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

To Be

Twin Rocks and Sunset at St. Mary’s-by-the-Sea

There was a beautiful sunset last night when I went to St. Mary’s for choir practice. I stepped out of the car and just had to stop to breathe it in for a few moments…

Such a soft light … the scent of sea … its roaring rhythm echoing in my chest…

I have to admit – I am not very good at this embodied existence. I have been living with and in this body for about half a lifetime now, and I still forget it. I forget to treat myself well and take it so much for granted — even after spending a decade with it weak and frail after the stroke… You would think I would have learned a deep appreciation for how far it has carried me. But I still move awkwardly with it through this world — I can’t seem to get ahold of this “being human” thing …

But when these eyes of mine see such light, and my chest moves with the rhythm of the sea — my cheeks bit by its wind — for one fleeting moment I feel my own true presence here…

To be.

So when I see my reflection in a mirror – or look down at the strangeness of this flesh and bone that becomes so weary — that seems at once ugly and beautiful — and have no recognition of the shapes I see… When I feel so separate from this corporal existence as I normally do — so much more a thought than a self — at least I am able to catch that self in brief moments… as when the sun sets into the sea and it dances with the wind in the sand.

When this spinning world seems to pause in Time — it’s only then I am able to catch a glimpse of myself. Perhaps that is what the mystics know all the time… their true selves present in the True Light. To be human is to be the fullness of spirit, soul, and body — complete and balanced in one being. I hope I figure it out before I’m done…

Be kind — we’re all just trying to be human.


#beautyandbreath
#sunsetandsea
#beinghuman
#tobe
#softlightscentofsea
#trueselfTrueLight
#pausetime

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…

*******

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.

 

 

 

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…