Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Listening

Advent haiku and more

a day
unlike all others
wakes unannounced

I first posted this piece three years ago. The last three years brought major changes for all of us. With a few edits, here’s what I said then, and need to hear again today.

Writing haiku is an exercise in listening. Slowly. Without preconceptions. Without urgency. Without wondering when the alarm will go off to jolt me into action.

I readily admit that being retired is an advantage. Yet my internal life doesn’t always remember what it means to be retired. Much less where to focus long, patient listening that does more than take me in circles.

Three years ago, an on-line retreat invited me to write one haiku a day not just during Advent, but for the next six months. As a daily exercise it put the brakes on my urge to do something. It turned my attention toward nature and our Creator, and invited me to make new connections.

The haiku above suggests life is a daily gift to each of us from our Creator. A page-turner. An open, still-being-written adventure lived one day at a time. A puzzler without answers or clues at the back of the book. One of a kind.

Today, thanks to Covid-19, I’m enjoying Sabbath rest and the first day of Advent at home. I pray each of you takes time to listen with your heart and rest in the one-of-a-kind person you are.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 3 December 2017, reposted 29 November 2020
Photo found at pinterest.com, Sunrise in North Dakota

breathless air

breathless air hangs
beneath steel-gray sky —
birds take cover

That’s what I saw outside our kitchen window this morning. Not the little bird, but the calm before a snow storm making its way up the East Coast. Right now the first flakes are coming down steadily. And I’m going into hibernation mode!

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 December 2017
Photo found at pinterest.com

Advent haiku and more

a day
unlike all others
wakes unannounced

During this Advent season I’m participating in an on-line retreat. An opportunity to slow down, listen with my heart, notice what’s happening in my body, and rest in the person I’ve become after all these years.

Writing haiku is an exercise in listening. Slowly. Without preconceptions. Without urgency. Without wondering when the alarm will go off to jolt me into action.

I readily admit that being retired is an advantage. Yet my internal life doesn’t always remember what it means to be retired. Much less where to focus long, patient listening that does more than take me in circles.

The on-line retreat invites me to write one haiku a day not just during Advent, but for the next six months. As a daily exercise it puts the brakes on my urge to do something. It turns my attention toward nature and our Creator, and invites me to make connections.

The haiku above suggests life is a daily gift from my Creator. A page-turner. An open, still-being-written adventure lived one day at a time. A puzzler without answers or clues at the back of the book. One of a kind.

Today I’m enjoying Sabbath rest at home—taking care of a head cold that began Thanksgiving Day. Wishing for each of you quiet time to listen with your heart and rest in the one-of-a-kind person you are.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 3 December 2017
Photo found at pinterest.com, Sunrise in North Dakota

Chewing My Cud

~~~~~A tarine cow chewing the cud near the Habert de la Dame

Dear Friends,

Today’s Daily Prompt is ruminate.  You know—chewing the cud. Turning things over and over and over. Mashing them around. Trying to make digestible what might be indigestible. Spitting out what reminds me of liver and okra. Swallowing the rest and hoping the outcomes are good for me.

So what’s this post all about? Several things. Please note I need no sympathy. In fact, I abhor it. I’d rather have empathy or even your listening ear. You don’t have to like it, agree with it, think about it, try to solve it, or come back for more. If all you do is read with a listening ear, I’ll be deliriously grateful.

So let’s start with my health. It’s on my mind daily. Maybe that’s what happens in the golden years—things just sort of moosh together and feed on each other relentlessly.

The list gets longer: heart arrhythmia and heartbeat speed or lack thereof; non-diabetic hypoglycemia; jaw bone loss of memory and inability to function properly; kidneys showing signs of aging; on glaucoma watch with nothing to report lately; IBS ever with me and I with it; still allergic to chocolate; caffeine considered poison to my system; lactose and soy intolerant; those pesky little skin cancers that just seem to keep popping up; and whatever I forgot to mention or didn’t mention on purpose.

And yet.

I look around and am beyond grateful for this female body and the ability to care for it. I spend hours in the kitchen making sure the food train is ready to go, and cleaning up pots and pans. I have a lovely kitchen, enough food, water, cookbooks galore, and a pantry full of ingredients. Best of all, I have a kitchen dining area with a lovely view of our back yard, bird feeders, birds and bees, trees, shrubs, spring flowers, the sky, the occasional bunny rabbit, groundhogs, and did I mention squirrels or that stray cat?

Two days ago I was—and still am—sorrowful because another church friend died last week. Teared up all day. In church, out of church. Anxious about my health, given my age. Down in the dumps about the way this presidential election and outcomes have galvanized family, friends, neighbors and strangers against each other. I’m also lonely—feeling like Emily Dickinson’s poem from the inside out. Yet hungry for time alone, especially in the evening, and for music to sooth my spirit and bring on another wave of tears. Vulnerable and grateful.

And yet.

That very evening I had fallen apart. Out of control in the space of a heartbeat. Storming around the attic overwhelmed by messiness. We’re making great progress up there. Yet the messiness freaked me out. Not just my messes, but you-know-who’s messes. To say nothing about how I’ve been cleaning up (other peoples’) messes all my life and I’m sick and tired of it and I won’t take it anymore!

What’s going on? What if I tried something different next time? I don’t have answers. That’s why I’m writing about it. My way of ruminating. Out loud.

Thanks for listening, and not trying to solve my stuff. Empathy is also deeply appreciated.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 7 March 2017
Photo found at braemoor.co.uk

Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Ruminate

In my dead moments | From an Old Soul

Do you recognize this tactic? I do. My comments follow.

July 24

My soul this sermon hence for itself prepares:–
“Then is there nothing vile thou mayst not do,
Buffeted in a tumult of low cares,
And treacheries of the old man ‘gainst the new.”—
Lord, in my spirit let thy spirit move,
Warning, that it may not have to reprove:–
In my dead moments, master, stir the prayers.

George MacDonald, Diary of an Old Soul
Augsburg Fortress Press 1994

What’s on MacDonald’s mind as he begins this sonnet?

Restlessness. He doesn’t like the stillness, the apparent absence of God. Read the rest of this entry »

Faculty Wife | Part 12

1974 Mr. Rogers event ND

Time to get back to being a Faculty Wife! In case you don’t remember, we’re in the early 1970s. I’m home alone most weekdays with our baby daughter and toddler son.

I don’t know Read the rest of this entry »

Listening

Is it any wonder children loved Amy Carmichael?  This past week I’ve sometimes wished for an Amy to make a happy appearance in my life.  Instead, I found this lighthearted yet fully realistic take on life when things aren’t quite the way we’d like them to be.  So now I’m listening for bubbles! Read the rest of this entry »

No pretense, no apologies, no regrets | Dear Diane,

ALS is relentless.  Diane’s loss of speech happens in stages.  More than anything else, it steadily brings her ‘normal’ life to a screeching halt.  No more easygoing give and take with Diane around a meal or cup of tea or coffee. Read the rest of this entry »

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