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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Pondering: Good Intentions

Photo by Tom Woodward


from Disciplinary Treatises: (4) The Communion of the Body by Scott Cairns included in At the Still Point by Sarah Arthur

...Like us all, the saved
need saving mostly from themselves, and so
they make progress, if at all, by dying

to what they can, acquiescing to this
new pressure, new wind, new breath that would fill
them with something better than their own

good intentions...

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Spiritual Journey Thursday: New Beginnings

Once a month I blog with a group of friends about our spiritual journey. Today's topic is New Beginnings, hosted by Julianne at To Read To Write To Be.




I've been inundated by grandchildren this week! Spending time with each one, watching old movies with the older two, keeping them busy with lots of activities, and watching them grow and engage with the world in new ways. They are such fun. There is always something new to enjoy. You never know what they are going to convince you to do--like walking over the dinosaur bones. And I jumped off the high dive for the first time in my life. Grands!


August brings a new beginning for me with my yoga business. I will be moving to a new location and stepping into a new business model. So many things to think about. So many things to do. I'll share more as I move forward, but I do appreciate you keeping me in your thoughts and prayers as I make this transition. It feels right and exciting.

In my spiritual journey, I am always asking, "Lord, what are you saying to me?" I'm always trying to learn to listen better, be more aware of God's presence with me, find that still, small voice speaking more clearly. In the busy-ness of the day, I often realize I've forgotten to pay attention. I love that he doesn't mind me starting over again and again.

Jeremiah was an Old Testament prophet who understood the dilemma, but he also understood his God. Here's what he said: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

May you know new beginnings each morning and the great faithfulness of the Lord.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Poetry Friday: Gone with the Grands


Happy Poetry Friday! Linda hosts the Roundup at A Word Edgewise.

from "Little Gidding," The Four Quartets
by T. S. Eliot

W shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heart, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Pondering: Prayer

Photo by Guillaume Paumier, CC_BY.

from Divina Commedia (I) by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

     Far off the noises of the world retreat;
     The loud vociferations of the street
     Become an undistinguishable roar.
So, as I enter here from day to day,
     And leave my burden at this minister gate,
     Kneeling in prayer, and not ashamed to pray,
The tumult of the time disconsolate
     To inarticulate murmurs dies away,
     While the eternal ages was and wait.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Pondering: My Mother's Life




My mother died on Sunday. If you know anything about my journey with her, you know it has  been rocky for most of my life. She lived from a deeply wounded place. I know she loved Jesus, but she never knew how to take his grace into her heart and allow it to bring healing or change.  I know she loved me, and I loved her, too.

After a long period of estrangement, she had a stroke, and she needed me. Somehow we found common ground over books. I read aloud to her every week for close to ten years. We read every Mrs. Polifax novel ever written, along with many more. In the last year, she was unable to keep her attention on a book for more than a minute or two, so we had short visits filled with Facebook pictures of her great-grandchildren or just sitting. There is sadness, sometimes for what could have been and wasn't, but there is also peace in knowing she understands now all that she could not understand here.

I wrote this several years ago as I was making my way toward peace with her.

Mother's Lessons

She taught me gin rummy and badminton,
to make Chef Boyardee Pizza
with a crust ten-cent thin.
She taught me to make my bed
before I was out of it, to clean my room,
to fry chicken in a pan of Crisco,
to practice piano, to listen.
She taught me that homework came before play,
that a "B" was never your best,
that a hairbrush was not meant to collect hair.
She taught me justice, but without
mercy that makes it redemptive.
She taught me to be truthful, but
she meant her version, and it was seldom
spoken in love. She taught me
that getting your own way hurts
the ones close to you. She taught me
silence is not golden when it shuts people out.
She taught me that touch is tender, not tenuous.
She taught me family comes first.
She taught me to give, but gifts
with strings make one feel bought.
She taught me that kindness is
more important than the appearance of kindness.
She taught me when bitterness takes root,
you can lose your best friend.
She taught me God’s love--
without it I might not have survived hers.
She taught me to be a mother.
Sometimes knowing
what not to do is the best lesson.
Today I sat beside her bed and read.
I held her withered hand in mine
and kissed her wrinkled brow, because
I know what it means to need those things.
She taught me that.

© Doraine Bennett 2012


There is a strange feeling of having no more connection to my past, other than memories. A sense that the continuum from past to future has altered and there is only what lies ahead--my children, my grandchildren. A dear friend said, "It is the passing of a generation and this is worth noting and mourning." Indeed.

My nephew sang this song at the service.



And one verse shared by the pastor:

"Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope." 1 Thessalonians 4:13 (NIV)

I am profoundly grateful that death is not the end. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Out of My Comfort Zone


Yep. Out of my comfort zone. That's where I've been most of the day. Maybe one day I'll tell you about it, but in the meantime, just know, there is joy in the journey, even when it feels terribly unstable underneath your feet!

Pat hosts the roundup of posts over at Writer on a Horse.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Pondering: Appearances

Photo by Katie Moum on Unsplash


from At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald

"Ah, but there's another thing, Diamond: what if I should look ugly without being bad--look ugly myself because I am making ugly things beautiful? What then?"
...

"If you see me with my face all black, don't be frightened. If you see me flapping wings like a bat's, as big as the whole sky, don't be frightened. If you hear me raging ten times worse than Mrs. Bill, the blacksmith's wife--even if you see me looking in at people's windows like Mrs. Eve Dropper, the gardener's wife--you must believe that I am doing my work. Nay, Diamond if I change into a serpent or a tiger, you must not let go your hold of me, for my hand will never change in yours if you keep a good hold. If you keep a hold, you will know who I am all the time, even when you look at me and can't see me the least like the North Wind. I may look something very awful. Do you understand?"