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Mt. Constitution

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

One Perfect Word

I recently read Debbie Macomber's book, One Perfect Word,  The book reveals how "the Lord takes us by the hand and walks us through the year, teaching us about that word, about ourselves, and even more, about God Himself."  She choose uplifting, by also difficult words over the years.  The chapter on brokenness touched me deeply as she described the year her husband left her and she faced the failure of her marriage and prospect of raising her children as a single mom.  I admire the way writers like Debbie can be honest and express the deepest joys and sorrows of their heart.  My writing is not filled with that much feeling, so I take what I can from good writers and say to myself, "yes, I feel that way or I believe that, too."  Reading others thoughts and feelings help me address my own.

Here's little video that Debbie explains how she chooses the one perfect word.

Debbie began her writing career writing romance novels in the 1970's.  Now she writes novels  involving women who knit and books about her own spirituality.  She writes of the power of words and quotes scripture in this book, such as "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you."  John 15:7.  I don't think I will adopt her practices as she chooses her word for the year, but she inspired me with the effort she put into it.

Handwritten words add a lot of meaning and power to a simple greeting card.  I received the sweetest card from Sheila Kopczynski this week.   It was a surprise that touched my heart!

My first thought was I don't deserve these words, but as I read them again I'm struck by the generosity of this sweet friend who painstakingly copied Bessie's poem and then went on to share other words to describe me.  Plus I noticed she used the word embrace twice.  For some reason reading her words confirmed my choice that I'd chosen the one perfect word for this year.  And, if Sheila thinks I embrace the "joy in just being," I'd better step it up a notch and get out of the funky feeling I always have after the Christmas celebrations. Thank you, Sheila, for the greeting card that brought something extraordinary in to my life.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The flu

I've had a touch of the flu this week!  Been advised by my family and friends to take it easy.  I don't think I've ever slept so much, read so much, watched TV so much, sat so much, as I've done this week.  I've recovered from the flu, but now I'm just plain sick of my own company.  It's both humbling and frustrating to be sick.   There's not much one can do except curl up on the couch, embrace the illness and enjoy the respite.  Not an easy task for me for sure.  I'm still all about "getting things done."  The Christmas decorations more or less glared at me all week to be put snuggly away until next year.  I'm always a little reluctant to put it all away at one time because it looks so bare - kind of like January in general.  But today I discovered a little spot of color in the bareness.  This precious African violet is a baby of the one that cousin Peggy rescued from the throw-away pile when we were cleaning out Mom's house.  The plant had been resting in a dark place during the holidays, but now has a place of prominence in front of a little window in my entry.  The blossom's color brought sunshine into an otherwise gloomy day.
 My Mom's violets live on!
And what says New Year, New Life more than a bouquet of pussy willows?

I'd helped my friend, Cecilia, get her house decorated for our 4th Day celebration.  I enjoyed exploring her cupboards and drawers.  She owns a thousand beautiful candles, I swear.  Anyway, she presented me with this little silver pitcher yesterday and a note that said, "A token of my affection and appreciation for all your help at Christmas time."  It's a gift I'll treasure as much as the friendship of this dear friend.

The card is from Sheila Kopczynski - I received it in the mail yesterday.  I cannot come up with enough words to describe Sheila - generous, kind, compassionate, thoughtful, fun-loving, caring!  It seems like she sent this card out of the blue - how did she know I needed a little lift today?

Today I've turned down the thermostat and opened all my doors and windows hoping to get rid of all the bad germs and let fresh air into my little house!  I'm ready to let the New Year begin!!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Theme for the Year

For several years, my spiritual director, Sister Lillian, OSB, listens as I struggle to find a word that becomes my theme for the year.  I learned about this practice from Paul D'Arcy's daily reflections for Advent and Christmas for January 1st.  Paula writes, "I hadn't wondered what I was doing with the life God gave to me.  I had just lived day to day.  I compared my life to Mary, the Mother of God, who was kneeling before the heart of God.  She was embracing everything that came her way in order walk the only way that mattered.  Consider choosing a theme for this year that helps you do something with the life God gave us."
My themes for years past include gratitude, blessings, surprise, notice.  This year I pondered several words, but one word seemed to catch my attention as the new year marched on.  On the feast of the Epiphany I read about how Joseph Cardinal Bernardin experienced the touch of God.  "It was subtle, always a surprise, an encounter that emptied me beyond anything I could have anticipated.  It is a path that embraces both beauty and terror."  In the crucible of this love, Joseph knelt  and prayed "I will allow something extraordinary to materialize in my life."  Image the power of our hearts intoning the same prayer.  Paula challenges the reader, "Are we willing to embrace this journey?"

It's really challenging to chose one word that becomes a theme for the year.  
Lillian and I discussed the word Embrace - we mulled it over and decided it was a good word!  I knew I'd have a lot to embrace this new year - real retirement, more free time, some quiet days with no interactions with people, perhaps travel.....  In January I take time to reflect on what kind of journey I might be embracing during the new year.  

I looked at all the possibilities by consulting the dictionary:

verb: embrace; 3rd person present: embraces; past tense: embraced; past participle: embraced; gerund or present participle: embracing
1.             1. 
hold (someone) closely in one's arms, esp. as a sign of affection."Aunt Sophie embraced her warmly"
3.hug, take/hold in one's arms, hold, cuddle, clasp to one's bosom, clasp, squeeze, clutch; Morecaress; 
enfold, enclasp, encircle, envelop, entwine oneself around; 
informalcanoodle, clinch 
"he embraced her warmly"

5.             2. 
accept or support (a belief, theory, or change) willingly and enthusiastically."besides traditional methods, artists are embracing new technology"
7.welcome, welcome with open arms, accept, take up, take to one's heart, adopt; Moreespouse, support, back, champion 
"most states have embraced the concept"

9.             3. 
include or contain (something) as a constituent part."his career embraces a number of activities—composing, playing, and acting"
10.         synonyms:
11.         include, take in, comprise, contain, incorporate, encompass, cover, involve, embody, subsume, comprehend More"the faculty embraces a wide range of departments"

noun: embrace; plural noun: embraces
1.             1. 
an act of holding someone closely in one's arms."they were locked in an embrace"
3.hug, cuddle, squeeze, clinch, caress, clasp; Morebear hug 
"a fond embrace"
                                   used to refer to something that is regarded as surrounding, holding, or restricting someone."the transformations brought about by the embrace of mass media"


an act of accepting or supporting something willingly or enthusiastically."their eager embrace of foreign influences"

My goal, as the year marches on, is to do some writing as I reflect on my theme of the year.  Stay tuned....