Wednesday, June 24, 2015

En Joy

That is the word I came to at the end of my time with God this morning.
En   JOY

When I was a 12 year old girl and joining the Presbyterian Church we learned some of the Westminster Catechism and the first question and answer is still with me.  In all of its male language:

What is the chief end of man?
Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.

As I sat down in prayer this morning I found myself going over the tasks of the day - what needs to be done.  And finally wrote them down in my journal to get rid of them.  There are times it takes me a while to settle down and just be and see and hear what is present in this moment.  And when I do I find myself remembering God is here always.  Sounds simple and obvious but I keep forgetting and go into this place of action and inaction but not presence.  if that makes sense.
This is what I wrote this morning
"I remember that I can trust you, Lord
I can trust your way of letting go
I can trust your subtle and constant guidance
I can trust your love for me despite my waywardness and inattention.

My reading of Broken Open was about "Practicing Death"  meaning living in awareness of the reality of death.  She writes: "If you really want to have fun in life, if you really want to play - then it helps to come to terms with death."  She quotes Joseph Campbell that "the conquest of the fear of death is the recovery of life's joy."

Mary Oliver's wonderful poem, "The Summer Day" ends like this:
   " Doesn't everything die a last, and too soon?
   Tell me, what is it you plan to do
   With your one wild and precious life?"

And of course, we want the answer to be - that we want to LIVE - to really be alive in our life.  And Elizabeth Lesser's book is helping me to remember that as I learned as a girl and did not really understand - the purpose of life is to glorify God and enjoy God - which is to say to live our authentic lives with joy and peace and love and resist the way of fear and anxiety and ego. 
 She writes:
"we can practice death by becoming conscious of the ways in which we resist life, we can practice death by approaching endings and partings and changes with more ease and faith. For a perso like myself - one whose fear of death has been a lifelong struggle and quest - practicing dying is indeed the practice of freedom."

And so I will tend to my to do list - but hopefully open to the many blessings of this day and the glimpses of the divine and enjoy every moment of this wild and precious life I have been given. 

Here is my prayer for this day.

May the God of JOY be with you,
bringing delight at the very thought of your place in God's creation.
May you be thrilled by God's presence in your life 
and may your heart overflow with gladness and sons as you celebrate the nearness of such a Lover.
May song burst from your heart in grateful praise and ever surround you as you reach out to others in love.
Maxine Shonk
May the God of JOY bless you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

In the Flow

That is how I have been feeling lately in many ways.  I am living in the flow of life.  Which means experiencing many things at the same time.

Sunday morning I worshipped at Northwest Christian Church in Columbus to give a little pitch to that congregation about the fundraising "Race" that we are planning for July 19th.  It was only on driving over by myself that I realized that 30 years ago - almost to the day - I was ordained at that church.
The worship for me was so deep and so wonder - full.
        *   I was able in giving my little commercial to mention that and thank the church for their support because their foundation literally paid for my seminary education.  I did not realize it at the time, but I was the first recipient of their scholarship fund. How incredibly blessed I was by them!
       *   As I sat in that sanctuary I remembered the young woman that I was in my time at that church and felt overwhelmed by emotion at times.  After worship I was able to connect with some of the folks who were there then as well as Bill Embree, a former member of First Christian Church in Zanesville who was important to me at that time. 
      *     Jeff Wheeler, the pastor, did a beautiful pastoral prayer in which he named all those who died on Wednesday in Charleston.  He gave their names and ages and it was powerful.  As Christians we can experience the truth of our deep connections and shared grief even with people we don't know.

The past three Sundays have been really remarkable for me as I have found myself - seeming by accident - in the three churches where I served in ministry besides Karl Road : First Christian Church, Zanesville; First Christian Church, Bowling Green and Northwest Christian Church.  And the memories of laughter and tears and great learning have just been amazing.

And I continue to slowly work my way through Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser.  In her chapter "No Birth, No Death" she writes about attending a talk by the Vietnamese Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh.  Here is what she wrote quoting him:

The idea of a self is an idea to be removed in order for you to touch reality. 
  The self is made of nonself elements.  The moment you realize that, you lose all your fear.
This body is not me.  These eyes are not me.  It is a mistake to identify yourself with this life span, to imagine that you are separated from anything else in space or time.  
You are everything at the same time.

These ideas stretch me, but I know that somehow when I am in what I call "the flow" I can let go of ego and boundaries and just live in wonder about the divine human connections that have been part of my creation and my creating.

There is grief and there is joy and they are all part of this wonder full life.  My prayer for myself is that I might be awake and aware to see and experience and enjoy it all!

This is why I say always - God is good, all the time.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Despair and Dulcimers

That is the title of the chapter I read this morning from Broken Open.  And it is an apt beginning to my day.

My heart hurts today.  Yesterday when I wrote my blog about the shootings in Charleston I did not know the overt racism of the shooter who came to shoot black people.  Since then I have been drawn to watching the news and hating it.  Hating it.

Particularly over the past ten years, I have been on a journey of a deepening understanding of the racism that is part of our country's heritage.  Jon Stewart last night said this: "Once again we have to peer into the abyss of the violence that we do to each other in the nexus of the gaping racial wound that will not heal and yet we pretend it doesn't exist. " 

So I sit in a place of sadness and a renewed awareness of the stain of racism and knowing that in my white privilege there will always be limits to my fully understanding what it is to be African American.  I went to the eye doctor this week and know that you can think you see better than you do. I recognize that I really want to believe that things are better than they are in this country.  In my  illusion of harmony, I think I take every instance of violent racism   as an instance and not want to put it together to really see the underbelly of hate that is alive and kicking.

I think about this man who shot 9 good people in a church of all places and know that his hate has been fed somewhere - through websites, books, others.  It does not just spring out of his own mind.
It is not just mental illness - but a remnant of what John Ridley calls the   "mass psychoses  that have endured in this country for about 160 years. You begin to understand why we have these very calcified views.”

The hateful divisions among people are not only racial.  This is the first time in 7 years that I will not be able to walk in the gay pride parade.  There we routinely encounter the terrible epithets of "Christians" who believe that gays are going to go to hell.  I  want to believe this is a small minority but the truth is that as we wait to see what the Supreme Court does with marriage equality we know that many people continue to  reject gays and use the Bible as their weapon.

So I begin this day  aware of what I never want to see - hate and ignorance that hurts our brothers and sisters and fractures our country.  This country that I love.

At  the same time I live my life as a woman of faith - believing in a God of love and grace and most of all UNITY.  I am a Disciple of Christ - big D as well as little d.  I am part of a "movement for wholeness in a fragmented world."  And so while I begin this day looking into the abyss, I know that God continues to work.

The historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church will grieve and mourn and come back to do their work of love, compassion and service to the community.  God will continue to open the eyes of all of us that need to see that the work of reconciliation is never done and that we are called to build bridges and live into the vision of unity of all people that is the Realm of God.

And despair will not have the last word.  Here is the poem by Rumi that Elizabeth Lesser shares:

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened.
Don't open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down the dulcimer.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kiss the ground.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Widening the Circle

"The problem with the world is that we draw the circle of our family too small."  Mother Teresa

I read another chapter of Broken Open this morning as Elizabeth Lesser writes about  "the way love will grow like an unruly cucumber vine if you give it enough time and space."  Like me, she was divorced and like me, afterward had relationships that were surprising.  She writes about caring for her ex-husbands son and how he became part of her family.  And that has certainly happened in my life as I  greatly enjoy and care about Eileen, Kelly and Christopher who are my ex husbands next three children as well as their mom.  Almost twenty years ago, I did the funeral for Chuck's ex wife as well as her sisters. I keep learning how our family can look different than anyone can imagine and certainly as a Christian the call is to welcome and to love.  Period.  The End.

Last night I heard about the horrific shooting in Baltimore that occurred during a Bible study.  And I completely understood how that can happen.  In the church family we try to be welcoming and loving of all people and a Bible study is often a place where we welcome the stranger.  I can think of several times over the years of Bible study at Karl Road where we were surprised by someone coming in that no one knew.  We would invite them in and encourage them to participate.  Because we know that the circle of believers has got to be wide and we have got to make room for all kinds of people.

However, I can remember when that person would at some point turn to me and say. "Pastor, can I talk to you in private?"  And then I would hear a story about need and a request for money.  And I would always feel disappointed that this person who seemed so interested in being part of our community and entering  into a relationship with God , was actually probably  pretending.  Then there was the dilemma of what to do.  We had a "policy" of not handing out money in the moment however, I distinctly remember feeling somewhat unsafe and then giving them money.  I have felt at times like this torn between the desire to welcome the stranger and the suspicion that the stranger may be mentally ill and dangerous.

So, when I read about these loving and faithful Christians who welcome a man into Bible study, I completely can relate.  We can have security systems and cameras in place but ultimately if we are going to be widening the circle, we are going to be vulnerable.
We  will always err on the side of love.
 That is what it means to follow Jesus. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Life All of It

Home again after a whirlwind weekend in Northwest Ohio.

We went to Bowling Green on Saturday and a party in honor of my retirement.  Brenda had tried to find a good Saturday for us to come and it turned out to be in June - which says how busy I have been and it was the perfect time. Especially because of the birth of Blair Donnelly - just three days before

She had a dozen women at her house for lunch and conversation and the men went to the church to play cornhole and have lunch.  I cannot overstate what it meant to me to see everyone.  We sometimes call a church a "family" and these "sisters" were so dear to me.  We did a lot of talking about the fun we had had during my years there and then, of course the catching up on the past dozen years.  I kept thinking about the book Broken Open because I could see how life breaks us open in so many ways - through deaths and struggles with health and children's problems.  But how good it is to be together and just sharing the journey with each other.

We worshiped Sunday morning at the church and I was so happy to be there.  I heard a wonderful sermon by their pastor Brent Pomeroy about faith and being excited because God is doing something. And that is definitely how I feel.  As we took communion,  I saw so many people whose lives had intersected with mine, people who have had some real challenges over the years, and know that we gather at the table of our Lord and receive communion and strength for this journey.  It was so good to see a church of people who really care about each other and continue to work together to serve.

And then Sunday afternoon we got to see Blair, Chuck's great granddaughter.  She was three days old!  As Chuck held her, it dawned on him that she was "his blood" - that she carries part of him.
It was just sweet to see it.
The text for the last few days have been about planting seeds with Friday about the parable of the sower.  Yesterday's scripture began like this:

26He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, 27and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how.

That verse speaks to me.  The growth that happens is so often hidden but happening.  And as I go back to a place where I once served as pastor, I see so much spiritual growth within a church that it just fills me with awe.  In some ways Saturday for me, was a time of "harvesting" as I got to just be with people and see that my time there had been good and fruitful.

At the same time I hope that I am still planting seeds and sitting in that place of waiting for the seeds to sprout and grow.  That is how I feel about these retirement days of wondering about what is next in terms of doing spiritual direction and retreat work.  I am planting seeds and waiting.

And so it is life - all of it.  planting seeds, growing and harvesting.  or new babies and grandparents and great grandparents. Life - in its fulness, mystery, and wonder.
Here's a good blessing for today

May the God of MEMORY be with you,
filling your mind and your heart with all the good God has done for you.
May you ponder with gratitude and wonder all the experiences of your life -
those that have empowered you and those that have challenged you to become all that God intends for you at this moment.
May you see your life held in the gentle hands of the God who has loved you from the very first.
May the God of MEMORY bless you. (Maxine Shonk)

Friday, June 12, 2015

By Faith

The reading for today is Hebrews 11 which begins with this familiar verse:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen

And then the writers lists people who live "by faith" - like Abel, Enoch, Noah and Abraham.  The verse about Abel is one I had not really thought about:
By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain’s.
  Through this he received approval as righteous, God himself giving approval to his gifts;
 he died, but through his faith he still speaks.

The story of Cain and Abel has always been an important one to me. It is two brothers who each offer a sacrifice to God: for Abel, the shepherd it is the firstborn of his flock; for Cain the farmer, it is produce of the land.  And God had regard for one and not the other.  Cain subsequently killed his brother.  When I have preached on this, I have focused on Cain.  His anger, the "sin crouching at the door," and God's ultimate mercy.

This morning I find myself thinking about Abel and his "faith" that enabled him to know what was an acceptable sacrifice.  On  reflection, that makes sense because I  believe that it is our deepening faith that enables us to "discern" what it is that God wants from us.  And then there is the punch in the gut that the "faithful" one is the one who gets murdered and then the realization that death - even here in this Genesis story - is not the end.  How about that?

This verse is a reminder that living "by faith" is very different from the success models of the world  and God's work is often hidden. 

This morning as I watched the news a technology CEO came on with a strong message about the velocity of change technologically in the world and how if companies and nations don't keep up we are going to be left behind.  As soon as I heard that I thought - that is an anxiety producing message!
Even for people like me who are out of the work force.  Just ask my grandchildren - I have trouble still using my I Phone!   I can so quickly feel left behind.

But I start this day trying to remember that God created me to be in relationship with God and my brothers and sisters.  And that I am called to live in the world but not of the world.  The message from Richard Rohr is about St Francis:

His phrase "left the world" did not mean leaving creation.
It meant leaving what we might call the "system."
 Francis left business as usual, and he began what he called an alternative life, which at that time was called "a life of penance" or abandoning the system.
 He decided to live a life focused on alleviating the needs and the suffering of others instead of a life of self-advancement.

And so my hope  is that somehow I really am living "by faith."  That my choices are coming out of my relationship with God and  like Abel discern the offerings that God wants from me.  And know that while the cultural message tends to be one of scarcity - God keeps promising us the abundant life. 

Here is a blessing for today

May the God of FAITH be with you,
sending you miracles and teaching you to expect them.
May God show you thinks that can be seen only in the darkness.
May our faith see you through the unknowns in your life, calling you to trust the unseen presence of god in them.
May your faith serve as a beacon to light the way for other pilgrims on the way.
May the blessing of FAITH be upon you.
(Maxine Shonk)

Thursday, June 11, 2015


I was struck this morning when I was watching the morning news with the story of the travelers in Malaysia who stripped naked on top of Mount Kinabalu and posted it on social media.  They were picked up at the airport and are now in jail for indecent behavior.  They disrespected a sacred place and according to some -  caused the earthquake that came a few days later. 

Eleanor Hawkins, one of the ten, was quoted by her father as being very sorry:
     "She knows what she did was stupid and disrespectful and she is very sorry for the offence she has caused the Malaysian people. She has never been in any sort of trouble before."

And as I read Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser, I wonder if this is one of these times that she is being "broken open. " There is nothing harder in life than those times of realizing that you really made a big mistake and there are consequences.  And there is nothing in life that is more important than those times when we recognize our humanity and our fallibility.  That is always the beginning of humility, compassion and wisdom.

Elizabeth Lesser writes about an affair that she entered into before the end of her marriage. And in the aftermath of it she learned alot about herself, life and God. She called this the ascent into the underworld and when you come out of it, you have lost your innocence and illusions.  She writes this:
"There is no more pretending that I could have a perfect life.  I knew now that I was a flawed being, capable of both sin and love.  From now on I could blame no one else for what happened in my life, nor could I look to anyone to save me.   My life was my own.  It was up to me to rechristen my evil with what was best in me........There is no getting around the fact that a Phoenix Process is both wounding and liberating."

Howard Ashman and Alan Menken write in the musical "Beauty and the Beast"

Tale as old as time,
Tune as old as song,
Bittersweet and strange,
Finding you can change,
Learning you were wrong.

This young woman,  Eleanor Hawkins is in jail right now awaiting a trial.  Now it is possible that her father did not speak for her.  It is possible that she continues to believe  that she had every right to strip down and that the Malaysian authorities are practicing a primitive faith and overreacting.  We have all kinds of ways to not admit our mistakes.

 But my hope is that she is aware of her insensitivity to others and is doing some real soul searching.  And my prayer is that in the midst of all of this struggle that she might encounter the presence of our God who loves her right now.

As I reflect on my own life, I can see lots of times that I have missed the mark and really had my priorities all messed up.  I also know that it is only because of these times, that I know intimately about the grace of God.  There is love for us  even when we  are stupid, selfish, unconscious and even hateful.  God's love never stops.

 It is because of the grace of God that we are able to live with ourselves.
 It is because of the grace of God that we are able to recognize the ways that we have really missed the mark.
 It is because of the grace of God that we are able to change.  And become someone new.

That is the "Phoenix Process"  That is the Gospel.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Memory Weekend

I am still recovering from a very busy weekend and on reflection what I realize is that I put myself in places of great memory for me.

First we had our annual Grandparents Camp at Camp Christian.  This camp for children who have finished K-2nd grade and their grandparents has grown over the past 8 years.  We started with about 20 and this weekend we had 87 participants.  I have been part of the leadership team from the very beginning and it is heartening to see the growth and to experience the true joy of watching the interaction of children and their grandparents.

I have been coming to Camp Christian at least one week a year for over thirty years.  I have counseled at Chi Rho Camp and Conference, been an assistant director at Chi Rho Camp for at least 12 years, been on faculty at Advance Conference for 15 years and a leader at Grandparents Camp for 8.  That is a lot of time.  And a lot of memories.  At Grandparents Camp this weekend I was  with the children of young people I knew from Advance Conference and some old friends from churches I have served. And then there are the places that are truly layered with memories - times spent with groups in the green chairs talking, doing Keynotes in the dining hall, fishing, dancing, singing.

And yesterday I went to First Christian Church in Zanesville and preached at their two morning services.  I served there from 1985 - 90.  Again I encountered people from my past as they reminded me of fun time and hard times we had experienced together.  And the places in the church brought up my own personal memories of leading Bible studies, working with youth, being in worship.

I think that the gift of memory allows us to have moments of true and deep gratitude for the people who have helped us through our life journey.  I found myself remembering the young woman I used to be and not only the fun and the joys of those years but also the times of struggle, doubt and confusion.  Both the church and Camp Christian have been places where I have served God but also places where I have experienced God and been supported by others.

It is hard to express the enormous blessing of a life in this kind of community.  Without a doubt there are stresses along the way - but the benefits of the love and spiritual growth that comes from a commitment to others truly outweigh it all.

I preached Sunday on the calling of the disciples which was also one of the stories that we taught the children at Grandparents Camp.  Jesus said: "I will make you fishers of men" (or people!) and I think the church tends to focus on the latter part of that statement.  So we talk about "Bring a Friend Sunday" and evangelism.   But what I see in my own life is the promise of  "I will make" - the promise of conversion for those who follow this countercultural way of love.  As I look back I can see how the church and camp have really been places for me of spiritual growth and support.

Yesterday Audrey's church in Lynchburg had a reception in honor of Audrey and Miranda as they are leaving Virginia to go to Arizona soon.  They found a church there that supported them and gave them opportunities to serve others.  I am sure they will find another one in Tuscan. And right now Alyse and Reagan are at Camp Christian for their first week of Chi Rho Camp.  It is so heartening to know that they will be encountering this holy place and are making their own memories.  

I have been looking back this weekend and encountering the younger Margot and seeing how God has slowly but surely been working on me over the years.  I am definitely on a journey of becoming more patient, peacefilled, loving  and trusting and both the church and camp have been true laboratories of love for me.  As I look back I see God as the companion guiding me over the years.

Here is a blessing by Maxine Shonk

May God the COMPANION be with you.
May you know God beside you, before you, behind you, above and below you.
May you be smothered by God's presence as you walk the path of your day.
May God's hands catch yours when you stumble and applaud when you reach the end of your days.
In the evening twilight may you know God's arm embracing you against the chill.
May God the COMPANION bring you blessing.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Maintain Constant Love

One of the scriptures for today is 1 Peter 4 in which the author writes:

The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers.
 Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.
 Be hospitable to one another without complaining.
 Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God,
 serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. 
Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ.

 This brings up so many thoughts within me.  Yesterday I spent time with Reagan and Addie and had to remind them that there is NO occasion that you call ANYONE "stupid" or "ugly." But, they are kids and they are just learning, right?

Last night I watched a re-run of Law and Order SVU which was about bullying with teens and the murder that came out of that.  But that is just a made up story, right?

I read another chapter of Broken Open about the aftermath of the events of September 11th.  Elizabeth Lesser writes about being at a dinner party with friends who lean left politically.  They were engaging in a partisan political discussion and the character assassination that can ensue which many of us are wont to do.    But that is just them, right?

I am getting ready to preach in Zanesville this Sunday and working on a sermon about being called by Jesus into an alternate way of life.  And this passage from Peter - this challenging passage - is one important aspect.  We are called to maintain CONSTANT LOVE and understand that our speech - whether kids or teens or adults needs to be the words of God. 

The news is full of so much acrimony and conflict and posturing and name-calling.  Whether it is about ISIS or Caitlin Jenner or the thought of another Bush-Clinton rematch, I get wearied with it all but I don't believe that we are supposed to not care.  I also wonder how much the media encourages us take on that way of relating to one another.

This is what Elizabeth Lesser writes:
"This is still the real work at hand: for each one of us to meet the bad in the world with the good in our own hearts.  To energetically rouse ourselves out of tired habits and worn-out loyalties and replace them with bigger and broader circles of inclusion.  It was time for me to let as many into the circle of family and tribe as I could: the president; the poverty-stricken people of the world hardened by years of war; the shortsighted corporate crusaders, gobbling up the resources of the world; the intolerant religious fanatics, clinging to simplistic answers in a mysterious universe.  In widening the circle, I could still hold to my convictions.  What I need to surrender was anger and judgment.  What I needed to adopt was vision and humility."

What I need is to continue on this journey of  surrendering  to God so that maybe my speech and my life might reflect the compassionate love God.  Here is a blessing by Maxine Shonk.

May the God of COMPASSION be with you,
embracing you when you are alone or worried or confused;
when your heart is besieged with pain.
May the wellspring of compassion flow deep within you until you know the enfolding of God's love and can taste the tears of your brothers and sisters who suffer.
May you be the warm hands and the warm eyes of compassion for those who reach out to you.
May the blessing of COMPASSION be with you.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

At WW in HH

At Wyandot Woods in Hocking Hills

Sunday morning I sat on the front porch at Cedar Cabin in Wyandot Woods.  Everyone but Jackson was still sleeping and Jackson sat beside me in his pirate pajamas playing a video game.

We are definitely in the woods and surrounded by a variety of green leafy trees and just like when I sit on my own back porch in Columbus a cacophany of bird sounds.  But here I can see the lake where Jackson and I fished and Jackson and Alyse canoed (standing up - you would have to see it to believe it!) and swam.  Sunday morning - a peaceful beginning to an active day with these grandchildren and their mom, Kacey.

This is a much needed vacation for Kacey.  She had a tough year as a teacher in Reynoldsburg Schools.  The year  started hard with a teacher's strike, continued for her with struggles with her principal and ended with her being transferred to a new elementary school next year.  And, of course, she is not only a teacher, but the mother of Jackson and Alyse - a role with incredible joy and built in stresses.  The most recent stress being Jackson's seizure a couple of weeks. ago.

We got to our cabin on Saturday afternoon.  The day before Kacey had a day that brought all of her difficulties together - a morning appointment with Jackson's pediatric neurologist, a meeting at  the Board of Education office and multiple friends and colleagues tearfully saying good bye as she packed up her classroom.

This morning I continue to read Broken Open about the "Hero's Journey" or what she calls the "Phoenix Process" - those times when we "reproduce ourselves from the shattered pieces of a difficult time.  Our lives. ask us to die and to be reborn every time we confront change - change within ourselves and change in our world."  Elizabeth Lesser writes about this process:
  "of surrendering to a time of great difficulty, allowing the pain to break us open and then being reborn - stronger, wiser, kinder."

So I sit on the porch as a mother  pondering the gift of  this beautiful woman that I gave birth to - Kacey.  I am watching her live through a time of challenge that I imagine is breaking her open in more ways than I know.

 God only knows what a difference this hard year is going to make in  re- forming her and the woman she is becoming.  But right now I appreciate her wisdom that knows that she needs the refreshment of Wyandot Woods and that the most important part of her life right now is to be recreating with her children (and me!)

And I know that the most important part of my life right now  is to be available and blessed to witness and support my children in their ordinary - and also heroic - lives.