Spirituality

Nov
25

Poetry That Speaks To Me

by Christine

I admit it; I struggle with understanding poetry. I want to. I believe that really, really smart people understand and love poetry and I want to be one of those people. There is one poet who when I hear his words, I feel his meaning. Shel Silverstein is that poet. I hope Silverstein's poem from Where the Sidewalk Ends touches you too. 

INVITATION
If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer...
If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

                                                                                          

Nov
20

You Control Your Destiny

by Christine

If you've read the book The Alchemist then you've looked into the heart of this man, Paulo Coelho. Krista Tiippett's interview allows you to hear him talk about crafting a life that is full of joy. He truly makes life sound like an adventure that we can all craft and experience in our own way. Have a listen at On Being...Paulo Coelho-The Alchemy of Pilgrimage

May
27

Memorial Day: A Time To Remember

by Christine

 

We cherish too the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies
Moina Michael

I am grateful. I am grateful that I was blessed to be born in the United States of America. I am grateful that my ancestors were brave enough to make the journey to this country leaving behind all that they knew. I am grateful that multiple generations of my family from my grandfather to my nephew have been willing to serve in the military to protect our nation from those who would harm us. And I am grateful for my countrymen who have done the same. I am grateful for those warriors who lost their lives in the service of our country and I hold a special place in my heart for their families.   

Memorial Day is a day of sacred remembrance. It is the day to pause and remember those who died while serving our country. Yes, there will be barbecues and gatherings with family and friends but take a moment to remember those men and women who lost their lives while serving our country and to offer up a prayer for those warriors who are protecting our nation now.

 

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Apr
17

What Will Your Reaction Be To The Terrorist?

by Christine


{Fans along the route of the New York City Marathon}

Malaise...that is the word that comes to mind as I have lived through the days and hours since the Boston Marathon Bombings. Malaise as defined by the Free Merriam Webster Dictionary means "a vague sense of mental or moral ill-being". The sadness that I feel for the victims and their families is coupled with the disbelief that another human being can build, place and explode a bomb at the feet of hundreds of people. I recognize that the individual or individuals who can carry out violent acts are morally bankrupted. But logic doesn't mitigate the general malaise that I feel knowing that such people exist. 

The challenge for me and I believe our country is to protect oneself from the people who would harm us without becoming fearful. When I was in high school and college, my friends and I  would discuss "how cool it would be to live in a commune together". Today I have to resist the urge to gather up those I love and move everyone into a new kind of commune; a commune started out of fear not out of a youthful enthusiasm for homegrown vegetables, affection and community. I know a fear-based life is not living, it is just surviving. 

What do we do now? Psychologists tell us that we are happier and feel more secure in life if we have some control over our life. How do we wrestle control back from the murders that maliciously kill and terrorize civilized people? I believe we take action. I am not talking about grand gestures but everyday kindnesses. Donate blood in an emergency, send words of encourage to not only the victims and their families but to the first responders, law enforcement, the investigator and the district attorneys that work on our behalf. If you are able donate money to a victims fund to help with the rebuilding of their life then do so. But I believe it goes beyond the immediate tragedy. Now is the time to be kind. Speak kindly to those you encounter. Use your words as a salve for the wounds inflected on other by life.  Lovingly touch the lives of those closest to you, your family, your friends and your local community. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. who's home was bombed in 1956 in Montgomery, Alabama said, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." We control how we will respond to those who would terrorize us. I believe through thoughtful words and kindness towards others, we will bring light to the darkness and love to the world. 

Be safe,
C

 

 

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Apr
12

Spring Fever

by Christine


{First Flowers of Spring}

In celebration of National Poetry Month, enjoy Billy Collins poem, Today.

 

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary's cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.
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Dec
24

A Christmas Lesson

by Christine

"Is there a purpose? Why are we here?"

A little boy asked as the yuletide drew near.

"I really do hope that someday I will know

the reason we stand out here in the snow,

ringing this bell as people walk by,

while thousands of snowflakes

descend from the sky."


The mother just smiled at her shivering son

who would rather be playing and having some
fun

but soon would discover before evening was
done

the meaning of Christmas

the very first one.



The young boy exclaimed, "Mother where does
it go?"

"All the pennies we collect - every year in the
snow."

"Why do we do it? Why do we care?"
"We worked for these pennies,
so why should we share?"



"Because once a baby - so meek and so mild

was born in a manger - so humble the child

the son of a King - was born in this way

to give us the message

He carried that day.



"The present God gave the world on that night,

was the gift of his son to make everything right.

Why did he do it? Why did he care?
To teach about loving

and how we should share."



"The meaning of Christmas, you see my dear
son,

is not about presents or just having fun
but the gift of a father - his own precious Son

so the world would be saved

when his work was all done"



Now the little boy smiled - with a tear in his eye

as snowflakes kept falling from out of the sky -

rang louder the bell as the people walked by
while down deep in his heart
at last he knew why.


Tom Krause

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Nov
12

Do You Have a Thankful Heart?

by Christine

My mother's premier Thanksgiving dish was her mashed potatoes. They are legendary in our family. She attempted to teach my sister and me how to prepare them just as she had but it never quite came out the same. Maybe it is because we were impatient or maybe it was because food always taste better when someone else prepares it. Sadly, this will be our first Thanksgiving without her. 

The memories of my family holidays are warm and wonderful. Laughter, good food and the kid's table were standard fare at our Thanksgiving gatherings. Keeping traditions alive takes work and commitment and I am grateful that my mother and father valued our family rituals.

So many around us proclaim what we don't have instead of highlighting what we do. The constant barrage of negative chatter and the buy, buy narrative conspires to take the joy out of what is real. I know differently. I live in a bountiful country. I have loving family and friends. I have a job. I have a roof over my head. I have the opportunity and means to help those around me that need help. In short I am blessed.

This year my children and grandchildren will gather at my home to celebrate Thanksgiving. My signature dish will not be mashed potatoes; I am known for my macaroni and cheese. But just as my parents worked to create family traditions that bound us together I will do the same. Furthermore as I prepare for our family time together, I will do so with a thankful heart. My life has not been without struggle; I am human. But this Thanksgiving I will consciously take time to count my blessings with a thankful heart.

Feb
09

Always Loved, Never Forgotten

by Kim Ray Moody

Valentine's Day is fast approaching. I remember going into a store in early January and feeling overwhelmed by the mirage of pink and red hearts, proclaiming Valentine's Day would soon be here. Christmas decorations were still up in many of my neighbor’s homes. But, not in mine. Not this year. Maybe next year? I can't really think that far ahead. When I try to look ahead, it makes my head hurt. It is easier to just not think about it. Not think about it? How can I not think about it? It consumes every part of my being. What or who is this powerful thing? It is called GRIEF. Even the sound of the word is sharp and jagged. It sounds like something that would hurt. Webster defines grief as "keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss." I define it as an empty place in my soul. I am told that grief is a natural and normal emotional reaction to our loss. But, I don't feel very normal. In fact, I feel like I have been thrust onto a fast moving train and I can't get off, no matter how hard I try. Isn't there a key I can turn or a brake I can push with my foot? When does this journey end? To figure out when this journey will end, I guess I have to go back to its beginning. Even though I don't really want to "go there."

I have learned that confusion is a by-product of grief. I find that I am even confused over when this journey began. Was it when the doctor walked around the corner of the curtain in the crowded ER room and I saw a sad look in his eyes, before he even spoke a word? Or was it months later, when the compassionate nurse hurriedly got the family out of the ICU room to go get dinner and then took my hand and said the words that are seared into my mind and heart forever, "Honey according to the machines we are watching, he's got about five minutes left. Why don't you crawl up in that bed with him and tell him anything you want him to know?" I did. I held him tightly and told him that I loved him. I could feel his heart beating next to mine. A heart that in just a couple of minutes would beat for the last time. I kissed those lips that had kissed mine a thousand times. Was it my imagination or did those lips kiss mine back? I'll never know. And then I said the words I knew he needed to hear, "It's okay. You can go now. Go be with your Mom. Go be with Jesus. I will be okay." And with that, he took his last breath and stepped into eternity. As he stepped into eternity, I stepped into my journey of grief. I was now a widow. There is another word that sounds sharp and jagged. Was I ready for the journey that lie ahead? I think not. Would I have rather simply buried my head in the pillow? Absolutely. It is too bad that life doesn't allow time for that.  Our world seems to rush everything. A quick check of standard bereavement leave policies show that many companies allow three days when there is a death in the family. Three days? That is hardly time enough to prepare for the funeral, much less time to grieve?

It can take weeks or even months for the heart to catch up to what the head already knows. Speaking of the heart reminds me again of Valentine's Day. And just yesterday, I was in the store again and to my amazement, Easter baskets and bunnies were displayed. And once again, I felt overwhelmed. I am left to wonder how long this journey of grief will last. Until then I will hold close to my family, my friends and my church. Without them, I would surely crumble. I am comforted by a verse from Jeremiah in the Bible. "I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow." Jeremiah 31:13. I am not told how long it will be until my mourning and sadness will be gone. But I am assured that it will happen. And that gives me hope. A hope that one day I will be able to enjoy the holidays again. For now, my memories envelop me. My dear sweet Robert is... Always Loved and Never Forgotten.

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