Monday, August 21, 2017

Nurturing Monday- The Anatomy Of Patience Refined

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Imagine yourself lying in a field where the tall grasses are swaying. The bees are buzzing, birds occasionally chiming in. Time is not relevant to the "now" of this field. Is the air of this natural moment active or passive? 

In my desire to nurture patience within, I want to unpack the components of patience further. First, I want to understand active patience. Not passive, I will endure this, patience, but active, alive patience.
In my thinking I found two verbs that seem to be part of my active patience, waiting and observing.
Waiting obviously requires patience. But, active waiting is hopeful and invites a curiosity needed to employ the second verb, observing. If you find yourself in a place of active patience, observing is a tremendous help. Instantly your state becomes mindful of "now". What am I observing "now"? Observation, in turn, invites perspective. Waiting in a doctor's office is less a waste of precious time but more an opportunity to be aware and open to interesting conversations, or the quieting of racing thoughts, or even the quality of breath.

  Two other words, not verbs, but adjectives, grow from active patience. Acceptance and calmness are on the right hand and left hand of active patience. 
    Going back to the doctor's office, what can you acquire from accepting that you have no control over the length of your visit? Longsuffering; having or showing patience in spite of troubles, especially those caused by other people. That dictionary definition is less harsh than the word itself. No one wants to suffer long but can we learn to trust ourselves more when we accept "what is"?
   So if you have been waiting, observing, accepting, chances are you have some moments of calm. Right? The calm when your breath gets slower and your tensions surrender. That is active patience, to me. It is active because I am choosing this path. I am not a victim but a trusting pilgrim wandering the landscape of patience. 

To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click 

Friday, August 18, 2017

We Speak And Either Open The Gate Or Leave It Closed

The world is all gates, all opportunities, strings of tension waiting to be struck. 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

   I love garden gates. On my daily walk I have a few I particularly find delightful. A gate is often a latched barrier between a heavily fenced yard and the world at large. No matter what might be going on inside the yard, a pretty gate invites my attention.  

My voice, my ability to speak out, is also a gate between the world and my private thoughts and actions. Before I open my gate, or speak out on a subject, I think it my responsibility to be prepared to act in accordance with my words. If I tell you I am a Christian, and I am, I feel responsible to act as Christ-like as I can. I am not a Sunday Christian. I believe in the two great commandments. Love thy God with all they heart, might, mind, and strength and love thy neighbor as thyself. So, who is my neighbor? 

  They are the many around me who are not religious. They are the other Christians who don't believe in my dogma. They are the Syrian family locating and going to school with my grandchildren. They are the children of color who I teach, and embrace. 

   It is tempting to repeat the speeches I hear on the news and on the internet. I know I live in a privileged class of white skinned people who hold most of the political power. I know this privilege is not shared by all and it hurts and shames. So, I feel the need to have a gate of speech that it not just politically correct but more importantly that the garden beyond the gate is cared for responsibly and honestly.

 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday group for three years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Patience

This moment will soon pass, and I will never have it back again.

This month I am using my word of the year, Nurture, to invite more patience into my life. Much of learning about patience is waiting. I am waiting for my scar from a knee replacement to heal. I am waiting to get permission to drive again after surgery. I am waiting to get my stamina back. I feel tempted to just let the time pass. But then I know I am letting a precious commodity go by unobserved. 

My struggle is to use this time to become an even better observer. While I waited in the doctor's office I invited myself to observe how others there were using their time. Two daughters were debating how to help their ailing mother as they waited for x-rays after a fall. I observed they used humor to offset their worry. I observed many individuals coming to surgery without a companion. They checked themselves in alone and I looked over at my husband who unselfishly took vacation time to be my caregiver. 

The knee on the right shows almost no cartilage to cushion the bones. The right knee show new parts with a nice cushion.

This is also a time for celebrating. My recovery is going smoothly and faster than I thought. I feel the strength in the new knee. Walking has a new joy, already. Going a little farther every day I rejoice in feeling less pain than before. Like opening a gate to more physical freedom, I pass through with attentiveness, knowing where I came from and where I am going.

    Soon enough I will be back in the whirlwind of life. I won't remember days without time constraints, but, hope to remember what I observed and who I was while I was waiting.

To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click 

Friday, August 11, 2017


                     Can You Save Me A Place?

   Is there anything more inclusive than coming to an event and seeing that someone who cares for you has saved you a place?  I remember going to an outdoor concert and pushing through the crowd to see an empty place by my friend and knowing it was for me.

   Another common feeling is the sense of losing my place. My relationship with God has many periods where I am hoping that I haven't lost my place with Him. I look for assurances. My journal has pages where I write the experiences of knowing He is in my life, for that day. On another page I have evidences that He prompted me to act and the outcome was sure. These entries encourage me to act in faith and hope that my place with him is secure.

Ether 12:4 “Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.”

 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday group for three years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.

Friday, August 4, 2017


                               Try, Try Again

   Try is a word I have heard many times this week. Try flexing more, try extending more, try holding that 10 more seconds. I am trying and by golly, I am doing just fine. I have this non- permanent tattoo on my other knee, the one that was not replaced a week ago, to remind me that healing is natural. It can be easeful and happens through grace. 

There is a part of trying that implicates failing. If I am trying I have not succeeded. And, the reverse is also true. There is a part of trying that indicates success. So, I live in a shaky, wobbly world just now of trying with of hope of success and healing. There seems to be some pain in both the failing and succeeding. 

 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday group for three years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Anatomy of Patience

    When I try to take apart the word and definition of patience, "right now", seems to be unrelated.  Patience is imbued with waiting for something, not having it right now. Nevertheless, right now I am in recovery from a complete knee replacement. 

Beautiful flowers from friends grace my home. I have a small roaming area due to walking issues but I am anticipating growth, both physically and emotionally.  The month of August will be a chapter of my life entitled "Learning Patience". 


Patience can mean waiting, but there is much more to waiting than tapping our foot while time passes. Patience can also be about observing. Consider the patience of a detective who is observing the goings ons of others as she tries to piece together the facts. In observation there is possibility of finding meaning. 

This August I hope to unpack more of the anatomy of patience. I want to nurture it, value it, and make peace with this loaded word. 

To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Choosing Patience To Heal

“A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.” 

The hidden that I hope manifests itself is my ability to be patient with healing. Only three days until I get my old arthritic knee replaced with a titanium one. 

Recovery will be painful and fretful but it has a duration and the end result is less pain and more ability to be stable on my feet. 

  I cleaned the beside table and put some books, the surgical soap I need to shower with twice before I go to the hospital, and my trusty bear who waits better than anyone I know. 

My Manifesto of Patience

May I be at ease with those who want to help me.
May I remember that to allow others to help is recognizing our common humanity.
May I be familiar with pain but willing to cut it short.
May I push to bring movement into my new knee.
May I find joy in little things like, sun streaming in windows, flowers on the front porch, cloud formations, good books, and friends visiting to wish me well.
May I re-kindle the hope each morning that I will succeed.

To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.

Friday, July 21, 2017


You never know when you might want to play Debussy

I collect sheet music. I have a license, so to speak, I teach piano. But still, there is more music on my shelves than I could ever teach. 

Peter, sixteen, came with his impish grin. Summer freedom was cracking open a discovery of classical music in his life. One week it was Chopin, the next Debussy. Piano study came late in his life. At fifteen his mother called to tell me about what her son was doing on the piano. Using U-Tube he was watching tutorials and learning music off the screen by rote. She thought he needed lessons. 

   Over the year I introduced him to the basics of note reading, rhythm, and fingering. He was patient but continued learning harder music, which he couldn't sight read, off the computer. Thank goodness for my music collection. He proudly took home the original version of Chopin's Nocturne in Eb and surprised me when he learned the first page and announced reading music was faster than rewinding the video on U-Tube over and over again. 

   Last Wednesday he came with a copy from the library of Arabesque by Debussy. The copy he acquired was too small and the editing, poor. I brought the sheet music from my shelves and he proceeded to tell me how Debussy made him feel. We talked about impressionism and how this movement in France affected art and music. In my humble opinion, he isn't ready to play this difficult music but, he will have a desire to try and oh, what he will learn.
  I am so glad to share my sheet music collection with him.

 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday group for three years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Nurturing My Health- Working With Health Practitioners

Do you ever feel guilty when going to the doctor? 

You know what I mean. They are going to comment on what you eat, what you weigh, and how much you exercise. What does the nurse do first as you go into the treatment room? She weighs you and then takes your blood pressure. Huh? I always comment that those two procedures should be reversed. 

   Seriously, I've been visiting many health practitioners lately as I am a few days away from a knee replacement. Nurturing my health is up in my face. So, I am trying hard to cooperate. Team "me" consists of my surgeon, my GP, my acupuncturist, the many great nurses, and of course my family. They all want the same outcome, a healthy, walking woman who is ready to go on with life. I don't lie to my team but I find I use a narrative that makes me feel good about myself. Yes, I am addicted to sugar. But, I don't smoke or drink alcohol. I eat really good food. (Just too much of that good food.) I want to try a more plant based diet. ( I plan all my meals around what meat is defrosted.) What do I have to say to get a gold star from that team member? I think I need a change of perspective. I am not working for them, they are working for me. I am the responsible party in our relationship. So, to nurture my health I need to do what they say but more importantly, see them as kind loving support while I take the reins. 

To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.

Friday, July 14, 2017


"Get outside. Watch the sunrise. Watch the sunset. How does that make you feel? Does it make you feel big or tiny? Because there's something good about feeling both." 

Amy Grant

This year I have derived a great deal of comfort going to my "watching place" to see a sunrise. No matter the difficulties of the day before, a new sunrise brings me back to the awe of creation. 

  All things testify of Him. Where there is darkness there will be light. This cycle of day and night is a routine that I feel grounds my spiraling, out of control mind. It reminds me that I am on a planet, fashioned by divine design. 

 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday group for three years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Nuturing Stamina


the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort:

You can do it!

As my knee replacement surgery comes closer I ask more questions. One I am curious about is how will my exercise benefit me during and after surgery? 

I expected my health providers to talk of the importance of my stronger muscles. But, each one of them mentioned the words stamina and energy. That did not occur to me, but I see the truth there. 

It will require stamina and energy to get up out of bed for the first time. It will require stamina and energy to moter around with a walker while I heal. It will require stamina and energy to push through physical therapy to get movement and extension in my new knee. 

My work in the gym for the last three years has prepared me to work harder still. Okay then, I'll nurture as much stamina in the next two weeks as possible. 

To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Play At Art Making

“There is work that is work and there is play that is play; there is play that is work and work that is play. And in only one of these lies happiness.” 

I climb the stairs in anticipation. No phone, front door locked, I hope to enter a world of play. Mugs of brushes, pencils, tubes of paint, and sticks of smooth waxy color call me to choose them to create.

This is my playtime. I get to make a mess. If I choose to leave the mess, I walk away, guilt free. Some days I work with watercolor, others days acrylic paint, or just a pencil to draw, works wonders. Outside the birds sing and cars go by and I am really happy there.

There are paintings from the past, and current canvases, and I even see notes on my wall which give me ideas of paintings in the future. 

Attention to detail has become a new strength. That was work in the past but this work is now play. When duty calls I finally take off my apron, check that every tube of paint has a lid and go downstairs, refreshed and alive.

 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday group for three years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Nurture My Health

             Become An Ally To Your Heart

           July 27- The day I get a right knee replacement
There is less than a month to nurture my body in preparation for this common, but nevertheless mind blowing experience. 

  There is light coming through indicating that my health will actually improve once this surgery heals. 
First item of business is; steady my mind. 

My heart needs my mind to become an ally. Where there is fear, let there be surety that I have prepared. Where there is dread, let there be calm that in the moment I can relax and let go. 

Have you ever called yourself on the phone? I called my number from my husband's phone and left an uplifting message. I plan on playing it again and again to replace negative self talk with a soothing voice of reason. 

I hope to replace many more things in the next months including the knee.

To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Change Is A Blessing

       The cars move by me as if I was slowing down their very existence. Cranes lift long iron posts to the top of high rise apartment buildings. Corners that once housed repair shops now have big chain work-out gyms. Change is ever present in the city where I visit. I live on an island, with ferry access only, so when I leave I am mindful of change. 

The boat ride back home gives me twenty minutes of anticipating my quiet life. As I approach the dock where I will disembark, the pilings guiding the boat into the slip remind me I am not long on this earth and I am so grateful for the safe harbor that God provides over the sea of life. He knows what changes still lie before me, he was there as I navigated the many twists and turns of sixty years, He is in the present moment as I humbly acknowledge that change is a blessing even when life is ever so sweet.

 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday group for three years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Am I Nurturing Idleness?

I like to coast. Putting my brain in neutral seems the ultimate luxury. But, I ask myself, am I nurturing an idleness which does not fully relax or sustain? Could there be other activities, beside being prone on a couch, which provide a refreshing break from demanding jobs?

   One of the hard things about having a word like nurture as a guide, is the fact that it is a verb. There is action intended. But when I am coasting mentally I perceive that I am not taking action. 

  Doing nothing is impossible. If I am just lying around I most likely am thinking, which can cause my body to react as I tense around difficult thoughts. If I am watching television I am watching fictional characters live their lives and still my body is reacting to the tension or pleasure the characters encounter. 

Doing or acting can be equally relaxing. Just lately I learned a Bach Two Part Invention in 10 days. I noticed that in the morning I looked forward to playing the piece again because I was progressing incrementally. A peace settled into my body as sections of the music spilled out of my hands like water. Some days the work was slower but the joy increased. 

Reading could be idleness. What we hound our children to do, we as adults often label as a luxury. "How do you find time to read?" I nurture the time to read. I take care to organize my day to allow reading. Is this nurturing idleness? 

Or what about the seven days, yes, seven days, that I have logged meditating this last year? No action, just sitting observing my thoughts. How idle is that? 

I think I am nurturing, not idleness, but internal satisfaction, the ability to be content without the constant to-do list. And, there are ways to relax and sustain more satisfying than others. 

As this is the last post in June, and since I was looking at negative things I may be nurturing, I am content to reveal that I nurture more positive things in my life than negative. Whew! 

To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.

Friday, June 23, 2017


Slow and Steady Wins The Race

The tick tock of the metronome is steady. I find comfort, safety even, in staying within the beat. The tempo is too slow but my fingers magically find the keys because my practice is teaching them where to land.

I move the weight lower so that the speed of the metronome increases just a fraction. It feels the same tempo even though I can see I've made a change. This is steady practice where change happens slowly. Eventually I will navigate this Bach Two-Part Invention closer to the intended velocity, but for now I am still discovering how the notes intertwine. As I progress I hear a different emphasis on the left hand notes. The faster tempo brings new power to the lower voice making it push the higher. It makes me feel connected to this German man who had a gift to bring voices together in perfect harmony and temperament.

 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday group for three years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.