Monday, April 29, 2013

Joy Dare Monday: another week

No pictures this week. Mainly because it's a been a bit of an owie week (see below) and I wouldn't think to take a photo until after, say, I'd eaten what I should've taken a photo of. Yeah. One of those weeks. Still counting though!

321. squats
322. amount of dirt in vacuum cleaner
323. coughing fit - sore neck
324. sticky bowling bowl - sore fingers
325. cuckoo's racket
326. grey day
327. pretty sure Anzac biscuits didn't work
328. used self-rising flour instead of called-for regular flour -- bikkies worked!
329. busted toilet
330. broken eggs
331. headache from sore neck
332. cute dogs while out and about
333. book making (not betting!)
334. chopping mushrooms
335. "pat me or feed me, don't sleep" -- thought process of my dog,  I'm sure.
336. aching shoulders after prepping and planting of vege garden
337. laughing at TV sitcom
338. solid night's sleep
339. horrid news
340. music - "Bombshell"

Joining in Ann Voskamp's:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Joy Dare Monday: Finding Joy in a Difficult Week

It's hard not to be directly affected by the events of the previous week, even though I didn't know anyone at the Boston marathon, or in Baghdad, or in West, Texas, or in China. Monday night I prayed that peace would be in our hearts, and not fear. For we are always loved by God. Whether we do good things, or bad things, as hard as that is to hear sometimes.

So here are the gifts from God discovered this week.

301. laughing yoga
302. overdue lunch
303. the shock of the Boston Marathon explosion
304. warming sunlight through gray clouds
305. 16 brown pelicans floating by. (Tons of pelicans out enjoying the breeze.) (I blogged about it.)

306. tree lady got herself a new blue hat

307. palm fronds dancing in cold breeze

308. the amount of dirt picked up by our new vacuum cleaner
309. Derwent Inktense pencils
310. rose-pink of sunset
311. 3 baby birds
312. cooling afternoon breeze
313. cooling shade of tree
314. university president letting us stand after two hours of awards ceremony.
315. 2 and a bit barbershop quartets singing at the next table (and they're all 80+)
316. chanting under a tree.
317. good conversation
318. gazelle - rise up - sermon today
319. sweat
320. sturdy garbage disposal

 Joining in Ann Voskamp's:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Staying in a perfect moment .... pelican-style

Today, my heart full with feeling for those caught up in yesterday's bombings in Boston, and after a session with my spiritual director, I walked down to the cliffs to see the ocean. Mainly, to take a breath (and I love the sea air and the brisk breeze promised that) and pause for a brief moment before continuing my day.

As I walked, I saw a small group of pelicans fly north, over the houses, it looked like, instead of over the water. I had missed seeing them on my previous visits so once I got to the cliffs, I looked up and down the coast for more.

There were more. It was the perfect gift and I quite greedily enjoyed it. I snapped a few photos but then instead of trying to get more pictures, I drank in the moment.
OK, I have to be honest here. I was uploading one of the photos below using my 1000 Gifts app and had to wait for it to finish sending it to Twitter and Facebook before I could take any more photos. BUT. Then, I stopped of my own accord...
I stood there, watching them approach, fly right over the top of me in their weaving, soaring way, and onward. I had this crazy grin as I walked away and into the rest of my day.

oh my gosh, it was so much fun to watch them. There was a couple in a nearby house doing some maintenance work, and one even looked briefly at them, and I wanted to yell and say "Hey! Look at them! Aren't they magnificent?" but I didn't. (See "greedy" above.)

I wrote the following at lunch:

Smudges on horizon ...
Black dots suspended 
Below graceful parentheses.
Calligraphy in the sky.

Flying in a serpentine line,
A sole wing flap echoes.
Cold, bracing wind
Transfigured into lazy floating,

And here are a few pictures of the aforementioned brown pelicans:

Linking up with Jennifer's #TellHisStory

and Laura's Playdates with God.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Joy Dare Monday: Giving Thanks...

It's been a real gift to rewatch the DVD study for Ann Voskamp's book with fellow church-goers.

Here's my list for the week:

282. imagined pink light around me as part of meditation. it means love.
283. butter flying out of mixing bowl
284. ran out of string
285. pulled a muscle on first bowl (but kept bowling anyway)
286. headphones
287. keys lost
288. tree branches dancing
289. keys found
290. waiting with fellow volunteer for food bank to open
291. one week old baby
293. dog snuggled next to me
293. learning
294. spilled drinking water on art table
295. long meeting
296. finishing art journal page
297. watching "Call the Midwife" and remarking on a character's growth
298. quality of light in sanctuary
299. peace throughout talk
300. new vacuum cleaner

possibly the only time vacuuming is fun -- trying out a new one

Joining in Ann Voskamp's:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Journaling Holy Week: the rest of the journal

So here, finally, are the remaining pages of my Holy Week journal. You can find the previous pages here. I  have bigger and better things planned for next year, but this does work as a record of "what happened".

Maundy Thursday:

Good Friday. Painted the background red, and then black gesso over the top of that, which I then scratched out with a credit card to leave "scars". Pretty dramatic, huh.

Holy Saturday: Easter Vigil: with this one I pulled out a scrapbooking sheet that I'd had for about ever and had never used and put it to work here. The background is "Leather" Glimmer Mist. So it sparkles a bit in real life.

Easter Day: I get a kick out of the heading cardstock letters -- they're meant for Christmas but I found them perfectly Easter-y. Went a bit nuts with stickers here, actually.

And so there you have it. A short art journal on Holy Week completed.

How did you record Holy Week and Easter?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Joy Dare Monday: getting through the ordinary

This past Friday, I was in a mood. A black mood. I've been actively seeking work since the end of January and here it is, April, and  I'm still looking.

I forgot to look for God's gift in this and it seemed nothing would shake it, until my husband suggested I come practice bowl with him and his league team. I haven't bowled in years, so it took me a while to remember how to do it, how my body felt when I threw the ball right ... and by the end I was actually really enjoying myself.

There must be something to this throwing a heavy ball at things. So I wrote it down as a gift, but the gift is really my husband getting me away from the job search for a little while ...

Here are this past week's gifts:

262. chatting with a homeless guy about the weather
263. hawk soaring over neighborhood
264. quiet
265. first poppy

266. mustard sprouting yellow on hillsides
267. the challenge of staying still during a long meditation
268. hot sun
269. cooling marine layer
270. too much sun
271. little girl twisting to see her shadow as she walked by
272. holding hands
273. space to breathe
274. asparagus grew back! (two anyway)
275. bowling with the guys

276. 24 dozen cookies gone in 2.5 hours

United Campus Ministry at UCSD's Triton Day

277. live solar system demonstration - hilarious!
278. hummingbird hanging out on our patio
279. "Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever."
280. Mum finally caught up with me.
281. twilight sky

Joining in Ann Voskamp's:

Saturday, April 6, 2013

God's Love Stories -- He is Risen!

Hey it's after Easter :) Let's celebrate with some resurrection stories....

  • like this one from Denise Hughes. It made me cry. (Yes, it's Part 6 of her faith story but it can be read by itself)
  • Church is about relationship with God and the Bible points the way (from Relevant)
  • imagine if we lived in a world without hate (and yes, it turns out to be an ad for the Anti-Defamation League, but it is a beautiful capturing of a world that would be at peace.)
  • a beautiful peace from Rachel Held Evans called Holy Week for Doubters. I shared it on my Facebook feed with this thought: "This is just beautiful ... when we open up our hearts to the joy of Christ resurrected on Sunday, may we open our hearts to those who are filled with questions and doubts (because God knows we've all been there and will be again) and are daring to show up anyway ..."
  • How God remembers, a lovely story from Paula @ Welcoming Spirit.
  • John Bachman shares how he couldn't attend Holy Week or Easter services this year ... and why it's okay.
  • Christine Valters Paintner with practicing resurrection ideas

Friday, April 5, 2013

Finding Joy in the Daily: Sunday Adult Christian Education...

This Sunday I'm leading the adult Christian education session at my church through a book that profoundly impacted my life: how I see the world, and how I respond as a follower of Christ.

I want to share this book with you and fortunately, the author released a DVD study.

Her name? Ann Voskamp. Her book is "One Thousand Gifts" and it has been on the New York Times best seller list for about 60 weeks.

My mum introduced me to the book. It's Ann's journey of gratitude -- how seeing and writing down God's gifts transforms an ordinary, dull day into one filled with God, and becoming a blessing to others.

Ann's book has changed me. Writing down God-gifts reminds me to look for God every day, even when times are troubled or hard.

Watch the trailer and come try it out on Sunday at Good Samaritan Episcopal Church, in Roetter Hall, around 11:15am-ish.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Joy Dare Monday: Holy Week ... and Alleluias

This past week I became aware of one of the disadvantages of being in the choir -- no, it wasn't the fact we sang at 4 services 4 days in a row -- but that as a choir member, we never let go of the Alleluia, which is not supposed to be said during Lent, as we spend the time practicing Easter songs.

We sang it a lot. (Given that one of our Easter anthems was Handel's "Hallejulah Chorus" and as a soprano I sing it 40 times in 4 minutes, that isn't an understatement!)

I found that even in my morning prayers, I kept chanting the alleluia part to the opening sentence. During last week, that really bugged me. I couldn't not say the "A-word" for even a week? Why could I not keep this small rule as a reminder of why the coming Easter was such a transformative moment for the world, for me? And why was it bugging me this year, where in past years I practically reveled having choir dispensation to sing that word?

Alleluia means "Praise the Lord".

Isn't this what we do as part of the Joy Dare, day in and day out, week in and week out? We've continued to praise through the dark time of Lent, and the darker time of Holy Week, as we walk with Jesus to the cross.

Isn't this dare of writing down one thousand gifts, and more, about being able to cry "Alleluia" in our darkest times? To find God-with-us in our mourning and our goodbyes?

Good Friday, cross venerated by Catholics and Episcopalians using rose petals
One of my favorite songs is Leonard Cohen's "Hallejulah", and it's this verse in the Jeff Buckley version that breaks my heart, brings me into the heart of God's compassion for us and into the heart of the lost souls, because I've been lost too.
Maybe there's a God above 
But all I've ever learned from love 
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you 
And it's not a cry that you hear at night 
It's not somebody who's seen the light 
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah
Perhaps not such a disadvantage after all. It's a quiet revolution, to refuse the liturgical rule and dare to whisper it in our deepest dark. How else will we find the light and the way out?

So alleluia, hallejulah, all the blessed way.

Last week's gifts:

233. sleeping through the night together
234. the bus driver remembering me
235. wisteria - wow!

236. yoga on my own
237. decaying rose

238. hyperventilating at the end of an Easter anthem
239. singing What Wondrous Love is This in the round, with strings, while a helicopter beats over the church #spooky #itsholyweek
240. full moon after choir practice

241. heavenly scent of jasmine during yoga
242. getting the last Hot Cross buns at the bakery
243. spotting a bunch of yoga classmates at the grocery store
244. Jesus Christ Superstar - Gethsemane gives me chills
245. a guy abandoning his lunch to stand on a chair and take a group photo (or 10)
246. trees full of red blooms

247. perfect dandelion globes - in our front yard
248. washing Kim's feet and having her wash mine
249. throwing a handful of dirt onto where we buried the consecrated bread and wine
250. the counter-tenor's voice rising in the cathedral space
251. pizza and conversation
252. a key that wouldn't come out of the lock, and a lock that wouldn't lock (and meanwhile warm-ups are starting)
253. rose petals on cross, on thorny crown

254. chanting Holy Saturday Lauds while hubby practices the Hallejulah chorus upstairs.
255. wrestling with alleluia
256. telling God-stories around the fire (Easter Vigil)

257. sermon: Jesus' commandments all mean being in relationship with God and each other
258. sitting in the squeakiest chair of the choir loft (while people silently process in)

259. getting the giggles as we rearranged the procession line. again.
260. chills as we sang
261. swallows/finches doing aerobatics catching bugs

Hey, fellow Joy Dare-ers: would you pray for me this week as I prepare to lead Ann's DVD book study? Mainly that I will not be flippant or goofy which are both "defense mechanisms" for me in avoiding vulnerability.

PS. Last week I did some art journaling about Holy Week. I'm hoping to post the finished pages, well, probably Tuesday or Wednesday at the rate I'm going. I'm still working on the Good Friday page and have Saturday and Sunday to go. Just in case you wanna peek at the rest ....

Joining in Ann Voskamp's:

and Ann's:

Linking up with Jennifer's #TellHisStory