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Archive for the ‘Spiritual Growth’ Category

Graphic design by Carol Varsalona. She is also hosting today at Beyond Literacy Link.

Living on the bayou gives me a daily view of seasonal changes. We have a huge cypress tree that drops its needles all over the back deck when the days grow shorter. They burst out in bright neon green as the days grow long.

While cypress respond to daylight, other plants respond to temperature changes. On my morning walk, I’ve been watching a Japanese magnolia bursting into bloom. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it blooms earlier and earlier each year. The beauty is striking. I used the tree as a subject for my Poetry Friday offering for tomorrow.

One way I pay attention to seasonal changes is to write poems. I am writing every day with #100daysofnotebooking and with Laura Shovan’s February poetry challenge. When I commit to a social media group, I have accountability, so I get it done.

On Saturday, I wrote a quick notebook draft responding to the quote by Robert Louis Stevenson “There is no music like a river’s”

Listen to the cry
of mother wood duck,
clicks of red-headed woodpecker
on the old oak.
Hear the train whistle
in the distance, and the peaceful
ringing of wind chimes.

The bayou wakes up slowly
on this winter Saturday
playing its music
for the clouds
welcoming first sun,
first light,
new day.

Margaret Simon, draft 2020
Photo by Nandhu Kimar, from Pexels.com

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Carol at Carol’s Corner.

My Sunday Night Poetry Swaggers Group discussed the One Little Word tradition and found that everyone had a slightly different take on whether or not it was a good practice. Heidi challenged us to write about whether or not we word for the first Friday of the month. You can read their posts here:

Catherine
Heidi
Linda
Molly

I’ve been choosing a word each year for 7 years. I enjoy the process of trying to find the one right word to guide my year.

I’m a two on the Enneagram. That means I’m a giver, someone who spends most of their time trying to ingratiate others. The good side of a two is being helpful and selfless. The idea is to get better at being who you are. So I subscribe to an Enneathought of the Day. This came on New Year’s Eve.

Present has been my word before, but it continues to fit because being present is a constant goal. For 2019, my word was Grace. Grace goes beyond presence to actually live with the peace of knowing you are loved.

My word this year was suggested by my son-in-law who knows me pretty well. I wrote about Embrace in my Spiritual Thursday post yesterday.

I joined Michelle Haseltine’s #100DaysofNotebooking challenge and wrote about Embrace in my notebook. This challenge is not only a good way to restart a notebook practice, but it connects me to a new community of writers I can “embrace.”

I also received a serendipitous postcard from Irene Latham. The poem just makes me want to embrace her and embrace writing.

Writing in Winter by Irene Latham

Here is a second draft of my Embrace poem:

Embrace says yes to now,
holding on tight to this one moment
finding a heart full of love.

Embrace is a word of grace,
silently listening, open
for the world to fill.

Embrace is here for you
to welcome, knowing nothing
ever stays the same.

Embrace!

Margaret Simon, draft 2020

Do you choose a word? a resolution?

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I’m gathering posts here for January’s Spiritual Journey One Little Word posts. Scroll down to add your link and read other posts.

Choosing a One Little Word for the year has been a practice I adopted years ago. Sometimes I spend a lot of time mulling over what my word should be. Not this year. My son-in-law Grant has tuned in this practice of mine, and I’ve been doing so much holding of new babies in the last year, he told me he thought my word should be “embrace.” I didn’t give it another thought.

This year of 2020, I will embrace my grandbabies even more. My youngest daughter will be getting married in October, so I will embrace another family connected to our family.

Embrace is related to the word Grace I chose last year. My life is full of love, and love comes from grace. Embrace is a way to be humbly grateful for it all.

There is really no way we can predict what a new year will bring. Some years I choose a word that is a goal, something I want to be better at, but a word like Embrace lets you just be present. Here. Now. Holding on to the ones you love. Acceptance and Grace, wrapped up with a bouquet of roses.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!Click here to enter

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A gathering of poetry can be found at Liz Steinglass’s site.

The Winter Poetry Swap has arrived. Our friend Tabatha Yeatts matches us up for a rich exchange of poetry inspired gifts. This year I was paired with Tricia Stohr-Hunt. This week I received her gift.

Tricia spent some time on my gift. That impresses me because these days, especially in December, time is precious and small. She cross-stitched my favorite line of poetry from Naomi Shihab Nye. Now to know this, she had to read my blog posts. Then design and stitch.

And to top it all off, she wrote a wonderful golden shovel using the line.

Golden Shovel for Advent

It is not the season of me or I.
nor the season of greed and want.
It is time for reflection, time to
prepare for the guest. We must be
ready to reach out to someone,
anyone who needs, anyone who
asks. Let us draw nearer to what makes
us whole. As the year crowns, it is music
that fills the air and our hearts with
expectation. Stars keep watch. My,
how they shine! Rejoice, for the Lord is coming.

Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2019

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See other Spiritual Thursday posts today rounded up by Irene at Live Your Poem.

This is the last Spiritual Thursday post for 2019, so we are reflecting on our One Little Word for the year. This year I selected Grace.

Grace is a simple word
spoken in prayer,
blessing a child,
a gentle hug.

Grace soothes life’s bumps,
nudges our hearts to acceptance,
carries the weight of worry
and places it in Love’s hands.

Grace comes in new life,
a soft white kitten,
the rising sun
of the morning.

Grace endures.

Margaret Simon, draft, 2019

When 2019 began, our family had been blessed by the birth of Leo, my first grandson. His first birthday is on Saturday. When I see him now, he knows me; he reaches out to me and leans in for a kiss. There is nothing so full of grace than this.

In September, Thomas was born, my second grandson. And just when you think your heart is full, it opens up for more. His gentle smile and sweet coos bring pure Joy!

This fall I released my second middle grade novel, Sunshine, a sequel to Blessen. Birthing a new book can be scary, but Sunshine is surrounded by love. Her story is no longer mine. Her story, the story of Blessen and Harmony, is full of grace. Blessen and Harmony share their love of animals and adventure. Neither has had the ideal life, but they greet each day with a sense of joy. That is what I hope for myself and all of you.

Begin this day with gratitude in your heart, a smile on your face, and an openness to Grace!

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I am gathering posts today. Scroll down to place your links in Inlinkz.

Since Sunday was All Saints Day, I wanted to ruminate around the idea of saints for my Spiritual Thursday post. Who is a saint?

In modern society, we have a hard time connecting to the martyrdom of Saint Paul and the selflessness of Saint Francis. We’ve come to relegate these Saints to symbols around our necks or in our gardens.

As I listened to the age-old hymn “Saints of God”, I was inspired to wonder about the ordinary saints. “They lived not only in ages past, there are hundreds of thousands still. The world is full of the joyous saints who love to do Jesus’ will.” (Yes, I have the words memorized.)

How to Be an Ordinary Saint

Step out of your old shoes and into another’s.
Comfort a crying child.
Hold the door open.
Give away your cloak.
Follow a faith-led path.
Pray without ceasing.
Write a poem on a card. Send it to someone who is struggling.
Sing a song of hope.
Pay for someone’s coffee.
Read to a child.
Sit with the dying.
Adopt a pet.
Call your mother, father, brother, sister, friend.
Offer a kind word, a knowing smile.
Be open to forgiveness.
Don’t linger on pain.
Love.

When you are out and about, look for those ordinary saints. The ones who open doors, let your car in, tie your shoes. Living in gratitude, noticing the little gracious things people do, spreads all the saint juices around and fills our world with love.

(incon0.com from pexels)

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!Click here to enter

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Ramona is gathering Spiritual Journey posts today at Pleasures from the Page.

As long as I am here, I will continue to grow and change and learn. I once thought that the first Corinthians verse was about love between a husband and wife. It’s often read aloud at weddings and speaks clearly about how you successfully love your spouse, with patience and kindness, without self-seeking and anger.

This year I’ve been engaged in a study of The Course in Miracles. My instructor reads the lessons daily to me (and others) using Voxer. She offers a meditation practice as well. The process of growth has been slow and gradual, hardly even noticeable if you know me. The language is what is changing. My instructor has changed the word God to the word Love. This seems small and insignificant, like a little nudge to my thinking.

I have attended church all my life. I’ve heard the words of the Bible over and over. Yet changing God from a person-like thing to an emotion has had profound effects on my thoughts. When God is with us, Love is with us.

We are called to be Love to one another. To be patient and kind in all that we do. Not to envy or boast or look out for ourselves. This is a call to service. God is Love. Love is God. How simple! How true!

I find peace in the knowledge that God has already given me everything I need to be successful. Love. It really is all we need. Love is everything. Love is enough.

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