Perspective

Ana ran her thumb over the cool hard surface of the river rock.  “Mom, I feel like this stone.  All this pain, it’s wearing me down.”

Grace’s empathic senses could feel the pounding in her daughter’s skull, the constant headaches that wouldn’t go away.  Hopefully the doctors would find answers soon.  For now they could have perspective.

She took the rock from her daughter’s hand, ran her fingers over its smooth surface.  “This had jagged edges once.  The water refined it.  The river’s rhythms changed it, took away all its rough edges in exchange for something polished, something beautiful.  You are a bit like this stone.  All that pain, it’s changing you.  You’ve learned how to slow down and enjoy the little things.  You have more kindness, gentleness, patience, and understanding than you did before.”

Ana took the stone back from her mother.  “I guess I didn’t realize.”  Back in her hand, she ran her thumb over the cool hard surface of the river rock.  “It is beautiful.”

“You are beautiful.”  Grace’s assurance made Ana smile.  And in that moment, the headache didn’t feel quite so bad.

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Sweet Potato Soup & Grounding

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I love food. I love preparing food and sharing food. I love the connection that happens when people sit at a table and eat together. The whole process grounds me. To illustrate my point, I’d like to share my recipe for sweet potato soup.

Sweet Potato Soup

2 bell peppers

1 large sweet potato

1 leek

1 shallot (or small onion)

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

about 3 – 4 cups water (or vegetable broth)

a dash of sweet chili sauce (optional)

pepper & salt to taste

2 tbsp butter or oil

Preparing and processing food grounds me. As I organize my ingredients and prepare them with care and intention; chopping, dicing, simmering, I feel mentally grounded.

Wash and chop all the veggies. Heat 2 tbsp butter or oil in a soup pot. Add the onions, peppers, leeks, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook everything over low heat for about 5 minutes until the onions start to soften. Then add the diced sweet potato and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Pour in just enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil, pop on the lid and simmer over low heat for about 20 to 25 minutes until the potatoes are tender. When the sweet potatoes are done, add a dash of sweet chili sauce if you like. Use your favorite blender or food processor to turn it into a creamy soup. I like to serve this with a chunk of crusty bread for dipping.

Enjoying this nutritious dish helps ground my body. Enjoying this dish with friends or family grounds my spirit.

But what about you? What are your favorite grounding activities?

 

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Spring Will Come

Spring Will Come

Today the roads are gross and treacherous. The sky is angry and white. The cold bites at your lungs and steals your breath.

But it won’t always be this way. Spring will come.

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It takes a gypsy to catch a gypsy.
And birds of a feather….well, you know.
I love the way we find each other,
wounds and all.

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Daydreaming of Spring

Daydreaming of Spring

Spring blossom — early morning sun — a dogwood tree on our campus. Just a few more months, then ahhhh, sweet Spring.

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Joy Is

I originally penned this back in 2006 when my daughter was younger.  She’s just turned 13 and she’s managed to keep a sense of wonder about her that always makes me smile.  This is for her…

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“Joy Is”

Joy is twirling a pink umbrella
without reason
without rain

Joy is dancing with a yellow ducky
‘round the bathroom in delight
wearing the only suit you were ever born in

Joy is laughing at purple violets
that sprung up
overnight

Joy is starring up at blue skies
in wonder
of the many shapes of clouds that pass by

Joy is a pair of fancy white sandals
worn every day, plus Sunday
just because

Joy is sneaking chocolate chip cookie dough
straight from the mixing bowl
before it has a chance to get baked

Joy is praising God for green leaves
that are too high on the tree to reach
for now

Joy is a red sand pail
all shinny and new
that waits for the promise of warmer weather

Joy is all these little things
seen through the eyes of a child

Joy is where you find it

Joy is…

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A Candle for Santa

The store was bustling with shoppers. Andy Williams could be heard singing out from the store’s piped in music, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Santa Clause was stationed just slightly off from the toy department. A long line of children stood with their parents in tow, all anxiously waiting their turn to climb into Santa’s lap and tell him what they wanted most for Christmas.

The Miller women had come out to shop with the holiday crowds. As they starred at the lengthy line of children waiting to see Santa, Ana asked Isabelle, “Do you want to?”

“No.” Isabelle nonchalantly replied. She fiddled with the blanket that she’d wrapped her baby Jesus in.

“No?” She’s only four.  Ana thought, Could she be ready to give up on make believe all ready?  Or maybe the line looks too long to her.

Isabelle thought for a moment, and then started to rethink her decision. “Well, maybe.”

“Maybe?”

“Maybe someone should tell him,” Isabelle explained hesitantly, holding her doll tightly.

“Tell him what, sweetie?”

“It’s not about him.”

This response caught Ana off guard a bit, but she was encouraged by the way her daughter had spoken such a simple truth. “Do you wanna tell him that?” The idea seemed kind of crazy, but why not. Why not share the truth of Jesus with this department store Santa Clause?

Isabelle peered at all those adults standing in line with their children. It was an awfully long line. They would have to wait and wait and wait, and Isabelle didn’t know if she could wait that long. But it was important. That man in a red stuffed costume, he didn’t fool her. She was a big girl now and didn’t believe in Santa Clause. Santa Clause was for babies. Jacob Hyde had told her so, and Jacob must know what he was talking about ‘cause he was older than her.  That man needed to be told about Jesus. Suddenly, an idea came to her.

“Oh, oh, mommy! We need to go shopping!” Ana was a bit puzzled at this, but Isabelle went on to explain. “We need to buy a candle!”

“A candle?”

Why did mommy have to repeat everything she said tonight? “Yes, a candle for Santa!”

*****

Years ago I wrote a Christmas story that I liked so well, I published it.  What you just read was an excerpt from the book.  Wanna read more?  You can get your own copy here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/april-milam/a-candle-for-santa/paperback/product-15997277.html

Merry Christmas!!

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