Posted in change, day, faith, Family, God, grandchild, health, life, Prayer, quote, rest, trust, write, writer

Soar Above And Through

This summer brought change, several of them. I retired from my full-time job right into culinary day camps to teach, a week of writing camp for myself, multiple family gatherings, grandkids and grand dogs staying over, moving furniture and home goods, and prepping my mother’s villa for the real estate market. Life isn’t rosy even in retirement. I have had some adjustments to my new job demands. My per diem job requires a devotion and creativity to lesson plans, and with timeliness. Making more time for writing is still a challenge. That week away in June to write and recipe development was so nice. Hard to capture those moments in my home, but discipling myself to keep to pen and paper most days. The house still needs repairs, loved ones’ bodies and souls need healing, and more of Jesus in our lives. Good news, my PVCs have subsided. The meds and part-time rather than full-time employment have been key as well as prayers.

Where is life going? It is a question I ask often. I am a planner, but I must rest in God’s plans, not my own. Faith. Trust. In God, not myself or others. While I have launched into this new season, I spent part of July in quiet, just not doing anything some days. In these contemplative hours, I considered where I have been, and then where life is going for my loved ones and I. I cannot dwell here very long as I begin to think things too much, try to figure out God. I simply need to pray, trust that He is caring for me and my loved ones in every minute of our days. “What wings are to a bird, and sails to a ship, so is prayer to the soul,” Corrie Ten Boom has said. Soul, fly and sail through this busy month of August, soar above and through all the unknown and unanswered details with God’s guidance. Father God be with me.

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 battle, compassion, crown, darkness, death, die, Family, flower, friend, gift, glory, God, holy, husband, Jesus, love, night, pain, passion, scripture, triumph, victory, write

Passion and Compassion

What passion do you have in your life? A passion to write, a passion to travel, a passion to love, or a passion to start or return to a different career, hobby, or relationship? “The word passion comes from Latin root pati-, meaning suffering, or enduring. Thus, compassion means to suffer-with: the compassionate aren’t immune to other people’s pain. And passion is, at its core, a form of pain that demands it be quenched. It’s not for the faint of heart or those who lack patience — which is not the ability to wait, but the ability to suffer,” quoting Vivek Haldar.

My passion to write is so strong that I awake in the middle of the night or the wee hours of a morning with the burning desire to get my thoughts out on paper, either handwriting or typing. This morning is one of those wee hour awakenings. Dean and I’s vacation revealed Jesus in the midst of visits with family and friends and the scenery. Photos along the way captured the crown of thorns, the wooden cross, the blood of Jesus, and the glory of our Risen Lord. Our early springtime travels were in Arkansas and Texas followed by visiting family in Lee’s Summit, MO. On Good Friday we made our drive to Lexington, MO for our 2nd COVID vaccine. Feeling lethargic and achy since Friday I finally succumbed to sleep, awoke to write and back to sleep for a few more hours.

I have a burning desire to share with you the passion, of our Lord Jesus. Because of what Jesus suffered on the Cross, we can have co-passion or compassion. He made the ultimate sacrifice for you and I. He loved us so much, that he suffered death on the Cross. God’s love is experienced through Jesus Christ. “How great is the love the Father lavished on us that we should be called children of God … This is how God showed his love among us. He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love; not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” ~ 1 John 3:1 and 4: 9 & 10. It is Jesus, and Jesus alone why I can say “God loves me” and “God loves you”. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid His life for us,” the Holy Scriptures tell us. Jesus won the battle, even death on the cross could not hold Him back. Jesus is alive today! Accept Jesus’ love into your hearts today! Thank You, Jesus for this gift of love shared with each and every one of us this Easter Day!

Posted in Blog, challenges, change, choice, faith, Family, farmer, father, flower, garden, gardener, God, joy, life, love, resilience, scripture, silence, therapy, write

A Choice To Grow

Posted in answer, art, body, bones, challenges, choice, comfort, creative, depression, empty, fabric, feelings, flower, God, health, life, mind, Physical, survival, warm, Warrior, woman, words, write

The Fabrics Of Our Lives

What kind of fabric clothes you?  Is it rich with color?  A neutral tone?  Plush with softness or textured?  Paisley print, plaid, floral print, solid pastel, or solitary bold?  Does the fabric have a fresh, clean smell of spring, or of warmth like winter wool?  Sometimes the fabrics of our lives pick up the stench of offensive stuff, like the burnt smell of overcooked popcorn or a dog rolling on a dead animal.  BTW:  why do dogs do that?  Life brings rotten circumstances that cause us to stop in our tracks and ask “why me?”.  Your emotions and anger seem out-of-control.  Or life leaves us depressed enough not to know what to ask or say.  Just a lump of dry meat stuck in your throat that won’t go down or you cannot throw it up.

I say pick up a pen, pencil, paint brush, chalk, glue stick, or vase.  And get at least one word written on a journal page.  Or that one paint color of choice brushed on the canvas.  Or that one embellishment glued on your choice of media for a collage.  Or that solitary flower added to the vessel of choice.  You do not have to have the whole story together, just one word.  You do not have to have a landscape or portrait finished.  That collage comes together bit by bit as you find another medium to add for expression of your feelings.  The flower vase may be a simply perfect vignette for the eyes with just that one flower you put in it.  Create from your gut.  I suppose they call this art therapy.  I call it survival with color.  Allow the mind to be freed and body feel it down to the bone as you empty yourself.  You may not know all the answers, but your feelings come out in a healthy way and adds color and texture to the fabrics of your life.  Art is another God-given tool as a woman warrior.

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 answer, authors, book, courage, creative, empty, God, grace, granddaughter, Hannah, mind, patient, people, quote, scripture, silence, solitude, sorrow, stillness, words, write

Silence Is An Answer, But So Is Speaking Softly

Introverts contemplate, in quietness and solitude they create and conclude.  Susan Cain, author of Quiet:  The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking gives an eloquent Ted Talk on this subject.   Go to https://www.quietrev.com/ted-talk/.  She ends this speech for both the introvert and extrovert with “I wish you the courage to speak softly”.   For myself, and many of my loved ones who are introverts, this is for you, too. The photo is my oldest granddaughter in quiet thought near the river a couple of years back.  Now in her junior year with home schooling (not a senior like I wrote a few days ago).  Hannah makes time for solitude, reads, writes, draws, and is creative.  Introvert as it is, she or I do not need a group to follow or hang with.

As an introvert do you ever wonder whether speaking up is worth it?  Arguing never gets far, but even saying a word or two seems to cause trouble. “Silence is an answer too” has some truth.  But silence for too long can be misunderstood, leaves too much room for incorrect conclusions.  “I will watch my ways, lest I sin with my tongue; I will keep a muzzle on my mouth.  Mute and silent before the wicked, I refrain from good things.  But my sorrow increases; my heart smolders within me.  In my sighing a fire blazes up, and I break into speech,” David, the psalmist writes in Psalms 39: 2 – 4.  Silence is broken, passion rises up to spoken words.  For others it is the written word or an art piece.

So what does the word “silence” mean?  According to the online resource https://av1611.com/kjbp/kjv-dictionary/silence.html

silence
SI’LENCE, n. L. silentium, from sileo, to be still.
1. In a general sense, stillness, or entire absence of sound or noise; as the silence of midnight.
2. In animals, the state of holding the peace; forbearance of speech in man, or of noise in other animals. I was dumb with silence; I held my peace, even from good. Ps 39.
3. Habitual taciturnity; opposed to loquacity.
4. Secrecy. These things were transacted in silence.
5. Stillness; calmness; quiet; cessation of rage, agitation or tumult; as the elements reduced to silence.
6. Absence of mention; oblivion, Eternal silence be their doom. And what most merits fame, in silence hid.
7. Silence, in used elliptically for let there be silence, an injunction to keep silence.
SI’LENCE, v. t.
1. To oblige to hold the peace; to restrain from noise or speaking.
2. To still; to quiet; to restrain; to appease. This would silence all further opposition. These would have silenced their scruples.
3. To stop; as, to silence complaints or clamor.
4. To still; to cause to cease firing; as, to silence guns or a battery.
5. To restrain from preaching by revoking a license to preach; as, to silence a minister of the gospel. The Rev. Thomas Hooker, of Chelmsford in Essex, was silenced for non-conformity.
6. To put an end to; to cause to cease. The question between agriculture and commerce has received a decision which has silenced the rivalships between them.

What words need to go unsaid?   When does the silence need to be broken?  Will I take up the courage to say it softly?  Will you take up the courage to say it softly?  What words do you need to share with your world in 2019?

Posted in authors, book, comfort, Emotional, faith, Financial, forgiveness, God, happy, husband, Mental, pain, patient, Physical, sad, Spiritual, strength, thankful, weep, woman, words, write

Women, Stories, Faith, and Heart Matters

“Women’s stories matter.  They tell us who we are, they give us places to explore our problems, to try on identities and imagine happy endings.  They entertain us, they divert us, they comfort us when we’re lonely or alone.  Women’s stories matter.  And women matter, too.” ~ Jennifer Weiner

I read many literary pieces authored by famous and not so famous women.  Women have many untold stories, happy, and sad ones, too.  There is a time to share those stories, and other times to be quiet.  A time to work through heart matters in solitude.  Inspirational writer Ann Voskamp asks in her book Be The Gift, “Are the most painful tears the kind no one can see, the kind where your soul weeps alone?”  This is where God meets us, holds us, hugs us, comforts, allowing the tears to flow until no more.  Empty oneself of all.  In the midst of physical pain, mental anguish, sudden illness, chronic health conditions, death, wrongful accusations, troubled relationships, mean co-workers, political wars, poverty, domestic violence, or complete exhaustion, faith has to play a part to get through it.

But also, “faith has to be exercised in the midst of ordinary, down-to-earth living,” writes Elisabeth Elliot.  “Faith without works is dead,” the Holy Scriptures tell us.  “Faith is built out of small acts along the path of life,” Maria Shiver shares in her new book, I’ve Been Thinking … Today, what small act strengthened your faith, your belief in God and His creation?  And that creation is you, too.  Was it surrendering your curse words to thankfulness?  Was it a smile shared with that co-worker who loathes your presence?  Was faith exercised in giving your lunch money to the homeless lady sitting on the bench?  How about when you wrote an encouragement letter to that relative estranged from the family?  The tenth time to patiently point out a grammatical error to the simple-minded teen?  Scrubbing the stains off the wall made by careless guests?  Forgiving the thoughtless comment from your husband?  When you forget another appointment, but reschedule and mark it on your calendar this time?  The lists goes on how we exercise faith in others, God, and ourselves.

We women have stories, and faith to make the stories go on about real heart matters. Heart Key Hole

 

 

Posted in citizenship, creative, Emotional, Financial, God, heaven, house, live, meditation, Mental, Physical, Prayer, purpose, quote, scripture, spirit, Spiritual, Vocational, write

By Chance Or Creative Citizenship

 

A wooden birdhouse nailed to a backyard maple tree was home to Eurasian tree sparrows year after year. Eventually the squirrels chewed a bigger hole and took residence.  Now the tree does not exist as we made way for a room addition to the house, but the prized songbirds still return to our feeders every winter.  The Eurasian tree sparrow finds its citizenship in some select communities in the St. Louis, Missouri vicinity.  “Its presence in Missouri dates back to shortly after the Civil War. At that time it was a fad among nature enthusiasts to import nightingales, chaffinches, bullfinches and other songbirds from Europe. This was done in the false hope that new birds might help control insect pests, but was also an excuse among nostalgic immigrants who wanted to see birds ‘from the old country,'” written in a Missouri Conservationist Magazine article.  These meek songbirds entertain us humans by making nests in our birdhouses and stay around for winter dining on seeds left in the feeders.  Not native to Missouri, but they thrive.

Writers and artists need their own space to allow their creative juices to flow.  Writers’ and artists’ retreats can be found around the world.  Michael Pollan’s cites in his book, A Place Of My Own, “a room of one’s own … is a space of solitude a few steps off the beaten track of everyday life.”  I think we all need that space whether it is a nook in your house, a favorite bench at the park, or trail to walk amongst the trees and wildlife.  Creativity is for all people.  Historians, sociologists, and National Geographic photography and author, Dan Buettner study people around the world, seek those who thrive and live as centenarians. These century-old people have 9 common threads in the communities they live in what has been now dubbed the “Blue Zones”.  These threads are unique to their culture but can be tied together.  These threads are: they move naturally, have purpose, consume plant-based foods and stop eating when 80% full, practice moderate wine consumption, have daily down time, their family comes first, live in the right tribe for self, and belong to a like faith community.

As a wellness professional I stand by the concept of “The 7 Dimensions of Wellness”:  physical, spiritual, vocational/financial, emotional, social, intellectual, and environmental which I can easily tie into the Blue Zone’s 9 common threads.  With all this, what is one dimension that the others surround around?  It is the spiritual dimension.  It defines our purpose, beliefs, and values.  It centers our thoughts, prayers, and meditations.  It is big enough that it allows us to accept others.  And your spiritual practice,  is it integrated in everyday life?  Are you thriving?  Where do you find your citizenship?  Are you here by chance or did the Creator create your place/space for a purpose?  And where will you be after the Earth is no more?  Your spirit lives forever.

 

 

Posted in envy, faith, Family, God, jealousy, life, light, live, love, peace, scripture, secure, thankful, write

Be The Light

“There are two ways of spreading the light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it,” author Edith Wharton is quoted. Edith began to write poems, short stories, and novels as a child in the latter 1800’s. Her first published novel would not be until she reached age 40, as it was not acceptable for a societal woman to be active in writing during this era. Edith’s life reflected her love for humanity during the first World War, brave efforts made for her French friends.  Days and years, maybe a dimly lit wick, but she persevered in those humane and writing works.  Edith Wharton’s influence is seen in literature and the arts today, and she has been gone from earth since 1937.

“He will not break a broken branch or put out a little fire. He will be faithful to make everything fair,” the Bible verse encourages us in Isaiah 42:3.  In today’s world when life seems totally unfair, there is this promise from the Old Testament. Do not put out your own light by living like life is unfair, slanted, short-changed.  Stop the envious comparisons to your family member, curtail the jealous plans to out beautify or own more than the Jones, and live your life at peace with yourself , neighbor, and God.  Be secure in God. Be thankful. “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine …”  Be that candle, and reflect God’s love for you as a mirror to the community you have been placed in.

candlelight