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More photos from the knitters retreat at Mount Saviour Monastery.

View of the chapel from the guest house library,

participants in my needle felting workshop,

a finished needle felting piece,

a tasty treat,

one of the brothers chatting with a retreat participant.

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I’ve been away at a Knitters Retreat at Mount Saviour Monastery for the last 5 days. We shared projects, enjoyed wonderful food, fellowship, were able to pray with the monks often, go for walks and more.

As it is Martin Luther King’s day today,  in this morning’s homily Fr. Joseph Gabriel talked about Martin Luther King and what we learned from him..

– that kindness and compassion takes more courage than violence

– to live out our dreams rather than our fears

The image shows the view from the guest house where I was staying. I captured the image from the window near the table where I was enjoying a cup of tea.

My WORD to walk with in 2014 is Reconciliation

R- related to
E – everything, we are
C – connected, we are all
O – one, with
N – none left out in
C – community, where
I – identity is important, where
L – love is present, all are
I – included, embraced,
A – and accepted, as we are,
T – trusting, seeking,
I – Integrity guiding us, so we may be
O – open to sharing our gifts,
N – now and forever!

To me It speaks of
– humanity, identity, dignity.
– home or sacred, safe place, where others can take their shoes off
– honesty, having a passion for truth
– hospitality, benedictine – a welcoming presence
– humility, modesty, listening to others
– hope, a healing heart

And it speaks to me of the past …
“The transgressions of the past are water under the bridge yet the bridge remains burned despite the charred timbers having long cooled.” found in my notes..

It prompts me to serve the community by building bridges of reconciliation and restoration. To experience the peace and presence of God, to experience grace and integrity through hospitality

Some favorite quotes:

“Therefore, dark past,
I’m about to do it.
I’m about to forgive you
for everything.”
–Mary Oliver, What Do We Know

“Our listening creates a sanctuary for the homeless parts within another person.”
– Rachel Naomi Remen

“Each thought, each action in the sunlight of awareness becomes sacred. In this light, no boundary exists between the sacred and the profane.”
Thich Nhat Hanh – Source: Peace Is Every Step

Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

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Photo is of artwork purchased from the gift shop at Mount Saviour Monastery. It is titled .. The Burning Bush. What drew me to it was sandals… The reminder to take off my shoes and pause … so that I may be open to blessings.

I don’t think I’m the only person looking back at 2013 and thinking … whew! So many opportunities to grow, great sadness, great joy.

Two days before the New Year we had to let go of our last old dog. When we moved to our current home we had 4 senior dogs and now less than 3 years later they are all gone. I miss having a dog, but I have no plans for another one soon. As a friend recently commented, it feels like the end of an era and a beginning of something new. I’ve decided to embrace this new beginning, with just my husband and I for the first time in decades, learning to be kind to ourselves, to care for ourselves as we have cared for and continue to care for others.

Yesterday we celebrated Epiphany with friends and their little dog. I can’t remember the last time, if ever, that guests have brought their dog with them when coming for dinner. It was also the first time they’d come for dinner and hopefully it won’t be the last. We had a great time sharing food and conversation.

Today, schools are closed due to dangerously low temperatures.. wind howling and picking up snow and sending it in all directions. Even with all the cold and snow, my thoughts are beginning to turn towards gardening plans. Although it’s too early to do any actual digging and planting, I’ve learned that it is during fallow times that the most important work is done, the cleaning, clearing out, decluttering, planning in preparation for the work ahead.

Normally I’d be out stomping around in the snow, taking in what the garden and house looks like in winter and thinking about what to add next season for winter interest and cleaning up anything I may have missed. With it being too cold to be outdoors more than a few moments, my attention turns to indoors.

I am in the process of moving a floor loom from my sunroom to my studio. This involves moving a lot of other things and it almost feels like we are moving again. I don’t do well with clutter so I have to keep reminding myself that this time of cleaning, planning and clearing, just as I’ve done in the garden, will encourage creativity and growth in the future.

And so I make use of this fallow time to declutter, physically and mentally, to begin again.

My prayer for everyone…

May you be showered with Blessings today and always, may the New Year bear much fruit for you.

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