Thursday, March 31, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
I am finding that often in our lives we go from one requirement to the next; crossing off all the things that must be done while neglecting the seemingly superfluous things. My friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds us that there is a need to make extra time for what he calls the "best property of all":
"We take care of our health, we lay up money, we make our room tight, and our clothing sufficient; but who provides wisely that he shall not be wanting in the best property of all--friends?"
That is what we did this weekend. We sought to take care of what we feel is as important as our health, as critical as our livelihood, and as valued as our family; we sought to nurture our friendships.
It was an opportunity to show them how much they mean to us, to spoil them a little, and to thank them for their involvement in our lives.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Thankfully, our lives and our families are not static; they are continually changing and growing. We feel so blessed to have had our family expand with the addition of our children's in-laws. What a blessing both of these families have been! I am so happy about the genuine connection we feel, and the real love they have offered to Robert and Erica.
And Robert has finally gotten some brothers! He has particularly made a connection with Josalyn's little brother, Jerry. They are inseparable. There is a special dynamic between the two of them that is undeniable. It truly is as though Jerry is finally the little brother that my son had hoped for.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
I attended an evening devoted to the composition talents of a brilliant lady in our church community. It showcased her work from a lifetime devoted to obeying the instinct to create with inspiration. The simple, yet eloquent messages were elevated to soul-stirring by the accompaniment of beautiful music. It was an important reminder of everyone's potential and capacity. There lies within all of us the divine nature of creativity, which we can either tap into by listening to our hearts and minds, or we can let it remain dormant while the world suffers from one less masterpiece.
But creativity isn't merely about the result, it is about the things we learn and discover during the creative process. We begin to open our eyes to the possibilities, to see things in new ways, to understand ideas on a higher level. Then the one who truly benefits most is the courageous soul willing to take a chance to make something beautiful out of ambiguous puzzle pieces which no longer remain ambiguous.
But the end of the concert last night wasn't the end of my profound experience. My husband and I came home, settled down to relax in front of the television, forgetting to spring forward our clocks. We became engrossed in the Silver Anniversary Concert celebrating the timeless musical, Les Miserables, which was airing on PBS. The familiar music spoke new notes to my hungry soul. As I listened with new ears, the power and glory of this great work continued to swell my heart. I was overcome with the eternal truths which were taught in this story of sacrifice, integrity, mercy, and love.
Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was the "new" Marius. At first I was startled by the extremely young nature of this fellow, having been used to stronger, more mature voices whom I have heard in the past. But as it progressed, I realized that the producers had gotten it right. There was a stronger note of innocence, of fragility, of promise, of hope in the future. As ValJean pleaded with the Lord to "Bring Him Home", we all were pleading the same prayer. He was so vulnerable, so young, so innocent, and yet his heart was so "full of love", we could all identify with those same poignant feelings.
Imagine my surprise when it was brought to my attention that the new Marius was one of The Jonas Brothers, Nick Jonas. Of course his wasn't the strongest voice in the cast, but his wide-eyed innocence filled the role with grace.
But some things are worthy of the sacrifice. My heart was full of love, too. It was bursting with love for my family, for my Savior and His mercy, for the gift of music in my life, and for powerful literature that captures life and transcends it out of the gutter and onto a higher plane.
Every day should be so full of light and truth.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Here is the link to a blogpost I wrote on March 8, 2010, in the aftermath of that other tsunami warning that tried to ruin my Hawaiian Holiday.
Can You Say Tsunami?
Thursday, March 10, 2011
My sister, Wendy's Needleart Blog.
Life is about being bold enough to follow your dreams, isn't it? ;-)
It is usually when the odds are not in our favor. It is usually when, once in motion, there is no turning back.
But even the likelihood of failure far outweighs living with the nagging wonder of having failed to try. The "what ifs" in life are the hardest pills to swallow.
I have been immersing myself in Ralph Waldo Emerson of late, and I found a quote from his journal that I find unusually stirring. It is this: "Let us answer a book of ink with a book of flesh and blood."
Now I don't presume to necessarily grasp exactly Emerson's meaning from this, nor do I even guess what your interpretation would be. But, to me it is about inspiration. It is about taking our studies, taking the things we have read and then acting upon them with our whole souls, holding nothing back. It is to step forward with boldness and not just live our lives vicariously through book characters or another man's thoughts and dreams. At some point, it becomes our turn to "write our own book", to lay down our own story; to hold nothing back, to not just dream the dreams but be ready to bring them to life.
Perhaps I have come to that point in my life.
Perhaps you have too.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
For those of us that have been taught about our Savior, Jesus Christ, just these simple words can have such power. We should cling to the peace they bring. It can be lasting if we will always remember Him.
I can't even recall all the times that this passage of scripture has spoken peace to my soul, but I do remember specifically one time when I so needed to hear this message. It was years ago when I was going to college. I was very far from home and very overwhelmed with the demands of school. It was an afternoon after classes and I had gone home to my apartment. My roommate wasn't there and I went into my bedroom. Sat down on my bed. Knew I needed some help. Saw my scriptures sitting on my desk.
Though my knowledge of the scriptures was in its infancy stage, I knew that there was power in that book. I had faith that my answer was to be had in its pages.
I decided to put my faith to the test. I told myself that whatever page the book fell open to, there would be something of value there for me.
My bible fell open to Matthew, and this passage, which had been underlined earlier, immediately caught my attention. I wept. I didn't weep for sadness, though I was homesick. I wept for the knowledge I had that this was absolutely true; all I needed to do was to come unto the Savior and He would offer me the rest I needed; He would offer me the comfort and love and reassurance I so desperately needed.
Let us all cling to whatever particle of faith we have. Let us all remember that we are never alone if we remember to whom we may always look for peace. Sometimes in a chaotic world the only peace we will feel in is our hearts. Often that is enough. He will give us courage to press forward. He will give us enlightenment and guidance to face and deal with the troubles in our lives.
Let us put behind us the mistakes of the past and look forward with a brightness of hope. He has sent His Comforter to be with us. It is real. As we keep His commandments and strive to improve, we will be blessed to always have His Spirit to be with us. His promises are sure.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
I am astonished that we invite this. I am astonished that our progressive society, which seeks to have control in every other facet of our lives, still leaves this completely to chance. Why haven't we been given a pill to tame or to thwart this variable, this unknown? Surely we shouldn't be leaving ourselves open to the ludicrous, or the impractical, or the harrowing, or the triumphant, or the frivolous.... It seems to go so contrary to everything else in our lives that is about order and inside the lines and bridled.
I find dreams to be exhilarating. I welcome this scheduled step into another world. I see it as an opportunity for self-discovery. Sir Thomas Browne, of the Seventeenth Century, observed "We are somewhat more than ourselves in our sleeps; and the slumber of the body seems to be but the waking of the soul."
William Hazlitt, of the Eighteenth Century, claimed: "We are not hypocrites in our sleep. The curb is taken off from our passions, and our imagination wanders at will. When awake, we check these rising thoughts, and fancy we have them not. In dreams, when we are off our guard, they return securely and unbidden."
I have made discoveries in dreams, not always welcomed, but certainly undeniable when faced with the them in the harsh light of morning. I have expanded my ideas and my thinking. I have cast off the inhibiting timidity and walked boldly where I wouldn't have gone before.
I find it interesting that we can discuss this idea of dreams with people from previous centuries because dreaming is a universal experience. Politics change, technology changes, modes of transportation, and agriculture, and exploration all change. Yet we share a fascination with this other-worldly nightly encounter which noone can really explain or justify.
In the words of the Nineteenth Century poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who expresses it better than I could:
"Dreams or illusions, call them what you will,
They lift us from the commonplace of life
To better things."
Not all dreams are welcomed. Some are scary. Some are disturbing. Some bring the welcome relief of waking. Yet they all carry the capacity to lift us from the commonplace, to see things with fresh eyes, to explore and take chances without a safety net. My favorite dreams are those in which I can fly.
And the ticket is free.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
I often feel there is even a thin covering of moss on me, for lack of sufficient sunshine and activity. Moss may not grow on a rolling stone, but it does gather on a cloistered recluse who sits and sits by the window each day, watching the incessant rain, and wondering if outdoor activity will ever be possible again.
I try to look for the blessings. I recall to mind the beauty of my home, the abundance of trees, shrubs, and year-round flowers. But it loses a little when most of the time they can only be enjoyed from the indoors looking out.
My body aches to stretch its legs; to climb out of this hibernating state and breathe the fresh air. I have also realized the multiplicity of benefits from a good, swift walk around the neighborhood. It expands my focus, expands my thinking, and expands my hope.
It also expands my productivity. While reading this morning from an address given by Ralph Waldo Emerson at the funeral of his friend, Henry David Thoreau, I was reminded that Thoreau also placed great value on daily walks. Emerson stated that Henry valued every stride his legs made. "The length of his walk uniformly made the length of his writing. If shut up in the house he did not write at all."
And characteristic of Thoreau's appetite for solitude, he seldom welcomed walking companions, but preferred the rich reward of solitary jaunts through the woods, that of personal introspection and enlightenment.
While the stouthearted would not let a little (okay, a lot of) rain keep them locked inside, I do not profess to be that sturdy. So I guess I will continue to find worthwhile distractions within, keep an eye on any change in the weather, and anticipate some drier days. My soul longs for the inspiration that Thoreau found on his walks. I desire to open my eyes to the wonder of my surroundings and my ears to the whisperings of the Spirit, that can best be had with nothing overhead to restrict communication with heaven.
I know Spring is on its way, and then Summer is sure to follow. These are the blessings of predictable change. God knew that we would welcome a natural rhythm to our days. Forgive my shortsightedness. I simply must learn patience.