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Sooo Excited!!

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I am so excited…after years of wanting to get a domain name and a designer to put a professional blog together that would better show my photography, I finally took the plunge and did it!  I have a new professional blog, Behind the Gate.  I am moving from The Old Parsonage, to Behind the Gate. It is not far at all, in fact the same house… just  a different site!  Please bookmark my new site, and come see me Behind the Gate!


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Simply Listening

“When we listen as if we were in a temple, honoring each persons words as valuable and sacred, all kinds of possibilities can happen; miracles can occur.”  Author Unknown

I tore this quote from a magazine years ago and put it on my desk when I was a school nurse. At the start of every school day, I would read it and remind myself to listen intently to the students coming in.  It was my daily reminder to listen close enough to find out what their hearts were speaking as well as their words.  

Last week I sat on the ocean by the fire and listened to a stranger tell me her stories.  Her work, her hopes, her dreams for the future.  Listening to another person, their frustrations and lessons they are learning, is becoming a simple pleasure for me.  To be trusted with their truth, their life, their fears and hopes.  I’m a slow learner, it has taken me years to get to the place where I don’t have to tell my story. To listen, to ask questions, allowing their story to unfold at its own pace.  I’m still not there yet… I can’t deny that I am still a talker.  But I am finding enormous pleasure from simply listening.

Linking with Dayle as we share our Simple Pleasures.  Now tell me your stories…when did someone honor you with their story?  What did you learn when you sat and simply listened?

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Joining Ann today at A Holy Experience as we pause to consider the gifts in our lives that  spill over into the sweet abundance of daily grace.

I am so thankful for a wonderful son-in-law who loves my daughter, and loves his little  girls.  A good man who loves his wife and loves his family, is such a blessing. I am so thankful my daughter and granddaughters have him.

I am thankful for lilacs blooming in abundance this year.  A bouquet is on my kitchen table, I see the bush when I look out the pantry window and  when I walk outside.  Every time they strike me with how lovely they are this year.   Beautiful purple bouquets are scattered on bushes in my yard, and all over town.

Our newest little granddaughter Addie, fills our lives with laughter and happiness. Her personality is emerging and delighting us all.

I am so thankful for a much-needed break from work. Slowing down, working in the garden, and time to simply be still fills these last spring days  with a happy peace.  For all these gifts, and so many more…I am so thankful.

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Day in the Garden

I woke to not only a day off today, but a beautiful spring day! I decided today was the day to get my dahlia tubers planted.  Then I remembered  I hadn’t gone to see mom in a  few days.  I knew she would love to go have some fun after being alone in her assisted living apartment for several days.  I decided to call her and see if she wanted to  just sit in the garden and watch me work.  It didn’t sound like much fun to me, but mom thought it was a wonderful idea. After picking her up, I moved a comfortable wicker chair into the garden. Mom eased her 82 year achy body into the chair,  turned her face into the sun and closed her eyes.  Soon she was sound asleep.  Oh well, I thought, she is asleep but not alone.  Later she woke up, looked around and watched the birds, occasionally asking me the names of different flowers.  As I worked she told me how my grandmother loved flowers also and in those days everyone got starts from other gardeners.  I didn’t know my grandmother loved flowers.  She passed away when I was young and I really never knew her well. As I pulled weeds, I thought about how interesting it was that we both share a love for gardens.

Several hours later after all the dahlia’s  were planted,  I made lemonade.  Mom and I sat on the porch watching the breeze blow the trees, and the birds fly through the blue spring sky.  “This has just been the best day” mom sighed.  I thought to myself sometimes I think I have to do something wonderful to show someone a good time.  But really, it’s the little things that make us happy.  Being included, sitting in the garden on a warm spring day, having a cool glass of lemonade.  And after mom is gone, I know these will be the days I will remember.

Sharing today’s simple pleasure with A Collection of This and That.  What was a lovely simple pleasure for you today?

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Be a Blessing

It was a busy afternoon today with errands to run and chores to finish before I start a long work weekend. My head was spinning with what had to get done, what I wanted to do try to do, and how I could make it all happen.  In the midst of running errands and feeling stressed I found myself praying about it.  I felt a nudge in how much of it was centered around myself.  I then ask, let me be a blessing to someone today. I rushed into exercise class and a woman was telling the class about how overwhelmed she was taking care of her elderly mother.  After class I stopped and talked with her, offering a listening ear and understanding.   We parted with a hug and smiles.  Getting back into my car, I headed down to the valley to take some pictures with my new camera lens.  I wondered through the gardens and then stopped in a little shop and bought myself a small bouquet of daffodils.  As they wrapped and tied them with a ribbon,  I thought of my elderly neighbor who recently lost her husband.    I needed to stop in and visit her; perhaps I should take the flowers to her. On the way home I stopped by with the daffodils. She was so touched, I was glad I gave the flowers to her.  She put the bright blooms into a vase and placed them on her kitchen table.  As we sat down for tea and a visit, I could smell their sweet fragrance.

Tonight the sun is going setting on another busy day. I wonder if perhaps I need to change my idea of a successful day.  Usually at the end of the day I ask myself if I got everything done and what was left undone.  Maybe I need to ask myself  who I blessed today, and start every day asking to be a blessing.

Linking this weekend with Spiritual Sunday.

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Prayer Waves

“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.”

Psalm 57:1

My world was busy yesterday with major home repairs and birthday preparations, I had not even taken time to watch the news.  In the late afternoon I finally sat down and saw the horrific images coming out of Japan. My heart broke for the people there as I tried to imagine the confusion and sadness they must be feeling.   Turning the television off, I decided to go for a walk along the trail. The blustery winter wind chilled me as I walked with the afternoon sun just beginning to set. I thought about how it was such a tragic day for so many people in the world. Looking down, I noticed the crocus just popping up through the cold winter soil.  I thought of the people who had lost so much; whose  gardens and land were destroyed. I couldn’t help compare this beauty with the destruction I had just seen.   I thought of all the people sending their prayers around the world to Japan. I pulled my sweater tighter as the winter wind picked up, and breathed out my own prayer;  may good come of this. That we would see how we are all one world, united in our humanity and asking God for mercy and shelter in this disaster. That the people there would feel our love and concern for them. May this disaster bring good; may flowers sprout out of the destruction. O Lord, have mercy.

And my prayer joins with your prayer, and other prayers, as we send love, mercy, and strength in great waves to this destroyed land.

Linking with Spiritual Sunday this weekend!

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It is a busy day this December 24th at The Old Parsonage.  Yesterday I spent the day with mom at the hospital, and finally convinced her doctor she should come home.  It seems like once you get admitted to a hospital, it is hard to break  out!  The more mom was there, the more confused she became.  She is staying at our house for a few days to recover from her small stroke.

I have lots of cooking to do today;  cheese rolls to make, cookies, a new cake recipe to try, pecan tarts, dough for rolls, and perhaps setting the big dining room table for tomorrow.  In the midst of all the activities, I hope to take a few moments to get out and walk and enjoy nature. To say a prayer for family who lost a loved one last week, and ponder the mystery of  Immanuel,  “God with us”.  In our happiness…in our struggles…with us always.  That is something to celebrate, to ponder, and to rejoice over.  I wish you a moment in the busyness of the season to let the wonder of God coming to be with us, is still with us, bring joy and comfort to your soul.

O Come O come Immanuel…

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