Sunday, April 29, 2012


Ink Stains

The  thanksgivings of
images or ideas
that linger with me
while they test their wings,
still damp with the
blue love of birth.

c. MperiodPress 

I wrote this after noticing my hands yesterday as I penned several pages in my journal.  I looked down and saw the filled in fingerprints of thumb and index finger and random splotch on my left hand from an errant drip in the inking of my pen.  It didn't bother me..these were the birthmarks of words, ideas, images brought forth from listening for them, and setting them onto the page...which, really, is only a resting place...

This experience came back to me this morning as I consider this Good Shepherd/Vocation Sunday in the liturgical cycle.  I thought about the shepherd who knows all the the shepherd must somehow bear the mark of each one in eye and heart to be able to distinguish one from another.  And likewise, each sheep bears the mark of the shepherd's voice, likely the first human voice to welcome it into the world.  

Each is bound to the other.

Likewise, we are each borne in the eye and heart and hand of God...and we each bear the mark of God in our very being-ness...the creative expression and image of God in our self and all that incorporates.  I find myself considering my own vocation and how it is as though through time and circumstance, prayer and discernment, challenge and acceptance, that there is not so much distance there as there once was.  Love is the indelible mark that names us as God's own and I have learned to give in to my desire for that a sense, to let Love respond to Love.  There is a sense of wholeness, an ever growing  "union and conformity with the Heart of Jesus," as our Constitutions puts it, that comes from responding to the call of Love.  Responding again and again and again...because the call of God is unceasing, ever inviting, enticing, challenging, and the deepest sense of home that I know.  

And it seems that this Vocations Sunday is all about that...the invitation to finding that deep home in God.  Listening from there. Responding from there.  And letting what is birthed from that rest in the world, take wing in the hearts of others, and bring us all a little further along the journey.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Filling up and Spilling Over...

It began as an issue of volume when second graders were reading aloud in the global studies class I co-teach.  It became a remarkable conversation on the power of an individual voice and using that power well.

I have been without my regular speaking voice for about two weeks now...what I do have is at times crackly, squeaky, airy, or just plain absent.  This, naturally, has required a certain adjustment on my part as far as working with my students.  To that end, today I had second graders reading aloud Lon Po Po, the Chinese version of Little Red Riding Hood.  They did a fine job except when it came to volume.

I stopped everything about ten minutes before class was over and had the kids all push in their chairs, plant their feet, and stand strong.  "Now, what I'd like to you do," I croaked, alone in appreciating the irony, "is breathe without moving your shoulders."  We spent a number of moments talking about the power of the voice living somewhere just above the belt and how breath should fill us out, not up.  Speaking from there allows the speaker to fill a space with voice, not a yell or a screech, but a full, round, voice.  We used the imagery of a balloon--the rounder the balloon, the more full the balloon, the more space the balloon takes.  The rounder the voice, the more full the voice...the more space the voice fills...

"But!, it is not only your voice that can fill a room... One person can also fill a room with quiet."

One child turned her head toward her shoulder and asked "How do you do that?"

I said nothing. But looked out the window.

She said nothing.

Soon no one was saying anything.

After a moment or two passed, the same child said "That's how..."

And we closed class talking about how that sort of quiet felt, the full round-ness of quiet--how we were all there, each one, with all of our thoughts, with all that we each have in our hearts...not at all empty...but yes, quiet...and the choice they have in whether to fill a space with their voice or with quiet...both exceedingly powerful options that they already have at their age.  And how important it is to enjoy these important it is practice those options, learn from them, how to use them, share them, set them free for the sake of believe that they can fill a space, that they are worthy of being heard in full voice or accompanied in full quiet....and that they can help make it okay for others, too.

I was so incredibly grateful at the end of class for the opportunity to share that with my kids.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Different View

At the invitation of Silvana, here is a different look at Quiet Mind--this one using Wordle.

It’s a visual representation of word frequency in a block of text—the larger the font, the more frequent the use.

It is certainly an interesting and clear way to see themes...God, mind, quiet, thoughts, images, glorious (twice!)... but I love even more the "throw it in the pot and stir" spill of language that allows words to settle into new places and create even more.  I am rather fond of frequently well-thumbed as well as wonder loving Glorious pairing-quiet God is one of my favorites.  And there are even short poems all on their own...Open sat vastness/blooming God's glorious images.  Or perhaps a new invitation...Write revelation moon.

This Wordle excersise makes me realize in a new way the generative life within well selected words.  As a writer, I put them together in a certain way to create certain images or convey particular ideas.  But clearly, tossed together in a different way, those same words have much more to say, reveal.

Frankly, I think that's cool.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Quiet Mind

Think glorious thoughts of God and serve God with a quiet mind.  Janet Erskine Stuart, Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart, 1911-1914.

I love this quotation. In fact, it occurs to me as I write this that perhaps I have written of it before.  No calls to me anew, as a book of poetry frequently does, however well-thumbed.

Writer and educator that Janet Stuart was, I have no doubt that choosing her words was a conscious process of selection. Pairing glorious with quiet is part of the resonance in this for me.  Allowing those two images to flow together is something like the fullness of a waterfall being heard in the slow revelatory blooming of a springtime bud.

Glorious thoughts of God...for me, these are thoughts of the vastness of God, the limitless nature of God's love, the motivating faith that good will triumph and death will have no hold and we are called to believe that glory and act on that glory with those around us to bring about a more peaceful, just, loving world.   Glorious thoughts are thoughts of wonder and thanksgiving and marvel at the quotidian revelation of God's love.

A quiet mind is not a silent mind, nor is it still.  I think of quiet as open, receptive, alert, awake, steady.

Holding those images together speaks to me of courage, too...of a constant and humming Yes to God and to life and to lives.

As I sat here tonight and watched the sun go down, casting her threads of light among the branches and fresh-alive greenness of leaves, weaving a hammock for the moon, I prayed

"Let it be so now and forever. Amen."

(image is from

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Holy Thursday, 2012

Holy Thursday

Forget nothing
of this night’s meal
doing the dishes.

That can wait.

the difficult
honor of love…


c. MperiodPress