Winter Lights and Textures – Scene and Story

Keeping Warm

Snow on branches…feathery soft, waiting to be touched.

Footprints and shadows in the morning light…

Ice glistening on every single branch, crackling with the breeze…

Even the garden fence is dressed in diamonds.

Every blade of grass in frozen relief, catching drops of sunshine.

Meanwhile, a cat shelters himself in a basket, hoping to keep warm.

Keeping Warm

The weather is the scene and story in our part of the world today.

Today I’m sharing my post through a link up with Sarah of Paisley Rain Boots and Leon of Sea Blue Lens.  Click on the link to Sarah’s blog and you’ll see other bloggers have also shared their Scene and Story.

 

Thanksgiving

Sunset

My parents used to go to the river front and drink coffee, watch the barges go by, and take in views like this.  After my father died in August of this year my mother and my sister and I drove to the river front and enjoyed watching this sunset.  It was so peaceful.  I will never forget that sky, the river, and learning that mom and dad liked to go there to just hang out.

This Thanksgiving is the first one without Dad.  We are doing it differently this year, still with family and good food.  I have no doubt that it will be a good holiday.

What I will miss the most is his prayer just before a meal like the one we will have tomorrow.  Dad would often give thanks.  And many times over the years I know that I am not the only one who would be teary eyed when he finished.  His heartfelt prayers touched us all deeply.

Yes, it will be odd not having him there, but when we did have him with us he blessed us all.  And for this I am truly thankful.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with love and peace.

Common Ground

In my spiritual formation program at Souljourners I recently sat listening to a talk about various religions and the effects of the Reformation movement.  I was staring at the white board where the speaker had created a table and labeled the columns with the names of some religions, and then told us about certain aspects of each one that had been impacted by major events…all about five hundred years ago.

The goal was to show us how changes affect how we practice our religions, how after a while something gets stale, or in the words of another presenter…things begin to look a little funny.  When that staleness happens, when we don’t like the way things are going, eventually we move and change how we do things.

There have been, and continue to be, many re-formations.

As I looked at that table drawn on the white board, I saw the labels attached to these different ways of practicing faith. I heard the descriptions telling the practices of each one. I became aware that many of the women and men in the room with me at this presentation came from some of these different groups. One group member made the comment that fifty years ago it would have been unheard of for a group such as ours to meet together, let alone meet at the monastery where we sat together that day. And that simple, wise observation had a great impact on me.

What I heard in my heart as I read the descriptions on the board was that in spite of those labels (man made labels) all the people in those groups have one thing in common: belief in the higher power we call God.

That is the common ground that I saw that day.

But there is more to this story.

You, my readers, know from following this blog for a while now, that I seldom, if ever, speak up about politics. And even given the events of this week I am not here to promote my own beliefs upon you or anyone else.

What I do want to speak to is the common ground that we share as human beings.

First, we all breathe air. I had to remind myself of that earlier today when all the stress of this week was really bothering me, and I was trying to rest. The only way I could get my mind off all of it was to remember simply to breathe. Breathe in and inhale all that love, then send out love when you exhale. Those words became my mantra.

We live beneath the same big sky. We stand on the part of the earth set aside as America. The same sun and moon light our nights and days. We are women, men, daughters and sons, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, friends and strangers. We want so many of the same “things”, not all of them material. We may have families, we may be alone, we may be religious or not. We are all precious souls, and our lives are important no matter how we look, what we believe, how we vote, if we vote, where we live, our sexual orientation, our income, our military status, homeless or not.

Take away all the labels and look at each other.

Let’s think of what we have in common, and celebrate that. It’s a place to start.  A place where healing can begin.

November – You Have To Start Somewhere

 

 

November.

Cooler temps.  Colorful leaves.  Bare branches silhouetted against the sky.  The crunch of leaves underfoot.

Harvest is completed in most places.  The prevailing West winds rip across the open fields now that no crops stand in the way to slow it down.  A fire might burn in the fireplace, and the aroma of wood smoke becomes a sweet perfume.

We are hunkering in, bundling up a bit more, staving off the colder air.

I often think of fallen leaves as the “thoughts” that trees have had during the warmer seasons.  When the time is just right the trees let go and release those leaves, letting them soar on a breeze and float down to the ground.   This becomes Nature’s way of reminding me that I, too, have to let go of some things.

I have thought for a long while that I wanted to make a change to this blog space, hence the upgrade to WordPress you see here.  I’m still learning how to make it work, especially with the image sizes, and through it all I have concluded that the change is worthwhile.  At least for me.  I had to let go of the way of doing things and take a fresh look at what this is for and why I am doing it.

This month marks six years of blogging for me.  I had no idea how much I would enjoy doing this.  And I had no clue how challenging it can be to keep at it.

My very first blog post in November 2010 included these words:

“You have to start somewhere. That’s me, telling myself that I just need to get this going…

Each of us is on our own unique path. And along the way we all have moments that stand out, that make us who we are or change us in some way.  As I have become more aware, more present to the moment, I find that these  sacred times are more frequent.  Maybe, just maybe, if I get my stuff together I can share an image or a note about these little segments of my life.

That’s all. Just sharing. Opening my heart and letting you in, a little bit at a time.”

Here I am, beginning again, because you have to start somewhere.