an update on new adventures

My chiropractor saw me wander in with a new book today, and casually asked me, “so, how many books do you read in a month?” I seesaw between boredom with reading options and personifying Belle, but apparently I’ve been doing a lot more of the latter lately.

Perhaps it’s fitting, as I just discovered a few weeks ago that I will be headed back to school in the fall. To seminary (trust me, I’m just as surprised as you are), dipping my toes into the realm of theology and the Church. You’ve probably seen it coming, with the amount of sermons I’ve posted here over the past year.

This blog won’t change all that much. It will still be reflection/musings-based, and once I acquire another DSLR, there will be more pictures of creative endeavors. I’ve been painting and baking a lot this year, and at some point, that will make it onto the blog. Overall though, I hope to keep this place as thoughtful and creative as possible.

I’ve updated my bio on the About page to reflect my current journey.

As always, do feel free to get in touch. If you’re a fellow blogger, I’d love to check out your corner of the internet, so head over to the contact page or leave a comment.

If you’re one of my long-time readers… thanks for being on this journey with me!

Taking Stock in a Freeze Frame

making a lot of really terrible watercolor sketches of flora and fauna. I’ve been posting the good ones on my Instagram page recently.

drinking tea, as per usual. I’m starting to fall into a rut with my morning brew, however. I think I need to try some new teas and add them into my daily rotation. Lately I’ve been craving the cinnamon-y goodness that is the House Harvest blend from House of Steep. Fortunately I was able to restock on this one a few weeks ago!

wanting sleep. On the bright side, it is a simple request. On the not-so-bright side, there’s still 48+ hours until the next morning I can sleep in.

watching a netflix documentary series called Chef’s Table which is really brilliant. It’s only feeding my current obsession in regards to food/cooking/baking.

reading a couple of things. I’m still finishing Walden, still working on Pure Act, just started Four Loves. I think I need a novel to read. (Also, I think I’m becoming one of those multiple-books-at-one-time people and I’m not a fan.)

listening to Delta Rae’s new EP, Vanessa Carlton, and a random assortment thanks to Spotify’s new Daily Mix playlists.

eating nothing at the moment. I did, however, rediscover the joy of creamy goat cheese spread on marble rye bread a few nights ago, which is something I plan on repeating.

wishing that it wasn’t snowing on March 31st (thanks Boston…).

enjoying watercoloring every day, and taking things slowly in my free time. I’ve been rushing around a lot this year to try and finish paperwork for various things, and I’m finally at a point that is mostly paperwork-free. I’m enjoying that.

hoping that spring arrives at some point so I can resume almost-daily walks out of doors.

needing to know whether I should repot several succulents that have decided to shoot up by inches over the past few weeks. I also need to decide what dessert I’m making this weekend for Sunday dinner.

following almost nothing, actually. The only thing I’ve been keeping an eye on recently has been my Instagram feed, which is filled with art and lots and lots of baking goodness.

feeling tired, but peaceful.

wearing nothing interesting. I did discover, however, on a recent trip, that most of my wardrobe is black, which makes for an interesting dig through a suitcase.

bookmarking mostly recipes. Like this Simnel Cake from Make Ready the Feast (yay liturgical eating!) and this Rugelach recipe from NYT Cooking.

loving creativity in all of its forms.

pause

Pausing

to be brave

to live beauty

to exist greater than the sum of all my small parts

as I awake to

the sound of sunrise

the pause

the beginning of prayer

 

I have the greatest of intentions, at least. My vow this Lent was to write something every day. Not just Instagram post captions or scribbles on a post-it, but actual, intentional writing. Admittedly, I have more days that not when I can’t find time to put down a word, or don’t even want to.

Last week, I traveled back to Virginia for business, and spent a long weekend seeing friends. A beautiful, holy time, but I arrived back in Boston exhausted, just in time to host a retreat group from my church back home at the monastery here. Another beautiful, holy time.

These last few weeks have conspired against my Lenten discipline, and here I am, disappointed in myself for not practicing the very intentionality I try to live in this monastic life. I am reminded, however, that one of the worst ways to respond to these personal failures is self-criticism and guilt. It’s almost as if the evil one attempts to wring out every last drop of darkness from these moments, and traps us in this spiral of self-destructive gloom.

This morning, instead of “getting to work” and writing, I slowly cleared my desk, brushed the dust off my watercolors, and spent an hour and a half painting. Working slowly, pulling green watery strands from my brush, not guilt-tripping myself for whatever else I could be doing during my prayer hour.

It was, as you might say, a pause. A way to remember that I am not the sum of what I do. My being is not wrapped up in what I accomplish or fail to accomplish (that even includes Lenten spiritual disciplines). I wrote the poem above in reflection of this, ironically fulfilling my Lenten discipline by postponing it.

Remember that you too, are greater than the sum of your small parts.

saying yes

Lately I’ve caught myself wondering what would have happened if I hadn’t said yes. If I hadn’t said yes to being here, to living in a monastery for a year. Yes to living an overwhelming, transforming, grace-filled life, full stop, day and night, up close and personal.

Yet here I am. Two thirds of the way through my year of monastic life. Of raw, intensely personal, life in community. Of 16hr days and never quite enough sleep. Of living into God’s silence through my own (sometimes that is the best answer).

I can’t think of where I would be right now if not here. After I said yes, there was no Plan B. And like Lucy Pevensie, I am gently reminded that nobody is ever told what would have happened.

But without this time and space, this year of service, this monastic experience, I would loose all the ways in which saying yes has changed me. The beginning of internalizing what it means to be a praying people, the humility to deny the “I” and be a part of “we”, the friendships and experiences of the last six months.

Looking around me, I know too that I would be without the parts of myself that I have discovered or rediscovered in this time. The crocheting sitting in a massive pile on my desk, bits of watercolor paper strewn about my workspace, a canvas sitting in the “awkward stage”, waiting for final details. More letters written, fewer social media posts made. A colony of plants gorging on late afternoon sun in my windowsill. Less makeup, more thinking, reflecting, writing, reading. An appreciation for naps and unscheduled time. A rediscovered love of cooking and baking (I now haunt the cookbook aisle at bookstores too).

I don’t know what will happen when I say yes to the next adventure.

But I know that I will, whatever it may be.

p.s. if you’re a young person interested in doing a year of service, take a look at the opportunities at Episcopal Service Corps.