Promise of Spring: A conversation with my 20 year old self

The fruit trees are blossoming.  The promise of fruit – someday.  But definitely the promise of spring’s entrance.

I used to correlate spring’s arrival with the bathing suits’ overnight appearance at Target. Summer is almost here, I would chant in my head seeing spring as something to survive to get to freedom.

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Tenth Consideration: Turning off the Computer

This tenth one is one I thought long and hard about the last couple of  days.  What should I post so I can put up something prolific on Christmas?.... (A time when I am sure you're all checking email and Facebook)

Then is dawned on me in such a simple way - I don't want to be on my computer on Christmas. I love connecting with people online, but today is a day to be with my community; to be with my husband and our family, to be with the Trinity -- all of them in unique ways.

So in considering what turning off my computer means right now, well, it means being present to what's around me and right now, it's not technology.

Have a blessed and happy Christmas and I will be posting 11 and 12 in the coming week!

A Gaelic Christmas Blessing

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Ninth Consideration: A Sense of Humor

Today I have tale about a Christmas Card that began with this photo:

Our first Christmas.  What a joy it was.  People loved this card because it wasn't super posed; we weren't dressed up.  We were just ourselves.  So we took their lovely compliments and the following year sent out this gem.

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Seventh Consideration: Home.

“I’m not sure if people know what ‘home’ is anymore,” a fellow church member expressed during a conversation from earlier this year.

This comment struck a cord with many as we nodded and contemplated the meaning of home. As the Christmas season is now upon us, I can't help but consider home once again.

Many consider the two to go hand-in-hand this time of year – home and Christmas. Some wait to go home. Others work on creating a home, and more still do not have safe homes at all.

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Sixth Consideration: Traditions (That started in the 80s)

The 80s returned last night… in all their glory.   My husband’s employer (which will remain nameless to protect those involved) had their first themed Christmas party and it was also the first time spouses were invited.

As I crimped and hair-sprayed, I secretly wondered if this was a cruel joke and if we would be the only ones to show up in a full length sweater dress and neon jump suit.  Luckily, we were greeted by side pony tails, animal print spandex, and pop rocks – lots of pop rocks.

What was the bane of my week (“Seriously? 80s? What am I going to wear?” Etc.) became a delightfully fun event.

As I put on two inches of blue eye shadow, I screamed – with a little delight – “I look like my mother!”   When my hair creation was done, I was surprised to resemble my first-grade self.  A little girl who wanted a perm soooo badly that I believe I had three before I was 10.

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Third Consideration: The Christmas Letter

Sarah Ban Breathnach writes, “There is a woman still at large – charmed and dangerous. She waves her clever hand over a room and it looks like a page from House Beautiful. She waves her creative hand over the fruits of the earth and a feast appears nightly. Her thumb is green, her herb vinegar is curing, her potpourri recipe is sought, her PTA cupcakes are from scratch, her Halloween costumes are legendary, she still wears size 8. Her celebrity lawyer husband adores her, her five summa cum children think she’s laude. She finished her holiday shopping, wrapping, and sending in November. Now she’s turning her attention to making her own New Year’s Eve confetti out of naturally colored eggshells. I know this because I’ve just received her annual Christmas letter. Be forewarned. It’s speeding its way to your house.”

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Second Consideration: Quality Gifts

As my friend Laura and I walked around HomeGoods this weekend, we became keenly aware that this holiday season does a funny thing to people.  There is emotion and money poured into gift-giving, but for the good of what?  It was fascinating listening to conversations of another trying to justify (and accomplishing it) the need for two giant coffee carafes, one for her daughter and the other for her child granddaughter because one likes coffee and the other hot chocolate.  So now they can have 12 cups of it?

It just seems ironic  - this need we have to fill a void.  However, I love giving gifts, and let's be honest, receiving them too.  My husband recently surprised me with a last minute trip to San Diego and I was delighted and extremely grateful.

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First Consideration: Consider the Darkness

During this advent season, I will be writing about 12 considerations to ponder this Christmas.  Here is the first one, stay tuned for more to come. 

 The holiday season literally and voraciously swept in to Southern California this past week. It was announced with gale force, hurricane-esq winds up to 80 mph on Wednesday night in the valley where we live.

As we heard part of our deck lattice crack and fly off piece by piece, we watched flashes of green every five seconds light up our bedroom as we wondered if there was a wizarding war erupting or realistically if anyone in Monrovia would have power by the morning.

Turns out these transformers exploding took our power and over a quarter of a million others' lights as well. I had wanted to start this series on the first, but in classic recovering perfectionist style, with no power or internet the last couple days, I was forced to reconsider my plan in the in-between.

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Just sit you silly

“I can see it, it’s just that my feet feel like lead.”

“Are you tired?”

I am on the phone with my spiritual director.  We are working with a vision where I’m trying to get up a hill – to a house – a house where I feel so safe and like there is no other place I belong but there.  However, I can’t get there.

Am I tired?

I look at all I need to accomplish in the next six months and I feel a tad bit overwhelmed, but I am not tired… yet.

I see my younger self up the hill beckoning me to come to her.  She is full of energy and charisma.  Her hands are waving wildly as she doesn’t understand what is taking me so long to get up the dang hill.

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Repairing Divides

Knowing versus experiencing. One of the greatest debates stemming from centuries ago. Head vs. heart - intellect vs. senses - abstract vs. concrete.

Yesterday in class we went back and forth between the two sides adding our own commentary to the legendary banter.

The topic was Greek vs. Hebrew modes of learning and how that translates into leadership. We noticed society's bent towards the head, the intellect, the abstract.  Especially in leadership and education.  Furthermore, we dove into not just leading others, but how this relates to leading ourselves too.

We dialogued about creating understanding, personal initiation, and reaching out in order to build a bridge between the head and the heart.  Additionally, how important these ideas are in interacting with those with different preferences. We also discussed how much time this takes too.

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