story . post 2

continued from post 1

Well, now i’m not really sure if any of the buildings were stone or not, but, there were stone walkways edged with stones, and stone fountain with brass birds, and a stone fireplace in the great room, and the outdoor, covered area, with a fireplace, was made of a lot of stone. Along with a mountain of stone, the place was surrounded by trees. Not too tall, kinda scraggly, cool-looking trees.

There were a lot of people that arrived before me, as as travel took me most of the day. I went into the office to check-in and receive my room letter, not a number but a letter of the alphabet, and the name of my roommate… No key, no card key, no need to lock the door. My roommate was a very nice woman from texas who had her stuff spread far and wide, though there was a coffee table at the end of my bed that was left for me to put my case on. There was a radio-alarm clock in the room which we would use to know when to be ready for the first bell of the day; the breakfast bell.

Yes, a bell. There were posts with bells like a ship’s bell. Each bell was attached to a metal hangar at the top of a post and had a cord attatched for ringing the bell. There were no other visible clocks, that i noticed. I turned-off my phone, there was no service. I didn’t need my ipad, there was no wifi.

That evening we were fed a delicious meal in the dining hall, and then off to the great room for introductions of the Laity staff and a talk by artist/speaker, Bruce Herman.

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continued…post 3

story . post 1

the
frio river…road.

My husband and i got up at 4:30 am on Thursday October 11th. I gathered my case and my shoulder bag, and Peter grabbed his keys, and we were off to PDX in Peter’s huge truck, that is called “Big Blue.” He was on his way to pick up grapes from a vineyard way out east, down the Columbia Gorge, in Washington. Yes, harvest had started, and i was leaving to go to an artist retreat in Texas. Peter dropped me off at the long term parking, as he could not take his big truck up to the terminal. I waved and ran over to catch a shuttle, which happened to be waiting at one of the stops in parking. It was a very full shuttle and nice of the driver to wait for the last of the stragglers, one being me. It was still dark, and i didn’t really want to hang in the parking lot for the next shuttle.

After flying to Dallas and then to San Antonio with just a small bit of breakfast and no time for a lunch. It was time to find the car that i would rent for the two hour drive west, into  Texas hill country. I don’t know of any other place that calls the hills, hill country. I guess it’s just a Texas thing. I got the car and took a good look at the map, trying to get some kind of idea of how to get out of San Antonio. I did fairly well until i missed my first exit. But, eventually, i broke free of the spider web that goes around and around the city and was on my way. I don’t even remember, but i must have stopped somewhere for food. I drove down the highway, to a road.  I drove down the road, to a smaller road, until i came upon the turn onto the gravel road, and took the turn. The road led me down, around curves, and down, leading me to the river…into the river, then back up and out of the river, up and around curves, ending in an open space to leave my car behind. I got out of the car and followed a path to find a one story stone building with a small office to the side. I had arrived.

continued… post 2

here and there

We are still in the throws of grape harvest. It takes a lot of time and energy for several weeks. When the harvest was just getting started, i left.

I went to a place called Laity Lodge in Texas. Other people on-line are connected to the place as writers, so i often saw photos, and read about others gathering there. I waited. I wondered. Finally i decided to go and check it out.

They called it an artist retreat. And it was. I was there with a gathering of other artistic types. Mainly from Texas, but there were a few from other states as well. There were speakers that spoke on art life and Spiritual life. There were creative young musicians, the attendees, and the staff. All zeroing in on a lovely place in the Texas hill country.

It was a long way to go.  But it was a good trip. I met some awesome folks and left very refreshed.

I have a story to tell from my time there.

to be continued…

seven

#7 from the list of seven changes

☞ give something away instead of keeping it

I have felt this nudge more than a few times. And i know it’s time to starting giving some things away and only keep what i use. It could take a long time to gather up things and figure out where they should go.

Then there is the stuff like smiles, hugs, attention…Love.

I could probably make a very long list of all that there is to give and share.

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photo via flickr

just thinking

#6 from the list of seven changes

think creatively instead of not thinking

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I have been thinking about this list that i called seven changes, and writing about it. And, yes, they are things that could be positive. I don’t really know for sure. But, the one thing that i do know for sure is that is that without God, all that i do comes to nothing.

With that said, i would like to continue on with thinking creatively. To me, to think creatively is to think of something in more than one way.

If someone comes to me and asks me an either/or question, i should use my brain to think of more than one way. And that leads me to answer, why not both, or why not something different than those two options.

This is a reason that i have a hard time with personality tests. The answer i would give is not usually listed in their stupid multiple choices.

People can think creatively, but then there’s no fitting into the boxes. And that can either be seen as a problem or an advantage, or both, or something else all together…depending on how someone thinks.

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photo via flickr

talk to the face

#5 from the list of seven changes

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talk face to face instead of using a device

I wrote this one because i have become dependent on the devices. And i know that i’m not the only one. I think that i have this sure and instant connection to another person. And it’s pretty easy to believe this, until the person is not here anymore and all i have left is a name on my cell phone, or a picture on facebook.

Another reason is because i find myself distracted from those around me. But, if i’m speaking to people face to face, then the people around me and the people that i am with get first dibs. The phone and computer will be second in line to the face to face.

It’s great to have the convenience of the devices. But, convenience should not turn into continually having priority on my attention.

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photo via flickr

brokenness

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27

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{ Thankfulness for Matthew Kreider bringing this subject to his post. }

I need the guidance of God. Brokenness is all around me as well as within my self. It is a very overwhelming thing to look at. When i am shown the brokenness, i can try to cover it or fix it, be angry about it, be frozen by overwhelming fear or guilt; …or i can look to Jesus, …in Hope, Faith and Love.

I should be aware of brokenness, but, have my main focus on relating with God; giving over and asking and listening. He will change my heart and tell me what to do.

Listen to Him and do it.

Sometimes i hear, and i don’t do. His voice is soft. So soft and clear to my to my heart. My mind overrides and makes itself busy thinking about what i want to do.

Listen to Him and do it.

There is nothing wrong with His form of communication. It doesn’t need an update or to be repeated. There is no break in the connection, …i can hear Him clearly. He tells me what He wants me to do. There is no question about that.

Am i going to do what He tells me to do? That is the question.

Or am i going to focus on the brokenness?

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“Our life is full of brokenness – broken relationships, broken promises, broken expectations. How can we live with that brokenness without becoming bitter and resentful except by returning again and again to God’s faithful presence in our lives.”
~Henri Nouwen

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photo via flickr

sincere

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love.  ~From Romans 12.


.It is hard to know just what is done with each person through joy and suffering. All of us are on the edge of faith at all times, no matter what we have been through. A person can come to to a certain kind of understanding and perhaps to a greater heart acceptance of others, but it’s still hard to live it. We have seen the refining that can take place, the growth of understanding. Perhaps people can learn and grow from being with one another, if our heart is open to it.

I don’t know. I don’t know how these things work…but, it seems that if our heart is open to caring about one another, that our heart would stand greater chance of remaining open. And the Holy Spirit can work with an open heart.

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softly

#4 from the list of seven changes

Speak softly instead of loudly

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I have found that speaking louder has never helped me get anyone’s attention, nor has it helped to get a point across. A loud voice reminds me of all the colourful balloons and flags that a store puts out on the sidewalk when business is not good, trying to get folks to notice. The store is soon out of business anyway. The loud flags are a last-ditch effort to gain attention, but not good attention.  All the flags in the world won’t change what’s inside the store.  It just screams “going out of business because no one wants to shop here.” It’s a way of making everyone that goes by feel like they are cared about only for their money.

Now, to speak-up when a crowd of people are trying to hear me, is a totally different story. I’m thinking about looking at my tone and my timing, allowing for a softer voice in my daily conversation.

I need to fight the urge to interrupt and speak-over people to say something…because otherwise i forget what i wanted to say if i wait. And now i am thinking that perhaps what i have to say is not as important as continuing to listen. Because how a person is spoken to matters just as much, if not more, than what is being said. What is powerful, is how the other person is made to feel. How one is made to feel can, by itself, wipe out anything that is said, can take the place of words, or can make a person either want to hear words or make them not want to hear them at all.

I think that waiting until a time that a softer voice can be used is a way of showing respect toward another person. A soft tone can express caring to the other person. And i think that the other person can feel this care very deeply.

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photo from flickr

music

# 3 from the list of seven changes

Experience live music instead of recorded.
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I put this one down because i don’t often go and see a live performance of any kind. My husband has gotten into the Portland symphony lately. I go with him to some of them, but i don’t have an appreciation for all of it.

When i was at the artist retreat, there were musicians there as well. I realized how much i liked hearing and seeing someone play and sing. I just like a small venue. And it doesn’t need to be someone famous.

I can’t even imagine how music was regarded before one could play recorded music. But i realize that it’s a social event. I think that i’m missing the more personal connection that local live music can offer.

I spend too much time in my own little circle and could make an effort to get in touch with more things in my own community. Live music will be one good way to do that.
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photo from flickr

speak

Number two from the list of thoughts.

2.. speak with God instead of trying to do it all

What can i say.  I talk to God in snippets throughout the day, and still i get caught up. I don’t know why it takes me so long to realize when i need to think a little deeper and wider when it comes to relating with God. My interaction can become shallow when i’m not giving things over to God to handle, or asking God for guidance and help.

One of the sure signs of needing to go deeper is when something is bothering me. Depending on what it is, i can take it and hold on like a dog with a meaty bone.  It’s really a very sad sight when i don’t let go with all that drooling and growling and such.

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– photo via flickr