I have the day off - hallelujah! It is much needed. I am reminded of a story of a group of white explorers traveling with a small group of native people in the wilderness of Africa. The white people wondered with irritation why the group of native men kept stopping and sitting for no apparent reason while there was much territory to cover. When asked, the native men replied that they were waiting for their spirits to catch up.
Today I walked up the hilly, still bare woods near my home. I sat down upon the earth and heard the birds singing with such zest and energy. My face turned to the sun and I found myself laying upon the soft ground. I was waiting for my spirit to catch up. My whole body sunk down. I realized how desperately I needed to do this. Somehow I have become part of the frantic pace that I vowed I would never succumb to. Work, caring for the home, a car breakdown, spring sports, spring sports, and more spring sports have turned me into one of those poor frenetic mothers I used to pity. How essential to pull away to a quiet place as Jesus did, to center, to slow, to pray, to receive the energy of the Spirit. I could feel the temptation to get up before I was ready, my mind already racing ahead to my tasks for the day awaiting me. I felt sad I could not allow myself this simple, brief luxury and necessity of spirit. Then I pulled myself back to the sun, the warmth, the birds. I heard a thrush sing, the first of the spring. My soul felt peace and I wanted to share this moment with each of you and encourage you to take care of your soul today in some great or small way. It is what we all need. Blessings, Kathryn
I can tell I am moving closer to surrender. I have begun journaling again and am amazed by the amount of negative baggage in my thinking: anger, fear, fear and more fear. Just by writing it, claiming it, getting it on paper and outside of me has shifted my inner world. Embracing my inner truth moves me closer to letting go of that which is keeping me blocked. Awareness. So important. Naming. So important. Then surrender. I believe more firmly that I am in this place of fear and feeling backed into a corner for my own growth. How else could I get past it? How else could I grow. I want to bless it, though am not fully in that space yet. But I bless it anyway. And ask God to show me what I need, to grow me through my own barriers, to open a path for me. Thank you for this dark time. Thank you for my deep need of you and your saving power. Thank you for helping me to trust in you alone, and not in my check book balance or my control of my universe. Thank you. I am standing on the edge, waiting to fly. I am fledging!
We had a wonderful Christmas break. Despite the fact that 3 of the 4 of our family were sick with stomach flu then influenza. What was wonderful was slowing down, playing, being together.... much needed time in our busy, busy, busy!!! world. My desire was to foster wonder in my kids over the holiday. We did this in several ways. Ofcourse our tree with lights and decorations inspires wonder, as well as the many delicious foods we made together - gingerbread people, savory meat pies, cream filled cupcakes. In our family we have told the story of St. Nicolas and what he did for people in need. We carry on the tradition with a secret santa operation which involves secrecy under the cloak of darkness, crawling on our bellies through the snow and lots of frantic running. It is very exciting for all of us, especially the kids. We also decorate a tree in the forest for the animals with peanut butter dipped pine cones rolled in bird seed. When I see my children's faces filled with pure joy and excitement, I give thanks that we are honoring traditions which fill them with wonder. We are like the magi coming to the stable to see the babe, caught by surprise at the joy of God.
It is the simple things which return to me which bring meaning to our lives. So much distracts us, fills us with noise, consumes our thinking. I mourn today as we go back to the routine of school and all of the activities which demand our family time. I will continue to fight to make time for us to be together, to play a game, to turn off the electronics and be together. Our culture does not value family togetherness, but I do, because I know how rich our loved ones make our lives.
Yesterday I hurt my daughter deeply by betraying her trust. She asked me not to contact someone about an issue and I did, though anonymously. I told her and she wept, saying she would never confide in me again. At first, I tried to explain myself, in a feeble attempt to justify what I did. Then I apologized, and I wept. As I sat with my feelings, I felt so terribly sad and horrid for hurting someone I love. I also felt deep shame. Shame is my plague when I face my own failure. As I pondered why I felt so badly, I found myself listening to my own internal voice of comfort saying, "It's okay. You are okay". I opened myself to God and to my own acceptance. I felt no better initially, but gradually God's penetrating light beamed even into my dark interior of shame and grief. I love the quote from scripture, "Grief may linger in the evening, but joy comes in the morning." It is so true. When I awoke, I felt that the healing balm of God had begun to seep into my heart, though I still did not feel fully restored. Healing and forgiveness take time, and I am willing to wait. I know the morning always comes, and I believe God's love always restores.
Today is the first snow. A fire is dancing in our wood stove in the corner of our log cabin. I feel warm and safe as I watch the snow falling down out the window. Like a kid, I always feel excited for the first snow. It thrills me. Perhaps it is the change which I find exciting. My prayer today is to be open to what today holds. If I can be open to each moment with grace today, I will have lived. I find myself slipping into unconscious reactions with my kids, with my husband, with others too quickly. Help me to be open to your spirit today, God. May I live with the excitement, wonder and openness of a child.
As I was driving to school the other day, I pulled up beside a mom who always has a smile upon her face. She drives a beautiful car, has beautiful kids, has a rich and successful husband and does not work outside of her home. Admittedly, I felt envious for a fleeting moment. Then I thought, if I had all those things (I do have the beautiful kids!), I would always have a smile on my face also. Life would be so easy. Obviously, there may be much more to this woman's story than meets the eye. Everyone has their struggles. But somehow it dawned on me that I would not be stretched to grow if I was given an easy path. I would not have to struggle daily to trust God for one thing. The place God has me right now is total dependence on God for every little thing. I can take nothing for granted. It is much harder to put a smile on my face when I don't know how we are going to pay our mortgage this month, or what we will do for our retirement (savings = 0). I need and desire to learn joy despite my challenging circumstances. This is true joy. This is true freedom. Each and every day of my life of strain, trial and struggle is an opportunity to look to my Maker, to surrender, to trust. How much more blessed I will be if I learn this lesson in the midst of darkness, as opposed to when things are sailing. Joy despite... that is my prayer for today.
Today I took a bike ride through the woods. The birds were singing. The sun warming me. About half way through, I got off and found a mossy spot. I lay down upon the earth. After a moment, I could feel my body beginning to slow down. I took off my helmet so I could feel the moss under my head. A while back I had made a commitment to lay upon the earth every day, but over time, my commitment waned. Today, my spirit and body become one with a far more beautiful song and rhythm to the one I've been buzzing around to. The song and rhythm of the earth. The feeling was almost immediate and very tangible. I longed for each person I know to be able to join me for a silent moment. My children, especially my eldest would think mom is being very weird. But I longed for them to lay upon the earth to settle their spirits as well and let all of the crazy busy aspects of our lives soak into the earth and feel free and light. I am going to try to lay on the earth each day, as well as make music. Care to join me under your own favorite tree?
Today is Sunday. I made that pesto on Friday and it was wonderful. I froze some in baggies and I saved some for dinner. I made grilled turkey tenderloin, cheese and pesto tortillas. They were fabulous. After cleaning out the freezer, I found some pumpkin. The aroma of pumpkin pie is filling the air as I write. I have a turkey to bake and will create some low fat whole wheat biscuits to serve up with gravy and turkey. I have some lettuce still in the garden and have some homemade cucumber dressing in the fridge. I love Sunday. Faith is the focal point of my life, though today I have my sabboth at home, not in any church. We are slowing down, resting, playing football in the yard and baking a Sunday dinner. I watch my girls laugh and run as the first hail beats down on their heads. I give thanks. This is my holy day. Thank you God for a slow Sunday with family.
I am trying to find my quiet center in the midst of learning to be savvy in this world of technology. I find that after several hours of computer I am left feeling frazzled, out of center and agitated. I call myself back. I breathe deeply. I try to detangle myself from the web of words, images and computer connections and connect with my true self and with my Maker. Does anyone else feel this way? I fear that my many connections through computer are important but lacking in true meaning and depth. I turn back to the people around me today. I gaze into the eyes of my child. I listen. My harp beckons to me in the corner of my living room. I must play to find my spirit.