A Bit of Poetry ~ Rumi

Rumi Renewal From the Fall

I came upon this poem by Rumi not too long ago and it is such a beautiful concept of fall. Life is full of hard things and while we tend to try to avoid them we can often look back at those trials and see how they helped to lead us to the people and places we needed or have shaped us to become stronger or teach us important lessons. I, for one, have a hard time seeing the beauty in the situation while I’m in it. It generally takes a few years  (if at all) for me to recognize all the positive points of a negative situation. But nature does a better job of accepting what is and taking things in stride. Fall is a natural state of being and part of life and death. With each season of ruin comes an eventual rebirth and rebuilding, with each fall comes the spring. And each season holds its own glorious beauty if we know how to recognize it and appreciate it.

My challenge to you for the next few weeks is to take a moment to step outside and take in the beauty that surrounds you. And remember that when your own life mimics the cycles of the seasons that there’s a beauty to be found in each one. Even if it seems as if everything around you is falling down and apart and into ruin its all just part of the plan. Our desecration, just like nature’s, leads to a remaking, a glorious spring. (You just have to survive winter first!)

Fall Aspens

Nighttime Musings

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A Parade of Elephants end pages

One of the perks of not being able to sleep (if it can be thought of as a perk) is that you get the house, and often the world, to yourself at odd hours of the night. A few nights ago I was up wandering around 3 am or so, reheating a heat pack and making me some chamomile tea. The house was silent aside from the sounds of settling that seem to happen only when it thinks no one is listening. There was a hint of horizontal light peeking through the blinds from the streetlamps out front and the odd glow of an alarm clock and charging laptop, enough to light my way to the kitchen without having to turn on an overhead light.

As I was waiting for my water to heat I looked out the back window and realized I wasn’t alone. Across the road and through the trees I could see not one, not two but three windows illuminated in the darkness. I wondered at the circumstances behind the too-early-morning shine. Did my neighbors have jobs that forced them to be up at this hour? Were there new babies in the house that needed feeding or comforting? Perhaps they’d received bad news, a late night phone call that forced all sleep from them? Or, like me, did they simply have nights when sleep, no matter how welcome and wished for, wouldn’t come?

I leaned my forehead against the cool pane and let the steam from my mug fog the glass as one by one the lights winked out and I was alone again with the night. Misery, no matter how brief, loves company and it was a comfort to share my insomnia with strangers. And with that feeling of unknown of alliance and companionship I headed back upstairs to cuddle under the blankets and drift off to sleep.

A Parade of Elephants

 

*Both images are taken from this adorable book by Kevin Henkes.

 

Words of Wisdom ~ Ortega y Gasset

Bryce Sunrise
Beyond living and dreaming
There is something more important:
Waking up.
~Ortega y Gasset

This is a truth I’ve been trying to learn recently. For me, it’s sort of akin to acceptance and letting go. Dreams are great and necessary as is the monotony of every day living but when those two things meld together there’s a beautiful catharsis that occurs. We awaken to the possibilities of our dreams without holding them up as unrealistic expectations that are bound to disappoint and we begin to see the blessings in every day amidst the struggles and drudgery that often weigh us down. We accept the truth and reality of our current situation but recognize that we are not limited by those situations while concurrently recognizing that failure to live a particular dream or reach an expected milestone does not equal failure. When we wake up to each moment and fully live it we can experience something deeper than the moment itself.

**As part of surrendering to imperfections I acknowledge the ‘failure’ of a past blog and absorb a few of those former posts here in the new format. So please enjoy a few repeat posts, or if you for some reason followed me before please re-enjoy them a second time! 🙂

Jesus Is My Peace

Christus

In a church meeting this weekend we had a remarkable lesson about the role of Jesus Christ in our lives. One of my favorite verses of scripture is in Isaiah (you’ll probably recognize it from Handel’s Messiah) that announces the Savior as Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God and so forth. Now a lot of those names are a little hard to relate to on a day-to-day basis and we were encouraged to think about what Jesus means to us each and every day.

And each and every day I find that I need peace. Whether it’s an emotional situation, a crazy family situation, work or the evening news or not being able to find a parking space or a million other things that happen all the time, there always seems to be a lack of peace. And so I turn to my Savior for that “peace that passeth all understanding” and He never fails me. Sometimes its just a moment of solace, sometimes its inspiration to solve a problem, and sometimes its just the reminder that “this too shall pass.”

I’m grateful for this Christmas season to be reminded of the birth of a babe in Bethlehem who was destined to be the Prince of Peace and the constant peace in my life. If you were to fill in the blank what would role would Jesus play for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Jesus is my_________.

Words of Wisdom ~ Don Blanding

Chiang Mai Thailand

For as long as I can remember I’ve been at war with myself.  I long for adventure yet I crave the comforts of home.  My soul seeks new people and places to discover while simultaneously wanting longevity and stability and sameness in my surroundings and relationships.

I stumbled on this poem by Don Blanding recently and it sums up my struggles perfectly.

This blog is partly a celebration of that split personality complex.  The simpler and finer things in life, the ways I seek to branch out and explore this amazing world around us and the ways I seek to enrich but simplify my daily sphere of influence which is sometimes so small it’s nearly microscopic.

As an introvert my natural tendencies are to do things like curl up in a fluffy blanket with a mug of peppermint tea and a good book and stay there forever. If I’m feeling really brave (and the weather is cooperative) I’ll venture outside and do a little reading under the shade of a friendly tree. Not a bad existence, really. But there’s also this insatiable itch inside me that has become more and more persistent with the passing years. I think I did a pretty good job of ignoring it all through high school and college until finally, one day it would no longer be ignored.

I never set out to travel the world, or move thousands of miles from home to live in a place where I didn’t know a soul, or even to learn to play the harmonica but I’ve done all of those things and more. And while at first they happened sort of accidentally, I’ve begun to learn how to listen to that itchy inner voice and plan adventures on purpose, as well (it’s a lot more fun that way!)

Some days the introvert wins the battle and some days the adventurer claims the victory but only time will tell which side will ultimately win the war. Accidents still happen, and adventure still isn’t my default setting. I still love to escape into a world where the only conversation that occurs is between fictional characters on a printed page.  But I’m looking forward to a lifetime of continued adventures, big or small, accidental or otherwise, and sharing a few of them here with you.

P.S. I’d love to hear about your adventures as well!  Comments are always appreciated!

**Photo taken in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Mediocre is More than OK

Mediocre is More Than OK

I know the idea of mediocrity carries a rather negative connotation. Synonyms range from the underwhelming “not very good” to “passable,” not generally something you’d admit to aspiring to. But the word mediocre comes from Old French and Latin and literally means “halfway up the mountain.” I don’t know about you but halfway up doesn’t sound like such a terrible place.

I live in the shadow of some of the greatest mountains on the planet. I’ve done my share of hiking and climbing them and can testify of the effort it takes to reach the top. But in life there are many of us who decide not to hike at all because of the risk of never reaching the peak, or those who set out for the peak but for various reasons don’t make it and instead of celebrating the vistas they did crest and the progress they made, can only ever focus on the things they missed. As a recovering perfectionist I can relate to both groups of people and I’m sure at least one of you reading this can too.

As part of my blogging journey I hope to challenge the idea of mediocrity. Halfway up doesn’t have to mean failure. Halfway up proves you’ve worked hard to change from where you started to somewhere higher, and that you are still working! Halfway up gives you a different perspective and provides experiences that influence where you’ll go next.

None of us is a finished product, we are all works in progress. Just because we’ve still got a ways to go doesn’t mean we haven’t already come so far. Only halfway up? Take a look around, the view is pretty incredible.  Join me, won’t you?