Everyday Spirituality

Archive for the ‘life’ Category

The Cup of Blessing (from Scripture4you blog)

Scripture4you post September 13, 2014

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The Cup of Blessing

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Keep Walking…

I begin walking

It is cold, just beginning to sprinkle, the March wind is blowing

I begin walking.

I do not have much time, perhaps it is not meant to be

I begin walking

I am not alone…we are silent

I begin walking

The path is narrow…

I keep walking

The ground is not level…it is on a slope…

I keep walking

I nearly lose my balance…what if I fall

I keep walking

I want to go faster…I am cold

I keep walking

I am so slow…others pass by me…

I keep walking

Is the center near…am I almost there

I keep walking

Finally I reach the center…I made it…sigh

I stand a few minutes and reflect

Is this midlife…what lies ahead…

I leave the stone of burdens I carried in with me…

I pick up another’s stone of burdens

I begin walking again

I am now leaving the rest center

I keep walking

I walked the path in…now I walk the path out

I keep walking

I could not remain in the center

I keep walking

Few people are on the path

I keep walking

Some pass me going the opposite direction

I keep walking

I pause to let another pass by

I keep walking

The path is narrow

I keep walking

I am cold…I want this to end

I keep walking

I must watch my foot steps

I keep walking

There are now three of us left

I keep walking

I want to hurry, but I cannot

I keep walking

Too many turns

I keep walking

I can go faster on the longer curves

I keep walking

I try to focus on the stone of burden I hold

I keep walking

At last the end is near

I keep walking

I feel the sense of peace

I made the walk…I did not take a short cut

I did not leave without finishing

I kept walking to the end.

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Today I walked the Labyrinth where I had never been before. There is so much about walking the labyrinth that parallels my own life. At times I wanted to stop, because it was dreary, cold, windy, and rainy. I kept on walking because I had made the commitment to walk this labyrinth today. I guess I value honoring my goals.

Sometimes life is hard and it seems as if we are walking on a rocky uneven path. I sometimes feel as if I am going to fall…then what? Will I be embarrassed? Will I hurt myself? Will others rush over to help me up?

Getting to the center of the labyrinth was only the half-way point, even though it may look like the goal. Sometimes this is also true in life. We arrive only to discover that it is not the end. It is merely a place to pause before moving out. Part of life is to pause, carry one another’s burdens, and keep walking. The daily weather must not determine whether or not we keep walking.

We only reach the exit of the labyrinth of life when we take our last breath… then we will know without a doubt that we kept walking for a reason.

May 3, 2014 is the sixth global World Labyrinth Day event.

Labyrinths are walked all over the world for many different reasons; to lower stress and to promote wellbeing are just a couple reasons. Just as in each person’s life a labyrinth has only one path. The walk is about experiencing the journey…the process of walking. You can let your mind go free…you cannot get lost.

The Labyrinth Society encourages us to…”Walk as One at 1″ (o’clock in the afternoon), on World Labyrinth Day, to promote peace the world over.”

 

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Snow in the Branches

SnowCoveredBranch
The dusting of snow this morning lightly covered our area. The tops of the cars concealed in white. The roof tiles accented with white. The evergreen shrubs sprinkled with white. The snow has mostly stopped by the time we got up today, but just as I look at the kitchen window several single flakes came swirling past the window.

It was as if God saved a few final flakes just for me to relish.

I guess because it rarely snows where we actually live; snow is such an event to me. I love the whole concept of snow. Granted if I had to live in it for days I may not feel the same way, but for now I love snow.

The idea of each individual snowflake being unique is mind boggling. Just the right weather conditions have to come together in order for it to snow. Snow is quiet. Snow reminds me of the value of silence. There is beauty in silence. Snow only occurs when it is just the right temperature.

Many years while teaching I would put up a bulletin board in my classroom that said ‘Think Snow’. I wanted my students to experience the magic of watching snow fall from the clouds. I wanted them to stand outside and stick out their tongues to catch a few chilling flakes of snow.

I guess snow brings feelings of joy for me. The snowflakes fall and twirl round gently blowing in the wind. They are so delicate, fragile, and beautiful. Just as God created each of us unique and beautiful.

As I look out of the bedroom window the snow is carefully piled in the elbow bend of each tree branch. This tree has come to represent our passage of time here in this place. It was first covered with small green leaves. Weeks later it shed all of its leaves. It stands bare branched. I can clearly see each of its branches large and small. They cannot hide behind the leaves.

Today these same bare branches have caught hold of the snow as if to say we are here. We have purpose. We have a function. I think this is something I am struggling with purpose and function. Am I useful? My function here is not the same as my function there. I feel departmentalized and fragmented at times. I cannot do all that I want to do…it is like being caught in a spider’s web. But yet I know I am doing here what I need to be doing.

The snow is no longer falling; everywhere I look tree branches are supporting the snow. Each branch supports tiny snowdrifts. This is my purpose here; I am to be a support. I have the supporting role in this place here in this place beside my spouse. I am in the supporting role in other areas of my life as well…I can see this now.

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 God wants me to be a support to as many people as I can both here and there. The tree outside our window is reminding me about what it means to be a support. Tree branches support the leaves, the flowers, the fruit sometimes, and even the occasional snowdrift. Only in the winter can you truly see the bare branches that support the tree. Support is often hidden and obscure, but still functioning maintaining its purpose.

In the entertainment world the role of supporting actress is also honored and rewarded. The supporting person complements the leading actor. I am supporting my husband, my family, my friends, my neighbors, my community.

The snow in the branches causes me to reflect on the supporting role of my life today.

The question I have for you today is…

What do you support?

A person…a cause…an idea…a concept…a dream?

Surely you do support something worthwhile in your life.

Soon the tree outside our window will be supporting brand new leaves. These branches will be the conduit for nutrients to reach the entire tree structure.

with love

 

2012 Comes to an End

As I sit here in our hotel room ‘home’ 2012 is only a few hours away. The clock is ticking away and so the time we have been here is also increasing. The world did not end as the Mayan calendar led us to speculate. But things are definitely not the same. Things have changed, but it has nothing to do with an ancient calendar.

One year ago I never would have thought I would be sitting in this tiny room without my ‘stuff’. My priorities have been pinpointed whether or not I had a choice. Well I guess I always had a choice.

We were gifted with a new daughter in law this year. It came as quite a surprise since we were told after the fact. We did not have the pleasure of meeting her until Christmas day, six months after the wedding. I suspect she was just as anxious at meeting us as we were of meeting her. We tend to let our imaginations take over when the unknown looms in the future.

We have done some things this year I never would have thought we would. We spent Christmas with our sons in Austin and not with our parents and siblings. We traveled Christmas evening on icy roads; something we would normally not have done.

Come to think of it the past five months have been littered with many such things. It has been a bitter sweet year on so many accounts. I never thought I would be on the road close to twenty five percent of each month. I never thought I would be living from a suitcase even when I am home. They say home is where your heart is but this year my heart is torn between two very different places. Our home is not where we are together most so does it still count as ‘home’? Do I leave my heart in the hotel room where we are usually together? It gets confusing at times.

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You know what is really quaint? For forty years we have shared a king size bed even when traveling on vacations. Our first hotel room ‘home’ found us sharing a queen size bed. It was a little comfortable, but we made it work. Now since December 2 we have moved to another hotel room and the bed is now only full size. Wow! Now I must be cautious each time I turn over…where is the edge of the bed? I suppose God is forcing us to sleep closer and closer together. Maybe he has a plan here; he usually does.

All I can say about 2012 I have had experiences that have made me stop and think about what was of real importance to us. The conclusion is being together as much as we can is what really matters. We never know how much time we have together.

God put us in this situation and we are trying to make the best of it.

We have the sparkling wine chilled. We are waiting to pop the cork. The pink bubbles will rise in the glasses and we will toast another year together.

We are ready for 2013!

Here’s hoping it will bring joy and happiness not just for us, but for all of our friends and family.

with love

From a Distance

Musings on the word Distance

Last week I did not post here because I was out in the middle of ocean on a cruise.

We were quite a distance from land most of the time. My mother, her good friend, and my sister and her husband were also with us. It gave us more than just a few hours to be together. While we all live a short distance apart we do not spend that much time together. For my mother, who is a sharp eighty five, walking around the ship was quite a distance.

I began to ponder the word distance. Distant relationship…Distant learning…Distant loved ones…Distant hearts…Distant from God

And then of course Bette Midler’s popular song ‘From a Distance’ came to mind. I have been a long time fan of her so I knew this song well. I posted the lyrics on my scripture blog this week too.

distance measuring tape

 Distance…the amount of space between two things or people…the fact or condition of being apart…remoteness…there are some fifteen meanings for this word…mostly related to mathematics…reading down the list I stop at number ten…

A withholding of intimacy; alienation; coldness; disagreement; variance;  restraint; reserve.

Here are my musings as they randomly came to me so please do not try to make any real sense from their order. One thing I am sure of is that even in death ‘distance’ is of little consequence; if there remains the one constant…LOVE.

Long distance learning…

Long distance love affairs….

Long distance phone calls…

Better to watch some things from a distance…

Shortest distance between 2 points…a straight line…

Working from a distance…

From a distance the planet Earth looks like a giant marble…

distant-stars-and-cresent-moon

New Galaxies have been discovered in the distance…

In the distance the city skyline can be seen above the horizon…

In the distance the city lights form patterns in the darkness as observed from high above in the air…

In the distance lightning streaks across the stormy sky…

From a distance the moon appears to hang in the trees tops…

From a distance history becomes the ‘good ole days’…

From a distance things seem smaller…

From a distance a jet is but a speck in the blue sky…

From a distance a cruise ship is but a child’s toy in the immense ocean…

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The Wise Men followed the distant star to Bethlehem…

From a distance the ringing of the country church bells roll over the grassy hillside…

One can suffer from a numb distant heart…

The lonely often have a distant stare in their eyes…

On several occasions Jesus healed from a distance…

Only we can distance ourselves from God…

Distance never separates two hearts that really love…not even death…

The distant dance of sun and rain reflects the colors of the rainbow…

From a distance God can open our eyes, ears, and hearts…

Faith is often the catalyst for healing from a distance by Jesus…

Some people live their entire lives at a distance from everyone else.

Jesus transcended our entire concept of distance when he came down from heaven to live among us. From a distance God has every hair on our head counted. From a distance he watches over us. From a distance he is present.

From a distance he fills us with a desire to be in his presence.

I have come to believe that the word distance is not part of God’s vocabulary.

Only we humans experience this concept of Distance.

Distance exists in all directions around us…God alone fills the space.

with lovehttp://youtu.be/i5_YAj9lCQc

Cornucopia of Blessings

Here we are at the threshold of Thanksgiving 2012.

This year I can honestly say has been a cornucopia of reasons to be thankful.

For the few years of my teaching carreer I not only taught all of the academic subjects I was also the art teacher. Well in reality it was more like time for creating and assembling craft projects. At Thanksgiving we would usually create our Cornucopia of colorful fruits and vegetables. This ‘horn of plenty’ was to appear to be too small to hold the abundane of fruits and vegetables. They were always pictured as spilling out of the horn onto the table top.

So many things can be learned from this simple cornucopia. The fruits and vegetables overlap one on top of the other…sometimes one blessing can partially obsecure another one. At times we are so preoccupied with what is easily seen when there is another blessing just out of sight.

Today if I were to be taken back in time to my former third grade classroom I would have them cut out the colorful fruit but I would also have them write on each piece something they were thankful for.

The cornucopia symbolizies aboundance. As I look back on this year I know I have been abundantly blessed. I know I have many things to be thankful for. I also know that some of those blessings in my life have been like the sour lemon. I know that some of my blessings have been like a pineapple…prickly on the outside but juicy and sweet on the inside.

A cornucopia gives the feeling that there is no end to what can pour out of the opening. You can not see inside as it tapers to a point. Which makes me think about the blessings I have received that could easily been overlooked…to tiny…too insignificant…not important…but blessings none the less.

This horn of plenty has became a staple for Thanksgiving decorations.

In Greek mythology, Amalthea raised Zeus on the milk of a goat. In return Zeus gave Amalthea the goat’s horn. It had the power to give to the person in possession of it whatever he or she wished for. The Cornucopia came to symbolize the unasked profusion of gifts from the gods.This gave rise to the legend of the cornucopia we believe today.

Well that does make for a nice story, but if you are thankful and express your gratitude to others you will be spreading abundant goodness out to others. If you express gratitude when it is unexpected by the other person it will be your gift to them.

The fruits and vegetables are crowded together in this horn of plenty yet they each retain their true form and properties…just as for the many blessings in our life remain unique for us.

The many blessings I have experienced this year in my life have been just like a cornucopia…all shapes sizes, different textures, some more obvious than others. 2012 has been a year filled with more blessings than I could have imagined and some I have yet to discover in the weeks ahead.

Many of you who are faithful readers of this blog are among the many blessings I have experienced this year.

Please know that I treasure the many gifts that pour forth from the cornucopia of my life.

The horn of plenty makes its own music for the heart…a symphony of thankfulness.

May you experience abundant blessings each day of your life.

Five Dollar Parking

 This weekend we continued our quest to find a church we would like to attend for the remaining months ahead. So this week we ventured into the downtown area of the city. We went to the local Cathedral. After driving the sixteen or so miles to reach the location, we were surprised by the parking situation. The biggest surprise was the five dollars it cost to park across the street to attend Mass.

Now granted we do have some people back home that bid much more than that for a single parking space for a year. But five dollars on a Sunday when people are attending church seems so greedy to me. In many other cities, on Sunday, parking is free in the nearby parking lots.

Well needless to say we will not be returning to the Cathedral very often. What if I did not have the cash money to pay for parking? Of course we were not aware if perhaps there was additional parking in another direction from the church building.

This experience gave new meaning to the gospel message of giving to Caesar what is his and to God what is his. This city has found a way to tap into both at one time. Not sure if it is clever or sneaky. The city was sure to get its share whether or not you were giving to God in the church.

The truth is any time you must divide your income or your time there is the potential for conflict and tension. In life we find ourselves in situations where more and more people want a portion of both your income and your time.

Before Mass began the presiding Deacon come down the main aisle and shook hands and personally greeted many people. He even asked us where we were from…how did he know we were visitors? I checked to see if our camera was visible, but it was in my husband’s pocket. I guess we just looked like we were not familiar with the worship space.


Sitting behind us were about six or seven young Dominicans, possibly seminarians. It was a pleasure to hear them singing throughout the Mass. Religious men chanting make for a unique prayer experience. Their voices are full, rich, and dynamic symbolic of what our spiritual life should be like.

This cathedral is also a Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The architecture is classic Victorian. The high pointy steeples are symbolic of our prayers rising up to the heavens. The choir loft houses an impressive pipe organ and the cathedral choir was very nice.

I must confess that the music at Mass greatly supports my overall state of prayer.  The music probably should not matter, but in reality it does matter, at least to me.

We are still on the hunt for a good Sunday homilist. This Sunday was adequate, but not that inspiring, yet better than most others we have heard in the last three months.

Yes, it now has officially been three months since we began living this foreign life…Living in a space that could fit in our living room at home. Housekeeping came today. Funny I actually look forward to their weekly visit. I guess it is at least someone to talk to. The last couple weeks we have had a different person cleaning our room, a man. He does a terrific job, nothing gets past him. He takes pride in his work. He wipes up the kitchen floor on his hands and knees. Pretty impressive.

In all fairness I must ask myself these questions…

How much in the past have I just taken for granted?

How many things went unappreciated?

How many things went unnoticed?

I am still wondering what God has in store for us here in this place. I am confident he does have a plan…a ‘plan for good’ just as he revealed to the prophet Jeremiah 29:11.