AWAKENING TO THE GIFT OF SURPRISE

“Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.”  Boris Pasternak

Do you like surprises?  If not, why not?  How do you usually respond to them?

A couple of weeks ago when we had some occasional days of snow, I was quietly writing on my computer.  My desk faces a front window.  I became distracted by the chirping and fluttering of a large group of Robins.  Outside to my right was a holly bush full of red berries.  Having this bush there was a treat in the winter when there is no color from flowers or other growing things.

Seeing What Was Always There

I finally stopped to pay attention to the birds and realized at least a dozen or more were flying back and forth from the brush to the bare branches of the trees nearby.  Landing on the bush, each ate several berries, then flew back to a tree.  Resting a moment, or maybe waiting his turn, each bird watched, then flew to the bush, fluttered about, noisily landed, and gobbled again.

The Robins were so entertaining with their flight patterns, chirping and fussing, and careful selection of which berry to eat that I watched them for quite a while.  What a surprise!  I’ve lived with that holly bush for years and never seen this before.  What a pleasure! Had it been happening for years but I never noticed?

Surprises Show Us Who We Really Are

The wonderful thing about surprises is that they may open our hearts and minds in ways we had never expected and lead us in a direction we may not have previously chosen.

When I was a high school senior, my family had just moved to Memphis and I was facing my senior year not knowing a soul.  I had become interested in theater so I took a drama class that created a new group of friends for me.  At the end of the year, we performed a musical in which I had a major role.  I was thrilled!  Previously, I had always had tiny roles.

I also became a member of the Thespian Society and it gave out awards at the end of the year.  Sitting at the banquet, I was sure the girl who had played the largest lead role would win the Best Actress Award.  So when my name was called, I was so surprised I couldn’t move.  I looked at the friend next to me who motioned for me to get up.

This award made me realize what others were trying to tell me.  I was talented.  Because of this, I followed my desire and majored in theater in college.  This training was a tremendous gift for life, especially since I  was naturally an introvert.  By the time I finished college, I felt confident about expressing myself orally and also about writing speeches or poetry that could then be read aloud.

Negative Surprises May Have Hidden Gifts

While I have mentioned only happy surprises, even unhappy ones may be a gift.  When my father died suddenly from a burst blood vessel in his lung, it shocked us all.   For him, however, it was better than the painful misery of fighting to breathe.

When my first husband was having an affair, I was unaware of it until he told me he wanted a divorce.  I was shocked! Then he explained what had been going on.  Learning about his betrayal made me face the fact that we really were not a good match.  He could never be the kind of partner with whom I wanted to share my life.  Clearly, I was not his ideal.  This was a gift to me in disguise.

We Prefer Happy Surprises

Of course the surprises we all like the most are the happy ones:  the partner we love asking us to marry, getting the promotion we thought would go to someone else, or receiving the gift of roses or sweets that reminds us we are loved.

However, the most valuable aspect of a surprise is that it often opens our minds to see what we need to see, when we have been unable or unwilling.  Those surprises may move us forward in life, show us how we are limiting ourselves and need to change, or reveal what we most need to know.  These surprises are the gifts we most need to receive.

2020 © Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO SURPRISES

AWAKENING TO NATURE’S SURPRISES

AWAKENING TO CREATE HAPPINESS

AWAKENING TO ON-GOING CHANGE

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time.  We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.  We are the change we seek.”  Barack Obama

How do you feel about change?  What are you doing to adapt to the Pandemic and other changes?  Are the changes you’ve made working well?

I chose this quotation because Barack Obama was the change he wanted and the change many of us hoped we would live long enough to see – the first Black person to be president of our country.  We continue to see changes like this in the new current Biden administration.  Many more positions are being filled by those who are not white men, and this diversity represents the reality of the country.

Change will not stop.  Even the 25-year-old car I drive keeps changing.  It’s rusting in spots, the seats continue to fade, the pebble dent in the front window spread across the glass and the windshield had to be replaced.  Even what seems rock-solid, changes.

Changes Out of Our Control

Our country has experienced many changes, both positive and negative, in the last few years, so that nothing feels stable.  Many of us never envisioned the Nine Eleven disaster or the recent riot at the capital.  We never dreamed of losing a loved one in a pandemic.  That only happened in the Middle Ages.

While many of the changes around and in our lives seem out of our control, many are not.  Many are appearing in order to awaken us to changes that need to be made in the world, our country, and in our personal lives.

In my own life, I am having to face the fact that my aging body will not remain pain-free unless I do certain exercises every day.  I’ve walked daily for years and like doing that, but as time has passed, I’ve had to add more exercises to my plan. I’m not happy with that.  Unfortunately, my physical therapist, who is very competent, is not a magician.  If I want to continue to be pain free, I have no choice but to keep doing the required routine.

Look For The Good In Changes

Wayne Dyer said, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”  It’s so easy to slip into our comfortable lives and think unpleasant change will never touch us, but there are few of us who have not been affected by the pandemic in some way.  Everything changes.  We have to be willing to see the good in the changes we need to make.

We all need to take climate change seriously.  The scientific reality of it is right in our faces with the fires out west and the snows down south.  We are the only ones who can, at least, somewhat return our planet to normal by planting the right flowers to feed bees.  We can help keep streams clean by reducing the use of plastic.  We are “the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

We have recently elected a president who is seriously trying to make changes that will save people from starvation, illness, and the loss of their homes in this difficult time.  By voting for him, we hoped he was the change needed to help people suffering from the pandemic and loss of work and income.  So far, it appears we made the right choice.

Helping Others Helps Us

On a personal level, there is much we can do to help others with the challenges of the pandemic.  I have a friend who made masks for many people and delivered food to the elderly.  Others offer rides to doctors or deliver medications or walk dogs.  Some people are gathering virtually to discover ways to improve police departments, handle addiction problems, or address racial equity.

Change is often frightening when we have had a stable life that was working well and we were surrounded by people who were like us.  But life does not stop changing regardless of what we do. We cannot control everything in life.  If we want the changes in our lives to be wise ones, we need to share our wisdom and take the steps we can to improve our lives and the world.

Remember—you are the change you’ve been waiting for.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

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AWAKENING TO REHEARSE OUR LIVES

“The rehearsal process is an opportunity to work through things collaboratively.”  Liz Lerman

How do you work through things in your life?  Does that approach usually work?  How you make your best contact with other people?

In the 1970’s when I was a dancer, I was fortunate to study improvisation with Liz Lerman in Washington, DC and to perform a dance she created for Choreo 18, the modern dance company of which I was a member.

Recently, I watched a video interview with her Many good memories flooded my head, especially learning how to creatively explore my movement in more depth.  But what struck me most profoundly was when she asked, “Do you use rehearsals in your life?’

The Value of Rehearsing

She pointed out that in rehearsals you try out different movements, analyze what you are doing, and look for the right movement to create what you want others to see or what you want to communicate.  She then suggested that perhaps we could do this to discover how we can be in a “better way together.”

When a problem arises, how do we attempt to solve it?  It may be a recurring problem to which  we found a workable solution in the past, so we do what we have always done.  But if  the challenge is a new issue or complex, we may have to improvise by considering and trying out several possibilities in order to find a solution that is workable.

Rehearsals Show Us New Options

Certainly the pandemic has challenged us to find new ways to entertain or enrich ourselves without being face to face with others.  Liz and the members of her walking group have adapted to the quarantine by using their phones as they walk through the streets or forests.  Some of them live in different countries, but can still connect and walk “together.”

My rehearsals with words continue every day as I write, exchanging words and tenses to say exactly what I want to say.  It’s rare that I’m happy with the first version of any sentence, so I must rehearse various ways to describe the perfect moment or spoken sentence.  I may change the character who speaks or let the verbal statement become a thought.

Rehearsals Can Improve Relationships

In relationships we have to develop ways to communicate, especially when conflict arises.  A rehearsal may be needed to develop a satisfactory approach to discuss our differences.  Shouting never leads us to an effective conclusion so we need to ask, as Liz does, how can we be together in a better way?

Perhaps sitting down, each with a cup of tea or coffee, is a good start to the conversation. We may need to Zoom with the people with whom we don’t live.  Being face to face always improves communication.

When we have discerned a way to talk respectfully with each other, we will probably have more than one rehearsal before we have created the perfect solution for the two of us.  Even then our plan may often need a few adjustments.

The show that is our lives must go on.  Rehearsals always bring our creativity to the surface and hopefully help us find the best solution to our challenges.  During this dance of life,  may you rehearse what is the best in all areas of your life.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

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AWAKENING TO NOURISHMENT

“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.”  Jean Shinoda Bolen

What nourishes you the most?  How did you discover it?  What place does it have in your life?

When I think of nourishment, four things come to mind:  eating dinner, reading books, the forest and a spiritual practice.  While we need food to survive physically, we also need nourishment for the mind and soul.  Hopefully, we do more than just care for our bodies.

Food As Nourishment

I have a friend for whom cooking is an art form.  Entering her house, I feel like I’ve walked into a New Orleans restaurant, for the aroma as well as the taste of the food is delicious.  For her, cooking is about more than feeding the body to survive.  It nourishes her soul as well.

Food often brings family or friends together.  Around the table we share what we think about current events, our on-going activities, issues we need to work out with others, and hopes for the future.  While this experience is less possible for some right now, my husband and I have used Zoom on holidays to eat together with family members.  Seeing faces and hearing voices helps us feel more of the nourishment our mutual love brings to the table.

Reading As Nourishment

Most of my friends and I love to read books.  Nonfiction books teach us about history and the reality of times we have not lived through.  At times, this nourishment may not feel joyful as was the case when I read Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns.  It is the story of the Black people’s migration from the south to the north.  Some found their lives improved; others did not.  But this information expanded my understanding of others’ experiences in a profound way.

Such stories allow us to understand life better even when we don’t like what the stories tell us.  In that sense, opening our minds is a way of nourishing them and enriching our intellectual awareness.  Reading fiction, on the other hand, may enrich our emotions.  We empathize with the characters’ challenges, their loves and losses, and what they learn from these experiences.  It may even help us to see events in our own lives in new and helpful ways.

Nature As Nourishment

Walking through a forest full of autumn leaves or empty branches opening to a winter sun nourishes my soul and calms my mind.  In the spring, the abundance of beautiful green leaves and an array of colorful flowers feed all my senses with pleasure.  In the forest I often feel I’m in heaven and the energy of Spirit is connecting with my spirit, feeding it with peace and understanding.

While I always feel spiritually nourished in the forest, I also feel sensually fed walking over rocky paths, tracking through grassy soil, enjoying the rush of a nearby stream, and being entertained by the melodies of bird song.  In the spring with flowering trees and bushes all around, the color is visually nourishing and the mountain views and sunsets take my breath away.

Spiritual Practices As Nourishment

While the experiences I’ve mentioned require us to connect with something outside ourselves, some form of meditation or meditative movement nourishes the center of who we are.  These experiences take us to the deepest parts of ourselves.  Here, regardless of the mess we may think we have made of our lives, we are loved by the Spirit who loves us all.

Getting in touch with this peace within assists us in seeing the truth of what is happening in the life we live.  Many times after meditation, a prayer time, or a quiet walk, I let the darkness clinging to my life drop away and allow the light of Spirit to cleanse and fill me with new spiritual nourishment.

In these moments, peace and joy may feed us with what we need most, so we need to remember how expansive the menu of life really is and allow all of it to nourish us.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO DEEPEN OURSELVES

ART: A FEAST TO AWAKEN THE SOUL

AWAKENING TO SPIRITUAL GARDENING

 

AWAKENING TO THE LIGHT WITHIN

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”  Leonard Cohen

Is there light in your life?  What is its source?  How does it affect your life?

At this time of year, the crack in the darkness slowly enlarges until months later we find ourselves in the long daily light of summer.  As the rain and snow fall, we dream of the days when we can walk and play outside without a heavy coat or rain jacket.  We long for what we used to called normal before the pandemic and onset of winter.

This week the light has come into my life from two specific sources.  One occurred on Sunday as I listened to Laura Collins’ message at Jubilee Community.  This community is based on the theology of Creation Spirituality, and this period of the year is called the Via Creativa, a time when the light gradually increases and prepares for living things to awaken and grow again.

Being Present With Ourselves

Sunday’s theme was “Rooted and Grounded in Presence.” One of the ideas presented was that being present is being in our bodies, and when we are, we can be in touch with who we really  are.  When we are present, the light of our being allows us to be seen and to see ourselves.

We have to remember that darkness is not always bad.  It allows us to rest, to dream, to refresh, and when we reawaken in the light, a new day, a new thought, a new awareness may brighten our lives.  We cannot run around out in the world every day.  The darkness presents an opportunity to sit quietly and look within.

Returning To Our True Selves

The other experience I had was viewing a movie called, “Time of Sixth Sun.”  It was about the belief of indigenous people, that we are entering a time when we must come back to who we truly are.  It is a time to remember, to hear the voice inside and allow the parts of ourselves that are asleep to awaken.

It is a time to remember and listen to the voice within.  For centuries we have focused outside ourselves.  We have let the left brain control life, putting the emphasis on acquiring things and money and power.  It is the world of the masculine, the energy of the sun, but we must now move into the right brain awareness of the feminine, the moon energy.  There we can hear the part of ourselves that wishes to awaken.  By doing so, we will find who we truly are.

In that inner darkness, we will find the light within – our divinity, our soul.  We must create the quiet and solitude we need for ourselves and with others who travel a similar path. When we are able to see more deeply, we will no longer be afraid of letting our light shine through the crack this awakening creates.

A Future Designed For All People

We already see ways that the young people in the world are rejecting the old ways.  They want to save the planet, create equality for all, make racial justice a reality, and insure that no one goes hungry.  We have seen the beginning of this new vibration in our country since the recent election.  The changes the Biden administration seeks to make are not merely political.  They are in response to the actual needs of the country’s citizens.

The old crack in our world has widened to allow more light to flow into our lives.  This world will expand through the diversity that is now part of our government.  Just as the indigenous people have predicted, we see women, life nurturers, rising to create the new earth we all need.  Let us awaken to the dream of the ancient ones, and allow our light to create a new society bringing together all people.

The indigenous people in “The Time of the Sixth Sun” believe that in seven years we will have a “perfect” world, a more cooperative and wholistic society.  I hope they are right.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

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AWAKENING TO HEAL

“Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.”  Tori Amos

How do you feel today?  Are you celebrating the change of power or mourning it?  How are you feeling about your own power?

Today is supposed to be a day of peace and hope – a day when we begin to heal our broken democracy.  We may accomplish some movement forward by learning to talk with those who do not share our beliefs, but real healing will take place only when we heal within us the pain that causes us to feel we have to push others away or turn to violence.

Healing Often Requires Change

Years ago, I had pain in my legs and back that wouldn’t go away, and drugs only dulled it for a limited time.  After visiting an integrative doctor who suggested that acupuncture might help, I recoiled.

The idea of letting someone stick needles in my body was jarring – create more pain?  Not a solution I wanted.  But I decided to trust this doctor because he had begun to heal aspects of my illness when other doctors had no clue about their cause.  So I needed to experience the discomfort required to relieve the pain and heal the inflammation beneath it.

As I result of my courage I was able to heal many physical problems.  Over time, I found that the pain of the needles was minor compared to the persistence of pain.  I didn’t like the moment that the needle was inserted, but I loved the peaceful feeling that came as the pain diminished.

I wish it were that simple to heal the inflammation in this country.  At the moment, many of us hope that the new president and his administration will erase all the problems that Trump  ignored or created.  Biden has announced that he will offer workable solutions.

Why Change Frightens Us

Regardless of what the new administration does, together we still have to face the divisions and challenges before us.  Some of the solutions are frightening or uncomfortable.  How willing are we to find the courage to do what it takes to heal?

We often fear that sharing our true feelings with a family member or friend will destroy the tenuous relationship we have.  I have had those feelings, and in some instances talking about the problem improved how we related.  In other situations it created a distance that couldn’t be bridged.  It’s the risk we must take.

Looking Within Helps Us To Heal

Often, the reasons for our divisions are mysterious.  Those are the most challenging to fix, for they may be so deeply hidden that we cannot see the source of our discomfort even in ourselves.  It may take therapy or a spiritual practice for us to truly understand why we feel like we do and why we sometimes act against our own self-interest.

 

Anytime we feel the need to hurt another person, physically or verbally, it is often because we feel powerless and are letting fear, not love, control our actions.  At that moment, we need to release the fear and try to understand why we feel so powerless that we want to dominate another person.

As President Biden and Vice President Harris find ways to heal the conflicts and divisions in this country, it is a good time for us to address what needs to be healed in our own lives.  Let’s all find the courage to dig a little deeper in search of the unity and peace we all need.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

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AWAKENING TO SILENCE CHAOS

“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.”  Deepak Chopra

How do you deal with external chaos?  How do you deal with internal chaos? Which is the most effective way to become calm?

When I started writing this blog last week, it was January sixth and I was too upset by the violence at the Capital to finish and publish it.  Then my husband and I decided that evening that the next day we needed to put down our dear dog Susie Q.  Emotionally, I had  no choice but to write a blog about her that I published on January seventh.

Now that I have seen more videos of the carnage in Washington, DC and the danger inflicted on our representatives and senators, my perspective on chaos has not changed.  While I am stunned by the extreme event, I’ve attempted to stay calm inside as Copra recommends.  That does not mean I approve of the violence in any way and I’m appalled by the lack of safety in the Capital.  Voting and peaceful protest are two ways we can speak our minds in a democracy and in the long run are more effective.

So far this year, I have not made a list of new year’s resolutions, but I have intended to start each day with a meditation.  I managed to do that only one day so far.  Creating a consistent pattern requires quieting my mind more than I have been able to do so far.

Difficulties Are Upsetting  

Doing things that were never a problem before have become difficult.  I’ve already been upset a number of times dealing with technical changes when my computer updated its main system.  Symbols on the computer page look different or they are in a different place, so I have to hunt for what I used to find and click quickly.  Processes changed and I have to search for a new series of steps.

Even before the violence in D.C., when I combined the technical challenges with the difficulty of ordering groceries and everything else I order online, life felt chaotic.  I was frustrated with how difficult it was to do the simplest thing.  In this upset state, I tend to create more mental chaos by getting upset over problems that can be easily solved.  It just gets to be too much!

Many people turn to alcohol or drugs not prescribed by a doctor at times like this.  That seems like an easy answer to calming the chaos, but that solution may have very negative consequences.  We each tend to create our own style of avoidance to hide from the chaos, but we need to choose a healthy approach or we will complicate the challenges.

Calming Our Minds Is Simple

The best approach that I have found is basically very simple.  Sit still.  Take deep breaths. Stop reacting. I can’t always change the external chaos, but I can detach from the inner turmoil.

When we sit quietly, close our eyes, and breath quietly, in time, peace will surround and move through us.  This is one way to silence the chaos.  It may warm the chill we feel or cool the heat.  When we take the time to detach from what is upsetting us, the solution we need may come to us in the stillness.

Tom Barrett says, “Chaos in the world brings uneasiness, but it also allows the opportunity for creativity and growth.”

I have found that one way to encourage this expansion of ideas is to write in a journal.  When I do that, I’m totally unconcerned with grammar or word usage.  I record whatever flows through my mind without judging its value.  Often, these messages are flowing from the heart and soul, not just the mind, and they take me to a deeper place than when I consciously think about the situation that has alarmed me.

Chaos Hides Positive Solutions

Recently I became very upset when Amazon lost track of a shipment of granola. The order included several packages because the product was not available in small amounts. Other companies were out of it. Customer Service was very nice about replacing it, shipping another order to me immediately, and not charging me for both.  They said if the original shipment reached me, I could just keep it.

I told Amazon that two orders would be too much for me to keep and I didn’t want them to leave it.  After many excuses about why they couldn’t return it, they decided they would tell the driver to just keep the extra order on the truck.

After I hung up, my husband said, “But couldn’t we give the extra to some place like Manna Food Bank?”

I was stunned that I had been so self-centered.  The granola would be a perfect donation, especially for the homeless.  I was so sad that I had gotten upset and let my chaotic mind rule my heart.  When I calmed down, I prayed that the extra shipment would arrive, and it did, two days later.  The driver delivered it to the door and we will deliver it to a group that serves the homeless.

When we let our mental chaos be in control, it will not take us to a good place.  It is wise to listen to the stillness within and allow the best part of ourselves to make our decisions.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

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AWAKENING TO THE LOSS OF OUR DOG

Have you ever lost a loving pet?  How long did you have the animal? How did you deal with the loss?

This morning was our last morning with our dear dog Susie Q.  She could hardly walk, fell down frequently and couldn’t get up.  She walked into walls or corners and stared.  She forgot that her business should be done outside.  She slept most of the time and when she was awake, the only time she barked was when someone delivered a package to the front porch.

I never had a dog before her, but she was definitely the right one to be my first dog.  My husband had her partnership for sixteen years and letting her go today was difficult; she had only been with me the last seven of those, but she was truly a gift.  Now I understand why people prefer dogs to cats, for her playfulness and affection converted me from a cat only lover.

This morning at the vet’s office, we let go of her physically and let her soul rise to Heaven, but her love will always be with us.  Perhaps we will meet again after we leave this earth.

I hope the following words were her thoughts as she transitioned.  We’ll love her in the next life too.

When I come to the end of the road

And the sun has set for me,

I want no rites in a gloom-filled room;

Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little – but not for too long

And not with your head bowed low.

Remember the love that we once shared.

Miss me – but let me go.

For this is a journey that we all must take

And each must go alone.

It’s all a part of the Master’s plan,

A step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick of heart,

Go to the friends we know;

And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.

Miss me – but let me go…

 -Author Unknown

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO THE NEW YEAR

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”  Oprah Winfrey

How do you usually celebrate the New Year?  How will you live this year?  What changes do you need to make to find what you need?

We usually think of New Year’s Day and its eve as a time for rowdy celebration.  Parties, drinking, feasts, balloons, fireworks and parades exhaust us so we arise late on the first day of the year, yawning and worn out, ready for a quiet day.

But this year, many of those gatherings will not take place.  We need to keep our distances, wear our masks, and do whatever is safe rather than what is fun.  As we make our New Year’s resolutions, we will have to consider the possibilities that the restrictions we live under may continue.

We certainly welcome a new year this year for many reasons, most of all the hope that it will be better.  But when there is so much that we have little control over, we have no choice but to take the responsibility to do what we can do to make our lives better.

If we don’t feel good about how we handled things last year, we can evaluate what happened and how we responded and consider a better response for the future.  Most of all we need to celebrate what was good about our choices and the way we lived our lives.  We should make a list of all the good decisions we made and all the good responses we received.

Hal Borland has said, “Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”  It is experience, after all, that helps us “to get it right.”

Learning From Experience

Over the years, each relationship I was in taught me more about being with a partner.  I learned how to communicate what I wanted more clearly.  I learned how to be a better listener.  I learned what I could tolerate in another person’s behavior and what was intolerable.

These experiences gradually taught me what I really wanted in a relationship.  When I finally met the man to whom I am now married, I saw why we would make a good pair.  He had the main qualities that I wanted in a partner.  The lack of these specific behaviors and attitudes in other relationships had made them impossible to continue.  But this loving partnership felt like the one for which I had been searching.  After a few years of marriage, it is clear that I did make the right decision.

So as we imagine this next year, let’s make a list of all the experiences we most desire, even if they aren’t practical.  Then we can weave through them and begin to live out the ones that are the easiest to experience successfully.  This success will strengthen our belief that we can “get it right” this year and give us courage to create a good life.  Limitations are only roadblocks we have to discover how to climb over.

May you have the best year ever!

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO THE BLESSINGS OF RENEWAL

AWAKENING TO NEW INTENTIONS

 

 

 

AWAKENING TO CHRISTMAS

“Christmas is, of course, the time to be home – in heart as well as body.” Garry Moore

Will your Christmas be different this year?  Many of us may not be able to visit with family and friends because of the dangers of the virus.  Instead of thinking of it as a family time, let’s remember that Mary and Joseph were also away from family when Jesus was born, when his love came into the world.

Regardless of where we are, we can experience Love, the real meaning of Christmas.  We can reach out in many ways.  A few years ago, my brother and sister-in-law sent my husband and me a Christmas Cactus.  It was blooming beautifully, but then it stopped blooming the rest of the year.

I was disappointed, but I kept it around.  Then in December when it bloomed again, I realized it only boomed near Christmas!

Unlike many gifts which disappear in one way or another, this is a gift that keeps giving,  every year, blooming to remind us at Christmas that love is a gift that keeps giving.

As I lounge by the fire in the evening, I often read, but lately, the fire reminds me of the warmth I’ve experienced in my life when I have been with loved ones.  Memories, as well as reality, may warm us, keep us safe, and remind us, God loves us and is aways with us, whether we notice or not.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND LOVE AND PEACE TO YOU ALL!

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

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