Wednesday, December 1, 2021

FIGURE FORWARD

Dear All of Us,

Trying to figure forward, we puzzle:

How do you get there from here?

It could be planning a trip, 

considering a career change, 

designing a project at work,

building a tree house for a child,

planning a dinner party.


The biggest of the big, of course, 

is how do we figure forward 

in life itself so that it turns out 

to be real, genuine, good, 

what it's meant to be.

"How do you get there from here?"


The night before he died

Jesus huddled with the team,

pulled them in tight,

a whole communion,

sharing with them and us

how to figure forward

so that life is real, genuine, good,

what it is meant to be, clarifying

How do you get there from here:

       "I am the way, 

        and the truth, 

        and the life;    

        no one comes 

        to the Father 

        but through me."

           John 14;6


WOW!!

So that's how to figure forward,

not just in our heads, 

but in our total selves, 

and all our living.

So that's how to be in community,

sharing life in the Kin-Domain,

the Rain of God's Way.

Jesus models and shares

how we get there from here.

We live him.


We have a way to go.

We have bedrock truth.

We have a life.


Out here on the street 

of everyday life

we go about it the way 

Jesus taught and lived,

how Jesus offers to live in us

in our here and now.

He is how we figure forward.

We live him.

He is our way of life

our grounding in truth itself,

the life that enlivens us.


Our value system, life style, 

work, relationships, recreation, 

are those of Jesus 

lived in the particulars of 

our here and now.


With us it's not just WWJD,

   What Would Jesus Do.

With us it's 

   What Jesus Wants To Do

in and through us.

Everything is involved.

What kind of housing we have.

What we drive.

What we ware.

What we do with 

our time and money.

What we do to work  

peace in our place.

What we do to reverence

the planet.

What of ourselves 

we share with others.

What forgiveness we ask and give.

What we read and watch.

What way we vote.

What we put into living

in a spiritual community.

What we let go of and 

allow God to in-fold us in 

the deepest of intimate love.

What disciplines and sacrifices 

we embrace to be open 

to God's Love coming to us and

to sharing God's Love with others.

What times and ways open us 

to a contemplative life.


Jesus figures us forward in life itself 

so that it turns out to be real, 

genuine, good, what it's meant to be.

In him, him in us, we fall in love,

we live love, we become love.

We love God, neighbor and self,

most personally and practically

moving forward out here 

on the street of everyday life.

That's how we get from our here 

to our forever there.


           So grateful we can 

             figure forward 

                together,

               John Frank


      See you next week here at

            frankly speaking

        spirituality for the street

    johnfrankshares.blogspot.com

                 ******


         

       



              

          








We figure forward,

move on in life

immersed in the truth, 

the realness of Jesus.

That's how we connect with 

Ultimate Reality - God.


We come alive living 

the life that is Jesus.





 












Wednesday, November 24, 2021

WAIT

 

Dear All of Us,

    "Wait a minute"

is usually a lot more wait 

than it is a minute.

We're a 

       "Hurry Up," 

       "Right Now" 

       "Amazon Prime"

kind of people and waiting scores  

a minus million and more with us.


Yet wait we do on checkout lines

behind sweet souls slowly doling out

wads of coupons, at the airport,

in the doctor's office, trying to get 

our new phone to be smart,

pondering ever more portals, 

waiting for over-stayed company 

to go home so we can go to bed.


Waiting is part and parcel of life.

It's woven into the deepest depths

of our experience all the way out 

to being stuck in traffic.

As such it is very much 

a dimension of our spiritual lives.

Let's wait a bit here and Soul Sense

The Spirituality of Waiting.


Waiting tells us to be in 

the here and now as they are, 

not as we demand they be.

It's a reality check,

a humility billable.

Waiting means presence

to what is, as is, 

preferred or decidedly not.

Waiting is participation in

God's Eternal Just Now 

as it is manifest in this moment 

of our awareness of it.

God is transtemporal and 

paradoxically quite "timely."

God simply 

                 IS

God is 

        THE ETERNAL NOW

What's going on in our 

time-bound perception of it 

is real and really limited.


Waiting means dealing with 

           Reality

           Existence

           Being

           Is-ness

as it occurs in our experience of 

          Right Now

Waiting overrides our 

clocks and calculations.

Waiting means being there

as there is just now.


           There 

may be the unfolding of 

    God's Creation

    in our just now 

    and require waiting

    of us.

We wait nine months 

for birth.

We wait a season 

for crops to mature.

Look at the wait as 

the Grand Canyon 

was carved out.

Humanity waited 

millions of years 

to begin understanding 

a bit of astrophysics.


          There 

may be the evolution 

of persons and peoples and

mean protracted waiting.

Sarah waited a long time 

to conceive.

The enslaved Israelites 

waited generations to be freed 

and forty more years 

trying to get their 

spiritual GPS functional.

We wait to find our life mate.

Most of us wait a long time 

to see and accept

God's Unlimited Love of us and 

God's Unlimited Love as 

the true dimension of our being,

the bedrock of Actuality.

We're still waiting to get 

Church right and real.

We wait bushels of 

years and experience

to mellow into maturity.

Worldwide we are in 

a dangerously long wait 

to structure our common life on

The Common Good.


        There

may mean waiting in 

a very bad place 

or circumstance

as health and justice 

get worked out.

See Jesus on the cross.

See the months it took waiting

for a Covid vaccine.

See the waiting still 

to admit and correct the evils 

of genocide and enslavement.

See the waiting for a loved one 

to work free of addiction.


Oh yes and for sure,

The Spirituality of Waiting

is dealing with 

what is,

as is, 

in our just now.

It means seeing 

where God is in it

and where we are 

with God in it.


So we pray for all those

stuck with us in traffic.

We stick with our life mates 

in their spin outs. 

We wait it out with 

the forty something at work

who has the emotional maturity 

of a six year old.

We stay the course with

our church that is more

institution than

a community in Love.

We stay open with ourselves 

even when we shut down in sin,

waiting for a season of strength,

of restoration, and of freshness.


Things negative and things positive

require that we wait it out 

as God works it out with us 

and our world.

It means a lot more wait than 

just a minute.

But then we have forever 

              NOW.

          

Thanks for waiting it out 

through this less than sexy part of 

spirituality for the street.


Out here with you on the waiting line,

                John Frank

                  ******

           "Wait for the Lord; 

            be strong, 

            and let your heart 

            take courage; 

            wait for the Lord."

              Psalm 27:14

   

                  ******

            

            Every good wish

        as many of us celebrate

              Thanksgiving

      I am deeply thankful for you 

      and our weekly sharing here at

                 frankly speaking

       spirituality for the street.

        This posting marks our 

           fifth anniversary.

         Over these five years 

        we have had community

        with sisters and brothers 

                   from  

        one hundred homelands.

           That's not a boast.

            That' a blessing.

              Thank You!

           See you next week.

            I can hardly wait.

                  ******

            frankly speaking

        spirituality for the street

      johnfrankshares.blogspot.com

                  ******

         














Wednesday, November 17, 2021

TABLE


 Dear All of Us,

       

"Build Longer Tables

 Not Higher Walls"

    Jose Andres


Jose pegs it perfectly.

Sadly, many don't,

can't, wont.

We're more and more 

walled in and walled out.

We have walls 

within walls and 

walls around walls 

and they just keep 

getting higher 

and higher,

harder and harder-

    territorial,

    political,

    racial,

    religious,

    social,

    economic,

    international,

    local,

    cultural,

    educational,

    health care ones,

    red ones,

    blue ones,

    school board ones,

    environmental ones...

The Body Public 

is fractured into 

walled segments 

of isolation.

And they are getting

more and more 

weaponized.

Things have gotten 

exceedingly dangerous.

We cannot go on like this 

if we are to go on at all!

It's just that terrible 

and potentially terminal.

It's walled hells

of our devising.

The tragedy of our

plight and peril

right now is that

we are like fingers 

that insist on 

being severed  

and independent 

from the body 

and we wonder

why we hurt and

why we are in danger.

That throws us into panic.

So we wall and weaponize 

ourselves in and others out.


It doesn't have to be so.

There is another way if we will 

         accept it, 

         embrace it, 

         share it,

         live it.


It is the only way.


It is the only way.


It means recognizing

the powerful, spectacular 

paradox and goodness 

that we are 

  unique in unity

  That's bedrock,

  ultimate reality,

    The Reality 

        that is 

         God

 and that we are in

         God 

   with all that is.

We are not free floating

entities unto ourselves.

We are individual 

presences of the

    Oneness

that is God and 

 "God is love."

  1 John 4:8

We hear Jesus anew: 

"I am the vine.

You are the branches."

     John 15:5

Same life shared 

in different ways.

  

Either we are 

in God as God is, 

or we fail and fall 

into nothingness.

We are created 

    by Love,

    in Love,

    for Love,

unique in unity


Asked what is the

foremost commandment,

Jesus said,

"The first in impotence is 

 'Listen Israel:

 The Lord your God is one

 so love the Lord your God 

 with all your passion 

 and prayer and 

 intelligence and energy.' 

 And here is the second:

 'Love others as well as 

  you love yourself.'

  There is no other 

  commandment 

  that ranks with these."

     Mark 12; 29-31

      The Message

       translation


Our only reality is to be 

passionate lovers of God

and all that is in God.

Instead of walling in and out,

we joyfully build 

ever longer tables of loving,

vigorous inclusion

where we feast together 

in our shared life and love.

We delight in taking our place

at the table and making room 

for every other one of us in 

          THE ONE

         that is God.


The only way to save 

people and planet 

is to get passionate in

           Love

   Then One in the

   Love Who Is God,

we cannot sever, slice 

and box into nothingness

ourselves nor others.


So we welcome 

every sort of person 

to the table just as 

the sort of person 

we are is welcomed.

Once we catch on, 

fire up, we sizzle 

as we welcome 

to the table of shared,

practical daily life 

     the brilliant

     the hurt,

     the gifted,

     the different,

     the black, brown and white,

     the understood and the puzzling,

     the newborn to the dying,

     the quiet and the exuberant,

                    All 

         unique in our unity


Politicians, pundits, 

power brokers,

popularity, riches, 

military might

can't save 

people and planet.

Only passionate lovers can

as we keep extending 

the family table, freely, 

vigorously sharing 

everyday life.


In reflective prayer 

we see how to be and do that,

how to extend the 

table of fellowship:

     - how re-orientate 

       our reference points

       understanding and practices

     - how this passionate loving

       shapes our life style

       and activities

     - how we deal with the difficult,

     - how we gather in those lost

       in loneliness and pain.

     - how we welcome 

       our polar opposites

       in a mutuality of enterprise

     - how red and blue blend 

        to royal purple

     - how we seek spiritual guidance

       and community

     - how we champion justice

       in our daily doings

     - how to fully free creativity 

       in ourselves and each other


Our current walled off world 

is not far from collapse.

Do let's see that.


We are invited into 

full fellowship with all in 

           ALL

to passionate loving.

Do let's see that.


We are privileged

to build to ever longer tables 

of inclusion and communion

and exuberant creativity.


All this is far from 

light and feel good fluff.

It is far from a game of

Trivial Pursuits or a

spirituality hobby.

It's dead serious, 

or it's life real.

As it says in Deuteronomy,

  " I lay before you 

    life and death...

    Choose life

    so that you and 

    your children may live..."

     Deuteronomy 13:19


    "Build Longer Tables

     Not Higher Walls."

         

  Happy to be sitting here 

        next to you!

           John Frank

          *****

For Reflection::

        Please see 

    Marcella Kribal's 

         website

for her beautiful painting

  "Build Longer Tables

   Not Higher Walls"


If you have time and interest,

please Google Jose Andres

and see the wonderful ways

he builds longer tables.

          ******

   A heartfelt welcome 

      to our visitors.

  Thanks for joining in

          here at

       frankly speaking

   spirituality for the street

johnfrankshares.blogspot.com


          POSTED

Wednesday afternoons

East coast USA time


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Fridays

Sign Up top online version


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All past postings

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            ******

  Looking forward to us all 

  being together here at the table

  next week.

             ******



   

   




       




           





 

   

  














 




Wednesday, November 10, 2021

FACE

 

Dear All of Us,

My daughter caught a cold.

When nursing six month old

Ollie The Younger,

she puts on a mask.

A plus health-wise, 

but not so otherwise.

Ollie loves being held 

and nourished by his Mom.

He also delights 

in looking at her

and her looking at him.

        Love Look

So, Ollie started reaching up

trying to pull away the mask.


The wisdom of the pure.


With a significant twist,

there's a reverse parallel 

in our spiritual lives.


We love being in 

   God's embrace. 

We delight in our

    Face to Face

    Love Look

God to us, us to God.


But masks get in the way.  


The terrible twist is that

God isn't masked at all, 

but we too often 

fabricate masks 

that we then impose 

on God or ourselves.

(Technically, well really,

it's idolatry - fashioning 

our own version of God and 

our presence and openness

to God as God "IS"

and we actually are ).

Those masks frustrate our 

face to face love with God.


They come in all sorts of 

sizes and compositions.

What kinds of masks 

do we and our culture 

put in front of God's face

or our face?

It would be freeing 

to regularly look in 

our spiritual mirrors.

Some examples:

 - Civil Religion, 

   God masked in a flag.

 - Dense Denims of "Ism"  - 

   me-ism, militarism, 

   consumer/consumption-ism?

 - Drapings of superficial,

   surface preoccupation 

   and stimulation

   in our life styles,

   dulling to opaqueness.

- Framing God in overly dogmatic, 

  ritual laden religion.

- Self serving feel good religion.

Just a few mask types that  block

         Love Look


Let's take a radically real look

at how we and our culture 

haze over God and our

readiness for clear channel 

        Love Look

Let's do as Ollie does -

pull away those maskings

that get in the way.

Then we can clearly see 

to share in God's 

       Love Look 

      

Love isn't a controlled or

camouflaged encounter.


Love is face to face 

union and rapture

         and 

   "God is love."

  ( 1 John 4:8 )


So we pray and follow

the lead of the psalmist:

"You have said,

 "Seek my face."

  My heart says to you, 

 "Your face Lord, 

   do I seek."

      For sure!

   ( Psalm 27:8 )


       The Lord bless us 

       and keep us;

       The Lord make his face 

       shine upon us,

       and be gracious to us;

       The Lord lift 

       his countenance 

       upon us,

       and give us peace"

        (Adaptation of

       Numbers 6:24-26)


           John Frank


       frankly speaking

   spirituality for the street

johnfrankshares.blogspot.com


             POSTED

Wednesday afternoons

East coast USA time

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Looking forward to us all 

gathering here next week.

           ******






Wednesday, November 3, 2021

HURT

 

Dear All of Us,

This is going to hurt.

Please don't run away.

Please tuff it out.


We live our spiritual lives

in two atmospheres -

  easy and hard,

  fair and foul,

  light and dark,

  pleasant and painful.

  understanding and clueless,

  creative  and chaotic,

  potential and impotence

  ecstasy and exasperation.

One way or many it's 

usually positive or negative.

Sometimes - a lotta times -

it's a maddening mix of both.

And while we're at it,

why positive AND negative

in the first place?

How can God -

        Love Itself

allow pain and suffering?

         In short, 

and we sure hope it is, 

Why 

         HURT

     as persons, 

     as a people,

     as a planet?


Our focus here 

is not how to deal 

with it, but rather

Why

         HURT


Consider two wonderful 

young men I care about.

Let's make it

Bob and Bill.


I've know Bob 

since he was a boy -

delightful, engaging, 

gifted and energetic.

Now a physician,

he's in his late 20's.


I met Bill when one 

of my favorite 

young adults at church 

started dating him.

I was blessed 

to eventually marry them.

Bill has a mind wide and deep

paired with remarkable Soul Savvy.

He's now in his late 30's. 


Both Bob and Bill suffer 

constant and terrible pain.

They have doctored 

with the best.

None can name nor cure.

Why

           HURT 


Why rape, murder, defrauding,

failed relationships, 

attacks on the Common Good,

white nationalism,

economic and social domination

of the many by the few,

reality denying corruption of truth, 

drought, flood, depletion of 

nature's life giving bounty?

Why disease and 

often painful death?

Why corrupt, inept leaders 

in church, commerce, governance,

who cause so much 

pain and suffering,

and, and, and AND!!??

Why

       HURT


This is all front 

and center for me.

The last month plus 

has meant more emotiomal,

psychic and physical pain 

for my wife and me 

than either of us 

has endured 

in many a year.

 Why

      HURT


If you have a solution 

to all the above, 

immediately 

get yourself on over

to those feuding cousins, 

CNN and FOX,

and let the world know.


Of course we all know 

we don't know

Why

       HURT

That's  part of our

painful plight here.


Actually, we just 

don't know 

the why and how

at either expanse of

our spiritual experience -

    Ineffable Good 

    all the way to 

    its painful absence.

BUT what we can't explain 

we sure do "experience,"

be it mystical ecstasy 

to wrenching pain.

We experience way more 

than we can fathom:

the mystery of God's 

limitless love and goodness

to hideous evil and disruption.


Though, not an answer 

nor relief, there is

a bit of an insight into

Why 

            HURT


Starting with The First Folks,

so many of us since have misused

the freedom to love

God and all God's Creation,

to live harmonized with 

Truth and Reality.

We have opted to play god,

perverted people and place 

for our own singular satisfaction.

That ranges from lies 

to ravishing earth 

and polluting air,

to genocide and slavery,

to forcing economic 

and social systems that

concentrate excessive 

wealth and power 

for the few while 

impoverishing the many.

The Common Good is trashed.

We have thrown sand  into 

the gears of nature and society.

All kinds of good 

are knocked off kilter,

colliding in painful chaos.

That's a sad peek 

into a bit of the genealogy 

of pain and suffering, of

Why

          HURT  


Some say chaos is a dynamic

of creation itself,

that misfires force refocus,

correct course, 

generating evolution 

forward and fuller.

Honestly I don't know enough 

about all that to more than 

note it as maybe of

Why

          HURT


What we do know is that 

we're in the mix,

and if we are humble enough

to see it, that it will all

eventually work to wonder.

 

       WE SEE  

that we are created 

in the image and 

very likeness of God.

God is our DNA.

We are woven into

Infinite Goodness, 

based on 

Bedrock Reality. 

We get knocked down,

but we don't to go down 

for the count.

Besides, God's got 

so much for us to do

(Genesis 1:26-31)

It doesn't explain how, but

it does position assurance.


            WE SEE

that Jesus is God Love Incarnate.

He didn't duck sin and evil,

pain and suffering.

He took them on.

He suffered them through to

          Good.

He absorbed them and 

transformed their unrealness

into the Real, into 

 The Love That Is God.


       WE SEE 

that some how or other 

the negative is the positive 

turned round wrong

and it makes for 

       HURT

Redemption is 

a correcting turn around,

a re-creation.

God's creative energy,

twisted wrong by evil,

is righted.

Participating  in

this salvation,

this re-creation, 

       means

       HURT

It's like setting 

a broken arm.

It hurts and it heals. 

  "Do you not know

   that all of us who 

   have been baptized

   into Christ Jesus 

   have been baptized 

   into his death?

   Therefore we have 

   been buried with him

   through baptism 

   into death,

   so that as Christ was

   raised from the dead 

   through the glory 

   of the Father,

   so we too might walk 

   in newness of life.

   For if we have become 

   united with him

   in the likeness of his death,

   certainly we shall also be 

   in the likeness 

   of his resurrection..."

    (Romans 6: 3-5)


We're in on the deal.

It's trans- temporal.

Immersed in Christ

    in our time 

    in our place 

    in our way,

we are so one that 

we experience 

in him and with him

The Pascal Mystery.

We suffer the death of evil,

pushing through in God Love 

to the freedom of

Life Right and Resurrection.

The historical event

was then and there.

The phenomenon 

and our participation 

is here and now. 


Paul puts it in sharp focus.

   "I am now rejoicing 

    in my suffering 

    for your sake,

    and in my flesh  

    I am completing 

    what is lacking 

    in Christ's affliction 

    for the sake of his body, 

    that is, the church."

    (Colossians 1:24)


            WE SEE

There will be a cosmic reset:

   "Then I saw a new heaven 

    and a new earth;...  

    And I heard a loud voice 

    from the throne, saying, 

    'Behold the tabernacle of God 

     is among men,

     and he shall dwell among them,

     and they shall be his people, 

     and God Himself 

     will be among them,  

     and He will wipe away 

     every tear from their eyes;

     and there will no longer 

     be any death;

     there will no longer be 

     any mourning, or crying, 

     or pain; the first things 

     have passed away.'

     And He who 

     sits on the throne said,

     'Behold I am making 

     all things new...."

     (Revelation 21: 1- 5)


We can't figure hurt to it's elimination.

We simply have to go through it.

We die as we come alive.

We do that together.

We companion and support all in the mix -

                people, 

                peoples, 

                places.


Why

          HURT

Really don't know.

Do know for all the 

           Hurt

there is 

           HOPE

the assurance of

resurrection,

re-creation, 

Life Right,

a new heaven and a new earth,

that one day no more pain,

as all is made new.


Please, please join me in

holding Bob and Bill in 

God's Redeeming Love

as they so hurt.

         

Thanks for sticking with all this.

Glad you didn't run away.

Much of what we share here 

each week is a lot easier 

to take than this.

But then, we live 

our spiritual lives

in two atmospheres,

easy and hard,

comprehended and baffling,

pleasant and painful.

Gotta deal with all of iit.

     John Frank


         frankly speaking

   spirituality for the street

    jjohnfrankshares@blogspot.com
















    

     

   


















Wednesday, October 27, 2021

FIND


Dear All of Us,

So, spirituality is 

all about our life 

     in God. 

Well then, how

do we connect,

  how do we       

     FIND

     GOD?


Some folks head off to

monasteries and ashrams.

Other sign on for 

all sorts of spirituality 

seminars and series.

Yet others look 

to find God 

in books of inspiration.

Some soak in various 

sorts of meditation. 

Some seek out gurus.

(Some even read 

spirituality blogs!!!)


Actually, it's quit easy 

to find God, because

   God isn't lost.

Never has been.

God is omnipresent.

    God simply

        "IS" 

         the 

        "IS" 

    of all that

        "IS."

 God "IS" the 

   EXISTENCE,

        the 

     BEING

 in which all

    that be

     exists

      "is"

         

   Omnipresent God

 "is" everywhere we are, 

no matter where we are

geographically, relationally, 

spiritually, consciously.

God got there first.


  Spirituality certainly 

is about seeking, though.

That seeking is to see, to

           FIND

  ourselves and all else

     already in God.



  Eugene Patterson

sighted God like this:

   God Plays in a 

 Thousand Places 

  (superb book).


Buddha so woke up 

to all this that 

his very name means 

      "awaken"

you're already there.


    Here we are

soul sensing together

and reminding ourselves

to wake up to the marvel, 

the mystery of God 

in our right here.


For me right now that

          here

is in The Meditation Garden

     where I live 

and is God ever here.


It's a glorious 

Fall afternoon.

Overhead the fluffed clouds

are majestic white ships

slowly sailing on a 

sea of clear blue.

All about are pallets

of autumn richness,

spirit stirred in gentile 

      air dance.

Waking in the park 

     a bit ago I 

   God Sighted.

Children were at play,

seniors were sunning,

workers were  lunching.

There were all sorts, 

shapes, ages and 

colorations of us. 

Everywhere I look 

is good, is God,

showing that yes

   God Plays in a 

Thousand Places

Shortly God will ring true

in the carillon concert

      from nearby

Washington National 

      Cathedral.


Yes, we find God 

in all our here's

as we awake

to the presence:

  - we are held in God 

    as we hold 

    a new born

  - we sweat God 

    as we cut the grass 

    for an elderly neighbor 

    down the street

  - we savor God 

    in a glass of wine

    (make that two)

    paired with apple and brie

  - we catch on to God 

    a bit more as we 

    research and study

  - we awake to wonder 

    in the passionate intimacy

    of God's embrace

    in mystical moments 

  - we sing God in 

    the harmony and power 

    of our hymns

  - we struggle God 

    as we seek to right

    the twisting of Truth 

    in our society

 - we experience God

   as we care for the 

   marginalized, 

   those suffering need,

   the life orb that is

   Mother Earth.



Whatever our age

and maturity,

we are children 

of the Universe 

       and 

    Infinitely 

Endlessly More,

awakening to

  God Playing in 

a Thousand Places

right here, right now.

What a 

         FIND

In God's Dear Love,

       John Frank

        ******


  A HAPPY HEARTED 

        WELCOME

       to all here 

       first time,

       many times,

            at 

   "frankly speaking"

spirituality for the street


         POSTED

Wednesday afternoons

east coast USA time

johnfrankshares.blogspot.com

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     Here's to a great week 

         finding ourselves 

           and all that 

               "IS"

             in God. 

            ******