Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thank you Ann Voskamp

The house is silent. And I am grateful. Quiet Time.  For stillness. For thoughtfulness.  For confronting the things deep within that are unsettled and wearisome and weighty enough that they illicit tears. I am cracked and parched and desperate for someone to soothe.

I reach for a book, words to fill the last few moments of wakefulness, and realizing the book I am presently reading (Frankenstein) is left downstairs, I reach out, almost reluctantly, for Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gift, which is a permanent fixture on my bedside table,  The past few days have been, well, a bit angsty and panicky and hard. The struggle for joy- a painfully real struggle. The ordinary, which I normally see as life giving and hope-filled,  clouded, not full of beauty, but dreadfully dull, monotonous, meaningless.

And yet, even in my dread, I reach for this book on thanksgiving and living the eucharistic life and find again what initially drew me to this work so many years ago: a source of healing, a promise of peace once again. Thanks. Giving thanks. Deliberately and constantly. If I felt the joy draining from me, perhaps it was because I stopped saying, "thank you" and forgetting, to quote my staretz, Mary Oliver, that "my work is loving the world." Loving the world right where I am at. Loving those right in front of me.

"I am a hunter of beauty and I move slow and I keep the eyes wide, every fiber of every muscle sensing all wonder and this is the thrill of the hunt and I could be an expert on the life full, the beauty meat that lurks in every moment. I hunger to taste life. God."

Thank you Ann Voskamp

Friday, June 6, 2014

Turning Seven

"The boys crowded into the kitchen, where they made a wonderful mess as they creamed the sugar into the butter, pounding fiercely with wooden spoons until they had achieved a perfectly smooth emulsion. They each broke one egg into a bowl, stirring with such vigor I was glad I hadn't given them a bowl made of glass. They measured flour and baking soda with enormous concentration, and buttered the pan so carefully that not a millimeter remained bare. Then they dusted it with clouds of flour. As I surveyed my ruined kitchen, it occurred to me that life really couldn't get any better than this." -froom Ruth Reichl's Garlic and Sapphires 

Russell chose carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, which he didn't eat.
Elliot chose chocolate cake with vanilla butter cream, which Russell did eat.

Happy Seventh Birthday to the Sons of Thunder!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Lovely to be Thy guest

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is...because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise Thee...because Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice. 
- from Psalm 63

There is a stillness enveloping this day. Inside I hear the rhythmic patter of feet running up and down the stairs, the flip of a light switch off and on; laughter pure and without reservation. I am roused from my drowsiness by a bird chattering her laud outside the kitchen window; the cicadas relentless in their droning song; the leaves gently fanning away the heat of the day; the slight ripple of water in the birdbath.

All of creation praises You but I do not.

What was I created for? To feed these children? To wash these dishes? To create a home? To hold a hand? To empty myself and embrace each person surrounding me, my sacred trust?

I am small, insignificant but the Lord is at my side.

I am here. "Be still. Listen," Christ seems to whisper. "You are not alone." 

The morning light flickers on the faces of the saints all around me and beckons me to remember. To remember that I am a part of a greater whole; a living thread in this crushingly beautiful tapestry of all creation, the Body of Christ.

Glory to Thee, O God, for the Feast Day of Life.

Cleaning up my kitchen today and found these thoughts from nearly a year ago scrawled on a piece of paper. The title and quotes were taken from my favorite akathist, http://www.saintjonah.org/services/thanksgiving.htm

Friday, May 23, 2014

A parent's prayer

Love begins at home, love lives in homes, and that is why there is so much suffering 
and so much unhappiness in the world today. If we listen to Jesus, He will tell us what He said before: 'Love one another, as I have loved you.' He  has loved us through suffering, dying on the Cross for us, and so if we are to love one another, if we are to bring that love into life again, 
we have to begin at home.
-Mother Teresa

O Heavenly Father, make me a better parent. 
Teach me to understand my children, to listen patiently to what they have to say, 
and to answer all their questions kindly. Keep me from interrupting them 
or contradicting them. Make me as courteous to them as I would have them be to me.

Forbid that I should ever laugh at their mistakes or resort to shame or ridicule 
when they displease me. May I never punish them for my own selfish satisfaction 
or to show my power. Let me not tempt my children to lie or steal. And guide me
 hour by hour that I may demonstrate by all that I say and do that honesty produces happiness.

When I’m out of sorts, help me, 0 Lord, to hold my tongue.
 May I ever be mindful that my children are children
and I should not expect of them the judgments of adults.

Let me not rob them of the opportunity to wait on themselves and to make decisions.
Bless me with the bigness to grant them all their reasonable requests 
and the courage to deny them privileges I know will do them harm. 
Make me fair and just and kind and fit me, O Lord, 
to be loved and respected and imitated by my children.

By Fr. James Meena, The Word, May 1978
Peace and Goodness.