Monday, March 23, 2015

welcome spring!

Winter, she did not let go without one last dance, and what a beautiful one it was. Just enough to dot the sky with magic and cover the ground one last time in a blanket of white, but not enough to make driving treacherous for anyone, the roads remained clear.  

This morning, all is in thaw.  There is the steady crashing of clumps of heavy, wet snow from the holly tree branches as the birds come in and take off in their business.  It reminds me of the scene in Narnia where winter breaks and the world is new again.

I have to say I did enjoy this winter more than in years past.  Even so I did reach my breaking point a couple of weeks ago.  I was starting to daydream of green grass, and warm sunshine and breezes through open windows as I hunkered down, my shoulders stiffened from being pulled up around my ears for so long.

I have often said what a gift it is to live in a place that has seasons.  A place where just when you feel you cannot take the scorching heat or the winter chill any longer, Spring and Autumn arrive to save the day.

There is such a renewal to Spring.  To the warming of the earth, the greening of the landscape, the birth of new life and the miracle of new growth erupting from it's long winter's rest,

Spring is here and with it my heart feels just a bit lighter.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

not so graceful, with not much sense

I don't think my girls would ever believe that I was a dancer.  Imagine their surprise that their mother was not only a ballerina en pointe, but also Highland danced around swords and once did a back flip on a balance beam.  For real, no lie.  Okay, the swords weren't real.

Most days here I am walking into the kitchen island, almost falling down the stairs, tripping over my own feet and dropping just about everything in sight.  Call it getting older, call it multi-tasking, call and try to find out where my gracefulness went.

Last night I tucked both girls into bed (K is now residing full time in her new loft bed in her room, a fact I am both celebrating and mourning).  I dressed for bed, and decided to swish a bit of coconut oil as I normally do to try to keep my gums healthy while I avoid the dentist.  Usually I do this in the morning, but time hasn't been working with me and normally I swish for about twenty minutes just enough time to read some of my book in bed (aren't you glad I am telling this story)?  Wait, it gets better.

Just as I am about to climb into bed, my mouth full of swishing coconut oil, I spy a gigantic beetle bug on the top of my wall.  I knew this particuliar wee creature had crawled out of a file cabinet I moved over the weekend and couldn't find.  Now I had him.  Almost.....he was up really high.

Now we don't kill insects in this house.  We are a pacifist house.  An all creatures are created equal house.  We do kill fruit flies and ticks and mosquitos, but everything else gets shooed out the door. So I needed a chair to grab the beetle bug in a cup to gently guide out of the house.  So I went down the stairs to grab the kitchen chair.  K being her normal "I must know everything that is going on" self, yelled from her loft bed nest, "What are you doing"? To which I replied, mouth full of oil "I'mgoingtogetachairthereisabigbuginmyroom".

All well and good, had I not knocked over the entire stack of miscellaneous "stuff" we had piled in the hallway when we cleaned out our rooms this past weekend.  Bang, bam, bam, tumble, tumble, crash.  A multitude of discarded items plunging down the stairs in the dark as I made my way past with the chair.

K again, "What is happening"?  Dear one, please don't get out of your loft bed to check on me.

So I yelled with my mouth closed, because you know, God forbid I should spit out the oil. "IKNOCKEDTHESTUFFINTHEHALLWAYDOWNTHESTAIRSWITHTHECHAIR".  To which she replied, "WHAT?"

I made my way to the bedroom, knocked the beetle bug in the cup.  Carried it downstairs, tossed it out the door, cleaned up all the miscellany on the stairs, went into K's room and (ask me why I still have all this goop in my mouth) opened my mouth halfway and said "BUG.  MY ROOM.  CHAIR.  STAIRS" before managing to have all the coconut oil fly out of my mouth and into my hands.

Off I go to the bathroom, dump the oil in the trash, wash my face and hands.  Come out to find Em now in the hallway wondering what's going on and make my way to K's room and tell her as calmly as I'm not feeling what happened.

So here are a few questions:

A.  Why didn't I just wait until I was done swishing to remove the bug?
B.  Why didn't I just spit the oil out in the first place instead of holding it in that whole time?
C.  Why did I feel the need to explain myself to my daughter who was obviously just being nosy and not at all helpful?
D.  Where in the heck did my grace and my common sense go?

Needless to say, I was ready for bed and didn't even bother with my book.

Friday, March 13, 2015

discerning-the cloister walk

I've put down everything to read this book and honestly I cannot believe I haven't read it before.  I think that it has been buried in my Amazon wish list waiting for the time to be right.  In this year of discernment for me, of course, it is exactly the right time.

I've pretty much fallen in love with every spiritual group and their words I have read so far.  It doesn't seem to matter which rule of life they follow.  When they are following their hearts and that still quiet voice what comes forth is magic.  Having read countless books by Quaker authors, recently my reading has turned to the Catholics through reading the stories of the Saints and the works of Jesuit Father James Martin.  

Kathleen Norris was not Catholic during her stay at Saint John's Abbey, but goodness her poetic musings have me falling in love with the Benedictines as well.  I feel myself drawn more and more to spending some time in retreat this year among a contemplative group.  There is something about the simplicity and the schedule that appeals to me.  Perhaps more than anything it's the appeal of a time of silence away from the distractions of current life that I am yearning for.

I've never been able to pinpoint exactly what faith road to follow.  I've always been able to find some offense in doctrine somewhere, but I have been drawn more and more to these contemplative communities.  People scoff at my love and aspirations of being a nun, and truly I don't feel that is my course, but there is something to being a woman religious, an oblate, or simply a spiritual woman of service.   No matter what calling I end up following, I do know that when I picture my future, I see a quiet simple life full of prayer, contemplation and the giving of much kindness.  I don't think it gets any simpler than that.

I am still discerning.  The beautiful words of Brother Lawrence, James Martin and now Kathleen Norris have been a welcome addition on my journey this year.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

bird watching

I've been obsessively watching the robins.  Not the ones in my front yard.  The ones that are thankful today that most of the snow has melted.  No, I've been watching the robin family that Wildlife Gadgetman is live streaming from Suffolk.  I watched the egg laying, watched the egg sitting, watched the egg hatching, and am now watching these tiny little things grow feathers and appetites.

Ah, the wonders of technology.

I'm watching the birds in my own yard as well.  Over these last few brutal winter weeks, we have spent about a third of our grocery bill on birdseed.  I've discovered that tossing some seed  under the Spirea bush gives the smaller birds a quiet place to feed when the red-wings stop by gobbling.  My chickadee is there in the trees in the morning calling.  I never see it, but I hear it's calls. I know it and it makes me smile first thing on grumpy mornings.

I am still waiting to see if we will see any nesting going on in our houses here.  I hope so.  It's hard because we have those outside cats wandering around.  Sometimes it's hard to love both cats and birds.

I'm amazed watching these birds nest though.  The natural process, knowing exactly what to do, focusing all their energy on those young ones. Those mama birds aren't avoiding their kids with cell phones, Facebook and television.  They are sitting and feeding, sitting and feeding.  Then their littles will fly away.  In basically no time at all.

I keep trying to keep my eyes open for the amazing in the everyday.  I would have to say the birds provide a daily dose.

Monday, March 9, 2015

waking to darkness

Today was our first Monday after the time change, a process I can't stand because it throws us all off schedule.  More than that I hate waking in darkness.  Many morning people are okay with this, but to me it doesn't feel right to rise before the sun, it is hard enough to pry myself from my warm cocoon on a cold winter morning.

We have survived though, greeting the moon as we stepped out the door, the girls to school and I to walk the dog and tend the birds.  By now, the sun has risen and it is time to get about my day.  Time marches on no matter how we measure it.

I took an unanticipated break from the blog for a little while.  It wasn't feeling right.  Probably because I was using a business model rather than a journal model.  I found myself thinking of things to write throughout the day that didn't fit my model, so I am scrapping it.  I've also turned off comments, because I don't want anyone to feel the obligation to comment or want to feel the obligation to return the comment.  If you feel you want to communicate about something I have written you may always email me at, or comment on the Facebook page where I will be linking both my blog and Instagram posts.