Wednesday, December 31, 2008

reaching for solitude...

garbage trucks rumbling. therapy fan humming. utensils clinking. sigor ros strumming. where is the quiet? starting the day at a run. restless nights. Tylenol p.m. offering me sleep and then carrying me into mid-morning. phone ringing. husband puttering. cleaning people coming. I need to go. bath running. meeting waiting. candle burning. solitude calling.

this is not how I want to begin a day…or end a year. but this is what I have. this moment right now. music climaxing. gentle now. God is here. here with me in my little corner. my old blue chair. breathe. you can have this moment. carry it into the day. be still and know that I am God. ahhh. awe. beautiful. blessed.

it only takes a moment to breathe. to be quiet. to be still. my bath beckons. my friend awaits. 2009 here soon.

photo by lucy 12.18.08

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Four Calling Birds

There is much bubbling and brewing going on here at “Diamonds”. It has been (and continues to be) a glorious Christmas season. The blanket of snow that covered our city the week leading up to Christmas Day proved to be a beautiful and wonderful gift to me. It allowed for much slowing down and a peacefulness to settle over my soul.

I say it ‘continues to be’ a glorious season, because even though the snow has melted, I am allowing the quiet to continue to envelop me as I luxuriate in the blessings of God with Us which has readings through January 6 or Epiphany. Not coming from a tradition that celebrates The Twelve Days of Christmas, this is a new experience for me to not sit down on December 26, collapse with exhaustion and say, “Phew! I am so glad Christmas is over!!!” I still feel in the thick of it, so to speak, and have truly relished the whole season while keeping it incredibly simple.

Today, this Fourth day of Christmas, my mind goes to the traditional song and I think of the four calling birds that were gifted on this day. (Is the song running through your head now?) During my quiet time today, I began to synthesize some of the bubblings of the last days, weeks and months in anticipation of what I see ahead in the New Year. The “calling birds” seem to be speaking somewhere along these lines:

1) Making my own way
2) Taking my professional expertise to the next level
3) Working on relationships
4) Sharing my voice (more) with the world.

As far as I can tell, “making my own way” means developing my own unique practices out of the gifts I have been gathering along the way. And in that regard, dear readers, I call upon you for input ☺. I would love to know what keeps you coming back here to read. What are the gifts that you receive or notice here? (I hope there are some ☺!!!) I, naturally, have a few ideas, but your help in my discernment would mean a great deal to me!

It is my strong sense that the topic of these calling birds will continue throughout the coming weeks. I hope you will join me in sharing the adventure. I sign off today with these two questions: What keeps you coming back to visit here? What are the “birds” that may be calling to you as we enter a new year?

Peace and blessings on this 4th day of Christmas!!!

p.s. You can visit the three french hens here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

the "irrational season"

This is the irrational season
when love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason
there’d have been no room for the child.

--Madeleine L'engle
(found at Abbey of the Arts)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

musings on a winter day

Snowy Brilliance

Cocooning. Holding. Birthing.

Bringing me new life.


It is like a white cloak of peace and contentment have settled over my neighborhood. The snow continues and I am at rest snuggled warmly inside my cozy house. Looking out the window at the snow covered branches, I think of the new birth that awaits within - the bud of spring wrapped cozily inside the thick branches. How does the new life form within? I ask the same of myself. My advent reading this morning offered this: "As with pregnancy, so with our spiritual lives: the thing anticipated is already forming within us". It must be the same for the new leaves that patiently await bursting forth in spring.

I wonder about birth - about resurrection - the pointing toward Christ and new life. What of the centuries of civilizations and ancient myths that are wrapped around life - death - rebirth? What of the winter of our souls? Wrapped in darkness and often cold? How many will not make it to spring? The branches that will break off in the storm never to sprout fresh again?

I think of my life - my fading beauty. I am past the spring & yes even the summer of my life. How can that be? Where did the time go? I am encouraged, however, as I think of myself as Fall now - ablaze in color of golden and crimson leaves - set apart from mundane shades of green. There is beauty everywhere. My favorite season has always been summer yet even my favorite has its downside. Summer can be so harsh and the hot sun burns the colors to a crisp.

Today, however, I sit wrapped in winter. It is dark and white and I am loving it. The lighting of candles. The warmth of handmade quilts snuggled around me. The chill of my nose and the pink of my cheeks - frosted not burned. Today I think of Mary, mother of Jesus, saying yes to God. I am reminded of my own moments of God-radiance when I have said yes - overpowered by the brilliance of God - like the winter landscape wrapped in white splendor. My heart longs for that brilliance and new birth AND my heart is content. Today I am grateful to be alive with awareness of each moment - each season of life.

What is the season of your life? Do peace and contentment envelop you as Christmas steadily approaches? Or are you harried and worn out waiting for the season to come to an end?

I wish you peace & contentment and your own special warmth!

photos taken this morning & the snow continues! for more "december views", check out lucy creates!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

more birthing going on...

Sometimes "once" is enough to get my attention and other times I have no idea how often something must be put in front of me before I notice. This time I think it was two times...maybe three. Yesterday, I read Abbey of the Arts reflection on the darkness with this poem by David Whyte. I recalled that I had seen the poem before and found that I actually had used it to write my own version. (Original post is here.)

Commenting at the Abbey, I enjoyed that little piece of serendipity. And then this morning "#2" (or is it 3?) appeared while I was visiting Zena Moon where she has another lovely poem by David Whyte posted. Hmmmm. I then noticed something in her side bar called "Women at Rest", clicked on it and voila, there was "Sweet Darkness" yet again.

So, as I sit this morning pondering not necessarily the darkness, but rather the sweet white snow falling outside my window, I offer you my words on Sweet Darkness. I am still pondering why...however, I don't really need to know the why of it, do I? Enjoy!

In Praise of Sweet Darkness

The dank, moist smell of a cave.
The skin of a snake molting away.
The rich loam of life.
Time to go into the dark where the night has eyes to recognize its own.

A mother’s womb.
One mustard seed of hope.
The blood of crucifixion.
There you can be sure you are not beyond love…

Holding & sustaining.
Nurturing & growing.
Rising from the dead.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn

Birth moving into new life.
The oak rising from an acorn.
Darkness giving way to light.
Anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.

photo by lucy 12.18.08

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


The December Reflection by Marlene Marburg

Goddess poem

Go inside the poem
Feel the warmth, the
roomy safety. Feel her
boundaries yield, stretch
to accommodate your flips
and turns, your struggle to
find the comfy space, the
just-right holding. Listen to
sounds familiar and muffled,
and rounded lullaby rhythms
growing inside you, nurturing
your voice, your claim to be
heard, to be silent. Go inside
the poem. Feel your body
move with fear and love,
retrieving the slippery
traces in the poem
you know, the
poem we all

found @ "Membership Moments" Spiritual Directors International

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

birthing God

One might think my Advent practice has slipped away due to the lack of exposure given here. Au contraire. The practice is deep, wide, broad and growing. My belly, mind and heart swelling with insight and growth. I ponder how to convey the multitude of ways God is working on me. Layers and layers.

“We are bringing God to birth, bringing love to earth.” (written by Betsy Beckman). These words awakened me yesterday morning (actually it was still pre-dawn). Images of God running through my head. The pregnant belly on my Soul Collage card that I created on Saturday around the theme of nurturing the Christ within. This image spoke to me as the child/God kissing my belly in gratitude. Thanking me for “bringing God to birth.”

Sunday night another word from my Advent reading. Luci Shaw writes, “we, too, are pregnant with Christ…day by day we are being enlarged.” Somehow the words 'already and not yet' enter my mind. How do we wait patiently without wasting the time we are given? Missing the present while living in the future? How will I choose to live in the present while waiting for Christ to come? Why do I wait for someone who is already here? There is that beautiful paradox of God: light in darkness, presence in absence, fulfillment in the midst of longing.

The word “present” triggers my lackadaisical response to enter into the commercial experience of Christmas and the frenzy over present buying and receiving. I know others, too, struggle with how to honor this season. We want it to be magical and for some reason it can produce resentment and/or a sense that something is “wrong” if we cannot respond as the world around us expects.

My desire is to focus on the real meaning of Christmas, but I don’t even know what that is. Birthing Christ? Waiting? Celebration & Joy? Christmas tree & decorations? The crazy thing is that I feel quite content and settled in most respects. I am loving my time and focus this season. I have still produced no twinkling lights or Christmas tree or even Poinsettia. I have lit many, many candles and listened to beautiful classical music. I have danced in the snow and driven down Candy Cane lane. I have spent cherished time with friends. I have warmed my home with soup on the stove. I have nurtured God within. Hmmmm…maybe I know more about this holiday season than I suspected ☺.

So, I would love to hear from you. Your words and thoughts are always an inspiration and delight to me. Blessings and peace.

P.S. I’m on my way to have lunch now with my beautiful son who I physically birthed into this world ☺.

collage by lucy 12.13.08

Monday, December 15, 2008

Now you see it...

I am very pleased to announce that Grace Unbound arrived last Friday. The good news is that it is really beautiful and everyone that has seen it wants more copies than they originally indicated. The bad news (for those who haven't already reserved a copy) is that I am sold out of the 100 copies ordered. Who would have thought!?!?!?

I will be placing another order this week although I am certain it will not be available for shipping before Christmas. I am, however, offering a lovely gift card saying a copy has been reserved in case you would still like to add it to your last minute shopping list. While Grace Unbound is a wonderful Christmas gift, its reflections and photos will be a delightful way to enter into the new year!

For those of you who supported this first round...THANK YOU!!! For the rest of you, I look forward to hearing from you soon! Peace to you and yours!!!

Books are $22 (which includes regular shipping). You may leave a comment here or contact me @ to reserve your copies today.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

what's your number?

Found this at Barbara's kind of seems to fit. You'll have to let me know how much knowledge and wisdom I bring into lives...hmmm...and I really do try to stay away from giving unsolicited advice! I found hope in the movement toward my "skill set" and longing as I see the 'soul of an artist.' I would love to know what your spiritual number is!

Found this at Barbara's kind of seems to fit.

Your spiritual number is Seven

You bring knowledge and wisdom into people's lives.
You are an expert in many fields, and you give excellent advice.

Right now, your life is about perfecting your skill set.

You are almost a virtuoso at the thing you love best. With some practice, you'll get there.

You are highly intelligent and intellectual. You have profound analytical skills.

But you also have the soul of an artist. You long to create.

it's st. lucy's day!!!

Today is the feast day of Saint Lucia. "In Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Norway and Finland, Lucy (called Lucia) is venerated on December 13 in a ceremony where an elected girl, portraying Lucia, walks, with a crown of candles, ahead of a procession of other women holding a candle each. The candles symbolize the fire that refused to take St. Lucia's life when she was sentenced to be burned."

Today is a great day to read The Tale of Lucy. The "Lucy's" in my life represent metaphor and grace beyond explanation!

Today is a very special day for me and I plan to write more about it later. In the meantime, I hope that you will celebrate the light that lucy brings into the darkness.

Friday, December 12, 2008

how do you define busy?

Since the contemplative retreat, the hours of the day have taken on a new feeling for me. I haven’t quite pinned it down, and don’t imagine that I will anytime soon. However, I am more conscious of the rhythms of the day and I find myself wondering how much I let them control me and how much I try to control them. One of my questions for the day was: “are you a chameleon--bending to my whim & demand?” My sense has been that day is chaotic, busy and it travels by too quickly. Is that true or is it my attitude…my whim? Day seems to be the point in time where I have been called to be most productive…at least in the world’s sense of the term.

I recently had a discussion with a friend regarding the word “busy”. We both have a strong reaction to it. I find myself really bucking up against it particularly during this holiday season. Everyone thinks you must be so busy. What in the world does that even mean? My hope and goal is to redefine what ‘busy’ means – at least for me. I am not sure if anyone else would care to join me, but what if instead of rushing from the next appointment or worrying about shopping for the perfect gift or doing any number of things that totally stress you out, busy looked something like this:
  • Sleeping a little later than usual and tending to your dreams. Feeling your body gently awaken in bed and noticing the stretch of your limbs and spine as they awaken.
  • Choosing to stay home in the evening and have soup and salad with your loved ones rather than rushing out the door for the next Christmas concert. Being busy with conversation and laughter rather than herding around with crowds.
  • Pausing in the middle of the day to read a novel and take a nap. Busying yourself with restorative yoga and moments with God.
  • Instead of giving into the huge to do list by your side, opting for a few moments of silence and an Advent reading at noon, because you slept a little later in the morning. ☺

What if busy looked like intentional movement and choice throughout the day? If we controlled busy rather than letting busy control us? What if we actually enjoyed this holiday season and took some time to wait as the Advent tradition suggests? What if busy looked like smiling at our neighbor, intently listening to the words of a holiday carol or simply watching the lights twinkle on the Christmas tree (perhaps a tree that someone else bought & decorated)? How might you change if you redefined busy? How might the world feel different?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Grace Unbound Update

I received this note from my printer this morning. AaAARGHhghghhhhhhh!!!

"We are sorry that it has taken longer than expected to process your order, but
your book experienced a small production delay during its construction. We're
working on getting your order to you as soon as possible and expect your order
to ship within the next 1 to 2 business days."

If you would like to order a book and haven't contacted me yet, please do so now! For those of you who are anxiously awaiting your book(s), thanks for your patience!!

Grace Unbound: New Reflections on an Old Subject is a creative combination of words and image. Containing original works as well as some old favorites and over 50 stunning photos by amazing photographer, Bill Hughlett, this small 7 X 7 book will make a great gift for yourself or others. Grace Unbound contains thought provoking and reflective images like those you have come to love and appreciate here. It is simple and complex. It is easy to read and it will make you think. I hope you will decide to give and receive this gift of Grace.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

what's your favorite hour of the day?

Oh, do you feel when you are wrapped in fog? Is it cozy or are you bursting inside-- wanting the air to receive your brilliant light? Do you have trouble awakening? Must you set an alarm or does the end of night push you out of bed? Do you smile when you awaken? Do you have gray days like me? Do you know beforehand what kind of day you will be?

My friend, Day, do you prefer the rain or sun? How about the wind & snow? Is your favorite the brilliance of the light? Do you have a favorite mood--one that fits you best? Or are you a chameleon--bending to my whim & demand?

Dusk. You wax & wane. Sometimes your time comes quickly and others it lingers. What do you think of that? Do you have a favorite color? Why some days do you offer your brilliance and other days hold back? Do you feel caught between the dark & light? Or do you rest in the blend of both?

Dark. Do you feel judged? Misunderstood? Are you sneaky? Are you comfort? And, what do you think of our friend, the moon? Do you feel lonely when the sky is empty or are you happy for some time to yourself? Are you the evil warrior that some speak of or are you the warm blanket of safety and rest? Do you crave the light or can you rest in your own shadows? Are you lonely? Are you satisfied? Do you call out for the light of day to greet you? Do you play in those early morning hours? Do you sleep when Dawn appears or do you linger in the shadows of the day?

This is a piece of free-writing (i.e. unedited) done during retreat last week. I would love to hear what questions you have of the day!

all photos by lucy @ hood canal, union, wa 12.08

Monday, December 08, 2008


She did not cry, "I cannot,
I am not worthy,"
nor "I have not the strength."
She did not submit with gritted teeth, raging, coerced.
Bravest of all humans,
consent illumined her.
The room filled with its light, the lily glowed in it,
and the iridescent wings.

courage unparalleled,
opened her utterly.

--Denise Levertov

There are multiple layers to this post--as always there are--and time for writing is in short supply this morning. I hope you will visit Abbey of the Arts where you will see an invitation to poetry as well as a brief and beautiful explanation of what this day represents (The Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the Enlightenment of Buddha.) In addition, she speaks of the amazing retreat of which I was a part. Words? Where can I begin?

Here is my own photo as well as the line from this poem that was highlighted in my journal from a few days ago. I believe it speaks volumes.

"Consent illumined her."

May you find this season of Advent filled with your own illumination and "yes" to the sacred in your life! Peace.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

advent retreat

Wow! This "37 day Advent season" is already rich beyond words and I am only three days into it. I have attempted several times to put into coherent words what has been happening over the last few days and alas I continue to end up somewhat speechless.

Some themes that continue to emerge are: light & darkness; vessels; brokenness; holding sorrow; woundedness & healing…God with us.

God’s love and guiding hand continue to amaze and surprise me beyond comprehension. One example is that several months ago I signed up for a Contemplative Retreat and it begins today. While I am certain that the retreat was planned with Advent in mind, it never occurred to me until the date came nearer.

And so, I am off for a few days to experience…who knows what? The program includes art-making, yoga, praying the hours and lots of ‘space’ in a beautiful setting. I am awed by God’s graciousness.

I will be leaving my computer at home and will return here Sunday at the earliest. In the meantime, I hope you will visit lucy creates where I have pre-dated a few images to continue “december views” in my absence.


Forbid that we should stumble through this day oblivious to the wonder in the ordinary.”
collage by lucy 12.03.08

Monday, December 01, 2008

more purple...

...if the color fits, wear it?!?!??! more purple space here and here.

You Are Having a Violet Day

You are feeling especially connected to the world today.

You are looking to gain a new perspective on life - through deep reflection and introspection.

You are taking the time to appreciate everything the world has to offer, even if you end up spoiling yourself a little.

Today is the kind of day where you demand the best. You want to be as decadent as possible.

december offerings

lucy creates is participating in december views. check it out!

also, don't forget to order your copy of Grace Unbound!

Grace Unbound: New Reflections on an Old Subject is a creative combination of words and image. Containing original works as well as some old favorites and over 50 stunning photos by amazing photographer, Bill Hughlett, this small 7 X 7 book will make a great gift for yourself or others. Grace Unbound contains thought provoking and reflective images like those you have come to love and appreciate here. It is simple and complex. It is easy to read and it will make you think. I hope you will decide to give and receive this gift of Grace. More details here.