The day before the last day.

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It’s the day before the last day of the year.

I’m sitting in my studio with a new candle, thinking about the past year and all it has held. Thinking about the next year and what it will be.
This year my oldest son moved out partially. He’s doing really well.
I published another book.
I started a podcast with my community.

Next year I want to play more.
Play more music, play more boardgames.
I want to take Chinua’s camera out sometimes.
I want to sketch and draw and paint.
I want to publish more books.
I want to appreciate, and write, and take photos, and make art. I want to have people over, and be a mom who is present. (More of the same.)
I’m starting seminary. I’m homeschooling my own kids. I want to do it well, with care and without playing the hardworking victim. (My weak spot.) It’s going to be a busy year, but each day has its own work and play and God offers buckets of grace.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves too much.
Hello, day before the last day of the year. What do you have to offer today? Maybe a walk? A cup of tea with a friend? Helping some beloved friends pack up their house? Making palak paneer?
Hopefully all of those things with some little surprises in between.

A Work Day

Yesterday I was hard at work in our studio, the detached room right behind our outdoor kitchen that Chinua or I lock ourselves in for focus and concentration. It sort of works. I get visitors like the one above, who want me to make them tea. (That's the door, which has a large gap at the bottom perfect for Isaac or Wookie to peer through, or mosquitos to flood through.) 

And I get lovely visitors like geckos, or cats who look at me through the window, or, on days like yesterday, sons bearing special drinks. In the morning Kai knocked on the studio door with a cup of strawberry smoothie, and in the afternoon it was Leafy with a lemon ice drink. 

And I worked away and thought that I am a very blessed woman, to have such lovely office deliveries. Iced drinks on a hot day, "I love you's" called under the door... even when it feels like there is a lot to do, the day brings its gifts. 

Three Beautiful Things

1. Chinua and my studio is going to be in a coconut hut near the beach this year. Hooray for space to write! (And for Chinua to write music.)

2. Old friends from California who are going to be part of our community of Christian Practice this year arrived a couple of days ago. Their faces are lovely to us.

3. The flock (?) of egrets (so white!) in the green field in the distance.

3 1/2. Every day I can take deep, deep breaths, every day I can pray, every night I can lay my head on my pillow and rest.

My "princess."

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In her princess dress. I love her.

I am thankful for:

* the little Solo boy who is sitting in my lap right now

* the love that emanates from our friends as they take care of us and feed us, as we cook together and talk together, sing together, love each other

* my camera

* pens and notebooks and sketchbooks

* the beauty of lines

* trees and rose bushes and virtually every green thing. They feed me.

* all of my kids. I can't wait to see what they become.  I met an eleven-year-old boy yesterday who was almost as tall as me. That's only three years away, for Kid A. Three years!

* My Chinua. The most amazing, caring, wonderful, musical, talented person I have ever met.

* The unexpected and all the possibility out there. These curvy roads that our lives follow.

* Every breath, whisper and resounding shout that signifies the presence of the Great Divine, Creator and Healer. I am living in the mystery of a life which is devoted, I am the devotee of my guru, Yeshu Ji, Jesus the Master, the Rabbi. He has me, the twisty paths of life are not frightening because we have history and I have never been led wrong. Every road that I travel on leads to love.

* Tea and coffee and salsa. Not together.

* Rhythms in life. Oh how my soul longs for rhythm of breath and heartbeat and gentle days...

* Water. Food, pillows, a spot on the couch.

* Even this tiredness which has suddenly overcome me. It slows me down, helps me to see...

*

Thank you for your giving. I'm going to leave the giveaway open for the same amount of time that Carrien is leaving hers. So, feel free to give all of Wednesday and Thursday, and then on Friday I'll announce a winner.

Lists are a kind of discipline

I am plummeting, for some reason, these days my heart is constantly sad.  But even so, I can look all around me and see a blessing there, and there, and there.  Right over there!  Maybe the counting of these blessings, like beads on a rosary or tiny pebbles that I rub in my hands, is the most important kind of noticing.  I feel like I am sinking, and so now I need to say thank you over and over again, because there is no sinking harder to come back from than self pity. I know myself enough to know that at some point I will come floating back to the surface. For now, I need to become even more still, to notice the simple, beautiful things that are following me and to say yes to each one, to welcome them in, because they are the hands of my Master, bringing me along.

Here are some beautiful things from this day:

1. There is a small toad who sits on my back stoop every evening, just outside the door.  He blinks at me when I go outside.  I make a sweeping gesture to let him know he can come in, but he never takes me up on my offer.  He just sits there. I'm not sure why. Maybe he is bashful. He is a bashful toad, but he wants to sit just outside and be quiet, and maybe listen to my music, when it is playing in the evenings and the children are sleeping and the air has begun to cool down.

2. My little hibiscus bush has three buds that will most likely flower tomorrow.  I pruned it and now it seems to be putting buds out everywhere. (There is a lesson here.  Jesus, the Great Gardener, used this severe example of the branch and the scissors and the flowers.)   There are buds for tomorrow, some for the next day... The flowers are bright yellow with a red heart. I want more flowers in my life.  I will head to the nursery sometime in the next week, I think.

3. I have a papaya which will be perfect for breakfast, along with the yogurt I am making.

4. This evening kids and I went to the birthday party of a little boy that we met in the mountains, whose family is now here. We sat and talked and went for a walk and the kids were wild and the parents sought peace, and it was good and companionable.

5. Solo is possibly the cutest thing I have ever seen, these days.  Talking earnestly to me. Standing up, taking steps, falling. Standing up, taking steps, falling.  Shrieking with delight. This one's a good one. I think we'll keep him.

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(The photo is of course by Chinua.)