Friday, October 28, 2016

{#write31days - day 28} silence and stillness

In the present moment, life happens. It happens always. Diligently and gently, abruptly and surprisingly, moving us forward into each next breath we take. On we go, sometimes passively and sometimes actively. Our heart keeps beating and our body keeps warm as our soul seeks new ways to know, love, and serve the good God who knitted together our very intricacies at our very beginning.

It's hard to always be present. It's hard to always seek His Face in our moments, much less, in the few moments of silence that scatter themselves throughout our days.

I'm sitting in my silence right now. I know! Miracle of miracles that all three little souls are asleep right now! at the SAME time! And yet, sitting in this little space of what looks and feels like silence, I look around and do not see a stillness, even though nothing is moving; nor do I hear a silence even though my little people are not being their typical roudy selves.

Instead, I see the strewn legos across a table, scattered battle gear, baby teething toys, dishes uncleaned, a whirling fan, curtains that sway, a dinner that isn't going to make itself, and work to be done...because there's always work to be done, isn't there?

But all is still and silence does surround me.

Silence and stillness are two occasions of life that my little soul has often pursued to know better. My interest began while in graduate school. There was this time I went to adoration with a priest friend. This priest was one of my classmates in a mental health program wanting to learn more about how to better shepherd his flock. Any who knew or know him now are truly blessed.

While we were on our way to adoration, I remember telling him how much I loved the chapel because of the reverent silence that was often present. I yearned for silence in those days as I still do, today. "It's what keeps me sane and prayerful!" I told him.

Upon sharing my sentiment, my dear priest friend looked at me and shared that he couldn't relate to that kind of silence. See, he is one of a handful of Deaf Catholic priests in the US and the concept of silence means something entirely different to him.

He shared that for him, silence was stillness. He appreciated the chapel because of it's stillness. Being Deaf, he hears with his eyes the same way I hear with my ears. This information was profound to me then and still is now. It is an awareness that I know my heart will constantly be unraveling in years to come, thanks be to God.

Stumbling into my nap-time silence today, brought me back to that time, his words, and a new awareness that stirred my soul many moons ago. I'll never forget that conversation or that experience of adoration. I remember how profound the stillness and silence felt that day. It was pouring rain outside. The sounds of the beating drops against the beautiful stained glass of this quaint little chapel is forever etched in my heart. That day, there was silence and stillness only not around me, but within.

"In the silence of the heart You speak 
In the silence of the heart You speak
And it is there that I will know You
And You will know me
In the silence of the heart
You speak, You speak."

-Audrey Assad

Over the years that have passed, what I've noticed, is that no matter what is going on around me whether it be silence or stillness, peace happens when the goodness of stillness and silence are present within my soul.

Stilling my soul is where He meets me; where I can see His Face and know His Presence. It is where He speaks and shares His Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. No matter what is going on around me it is my interior that matters.

“We live in a society in which every space, every moment must be ‘filled’ with initiatives, activities, and sounds. Often there is not ever time to listen or to converse. Dear Brothers and Sisters, let us not be afraid to create silence inside and outside ourselves if we wish to be capable not only of hearing the voice of God, but also the voice of those near us, the voice of our fellow man.” 
-Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI

Finding the right time to pray, to be Mary or to be Martha, to serve, to study, to embrace the ordinary moments, to move, or to be still can all be so confusing and frustrating. No time feels like the right time because there is always sound and there is always movement. But, if we dig down deep and strive to quiet our hearts so that He can stay with us awhile in our interior stillness and silence, the peace that comes is truly good and beautiful.

Babies are up now, but I'm curious:
What does stillness sound like to you? What does silence look like? 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

{#write31days - day 12} beauty and rest

Our days have been filled and good. Time keeps ticking on by and the kids keep growing in their little kid ways. While I, their mother, keep diving into the ocean of little things and big things that keep my heart growing and stretching.

It's been hard keeping up with this #write31days challenge! I'm not sure what I thought would happen or how it all would go down once I decided to jump in, but finding the time to write write write has been more challenging in this season of life because my babies just don't keep and they just need their mama.

It's not a bad thing. I'm thankful. Thankful for all of it! I'm enjoying this season - busyness and all. I'm loving the gifts I have in these little ones who are growing into big ones all too quickly, loving my husband and where we are, and just thankful for what this year has brought us through family and friends, homeschooling and our day-to-day, but most especially through Faith in Him.

This space has always been a sort of scrapbooking/journaling type place for me. It's how I started. I wanted to keep family in touch through photos and words. Then it sort of morphed a bit more into a spiritual journal because that's where my mind naturally wanders. I like where my little blog is now and know that it's not done growing and changing, which is exciting.

But what keeps me coming back to this space anytime I have a spare minute? Even when I get away from it for weeks or months at a time?

Beauty and Rest.

You see, Beauty has always drawn me closer to Him. Anytime I feel myself getting lost in all the tragedy and sadness and suffering in the world I get the tug to return to Him in my present - I feel the tug to seek His Beautiful Face where I am.

In the present, His Beauty is easy to rest in.

"And he said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while."

-Mark 6:31

Similarly, when life gets to feeling like chaos, my soul yearns for rest and stillness. Writing here meets that desire. Here is where I get to sit with my thoughts and my heart and just be, which is so good for my little soul. 

So even though I've missed a number of days for this writing challenge, I've been able to further discern why I still want to keep writing along through my days of good and days of challenge. This space brings me back to His Beauty and truly lets me rest awhile with Him in His Word, His Beauty, prayer, and the gift of the wisdom of the holy men and women who have gone before me.

All these things that get wrapped up in this little blog of mine keep me seeking my Dominus est moments through presence, words, photography, and grace upon grace upon grace. I love capturing my little moments that help me see His Presence in little ways throughout my days. I also love sharing those gifts. Social media and the internet can easily become a black hole of all the suffering that exists, and while suffering has it's place in this world, it certainly is not all that this world has to offer, by a long shot! I like to think that I'm just doing my little part of countering all the emphasis of sin and disorder through my random experiences of grace that allow me to see beauty and order a midst my days filled to the brim with life.

Dominus est moments // lately:

Dandelion will be 10 months this October. She continues to blossom so very beautifully with each new day.
Bigfoot has turned into quite the climber. He loves being outside running barefeet, exploring with his brother and neighborhood friends, and playing anything sport related.
Sundays have been good around these parts lately. There was a time that they felt so stressed filled with a need to get all the things done, but lately they've been filled with some pretty good rest, family time, and goodness.
 How she loves him and food! I adore watching their relationship grow.
Family movie nights have morphed into family game nights and we are loving them! I haven't laughed as hard as I did when we played charades the other week. So good, so fun, and so welcome.
Fall is here and so is my want for warmth (even if it is still hot outside!). This chicken soup with sweet potato noodles was a delight!
Rainy days are for painting.
Our resident artist, Linus, is still creating with anything he can get his hands on. Do you see the little face?
She waits for him, everyday. She goes to the door waiting for her daddy to get home and when he does, oh my goodness does she L I G H T up! It's a stunning moment filled with so much joy and excitement, it literally gets me every time. If only I could wait on Him this way!
Our most recent family snap! All five us. This photo just makes me smile.
Beauty and Rest. Rest and Beauty. These two things will keep me coming away a while to this little space of mine. These two things will keep me resting in my Lord who calls me to rest as well as sharing the beauty my heart finds. My hope is that in some small way, you too will be encouraged to find Him in your present because it is there, my dear friends, that He is waiting to reveal to us His Love, Peace, and Presence as well as His Beauty, Truth, and Goodness.

I'm writing for 31 days in October. Click on the image below to see what else I've had to share on the gift of the present moment.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

{#write31days - day 11} if you knew the gift of God

As much as I'm not a morning person, something I know I grumble about way too often on this little space of mine, there really is something so beautiful and revealing about that golden light that quietly creeps into our hearts to help us begin again.

Whether we are stirred by an alarm, a child playing, a baby wanting to nurse, or that golden light, all are calling us into a reality that is filled with gift.

Jesus told the Samaritan woman so very long ago, “If you knew the gift of God..." (John 4:10).  I've always been struck by those words. It's a brief part of scripture that pierces my heart. It makes me feel as if I've locked eyes with my lover in a way that makes me want to read right past it because there is so much weight and love and goodness in those seven little words I can hardly bear it.

Christ's words are beautiful and filled with love and tenderness! If I knew the gift of God? Can you imagine if we truly knew the gift He has for us in our present? Hearts, eyes, souls, minds, and all that we are to be truly open to what He wants to share with us because He is a God of Love. And, if I know anything, where there is love there is gift, always.

But how often do I respond just as the Samaritan woman did; talking past His words, continuing on as if I heard nothing, saw nothing, knew nothing of whom was right in front of me the entire time! Rambling on my way through all of His Teachings, through all of his Goodness and Beauty, is probably where you'd find my mind. I would be talking pragmatics when He would be trying to give me Living Water. He would be trying to nourish my soul while I would be walking away, fighting a love that I was designed to behold.

And yet, in His abounding kindness, He let her ramble. He did not just leave her in her logic, rather, He revealed Himself to her and shared an incredible gift, the gift of Himself.

"The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ); when he comes, he will show us all things." Jesus said to her,

"I who speak to you am he."

-John 4:25-26

In the mornings, through my fogginess and exhaustion, I think ahead to my day or I get onto my children for doing x, y, or z things they aren't supposed to be doing so early in the morn and I get lost. All that the day holds for me bombards my senses leaving me frantic rather than filled with excitement and peace. These ambitious efforts of wanting to always have this idealistic experience of love and order for myself and all around me weigh my heart down. Within moments, I've lost sight of that golden light that quietly called me to be still. That sweet, gentle glow filled with warmth and purpose that beckoned my soul to start anew in the warmth and order of the beginning of a new day. 

That light calls me each day to begin anew. It reminds me that today truly is new but that doesn't change the fact that I need to still choose to rise and respond to His Presence and how He tries to reach me.

"He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means,

“Little girl, I say to you, arise!”

-Mark 5: 41

So then what should I do? Knowing all of these things, I need to let my soul whisper the fiat she so much wants to shout, take His Hand, and arise again and again, knowing that He is holding me all the while through the gift of my beating heart.

For more reflections on the gift of the present moment, click below:

Monday, October 10, 2016

{#write31days - day 10} songs that keep me present

No words needed for this post. I just wanted to share these songs that I have on repeat while I sit in front of my computer or need to be brought back to my present. There are others, but these are the ones that were on rotation today. God bless!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

{#write31days - day 9} dominus est moments

You know those moments that stop you right in your tracks? The ones that seem to still time because they are filled to the brim with wonder and love and gift?

It's amazing how these little moments can make your heart smile because there's nothing else for it to do but just smile. These same moments also have a way of expanding and stretching you in ways you didn't know you needed but will be forever grateful for.

Moments that share glimpses of His Face are so very good. I love how Love has designed in us an innate desire to seek Him in all things. We were created for Him and if we just let go, there we will find him, always...if we just..let..go.

I know you know the ones I'm talking about. We all have them. They form us, move us, encourage us, hold us during times of struggle or sadness, keep us present, and spark in us a want for more.

Dominus est. It is the Lord.  It is He, and always He, revealing His beautiful and good Divine Nature so that we may better understand how to love, know, and serve Him.

My Dominus est moments have looked like this lately:

"The present moment is always full of infinite treasures, 

it contains far more than you have the capacity to hold."

-Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

{#write31days - day 8} getting behind

I'm a week in to my #write31days challenge and I'm already getting behind. I'm getting behind on posting and feeling behind on just having something to say.

Honestly, if you were to meet me, you would come to find that I'm a woman of not so many words, unless the topic tugs at my heart strings. If I get the tug, I get all kinds of chatty and then mull over it in my head and heart for some time there after.

The gift of the present moment is a topic that is near and dear to me for so many reasons, but finding the time to write the posts that require more time and thought has proven to be difficult day after day.

My present moments these days are filled with an adorable teething and very mobile 9 month old, two boys that get their superman energy from only God knows where, homeschooling, making meal upon meal upon meal, family time fun, family time hardships, and everything else in between.

Admittedly, I don't always use my evening down time to blog. Once evening rolls around and the kids are actually asleep, I sit and just want to be still. I want to be next to my husband and not think because I know Dandelion is just moments away from needing me just one more time for the night.

And yet, writing in this space shares such a peace and goodness with me, and I pray, with you too. It's my little outlet to share the grace-filled moments I'm able to witness beauty and goodness in my own little life, with the hope that you will be encouraged to see Him in the little ways too.


Alright. Evening has rolled on past me once more and my bed is now calling my name. I will try again tomorrow because today has already passed.

Everything is the hand of God. Earth, air and water are God's. His action is more widely extended, more present to you than the elements. It enters you by all your senses, provided you only make use of them according to his design..."

-Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J.

And, to share the present moment of this post, I'm not actually off to my bed, but rather my baby who has stirred once more for the night!

{#write31days - day 7} gifts of summer - part 2

After a high risk pregnancy that kept us close to home and a hospital late last year, we had some traveling to tend to. Family had yet to meet Dandelion and others hadn't seen the boys in quite a while.

It was so nice to share our family with the family that I and my husband grew up with - the same ones who loved us through all of our growing. The ones that saw us from early infancy through to young adulthood all the way through to our present. These family members have blessed us abundantly in more ways we'll ever be able to calculate, but it is an abundance we can assuredly call gift.

Personally, I can remember all the ways my aunts and uncles loved on me always, how my cousins and I played every Sunday at our grandparent's houses, sleepovers, birthdays, etc, and how my grandparents were always there to greet me with a hug filled with a love so true - all these memories and more are what have helped form me over the years in so many silent ways. These kindnesses have helped carry me. I know they've prayed for me through all of my transitional points in life and I know this to be true through their words, letters, and embraces shared every time I went home. It's a beautiful thing to see this good and kind love now shared with our littles and my husband.

Similarly, I love how our kids are so adaptable and ready to love. They enjoy their grandparents the most, but love them some time with aunts and uncles, great-aunts and uncles, second cousins and more. The kids always seem ready to play, explore, enjoy, and embrace the gifts that God has shared with us through so many people.

To follow are the moments of gift I was able to capture. There were so many more pictures I had in mind to take but unfortunately didn't! I can remember Dandelion meeting various loved ones for the first time, and regrettably, I didn't have my camera with me or failed to remember to snap the photos when I did. Either way, I did capture some moments of beauty and goodness and there is gift there too!

To close I'll share this beautiful quote from Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence:

"I shall not count the hours nor the ways of thy approach, dear Love:

thou wilt always be welcome."

-Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J.

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