at your own pace

When my ten-year-old Mary, made the goal to climb Mt. Timpanogus this summer– a trek of 15-18 miles– I promised I’d stay with her every step of the way.

On practice hikes with her brothers, I’d noticed Mary hiked slowly but steadily until she was rushed. When someone insisted she walk a little faster or denied her a rest, she froze, became insecure in her abilities and more than once, turned around and went home before reaching the top. Continue reading

Trusting My Spirit

 

About 15 years ago, I participated in a Ropes Course that included an activity called Lifeline. I was blindfolded and instructed to take hold of a rope and follow it until I reached the end. Then I was to spread my arms and wait. I could see before I was blindfolded that the rope was strung tautly between trees in a dense bit of forest. I couldn’t see where the rope ended, but it looked like it went on forever, in a tangled, jungly mess. Just before I set out, blind, one hand on the rope, someone pressed an egg into my other hand and said, “This represents what is most important to you. Guard it well.”

I had to think quickly. What is most important to me? Family? My church membership? Getting home to God? Yes. How? Trust the Holy Spirit. No. Trust MY spirit. 

It felt like a gift, these three little words that apparently were most important to me: trust my spirit. I remember being surprised, but the day had already been so full of Spirit that I was instantly inclined to trust it as revelation. There was no time for cognitive appraisal; it was time to begin my journey. I gripped my egg, which felt wooden in my palm, unbreakable, murmured trust my spirit, and set off into the unseen wood. Continue reading

The October Segullah Journal is Ready and Waiting!

As Fall flashes her brilliance in the Northern Hemisphere, Spring is showing off in the Southern half – my Instagram feed is full of Autumn/Fall colours and early vegetable seedlings being coaxed into the warming earth. Segullah is also flowering and fruiting with this month’s Journal!

Sandra Jergensen shares her hopes and waning garden, and Kelsey Petersen relates the unexpected fruits of pride and humility. So open your windows to the warm/cool breezes, and open a browser to our October offerings. And remember – we are always looking for submissions!

Consider the Pomegranate

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Picking a pomegranate is not as easy as it seems. That leathery skinned fruit doesn’t cry out to be plucked like a ripe peach or fall from the tree, as figs do, begging to be eaten. No, Israel’s promised fruit must be carefully, cautiously taken. The tree’s branches, with pencil sharp end points, scratch the reaching hand; the price of getting at the shiny, crowned red fruit.

With a tree at my new California house heavy with ripe fruit, I’ve been thinking a lot about pomegranates as I pick and eat my way through more of them in a month than I’ve had in my whole life’s consumption. What was once a special occasion fruit is now a daily reflection and pleasure. I’ve use pomegranates in jelly, juice, smoothies, sprinkled them on salads, in spring rolls served them with roasted eggplant and yogurt sauce tucked into pitas, and always fresh from the peel, as fast as I can peel, out of hand. I’ve peeled and eaten and eaten. Short of the work of peeling, they are they are the kind of fruit I don’t tire of. Perhaps it is the packaging, each little jewel-like aril must be plucked individually, each one a miniature bite of sweet-sour splendid. So much flavor so tightly bound in each bite and so many in each fruit.

Enriching the pungent pop of each little aril, pomegranates bear the depth of religious significance in many faith traditions.  They were a promise and reward for the exodus from Egypt, the adornment for temple vestibules and raiment. Their juice bleeding flesh conjures remembrance of Christ’s atonement. Jewish tradition holds that they contain as many seeds as the Torah. A symbol of fertility, the beauty and abundance of their carefully bound seeds signify the continuation and gift of life. Some hold that this biblical fruit was the fruit of our first parents. Continue reading

Peculiar Treasures: Pushing Past Boundaries, JSTOR for Pleasure and More

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This week our selections and suggestions feature people pushing past perceived limits and thresholds and into something new, bold or startlingly beautiful.

Let’s start small. Really, really, really small. Impossibly small? No, knit  not quite.

What would you do with a child that struggles? Would you offer your child a box of paint hoping to help and discover your child was so full of color and sound that was just waiting for the right medium for it all to pour out on. A painting prodigy preschooler. Her story reminded me of this stellar picture book I read to my own kids recently.

Could you change the hand life dealt you? Widowed, pregnant and desperate in a war-torn third world country, this woman and so many like her did. Beauty rising.

Beauty and awe is an seemingly impossible dream achieved on the notorious Cuillin Ridgeline in Scotland. What a rise and ride.

More elevation: from the everyday to art or from the prints in the book to their originals up at the conference center.  Or rise up with this young poet’s performance piece, turning ugly words into lines of beauty.

Props to JSTOR for getting even more awesome and everyday. Let’s all geek out. Or have a less geeky geek out at the art of misdirection. As someone who has been pick-pocketed, I couldn’t look away.

Are you a satisficer or maximizer? How you make decisions may show your happiness, but what about the happiness of those you share decisions with? Great advice how to work together for the greater good.

And for the greatest gift giving, ditch the traditional gift. 

For this week’s First Draft Poem Lara responds to the state of post-postpartum in America. Surely we are overdue to push over perceived boundaries of how fast women and families can “return to normal.” Could we push back to the more thoughtful consideration we once had and some parts of the world still honor?

Give a care for the

mother

new now or seven times

over new.

Keep her out of the fields,

warm by the fire,

a bowl of soup

with filtered sunlight,

Circle the sister with

her sisters until

it’s all alright.