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.


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.