Beauty On The Back Porch: Answering the call to serve

Several weeks ago, the Nurture-Care team at my church put forth a program called Front Porch Visits. Anyone who was interested could sign up to deliver or receive a visit and a care package.I've been self-quarantined since March, Zooming with friends and only venturing out to parking lots to pick up groceries or to the drive-through lane at my pharmacy. I thought it would be nice to have someone come to my porch to chat in person, so I filled out the online form and waited for a call.I wanted to feel included and not forgotten.As the designated weekend approached with no word from the church, I wondered if my request had gotten lost. Then an email from the pastor popped up on my phone.I was delighted to see you had signed up to do a visit. I’d like to assign you Carol Smith. Her husband has severe Alzheimer's and she has been living alone since he moved into memory care. Even though he doesn’t know who she is, she has missed being able to visit him. How would you like to handl…

There's Always a Way to Beauty: Finding joy in access to cold mountain stream

Like many people, I've been heading to the outdoors to get away from the stress of the pandemic. Earlier this month, we went trail riding in the mountains as we hunted for wild raspberries in our UTV.Usually the mountain air is cooler than the valley, but the sun and the heat seemed to follow us into the forest. We stopped for lunch near a bridge and my husband, Shawn, dipped the dogs in the creek to cool them off.As he came back my way I asked, "Is there any way I can get down to the water, too?" As many of you know, I have a form of muscular dystrophy that limits my physical strength. I knew I couldn't get there on my own.Shawn shook his head. "No, the bank is too steep for me to carry you and there's no level place to stand at the bottom."I sighed, envious of his access to the cool water. But then I decided that I would find a better place. I declared, "I want to put my feet in the water today."As we rode, we spotted hillside springs that w…

What Would Your Enchantment Say?

Over the weekend, I attended a virtual workshop called On Being Human with Jen Pastiloff, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Krista Vernoff. It was two hours of self-reflection and affirmation through writing, music, and movement.
One of the writing prompts from Elizabeth Gilbert had us thinking about enchantment - that special kind of charm you'd recognize in a child when she's blowing bubbles or chasing a butterfly.
Joy. Wonder. Beauty. Enchantment.
She had us write a letter to ourselves that began like this:
Dear [your name], I am your Enchantment, and this is what I want to tell you.
And could include lines like:
The last time I saw you was... I really like it when you... The person/action that makes me leave the room is... I am most at home when...
She encouraged us to write freely whatever came to mind, to open ourselves to the world of magic and wonder.
This was my letter.
Dear Lisa,
I am your Enchantment, and this is what I want to tell you. The last time I saw you was last night in the dark. …

Dipped In Beauty: Finding renewal and breaking out of your rut

In March, at the beginning of the pandemic, I was glad to stay home. As an introvert and homebody, the mandate didn't scare me. 
If anything, I was already used to it. I quit working six years ago due to my disability, and with limited physical strength, my activity level was minimal.
I thought to myself, I've got this.
I listened to others as they struggled with the homebound changes and secretly thought, Welcome to my life.
Gradually, I began to miss my occasional outings to physical therapy, massage, and book club, but I was still content in my house.
Nine weeks in, I wrote about the difficulty in finding Doorways. I spoke of seeing the light through the cracks in the darkness and gave a list of ways to find them for yourself. I was challenged yet hopeful about my days at home.
Then my state entered Phase Two of its reopening plan, and people began venturing out again. However, I had to watch the slow return from my couch. My complex health issues put me in the "at-risk"…

Three Forces to Bring You Beauty: How a book can change your life

You always hear people talk about books that have impacted their life so much that it inspired a new action or a shift in perspective but for me, finding that type of book has been a rare occurrence.

I've read some memorable fiction, and I’ve learned a lot about history and different cultures, but I had yet to read a book that I could deeply and honestly say changed my personal life.

Until now.

I won't keep you in suspense. The book is The Lady’s Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness: A Memoir by Sarah Ramey, and I picked it up at my friend’s suggestion for her upcoming book club. 

Sarah defines herself as a WOMI, a woman with a mysterious illness. You know these illnesses as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and a host of other named and unnamed disorders. They are typically invisible, and too often, doctors don't believe they’re real and dismiss them as psychological.

The book describes Sarah's years-long journey navigating h…

Finding Beauty is Hard Sometimes: 7 ways to find Doorways of light amid a crisis

It's been almost a month since my last post, and in reflecting on the reason, I discovered a truth.

Sometimes it's difficult to find Doorways.

Doorways are moments of beauty, joy, or emotion that connect us to Something Bigger. Moments that make us smile or reveal the Divine at work in our world.

But I've been struggling to find Doorways each day, let alone moments significant enough to write about.

Like many around the country, I've been staying home since the middle of March. Nine weeks (and counting) of isolation from the community. Though I'm a practiced homebody who loves a good routine, my routine is becoming a rut.

And it shows up each night when I sit down to write my DTH (Doorway, Thankful, Help) prayerfor the day.

In the past, I'd noticed occasional challenges in searching for Doorways, and they usually coincided with "bad days," but it didn't bother me. In fact, I enjoyed the work of looking for a tiny sliver of beauty among the pain, sadness…

Rooted Feet, Rooted Soul: What makes you feel grounded?

Like most churches in the country, our local Methodist church is live-streaming its worship services due to the pandemic. So, every Sunday morning at 9:30, I login to Facebook and "go to church."
This morning, we sang an original song written by one of our music leaders. Its lyrics were contemplative and centering, and I was mesmerized by the lilting tune.(Listen here at the 21:00 mark)
Rooted feet, rooted soul. I am here. I am whole.
I took a deep, healing breath and felt connected to something bigger.
The pastor asked, “What makes you feel grounded?” I had a vague feeling about my answer, but I didn’t have time to think it through because Shawn and I had plans for the day.
After church ended, we packed a lunch, loaded up our new remote control cars, and drove west. Shawn had one place in mind and I had another. We ended up doing a bit of both as we made spontaneous choices along the way. We followed the road where it led, trusting the path we chose would be exactly where we need…