Friday, June 7, 2013

Cookies, Bobby McFerrin, A Good Book And A Very Large Small Group

Well. It's been a while, hasn't it?
Me, on my birthday, in Charlottesville

I'm working on a longer post about faith - losing it and finding it again - but until those words come together coherently, here's a few. My intent is to update, generally.

To set the scene: I am in my house alone, which is such a gift; not one I'd want too often, for sure - but because it's so unique, it is a gift. I treasure times like these. They inspire me to be busy. Sometimes a sort of familial/people ADD sets in - I can get confused when too many people are around, and the resulting paralysis makes me wander, aimlessly, to the land of Complete Non-Productivity (with a side trip to Guilty and Ashamed). My menfolk are out lifting heavy things, relocating some piles of stuff from one storage place to another. My daughters are here and there: one in Savannah still, the other in Colorado, and the third just a few miles away at a friend's house. And I am cooking, cleaning, organizing, baking, and singing loudly all the while.

Syd's cookies
I created some sort of pasta dish tonight, out of penne, fresh local squash and zucchini, red pepper and basil from my front yard garden, along with leftover chicken. I cleaned the kitchen, mopped part of the floor and then made some cookies - chocolate chip, with the first dozen baked without chips to honor my -non-chocolate-eating daughter. (David said, "What are those?" I explained and he said, "Then they're not really chocolate chip cookies, are they?")

All the while, I am listening - with such joy in my heart - to Bobby McFerrin's new record Spirityouall. Anyone who enjoys music - and especially those who enjoy music that has a spiritual element, whether it's something Chris Tomlin wrote or your favorite hymn or even Mumford & Sons - will find something to appreciate in this record. It is fresh and accessible, familiar and yet completely new in the approach to spiritual sounds. Because it's Bobby McFerrin, y'all, the quality and musical excellence is beyond compare. He is a musician without equal - not just vocally, but throughout the creative process of song selection, arrangements, instrumentation, voicings.... This music does something to my heart, and I highly recommend it. If I still had small children at home, I'd have this music surrounding them, sneaking into their hearts so they'd have a little of the long history of spiritual music snaking through their veins. So if you have a little one at home, let this sprinkle over them. Maybe while you're cooking, like me.


Speaking of Mumford, great post about their recent concerts in California discovered here. Great read that helps connect the dots between culture and the spirit and the One who has His hand in both (and more besides). Read it here.

I have a new neighbor, settling down in the house in front of ours. She's the kind of lady I hope to get to know better over the next few years; strong, independent, capable, creative and kind. It just so happens that she is the mother of my husband, but set your mother-in-law jokes aside. We are both thrilled to have her living so close. We'll spend a good bit of time over the next few weeks helping her to get settled, and with both of our moms (and my dad) within spitting distance, this season of life seems to be taking a decidedly familial spin. I like this, very much. Also, she is downsizing, and she gave me a Pampered Chef baking stone that she no longer wanted (hence, the cookies).

I'm reading The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris, one of my favorite authors. It's slow reading, careful and considerate - inspiring for the spiritual thought process. Last week I devoured The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, per my daughter's instruction. Also good - a Lifetime movie story with a lot more class, better writing and an ending that made sense in spite of the tears. Both recommended.

I continue to be inspired, enlightened and filled with joy on Wednesday nights as our Very Large Small Group ebbs and flows through the ups and downs of life. Our group has a definite female bent; it's ONLY women, which wasn't the original intent, but hey - it's working for us. We meet together as a large group to reconnect and we sing a couple of songs together, just gathered around the piano like family, and then split into smaller groups to talk about whether and how God speaks and being Stuck and the story of Ruth and everything else in between. Those Wednesday nights reveal so much about our humanity, as we continue to open up and talk about real things and rub on the raw edges of one another. It's been the most real thing I've encountered in quite some time and I can't get over the depth and breadth of my gratitude for life, lived this way.*

There's more, but it goes to the mundane detail of life. Somehow, as spring has kicked into gear, I find myself more in tune with living in the moments than blogging about them. There have been hands held in the moonlight with my husband, fleeting conversations in the midst of a busy work week that go deep, quickly; lingering, learning dialogue exploring mountains and valleys and the faith in between over dinner, laughter and encouraging words with sons and daughters, intense and rewarding parental interventions. A three-day old miracle baby in my arms, and the incredible joy of her grateful mother, who simply could not stop smiling; a song written and recorded by someone whose voice has become an indelible part of the way I connect with Christ, bringing me to tears again; the first tiny bud of a tomato on the vine tenderly and lovingly planted a few weeks ago; a porch, finally - a safe, secure haven of wicker from which I can watch the rain stream from the sky; a birthday cake for my fourteen-year old baby and the ongoing tradition of birthday dinner at Grandma's; a husband, gone for a week and missed deeply - and now home and loved even more...

life

And it is good.

*if you are a female and perhaps intrigued or interested in our Very Large Small Group, let me know. We start a new cycle of studies in just a few weeks and it's a great place to jump in. We're saving a spot for you....

2 comments:

TheFrugalFreelancer.com said...

I want to be there, pray that I can this time and ......... keep me in the loop when this current one ends xoxoxo

Lori said...

I wish I lived closer. I would love your small group.
I hear what you say about having too many distractions around. Beth, I must tell you, even though I live alone, I suffer the same thing most often when I am in the house. There are distractions that lurk here. Things needing things... and then there is me. And that is when I leave the house, and seek the peace and solitude of the water. Because there I am. Solely and purposefully present and paying attention in the most minute way, that when He whispers... I hear.. I see, I smell... all of those things.. it is for me, that refuge that I cannot live without.. even for a short time... to simply look... touch my toes to the edge.. where the sand and water meet... gently.. and I know I am home. Safe.
I am glad you have your quiet space, we all need that so very much.. and we must seek it where we can and take it... it is not an act of selfishness, it is an act of kindness, grace and mercy toward ourselves.
Peace to you