Archive for December, 2011

I feel like I need to be here today:

Chapel of the Transfiguration at Camp Mitchell

Cliff view at Camp Mitchell ... one of the most peaceful places on Earth.

 And he will lift you up on eagle’s wings,
Bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun,
And hold you in the palm of his hand.


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Peace Be With You

And Also With You

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Emily and her BFF Lily at last year's Cathedral School Christmas pageant.

I attended the winter program at Emily’s school this morning. She has been so excited, singing all the songs and reciting her lines for weeks.

I have to admit that my husband and I have been giggling about it because it’s one of those holiday programs that tries to be all things to all people. Hannukah, Kwanza, Baby Jesus, Santa – it’s all in there. We even joked that the costumes were going to be gray unitards ala the South Park episode where the Christmas pageant ends up being about a dolphin because they have to take out any references to anything that will offend anyone (I tried to find it on You Tube. Alas, I was unsuccessful).

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m all about diversity. I’m truly pleased she’s learning more about world cultures and religions. It’s just that all of this is very, very different from where we were a year ago, when my son was playing the Archangel Gabriel and Emily was flying down the aisles to “Angels We Have Heard on High” in the Cathedral School Christmas pageant.

Emily and her classmates did very well this morning. It’s a darling little play with cute songs. Most of the students have lines, and they all delivered them well. It was fine. But it wasn’t 100 voices reciting the Christmas story according to the Gospel of Matthew in perfect unison. It wasn’t the choristers singing “O Holy Night” in two-part harmony and nailing it.

I got in my car afterwards and broke down crying.

Most every day, I walk forward without looking back at what we lost when the school closed after 54 years. My children are thriving in their new school environments, so I know I should be thankful. But today, I’m pissed off, and I’m going to wallow in it, thank you very much.

My family has 19 pageant performances between us – nine for me, four extras for my brother, and six for my children. It just isn’t Christmas to me without dancing angels, flying angels and curtain angels. Just one more time I’d love to hear “Once in Royal David’s City” and “Lo! How a Rose ‘ere Blooming.”

I need my fix! Or, rather, something inside me needs fixing. Same difference here.

This isn’t a Christmas song, but it’s my go-to song when my heart hurts. I’ve listened to it over and over in the last few months. There’s something about it that soothes me, and it fits perfect for today.

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I learned a few good lessons during my 30 Days on Shuffle project.

1. Like exercise, I can rarely motivate myself to write a post every day. At best, I can expect to carve out an hour or so once a week, write a bunch of posts, and then schedule them to make it appear that I’m posting every day. So, the goal to give myself time to write everyday? Still a work in progress.

2. I care way too much about my “traffic.” I’m swearing off checking my stats from now on. If I’m going to write, then I’m going to write. Hey, at least my parents are reading, right?

3. I do better if I have a theme or a project.

With that last one in mind, I’m embarking upon a new project for December: The Peace Project. My life feels very chaotic right now. Add the rush of the holidays to that and it’s down right overwhelming. So every day (or at least a few times a week), I pledge to post a memory, song, quote or thought that brings a moment of peace to my heart, mind and soul.

Today’s quote comes from my dear friend Joanna Seibert. I’ve known her since I was very young. I grew up with her children at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. She’s a pediatric radiologist at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and a deacon in the Episcopal church. She’s always been a calming influence, being a very wise, soft-spoken woman.

A few years ago, Emily fell at school and hit her million dollar head (it may actually be worth more or less, depending on the cost of brain surgery and hardware at any given moment). We ended up at the ER at Children’s.  I was standing over Emily in the CT Scan when I felt a hand on my back and a voice said, “Bless you. Are you okay?” It was Joanna. And suddenly, yes, I was okay. That’s the effect she has on everyone around her.

Every day since May 24, when The Cathedral School closed so suddenly and our hearts were broken, Joanna has sent an email with a prayer to a small group of parents, supporters and friends. It’s an amazing ministry she’s doing, as it connects us and restores us when we feel fragile. This morning, she sent this:

“Prayer sent  from God to each of us today: Good Morning! I will be handling ALL your problems today. I will NOT need your help. So, have a good day. Amen”

I can’t think of a more peaceful message. It’s hard for me to give up control of  my spiritual “to-do list.” This is a wonderful reminder that I don’t have to worry so much all the time. I just have to do the hard work of letting go. It makes me want to sigh and smile in relief.

Peace be with you.

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