Happy New YearūüéČūüéČūüéČ

Last August my world started to shift. I had said “yes” to spending five weeks at Good Shepherd, Dunedin. This meant living in the rectory…being “beach priest in residence”…which included preaching and celebrating at the Sunday services and being a pastoral presence in the parish.

While there, my husband and I began to explore the possibility of “moving back” to Dunedin. I had served as Associate Rector at Good Shepherd from 1994-98, and loved the ministry, the people, and the wider community.

On our 54th Anniversary, we had dinner at Bon Appetit right on the Dunedin Marina. We talked about what it would be like to live down the block at Edgewater Arms, right across the street from Good Shepherd.

We found ourselves contacting a parishioner who is a successful real estate agent. That week we looked at available condos in the area, and soon we signed a contract to purchase our favorite choice. It was “executed.” And that was the turning point. We were moving to Dunedin.

That was the easy part. Then we had to get our house in Wesley Chapel ready to stage and put on the market. Since our house was twice the square footage as our condo, that would also mean downsizing in earnest. That’s when the hard work began.

We made many trips to Goodwill and the Land O’Lakes Library and to Good Shepherd’s Little Thrift Shop as we parted with our treasures. We also sold a few items and gave some furniture to a local family who had just arrived from South America to start a new life.

We also filled a U-Haul with family heirlooms and treasures that our Son-in-law and Grandson then drove up to Delaware and New Jersey to disburse to our three daughters and their families.

The good news is that we soon had buyers. The bad news is that Buyer #1 fell through, and within weeks so did Buyer #2. It was hard not to be discouraged.

But Thanksgiving week we put our house back on the market yet again, and by week end we had two solid buyers submitting contracts. Hooray!

Fast forward to December. We physically moved to our new condo and closed on our house the week before Christmas. Yahoo!

So now that the move is behind us, we can begin the next chapter of our lives. For me, that includes getting back to writing and blogging. What a great way to begin a new year!

Who knows what 2019 will bring. Just stay open to being surprised.

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Summer Sabbatical

This summer has been a time of transition and transformation for me. I feel like things are shifting. Not sure where all this is leading, but I pray that all will become clear soon. In the meantime, I ponder the ebb and flow of life…and will continue to enjoy the beauty of nature and the call of the Sea. Blessings, M+

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It’s June!

Hard to believe that it is June already. I have been procrastinating about blogging. Am I ready to recommit to writing a blog on a regular basis again? Not sure.

There are so many things that I could write about, but I want to be positive. At the moment, I am so discouraged by the political headlines that remind me of the direction that our country is taking on so many issues.

Where to begin? I will start here. I am encouraged by the young high school students who want to make a positive impact on our country.

My heart goes out to the Parkland students who are working to end gun violence in our schools. They are embracing leadership when so many adults just sit on the sidelines.

Last night at my granddaughter’s high school graduation, students were encouraged to continue learning new skills for the future as well as serving our communities and our country with their knowledge and innovative initiatives.

The world is a brighter place because our high school students are unafraid to speak up and take on leadership roles. We need to follow their example.

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The Annunciation ~ Transferred

The Feast of the Annunciation is traditionally celebrated every year on March 25th. But this year it has been bumped off the liturgical calendar by the already expanded Celebration of Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday combined.

What to do?  What to do?

I decided to Celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation by reflecting on my favorite image that was painted by the artist Henry Ossawa Tanner in 1898.  Tanner was influenced by the time he spent in the Holy Land and seeing first hand the places where many biblical stories actually took place.

I have altered Tanner’s painting to include what I think may have been close to the vision of what Mary saw in her future during her encounter with the Angel Gabriel.¬† She saw herself as the Mother of Jesus…who would be born from her womb nine months later in a town called Bethlehem.

When I saw this “life size” painting of the Annunciation at the Philadelphia Art Museum a few years ago, I was inspired to reflect on what God was calling me to do with my life, and how I might respond.¬† Every year, on March 25th, I put myself in the place of Mary in this painting and ask: “God, what would you have me to do during this next stage of my life.”¬† And then I get a glimpse…just a glimpse…of what that might be.¬† Perhaps you might want to do the same.

In closing, I share with you this poem/prayer by Julie Parker:

May Light touch that place where you fear to go…

May Love embrace what you don’t yet know.

May you hear the call of your Soul’s sacred song.

May you come home to yourself, its where you belong…

(Image of Mary holding Jesus is a statue entitled “Lady of the Vineyard” in the Beguinage, The Community of the Vineyard,¬†in Brugge, Belgium.)

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Half-Way Through Lent

img_6970Yesterday marked the half-way point of Lent.¬† I started out pretty good, but got lax after the first two weeks.¬† Kind of felt like making New Year’s Resolutions and only keeping them until the end of January at best.

Still wondering, after all these years, how to make real progress on keeping up with commitments to myself.  I seem to do ok with following through on my promises to others, but have a much harder time sticking to the resolutions that involve changing me!

Do others have that problem?  Would love to hear from you about your successes, failures, or even half measures.  Need some inspiration.

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This February 14th is Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day

I don’t remember a year that Ash Wednesday fell on Feb. 14th which is Valentine’s Day.¬† Not quite sure how to celebrate/observe those two very different occasions this coming week.

Usually on Ash Wednesday, I try to fast and abstain from meat…and to begin a spiritual practice that I¬†will follow for the next Forty Days of Lent.¬† This year I decided to¬†practice a friend’s tradition of filling up 40 bags of things that I want to discard, pass along or donate to charity.¬† This will take some discipline as every day I will start out with a different area of my house that I want to de-clutter.¬† Hopefully, by the time Holy Week and Easter roll around, I will have made good on this promise to myself to do this.

For the last few years on Valentine’s Day, Ted has made a lovely lobster dinner complete with a champagne toast and perhaps even a chocolate treat for dessert.¬† That tradition seems a little decadent for Ash Wednesda, but at least it¬†would be¬†a “meatless meal.”¬† We often watch a romantic movie or perhaps play some favorite cd’s full of love songs.¬† That seems quite the opposite of going to church for the imposition of ashes and¬†pondering our mortality.

Perhaps one way to observe both Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day¬†this Wednesday would be to spend the morning and early afternoon focusing on¬†the start of Lent, the penitential season of the church…and then to switch gears around dinnertime to focus on¬†love and romance, the themes of Valentine’s Day.¬† I really don’t think God would mind¬†such a¬†creative way to¬†spend February 14th this year.¬†¬†What do you think?

PS. Just learned that the last time Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday was the year I was born…1945ūüíĖ

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Words Matter

Words Do Matter.¬† That is why I am so furious over President Trump’s use of the word “Shithole” when describing certain countries in Central America and Africa.

Two questions:

  1. Why does¬†Trump use derogatory words to describe other human beings, organizations that he doesn’t like,¬†and now foreign countries?
  2. Why do Republicans and Trump supporters put up with this behavior?

I am worried about what this is saying to our children.  Will they think this behavior is OK?

I am embarrassed that people around the world, including foreign leaders, see Trump’s behavior as a sign of moral and ethical decay in America.

Yet, I try to remain hopeful that once the Trump train jumps the tracks, that good people will rise up and right our ship of state.  I tell myself that it is only a matter of time, but it is so hard to sit by and watch the train wreck happen.

What words are you using to describe the situation that our country is in?¬† And are you hopeful that it won’t be too long until words matter once again?

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