Welcome to my Blog!

Welcome to my blog! Of course if we were visiting in person, I'd have the teapot out and we could sit and chat.
I'm honored you stopped by to listen to my thoughts and ponderings - and if you have a minute sometime, let me know you dropped by!

You can also find me on Facebook at Grace Notes, Thoughts and Prayers.

I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Ditching the Busy Life

I've been noticing lately... how often I use the word "busy".

And I have noticed often I hear the word "busy" in conversation.  We are a busy lot!

I have been making a conscious effort to use this word less often, and since I've been noticing, I'm realizing how hard this really is!

I decided last week to write a blog about it, and was very amused when that VERY day I get an e-mail from a family member with the subject title "You are a very busy lady!".


I wondered, as I reclined in my easy chair this evening, doing my computer puzzle, how I pull off that persona.  I have come to believe it myself.

And yes, my life is full.  It is rich.  And I am so grateful it is meaningful.

And sometimes, like this very week, I need to slow down, to rest, to savor life.  Yesterday was our wedding anniversary.  Nineteen years!  So I didn't write a blog, like I usually do on Tuesdays, we both took a day off any scheduled work, and scheduled play instead.

We had a lovely picnic at the beach - and I love picnics!  And then wandered around the Okanagan in the air-conditioned comfort of our car and just took in the beautiful scenery of our beautiful valley.

It truly was a lovely day.

I am grateful for every day I am well and have energy to do the tasks before me.  I understand so well when pain and lack of energy get in our way.

And so I'm ditching the word "busy".  Yes, my life is full.  Full of good things, of being with people, of ministry opportunities, of listening, of delighting in relationships with family and friends.My calendar is full of good things.

And it is also full of wondrous ordinary things, like laundry - I have lovely clothes to wear, like a simple garden to tend which produces beauty and food,  like a messy kitchen where we just concocted a lovely nourishing meal.

I am grateful for each new day, as I get up and shake off the aches, and I can thank God for fresh air, for beautiful scenery, for the gift of coffee, and so much more.  I am alive!

This year my theme word is JOY.  I have found that it is often a choice.  The more I see life as a gift, and practice gratitude I am nourished by joy.

There is no boredom here... another word to throw out!  There is life to live, work to do, loved ones to care for, and a deep gratitude for life itself.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Just Stay Calm

Just stay calm.  Easier said than done.

The other day I had volunteered to help at a center set up for fire evacuees and found myself swamped almost immediately with inquiries, needs, patiently waiting people, things coming at me from too many directions,  and the enormity of the challenge overwhelmed me temporarily.

I was on a learning curve, to be sure, but the sheer volume of displaced people in our province at the moment is staggering.  It was heart-warming for me to see the residents of our community stepping forward - the white boards that people could write down what they could do for the evacuees were full, full of offers for housing, pet care, places for live-stock.  Volunteers are amazing.

I'm reminded of the statement I often use when visiting with those in waiting rooms at the hospital.  It's all about hurry up and wait.

In our province, people have fled from the fires, some with minutes to spare, with little with them, to find themselves in waiting rooms, line-ups, and the waiting can be difficult.  The unknowing is the worst of all.

And yet, so many I've seen are grateful and taking it in stride.  Others are frustrated, and often, justifiably so.

How does one stay calm?

Breathing helps.  Deep breaths, breathing in deeply, letting out the tension.

Gratefulness helps. I believe firmly that there is always something to be grateful for, even though it can be very challenging.  I met with a person recovering from a stroke the other day, struggling with paralysis.  This is not easy to be sure.  But I could have a conversation with her, and I told her how wonderful that was, that she still had a voice.  Her demeanor changed... something to be grateful for in the midst of a trial!

Helping helps!   I love looking around me, looking at the helpers, the encouragers, those who give a cheerful smile, and a encouraging word.  I am inspired by them.  Helping gives us something to do, and there is always work to be done.

Praying helps.  "I lift up my eyes to the mountains, where does my help come from?  It comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth."  A beautiful verses, a scriptural prayer that we can pray and it brings comfort.  Another new favourite verse is from Exodus 14:14 which says, The Lord will fight for you, just stay calm!

None of us are in control.  We do what we can, and it is a calm presence that also encourages others around who might be panicked or afraid.  I am inspired by this, can I be a calm presence in my world?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Finding Tranquilty

I wrote last week of returning to my roots, to Harrison Hot Springs, and to Bowen Island.

One of the joys of vacation is that I can lose myself in art, and there is so much to inspire!

My mother used to say that there is always a "re-entry" phase to coming back from a rest or retreat.  Sometimes it is literally coming from calm to a full life. So I write from that place, coming home and entering in, after my heart has been stretched and renewed.

In BC we are all on high alert right now with all the forest fires and thinking of all those who have suffered such a difficult year - first with floods and now with so many displaced.  It feels like we are in a tinder-box, and there is a fragility to life.  We are not in control.

So I go back to my art.  It brings me peace.  Merton said "Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time."  This continues to resonate with me.

Today I had much joy in creating art with some of my grandchildren, this is one of the grander things in life, to paint with a child, and all else that is on our mind ceases to have such a hold.

As summer continues to unfold - with challenging times for many, restful vacations for others, and just regular life, I pray that we can find times of refreshing.  Whether it be in creating something beautiful, or just enjoying some fresh fruit in season.  Whatever moment we are in, to cherish it to the fullest.  And then go play with some crayons.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Returning to Roots

Returning to roots!

This past week I've returned to my childhood home.
Scenes from my childhood bring memories I have not visited in sometime.
I grew up in Harrison Hot Springs, Idyllic , romantic, and full of normal challenges like everywhere else. It is the place of my roots, my first kiss, my first job, And all the awkwardness of a merging into adulthood.

One can keep growing up, all through one's life, stretching, renewing, and even unlearning. 

In my fifties there have been more questions than answers. Gone is any smugness of certitude, but new levels of trust. And knowing I'm loved beyond measure, we all are. 

This week I've returned to Bowen Island, a place where I have spiritual roots. Once again, things are stirred up, questions asked. And a sense of coming home. 

Roots are good.
Nourishment is good. 
Life is precious.