For Janky Cars, Flight Attendants, & The Red Tent - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 42

For Janky Cars, Flight Attendants, & The Red Tent - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 42

This week I am grateful…

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For good conversations with both of my parents this week.

I thank God for the very different folks who raised me. I am grateful for the chance to hear these people as the individuals that they are, to release expectations and receive, instead, the authenticity of their stories.

It is a wonder to realize that one’s parents are not and cannot be the salve and savor of life. They get to be people, then, instead of demi-gods. And people are marvelous, dynamic creatures. Fun to get to know.

Parental love comes to mean something new when it is not taken for granted, or when it is not taken as an elixir for the holes in your heart.

It becomes a gift.

I am thankful to be growing older in the full-spectrum light of my parents.

For Genograms, Leftovers, and Leslie Knope - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 41

For Genograms, Leftovers, and Leslie Knope - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 41

This week I am grateful...

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For genograms.

This past weekend I had a Family Systems class at WakeDiv (yep, I spent about 15 hours in a classroom over Friday and Saturday—at midterm; let’s not talk about that part). We talked about many things, but the most meaningful aspect of the weekend was the genogram exercise. A genogram is a glorified family tree, really; it is a tool by which one attempts to illustrate family dynamics. It is a way to chart out—as far as one understands from one’s position in the system/family—how different relationships function. The insight available through this exercise is invaluable. It is a practice in objectivity, which, surprisingly and blessedly, often leads to a deeper capacity for compassion.

Clarity about the way one views one’s family and place in it opens the door for honest curiosity, too. I find that every time I draw a genogram I walk away with questions to help me get to know these incredibly different people with whom I am related.

Family suddenly becomes not a web of group-think, but a network of persons who form layers of meaning that shape and inform one another (with different degrees of awareness). I, then, abruptly find that my own personhood has choice and autonomy in that meaning-making process. Instead of being taken for a ride, I find that I have a part to play.

I am thankful for practices that open me to relational understanding. I am thankful today especially for the genogram because it has challenged me to grow in empowering self-awareness and curiosity-inspiring compassion.

For midterms (really), vulnerability, and easy recycling - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 40

For midterms (really), vulnerability, and easy recycling - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 40

This week I am grateful…

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For all this work.

It is that time of the semester: midterm! I have assignments due, papers progressing, a weekend class, and one monster of an exam coming up. It is just that time—and it truly makes me glad. Seeing all of these assignments and responsibilities met means I am that much closer to my goal of graduation, integration, and going home!

Lift a prayer for students, if you would. This is when stuff starts getting real.

On going home, good theater, & Michaelmas! - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 29

On going home, good theater, & Michaelmas! - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 29

Happy feast of St. Michael and All Angels!

Today’s a day especially set aside to remember how messengers of God come into our midst—slaying the monsters of our nightmares and the dragons of doom upon the earth.

It is a great day to recall Gabriel’s visit to Mary, the mysterious Three’s visit to Abraham and Sarah, or even the heavenly showdown in Revelation between the Woman Clothed with the Sun and St. Michael against the Seven-Headed Dragon of Revelation 12 (you have GOT to read that tale if you’ve never)!

It is a wild holy day, y’all, and it is the first major liturgical holiday Aaron and I celebrated outside Christmas and Easter.

The first year we had paper crowns, fiery chili, and a fierce dragon piñata.

Last year we added homemade blackberry pies!

And tonight my dear friends are planning to welcome a small host for brats, pumpkin beer, and, I am sure, a bit of storytelling—for Michaelmas is good for that.

I am thankful for this weird holiday and the way it stirs me toward mystery. I find myself remembering and recognizing the angelic messengers in my life, those people that bear good news at just the right moment.

I hope you have yourself some fun today, slaying dragons, telling stories, and looking for ways to move on mission with God’s message of peace and good will to all—

For Saints, Sabbath, and the First Day of Fall - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 38

For Saints, Sabbath, and the First Day of Fall - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 38

This week I am grateful...

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For sister Hildegard.

It was the feast of Hildegard von Bingen this past Sunday. I did not even know until Monday and so enjoyed remembering her then. I stumbled upon an exhibit the Brooklyn Museum has on the German mystic, and a few quotes, too.

I have GOT to learn more about our girl Hilde.