Leaning Into The Questions

My husband brought home a wooden key holder from his parent’s house that was loaded with all kinds of old keys. He tells me that he may very well have been the one who made this, possibly as a Cub Scout project.  As I look at it I can imagine the concentration on his face as he painted it red and put the letters on it.  

The number of keys and the history of them make for some good stories. There is a collection of car keys, another that looks like keys to lock a cabinet or two… hanging on a peg that reads “garage”.  And there is this ring with all these old skeleton keys.  Those are the ones that set me to thinking of old doors and mysterious rooms and key holes that you could see through.  Squeaky hinges.  Old varnish or paint that might be peeling.  And a nail on the door frame, up high out of reach of small hands, a place to hang that key in case the door gets locked from inside.

skeleton keys

We learn at an early age that keys give you access to something, or they keep you out.  Keys to the car when you are old enough to drive.  Keys to your own house or apartment.  Keys to the office.  Access to a place, or a privilege, or information. Keys that we have to return when our job is done.

When I saw this bunch of keys the first time, I knew that there was something for me to learn here.

On my spiritual journey I have come to understand that I try too hard to find the illusive key.  In this culture of fast fixes, rapid responses, and constant information coming at us from all directions, it’s really easy to fall into the trap of having to be certain.  We think we need to have the answers.  I kept searching for the proverbial key that would unlock those answers for me.  

The questions I want to answer:  Who am I really?  And who is this Holy One?

I have been doing a lot of reading, mostly because I enjoy it, and partly because my participation in Souljourners requires it.  No, I have not found that illusive key, but I have learned something important.

Many of us are in the same awkward place, wondering who we really are as opposed to who we think we are supposed to be.  Thanks to some very brave people who have shared their stories over the centuries, I know that I am not alone.  Others have been down this path.

As much as I love reading those stories, I know now that those are not the answers to my own questions.  The stories are helping me see where to go next, pointing the way.  And I will continue to seek the wisdom of those who have gone before.  Which means I will still read books…

But the key. Ah, yes, the key that I want to find.  It does not exist.

What does exist is this Holy One who dwells within me (and you). What I am learning to do is to lean into the questions, wait in silence, and listen for the quiet voice from within.

My Intention

These days I walk to my garden to look at the sunflowers, the beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, kale, gourds, and squash.  I enjoy taking my time, often just standing there like someone who has never seen a garden before.

In the early hours of the day I see the dew still clinging to the leaves. My feet feel the dampness and some of the dirt clings to my sandals. A cardinal and a wren compete up in the trees to see who can sing best.  My senses are given such a gift as my hands touch the plants, the fragrance of the tomato plant, pungent and full of summer, brings back memories of gardens past.

What keeps me standing in that space, inside that fence, are the sunflowers, with the morning light filtering through those yellow petals, the fine little hair on the stalk and leaves. The stalk alone brings to mind the magic beans planted by Jack…

I circle and pause, circle and pause, moving a leaf here and there.  

Then as the sun climbs higher the bees arrive.  I can hear their soft hum and see the delicate wings.  I witness the miracle of their relationship; the flower needs the bees and the bees need the flower.  They exist for each other.

This is the gift of the day, this precious time to see and savor what is.  Time to hear those birds, to learn their songs and their colors. Time to feel the heat of a summer morning on my skin.  Time to watch a doe and her two fawns late in the evening as they go by. 

I could trade all this in and do something considered “ambitious” that would earn a wage. This goes through my mind a lot.  

But I don’t want to miss this.

My intention (which, by the way, is another word for ambition) is to stand in my garden and watch these miracles unfold.   

And share them with you.

**** Note ****
The first 3 images of this post are on my Flickr Photostream.
If you would like to have one as desktop wall paper for your computer,
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If you want to use my photos for any other purpose, please contact me using the
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Searching for kitchen scissors and other essential things

There is an awkward stage when you move into a new place.  Try as you might to make it home, it just feels foreign for a while.  The usual patterns, the familiar sights and sounds and smells are gone, replaced by boxes, new light coming through windows, new everything.  

This can be good. And overwhelming. But at least it’s only temporary.

Those elusive kitchen scissors turned up in a compartment in the car.  As I was searching for something totally different I happened to find them, safely tucked away in that “safe place”…which for all practical purposes might as well have been a deep cavern at the end of the earth.  I was ready to go purchase a new pair because this essential tool was something I really missed.    

That’s just how it goes around here.  I may be very organized in some areas, and a total wreck in others.  That box over there may have exactly what it says on the outside, but then again it could be a surprise.  Among all that stuff we packed and hauled with us we have so much more than we really need, and in due time it will all be sorted out and given a new place.

sanding the wood floors

One of the projects we have going is refinishing some wood floors.  Once the old carpet was removed it became very obvious that just cleaning the hardwood was not going to work.  So for several days my husband has been working diligently at getting that old finish removed, using a large drum sander first and now a belt sander around the edges.  

Oh, and did I mention the sawdust?   

daisy in black and white

While he has been sanding floors I have been working on removing old wall paper and boarders.  With every little bit of work that we do we can see the beauty of this old place, that original craftsmanship being revealed.  

There is a definite parallel between working on this house and working on my self.  I have some close friends who shared with me that they have had similar experiences with remodeling their homes, while major changes happened in their personal lives.  

Many years ago I heard a speaker talk about removing the layers of mud from our selves, those facades or masks that we wear.  Her point was about how we let this “mud” build up and hide the true diamond, our true self. And now, with every swipe of the sander, with each piece of wall paper that comes down, I think about the changes in the physical place and the changes happening deep within me. 

We’ll keep on sanding floors and sweeping up sawdust, tearing down wall paper, unpacking and rearranging.  The kitchen scissors will be kept in their new place in a drawer, ready to be used over and over.  Other things will be misplaced and found again.  

It’s all about moving.  

All about finding this new place and calling it home.  

Another Little Part of My Story

Adrienne Scanlon, the creator of My Memory Art Blog invited me recently to be part of a blog tour.  She hosts some fun link-ups such as Six Word Fridays, and Black & White Wednesdays. I appreciate her thoughtfulness and the fun she brings to blogging, plus I also enjoy her photos.  

In this post I will answer, or at least try to answer the questions she gave me.  The photos are included just … because.

1. How does your writing process work?

First there is procrastination.  
Then I might distract myself by getting a drink or snack, or both.  
Then I get frustrated. 
Finally….finally…I settle down and listen to the Nudges.  The Nudges don’t let me loose until I really do pay attention.  
Once I relax and open my heart, the words usually come.

Then I do a lot of editing.   

2. Why do you write what you do?
I write what I do because of those Nudges.
And because I have a story to tell, just like you.  This is how I choose to tell it, but using technology and photography.  Others tell there stories in different ways, different art forms.
I write what I do because I want my readers to enjoy the beauty that is all around us. We need this today in a world that only wants to point to what is wrong.  

3. How does your work differ from others in the same genre?

My work is different simply because it comes from me, from my viewpoint, through my own lenses (both literal and figurative).  Put 2 photographers in front of a subject and let them take images of it, and you will find some that are similar but some will be quite different.  Tell 2 people to write about an elephant and those writings will reflect much about who each person is.  

I believe I have been put here to share what I see, to show others the beauty in the simple things, to lift up this life and all its experiences through words carefully chosen.

4. What are you working on?
In the month of July I plan to write about “Going Home”, challenging myself to write 50,000 words again as part of National Novel Writing Month.   I’m thinking about the times we have moved into a new home and how it took a while for that place to feel like home.  This is a photographic challenge as well…what images of home tug at the heart?

In passing the baton to other bloggers I have chosen two gals who I consider to be dear friends, even though we have never met in person.   Cathy of Grandma’s Little Corner shares her amazing photos and stories of her life in Arkansas.  I also tagged Leon of Sea Blue Lens who also shares her lovely photos and writings online. I’m hoping that each one will share part of who they are in the coming weeks.