Lost and Found.

My dear husband puts up with a lot of “crap” from me. I’m sure one of his pet peeves is this fun game I like to call: “If I were my ________, where would I be?” (Thanks to my friend Laina for inventing this game.)

If I were my keys, where would I be?

If I were my cell phone, where would I be?

If I were my sanity and sense, where would I be? (Unlike my keys, which usually hang in the door, I’ve yet to consistently find these.)

My game of hide and seek, lost and found popped in my head while reading Genesis 9 this morning:

8-11 Then God spoke to Noah and his sons: “I’m setting up my covenant with you including your children who will come after you, along with everything alive around you—birds, farm animals, wild animals—that came out of the ship with you. I’m setting up my covenant with you that never again will everything living be destroyed by floodwaters; no, never again will a flood destroy the Earth.”

12-16 God continued, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and everything living around you and everyone living after you. I’m putting my rainbow in the clouds, a sign of the covenant between me and the Earth. From now on, when I form a cloud over the Earth and the rainbow appears in the cloud, I’ll remember my covenant between me and you and everything living, that never again will floodwaters destroy all life. When the rainbow appears in the cloud, I’ll see it and remember the eternal covenant between God and everything living, every last living creature on Earth.”

17 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I’ve set up between me and everything living on the Earth.”

rainbowOf course, the amount of questions which arise from this whole Noah/boat/destruction story are overwhelming… did God regret his decision? If so, what does that say about Him? Did he “learn”? If so, what does that say about Him?

But what struck me this morning was the simple, yet profound notion that God created for Himself a reminder, a sort of ribbon-tied-around-the-finger cue, a color-patterned, post-it note marked “remember the covenant.”

Considering this, it is a magical world in which we live, a world in which the physical beauty serves as a whisper of a secret from another world, a deeper relationship, a promise gliding on the surface while thousands float beneath.

In such a discovery I could lose myself.

Balance

This week in yoga, I had a moment of clarity.

While twisting and I won’t lie–straining–into Ardha Chandrasana–Half Moon Pose–listening and adjusting according to the cues of the guide, this thought popped into my head: breathing is balance. Breathing is the very epitome of balance. It is this innate and graceful dance between the paradoxes of in and out, take and give, inhale and exhale, use and release, mine and yours. It is a force of oppositions in harmony. It is the presence of both the nutrients and toxins, preservation and decay. In every breath–albeit conscious or inherent–there is an embrace of what is good and bad, beautiful and ugly, sacred and sacrilege.

I tend to be a person who dwells in the extremes. Right or wrong, black or white, in or out–I find false comfort in these dichotomies. But if breath is balance, then my thoughts need to turn towards embracing and being present in both extremes. Just as in yoga. In Ardha Chandrasana, well really in any Asana, balance lies in opposing actions. While opening the heart, I am elongated the back foot. While pulling in everything towards the midline, I am releasing the hip away. While reaching forward, I am pulling upwards on the belly. In these embodiments of polarity, I find balance.

In my life, as in yoga, I need to equally embrace and fear grief. Hunger for yet question the unknown. Wander without purpose yet on a path. In balance, in paradox, I can breath. I can be. I can surrender.

Long before my struggle and joy of yoga, this wisdom was reflected in the voice of the Proverbs, chapter 7:

Consider what God has done:

Who can straighten what he has made crooked?
When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one as well as the other.
Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.

In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these:

the righteous perishing in their righteousness,
and the wicked living long in their wickedness.

Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise—
why destroy yourself?
Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool—
why die before your time?
It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other.
Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.

9383_10151737801327813_808961437_n

It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other.

And, not or.

Breath.

Play

With the snow, ice, and illness hovering around these parts, we have not been able to run as much as we’d like/should. Especially considering that this is our base-building time and next week we up the mileage. Ugh oh. Needless to say, today’s run was rough.

So what’d we do about that? Well…we played.

We stopped to enjoy the scenery of this gorgeous and mild winter day.

IMG_1704[1]

IMG_1716[1]

We stopped to hear the bubble of a brook beneath its frozen topcoat.

IMG_1712[1]

And we delighted in the childlike delight of our dog, frolicking freely.

IMG_1710[1]

IMG_1707[1]

Joy

My heart has been so heavy since the passing of my Mom. I’m sure it doesn’t look like that at work. At work, I can be productive. I can be busy. I can hide my soul. I can…be distracted. But at home, in the stillness, I am haunted by ghosts of tears and fears and mirrors.

One of the ways I have been trying to collect myself through this time of falling to pieces has been medical avenues. I am going to therapy to work through my mental chains which often imprison. I am taking anti-anxiety medication to fight the demons of panic. I am checking to see if the cancer in my family is genetic to be proactive instead of reactive.

During one of these many appointments, my doctor looked at me and asked me what I’m doing to relieve stress in my life. I listed the usual: staying active, eating better, being attuned to my spiritual side. Then she looked at me and said:

Yeah, but what brings you joy?

What brings you joy.

Then she gave me this insightful lecture, that sometimes it’s not about doing what’s right, even when it’s, well, right…because then it becomes one more duty. Sometimes it’s about just doing what brings you joy.

Do what makes my heart smile. Do what makes your heart smile. Do what makes our hearts smile.

This morning, a day after what would have been his birthday, I snuggled into my Daddy’s chair next to our twinkling Christmas tree. I prayed. I spoke aloud to God and the dog and the cat and the awakening dawn about what I desire most in life. I read The Sacred Romance. I texted my best friend, as I was reminded of her. I prayed for a close friend, also battling anxiety. I thought of how many times I had seen my Mom snuggled in this very chair. In this moment of simplicity, the joy in my heart glittered as much as the lights next to me, a dance reflected in the ornaments.

Other than that, what makes my heart smile? What brings me joy?

Best friends. Dave. Horses. TV when it’s best. Turning it off when it’s not. Dancing. Hiking. Being outside. Swings. Having a glass of wine. The side ache that comes from a waterfall bout of laughter. The suprising and/or invited moments of feeling God tangibly. Good music. How strong I feel doing Yoga. Checking out with a good magazine. Writing. Praying for people. Fostering discussions within my classroom where I can authentically learn from my students. Seeing and being in nature. Singing, especially harmony with the few friends that put up with my terrible voice. Traveling and then planning the next adventure. Questioning. Watching Spooner unabashedly run around like an idiot. A long nap. Colorful eye makeup. Teaching my favorite books.

Do what makes my heart smile. Do what makes your heart smile. Do what makes our hearts smile. Let us together invite joy into our lives.

8d75889ab8fb5f1c43bbd4d918f7f405

Scissors and Saints: The Story of My In-Laws

In-laws. The phrase, a common topic of pop culture, sends shivers down many people’s spines:

For the first time ever I was taking the family on the road. We stayed with my in-laws, which on life’s list of experiences ranks right below sitting in a tub full of scissors. (Jeff Foxworthy)

I feel so fortunate to be blessed with in-laws that rank high as compared to Foxworthy’s joke. Since falling in love with Dave, I have found an additional family in which to give and receive love. They will never replace my parents…but the beauty lies in the fact that they do not have to. My heart has expanded so that where there were 2 parents, now there are 4; where there were 3 siblings, now there are 4.

30249_424513447812_4063705_n

30249_424511792812_629555_nMy additional brother, Jeremy, is a man of quiet observation. He is brilliant with his hands–whether working on cars or homes. He is a man comfortable with himself, generous, patient, insightful and kind. I am lucky to be his sister.

My additional mother, Debbie, is a woman who walks closely to God.

232323232-fp3;9-nu=326--75;-857-WSNRCG=323668-36492-nu0mrj

When my Mom got sick, both times, it was her I called. When a close friend’s Dad was dying, it was her I emailed. I turn to her because I rely so deeply on her fierce intercessory prayers. I recognize that Dave and I stand on the shoulders of this saint; I feel carried by her prayers and love.

232323232-fp3;--nu=326--75;-857-WSNRCG=323668-364-75nu0mrjMy additional father, Ron, is a man who speaks little, but carries and discreetly shares the world of words in his heart. Words like this:

You have made a difference in my life and I THANK YOU for that.

When he writes to me in emails–whether it’s corny jokes and forwards or emails encouraging my heart–he is as handy with language as he is with a tool belt. He has a way of melting all my crusty defense mechanisms, just by leaning in with a gentle pat on the back or a shared quiet conversation.  I treasure his presence in my life.

These are the saints with whom I spent my first Thanksgiving without my Mom. They fostered a place for me to be in grieving silence and stupid joy. They gave me space and grace. 

And they created the Christmas spirit. Sorry Mr. Foxworthy, the only scissors here are used to open all these presents–physical and metaphorical. 

524736_10152099176092813_339210957_n

Life in the Dport

Expats Abroad

A Tree On Fire With Love

But it's still scary sometimes because most people think love only looks like one thing, instead of the whole world

Curiosity Travels

"Replace fear of the unknown with curiosity."

Young Adventuress

The Solo Female Travel Blog

Young Adventuress

The Solo Female Travel Blog

teaching With "Ang-sigh-eh-tea"

The life of a teacher who struggles with anxiety and depression.

Sampa Sympatico

A Yankee Teacher's Experience of Sao Paulo, Brazil

LINDSAY JILL

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

Once Upon a Time in México

Living my dream of teaching, traveling, and discovering culture

Teach. Travel. Taste.

A peek into the life of an American teacher in Colombia

2seetheglobe

Adventures in Globetrotting

Meditating Millennial

A Millennial's Journey Into Meditation and Mindfulness

Nomad Notions

Tales of Expat Living, Teaching, and Tramping in Taiwan and Beyond.

Sojourners' Journal

“Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people." —Albert Einstein

Middle East by Midwest

Observations and Experiences of Bahrain

Ex(pat) and the City

The life of a twenty-something Canadian living & teaching in Korea.

International Schools Review

ISR Blogs are open to site members and visitors alike. Your Voice Counts.

Teaching - Traveling - Learning

The Life of An International Teacher

LOVE.LIVE.LIFE.ABROAD

THE ADVENTURES OF A NOMADIC TEACHER

pedagogyofthereformed

Teaching in Brooklyn in Spite of Everything

Actively Dying

by Peter Fall Ranger

Practicing Presence

An attempt at mindfulness in life, learning, and love

chanyado

Chanyado. Shade. Respite from the sun. A place under the tree to rest my head, and wiggle my toes out in the sun.

The Educationista

Life. Lessons. Inspiration.

Words Half Heard

writing into meaning.

gadflyonthewallblog

"To sting people and whip them into a fury, all in the service of truth."

Greatfull

A snapshot of my journey to living each day with gratitude and striving to be full of greatness

Imperfect Happiness

Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it. ~ Mary Oliver

tspelczech

"I'm too old to live my life in fear of dumb people." - Charlie Skinner, The Newsroom

Perfectly Pleased

I take the little moments of life and write about them. Always with Love.

Cultivate Clarity

creative writing and mindfulness-based coaching, workshops, and retreats

Crawling Out of the Classroom

In everything that my students and I do together, we strive to find ways to use reading and writing to make the world outside of our classroom a better place for all of us to be

ADVENTURES ON THE YOGA MAT

writing into meaning.

AFFECTIVE LIVING

Teaching. Learning. Living.

Mostly True Stories of K. Renae P.

My Adventures in Teaching and Learning

candidkay

Taking the journey, bumps and all

jenny's lark

the beauty of an ordinary life

Nonlinear Compilations

Parenting, teaching, writing, and learning to find beauty in the present

Education Thunk

Thoughts and musings on education as it is, was and will be.

talk from chalk

What I've learned while teaching

Thoughtful teaching

Thoughts on teaching in the modern world.

Hope, Honor, and Happiness

A blog for the book “Kingdom of the Sun” and discussions on finding the Hope, Honor, and Happiness in education, life, and the seemingly impossible.