Joy Comes In The Morning…

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The sun has set and our little family is winding down for the night.

It was a beautiful day… in so many ways. The sun shone brightly, the sky and the ocean were both bright blue — but most of all, we had family come to visit… and it was simply wonderful to have them here. Having both of my sisters here was such a treat, and it’s always fun to hear my favorite brother-in-law talking with The Philosopher about anything and everything — especially video games and good books. :) Having them here with my little nephews made my home come alive — the sound of laughter, cries of delight (or “non-delight”), and the constant patter of little feet running through the house — it all brought so much life to our little home by the sea… When they left, the sudden silence just underscored the feeling of loss that “goodbye” always brings. But I know that this was just the first of many visits… and it was wonderful. I was even able to give both of my sisters a Healing Touch treatment — relaxing and helpful for them, and good practice for me!

We went into town where Little Boy spent quite a while picking out just the right Hot Wheels to bring home with him, and The Professor and I took plenty of pictures of everyone playing at the “pirate ship park” and walking on the beach. Second Sister even brought her fancy camera to grab a fews photos with (perhaps she caught something to inspire her painting later). I’m really looking forward to this summer when the weather is just a bit warmer so we can spend more time actually down on the beach without getting so cold — the wind off the Pacific still cuts right through you this time of year. When the weather is a bit warmer Little Boy and Little One will be able to dig in the sand and build sandcastles, and as they get older they can build forts in the woods by the house.  It’s really hard being so far away, but at least when they come to visit they’ll be making some great memories.

We only sat in the silence of the suddenly emptied house for a few minutes before it was time to leave for the church. Tonight was our first night leading the music and I was pretty nervous. Over the last couple of years my guitar has really only been used for hospice volunteering or writing my own music, I hadn’t played for large groups of people for quite awhile. Thankfully, there was a really nice guy playing the cello along with me, so I wasn’t the only instrumental background, and my hubby helped out with the vocals (he has a strong, dependable voice and does an awesome job). Since the stroke, I just can’t sing as long as I could before — and even though it really wasn’t that many songs… I was pretty tired by the end. I’ll sleep well tonight. :) Everyone was really grateful to have us there (there was a large round of applause before the Mass and an even larger one after), and many people came by to personally thank us at the end. I’m feeling really blessed to get to serve the parish like this when I’ve only been here a month. Of course, having Holy Week coming up really soon has me a bit nervous, but it will all work out. I have plenty of people I can get advice from… :)

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All the joys today were tempered by the news we received from my mama about the death of a kitty that had been in the family for about 17 years. We knew that his time was winding down, but the three of us (my sisters and I) were really wishing that mama wasn’t having to deal with the loss all alone. Normally she’s with at least one of us, or one of us isn’t far away — but since they were both with me, she was alone.  Not ideal. The thing is, it’s not uncommon for new losses to bring up old ones — the wounds are similar enough that the pain all runs together… and we’ve all had more than our share of losses in the last couple of years — I was very glad that this visit was planned as a short one from the beginning. Mama wouldn’t have wanted a visit cut short for her, but we couldn’t have enjoyed ourselves knowing that she was alone with Loss. I can’t help wishing that I was there… but I know Second Sister is with her, and Sister isn’t far away now…

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It is hard to be mortal — to walk this earth with mortal creatures we love. But there is beauty in the ashes — and there is more to this being than we realize.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)

We are made for hope — for the joy set before us. We are made for Love… and Love never fails. Love lasts — it doesn’t cease just because the object of our love is no longer with us — and that just proves its power. Love transforms us from the inside out — it shapes us as well as those we love. There is more to this whole business of Life and Eternity than we can grasp. Take heart…  Joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5b) 

I am grateful…

  1. Sister visits!!!
  2. Nephew laughter…
  3. Singing and making music in my heart to the Lord…
  4. This old guitar of mine…
  5. pirate ship park slides…
  6. walking on the beach with so many dear ones…
  7. new breadmaker!!
  8. iris beds…
  9. my boys laughing with their Uncle…
  10. sunrise, sunset… beginnings and endings…

It’s all Grace.

 

 

 

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Peace and Quiet…

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I keep thinking that I’m going to be able to put up posts here on a more regular basis, but life just keeps charging ahead and days pass before I even realize where they’ve gone. Yesterday I spent the entire day writing pieces for work, which meant that the house required a lot of attention for the first half of my day today. Then it was time to practice the music for Saturday evening which took up the rest of the afternoon, but I’m feeling much more comfortable with it now. I’ll work on it a little bit tomorrow and then just leave it and let what will be, be. This instrument and I have been sharing music with others since I was 12 — I think we can handle this (and my hubby will have my back with vocals)… :)

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Life might move too quickly to allow me to post regularly, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no time for peace — it just means that I take the moments of quiet and calm seriously, and I don’t necessarily feel the need to fill them with more requirements like writing a “post” or keeping up with social media. What I miss out on in digital connection with the outside world, I make up for with time snatched from the jaws of “busyness” for quieting my soul.

“Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul…” (Psalm 131:2)

Today, amid all the “homemaking” I finally found my Liturgy of the Hours books and even found the time to look up where we are, so tomorrow morning I’ll be able to quiet my soul with the Office of Readings and the Hours — one of my favorite ways to connect with the rest of the world from the peace of prayer. There’s something beautiful about praying the Hours with the world… morning-quiet, the sound of the ocean, and the Psalms… I’m looking forward to it.

Tonight, as I get ready to sleep I’m resting in the knowledge that while life keeps moving on and the world continues its journey around the sun, there’s still time to pause… time for Quiet… time to pray.

…and I’m grateful…

  1. practicing guitar…
  2. singing with my hubby…
  3. baking muffins in our new kitchen…
  4. deer in the front yard…
  5. FaceTiming with family…
  6. Healing Touch level 3…
  7. new friends…
  8. family coming to visit!!!
  9. new vacuum cleaner… :)
  10. walking on the beach with my hubby…

It’s all Grace…

Look Up…

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It’s the end of another long day.

The family is winding down, though we have hours left until we’ll be snuggled in our beds – hopefully finding our way to sleep. The fire in the pellet stove of our new home is keeping my toes toasty warm while I sit here this evening.  This past week has been so busy, but it’s been productive. Our house is looking more and more like a home — we even have some pictures up on the walls, and a new door has been added to the space set aside for the hubby’s office… now it meets all the regulatory requirements and sound won’t travel quite as easily. Most of my bookshelves are full and there are only a handful of books that I can’t seem to find yet — I’m feeling more and more at home here…

I’m grateful for our modern ability to communicate via FaceTime and such — my little nephews are almost as excited to see me on a screen as they are to see me in person :)… and I’m so blessed to still get to talk with my sister every day. It’s not the same as being right down the street, but it’s going to be okay… And next weekend I’ll actually get to see her in the evenings since I have a Healing Touch training and she’s letting me stay the nights at her place while I’m in town. It means spending my actual birthday traveling alone for a couple of hours, but I have plenty of music to listen to… and as long as the weather isn’t nasty it will be a relaxing drive. Plus, there’s family on both ends of the trip — I can’t ask for more. :)

We’re settling in here in other ways as well — our little bakery in Rockaway has agreed to make us a bulk gluten free order regularly (at a wonderful price — we’ll be saving well over a hundred dollars a month on bread!), and we found out where the locals buy their pellets for their pellet stoves (hence the warmth in my toes from the cheery flames behind the glass in front of me). We’ve met the FedEx woman who will be picking up and dropping off the hubby’s documents related to work (when I let her inside she even had a treat for Pat-me) :), as well as the woman who delivers our mail everyday. We even have a local “handyman” to call on for help around the house (he’s the one who built the new aforementioned door and also fixed my sink this week)!

On top of all that — I sat down with the Pastoral Associate at St. Mary’s this week and began plans for playing the guitar on Saturday evenings. I’m nervous simply because I haven’t done it before — actually, I haven’t played for anyone who wasn’t dying in quite awhile and I’m just nervous about dealing with other people’s strong opinions on a regular basis. When it comes to music during church people tend to have very specific ideas about what songs should be played, etc. Of course, for awhile everyone will just be happy that they have music of any kind since they haven’t had a musician for awhile now — but I know that won’t last forever. I’ll just enjoy it while it lasts. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the new relationships that are appearing here. It seems that as the days pass more of the blessing we’ve been given here continues to unfold…

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A lot has happened in these last few weeks of my 38th year traveling around our sun. Part of me is excited to see what the future holds for the last year of my 30s… and then, part of me is simply tired. So tired. There is much light in this world, but darkness is a very real part of our existence as well, and some days it’s just hard to hold on to the “hope that is within” in the face of it all. While “there is so much beauty around us for just two eyes to see” as Rich said, seeing it can be so hard in this world… it takes those soft eyes I’ve mentioned before. The trick is learning to see the world through the gentleness that we bring to it — painting the world with the watercolors within us — projecting them and their soft light into the world around us that seems to think in blacks and grays more and more these days. We are told that we are surrounded with anger and fear… but that’s not entirely true…

“Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

The darker the sky, the brighter the stars, and the greater their numbers. If you remember to look up — look up! — there are many, many souls shining brightly in these days of shadows. The more I work to spread light in small ways, the more I find others doing the same, and the more beauty we create in this world together. This is how we are the “light of the world”…

 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:14-16

…that they may see…

Please remember, even a cup of water given to a thirsty child is an act of war against the darkness. Our small things done in great love are powerful… and we can all do small things…

“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”’ Matthew 25:40

As Mother Theresa said, it’s the Gospel on five fingers… “you did it to Me”… Let us shine our light of love on all the lives around us, and so show our love to Christ.

…so much to be grateful for…

  1. sunsets…
  2. three ingredient cookies…
  3. new pictures on the walls..
  4. full bookshelves…
  5. shopping with my hubby…
  6. finding my favorite mug…
  7. snow at the beach!
  8. deer outside at nighttime…
  9. Little One learning to say, “Yes!”
  10. our cats acting years younger in this big house…

It’s all Grace.