Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Paradox – it often shows up
just when I think I have something figured out
Paradox shows up to say
“it may not really be that way”
Paradox reminds me, again,
that faith usually believes in order to see
Paradox, an invitation to embrace dissonance,
to hold in tension two seemingly unlike events or ideas
Paradox, a teacher of doxology in pairs

Less is more
Gain one’s life by first losing it
Mustard seeds are more than enough
Thirst is quenched, but with more than water
Hunger is satisfied, but not with bread alone
Costly oil is to be used on feet
Boundary lines bring freedom
Salt, more than sugar, sustains life
A seed is buried in order to grow
Wholeness can exist in brokenness
Joy and pain both find a place in the same heart

And, empty is full:
Full of new life, hope, healing, love
as Mary and Joanna and Peter discovered at the tomb.

Such is the good news of Easter
as we discover it anew, day by day…


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Like the pull of the moon when she is full of luminous light,

the ocean beckons me to her side

where the waves wash over my soul and the birds invite me to fly.

So I walk, step after step, step after step,

leaving more than a footprint,

‘shoulds’ and ‘ought-tos’ fall away,

tension loses its grip on my shoulders

the hamster wheel in my mind stops spinning

and, finally, I shed my shoes,

connecting sole with soul.

So I walk, step after step, step after step,

my fingers begin picking up shells almost without my awareness,

large and small, broken and whole,

compelled by the Artist within I place the shells in the sand

working out some arrangement between my soul and Spirit.

So I walk, step after step, step after step,

joining the community of all who share the beach,

who seek its refuge and beauty and healing,

our individual lives and smiles brushing briefly against one another

while the ahinga invites me to claim the solitude

that is inherent in such a walk.

So I walk, step after step, step after step,

strong waves crashing fiercely over the rocks,

breaking upon my ‘wanting to be certain’ grip,

splashing into the dark crevices for a thorough spring cleaning.

So I walk, step after step, step after step,

drawn to the piers whose walkways extends into the deep,

where fishermen and fisherwomen cast their lines and their hopes

and the birds flock to feed on leftover fish parts.

But it is the underside that calls out to me

as I find my way to the cloister on the sea,

finding sanctuary in the rhythm of the waves and the repetition of the structure

and the doorway at the far end.

So I walk, step after step, step after step,

watching the birds waddle down the beach as they search for snatches of food

and chase one another in a game of tag

and take flight into the strong winds,

wondering what it means for one’s spirit to soar

while being suspended over the sea.

And as I walk,

each step becomes prayer ~ for myself, for others, for creation,

and I enter into the mystery of creation and the

and the presence of our Creator.

And as I walk each step brings more wholeness and peace.

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The Rocking Prayer


My newest upstairs neighbor,

at 12 days old,

is held in her daddy’s arms.

Rocking back and forth,

my ceiling sings a rhythmic

c-r-e-a-k and creak,

c-r-e-a-k and creak,

lulling her to sleep

and soothing her downstairs neighbor.

This is a prayer of sorts,

this rhythmic creaking:

Oh, that every new life

could be held and rocked and loved.

Oh, that every soul that knows fear and loneliness

could be held and rocked and loved.

Oh, that the world would know of Your love that

holds and rocks each of us.

C-r-e-a-k, I love you.

Creak, I love you.

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Christine has resumed her Poetry Parties at The Abbey of Arts: she provides an image and theme, we offer our poems.  Read the poems shared and offer your own!

Flinging sacred intent hither and you

Entering holy tussles with expectation

Finding beauty alongside brokenness

Holding space as sacred and full of possiblity

Such is the heart of a

Monk in the World!

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My daughter and her fiance tend the land at Green Gardens ~ they work long days and nights growing vegetables that are “Certified Naturally Grown” which they sell at local markets and to CSA members.   Whether at the Market where their table is overflowing with goodness or out at their farm standing next to the gardens there is always an abundance of green goodness!  I’ll let the photos tell the story…

Rows and rows…

and more rows, each 200 feet long

The new High Wind Tunnel that holds 420 tomato plants.  That’s a lot of tomatoes that will be hand-picked!

See how tall the tomato plants are!

Market bounty…

Kale – the all-time favorite of one of the farmers!

The farmers, framed by an abundance of produce!

May bounty fill your life this season!

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A Walk on The Beach

The on-line class Way of the Monk, Path of the Artist is an incredible experience.  I encourage exploring Christine’s blog and her on-line classes.  This reflection is one of the projects for this class.

Yesterday I walked on a different beach; my parents are here for February so I’m staying with them for a few days before I return to Michigan (I’m working hard at being present to THIS moment rather than anticipating returning to cold and snowy Michigan and missing my daily beach walks…) The skies were heavy with clouds and I was found myself eager to be out in this.

I also found myself looking for cloisters ~ of which there were several. Ripples in the sand.

Birds (egrets?) perched atop posts. Or, as Christine suggests, monks lining up for lauds!

Another fishing pier.

I recalled a photo of the Monastery Cloister in one of our daily emails from Christine that so captured my heart. So I asked whoever was present ~ the sea, the clouds, the gulls, the Holy One: why might the designers of monasteries choose the architectural beauty of repetition? Does it somehow support their (our) vows?  Then our class work with rhythms and seasons came to mind. Repetition. Rhythm. Does architectural repetition support an inner rhythm, repetition that is found throughout nature? Is Creation the first monastery? Hmmmm….

I found myself resonating deeply with these patterns and thoughts. A few weeks ago I read of someone speaking of feeling her center while at Chartres Labyrinth and I found myself feeling the same thing. Each thyme I walk the beach it becomes clearer, stronger.

My next station was a large gathering of seagulls. I noticed, as I had at the other beach, that many of them have only one leg.

When they flew up I watched for another leg and there wasn’t one.  I saw one that was missing its webbed foot. To what extent are we, humankind, responsible for this loss? Further down the shore there were many large pen shells washed up on the shore.

More than I’ve noticed before. A neighboring beach walker commented that the unseasonably cold temperatures have affected creatures like the clams. Another loss.

By this thyme a different hymn sang its way through my mind: “O sacred head now wounded.”  Oh, the Logos, the Cosmic Christ present at God’s first revelation, sacred creation, is wounded. By our lifestyles and choices, our intentions and neglect. We have much to learn.

I gathered up some of those pen shells, placed them in a holy circle, drew a spiral to the center, and opened it all to Love.

I found a shell that has a spiral although most of the outside has broken off.  But the center is intact. It called to me, representing collective stories of finding our center, the Truth, and the brokenness of our lives that has taken us there.

I placed this shell in the center next to the shell that forms a heart and offered a prayer of gratitude and sorrow, of healing and hope.

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One of this week’s projects in the on-line course The Way of the Monk has been to create an altar in our home, reflecting what we value, what we’re seeking, how we are opening our lives to the Spirit.  As I started working on this I realized that I already had a couple in my home.  My favorite is the dining room window with this piece hanging above it:

(Heaven is under our feet as well as above our heads)

To the right of the window is the China Hutch, displaying pieces that were stored in basement boxes or in hard to reach cupboards for years.  Now they are accessible where I can enjoy looking at them.

This is a special photograph of my Grandma, Mother, 2 Daughters and myself that I keep in my bedroom

(the smaller photo is of me on my first birthday)

on this table

My newest altar, created in response to this week’s project, is near my desk.

The stole was given to me at my ordination.  The names Ruth and Rachel ~ the names of my daughters ~  are next to each other.  The stole is long, I am rather short, so when I wear this the ends touch the ground.  I like the feeling of being grounded, and I feel the faith of our biblical foremothers moving up one side, across my shoulders, through my heart, and back down the other side.

It’s a work in progress…

Are there places in your home that are sacred?

Would you like to consider creating one, displaying what is sacred and holy to you?

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