Thursday, June 12, 2014

Midsummer Retreating: St. John the Baptist and Interior Hospitality




I'm taking some time this month to reflect this month. Just a week or so to reconnect with God. I'm not going anywhere..I retreat best at home with my elf-child and my inspiring husband (though Luba is sometimes less than retreat worthy). 

It's the season of St. John. The days are long and bright, the moon is our friend and the nights - though brief, are refreshing. The Season of St. John is a woody season, and earth-season, a wild time of transition for many of us..'He must increase, I must decrease'.

The Baptist is the saint of transitions and roles - defined so completely by his place between the Prophets and the Messiah, Old and New - the Forerunner to Christ.

In this retreat time I'm crafting a rule of life: slowly, gently, building Christ more intimately into my days. The first stage belongs especially to St. John - the stage of roles and relationships. 

I am reflecting on my roles, my relationships with others, and the ways in which I can nourish them while nurturing my own interior life as well.

St. John spent his life in the wilderness. The 'Angel of the Desert,' he is nourish on fasting and on the earth and the Sun, only from a life a part can he touch deeply the people he loves and live out his purpose in life.

For me the wilderness - though less vast and less wild - is also a healing place. Mine is fuller, with more companionship, more noise, but still a place that becomes for me a haven of reflection..a place to put down roots and drink in the whispers of God.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Love and Solitude in Modern Life

"Think.. of the world you carry within you."
                ~Rainer Maria Rilke


I like to be lonely much of the time. 

I crave the pure solitude of a space with no one in it, and the fuzzy, dusky solitude of time alone with my little family; I like the haunted sort of solitude of being alone with strangers all around as well - in cafes, where little tables of people talk together and I am alone among them. But only if I can avoid conversations..keep my solitude safe. 

At times though, I wonder if my lonely self - listening and loving and all wrapped up in thought - is offering a good sort of love to the people I am alone among in my haunted solitude. Am I being as Christ to them, when I sit in solitary thought? We have a tendency to fill time and spaces with movement, don't we? With words and little gestures..and sometimes I wonder if people can see love lived without the little gestures or words that fill up the spaces between us. The words and gestures I am so incapable of making up. I hope so..

And I think they do. 

Once, on a late train I sat beside a man from India, traveling with his little band. Before his stop, he turned and smiled: "You were never a stranger to me" he said and left for another show in another Canadian town. 

I am grateful, to be a friend and not a stranger to all the little Christs around me. Quiet as I am among them.



Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Easter Icons:

 


"The poets scattered you about
(a storm swept through their stuttering);
but I would like to scoop you up
into a cup you like."

   
Christ plays like a child - never tiring He appears again and again in the cup. "Here I am! Watch me! See! Let's do it again!" He pours out Himself joyfully, laughing as He comes down to all His beloved sinners..It's this Icon especially that reminds me of the encounter between Christ and the Rich Young Man who couldn't turn from his many things. I feel for the young man, I'm not rich, but I do love my many things: my pretty tarot cards, my silks and lamps and cups.. I always picture Christ's face in the encounter: sad, but laughing just a bit, knowing He's made the path a bit easier for the man, just by loving. The Rich Young Man walks away rich and unhappy, because already he knows there's something better than gold waiting for him..Some one who never really stops waiting for him. 

I like to imagine that his story is continued in St. Francis..that we don't read of him in the scriptures because we'll get to see the play of his life in the life of the saint who - more than any other other, gave up all he had and followed Christ.

I imagine the rich young man as a hidden Francis, and I expect he saw Christ around every bend and in every cup, reaching out to him again.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Welcome back! It’s been far too long so we have to hit the ground running with a drink that is not only tasty, but packs a little punch. Fewer steps than the Shiny, but with more ingredients and a far higher alcohol level, this drink is quick to mix but slow to sip. Perfect to pair with tiny sandwiches, even if the trick in this case is not wood alcohol, but moonshine. 


And so, in honor of Christie's move to the UK, here is Badger’s drink, the “Very Fine Hat”.



" 'Course, you couldn't buy an invite with a diamond the size of a testicle. But I got my hands on a  couple." -Badger        

VERY FINE HAT
1 1/2 oz moonshine (a good vodka will work too. It just lacks that lawless nature)
3/4 oz black tea, cooled (I recommend lichee congou as it makes a naturally sweet cup, but Earl Grey or English Breakfast are fine)
Splash of simple syrup
Apple twist, for garish





Brew the tea before hand and set aside to cool. Sweeten it if it’s too bitter, or you just like it that way. Once cooled, shake together the tea, moonshine, and simple syrup with ice, and strain into a teacup (yes, that’s necessary for the drink).






  

 Garnish with a long green apple peel and drink with a smug, self-satisfied air. It’s perfectly okay to indulge in a fake English accent at this point. The more Very Fine Hats you have, the better it will probably get. No, really. Trust me. And then recite River’s whole “sad li’l king of a sad li’l hill” line and you’ve taken one more very substantial step down Firefly fandom.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Where We Write..Photos from Home


This is where I write, most days..on the bed with coffee.





And a place for Yarrow to play nearby..you can see she's not in her chair though.
She's never in her chair when I'm writing.




There she is! Distracting me..

 
Where do you write? Show me!

Link your own photos below!

 






Monday, May 5, 2014

"Do Młodego Przyjaciela" - A Guest Poem from Nanynka

We are exploring various loves for the moment, and my dear friend, Nanynka offers her poem for consideration. Love, friendship, longing, and reflection.

Thank you, Nanynka for sharing your lovely, heartfelt poem: Do Młodego Przyjaciela (to a young friend). Your loving comments, gentle critiques, and responses are appreciated!
  
* * * *   * * * * 

I like you
as I liked my little sister
those few days when she was vunerable;
when I saw in her someone who mirrored me -
unexpectedly-
and was beautiful.

I yearn over you
as I yearn over a different life I might have lived
had I been braver, more aware
a life in which my parents made me stick with my sonatinas
when I was too shy and childish to make myself.
A life in which I traded top bunks:
my own for a distant college dorm's.
A life in which I married young - 
young enough to become a mother
with my own sons and daughters to yearn over.

I dream of you
as I dream of a girl I wish I knew
though I am afraid to approach
because the crowd around her 
neither asks to be remembered,
nor expects to be carried onward.
She owns so many of my dreams
but so many more belong to you.

I love you
with some share of the love I have for the boy you remind me of
and I love him
with some share of the love I have for you.

And I don't know how you are all of these things to me
when all I know of you
is a little music;
an hour at your side; talk of snow
and small towns;
also, countless times I've watched a light come suddenly into your face
and attempted to understand why.
It's a little shameless of me, that watching,
but it's hard to miss the chance to know you better.
We have you for so little time.

I pray for you
as I prayed for my hedonist, who sang Handel -
two hours of fervent music, two hours of wild prayer -

and I pray for you
as I pray for my long-ago student, who mocked fear
and laughed at God
but shared his earphones
and hugged me to his trenchcoat;

and I pray for you
as I pray for the ones who are mine by blood
though not my own -
upheld in empty arms and heart spilling over, as you are -
when I see in them "the pure, the bright, the beautiful"
and intercede without words,
terrified at what could happen to their hearts
and their minds,
 their bodies
and their souls
in this rapacious world.

I pray for you because
there's almost nothing else I can do for you
so I do it with all my might.


 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Update


Happy Easter & Blessed May Day!

I ended Easter week on a low note. The sort of sickly, weak, and tender low note that left me feverish and bed-ridden for two days, and fragile for another two. Ugh. I haven't been sick like that for so long, it sort of came as a shock to me. I missed a chance to speak to people about the Liturgy (for real, I was invited to a Youth conference!), missed my husband's Shakespeare party, left all the baking up to him (he made an amazingly tasty chocolate cake!), and learned that Yarrow is the tenderest of nursemaids.

But last night, I realized how very recovered I was, and celebrated with a night of insomnia..the productive, happy, and just a bit manic sort of insomnia. It's been fun.

So here's what's coming up this month:

  • Guest poems (send along one if you're interested in some gentle, loving responses!)
  • Book reviews: More kid's books because I love them, and a few grown up books as well.
  • A few thoughts on introversion and love.
  • The long promised Pan's Labyrinth review!
  • Some of my poems to pick apart.
  • Easter Icon Reflections
  • And The Bartender's Corner.. Thanks to Seth!
 
 Any special requests?