Wednesday, December 31, 2008

reaching for solitude...

garbage trucks rumbling. therapy fan humming. utensils clinking. sigor ros strumming. where is the quiet? starting the day at a run. restless nights. Tylenol p.m. offering me sleep and then carrying me into mid-morning. phone ringing. husband puttering. cleaning people coming. I need to go. bath running. meeting waiting. candle burning. solitude calling.

this is not how I want to begin a day…or end a year. but this is what I have. this moment right now. music climaxing. gentle now. God is here. here with me in my little corner. my old blue chair. breathe. you can have this moment. carry it into the day. be still and know that I am God. ahhh. awe. beautiful. blessed.

it only takes a moment to breathe. to be quiet. to be still. my bath beckons. my friend awaits. 2009 here soon.

photo by lucy 12.18.08

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Four Calling Birds




There is much bubbling and brewing going on here at “Diamonds”. It has been (and continues to be) a glorious Christmas season. The blanket of snow that covered our city the week leading up to Christmas Day proved to be a beautiful and wonderful gift to me. It allowed for much slowing down and a peacefulness to settle over my soul.

I say it ‘continues to be’ a glorious season, because even though the snow has melted, I am allowing the quiet to continue to envelop me as I luxuriate in the blessings of God with Us which has readings through January 6 or Epiphany. Not coming from a tradition that celebrates The Twelve Days of Christmas, this is a new experience for me to not sit down on December 26, collapse with exhaustion and say, “Phew! I am so glad Christmas is over!!!” I still feel in the thick of it, so to speak, and have truly relished the whole season while keeping it incredibly simple.

Today, this Fourth day of Christmas, my mind goes to the traditional song and I think of the four calling birds that were gifted on this day. (Is the song running through your head now?) During my quiet time today, I began to synthesize some of the bubblings of the last days, weeks and months in anticipation of what I see ahead in the New Year. The “calling birds” seem to be speaking somewhere along these lines:

1) Making my own way
2) Taking my professional expertise to the next level
3) Working on relationships
4) Sharing my voice (more) with the world.

As far as I can tell, “making my own way” means developing my own unique practices out of the gifts I have been gathering along the way. And in that regard, dear readers, I call upon you for input ☺. I would love to know what keeps you coming back here to read. What are the gifts that you receive or notice here? (I hope there are some ☺!!!) I, naturally, have a few ideas, but your help in my discernment would mean a great deal to me!

It is my strong sense that the topic of these calling birds will continue throughout the coming weeks. I hope you will join me in sharing the adventure. I sign off today with these two questions: What keeps you coming back to visit here? What are the “birds” that may be calling to you as we enter a new year?

Peace and blessings on this 4th day of Christmas!!!

p.s. You can visit the three french hens here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

the "irrational season"


This is the irrational season
when love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason
there’d have been no room for the child.

--Madeleine L'engle
(found at Abbey of the Arts)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

musings on a winter day

Winter
Snowy Brilliance

Cocooning. Holding. Birthing.

Bringing me new life.

Solstice


It is like a white cloak of peace and contentment have settled over my neighborhood. The snow continues and I am at rest snuggled warmly inside my cozy house. Looking out the window at the snow covered branches, I think of the new birth that awaits within - the bud of spring wrapped cozily inside the thick branches. How does the new life form within? I ask the same of myself. My advent reading this morning offered this: "As with pregnancy, so with our spiritual lives: the thing anticipated is already forming within us". It must be the same for the new leaves that patiently await bursting forth in spring.

I wonder about birth - about resurrection - the pointing toward Christ and new life. What of the centuries of civilizations and ancient myths that are wrapped around life - death - rebirth? What of the winter of our souls? Wrapped in darkness and often cold? How many will not make it to spring? The branches that will break off in the storm never to sprout fresh again?

I think of my life - my fading beauty. I am past the spring & yes even the summer of my life. How can that be? Where did the time go? I am encouraged, however, as I think of myself as Fall now - ablaze in color of golden and crimson leaves - set apart from mundane shades of green. There is beauty everywhere. My favorite season has always been summer yet even my favorite has its downside. Summer can be so harsh and the hot sun burns the colors to a crisp.

Today, however, I sit wrapped in winter. It is dark and white and I am loving it. The lighting of candles. The warmth of handmade quilts snuggled around me. The chill of my nose and the pink of my cheeks - frosted not burned. Today I think of Mary, mother of Jesus, saying yes to God. I am reminded of my own moments of God-radiance when I have said yes - overpowered by the brilliance of God - like the winter landscape wrapped in white splendor. My heart longs for that brilliance and new birth AND my heart is content. Today I am grateful to be alive with awareness of each moment - each season of life.

What is the season of your life? Do peace and contentment envelop you as Christmas steadily approaches? Or are you harried and worn out waiting for the season to come to an end?

I wish you peace & contentment and your own special warmth!

photos taken this morning & the snow continues! for more "december views", check out lucy creates!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

more birthing going on...

Sometimes "once" is enough to get my attention and other times I have no idea how often something must be put in front of me before I notice. This time I think it was two times...maybe three. Yesterday, I read Abbey of the Arts reflection on the darkness with this poem by David Whyte. I recalled that I had seen the poem before and found that I actually had used it to write my own version. (Original post is here.)

Commenting at the Abbey, I enjoyed that little piece of serendipity. And then this morning "#2" (or is it 3?) appeared while I was visiting Zena Moon where she has another lovely poem by David Whyte posted. Hmmmm. I then noticed something in her side bar called "Women at Rest", clicked on it and voila, there was "Sweet Darkness" yet again.

So, as I sit this morning pondering not necessarily the darkness, but rather the sweet white snow falling outside my window, I offer you my words on Sweet Darkness. I am still pondering why...however, I don't really need to know the why of it, do I? Enjoy!

In Praise of Sweet Darkness

The dank, moist smell of a cave.
The skin of a snake molting away.
The rich loam of life.
Time to go into the dark where the night has eyes to recognize its own.

A mother’s womb.
One mustard seed of hope.
The blood of crucifixion.
There you can be sure you are not beyond love…

Holding & sustaining.
Nurturing & growing.
Rising from the dead.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn

Birth moving into new life.
The oak rising from an acorn.
Darkness giving way to light.
Anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.

photo by lucy 12.18.08

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Goddess

The December Reflection by Marlene Marburg

Goddess poem

Go inside the poem
Feel the warmth, the
roomy safety. Feel her
boundaries yield, stretch
to accommodate your flips
and turns, your struggle to
find the comfy space, the
just-right holding. Listen to
sounds familiar and muffled,
and rounded lullaby rhythms
growing inside you, nurturing
your voice, your claim to be
heard, to be silent. Go inside
the poem. Feel your body
move with fear and love,
retrieving the slippery
traces in the poem
you know, the
poem we all
know.

found @ "Membership Moments" Spiritual Directors International

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

birthing God

One might think my Advent practice has slipped away due to the lack of exposure given here. Au contraire. The practice is deep, wide, broad and growing. My belly, mind and heart swelling with insight and growth. I ponder how to convey the multitude of ways God is working on me. Layers and layers.

“We are bringing God to birth, bringing love to earth.” (written by Betsy Beckman). These words awakened me yesterday morning (actually it was still pre-dawn). Images of God running through my head. The pregnant belly on my Soul Collage card that I created on Saturday around the theme of nurturing the Christ within. This image spoke to me as the child/God kissing my belly in gratitude. Thanking me for “bringing God to birth.”

Sunday night another word from my Advent reading. Luci Shaw writes, “we, too, are pregnant with Christ…day by day we are being enlarged.” Somehow the words 'already and not yet' enter my mind. How do we wait patiently without wasting the time we are given? Missing the present while living in the future? How will I choose to live in the present while waiting for Christ to come? Why do I wait for someone who is already here? There is that beautiful paradox of God: light in darkness, presence in absence, fulfillment in the midst of longing.

The word “present” triggers my lackadaisical response to enter into the commercial experience of Christmas and the frenzy over present buying and receiving. I know others, too, struggle with how to honor this season. We want it to be magical and for some reason it can produce resentment and/or a sense that something is “wrong” if we cannot respond as the world around us expects.

My desire is to focus on the real meaning of Christmas, but I don’t even know what that is. Birthing Christ? Waiting? Celebration & Joy? Christmas tree & decorations? The crazy thing is that I feel quite content and settled in most respects. I am loving my time and focus this season. I have still produced no twinkling lights or Christmas tree or even Poinsettia. I have lit many, many candles and listened to beautiful classical music. I have danced in the snow and driven down Candy Cane lane. I have spent cherished time with friends. I have warmed my home with soup on the stove. I have nurtured God within. Hmmmm…maybe I know more about this holiday season than I suspected ☺.

So, I would love to hear from you. Your words and thoughts are always an inspiration and delight to me. Blessings and peace.

P.S. I’m on my way to have lunch now with my beautiful son who I physically birthed into this world ☺.

collage by lucy 12.13.08

Monday, December 15, 2008

Now you see it...

I am very pleased to announce that Grace Unbound arrived last Friday. The good news is that it is really beautiful and everyone that has seen it wants more copies than they originally indicated. The bad news (for those who haven't already reserved a copy) is that I am sold out of the 100 copies ordered. Who would have thought!?!?!?

I will be placing another order this week although I am certain it will not be available for shipping before Christmas. I am, however, offering a lovely gift card saying a copy has been reserved in case you would still like to add it to your last minute shopping list. While Grace Unbound is a wonderful Christmas gift, its reflections and photos will be a delightful way to enter into the new year!

For those of you who supported this first round...THANK YOU!!! For the rest of you, I look forward to hearing from you soon! Peace to you and yours!!!

Books are $22 (which includes regular shipping). You may leave a comment here or contact me @ lucystdiamond@gmail.com to reserve your copies today.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

what's your number?

Found this at Barbara's place...it kind of seems to fit. You'll have to let me know how much knowledge and wisdom I bring into lives...hmmm...and I really do try to stay away from giving unsolicited advice! I found hope in the movement toward my "skill set" and longing as I see the 'soul of an artist.' I would love to know what your spiritual number is!

Found this at Barbara's place...it kind of seems to fit.

Your spiritual number is Seven



You bring knowledge and wisdom into people's lives.
You are an expert in many fields, and you give excellent advice.

Right now, your life is about perfecting your skill set.

You are almost a virtuoso at the thing you love best. With some practice, you'll get there.

You are highly intelligent and intellectual. You have profound analytical skills.

But you also have the soul of an artist. You long to create.


it's st. lucy's day!!!

Today is the feast day of Saint Lucia. "In Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Norway and Finland, Lucy (called Lucia) is venerated on December 13 in a ceremony where an elected girl, portraying Lucia, walks, with a crown of candles, ahead of a procession of other women holding a candle each. The candles symbolize the fire that refused to take St. Lucia's life when she was sentenced to be burned."

Today is a great day to read The Tale of Lucy. The "Lucy's" in my life represent metaphor and grace beyond explanation!

Today is a very special day for me and I plan to write more about it later. In the meantime, I hope that you will celebrate the light that lucy brings into the darkness.

Friday, December 12, 2008

how do you define busy?

Since the contemplative retreat, the hours of the day have taken on a new feeling for me. I haven’t quite pinned it down, and don’t imagine that I will anytime soon. However, I am more conscious of the rhythms of the day and I find myself wondering how much I let them control me and how much I try to control them. One of my questions for the day was: “are you a chameleon--bending to my whim & demand?” My sense has been that day is chaotic, busy and it travels by too quickly. Is that true or is it my attitude…my whim? Day seems to be the point in time where I have been called to be most productive…at least in the world’s sense of the term.

I recently had a discussion with a friend regarding the word “busy”. We both have a strong reaction to it. I find myself really bucking up against it particularly during this holiday season. Everyone thinks you must be so busy. What in the world does that even mean? My hope and goal is to redefine what ‘busy’ means – at least for me. I am not sure if anyone else would care to join me, but what if instead of rushing from the next appointment or worrying about shopping for the perfect gift or doing any number of things that totally stress you out, busy looked something like this:
  • Sleeping a little later than usual and tending to your dreams. Feeling your body gently awaken in bed and noticing the stretch of your limbs and spine as they awaken.
  • Choosing to stay home in the evening and have soup and salad with your loved ones rather than rushing out the door for the next Christmas concert. Being busy with conversation and laughter rather than herding around with crowds.
  • Pausing in the middle of the day to read a novel and take a nap. Busying yourself with restorative yoga and moments with God.
  • Instead of giving into the huge to do list by your side, opting for a few moments of silence and an Advent reading at noon, because you slept a little later in the morning. ☺

What if busy looked like intentional movement and choice throughout the day? If we controlled busy rather than letting busy control us? What if we actually enjoyed this holiday season and took some time to wait as the Advent tradition suggests? What if busy looked like smiling at our neighbor, intently listening to the words of a holiday carol or simply watching the lights twinkle on the Christmas tree (perhaps a tree that someone else bought & decorated)? How might you change if you redefined busy? How might the world feel different?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Grace Unbound Update

I received this note from my printer this morning. AaAARGHhghghhhhhhh!!!

"We are sorry that it has taken longer than expected to process your order, but
your book experienced a small production delay during its construction. We're
working on getting your order to you as soon as possible and expect your order
to ship within the next 1 to 2 business days."

If you would like to order a book and haven't contacted me yet, please do so now! For those of you who are anxiously awaiting your book(s), thanks for your patience!!

Grace Unbound: New Reflections on an Old Subject is a creative combination of words and image. Containing original works as well as some old favorites and over 50 stunning photos by amazing photographer, Bill Hughlett, this small 7 X 7 book will make a great gift for yourself or others. Grace Unbound contains thought provoking and reflective images like those you have come to love and appreciate here. It is simple and complex. It is easy to read and it will make you think. I hope you will decide to give and receive this gift of Grace.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

what's your favorite hour of the day?

Oh, Dawn...how do you feel when you are wrapped in fog? Is it cozy or are you bursting inside-- wanting the air to receive your brilliant light? Do you have trouble awakening? Must you set an alarm or does the end of night push you out of bed? Do you smile when you awaken? Do you have gray days like me? Do you know beforehand what kind of day you will be?

My friend, Day, do you prefer the rain or sun? How about the wind & snow? Is your favorite the brilliance of the light? Do you have a favorite mood--one that fits you best? Or are you a chameleon--bending to my whim & demand?




Dusk. You wax & wane. Sometimes your time comes quickly and others it lingers. What do you think of that? Do you have a favorite color? Why some days do you offer your brilliance and other days hold back? Do you feel caught between the dark & light? Or do you rest in the blend of both?





Dark. Do you feel judged? Misunderstood? Are you sneaky? Are you comfort? And, what do you think of our friend, the moon? Do you feel lonely when the sky is empty or are you happy for some time to yourself? Are you the evil warrior that some speak of or are you the warm blanket of safety and rest? Do you crave the light or can you rest in your own shadows? Are you lonely? Are you satisfied? Do you call out for the light of day to greet you? Do you play in those early morning hours? Do you sleep when Dawn appears or do you linger in the shadows of the day?


This is a piece of free-writing (i.e. unedited) done during retreat last week. I would love to hear what questions you have of the day!

all photos by lucy @ hood canal, union, wa 12.08

Monday, December 08, 2008

illumination


She did not cry, "I cannot,
I am not worthy,"
nor "I have not the strength."
She did not submit with gritted teeth, raging, coerced.
Bravest of all humans,
consent illumined her.
The room filled with its light, the lily glowed in it,
and the iridescent wings.

Consent,
courage unparalleled,
opened her utterly.

--Denise Levertov

There are multiple layers to this post--as always there are--and time for writing is in short supply this morning. I hope you will visit Abbey of the Arts where you will see an invitation to poetry as well as a brief and beautiful explanation of what this day represents (The Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the Enlightenment of Buddha.) In addition, she speaks of the amazing retreat of which I was a part. Words? Where can I begin?

Here is my own photo as well as the line from this poem that was highlighted in my journal from a few days ago. I believe it speaks volumes.

"Consent illumined her."

May you find this season of Advent filled with your own illumination and "yes" to the sacred in your life! Peace.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

advent retreat

Wow! This "37 day Advent season" is already rich beyond words and I am only three days into it. I have attempted several times to put into coherent words what has been happening over the last few days and alas I continue to end up somewhat speechless.

Some themes that continue to emerge are: light & darkness; vessels; brokenness; holding sorrow; woundedness & healing…God with us.

God’s love and guiding hand continue to amaze and surprise me beyond comprehension. One example is that several months ago I signed up for a Contemplative Retreat and it begins today. While I am certain that the retreat was planned with Advent in mind, it never occurred to me until the date came nearer.

And so, I am off for a few days to experience…who knows what? The program includes art-making, yoga, praying the hours and lots of ‘space’ in a beautiful setting. I am awed by God’s graciousness.

I will be leaving my computer at home and will return here Sunday at the earliest. In the meantime, I hope you will visit lucy creates where I have pre-dated a few images to continue “december views” in my absence.

Peace.

Forbid that we should stumble through this day oblivious to the wonder in the ordinary.”
collage by lucy 12.03.08

Monday, December 01, 2008

more purple...

...if the color fits, wear it?!?!??! more purple space here and here.


You Are Having a Violet Day



You are feeling especially connected to the world today.

You are looking to gain a new perspective on life - through deep reflection and introspection.

You are taking the time to appreciate everything the world has to offer, even if you end up spoiling yourself a little.

Today is the kind of day where you demand the best. You want to be as decadent as possible.

december offerings

lucy creates is participating in december views. check it out!

also, don't forget to order your copy of Grace Unbound!

Grace Unbound: New Reflections on an Old Subject is a creative combination of words and image. Containing original works as well as some old favorites and over 50 stunning photos by amazing photographer, Bill Hughlett, this small 7 X 7 book will make a great gift for yourself or others. Grace Unbound contains thought provoking and reflective images like those you have come to love and appreciate here. It is simple and complex. It is easy to read and it will make you think. I hope you will decide to give and receive this gift of Grace. More details here.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

welcoming advent - day 1

“Give us, we pray, the grace to surrender to being found.”
--Richard John Neuhaus

I have had a wild morning with God. I wish I had the gift that my friend, Tess, has of putting together lots of details into a formative description ☺. I shall, however, try because it feels too important and too crazy (or wild) to not record this. I have to tell you though that stuff like this happens to me all of the time. Does that sound arrogant? Does that sound like I am special? Oh wait, I have gotten ahead of myself, have I not?

So, as you can see by looking at my new bookshelf in the sidebar, I have quite a few books that I currently have open next to my bedside. I used to be a serial reader and could/would only read one book at a time, cover to cover and then, of course, count the pages and record my accomplishment. (Can you see the performance seeking perfectionist pop through there?) Anyway, I have ceased to use that method and now find myself in the midst of all sorts of knowledge (which I love), but the main problem becomes remembering where I read something!! This post as much as anything is an attempt to record the events of the last few hours and how they have come to be my Advent focus.

Last night I finished my first read of Patti Digh’s “life is a verb” and was left with this challenge:

“What, if you did it consistently for thirty-seven days (and perhaps beyond), would create positive vibes, intentional joy, good karma, fantastic direction, and deep expansiveness in your life?...Whatever it is, however small, do it. Decide on It, the Thing You Will Do. And then, do it.”

I also decided to jump ahead and read the first day of Advent readings from “God with Us.” Here is the primary thought that I underlined :

“The great question is not whether we have found God but whether we have found ourselves being found by God.”

This morning I awoke quite early (not really my personal decision ☺) and chose to quietly read another chapter in Christine Paintner’s, “Lectio Divina” and this is what greeted me:

“Awareness of God, at its deepest level, is not so much something we do as something we are.” --William Shannon
The chapter was on 'Contemplative Awakening and Awareness' and ultimately I found myself entering into centering prayer which "Lectio Divina" points out is “a method designed to facilitate the development of contemplative prayer by preparing our faculties to receive this gift…It is at the same time a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship.”

As this post is already becoming a bit long, I will simply say my 20 minutes of centering prayer were definitely in kairos (qualitative) time versus the clock watching of chronos. It was a special time of “being” rather than “doing.” It was a time where I “found myself found by God.”

And so, upon reflection I realized that all of these little hints had been working together to offer me my discipline of Advent (which I did not even know I was looking for ☺.) And here, it is: for the next 37 days I am choosing to give myself the gift of 20 minutes of centering prayer each day. Now, here is where things get really cool. Today is November 30. There are 31 days in December and The Feast of Epiphany (the final feast day of Christmas) is on January 6—roughly speaking 37 days!!! How awesome is that?!??!?

I look forward to sharing this continuing journey with you, but mainly I look forward to the ways that I know God will surprise me (or not…I am holding lightly to expectations) over this 37 day Advent season.

Oh, I have to share one last little piece: the music. Yesterday while reading People (I’m not a spiritual diva by any means ☺), the recommendation for Enya’s “And winter came” jumped out at me. While I have been writing, I downloaded it. I was not surprised to see that the first song is “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” Can’t wait to see what else is on there!!

There you have it – my Advent beginning. What will yours be? Will you allow yourself space to be found by God? What is the gift you will give to you? How will you surrender for the next 37 days?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

early morning musings

I write to live - anything less is death.

The human heart carries so much pain. It’s capacity for joy is unlimited. We shield ourselves from ourselves. We try to hide from god. Our pain runs deep like hidden riverbeds beneath rock surfaces. We become brittle until we break or explode or implode. Without meter or rhyme, we forge on never knowing if tears or laughter will burst forth. It is tenuous—this life. To embrace the moments. To feel the depth and agony of pain while soaking in a perfumed tub. To experience gales of belly laughs while playing a silly game. To fill my stomach full to bursting with too much wonderful food. To know the ache of my head from stress and a little excess wine.

The capacity of the body is immense. The capacity of the heart – infinite. Just when we think it will break, joy emerges from the ashes. How? Why? I do not know. It is grace. The grace of God. Learned. Given. Received. I do not understand this God. This life. I need to feel it. I need to share it. This depth. This groundedness that I do not understand. The both/and. Not either/or. I am not sad or happy. I am both. I am filled with delight AND terror & grief. Both/and. I don’t understand yet I know it to be true. I have been described as Full. Full of shit—maybe…sometimes. I am also full of Love. Delight. Laughter. And a capacity to not only endure, but also Live a life that others might shrink from or shut down & back away.

My capacity is immense. My pendulum swings far and wide. The depths sink beyond comprehension. The word from the Lord says, “Others would have given up long ago. I chose you for this life. You will dare to stay there. You will dare to risk life. You will give your life to live it.” I would not trade this life for any other. Nope, this one is mine. I might, however, trade a few moments ☺. My tapestry is rich. I do not understand it and I do not have to understand. When I come to this still place—I Know. Pure and simple.

Lead me into Advent, Lord. Let me celebrate the incarnation. It is life. New birth. It leads to death and resurrection. Let me celebrate all of it. It is the gospel. It is the cycle of life. Birth. Death. Resurrection. Over and over and over again. The capacity of the body is immense. The capacity of the heart – infinite.


Be sure to order your own copy of Grace Unbound. Check it out here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gratitude

Oh, I feel blessed and filled with gratitude this morning. The sun is brilliant today and there is frost on the roofs. My family will begin to gather today for the Thanksgiving feast of tomorrow. We will be joined by more family and friends. Ah, it is a good feeling. Soon I will go begin the pumpkin pies and my house will fill with the aroma of my childhood. I remember coming home from school on this day always to the smell of baking pies. A little taste of heaven.

There is much to do in preparation for the arrivals and I am hoping to get outside for a walk on this glorious day. I am also keenly aware that there are people who do not have enough food, will not share their day with anyone and may not even have a roof over their heads. My heart grieves AND I realize that if I surrender to my grief and become melancholy or paralyzed then I fail to acknowledge the moments for which I am so very grateful. It is a hard balance to follow. My hope is that I will be able to do both – grieve & remember AND celebrate with gratitude. I invite you to join me in both!

If you want to talk about this
come to visit. I live in the house
near the corner, which I have named
Gratitude.
--Mary Oliver
see full poem here

Don't forget to reserve your own copy of Grace Unbound. Check it out here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Announcing...

Grace Unbound: New Reflections on an Old Subject is a creative combination of words and image. Containing original works as well as some old favorites and over 50 stunning photos by amazing photographer, Bill Hughlett, this small 7 X 7 book will make a great gift for yourself or others. Grace Unbound contains thought provoking and reflective images like those you have come to love and appreciate here. It is simple and complex. It is easy to read and it will make you think. I hope you will decide to give and receive this gift of Grace.


As a dear friend recently stated upon entering an exciting and scary venture, “the deed is done.” The first printing of Grace Unbound has been ordered. Yippee!! So, for those of you who said you wanted a copy (or a few), it’s time for you to receive your special deal. If you indicated your interest prior to this order (there were about 14 of you), then your cost will be $18 per book (including shipping). Congratulations!

For those of you who are now ready to place your order for this amazing collection of meditative thoughts and images, the price is $20 (plus shipping). Discounts will be given for orders of more than three ☺.

If Grace Unbound is meant to be received for delivery before Christmas, orders need to be placed no later than Friday, December 5 for regular delivery.

To confirm your order or to place a new one, please send me an e-mail at lucystdiamond@gmail.com. Check, Money Order or Paypal will be accepted.

I can't wait to hear from you!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sabbath. Rest. Delight.

I do not know much about Sabbath. I am learning how to Rest, and Delight is finding more space in me and with others. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by people—a community even—who are willing to look at things in new ways and break out of molds that have held them for most of their lives.

This morning I awoke very early and spent some quiet time in prayer and contemplation. The Bible verse for the reading today was this: For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him. (Psalm 103:11)

I was taking it in and really feeling the expanse of God’s love until I reached the words “for those who fear him.” I ponder why those words must be there. Who made the translation? Is fear required to receive the expanse of love? I tried to convince myself that a little “healthy fear” is good for everyone, but my mind continues again and again to the damage done when we are hammered and shamed with a fear-based God. And, how the God of love never leaves us. While a fear-based God is not the topic of this post, I wanted to mention that because it seems relevant to the way I spent my evening last night—my Sabbath. It was an evening where the presence of an expansive, loving God was very, very present.

Eight of us were called together for Sabbath—to light the candles, share food and wine and enter into a time of delight. I can see the evening unfold in my mind, but something stops me from putting it onto paper. Somehow, in this case, words seem to limit the experience. I do, however, feel the great desire to mark this occasion for those times when I might not remember so vividly. The evening was a true blessing and will continue far longer than the flame of those Sabbath candles.

As I opened my computer this morning I was greeted with the sweet aroma of last night’s Sabbath once again. It seems most apt to share these words of our host that arrived in my inbox this morning.

"Just settled down to do some Meister Eckhart meditation and the first one that popped up as I randomly opened the book was this:

God's peace
prompts service among brothers and sisters.
In that way one creature

sustains another.

One enriches the other,

and that is why
all creatures are interdependent.

That is so evidently real tonight. I am grateful for you all and our mutual sustaining and enriching.

So that was the first meditation I read, and it is now the last. Want to soak it in."

Me, too. I want to soak it all in. My hope is to continue to learn and experience more of Sabbath, Rest and Delight. That hope is for me, for you, for the World! It is a hope as we consider entering the season of Advent which begins one week from tomorrow. Amen & Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

purple passion

here's that purple theme again...


Your Passion is Purple!

You've got a ton of passion, but you don't always wear it on your sleeve.
If something truly excites you, you let your inner intensity shine through.
But otherwise, your passion tends to morph into energy ... which you never lack.
You're a balanced woman, knowing when to turn on the fire in your heart.

What Type of Passionate Woman Are You?

I'm passionate about Grace Unbound. Check it out!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

exposed

“But for most art there is no client, and in making it you lay bare a truth you perhaps never anticipated: that by your very contact with what you love, you have exposed yourself to the world.” ---from Art and Fear

My days are full and good. Exciting even. The book is coming to fruition. After yesterday’s initial brief announcement, there are requests for more than 20 copies. Oh my. This makes me really nervous. I feel exposed! What if they don’t like it? If they feel ripped off? What if they don’t “get it”? What if it looks horrible? The voices battle. The inner critic says, “Dump it!” The strong me says, “Spread the word!”

This book is me. It is my form of grace. My grace is sufficient for you. Grace has supervised this project. The molding and shaping throughout the book. Add more pages. It’s not enough. Will it ever be enough? And so, I stop and declare. This IS enough. I get to choose and this feels right. It feels sufficient…maybe even more than sufficient ☺.

I see the trails of my life throughout this book. Soltura. Family. Amazing Grace. Beauty. Form. Movement. Sunday School. Mars Hill. The bus. Formative moments. Brazos and Lakebay. It’s all there. Mexico. Bermuda. Seattle. Texas. The desert. The beach. Night and day.

This is the beginning. Oh sh*t, here we go again, Lord. You are amazing beyond words and I am scared to death. Is it fear of failure or success? What if I am successful? It is my dream and it terrifies me! And, it thrills me! My chest is tightening. Breathe. Be still and know that I am God. Slow down. Breathe. My grace is sufficient for you.

photo by lucy from seattle sculpture park 11.17.08

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lucy has a Book...almost!!!

Exciting works are in progress here. (At least I think so and hope you will, too.) With this post, I am delighted to announce the upcoming release of the first ever, super spectacular, wonderful collaborative work of my dear hubby and Me!

Grace Unbound: New Reflections on an Old Subject is a creative combination of words and image. It is done in the style that has been dubbed as "zine". Containing original works as well as some old favorites and over 50 amazing photos (most which have never been shown elsewhere) by amazing photographer, Bill Hughlett, this 7 X 7 book will make a great gift for yourself or others. This zine contains both thought provoking and reflective images like those you have come to love and appreciate here. It is simple and complex. It is easy to read and it will make you think. It really is quite lovely if I do say so myself.

Grace Unbound will be heading to the printer at the end of this week if all goes well. Watch for updates and let me know how many copies you would like ☺. Pricing details will be up soon. Please note that pre-orders and multiple orders will receive significant discounts!

I am so excited I can hardly stand it! You're gonna love it, too!!!

(Oh and by the way...this is really scary for my alter ego to put out there, but I know it is definitely worth the risk!!! ☺)

Peace.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

First Moment of Dawn

"There's a sun in every person--the you we call companion." --Rumi

Sometimes it is hard to know where the beginning of the thread is. Or maybe it is more like tiny pieces in a mosaic that look indistinguishable until you stand back and see the picture as a whole. Barbara used the metaphor of a movie to comment on my last post:

"We don't see the big picture. We each only play a bit part in that movie, but one that is key to the movie's completion."

And so the thread continues and more thoughts bubble around in the stew. This happened when I read Mind Sieve's reflections on Veteran's Day. It is a moving post and well worth taking the time to read. It was the last line that has stayed with me:

"Should we look away and save our hurt at the loss of others while our families remain safe....or should we watch and realize that their losses are our losses as well?"

It is my belief that once we begin to look into the eyes of another as though they are our own, we cannot look away...unless, of course, that is how we treat ourselves. Do you look away from your own hurt and suffering? Or do you choose to enter the suffering, so that it can begin to heal? Again, I believe that our threads cannot be unentwined. Our piece of the mosaic is not easily distinguished. We never know how our bit part may affect the outcome of the great movie.

So, in closing, I would like to leave you with this parable to consider. It is from the Talmud and I ran across it this morning in The Book of Awakening.

A Rabbi asks his students, "How do you know the first moment of dawn has arrived?" After a great silence, one pipes up, "When you can tell the difference between a sheep and a dog." The Rabbi shakes his head no. Another offers, "When you can tell the difference between a fig tree and an olive tree." Again, the Rabbi shakes his head no. There are no other answers. The Rabbi circles their silence and walks between them, "You know the first moment of dawn has arrived when you look into the eyes of another human being and see yourself."

Blessings to you this day. May you see yourself in the eyes of another. May you experience the first moment of dawn.

"face of sagada" found here
"dawn" by lucy

Thursday, November 13, 2008

challenged

"Being true to who we are
means carrying our spirit like a candle
in the center of our darkness." --Mark Nepo

What does it mean to weep for “the poor”? After spending my last two posts commiserating of the woes of having a teenager, today I was confronted by two articles about random attacks on 16 year old people. A young man at a county fair is beaten because of the color of his skin. Girls walking to school in Afghanistan have acid thrown in their faces for wanting an education. It makes me sick. It makes me mad at the seeming selfishness in my own home. It makes me sad to feel my own heart that wants to turn away from the violence. Yet I cannot turn away. Once I have seen it or read it or heard it, it is imprinted on my heart.

Everyday I sit with people and hear stories of hurt and rejection. Parents that refuse to hug their children. Others that use demeaning words and shame to control. Men and women who are beaten or sexually abused. Some that can name their pain and others that can only feel the emptiness at the center of their chest. No one is immune. Everyone has a story and a hurt that is exclusively their own. So, what is my part? How can I help? Sometimes it all feels like too much. I think of the theme that God never gives us more than we can handle. At times I feel strong, because I feel like I have and do handle much. Other times, I find myself feeling small and weak because I live such a privileged life. Could I handle being hungry? Cold? Physically abused?

I consider what the election of our new President means for me. Reading the post at Mind Sieve I am challenged again (and still) to know what my part is. How will I speak? How will I live out of the gifts that God has given me? How will I carry my candle into the darkness? Some days it feels like enough to listen to one person at a time and help them see their own gifts so that they may go out into the world a little better equipped. Sometimes I feel like I am living into my full self. And other times…well…I feel at a loss. I wonder what will ever be enough.

Originally, I stopped writing there: I wonder what will ever be enough, but that feels hopeless and dead. If I stop there, then evil wins. If I turn away and refuse to listen, others are left alone. When I consider things globally, it quickly moves beyond my scope and I do become paralyzed. So my personal challenge is to learn how to keep moving forward. One step at a time. One moment at a time.

Today my first step was to ponder and not immediately turn away. The next step awaits…maybe it will be a big one. Most likely it will seem small. Can I let that be enough today? Could you?

photos taken 11.09.08 in my neighborhood

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Teen Power

Wow! I am amazed at the power of one brief teenage interaction (as mentioned in my last post). I mean think about this…that post contained personal information about the great author Kathleen Norris, coupled with photos filled with innuendo, talk of French food, soul experiences and other adventures. Good stuff, all!! So who warrants the conversation in the majority of the numerous comments?? The teen, of course! Hmmmmm.

Just a little update. The “outburst” seemed to kind of clear out her pipes (or “whatever”) and she morphed back into a reasonable human being for now…Oh wait, she’s sleeping now...and it is a moment to cherish! Anyway, I really appreciate the camaraderie and thoughtful comments shared by so many of you.

My son (who is swiftly nearing the end of his teen years) has turned into quite the man of wisdom. Here are a few of his words on the topic of children…

“Well, you know, Mom, that’s just the way it is. Having kids is really hard. People think it’s gonna be fun and it is for…well, however long it’s fun for…and then it’s just hard.”

Teens. They really are powerful!

self-portrait by my girl

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Just for Me

In response to my last post, I loved Kate's words about writing "to clarify me and because it feels good." So, as my wonderful weekend rolls to a close, here are some of the moments that i want to hang on to (or clarify) for ME!

Things to remember:
  • Wearing my heart covered rain boots always makes me feel better.
  • Catching up with an old friend who is also a joy-filled young dad is a great way to start a Friday.
  • Having lunch with a friend is wonderful food for the soul.
  • Quiet time can lead to amazing inspiration for new creative works (more details later).
  • Soul collage is good, hard work.
  • The veil really is thinner this time of year.
  • Cafe Campagne provides a little taste of Paris right here in Seattle.
  • Kathleen Norris is a regular person. She sometimes doesn't journal for weeks and has been known to resort to watching "America's Next Top Model" for respite.
  • Soltura sisters are the best family outside of family!
  • My beautiful boy celebrated 8 months of hard earned sobriety this weekend.
  • Having an amazing live-in photographer has its perks!
  • Blogging buddies come to the rescue when you need them most.
  • God is good.
One thing I would like to forget about this weekend, but probably won't:
  • The wrath of a 16 year old daughter who says our home is hell on earth. We have the worst family ever. She detests living here. We are boring, have no passion and respond like robots. (I guess, there goes my nomination for mother of the year. Sigh.)
So, there you have it. Hmmmm. Glad I wrote the gratitudes first or that last one could really take its toll. Nevertheless, I may need to sleep in my happy boots!!!

Thanks for reading and I hope you had a delicious weekend and a great start for the week ahead. Peace.

If you are wondering about the photos, you'll have to forgive my sense of humor. After leaving Kathleen Norris' delightful spiritual & inspirational talk at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), we noticed that we were right across the street from "The Lusty Lady" and that the SAM sign was missing one of its lights. Teehee. I couldn't resist!!!!

Friday, November 07, 2008

I. I. I.


"You find reasons to procrastinate, since to not work is to not make mistakes."
--from Art & Fear

Yesterday, I sat in my pajamas for several hours. I pondered the lack of response by readers at this space. I listened to the rain. I ate Halloween candy. I tried to nap. I read a little. I decided to give up writing...I. I. I.

"We have met the enemy and he is us." --Pogo

I have met the enemy and she is I! Think I'll get dressed today and go walk in the rain .

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

wage love

Saturday night I had the privilege of attending Sabbath dinner at a friend’s house. He is a man who has struggled with his anger and not being able to connect with others in a loving way. The focus of the evening was to put away politics, the market, and other worries that keep us from finding delight in who we are. We began the evening with the lighting of candles and listening to a beautiful song by Kate Wolf called “Give Yourself to Love.” We then broke bread and shared wine in an act of communion as we began the shared meal.

The purpose of this post was not to write the details of this Sabbath evening, but to recall several moments that I have encountered during the last few days. Our host shared with us a picture of him at less than one year of age. He was being held in the arms of a loving aunt. As he shared this photo, he recalled that her arms had been a place of safety, trust and love for him while growing up in a household devoid of affection. As he spoke, my own mind turned to my beloved kindergarten teacher and I could feel her warm embrace and my own sense of safety and love when I was wrapped in her enveloping bosom. Being in her arms was a beautiful and pure experience of unconditional love—much as I imagine my host received from his aunt.

Yesterday, I listened to another story from a woman of a different culture. She is one of several daughters in a family that values boys most highly. She had been raised to believe that she was nothing. She spoke of many years of emotional abuse--first at the hands of her parents and then for 30 years with a self-centered husband. Somewhere deep inside this woman, however, there was a spark that kept her alive and reaching for the love she knows is available, but does not believe she has yet found.

All of these stories led me to wonder about what it is that keeps us searching for love. What are the moments that give us hope in the midst of chaos and hurt? What is the impact of a simple hug or cradling in the arms? What is the power that lets us know love exists?

The woman of this story believes she is searching for God’s love. She knows it is there. She believes it to be true. She wants to believe it in human form so that she can believe it to be true of God. Again I wonder…can the two be separated? Is that not what being incarnational means? Jesus was God incarnate. Is it not our greatest mission in life to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves? Do we not share incarnational love when we give ourselves unconditionally to another?

So, that’s what is on my mind this morning. Yesterday, Abbey of the Arts offered a beautiful post called, Wage Peace. My challenge to you (& me) today is to Wage Love. You never know when you might be someone’s spark that keeps the hope of love and life alive.

“Give yourself to love if love is what you’re after.
Open up your heart to tears and laughter.” --Kate Wolf

photos from st. severin church & musee d'orsay -- paris 2.08

Monday, November 03, 2008

hope

A dear blogging Canadian friend captured my heart this morning with her post which I have audaciously copied verbatim. It is one that I would love every voter to see and take to heart (regardless of party or candidate affiliation!) Please get out and vote if you have not already!!!


[photo by Callie Shell]

Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but rather the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out.

-- Vaclav Havel