Archive | October 2012

CONSIDER USING MUSTARD SEEDS IN THIS WAY

 

Mustard SeedsEven if you never make pickles or mustard or potato salad or any recipe that calls for mustard seeds, you might want to keep a jar of them in your pantry.

 

Why? Well, let me tell you why I do.

 

Despite many wondrous life experiences which have cemented my trust in God and in the goodness of life, there are times when something shakes me to my core, and I feel deeply confused, stressed and depressed. Even if I don’t question the presence and power of God and the goodness of life, I question me.  And I hurt.

 

First, I just let it be: the pain of this common human suffering.

 

Then, I consider my collection of inspirational touchstones. Some quote, affirmation, image, metaphor, or story is likely to emerge in front of all the others and call for my attention. No matter which touchstone that is, as I “hold” it in my mind and heart, I feel enriched and uplifted, at least a little.

 

Next, I go to my spice rack and find a particular jar. I open it. Onto my opened palm I drop one tiny seed… a mustard seed. I hold that seed and recognize that, however small it may seem at the time, I do have faith.

 

Sometimes I do this even when I’m feeling full of hope and joy. Many mornings, with a mustard seed in hand, I set an intention to act with faith during the day ahead. Sometimes I bite into the seed, intending to truly taste the power of faith. On one occasion I sprinkled some seeds onto a custard cup of soil, watered those seeds, and watched them grow.

I haven’t yet used mustard seeds in food preparation. One of these days I just might cook with them. In the meantime, I keep a fresh jar of mustard seeds just for this purpose… to remind me: “I do have this gift of faith in me. Always. No matter what. We all do.  And with it we can move mountains.”

 

ANGELS IN OUR LIVES

Young HawkHave you ever had one of those experiences when you feel that an angel is truly present in your life?

 

My daughter, Krista, had one recently.

 

After rushing around, getting her twin toddlers bathed, fed, and dressed and getting herself ready for an early morning meeting, she got the children in their car seats and prepared to drive off.

 

But, when she opened the garage door, she saw a hawk standing on the other side, right behind the rear bumper.

 

Needless to say, she was surprised and startled. One would think that the bird would be startled too–by the garage door opening, a human being approaching, or the car inching closer.

 

Not this bird. Despite all attempts to make the bird move, he (or she) maintained eye contact with my daughter while holding its wings outstretched.

 

According to Krista, the huge bird seemed to be saying, “Slow down” or Don’t go.”

 

For a full fifteen minutes, the bird blocked the way. When my daughter tried to maneuver the car around the right side of the bird, the bird walked to the right. When she tried to get around on the left, the bird walked left.

 

After just enough time for my daughter to say (to herself) “Okay. I give up. I’m not going downtown to that meeting,” the bird pulled in its wings and walked to the side out the driveway, out of the way.

 

Was it a message to slow down? Was it an intervention, protecting my daughter and grandchildren from an accident?

 

Sometimes we get to see the specifics of the Divine at work in our lives. But usually we don’t.  And that’s okay.  We don’t need to know, do we? It’s enough to have faith that Love knows us and is always near.

 

And, yet, isn’t it nice to share stories that remind us?

 

If you’d like to share such a story, please do!

 

FOLLOW YOUR HEART AND CREATE A BETTER WORLD

Mouse on Beach

During an overnight camp stay at Grayton Beach State Park in Florida’s Panhandle, my husband, Frank, and I met researcher, Jeff.

 

Frank, Jeff, and I were waiting to use the one outdoor public telephone. Although we had cell phones, no signal was available at that location. It was 1999. Many of us still used public telephones when traveling.

 

As we waited, we learned that Jeff was camping there for several weeks to study the Choctawhatchee Beach Mouse.

 

Beach mouse? I didn’t know there were mice on beaches. It makes sense though. I suppose mice are pretty much everywhere, but I had never thought about that. Up until meeting Jeff, I had only pictured beaches with sand, shells, gulls, terns, crabs, jellyfish… shore creatures.

 

Jeff’s enthusiasm and caring for those beach mice was so powerful that my husband and I almost got up at 4:00 AM the next morning to join Jeff on the beach and observe the little creatures, as we had been invited to do so. I even set the clock’s alarm in our RV. But, when it went off, sleep was more appealing than looking for mice with Jeff.

 

Before leaving that beautiful state park, we did get to see a few Choctawhatchee Beach Mice at Jeff’s campsite and to learn more both about the mice and about Jeff.

 

Jeff had left a lucrative job working on oil platforms to follow his heart’s desire. Even though it would require an investment of time and money and result in a career that paid less money, Jeff chose to go to undergraduate and graduate school so that he could study endangered species and work to protect them. Jeff loved nature and realized that he wanted to use his time and talent in a way that would respect and care for the environment.

 

Wow. Jeff, wherever you are all these years later, you are one of my touchstones for the gift of talent.

 

May we all discover our true interests and abilities and contribute them toward a better world.