Sunsets and Birdsong Dawns…

Clackamas River Sunset

Life has thrown another curve… It does that.

I’m not entirely sure what I’ll find after I turn the corner, but for now I’m walking slowly along the path in no real hurry to get around the bend. I have spent this last week or so in my childhood home while working on my Finals for this term — this curve in life forced me to fall way behind in my classwork and I needed some help with the boys so I could get everything caught up and finished before the term ended. Somehow I’ve managed to catch up with everything despite all my current life drama…

While here my “baby” sister and I have had the opportunity to go for evening walks together — the boys have grandparents to help if someone takes a fall — I can be away for an extended period of time without worrying. This means that there has been a period of unexpected Rest in the midst of this chaos. Being with family – it’s easier to get up in the morning, easier to remember to eat, easier to sleep… I’m not spending my nights right now dreading the waking of another day…

Out walking with my sister in the evenings gives me the chance to just breathe, and hiking along the river in all its familiarity, it’s easy to remember who I am. The beauty that shaped me is still here — sunset skies above the river and birdsong filling the dawn. The air here at my childhood home by the river I know so well – it still smells like the late summers of my girlhood — like sun-warmed berries and dry grass, heavy with the weight of the heat and the scent of the river… Summer’s end hangs in the air as the days shorten and we all feel the coming autumn looming despite the present heatwave. I miss the sea – the sound of her breathing tides and her scent in the air – but I am so grateful to be here right now…

Life is hard — I hope you all can find Beauty when you’re travelling your own rocky path… Remember we’re all on this journey together – stay soft with each other…

  • #rememberingme
  • #childhoodforests
  • #viewfromthewaterfall
  • #clackamasriver
  • #sunsetsandbirdsongdawns

Midday Musings

I walked to the beach and back during my lunch break with my hubby today. It smelled like the hikes I took daily as a teenager – water and earth, sunshine, damp bracken and gravel, and then… a different scent – The Sea. She is the only difference from my youth spent much further inland in the woods east of the Willamette Valley, and she is a constant presence now — scent and sound even when out of sight. Sometimes there’s just the low constant hum of the waves rumbling below the surface of conscious notice, and sometimes she roars with wind and intensity — a ferocity bound by the shore even when she seems to be bent on reaching further… The Pacific has an ironic name – she is not a tame companion, even if a constant one.

Today she gave the impression of playfulness amid the sea foam and sunshine. I wanted to stay and play – we were the only ones there in the middle of the day — stealing unseen kisses and pretending the world is as it should be… But of course, it was a lunch break — time was limited and I am not free to ignore reality, or create my own… Today has been another difficult day for so many — Covid is not as tame as people would like to believe… Perhaps Omicron is not as fierce as Delta, but neither is Alpha, and without a vaccine every variant is dangerous and unpredictable as the sea…

This weekend I will have three days off — there is sunshine in the forecast and I hope to spend some time in it. There will be schoolwork and housework… There are books to read, and I have a new sweater to begin knitting (yay!) — the time will fly — but it will be enough to remind me that life is good. The tides are constant and faithful, even if not safe, and Time’s rhythm of life is the same… Change is constant.

Let nothing disturb you;
Let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing.
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Nothing is wanting to him who possesses God.
God alone suffices.” St. Teresa of Avila (found on her bookmark)

A Blessing for the New Year

A Blessing for the New Year from To Bless the Space Between Us by John O’Donahue

This week has left me so undone…
I was lead nurse for my team all week — it felt like we were all drowning together — too much to be done and not enough hands to do it…
I am on the other side of exhaustion this New Year’s Eve — hard to think about what the next few weeks of the New Year will be like in my reality — as apparently those of us working in healthcare live in a different world than everyone else — other than those we are trying to help…

As usual I turned to written words for comfort today — Scripture. Poetry. Prayers. Beautiful fonts and phrases…

I’m sending out John O’Donahue’s “A Blessing For The New Year” into this hurting world today – from his To Bless The Space Between Us book of blessings. May 2022 offer us all hope as together we begin another circuit around the sun on this spinning globe.

May those of us beginning this journey again without so many of our loved ones find comfort and courage to go on in the fact that love does not end just because the seat at the table is empty. All the shadows that remain echo the love shared… This coming year will be full of many hard firsts for so many grieving… Be gentle with each other my fellow earth-riders — we need each other.

#NewYearsEve
#nursesnewyear
#JohnODonahue
#ablessingforthenewyear
#loveneverends
#fontsandphrases
#undone

Love Poured Out…

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Sunset tonight from St. Mary’s by the Sea

Today was my hubby’s 43rd birthday. It also happened to be Valentine’s Day as well as Ash Wednesday (which really doesn’t happen very often), and we ended up taking a nice, quiet day amidst the chaos of unpacking that’s been our life this week. (Happy Birthday my Love!)  Our home is beginning to take shape, though I’m looking forward to getting all our books on their shelves again — once that happens it will really start to feel like we belong here. I’m not sure how long it will take for me to get used to the sound of the sea every time I step outside (or if I stop to listen inside) — it seems so surreal. Dreaming about living at the coast “someday” is something from my childhood — one of those things you want to do when you grow up but know can never happen. There was never a time in my life where I considered it a real possibility, it was just a wish… One that wasn’t to be taken seriously — not even by me…

The fact that I’m here now — it just seems like I somehow stepped into another dimension — one where impossible dreams are simply reality. I can’t even call this an answer to prayer (other than a desperate plea for help to find permanent housing out of the cold), since I never even considered asking to live at the coast. This was purely a Gift — something unsought, unasked for, and deeply, deeply appreciated…

I am in awe of such Love poured out.

******

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season — a time to prepare for the coming glory of Easter — a time to refocus. Fasting, giving alms, praying — these are things that are meant to remind us anew of our souls… no matter how busy life has been, or how distracted we may be, seasons like this draw us back to solid ground. This is a time for soul-growth, rededication to our true purpose, and “beginning again” in the coming light of the Resurrection. This is the joy that is before us… A joy that cannot be forgotten amid the present darknesses we face…

This Lenten season I will once again be “giving up” my time… Offering up more than I think I have for prayer, for serving others in whatever is before me, and I will be stopping to remember this awe of Love I’ve known so intimately in these first days in our new home. I hope to hold on to this gratitude and let it shape me — to let this Love be free to mold me into who I am becoming. I hope to reach the Glory-Light at the end of Lent different in some small way… more trusting, more patient, more myself as I am to be and less who I’ve been. Perhaps the changes of this holy season before the Resurrection-Dawn will be barely noticeable, perhaps they will seem to be a natural progression in the course of my life — but every change requires a catalyst — even a small one. In order to grow souls need sustenance, and now is a time for solid soul food — strengthening, stretching and preparing us for service. This is another Gift — one for everyone…

 It is Love poured out.

We have been given so much. Amid the chaos and stress of this journey of Life, with all the darkness that surrounds, threatening to freeze our souls from the inside out, and the way that hope just seems to die as we see all that happens in this world, we must take the time to look up. Love is being poured out — even when we can’t see it. We have not been forgotten…

“…I will not forget you! See I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” (Psalm 49:15b-16a)

Love keeps no record of your wrongs (1 Cor. 13:5), but He will not forget you. We are not alone…

God does not play dice with our lives.

We are loved.

…and I am grateful…

  1. Glorious sunsets…
  2. Ash Wednesday reminders…
  3. Hubby’s birthday!!!
  4. FaceTime (so thankful to be able to visit with family every day still)!
  5. A Valentine from Little Boy…
  6. Rice Dream for my coffee…
  7. Face to the sun, listening to the sea with The Philosopher…
  8. The Professor having a less confused day…
  9. So much laundry done!
  10. Empty bookshelves just waiting to be filled…

It’s all Grace…

 

Be Still…

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I am looking out my new living room window and still not able to grasp the reality of all that has happened during the past few days. It feels like I’m just on an Oregon Coast vacation — another one of many I’ve had throughout my lifetime — and I think it’s going to take awhile before I realize that this is home now.

We bought a house.

Not just any house… we bought a house in an Oregon coastal town where the breeze carries the scent of the ocean and its soothing sound is the constant background song.  The air is clear here — I stepped out on our front porch last night and was reminded at how amazing the stars always are on the coast. The vastness of the sea, combined with the never-ending sky… there are no words. I can’t believe we’re here…

We have spent many years trying to create a home in one rental or another — it was an almost constant moving game. Our most recent ones over the last handful of years all ended up having heating problems — a serious drawback with so many health issues in the family.  Of course, you can only bring up the problem with landlords so much — they can always find someone else to replace your family — there are many, many people looking for places to live. It’s crazy to spend almost 2000 dollars a month on a rental that doesn’t even have reliable heat, and yet we were just thankful to have a place to live.  I was particularly thankful that we had found a place just down the street from my sister…

That is the biggest drawback of this move — I can’t just run over to see my sister (who just turned 30 by the way — Happy Birthday Sister!) whenever I want now. Every evening I would run over for at least a few minutes after her boys were in their pajamas, and being so far away is a serious loss for me. While there’s no way we could have afforded to buy a house any closer, and we really needed to move… being so far from all of my family isn’t easy — I know it’s necessary, but it isn’t easy. I’m very glad they all have each other so if they need something someone will be there to help. And, thankfully, our move makes it easier for everyone in the family to take trips to the beach — so at least they get something positive out of it.

I know that this is all actually a huge blessing. As hard as it is, I know that we’re where we are supposed to be… I just need to catch my breath and get settled in… I’m not going to just stop missing everyone, but I’ll get used to being a couple hours away – I know I will. I won’t feel so much like I’m on the verge of tears forever. The rest of this week will be spent unpacking (I can’t wait to have all my books back on their shelves!) and meeting people in our new town. The people who live here are very friendly and we have plenty of opportunities to get involved in the community as we get settled. I have the number of the local hospice so I can get ahold of the volunteer coordinator and find out how to sign up, and our little parish has plenty of opportunities for us to serve. Thursdays the ladies have a Circle of Caring where they get together and work on knitting/quilting etc. for those in need, so that will be a good place to meet everyone. There’s a writers group nearby that The Philosopher and I will probably get involved with in time, and there’s a support group for people dealing with the after effects of brain injury for The Professor if he wants to go. I know that all will be well…

It’s just hard… change is hard…

No matter how logical and positive a new situation is, there’s no way around the difficulties of dealing with the stress of change. It’s a big part of being human, and it’s not comfortable — tears, anger, emotional distress, physical pain — these are all normal responses to the changes that happen in our lives. Learning to live there in that discomfort — to be comfortable in the tension of change and be still within it — that’s where we learn to Trust in the goodness of the God who loves us.

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

So that’s where I am… sitting still in the pain and chaos of change… knowing that “all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” (St. Julian of Norwich) We are all just living one day at a time — putting one foot in front of the other — we’re all looking up at these same stars in awe and trusting that our unique smallness is loved within all the vastness of the galaxies…

Change is inevitable — and it is the potential for change that is really Time’s gift to us… we are ever changing from glory to glory in this journey of Faith. Whatever is – is passing… that includes the hard things we think we won’t live through. Knowing this is my comfort now.

I am grateful…

  1. Pictures of The Professor on the beach…
  2. Family hugs…
  3. Singing in the car with The Philosopher…
  4. Little Boy and Little One splashing in the hotel pool…
  5. Sister and Little Boy finding sea glass on her birthday trip…
  6. Beach walks…
  7. Walking out of service to the sun setting into the ocean…
  8. a real home of our own…
  9. Taking Papa and Grandma to lunch in our new town…
  10. Internet hooked up today!!!!!!! (now we can be in touch with everyone)… :)

It’s all Grace.