sabbath

This Sabbath day we intended to take a road tour of Northern New Mexico churches. There was no way we intended to try to see them all, so we decided to filter by gender. We would visit seven girl churches. That was doable.

But as is our wandering way, we ended up at only two girl churches – La Inmaculada Concepcion Church, and Church of the Immaculate Conception. It was a Virgin Mary kind of day.

We prayed from Daily Prayer for all Seasons.

We prayed Terce (mid-morning)

and Vespers (evening).

In between we visited the Rio Grande Gorge,

spotted interesting Earthships,

amazing vistas,

and took in a movie. Fantastic Fungi. This wrapped up our personal movie festival, having also seen The Farewell, Little Women, and Blinded by the Light.

We ended this Sabbath Day with a New Mexico sunset.

Home tomorrow.

Traveling mercies.

resonance

This morning I’m thinking about resonance.

Last night I attended an invitation-only reception for the art exhibit Elemental Resonance. Works by sculptor, Dean Pulver,

I looked up the definition of resonance and found a detailed physics explanation. I also found this:

“People who are not very good at singing sound much better while singing in the shower because the pure notes emitted are resonated in the shower cubicle. The bathroom is enclosed space and sometimes small; as you sing the sound waves hit the walls more frequently causing the wall to vibrate since the walls are parallel to each other.”

I don’t imagine Dean was thinking about singing in the shower as he created his sculpture pieces. But after experiencing the pieces myself, it feels like sound-creating to me.

Though fixed and stationary, there is movement. The shadows cast from the hanging sculptures move in shades and in texture.

I happen to know Dean. He’s the husband of a long time friend. She’s a ceramicist and we have visited their home and art studios a number of times.

It is a privilege to have seen some of the works early in their creation.

The pieces last night filled me with a sense of wonder. Of delight. It’s clear they resonated with me.

convergence

Taos (New Mexico) is “an art colony, a world-class ski resort and a place of convergence – of culture, of opposites, of like minds and new perspectives”, according to visittaos.org.

It’s so true. I’m reminded of a conversation I had a few years ago when we stopped by the Taos Pueblo Farmers Market. It was winter, yet fresh tomatoes and other vegetables were available. That led to a presentation more than a conversation, about the importance of natural resource smarts in this place of traditional scarcity.

The point was that all three cultures that make up the history and presence in this place – Native American, Spanish, and Anglo – all have lived by the imperative to be prudent in the use of land and water.

This is heritage convergence.

I’ve seen convergence in housing as well. What we would consider traditional (sometimes with a difference in materials – like adobe construction); Earthships, Pueblos found on Native America reservations.

A visit to Taos Pueblo a few years ago was so interesting, even in light of restrictions imposed about where we could walk and if we could take photographs.

I’ve stayed in an Earthship.

Here’s Dobson House, perched atop a mesa.

Much of the structure is built underground and power is provided by solar panels. We stayed here for a number of years. In the end it was a bit too much off the grid and one two many times of being unable to leave because of impassable roads due to snow.

We returned to more traditional lodging in an adobe casa, where we’ve stayed for at least a decade.

There’s a convergence of faith traditions. I suppose you’ll find this most anywhere, but it feels personal here.

Christianity.

Hindu.

Sikh.

Peyotism.

I experienced what I call a “drum wash” several years ago. It was intense, and I have to say the extreme pain I had somewhere in my body (I can’t recall just where it was), disappeared. Perhaps I should see if I can find the drum woman again.

As my flight descends to Albuquerque, I see convergence of land-marks.

And snow!!!

I’m soon to set off to experience this place of convergence.

water buffalo

So I received a water buffalo a few days ago. It’s true.

My St. James Parish bought a water buffalo through Heifer International in my honor. I had served on the Vestry of St. James Episcopal Church for three years, and as Sr. Warden of the Vestry for the past twelve months, and I received this during the Annual Parish Meeting.

Seriously, a water buffalo.

There’s such a good story about Shonavan Khutun, a participant of Heifer’s Nepal program, whose life went from utter despair to genuine prosperity after receiving a water buffalo and extensive training from Heifer.

She was living with her parents in rural Bangladesh in 2013, when she was 23. She was rarely allowed to leave her own house, and her economic prospects were bleak. But all of that changed with a gift from Heifer.

With Heifer’s support, Shonavan was able to buy a water buffalo, which she rented out to neighbors for draft power. With each new season, she built her profits and today owns four animals.

When I read her story, I hear: Tenacity. Ingenuity. Teamwork. Faith. Promise.

Anyway, our Priest in Charge, Doris+, believing there are similarities in tenacity, strength, and teamwork – and of course, faith – between Shonavan and myself, purchased the gift of a water buffalo in honor of my Sr. Warden ministry at St. James.

This feels like high praise for me. A note from Doris+ noted, “You persevered as a faithful servant with joy in pain and vision in confusion” (a reference to my car accident). I’m grateful for these words, and for this gift.

I visited the Heifer website to learn more about the gift of a water buffalo. Check this out:

The benefits of owning a water buffalo.

Water buffalo are gentle giants that allow farmers to plant four times as many crops, allowing them to sow fields in days that once took weeks to plant by hand.

Your gift of a water buffalo will provide rich milk that is high in protein and nutrients. Water buffalo also make farming easier by tilling fields and providing fertilizer. People in the marshlands of India, southeastern Asia and parts of South America depend on water buffalo more than any other animal.

What this gift provides.

Increased crop yield. Milk. Nutrition. Steady, dependable income. Education and training. Community sustainability. Fertilizer. Self-reliance.

Oh. I also received a tiara.

Now I turn toward other ways to serve St. James. I have some ideas, and I expect more to be revealed. After all, I have a water buffalo and could travel.

food for body and soul again and again

I love coming to Houston for the ways in which I am fed.

At the top of the list is being with my best friend. There is nourishment in reunion and familiarity. In laughter and in tears. In understanding my hard walk and offering a hand.

And then there’s Tex-Mex food. Gosh I miss good Tex-Mex food. So while I’m here, that’s my food of choice.

After I arrived we drove straight to La Lucha restaurant where a great feast was enjoyed.

A short stop at home and soon it was time for church. At “my” church, at least what was my church when I left Houston. Christ Church Cathedral.

We were there for the 5pm Celtic Holy Eucharist service.

Welcome to this holy place.

Friend and stranger, saint and sinner, all who gather here.

Worship was exquisite.

Sufficient nourishment for one day. Followed by much needed rest. I thought I could soar, but found out I’m only ready for short practice flights.

The next morning it was time to begin again. We began the day at Slowpokes, a sloth and snail-themed coffee shop. Perfect for me.

Yes, even the bathroom carried the theme.

Next up were spa pedicures. So many choices!

Then off to see Knives Out. It was enormously entertaining – all the while reclining on heated stadium chairs.

Then off for more Tex-Mex dining at Superica.

Oh my, it was fabulous!

A bit of shopping in a favorite store, and I was done in all over again.

Happily exhausted once again.

Today it was back to Slowpokes.

and then to The Color Factory.

This was a hands-on color adventure and activity, audience participation, and goody-filled fun!

Great fun!!

This afternoon an attempt was made to figure out how to light the gas-fired fireplace in the living room. We watched YouTube how-to over and over. And over and over we heard “if you smell gas get out of the house. Don’t use your telephones. Get outside and ask someone to call the fire department.” Yikes!

I was the most spooked, but remained nearby offering frequent suggestions of whom we might call

In the end, clearer heads prevailed and we went outside to have a gas-free, wood-burning fire, in the fire pit. A lot more soothing and safer.

Tonight – Texas tradition – black eyed peas for luck. And ribs because we love ribs!! So good!

vigilant

Today I’m at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport. I’m experiencing another milestone as I travel wheelchair-assist free!

Evan helped me navigate bag drop-off in order to check my bag. From there I was on my own.

Pulling my small onboard bag, I walked off into wheelchair-free travel.

I was soon aware of the need for me to be vigilant. Super vigilant. No one is paying heed to me, to my tenuous uprightness. I find freezing in place with arms ready to flail and vocal chords at the ready to give a shout-out is good preparedness.

I navigated one elevator, then switched to escalators and trains. And walking. Lots of steps today.

I’m so aware of my new ability. My new reality this day.

It felt unfamiliar to walk and ride, moving about as I wished. However it soon became familiar.

I’m so grateful. I have prayed for healing. I know others have prayed on my behalf. I know there is still healing to be had. But right now is right now.

I’m in my chair; soon to be my chair in the sky.

Traveling mercies.

records

I’m interested in records.

I wear a Fitbit to track the number of steps I walk each day. My goal used to be 10,000 steps per day, and I was able to meet that goal most days. Fitbit comes with encouragement. I receive texts when I’m close to the goal.  “Only xx steps to go.” Or, the best text, “Nailed it!”

One of the things I love about Fitbit is the Badge Collection. The first badge earned is the Marathon badge. It means one has walked 26 miles. It goes on from there.The Serengeti (588 miles), the Great Barrier Reef (1600 miles), and the Monarch Migration (2580 miles) and so on. You never know when you will be presented with a new badge, but when I am, I’m joyous! Another record. All because I count steps.

In recent months I’ve been sorely set back in my daily goal. Actually I put my Fitbit away for a few months.  As I began to heal, I thought about wearing my Fitbit again. I started with a small goal – 100 steps a day. I’ve upped the number of steps slowly. Currently my goal is 2500 steps per day, and I’m soon to move the goal to 3000.

In the midst of this step slow-down, though, I earned my Russian Railway badge- the equivalent of 5,772 miles. Whoo hoo!

Another thing I count are trips I take by air. Back in 1985 I learned to fly once again, and now I am up to 406 trips (that’s at least 816 separate flights).  I’ve averaged  12 trips a year for 34 years. One flight a month for 34 years. That’s some kind of record.

I’ve flown just 10 trips this year. I’m going to have to take extra trips for a few years to maintain my record of 12 per year. Now that’s a challenge I’m ready to embrace.

All this to say I’ll be on my way to Houston tomorrow. I’ll leave in 2019 and return a few days later in 2020.

A new year. I’ll be glad to have 2019 in my rear-view mirror. Literally.

Traveling mercies.

The Wily Adversary

A big part of my growing-up years was fly fishing. When my sister, brother and I reached grade school age, we were schooled in fishing by our parents.

At first we used a worm on a hook, strung on a fancy bamboo fishing rod. This was a relatively easy way to learn to fish. It was exciting to catch a fish. and it brought a certain amount of satisfaction, along with praise from our parents who both had a passion for fishing. Fly fishing to be exact.

This is my dad.

The goal, of course, was for the kids to move on from being “wormers” – yes, that is a real term, to becoming polished fly fishing persons. If you ever reverted to fishing with a worm, it was a moment of real shame. The reverse was pride in one’s self and membership in the elite family of fly fishing.

Well yes, this was a long time ago.

There was real joy in this pastime. It required skill, which often brought success. It was solitary, as the protocol for fly fishing was to go solo. At the end of the day it was great fun to gather and show off the “catch”. And then fry them up for dinner!

While I don’t fish anymore, part of my identity remains that of a fly fishing woman. I became quite adept at doing battle with the wily adversary. My fishing vest – complete with flies still attached to the sheepskin – still hangs in my closet.

A few years ago, a new vanity license plate that supports the organization Trout Unlimited was issued. I got myself to the DMV soon after. To add a bit of sweetness to this act, it turned out the license design was done by a local artist. I drove straight from the DMV to Broderick Crawford’s gallery in town. He was thrilled to walk outside to take a look because he had yet to see his artwork displayed on any car.

For a number of reasons the placing of this license plate on my new car was significant. For one thing it had been pretty mangled in my Miata accident. Fortunately Evan was able to straighten it out enough to pass DMV inspection in order to install the plate on Sarton. Now a piece of the old is affixed to the new.

It’s me placing my identity on this car. As I re-define parts of my identity, I retain much of the old, while establishing the new.

Soren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher and theologian, said Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

So with a glance back to explain the import of my recent action, I’ll now turn to the road ahead. I’ve many miles to go.

Traveling mercies.