On Peace

It’s Sunday morning and I’m outside by a fire in some great midwestern Feb sun, a hoodie and with a jelly jar of 2019 (our engagement year) Washington red wine.

David is walking up with some dry firewood I had stashed in my vintage (2006?) Honda from a workshop I taught back in the fall. I am breathing deep and reflecting – a lot – on Kindness, its relationship to Peace and how often we are required to call these forward because there is more LOVE in our life.

That’s right. I believe as Love increases in your life, there is a shift in how much Peace you experience.

Think about getting a puppy. More Love, less Peace. It makes sense.

Just as I write this, I notice the warm body of my blonde boy dog, Thor. Gorgeous dog, honestly who is now getting pets and ear strokes from David. Also enjoying the casual sunshine on a winter morning, we all know spring is a thing and are happy to see the world turning its way.

I believe as God gives you more Love through people and through dogs, the shift in how much Peace the external world gives you is not to make you question the Love or its meaning but to draw you inward. For what more is the spirit of Peace than the breath? The balance of alternate nostril breathing, the purification of breath of fire, the immediate effects of more oxygen in the brain from simple 3 part or 6 count inhales. I mean. Peace, I think, has always been meant to come from within.

I like to say I don’t know what I am doing with my life and I tend towards the struggle of “what’s the point and purpose” but I know how it feels to stumble upon freeing spiritual perspective and if there is one thing I can offer the world, it would be – at minimum – a sample of the truth in my life that is making navigation easier. Note: It’s not making hard things easier, it’s making the navigation of life easier. Hard things will always be hard.

My reflections this morning started as noticing how self love is God’s love and morphed into how inner peace is God’s Peace. I read Psalm 13 and replaced “Lord” with Peace and broke down the words to feel applicable: “How long, Peace – will you forget me forever? How long will you hide what you look like these days (face) from me?”

What does Peace look like these days?

There is an American Spiritual Song that references Peace “like a river” – Peace as changeable, fluid, evolving. But yet, always in the same direction – always headed for it’s bigger place. Able to carry, able to be explored. Peace can look like anything.

For me, a big part of my spiritual life is noticing how my faith in something bigger than me that gives me purpose requires me to grow and change. I think of the whole process like a plant. A little tender plant brought home from the nursery and how – no matter how long I have been gardening – I always brace myself for that first heavy rain or forceful wind. Astonished the next morning how the plant seems a little stronger because of what it weathered.

Its first full day in blazing sun where it looks parched and in desperate need of water, to then drink and seem to have grown an inch.

What are you taking in? Through your body, your senses, your heart? And how is the heat of it? The force of it? Changing you?

That growth, seems to be, an internal process based on what the plant takes in from the outside.

So what does Peace look like for you today?

And how can you use that breath – that fire – that sunshine – that ease to allow the internal processes to take in the elements of life and transform your heart?

Just keep figuring yourself out, honestly. Is all you can do.

May Current. My Tide of Wondering.


Waiting for a flow waiting for a flow

(Three Days Later)

I wonder sometimes if I will always remember this season of my life. Mugs of coffee, walking Ranger in my North Webster neighborhood where there is both litter and progress on the streets, family and friends nearby.

I wonder if the feeling I have in my heart when I contemplate where I go to church, feel gratitude to who helps and prays for my family and scan my life for new paths I have to help and pray for others will stay or if the feeling (it feels like newness and curiosity mixed with patience and acknowledgement) will evolve into maybe some wise old woman type heart.

You know – like the kind of woman who knows how to cut and trim the herbs just right and what kind of Psalm to sing to her roses to keep them from getting brittle.

Is that a stretch?

I wonder, of all the friends in my active circle, who is the one with the next thing to teach me.

I wonder, of all the people I haven’t met yet but will meet in the future, who will validate the choices I am making now. In my near 37 years, there is always the validating stranger who comes in and says “yeah – that’s great – that’s like what they do in <name region of the world> to <name thing that I was also trying to get to>” and then they usually add something “you should read” or “you might like” or offer a deeper reason for said thing they are validating which helps me understand how a prayer was answered in my decision to do something.

The Pastor at AME Blackwell Church said “Don’t look for what you think the thing you asked God for looks like, look for the thing you asked God for – period.”

“Don’t look for what you think the thing you asked God for looks like, look for the thing you asked God for – period.”

Like the people that will come in and validate, there will be the storms that come in and expose me. My vulnerabilities, what is unhealthy about the things I do. I wonder when that next storm will be. And then I wonder and survey my life and see if there is any obvious place to reinforce, any obvious tool I need, any obvious gaps to close.

I wonder that about my emotional and spiritual life like I do about my house, my land, my motherhood.

I wonder how many times I will be afraid for the lives of my children and pray for a shield over them and how many times I will still – even after experiencing relief from this fear – I will be hit in the head with the practical wisdom of Proverbs and prayers of Psalms to remind me how much more power good has over evil. How my words matter. How my time matters. How the stories I tell my daughters matter. How the food I cook them matters. How the way I filter guilt and shame and speak in clear language matters. How my listening to them matters. How my hugs matter, my patience matters, my certainty and servant heart matter.

I saw the mint expanding today in its golden yellow pot (which I will likely have to move once it gets taller than the roses) and thought “I’m not going to move the pot yet”. This awareness of timing is something that has matured in my heart. The patience. The willingness to see how it goes but the proximity to be the right kind of proactive; there when the next step is ripe.

I offer all of this – a journal of today – in hopes and in prayer that we all recognize the seasons of our life, the way the day feels – and get some power from knowing it is all a part of the process.

XO, Erin


408 Months Today!! 

Today is my birthday! I am 408 months old.

I know what you’re thinking.. “She doesn’t look 408 months old!”

Ok. Or maybe you’re thinking “Erin. Why are you sitting in a basket.”

Here’s the deal. Every single day the Internet provides us “10 things to make us something” for us to read, memes to engage in, and pictures to like.. To like.. To like. The social media world plays with us and I wanted to play back with this particular meme.

But – true to form – this of course points to something bigger for me…

There are pictures of vacations we want to go on, babies we want to hold, houses we want to have, meals we want to eat… There are things we admire and wish we could do. (For example, sitting in a basket with your age in months on your chest..)

It’s really easy to look at life on Facebook or to share life on Facebook and yet forget to live.

This week, I fell in love with Psalm 105:4.

It goes like this:

“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.”

As I round this corner and start my 34th year, I find this verse so so so pressingly affirmative. It’s not “Look for the Lord”. It’s “Look to”. Omnipresence. Always there. God is sure as shoot everywhere you are…

Even on Facebook.

I write this because I think we all need God’s strength. And not just for the biggies in life but for the everything.

If it isn’t strength to allow God in your here and now; accepting impermanence and moving forward then it’s strength to allow God to plant seeds of compassion so you can be aware of those who have lost.

If it’s not strength to take care of your body through higher self control, it’s strength to be modest even when you can easily grab attention.

If it’s not strength to edit yourself and be mindful of others, it’s strength to let go of things and not take them personally.

There is strength in not taking yourself seriously.

Kindness and patience take strength.

I once wrote a post where I described how I tied fruits of the spirit to other life attributes. I noted what I think is a strong correlation between strength and kindness. I was asked by a friend who read the blog, “How did you connect strength to kindness?”

My answer is that I think they balance eachother. When you are called to submit to kindness, there is typically an equal call to let go of something – think of people who have been kind to you: they let go of their time, money, energy and gave to you instead.

True kindness means letting go.

Facebook, guys… Facebook is funny. It is so easily mindless but what if we saw our feeds as opportunities to tap into the strength of God?

To love even when we feel longing.

To edit even when we feel proud.

To keep sacred even what we want to share most.

To speak confidently even though it might not be understood.

To be funny even if somebody might think you’re stupid.

I don’t know.. Maybe I’m ridiculous. But I really do hear people talk about their anxiety, caution, lack of confidence, pain, jealousy, etc that creeps up because of social media. What if these feelings are calls to specifically find strength and be true to yourself?

To love yourself?

I woke up melancholy this morning. I was driving to work when realized I was dressed in all black. (Who wears all black on their birthday?! I have never..) 

I turned around and came home to reset. An hour later, I wrapped a conference call and then was full on sobbing for no reason. (Ya’ll know how much I looooooove blogging about crying. I’m a total crier!!)

The reason this is relevant? Because it was my moment to be kind to myself. I told my boss I needed some time. I took a personal phone call that was revitalizing. I put on blue yoga pants and a red tank top. Lit some candles. Got it going right on my birthday..

I now proceed into my day aware of how God’s strength swept me up. It’s not dramatic people! This is daily life. There wasn’t anything about this experience for me that has me worried or concerned or longing or calling my therapist! There was nothing to understand, only something to feel. And that was to be present and honest.

Present and honest.

Kind of like labor and delivery now that I think about it.

So there you go. And before I sign off…

Thank you, really, to everybody who supports this blog and who connects with me on my writing. When I was 3 (sorry I mean 36 months) I said wanted to be an apple tree when I grew up and, you know, I kind of feel like I am. :) XO