Bye…for now.

This has been a place of practice, a landing spot for beginning with blogging; an honest attempt to articulate some learnings and leanings. As with life, we envision a thing and once in a while it turns out as we think. Most often, though,https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/52/Mute.swan.touchdown.arp.jpg there are twists and turns that lead elsewhere. I’m wondering if such is the way of this online space.

I have danced with formats and played with ideas here. Experiments in finding my voice have occasionally resulted in something resembling an awkward adolescent male squeak, but mostly I’m okay with what has made it to the page.

Still, from much I haven’t written about in the last few years has emerged a richer, fuller life that is not captured in what I have trotted out here. So I’m laying this down for a bit. What’s here won’t go away, but no new posts are planned. Perhaps I will pick it up again one day, but if not a swan’s song it is, at the least, a looong intermission. (I’ve learned to never say never.)

You can find me other places doing other things, most notably as Director of Formation with CFDM Northwest, starting in June of 2018. I’ll be posting to the FB page so we can stay in touch. You know we love those “follows!” I’m continuing to offer a ministry of spiritual direction–a fancy name for paying attention to God, playing for worship and learning to take myself less seriously.

Thanks for playing along–I’ve enjoyed your company. I trust it’s mutual.

Blessings, G

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Owning Time

To the lilac jungle outside my window:
Once a well-groomed, refined specimen
Today a tangle
Of brambles and unruly growth
Twisting and reaching
But with a vastly different sort
Of beauty and presence
Untamed

How much more shelter
You offer to robins and finches
Protecting their young from the sparrow hawks
How much more shade from the scorching, summer heat
You proffer to the ground critter
How much more profuse your flowers, diffuse your fragrance
For all to enjoy
For your longevity and unfettered freedom to grow

There will be a time to prune

In fact, a harsh reality awaits you
Once the blooms fade
“By no more than a third,” the experts say,
“and at just the right time
Open up the inside
so it’s less prone to disease
Eliminate suckers
that syphon off energy
Oh!–and at just the right time
to ensure that
You. Will. Flower. Again.

We are a lilac jungle

Not Giving it Up

What am I not giving up for Lent? Hope, that’s what. Nope, I’m not. “I’m not, I say!” Hope is Truth, is Life, is Way. Not giving Hope up for Lent. Not today! (Thanks, Dr. S)

Inspired by Rob (thanks, Man) at Learning to breathe

The Six Hurdles of Communication*

  • What you wanted to say
  • What you thought you said
  • What you said
  • What they heard
  • What they thought they heard
  • What they wanted to hear

Good Luck…! lol

(Photo, courtesy of a grandkid…)

*Original source unknown. Maybe someone can enlighten me.

Sun Up • CassieHammett

Seems only fair to follow up my review of Beth Moore’s Get Out of That Pit with this story from one of her conferences.

The road to reclaiming God means risking a heart that opens a crack to receive life and love from places and people who may have previously entered it and left it wounded.

http://www.cassiehammett.com/sun-up/

Summer of a Significant Birthday

2017-08-07 23.03.46

  • Lord, Thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older, and will some day be old.
  • Keep me from getting talkative, and particularly from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.
  • Release me from craving to try to straighten out everybody’s affairs.
  • Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details–give me wings to get to the point.
  • I ask for grace enough to listen to the tales of others’ pains. Help me to endure them with patience.
    But seal my lips on my own aches and pains–they are increasing and my love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by.
  • Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally it is possible that I may be mistaken.
  • Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a saint–some of them are so hard to live with–but a sour old woman is one of the crowning works of the devil.
  • Make me thoughtful, but not moody; helpful, but not bossy.
  • With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all–but Thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end.

—From Little Book of Prayers

(by a Mother Superior who wishes to be anonymous)

Holiness 101: People Matter

If you react to the term “holiness” like I do, this may help you breathe. May even help redeem it. Take a listen and let me know what you think.

Episode 73 – Holiness is Better Than You Think // Trevor Hudson – Renovaré

https://renovare.org/podcast/episode-73-trevor-hudson

21 Quick Actions You Can Do Today to Simplify Your Life – Slow Your Home

Like many of us, I’m in the struggle. Slow and simple are not characteristics of my native habitat. Yet they are helpful–no, essential–in opening space for God, for others, for ourselves. Suggestions like these point me in that direction. 

Most are practical tasks that nudge the process forward. The piece finishes with a grace-filled framework. Enjoy…and implement. 

What would you add? [or eliminate… :)]

http://slowyourhome.com/21-quick-actions-simplify-life/#_a5y_p=5259893

Awareness: Day 17 of “31 Days” – Maybe I Just Need to Write For 4’s

#4 wooden coastersIt occurs to me after listening to Leigh Kramer on Tsh’s podcast, that maybe I just need to write for 4’s; that maybe nobody else has experienced the kind of discontent around their life with God that we/I have!

Whatever our deepest desire, it’s one of the ways God comes to us, calls us forward, causes to us to put our gifts into the world. For a ‘4,’ it’s often an unrequited longing that becomes a prayer expressing what another needs to say but can’t quite get in touch with. (Or maybe we 4’s just wish that were the case because we can’t bear to be left out, thus we create everyone else in our image so that we’re not alone!)

I googled “enneagram 4 blog” because I wanted some specific info on how 4’s tend to see things and found the little gem. I mostly found that we 4’s have a certain method and motivation and rhythm–or not!–even for blogging. Of course. I just hadn’t thought to reference it against the enneagram. Many things make more sense when run through the E-filter. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s simply a way to organize information about personality including thoughts, feelings, behavior and the like. It makes me both appreciate and lament the struggle and the celebration that is this life. In fact, it kind of makes me want to re-title this whole blog endeavor and start over–which is also very ‘4’.

What it mostly makes me aware of is why I have written only four, now, four (4!) days out of the 31-Day challenge. And that on this day, knowing my 4-ness helps me be okay with that. And I hope that on this day, wherever you are and whatever you find yourself doing, you’re okay with it–especially if you’re also a ‘4’. If you’re a ‘1’ it will be even harder–but you can do it! Just a little inside enneagram humor, which you can find out more about right here.

It’s no magic bullet, but almost. Discovering the why underneath what you and others do–or don’t, fosters empathy and graciousness. And God knows we could use a little more of that. Yes?

Awareness: Day 12 of “31 Days”

I’ve been immersed again in the wisdom that the enneagram offers (and apparently a lot more since it’s now Day 12!).

The Enneagram offers an awareness of the filters through which we see; how we view ourselves, experience God and interact with one another, for better and for worse.
Awareness at the capacity available to humans is a gift bestowed on no other creature. It is foundational to the understanding necessary for growing safe, loving relationships with God, ourselves and others.

Especially at this time of year, awareness travels a meaningful path.

  • Awareness with intent toward appreciation leads to gratitude.
  • Gratitude assumes a source.
  • Source points to “in the beginning.”

As a 4 on the E-gram, I’m not a fan of the church year’s Ordinary Time– or ordinary anything else, for that matter. In spite of it not being my natural habitat,  I’m learning through practicing awareness, to value the ordinary. 

October is the last of it and is a great build-up to Festival season. All Saints Day then November with its focus on gratitude. Thanksgiving, Christ the King Sunday then right into Advent. 

Yep, it’s here folks! Right around the corner. Almost time to untangle the tree lights.

And when I pull the lens back into the present,  all of a sudden, ordinary time is anything but. In fact…

  • a glance out the window at the brilliant Autumn hues
  • the joyful chaos of kids’ Fall sports
  • breathing the stimulating chill of morning’s air
  • monitoring weather reports for mountain pass travel 
  • sitting in a surgery waiting room
  • celebrating milestone birthdays

…all nudge me into full consciousness. I am reminded that the present moment is gift. I am alive. I am aware.