That beautiful scandeolus night

It has been a week that has rocked my world. On Monday I was planning for a very reflective Holy week and the day started well. And then so much went awry. My Dad had a seizure, and we met up at the Emergency Room. As we waited for some tests, we wondered if it would be a few hours, maybe an overnight admission perhaps? Then the Doc mentions his labs are good, but there is a mass in the brain. Life changed at that moment, and 5 days later we still do not understand precisely how. We are awaiting biopsy results, and today he moved from the hospital to rehab for a few days before coming home.

My admiration and love for my parents have grown significantly this week. Their ability to journey this week with deep faith, peace, and honesty has been poignant I am not sure I have the words that explain the sweetness we have experienced as a family in the difficult spaces. There has been time together, laughter, tears, prayers, and hope.

grateful.pngAnd so this morning as I put on my Grateful — Life is Good shirt I thought twice. Am I grateful in the midst of this week? I did not hesitate long, because I am grateful, even during difficult seasons. I am grateful for the presence of community, the kind words of friends, the power of prayer and the assurance of God’s presence and provision in all things.

One lesson we learned in our home was to never lose perspective to what is happening beyond our immediate reality. It has taken me time to learn to develop the art of holding what is real within my heart and keeping the bigger picture of looking out with a compassionate heart as well.

Tonight this means standing in the sacred space of Good Friday. It wasn’t a typical Good Friday for us. But it is Good Friday and no matter what is swirling in my head and heart, no matter what I fear or worry about, no matter what, on that beautiful scandalous night I/we were delivered and set free.

I will admit, my heart is aching, and my body feels the impact of a life-changing week. And yet,  I am grateful for so much but most of all, on this Easter weekend, I am thankful for that beautiful scandalous night!

 

The cost and the love…

Both of these things hang in my home. This week I hang them together.

deeply grateful

It is my favorite reminder of both the cost and the love that was demonstrated for all people in this holy week.

I don’t want this week to be like just any other week. There are opportunities for gathering at Church on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. I find those reflective, meaningful and powerful, but I also desire for my own engagement with Holy Week to be thoughtful, meaningful and compelling.

As I think about The Upper Room, The Last Supper and The Garden of Gethsemane, I think of all that was unfolding. The words of mystery, betrayal, saying goodbye, pleading with God, disappointment in friends (disciples), sorrow and surrender all come to mind. I wonder how these words resonate in your heart as you consider Jesus journey. I wonder where these words resonate in your own story?

I invite you to listen and watch this version of Were you there. The questions that are offered as the music plays can guide your heart to new and more profound spaces during this Holy Week.

 

It is my hope and prayer that as we reflect this week on God’s amazing sacrifice, love and promise, to us, His people, we will anchor our souls in profound gratitude and hope until the day He comes again.

 

Feeling different…

keepmovingI find this to be a good summary of where my head is right now. I shifted my focus in the past few months from wanting to hit my goals and become someone or something and decided to embrace the now. Of course, we all know that phrase, we all speak that phrase, but how do we live it?

My first go at living differently felt oddly familiar. I realized I was using the same words as I was trying to get away from. I was trying to just make different goals and try to become someone or something different in much smaller steps. But as I began to realize this, I realized my goals were still set by something outside of myself.

So, I think I have found my words to live by. I want to feel different in some way in the coming days, weeks, months and years. I want to feel where I am and where I am going. I want it to be something that comes from the inside out. I don’t want the scale, a size of clothing, or some magical something just out of reach to define me. I am weary of striving for something just out of reach and missing what surrounds me.

I am aware that there is a mystery in feeling different. There is something to discover each day. Will I feel different in my sleep and rest or will I feel different in my strength and body awareness? Will I feel different in how I am engaging my friends and family or will I feel different in the way I am creating spaces for myself or others in my life? Will I feel different in how I am soaking in the natural beauty of the outdoors or will I feel different in how I am accomplishing tasks that have been looming? There is so much opportunity to succeed!

And at the end of each day, I just jot a few notes in my journal about what I am noticing in my feeling different. The days I struggle to name something means I need to live more present, more intentionally, and sometimes more kind and gracious towards myself.

I wonder what areas you would like to feel different? Can you name them? Can you begin to identify what it might look like to just make different choices and trust that in those decisions to live in the moment, trust the now and focus on the next 24 hours, that over time, different will become real?

Who will join me in the commitment to make decisions that make a difference….for myself and for others!

 

 

 

 

 

Stick to it

Today I posted this on my facebook and was reminded to get back to blogging!

sticktoit

I enjoy writing, and I like how it helps me to focus at the end of each day, and yet so quickly I can lose the spaces that I have committed to making room for. So I am back to it and willing to go again.

Today was what I would call a warm winter day. In the summer if it were 50 degrees, we would all be in sweatshirts, but this morning I went out in my flip flops because the sun in Michigan in March just has a way of assuring us that spring is just around the corner.

img_7766And on this beautiful winter warm day, I went to my first potting party. It was such an excellent way to experience the promises of color and flowers and growth and beauty. And yet, what I saw today were small, ever so little, seedlings. We were encouraged to envision the growth and allow space in the pot for what is yet to come.

As I planted today, I was thinking of the words of one of my favorite Michael Card songs.

To hear with my heart
To see with my soul
To be guided by a hand I cannot hold
To trust in a way that I cannot see
That’s what faith must be
That’s what faith must be

img_7790I have faith that these seeds hold beautiful flowers that will bloom when nurtured and cared for. There are so many places I can go with that, but tonight I will marvel at how fun it was to play in the dirt, to spend time with friends and family, to share the hope and mystery of what our pots will look like in 6 weeks. I am grateful for the sunshine, the coming of spring and the promise of growth, beauty, and life!

I walk down the street…

I remember being in college reading Autobiography by by Portia Nelson

There was something about it that felt familiar

There was something about it that felt honest

There was something about it that felt freeing

There was something about it that felt empowering…

I wonder what resonates with you when you read this?

Have you ever fallen in the hole and felt powerless?

I wonder if you can feel the tension, the struggle, the despair, the anticipation, the relief, the hope?

I read it today and can still feel it. I am guessing I am not alone!

“I walk down the street.walking-down-the-street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes me a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.

walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.”

Are you playful?

I have enjoyed collecting rubber ducks.

I don’t have too many of them, but I do find myself buying one every now and then to add to this little grouping.

rubberducksThey don’t have a functional purpose, but they do carry a good reminder for me. This row of rubber ducks makes me smile and invites me to consider not taking life too seriously. They feel playful and remind me to choose playfulness somewhere each day.

I wonder what you have around your house or desk that reminds you to smile and approach the spaces you can with a little playfulness. There is a lot of heaviness and hardship in our world, on our news and in our lives. Find something that reminds you to bring lightness and joy into small spaces each day. Consider who would enjoy your light-hearted playfulness and invite them to join you.

Having time for play is as important for adults as it is for children — so make play part of your day! Here are 10 tips for being more playful:

  • Use the unscheduled time to be creative, to daydream, reflect and decompress
  • Appreciate playtime – whether it’s alone or with other adults or children
  • Smile and laugh often throughout the day
  • Try new things and experience the unexpected
  • Participate in a variety of arts/sports/activities whenever you can to expand your horizons
  • Make mental connections (e.g., “how else can I use this,” “what else can this do?”)
  • Sing and dance just for the fun of it
  • Spend time with the children in your life, observing them as they play, listening to their conversation, and following their train of thought
  • Cultivate a happy, joyful, positive attitude, full of gratitude for even the smallest, everyday things
  • Plan to make play a part of your day, whether it is indoor or outdoor, solo or social, active or quiet

Taken from: 10 WAYS ADULTS CAN BE MORE PLAYFUL

by Kathleen Alfano View Bio

How does she know…

It has been a big week in my world. Tonight there are many things I could write about that are big topics, but I am going to stick with the one that entered my mind this morning shortly after 6 am when I returned home from my workout.

How does my lab Dutchess discern what is unfolding?fullsizeoutput_2a9

When I come home from my workout, she barely wakes up. She never moves, and I only hear a wagging tail on my bed. She merely stretches and invites me to rub her belly by rolling to her side and throwing her legs up. Now, remember, this is her action every morning after my workout.

But whenever I come home from somewhere else in the morning, she greets me in the mudroom, but if it later in the day or evening, then she greets me and hugs me at the door.

IMG_1857How does she know?

And then there is the thing she does with her food. When we come and go from the house, she walks past her food dish every time. But when we come home between 5 and 6 or so she turns towards her dish, pulls it out of its holder and flips it around on the floor until I come to fill it.

And at the office, every day, she begins to get restless and rings the bell to go outside about 430 pm. She waits all day and somehow knows when we are thinking about wrapping up the day.

Dutch has spent many hours in the car with me. She comes and goes all day long with 2015-04-15 21.49.02me. She is content either with her head out the window or sleeping in the back seat. She can be snoring, but when I approach the street before my parent’s home or the corner near my house, she is instantly up and has her head out the window.

How does she know?

2015-02-10 18.16.25And then at the office, Dutch knows which Caregivers will greet her with love and scratching or even a treat and which caregivers rarely acknowledge her. How does she sort out 60+ people and respond accordingly when they walk through the door?

Trish Finals 225In all of the energy that went into living well this week, I find a simple joy and sense of peace when I am with my crazy, dear, loveable dog Dutchess.

I may never understand how she knows, but I am grateful for her kind nature and her IMG_0605oddly keen senses. This dog and I are pretty attached, as often friends or family will try to take her somewhere, and she knows I am in the office, she will plant herself in a sitting position and refuse to move. The only way she will go is back towards me.

What can I do, but admire her love, her loyalty and her commitment to enjoy the life she has been given!