Monday, February 27, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Can I Sustain My Practice?

It is my belief that if our actions that we take toward change are not sustainable over the long term they are doomed to failure. You need to look no further than most of the drastic New Years Eve resolutions you have ever made, to know I'm right.
From Michelle at Pen and Hive

My three goals for February have nurtured me. The daily scripture study has filled my mind with spiritual nourishment, the meditation allowed me to quiet my mind, and the yoga made my limbs more fluid. But, will I sustain them into March? 

   At the Athletic Club new friends encourage with smiles and cheerful greetings. A young couple come into the studio as I finish yoga and I am aware of their consistent exercise regime. They inspire me to be there everyday.
   I follow an Instagram account which divides the scriptures into chunks I can do in 20 minutes. They post what I should read and I try to read the comments after I've read the block of scripture.
  My trusty Insight Timer app keeps track of the minutes I meditate. I have to admit that I am motivated by the stars I get for milestone minutes. 

 I see a recurring theme. I stay on course when I have accountability to a group of people or strangers on an app. That seems to be the key to my sustainability. It is not a weakness that I need help. Oh, a word about missing a day now and then. It happens and it doesn't make me failure. Part of nurturing my practice is knowing that it is "practice". 

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

Friday, February 24, 2017


"Slow me down, 
don't let love just pass me by,"
Emmy Rossum

The tempo for Solfeggietto is allegro vivace. At that speed the notes cascade down the keyboard like a waterfall. To learn the notes I slow it down. C.P.E. Bach moves through the triads of C minor, G minor, and F minor disconnecting and dancing with the notes in what seem to be simple exercises. The listener who hears the composition at full tempo may never know the intricacies of his patterns.

Fast or slow, there is much to learn from the tempo of our life. When adversity washes over us, we want life to speed up, to get through the difficulty. When sweet joy comes to visit we want to freeze the frame and savor longer. 


  I enjoy slowing down parts of my life which are naturally fast paced. In those moments I can meet the eye, give a lingering touch, and pause from unnecessary words. Tempo is not good or bad. 

The tempo of our life allows us to highlight the focus. 

 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for more than two years and I really enjoy the talented writers 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Whimsical Wednesday Writing- When Your Family Speaks English As a Second Language

Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei.
Everything has an end, only the sausage has two.

When English is your second language you grow up with different nursery rhymes and stories. My German mother loved to read to me. There were always morals to the far-fetched stories. Below is Strubelpeter, who refused to let his mother cut his hair and fingernails. You can see the natural consequences. I marveled at his resistance. I was, and still am a closet rebel.

  The story that haunts me to this day is Der Supenkasper. He refused to eat his soup and each day his mother reheated the soup and served it again. I understood death very little but had visited cemeteries with my parents. The last picture in this story is a fresh grave. How could he be so stubborn? 
   My mother served sweet and sour eggs sometimes. This was a soupy sauce with a poached egg on top. It made me gag. I shudder even now to image the horrible taste. I had it reheated once because I refused to eat it the night before. I relented only because I did not want to die.

    Are we writing better stories for our children now? While teaching Music and Movement to toddlers my partner, Kim, assigned me to find a story for class. I found one I liked called, "Gobble It Up". It was about the food chain in nature and I looked at Kim's face as I merrily read about the alligator who loves to eat the little ducklings walking along the river bank. She said my humor was dark. I thought back at the stories of my childhood and nodded. When do we introduce the child to the dark side? 

I am joining Ann Dee Ellis and other writers in using a prompt to record  memoir moments. If you don't write your story, who will?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Bringing Life To Your Practice

Oh, Spring! I want to go out and feel you and get inspiration. My old things seem dead. I want fresh contacts, more vital searching.
Emily Carr

February is giving me a great push to solidify my practice. Doing the same things each morning can become dry. It is natural to want a fresh experience at the same time wanting to continue the daily routine.

  My word for 2017 brings insight into my dilemma. Planting flowers is the first step to a beautiful garden. But soon the the blossoms fade and turn brown, the green leaves brown around the edges, and the plant cries out for more than just water. Give me nurturing care! Weeding and fertilizer perk up the plants and once again they look full and renewed.

 My practice needs the same care. Today was a holiday and I went to the gym late. The parking lot was burgeoning with cars. My recumbent bike was busy with a sweating gentleman and the neighboring bike was in use also. Goodbye, routine! What to do? I tried upstairs on the upright bike, but my knees did not like this change in exercise. The studio where I do yoga had a class, so that was out. Reflecting on this unforeseen attack on my daily practice, the value of what I usually do increased. To nurture sometimes means to alter the routine, thereby bringing attention to what we like and don't like.

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

Friday, February 17, 2017


Prayer is a confession of one's own unworthiness and weakness. 
Mahatma Gandhi

"This prophet was a young boy, unimportant, without money or influence, why would God use him as his servant?"
I asked this questions to my young Primary students at church. They agreed that he was no super hero. 
"But, he prayed, and God answered his prayer."

"God answered my prayer when I prayed that my brother would behave so that Daddy would keep reading to us. He heard me because my brother quit wrestling and being loud."

   The weak among us often confound the able, those  empowered by popularity and wealth. The elderly display meekness when they sing with gusto and lack of self-consciousnness at our weekly sing-a-long at the care home. They are fully aware of the physical limitations they must endure but choose to live out loud.
  The child shows us how to love without guile and reserve. How I love their antics! They bring me such joy. 

   Weakness is my companion on some days. When arthritis kidnaps my strong knees and leaves me unstable I try to remember that I am more than what I look like. In my weakness I can be strong. And the glory is God's who strengthens and sustains me every day.

 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for more than two years and I really enjoy the talented writers 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Whimsical Writing Wednesday- Dream Travel

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. 
Marcel Proust

To do my dream travel I don't have to pack a suitcase, take identification, or get time off from work. My car gets me to my destination in minutes. 

When I lived in the desert for thirty years I did my dream travel to the ocean of the Pacific Northwest. My heart burst wide open when I first saw the ocean at sixteen. Here is a poem I wrote shortly after.

The sea was calm that day
but my heart soared 
We stood together letting the wind grasp out mind

Then you were gone
and I
ran along the beach alone 
letting the waves pull me out 
hoping they would pull me to you

I saw you there
standing at the window 
but time put too much space between us

the sea became like me

The wind whistle through the driftwood
while the ocean
silver with sun
met the sand to leave it damp with remembrance

Now I live minutes from the water and my dream is to see it many times during the week. God provides a palette of breath taking colors. In the early mornings the colors can be pinks, blues, oranges, and reds. Each morning, each moment can be different. I find that endlessly interesting.

At midday the sun turns the sky into steely colors of silver, pewter, gold, and bronze. Add some clouds and wind and it becomes a Turner landscape. 

There must be contrast in all things and black in contrast to color is visually alluring. I find the twilight hours send me into a reverie. What beauty!

When I visit the water's edge I am never alone. The space is full of life. My favorite locals are the birds. They don't tire of the place they live so why should I? I can always tell if I get bored with my life I have not been to the water. 

I am joining Ann Dee Ellis and other writers in using a prompt to record  memoir moments. If you don't write your story, who will?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Week Two Of Daily Practice

I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time. 

Charles Dickens

In my year pursuit of nurturingFebruary is the month for nurturing my daily practice. I picked Meditation, Yoga, and Scripture Study, which are going well. Last week I couldn't go to the gym because of a snow event and I did not do yoga at home. Disappointed, but undaunted, I move into the second full week of the month. 

Actually, I have six habits of happiness. Some years ago I settled on these and still to this day I have better days when these are evident in my life.

What does it mean to nurture a habit? This is new to me. I know we are habitual people and even if we don't choose a habit we will by our nature do certain things over and over, again. Hence the phrase "bad habits" gets discussed often. How can I move a habit which I choose into a place of deeper appreciation? 

Meditation is now a habit. It is very rare that I forget. To nurture this habit I listen to a podcast called 10% Happier with Dan Harris, a news anchor on ABC television. Dan interviews people who meditate from all over the world. Monks, athletes, business tycoons, actors, and science nerds, to name a few, join in lively discussions about how, why, where, they meditate. All have one common reason for continuing this habit. They feel like they are better people, kinder and more compassionate. Being a Christian does not put me at odds with meditation. I feel that meditation is a portal to a richer, spiritual life. Lately I find myself using words from scripture to float through my breathing. Since breathing is ever present, the words which I say to myself on the in and out breath become very pronounced. I find them rising in my consciousness at other times during the day. Perhaps scripture is nurturing meditation, making it more valuable. Here is an example of one habit supporting and aiding another. I'm going deeper to find how to nurture.

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

Friday, February 10, 2017


"I feel so safe and happy because my feelings of peace come from family love."
As A Child Of God

Twice a month I substitute as the chorister in Primary, our church children's meeting on Sunday. Sign language is a active way to help children be attentive when learning a new song. Last week I taught the sign for "safe" in the context of the song, "As A Child Of God". As we moved our bodies into this sign and at the same time vocalized the words, "I feel so safe", I looked out into the crowd of children. I saw children who have loving parents and desire with all their hearts to help their children feel safe. I saw adopted children of many colors who come from many countries whose new parents made huge sacrifices to bring these little ones into a safe home. I saw children who have a single parent, who suffer with safety issues themselves, sing these words and I knew they understood what a blessing it is to be safe. I am humbled by the power of God to encircle us with love and bring us safely into his care. I don't always feel safe, but this feeling comes from fears and doubts not actual danger. May you be safe, may you have peace.

 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for more than two years and I really enjoy the talented writers 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Whimsical Writing Wednesday- I Promised And Failed

Living is strife and torment, disappointment and love and sacrifice, golden sunsets and black storms. I said that some time ago, and today I do not think I would add one word. Laurence Olivier

To fail at keeping a promise makes me sad. Nothing rains on my parade more than not living up to my expectations. It happens often and likely will continue happening unless I close off to all hopes and dreams. You see, I make a promise because I am optimistic about what I can do. Everything seems possible in my head and on paper. My intentions seem stellar. Having been raised in a German home I found some words to sound the same in English but have very different meanings. For example, "I will!" sounds somewhat like "Ich will!" In English that statement is packed with strong intention but in German it means "I want to!"
I always want to until doubt, fear, and feeling overwhelmed rise to sap me of my strength. Will my children remember me as the mother who wanted to, but never came through? That sounds harsh. I wanted to throw them beautiful birthday parties until I ran out of steam. I wanted to go to all the basketball games, ballet performances, and piano recitals but sometimes I was tired and frustrated. Now, before I sound too maudlin I want to assure you, dear reader, that I do come through on my promises often. I visit my grandchildren every week, send out birthday cards, and try to be aware of all my family and friends are doing. And one promise I have made, to always remember my Savior, is very important to me. So, I don't always fail at keeping promises and I want to stay hopeful that I can meet my own expectations of myself and those of people I love. 

My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations. 
Michael J. Fox

I am joining Ann Dee Ellis and other writers in using a prompt to record  memoir moments. If you don't write your story, who will?

Monday, February 6, 2017

Nurturing Monday- What Is My Daily Practice?

  In the month of February I would like to nurture my practice. I have been doing these three things for months on a regular basis, but I would like to breathe more life into them, treasure them, and record the benefits of doing them.


   On Saturday morning I recorded an audio file of my own meditation for my daughter-in-law. Taking a few meditation courses and listening to months of  guided recordings helped me create something unique to my own experience. It took me many days to share it because I didn't want to feel presumptuous. She hasn't acknowledged receiving it but I sent it out and that was my part. I will let it go in peace whether she uses it or not. 
    All three of my practices have revitalized my life. Meditation has helped me capture a more stable mind, yoga has kept my arthritic knees from becoming frozen, and scripture study has made me more bold before God. This should be a rich and insightful month.

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

Friday, February 3, 2017


        "Breath of Heaven, hold me together."

"Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you, as my Father hath sent me, even so I send you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said unto them, receive ye the Holy Ghost."
  John 20:21-22

I love the comparison of breath to the Holy Ghost. Breath is life giving, energizing, and essential to life on the earth. When moved by the Holy Ghost I feel more alive and sometimes calmer. I say sometimes, because the spirit can make me hyper aware and less calm, too. Often I start the day asking to have the spirit with me throughout the day and I have learned that feeling that gift means I must be more aware. So when I breathe in I sometimes say the word Faith because the in-breath is active and opening. On the out- breath I say Hope. There is hope in releasing all the air from your lungs. Hope that you will have another breath, and then another. For a split second I hold before the in-breath to say the words, Abide in Charity. To have the love of Jesus means to gulp the next breath of faith. It takes breath to be loving and kind. Someday I will take my last breath. I hope it is filled with faith.

 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for more than two years and I really enjoy the talented writers 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Whimsical Wednesday Writings- Addiction

The prompt for today on Ann Dee's site is not the least bit whimsical. But I decided to call my Wednesday posts Whimsical Wednesday Writings. Oh well, today I am writing about being full. 

"Our problem is not really what we eat. It's why we seek fullness in something that will never satisfy. "

 I have a food addiction. Food is a quick way to stem off the feelings that leave me anxious. Feeling insecure? Have a brownie to take the edge off. Feeling overwhelmed? More spaghetti will take away the crazy thoughts of scarcity. But the truth is food does not make bad things go away. In excess it dulls the senses for a short duration and then the feelings come back. 
  There are many side effects to my food addiction. The extra weight has compromised my genetic arthritic knees. The extra weigh makes my heart work harder. My feet have taken the load and suffered with alignment issues. 

  Can I come out from under the load? I'm trying to fight the battle with satisfaction, spirituality. Can I petition the spirit of God to aid my struggle? Some days it works. I yield to the prompt that I have enough. My heart feels lighter and I have confidence. Other days I am tempted and give in with relish. Really there is a very rebellious little girl inside who wants what she wants. I am grateful for each day that I am strong. 
  As most addictions I will battle this the rest of my life. The battle may be severe or just a constant reminder that I must be prudent. 

I am joining Ann Dee Ellis and other writers in using a prompt to record  memoir moments. If you don't write your story, who will?