Monday, January 10, 2011

How Sweetly . . .

"How sweetly this day nourishes and inspires."

That's the quote for today on my daily calendar. And here's the picture that accompanies, both art and words courtesy of the artist Robin Pickens.

Isn't that just a luscious image? And don't her words leave you feeling thoroughly hugged? I hope so, since that's the effect they have on me--as though the Creator of this one-of-a-kind day has handed me (Her one-of-a-kind Maureen) a gift (which She has), and I've just unwrapped it and am in the midst of a happy sigh of acceptance and gratitude.

Perhaps somewhere in the world, right now, people are experiencing temperature warmth and garden beauty, as hinted at in that calendar artwork pictured above. For me, I'm standing at my front door in my jammies, shivering, taking some pictures. Here's a view of down the street and up onto Crow Peak, my personal mountain.

Slightly to the left, here's a view of where I sit when weather allows, under my willow.

The chair I curl up in is around the corner, blown there by the last winter storm, or two, or three. The chair pillow is up and over the deck, buried in the last snowfall, or two, or three. Right near my knees is the outdoor thermometer, proclaiming 9 degrees at mid morning, and the high today is supposed to still be in the single digits.

And if I turn just slightly more to my left, here's a current view of my living room.

Yes, Virginia, while there may be a Santa Claus, there are definitely NOT Christmas elves who come along after and clean up all your gift-making mess while you sleep. And yes, folks, I am well aware that it is over two weeks since Christmas. And perhaps by someone else's definition, any self-respecting person would most certainly have restored order to their home by now.

Yeah. Well. To that I say . . . (I can't spell out the sound for blowing raspberries so I'll have to substitute.) . . . phooey. My last two weeks, which from a calendar point-of-view bridged last year and this new year, have been wonderfully full of spiritual growth (see previous post). God has taken me on some incredible journeys of the soul, which haven't left much time for much else. And believe me, if you ask me to choose between traveling with God, and cleaning up my house, it takes less than a heartbeat to decide to grab His hand and hold on for the ride.

Here's one joyful benefit that I'm finding comes from standing ready, each moment, to follow God: the other stuff gets taken care of, too. Last night I kinda reached a saturation point with the mess in the house. I had new projects to start, and my house wasn't functional for them, since it was covered (literally :)) with the aftermath of some wonderful Christmas holiday art/gift-making. Well, tonight is the time I have invited my kids over to "receive" one of their Christmas gifts from me: a pizza party. Handmade-to-order personal pan pizzas, some munchies, some desserts. Not our usual potluck gatherings, but all made by me, for them.

Since we will be gathering in the living room--yes, that room I just showed you a photo of--I will definitely be spending some time today not only baking and cooking, but tidying. So by tomorrow, I'll have memories of a lovely time with my kids, and I'll also have a home ready for new growth, fresh exploration.

I wish each of you a day overflowing with His grace and joy.
And if you feel so inclined, leave me a comment.
I truly love seeing evidence that you've visited my blog--that you and I
have "chatted" for a while.

I'm gonna close with what opened this post:
that warm and lovely,
tender and luscious photo and thought.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hello, 2011

It's almost 1am, and long past any sensible bedtime for me. So if you ask me why I'm staying up even later to post here, I'm not sure I could come up with an answer other than . . . . "because."

"Because? That's it?"

Yep, pretty much. I last posted early in December . . . had a dozen great ideas for posts since then, but none of them actually came to fruition. The end of last year, and the beginning of this new year, have been kind of smooshed full of emotion for me. A recent awareness of tremendous growth during 2010 has left me, at times, breathless with gratitude. But it has also left me sort of dizzy, if that makes any sense.

I've been sad for so long. Healing has been taking place over several years, but much of it has been like the bamboo plant, with growth underground, invisible. Now that tender green shoots are poking up here and there, I am glad beyond belief. But it's so different. Wonderful, but different.

Don't get me wrong. I still have mountains to climb just about every day. But I look around me. I touch the formerly broken and bruised parts of my life and the horrible pain is gone. Really gone. Faithful prayer over countless days and nights has brought me, inch by microscopic inch, finally to this place where I can see joy. Feel joy. Believe in joy.

As I mentioned, over these past few weeks some terrific ideas for "wonderful, inspiring" posts have flooded my thought, but not quite made it into print. So I'm not at all sure why I am writing NOW. Nothing unusual has happened to finally prompt me to post.

Except maybe this quiet, very quiet, whisper that is saying: Maureen, don't let one single more day go by without saying, in some public way, that your days of mourning are over. Really over.

Yep. That's it. That's the "because."

And as much as I adore having photos in my posts, I can't think of a single image that would be adequate to express whatever it is that I'm trying to say here. I can barely find words for it. As I said, I'm in unfamiliar territory now. The land of joy.

Unfamiliar, yes. But not for very long. Because this is my home now.