Saturday, April 30, 2011

We are One

I am a practicing Lutheran who just returned from a gathering of women, held at a Catholic retreat center where I spent almost 24 hours talking and pondering what it would have been like to sit at the feet of the Jewish rabbi Jesus.  My conclusion?  There is one God, who reigns over all, regardless of how we in our limited vision chose to parse it out. The details we quibble over are probably not all that important.  What I learned are best summed up in a few Hebrew words and ideas.
  The daily devotional piety of the the Jewish faith historically is summarized in the term  kavanah, which is  attentiveness to God, an act or appreciation of being able to stand in presence of God.  This attentiveness should be applied to four activities: prayer, studying scriptures, performing acts of lovingkindness and doing our life’s work.
By "stringing pearls," linking together text after text and bringing together different passages from different places, we are able to explore great spiritual truths

 Haver means literally a “friend.”  “Studying Scripture with haverim was considered essential to the Hebrews.  Today this also this affirms our need for community as we seek to understand Scripture.”
Blessings (berakhah ) are a daily part of the life of Jew.  Blessing were said throughout the day and for the bad things in our life as well as for the good The traditional first line for every blessing is :
“Barukh atah, Adoiai Elohenu, Melek Ha-oloam..”
Blessed are you, O Lord God, King of the universe.
 Blessed be Thy name.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Turning Pages

Sometimes I cheat
when reading, peaking
at the end
to ease living
through the middle.

Other times, I read much
too quickly, grabbing the gist
rather than lingering on
the words and lines,
crafted carefully
to weave a tale.

But stories are best lived
on each presenting page,
gently turned
one after the other.

My life too
is best lived,
each minute savored
as simply as it comes.

Friday, April 15, 2011


I seek to hold possessions lightly, not clutching any material object so tightly that should it break or go missing, I am overly devastated.  However, I must confess that when a naughty cat on a side table sent my mother's Waterford crystal candy dish (one  à la Ronald Regan's jelly bean jar) crashing to the floor and smashing its lid, I surfed the web to see what it would cost to replace it.  I lament selling an old family spinning wheel when we once needed cash, and I also believe I should have held onto a Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress my mother bought me in the 80's.  But if I could wish one lost item back, it would be a black-bordered, granny square afghan my mother crocheted when she was a new bride and mother-to-be, living in an apartment in Pennsauken, New Jersey. That afghan sat atop several sofas in my growing-up life, until it didn't.  I don't even know when or how it departed my parent's house; regretfully, I was too busy living my life to notice. But now as a knitter who occasionally crochets, I yearn for that artifact, a narrative of sort, crafted from my mother's hands. I would cherish seeing the colors she chose and the patterns she made.
This past fall, I bid on (and won) an afghan that reminded me of the one mom made, but it is no replacement for hers, crocheted with finer wool on a smaller hook.  However, this one was made by another mom who bequested it a son who then donated it to a benefit for our church's CROP Walk effort. My mother would have approved.
An evening is not sufficiently restful for me if I don't knit a little and read a little.  I like to be covered as I sit and knit, usually watching a little television with my husband. Nightly, I drape an afghan over my legs. With our new room, an afghan to match the new sofa seemed in order. So about two months ago, I began.   Year upon year has passed (the summer we drive Barbara back and forth to Governor's School) since last I  hooked an afghan intended for us, and I have savored seeing this blanket of squares unfold. It is now finished...this warmth from my hands.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


A scant month after the last birthday, we celebrate today the birthday of our youngest, our son Robert.  He has grown into a man of such character, integrity, and goodness that he makes his father and me happy every day.  And knowing that our son is in a classroom stretching kids to read, write, and think makes me his mother especially proud. Happy birthday Rob....

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Poem In Your Pocket Day

Tomorrow is  Poem In Your Pocket Day,  The idea is simple: you select a poem you love and then you carry it with you to share with co-workers, family, and friends.  Here is the poem that will sit in my pocket  tomorrow:

Holding My Beads   
Unforgiving as the course of justice
 Inerasable as my scars and fate
 I am here
 a woman….with all my lives strung out like beads
                                                 before me
It isn’t privilege or pity
that I seek
It isn’t reverence or safety
quick happiness or purity
the power to be what I am/a woman
charting my own futures/  a woman
holding my beads in my hand
                                            -by Grace Nichols

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring Tonic

We just returned from spending the week in North Carolina. What a gift these days were for the end of March, and what has been for us here a mostly cold and rather gloomy start to Spring.  And speaking of gifts, this is what awaited me upon my arrival---a special plate, wrapped with a note, handwritten from my Alexander.

Our primary responsibility this week was spelling our pregnant daughter from childcare duties, with her helpmate away at a conference.  In addition, Jim and I shopped, cooked, and did multiple loads of laundry.
Of course being hands-on grandparents was joy, pure-and -simple, for us.  We toured the Africa section of the North Carolina Zoo on Alex's day off.  I happily assumed bus duty for him and had the privilege of meeting his teacher and seeing his Kindergarten classroom (it is really rather amazing the blooming that occurs in Kindergarten).  I was his lunch packer, snack provider, homework coach (loved it!), his game partner, bath overseer, and bedtime reader.  As a Nana who lives over eight hours away, participating in each one of those daily routines was a treat most rare. 

On the road trip South and while I was there, I knit my daughter (and new grandson James), a prayer shawl (with this wonderful yarn).  If I can't put my arms around her all the time, I can at least leave a wrapping of yarn that will.

An added bonus of the week was spending time with sister Margie who is learning to knit (how cool is that?!).  So we sat together and knit together for a while.

And now I am home, batteries recharged and soul the love of family.