A Few More Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer, Please

 It seems I am a slow learner.
I need considerable amounts of downtime.
I need it so that I can find center,
so that I can breathe with my mind, as well as my lungs.
I need it so that I am an easier person to live with.
I need it to live, period.
 And one of the gifts of retirement has been
the increased accessibility of such time.
Without the schedule of a regular work week,
it is sometimes easier to sit in the backyard;
to take a field trip to a local nursery;
to sit in the car on the bluffs overlooking the ocean.
 But they say ‘pride goeth before a fall,’ right?
 Or maybe it’s ‘the truth will out…’
‘water finds its own level…’
or some other such hackneyed cliche.
Whichever, whatever –
the downtime has up and disappeared of late.
And I’m feelin’ it.
So… I am very grateful for Michelle’s invitation to 
stop and savor,
look and listen,
sit and set a spell.
And I’ll try to find my way here each Friday,
and to Sandy’s place on Saturday,
and over to Deidra’s on Sunday,
just to honor the gift of downtime,
of Sabbath rest,
of soaking in the beauty of this world.
I’ll keep it short, and hopefully sweet – 
with a picture or two,
a word or two,
a sigh or two.
Maybe you need a little more breathing room, too?
Come along and slow things down.
Joining with Michelle DeRusha’s invitation to celebrate the slower pace of summer living over at her blog, Graceful.


Quiet for the Weekend

Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, 
and the seventy elders of Israel went up 
and saw the God of Israel. 
Under his feet was something like a pavement 
made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky.  
But God did not raise his hand against 
these leaders of the Israelites; 
they saw God, and they ate and drank.”
Exodus 24:9-11
One week ago today, we returned to real life after a week on St. Thomas. This often overlooked biblical reference to being in the presence of God spoke to me today, reminding me of the ‘bright blue’ ‘something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli’ experiences of this week away. A little exploration yielded these other quotes more specifically tied to the ocean and its healing, renewing qualities.
May you each find a way to meet God this weekend, dear friends. Looking for a bright blue pavement beneath God’s feet might be a way to begin. 
“Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think.”
– Robert Henri

“When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke

“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach–waiting for a gift from the sea.”
– Anne Morrow Lindbergh

“Total physical and mental inertia are highly agreeable, much more so than we allow ourselves to imagine.
A beach not only permits such inertia but enforces it, thus neatly eliminating all problems of guilt.
It is now the only place in our overly active world that does.”
– John Kenneth Galbraith

“I could never stay long enough on the shore; the tang of the untainted, fresh, and free sea air was like 

a cool, quieting thought.”
– Helen Keller

“The waves of the sea help me get back to me.”
– Jill Davis
Joining with my sweet, smart, kind friends Sandy and Deidra today.
And I cannot for the life of me get Deidra’s button to transfer to the new blogger format! 
I copy and paste to no avail. I even tried typing the HTML code by hand – nada. RATS.
Here’s the URL for Deidra’s fine site, to which I cannot subscribe, either.
Time to take a class in computer code?


Weekends Are for Quieting

Sitting in the yard for the first time in several weeks,
I was struck by the bright colors of the trumpet vine that covers our fence. I looked with the camera and snapped this shot of the light bouncing on the flowers and leaves.
And then, I looked again – and this is what I saw. 
 We have a pair of orioles who visit our yard every spring.
They are very, very shy, coming out carefully to sip the nectar from the hundreds of red flowers all around our yard.
This is the male, who is of course, much showier than his mate. I was about 30 feet away and was struck, as I often am, at how the birds teach me about life. This boy had a job to do – suck the nectar out of that flower – and he did it with gusto, sitting in the fading afternoon light with no desire to call attention to himself.
Nevertheless, I paid him a great deal of attention – for the 10 seconds he allowed me to peek at him.
He was most definitely the brightest and most beautiful part of my day yesterday, doing exactly what God created him to do – every second of it shedding God-glory like tiny flecks of glitter as he flitted across my line of vision.
“As you learn more and more how God works, 
you will learn how to do your work. 
We pray that you’ll have the strength 
to stick it out over the long haul—
not the grim strength of gritting your teeth 
 but the glory-strength God gives. 
It is strength that endures the unendurable 
and spills over into joy, 
thanking the Father who makes us strong enough 
 to take part in everything bright and beautiful 
that he has for us.”
Colossians 1:9-10, The Message 

May the rest of your weekend be layered with glimpses of the bright and beautiful things God has for you.
Joining with Sandy King for her Still Saturday
and Deidra Riggs for her Sunday invitation.

Still Center

Even in the midst of Eastertide, I need to stop sometimes 
and reflect on what the Incarnation means to us frail folk.
This is a statue new to the retreat center I have just visited. Seeing it out there, in the middle of a small lake,
I was struck by the wonder of it all.
Here are some lovely words from two of my favorite poets that help me find my own words somehow.
May your weekend be blessed with wonder
and with rest.
Descent by Luci Shaw
Down he came from up,
and in from out,
and here from there.
A long leap,
an incandescent fall
from magnificent
to naked, frail, small,
through space,
between stars,
into our chill night air,
shrunk, in infant grace,
to our damp, cramped
earthy place
among all
the shivering sheep.
And now, after all,
there he lies,
fast asleep.
 On the Mystery of the Incarnation  
by Denise Levertov
It’s when we face for a moment
the worst our kind can do, and shudder to know
the taint in our own selves, that awe
cracks the mind’s shell and enters the heart:
not to a flower, not to a dolphin,
to no innocent form
but to this creature vainly sure
it and no other is god-like, God
(out of compassion for our ugly
failure to evolve) entrusts,
as guest, as brother,
the Word. 
 Joining the quiet communities at Sandra Heska King’s and Deidra Riggs’ sites. They gently invite us to prepare for worship by centering and quieting ourselves. Wise women, these.

Quiet Time, Nourishing Time

“Look around you: 
Winter is over; 
the winter rains are over, gone! 
Spring flowers are in blossom all over. 
The whole world’s a choir—and singing! 
Spring warblers are filling the forest with sweet arpeggios. 
Lilacs are exuberantly purple and perfumed, 
and cherry trees fragrant with blossoms. 
Oh, get up, dear friend, 
my fair and beautiful lover—come to me! 
Come, my shy and modest dove— 
leave your seclusion, come out in the open. 
Let me see your face, let me hear your voice. 
For your voice is soothing and your face is ravishing.”
Song of Solomon 2:9-11, The Message

May you find blossoms 
wherever your feet may take you this weekend.
Songbirds, too.
And may you enjoy the surprising and welcome presence 
of dear friends, 
(whether or not they are also your spouse),
those who nourish you by their very presence,
whose voices soothe,
whose faces remind you of God’s amazing love for you. 
Enjoying the colors and sounds of spring on the west coast this weekend, despite frequent visits from spring (as opposed to winter!) rains. Joining with my good friends Sandy King and Deidra Riggs for their weekly invitation to change up the pace, slow things down and quietly center in God’s good gifts.