Finding Joy In Your Own Backyard

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If you have been reading here for any length of time you know my fixation with the word and, as well as the logogram the ampersand. I believe there is always more. And the more I consider why I love and, the more the nuances of the word bubble up. And meet me in the understanding of why. And is a connector. And I am connected to my world via people. (This week alone, I have had rich encounters with friends and writers. Writers and friends.) And via this space I call home.

I can stay and go. Travel and remain. Fly and remain grounded. Be still and know. That what is right here is rich and full of promise. That the soil is dark and full of gifts, right below my pink toes and my bare feet.

I love the idea, both figuratively and literally, of finding joy close to home. Of curating a life from which we don’t need to take a vacation. Of being increasingly at peace in the little space within our arm’s reach. Settling in and extracting peace in the place we call home. I cannot count my spaces. Not here and now. There have been many. My passion for renovating and decorating and for change has carried me, along with my husband and children, on a journey of transforming spaces into homes. The rewards have been grand. The homes have provided us with an anchor for living and loving.

My closest confidante knows my old wrestlings. And my new ones. She knows my achilles heel. And my wounds, my scars and my heart cries. God knows them well too. The older version of me longed to travel. And I got up and went. But now, my life is stationary. But not stagnant.

It if rife with discovery. Teeming with beauty and delight.  But it is a journey of staying within a wonderful radius. One tightly drawn close to home.

I have been many places in my life. I travel in place to recall. I reach back in my diaries, my remembering places, my trunk of letters and memories and into the faded photographs which tell stories of Paris and New York. I revisit. Reach back. And go to the place again. Of the countryside of France where I was a nanny for a small sliver of time. To Athens and Alaska. To St. Andrews and Florence. To Lake Cuomo and Tuscany.

There is reward in the revisiting. Memory feeds my dimming desire to go to a place which is not here.

But when I see the Magnolia blossom the size of my head, on the tree beside my home and across the street and by the Deerhead Tree, I have unearthed treasures in the nearby. When I step through my neighborhood, padding around, I see marvelous wonder in the warm eggs from my neighbor’s hens. A trip to my garden, early in the morning, as my rooster crows, is my own living breathing “Alice in Wonderland”.

And it is all I need. To live out this circuitous journey of discovering joy in my own backyard. I am far from here. I am in a land of unwrapping the spaces under me. Below me, beside me and around me. Be Still and Know.

There is so much more here and there than I first believed.

Waxing In The Waning

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I have not sought the moon this Spring. Intentionally looked up and made mental notes of its stage and size. Cycle and rhythms. Dimness and brightness. Color and stage. But I should be. Marking and noting. There are lessons there for me in the heavenlies.

Rather I have been looking down and to the side. Over and under the small spaces. Seeking the growing. Cataloguing the seed, the bloom and the fruits of the earth and of the the sea. Miniscule milestones in the garden and broken pieces of shells coughed up by the sea. Roughed up and beaten up and then honed into the beautiful.

Waxing in the waning is a banner over my life. Growing in the dimming. Increasing in the lessening. Smallness is wearing her beautiful crown. She is royalty and majesty. The paradox is grand. The center is a whisper, faintly wooing with her call to pause in the now.

I live on the cusp of exploration. Steps from the salty marsh where so much mystery hides in the folds. The waves weave a hiding place. The tides will unveil, pulling the curtain back for peaks. But stand guard, awake and present. Or you will miss much in the changing of the guard.

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The dolphin break through the glass ceiling that is the glassy sea. Looking at us as we  strain to study their graceful acrobatics. A day is labeled wonderful if we have spent time with a pod. Or even a mother and her young. We are students of the sea. Since I was a child, I have been near in my soul or body or both to the place of salty mystery. Everything is new. Again and again. I remain a child at the seeking of pieces of joy hidden, then revealed. Revealed and then hidden.

Before I even touch the snow pea to my lips I have savored goodness with my eyes. This is just the crescent. But the crescent is enough. The moon in all her fullness. The pea at her ripest, cooked or raw, eaten or not. Archiving the now, fully alive, fully awake fills us with His goodness. Seeing the holy moments. The holy in the moment. Touching and smelling. Seeing and tasting all that He has created brings us closer to the Creator. And that is where abundance is poured out. Every blade and seed, He made. Every dolphin nose. Wet and sleek.

There is a waning to my years. I do not recall the glory-filled details of much of my living from long ago. I come from Dementia. My mother, my grandmother and my aunt have known it too well. And I may be traveling toward Dementia. I may well be in the line of that fiery disease.

But I am going down fighting for a magnificent, magnified view of the poetic now.

And there is a moon and there will always be a moon. And she will meet me in the heavens tonight. This I know.

For now.

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Awake At The Wheel: Eyes Open For Beauty, Wonder and Miracle

I have always been intrigued by the beauty of the middle places. The after birth and before the end. The in-between and still in process. And plays a role in this scavenger hunting and archiving. There is always more in the hidden places. Nuances are found in the unveiling, uncovering, and unwrapping.

We are all in the middle of making and doing. We are birthing projects, dreaming dreams, and living out the calling. We are seeing anew, forgetting the past, building bridges to broken places, moving on and healing wounds.

I fell into a place of slow wonder. And I am staying there. The South shows me well its old tradition of living and moving slow. She is the matriarch of my love affair with my new-found wide-awake-ness. I cannot travel back to a time of inattentive living.

I shall not fail to record, remember and ingest. I will not not live aware. I accept the invitation to open every gift of wonder. Every drop of beauty. I am headed into the days of the waning. When the memory fades. But I have come from a faded story. So I am ready to fight to see and record it all.

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I confessed to my daughter that I did not remember. Forgetting may be in my DNA. So for today I am recording well and I am searching like a woman in a desperate desert search for a cool we drink of ordinary life. The mirage of beauty is gone. Holographic beauty is reaching out and grabbing me by my senses.

I found a letter in a trunk. The one I keep of old and yellowed letters. Post marks from ’58 and forward through the years and through the times, forgotten. I can go diving into my past there. And I do. I am a stranger in my own understanding. In my remembering, the doing is dim. I am the stranger meeting a woman who is stranger too.

And I told my daughter that I do not remember if I went to the Eiffel Tower at three o’clock as the letter asked me to. A simple rendez-vous for a young woman. I do not remember. Yes, I was living in Paris at the time. And the letter, I explained was written in the days before cell phones and social media. He, an acquaintance traveling abroad, asked if we could meet. The letter leaves me wondering.

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I do not want to miss the recording of the living. The bignesses. Who misses towers in Paris and a rendez-vous in the heart of France. I want to record the intricate, miniscule parts of my life. The beauty, the miracle, the wonder of the small and ordinary will not escape the sieve of my collecting heart.

Determined to live awake at the wheel. I am paying attention. And life is grandiose in its slow and ordinary wonderment.

Join me. We will discover small things.
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Joining Laura Boggess

The Waiting & The Rising

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The Waiting & The Rising

I woke to the rising. In the evening we laid down the embryonic balls of yeast. Flat, filled with expectancy. Colorless, void of much. Hoping the transformation would yield goodness. Trusting the changes would give us, the hungry, sustenance even abundance. In the morning.

In the new mercy morning, the air told faint tales, held shy signs and gave hope. There would be a rising.  Fullness would come. Yeasty promise had started its morphing into promise. Hope was rising.

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We went to bed last night with a heaviness. Some one dear to us is struggling. From miles away we wrestle with all the emotions. This longing for the best for this wanderer is an ache that pierces. It rises up within us. And yet it is not for me. I lay it down again and again. Knowing the promise that He is there. I offer the pain into His hands, again. He is the potter. And what lovely work He has done. He has shown me. I must recall.

We are co-wrestlers in the battle for a life well-lived. A life of yielding into His deepest longings for us, His children. A life of bending a knee and bending an ear. Of surrendering and yielding. Listening and seeking. Yearning. Quieting our spirits to hear his will.

Goodness and mercy are here and coming. Heaving up in the rising.

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I offered a gift. My soul knew. I had been there before. Heard the faint cry. I will send it soon. But the collecting and gathering, the sending of little hints and clues as to what it will be will bring me joy. I will anticipate the giving as she anticipates the receiving. We will delight together. My friend and I will gather as two around the table of fellowship. Just as the prayer gathers around the hurting and wounded. Just as the Christ-follower hovers over, in gentle tenderness, with love in love, for the ones with  spirit that is broken.

I will give. She is open to receive. A transaction of love will take place.

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Oh that we would await the rising up. Hold fast in the waiting. Hold steady, though fragile, in the times of doubt.
I know the gifts He has given in the seasons of waiting. I remember his goodness. I recall it. And I look for clues that there is more goodness to gather up.

The Yarrow he designed is tall and waving. The Queen Ann’s Lace is transforming my yard into a garden for royalty. The hummingbird came to my window last night at dusk in search. My garden is exploding with promise. A packet of seeds is in the past. The fruit on the squash is tender and young. Strawberries are green, but they will be crimson and sweet. Soon. They promise me and hold me in my waiting.

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This morning the flat monochromatic mounds rose up. And turned a light brown. Layer upon layer of goodness held a steamy comfort in every bite. Croissants. Every bite a remembering. Of times and things I have loved.

Joining Sandra