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Posts Tagged ‘grace’

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

 

Grace takes a breath.

Grace assumes positive intent. Grace gives us permission to fail or forget or forge ahead. Grace helps us to try again, to keep going, to work the tasks, one manageable piece at a time.

Lee Ann Spillane

For my one little word in 2017, I chose Cherish.  There was purpose in this as I knew the special moments with my children would be fewer.  I wanted to be sure to cherish every family event.  And I did.  We had a beautiful wedding in March, and I cherished visiting time with family this summer.

 

Things change.  Fast forward to August, 2017 when the thing I need most is grace.  The kind of grace that Lee Ann Spillane is asking for.  The grace that lets me be imperfect and unorganized, stressed out and overwhelmed.

This grace comes in the questions from my yoga instructor on Saturday:

How will you enter into this day?
Will you try to fit through the needle?
What is the shape of a cloud?

Metaphorical me wants to have grace like a cloud, not the stormy ones that have threatened the Gulf coast this week, but those white fluffy ones.  The ones that cover the sun allowing crepuscular rays to escape.  I find hope in those clouds. I can be any shape I want to be.

I received grace in the storm.

Hurricane Harvey has devastated Houston. For that, I am deeply saddened and continually praying.  Around here in South Louisiana, we’ve had rain, rain, rain.  School was cancelled due to street flooding, but so far no home damage.

My grace came in the shape of a storm.  Time to resettle myself.  Time to regroup, reorganize, and get a grip.  Time to cherish my good fortune and blessings.

Help Houston:

Kate Messner has set up an auction KitLit Cares.  Please consider a bid to benefit yourself and your students and ultimately help our friends in Houston.

This storm just won’t quit.  My friend, author Caroline Sibbald Leech, posted this link for places to donate and ways to help.

 

Be sure to set aside time on Labor Day evening to join the #TeachWrite Twitter chat as we discuss finding time to write.

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Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

Image created in Canva.  Photo taken by Maggie Simon in New Orleans.  A sky writer send messages of hope.

Image created in Canva. Photo taken by Maggie Simon in New Orleans. A sky writer send messages of hope.

Perfect is an imperfect word
with its soft purr beginning
to its hard -fect ending.
It crashes down on you
at the worst possible moments
when everything is clear as mud
and life has offered lemons.
Perfection is illusive
as the light shining through
the stained glass window,
pointing the way one minute
and spreading shards of colors the next.
I choose not to follow you, perfection.
I will find a path littered with debris,
broken into pieces by storms and crashing waves.
I will seek grace,
that smooth silky word that whispers softly
and leads me to knowing the one
whose spirit is in us all
seeking only love and to be loved.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

When Holly tweeted out the theme for the week, “Let’s get real, no need to be perfect,” I rolled the word perfect around on my tongue. I didn’t like the taste. On Michelle Hendrick Barnes site, Today’s Little Ditty, she interviewed Nikki Grimes and put out a poetry challenge to write a wordplay poem. Perfect was not one of the words suggested, but I liked the idea of thinking about the word itself. For me, the process led to a deeper realization (which is often the way when writing poetry) that perfection is not what God wants from us. Grace is a gift given by God always, whether or not we are perfect. Grace is never taken away. It is our choice to respond to this gift with our works, our prayers, and our love. Stop seeking perfection. Look instead for the light of grace in your life, and say thanks.

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Click here to read more #spiritualjourney posts.  Thanks Holly for hosting this roundup!

Click here to read more #spiritualjourney posts. Thanks Holly for hosting this roundup!

One of my close choir friends has been bringing her crochet projects to the loft for a while now. We all love to touch the yarn and watch her quick hands craft beautiful shawls. She decided to begin a prayer shawl ministry at our church. I had not crocheted or knitted in years, but I was interested in the idea, so I joined.

Baby Vivian is one month old and weighs 2 pounds.  Please pray for her.

Baby Vivian is one month old and weighs 2 pounds. Please pray for her.

Before our first meeting, a friend in my Berry Queen community, Holly, had a pre-mature baby. Vivian weighed 1.7 lbs, but she has proven to be a fighter. She is growing and developing. I keep up with her through Facebook. I decided I would make a prayer blanket for the baby. I bought some pink and white thread, a crochet hook, and an instruction book. As I crocheted, I said her name. My mantra became “Vivian Victory.”

Completed baby prayer blanket

Completed baby prayer blanket

We took a field trip last Friday. My student Emily sat next to me on the long bus ride. She watched me work on the prayer blanket. Today, she presented me with a pillow she had sewn for me. She wrote about it for her Slice of Life story on our kidblog. You can read her post here. She wrote, “And, if Mrs. Simon is making a blanket for a premature baby that is only two pounds, she must love it. So, I made this pillow. I made this pillow for someone I love.”

Faith pillow made by Emily.

Faith pillow made by Emily.

Emily’s heart has been broken with her mother’s untimely death six weeks ago. The power of grace from God has placed her heart in my hands. And what a gracious heart it is!

I am truly blessed to be a part of many faithful communities, the concentric circles of love from church, friends, family, students, and this blogging community.

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Click here to read more #spiritualjourney posts.  Thanks Holly for hosting this roundup!

Click here to read more #spiritualjourney posts. Thanks Holly for hosting this roundup!

photo 4

We know from Alexander that some days are terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days, even in Australia. And I’ve had those days. I’ve had the days where nothing seems to go right. The days where the ice cream falls off the ice cream cone, and the plate crashes to the floor, flying out of your hand like someone else is in control. But I have learned that even on those days, there is Grace. Grace comes when we least expect it. The grace in the eyes of the veterinarian who says your dog is fine. The grace in an email from a friend who says you’re a blessing in her life. The grace from the chattering birds on a wire. The grace in the clear sky. The grace in the sunrise over the sugarcane. The grace in the abundant fruit on the tree. The grace in the reflection of the sun on the bayou. God’s grace, God’s loving embrace holds me every day.

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Ashes to Ashes

Ash Wednesday
Today is Ash Wednesday. I went to church and got an ashy-cross-smudge on my forehead and was told, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

This could be a creepy thing to think about, death, dust, sin. Oh, my! But today I read a few things, heard a few things, and thought about a few things that made me realize this is not creepy at all. It is ritual, a tradition in the Anglo-Catholic religion. I thought the purpose was to remind us that we are mortal and sinful and only God can save us from that. But today I got a different message.

The message was Grace. When I went to the altar to receive the ashes, I prayed that I would know what God wanted me to do. The voice that came to me said, “You are enough.”

Now God doesn’t make a habit of speaking to me, so when he does, I listen. I was reminded of my one little word, the word I chose to guide my year, rather than making a resolution that I could easily break. My one little word was Acceptance. Now I hear You are Enough!

Bishop Jake wrote on his blog post today, “‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth’ (Matthew 6:19) In other words, don’t approach the spiritual practices of Lent as a set of achievements that will win God’s approval. Instead, approach them as ways to make yourself available to God’s grace.”

So here I am, proclaiming to whomever wants to hear it, “I am an instrument of God’s grace. And that is enough!”

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