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RISE – Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday

sjt-2017-graphicIt’s the day for our Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday link-up. Today we focus on Leigh Anne’s one-little-word for 2017—RISE.

What Could RISE mean in my day-to-day life, I asked myself as I considered what to write. I quickly realized RISE is a very versatile word with lots of meanings and ways I regularly encourage myself to rise, from physically getting up in the morning, to rising emotionally and mentally for social occasions, to meditating on spiritual beliefs that recall and anticipate resurrection.

I put some of the ways one can RISE (or try to) into the poem below. It includes activities I take part in during a typical week.

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Image: Pixabay

RISE

A Monday word—RISE!
Throw off weekend’s quilt.
Duty calls. To work!

A Tuesday word, RISE
early to pray into God’s
possibilities.

RISE—a Wednesday word
absorb, learn, grow, reach out, love
sisters of my heart.

RISE—a Thursday word
of writing, posting, caring
in community.

On Friday RISE
with dust rag, mop, water can.
Homes need love too.

On Saturday RISE
bread, soufflé, muffins, scones
to nurture and feed.

RISE—a Sunday word
of resurrection, hope, a
future past the grave.

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Now I’m eager to see what others have written about “Rise.” Please join me in visiting the link-up at Leigh Anne’s blog: Turn.

 
 

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Sounds

By now you’ve probably switched calendars, thought about—maybe even listed—a few resolutions and goals for the year, and caught yourself writing 2016 instead of 2017 a time or two. Plus, you may have chosen your one-word for 2017.

The custom of choosing a word for the year has been around for a while. I’m not sure whose idea it was to begin with but memory and scrapbooking enthusiast Ali Edwards has been choosing a yearly word since 2006 and has even developed a One Little Word business, offering prompts and scrapbooking products to members. I like her definition of “one word”:

“… a word to focus on, to live with, to investigate, to write about, to craft with, and to reflect upon…”

My word for 2017 came to me in the early hours of December 18. I had just written a blog post about my 2016 word (“mindfulness”) and choosing a word for 2017 was on my mind as I snuggled under the covers for a few more winks.

Also around that time I had been noticing that many of the big-name bloggers and productivity specialists I sometimes read were trying to convince me that I needed to be more focused to accomplish more and thus make more money in 2017. To do that I would want to sign up for their webinars and courses, but hurry because the special price would go away soon. I felt so bombarded by voices, it was becoming hard to hear the voice I really wanted to hear. How could I listen above the noise?

That word LISTEN sparked a frisson of recognition in me. You could say that morning it woke me up. LISTEN would be my one-word for 2017!

Because I always choose a scripture to go along with my word, I knew just what that would be too—Jesus’ words from John 10:

“To him (the Good Shepherd) the doorkeeper opens and the sheep hear his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him for they know his voice” – John 10:3,4 (emphasis added).

I want 2017 to be a year of listening for, recognizing, and hearing to the extent of obeying the voice of my Shepherd above all other voices.

During 2017 I’ll explore many other facets of the word as well, such as listening to nature, to people, and to all the ways one hears and listens metaphorically—by reading, tuning in to my intuition, visually observing and hearing the unspoken communication of those around me—that sort of thing.

I’m planning to try some activities this year related to my word. You may want to join me:

  1. Find and collect quotes with 2017’s one-word in them.
  2. Find, collect, and memorize Bible verses that relate to my word.
  3. Make a playlist with songs that relate to my word.
  4. Look for and watch TED Talks about my word.
  5. Journal / blog about my word.
  6. Collect objects with my word on them to display around the house.
  7. Make a collage or other art project relating to my word.
  8. Write a creed or manifesto as an ideal for how attending to my word will affect my behavior.

And now to prove that hearing and listening have been on my mind for a long time, here’s a poem from my files. It’s one I wrote in 1980 when I was taking a summer writing course.  (In it you’ll hear sounds that you probably haven’t since that era of wooden clogs that we wore for a while).

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A Western Meadowlark–a frequent sight on the Canadian prairies but rarely seen here on Canada’s southwest coast. I photographed this one one January morning at Blackie Spit, Surrey, B.C.

Sounds

A foghorn groaning his pain in the bay,
Liquid notes of the lark on a new spring day
The gleeful ring of the telephone
Cutting the still of an evening alone
The tock, tock, Tock, TOCK, TOCK, Tock, tock, tock of feet
In wooden clogs on the concrete street
The fiendish howl of the winter wind
When I’m warm inside, and so is my friend
The raucous cawing of crows in spring
And the gentle plop, plop of the snow, melting
The hiccupy laugh of Brita at play
When she catches her ball, then flings it away
Crystal chimes in December, buzzing crickets in June
The shrill school bell—so welcome at noon…
Sounds there are without measure to feed our ears
To sharpen our pleasure and soothe our fears
To add to the riches of all our years
Wealthy the one who truly hears.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

Do you choose a word for the year? Does your word choice have a story behind it? What ideas for activities could you add to the list above? I’d love to read your responses. Leave them in the comments, below.

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This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday, the first Thursday of each month. Today it’s hosted by Carol Varsalona at her blog Beyond LiteracyLink.

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Fine Dining

I love the one-little-word SIMPLIFY, Linda Kulp‘s word that we are exploring this week. (I think I will chose it one of these years.)

I love a clean counter top in my kitchen, my desk cleaned off at the end of the day, Friday afternoons when all my house surfaces gleam after dusting.

I love the idea of an uncomplicated, straightforward life where little is enough (except for books—and I need to have another go at simplifying my closet).  I once had a poster picturing an old-fashioned wooden bucket with the words “Very little is needed to have a happy life.” I had it up so long it faded to monochrome.

I bought a framed print to take its place. In our old house it hung on the wall beside our kitchen table. In the house we live in now it’s on one of our stairway walls—still reminding me to keep it simple.

A couple of Bible verses that ground me in simplicity are:

“And what does the Lord require of You? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” – Micah 6:8.

and

“And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content” – 1 Timothy 6:8.

That is the ideal. Sad to say, I don’t always live it. But I know I am happier when I don’t feel the hot breath of wanting more and having more on my neck.

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My “Simple Life” print – Photo © 2016 by V. Nesdoly

Fine Dining

This is not about fashionably late
with candlelight shimmering in glasses of Pinot Gris
snowy napkins, pewter flatware
and stacks of food on square plates
over smudges of condiment reduction,

but about two Corelle bowls
heaped with spinach salad at five
green beans steaming in brown Corningware
mushroom chicken bubbling in a Pyrex casserole
a stainless steel pot of fragrant rice.
a tub of margarine, pocked as pumice
and three bottles: Balsamic, Raspberry, Ranch
all on wood trivets to protect the old tablecloth.

Now that it’s light
we watch people stroll babies and dogs
on the path below our townhouse window.
It’s not the view we would get
at Pelagos on the Beach

but the sum of it is certainly
dining at its finest.

© 2011 by Violet Nesdoly

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Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday, hosted each week by Holly Mueller at her blog Reading, Teaching, Learning.

 

 
 

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On the Threshold

I seem to have impatience in my DNA. WAITHolly Mueller‘s one-little-word for 2016—would probably be a good choice of a word for me one of these years.

In the spiritual realm we’ve been told quite plainly to wait for God—to reveal the next step, to act on our behalf, to bring about His desired result, to reveal His goodness, etc.:

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD” – Psalm 27:14 NIV.

“Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him…” – Psalm 37:7 NKJV.

I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope” – Psalm 130:5 NIV.

“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him…” – Lamentations 3:25 NKJV.

We’ve also been told that God’s concept of time is not ours—as Moses reminds us in his psalm:

“For a thousand years in Your sight / Are like yesterday when it is past” (Psalm 90:4)

and Peter in his letter:

“But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8).

For us it’s hard to comprehend those 1000-year days!

We’re not the only ones to chafe at the need to wait. Old Testament characters Abraham and Sarah, for example, when promised a nation from their offspring (non-existent at the time: Sarah was barren) and after years of waiting, despaired of the promise ever coming true. They decided to substitute their own plan and Ishmael, son of Abraham and Sarah’s maid Hagar, was the result. What a lot of heartache that produced!

Personally, no matter how much I know the value of waiting for God’s timing, it’s something that continues to be a challenge for me live. I wrote about the subject of waiting a few weeks ago in response to a booklet I’m working through (“Illuminating the Threshold,” Jan Richardson’s 2015 Woman’s Christmas Retreat). I suppose you could call it me giving some advice to myself about waiting.

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The Waiting Room   (Image by gerait / pixabay.com)

On the Threshold

I enter the house
automatically step up
over the threshold

You invite me in
as a polite host should
offer water, tea

Life’s transitions not
so accommodating, I’m
left on the threshold

Or in the foyer
anteroom-sitting, waiting
indeterminate

Time to prepare
but for what, whom, when?—Relax
doors will open soon

It will come to pass
when time has reached its fullness
don’t twist the locked knob

Live the interlude
overture between movements
be fully here, now

Don’t chafe inaction
uncertainty of between
chat with others here

They may be angels
prologue emissaries sent
for your next chapter

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday, hosted by Holly Mueller at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

Scripture quotations marked NKJVV are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

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Mindfulness

UPDATE:

I am totally blown away! Poetry Friday friend and children’s author extraordinaire Tabatha Yeatts has been doing poem / song matchups. Today she matched “Mindfulness,” below with some absolutely gorgeous music!

Have a listen as you read … and then pop up here again to enjoy the beautiful scenes that accompany this plainsong chant.

She’s also paired more poems and songs… so much poetic goodness HERE!

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Today the Spiritual Journey Thursday word is MINDFULNESS. It is my one little word.

When I was thinking about choosing a word for this year, the picture of our greet-each-other time in church on Sundays came to mind. People have different ways of handling this brief but regular part of our Sunday morning gathering.

I like it when the person I’m greeting or who’s greeting me looks at me and, even for a second or two, gives me their full attention. Too often that’s not the way it happens though. Too often the eyes of the person I’m greeting are looking away to the next person—or wherever.  I’m afraid that I’m sometimes that inattentive greeter too. The word “mindfulness” came to mind as the opposite of the inattention I dislike in others but especially in myself.

Mindfulness, simply defined, is “being present in the moment.” It also has a psychology definition:

“Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience” – Definition from Psychology Today.

Personally I like that second definition except for the bit about not judging. I reserve the right to judge and filter out thoughts that are critical, negative, pessimistic, hateful, etc.

Along with choosing my word for the year, I chose a Bible verse to supplement it. My year’s verse for 2016 is Isaiah 26:3. I’m memorizing it in the Amplified version. (I’ve substituted the pronoun “her” for “him”):

“You will guard her and keep her in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because she commits herself to You, leans on You and hopes confidently in You.” Isaiah 26:3 AMP

The poem below elaborates mindfulness a bit more and how I’m focusing on it this year.

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Image: Unsplash / pixabay.com

MINDFULNESS

I have brightened the walls
and enhanced the lighting
in the rooms of my mind
in order to see clearly
the thoughts that come and go.

I have put up surveillance cameras
in each room and at the door.
At the end of the day
I replay the scenes
to better understand the role
of my thoughts in the day’s happenings.

When doubt, fear, criticism, self-pity
pride and their negative relatives
manage to slip in (and they do)
I freshen the atmosphere
with balms of faith, hope, and love.
They cannot stand the fragrance
and quickly leave.

I am working on using
my single-purpose cubicles
(where no media is allowed)
for reading, listening, praying.

I welcome spies
from the land of dreams
and the outposts of intuition
inspiration and second-thought,
for they bring important insights
to my battle against inattention.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

Now I’m so looking forward to reading what other Thursday journeyers will say about “mindfulness”!

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Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday hosted each week by Holly Mueller at her blog Reading, Teaching, Learning.

 

 

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Delight

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Image: Kerckx /pixabay.com

A week ago, waiting in the doctor’s office, I spent some of the time people-watching. A mother and her 18-month-old caught my eye. The little guy, still in his foot PJs, was full of sauce (he was obviously not the sick one). He kept wriggling from Mom’s lap and wandering off into the nursing station and down the corridor that the nurse used to fetch the patients. The busy nurse gave Mom more than one sharp look as she jumped up to recapture toddler at least a dozen times. But never did that mother lose patience.

At one point the little gaffer toddled across the waiting room (in the opposite direction from the corridor) and I had a full view of Mom’s face. The look on it as she followed the movements of her little man was pure delight. Us onlookers may have felt other emotions as we watched her youngster, so determined to explore his world. But in her eyes he was all cuteness, precociousness, and wonder.

I love Irene Latham‘s word “delight” as a one-little-word choice. It speaks to me of looking for and finding the kind of joy, pleasure, and enchantment in the things around me that that mom saw in her little boy. She could have reacted to his continuous wanderings with annoyance. But instead she reacted with delight. I imagine she saw in her little boy’s actions not an inconvenience to herself but signs of growth, a healthy curiosity, and developing self-confidence. And of course he was hers and she loved him.

There is so much to see that is delightful around us in people, in nature, and in circumstances if we would but open our eyes and choose to view things that way.

Spiritually, I believe God looks down at us, His creatures, with a lot more delight than we realize. A verse I love in this regard is Zephaniah 3:17. It even has motherly overtones:

The Lord your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love
he will rejoice over you with singing.” (NIV)

Let’s revel in His delight today.

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Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday, hosted by Holly Mueller at her blog Reading, Teaching, Learning.

 

 

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Intent (do not spare)

... sing with gusto (Photo © 2012 by V. Nesdoly)

“… sing with gusto”  (Photo © 2012 by V. Nesdoly)

do not spare

– After Isaiah 54:2

rise with optimism
shower with sweet-scented soap
dress in fine denim
eat with appetite
drink from a large mug

serve with a smile
teach with imagination
parent with compassion
heal with mercy and gentle hands
buy with foresight
sell with honesty
drive with caution

sing with gusto
play with a light heart
laugh heartily
relax without guilt

befriend with loyalty
face injustice with courage
cruelty with kindness
poverty with generosity
a stranger with hospitality

pray with faith
love with passion
worship always

sleep in peace

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Intent, Leigh Anne Eck’s one-little-word choice for 2016, is another of those words with several meanings. As a noun it means something that is intended—a purpose or design. It can also be an adjective that describes what is firm, steadfast, having attention, sharply focused, determined, a resolve, earnest (and a slew of other synonyms).

I have binders of poems, many of which have never seen the light of day. The one I’m posting today was written back in 2008, but it expresses what living with intention means for me. It came out of thinking about Isaiah 54:2 — a verse I love for its challenge to grow, risk, and think big.

“Enlarge the place of your tent,
And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings;
Do not spare;
Lengthen your cords,
And strengthen your stakes.”

– Isaiah 54:2.

Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

Join us this week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday, hosted by Holly Mueller at  Reading, Teaching, Learning.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2016 in Religious, Spiritual Journey Thursday

 

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