Blog Archives

Pausing to Smile

Life is most often at a full force pace. Some days my eyes are more open to the interactions and observations that make me smile and I pause to try and soak it in. Here are a few moments that made me wonder, ponder, and smile over the past few weeks.

Yarmulkes: I was driving to an appointment and initially confused about what I was seeing. I was following a car for a number of miles and the sunlight was shining into the car illuminating the guy’s head. He was wearing a yarmulke – but not just any yarmulke. It had an image of Bert (as in from Bert and Ernie of Sesame Street). It matched his vibrant tie-dye shirt and he was singing with the windows down. I didn’t know this was a trend and it made me smile.

http://www.nytimes.com/1990/09/23/style/lifestyle-the-yarmulke-is-now-a-fashion-item.html

 

 

 

 

 Tibetan Monks: On a Women’s World Cup semi-final day I met up with a friend for lunch. We were going to a sports bar which is next to the China Buffet. If you didn’t know the Tibetan Monks North of Boston are patrons of the China Buffet on Route 1. It made me wonder if the China Buffet was rated a few more stars than I originally thought. Maybe the Tibetan Monks are excellent food critics. I smiled and thought, where do they keep their wallets?

Evan and Seth: My college roommate Kasi, her husband Thor and 2 boys, Seth and Evan drove across country from Colorado. I made the 70 mile drive (to their 2700 miles) to meet them and visit Plimoth Plantation. Evan made a character of me on the game he was playing on his Nintendo DS. Upon asking me what weapon I wanted to use I responded “a sword.” The boys asked me why I picked a sword and I informed them I own a sword. Seth, age 7, informed us later that I’m the “coolest one” because I own a sword. Oh if it was so simple as owning a sword to be cool and loved by a boy. I love those kids. They make me smile.

I don’t always take a moment to pause to smile at simple statements or humorous thoughts but I desire to try and pause more often. Thanks for indulging me. What do you need to stop and pause for so you won’t miss it?

Embracing a Space

During the Month of May I started working on a home project. There is a landing down my back stairs where there is room for 2 chairs and a little table. Gini, my downstairs neighbor, has had visions of flowers and a place to sit off her second story apartment. I didn’t have visions of anything but mosquitoes.

Cleaning – Scrubbing – and getting a sweet blister I embraced the project of cleaning one Sunday afternoon. I literally washed the green off the siding and wooden deck. We have a mold, green, roof issue here at the house I live in, yet its home. After a couple of weeks I finally found just the right window boxes (no drilling needed), picked out containers, dirt, and flowers conducive to shade, and set to work. Hours later and my last drill hole made (for a hanging plan) there is a space outside I have already come to love. Looking past the peeling paint, tinted green in places, there is a new look to a once dismissed space.

Sitting out the past week I have been amazed at how I had written off this space. I had not thought it could or would be anything special. I had not seen the potential or value in it, other than a second means of egress to pass fire standards. Yet I have been able to reflect, relax, and restore. I embraced what I had dismissed as ugly, unusable, and not worth the effort. The space was there all along. My struggle has been that my apartment is too small, cramped and I wish for so much more where I live, including flowers and the option of a garden. This part was outside my door all along.

Like my new newly embraced and transformed landing I don’t usually want to wade into the areas in my life that I have overlooked, are full of mold and a buildup of neglect. I don’t want to have to clean, possibly scrub, and maybe even get a blister. However there is beauty waiting. Gini my dear friend mentioned her hope and vision in passing. I don’t want to miss embracing the space that was there all along… the physical space and even in my heart.

Have you overlooked space before – made a small change and been surprised at the beauty?


 

The Delicate Balance of Mist

Driving home today I ditched the idea of the gym. By the time I got home I was reconsidering my decision as I didn’t know if I could bring myself to go out into the gray day. I debated over running shoes or biking and opted to bike as I recently got a new jacket for biking. It was great and much needed today. The air was heavy almost as if it was deciding whether to rain or allow the sun to break through. The difference between rain and mist is a delicate balance I don’t fully understand. So I decided to bike an out and back ride to the entrance of the beach deciding if the rain started it wouldn’t be a miserable ride home. Though I didn’t go out onto the beach the beauty and quietness of the ride was overwhelming as it takes me by fields and salt marshes.

In ten miles of biking – I counted 7 cars that drove past me outside of town. As I biked there was quietness as if the mist had calmed the world down. It was peaceful, something I didn’t expect. I wasn’t focused on the miles or speed but amazed at how alone yet peaceful I felt. Just being outside and feeling the road, the views, the ocean marshes, it seemed as if it was all mine. I talked and prayed aloud which didn’t feel at all strange. It was perfect. The turkeys in the road… a total of 7 only made me chuckle. I talked to them as well. Three deer later I was even more thankful of the place I live right now. It’s not a forever living situation. The apartment is too small and it doesn’t line up with some other goals I have… YET… it is an amazing blessing right now. The opportunities outside my door keep me refreshed.

I work in an low-income city as a social worker. This week an email mentioned the knife one of “my kids” has been carrying around. Years ago a middle school girl I worked with needed to work through the fear of violence, a random bullet had lodged itself in her bedroom. Teenagers whose education slips through the cracks and they graduate as the teachers are overworked being teachers and social workers. Yet I do love my job many many days. It is essential though to refresh, renew, re-energize, restore, reflect, relax… all must be done with intention. Working in the city and living in what some might consider the country is the perfect balance right how. It is a delicate balance, like the mist. I don’t always understand it – days I don’t expect it rains just as other days the sun comes shining through. I don’t want to miss out on recognizing the need for balance in my life – sometimes I find it when I’m looking and sometimes it finds me.

 

Making Sabbath Happen

I have the ability to say no. Really I do, but I don’t always use it. I am a busy and active person. My weeks are full with work, spending time with high school students and young adults, going to church “stuff” including a Bible Study or meetings, getting together with friends, exercising, and I even occasionally clean my apartment and do my own errands. Yet everyone is busy these days…. and quite honestly when I’m not busy or when I see that others are not busy I wonder almost what is wrong. YET I know busyness is not always good. Here’s the thing though… I love everything I do. Today though I said no to something I really wanted to do. I wanted to walk with my friend in the Multiple Sclerosis Walk. A good friend has been living with MS for many years and I wanted to support her. Yet as I looked at my schedule over the last weeks and the coming week I realized that today is the only day that I don’t have something planned. There are things I want to do – get outside and enjoy the sun and buy the book I have been meaning to get the past few weeks yet these are not obligations. So as I thought of this weekend I realized how much I need to take this day as a Sabbath. I need to allow myself to reflect, rest, and prepare to re-engage.

Tomorrow is Sunday and it is not a Sabbath for me, there is high school ministry, time mentoring a great student in the afternoon, and a dinner meeting to discuss a possible trip. So this week I didn’t want to miss taking a Sabbath. I made a difficult decision to say no to something that I think is wonderful but would not allow me to reflect, rest, and prepare to re-engage for the long-term. It was difficult telling this friend I wouldn’t be coming because I care about her and want to support her. However I couldn’t imagine how I would be able to manage the days and weeks ahead without resting. I don’t want to miss the importance of taking Sabbath or because of how I look at my own schedule and plans… I need to Make Sabbath Happen…. It’s a bit oxymoronic but I’m going to make rest happen today.