Friday Feelings

Today is my sister’s birthday! Since she lives thousands of miles away in the Netherlands, we will be doing a social distancing-style celebration over Zoom.

Two years ago, we traveled to Italy for her 30th birthday, hiking along the coast and towns of Cinque Terre. It was the most beautiful place I’ve ever been!

Being separated from a loved one during this COVID-19 global pandemic stirs a lot of emotions. I’m leaning in to both the grief and the gratitude.

I’m grateful for:
• birthdays
• family (especially my sister today!)
• memories
• technology to keep us connected
• traveling

I’m grieving:
• social distance and isolation
• our global suffering – health crisis, economic devastation, cancelled hopes, plans, events, and travel

I’m also longing for restoration and beauty during this time. Hard times like these, I think, reveal that our hearts are hoping for something more – for light in the darkness.

I know I’m longing to hop on a plane, visit my sister, and travel somewhere beautiful! Until that’s a reality, I’ll sit with my feelings, think of the memories and enjoy the pictures – and I hope you enjoy these snapshots too!

Happy birthday Michelle!!

Hope in Hard Times

The first day of spring.

A few weeks ago I wrote a reflection and poem on longing for spring – and since then the world has turned upside down!

While our reality and circumstances have changed – our hearts are the same. We all have a deep longing for hope and beauty.

Several years ago, in the midst of a personal trial, I wandered the famous tulip gardens in the Netherlands on a trip visiting my sister. The abundance of beauty grounded me, lifting my heart and spirit. It’s an experience that I still draw on for peace and inspiration. (And I hope the pictures bring my readers joy too!)

While flowers are gracious gifts, they only last a season. In 1 Peter 1:24, Scripture reminds that flowers are temporary – “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.”

The beauty of nature, God’s creation, can provide hope, but our one true hope is the word of the Lord – God himself. His love and his presence are always with us. What a comfort that is during trying times!

Earlier in the first chapter of 1 Peter, Peter exhorts us to “love one another earnestly from a pure heart.” As spring begins during a national and global crisis, I pray that the beauty and regeneration of the season also ushers in a new season of love for our neighbor!

Enjoy these photos from the Keukenhoff, the Netherlands!

A St. Patrick’s Day Prayer of Protection

It’s not your typical St. Patrick’s Day. Life has changed practically overnight for all of us. It’s a strange and hard reality.

There is fear, uncertainty, disappointment. Along with resolve, hope, and determination.

When the entire world finds itself in a battle, we must do everything we can to be wise and support one another to fight the COVID-19 virus. (–> CDC Guidelines).

And yet, times like these reveal the uncertainty of life and our need for greater strength beyond ourselves, for a truth that transcends all understanding, and a hope that we are never alone.

Written in the 5th century, St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer is exactly what I need today in 2020, and I hope it speaks to your soul as well.

Praying this for all my fellow humans today! Be wise and look to the source of all Wisdom.

Excerpts from St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension

• • •

I arise today, through
God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me

I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul

• • •

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise.

• • •


A few additional items:

For the full prayer and historical background, read more HERE.

One of my favorite apps, Abide, produced this meditation on the Breastplate Prayer – I highly recommend as a peaceful way to fall asleep tonight, or for a 15 minute respite from the day!

As we’re all dreaming of spring and life returning to normal, here are a few scenes of green from last spring!

Spring is Coming

March. Day one of a new month. When the calendar transitions from winter to spring, even if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

Last year, on March 1, it was a surprise snow day!

H & S love the snow!

No snow today, or even much at all this year…yet I have felt the weight of this winter season.

It’s been a long, dark winter.

Today, the sun shines but the bitter cold still bites

The days are getting longer but frigid gales still blow

The defrosting begins but a snow storm could threaten.

This season, this weather

It mirrors the winter of my soul

How do I survive?

How do I go on?

With patience

Perseverance

With hope that anchors the soul.

Spring will come again.

Birds will start to sing.

Buds will begin to bloom.

Bulbs buried deep in the earth will reappear.

Color and newness will emerge.

Life will begin again.

I feel the longing for spring, for newness, for the resurrection of creation deep in my soul. And yet it’s simply a reflection of the ultimate Resurrection – of Christ conquering death and the regeneration He offers all of us. May our yearning for spring point us to Him.

Tulip bulbs, the Keukenhoff, The Netherlands, 2018