A Day Full Of Lessons

I have a confession to make. I never went to Kindergarten! (I’m counting on the likelihood that Columbia Seminary won’t ask for my doctorate back!)

I did go, for a brief period of time in the early ’60’s, to a pre-school program where I remember spending a lot of time sitting on the floor in what seemed like a dark room, singing Puff, the Magic Dragon. And, yes, I still know all the words.

Singing, however, did not turn out to be one of my greater gifts and I went on to learn other things.

Lately, I’ve been learning about thinking about thinking.

Today, I had an unexpected moment to practice. I was sitting at the table by the front window of my studio, waiting for a young paint buddy when some movement caught my attention.

Brief reminder… even with my very cool glasses, I don’t see as well as I used to!

Anyway, after a moment I realized I was face to face with a cute little chipmunk of the usual brown persuasion, sitting up like a begging dog, about halfway across the garden which is covered, between the raised beds, in lots of brown wood chips. And she was looking right at me.

At first I was surprised. Not that chipmunks are unusual. Just that I don’t think I’ve ever noticed one looking at me.

Then I was grateful. Grateful that we have our tiny corner of the universe where there have been no chemicals used for almost 20 years. Grateful that some of our food comes from that garden. And grateful for the birds I began to notice, doing what I sincerely hope is their snacking before it rains routine.

And then I remembered that my farm grandmother, Elsie, used to say that a cardinal was a sign that a loved one who had passed on was thinking of us. And I noticed myself wondering…

And then I wished I could call a new teacher of mine, Robin Wall Kimmerer, who wrote the magnificent quote above (which I discovered just this morning) and thank her for being part of my education.

Just after that, I looked at the clock and hoped my missing paint buddy was okay, swallowed a tiny spark of irritation, and reminded myself that my job is to help him discover his gifts and how to use them for good in the world.

That’s when I remembered that a couple of years ago the amazing author, artist, and teacher known as SARK, told me that I was, before all else, a teacher.

Susan is generally right!

Therefore, my left brain… the side that’s into things like structure and order, suggested, without resorting to the mean voice, that a text to his mom to find him another time was in order.

Though, at that point, there were two cardinals in the garden and I decided to sit and learn just a bit longer. Which, when you think about it, is a pretty good reminder that the young man in question is teaching me, too.

I just wish, for all our sakes, that we could get Dr. Kimmerer named Secretary of Education!

 

Wonders of the Medicine Bag!

If you’re new around here, you may not know that the fabulous bag in the photo followed me home from Italy last fall. It literally called my name from the floor of a shop full of Italian leather goods and insisted on becoming what we Color of Woman folks call our medicine baskets. (I resisted for all of about two minutes!)

In addition to Henry, there are some new things in my medicine bag lately. Some are actual things and some are things I’ve learned. Just in case you’re up for learning new things, too, here are a few. Kind of like the old-fashioned Hints from Heloise !

First, did you know that you can keep avocados in your fridge? You can! Let them sit on the counter until they’re ripe to touch, then stash them in a basket in the fridge for as much as 4 or 5 days and use as desired.

I eat lots of avocados and this makes the shopping w-a-y easier!!! (I take them out 45 minutes to an hour ahead of time so they’re room temp-ish.)

Then, there’s the matter of dog soup. Not soup made of dogs! Soup for dogs.

Our herd eats raw food, exception for bone broth. They’re also supposed to eat veg but mine are not fans. So, with my recent enormous batch of broth, I (finally!) had the inspiration to run a batch of raw veg through the VitaMix and then whisk it in with their chilled broth before I packed and froze it.

This time, lots of greens from the garden. Ideally, below and above ground veg together. Easiest example, carrots with the feathers still on. (Next time!) Just grind them with a bit of broth until liquid, mix them into the broth, then portion and freeze.

And, yes, it works for hiding veg on kids, too!!!

Then, a blast from the past. Once upon a time, I had knee surgery six times in nine years. That was a whole lot of time with my feet up, trying to feel useful.

I spent a huge chunk of that time knitting prayer shawls for Shallowford Presbyterian Church. Between the pain pills and my own tendency to do only a couple of things at a time, I needed to keep it simple.

Instead of fancy patterns which require lots of counting, I concentrated on breathing and praying. Frequently, (inhale) Mighty God… (exhale) hold them close. 

Stitch by stitch, row after row, back and forth, back and forth. Miles and miles of knitting.

Lately, I’ve been knitting again. (I’ve needed a bit of self-soothing!)

This time, sparkly red yarn. A reminder of the web which connects us as humans moving through life who, often, need some prayer and support.

Then, at the risk of geeking out a bit… Dostoevsky and Puddleglum. Really!

I encountered C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia during my first year in seminary. I hurt my back during the January term and spend much of my time flat on the couch. A dear friend brought me the paperback versions of the Chronicles because they were light and easy to hold over my head to read.

I fell in love with the Marsh Wiggle, Puddleglum, in book four, The Silver Chair.  Puddleglum is my hero!

Then, in the midst of Luther’s recovery, when I was stressed to the max, I picked up Buechner 101… Essays and Sermons by Frederick Buechner, with an intro by Anne Lamott.

Wait for it…

Maybe the final answer that faith can give to that awesome and final question occurs in a letter that Dostoevsky wrote to a friend in 1854. “If anyone proved to me that Christ was outside the truth,” he wrote, “and it really was so that the truth was outside Christ, then I would prefer to remain with Christ than with the truth.”

Puddleglum was Dostoevsky!!!

(If these folks are unfamiliar, please go read asap!)

And then, a contemporary magic wand.

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I’ve been a fan of the work of Belleruth Naperstak at Health Journeys for years. Her guided imagery recordings are magical. I’ve lived with the Successful Surgery set. (Seriously!)

I’ve recommended these resources to family, friends, and clients for years. Time and technology being what they are, the CD’s have become harder for folks to access. Enter the brand new app that allows you to access recordings via your phone or computer without eating all your hard drive space!

And now I’m delighted to be able to offer you access to the app at a discount for 6 months.

Trouble sleeping, grief, recovery, accessing creativity, stress relief, cancer, spiritual guides, even empowering imagery for kids… Health Journeys can help. Interested? Go to https://healthjourneys.muvi.com/en/user/register

Choose your plan. The deals are amazing!

***Enter the coupon code, special to us, FierceGma10 with your credit card info to receive  10% off for 6 months.

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Sign in. Enjoy! (NOT while you’re driving!!!)

I don’t endorse something like this all that often but this is right up there with Puddleglum and Dostoevsky!!!

Let us know what you’re learning…

 

 

 

Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity® Color of Woman Teacher