Gratitude List:
1. Words that lead me through the labyrinth
2. Words that open doors and build bridges
3. Words that nudge and tickle and surprise
4. Words that scour and scrub and wake me up
5. Words that wonder and question and probe
6. Words that frame and structure and organize
7. Words that soothe and hold and bless
8. Words that weave people together

May our words be the right ones for each moment.

Yes, a selfie, a bleary and shaggy morning in my little monk’s cell at the National Conference Center.

I’m at the National Conference Center in Leesburg, VA for the biennial Mennonite Educator’s Conference this weekend.  I am giddier about this than I should be, taking it as a little vacation for the routine.  I do miss my family, but I also treasure times when I only have to think about getting myownself from place to place.  And that actually takes a certain amount of surreal effort in this building.  It was designed to be confusing and unsettling in order to force people to talk to each other.  It accomplishes all that.  I kind of like it.  Being in a building with a distinct agenda gives it a certain personality, like it’s an entity in the work of the weekend.

Gratitude List:
1. I finally managed to get the names of all 196 countries of the world in the Countries Quiz I have been playing online
2. I found my room all by myself
3. I slept until the alarm this morning
4. Spending two days among people where the main goal is to talk about how we can be most effective at caring for the young people in our classrooms
5. Moments of quiet

May we walk in Beauty!

This is a drawing from last year of a visitor from a dream.  Last night’s visitor was Winky the cat with her softest fur, running off over the green grass with a group of children.

Gratitude List:
1. Learning new things.  There is so much to learn
2. Dream Visitations
3. Scrambled eggs with hot sauce
4. Stretching: my body, my heart, my perceptions
5. The balances of community and solitude

May we walk in Beauty!

2014 February 085

What can I give you this morning,
this day when no words will be enough
to fill the gaping hollow
blasted wide open by yesterday?

Here is a waiting space

between breath and breath–
a quiet room, open and hushed
in the chambers of our lungs.

Here is an open door

in the moment between heartbeats–
a single silent moment in the space
between reality and shuddering reality.

The pause in the moment of blink
the tiny beat between the catch and the yawn
the release in the space between stretch and relax.

May today bring you moments of rest
between the roaring and the numbness
between the words and the silence
between the known and the unknown.

May you find shelter in those quiet rooms.

Gratitude List:
1. Holding
2. Releasing
3. Finding the spaces
4. Re-membering
5. Finding the courage to live the life that I would love.  (John O’Donohue quote)

May we walk in Beauty!

2014 January 018
Sun and shadow.

It’s Brigid’s Day.  It’s Candlemas.  Day of the Groundhog.  Day of the Shadow.

The thing about shadows?  They appear most clearly on the brightest days.  Those cloudy and overcast days, when everything is one singular tone–the shadows are hints and mirages only.  But on days when the sun is shining brightly, then the shadows flow and scatter about your feet and down the hill, pooling and puddling like water in the hollows and crevices.  On sparkling days, you can look into the shadows and discern the deep indigo and violet.  The shadow becomes a mirror, another layer of reality overlaid upon the everyday.

Today, I will light my candle in the dark places and watch for the way the light shifts the darkness around me, how it helps to define and shape the darkness, how it gives meaning to the shapes of things as their shadows find them, mirror them, define them.  Today, I will be the groundhog, searching for the shadow that defines and mirrors me, that offers me a new vision of who I am when I am outside the safe burrow of myself and standing in the sunlight.

May your shadow be a reflection of the Truest You.

Gratitude List:
1. Sleep.  I seem to need more of it these days.  And I am sleeping more deeply.
2. Shadows.  Mirrors. Reflections.
3. Indigo. I’ve been meditating on indigo.  I want to do more research on human perception of blues, indigo in particular.  When people began talking about no longer including it in the rainbow line-up, I was really bothered, and was consequently delighted when my 6yo came home from school and told me about Roy G Biv (the I is still in there).
4. Dinner with the dormies last night.
5. Circling the wagons. Joining hands to hold the net.  Casting the lines from person to person to form the web.

May we walk in Beauty!

Today is Brigid’s Eve, one of those halfway days in the year.  Partway between Solstice and Equinox, it’s one of those moments in the year’s turning that gives us a breathing space to pause and take stock.  The light has been growing again for six weeks, and my winter-dulled consciousness is now catching up, now finally noticing the way day begins to spread out wider before me.

Tomorrow morning, amid all the goofiness that surrounds the moment here in Pennsylvania, we will take note of whether a largish rodent will or will not notice her shadow, and we will use that to predict the ending of the winter season.  Six weeks from now is the beginning of May, and no matter which way the shadows fall today, spring will be here by then.

If I take my seat in my comfortable burrow with the groundhogs for the moment and consider what light may arrive at my doorstep by tomorrow morning, I find myself considering what there is within me that may need to be drawn into the light, and what must remain protected in the inky space behind me.  Can I find the courage to look into the aching indigo of my own shadows?

It’s a fine enough question to ask: Will the groundhog see its shadow?  But try to turn it around, and ask yourself: Will I see my own?

Gratitude List:
1.  All that music yesterday.  In the morning–singing, singing.  The String Band in the evening.  Watching the children watch the band.  They loved the song about sandwiches.  So glad Santa finally brought them a banjo or two, but I’m sad that the trade-off was the double bass.
2. Vulnerability.  People who model vulnerability and open-heartedness.
3. Courage.  Couer (old French for heart).  Couer-age.  En-couer-age-ment: Enheartening.
4. Making new friends who seem like old friends.
5. Looking into the teeth of the questions.

Take Courage.  Take Heart.


Gratitude List:
1. Ancestors
2. Moving through time.  I keep working with this idea that Michelle talked about a couple weeks ago, about scarcity and abundance.  I have always thought of those ideas in terms of things, but she explored how we tend to live with a sense of scarcity about time as well.  This hit me hard.  It’s how I have been living a good part of my adult life.  I  learned to protect my time, and then I began to guard it, fiercely.  And it just slips away anyway, doesn’t it?  I am practicing moving through time without feeling like I have to hoard it.
3. The sense of smell: right now it’s coffee perking.
4. How things can feel messy and disjointed and out of place and still be okay anyway.
5.  The web.  Again.  The web that holds us all together.  How we cast these lines between us.  How they shine.

May we walk in Beauty!


Gratitude List:
1. With a little coaching from a colleague, a helpful Youtube video, and the assistance of my 9yo IT guy, I fixed the wonky Chromebook screen.  Without sending it off to an expert.  I am more than just a little bit proud of myself. . .
2. Online geography quizzes.  It’s never too late for an old dog to learn a little more about the world she lives in.
3. You and I both woke up this morning.  Isn’t that grand?
4. The way the sun shines on the snow, blindingly.
5. Small folks up and busy right away, making things, humming, chattering happily.  (This is one of those gratitudes that can give a wrong impression if you read it as a statement of always-is.  We do have many mornings like this, but there are equal numbers of mornings when there is whining and fussing and complaining, so the gratitude has to do with recognizing the balance moments when they come and not focusing on the frustration of the out-of-balance moments.) {Okay, so in the ten minutes since I wrote this, there has been some more squabbling.  Still, I am holding out for pleasantness this morning.}

May we walk in Beauty!  May we Shine.

EWK 4 001

Slipping into the arms of an old friend,
I pulled back to look in her shining eyes,
and my beads went skittering over the floor,
heart beads, rose quartz and green aventurine,
so much that has been held back
no longer contained,
scattering like grace
and into every corner
ready to be found
by you.

Gratitude List:
1. Beads scattering everywhere, shattering something that needed to be opened
2. Time to just hang out with my colleagues last night, and meet potential new students
3. Weekends
4. This red woven scarf–recycled silk saris.  What life did they live before?  Who was beautiful in these shining threads?
5. The sun is returning.  (Blessed be.)

May we walk in Beauty!

(Josiah’s Jack Frost Picture)

Gratitude List:
1. Tonight’s Open House at school.  I love that I work for a place where I anticipate such an event.
2. Being part of the bowl.  Sometimes when someone you love is in a hard spot, all you can do is step into the circle, grab hands with the people beside you, and become part of the net that holds your loved one.  I am grateful for the net of love that connects even strangers in such times, that makes family of us all.  Now for grace and patience and earnestly holding the energy of prayer/healing/light.
3. Bobby Mcferrin’s setting of Psalm 23 (you can google it on youtube) {Oy.  If only my thirty-something self could hear me talking like that.  She’d roll her eyes, of course.}
4. Elderberry syrup and ginger tincture.  And zinc. (And Dragon’s Breath, if the sniffles progress much further.) I am not going to catch the cold.
5. Organizing.  Shifting.  Making spaces.

May we walk in Beauty!


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