Category Archives: Musings

return

return

Yesterday morning we went to church, but not our own. Our sons participate in Boy Scouts, and yesterday was Scout Sunday, when it is customary for Scout troops to express appreciation to the churches that host their meetings and support the program. So we found ourselves in a pew of an Episcopalian church, with fair linen and kneelers and and a flame that never goes out, suspended over the altar.

I was raised Lutheran, to the extent I was raised anything, and the rite of Holy Communion with which I grew up shares many passages and responses with the Book of Common Prayer.  And so I found myself rising and singing and speaking from some place beneath memory.

Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord.

God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.

It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and every-
where to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of
heaven and earth.

Peace be with you.

And also with you.

For many good reasons, we are where we are spiritually, and it is home. It gives us a glimpse of God’s kingdom, God’s extravagant and boundless love in all its colors, shapes and sizes, that is hard to find in upstate South Carolina at eleven o’clock on a Sunday morning. We see grace, over and over, in a context that does not let us fool ourselves for a moment that we have it all together.

But in my return to those old old words and rites yesterday morning, part of my heart was returned to me. Only the barest whispers of these confessions and celebrations are part of our worship at Triune. Yesterday morning I was reminded, viscerally, that beauty and history in worship makes way for mystery. We are inviting a movement not of the intellect, or of the will, but of the soul itself. In the movement of psalm and confession, thanksgiving and feasting, I was refreshed, restored, returned.

 

Welcoming spring with fresh inspiration:

March Prompt-a-Day at Write ALM

 

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Be Present

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When I first began practicing yoga, it was the part I glossed over, the part I all but skipped. The planting of the feet, the spreading of the toes, the feeling of rootedness from little over to big toe, the inner and outer heel– I had no patience for such considerations. I was ready to hurry on the the forward fold, the question of whether my hamstrings would release enough for my fingertips to graze the floor, how much I’d have to soften my knees to let my spine spill forward. Coming back up, it was all about the arms reaching and palms meeting, the breath indrawn. It was always the next pose, the next breath, the one after that.

After a year on the mat, most days, the firm placing of the feet, the peeling up to situate with more strength and ease has become a favorite moment of my practice. Off the mat, when I need to remind myself of where I am,, when I need to stand firmly present in the moment I’m in, barefoot or shod, indoors or out, I pause, gently lift then set my feet down on the ground where I find myself. I take a deep breath.

Whether it is a moment from which I’d rather lift myself, or in which I want to bow deeply in release and surrender, pressing down to find my footing helps me be present to it.

joining, at least for today, in these daily prompts for November, found via The Habit of Being

First

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First thing, there is a choice. Feet on the floor, shoulder-popping stretch, shying eyes away from light. The coffee maker, obedient to its timer, finishes its work in the kitchen. In fifteen minutes we will find each other on the sofa, over mugs and steam.

The choice is what I’ll pour into the quarter hour before I fill those mugs. After I pad down the hall in a house still more night than day, will I wake the computer, check e-mail and the weather, or worse yet, the news? Will I blaze the new day into the dim room, blare its voices into the still air?

Or will I light a small flame, to nudge back the dark easily, lovingly? Will I breathe these last unspoken moments before conversation and toaster springs and middle school music? Will I tell the new day to wait just a little while longer, with the anticipation of savoring a present?

I alternate between these rituals, and while I always feel the wisdom of the latter, I choose the former often enough that its jangle is familiar.

But when I think about what to choose first, the way of quiet and pause seems like a subtle statement of faith, that a few serene moments to stretch into wakefulness and awareness will bear more fruit in the following hours than any “jump” I could get on my inbox or my planning.

A match and a candle, some breathing and some prayer say that the day is not something lurking to pounce on me as soon as it scents me on the morning breeze, but more like a long-awaited letter, to be unfolded and read slowly.

joining, at least for today, in these daily prompts for November, found via The Habit of Being

Still Here

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I started my first blog in January of 2007. In the nearly seven years that have come and gone since, the blogging world has shifted, grown and changed in ways I never could have imagined. It used to feel like we were all sitting around a kitchen table (a magic one that could add leaves to reach around the country or the world) and sharing our lives. One would offer a recipe, another something interesting gleaned from a good book, and perhaps a third would just share her hard day, and a hope for a better tomorrow.

That illusion of a virtual homey space, shoes kicked off, sounds pretty quaint now. As the blogosphere exploded in size, as stats and better blogging conferences and target audiences and product placement and book deals and recognition of blogging from other, more established forms of media grew, I slipped quietly out the back door. I just felt too daunted.

Maybe that sounds like sour grapes. Truly, it isn’t. I never mastered a posting schedule, or learned to follow the statistics and search engine optimization that helps a blogger drive traffic. I’m coming to realize that I’m just not called to that sort of professional self-promotion. Many bloggers have worked very hard to make their blogs work as a source of income, as a platform for speaking and writing careers. I’m called to quiet, to home and family, to making and baking and writing poetry and shooting photographs and trying to learn to listen.

But I’m still here at the kitchen table. I’ve made lots of false starts back into blogging, but always drawn back. I’ve asked myself what the point could be in offering my voice, given how it all feels now, so busy and loud and alien.

But there’s always a point to good conversation, to sharing a recipe that, against all odds, the kids gobbled up. There’s always a point to writing about friendship and aging parents and the beauty of nature or a perfectly baked pie. There’s always a point to putting more beauty, more joy, more questions and challenges, more wonderings and gleaned wisdom into the world. There’s space still, I trust, to share a good book’s title and a blessing.  A wink and a smile.

So, what would I tell my boys, if they came to me with something they wanted to do differently than others pursue it? I’d ask them if it was still possible to do the thing their way. And if it was, I’d tell them to go for it. I’d tell them to open their hands and male something old new again.

I’d take my own good advice, and hit publish.

 

In Case of an Empty Page

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In Case of An Empty Page

In case of an empty page,

a poised point paused over unmarked lines,

as silent as a shuttered shop,

a track empty of runners, hurdlers,

do not panic. After all,

there is dough to knead and set to rise,

vegetables uncut, plump with hope

of soup. Seedlings uncurl green springs

and would sing gladly to

your watering wand. The phone will accuse you

silently

of all the calls

you haven’t placed. Dust congregates

in corner choruses, shying from

your deft broom. Laundry alone

could lift your eyes

from all you haven’t said,

if you join in its dance of gathering,

drenching, soaping, rinsing, wringing,

snapping, tethering, blowing, folding.

And you never know, for sometimes,

at the end of the day,

from a bleached sheet shaken smooth

a poem may, whispering, fall.

MK, 2013

Take One Step. . .

I have typed and hit delete several times, trying to formulate pretty sentences about what is going on in my life, how my inner life is merging into my outer one in some exciting and challenging ways. But the truth of it is that I feel I am in a season of feasting this autumn, sitting down to a rich stew of inspiration, opportunity, encouragement and grace. I’m learning the discipline of setting my place and picking up my spoon and tasting, perhaps, for the ingredients I might add.

So may I just share what is shaping up to be my recipe for this season?

  • a writing workshop and concert with this amazing woman, who has been breathing life into my ears for almost two decades  (Clicking on the link will take you to her site, and a chance to hear a new song called “The Speed of Soul.” You might give yourself the gift of four minutes listening.)
  • Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker J Palmer. The book I’m cracking, the one I’m almost afraid to read.
  • a dear friend, who is asking good questions and giving gentle but intentional nudges. My reconnection with her is all gift.
  • A little yoga to start the day, which is making me feel stronger and more flexible, but kinder and more patient with my body as well.
  • Traveling through the parables with my dear friend above, and a few other members of our Triune family, trying to find what Jesus’ stories might reveal about our own.
  • poemcrazy. I mentioned it on Monday, but it bears repeating!
  • the cool mornings and evening quickening my spirit as they do every year. “Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” –George Eliot
  • The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Nightly rescuing my sense of humor from the election season.
  • facing the blinking cursor, the blank page, the truly awful first draft Anne Lamott warns us about. And lots of coffee.

And finally, a few lyrics from one of the first Carrie Newcomer songs I fell in love with:

“I’ve been known to think too much
Get caught up in planning and choosing
I’ve sat down with my head in my hands trying to
Lose the fear of losing
But you can’t go back and you’re never the same when
Love’s left its mark on you
Whether stronger, bitter or better, or wiser it’s all up to you

Take one step a little bit closer
Take one step a little bit closer

I woke up yesterday morning I was smillin’ I was smillin’ wide
I heard wild geese calling
I called back and looked into your steady eyes saying

Take one step a little bit closer
Take one step a little bit closer. . . “

What’s filling your cupboard, your plate?

Hello Monday

Hello Monday.

Hello rusty blog. Hello waiting keyboard. Hello rather scary blinking cursor.

Helo new disciplines. Hello questions about calling. Hello journaling, reading, sitting quietly.

Hello wordplay. Hello poemcrazy.

Hello new habits and old insecurities.

Hello first really chilly morning, hello jeans and a sweater.

Hello trustworthy listeners.

Hello mercies, new every morning.

Hello to anyone out there, who needs a Monday morning, sheets thrown back, a new day “with no mistakes in it yet!”   

 

linked at Lisa Leonard’s beautiful “Hello Monday space