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Seeds, Roots and Shoots

“Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.” – Theodore Roethke

“The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” – Bertrand Russell

The ground is hardening.
Ice is forming on the lakes.
Dormancy is on the doorstep.
Seeds that have been planted rest in the dark.
In due time, transforming to roots followed by shoots.
The work is done in the preparation, in the waiting.
Let the work of winter be done.
Spring is always the outcome.

“Your heart is full of fertile seeds, waiting to sprout.” – Morihei Ueshiba

27 Days

“The word advent means ‘expectation’. What advent can do for us is create a sense of hope.” – Louie Giglio

“Into this world, this demented inn in which there is absolutely no room for him at all, Christ comes uninvited.” – Thomas Merton.

Today marks the first day of Advent. The season of waiting, anticipation, hope. Amidst two years of an ongoing pandemic, politicization and polarization, allow this season to do its work in you, in all of us.

Author and historian Kate Bowler is offering a free 4-Week Advent Devotional – the season of almost. Daily readings to ignite color in winter, instill hope in the weariness of an ongoing pandemic and prompt reflection to give deeper meaning beyond the season.

I noticed a sign in my neighbor’s yard yesterday “Never Give Up.” Amen. We all need that simple and profound reminder to keep going and of our resilience and strength, hidden beneath frustration and disappointment. While this collective journey has been long, we will get through it, changed to be sure. And in the midst of the waiting, we need no permission nor approval to invite joy, peace and light in to make the journey holy and sacred.

“The season of Advent means there is something on the horizon the likes of which we have never seen before. So stay. Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. Wait. Behold. Wonder. There will be time enough for running.” – Jan Richardson

In the Details

“God is in the details.” – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

“Space is the breath of art.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

Enter new spaces outside and in.
Let them do work in you.
To settle.
To reignite wonder.
To inspire.
To prompt awe.
Breathe. Study. Love.
In the ordinary details, God awaits to be noticed, invited into each moment.
Already there.
Take notice.
Extend and accept the invitation.

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

Edges of Transformation

“Gratitude is the ability to experience life as a gift. It liberates us from the prison of self-preoccupation.” – John Ortberg

“What we observe as material bodies and forces are nothing but shapes and variations in the structure of space.” – Erwin Schrodinger

Edges.
Shapes.
Unfolding.
Change.
Cusp.
Observe.
Enter.
Seasons.
Nature.
A map.
A guide.
A bridge.
Destination – transformation.

“I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.” – E.B. White

Happy Thanksgiving

“O Lord that lends me life, Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.” – William Shakespeare

May this day of Thanksgiving celebrate and commemorate a life of daily gratitude.
In small and large things.
In difficulty and ease.
In imperfection and messiness.
In the middle of an ongoing pandemic.
On good days and challenging ones when we don’t rise to our best.
May we awaken to the power of perspective, the gift of joy unattached from circumstances.
Gratitude – the great multiplier.

Thanksgiving by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

We walk on starry fields of white
And do not see the daisies;
For blessings common in our sight
We rarely offer praises.
We sigh for some supreme delight
To crown our lives with splendor,
And quite ignore our daily store
Of pleasures sweet and tender.

Our cares are bold and push their way
Upon our thought and feeling.
They hand about us all the day,
Our time from pleasure stealing.
So unobtrusive many a joy
We pass by and forget it,
But worry strives to own our lives,
And conquers if we let it.

There’s not a day in all the year
But holds some hidden pleasure,
And looking back, joys oft appear
To brim the past’s wide measure.
But blessings are like friends, I hold,
Who love and labor near us.
We ought to raise our notes of praise
While living hearts can hear us.

Full many a blessing wears the guise
Of worry or of trouble;
Far-seeing is the soul, and wise,
Who knows the mask is double.
But he who has the faith and strength
To thank his God for sorrow
Has found a joy without alloy
To gladden every morrow.

We ought to make the moments notes
Of happy, glad Thanksgiving;
The hours and days a silent phrase
Of music we are living.
And so the theme should swell and grow
As weeks and months pass o’er us,
And rise sublime at this good time,
A grand Thanksgiving chorus.

 

Still Waters

“The Lord is my shepherd, shall not want; he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” – Psalm 23

“So much of our lives takes place in our heads – in memory or imagination, in speculation or interpretation – that sometimes I feel that I can change my life by changing the way I look at it.”― Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere

In memory and imagination;
In speculation and interpretation;
In thoughts and words;
In stillness and observation;
Pause and let still waters, still and fill your soul;
To feel the expanse, depth and richness of life;
To shift your view to see the same differently;
Sit still and allow stillness to take you on an adventure to yourself.
Slow. Attention. Stillness.

“In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still.”― Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere

A Thing Divine

“The earth laughs in flowers.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Gratitude by Lucy Maud Montgomery

“I thank thee, friend, for the beautiful thought
That in words well chosen thou gavest to me,
Deep in the life of my soul it has wrought
With its own rare essence to ever imbue me,
To gleam like a star over devious ways,
To bloom like a flower on the drearest days­
Better such gift from thee to me
Than gold of the hills or pearls of the sea.

For the luster of jewels and gold may depart,
And they have in them no life of the giver,
But this gracious gift from thy heart to my heart
Shall witness to me of thy love forever;
Yea, it shall always abide with me
As a part of my immortality;
For a beautiful thought is a thing divine,
So I thank thee, oh, friend, for this gift of thine.”

Choose your words well.
Plant seeds of kindness, joy and light.
Reap the harvest of good thoughts and deeds.
Flowers in bloom, laughter in color.
Gratitude and its expression, a divine thing.

The Other

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Jung

May you see yourself in the other.
Change me to we.
And be kind to both.

“If our love of God does not directly influence, and even change, how we engage in the issues of our time on this earth, I wonder what good religion is.” – Richard Rohr

In the Meantime…

“As you get older, you want less from the world; you just want to experience it. Any barriers to feeling emotions get dismantled. And ordinary things become beautifully poetic.” – Richard Linklater

“Small minds are concerned with the extraordinary, great minds with the ordinary.” – Blaise Pascal

Between points A and B lies the meantime;
Not quite there yet;
In between;
The middle;
In transition;

Like the water between fall and winter and winter and spring;
Frozen in areas and open in others;
Stable and unstable;
Clear and choppy;
We spend most of our life in the meantime;
Often bound up looking back to point A or ahead to point B;
Missing the space in between called the present;

Do not forgo the meantime;
Seeds are slowing becoming buds preparing to break ground;
Joy and contentment can be found in the waiting, in the journey, in the straddling, in ordinary days;

In the meantime, remain in the meantime.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – William Arthur Ward

The Presence of Wonder

“You have been my friend … That in itself is a tremendous thing.” – E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

“Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.” – E.B. White

The brilliance of animals is that they have figured out the power of wonder.
They know how to play.
They know how to rest.
They know how to forget.
They remain in lockstep with the present.
They are accepting without question.
A model friend.
And they unselfishly share it all with humans to lift up life a trifle.
May we all be as brilliant and generous.

“By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.” – E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

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