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Last year about this time I was thinking about a ‘Word’ for the New Year 2011. I considered Peace and also Growth.

Peace– because it was something I’d been seeking for some time. I’d been feeling too busy, pulled in too many directions, crowded and owned by too many things and people. And while I missed the old large house we’d recently moved from and the large gardens, I was looking forward to having less to care for and a simpler life in our cottage sized home. I wanted time to slow down, be still and time to write again.

Growth– because in my busy-ness, I was neglecting reading, studying, meditating. The only real growing was what was happening in the garden. Again I wanted to slow down, have time to listen, explore and be creative again.

The New Year started with me not having decided between the two. I knew it would come to me and forgot about it till much later. As it turned out both words ended up having great meaning for me.

What I learned about Peace:

When you pray for Peace, be prepared to be the one to fight for it and to be the one who provides Peace for others. You know how that is.. you pray for patience and then have plenty of opportunity to practice it.

That Peace is a blessing, a hope and a promise, our legacy, our mission, a lifestyle. It is not just something to practice on Sundays in chapel or in good times.

Peace requires humility and willingness to share with others.

That even in the most difficult situation, I can find inner Peace and Joy.

– I wrote a special poem titled Waging Peace, as part of a writing prompt for the MOH group. Something I enjoyed very much, a posting for another day.

What I learned about Growth

That a good way to grow is to help others grow.

That I can learn from anyone and every situation if I pay attention. Sometimes I learn something that I can use to live a more meaningful life, but just as important I sometimes learn how not to be or what not to do.

That in order to see things clearly I sometimes need to see things with new eyes.

That in order to grow, some pruning needed to be done.

2011 brought with it many stressful situations. I’d like to say that I faced them all with grace and patience but I did not. I can say however that I did find ways to bring peace to others and that many times I was pushed way out of my comfort zone, forcing me to grow in many ways … and … that while it was painful, it didn’t kill me.

I found that it can very hard to accept some situations, but that sometimes we must even if it means doing so mentally kicking and screaming. Then I learned that the kicking and screaming really do not help much and it is so much easier if we try to accept things with grace and with the faith that all will be well.

I was reminded of how hard it was to raise a child and wondered how I raised four.  But I was much younger then. I applaud all the parents trying their best to be good parents.

Instead of getting my studio in order after our move, or working on the new garden, I spent most of the year, particularly the summer, keeping kids busy … it was work but it was also fun!

Special Blessings this year:
8 months with a granddaughter here.
Frequent visits by a 16 year old grandson.
Successful cancer treatment for a young grandson.
Family support.
Starting of the Monasteries of the Heart group at Mt Saviour Monastery. So thankful that I was granted permission to use that space for my Stepping Stones Community. It has allowed us to grow while exploring the Rule of Benedict away from distractions.

So much more… I am grateful

Lastly I am loving the sweet gifts shared the last few days …. and I don’t mean cookies. Time with family and friends, singing in the chapel by candlelight. The hospitality of the community of Mt Saviour Monastery. Thoughtful gifts that allow us to do the things we like to do and enjoy life, fun stuff such as a ukulele for Ruben from our daughter. But also practical things.. The best gift of all from Ruben who took me on a trip down memory lane.. started with ” Do you remember when you were 13 and I was 14?”. One memory after another…

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