Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lent 2014


Here it is, Lent 2014, and we're a week into the season.  I'm late to post my "goals" for what I want to do this year for Lent.  A comment from a lovely cousin prompted me to get on the ball and write this post.  It's been NINE MONTHS since I wrote last!  Wow, that went fast!
As you know, I love the season of Lent.  It allows us to slow down, reflect, and work on our spiritual connection with the Divine.  So, what will I focus on this time?
  • Well, for one, I finally opened the "Incredible Life Workbook" for 2013 on New Years Eve, December 31, 2013.  [And I don't even consider myself a procrastinator!]  I read through it, and felt like it would actually be helpful for me at this stage of my life: I'm settled in my new apartment and it feels like home, I am adjusting to life in my unmarried state, I'll be wrapping up my Masters of Education degree in about a year, and am now parenting a teenager and her inquisitive younger sister!  So, I went through the workbook and crossed out all the 2013's and wrote 2014 in sharpie.  Even by the end of January I had seen how helpful this workbook is.  Heck, even by the end of New Year's Day, I'd tidied up two (2) whole rooms!  It's been great, and I recommend it v. highly!! There's even a FB group based on it, if you want some company along the way.
  • I have been struggling with some serious stomach problems for the past year and a half, and started the GAPS Introduction diet, based on the concept of fodmaps.  So far, in the past week, I've had a dramatic reduction in my symptoms, so I'm going to definitely stick with this plan.  As we know, one aspect of Lent is fasting, so I'll be doing this.  Again, for health reasons, not to lose weight.  Plus, it's a good opportunity for me to practice "following the rules," which is not something I gravitate towards naturally.  :)
  • Last year I said I would read Proverbs.  I never did.  This year, I'm thinking I'll focus on one of the Gospels instead, probably Luke.  I'll let you know how that goes.
  • I've also been browsing this Lenten Practice from the River Church in NYC that I read whenever I remember. And this Lenten Booklet right before bedtime.
There's still lots going on in my life, all of which (even the things I don't immediately recognize as such) are blessings.  This blog is usually the last thing I get to, and my absence sure proves that!  But I've been thinking about using this space as a place to write about the transformation of my ideas as I've gone through the experience of being a student.  I've learned a lot in and out of the classroom, and as my official academic program winds down, I'm finding that my mind is exploding with new ideas.  Well, new ideas to me.  Maybe I'll find a way to carve out time to explore them here.
May you have a Good Lent.









Saturday, May 25, 2013

Crows

I've often thought of crows as spiritual messengers.


But I've never thought of them as playful.  I will pay more attention from now on.


Friday, March 15, 2013

NEWS FLASH: Book of Kells available now online!



This just in.... The Book of Kells will now be available to view online!!!  Great news!  Trinity College, Dublin, has made digital images of the book available, in honor of St Patrick's Day, and just out of pure awesomeness!  You can access the images directly here.

I am truly amazed by the Book of Kells. I urge you to watch the animated movie, "Secret of Kells," as well, just gorgeous!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Overwhelmed




So, I've recently figured out that I am (or have become?) lactose and gluten intolerant.  This means I need to change  some stuff about how I eat.  Mostly I think it's a good thing, and I it will further reduce the amount of processed foods I eat.  I always tell my kids that if you can't see the food that you're eating, it's not that good for you.  Like, if you're eating an apple, you know the ingredients.  But I'm contemplating a trip to the grocery store.  And I want some sweet goodies to eat, and things feel complicated.  A friend posted this NPR piece on the Face Book, and it resonates, profoundly, for me today.  I'll figure out how to make a vegan, gluten free cupcake.  Someday.  Today, maybe I'll just eat a banana.

Friday, March 1, 2013

What's Happening Inside the Catholic Church?



I'm not Catholic, but I am paying a lot of attention to the recent events in the church, and I feel like the Pope's resignation is a bad sign of the health of the institution.  This segment from the Guardian really covers the issues well.  I agree with MacCulloch's premise that centralization was a bad thing for the Church.




Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lent 2013



Again, it's been a while.  I've been busy, going through lots of changes.  I can elaborate more later, when I'm ready.

In the meantime, I'll be engaged in my Lenten Practice.  As you know, I love the season of Lent.  It allows us to slow down, reflect, and work on our spiritual connection with the Divine. 

This Lent I plan to:

Those are ambitious goals!  I won't beat myself up if I can't do them all.  Doing these things will be helpful to me, so I'm going to do my best.  If I'm really on the ball, I'll post updates about how it's going!  I really do love this blog, and I miss it, but life has been so BUSY this past year......  It will be nice to have a chance to slow down and catch up.

I wish you all a good Lent.

Friday, November 9, 2012

News Round Up November, 2012






Wow, I haven't done a news round up - or blogged - in a wicked long time either!  Hi! 

Now that the election is out of the way, it's the time of year I start to get reflective.  First there's Remembrance Day (St Martin's Day). Then Thanksgiving, and then Advent.  I like thinking of it as Remembrance Day, and poppies, and working for no more war.  Here in the United States it's called Veterans' Day, and we remember them.  The focus is different, but important too.  A friend posted this list of 20 ways to reach out to veterans, which I like, especially after being reminded of the ongoing war in Afghanistan. 

I have been a big supporter of Pussy Riot since they were arrested for their "Punk Prayer."  I did not know what that prayer actually said, but now I do, thanks again to The Atlantic.   Very interesting and compelling.  I'm not sure how many Westerners really understand Russia's history.  I'm not going to say that I get it, but having the words translated and clarified for me, gives me a little bit more insight. I pray for those women in the labor camps, and for their country.   

And finally, Occupy.  I knew that the movement would re-invigorate itself and morph into something else that will help people.  I love this new idea of a Debt Jubilee.  I love that the idea is coming in time for Advent and Christmas.  I love that it is people helping people, and offering RELIEF from something as soul-crushing as debt.  Pure Genius.  I hope the idea takes off and magnifies and fundamentally changes the way that this country "works." 

Enjoy the autumn, and the calm, peaceful, dark season






Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Change



I was impressed by the London Olympics of 2012, but I've been Amazed by the reports from the London Paralympics 2012.  I haven't actually seen any of the events - unlike the total bandwidth domination of the Olympics by NBC here in the US, they have broadcast hardly any of the Paralympics, which is a shame.  From the foreign coverage I've read, comments from British FB friends, and photos I've seen from the events, these Paralympics have hit "primetime" and I don't think there's any going back now!  So Awesome!



Today is also the anniversary of September 11th, and brings me a moment of reflection.  I thought about it as I walked to work this morning. The weather is the same beautiful September weather we had 11 years ago at 8:46.  I thought about the rescue workers scrambling, and the smoke, and the survivors, and the dead, and the clear blue sky.   I remember racing home that day, to be with La Prima.  I couldn't watch the endless loop of tragedy on the TV, so we played in the paddling pool while no planes flew overhead in the afternoon.  She is in middle school now, and La Segunda is here with us too.  There have been so many changes since that day, some good, some bad. 


I guess the change in the seasons is always momentous, and a time for reflection or a time for action.  Spring for planting and fall for reaping.  A friend posted this prayer that was recited at the Paralympics closing ceremonies on behalf of Help for Heroes, just beautiful.  Amazing change:

I call upon the spirit of Autumn. The spirit of water, of the ebb and flow of emotion; of open seas and running streams, of cleansing rain; spirit of the evening sun, of twilight and of Autumn.
I call upon the spirit of Winter. The spirit of earth, of the womb of creation; of the night and the snows of winter, deep roots and ancient stones.
I call upon the spirit of Spring. The spirit of air, the breath of life; of sunrise, and of new life and of new growth.
I call upon the Spirit of Summer. The spirit of fire, of energy of passion; spirit of the noonday sun, the heat of summer, vitality and abundance.
My friends, let the festival commence!


The circle is unbroken,
The ancestors awoken.
May the songs of the Earth
and of her people ring true.
Hail to the Festival of the flame
of root and branch, tooth and claw,
fur and feather, of earth and sea and sky.

~ From the  British Druid Order

Friday, August 17, 2012

We Are All Pussy Riot

I have been following the whole sham trial of Pussy Riot and am not surprised that the Russian state has sent these brave women to prison for two years. 


The World is watching.  Stay strong Maria Alyokhina,  Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Yekaterina Samutsevich!  We support you!


Monday, July 23, 2012

For St Mary Magdalene's Feast Day



UPDATE: Check this sermon a different friend posted on Facebook about Mary Magdalene's Feast Day.

A friend posted this on Facebook, and I think it's appropriate for this day and age:

An Icon For Our Century - Mary Magdalene
By Joan Chittister, OSB

It is Mary Magdalene, the evangelist John details, to whom Jesus first appears after the resurrection. It is Mary Magdalene who is instructed to proclaim the Easter message to the others. It is Mary Magdalene whom Jesus commissions to “tell Peter and the others that I have gone before them into Galilee.”

And, then, the scripture says pathetically, “But Peter and John and the others did not believe her and they went to the tomb to see for themselves.” It is two thousand years later and little or nothing has changed. The voice of women proclaiming the presence of Christ goes largely unconfirmed. The call of women to minister goes largely unnoted. The commission of women to the church goes largely disdained.

Mary Magdalene is, no doubt about it, an important icon for the twenty-first century.

She calls women to listen to the call of the Christ over the call of the church.

She calls men to listen for the call of the Christ in the messages of women.

She calls women to courage and men to humility.

She calls all of us to faith and fortitude, to unity and universalism, to a Christianity that rises above sexism, a religion that transcends the idolatry of maleness, and a commitment to the things of God that surmounts every obstacle and surpasses every system.

Mary Magdalene is a shining light of hope, a disciple of Christ, a model of the wholeness of life, in a world whose name is despair and in a church whose vision is yet, still, even now, partial.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

News Flash: I'm a "Navigator"

We interrupt this hiatus to announce:

Today I was labeled as a "Navigator," as opposed to a "Problem Solver." 


from wikipedia:
A navigator is the person on board a ship or aircraft responsible for its navigation. The navigator's primary responsibility is to be aware of ship or aircraft position at all times. Responsibilities include planning the journey, advising the Captain or aircraft Commander of estimated timing to destinations while en route, and ensuring hazards are avoided.


I have always considered myself a problem solver, but when I heard the "Navigator" described, it fit perfectly.  I can adapt my decision-making process to the events going on around me - speed up for the rapids, drift along the calm, deep water, and avoid crashing on the rocks or running aground on  sand bars.  When someone tries to hurry or bully me, I sometimes fear I will capsize, and sometimes go into panic mode.  But usually, I stay the course, and everything goes OK. 

This new label has been validating for me.  It reminds me of my affinity for Mountain Goats (to use another metaphor for navigating hazards), and a recent link that Lakshmi sent me about the North Star.

Now back to our regularly scheduled hiatus.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

hiatus

It's that time of year again, folks.  Lots going on here, and I need to take a break in some corners of my life.  So, I will leave you with this gem as I rest up and enjoy the summer:



See you in a while.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Snape and Vulnerability

I had two reminders about Brene Brown this week.  One was when a friend posted on FB about "Defense Against the Dark Arts."








Here's a snippet from that post, to give you a sense of what a "shame researcher" is:


We shared a laugh about his Snape projection, then things got more serious. “What you said really made sense to me. Especially the part about us being so afraid of the dark stuff. What’s the quote that you shared from your book - the one with the picture of the twinkle lights?”
“Oh, the twinkle light quote: ‘Only when we’re brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.’”

She talks a lot about vulnerability.  And when another friend asked me if I'd read any of her books, I said, "I haven't read any of her books, just her blog.  And I like what I've read so far..... I was going to say I "like" what she has to say about vulnerability.  But, that's really not the truth: I find what she has to say about vulnerability very unsettling, which I guess is the point.  It feels hard to put into practice.  But I can see the rewards of doing it."

As Brene Brown says

“Yes. Shame resilience is key to embracing our vulnerability. We can’t let ourselves be seen if we’re terrified by what people might think. Often ‘not being good at vulnerability’ means that we’re damn good at shame.”

 Big stuff. But as you all know, Snape is my hero! 


Friday, June 15, 2012

Official Start of Summer, chez Grande Foret

It's going to be a busy summer chez Grande Forêt.  Yesterday, La Prima's (public school) teacher sang the class this song, as a going away gift:



I get choked up just typing that.  Anyways, it pretty much sums up what has been an amazing year full of growth for us. I hope you dance.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

I got this poem from a friend today, via email, and it sums up my life perfectly right now.  Thank you, Silver Queen, you know who you are.


Passage

by John Brehm
In all the woods that day I was
the only living thing
fretful, exhausted, or unsure.
Giant fir and spruce and cedar trees
that had stood their ground
three hundred years
stretched in sunlight calmly
unimpressed by whatever
it was that held me
hunched and tense above the stream,
biting my nails, calculating all
my impossibilities.
Nor did the water pause
to reflect or enter into
my considerations.
It found its way
over and around a crowd
of rocks in easy flourishes,
in laughing evasions and
shifts in direction.
Nothing could slow it down for long.
It even made a little song
out of all the things
that got in its way,
a music against the hard edges
of whatever might interrupt its going.
 
"Passage" by John Brehm, from
Help is on the Way. © The University
of Wisconsin Press, 2012.