2013

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On this, the last day of the year, 2013, I would like to take the time to recap my year.  

I did not win the lottery.

I did not become a super model.

I did not write a bestseller.

My 2013 started out like most years in my past.  I had an extreme sense of hopefulness.  I was thankful for all the blessings I did have and hopeful for all my wishes.  I started 2013 on the snowy porch of a friend’s house.  We were setting off fireworks and toasting the new, expectant year.  It was beautiful.  It was hopeful.

In this past year my family grew a year older (and so did I).  My children continue to outgrow me.  I lost my “dead-end” job.  I started the best work I have ever done.  I found the writer in me again.  I traveled to places that inspire me.  I took the time to show a small part of my past to my children.  I became debt free.  I tried new and adventurous things.  I became a cowgirl, a pirate, a witch, if only for a day.  I indulged in new foods, I didn’t want to be a super model anyway.  I left my past further behind me and I feel lighter for it.  I loved, forgave, prayed, thanked, embraced, and relished in 2013.

2014 will bring many new challenges and adventures.  Today, this last day of 2013, I am again hopeful for the future and expectant as well.   I know my long list of resolutions will not all come to fruition but I will take the time to write them down, if just to see what my younger self believes is possible for 2014 when we reach the end of another year.

May you find thankfulness in your hearts, love all around you and an extreme sense of hopefulness for your 2014.

Happy New Year!

Small Church, Huge Community

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I come from a family steeped in tradition and faith.  We go to church together, when we gather for family events.  We pray the same table prayer at every meal.  We revel in all the history of our family and embrace our past.  It is not uncomfortable to me.  The traditions give me a solid foundation to live my life.  My faith guides my every decision that crosses my path.

This Christmas season my brother, father and I attended the small country church where my mother guides her congregants as their pastor.  I have attended a few times over the years.  Sometimes with my children and sometimes just with my parents.  I like this tiny little church.  It sits on the crest of a country, dirt road.  There is no parking lot, they simply widened the road to accommodate the parking vehicles.  My mother, being their pastor, has a little sign posted at her parking space that reads, “Reserved for Pastor”.  I have always found that to be a kind gesture for this congregation’s pastor, since this congregation shares their pastor with another small church in a town not far from this church.  There is, of course, a small fenced in cemetery next to the building and swing set on the opposite side of the church.  As you park and walk up to the front of the church it has always amazed me at the beauty of this church.  It is not a flashy, fancy church but I have always felt drawn to the building and the community of people who share their own personal faith with each other.

For in this small church is housed a community of people, that feels as welcoming and loving as coming home to family you have known forever.  The attendance is small in number, but the community is huge.  There are welcomes with genuine smiles.  Sharing of stories like you talk everyday.  Then the service of our faith starts.  The light streams in through the stained glass windows, casting colorful patches everywhere.  The organist plays with the precision of a professional.  The congregation joins in with joyful singing.  Prayers go up to the heavens with heartfelt praise.  The sermon touches your soul and gives your mind something to mull over in the coming week.  It is a very traditional hour of worship.  Recalling my childhood, singing songs I have not sung in a very long time and remembering each note like I sang it just yesterday.  The service concludes and everyone gathers in the tiny narthex on this Sunday after Christmas.  We lightly talk of our Christmases and what family we were able to celebrate with in our gatherings.  We talk of the weather, it is so cold today.  We laugh together.  We wish only wellness for each other.  It is community that is much too large for the tiny confines of this quaint building.

As we leave back down the dirt road, which has been freshly covered with white rock, I reminisce of the small country churches I have attended over my years.  I ponder locations, people, faith, and the building itself.  I think by far this small country church on the hill is my favorite.  Just as the children’s sunday school song says…I am the church, you are the church.  We are the church together.

Have a blessed day!

Traveling Home

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Soul Experiences

In all my travels coming home always feels…right.  I love knowing that this little place is my home, where the dust settles, the lawn grows, and my little personal keepsakes are scattered.  It is cozy in the winter, vibrant in the spring, relaxing in the summer and earthy in the fall.  It isn’t a mansion or a king’s palace but it is home.  And although I love to “come home” the adventures outside my door intrigue me so that once again I am off exploring!  

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Exuberant

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Nothing in this world compares to the excitement of a child on Christmas!  Teenagers are no exception.  The only difference between the excitement of a child and a teenager is the amount of sleep they require.  It is almost 9:30 am and I have yet to hear the stirrings of my teenage “children”.  Without a doubt five years ago I would have been roused out of bed before the sun was up!  I do enjoy my new-found slumbers.  I will relax and have another cup of tea before the whirlwind of christmas day begins.  Merry Christmas to all! 

Christmas Panic

Twas two mornings before Christmas

and all was a mess!

Not a soul was restful

with the impending stress.

The children were restless,

the holiday was near.

Their hopes turned to

iPods, game systems and gear.

The tinsel was strung

with precision and care.

With hopes all would wonder

Martha Stewart beware.

And as I wondered

at this amazing sight

the days swiftly turned

from darkness to light

Lo, the season’s end

came swiftly around.

The gifts were not wrapped,

the dishes piled high,

the meal not planned for,

the shopping gone awry.

So I in my night-dress

put the tea on to brew

and settled in for a

marathon day or two.

For in my rushing, you see

I forgot to look at my nativity.

For it is not the

tinsel, the candy, the gifts

but a tiny baby

that brings us bliss.

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Listen

Soul Experiences

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Do you hear a voice? 

Not the radio

Not the TV

Not the endless yammering of the city

Do you hear a voice?

The voice of the loved one who needs you but isn’t sure how to ask.  The small melodic voice of a child asking the same question over and over again. The droning voice of your boss reviewing quarterly statements with you. The authoritative voice of an administrator admonishing something you love. The seductive voice of your lover calling you back to bed.  The prayerful voice of your soul reaching out to the silence in your heart.

Listen to the voices that speak to you. Listen with a fervor to hear what another is really saying. Take the time to stop, listen and respond if needed. Only when we truly listen do we truly hear what our hearts want.

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