"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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Sunday’s Song: Springtimes and Sunsets and Startovers

Fourth Sunday of Lent.

Yeah, that Lenten art book I bought with such good intentions? Unread.

The Scripture study I started a couple of Saturdays ago? Haven’t made it back.

Thinking a lot about seasons and cycles and how some things never change.

Decided to start reading through some old journals to help with a project I am working on.

Realized there in black and white that my themes stay constant.

Same ole songs, day in and out.

Was almost discouraged by that. The same things I hope to get better at or stop doing or start doing are there from months, even years ago. Sigh.

Decided to sit and sew for a little while. Let the silence still my mind.

Allowed the mindful repetition of threads turning into rows of pattern remind me that row after row, line after line, a story still takes shape.

Sometimes there are starts and stops and sidesteps. Sometimes there are repetitions.

Maybe there is a break in pattern and something interesting is sewn in. A contrast. Different color. Unique stitch.

Sometimes a mistake creeps in.

But like spring cycles back with its same ole flowers and crickets and fireflies, we still welcome it. We don’t expect something new from it…not really. We just want spring to be spring.

And those sunsets that mark the end of each day…sometimes they seem closer, brighter, dearer. Maybe it is not the sun, maybe it is the viewer.

So. Take stock of your life from time to time, but don’t look back too long.

See what there still is to do…so much!

And just begin again. And again. Until you realize all the same old words have shaped themselves into the story you want them to be.

Start again…


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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey 4/12/17 (Wednesday)

Holy Week.

Today I marvel at the people I encountered.

Book lovers like me at a local college event. Take all the books you want. Help us out here. My kind of place! I loaded up on books that I’ll have fun repurposing into art journals. I found some good reads in the stacks as well. And it was so beautiful this morning…a perfect temperature and light breeze among the trees as readers like myself took our time browsing.

A knitting friend I’ve known for about three years. We meet weekly at s local  yarn shop to laugh and create and enjoy our retired moments of freedom to do things we like. The shop owners have adjusted their summer hours, but they kept our time open. I’m pretty sure  they did that for us. 🙂 

A teacher friend I’ve known for several years. We are both teaching night classes at the same college, and we generally get to visit for a few minutes before class. She watched my latest grand baby video. I got to see some family pictures of her dad and a special gift he made for her recently. We both recognize the preciousness of shared moments like this: moments we celebrate the happinesses of life with others.

My W night college Comp  class. They were full of energy and conversation tonight. It is fulfilling to see 22 adults from all walks of life interact and laugh and learn together. I always leave smiling.

The pizza maker. Thanks for that pick up window ready-to-go dinner. 

Ordinary encounters with everyday people. Strangers and familiar folks come in and out of our lives every day. 

Beautiful beings. We get to be part of that network of humanity. We get to choose to be beautiful. What a gift. 

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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey 4/11/17 (Tuesday)

Holy Week.

Today, a gift of a goldfinch. The first I have ever seen here. Ever. I count it as a beautiful  Holy Week reward. Beauty of creation. 

So many birds have come lately, and this thought continues to come to mind: 

The things we feed will come.

Isn’t that true of all aspects of life? 

Spend a  moment thinking about what you want. Then feed that thought with action.

This…a few handfuls of birdseed each week. 

A beautiful reward.

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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey 4/10/17 (Monday)

Holy Week.

What do those words mean to you? Will you live differently this week? More mindfully? 

Or, will this week be yet another week in your life that is no different than the one before it? 

I look at this week as kind of a “last call” before the big event of Easter. Time to get the inside and outside ready, so to speak.

My Lenten plans are written in a notebook. I’ll review them tonight. I might wince at how fast the time went, how much I still want to do. I might sigh at repeated themes: how hard it is to follow plans sometimes.

Yesterday, I was supposed to meet my son and his family for early mass. I slept right through the alarms. (Yes, plural.)

I went to a later mass at another church in my town.  I was still late to that one. (See something I need to work on? I know.) 

Anyway, I sat in a back pew and watched a little girl a few seats away making crosses from palms. I was making one, too. It’s kind of a tradition, one that brings to mind my daughter. A special memory.

I listened to the Passion as I braided my cross. I recalled previous Palm Sundays when I felt ashamed to participate in reading the part of the play where the crowd says Crucify him. Crucify him. 

From an early age, I remember feeling truly sad that this would be my line. I listened to the congregation read in unison, but it was a moment of realization for me–I could feel the result of those words in my soul. Some years, I only mouthed the words. Some years, I didn’t speak them at all.

Yesterday was like that. I sat and listened and pictured the scene and realized that each year God reminds me in this tangible way of how much He gave up for me, for us. 

Later in the mass, I stepped into the vestibule and brought in a couple more palms and handed one to the child. She had a pile of crosses, but had run out of palms. At the end of mass, she handed me one of her creations with a hug. Here, ma’am. I made this one for you. 
I left the palms in the car until today. They’ve already changed so much…just in one day, the drying process has started. The green is already faded significantly. These palm frond crosses are a visible reminder of how much we change from day to day. At some point in the coming year, they may become brittle and even break. But next year, there will be fresh green ones again. And the scene will repeat until the day comes when we don’t have to wait anymore for Christ to return.

I’m praying for us all this Holy Week. 

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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey 4/6/17 (Thursday) 

A favorite. 

I ran across this verse today as I was cutting words from magazines for a found poetry activity. 

Sweet moment. 

I hope you are enjoying sweet moments along your Lenten journey, too.


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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey 4/4/17 ( Tuesday)

Tonight I’m reminded to look deeper at the people in my life and see something I missed before.

I was visiting someone earlier today and saw one of my childhood friends singing spiritual songs to a group of retirement center residents. 

This friend is a busy human being: husband, father, caregiver, business owner. Yet, here he was in a role I knew nothing about. Of course my knowing it isn’t what matters. His gift is what I got to see. 

I sat in an area outside of his view and listened as he used his time, talent, and treasure in a beautiful way. It made me so proud in my heart to think I know this guy. This is David. My friend.

David started posting weekly spiritual reflections on Facebook a year or so ago. Many of us look forward to those as they are encouraging and uplifting. He rarely posts anything other than that, and I’m sure he decided to use social media in a way that is positive for him and others.

To witness him tonight in a different aspect of his life really made me stop and think. How often do we see friends and relatives without really seeing their gifts? We know we love them or like them or tolerate them, but how often do we see them as members of a kingdom in action? 

I feel like I received a great insight tonight: a reminder to look at all the people around me and how they enhance the world. We each are born with a gift. It is up to us to use it.  The “right” people will see us using our time, talents, and treasures and it may cause them to try to do the same. 

Tonight, I thank God for people like David. Who do you see everyday who is building the kingdom? 

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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey 3/27/17 (Monday)

Lenten Litter

I just got back from my weekly or biweekly trash pick-up. I live off of a rural road, and as much as one might think there would be lovely views of wildflowers and beautiful untouched landscapes, sometimes it just ain’t so. 

I routinely collect a 30 gallon garbage bag FULL of litter every time I make a visit to each side of my driveway. I only have to walk a few feet down  either side to be greeted with a variety of, but common items: styrofoam containers, beer and soda cans, plastic bottles, empty cigarette packs, fast food packaging. Today, a few others: a bright blue tarp, three photographs from an outdoor party, one pair of men’s soaking wet underwear (it did rain last night…), a piece of a discarded credit card advertisement, a dishrag. A piece of metal that had ridges in it…hmmm…I could use that for texture in an art piece…but no, I let it go. This time. 

I’ve often thought of writing a poem based on some of the things I come across, but today I had an additional thought. 

I still have a lot of litter in me, too.

I found myself looking at those items and making a lot of judgments. And about halfway through the process, I decided to quit thinking about the kinds of people who throw trash on roadsides and recall what a relative told me once: trash attracts trash. 

One cup in the ditch is an invitation to throw another. Negative thoughts only bring more. My ruminating on someone’s choice doesn’t change the fact that I can make things a little better in this case. In life, we don’t always get to fix things. I can pick up some trash though and make this little spot a bit more beautiful. 
While there, I noticed the yellows and whites of roadside blooms in progress. I saw two crawdad houses, some wild violets trying to get going. The doves were talking. 

Maybe they were saying thank you. 

It is a sunny day here. It felt good to be outside and moving. After I walked back, I saw several things around the house that needed cleanup, too. So I got busy. And that busy brought about a lot of other judgments. About little ole me. Yep. I have a lot of cleanup to do, too. It’s just not always out there for the world to see.

So, open your eyes to the world around you, and make it a little bit better today. Better because it’s a good thing to do. Better with no strings attached. Better attracts better.