Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Bravest Thing, Running Through the Fields

The first thing I read this morning, as I lay in my bed, just waking up was this, shared by my friend Kathy on Facebook.

the bravest thing by the beautiful due

maybe the bravest thing
is opening your eyes in the
morning and placing your
two feet on the cold floor and
rising up against the gravity
of the night. maybe that’s the
brave thing from which all other
bravery flows, the brave to
seek ye first. maybe that’s the
single thing God requires of you,
the spiritual discipline that takes
all your will to muster. Swallow
down the fear, my child, and face
the dawning day for what the
surface of the world needs most
of all is bravery skipping and
you, yes you are the stone.


The words stayed with me as I showered. I'm a shower thinker. It's where things just fall in to place in my brain, where things make sense.

And I thought, yes, for right now, it's brave of me to get out of bed. To shower, to pick out mostly clean clothes (I totally wore the same jeans as yesterday) and go in to work. To push beyond a cold that I can't shake. There's a silent courage as I steer my car through traffic for up to two hours to get to my office. It is not my favorite job, but frankly, it pays a mortgage and feeds a family. And I'm not giving up.

The irony of my day job and my love of leading retreats was not missed this morning, either. I stand in front of groups and tell them to be brave of heart, that often times courage is just the act of showing up. That we must give ourselves credit for showing up.

And yet I'm so hard on myself; demanding more than I know may be reasonable. There is a list a mile long in my head and on Cozi just waiting for me. I'm not giving myself credit for the million things I do. I can only see what's undone, what I wish I could do, what I wish I had time for.

This morning, though, it sunk in that I'd done "the brave thing from which all other bravery flows," I've risen from bed, rising for the day, rising to meet challenges. I'm trying with all of my might to be "bravery skipping," running through the field, and all the while plotting and acting to make my dreams a reality.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I'm Hereby Giving Myself Permission To ...

- be lazy

- act a little crazy

- be mad that the last year has not been what I chose or even what I tried to make it 

- see that there is good in the bad

- “lean in” to boundaries which is the opposite of the stupid Sheryl Sandberg "leaning in" not really care about the climb or the ladder or the executive world

- like Laura Ingalls Wilder and Battlestar Galactica and Firefly because they are all about discovering new things and living life on the edge of what’s known, and not being afraid to say its not easy

- spend time doing things I like and tell that one lady leading that getting ready for baby class to go jump off a cliff because we don’t have to stop doing what we love just because we become parents. 
We should do even more of what we love when we become parents

- follow my own path, even if I’m not altogether sure where that’s going to lead, or if it will please my parents or whoever the heck “they” or "them" are

- love the Franciscans and what they stand for, while still loving other religious ideas

- be fascinated by the impact of generations, and which generation we each are a part of

- want to help people figure out what they want to do 

- give more of a try at photography

- be upset about my current job

- own and live and breathe that I AM a retreat leader. I’ve already done it. Already living the dream. Now I just need to figure out how to do it every day

- say things are not ok

- raise my kiddo how I want to, and not worry about other people and how they raise their kids

- explore new things because that’s probably what those never-ending dreams of going back to school are telling me - that I need to find a new thing to do, to follow my heart and just go see what happens. I never really lived out “religious studies” but I spent so long studying it. I need to figure out what it means and why I have spent so much time with it

- get over other people worrying about what I do. or what it means about me. or what it means about them, or anything. I want to do what I love.

- talking about what makes me happy and just going for it

- speak my mind if something just doesn’t make sense and I’d suggest doing it another way, especially in any capacity in which I’m being paid for such an opinion.

- join a religious group or attend a church if that’s what I want to do.

- forget to send thank you notes, knowing full well that I really meant to and now it’s somehow way past the ok amount of time to say thanks, when I really love those people

- say no to the stuff I just don’t want to do

- be a mom

- listen to Fall Out Boy, The Shins, Jimmy Eat World and musics, and cry my eyes out every single time I hear "Goodbye Love" from Rent 

- believe that I have the experience to make it happen.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Repainting the Trim on the Front Door (aka Front Door Take 3)

The front door has gone through a couple of changes. Here's where we started and then I painted the hardware and mailbox all the same oil rubbed bronze color:

doorbefore_after


But something still bugged me. The paint around the door had a lot of dings in it. Like so:

3doorsnewtrim

And so I matched the color and repainted the trim around the door, and bought a new, bigger door mat. Oh, and replaced and fixed the doorbell.

Here's the close up:
frontdoor3_ws

Much better! Happy Monday!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Be Content to Simply Be Yourself




2013_may_zoombeyourself

We went to Pacific Grove a few weekends ago. It is along the coast, near the towns of Carmel and Monterrey. It is peaceful there, with beautiful, majestic views of the Pacific Ocean.

Zoom loves the beach. He likes to run up to the water's edge, play tag with the waves. It's always a delight to see him running back and forth with the waves, laughing, yelling at the tides. I wish I better understood what goes on in the head of a two year old.

It's a joy to get to share in his contentment of just being him. Everything is new. He has a favorite pair of shoes, but mostly he doesn't mind what he wears. He takes in everything with an earnestness, an eagerness, that has long been forgotten in most adults. He can not help but get excited about sand dabs, little crabs, seagulls, and flowers on the shore.

The gift of getting lost in the sheer delight of the moment, of really living each emotion, it seems to tie young children closer to the divine. It's as if they understand what is important, what it means to be alive. I love that Zoom is easily lost in the moment, in living, in being. 

I am grateful for him, grateful to see things through his eyes, even just for a few minutes every day.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend Recap: Happy Hollow and Ardenwood Historic Farm

It was a great three day weekend! I hope you all enjoyed your extra day off.

We spent a lot of time with family, and Zoom adored seeing his twin cousins twice over the weekend. Here they are at Happy Hollow in San Jose on Saturday ... now that they are two, they do a lot of running and we do a lot of chasing. I really like that it's a small enough space to explore easily, and they  have a great mix of toddler-friendly rides and small animals. And, we get a discount since we are members at the Discovery Museum of San Jose.

Happy Hollow

Zoom and his cousins really love to hang out together. The ride on the ladybug (Granny Bugs) was especially hilarious; those two got in line together a couple of times and kept asking to ride in the same bug. Really adorable.

On Monday we all met up at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont.  The kids had a lot of fun checking out the animals, seeing a peacock, and learning about how corn grows. Ardenwood is another great place for the toddler age group. Monday was a free day, so it was pretty crowded, and it started raining while we were there. But even when they charge to get in, it's inexpensive, and there's lots to do and see.

Ardenwood Historic Farm

Yes, my child was definitely delighted by seeing a goat! And, we learned that fireman's hats double very nicely as a rain cap.

In addition to all of the kiddo fun, I made some new drapes for the master bedroom, but need a good sunny day to take photos of it. I'm IN LOVE with them - they have a blackout liner! Here's a sneak preview: 

Untitled 

Hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Song

Songs filled my home as a little girl. Lots of folk songs, lots of Peter, Paul, and Mary. The Beatles, Billy Joel, The Mammas and the Pappas, The Carpenters, John Denver. My Dad would play records for hours some nights, DJing to us, his willing audience. The chopsticks would come out and we would bang on the dining room table, drumming loudly, singing at the tops of our lungs, and truly loving the music.

I think that because of my Dad's love of lyrics, of his exploration of new kinds of music that I have become someone who links lines of songs with places in time.

A friend could say a few simple words to me and I am transported to a single memory, lapping it in, breathing that moment.

There goes the baker with his tray like always, and I am in my brown VW with my best friend Tammy at age 20, driving down Highway 101 on our way back to our beloved UCSB.

Swing low, sweet chariot, my nose fills with the scent of the campfire, and I am surrounded by a camp full of children singing, staring at Uncle Max while crickets chirp.

Fill my cup again, as I am sitting on the heater vent, looking out the window over the deck and the woods beyond in my Holly Hobby night gown.

I remember when rock was young, and my Dad is dancing, singing, laughing with us in our living room, as Sara and I dance with my Mom.

You may be right, I may be crazy and my family is again singing at the top of their lungs as we drive towards Lake Tahoe for a family vacation. The same cassette has played for hours, but we never tire of it.

I will sing you a morning golden and new, while I hold my own baby in my arms and dance him around his nursery at 10 days old, at three o'clock in the morning as he cries.

Love is certain, love is kind, love is yours and love is mine, and Sean and I are holding each other close, swaying, dancing in the kitchen, like we like to do, weeping happy tears as we think of the life ahead of us with our sweet baby and our little house.


Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wednesday Wanderings: A Question of Faith

Late last week, a reader sent me an email, asking about how someone could really KNOW and experience a relationship with God.

She wanted to know how someone who believes, who knows that there is a God, how can that person experience God, when after several years, they "feel" nothing?

She was asking because someone she loves dearly is a believer, he goes through the daily routines of prayer and wants a relationship with God. But, he says that he hasn't felt the connection in over four years. The reader wants to know how she can help this man.

Her question is both timely and timeless.

I know that all of us go through the droughts of the spiritual wilderness. I know what all of us feel alone, feel nothing from time to time. It is not from a lack of wanting, nor a lack of trying. And I don't know why it happens.

pacgrovejourney

All that I know to do during the times like that are to keep going. To lean into my faith, to love more, to give more, to pour myself into the things I love, and know that God is there, right beside me as I go.

In thinking on these moments of wilderness, of no visible anchor, of a vast emptiness, I find my heart resting with the Isrealites. Just 75 days out into the literal wilderness (of 40 years total), they began to question, to bicker, but in response, what does God do with this complaint? He does what God does and showers his people with love and provisions, and honors His promise to them. He gives the Israelites manna (bread) in the morning and quail at night. And when the Israelites were gathering the manna in the morning, “they said ‘what is it?’ for they did not know what it was.”

I love this because manna means “what is it?” in Hebrew.

And the next part blows my mind. As the people gathered the manna “some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.”

God provided for each of the Israelites “just as much as they needed.” Even with the complaining, the dramatics, all of it, God just gave the people what they needed.

This is what I will try to take from the wilderness. It is a foreign landscape. We may not know long we are to wander, nor where our journey will lead us. But we can take heart that while we are out here, while we are wandering, that God will continue to stay true to His promise to each of us. Even when don't think we can see, or hear, or feel God's presence, God is listening, He is there, standing by us. God will be there with us, giving us exactly what we need to get through, and making sure that we have enough to sustain us for the journey.

And so as I consider wilderness, and I consider this reader's question, I hope that she can take heart in an answer as old as any story. In every wilderness, there is manna. Just like the desert, God has placed what we need within our grasp because God hears our cries and answers prayers whether they are eloquently phrased or not. Like the Israelites, we may not recognize what “manna” is right away, even though it’s sitting right before us each morning, or surrounds us every night. I may even ask “what is it?” as each piece of manna presents itself. For our part, we must have faith, and the courage to open my eyes and look for God’s blessings in the wilderness. The blessings may not be completely apparent right now, it may take weeks or months or years for us to be able to look back and see the gifts for what they were. But in time, the picture will become clear, and each of us will be able to see the "manna" and blessings that were given to us. I hope that this reflection can bring solace to this reader. I hope that she can see that even while the connection to God may seem distant, God is there, God is providing, God is faithful. And when we can't feel it, we must keep the faith and know that God is out there, keeping His promises.







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