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…1945💖

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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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