#Liz

Yelling For Joy

When I was young, I use to go off into the woods near where I lived and yell to my delight just because I could. There were ninety acres of redwoods and not a soul around.  My yells would sometimes echo back to me so I felt I was not alone.  I sometimes thought it was God talking back to me. This is something I would never do now, given the proximity of neighbors and feeling somewhat reserved about a grateful yell.  There was something freeing about a good ol’ yell out loud.  I felt release, merriment, and gratefulness all at the same time; a sacred space, of sorts, to hear my own voice when I felt I did not have one.  I have discovered my voice, yet again in a different light, in my adult years and that same feeling of delight and gratefulness overcomes me.  I resolve this year to continue to yell out my joy and share it with others.

by Liz

 

Peace Device

It takes a concerted effort to watch my phone do the buzzing ballet on my kitchen counter, alerting me to a text or an email, and not jump up to pick it up. This morning, I will start with peace, without any device asking me for my attention. I will lay my phone down. Ironically, it will become my center of focus for my prayer.  I will start with three deep breaths, and focus on the colorful APP icons and begin my meditation. The photo album icon: I will pray with a thankful heart for all the colorful memories I have captured that live in my memory bank. The text message icon: I will pray for my family and the connections I make throughout the day praying for each of them with specific intentions.  The camera icon: I will meditate on the world outside of me, the people in my path, and the beauty of the sunrise sky greeting me this crisp winter morn.

by Liz

Surrendering Things

The last few weeks it has been hard to watch all the devastation of the wildfires.  The lives of families going up in flames is a surrender they will not forget. I can only imagine the horror and intense feelings of losing the material structures, the photos, the clothes, the toys, the furniture, the heirlooms. I am reminded today of what I have accumulated in my world of stuff.  At one time trying to keep up with the Jones’ and comparing myself to my friends and neighbors was the mentality. Now, although I hang onto a lot of the things that have meaning as well as the creature comforts in my home, they are all earthly things that I cannot take with me, as the saying goes.  The memories created from the breaking of bread and sharing stories around the antique heirloom table, or drinking from great grandma’s crystal wine goblets are set deep in my soul. I surrender my ‘things’ to you, God, as I continue to create lasting memories and be blessed with what I have right in front of me, not needing more.

by Liz

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day is here! Across America, we enter into a kind of sacred ritual whether we are aware of it or not. We celebrate gratitude as we sit with our families or friends to break bread together and just BE with each other. For my family and me, it is our favorite holiday of the year.  There are no presents, no obligation, just a time to gather and be present to the day with each other. We gather for a prayer of thanksgiving and truly embrace the love of family and friends being thankful, once again, for our life together. We wash away any negative feelings and forgive any wrongdoings. It’s a renewal, or pathway, in a sense, for us to enter into the Christmas season. The ritual of Thanksgiving is sacramental and bonding.  Let us take the day to reflect and be thankful for just that. Happy Thanksgiving!

by Liz

Family Table

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving next week, I am remembering how I used to LOVE to set the family table when I was a young girl. I carefully ironed and folded the cloth napkins with the fork resting on top, the knife and spoon nestled together, with wine goblet and water glass close by. Thanksgiving brings to mind that somehow eating together creates a space where we can be vulnerable and present. Whoever is at the Thanksgiving day table is there for a reason–-to connect to our human need for nourishment and to each other. Whether sharing our food or coming empty-handed, we receive from another’s bounty and we are in communion. We are blessed by the generosity of the farmer’s labor, the earth’s many organic abundant gifts, and the joy of companionship.  I cherish my many Thanksgiving memories that involve pure presence and exchanging stories. May you have a blessed Thanksgiving day with your family and friends, sharing food and gratitude.

by Liz

 

Pleading and Gratitude

When I want something really badly, my prayer is begging God for an answer.  I feel like a child pleading to a parent for something I want to have right NOW. Usually, my prayers are not answered that way, although sometimes surprisingly so. I must step back and reflect, be in gratitude for the moment I am in, realizing God knows what I want and in His time it will happen. Faith has shown me this in the past and I trust that it will happen again. I then chuckle to myself in the middle of my prayer request, that I am thankful for where I am right now.  I then feel a wash of presence come over me and God telling me to be grateful for the moment and all that it has right NOW. Today is all I have and today I will be grateful for what is put before me, embracing the unknown and living out the questions with no answers in faith. Thank you.

by Liz

The Serenity Swing

Hiking the road less traveled was the perfect trail for my son to choose as we climbed the mountain to a swing that has been permanently affixed to a giant oak tree, profoundly named, “The Serenity Swing.” Others walk or climb the trail that is more marked by the foot traffic. Ours was the trail where we encountered a snake, hopped over barbed wire fences, and grabbed onto rocks as we climbed to the top. Once we arrived, we took in all the surrounding beauty of the sunlit hills and the grandeur of the view.  The climb reminds me of the journey we are on, taking on life’s adventures, bumps, and turns. My son is learning to take this life straight on, encountering the snakes and barbed wire along the way. We shared our hearts and connected as we felt the lightness of life when we swung on the swing, giving serenity to the day.

by Liz

Notice, Pause and Choose

I am embarking on a girl weekend. Yes, just me, myself and I traveling for three nights and creating destinations along the way of my choosing. I’m making this my “notice, pause and choose” trip.  I want to notice something for which to be thankful, making my intentional stops along the way. I will then pause to acknowledge this something as a reminder of God’s presence. I will then choose to focus on God’s presence in that moment and let it reveal His powerful peace to me. I am excited to have such a plan, juxtaposed with a spontaneity, to what it will bring because of my intent and purpose.  In this season of fall, I want to take the time to reflect and be in the moment in front of me and notice, pause and choose. That’s what brings me to a fuller interior life exploring the outer world around me to fill all my senses and interpret what it means to me. Just a girl. In the world. Me, myself, and I, grounded with God.

by Liz