Friday, February 3, 2012

Blessings and gratitude

Years ago, I started a practice of a daily journal in which I wrote at least 5 things for which I was grateful.  I did this for about a year and a half.  It is a wonderful practice; perhaps gratitude is like a muscle, it becomes stronger with use.  Now lest anyone be tempted to give extra credit for this practice, I must admit some evenings my postings were sad indeed, and really were not in the spirit originally intended.  Now if your sensitive, overlook this next part.  I think I once wrote: "I am glad I am not in the grave... I think."   You get the picture.  This is probably true of any practice, the point is to do it regardless; constancy and steadfastness, not perfection.

So, here in 2012, I want to do a reprise of a gratitude practice.  It seems to me, many times our unawareness of our gratitude is less a matter of lack and more just inattentiveness and forgetting in the rush of daily responsibilities and activity.  So in 2012, each month I want to focus on something for which I am grateful, remembering each day to attend to the blessings. 

This month, my focus is on my ability to see.  This is the sky I saw the other day here in North Carolina.... I pulled over on the side of the highway (way off I might add) to take some photographs. 

This winter has been spectacular: mild by any standards for NC, and fortunately we have been getting some rain, so to my knowledge we are not in a drought in the triad .  I am restraining myself from posting lots of photos of the sky as after a while (a short while) photos of similar images loose impact.... so just one.

When I returned from living in Key West, Florida for six years, I found a new appreciation for NC winters.  Prior to my NC sabatical, I just thought all the grays and browns were just boring and depressing.  Upon my return, I marvelled at the structure of the tree limbs and all of nature.  The limbs are like an inverse of the tree root systems: one can see their balance and design so well.  The subdued colors remind me that we all must rest.   Yes, we breathe out and are active, but we must also breathe in and rest and replenish our energy and indeed our spirit.

So, my wish for you dear reader, is that you also find rest and restoration in the winter's quiet here in the northern hemisphere; that each day, your attention is grabbed and held by the sublime beauty our eyes can perceive and our minds can comprehend.  May we all experience softening of our hearts.  Peace, b

Thursday, February 2, 2012


A friend recently began a series on her blog called Folk Tales in which she reminiscences about her family elders: so tender and wonderful!  So, as I am wont to do, I think I'll follow her lead and begin to share about my family folk.

Recently, my Mom has been much on my mind and in my heart.  She has had a rough winter with 4-5 bouts of illness, the last being pneumonia about 3 weeks ago.  Yesterday the palliative care nurse (and close friend) told Mom she is improving, very welcome news indeed.

I don't really know where to begin to share my love and admiration for her.  As she has aged, she has grown in grace: amazing.  She began a practice of meditation and other spiritual disciplines in her seventies.  She continues to soften and enlarge her heart.  As anyone who has watched a loved-one age realizes, there are many losses to be endured.  Mom has an intentional practice of "letting go and surrendering."  I can imagine the angels singing her on as God delights in her willingness to dance this poignant, difficult and tender dance. 

Here are some of my favorite photos of her in her youth.

Blessings to you, Mom with profound love and respect, B

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

One Flower Wednesday

One would think it is March here in NC as warm as it is.  I've been taking the opportunity to get outside to make my photos for the blog... a great improvement!  Here's this week's flower:
The pale peach dotted fabric always seems to read as offwhite.

The Camellia is from a bush that was just tee-ninesty when I moved in; I think it was a volunteer.  We are in zone 7 for planting... to my knowledge folks have trouble growing camellias much north of here.  My sister in zone 6 can not grow them (even with her very green thumb!).

I do love mine.  They are of the Japonica species which, according to my records, are blooming a bit early this year.  Their blooms often peak through snow which will fall in February & early March.

Thanks for stopping by and hope all's well in your world!