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Showing posts from February, 2010

Out of Arizona

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One of these days I may write a novel. Or maybe just a meditation book with photos from our time here and reflections. One of my favorite photos is this one of the rainbow, taken from our backyard. I have photos of sunsets and ground squirrels and monsoon rains. All striking, the beauty of this place. Regardless I'll call it "Out of Arizona." It will begin something like:

"I once lived in a house in the mountains of Arizona, amongst pecan orchards, swirling dragonfly's and flitting hummingbirds.The days were dry, sunny, and sometimes scorching hot. An occasional life-giving rain became a sign of hope in an otherwise parched place"

As my husband and I prepare to drive out of here on Thursday we count our losses: income, home, car (yes, still waiting to see if Volkswagen will fix our Passat), furniture that won't fit in the truck that we had to load ourselves and now, will drive ourselves. We will leave one child here, going to school and living with family…

Both Sides, Now

In the early 1970's, when I was in high school, I listened to Joni Mitchell. I loved her "Blue" album, in particular. Somewhere along the way, while in college I think, I drifted away from her and don't even have any of her music on my iPod. That is until I woke up with this song in my head.

I'm thinking that maybe I've rounded the bend as I move into my last few days in Arizona. Pointing my inner compass northeast,I'm trying to look at both sides. The side that contains all the hopes and dreams that brought me here, the side that holds my hopes and dreams for returning to Chicago, and the side that holds my hopes and dreams for the future.

More than both sides, I'm trying to see all sides...but mostly,through all the hopes and dreams, I'm trying to see through the illusions, to see clearly this time, or as clear as one can.

I'm also thinking about love. I'm thinking that my time here was like a love affair gone bad. No one knew, at it…

Chaos

I moved two years ago. Now, in a curious, perhaps organic, symmetry, I am moving again, in the same week, but reverse direction. The last move happened quickly, involved a lot of travel back and forth to new location, was very hectic and filled with chaos. I should have seen that as a sign of what was to come.

Now, as we are in the final days of packing, one could say that our house is in complete chaos. Boxes everywhere. Shredded paper all over the floor. Empty cabinets, and a garage in the midst of a staging ground for the moving truck on Wed.

But the reality is, despite how the house looks, this move is much more organized. I have had the time to go through our files and shred things that should have been shredded before our last move: 11 year old bills and bank statements, checks from an account we closed 5 years ago. Stuff, that in the haste and chaos of the last move, got packed and came with. Now all those files have been shredded. I will be moving two near empty file cabinets a…

RevGals Friday Five: Spring into Lent

Sophia offers this RevGals Friday Five Meme on Lent an Spring:

1. Did you celebrate Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday this year? Any memories of memorable celebrations past? We did not celebrate either this year...at least we did not eat pancakes at church. I think we had some delicious grilled chicken. My most memorable Shrove Tuesday was the year we hosted a pasta dinner at church and sponsored the speaker from the refugee ministry who helped us develop our ministry with refugees.

2. How about Ash Wednesday, past and/or present? At small church Ash Wed. became a deeply mystical time as the church was transformed from silver and brass to wood, candles, rocks (to build prayer cairns), and bare branches and twigs instead of plants and flowers. It spoke deeply of journey, of simplicity, of desert, of earth in winter waiting to burst forth into new life.

3. Does your denomination or congregation celebrate "this joyful season"? Any special emphases or practices to share? Lent is my favor…

Atlas

I bought an atlas yesterday. It was a spontaneous purchase at the local U-Haul where my husband and I were picking up more packing and moving supplies. Our big move back to the Midwest takes place next week, the end result of our lease being up here and my ongoing job search. It will be good to be back in Chicago, even if only temporarily. We have family to see, my aging mother in law, my brother with cancer, and our daughter, who we will live with. We have restaurants we want to visit and friends to see. It will be good even as it will be difficult. The atlas will help us get there, although that's not really why I bought it. I've made the trip numerous times, this will be my third in less than six months. So, I know the route, and the stopping places, the gas stations and places to eat. No. I bought the atlas for another reason.

Ok. Actually I did buy it for part of the trip. I have been confused several times on the toll road through Oklahoma. Mapquest will tell me to take a…
Nothing is Impossible. The word itself says, ‘I’m Possible’. (Audrey
Hepburn) from wainida

Monday Morning Musings

This morning I am relaxing with a cup of coffee as I reflect on the year past, and the potential for the year ahead. It's my birthday today, so a good time for this reflection.

The past year has been one of the most challenging I've ever faced. But there is some hope for the coming year, and for that I gave thanks.

Today, though I am in the midst of a house that is adjusting to the new girl my son brought home. Yes, that's her photo in my header. A friend of a friend was giving away a puppy and he took her. She's very sweet and smart - learns fast! But my household is all wonky adjusting to her. The older momma dogs are doing well enough - a little stressed - but mostly ok. The cats are a bit put out. Especially my sons cat - who is a black mini version of the dog. She seems the most upset and recently smacked the puppy, claws out. No harm done, except to the puppy's ego.

Later today my son will head north with the puppy, back to school. And my house will return to a …

More Questions

LXXII by Pablo Neruda

If all the rivers are sweet
how does the sea get its salt?

How do the seasons know
they must change their shirt?

Why so slowly in winter
and later with such a rapid shudder?

And how do the roots know
they must climb toward the light?

And then greet the air
with so many flowers and colors?

Is it always the same spring
who revives her role?

Knitting Olympics

I registered just in time, for the knitting Olympics....you can read about it on Mary Beths Blog. Suffice it to say I'm making a pair of socks. The challenge will be completing them in the time frame of the olympics, especially since we are moving from Feb. 24-March 1....meaning, they really need to be finished on Feb. 23. Yikes. And I can't start for another couple of hours...

RevGals Friday Five Meme: Fab-February

Jan over at RevGals posts this fabulous Friday Five:

1. When February comes along, how do you feel about the coming month? Well, as February is my birthday month... and since I was born the day after Valentine's Day..I tend to like February. I enter the month with a sense of hopefullness for the coming year. And, I started blogging three years ago in anticipation of my 50th birthday and have been blogging ever since - which has definitely been a fun thing to do - and created a whole new life for me with a group of fabulous blogging friends!

2. What memories do you have about Valentine's Day? Are you doing anything to observe it this year? I really loved making Valentines Day boxes out of old shoe boxes. I had fun creating them and I was really concerned with giving everyone in my class a card - and often a little gift as well. Sometimes I'd tape a lollipop to the cards or include candy hearts.

Also, my husband and I got engaged on Valentines Day, 25 years ago. We went to thi…

The challenges of being authentically who you are...

I've often wondered about the toll this is taking on the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Another Question

See my previous post for more about Pablo Neruda's poems...

XXXIII

And why is the sun such a bad companion
to the traveler in the desert?

And why is the sun so congenial
in the hospital garden?

Are they birds or fish
in these nets of moonlight?

Was it where they lost me
that I finally found myself?

The Book of Questions

One of the books I bought on impulse the other day was Pablo Neruda's "The Book of Questions." It's poetry book of questions. Here's an example:

LXVII

Can you love me, syllabary,
and give me a meaningful kiss?

Is a dictionary a sepulchre
or a sealed honeycomb?

In which window did I remain
watching buried time?

Or is what I see from afar
what I have not yet lived?

Each poem is presented in its English translation and the original Spanish.

The inside cover says this: In The Book of Questions, Pablo Neruda refuses to be corralled by the rational mind. Composed entirely of unanswerable couplets, the poems integrate the wonder of a child with the experiences of an adult. Whether comic, surreal, or Orphic, Neruda's poignant questions lead the reader beyond reason into realms of sudden intuition and pure imagination.

It's a delightful little book.

The Night Traveler

Passing by, he could be anybody:
A thief, a tradesman, a doctor
On his way to a worried house.
But when he stops at your gate,
Under the room where you lie half-asleep,
You know it is not just anyone -
It is the Night Traveler.

You lean your arms on the sill
And stare down. But all you can see
Are bits of wilderness attached to him -
Twigs, loam, and leaves,
Vines and blossoms. Among these
You feel his eyes, and his hands
Lifting something in the air.

He has a gift for you, but it has no name.
It is windy and wooly.
He holds it in the moonlight, and it sings
Like a newborn beast,
Like a child at Christmas,
Like your own heart as it tumbles
In love's green bed.
You take it, and he is gone.

All night - and all your life, if you are willing -
It will nuzzle your face, cold-nosed,
Like a small white wolf;
It will curl in your palm

Like a hard blue stone;
It will liquify into a cold pool
Which, when you dive into it,
Will hold you like a mossy jaw.
A bath of light. An answer.

Mary Oliver: from Twelve Moons: 1979

Monday Morning Musings

This Monday, as I watch the news and read blogs and facebook, I am wishing we lived in the area where they are having a snow day.

I know. Call me silly.

But, it's true.

Last

I am in the process of living through a series of "last time"...the last time I will have lunch with this particular group of women clergy. The last time I will see this massage therapist. The last time I will see this acupuncturist. The last time I will take this walk. The last time I will make this drive. And so on.

Much of my energy has been focused on finding the date when we will move and thus establishing this cycle of "last time." Now that we have that date, and the truck has been ordered, and the packing is in full swing, the lasts are all happening too.

Yesterday I drove, for the last time, the beautiful back road desert drive, to my Spiritual Director's house. You may remember that my SD here is the same SD I saw for many years when I lived in Chicago. I began having monthly visits with her when I was in seminary, 15 years ago. We continued long after seminary and through my first two calls as a priest. Then, about five years ago she retired and moved w…

RevGals Friday Five: Pointing Toward Spring...

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(Photo of a hummingbird moth in lavender, from my backyard)

Sally over at RevGals offers this Friday Five Meme wondering what to do on a rainy day that points toward Spring...

1. Exercise, what do you do if you can't face getting out into the cold and damp? I have a routine that includes rotating through the week: twenty minutes of core ab work plus bicep/tricep with weights; two twenty minute yoga routines (one for morning and one for afternoon); an indoor exercise bike; and two yoga DVD's with 60 minute and 96 minutes practices. Using one, or a series of these, gives me ways to move when I'm stuck indoors.

2. Food; time to comfort eat, or time to prepare your body for the coming spring/summer? I don't do much comfort eating. But like my cycle of exercise I have a daily "practice" of must have dietary needs: Morning - coffee. After several cups of coffee I usually have a big bowl of plain yogurt with honey and granola. Afternoon: dark chocolate and Earl Grey te…

Letting Go

When I left St. Homeostasis a few months ago I received some good advice from a colleague, the Jungian Priest. He said, "It's a sick church, let it go."

Letting go seems to be a theme in my life these days, something I blogged about in my post yesterday on the yoga DVD Gravity and Grace. A day later I find myself thinking more about this:

"In letting go, by relaxing into the postures, one builds strength, stamina, and flexibility. Counter-intuitive, perhaps. But I think there is great wisdom in that principle which can be applied to life in many ways - letting go, breathing, relaxing into the posture, the situation, or whatever life throws at us - builds us up. Letting go is not the same thing as collapsing or giving up, letting go is a process of holding a very difficult posture/life experience while at the same time breathing, relaxing into it, and letting go."

This process of letting go, as I describe above, is a process of working through resistance. Stiff mu…

Gravity and Grace

Yesterday I practiced, for the second time, the 96 minute sequence of the Hatha Yoga DVD, Gravity and Grace. This time it was a little less weird but still very hard. I do not think of myself as a beginner in yoga practice, but this DVD makes me feel like a novice, and points out just how stiff my (almost) 53 year old body really is. Granted, I am a lot less stiff than I was four months ago or a year ago. And by some standards I'm pretty flexible, even for my age. What I like about the DVD is that I come out of the practice feeling like I had a real work out - slow, intense, deep, powerful. And I suspect as I practice this for the next year or so it will slowly become less weird and less difficult. And maybe I'll become more flexible and strong. That is the point of Gravity and Grace, flexibility and strength, and stamina. It's the idea built on the principle of "letting go."

In letting go, by relaxing into the postures, one builds strength, stamina, and flexibil…

Grace and Gravity, again

Yesterday I practiced, for the second time, the 96 minute sequence of the Hatha Yoga DVD, Grace and Gravity (or is it Gravity and Grace?). This time it was a little less weird but still very hard. I do not think of myself as a beginner in yoga practice, but this DVD makes me feel like a novice, and points out just how stiff my (almost) 53 year old body really is. Granted, I am a lot less stiff than I was four months ago or a year ago. And by some standards I'm pretty flexible, even for my age. What I like about the DVD is that I come out of the practice feeling like I had a real work out - slow, intense, deep, powerful. And I suspect as I practice this for the next year or so it will slowly become less weird and less difficult. And maybe I'll become more flexible and strong. That is the point of Gravity and Grace, flexibility and strength, and stamina. It's the idea built on the principle of "letting go."

In letting go, by relaxing into the postures, one builds …

Monday Morning Musings

Yesterday I had a wonderful morning at BitS (Back in the Saddle) Church. I'm going to miss that place and the fine people who work and worship there. Afterward my husband and I took the dogs out. The house we live in is "on the market" and the realtor had an open house. Which means we spent hours prepping the house and making it look pretty. Not easy when half the house is packed and the other half is in varying stages of being packed. Anyway, we had to disappear for two hours. Our first stop, of course, was dog park. Lots of dogs were there as well, so everyone had a good time. After about 70 minutes of dog park we loaded up the dogs and headed over to Starbucks for a coffee. That was delightful too. My husband and I rarely go out "just for coffee." When we returned to the house a stream of people were still coming in and out. Turns out there had been over 40 people through the house. 2/3 of those, apparently, are just the Sunday afternoon loafers and curiosit…