The spring growth popping out all around reminds me of a school philosophy shared years ago by a friend. Her children’s school employed a phrase from St. Benedict to encourage learners: “Always we begin again.” The leaf buds send me the message that I can begin anew. Unlike a plant, I can choose to change my attitude, my behavior at any time. Start over. Try again. It’s never too late to begin again.
After 18 years of letter writing, praying, and financially supporting a child in Haiti, she has now graduated from school and Compassion’s program! We started supporting her through Compassion International when she was 4 years old. When she was 16, we visited her in Haiti while on a mission trip—a day we will forever remember. The photo on this post is a drawing she made in my travel bible during that visit. While we have no expectation of seeing her again (even though we would love it), we will continue to pray for her. And we are thankful for the opportunity to personally rescue a child.
Heard someone use the term “carepartner” the other day. Not caregiver. Not caretaker. Carepartner. Those three words have “care” in common. Having been a caregiver for decades in the past (for family, not as a profession), “giving” care sounds natural to me. And, as a caregiver, I found that I sometimes gave too much—I lost myself a bit. Care”taker” sounds less caring to me—the notion of “taking” doesn’t sound very friendly. But carepartner sounds perfect. Partnering in care. Side by side. An intimate relationship. Partners on the dance floor. That’s it! Carepartner—participating in a dance of caring.
Spring—it’ll come. Just seems to be taking a bit longer this year. The calendar says it’s spring already, but the snow flurries tell a different message. And this year, I’m ready. Being ready is good. Being ready, yet flexible, is better. And my garden requires ready and flexible to be successful. I guess planting will happen a little later this year. I’m ready to be flexible.
The waiter asked, ”How may I serve you?” This simple question nudged me to briefly reflect on the role of service in my life. To truly serve others, I must yield my desires to theirs. In so doing, an act of service to another can become a service to me as well. Directing my time, talents, focus, and energy to another person or group can help me to reset my place in the world—be a spiritual gift to myself.
It’s always made sense to me that learning and connecting with others is a good thing for me. Now there’s science to back me up. In reading a book about the human brain, I came across a description of a study that compared a group of adults doing challenging activities together (quilting, for example) with a group simply socializing. The group doing the activity showed (via fMRI) improved brain function. So crafty groups are brainy!
While reading, I came across a statement: “This is who I am.” What if the period was replaced with a question mark? “This is who I am?” I like that better. The first is a statement—a gatekeeper if you will. A line in the sand. Closed. Replacing with a question mark makes a query—an invitation for guidance. Open. Punctuation divides and marks. It can also connect. Be an invitation to learning. What a difference a bit of punctuation can make!
February 4 is World Cancer Day. I’ll be sending an encouraging note to someone who is experiencing cancer. And I’ll contribute to a local organization that helped me through cancer. That’s how I’ll share on World Cancer Day
I love to learn—always have. Sometimes the new information or new way to look at something isn’t what I can immediately put to use. Like seeds for next season’s garden, I want to safely store them till the right time. My process is to write in a few notebooks—each notebook for certain types of learnings. Like seed storage, placing the learning seeds in a container. But not too tightly sealed. Seeds in airtight containers can be ruined by trapped moisture. As I learn more, I update previous notes keeping the thoughts open, not trapped. And I can’t begin to list how often I have referenced those seeds of learning to re-plant into my own life or deposit in the life of another.
I’ve been told I see things differently. And that’s mostly what this blog is about. I see a thing, a scene, something, then write about what I “see”—what pops into my mind. This pop in my thoughts is not something I work at—it just happens. Since this is a curiosity to some, I document some of them here. I capture a photo or stage one later, so you can see what I saw. In this case, I tried to photograph of a bald eagle sitting in a tree just down the road from our house. But as soon as the vehicle came to a stop, the eagle flew away. The eagle leaving his perch was more interesting to my mind than posing in the tree. What popped into my thoughts? Know when to move on. A year is ending. Move on. A new year is beginning. Move on. Consider what to keep clasped in my hands and what to let go. Move on.