New Perspectives…

The summer is coming to an end. The days are shorter and the nights are growing longer…

This past Sunday afternoon, my bookend-sister wanted to show me the walk along the other side of the river — and we were pleasantly surprised to see how far Autumn had advanced over there. The river’s cliff-side near my childhood home I know like the smile of a close friend – but it’s really not the most common one to visit – the other side that brushes up against the town of Estacada itself is the one most people know. There are benches and picnic tables to accommodate visitors, and there’s even a beautiful dock to aid in the enjoyment of the river. It’s the side that many of the kids I grew up with are likely to think of when they think about hike-walking along the river during their youth.
It’s a little funny to admit that I’ve spent so much of my life here, but I’ve never actually explored  that side before…  I was surprised at how it gave me an entirely different view of the river that I know so well.   The air was still heavy with the scent of the river and warm earth, but also carried the evidence of town – like the aroma of someone having an end-of-summer Sunday Barbecue, and the hum of the nearby highway. The river itself seemed so different from that side that it almost felt foreign…

Dock in Estacada on the Clackamas River

It’s funny how so much of the view of Life’s path depends on the perspective you have as you are walking it. Every once in awhile – after climbing a particularly steep leg of the journey – sometimes you can turn around and get a different view of where you’ve been…  it can be eye-opening to see things from a new viewpoint.

The Clackamas River from the North side

Lately, I have found myself at one of these points — only it has re-viewed a huge portion of this life I’ve been living, and so much of it appears very different from this new perspective than it was while I was walking through it.  So much of our Reality is shaped by our perspectives  — I’ve found mine has suddenly been turned inside-out and upside-down.  It’s like I’m suddenly living in a new world, but even in this world much remains the same — tomorrow keeps coming. I just desperately need to get my bearings…

Be gentle new world – I’m weary from this journey…

It’s all Grace.

Of Caterpillars and Hope…

Tiny Teddy-bear Caterpillar

Our first “teddy-bear caterpillar” sighting of the year. He was crossing our gravel road when my sister and I stopped to pet him, and he curled up into himself — protecting his softness from the harsh unknowns of the world. He was gently carried to a place of green far off the road, and we continued our evening walk.

Today, I found myself envying this tiny one’s ability to freeze and bring himself a sense of safety — in his little world everything stopped — there was time to just be still. I, too, feel like curling up for a period of rest — I find myself unable to think, unable to function well, unable to ponder this journey. I am tired…

It’s a night to yearn for peace rather than marvel at it… My eyes burn with the build up of fatigue and emotion from this past summer. A couple days ago we had to evacuate since the state park I grew up hiking to from home became the site of a wildfire… Thankfully the winds pushed it the opposite direction from my childhood home, and we had firefighters from districts all over the state as well as civilian volunteers from the area, come to conquer the flames. They won. We survived our evacuation adventure – five of us at my other sister’s place, with five cats (and two fish!) – no one really slept. It was so wonderful to return home safely — and we’re all so grateful! Not everyone was able to return to their home safe and sound…

Tonight I am weighing the balance of my losses this summer alongside all the ways Light shines in my world — all the Goodness that simply is… Life is hard… but it is good. There is Hope. Tonight I will sleep — and tomorrow I will hope again.

Veni, Vidi, Amavi.

It’s all Grace.


Twilight and Evening Song…

Twilit sky and evening cricket chorus…

Darkness is falling earlier and earlier in my corner of the globe.

My sister and I are now consistently sharing our evening walks with the songs of the crickets and the erratic flight of bats. Tonight, the evening breeze was gentle…. playing with our clothes and brushing our cheeks — it still carries the scent of summer’s-end blended with the river — even as it’s now bearing the first falling leaves, brown and crisp… Autumn is arriving soon, and already the trees are preparing to prepare for the coming winter. 

There is something healing in these evening walks — and yet, they are just natural occurrences — just two “bookend” sisters , the oldest and the youngest 13-years apart — walking a road they’ve know their entire lives. We visit a neighbor’s goats — feeding them if we have anything to share, even if that means laughing like schoolgirls as we try to reach apples on a nearby tree, or picking the giant blackberries in the bushes along the road. I am in my 40s but might as well be in my early teens on these evenings. :) The goats think we are there just to bring them treats, and object loudly if we happen to pass by with empty arms…
We point out rabbits and  instinctively duck if the bats swoop too close…The chorus of crickets waxes and wanes as we walk along, passing one group and moving on to the next — the river a constant presence just behind their tall-grass homes under the stand of old trees that border its cliffside-banks. The air is heavy with the fragrance of home…

My childhood and youth are everywhere here. After what seems like decades of chaos — my soul feels like it is standing on solid ground… I remember myself — my voice, my heart — pieces of me that only made their presence known when working in hospice, or stolen moments with written words in this little corner. Words here can bring ridicule from others, but they carry my voice in all its fullness… they are a window into who I am and where I’ve been. Perhaps they will weave for me their own healing spell to remind me of my soul-self after all this…

And perhaps these evening twilit walks are my peace-potion.


#twiliteveningsongwalks
#comingautumn
#peacewalk

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.

 

 

 

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.