Friday, September 2, 2016

I've Moved!

Please visit my new blog SereneLiving Finding Serenity in the Midst of Modern Life

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Serene Living

Snowpocalypse 2016 is in progress as I write.  We’ve enjoyed a snow day here in Pennsylvania.  So far we have over 23” of snow in less than 24 hours.  It’s beautiful to look at.  This quiet Saturday has been spent reading, cooking, eating, and cross country skiing.  I love when I am home on a weekend with no particular agenda.  My favorite thing is to sit on the couch in my living room.  The sofas are old, but their blue, green, and white large floral pattern makes me happy, as does the design and architecture of this home.  From the couch, I can see the snow falling outside the four sliding glass doors and piling up on the back deck.  This quiet house in the woods is my respite.  I am so blessed to enjoy this beautiful home.  

But it’s my attitude and my choices that make it a respite.  First, I try to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness every day.  In this I am encouraged by Ann Voskamp.  I believe in God and choose to give thanks for big and small things daily.  I’m still working on my list of 1000 Gifts and will continue - probably I’ll be making lists all my life.  But a thankful heart is a content heart.  Remembering that I have things to be thankful for helps me keep life in perspective.

Secondly, I choose to cultivate ‘down time’ - time for me, in the midst of a busy life, it is easy to be constantly on the go.  I am intentional in making time for quiet in my life.  I try to spend some time every day with a book or going for a walk or simply enjoying a cup of tea.  There are many ways to add serenity to your life.  Time outdoors, even in the middle of a blizzard, is always life-giving to me.  Something about fresh air, seeing the sky and trees, always perks me up.  I love to go for a ten minute walk first thing in the morning.  I am forever stopping to take pictures - the scenery is always changing - even if the walk is the same.  I take lots of pictures of clouds.  Clouds inspire me.  

What brings you serenity?  Let me know in the comments.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

My One Word

I remember where I was when I got my One Word.  It was early January of 2016 and I was just leaving the doctor’s office on a cold winter day, and I paused just outside the door to look at a bush.  There in the midst of winter was a tiny bit of green.  I was reminded to slow down and admire the beauty around me. And it came to me, Serenity is my word.  It defines me.  It is how I live my life.  And it is partly my temperament, but it’s also intentional.  Like the choice that I made to stop and admire the landscape, not just hurry on to the next thing (or back to work).  It’s about choosing to see and notice the beauty around you.  A life lived in a rush does not leave much room for serenity.  But slowing down can be hard.  Stick around, see how I cultivate Serenity.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Living Serenity

What is serenity?  And how does one find it?

I'm meditating on this One Word for 2016 and woke up early this morning with ideas running through my head, so I got out of bed and began journaling.  Here are the preliminary thoughts of things I want to write about:
  • Quiet or margin
  • Thankfulness
  • Meditation
  • Reading
  • Time Outdoors
These are things that feed my soul.  I especially like to get some daily time outside to see the sky and connect with my Creator.  The fresh air stimulates my mind.  In the coming weeks, I hope to explore these topics in more detail ... stay tuned!

The Serene Life

Here's a working title for what God has been speaking to me about in 2016 ... if you know me, you know my name fits me - my parents named me well.  I'm feeling a nudge to share my serenity with the world and think I'll start a new blog.  I'm polling ideas for a title on my FB page.

Coming soon  - more thoughts on living serenely.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Jack's Woods

It is a fine autumn day for a walk in the woods. I take our 14-year-old yellow lab, chow mix for a wander on a path through a preserve across the street. Because of the very thick carpet of leaves, the path is barely discernible. However Jack, the dog leads me on unperturbed. He knows the way having walked it many times with his master, my husband. Although I cannot see the path Jack has no trouble walking around the big circular loop, leading the way. It speaks to me about our spiritual path. How if we spend time with our master, and stay in the path, we will know the way. Jack is going blind and can not hear very well, and lately he has had some trouble walking due to a stroke. But this does not phase him on our walk. He is happy to be out in God's creation and trucks along in front of me. In fact, as I pause to take a picture and admire the beautiful leaves and branches against the deep blue sky, he pulls on the leash wondering what is taking me so long. Why don't I follow along and keep moving?  If I look closely I will notice that there are signposts, miniature yellow diamonds nailed to trees along the way. And there are helpful raised wooden walkways in places where it is damp. And there are kind souls who have cut some of the larger fallen trees leaving a pathway open for the Sojourner. Somewhere under the leaves, people have placed branches along both sides of the path to define it and show us the way.  On our spiritual journey are there places where we need to sign posts or little walkways to keep us out of trouble?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Public Transportation

When I was growing up, my dad commuted by train to Manhattan from the suburbs.  I live in the suburbs of another city and work in a suburb that is 10 miles from my house.  Recently I started taking the train to work.  Better for the planet, gets me a brisk walk each day and time outdoors, and also can be paid for with pre-tax dollars - lots of positives here.  And it gives me a short window to sit and enjoy my tea while reading a bit for grad school.  Plus lots of people watching. Recently my twenty-four year old remarked to me that she feels like a grown up because she has a monthly pass to a parking garage - now I feel like a grown up because I'm taking the train to work like my dad!

The best thing about it so far has been the short walk between the train station and my office which is 8-10 minutes depending on how briskly I walk.  First of all, it is fall, so the trees are beautiful. Second the weather has been fair.  And third, it's balmy this week.  There is something about being out in nature first thing in the morning that is soul nurturing.  It is just a wonderful feeling.  I love the outdoors and it connects me to my Creator.  But I have found that a brief walk is also good for my brain - it gets my mind going.  I always find new ideas and inspirations come to me while I am walking.  So that is a huge benefit; what a way to start the day - invigorated, inspired, and intellectually awake.

The train is another story - going to work, there is a nice conductor, and the train is generally clean. And they announce the stops over the loud speaker as well as on a display monitor.  Going home, they seldom announce the stops and it is dark and there does not seem to be a display monitor.  How are we expected to find our way home?  It's too dark to see the names of the stations, and those signs are not lit up.  Yesterday all the passengers were asking each other - which station is this and fortunately someone knew.  And I could see a few landmarks I recognized one stop before home. Safely home.