"Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it, because action has magic, grace, and power in it." Goethe

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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey

Today, a pre-Lenten promise to myself: reflect here during the prelude to Easter. Think through the days and live them mindfully. I do not expect that to mean anything lofty. I mean it to have meaning for me, and perhaps for you. Maybe you will read the words here and find something in them that speaks to you, too. I hope so.

This morning, I wrote in my journal with two grand-babies underfoot. The older one grabbed an orange crayon and “wrote” on top of the words I was jotting down. It made me so happy. We do not learn to grab the crayons without help. Someone buys them, makes them available, reacts with wonder as the wax makes its way across the page. It all adds up over time. Then, one morning an 18 month old joins you as if it has always been this way–as if she came writing with her grandmother on a sunny porch since the day she arrived.

Lent has never been an easy season for me. I do not do well with giving things up. I have tried and failed throughout many years. Sometimes I say I’ll give up Coca-Cola. Or chips. Or eating out. These days wine would be a biggie. Or cheese. Or coffee…God forbid. So, I adjusted somewhere along the way. Now, I focus less on what to give up and more on what I might add.

Last year, that meant $40 extra in the collection basket at church each week. The 40 representative, of course, of the 40 days of Lent. I actually managed that one. This year, I have decided to set aside 40 minutes a day to disconnect. It doesn’t sound like a lot, I know. But if I use those minutes to just look and listen and think and observe, I think it will turn out to be quite a lot. I think I will see a change in myself that I will be able to sustain and increase over time.

This morning, Sofia and I sat on the sunporch and watched the birds. There were dozens of them. I saw a baby bluebird dart from the roof. The cardinals are busy, as are the robins. Two geese have taken up residence again at the pond. And a gold flash of feathers gave me pause–a bird I do not know. One I will look for again and learn about this year, I hope.  And this was during only a few of the 40 minutes I decided to set aside today.

What will I learn during these minutes? I have no idea…but you are welcome to accompany me. For some time now, I have been wanting to use my time more wisely. To create more during the day. To write. To read. To start some projects that have been making their way into my mind. So, that is what this Lent is going to be about for me.

I am still going to have the private offerings of the season that will be between just me and my God. But here, I will share a few other things. I realize He gave me so many gifts and it is time I started using them. I hope they will turn into something good. I am counting on it.

Happy Mardis Gras, dear readers, and here’s to a blessed and bountiful Lent. I invite you to join me in awakening to the world around us. There is so much to see.




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Friday’s Five on a Saturday 

I started writing Friday’s Five awhile ago…I think it can be measured in years now instead of weeeks. Kinda cool to know I still care about finding the good things. Savoring them. And, something else hasn’t changed…I still run late. I know it’s Saturday. I’m still grateful. Haha

So here are my latest five from the week and/or lately. Five good things that make my soul expand. I invite you to share yours, too. 

1. A “no surgery required” message. That’s #1 this week…my sweet daughter was in an accident but is on the road to recovery. I say a lot of “Thank you, God”prayers. And I learned once again that this life is best lived in the moment we are in. We cannot fix a lot of things. We can experience them and let them pass, knowing others are in the chute.

2. Dogs that make big messes. I’ve been coming home to a variety of displays like bigger holes in the yard, broken flowerpots, doggie treats retrieved from a high shelf and eaten (picture the biggest box of Milk Bones…empty!) Why is this a grateful thing? Because it reminds me I’m lucky to have these pooches. And they know how to communicate with me: you have not been playing with us enough. Get it together, Mama.  I hear you. I’ll do better. 

3. Ex-cons. Witnesses to suicides. Yes. Plural. Recovering addicts. Overworked and tired people. These are a few of the ones who have shared their stories and written their poems and prose with me so far this semester. I’m thankful for groups that are communities in the truest sense of the word. We share and speak and trust that our feelings matter and have a place in the world. I’m a better person for knowing these people and listening.

4. Crying grandbabies. They force me to slow down. Observe. Fix what I can. Cuddle. Soothe. Love. 

5. Never ending lists. Lots of things that need doing. And some things that just want doing. This blog is one of the wants. Glad I made the time today.

Even in the twists and turns and busy-ness of life, there is good. I hope you can find it, too.