Prayer for The World

I had a post ready to go today. It was about overcoming frustration. It’s a worthy post, and one I will revisit. But not for this week. That kind of frustration has been far surpassed.

I have no words for the frustration and pain in the world today. I am overcome with fear and sadness and anger and worry. From the isolation and devastation of the virus to the senseless brutality, prejudice and killing of people of color, our world seems out of control.

So today’s post is the only one that sits in my heart. It feels inadequate, but here it is, a prayer for the world, from my heart to yours.

Let each of us know and see and love our neighbor in a way that is not only how we love ourselves, but far better than. For when we love them as ourselves, we assume they feel what we feel and need what we need. They don’t. Let us find the way to love them that matches those needs.

Let us look into the face of children, and not rest until all are held, loved, educated, fed and treasured.

Let us hold up those who do the tough things, who are on the front lines of Life, be it teachers, health care workers, protesters, or civil servants. Let us lift up the decision-makers, praying that they seek guidance and are worthy of and wise with the messages they receive.

Let us each find our unique area of service, and dig in deeply to right the wrongs, fix the brokenness and support the efforts of those doing the same.

Let us flood the world with love and prayers and good intentions for peace, but even more so let us each flood the world with ACTION.

Let us work to heal the sick, feed the hungry, provide safety for the abused, and empower and support those facing injustice.

Let us not rest, not sleep, not stop until we each have become “boots on the ground” and found our way of being an active part of creating the world we want to see. The world we know CAN be.

Peace and love be with all who are hurting, scared, angry, broken. Let them not feel alone, let them not BE alone.

Lord God, hear my prayer.

Wabi-Sabi

Sometimes, when we most need it, miraculous messages end up right in our laps.  This past January, during an especially difficult time, a dear friend and I swapped “pick-me-up” gifts.  Knowing me so well, he gifted me with a little book entitled Wabi Sabi, The Art of Everyday Life, by Diane Durston.  While I’m pretty sure he picked it up mostly for the fun title and the wisdom quotes inside, what he truly did was deliver enlightenment to me at the precise moment of need. 

Wabi-sabi is a traditional Japanese world view that embraces the core concepts of transience, simplicity and imperfection. 

“Wabi”, roughly translated, means rustic simplicity or understated elegance.  It fully embraces the “less is more” philosophy and revolves around a sense of gratitude and contentment rather than seeking for more. A “wabi” Life is one which places gratitude above greed, simplicity above “flash”.  Wabi honors the natural state, serenity, and tranquility with what is, rather than always pushing up the proverbial ladder. Much like the Scandinavian practice of hygge,  wabi encourages us to slow down and savor every sensory experience, from fresh air, the taste of our coffee, the feel of our favorite t-shirt against our skin…and to take wonder in it all.

“Sabi” is believed to mean taking pleasure in the imperfections of Life, reveling in the passage of time, and enjoying the reflection, wisdom and glow that comes from living fully. 

Very much like Selah, written about in an earlier post, wab-sabi is an invitation to slow down and be grateful for what is even as Life involves a perpetual state of flux. 

In Robert Powel’s book Wabi-Sabi Simple, he uncovers his three key perceptions of the wabi-sabi lifestyle on Earth:

“Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.”

 Or, in my own words, Life is fleeting, Life is changing, Life is beautifully messy.

Over the past several years, I’ve worked hard to simplify Life. I’ve significantly slowed down. I used a move to do major purges, and the closing down of both my Mom’s and my best friend’s homes after their deaths has helped me realize that we can probably place the “stuff” that TRULY matters in a few drawers. 

It’s not about the stuff, it’s about the moments.

And those moments fly by.

That’s where my struggle lies….in the embracing of transience.  I tend to be highly resistant to change, even good change, even change I chose! I’m inclined to stick with projects (and people) past the point of it being in anyone’s best interest.  I’m scrappy by nature, so I’m good at hanging on…..when really, I need to get better at letting go.  Yep, it’s the transitions, the transience, the impermanence part that hits me hard.

There is unspeakable wisdom in the art of letting go.  Not just letting go of “things”, but of dreams that no longer serve, of people who don’t fully embrace who we are, of people we lose too soon.

 Just as forgiveness is not an act of absolution, but rather a release of anger and hurt that holds you hostage, letting go is not an act of “moving on” or forgetting. 

Rather, letting go is an act of opening up, of accepting what is for what it is and not for what it was.  Letting go is an opening up of the heart, hands and mind to be able to fully embrace now without losing it to the past. 

We were made to let go.  If we weren’t, Life wouldn’t be a source of constant change.  No, we’ve been created to be agents of change as well as graceful recipients of it.  We’ve been called by Life to appreciate all that has been, all that is, and all that lies ahead. 

Wabi-sabi is elegantly and profoundly simple:  Life is beautiful, Life is messy, Life is fleeting.  Rest in the imperfect, authentic, gloriousness of the now.

Everything I Need

The Christmas my youngest had just turned four, his only “wish list” item was a set of “shooter guns”.  Having watched a cartoon about cowboy cows (who else lived through Moo Mesa?) , he was fascinated by the holster and gun set that was worn on the hips.  That was it.  That’s what he wanted.  That was ALL he wanted.  “Shooter guns.”

Family Christmas with the in-laws was always held the weekend before Christmas.  It was a rather raucous gathering of people, with six grandsons relatively close in age. 

As family Christmases tend to do, the focal point was the kids.  Gift after gift was opened.  Squeal after squeal, thank you after thank you. 

When my youngest’s turn arrived, he opened a gift from his uncle.  And there it was…a set of “shooter guns” in an adjustable plastic holster.  About as hokey as you can get.  His eyes glistened with the magic of a child who’s wildest dream had come true!

This was early on in the gift exchange, but as his turn circled around again and again, he refused to open any additional gifts.  In his mind they were superfluous.  Each time another gift came his way, he held up his precious four- year-old hand in the “stop” sign and politely yet firmly said,  “No, thank you. I have everything I need. ”   

He did.  His life was complete.  There is no point in more when you already have what you dreamed of.  We took the unopened gifts home with us, and everyone understood.

Wow. 

Wow. 

To this day, it remains the most genuine expressions of gratitude and contentment I’ve ever seen. 

 This is my husband’s favorite story about our son.  We say it all the time…

“Can I get you anything while I’m up?”

“No, thank you. I have everything I need.”

  “Need anything from the Target?”

  “No, thank you. I have everything I need.”

No, thank you. I have everything I need. 

In a society where more, more, more is the theme, where advertising is constantly telling us we are lacking because we don’t have this, that or the other, where social media tells us everyone else’s life is better, bigger, bolder we are often left with a swirling feeling of NEEDING more.

How often are we like that?  We ask for or seek something, it arrives, and we rush on to the next thing. 

Time, energy, health, money, love.

More, more, more. Faster, bigger, better. Prettier, shinier, flashier. More, more, more.

What if, just for a moment, we could sit back, put our hand gracefully in a stop sign and say, “No, thank you. I have everything I need.” 

What if we could stop craving “new” into our lives, and settle into the beauty of what we already have?

What if we could slow down and savor what has already been given to us, what we have already achieved, what we have already crafted?

What if we could look at the busyness and flashiness of Life and gently, yet firmly say, “No, thank you. I have everything I need”.

What if we could operate from that four-year-old mindset of living in the perfect majesty of the present moment?

What if what could be isn’t nearly as interesting as what is?

What if, just for now, we feel “enough”? We ARE enough? We HAVE enough?

Thank you. I have everything I need.

And yes, my son remains this amazingly grateful and content to this very day.

Life with a Capital L

A very astute blog reader recently wrote to me with an interesting comment. “I’ve noticed that you usually capitalize the “L” in Life.  That’s cool, but I wonder why.”

Here’s my why.

I believe there are those who live life and those who live LIFE.  The difference between the two is intention, attention, and a sense of sacredness.  The best example I can give is the difference between god and God.  By capitalizing the “G”, there is an immediate reverence that takes place, a sense of holiness, and a feeling of awe. The essence is changed immediately from generic to specific, from many to one. The One.

I feel that way about Life. 

It is the difference between jet skiing and scuba diving.  Jet skies cover a tremendous area by expediently skimming the surface. Scuba divers, however, tend to go deeper, more slowly, and focus on a more specific amount of space. One is about speed, the other about depth.

Now,  I can most definitely be a highly impressive jet skier.  I can breeze through a lot of daily life quickly, efficiently checking off the next item on the to-do list. Give me a deadline and I’m more likely to be early than on time.   Jet skiing is a practical way of getting through busy days, and it definitely propels me forward more expeditiously. But I don’t really like staying in jet-ski mode.   It’s hard to truly take in the view, to study my surroundings, to find a point of intrigue and just hover for awhile. And quite frankly, it wears me out.

 I’m grateful that I was born with a scuba diver’s soul.  I’ve always been a questioner, not in a challenging way but because I’m truly and sincerely curious about how you are.  I prefer going deeper with a few than staying surface level with many.  Give me a lively, active party or a bottle of wine on the deck with a friend, and I’ll always choose the deck. I am drawn to understanding others’ “Why”, the reasons behind their decisions and choices and intentions. 

When I focus on Life with a capital L, it is a reminder.  It serves as a signal to my brain (and my soul), to take time to breathe deeply and inhale the magic.  To live in a state of absolute awe and astonishment.  To  show deference to the ability I have to CHOOSE how passionately and intentionally I live. 

I have made the decision, the commitment, to live Life with a capital L, to view Life as a loved one, a cherished relationship to be nurtured and grown.  Life is immense and mysterious and messy and real.  It is not about the daily dishes, the reports that need to be in on time, or washing the dogs yet again.  Those are parts of a lower case l life….what we do on a daily basis to get us from point A to point B.  But Life with a capital L is different.  It deserves reverence and contemplation . 

When I spend time with Life, I feel a sense of openness, of expansion, as if all things are magical, mystical and possible.  I am more attuned to seeing the connections between all of us, rather than only my private corner of the world.

Life with a capital L brings to me the huge concepts of wonder, as in God, Cosmos, Universe, Humanity, Love… the thoughts and ideas without boundaries.  The good stuff.  The stuff that really matters most.

I want to live in a state of wonder.  I CHOOSE to live in a state of wonder.  I am enraptured by the miracle of birth, our quests for finding meaning, how we celebrate our milestones and Life markers, and even how we say our final goodbyes. 

Soulprints was born out of the desire to help us all live Life with a capital L, to increase our intentional living, to be more mindful of what we value, and to challenge ourselves to constantly check that we’re in alignment with those values.  It is my greatest wish for each of us.

The Bounce

My best friend’s dad, Cliff, is the stuff of which legends are made.  A gentle teddy-bear of a man, he is always ready with a corny joke, a goofy smile, a groan-worthy pun, and a big laugh.  Having lost my dad at a young age, he has been my go-to source for fatherly love and a grandfather to my kids.

Topping our family’s most cherished memories are those of summer days when our two families would gather for cookouts, fireworks and general shenanigans.  With a total of 5 boys, all close in age, the kids would find endless sources of mischief and fun.

It was one such summer night when “The Bounce” transpired.  We’d gathered together to cook out and enjoy a lazy summer evening.  While the “grown-ups” grilled, gabbed and grabbed appetizers, the kids played a rough and tumble game of King of the Mountain on the trampoline.  At some point, Cliff decided that HE should be the King of the Mountain.  Up he climbed on the trampoline.  The boys respectfully backed off a bit, which for some reason seemed to make him all the more brazen.  Cliff was not going to be shown up by a bunch of teens!

Up, down, higher up, harder down he jumped.  He laughingly taunted the boys until they began jumping again as well.  Up, down, higher, harder….until the boys decided to do the most epic group jump ever….sending Cliff soaring high into the Ohio evening sky.

Like an old Looney Toons’ episode, in ultra-slow motion, Cliff went rocketing into the air and then slowly, slowly, slowly….SLAMMED right onto the ground.

Now, here is a point where eye-witness accounts vary.  Some say he landed on his rear, others on his front. Some say they gasped and rushed to help, when we really remember them laughing.  The one point that no one disputes, however, is the THE BOUNCE.

Not the movement that sent him flying off the trampoline, but way he immediately bounced right up onto his feet, as if nailing a perfect 10.0 landing at the Olympics!

The Man, The Myth, The Legend seemed to spring effortlessly to his feet, laughing hysterically, brushing himself off and looking around for approval.

We’ve all had that horrible moment where we simultaneously laugh and gasp, knowing that this can very quickly either go into the land of hilarity or hurt.  Cliff was our guide into hilarity.

That bounce, that image of him flying through the air, hitting hard, and seemingly offhandedly rising to his feet has been retold at virtually every family/friend reunion since.  It was well over a decade before he ever let on he was so sore for the next two weeks he could barely move.  All we knew was that he was our hero, our superman, our guy with the epic bounce back.

Life does that, you know.  We are playing joyfully one moment, and the next we are crashing toward the ground.  Unforeseen events such as the loss of a loved one, loss of a job, a pandemic, the end of a relationship shift our life so slightly or so suddenly that the fall is all we feel.  Falling, crashing, hard landing ahead.

Those events come.  There is no stopping them, those things that knock us flat on our butts. They come suddenly, secretively, without a moment’s notice.  There is nothing we can do to prevent them from converging.  It is human existence to experience falls.

But it is also the human experience to rise.  To rise mightily, powerfully, even joyfully.  To jump up, to ascend, to brush off and to say to ourselves…whew…THAT was a thing!

And like Cliff, the fall often leaves us a little breathless and bruised, but also like our story’s hero, it’s the bounce that will leave us triumphant. 

Every family has their lore…their stories that are etched in memory and relived at the mere mention of a person or place. 

For ours, it’s centered around the most spectacular re-footing of all time: Our adored Cliff and his showing us that it’s the rebound that is remembered most!

Good Vibes Only?


Good vibes only?  I’m not so sure about that one. 

I consider myself a pretty positive, optimistic person by nature.  I tend to not even consider half empty or half full, instead hovering over a space of gratitude for having a  beautiful  glass in the first place.  It is in my nature to find the good in others, and I do truly love my Life.  Beyond measure.

So, it makes sense this would be the perfect mantra for me…Good Vibes Only!, right?

Wrong. It worries me.  Actually, it makes me scared and sad.

I could do Good Vibes Usually , or even Good Vibes Are Fun 

But what I really relate most to is REAL Vibes Only!

I struggle with the division of our emotions and moods into Good and Bad columns.  Here’s the thing…emotions are neutral.  Emotions, by nature, are what they are.  Anger is anger, joy is joy.  While most of us tend to be far more comfortable with some over others, we do ourselves a huge disservice (and may I venture as far as to say a danger?) when we categorize them into good or bad. 

We all do it.

Love= good

Anger = bad

Irritation = bad

Silliness=good

Sorrow = bad

For years I’ve worked with children with significant social and emotional challenges, and this is one of the greatest mindsets to overcome.  There is an astonishingly rapid connection between, ‘If I feel a ‘bad’ emotion then I must be a ‘bad’ person.  Something is wrong with me. I need to be better.”

I’m pretty sure even the most pious or Zen among us is angry or irritated at least once a day.  I pray each of us feels joy or silliness at least once a day.   And yet, the only ones we share are the “good ones”.  If you question that, just check out Facebook or Instagram.

Life isn’t just good.  Life isn’t just bad.  Actually, Life pretty much just is what it is, which is a dizzying, swirling hurricane of every possible emotion.  When we condition ourselves to only acknowledge or share the good ones we essentially shut down/shutter up very real aspects of lives, of our true selves.  And when we batten down the hatches of our hearts and minds to those “bad” emotions, we are essentially closing them in.  Think about that.  Shutting down emotions, locking them inside, is like feeling ashamed for being human.

I love people fiercely.  I tend to go “all in” .   And because of that, I don’t just want to talk about the happy stuff, the good stuff, I don’t only want that side to shine. 

I LOVE when people are raw and honest…I’m having a hard day.  I’m feeling slow, sluggish, sad.  Today was a tough day. 

How often, when someone shares a challenging emotion with us, do we rush in to offer advice, to try to “fix” it for them, to raise their spirit? Our intention is sincere: to show love, support and encouragement.  And yet our uninvited fixing advice sends a very clear message….where you are isn’t okay, and you need to find an exit strategy FAST!  

What if our offer of a quick “fix” actually makes our loved one feel quilt or shame for his or her current state, as if grief, fatigue, discouragement are not legitimate places on their own? 

And honestly, how many times do we offer snippets of off-the-cuff advice because we, ourselves, are uncomfortable with our loved one’s pain? 

Sitting with a loved one’s pain, grief, frustration, irritation or general foul mood is tough.  We want to help and we associate helping with solving. 

But I wonder what could happen if we could learn to just hang with people right where they are. 

Today is a rough day for you? 

I hate that.

Can I just sit with you for a bit?  

How can I best support you? 

Is there anything you need? 

Or simply, I love you.

What I want most is REAL communion with God, Life, loved ones.  Not only the “good vibes”, but ALL the messy, chaotic, scratchy vibes that make up REAL Life. 

And to get those Real Vibes Only relationships, I need to learn to sit with the tough stuff, both mine and other’s, remembering that sitting in solidarity of love is better than any “quick fix” I can fling off quickly. 

Holding space for Real Vibes Only is, perhaps, one of the greatest acts of love we can offer one another.

Selah

I am one who believes in signs, symbols and synchronicty.  I find magic and messages in seemingly random moments, and my meaning-finding missions usually lead me to some pretty spectacular places.

My pandemic personality varies from day to day, and often from hour to hour.  As a bit of an introvert anyway, filling hours alone til my “essential worker” husband comes home is seldom problematic. But there is something about the knowing that “out and about” is no longer an option, whether it’s getting back to work, lunch with a friend, a quick trip to TJ Maxx.  It’s the being told “no” part that can make me anxious. Somehow, knowing I “can’t” makes me want to all the more!

One a recent morning when my pandemic personality was jogging from joyful to melancholy, I rushed to keep my brain busy.  I flipped on the television.  I flipped open a book.  I swiped on my phone.  I pulled out my journal. 

And there it was.

Selah.

The word selah, not heard on a daily basis in our home, was mentioned on TV, in the book I was reading, and in a blog, all within the matter of 30 minutes.  Selah.  This required further inquiry.

Selah, believed to be of Hebrew origin, is a term found 74  times in the Bible.  Seventy-one of those are found at the end of a Psalm. It is also a term heard in Islam and Arabic.   While religious scholars report that the intended meaning remains a mystery (how awesome is that….a word that remains a mystery!), it has been given the following implications:

Silence

Cease

Interlude

To pause and reflect

To ponder over the previous information

To assign meaning

To cease and shift

The most agreed upon meaning, due to it’s frequent use during Psalms, which are intended to be songs of worship, is “silent pause”. Imagine a musical interlude where the voices stop and the instruments continue alone. Because the most obvious has stopped (the voices), the less obvious (the instrumental) can take center stage. It is in the pause that the often overlooked or underappreciated parts get their chance to shine.

Silent Pause.  An interlude. To Pause and Reflect. To have attention shift to what has been lying in the background.

We are most definitely in a time of silent pause.  Life as we know it has ceased.  Our activities are slower, even if our thoughts continue to race. 

As a little girl, I was never fond of roller coasters, but give me a ride that spins in circles and I can go for hours!  I love the sensation of still spinning even after the merry-go-round has stilled, that dizzying feeling that you’re still moving.

That’s how the initial days of shelter in place seemed to me.  I was still spinning, still moving, still working off of Life’s momentum.  Then slowly, slowly slowly the spinning stops.  And there is stillness.  And Silence.

Selah.  The silent pause. 

Selah.  The silent pause that occurs when our busy Life voices stop, and we are left with “just” what’s been in the background.  Our quiet thoughts and prayers. The voice of God.  The laughter of our children.  The singing of the birds.  When we silence the busyness of Life, when we pause and truly listen, what’s been subtly in the backdrop has it’s chance to shine through.

Just as we often don’t hear the instruments because we’re busy singing along with the vocals, we frequently miss the beauty of daily Life due to our focus on the daily frenzy. 

This is not a silent pause any of us asked for.  The reason is one for which no one would ever wish.  The stressors and anxieties that accompany it are never to be minimized. Yet when faced with a “forced” silent pause, are we able to still our selves enough to listen to the underneath layers? Can we lift up and exalt all that has been hovering behind the to-do lists, meetings, and carpools? I hope we can.

Selah. May you each find the magic in allowing the quieter parts of your Life shine through.

Prayer Bench

Shortly after we purchased our farm, our dearest friends came for a visit.  These are the kind of friends that make things in your life “real”, as if events or places don’t exist until they are a part of them.

Just prior to their visit, I’d discovered a little alcove in some trees that reminded me of a little temple.  Knowing the husbands would want to be busy and do “guy stuff” like building and tearing things down, I asked my friend, Dave, if he could make me a little bench for this spot.  It was the ideal place to  pray, meditate and just breathe deeply.

There is a reason I didn’t ask my wonderful husband to build the bench.  He’s an engineer.  He would have built the PERFECT bench, measured exactly (twice) , precisely cut (once) , evenly painted, and durable for all time.  Dave is NOT an engineer, and I knew he’d create from his heart and not his head.  This bench needed to be rugged and raw, just like the prayers that would be prayed there.

Dave was delighted to have busy hands and a purpose, and immediately set to work.  He scoured the old barn for blocks, boards and bricks…anything he could use to create my sacred space.  He worked for hours, lugging materials to the bottom of the hill and piecing together the bench only he could imagine.

I was delighted.  I was grateful.  I was so excited to have a piece of them right here on our land…  Something he created with his own two hands, and his heart.

But as Terri and I sat in the gazebo up the hill and watched him build, she became more and more agitated.  I couldn’t figure out the issue until she finally exploded and said “It’s so UGLY!  It’s crooked, and uneven and looks awful!  Didn’t you want a REAL bench?  Why can’t he just go to Lowe’s and put together a pretty one??”  I couldn’t stop laughing.

Our friends had spent several years in Japan while serving in the Air Force.  Dave had always been fascinated by the Japanese culture and one key lesson he learned while over there was make do with what you have.  Use what you have to create what you want.  

The fact that the bench WAS crooked and uneven was exactly why I love it, and why I’d asked him to build it.  It was created with love, ingenuity and with materials he discovered while digging in the old barn.

This bench as become my sacred space over the years.  It’s where I go first when my heart is elated, and also when my heart is broken.  I’ve prayed and cried and meditated and loved fiercely while sitting on that bench.  I’ve sat on that bench during both literal and figurative storms in my life.  The bench is rugged and raw, just like my prayers.

That bench not only reminds me of my friend’s love, but also of the lesson it carries. 

We have all we need to make what we want.

 Within each of us, we have the strength, courage, determination, creativity, faith to uncover our hidden supplies and create something beautiful.   There is no need for us to rush out and build something that thousands of others will have.  Rather, we can find our own supplies, use our own tools, and build our own imperfect, one-of-a-kind lives from what we already have.   We may have to scour, finagle and adjust things a bit, but we WILL be able to put the pieces together.  Perfectly, and just as they belong.  Rugged and raw, just like life itself. 

You’ve got what you need.  You’ve always had it.  Dig deep and build.

Subscribe

Out on a Limb

Isn’t it funny how a seemingly mundane moment can cause you to really stop and think?

As I was making the bed the other morning, I looked outside at the huge tree in front of our house.  This tree is so big and so close that the previous owners actually built an extension AROUND the tree!  I was feeling excited about spring,  the buds and bright green leaves, and all that comes with it, when I noticed a bird’s nest.  This nest was packed tightly against the trunk of the tree, stable, secure and conventional.  I’m not sure I’d have thought much more about it if I hadn’t also caught sight of a second nest.  This nest was VERY different, teetering out on the top of a very long, thin limb.  It’s the second nest that really caught my attention because my first thought was, “Who in the world builds a nest on the MIDDLE of a branch???  Who would do that???”

Now, I’m sure there are some orinthologists out there who will be able to chime in about different species of birds and their unique needs, but to me, an average girl just making the bed, I was flabbergasted.

Why would one build a big, sloppy house nestled securely against the ancient and stable tree trunk, while another would build out in the middle of it all….quite literally, out on a limb. 

Full confession.  I judged.  Yes, I admit it.  I judged that out-on-the-limb bird. I’m a tree trunk girl.  I’m one who tends to build safe and secure, close to home, without a lot of risk.  This made it so much easier to relate to the tree-trunk mama bird, wanting to keep everything safe and under her control. But that out-on-a limb mama….   didn’t she know that she was putting her babies at greater risk?  Didn’t she know that Alabama springs are ripe with tornados and she can be blown away any afternoon of the week?  Didn’t she know there were NO bushes below to protect her babies if they wandered and squirmed too far?  What was she THINKING????

Oh, but the longer I watched as each mama bird brought string and twigs and grass, the more I realized that limb mama was on to something.  Her nest was just as sturdy, just as secure, and just as cozy.  She also had an amazing view, was in the midst of the green new life of the leaves, and had easier access to the meadow below.  She kinda had it going on!

Being out on a limb may seem a little scarier, but there is also great beauty and independence to be had.

If there was ever a time in our lives when we’re being called out on a limb, now is likely it. We’re facing so many changes, challenges, and confusions. Every day seems to bring developing news and extended time frames. We’re all having to leave our comfort zones, scoot a bit further away from that tree trunk nest of familiarity and out onto the more tenuous branch of faith.

Stretching, straining, inching further out on the limb provides us with a new place to call “home”. We are, quite literally, branching out and learning innovative ways to build new nests, new “normals” while keeping our loved ones close and safe. While most of us would not have chosen to stretch like this, and none of us would have chosen the reason, this can also be a time of great creativity, innovative ways of connecting, and opportunities to slow down and breathe. And just take in the view…..