Tag Archives: Pondering

Healing things

I find it is the small things, the often overlooked or sometimes neglected things that can bring calm and restoration to my life. During these past months, I’ve had to force myself to find the things that comfort my soul. I’m sharing them to remind myself of the Whispers of Rest that God provides, if I will only notice. Perhaps they might be a reminder for you as we move closer to the winter holiday season and beyond into what we have as the long, cold of winter.

Notice. Make something with your hands. Enjoy the space that surrounds you – and all those you are blessed to have in it. The seasons change always brings some new beauty to bless us.

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ferns    calla bulbs and amaryllis bulbs    Sadie cat

still life  Advent begins. A quiet soul time. The link is a story with some resource links from the past. An online friend, Diana Trautwein, is starting her Advent Journey: Reflections for Weary Travelers and Bonnie Gray is Celebrating Advent, listening for God’s Whispers of Christmas.  Maybe you need a bit of rest yourself?

sunset

  • Double click on any photo to see the enlargement.

 

A new book by Bonnie Gray

Whispers of Rest

While we’ve not yet met in real life, I call Bonnie Gray – Friend. Since reading her first book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace, several years ago, I’ve been waiting. Waiting for this book that I didn’t even know she was writing! But here it is: Whispers of Rest. It is a wonderful encouragement to care for the most important part of ourselves – our souls. Taking time to learn to rest, finding peace.

In a world that churns with need and duty and is in desperate need of peace, we can learn through these “40 Days of God’s Love to Revitalize Your Soul” how to receive from God in new ways so that we can give, we can encourage, we can love – a little better – through rest and soul care.

Bonnie calls this a guidebook. In its pages, you will find:

  • Soul Care Tips & Trail Notes — Reduce stress and nurture your body and spirit.
  • Daily Beloved Challenges
  • Simple Prayer Practice

At www.whispersofrest.com, you will find information on ordering and downloading the free gifts Bonnie has prepared for us. These will include videos to share and an opportunity to join the online book club to begin on June 5, 2017. I hope you’ll check it out. Summer is a great time for refreshment of soul. I’m looking forward to it.

 

Fast away the old year passes…

tree quilt

In many ways, I shall be glad to see the end of it, if only one had not got to carry the sadness of loss into the New. But so it is. Recently, someone expressed what I have often thought – “if only I knew it would be the last Christmas with _____” or dinner, or chat or card or letter…

As this New Year begins, my intent is to be more mindful of the hours and days and the time spent with others because one never knows when the last of something comes.

And, there will be more partings in the coming year I’m sure. An old friend is already clearing house and making plans to move many states away. The constant in life is change. How I longed for it when young, how I wish to hold on just a little longer now.

So, like every year I can remember, I’ll hold on to Christmas through its 12th day. Christmas tree

The intent to ‘keep Christmas in my heart all the year…’ will be an excellent resolution!

creche

Happy New Year!

ornaments

 

Christmas comes

candleIt’s late on Christmas Eve. Only now, as I’ve stopped by this place with a cup of tea do I realize what has really been wrong this last week.  I’ve been cranky, and it’s more than the exhausting pain of two small broken bones in my left foot. It’s more than the clunky boot that makes it so I can get around somewhat pain free but will keep me from driving and makes the stairs a challenge. It’s more than the shopping missed, the cards not written, the cookies not baked…

Cookies not baked… the actual cookies don’t bother me much…

I ran a soapy mop over the kitchen floor – I’ll spare you the description. But the ‘lick and a promise’ clean-up in this quiet helped me to see what I’ve been missing, longing for — the portal. The one I once saw while the cookies baked, the one that even not seen, settles “heavenly peace” over my soul. Do you know it? I’ve been so caught in the web of my painful misery and this following on an autumn of loss, that I wasn’t looking for it. I wasn’t waiting for it. But I am now. I’m quieting myself, waiting.  creche

cropped-20161222_170231-e1482632221986-2.jpg Past the glitter, lights and fancies, the small straw creche with it’s array of wild animals calls. creche Everyone is welcome there: the tiger, the armadillo, moose, penguin, sheep, squirrels, fox, raccoon, owls, mouse, llama, elk, horse, polar bear, a lovely poodle and you and even me. The weak, the mighty, the feared, the loved, all creatures great and small come to adore their Creator.

creche

May we sleep now in heavenly peace on this silent, holy night while angels sing around us.

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Joyous Christmas to you.

 

30 days hath November

porch There were glorious days, warm ones and cold ones that had me scurrying about freshening bed linens and garden beds, planting bulbs and dealing with leaves and leaves and still more leaves! Oak leaves 12 inches long!

collages2

The Undoing of Saint Silvanus by Beth Moore was only available as an audio book from my library. I debated and then reserved my space. When I saw it was 10 CDs, I wasn’t sure I would persist. But I did. her masterful storytelling kept me company as I dug and pulled and trimmed and planted a garden bed and then kept me company as I restored the edging of our old quilt with fresh binding. Then I listened to it all over again!

I began the quilt long years ago. When I started the class with Lois Smith, I was excited by the possibility of making – start to finish  a quilt for our bed. Under her kind, clear, tutelage, I learned so much about color, pattern drafting and machine quilting. But life, or a kind of death in the specter of fire, happened and rearranged our lives for a season. When it was over, nothing was quite the same and I chose not to work on this autumn themed quilt. I moved on and took several more classes with Lois and finished two more quilts. Sometime, I finished it off and hung it  in our family room in winter. Then I started using it, the weight and comfort just right. It was a shock to realize it is now a shabby beauty, warm and cozy.

quilt

Autumn color can be a long, slow, unfolding here. Tender plants first, some trees seeming to forget to change, high winds swirling leaves around steps and doors. Holly berries ripped from their stems. One has to look for the beauty in all the pain and dying of this month.

golden tree   ruby trees   trees   oak   yellow   lighting

And, of course, we went chasing the super moon. It doesn’t look all that exciting, but the chase was fun. One more to come on December 14.  November moon

squirrel Of course there are always squirrels running to and fro and sometimes hanging from their toes to eat the suet cakes.  Woodpeckers, Flickers, Titmice and Nuthatches are the usual diners. But one day, I happened to catch this Bluebird too!bluebird   Things are always a bit fuzzy through the screen and glass, but there is no mistaking the color of these beautiful birds.

One of the surprises of the garden cleanup were stalks of Hosta seeds hiding deep within a large plant. Hosta seed pods  I’ve done a little reading and I’m not sure I will try to grow plants from the seed, but the pods are quite interesting. Hosta seed pods

This season of apparent dying and seed planting has been brought home to me these past days in the sudden and untimely death of my niece-in-love. At the several services we attended, even her pastor, who knew her well, marveled at the packed church as people came to show their love and respect for this lovely, quiet woman. She sowed seeds of love and acceptance in everyone she met. I pray that those seeds will bear much fruit in the coming days and years as her family struggles with her death and the changes in the home and for her children who were being home schooled.

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.

tree

“I”m trying as hard as I can.”

Those words were spoken quite a few years ago by my young niece at a tea party as she checked herself on her manners. Many days they seem appropriate for me to speak about my life and intentions.

The beginning of October, Pastor Di wrote her blogging plan for the month would be “31 days of Paying Attention.” While I cannot hope to imitate her writing in even a small way, I did think it would be an easy focus to get me back on track writing.  After all, I notice, I pay attention, I think about things. YOU notice that I have no posts for October. Somehow my paying attention became a serious introspection that required processing, sifting and interpreting.

ear;y morning

Even simple things like the early mornings and dark evenings that I love, became thought provoking. So, I’m finishing out the month with a few observations, a few attempts to notice, to pay attention.

  1.   candle light   Looking down into the clear glass jar, I see the illusion of light trapped by sold walls. One of the meanings of my name is light. It is easy for me to feel like light trapped. We are all meant to be light carriers. To shine. To brighten the darkness. And I wonder if I do.

day lily2.   One morning I stepped outside to cut a last bloom for the table, I glanced at the Elephant Ears with all the veins and shading of green glowing. Then I noticed the mist had settled like a dusting of silver.  elephant earSo beautiful and different from the large beads that usually form. I began to look through the garden and noticed other changes. Like the “skin” of the aged leaves no longer supported the droplets has they had.

leaf collage

3.   I confess: I much, much, prefer coffee to tea. But tea does have a small place in my life and cupboard. I like the thought of taking tea, but I don’t actually like tea. And I have tried many. Loose teas, tea bags. Fancy tea rooms, kitchen tables. Green, white, red, black, fermented…

I have lovely tea friends who gift me with tea cups and accessories, all of which makes tea time charming. And Dear Aunt Dolly, urged me to take the family spooner, so many years ago. spooner  It holds a small assortment of silvery spoons from family kitchens, long closed.  All at the ready for tea time.

I grew up in a tea drinking family. Teabags were common and easily discarded in trash or compost. And a great annoyance if by chance one burst open or one slipped from a dish and left a stain. Recently, I became aware that people were paying attention to those insignificant tea bags! They were looking closely at the construction and the dyed fiber of them. They were noticing even how the drying stains could be art! Hmm, I had to see for myself, so I began drinking tea, or at least boiling water and soaking tea bags.  tea bags Different teas, herbs, spices – it was intriguing. While they dried, I watched tea bag artists on YouTube! Then, I hunted up my stamping supplies and tried my hand at a simple project.card making

And I made a note card. One.  note card  I wrote a note and sent it off to an artist. Have you looked at a tea bag lately?

4.   A pathetic photograph of the charming Woolly Bear – Woolly Bear  Those fuzzy, wuzzy fall caterpillars, thought to predict winter weather. A friend mentioned that he had seen one. It made me realize that I had not seen one in a while. Pyrrharctia Isabella (Isabella Tiger Moth). A little research and I am amazed! These woolly creatures emerge in the fall and look for a dark and sheltered place to hang out over winter — FROZEN! True! They freeze solid and survive because they are designed with cryoprotectant in the tissues! I love knowing this! And yes, this deserves lots of !!!!! I’m on the look-out for Woolly Bears now.

autumn

5.   A post on Instagram asked for our earliest memories of Trick or Treat. The flashback was immediate. I was perhaps 6, maybe 7. Dad had walked my younger sister and I down the street, we visited some neighbors and collected our loot in those scary looking paper mache pumpkins of those days.  I loved dressing up in costume and for some reason, I think I was dressed as a gypsy in a fancy skirt and bolero.  Even with street lights, it was very dark as there were still some leaves on the trees.  We walked as far as the Rosenburger’s home almost at the end of our long block. It was very large and on a very large lot, bigger than any other on the street. The Rosenburger’s  were very elderly and I hope they enjoyed our childish visit.

As we turned from the door to walk down the steps, well, that was when it happened.

I became aware, alert, enthralled, if you will, with the darkness, the windy darkness and the swirling, rustling dry leaves. I hear some folk don’t like to hear the wind, do you?  On that night, so very long ago, in the mystery of wind, it became my friend.

There was strong wind the other day, so I stepped outside. The dry leaves swirled around my feet, whispering. And the wind wrapped itself around me like a shawl and I was 6 again.

leaves and needles

 

 

 

Thinking about September

sky

I read and ponder this quote from Frederick Buechner:  “Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.” 

violet

September is like January – a new year – for me. September was full of birthdays when I was young. A new school year usually brought anxiety calmed with new notebooks and writing instruments and outside school activities.

cupcake

There are far fewer people to celebrate their September birthdays in family and among friends, leaving only my cousin and I to celebrate our mutual date.

 My mother used to speak of things that ‘had fallen by the wayside.’ Trees have fallen here. This one caused the death of our cherry tree and now cherry pie in June has ‘fallen by the wayside’.

fallen tree

 Two friends died, suddenly, like great trees fallen from our lives. And we mourn.

 squirrel   deer   Carolina Wren

Squirrels gather black walnuts, deer stroll through – eating the gardens when I’m not looking and the Carolina Wren draws me to the windows early in the morning  as if to remind me, ‘there are new mercies for each new day, open your eyes, Elaine. Wonder abounds, be grateful!’

day lily   hydrangea

swing

Cooler weather finally arrived, the lighting changed and autumn arrived. And I enter in, reflective, pondering. Taking more notice of the moments. Before they are fallen by the wayside.

autumn sign

 

From the Garden

sticks  It has been the summer for yard exercise. When rain comes, it is heavy. Dead wood becomes sodden and gives up clinging to the trees. truck            So, I pick up and pray gratitude for the county brush recycling just a few miles away.

In between rains, I am working at conscious beauty rests.  Join me for spa treatments?

morning light     elephant ear     wild ginger     butterfly bush     rainbow     daylily rebloom     butterfly     cleome     butterfly

Early morning light, Elephant Ear leaf, Wild Ginger “cushion”, Butterfly Bush, Rainbow, Stella re-bloom, Butterfly feeding, Cleome, Nectar hunting! Click on photo for best view.

My friend, Marta, at Selah Reflections takes beautiful photographs as she lives her goal to find moments of stillness in the midst of the busyness of life. Whenever I forget, there she is with a post to remind me to stop and really be aware and rest in the beauty so generously supplied to me.

Lilies of the field

While not true lilies by botanical standards, daylilies are more welcome in my gardens. Their prolific and long bloom season with its ever changing presentation of unique blooms is so lovely to me. One of the last to bloom was a gift from my garden loving sister.

daylilyThe first blooms opened on July 12 and each day brings me new joy.

daylily

In the New Living Translation of the Bible, Jesus says, ” And why worry about your clothing. Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.” It’s a beautiful passage about the love and care that God has for His creation. Even for the blooms that last only one day.

Dublin Elaine

                                   Dublin Elaine      Dublin Elaine

Dublin Elaine

Dublin Elaine

As I gaze into these fragrant blooms, I find a quieting in my soul, a gentling, if you will. The world brought into my home daily, is a sad and sometime frightful place, and yet, in the garden, in the face of exquisite beauty, I feel hope. Hope for me, that with grace, I might show a kind and peaceful face to those in my world, just one day at a time.

Dublin Elaine