Posted in body, darkness, day, house, job, life, meditation, mind, Prayer, rest, spirit, Spiritual

Rest From My Weariness

I am a planner by nature and vocation. Letting things go for a whole day is not easy. I think the Lord designed the Sabbath for a reason.  I am not faithful to take that day of rest each week. And it catches up sooner or later.  I have a quiet time each day where I meditate, pray, and just sit in the quiet.  But a whole day of this refreshes my body and mind.  My spirit needed it, too.

At my little cottage house I created my boudoir, designed with a comfortable chaise and vintage forget-me-nots such as comfy pillows, a lace-paneled screen, brimmed hats, scarves, hosiery, aprons, gloves, a pearl-beaded clutch, and special evening attire.  It is tucked in one corner of my husband and I’s large bedroom.   I turned on the mood lights picking green to illuminate my boudoir matching the plush green outside the window this summer season. It invited me for an afternoon nap, a day of rest from my weariness. The dark memories of days from over 20 years ago fainted away.  “Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” ~ Psalms 116:7.  The pitter-patter of the rain on the window panes serenaded me to sleep.

A week’s vacation is finally coming next week.  And a retreat may be in order for this autumn.  But also a sabbatical.  Traditionally, this is a 1-year recess for every 7 years worked.  I cannot see this happening until I retire from full-time employment.  So maybe a whole month off next summer, before I move into another chapter of my life’s work?

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.

Posted in authors, body, book, friend, God, grace, hope, hospitality, house, husband, life, meditation, Prayer, salt, scripture, warm, words

Salty

I am not an affectionate person but with my husband only.  There are many deep-seeded reasons for that.  I have opened my heart to be warm and kind to the people put on my path of life.  Many years ago I read a book  Open Heart, Open Home by Christian author, Karen Mains.  It provoked me to develop my gift of hospitality.  This gift is not about impressions but acceptance and warmth to all.  Not just in my home, but in my heart and wherever I am.  Hospitality is not just for my friends and family, but for all people and creatures that cross my path.  “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,” the book of Hebrews (13:2) tells us.

The mineral, salt symbolizes hospitality according to this bible study website https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/salt/.  “As one of the most essential articles of diet, salt symbolized hospitality; as an antiseptic, durability, fidelity and purity.”  Salt’s ability to preserve and to sustain life has made it an allegorical symbol in many religions.   “Called a ‘divine substance’ by Homer, salt is an essential part of the human body, was one of the first international commodities and was often used as currency throughout the developing world,” citing PW Reviews 2001 November.  We need salt to regulate the water in our bodies, both necessary for survival.  Did you know that 60% of your body is water?  “All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came, ” John F. Kennedy is quoted.

As a Christian, “Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it?  Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another,” Mark’s gospel (9:50) encourages me.  Do not take it for granted.  By God’s grace I keep myself salty by prayer, meditation, listening, and reading.  My hopes are my oral and written words shared season your heart with life and God’s love. himalayan-pink-salt

Posted in authors, darkness, daughter, Family, God, house, husband, life, Prayer, silence, Spiritual, walk

Silence

“Cobbles rumble when a wave recedes, and thunders break the air in lightning storms.  I call these noises silence …wherever there is stillness there is the still small voice, God’s speaking… the silence is all there is.  It is the alpha and the omega,” writes author, Annie Dillard.  We had a few summer storms this past week.  In the night, awaken to the pitter-patter of raindrops on the window next to my bedside.  Then the thunder claps and echoes in the darkness.  And the silence follows.  Awaken to pray.  Most of the time I know who for and why.  Other times I do not, and await to hear the still small voice.Rain on Screen

My husband and I have downsized our own living space by moving into a 4-room house. Not sure if to call us “minimalists”, but having a smaller home has slowed us down. We are more focused on our relationship, and that was our intent.  More quiet time, more silence than what we have lived the past 4 years while sharing our bigger home with my daughter and her family.  No pets in our new space either, we enjoy the neighbors’ pets during our walks.  Just the Mr. and I, simple or elaborate meals prepared in-house depending on the mood, less eating out.  Projects and chores or snuggling on a love seat watching a classic movie.  And the silence. “Slow living … opens up the prospect of slow love, the most sustaining sort of love … a love that comes of unhurried and focused attention to the simplest things, available to all of us, at any time, should we choose to engage:  family, friendship, food, music, art, books, our bodies, our minds, our souls, and the life that blooms and buzzes all around us … slow love comes out of the quiet hours, out of learning from the silence that is always there when we want it,” writes Dominique Browning, former editor of a major design/decor publication.

We all need the silence.

Posted in authors, book, challenges, change, day, easy going, Family, father, house, lesson, life, mother, people, quote, understand, walk, words

History Lessons

Life evolves, perpetually moving.  Hopefully, forward.  But maybe we would rather live in the past, the good ole’ days?  I dream of the whimsy of unhurried days.  Summer afternoon napping in a hammock under a willow tree.  Leisurely walking the shoreline combing the white sand for a treasured seashell or starfish left behind by the ocean blue waves.  Sunday autumn walks spotting the brightest red leaved tree.  Hot tea and freshly baked scones for a winter snack gathered with my youngsters.  Life is not so easy-going while working full-time hours as a human resources professional.  Commuting, family obligations and responsibilities, bills, and then keeping house for our two homes.  I am sure it is not easy as a carpenter in the summer heat.  Or the 1000 sandwiches prepared for another hungry crowd.  Or the school teacher putting together lesson plans and then teaching them to the 100 & 1 needs of the students you are responsible for.  The disabled or elderly making doctor appointments and their thinning budgets.

Do we really have it all with our careers, 2000 + square-foot homes, high-ticket sports events and concerts, organic foodie plates at $50 per, high-tech computer programs, phone apps, texting, social media posts, networking breakfasts, and so on & so on?  Recent weekends while antiquing for my husband and I’s newly acquired get-away house has prompted history lessons. We ask each other why this piece of furniture or household tool was used back in 1940 or another era.  Think back on those less hurried days, many items make sense.  I better understand my parents’ and grandparents’ generations.  Their tight-fist around the piggy bank,  renovated solid wood tables and reupholstered chairs, no big screen TVs but large radios for the living quarters’ entertainment and news, dishes galore because they did not “go out” to eat, and a plethora of tools to fix that broken whatever.  Maybe life was unhurried because it could not be with the lengthy meal preparations and length of time to repair or build?  Maybe life wasn’t so easy back then.  Maybe it just seems that way, because life is not easy now?  Pioneer author Laura Ingalls Wilder once wrote, “Sometimes I wonder if telephones and motor cars are altogether blessings … When my neighbor gets into her car, it is almost sure to run for twelve to fifteen miles before she can stop it, and that takes it way down the road past me.”  Mrs. Wilder recognized how modernization changed her social connections.  I know it affects mine.

I read non-fiction books and articles to find out who I am or who I want to be (or not be).  Marie Kondo encourages us in her book The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, “the space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past”.  Such an easy concept, live the now and look to the future rather than the past.  But I would have to challenge those words and their meaning.  I agree with the concept of this book, de-cluttering and making your home or office space functional, becoming a better person.  But the past is why we are who are now, and this will carry to the future.  I rather filter the past, keep the nuggets of wisdom of the past generations, use for guidance.   Learn from and not repeat their mistakes, but I will surely make my own.  That antique end table or butter dish reminds me of past generations’ input into my life, directly or indirectly.  Their legacy, history makes me and you who we are now and what we will become in the days to come.  I ask you to think on someone in your past or from your history lessons.  What is one sentence this person would say to you right now that can effect your today and tomorrow in a positive manner?

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 daughter, day, Elisabeth, Family, forgiveness, God, grace, house, mother, Prayer, Rachel, strength, thankful, Warrior, Women in My Life

Sweep The Front Porch

 

I awoke this Saturday morn early like most days.  Weekday, weekend, it no matter.  I am an early bird. And you know the saying “the early bird gets the worm”, but I am sure worms are not on my menu.  But time with God is.  Yes, I can talk to God (and you can, too) at any time of day under any circumstances.  But there is something fresh about the dawn of a new day, quietness and stillness in the house and just outside the house on my front porch.  I sit on the porch bench watching the day wake up around me.  I am surrounded by shade trees, pots of perennials, the tweeting birds, and garden art.  The breeze subtly chills my skin, and rustles the green canopy of leaves.  Forgiveness I ask for my shortcomings, and His Grace accepted.  Petitions are expressed, asking God for complete healing for my daughters, Elisabeth and Rachel as well as my aging mother.  Strength for this woman warrior and my day.  With a thankful heart …

 

Onward to begin the Saturday chores … I sweep the front porch of the twigs, mulch, dog hairs, and dirt blown in with the summer winds.  It is an attempt to keep my home tidy.  I want to feel welcomed when I come home.  Rather be greeted by the warm cinnamon front door, than dirt and grime.  I am sure the rest of the family and our guests do as well.  Is that not what praying to God is about?  Sweeping the wrong motives, ill words, and bad attitudes away while being received in His warm embrace.  An Open Door.  So happy I chose a comforting color for the front door.  Cinnamon.  Warm.   This morn it invites me into the house to prepare a pancake breakfast and finish those other Saturday chores, and pray all the while.