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.

Transfiguration Morning…

Blued-eyed sky and Sunlight

There is Peace here.
This morning the sky is blued-eyed — cloudless and bright…  sunlight has clothed the wetland wood across my gravel road and every green hue is alive with  its touch.
It is an August morning — the Feast of the Transfiguration — and my world awoke to this quiet beauty — the breathing of the sea-tides echoing in my chest… the rise and fall of my own rhythm — my heart keeping the beat.

I am sitting in this Quiet.
There are dishes waiting in my sink — remnants of a quick dinner before writing my paper that was due at midnight… they have been patient and will soon be clean again, but they are quiet as they wait.
The boys have had their morning meds with breakfast, the cats are resting from their nocturnal play…
In this moment nothing is clamoring for my attention.

I can feel this new day washing over my corner of the world — what is this magic that keeps us spinning through time — ever forward, ever onward? Is it this Quiet – this Foundation-of-Everything holding us all together? It is holding me here — cradling us all, just waiting to be recognized… to be known.

“If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”

Inside, we’re all longing to be mystics — longing to know and be known — to sit in the Silence of ourselves surrounded by the bustle and noise of living. We’re all yearning for connection — to have Light clothe us in our innate hues and reveal our beauty to the world. Can’t you see the brightness of summer’s-light in the eyes of those around you? We’re all seeking Communion… Be gentle in your gaze — soft, compassionate eyes are the key to sight here.  Be kind, and See.

“Be still, and know…”


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.


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)

The Flow of Time…


I’ve been away from this cozy little corner for quite a while, and I probably don’t have the time to try to explain where the last few months have taken us, but I’m stopping by anyway. When life itself moves too fast it’s easy to fall behind. So, this nook of the internet will have to forgive me for my periodic abandonment. Time flows too quickly…

We were settled down to enjoy our beach house life when our economic circumstances took a sharp turn. After some prayer and researching, I decided to begin nursing school with the goal of moving from a hospice volunteer to a hospice nurse, and my hubby decided to join me. This means, that while we will be able to keep our home at the coast, we need to be close to the city for school for the next year or so while we’re in school…

Fast forward from my last blog post to this one and I now find myself at the beginning of my second term. I knew when I began that I would enjoy it, but I didn’t realize how much I would love it — or how engaged with the entire process I would be. This is the first time I’ve studied anything and not be “bored” after a few weeks. :) I’m having a blast! Don’t get me wrong — it’s not easy. I might be making A’s, but I’m actually earning them — I’m working hard for my grades. There’s so much to learn in such a short period of time!

Right now, we’re studying for our LPN licenses, which basically gets your foot in the door as a nurse, and then we’ll be able to get jobs anywhere with the health insurance our boys need. Once I’m employed I plan to continue my education and “climb the ranks” of nursing — perhaps even becoming a nurse practitioner at some point for a hospice. I’d actually love to run my own hospice house someday… we’ll see where life takes me… A year ago I never would have imagined I’d be where I am now, so I’m curious to see what my life will be like a year from now.

The boys are hanging in here as their parents are both in school. The Professor’s 2nd anniversary of his head injury passed a couple weeks ago, and it’s been hard not to get discouraged with the healing process. We recently began seeing Dr. Thom again though who has a new plan to try to encourage his healing, and it really helps to have a little hope sent our way. The Philosopher had an MRI recently and we’re hoping to hear some enlightening news about it this next week. He has symptoms that point to a re-tethering of his spinal cord, and mostly we’re just hoping that whatever is wrong is something “fixable”. Thankfully, while we’re away at classes during the day we have plenty of family around to help the boys out. Second Sister has really been helping a lot, and of course, my mama has been a rock. Really, I couldn’t be doing nursing school without all the family support — it just wouldn’t be possible.

Since I’m back “in town” I’ve been able to begin visiting hospice patients again as well — I missed it so much while I was “away”. I simply love being with the dying — being present with them wherever they happen to be in any given moment. I think the hardest part of being a hospice nurse will be not having as much time with patients as I do as a volunteer. As a nurse, I’ll have a lot more patients than just the two that I visit now, and instead of simply being there to spend time with them — to play music and hear their stories — I’ll have to be one of the people who come in to poke and prod them. I’m pretty sure it won’t be easy for me to make that switch, and yet I’m looking forward to playing a bigger part in the care team — with a stronger voice for what I know is best for my patients. A nurse has a lot more “pull” than a volunteer. Don’t get me wrong, a volunteer’s observations are a vital part of the team — we inform a lot of the care that happens for our patients — but a nurse’s opinion simply goes further I think.

I’ll admit that I’m pretty tired though. Nursing school is intense! Plus, there’s so much else going on in life too — I feel like I could sleep for a week… There’s just always something I need to be doing — which means I have very little time for writing or reading… and forget knitting! My life is mostly homework (I swear Pharmacology is some kind of strange mix between Stephen King and Dr. Seuss — completely terrifying, fascinating, and full of made up words)… and it’s hard to maintain a sense of balance.

So amidst all the craziness of life lately, I am trying to keep my focus on my Lord… I am trying to remember that in school, I’m learning new ways to do “small things with great love”. All of this hard work is going to give me more tools to love others with — more ways to show the love of Christ to the world — especially the sick and dying. In learning things like how to do a Head to Toe Assessment I can show compassionate care for someone — I can really listen to them and hear their concerns. This is how we touch lives…

Love makes a difference…

…even in the small things.