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Morning

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I have relished mornings in this place The bright rays of sun bursting forth Casting shadows yet warming the air Birds caw and glamor for breakfast Coffee for me, hot and strong A little soft jazz on the Bluetooth speaker And funny bunny running here and there
Morning breezes gentle wind Reading, wondering, half expecting That there will be an integration of Thoughts and ideas into a new whole Made available because life is slower And quieter and I have no place I have to be
This week has been a time to read Knit, paint, draw, walk, rest All alone, but for the company  Of a rabbit, who is amusing In his quiet way, Nose moving as he sniffs at life
I draw in my own deep breath Fresh morning air With a hint of lake water Let me soak in this Let it stay with me  Let it carry me forward

Last day

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Hard to believe that I have been here eight days and my mini sabbatical is coming to an end. Tomorrow I pack up and leave for Door County where I will spend time with Joanne and David Skidmore, long time friends. Joanne and I were in seminary together, 25 years ago this September. Then I head home on Friday. 
This last day has been restful. As usual I lounged in the morning sun, the cool breeze, with a cup of coffee and some reading. I have been a coach with Faithwalking for the last ten weeks, and today was the final coaching session. So I read the materials and prepared a little mediation that connected the materials to the concerns that my mentees are working on in their lives - issues of self-differentiation as women in the world today. I was particularly focused on Jan Richardson’s book, In the Sanctuary of Women, and her reflections on the story of Eve. Eve - who’s hunger and desire led her to the tree and to the fruit of knowledge. She ate because she was hungry.  This, Jan said…

Inebriating Grace

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Sunday morning. I’ve been here one week and near the end of my time. Last night was rough, lots of bangs, whooshes, wizzes, and pops from neighborhood fireworks until about midnight. It was beautiful though, with the full moon rising in the midst of it all. Sleep came late and therefore I ended up sleeping in later. Still it was cool and quiet morning. My church today was coffee and reading “Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire,” by Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Ann Parker. I love this book, although it is a slow read for me as she reframes Christianity through the ideas and images of the early church. Then the focus appears to be on love, earth as the paradise of God because God created it, loves it, and inhabits it through Jesus and now us...Images of death and the body of Jesus on the cross did not show up in Christian imagery until the 10th century. Until then the focus was not on death but on grace and love and life, and on how…

Hesychasm

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What sounded like a blue jay, but might have been another bird, was complaining loudly enough this morning to wake me up. CAW! CAW CAW! I don’t know what had it so annoyed, but it voiced it’s complaints loud and clear for a good long while. I could only laugh, for the sun was shining and the air was its usual softness, gently blowing over me from the opened window. 
With the coffee started I checked in on Tokki, opened his crate door and gave him his breakfast nibbles. A moment later I heard the rattle of metal as he jumped out and joined me in the kitchen. Good morning little guy. And then he was off for his morning round of rabbit cardio run. Apparently the bird decided it had voiced it’s  concerns long enough and settled down. I poured a big mug of coffee and settled down myself to read and start my day. I’m still in the first chapter of Jan Richardson’s book, “In the Sanctuary of Women” and her reflections on Eve and the hunger of desire. What if, she writes, instead of hiding from…

Day Five: Light

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This morning dawned cooler than previous days, the air was soft, the breeze, gentle. I made coffee and let Tokki out of his crate. He ran around and did his morning calisthenics. Keenly aware that this is day five, more than half way through this time of solitude, I got to work on the icon.
Like yesterday, today was a big day. I ventured off from the directions in the self-guided book, in part because I am using a different image of Jesus than the book uses. And the icon I brought with me uses different colors and shading, which I tried to emulate. After working for a few hours I went to check on Tokki, who was back in his crated. So I locked the door and went for a walk. 
Today I walked southeast, heading to the Huron Mountain Bakery, about 25 minutes away. I followed the path along the lake, it was a new route for me, past the iron ore storage bins which were used to collect ore from ships up until 1971. That’s it on the left side of this photo. It’s huge and unsightly, although histo…

Surrender

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In my mind I anticipated the UP of Michigan to be cooler than where I live in SE Michigan. What I’ve discovered is that it is not that much cooler. Yes, there is a lovely soft breeze off of Lake Superior that is cool. However it is also very warm in the sun and in this second floor apartment without air conditioning. Tokki, my sabbatical rabbit companion spends much of his day laying on the kitchen floor tiles in direct line of the breeze from the fan. Today Tokki and I sat on the floor together, I rubbing his face between his eyes, he licking my knee. We have surrendered ourselves to this living together in the heat. It’s really not bad though, since I am not huge fan of air conditioning and prefer to have opened windows. 



This morning I finally made it to the lakeshore for sun rise. I was about an hour too late for the actual sun over the horizon, but at 6:10 a.m. it was barely up. The light was gorgeous, the air cool and gentle, refreshing and simply glorious.




Following that vigorous…

In the beginning

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An icon writing retreat begins with time reflecting on the creation story in Genesis. Joseph Malham, author of the self-guided icon retreat book I am using, writes that the reason for creating an icon is to embark on a journey, in prayer and silence, in which one will come to know intimately a person, Jesus or Mary the Theotokos, or the Trinity, or some other, as a portal into deeper awareness of God’s truth and beauty. It is a journey that entails an inner dynamic of speaking and listening, listening and speaking. 
In the beginning, God created. God pulled forth from a swirling mass of chaos and set it in order - earth, sky, sun, moon, land, water and all living creatures. 
In the beginning God created humankind from the dirt of the land. This earth creature was blessed. Ellen Davis, OT theologian and professor at Duke, says that God blesses all creatures to grow fruitful and multiply, not just human kind. The NRSV says that all creatures of the waters and air are to grow fruitful and …