Gratitude List:
1. “Transforming Memory.”  Thank you, Mindy!
2. Boy and his Grandma watching Little League championships together.
3. Reading the FB page for this weekend’s poetry tent.  The posts: one line from the poet’s pieces, and then a photo of the poet.  The lines themselves became poems of the poems, packing the meaning more tightly, into one crystal moment.  Powerful stuff.
4. New ideas, how they sprout in the unconscious like those sweet potatoes in the basement, sending sprouts straight up to the sunlight.
5. Sight, vision, observation

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitude List:
1.The Poetry Spoken Here Tent at York Arts Fest:

The prophets are out in the streets
picking up the threads of the story.
The shamans, the healers,
the truth-tellers all,
singing and howling,
whispering at the top of their lungs.

This is how the wind changes, my people.
This is how the paradigm shifts.

Give my poets a megaphone.

2. Last night, we discovered a little online program-thing called Noteflight, which I can use to separate the tenor or bass line from a hymn so Ellis can see it by itself to make for easier reading.  Also, yesterday, he got his trombone at school.  After an hour or more of playing our instruments along with the tenor line of Ode to Joy, an exhausted and light-headed boy rhapsodized, “I love this!  I love this program!  I love music!”  May it be ever so.
3. Sandra.  Thank you for folding the laundry.  My goodness.  Thank you for inspiring my boys.  Thank you for being part of our village.
4. Heather Shining Stone Woman.  So good to see you.  Thankyou for the treasures.  My heart is over-flowing.  You gave me so much more than stones. . .
5. Creativity and the Muses.  That Radiolab moment today when they interviewed Elizabeth Gilbert.  I almost needed to park the car by the side of the road so I could get out and jump up and down.

May we all find our voices.

Gratitude List:
1. Monty Python
2. The Amish girl with the ancient violet eyes who smiled at me almost conspiratorially–we both know where Mrs. M keeps her key.  Her eyes matched her dress, and she was a whiz on the scooter.
3. Hummingbirds in the morning glories.
4. Weekend
5. Friday morning Faculty Hymn Sing.  We suggest songs, we sing, we talk about our associations and ideas about the songs.  I have missed this over the summer.

May we walk in Song.

 

 

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Gratitude List:
1. The electric color of those morning glories.  Vivid.  Dazzling.  Heart-stopping.
2. Yesterday morning at about this time, Joss and I were hanging out in the living room, like we are now, and he looked at the balcony window beside my head and gasped.  Mama Hummingbird was hovering outside, looking in at us.  (Bonus gratitude: weekend mornings with my boy.  I write.  He plays trains.)
3. How people hold each other in times of tragedy.
4. Having so many opportunities to do the things I love to do.
5. You and You and You.  You inspire me so much.  Even (or especially) when you say you don’t think you’re very strong, because you’re stronger than you realize.  Trust me on that.  You’re a survivor.  You are truly resilient, and it shows, even when it doesn’t feel like it to you.  You make that decision every day to do the one thing you know to do.

May we walk in Beauty.  Beauty Ever Ancient, Ever New.

Yesterday tended to be a little overwhelming in so many ways.  Mostly in that joyous, sort of out-of-body way that happens at any marvelous beginning.  It was delightful to be back in that garden of shining flowers, all those eager and timid and excited and anxious faces.  Each one carrying a web of associations and connections.

The heat, also, was overwhelming.  I think of myself as pretty tough in a hot situation, but it did almost conquer me by seventh period.   I need to drink more, I suppose.  The thought of adding another fan on top of my air conditioning unit and my other fan makes my voice ache.  I need to do some more strategizing about how to manage it.  I’ll use the computer labs every time they’re free, for one, though students tend to focus on the computer rather than on the other types of work when we’re in the labs.

Gratitude List:
1. There might be rain today–perhaps a break in the heat?
2. All those beautiful faces.
3. Being in a place where the work is the Work.
4. Beginning with a three-day week–slow starts.
5. My own children seem to have had a wonderful start to their year, too.

May we walk in Beauty!

This has to be brief.  My mornings have hit the sudden shift.  Up at 5:30, quick lunch prep and kitchen tidying, a few minutes on the computer, and out the door by 6:30 at the latest.

I am a swirling ball of excitement and anxiety.  This is the “good” kind of anxiety, I think–the kind that keeps me moving and energized.

I would be glad of your prayers and Presence as I go into the classroom today.  And pray for my students, for all students and teachers, for yourself as you are filling some sort of teaching role in the world.  Let us tend to our work, but also to our Work.

Blessings.

Gratitude List:
1. My open-hearted  and playful and earnest colleagues
2. The administrative people of my school.  This is a place where I can walk into the principal’s office to get a little clarity about classroom behavior management and end up in a discussion about grace and compassion.
3. The maintenance and custodial and computer and office staff who keep it all running behind the scenes.
4. The parents of my students who are entrusting their young people to my care.
5. My students.  Shining.

May we walk in Beauty!

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This is a whiplash of a week, one of those times when the emotional setting is not tuned to a specific feeling, but is simply set on High.

Excitement?  In spades.  School starts tomorrow.

Anxiety?  Under control, but really bubbly.  School starts tomorrow.

Lament?  Really, really deep.  Tomorrow evening is the life celebration for a good man who left the world too soon.

Joy?  Absolutely. I h ave only to lift my eyes up and look about me in these mid-August days to fine something that makes my heart sing.

 

Gratitude List:
1. Emotions.  They’re a compass, even when they’re all over the place.
2. Contemplation.  Breathing.  Grounding the emotions, so I can really experience them, rather than simply dashing wildly from one to the other.
3. The tender orange sliver of a rising new moon last night as I was leaving LMH.  I am a believer in omens (propitious ones at least), and that one felt like a gentle nod toward the hope and the delight that this coming year brings.
4. Seasons turning.  Constancy.  One thing comes after another.
5. Feathers.  I’ve told this story before, because it fills me with wonder.  Last year and the year before, for at least six or seven weeks in the months of July and August, I found an almost daily feather.  Both years, there were perhaps two or three days in a six-week span when a feather did not appear in my path.  This year has broken the pattern somewhat.  I am definitely finding more feathers all of a sudden, one every two or three days.  Yesterday morning, just as I left for a computer training at school, there was one, on the pavement right at the door of my car.

May we walk in Beauty!
Keep your heart-eyes open.

Gratitude List:
1. The first school events for the year are happening today.  First is a computer system training, and I always feel like I can use more training on the computer details.  And it will be delightful to see colleagues again.  In the evening is the New Student Orientation.  I’ll be sorry to miss my own children’s back-to-school night, but I’m really excited to get the room looking welcoming and friendly, and then to start meeting some of my new students and their parents.
2. Richard Rohr’s Mystics series.  I have always been drawing to the writings of the mystics, to their poetry, to the stories of their lives, but it’s only recently, in this series, that I feel as though I am beginning to understand a little of what a contemplative life might look like.
3. The Village that is helping us to raise our children: grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins, friends, farm community, and teachers.  Tonight they will meet the teachers who will be with them through this year.  I am trying to get in touch with the anxiety I feel on behalf of my children: Will the teachers like them?  Will they be kind?  Will they understand my kids’ quirks?  Will they laugh with them?  This is one of those turn-around moments: So often, I think in terms of being the teacher that my students need; today, I commit to considering how I can be the teacher that mu students’ parents need me to be for their beloved young people.
4. Old friends and new ones.  I love you all.
5. The hunger, the ache, the longing for Beauty.

May we walk in Beauty!

Here is the second of the Psalms that I am writing for this series at my church.  One of my favorite ways to write poetry is to have an idea that burns in me, and then to suggest to that idea that it has a particular pathway to follow in order to come outside to play, and this project has three.  The parameters of this project are that the poems are: 1) They’re to be Psalms (I am free to interpret that as I choose–I am trying to make the language Psalm-like), 2) They each have a theme (desire, laments, praise, thanksgiving. . .), 3) They fit the Confessional moment in the church service.  Last August I was writing a short poem a day for a postcard project.  I didn’t do that one this year, but I am really grateful for this one: I am discovering that even when life is really busy, having a specific poetic task in the back of my head helps to frame the contemplative work of a season.

Psalm: Praise
10 August 2015

Yours is the music that enters our hearts.
Delight of you enlivens our voices to join in the song.
We are born to worship our Maker.

The world is awash in color and music;
your works are enkindled in sparkle and dazzle.
Every bright bird, each flashing star,
the chirp of the cricket and drone of cicada,
roaring waterfall, quivering leaf–
all of creation sings your glory.

We have only to look up and outward,
and wonder will fill our mouths with praise.

Yet daily our hands reach out
for wealth and power and fame,
instead of rising to praise you.

Our eyes are set on the glitter and shine
of all the distractions that we have made,
and not on your grace and your beauty.

Our voices turn to bitter complaint,
to quarrels and bluster and grumbling,
instead of joining creation’s constant hymn
of praise to the Creator.

O God of wonder and beauty and grace,
open the eyes of our hearts,
awaken our senses to all you have made,
that our spirits may rise in wonder,
that our voices may open in song,
that our days may be filled with praise.

Carin

Gratitude List:
1. Last night’s late-night conversation, like John O’Donohue describes, where “you heard yourself receiving from somebody words that absolutely found places within you that you thought you had lost and a sense of an event of a conversation that brought the [group] of you on to a different plane.”
2. “The winds are changing.”  And the moment in a thoughtful conversation when someone starts to stitch the narrative together with a simple phrase that holds the weight of the conversation like strong spider silk.  This is the furthest thing from a platitude–it’s more like a group mantra.  And it gets taken up like a little chorus, with a rueful smile or a sudden moment of eye contact, repeated from one person to another: “The winds are changing.”  We recognize in the moment something of how very different our lives are and how very the same.
3. How the conversation continues over time.  It isn’t really separate conversations that take place year to year to year, but one long conversation that builds on itself.  How a word gets used today that rings a bell in memory and draws out an image of the same word used in the same space with the same people, a year ago, or two, or three.  How meaning evolves, not just within myself, but in the group.
4. Preparing the heart space.  So much work remains to be done, but the work on the heart moves on apace.
5. Presence.  I have so much to learn about being truly Present.  I think this may be one of the Next Steps.

So much Love.

Gratitude List:
1. “We do not have to live as though we are alone.”  –Wendell Berry
2. Sunflowers
3. Hospitality
4. Indigo: Though perhaps I only have an inkling of it, I think I am learning what it is
5. Changing Gears

May we walk in Beauty!

Here is a Psalm that I wrote, at my pastor’s request, for church last Sunday.  (It doesn’t look so elegant on the page here as it does in the original formatting, but I am too tired to figure out how to make it work in this processor):

Psalm: Desire

O God of Beauty,
God of Marvel,
God of Wonder,
the whole universe that you have made
is built upon desire:
the force that holds electrons in atomic orbit,
that keeps the planets in their dance around the sun,
and wheels the spiraled walk of galaxies
is that same force which holds us to the earth,
which pulls the tides up the beach and back,
and calls us from complacency
to yearn for something more.

Not only do we hunger for you, O God,
but you are the very force of our longing,
the Magnet which draws us ever outward
from the limiting walls of our own egos
to seek your face in all that surrounds us,
to seek your heart in the hearts of our neighbors,
to follow the pathway that leads us homeward.

Our yearning for you is an echo
of your own yearning for your children.

May we carry the knowledge within us,
deep in our cellular constellations,
pulled with the tides of our blood,
that our own deepest longings
are the echoes of your voice
calling us to you.

Draw us ever closer to your Center,
as the sun holds the planets in constant orbit,
as a mother draws her child to her heart,
that our longing may lead us always to you,
our Truest Home.

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