July surprises…

I am paying attention to my life in new ways. I am committing to notice things that are good for my soul. I believe that what you focus on grows, so, I am focusing on the things that nurture my soul and make me feel connected and alive. Here are a few:

Calm: in the wake of the kids moving into their own home, my house is suddenly calm. The hustle and bustle of a young family, with bath time and evening routines, mountains of laundry, and the constant movement have given way to a more settled way of being at home. We are methodically moving through, room by room reestablishing order and purpose lost over the past couple years. It was a gift to be able to invite them in, and a gift to see them go. It is as it should be.

In the silence of their leaving, we are finding new routines and simple pleasures. We are making dinner together, and spending our evenings reading. We’ve reclaimed space for creative outlets and begun to dream and plan. This week we are preparing a guest room for my niece who will be visiting next week. We are simply enjoying the quiet.

Connections: Whenever the kids have moved on from our home, or even from one phase of life to another I worry. When Brian moved out, I spent weeks anxiously worrying about how we might stay connected. I can take the girls out for pedicures when I want to catch up… Brian, not so much. When I told him about my concern, he laughed at me. He was just moving a mile or so away. But my concern was real.

In the wake of the kids moving out, along with all of the other upheaval in our lives this year, one of the things I am most happy about is the way they work at keeping us connected. Brian and Kaitlyn invite us to dinner, Allie and Justin make plans to visit new restaurants, and Steph and Tyler stop in or Facetime regularly so we can see them and that boy of ours. We raised good connectors, and I am grateful.

Poetry: I am reading poetry like the words are oxygen. This is new for me, but the words and the sounds of words heal me. There is a simple joy in sitting quietly with a cup of tea considering what the natural world has to reveal about life, God, and beauty.

Right now, I am reading Mary Oliver’s Devotions. It is beautiful! She writes with such reverence. Her words are prayers that help me see God and the world around me from a different vantage point.

The Gift

Be still, my soul, and steadfast.
Earth and heaven both are still watching
though time is draining from the clock
and your walk, that was confident and quick,
has become slow.

So, be slow if you must, but let
the hearts still play its true part.
Love still as once you loved, deeply
and without patience. Let God and the world
know you are grateful.
That the gift has been given.

Mary Oliver

What is nurturing your soul?

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