Posts

Creation of the Heart: The soul language of music

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Sometimes RL4B means relentlessly listening for beauty ( Here's an earlier post about it ). Part I -- Formation I can’t be sure of the year this story began, but it must have been around 2008 or 2009 because that’s when the guest song leader at church brought her guitar and sang calming, centering songs during prayer time. She made me think of Norah Jones or Jewel as I settled into the peace of the moment. I also can’t be sure of where I first found the Psalm, but since I have a distinct memory of it printed on a folded piece of white paper, it was probably on a worship program that I’d brought home. The verse was a modified NKJV translation of Psalm 130:5-6. It’s a prayer for mercy and forgiveness, and it’s a statement of hope and faith in God and redemption. “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word, I do hope. My soul waits for the Lord .  More than those who watch for the morning - Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.” The words resonated with me, and I d

No Good Reason Necessary: Finding joy in the frivolous

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For decades, I've wanted to dye my hair a bright color, but each time I visited the salon, I'd go with something safe and traditional.  I convinced myself not to do it because "there was no good reason" I needed purple hair.   Instead I listed all the reasons against it.    It would just fade out, probably badly.    It would draw too much attention.    It would be unprofessional.    It would be a waste of money. But there's been a shift in my thinking. With the current state of the pandemic, I'm isolated and my routines and priorities have been turned upside down. What had once seemed an unwise, impractical fantasy now held the promise of novelty and whimsy. Any qualms I'd felt about other people's negative judgement began to fall away. The last few weeks have been rough as several of my concerning health symptoms from last winter have reoccurred. However, through guided journaling and an intentional mindset to live in the moment, I've been reorien

Refilling Your Soul: The beauty of spontaneous generosity

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If you’re like me, you’ve been feeling the weight of the challenges and busy-ness around you. You’re tired all the time, and feel like you’re constantly playing catch-up with yourself and your family. The burnout is real, even for (especially for?) people like me who barely leave the house. Last week, I discovered a small pocket of rest and renewal in my routine. It was an experience that embodied the mantra printed on this sign (which was  one of nine gifts from my family  last winter when I was going through a dark valley). It is well with my Soul. As someone in the high-risk category for Covid with my severe respiratory condition, I’ve been avoiding public places and have been vigilant about masks and distancing. The choice to get a booster shot was and easy one, so I made an appointment at the health clinic hosted by the hospital. Along with my health and safety, I’ve also been paying attention to the stress and challenges my local hospital is facing. They are maxed out on beds, ov

Finding Joy on Your Birthday: A guest post from Lisa's mom

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This is my first guest post on RL4B, and it's from one of my favorite people - my mom! My practice of relentlessly looking for beauty was inspired by my faith, a well-timed sermon, and my life experience with serious health issues. If these were the nutrients that helped cultivate and grow my practice, the seed for joy and beauty was planted by my mom. You can see this in our shared views about birthdays and in the ways we remember and tell happy stories about our past .  My mom, Peggy Kelley, is best known as a writer for her poetry, especially legacy and memorial poems. Her storytelling is fun and insightful, often prompting both laughter and reflection. She lives near Bozeman, Montana (ten minutes from my house!) with her husband of 54 years. They are neighbors with their daughter, Kara, son-in-law, and three grandchildren. ~ ~ ~ This month I reached the age of 72.  I know, I’m old.  And birthdays should not be important to me at my age other than being glad I’m still having th

Waiting for Hope in the Hardship: Beauty is there with you

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Wildfire season started early this year. Usually we can count on camping through June, July, and the first week or two of August before the smoke clogs the skies and sinks the air quality. But in late June, the smelly, amber haze had rolled in for the summer. Suddenly, my plans for outdoor adventures and mountain retreats were spoiled . It’s not a good idea to camp in the forests right now, and due to my health issues, it’s not safe for me to be out in the smoke. So on the heels of feeling released from quaratine after my Covid vaccine, I’m back home.  Now, my husband and I watch the official reports of air quality ratings as they flucuate between yellow, orange, and red then try to make plans accordingly.  Last weekend we wanted to take a drive on an old logging road, one we hadn’t yet explored. We made tentative plans for Sunday, hoping the air would be clear enough. But when we checked the air quality that morning, it was well into the Orange Level, unhealthy for sensitive groups. I

When Beauty Gets Brighter: Finding perspective and feeling grateful

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If you’ve been reading my blog the last six months, you know that I’ve been through a challenging roller coaster of health issues. Just six weeks ago, I wondered if my sick-feeling state of being would be permanent. I was running low on Hope.  I felt distant from God’s life-giving energy.  Beauty was dimmed .   Just as I was preparing to realign my expectations of healing, my health improved enough to make some larger treatment adjustments, and a month later, my story is different. I’m starting to feel better!   When I was sick, one of the things I worried about was that I would never again have a summer of riding and camping like I’d had before. I grieved the potential loss, and fear pulled me into a pit of sadness and solitude. While there may have been other paths around this pit, they were closed off for me. I was compelled to crawl in. It sure made it more difficult to see beauty f rom the bottom of this hole where my fears were magnified and echoed. When I finally was able to cli

A Fresh Start: Rehab therapy for your soul

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I didn’t post anything in May. Although it broke my schedule and intentions, I don’t have the energy to worry about it or feel guilty over it like I would have in the past. Plus, May was a month full of lamentations, and there’s only so much complaining and explaining that I have the capacity to write and my audience has the desire to read. Beauty was, and remains, in short supply. But it’s still there, and I still want to tell you about it. Maybe even more now than before. As I navigate my health challenges and look for signs of healing, I’m granting myself the grace to name the simple beauty around me and have that be enough. I’m holding off on anything that’s too complex or deep or metaphorical. I will focus on noticing the one thing that made me smile or warmed my heart each day. I’m only asking myself to see the largest Doorways right now. It means shorter posts, but I’m giving myself permission for that, too. Call it baby steps or re-training with the goal of starting fresh and