Lingering in silence


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I was watching a Hallmark Christmas movie tonight. In the movie and for the second time today I heard ‘Silent Night’ played soft and sweet and lingering. I love that song. I love it best of all when I’m outside on a crisp winters night carolling with friends and family, and we’ve sung Frosty and Jingle Bells and other more sacred carols, and suddenly we are singing Silent Night. A hush comes over us and whomever is listening at an open doorway, and I feel my soul caught up and carried up up up into the night sky. It reminds me of THIS POST from many years ago, so I’m sharing it with you tonight.

Funny, when I read my words four years later, I recognize I really have slowed down. I’ve been choosing to do things this week that have nothing to do with Christmas prep and everything to do with loving people. And I’m OK with less presents and more presence. I hope my family is too.

Calm and bright,

Lesley-Anne

Here is what I wrote on November 28, 2009:

I’m waiting.

As I post this, with a heavy feeling that I really should be doing other things on my lengthy to do list, I remember last December when the snow came early… and how it changed things for me then. So, I’m waiting for the snow, and hoping for change.

Have you noticed how much quieter things are after a fresh snowfall. My husband commented to me that everything seems to slow down a little when it snows, almost a subconscious response to the forgiving blanket that wraps its way around our lives.

The panic of the Christmas rush is pre-empted by the need to clear the driveway. Conversations break out with neighbours as they choose to do the same. Plans are made for future conversations, eggnog dates are set, and people reconnect. Priorities are revised, and humanity wins over consumerism for a time.

The children get caught up in it as well. The X-box 360 and iPod are left untouched as they rush outside to create snow forts, speed bumps in the street, and havoc with well aimed balls of packing snow! I watch them from the window, full of memories. When the time comes, they reluctantly leave their winter playground and come inside for dinner, rosy-cheeked, energized and full of conversation.

Here in the moderate clime of Kelowna the city seldom shuts down, but back in childhood days in Toronto things sometimes ground to a halt until the snow stopped falling and roads were cleared. Schools closed, people went home from work early, and streets were strangely hushed as people left their vehicles parked and walked instead.

The very things that happen because of a snowfall, are, to me, the things that are most needful in my life. I need to slow down more often, and be fully engaged in the moment. I need to take time for people, to dig out from under the To Do List, and have a good old conversation with my neighbour, with my kids. I need to step back from the consumer-based version of Christmas and consider what this season is really about.

That is why I love the snow and it’s ability to get our attention. Love it or hate it, it has an impact on us. We can’t ignore it. We can’t control it. And it’s silence speaks.

So I’m waiting… for the first snow fall… for another first silent night.

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Lesley-Anne

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Sunday and still here…


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I’m sitting on my couch and the sounds of dishwasher and kids playing ping pong and dog snoozing are all I hear. I didn’t go to the church with walls and ceiling today. Instead, I stayed home and made banana pancakes for my two sons. We talked at the table. It was very good. Why not celebrate God is Love right here and now.

I’m reminded of Mies Van Der Rohe, of his “less is more” approach, and how I’ve got to be reminded of that over and over again when Spring hits and soccer and must do’s overwhelm my preferred life of simplicity. Personal time, family time, down time, meal time, is all affected. I have to seize each opportunity as it comes. Rather than live by obligation or should do’s, do what my heart says. See the beauty in the moment, like the inside of a cabbage I cut open and discovered the beauty above.

I also found this… a reflection I wrote a while ago on an old blog… but think I needed to read again today. For permission. For confirmation. For grace. For the reminder that;

I’m also a simple woman with a sphere of influence that starts at my own kitchen table.

Yes,

Lesley-Anne, SDG

Naming one thousand gifts… day 8


111. sitting in oak tree shade

112. finishing laundry, breathing clean

113. road signs

English: UK traffic sign: Give Way (TSRGDNO 602)

English: UK traffic sign: Give Way (TSRGDNO 602) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

114. his last exam in grade 11

115. soccer tournament

116. waking to a new word on my lips, a new way of ‘eucharisteo’ in my heart

117. being told my name was on their heart

118. dog sleeping, me writing

119. how orange and yellow and turquoise sing a song

120. how I blog and it’s good and I don’t know who will read and I blog anyway

121. preparing a place

122. a mention of a name that might someday be a friend

123. how slowing down is the beginning of seeing

124. little children splashing happy in pool next door

125. searching for a birds nest

126. that he was able to remove the thorn from her foot with soft words, deft hands

127. a misunderstanding smothered by grace

128. anticipation of homecomings

129. brother’s voice on the phone

130. scented candles

131. summer sound of boats playing on the lake

132. a good day and sales up at the market

133. email connecting my friend over ocean and continent

134. compassion

135. this disciplined writing beauty down, thanksgiving words

136. road signs

137. his eyes to see green hills not brown, because of all the rain

Naming one thousand gifts… day 7


1,000 Gifts

1,000 Gifts (Photo credit: LearningLark)

I’ll never forget the day I was reading a soon to become favorite chapter of my old KJV Bible… Isaiah 6 … and came upon this note in the middle column. It said,

“his glory is the fullness of the whole earth”

…and it being Spring, and it being that time of day when I walk my old dog Buddy, I began to think on those words and that idea as I walked through my neighbourhood seeking evidence of God glory.

I looked and saw… a rose bush, fragrant with hundreds of blooms. I moved closer, nose pressed into the middle of a heady bloom like a small girl filled with wonder and I thought… there is enough glory in this one bloom, but his glory is the fullness of every bloom on this bush and every bloom on every bush multiplied over and over and over and over and over… And that… and even that, is just the beginning, a minutia of the glory of the one I call God. The earth shouts glory glory glorious fulness everywhere!

And these walks and this seeing began to be part of who I was, how I lived and how I wrote about what I saw, and the thoughts that came from those things that my eyes beheld. Poetry was born in the beholding. Stories germinated there…

I found God in new places, heard him tell me truth, share love through the world around me, in particular the natural world. And my heart began to grow in the process, my understanding of God stretch a little wider, deeper. In 2009 I share one such God ambush in,  “October Valentine”.

So, it’s no wonder that when I begin to read Ann Voskamp’s book, “One Thousand Gifts” a couple of weeks ago, my heart presses hard in my chest as I feel an echo of Ann’s words that I believe I am living (not every hour of every day, but still…). Ann’s idea of slowing down, taking notice and finding God in the details of the life beauty all around me… makes complete sense to me.

But, the naming, the listing, of those gifts from God, the thankfulness for them a doorway to gratitude and joy and a changed life… well that is a new idea to me. And here He draws me…

Thus, my list begins and grows longer and my heart yearns to learn and I lean into whatever this part of the God trek is that I am on, somewhat limping and sometimes sidetracked and still believing… I write it all down…

98. unexpected invitation from my husband

99. unexpected text message from my son

100. unexpected gift from a friend

101. sun, 27 degrees,  first day of summer feels like the real deal

102. dog laying at my feet

103. chicken on the bbq

104. a good article to read

105. textures

106. colours

107. cold glass of fruity white wine poured with love

108. planting potential in the garden

109. the way NY Red Bulls Thierry Henry moves a soccer ball

Red Bull New York's own TH14 Thierry Henry, ma...

Red Bull New York’s own TH14 Thierry Henry, making a play on the ball midfield versus Real Salt Lake. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

110. all of us watching major league soccer on TSN