to have children, I’ll have to be brave and hold them and make sure they know that tornadoes don’t mean you don’t love us anymore or that you don’t care about people.  But I’ll also get to go on walks with them on days like today, and maybe fly kites like I used to with my Pawpee.  And tape down tablecloths at potlucks.  And close my eyes and breath the wind in as my hair flows back and dances.  Thank you for today and the warm wind.