Posted in book, faith, Family, God, Holy Spirit, Prayer, quiet, quote, scripture, silence, stillness, words

Be Quiet, Be Still

Get out of your own way. Just sit down a bit. No radio or TV or computer or phone. Pick up that devotional book and read what words are found for today. “Noise is the mouthpiece of the world. Silence is the mouthpiece of God,” author Matthew Kelly shares in his book Amazing Possibilities. The Holy Spirit prompts me to turn off the morning news, put down my i-phone, and to sit in silence. What do I hear while waiting in silence? The songbirds at the feeders, a firetruck zooming down the street, and then the church bells. I sit awhile longer; I can hear and feel my own heart. I start to unload the needs of my family, and miracles requested as I pray to our God. These are big orders, but with God all things are possible. And then those precious thoughts and intimate words only the Divine can share. With faith I embrace His words.

"Be still and know that I am God." 
Psalm 46:10
Posted in book, children, editor, Emotional, faith, fight, heart, life, mother, Prayer, quote, silence, soul, vulnerable, warm, Warrior, woman, words, write, writer

Wordsmithery

It all started with words scribbled in a journal 40 years ago as a young mother, excited and overwhelmed at the same time with my new role as a parent of a little one. I have kept a journal since. It is not a locked diary like as a pre-teen, as my words are an open book. I keep no secrets. I write my heart and eventually some words come out in blog form, poetry, and short stories. A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Flapper Press to request an interview for an article in their newsletter. Included in the interview were three poems I wrote about various topics that have stirred my emotions regarding the basic human need for warmth in the winter, a woman’s vulnerability, and Ukraine’s fight for democracy. I submitted these to the Flapper Press editor, Annie prior to the interview request. Read Annie’s write-up for more details.

Flapper Press

I return to pen and paper or the other form of word processing, a laptop computer as the need arises. Which is just about daily. Wordsmithery has become a way of being for me. Playing “Word With Friends” or Scrabble, daily use of the online dictionary, and reading are all a part of my obsession with words. As a child my mother would tell me to pick up a book and read. No one has to encourage me with that anymore. Now I am a wordsmith by necessity. “I am a poet and didn’t even know it”. I believe that is an old saying that has rung true to me as an adult. This quiet soul has words welling up to share. Many words. With prayer and faith let them be His words.

“So give me Words to speak, don’t let my Spirit sleep.”

Aaron Shust
Posted in book, creative, explore, friend, God, grace, health, house, husband, job, life, love, mind, quote, rest, season, sick, words, write, writer

One Word for 2022

The first full week in the New Year had me at my primary care and eye doctors for annual check-up appointments, after-the-holidays bargain shopping, two meals out to catch up with friends and family after the holidays and finishing the manuscript of my first poetry chapbook. The second full week, well, did I tell you that COVID continues to be rampant? Apparently so much so that my husband and I finally acquired the virus after it has been around the world a few times the past 2 years. We are thankful that our symptoms thus far have been very minor, like a bad head cold. Naps, more naps, and plenty of hot herbal teas have been our regiments. And of course, quarantining.

Staying home in isolation is not too difficult for me. I am retired from full-time work and have no cooking classes to teach until February. My husband works remotely most days of the week and has been strictly home this past week working quietly between his naps. Our first snow of the year fell this weekend, definitely another excuse to stay indoors. Enjoy watching the birds feed from the window. Reading, writing, and homemade soup making have been my occupations this past 2 weeks. As I go in and out of sleepiness, words ebb and flow like a river stream. Perfect timing to finish my second poetry manuscript, the newest edition of the first but photos are included. Both manuscripts are now submitted to two different publishers.

While words flit in and out of my mind, one word “explore” has stuck with me, and I adopted for my 2022. My New Year’s goal is to explore. So instead of singling on one action in one aspect of life such as losing 20 pounds or exercising 5x times a week, I have an action word to cover the many dimensions of my life. I will explore God’s grace in my life, I will explore new authors and books to read, explore new writing and teaching opportunities, explore healthier recipes, explore antique bargains, explore new plants to grow for garden art projects, and explore new ways to show God’s love to my family and friends. Filmmaker Joss Whedon has said “Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it. Sauté it, whatever. Make.” Create. Make. “Just do it” as Nike coins their brand. So, what is your word for this new year? This 2022 is your year, and mine!

“Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it. Sauté it, whatever. Make.”
~ Joss Whedon
Posted in authors, blessings, book, change, children, community, Crescent Dragonwagon, daughter, Family, feelings, God, grandchild, granddaughter, happy, house, husband, job, people, silence, solitude, walk, write, writer

New Pace And Space

I have taken on a new opportunity this summer, and not just for this summer. On June 1 I retired from my full-time HR position in order to slow my pace down. I have more time for the activities I love like gardening, cooking, antiquing, and writing. Even with these fun hobbies, I am learning to pace myself so I get enough sleep, exercise, and make healthier food choices and proper time to consume. For additional income I am teaching culinary classes part-time with kids’ 1/2-day camps this summer. Come the fall semester, I will teach culinary classes 2 evenings a week to kids as well as adults.

More time for family is the another reason to slow my pace down. My husband and I already spent a weekend at the lake with his three children, spouses and three grandchildren. Next weekend I will be opening a booth in an antique mall with my daughters and granddaughters. But this week, is time for myself. I signed up for a writing residency at the Writing Colony at Dairy Hollow in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. I learned of this place over 15 years ago. This place has been in existence for 20 years. I could almost pinch myself, to check if it is real. I am actually staying at the Dairy Hollow house made famous by author, Crescent Dragonwagon. I am taking a week’s residency in the comfortable culinary suite creating some recipes to share in a book of short stories with a culinary theme. My first book. See what becomes of this week. It has been productive so far.

I take casual walks in this enchanted town of Victorian wrap-around porches, bungalows with inviting archways, crevices filled with wildflowers, groves of trees and moss-covered cliffs laced throughout the town. I do some porch sitting, watching the hummingbirds and song birds feed. While on the front porch yesterday afternoon sipping iced peppermint herbal tea a doe and her fawn meandered between the two residency buildings. Later this afternoon I hear the readings of one of my fellow writers at the Carnegie Library a few short blocks away. I will make it to the farmer’s market and a couple of local shops tomorrow morning before returning to the laptop for my story writing and making a peach-blueberry slump. Visits with the other writing residents have been at dinner time. We sit and dine for an hour at a long table filled with delightful foods prepared by an excellent cook from the Old World. Yes, life is good. I feel God’s blessings.

Posted in answer, book, care, comfort, fear, feelings, give, glory, God, heart, hospitality, Jesus, king, light, love, Prayer, quote, Rejoice, scripture, silence, sorrow, worry

The Silence First

I prepare myself this Advent season, Christ’s coming. I quiet my soul this morning. Reading in my daily inspirational book which I neglected a couple of days this past week, “All of man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone,” written by 17th- century philosopher Blaise Pascal. I don’t want to be miserable. Do you? “Silence is God’s first language,” the 16th-century mystic John of the Cross wrote.

“Adventus” is the Latin word that the more modern word “advent” comes from, which means “arrival”. When someone arrives at your house or the office, you usually straighten things up and prepare some details like a meal or documents for your guest to partake or take with them. So we try to be accommodating, showing hospitality to our guests. The Latin meaning for hospitality is “host”. Most essentially, it refers to the relationship between the host and guest.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” ~ Revelation 3:20 

What can I, the host give Jesus, my guest this Advent season? My heart. Jesus just simply wants my heart. And yours. He wants to take residence in my heart and yours. Jesus wants a relationship with you. Open your heart to Jesus, our Messiah, the Lamb of God, the King of Glory. Welcome Him. Silence first. Pray to Him, tell Him your heart. Your sins, worries, fears, tears, sorrows, praises, joys, and dreams. “Leave all your worries with Him, because He cares for you.” ~ 1 Peter 5:7. He is listening, He cares, He comforts, and He answers with His love. “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued to extend faithful love to you.” ~ Jeremiah 31:3

Posted in authors, book, community, demons, Emotional, fight, health, hope, lesson, life, meditation, Mental, mind, Physical, quote, Spiritual, walk, write

Writing a Book

As an employee wellness coordinator for a large-sized government entity, I keep myself versed on health and wellness topics and periodically take certification courses.  Depression and mental health are major issues in the United States.  A person can know this by listening to the news or viewing social media at any given moment these days.  More and more training in the health and wellness fields are focusing on the “7 dimensions of wellness” that make a person “whole”.  If any of these are lacking, it affects the other dimensions of a person, and the community around.

7 Dimensions of Wellness

These past few weeks God is urging me to write, more than I have written before with my journals, blogs, letters, and poems.  I am writing a book about wholeness, the physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental healing for a woman with post-traumatic stress disorder which affects the social, intellectual, occupational, and environmental dimensions of her life.  It is based on the true story of a Christian woman and her struggles after a traumatic event.  Subsequent therapy reveals more than this sexual assault trauma, but the dysfunction she is living in her marriage.  It is a story of hope despite the reality of trauma, and the fight against shame and demons associated with  sexual assault.  Life’s lessons are learned in every situation and circumstance, if we listen.

I have applied for a writing fellowship at a writers colony in Arkansas, and hope to hear good news by November.  If awarded I will be granted 2-weeks stay at this writers lovely retreat center.  My calendar will allow for this next spring, if I am awarded.   If not granted the fellowship, well I may take 2 weeks off and hide out in my husband and I’s cottage to focus on this work with greater depth.  Projects with my employer have shifted with earlier deadlines, so spring will be a lovely time to write, take walks, meditate, and write again.  “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed,” Ernest Hemingway is quoted.  For me it will be my pen and journal, and pecking away on the keyboard of my laptop.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Posted in authentic, body, book, change, choice, discernment, faith, flower, God, grace, health, life, love, meditation, Mental, mind, old, people, Physical, scripture, trust, well

A Beautiful Mind

Emotions and the mind do funny things sometimes.  Emotions can see-saw like the playground equipment, up-down, up-down.  Sometimes the mind plays its own games.  Truths and lies come into the mind, and I remind myself what is the truth.  And people play games, too.  But to know the difference requires discernment.  I ask God for that discernment and wisdom.  And my trust, my anchor, my foundation is in Him and His Word.

 

I am reading the book The Daniel Plan, and the chapter on “Focus” resonates so profoundly.  Taking care of the body and the mind is essential to going older gracefully.  A healthy body and sound mind equals good mental health.   Fill your mind with good seeds.  Then let your practice of those good thoughts bring harmony to yourself and those God has placed in your life.  Bloom where you are planted.

Philippians 4:8-9 The Message (MSG)

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”

Posted in book, connection, Family, gift, hospitality, love, neighbor, people, purpose, quote, scripture, woman, words

Connecting with Purpose

With our electronics, anyone could go days without speaking face-to-face with another person.  Parents receive a text message from their teenager about the next football tailgate with that adolescent one room away from the parent under the same roof at that place called “home”.  I have been at dinner gatherings where the i-phone is set next to the plate like it is part of the place setting.  And I have been guilty of such!  How about delivering verbal words to your co-worker in person by walking to their office down the hall instead of an email message?  The internet, emails, texts, tweets, and online posts can keep us informed, and there is a time and season for it.  But what about connecting with an oxygen-breathing, heart-feeling human in person?  A connection can happen with a little conscious effort.

Connections can come through family, neighborhoods, work, school, food events, sports, hobbies, art, music, support or social groups.  Colors speak.  Color choices in clothing and home design can display meaning.  I recently read The Turquoise Table by Kristin Schell, and she used a self-appointed, self-painted turquoise picnic table planted in her front yard to connect with her neighbors. This Christian woman wanted to share her life with others in a safe venue such as her front yard.  The turquoise table caught the neighbors’ attention.  This idea of hospitality spread to many more neighborhoods and communities, world-wide.  It is a reminiscence of the front porch of yesteryear.

 

The Jenny Joseph poem, Warning, inspired the Red Hat Society founder, Sue Ellen Cooper to give a friend a red hat for her 50th birthday.  The first lines of the poem, “When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple, with a red hat which doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me,” tell us each to grow older in a playful manner on our own terms.  Purple and red are not just for senior women with the Red Hat Society.  Why not make a statement and most likely a connection with the next visitor at your purple front door?  What about a fresh-baked pie left with the next-door neighbor or a water bowl left out near the sidewalk to quench the thirst of those dogs the joggers/walkers bring out on a hot summer day?

However you decide to connect, connect with the purpose to love …

“Love is large and incredibly patient.  Love is gentle and consistently kind to all.  It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance.  Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor.  Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense.  Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong.  Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others.  Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.  Love never stops loving … Love remains long after words of knowledge are forgotten.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 (Passion translation).

Posted in book, challenges, comfort, courage, crazy, God, purpose, quote, resilience, thankful, Warrior, woman

Escape

cs lewis cup of tea quoteHow do you escape from this sometimes crazy world?  “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you,”  1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us.  Being thankful is one way to escape from overwhelming thoughts and situations.  You say, “that is a challenge right now”.  I know.  I experienced one of those days today.  But more importantly, woman warrior, what recharges you with more resilience, courage, and purpose?   Is it being nestled under a comfy quilt with a book or the Bible in one hand and a cup of steamy tea in the other?  Is it a brief foray with an art medium or craft you are developing?  Writing or making music?  Is it an afternoon out with a friend, or date night with the hubby?  Or maybe a whole weekend away or at a retreat?  Whatever it is, just get there.  Make it a priority, plan it, and the escape from this crazy life will come.  Go ahead, do it, and giving thanks all the way through … I knew you could.

Posted in book, empty, Family, flower, friend, God, heart, house, husband, peace, people, quote, silence, solitude, well, world

Niche, Nook, Cranny, And Heart

heart-shaped-clipart Since my husband and I bought our quaint 4-room cottage in a historic small city in Missouri, many of my days have been filled with decorating thoughts. Color, pattern, texture, and space. Every niche, nook, and cranny of this less than 800 square-foot space. I am perpetually frugal, a bit of a “minimalist” is the word these days. Despite Dr. Seuss’ advice,“Fill your house with stacks of books in all the crannies and all the nooks,” I am being selective on where to create that niche, nook, and cranny and how to fill it. Although “the love of learning, the sequestered nooks, and all the sweet serenity of books,”(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) provides plenty of opportunity for my brain and time to distress from this too real world. Designer, Xorin Balbes offers a different use for nooks. “Creating nooks for conversation and shared activities can do wonders to bring people together. Create more intimacy at home, and you will become more intimate in the world.” Quaint times with and for others is good use of the cottage. We have the cottage listed with Airbnb for festival weekends only, and open our new space for family & friends, too.
Just the same I need time for myself. I allow every cranny of my heart emptied to be filled once again with God’s beautiful foliage. Like these cranny rocks in Cannon Beach, Oregon with a abundance of green moss and colorful blooms. And rest, a time to sleep, and just do nothing. Quiet…hearing my own breathe and the bird tweeting outside the window. “Each morning I gather strength from every nook of my soul softly inhale the aroma of nature,” Monica Bhasin says. Warmer weather sends me to the outdoors with green surroundings, but the winter season I can have that same peace and calm in the comforts of one of the living room perches, the arm chair in the guest bedroom, or even with a 10-minute break from the telephone, computer, and projects in my workplace office. The niche to wholeness no matter my environment is my heart yielded to our awesome God and His plans. All is well with my soul.