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Archive for the ‘Spiritual Growth’ Category

Find more posts at Live your Poem.

 

Our Spiritual Journey first Thursday posts are centered around gratitude this month. When I think of what I am most grateful for this week, I think of the many voices in my life.

Sunday:  The voices of the choir up in the loft with me.  I am the only alto, but that’s OK.  I love to hear the harmony of my voice alongside the others around me.  I carry the anthem in my head all week long.  Today I can hear the echo of “even thine altars…O Lord, my king and my God.  Blessed are they that dwell in thy house.”

Monday-Friday: The voices of my students ring in my ear.  This week one group is writing mood stories.  A few students are collaborating together.  They hunch over the paper and computer and speak in excited voices about what happens next.  Another group is working on podcasts, so they have written scripts and are practicing and recording and re-recording.  Voices over voices, played and replayed.

Voxer voices:  I have a few friends I keep in touch with using the Voxer app.  I look forward to hearing their messages on my morning walks.  One of these friends is reading aloud a book.  She’s actually reading it for another friend, but she forwards them to me, so I can enjoy the book as well.  I love being read to.  Her soothing, friendly voice makes the experience of listening like a meditation.

As I write, my husband calls and offers to meet at our favorite restaurant.  There, we will catch up on the news of day and just be with each other.  I remember one of the first things that attracted me to him was his voice.  I’ll never tire of hearing it.

November is thanku season, a time for writing thank you haiku.

 

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Spiritual Journey Thursday is dedicated this month to the small steps that create a big change.

On Wednesday night, Charlie (my 10 year old schnoodle) and I went to a simple service for blessing the animals.  Our priest, Father Matt, wore a Creation-themed stole and set up a Eucharistic table under the pavilion in the backyard of the church.  He was surrounded by animals of all kinds, dogs of all sizes and colors, cats in carriers, a hedgehog, and a basket of turtles (Each and Other).  He sprinkled the pets with holy water.  The dogs barked in a choral round.

As silly as I thought this was going to be, I have to admit I was moved.  I was moved by the way we are so proud of our pets, of how much animal love makes us happy.  Such a small thing, the lick of a dog, the purr of a cat, the tiny curious heads of turtles, turned to something bigger, something better.

In the well-known prayer, St. Francis echoes “Make me an instrument of peace.”  In keeping things sacred, declaring that all are worthy of God’s love, and finding joy, we become instruments of peace.

Peace can be difficult to hope for when innocent fathers are shot in the line of duty, when thousands leave a country music festival terrorized and forever scarred, when our country’s leaders seem determined to divide, oppress, and insult our small steps toward peace.

After Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s poem Always, I wrote the following poem.

There is always
a sweet scent of satsumas
ripening in the fall.

They ignore the drone of bees,
the flash of lightning,
the rush of wind,
the flood of water.

Nature knows what comes next.

Nature never worries about tomorrow.

She trusts the hand of the planter.

She recalls the love of rain.

She hopes for the dawn
and shows us how.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved.

 

 

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#DWhabit The habit of writing daily with Jennifer Laffin. Click to connect to her site.

Today’s daily writing word is Unite.  For me, this word connects some dots in the world.  The first dot was the sermon at my church today.  Our priest talked about Quantum Entanglement and how it works with prayer; the idea that the life and death of each of us has influence over the other.  When we hold another person in our hearts, as in prayer, we are connected.

The second dot is the International Peace Day, which is this Thursday, Sept. 21st.  Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is collecting resources on this padlet.  I want to work with my students on peace poems.  My plan is to pass out a variety of poems about peace and have groups of students discuss them, then turn to their own writing.

The third dot is an acrostic poem I wrote this morning in response to the word Unite.

 

Another dot in this united maze is a story I heard from a friend about Constitution Day at a local university.  She said a Muslim woman was naturalized at the ceremony; however, when asked if she would pose with her family for a photograph, she said she was afraid.  My friend cried telling this story.  How can we offer freedom and citizenship along with fear?  I hope the energy of kindness and support surrounding this special day planted a seed of peace. May we all be seeds of peace.

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Find other posts at Pleasures from the Page with Ramona.

Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours.

–Jane Kenyon, A Hundred White Daffodils

I wake early so I can open my eyes slowly.

I wake early so I have time to stretch and take a walk with Charlie.

I wake early to hear the sounds of the morning and see the moon.

I wake early to nourish my soul.

Jane Kenyon reminds me to be a steward of my gifts.  She’s speaking specifically about poetry in a chapter titled Everything I Know about Writing Poetry.  These are perfect instructions for nourish, Ramona’s one little word.  The word our spiritual journey group is writing about today, the first Thursday of September.

This early morning a cool front has come in.  For the first time since early spring, the temperature has fallen below 70 degrees.  What this does for my spirit is like a lift to wings.  Fall is in the air.  Energy fills me along with my morning coffee.

To nourish and nurture my self, I wake early.  I’ve learned to savor these early morning hours.  I take my time becoming present.

We all need to learn how to nourish our souls.  Without nourishment, rushing to stress can quickly take over.  Our lives always carry the potential to overload.  When we slow down, take time to reflect and read and walk, we nourish the inner spirit that is always there, waiting for us to take notice and feel loved.

 

 

 

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

I, like many of you, have been sad, mad, and disgusted by the recent happenings right here in our own country. In our own nation where freedom has been a song sung for generations, white supremacists have stained the honor of that freedom with hypocrisy, hatred, and violence. And, like many of you, I don’t know what to do with my feelings.

On Sunday evening, I answered a Facebook call to a vigil, a simple gathering of diverse people who held candles, sang songs, read poems, quoted speeches, and together held each other up in prayer. We celebrated our freedom to do this on public ground without fear.

I don’t believe that attending a vigil will change much, but it was someplace to go and be with my community in support of the community of Charlottesville. Charlottesville never asked for their town to be the marketplace for hatred. They never wanted angry men carrying tikki torches to make a spectacle of their freedom. How did this happen? I have no answers.

On Monday morning, I spotted this brief rainbow. To me, this is always a sign of God’s promise. We all need to let go of discrimination, prejudice, and intolerance. We are better than this.

My friend Nettie attended Sunday’s vigil. She read aloud the poem, Stonewall Nation. She read it with conviction and passion.

I hope these dark days will pass, and all of us will join together in being a better people and a better nation.

Come on brothers, march along.
We’re all gonna sing our song.
Right now, right now.
Sisters Take me by the hand,
We’re gonna build our promise land,
Right now, right now.

And the Stonewall Nation’s,
Gonna have its liberation.
Wait and see, just wait and see.
You can take your tolerance and stow it,
We’re gonna be ourselves and show it.
The Stonewall Nation is gonna be free.

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Find other posts at To Read, To Write, To Be with Julieanne

 

We had our first faculty meeting yesterday.  Our new master teacher was charged with leading an ice breaker.  She passed around a bowl of Hershey’s chocolate bars.  She told us to choose one carefully.  I chose Krackel.  The first personality she put on the board was Dark Chocolate.  I should have chosen Dark Chocolate.  I am more comfortable as an introvert.

You are a deep and complex person. You don’t let anyone get too close to you.
You stay a mystery, and you’re good at keeping secrets… especially your own.

You prefer to stay on the outside a bit and observe. You find people fascinating.
You seek to understand and appreciate the world. There is more to you than anyone will ever know.

But God had a message for me, so God made me choose Krackel.

You create a spark and leave a mark everywhere you go. You’re very bold.
Your days are full of fun and laughter. You love life, and you never take it too seriously.

You enjoy brightening someone’s mood, and you are always an optimist.
Things may not ever be perfect, but you’ll always find something to smile about.

I was caught being pessimistic.  I had to laugh at this joke.  Me?  A smiling optimist?  Full of fun and laughter?  Not at this party!  I have been anything but optimistic about this new school year.  I’ve been trying to change my attitude.  What can change your attitude better than random fortune cookie-like personality proclamations?  I am going to tape this Krackel wrapper to the front of my writing notebook.

 

On another note, but along the same topic of messages from the universe, I saw this sign on a fence in my daughter’s neighborhood.

What a great message!  I need to realize even though I am faced with a difficult schedule and new curriculum to learn, I can be better this year than I was last year.  And being better is a choice that is mine to make.

So for this new beginning, I am going to take these not so subliminal smack-me-in-the-face messages and start the new school year with optimism, a sense of humor, and determination to make it the best year ever.

 

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Find other posts at Writer on a Horse

Pat is gathering our monthly Spiritual Thursday posts around the theme of stepping out of your comfort zone.  For years I have taught young writers’ camps in the summer. But this year I was inspired by Katherine Bomer’s presentation at NCTE last November to try teaching teachers. Katherine’s teacher/students presented about how personal writing led them to be better teachers of writing. I’ve long held this belief for myself, but decided to get out of my comfort zone and share my understanding with other teachers in my own district.

The Teachers Writing Institute begins on Monday. I’m squirming in my seat. What have I gotten myself into? At first I thought no one would sign up, but on the first day the email went out, eleven teachers signed up. We increased the number of participants from 15 to 20.  Now I have a full class of 20 teachers who want to experience their own writing and learn new strategies for teaching.  So, on Monday, I will face 20 expectant teachers. My palms are sweaty. My heart is racing. Can I really do this? Can I make these teachers feel like writers? Can I give them the confidence they need to go back into the classroom and offer freedom and choice in writing to their students?

With Katherine’s book The Journey is Everything and her generous spirit in email exchanges, along with Voxer friends’ advice, a long list of writing prompts, and a stack of mentors, I am as ready as I’ll ever be. I want to hold onto these thoughts:

  • We are all teachers.  We are in this together.
  • Writing is a brave act.  Sharing writing is even braver.
  • You have everything you need.
  • There is a higher source of power (Yahweh God, Holy Spirit) open to me.
  • Nothing and no one is perfect.
  • Let the work of writing together be the focus.

And it won’t hurt if I know you are praying for me.  Thanks!

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