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Posts tagged ‘Reflections’

Palm Sunday 2020

“No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.” – William Penn

As we enter this Holy Week from Palm Sunday to Good Friday to Easter, this Lent 2020 will be one to be remembered forever as we’ve walked it out through the bearing of our own crosses of a worldwide pandemic. Fear, uncertainty, stress, boredom, “unprecedented times” for our time at least.

I’d like to say that I’ve spent the last 40 days studying the Bible, in hours of praying the rosary. I haven’t. But I have felt God’s presence daily rather than just on Sunday’s for an hour. Much of the time has been spent reflecting on me and my life to now and where it should be, in dozens of meetings to keep work going and planning for the other side, clearing clutter and preparing the house for painting so new floors can be installed and getting outside a lot with the dogs. In sum, the past days have been about me and the impact of COVID-19 on my life and those who I love.

Self-reflection is the point of Lent. To look within, take inventory, be quiet, reflect, repent, forgive, embrace and prepare for the third day of resurrection, of becoming a new person, our best self that already exists and is being called out to play and stay. The “end-game” of Lent is to die to self and to accept the grace and mercy of the cross, of resurrection and new life. To let go of old ways, to strengthen our compassion, forgiveness and empathy muscles to flex them with the world like never before. To realize that we are and always have been held and carried by God. In carrying our own crosses, we get but a glimpse of what Jesus accomplished and offered up by dying on the cross for us. Now that’s really living out Lent.

This Lent has been our own collective invitation to enter silence, let go of fear and control, to change our priorities, to love deeper and hug longer. In boredom, in struggle, in loneliness, in the desert, we are being transformed, the cocoon to butterfly, the seed to bloom, from thirst to hydration. And just as winter always turns to spring, Lent always turns to Easter. Resurrection, changed, new and never to return to our old selves. Muted colors become brilliant. Flowers more fragrant. Gratitude for what already is within us deepened.

This has been a holy, sacred season. Reflect on the lessons during this Holy Week, read the passion of Christ – from the last supper, to 30 silver coins, to being denied by his best friend three times followed by the cock crowing, to the agony of being nailed to a cross. And 3 days later, the stone rolled away from the tomb to resurrection. We are truly living out Lent this year on this journey. And as we grieve the dying to our old self, prepare to be overwhelmed with the transformation to who we are meant to be – Easter people, filled with hope, love, trust, joy and faith.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

“Do you realize that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you – for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart.” – St. Therese’ of Lisieux

“We give glory to You, Lord, who raised up Your cross to span the jaws of death like a bridge by which souls might pass from the region of the dead to the land of the living. We give glory to You who put on the body of a single mortal man and made it the source of life for every other mortal man.” – St. Ephrem of Edessa


“Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life. Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall. Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone. Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring.” – William Alexander

After high 30s yesterday and with a steady increase into the 50s the next few days, the snow will melt transforming the hard ground into soft green grass. The spring thaw uncovers not only the girls’ toys but my socks that they’ve snuck out the past four months. When they grabbed one this morning, I let them go knowing clean up begins today and it gave me a good laugh.

“Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment.” – Ellis Peters

“Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment.” – Ellis Peters

The thaw brings a newness and fresh start that we all need on many levels. It’s been a particularly busy three months and there’s been a lot of autopilot just grinding it out, doing more and more. Frozen and buried in habits of too much doing.

As winter transforms to spring, so can we. The thaw of our judgments, assumptions and ego makes way for hope, joy, kindness and delight in each day. The buds asleep beneath the earth break through and the beauty and promise of what’s next reveals itself in its own time. Cast light and let the thaw begin.

It’s Ok

Amidst the busyness today, I tripped into a conversation with a friend with the simple question – how are you, really? And then sat quietly to listen to her share some personal struggles she’s dealing with right now.

And as we all do, we try to recount our blessings and gifts to guilt our way out of the feelings of loss and confusion. But it’s just not enough to move us from grieving over unexplainable setbacks. And instead of glossing over or discounting our feelings, we need to simply be ok to remain where we are, knowing that it’s not permanent and that it’s going to be ok, even when it’s not ok at this very moment.

These difficult days, weeks, months of contemplation and mourning of what’s not come or what’s not to be need to play out, to be felt, to be moved through. And when we begin the journey to the other side, we are changing and growing deeper into who we are and meant to be. Moved to our core, our very soul.

The most meaningful gift we can give each other is to stop, be present, listen fully and share that while we suffer at times individually, we are never alone. And when we allow tears to flow, the healing can begin. Everything can’t be explained in this moment. But faith and hope carry us and we can carry each other as well. And that’s enough and we’re enough. It’s ok.


“The rigid cause themselves to be broken; the pliable cause themselves to be bound.” – Xun Zi

To remain as clay, to be shaped and moved
Unfinished but evolving
Soft and pliable
Not the same as yesterday
Not what will be tomorrow
Ever present to what is now
Unfolding and grounded
Unwilling to turn to stone
Open to possibilities, to new beginnings
To be clay

Park Your Mind

“Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you.” ― John De Paola

As I pondered what to do more of or do less of during Lent, the answer suddenly revealed itself loud and clear – SLOW DOWN. So often, I rush through, multi-task, check off lists, faster, bouncing, quantity over quality. And I know I’m not alone. This is the way of the world. And it’s hollow.

We need to park our mind each day to be present, to listen, to stop the fleeting thoughts that keep us off balance. Pull over and put it in park. Take time to gaze, graze, watch the clouds float by, to breathe in the beauty and fragrance of a single flower.

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” – Ansel Adams

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” – Ansel Adams

Spring Fling

“While we are living in the present, we must celebrate life every day, knowing that we are becoming history with every work, every action, every deed.” –  Mattie Stepanek

“Whoever is happy will make others happy too.” - Anne Frank

“Whoever is happy will make others happy too.” – Anne Frank

We welcomed Spring today in Minnesota with a temperature of 7 degrees, snow hip deep and a delightful breeze, often referred to as windchill. Last year, it was in the 70s. We then worried that it was too warm too quick. The topic of this week – the unseasonably cold weather and the longing for Spring after a long Winter. I’ve been an active participant in the weather chirping.

Every night this week, despite my initial, rational judgement, I ran 2-3 miles with the girls. Quite frankly, it wasn’t that enjoyable. However, it did shift my perspective from what “should be” to “what is” and to dive in and make the most of it. Like so many things out of our control, the weather is fleeting and temporary. The only true impact I can make is my view of the view.

So, it’s time to fling into Spring.


“Whatever we are waiting for – peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance – it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach

As we wait in the desert, we can prepare and take inventory in peaceful solitude. Drowning the silence, the world shouts “MORE, MORE, MORE.” In the quiet of our heart, we discover that we already have more than enough,  abundance overflowing. No mirage, a real oasis in the middle of the desert.

Christmas, The Sequel

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” – John Milton

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.” - Joseph Campbell

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.” – Joseph Campbell

The story of Christmas need not end today. Christmas shows us the very best in us, our capacity for generosity, kindness and love. Carry the spirit forward into each day. And the good news is that we are not alone in the sequel. Joy is found in the name, Emmanuel – God is with us.

“Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel.”  – Isaiah 7:14

Merry Christmas, today, tomorrow and the next…

Winter Solstice

“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.” – Anton Chekhov

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” - Albert Camus

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus

Winter solstice reminds us that all of our days are short. Choose your thoughts, words and actions with careful consideration and careless generosity.

Each day, there are people who need our kindness, compassion, attention, patience and understanding. Without judgment, measurement or reserve, give yourself away to make each moment better, filled with joy and delight.

Shine your light bright through every season.  Our love is depleted when we don’t give it away. The more you give away, the more will return to you.


“Winter came down to our home one night
Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,
And we, we were children once again.” – Bill Morgan, Jr.


“So often we try to gird ourselves to face a harsh and difficult world when we might instead gentle both ourselves and our world by slowing down.” – Julia Cameron, Walking in this World

Walk softly through this day and observe. You can be a gift to someone who may be having a really tough day. Don’t race by. Go deeper instead of farther. A smile, a laugh, a hug, a helping hand, your full attention – all simple acts that can transform your corner of the world. This race is won by the slow.

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