Wednesday, December 31, 2014

And now let us welcome a new year

Well, that blog break lasted a bit longer than I meant for it to.

As I'm sure you could tell there toward the start of the "break," I got a bit worn down by my own repetitiveness on the weekly gratitude lists, and work and life and life and work continued to march on in such a way as to nip at my creative heels, undermining my extracurricular writing, reading, reflecting, etc. And I let it, so that's on me. But each time I thought about getting back into writing more regularly, I would hear my internal voice say "meh" and  kept on the path of least resistance.

There were real and true plans to pick it back up at my birthday, paying subtle homage to the fact that the blog began back at my birthday six years ago. But Oct. 29 came and went, and here we are, post-holidays and on the cusp of a new year. Perfect time to get off my butt and back to writing, right?

I have mullings about this past year, and plans for the coming year, and these few days of really precious quiet time with the guys have been so helpful. My brain feels reset to a more balanced place. So, for the moment, I'll take it and move forward with optimism that I can structure my life to accommodate the other, important areas of my life that require a little time and energy to caretake.

So where am I at with the One Little Word idea? Oh, it's still a thing. There were a few early word choices vying for my attention, all reflective of my desire to focus on what's most important and not just what's urgent. For a moment or two, the word "filter" was at the top of my mind, but that's a completely utilitarian word, zippo on the romance factor. Filter led the way to "mindful," but hasn't that word been worked and reworked the past decade? That alone doesn't make it a bad word, but it wasn't quite what I was going for. And then I arrived at Presence, and stayed.

Presence is something that I have always needed more of in my life, even before smartphones and constant media inputs fragmented our brains. OK, my brain. But it's true. Listening, processing one thing at a time, not multitasking the heck out of every situation to try and get more done, slowing down just a touch and reminding myself of what's really necessary... for me, all of this fits under the umbrella of Presence.

Wish me luck, both on the Presence and the blogging. Time will tell on both of them, of course. But I see that they are rather related, too. A bit of Presence (I swear I won't cap it forever, just for this one post. Really.) will go a long way toward giving me the mental space I know I need to to even allow inspiration in.

I found the above image via Pinterest, and love the whole list--but was of course very interested in "Give the Present of Presence." :)

In case you need a recap, I couldn't help but review my blog posts about resolutions over the years:

2009 resolutions and my report on how I did.

Starting to simplify the goals process in 2010

2011: the first year I really picked a word (Focus).

2012: Grace, with the recap/follow up post)1

2013: Light

2014: Pray

Which brings us to 2015: Presence.

One site that is consistently my go-to for all things thoughtful is On Being. There are two specific posts that I've seen/listened to/read in this week of peacefulness that have relevance to 2014 (Pray) and 2015 (Presence):

Thomas Merton's Prayer That Anyone Can Pray.

"My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone."

Gordon Hempton's The Last Quiet Places: Silence and the Presence of Everything

There are many audio opportunities with this post, and I so enjoyed taking in his recordings of the natural world. If you can't find me, I might be out in a field, listening to the silence.

I hope that 2014 was a good year for you. And if it wasn't a good year, I am glad for you that it's over. I know a great many people who had life challenges this year, from health troubles and careers failing through to marriage and relationship issues. The beauty of a new year is the old refrain about turning the chapter to a new page and starting over; even if it was a good year, that's an idea that resonates with me.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday night grateful moment

What does a week hold? So many things, when you think about it: joy, hope, sadness, love, peace, discord, sleep, work, delicious food, pretty ordinary food, prayer, happiness, tears, laughter, music, noise, silence, cursing. This week was no exception.

And of course, this week held gratitude. Gratitude to be a part of this world, this life, living with the people I get to call family and friends and colleagues, and contribute to all that makes the world go 'round.

An old family friend posted a video on Facebook by the Maccabeats, and being the acapella junkie that I tend to be, I had to go find more music by them. I liked many of their songs, but this one stood out as reflective of my current mood.

Last weekend we were fortunate to have my brother and his family here to visit and spend time together. We did all the usual things--ate, napped, went for a glorious walk in the sunshine, visited around the firepit while roasting s'mores, ate some more, and waved goodbye as they all-too-quickly whisked back over to the other side of the state. I was grateful for our time together and look forward to our next visit. Soon, hopefully!

I have a little before-bed habit of browsing Instagram for #maryoliver. Her words do calm my spirit, and life me. Here are a few of the ones that stayed with me, this week.

"Everything will be everything else, by and by." Love those words.

Wishing you a peaceful weekend, wherever you are.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday night grateful moment: Happy

I have a confession. I had not heard the song "Happy" until tonight. I know, how insane is that? It's only been everywhere, all over the place, for ages. How I've missed it is a feat, it itself. And to top it off, I have even been gifted the song on a CD from one of my dear music friends. Somehow that one had not made it into my CD player in the car, quite yet. It will be asap, I swear!

It could be a tiny testament to how distractable I've been, I suppose, a version of busy that, for me, tends to sap my ability to read anything longer than a blog post or article. It's not pretty (in terms of concentration outside of work topics), and I think I need a reset button or digital sabbatical to undo some of my more wound-up tendencies, lately. Meditation, prayer, quiet time? Good thoughts, all.

Regardless, I feel the need to share the song tonight, even though this hasn't been the happiest of weeks. Let's just say it was one of those weeks where reminders of life's fragility felt close. I could list my own reasons for feeling fragile and you'd have yours too, surely. Everyone who reaches a certain age and has any kind of interaction with other humans on this planet knows loss and heartache on some level. I can't imagine it being otherwise. And the sweet part of the bittersweet is all the love, all the happy, all the warmth and joy that exists and that I get to experience daily. The bitter is what it is, just that. Sure makes me appreciate the sweet, and the happy. 

My home is warm, my tummy is full, the pups are dozing on the floor nearby. I can hear Seth's voice as he visits on the phone with his special lady friend (gosh, if he only read the blog, imagine how annoyed he'd be with that phrase?!) in the other room. Husband and I share snippets of conversation and I am thrilled with the two days ahead, where the break in the routine is definitely welcome. I am very grateful for all of the above. Very much so, tonight.

Wishing you the same.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday night grateful moment

This week was one of those long-short weeks. Wednesday felt like Thursday, but I also was concocting extra days between Thursday and Friday to try and pack it all in. Yes, one of those weeks. What joy, what bliss, to be at Friday night, with peace and quiet, screen door open, pups napping, husband beside me, all peaceful and well.

It is spring, there is no doubt about that. Well, there were some people on the East Coast who seemed to doubt it for a minute or two this week, I think. But, we had the whole gamut this week--rain, wind, rain, blue skies, clouds, the gorgeous smell of rain. This week I learned what that word is, the smell of rain: petrichor. Cool word, eh? It's one of my favorite smells, and makes me so grateful for spring, whenever I am outside after a rainfall and inhale, big. Deep breath.

With spring comes color, which is always a favorite of mine. I looked out our dining room window one morning, and saw orange fish in the pond, purple lilacs, pink on the flowering weeping almond tree, greens of every shade. That scene made me smile quite happily, gratefully. I am in a bit of denial that it's actually Easter this weekend--how did that happen already? Not having the nieces (and their parents) here for the Egg Hunt Extravaganza, I have opted to just ignore it. That and eating less sugar means, what? huh? candy? chocolate? whatevs. ;) (I'm saving it all up for May!)

I love the way the seasons work with flavor too. Here comes the asparagus, in all its local glory. The strawberries are blossoming, and while it feels a little far away, I am already pining for fresh produce from the garden. Basil, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes... now we just need to keep the nights above frost level for a bit!

I learned of a friend's cancer diagnosis this week, and have been thinking of her and her family and lifting them in prayer, many times over each day. I am tired of cancer touching the lives of people I care about. Tired especially for them, and wishing for healing, in many places, tonight. I am grateful for the love and support that I know my friends and family with illness have surrounding them. Very grateful indeed.

Tonight I'm also very grateful for the path of this past decade, where I am now, with the love and support in my life. I try to pause every day and reflect on it, really feel the gratitude and focus on keeping my eyes open and aware of what's going on. I believe it as much now as I did 10 years ago--when you have a major life transition, there's a wakefulness to it, a super-alert mode that only lasts if you focus on not letting the noise of the world lull you back asleep. No thanks. To me that equates to taking things for granted, and I work pretty hard to not do that.

I love that sentiment. I think I need it tattooed somewhere. Or, at the very least, close by so I can refer to it nightly. I think I will go sleep in peace now. I wish the same for you.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday night grateful list: Spring Break edition

Ha. I typed the words "Spring Break edition" and instantly had Girls Gone Wild images flash through my mind. Ha ha. Not even.

This week, following the festival that was Grandma's 95th birthday, Seth and I put husband on a plane home and trekked off over the mountains, down I-5 and had a few days of looking around colleges, educating ourselves on a few local-ish options. We both learned a lot, about the process of applying to colleges, about the various campuses themselves, and what environments felt more "Seth" than others. We have the advantage of having friends who either are or were in the college admissions game; their advice has been invaluable. And I know we'll be back for more, friends. Prepare yourselves.

I am so grateful to have had this week with Seth. He and I have road-tripped many, many times over the years, all over the place. We have listened to many audiobooks, sung many songs together at the top of our lungs, and eaten more than our fair share of completely unhealthful food too. I am grateful for Seth every day, but getting to spend multiple days together is always special. Even when we got on each other's nerves, or one or the other of us missed the right exit and we had to backtrack, we still had a really excellent adventure.
We had really great tour guides, for the most part--extroverted, engaged young men who were pretty passionate about their college experience. It was good to see. The bottom left photo is Seth telling me to stop taking pictures and stay with the group. As if. You'd think he'd know by now...

I managed to keep on top of work emails while I was away, by borrowing a Surface from work, instead of the usual laptop. I am a complete convert. Seems odd to sit and type away on a Surface, referring to my iPad while I do that--I was working on one of my nonprofit volunteer projects while I was away, and had documents I needed to read on one device, while recording notes in a spreadsheet on the other. I thought Bill Gates and Steve Jobs would appreciate my ambidextrous approach to technology, but mostly, I was just grateful to be able to get things done. I'm not sure I will actually give the Surface back, I like it that much. I think one of the reasons it works so well for me is my love of all things touch-screen. But transferring back to my laptop, it's hilarious how many times my hand reaches up to swipe something on the screen. Creature of habit...

We came home to a yard that is bursting with springtime energy. That is to say: green! I was thinking today while pulling weeds, why can't we pull them once and then they'll never come back?! I agree, it's a little early in the season to be thinking like that! Ha. Seth and I got a couple of beds cleared of the winter leaves that blow through, and picked up potting soil and a few plants to start the flower pots. I am always so grateful for spring, but for some reason, I am ever-so-much-more-so this year. Why is that? It wasn't a hard winter, here in Washington. If I were on the East Coast, it might be more understandable. But we had it pretty mild.

Look what I found: lettuce, reseeded from last year!

Listened to (and inflicted on Seth!) some great work-related podcasts while on the road, and now that it's yard season, I'll be cranking up the audiobooks too. Nothing makes yard time go by faster than listening and learning. Happy me! I'm so grateful for technology (well, other than that dang Heartbleed thing. Blech.).

The whole of the Pacific Northwest put on a glorious sunshine show for us. It was most pleasant. I got to have breakfast with Jen on the morning we were in Portland, which was lovely; it was especially lovely to walk together to breakfast without an umbrella!

When we were at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, walking down the hall in the English department, I saw a bunch of photos of various poets, and the tour guide said something, "blah blah blah, photos all taken by William Stafford blah blah blah." What? How did I not remember that William Stafford taught at L&C, years ago? 

I was first introduced to William Stafford as a poet in 1991, while I was in college, and I even got to hear him read that year, too. I have always appreciated and enjoyed his writing. He died in 1993 and I just read that he wrote the morning he died: "You don't have to / prove anything," my mother said. "Just be ready / for what God sends." Wow. That'll stick with me for a bit.

The bottom photo has Galway Kinnell in it, another poet I have appreciated.

I'm so grateful for poetry. Can't be said enough. :)

Tonight I'm especially grateful to be home, with husband and Seth, with the sliding doors open and the spring air so fragrant. I'm grateful that the weekend is ahead, and while I'm sure there will be work of both the work-work and yard variety, there will also be sleep, joyous sleep, and relaxation, maybe another brief road trip, some good food, laughter and love. Yeah for weekends.

Hope your weekend is "yeah" too.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday night grateful moment

Tonight I am grateful to be in Canada, surrounded by family, celebrating the 95th birthday of my grandma tomorrow. I am grateful for safe travels, for lots of laughter, for car naps and for sunshine and blue skies along the way. I'm grateful for such a loving extended family, and for their laughter and hugs. I'm grateful for such a great kid, and the prospect of a road trip together next week. I'm grateful for a wonderful partner and spouse, one who is my biggest cheerleader and best friend. I'm grateful for sleep, which is arriving very soon, and for the joy of sleeping in. I'm grateful it's the weekend, and I'm so very grateful it is THIS weekend. That my grandmother is 95 is the best and biggest thing on my grateful list this week. She's amazing and lovely, and I am grateful for every day she's on this planet.

Hope your weekend is filled with gratefulness too.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday night grateful list

Tonight I went on a Rumi jag, and found some fabulous words that make my heart full and happy. And grateful.

That one about being irritated? Well, I just might need to get that little reminder as a tattoo, some days. :)

I hope you have a grateful weekend. I plan to spend mine by the fireplace, if this rain keeps up. Such a chill to the bone!

Wishes for warmth, and peace.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday night grateful moment

Confession: this list, this tradition, this ritual... almost didn't happen tonight. But then I spoke my sacrilege out loud to husband and his sweet response was, "But you've worked so hard to never miss. Here, I'll help you. Do you want me to type?" So, so sweet. (And no, he's not typing.)

So here's our joint little grateful effort. A little him, a little me, a little list.

Spending the afternoon with the one you love. We took off from work early, had a lovely late lunch out, did some errands, and generally enjoyed the sunshine and running around together. Blessed.

We are both very grateful for springtime, and all the green and leafy things that are popping out. I'm a little sad that it got down to 28 degrees a couple of nights last week. I'm pretty sure that means no apricots. :(

For color, I am always grateful. I saw gobs of beautiful flowers at Lowes today and got all twitterpated about planting and gardening and blooming and such. Calm down, Sher.

We are well! All three of us! Woot. Last weekend was pretty draggy, especially for husband, so we're super grateful to be mended.

For family: for talks and reflection and the anticipation of time together. I am so looking forward to the first weekend in April. Hugs all around, family people! xo

Seth's home again for the week--we've had a lovely run of extra boy time and that makes both of our hearts very happy and grateful. (Seth's too, I am sure, but I am only typing for the two parentals at the moment. And with a teen, who really knows, right?!)

For the promise of a big, fat, lazy sleep-in tomorrow (this is all Sher as husband does not sleep in). If the phone rings or there's a text before 9 a.m., you're toast. Yes, even YOU.

Visiting girlfriends. I have TWO (count 'em, 2!) friends in town this weekend, visiting; completely unrelated visits, which is cool. That almost never happens, probably mostly because my friends who aren't in Walla Walla never come here. Ha. That's a veiled threat/dare to Jen and Corinne, mostly. Bring IT. But to the ones who are here: looking forward to seeing you!

Feeling fiesty, and sleepy, and that's a dangerous combination. (Just ask husband. He's now given up on the list, since I'm clickety-clacking over here.) Off to La-La-Land I go! Wishing you peace and joy and love. Always love.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday night grateful night: 3 sickos

It's been a long, rather sick week and I have hopes of writing a real blog post tomorrow. But I can't NOT pause and say hello, and feel grateful. Til tomorrow. Peace.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday night grateful moment

Tonight I'm telling my week in photos, mostly...

We had a lovely time in Arizona with Ma and Pa. Sightseeing, good food, nature, sunshine, more good food, maybe a nap or two, and Mexican train dominoes. All essential to a little down time! (More pics in the Instgram feed to the right.)

For the first time in a long time I didn't watch the Oscars. Just didn't care about it enough to stop what we were doing, or prioritize watching. But truly, I didn't feel like I missed anything--you can see everything you'd want to see via clips online, etc. My favorite variation on the Ellen selfie thing involves a corgi (of course!). And my John Travoltafied name is Sebastian Crawzford. Awesome.

Ma and I reviewed Oscar dresses on my iPad, with our thumbs up and down. My very favorite dress is the one below. I'm not the biggest Zooey fan (but not a hater, either), but that dress has my name on it.

Leaving Arizona and coming home to spring-like temperatures here too, I got even more in the mood for color and sunshine and more color and green sprouty things coming out of the earth. More and more every day...

Inspiration came from Facebook... (I need that fabric in my life!)

 And Etsy... (I feel a crafty project coming on!)

From Instagram... (I love a good word-art combo!)

On Thursday night we got to watch the young gentleman of the household be inducted into the National Honor Society. That made our hearts very happy, for him. A great thing to be a part of for his last couple of years of high school, I know he'll be glad to have participated.

Peacefulness is very present in our home tonight. Quiet, except for some doggies making soft snoring noises. I'm so grateful for a jam-packed week with work and play and travel, sunshine and rain, love and laughter. Blessed and happy and tired and so so ready for the weekend.

Wishing for all the above for you, as well. Have a great weekend.


Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday night grateful moment

We're in a phase (well, more precisely *I'm* in a phase) where the weeks fly by and the blog sits quiet. I make food--even shareable food, lately. I have thoughts, ideas, inspiration--some of them even worth sharing, maybe. But. Then. It doesn't happen. Life goes whirling by and I wish for more hours in the day...

The Friday habit, however, appears unbreakable. Famous last words, I know. It does seem, though, that when Friday night rolls around, wherever I am, whatever I'm doing, whatever the week has held, I'm able to pause, breathe, reflect, appreciate. And I'm grateful for that. For the habit and what it brings into my life.

This week was a wild one, with work-work and a heavy dose of volunteer work, and then leaving for a few days to visit my parents in warmth. It definitely felt like a giant zoom, whoosh, splat. Well, the splat might be a bit dramatic. We've landed in sunshine, with some peace and quiet and laughter and good food and (maybe) a bit of relaxation. Given that today held more activity than either husband or I have had in quite some time--those desk jobs, even with stand-up desks,  don't exactly provide much of a work out--we will hold out that relaxation will come tomorrow.

I'm grateful for my parents; first, that they're still on this planet, alive and healthy. I'm grateful for their spirit of adventure, for their shared aesthetic sense--not that they have the same one, but that aesthetics are important to them both, for their love for each other and their family, and for their willingness and ability to laugh!

We saw some really interesting natural beauty today (check out my Instagram feed, I'll keep posting there), lots of scrub brush and cacti and all kinds of prickly, wild things. There's definitely a beauty in the landscape around Tucson, but it's also a little ugly (to me). I'm a Pacific Northwest girl at heart, apparently. Give me forests and trees, oceans, rivers, fields and meadows... I definitely saw things today that made me stop and say, "cool, wow, different," but it all feels pretty foreign. Go figure. I am grateful for the diversity in this country, even if it pushes my comfort zone.

We have excellent house-sitting help while we're away, for which I am ever-so-grateful (I feel the need to post that for the robber-types that troll my blog, ha ha). The pups are well looked after, too. That eases my mind, even as a big winter storm is supposed to roll through. Husband said to me tonight (he knows me so well, sweet man), "I'm sorry we're going to miss snow." That made me laugh, as he said that completely for my benefit. I am the first to say that I need to see snow to really feel like I've had a winter, but now that we've had it, I've seen it, I've even skiied in it, I'm good. I was in heaven today, in shirt sleeves, wandering around in the sun, feeling my freckles pop out. (What insanity is it that still makes me believe that "just a little sun" is fine, no sunscreen for me, thanks? It's skin cancer insanity, that's what. But a little sun on my cheeks makes me happy!)

Technology always makes my grateful list, even if I don't always articulate it. Being able to connect from afar, to work or to loved ones (Seth!), makes all the difference in the world. Texts, Skype, whatever = yeah!

Tonight I will be grateful for sleep. Nothing like a bunch of activity to bring out the sleepiness in me! I'm grateful for a cozy spot to lay my head, and not too much on the agenda for tomorrow. I hope wherever you are tonight, it's cozy there too! (And not much on the agenda for tomorrow!)


Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday night grateful moment

I am very happy to have arrived at Friday night again. As I very often say--I haven't been this happy to see Friday, since last Friday!

The week held a lot--a lot of work, a little fun (lunches and even a brief coffee with girlfriends), some relaxation (evenings with House of Cards, I'm done now so you can't spoil it for me) and helping with a volunteer luncheon that's happening next week. I am so looking forward to the next 24 hours of family chill time, I can't even tell you.

But first, let's dance.

I had an interesting conversation this week with a colleague/friend about religion. I came home and was reminded of this piece with Bono, talking about grace and karma. (From the book: Bono.)

Here's a tidbit (it's hard for me to not share the whole thing... do click over to the link above):

“It’s a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma…

“You see, at the centre of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you; an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics – in physical laws – every action is met by an equal or opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I’m absolutely sure of it...

And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that 'As you reap, so will you sow' stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff...

“If only we could be a bit more like Him, the world would be transformed. All I do is get up on the Cross of the Ego; the bad hangover, the bad review. When I look at the Cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my shit and everybody else’s. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this man? And was He who He said He was, or was he just a religious nut? And there it is, and that’s the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it.”

For all I smile to myself about Bono (as in, wow does he take himself seriously), I really appreciate those words. Anytime I seem to get myself in trouble, I can usually look at the Cross of the Ego, and sure enough, there's me. :) I am very grateful for grace.

A weekend ritual for me is listening to NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. I am very grateful for people who will consume large quantities of pop culture so I don't have to. Well, more to the point, I'm glad they make recommendations, so I don't have to waste my time! These people are funny, and I love how I feel like I know them after listening for a couple/few years.

I am so ready for springtime cooking and springtime eating. I've over Brussels sprouts and butternut squash. So over. I'm ready for green little shoots in the garden, for salads picked minutes before being gobbled up, for flowers and sunshine and asparagus and salad onions, with the hope of a long summer FULL of gorgeous, local produce. I am ready! I made arugula pesto this week and ate it three nights in a row. Yes, three. It was *that* good.

Being tucked in here at home with all my men (which sounds a little weird until you consider that both the dogs are boys too--I'm surrounded!), the fire is on and I'm feeling cozy. I feel blessed to have a husband and a son who are so communicative. As we all caught up on our weeks tonight, my gratitude for them both made me smile and appreciate, so much, all that we share together.

I hope you are feeling tucked in and cozy too, and the weekend ahead brings joy.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday night grateful moment

Oh the joys of Valentine's Day falling on/near the weekend! What a lovely way to crash-land into some rest and relaxation.

A little fondue for two, followed by chocolate mousse and chatting by the fire. Really, what could be better?

Tonight, and every night, I am grateful for love. I'm grateful for second chances and I'm grateful for acceptance--being accepted and doing the accepting.

There's a quote on the wall in my Grandma's bedroom that I did up in calligraphy for her, sometime in college. While we might quibble about what is old love, I appreciate the sentiment. In many ways our love still feels new, and I'm grateful for that. But then a lot of days it seems like we've been together forever, so old love seems appropriate!

New love is silver, wait for the west
Old love is gold love, old love is best.

I love our old love, husband. I am grateful for you.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Midweek reminder: My need of God absolutely clear

Absolutely clear
Don’t surrender your loneliness
So quickly.
Let it cut more deep.

Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.

Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My voice
So tender,

My need of God

-Hāfez (1325–1390)

Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday night grateful moment

I am finally warming up on this very cold Friday night. Sweat pants, Costanza-style, a sweater and two blankets, roaring fire and two sweet pups snuggled close. And still my feet were little ice blocks (well, large-ish ice blocks, if we're really honest) until not too long ago. Now I've reached the warm state, I may just have to stay here all night! Moving and cooling off while getting into bed? Much less appealing.

It's been a while since I've written a proper grateful list, and I feel ready. Ha. It's not often that I'm NOT in the mood to write my gratitude down, but if you have followed this blog for any period of time, you know I struggle with keeping it fresh, either in form or in content... Five years has added up a lotta gratitude.

Tonight I am grateful for warmth. For all the items I listed above, and then some. Warm fleecy socks and flannel sheets. Hot tea, cocoa, coffee, soup... any liquid that warms all the way through. For blankets that have not just function, but also sentiment from years of use.

Today, post-snow--or maybe more accurately, mid-snow, as another storm is purported to be on the way--we had a sun break. What a glorious sun break it was! Blue skies and glistening snowy fields, blindingly beautiful. I was so grateful for the blue skies, I happily squinted all the way to lunch and back.

The clouds came back mid-day and by the time I headed home the mountains were truly blue. They're called the Blue Mountains, but most days I rather scoff at the name--not just because they're more "hills" to me than mountains, but because they're not often blue--usually green or tan or brown. Tonight they were BLUE. The whole valley was blue with the setting sun--no streams of gold this evening, just a deepening blue.

It was a banner week for friendship. Old, older still, and resumed. Today over lunch I enjoyed the company of a dear friend who I have not seen nearly enough of the past year or so. I have missed her wit, warmth and heart. So good to pick back up and share our lives together over yummy Thai. I am grateful for friendship, for the kind that *can* pick back up and resume, and understand.

And to my regulars, my girls of the monthly lunch brigade, I was grateful to enjoy a lunch together this week--where deep thoughts on aging were shared. Of course, there was conversation around jobs and kids and spouses. But the deep stuff we saved for aging. Oy. We're getting old. Old-ish, anyway.

I had an old friend--not old, but from long ago--visit this week, too. (Crazy busy friend week, see, I told you!). Karen and I met at college in Australia, in 1987. Reconnected via Facebook a couple of years ago, and she happened to be in the U.S. for a conference and general month abroad. Walla Walla was a quick jaunt for her from Seattle, and we enjoyed a brief 48-hour visit. I inflicted all manner of non-touristy but very "real life" moments: grocery shopping for an event at work next week. Yes, you read that right: groceries. Supply procurement. Not the best hostess, am I? Sigh. She claimed to enjoy it, and we chatted the whole time, so... what can I say, life has to happen, right?! (And the pups fell in love with her, of course, see below!)

We had some fun little walks down memory lane, about people and places from a very very long time ago. My memories of Australia are all quite lovely, and it was fun to relive a few with her.

I'm grateful for our community; for people who reach out to others in times of need, with warmth and shelter and a safe place.

Tonight I'm especially grateful for the peaceful time ahead, the next 24 hours of rest and relaxation, worship and thought and praise.

I'm thankful that Seth is home, safely (never take for granted safety with snow + teenage driver + other drivers!), for the week. Our time together is so precious.

For my husband I am always grateful--for his love and thoughtfulness, for his hard work and dedication, for his kind ways with all the odd things and thoughts I throw his way. We are blessed to have love. And doubly blessed to know it.

Wherever you are tonight, I hope you are blessed and know it, too.


Friday, January 31, 2014

Small stone: Jan. 31: Grateful

Small stones, you've been good
to me. Better than I've been
to you, these past few days.
You didn't change my life,
but you just might have changed
my month. I'm grateful I met you.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Small stone: Jan. 29

Small patch of blue off on the horizon, you make me smile.
Wide swath of blue overhead (even for just an hour), I think I love you.
Entire sky of blue? I can't remember the last time I saw you.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Small stone: Jan. 27

I feel loss
or the threat of loss
pressing in
on all sides.

My heart lodged
in my throat for hours
today, beating, thumping,
I choked on the sweet and steady
drumbeat. Alive alive alive.

I feel loss
or the threat of loss
pressing in
on all sides.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Small stone: Jan. 26

Crazy-making circle
goes 'round. I judge others
for their judging of me.

Now, to breathe.
Judgement free.


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