Greeting the New Year


As I walk today

stately trees wave their greeting.

Some still hold fruit

in offering for hungry birds

and other creatures of winter.

Proud oaks cling to what now seems ragged and drab,

apparel of days past

a hedge, perhaps, against the chill.

Around them others greet the day

with bold abandon

release all semblance of cover.

Stark skeletons, they stand against bright sky;

the old, gnarled, wizened ones

and eager young saplings alike,

lean hopefully into tomorrow.

Each prepared to welcome possibility in the new year.


How will you greet the New Year?

What from your past will you take forward into the future?

What former experiences and disappointments must you release?

How will you make room for new possibilities?

Peaceful Pebbles

prayer beads

I chose the name Peaceful Pebbles 10 years ago when I began making prayer beads. I had made and used my own beads and wanted to reach out to others through the practice I found meaningful. I designed these prayer beads to give my friends and patients as a tangible reminder of my prayers for them, to introduce conversations about prayer with confirmation classes, as devotions for women’s groups, and workshops about spiritual practices. The beads are small enough to go in a pocket. Many folks keep them on dashboard or nightstand. I include my thoughts on the design with the beads. ©2004 Design by Judy K Brandon

May these beads help you to focus prayer:
Round bead for the world and its people,
Leaf for gifts of nature,
Circle for wholeness of body, mind and spirit,
Star for the people you hold dear,
Teardrop for your own special prayer concerns.

Vibrations of an Iowa Countryside

The bean fields are brilliant this morning,
their gold screaming across the autumn landscape.
Down the road a fresh green fuzz springs up,
shouts back from the hillside
where hay was cut and baled a few weeks since.

This scene seems a note out of time.
Palettes of spring and fall compete
in a symphony of color gone wild,
the result of uncharacteristic soaking rains
this August and September.

The countryside vibrates with such intensity
I can hear it trumpeting the call
to gather combines and threshers for harvest.

To an Unseen God

Shadows lengthen
as the golden orb of day
slips out of sight.
Clouds aflame
on the darkening canvas of sky
in shades of coral and fuchsia,
cobalt and indigo.

High overhead
a gull in solo flight
reflects the departing light
off luminous wings.
Oh, to soar
by pull of earth,
to rise on Spirit’s breath
and catch the glorious light
of Your grace!