Category Archives: Simply

A Sunday School Reminder

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I am not an artistic person, but I wanted a simple little reminder to place by my door to let all who enter know that we value and love all people. I went back to my Sunday School days and pulled out these words.  I noticed while singing through it that it really doesn’t quite match the spectrum of lovely color in this world, so I added a brown.

I know it may not be policially correct to speak of the yellow man — but, our good friend Kevin (Wang Chun-gi), from China, referred to his people as yellow.  It has more to do with the color of the river and less to do with a yellow crayon, but this was as close as I could get.

The same could be said for all the colors, but I’m not trying to change the whole world with this picture.  I’m trying to recall to mind the lesson learned early, and at the knees of my Aunt Gayle, that God sees the true man, not the color of the man’s skin.

My hope and prayer is that all people will learn to see beyond the skin pigment and learn to love and learn from their fellow human.

 

I am . . .

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Life has slowly returned to a somewhat normal pattern.  I am surprised, and yet not surprised, that it took so  long for me to sort through my feelings and develop a plan for coping, surviving and thriving the coming times.

I am making sure to take enough time to just be — reading easy stuff, movies, and quiet rest.

I am taking care of myself — gentle walks, gentle yoga, meditation, and warm nourishing foods.

I am taking time each day for some little act of rebellion– picking up garbage along the road, having conversations sparked by a safety pin, weekly calls to my representatives in government, followed up with letters and emails, breathing deeply and not engaging in quarrels, and praying specifically for a a couple of causes.

I am taking time each day for some little act of kindness — smiling at strangers (as an INFJ this takes a lot of practice and thought), talking to strangers, picking up extra food for the food bank, and baking brownies (just because).

I am also celebrating 50 years upon this earth.  50 years behind me and hopefully 50 years before me.  Lots of time left to do some good.  Lots of time left to raise some Cain.  Lots of time left to guard the rights and liberties of those around me and those God brings into my sphere of knowledge.  Lots of time left to encourage others to stand for what we stand on — this beautiful planet.

Safety Pin

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It is easy to define who you are by what you believe.  But don’t stop there . . .

I’m an endorser of sustainable agriculture. I’m Episcopal (not Baptist). I’m an environmentalist. I’m a woman. I’m an advocate for those with a particular disability. I’m an introvert.

I believe that all God’s children are equal:  no matter their skin tone, no matter their country of origin, no matter their religion, no matter their gender identity, no matter their immigration status, no matter their physical condition, no matter if they are neuro-typical, NO. MATTER. WHAT.

This is not a new way of being.  This isn’t a fad.  This isn’t a reaction. This is foundational to who I am and how I think.

So I wear my safety pin as a statement that I stand with all those who are feeling vulnerable right now.  Heck, as a woman I feel vulnerable right now.  As someone who has been sexually assaulted in the past I feel vulnerable.  As a mother with a son that is not neuro-typical I feel vulnerable right now.  As a member of a church which embraces all God’s children I feel a little vulnerable (some of our church buildings have been vandalized with hate symbols and hate speech). As the mother of daughter who is using her voice and her words to make a difference I feel vulnerable.

But these vulnerabilities don’t hold me back, they give me strength to get out into the world and share my truth.  They give me compassion for those who feel alone.  They give me courage to hope that someday this beautiful world will be united in true peace and love.

Until then, I will continue to hope and I will continue the work that needs to be done.

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If you’re local please share places where good work is being done.  Here’s a list to get you started:

Haven House

Exit 0

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

Clark County Cares

Food Banks (there are several)

donating books to your local library

Southern Indiana Animal Rescue

Autism Resource Center in Louisville

Habitat for Humanity

Jeffersonville Pride Parade

New Hope Services

Volunteer at an animal shelter

Volunteer at a nursing home

 

 

A whole lot of this . . . .

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I’ve been using my Thursday blog post as sort of a “what works for me” place. I have a long time home yoga practice, meditation practice, and prayer practice that I depend upon to keep my keel balanced.  It’s been taking a whole lot of all three to keep me from pitching over the side and giving into the waves of despair and anger and fear.

Any long time reader knows I am passionate about creation care — environmental care.  It is a major motivating factor in most of my decisions.  And I am profoundly disturbed at the direction this past election has taken us.  We’ve gone from the Paris Accords to a man who does not believe in climate change being in charge.  We’ve gone from protecting our water (both in the Atlantic and Hawaii) to a man who wants to move the Keystone pipeline forward.

I am publically renewing my commitment to living with less, to living carefully, to living simply —

I am publically apologizing to my children and the children of the world for an older generation who seem not to care that we are leaving a desperately ill planet full of problems for them to sort out.

I am publically renewing my commitment to standing with Standing Rock in any way I can —

I am publically renewing my commitment to be a Jesus people surrounded by other Jesus People worshipping and working with the Episcopal Church as part of the Anglican Communion.

I am publically committing to providing love, protection, and as needed a safe haven for people of all colors, religions, gender identities, immigrant status, disabilities . . .  If my country will no longer taken in the huddled masses then I will.

I am publically declaring that as an almost 50 year old white woman I will fight the hate with love.  Because as has been said, Love trumps hate and we are stronger together.

**Apologies for the roughness.  I decided to write and post without editing my thoughts or my words.  The inner editor is strong in this one — as my daughter will attest, so this is step of faith as well**

Bookends

BCP and Beads

BCP and Beads

My day is bookended by Laud and Compline. Laud starts with the glorious words, “Let my soul rise up to meet you . . .” and Compline ends with ” . . . And asleep I may rest in peace.”

Bowls

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Such an odd post this is going to be. Just a warning straight out of the starting block.

Bowls — I adore them. They do such hard work in my kitchen. This time of year I’m eating oatmeal in the morning, Buddha Bowls for lunch, and soup for dinner.

My favorite dishes are my Fiesta Ware. They are so colorful and cheerful looking on a shelf. However, they are really heavy. Also, they get really hot when you’re holding one full of warm food.

I love to sit on the porch with Jasper (usually in the glider) and eat my morning meal. This means I’m normally holding my bowl, sometimes wrapped in a napkin for easy wiping and keeping the heat from getting to my hands. Unfortunately, the combination of heat, holding, and damage to my thumb means I often drop bowls. Fiesta Ware does not bounce very well. Just a few weeks ago I broke 3 bowls in the span of 6 days. Not good and not sustainable either.

The answer for most people is a plastic bowl. But, I don’t do plastic. I say no to plastic bags, plastic spoons/forks/knives, plastic cups . . . So I faced the challenge of finding a bowl that I liked, that wasn’t plastic, that could be filled with hot food and not scorch my hands, and could, if necessary, take a tumble and still remain whole.

First up: bamboo fiber bowls from Target. I love the idea of these. They look like plastic, feel like plastic, but aren’t plastic. They are colorful. They are a great size. However, they really transfer the heat to your hands. Also, while they handle a fall from your lap to the porch, they do not handle falling from the counter. Nor do they handle a full fledged thumb spazz — as Hannah so gleefully tested and proved. I still have one and I’ll use it for things like popcorn. Lastly, I’m not really sure how you would recycle these. I’m pretty sure they can’t go in the compost bin, and they definitely can’t go to the local recycling place, and that means any fragments just become garbage. Not cool.

Second up: Acacia wood bowl from Pacific Merchants. This bowl I adore. It is a beautiful wooden bowl. The size is perfect for oatmeal, Buddha bowls and soup. It can handle the heat, but due to the thickness doesn’t transfer it so quickly. I can normally eat the whole bowl of oatmeal before I notice the bowl is warm. Thankfully I haven’t dropped it yet, but from reading reviews I think it will be fine. And if one breaks, it is easy to recycle — straight into the compost bin.

I’ve been using it for a week and taking care of it is quite simple. I rinse it out immediately, then wash with warm soapy water, dry thoroughly, and once a week I’ll coat it with a bit of sesame oil. It is also great because it gets me in the habit of washing my dishes immediately after eating. In fact, I generally make the dish water as I head to the porch or table so it is ready as soon as I finish.

Joy & Happiness vs Fear & Scarcity

In The Gifts of Imperfection Brene Brown says that we don’t fix (fear of) scarcity with abundance but with sufficient (enough).

I’ve been giving this a lot of thought. I’ve been drawn to voluntary simplicity for a decade now. It began as a spiritual practice and has influenced all areas of my life. I had never considered that I might be drawn to it as an answer to fear of scarcity.

However in reading through this section, again, I noticed that I often feel a lack of . . .sleep, time, and health. So while I’ve gotten control of fear of scarcity concerning money and possessions, I’ve never addressed these other more nebulous areas.

I think it is easy when dealing with an auto-immune disorder to chalk a lot of feelings up to how you’re physically feeling each day. It does seem that days when I wake up achy, dull, and swollen that is much harder to express courage, compassion, and even connection with others. I often just want to curl up into a ball and have the world go away. And on those days when I wake up feeling great everything just seems to fall into place and it’s easier to be the authentic me.

I’ve been working for a little over 4 weeks (at the time I’m writing this) with an Ayurvedic counselor. The work has been enlightening from a purely physical viewpoint, but also because it brings to mind so much of what I remember from this book. Physically I am feeling better than I have in a very long time. The dietary and lifestyle changes put into place were difficult at first, but as I began to build routines and habits they are becoming almost second nature. As I have felt better and better, I’ve noticed that all that soul work really laid the groundwork for this endeavor.

I’m learning how routine creates a sense of “enough” in the areas of food, sleep, time, movement, and health. As I sense “enough” in these areas, I feel the gifts of happiness and freedom flowing back into that area of my life again. My story continues to include this disorder, but slowly it is being pushed into a corner where it can inform but not control my sense of well-being.

Since happiness is an emotion based on circumstances, I realize that it was never my joy that this disease was taking. It was my happiness. When I ask myself what would make today awesome and then when I journal what made that day joyful, I think I have been focusing more on happy than true joy. As I read back through my journal I noticed these were all things that effected my emotions.

Happiness comes and goes, but true joy is a bit like a light in my soul. It is there just waiting for a chance to shine. So starting today I’m going to work on having two lists. One for what would make me happy. The second for where I saw true joy displayed in my life. I think the distinction is important and this is one way I can acknowledge that distinction.