May There Always Be Sunshine

“I didn’t need to understand the hypostatic unity of the Trinity; I just needed to turn my life over to whoever came up with redwood trees.”  -Anne Lamott
*
“Morning is the best of all times in the garden. The sun is not yet hot. Sweet vapors rise from the earth. Night dew clings to the soil and makes plants glisten. Birds call to one another. Bees are already at work.” – William Longgood
*
“Elsewhere the world may be blustering or sleeping, wars are fought, people live and die, some nations disintegrate, while others are born, soon to be swallowed up in turn — and in all this sound and fury, amidst eruptions and undertows, while the world goes its merry way, bursts into flames, tears itself apart and is reborn: human life continues to throb. So, let us drink a cup of tea.”
– Muriel Barbery, “The Elegance of the Hedgehog”
*
“There is ecstasy in paying attention.”
– Anne Lamott
*
Though I may speak with bravest fire,
And have the gift to all inspire,
And have not love, my words are vain,
As sounding brass, and hopeless gain.

Though I may give all I possess,
And striving so my love profess,
But not be given by love within,
The profit soon turns strangely thin.

Come, Spirit, come, our hearts control,
Our spirits long to be made whole.
Let inward love guide every deed;
By this we worship, and are freed.
–Hal Hopson


Gratitude List:
1. Little Baby Anya examining her Uncle Dick’s face with such intensity.
2. Preparing songs for Anne’s ordination. Making music with Val and Todd.
3. Kids having fun together in the pool. I still watch closely, but today was the most relaxed I have ever been with my children in the pool.
4. Summer morning rain
5. A straight seven hours of sleep, not waking up even once

May we walk in Beauty!

Advertisements

Dance


Message in the Zen Garden: “Dance like everyone is watching, and they are all your fans.” I love my students.

Gratitude List:
1. Mountain Laurel blooming on Ducktown Road.
2. A rousing rendition of Happy Birthday in chapel this morning, the footage to be sent to our Little Guy on his birthday in the hospital.
3. Music in chapel this morning: Peniel singing in Amharic, Shadrack singing in French, and Maya and Conner singing a Blessing (was it partly in Italian?) What a gift to have that half hour in the school day that is so often filled with incredible music.
4. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It feels as though there’s a deep chasm between me and the light, but I’ll get there one way or another.
5. Breeze.

May we walk in Beauty!

The Murmuration in the Woods

Gratitude List:
1. Listening to this Winnie the Pooh of a kid humming and singing to himself while he plays: “Umpity Dumpity Dumpity Dum,” and riffs on sounds that pop into his head.
2. Vultures on a billboard by the bridge this afternoon, wings out to the sun.
3. The murmuration flew through the woods behind the house this afternoon, whooshing through the trees.
4. Revising and editing
5. Onion Bagels

May we walk in Beauty!

Helpful Friends

imag2122
Poor little Pippi encountered a deer in the morning gloaming on Ducktown Road yesterday. She’ll be out of commission for a little while.

Gratitude List:
1. Neither Ellis nor I were hurt in the collision. I am not so sure about the other guy, a large (8-point, perhaps?) buck. I thought he was dead. He just lay there where he had fallen, under the guard rail, but just as I had collected myself enough to think about getting out to check on him, he leaped up and dashed into the woods. Poor guy. I hope he survived.
2. Friends who help in a time of crisis. Julie Flinchbaugh, for comforting us and giving Ellis some apple cider. Erin Darby, who drove the carpool to Lancaster on a moment’s notice. Jon, who was my telephone anchor–I kept calling him because I didn’t know what to do. My parents, who gave us their second car while Pippi Prius is at the Dentist. (This is one of our favorite puns. Not only is she having her dents repaired, but the owner/operator of the garage that takes care of our vehicles is our neighbor, Den.  Den-dent-dentist: get it?)
3. Restorative conversations. This morning I get to help with a restorative conference at school. I went into the Restorative Circle training a couple weeks ago with a little trepidation, worried that my anxieties about conflict would keep me from really being able to do this kind of work. This morning, I feel really ready to participate, to ask questions, to help facilitate this conversation. I am eager to be part of this kind of work.
4. Flaming trees. They say that the color will be sort of “meh” this season, after the summer’s dry weather, but the maples didn’t get the memo. They’re pulling out the stops.
5. Yesterday’s singing in chapel. We sang “Tu Eres Todopoderoso,” a song from Mennonite World Conference. I love that song.

May we walk in Beauty!

Time to Re-Envision and Revise

bridemusic
Another picture of my brother and me, singing yesterday at a celebration for Bridge of Hope National. 

I really like to work with extremely short poetry. There’s an imagist within me, I suppose, wanting to capture an image like a photograph, to hold it in words, to take the thing that I see and recreate it in such as way that you will see it, too. But I can never seem to leave it only at the image, because everything means something to me. It’s all messages.  Here is one from 2014:

yellow walnut leaves
twist and twirl silently earthward
lavishly giving themselves to breeze, to breath
prodigal as love

I wonder how it would affect the poem were I to change “breath” to “death”?  I’d lose the “r” sound that follows “earth” so nicely, for one thing.  And I like that repeated initial “br.” Maybe I will keep it. I am in revisions mode now, so every word is on the table for possible change and transformation. (Like that “twist.” I like the alliteration “twist and twirl,” but that seems a little bit of an obvious one.  Hmm.)

Gratitude List:
1. The people who do good work in the world, not because of some sense of wanting to feel better about themselves because they do charity, but because they know their future is bound up in the future of all, that we’re all one people, and we must survive together.
2. Organizations like Bridge of Hope and Samara, that work to support families in crisis, to give children a safer and healthier childhood.
3. I didn’t get it all done, but I got a lot of it done, and that feels at least a little satisfying.
4. In the midst of all the daily work, I managed to get my next poetry manuscript onto a single document in the betweeny moments. This week I will print it out, and I’ll start the revising and editing in the next raft of betweeny moments. A friend once told me the story of a wizard who never got wet in the rain because he just walked between the raindrops.  That’s going to be me and this manuscript, working between the raindrops of the daily.
5. Waking up the spine. Stretching. Breathing. The long, slow uncurling into the day’s work.

May we walk in Beauty!

Singing and Stories

Sign outside of a building and remodeling business in York:  “Do more of what makes you holy.”

Gratitude List:
1.  The singing.  Oh, the singing!  The listening, the paying attention, the blending of voices, the breathing.
2.  This story: about the Christian man and the Muslim man who traveled together for a time, and every morning read together from the Bible and the Quran.
3.  The morning glories raising their violet and magenta throats toward the dawning.
4.  Yesterday, one boy shared his dessert with the other, oh so kindly, oh so gently.  Little moments that make me remember that all the work is paying off.
5.  The changing of weather and of season–always a new thing in the air to anticipate.

May we walk in Beauty!

Belly Laughs and Chocolate

Gratitude List:

1. Belly laughs and chocolate
2. Reminiscence
3. Singing Together.  Finding the notes.
4. Africa House (the art, the fans, the cool floor, the growly mockingbird, the rainmaker, the gathering places, the fireplace, the games, the way laughter echoes down the hallways, oh–even the skunk)
5. Telling Our Stories: All these wonderful and terrible stories, these wise and hopeful and despairing stories.  How they fill the bowl.  How we make a net together, to receive them, to sift them, to examine them.  To hold them maybe, or to let them go.

May you make your path by walking.
May you find someone who will hold your stories with you.
May you walk on holy ground.
May you walk in Beauty.

Who is Pushing them in?

My father, a physician, used to give talks about healthy diet and lifestyle.  One story that he used to tell has really stuck with me.

Once there was a little town located beside a wide and perilous river.  Occasionally townspeople would rush to the aid of someone who had fallen in upriver.  At great risk to their own lives, they would mobilize and save a hapless stranger from drowning.  As time went by, and more and more of these rescues began to occur, the little town developed an excellent rescue aid society.  They had their own boats and equipment.  They held fundraisers to support the River Rescue Society.  Volunteers trained long hours.

Over time, more and more people came floating by, in peril of drowning, and the town’s rescue crew grew and grew.  They began to post watchers on the shoreline because the numbers of people in need of rescue had begun to increase monumentally.  It was all the little town could do to keep up with the work.  But they were proud of their River Rescue Society.

One night, at a town meeting, the topic on the table for discussion was (once again) the need for more money to fund the Rescue Society.  They were now in need of full-time watchers on the shore and more money for training and research into the best techniques for safely pulling people out of the river.  Finally a quiet woman who had been knitting in the corner stepped up to the microphone and asked, “Perhaps we ought to send someone upriver to discover who is pushing all these people in?”

Yesterday, I found out that yet another friend of mine has cancer.  Leukemia.  Two friends of mine are walking with their mothers through the rocky terrain of breast cancer at the moment.  I find it alarming and disconcerting, the way we just accept that cancer is a way of life for us now.  I’m glad that we’re working so hard on the rescue side of this story.  I am so grateful for the treatment options for my friends, for my friends’ mothers, for your friends and family members.  It seems to me that in recent years, the number of people floating down this particular river has increased rather dramatically.  What are we going to do about figuring out who is pushing them in?

We can start, I think, by letting the dandelions grow.  Refusing to put chemicals on our lawns and gardens.  Cleaning our houses with soap and water and vinegar instead of chemicals.  We can pay attention to the food we put into our bodies, where it comes from, what practices were used to grow it.  We can stop drinking out of plastic containers.  These things will not ensure that we don’t fall in the river ourselves, but they might begin to slow down the numbers of people who do.  We need to take a look upriver, and find out who has been pushing all these people into the river.

 

Gratitude List:
1. A lovely day yesterday with my mother-in-law
2. Singing together–I love that my son joins in with the hymns in church
3. Community–how it falls together sometimes, how we can also work to build and maintain it intentionally
4. Anticipation (as edgy as it can make me, I love having possibilities to dream)
5. Language and the gifts it offers to our reasoning brains

May we walk in Beauty!

Finding Poetry

Found Poem
Source: Joss Weaver-Kreider

I just saw a tree
that had no leaf left

and

at first I thought
it was a giant feather.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
This is an old photo, from December,
but it shows some naked feathery trees.

Gratitude List
1.  Ten Years of Goldfinch Farm.  It has gone by in a flash.  It has been forever.  Happy Birthday, Bright Spot!
2.  Prayer.  Or singing.  Or writing poems.  Or drawing.  Or listening.  Or looking.  Or magic.  Whatever you call it, the energy that is the connective tissue of the Universe, the Multiverse.
3.  Four-part harmony
4.  Standing in the borderlands, looking around, and realizing that I’m ready for the journey.
5.  This contemplative morning time all to myself.

May we walk in Beauty, in Love