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Welcome to my blog! Of course if we were visiting in person, I'd have the teapot out and we could sit and chat.
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Endurance

   Mom and I were chatting yesterday and she mentioned the word endurance with me.  A word she is embracing as these days stretch into months in her journey at Hospice.

  Today I flitted through the internet looking for meanings to this word I'm not sure I like.  Some indicated an almost immunity, rising above circumstances, going against the odds, coming out on top.

  It didn't fit.

  Bearing up under, living with circumstances, breathing.... in and out, in and out... breathing... and breathing some more.  This sounds more like endurance.  In our world anyway.

  Cruising through the internet, I saw all these pictures of athletes, sweating, pushing one more mile, glamorous, exulted, cheered on.

  And all I could think of was the dear man I had got to know, the double amputee, legs missing, whose arms are not working all that well, and how he mustered a smile every-time I walked into his hospital room.  Endurance.

  Or the thought of my Uncle Frank came to mind, living with Lou Gehrig's disease for years and years, day in and day out, losing all functions accept his brain, and he blinked his messages with those whom he loved.  Endurance.

  I see the braveness and courage of those in the cancer ward, chemo dripping through their veins, valiantly facing their disease with dreams of health and family, and allowing their bodies to receive the worst to fight the worst, so they can be their best... that is endurance.

  It is the face of the mother or father who cares for a handicapped child - day in and day out, month after month, year after year, patiently loving, advocating for, caring providing... endurance.

  It is reflected in those who endure incredible grief... and there are many kinds... and choosing to get up and face each new day, day after day, when part of your heart is missing, wondering if you can ever feel any better, yet life goes on... that is endurance.

  Endurance is not always a choice.  It is looking at what is given to us straight in the face, and keeping on going, day after day, sometimes year after year.   Even when there are no answers.  When life isn't simple.

  The choice comes in looking for the joy, the peace, the love, even as we endure.  To find the gems in the desert, gifts for the journey.  They come in the kindness of others, the joy of a moment in nature; a rainbow, a bird, a flower.  It can come in a word; a word of encouragement, a smile, a gentle hug.

  I am always comforted by this verse from 2 Corinthians:  "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed."

Saturday, May 25, 2013

In the mood to cry.

  The baby is howling downstairs.  Crying his little heart out.  His sounds bruise my already tender heart and I identify with his cries.  Babies are so honest.  No holds barred.  Maybe they can't speak, and how we wish they sometimes would, but they will let you know they are upset.

  Life can be hard.  Hard to understand, hard to live.  There is pain and discomfort and need and hunger and demands.

  I am in the mood for a lament today... and is it not healthy to embrace this part of our lives?  Sometimes it seems we put on the good face, say the right things, do all the right stuff, but we are crying inside.

  Right now, the questions are bigger than the answers.  The pain larger than the relief.  The ride longer and wilder and more exhausting, and maybe, we just want to all get off and have a rest.  Does life seem like that sometimes?

  On days like this, when my mood is dark, and I can't see the sun for the clouds, my weary heart turns to Lamentations, thankful that God in his wisdom said it was OK for us to cry.  To accept our humanity.  To howl sometimes.

  "I am the man (woman) who has seen affliction by the rod of the Lord's wrath.
He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light;
indeed He has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long.
And has broken my bones.  He has besieged me and surround me with bitterness and hardship.
He has made me dwell in darkness like those long dead.
...in the bitterness and the gall, I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet I call this to mind and therefore I have hope.
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning.
Great is your faithfulness, I say to myself.
The Lord is my portion, therefor I will wait for him.
He has made my skin and my flesh grow old
I remember my affliction and my wandering
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed..."
(passages from Lamentations 3)

  I don't ask for pity.  And I am so aware that anything I feel is likely small compared to the suffering of many others... and in my mood I cry for them too.  I don't ask for understanding.  But as I give myself permission to cry and rest, and not to try to make sense of it all, there is relief.  A letting go.

  No, I am not consumed, and truly, I do believe in mercy and love and beauty and kindness and goodness.  But there is also a deep sense of relief that I can be honest about the journey, and that a tiny baby can teach me that sometimes, just sometimes, it is ok to cry.  And even our cries can be prayers that are honest and heart-felt.  Amen.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Rich

Today we are rich
In rain.
Washing the rocks, watering the garden
Squishing wet in my
Sandal-clad feet.
The earth smells fresh,
The air clean.
Spring rains are a gift
And we are rich.

I'm rich in friends.
They color my life with
Wisdom and wit and laughter
And generous moments of
Listening and companioning.
They are like flowers in my life
Each unique and beautiful
Gifts that enrich my life.

I am rich in beauty.
It saturates my world
With flowers and vistas and color
And life in so many forms
The beauty of nature
Can never be fully explored
Ever changing
Inspiring me to create beauty
Of my own.

I'm rich in family.
From the little babes
That enter our lives
So beautiful and pure and precious
To the wisdom and richness of
Our parents rich with stories
And wisdom
Our children, our siblings, our family
A kinship that is rich as we
Experience life together
The common threads
Holding us close.

I'm rich.
Rich in love
In hope.
In faith.
In what money cannot buy
What disaster cannot steal

Rich in life
Every breath a gift
Trusting in a God
Who loves richly.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The gift of kindness.

  I was standing at my pharmacy counter yesterday paying for a prescription. Not feeling my best, and  was so touched when the pharmacy tech said " Hope you feel better ."  Perhaps it was the tone of her voice, or that she even took the time in a busy day. But it meant a lot to me.

  We have experienced a LOT of kindness lately. With moms long sojourn in Hospice, our family has been the recipient of much care and an outpouring of love, shown in many ways.  In those moments of feeling overwhelmed at times, I worry that my gratefulness is not always evident or expressed. But it is very much felt.

  Kindness is such an important gift. It made me think again of how I need to be aware of others in my surroundings. Sometimes even an encouraging smile can make a difference to someone's day.

  I don't feel there is a lot of kindness in politics. No matter what my political leanings I strongly believe that our leaders should take a stand against bullying, which is the opposite of kindness.  And they should lead by example. To me, one of the oxymorons of our generation is that we take a strong stand against bullying yet tolerate it in our political process.

   That being said, the choice to live a thoughtful and kind life begins with me.  A kind smile, gesture, word or deed can change the course of someone's day. It can infuse hope where there was discouragement.  And I am grateful for so much kindness shown to us. With thankfulness.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

200

 In the meditation that I receive from the Henri Nouwen Society every morning, they shared these words from his writings today, entitled Sharing Freely Our Knowledge:  He says:  "We might even become hesitant to tell others what we know, out of fear that we won't have anything left to say when we are asked for more."

  As I blog, fairly regularly, I sometimes wonder... have I run out of things to say?  Or is this worth saying?  It is mentors like Nouwen who keep me going... that if we are writers or poets or musicians, or share of ourselves in some other way, it is meant to be shared.  The emptying of ourselves allows room to be filled.  There is always enough.

  This is my 200th post.  Funny, I keep track of things like that.... take after my dad!  I find it interesting to see which posts have been read the most..  I think many have been touched by my mother's journey and many read "Living in the Land of Limbo" (April 21, 2013) and "A Path to Peace" (March 14, 2013).   I never could figure out why "Snow Days" (Jan 15 2012) got so many hits, but it ranked #3.  One of my favourites was the post on "Courage" (September 7, 2011) and "My Broken Angel". (September 19, 2011)

  As much as I pray and hope that what I say and write might be an encouragement to someone, it is also very beneficial to me!  As I write, it allows me to think and pray and process and connect.  It is healing.

  In the journey of my mother, we continue.  We have had our lows, and then our highs.  We laugh together, we cry together... it is the story of life.  It is unpredictable but full.  We treasure the moments, but live tentatively.  As I jump every time the phone rings these days, I realize others also wait for my news.  Many love mom and are wanting to be part of the journey.

  I realize, more and more, as a daughter that this is a very significant time in my life.  As my mother prepares for heaven, it has become a time of review, of reflection, of remembering.  It is not perfect.  But it is beautiful.  I am grateful for the gift of my mother, and have been thankful for the many conversations we have been privileged to share in these past weeks.  It has been rich.

  She often has lamented that she did not find writing easy, and she has been a great cheer leader for my writing, faithfully reading it all!   Her gifts were in all of the other many things she did so well!!  She gave the gift of love through compassion, through listening, through beauty portrayed in floral arrangements and quilts and food lovingly prepared, in her beautiful gardens. She has given many the gift of friendship.  And so much more...

  So mom, this 200th post is dedicated to you... I am privileged to be your daughter.  With love always, and forever.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sky of Blue

There are days
When the sky is so blue
I want to reach out and touch it.

Where does the transparency of the air
And the blue of sky meet?

Who colors the sky
The deepest of blues today
Shades of grey another?
Or the extravagance of the rainbow
Splashed across this canvas
I cannot touch?

How far away is heaven?
Does the vastness of the sky
Hold this place?

We wonder.
This not knowing.
Holding the mystery
Of life beyond life.

A God of love
Who colors the sky
He is far
He is near
It is mystery.


© Grace Wulff 
May 4, 2013

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Posies of Buttercups

I see them still
Blooming in my mind
Little clusters of buttercups
Bright yellow and delicate
Springing up in the church yard.

They were perfect for the posies
My sister and I created
Little bundles of joy
Carefully picked and arranged
With childhood wonder.

Surprises for mom
As we welcomed the 1st of May
With delight.

I look for them still
Little reminders of
Childhood pleasures
And simple celebrations,
And I embrace May
All over again.

not my own picture... no buttercups blooming in Vernon!
"borrowed" from the internet:
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Wikijunior:Summer_Flowers_of_Northern_New_England/Ranunculus