Friday, June 19, 2009

I enjoy being a muse...

Wow! My friend Jan offers today's Friday Five. What an occasion for smiling! She writes:

Jennifer recommended this book, which I got because I always value Jennifer's reading suggestions. The author of Life is a Verb, Patti Digh worked her book around these topics concerning life as a verb:
Say yes.Be generous.Speak up.Love more.Trust yourself.Slow down.As I read and pondered about living more intentionally, I also have wondered what this Friday Five should be. This book has been the jumping off point for this Friday.

1. What awakens you to the present moment?

2. What are 5 things you see out your window right now?

3. Which verbs describe your experience of God?

4. From the book on p. 197:
Who were you when you were 13? Where did that kid go?

5. From the book on p. 88:
If your work were the answer to a question, what would the question be?

Bonus idea for you here or on your own--from the book on p. 149:
"Go outside. Walk slowly forward. Open your hand and let something fall into it from the sky. It might be an idea, it might be an object. Name it. Set it aside. Walk forward. Open your hand and let something fall into it from the sky. Name it. Set it aside. Repeat. . . ."

Thanks, Jan!

My responses:
1. I awaken to the present moment by breathing deeply, moving slowly, listening carefully, and loving wholeheartedly.
2. Out my window: lush greenery (so much rain here!), torrential rain, a mallard duck, a swing set and the swing is blowing in the wind, a clap of thunder!
3.Verbs that describe my experience of God: to love, to mourn, to comfort, to dance with joy, to play with abandon, to live with intention.
4.I was an outspoken,loving, musical, curious, long-haired teenager. Where did that girl go? She's still present, and I catch glimpses of her in some of my daughter's actions.
5.What is the most challenging, frustrating, rewarding, fulfilling, tiring, energizing part of your life?
Bonus question later....after the rain.

Flickr photo from here.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Different Voices

I don't think I've blogged about the Interfaith Women's book group that got started this spring through the congregation I serve. We've been sniffing around for some ways to seek greater understanding, and a mosque in a neighboring community received an invitation to come and chat about ways to collaborate. We've attended each others' worship services and some ceremonies, and out of those gatherings friendships are forming, and a group of women decided it would be a joy to read together.

So, off they went. They're getting reading to meet for the second time, having read and discussed Sharon and My Mother-in-Law by Suad Amiry. The book they will be discussing next week is The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan.

There's more in store-- I've heard about the beginnings of plans to engage in service together, and they've met for a picnic. One of these days, they might broaden even more and involve women from yet unrespresented faiths. Exciting!

Peace and understanding through reading and sharing. Make sense to me....

logos is from

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Life at fifty

Life at fifty is pretty wonderful, despite the fact that the start of this year has been a little on the "terrible, awful, no good, very bad" side, at times.

We're still waiting for DH to land a new job. Gotta say that we didn't think that we'd still be in search mode after six months. Nevertheless, there are hopeful signs, second interviews, nibbles here and there. It's been challenging for our family, but we are getting through this, and we will have learned a great deal about what matters most, how to be patient with one another,living with less, and recognizing that abundance is still a word we use and understand.

I've had six visits this week with members of the church who suffer from dementia/Alzheimer's/other memory loss. It's been fourteen months since my mom died, and the waves of grief persist, especially when I've spent concentrated amounts of time with older adults with memory issues. Much sighing...

One of the most noticeable parts of my healing (or lack of healing) around my mom's passing is the visceral reaction I have to visiting folks in ICU. My mom died in a hospital hundreds of miles from here. I have not visited it since her death and may never visit it again, but I have occasions to visit ICUs with some frequency, and entering and staying is a very great challenge. I hope I overcome this...

We've had some particularly challenging times this winter and spring with difficult pastoral care issues. It's been pretty hard work to think about good news, in light of what I'm invited to know. Perhaps this is a symptom of a need for a vacation. Perhaps it's just the reality of living with the reminder that everyone has a story, and often it is poignant and personal. I need to work on being more of a sieve and less of a vase.

Nevertheless (how I love the hope this word conveys!) it is good to be fifty. All manner of things shall be well, and often are. I am a brand new fan of Teavana teas, thanks to a lovely birthday gift, and I'm working my list of things I'd like to accomplish and enjoy this year. They provide a nice antidote to the stress of sermons and pastoral care and job searches and stuff.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Life is a Verb- 50@50

I've just begun reading and working through a marvelous book called Life is a Verb by Patti Digh. On her website, she includes a list of fifty things she plans to do this year.

I turned fifty last week, and, I must say, it's pretty fun so far.
Nothing's changed radically, but it's a good place to be and there's lots more great stuff on the horizon.

With gratitude to Patti Digh for an endless storehouse of inspiration, here's my list of fifty things I'd like to do or learn this year:

1. wear contact lenses (mission accomplished: 6/2/09)
2. prepare polenta (done! 7/4/09)
3. finish a quilt
4. make pottery
5. effectively keep ahead of weeds in my garden
6. plan sabbath time gracefully
7. not allow mean-spirited people to rent space in my head
8. prepare excellent Asian food
9. play tennis every week this summer
10.walk a good distance every day
11.outfit a great craft area
12.catch up on reading Harry Potter
13.teach my kids to cook
14.become regular at Praying in Color a great prayer buddy
16.learn ballroom dancing
17.journal regularly a better blogger
19.resume sending birthday cards
20.take all my vacation/con ed time
21.connect with a great new project
22.learn to really live healthfully, finally
23.use the labyrinth regularly
24.keep in touch with Clarie by mail when she's at school
25.turn walking into jogging
26.lose 50
27.practice yoga
28. listen more closely to what people are saying
29.listen more closely to what God is saying
30.enter and complete a 10K
31. learn to take good photographs
32. play the guitar more regularly
33. become a wine taster
34. drink a martini
35. learn to bake bread well
36. repot all my plants
37. grow confident in decorating
38. eliminate paper napkins from our dining table at home
39. get Christmas gear organized
40. learn to knit socks
leaving these blank for now....for future inspiration....