Category Archives: Reflections

Introspective moments designed to support healthy interaction with God, self and others

Serenity

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This week’s photo challenge: Serenity

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I’ve heard it said that serenity is most noticed in the midst of turmoil and chaos.

 

Yes, there is a certain tried and true beauty to this concept.

 

 

 

No Need for Eyes to See This

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This morning my granddaughter put on How to Train Your Dragon.  Again.

I sat nearby, reading and thinking, writing a bit, occasionally paying slight attention to the movie.

“In centuries of Vikings, I’m the first one who wouldn’t kill a dragon,” Hiccup sulked to Astrid. Feeling the failure of not living up to his culture’s expectations, feeling the sting of disappointing his father, Hiccup doubted himself. Astrid saw beyond this temporary setback:

“Yeah, the first one who was right.”

 

Hiccup had decided to spare the dragon when he looked into its eyes and realized, “He was just as afraid as I was.” Hiccup saw with the eyes of his heart.

His compassion, as it turned out, changed everything. It changed his father. It changed his village. It changed dragons. It changed him.

We like to think we are far more advanced than the world of Vikings and dragons. But are we?

Do we see with the eyes of our hearts?

Do we find the good?

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©Joan T. Warren

Hang on. Or, Let go.

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Walking out from yoga class tonight, I stopped. A beautiful clutch of autumn leaves held on, unashamed to be the last among all that was gray and dismal.

It is January, in North Florida.

 

I thought of all the times that I’ve heard people say, “Hang on. . . just hang on.”
 
I thought of all the times I’ve heard people say, “Let go. . . just let go and let God.”
 
I thought about how many times it’s been good to hold on, and how many times it’s been good to let go.
 
I thought about the years I struggled, trying so hard to hold on, or trying so hard to let go. Because they said so.
 
Now, at peace. . . with letting go. . . with holding on. At peace with wherever a person is in that process.
 
When it is time to let go, you will know it, and you will be able to let go. When is time for you to hold on, you will know it, and you will be able to hold on.

So hold on, or let go.

Namaste,  salmon leaves of January.

Namaste, Tree Maker.

Namaste, friends.

©Joan T. Warren

In a Blink

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IMG_3751She came into this world

and they wrapped her in pink:

A present from God,

with a smile and a wink–

Read the rest of this entry

Four-Dimensional Thinking: 2014 Review, and More!

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You may have heard of three dimensional thinking; considering past, present and future. As we close out 2014, and welcome the new year, I’d like to propose we consider not just 3-D thinking, but four dimensional thinking as well.

Read the rest of this entry

Passing

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Untimely for we who stay,

Torn in sore lament–

Time and distance

Ne’er to be breached again;

Not from our doing.

Resigned unto eternity

Or waiting to be joined again Read the rest of this entry

Dark Chocolate to my Soul

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This slideshow requires JavaScript.

First smile from my baby~

Fingertips at my back~

Purple hued sunsets o’er mountain or sea.

A word fitly spoken~

Laughing toddlers at play~

Secret gifts sent before there’s a plea.

Read the rest of this entry

But I Don’t Wanna Go On a ‘Bencher!

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But I Don’t Wanna Go On a ‘Bencher!

Adventure.

There’s so much in a word. What’s your take on the word adventure?

Some say it’s about taking a risk, trying something new, or exploring new territory.

Some say life’s an adventure.

Here’s a little story, based on a real episode, involving adventure:

They passed the turn toward home, and Missy, though only three, knew they had missed it. “Wher’re we goin’?”

“We’re going on an adventure!,” Nana proffered, in her most excited tone.

“But I don’t wanna go on a ‘bencher! I want my mommy!”

Nana drew in a breath and considered her response. She knew the meltdown would only last a few minutes, but it broke her heart every time. She knew, by now–by the tone of Missy’s voice, the rate of her breathing, the look on her face–whether she was ready for an explanation, or comfort, or distraction, or whether words would only make it worse. This time she chose a brief explanation, followed by a time of respite for Missy to regain her composure. When the time was right, Nana brought in the highlights of the upcoming trip.

“We’re going to Tampa, to see Cousin Stevie, play in the pool, and visit a place with lots of pretty fish to see!”

“Stevie? Yay, Stevie! I miss him so much!”

Missy cheered up. The rest of the trip she counted cows and horses on the hillside, “loved” her new bedroom, devoured popsicles at the pool and hung on Cousin Stevie all through the exciting trip through the aquarium. It ended too soon.

Along the way

Along the way

One Cool Chick

One Cool Chick

Checking out the Giant Mr. Grouper with "Cousin Stevie"

Checking out Giant Mr. Grouper with “Cousin Stevie”

On the ride back home, Missy’s love for adventure blossomed.

“I like Tampa. When can we go on another ‘bencher, Nana?”

Lookin' for Adventure!

Lookin’ for Adventure!

No matter the level of risk involved, all adventures are a little scary. We can’t always have our mommies with us. Sometimes we get stuck and afraid of stepping out. Sometimes outside forces launch us on adventures we’re not so sure we want to go on. When this happens, we can take time to process it, like Missy did, and end up embracing the experience. If we look for the good, there’s always something to gain. . . eventually.

With risks weighed against benefits, we can usually make good choices about our adventures in life.

That’s my take on adventures for today. What’s yours? Have you a little story of adventure you can share? It’s your turn now!

Joan T. Warren

With appreciation for this week’s WordPress Prompt.

 

Has Anybody?

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“Has anybody told you today?”

“Well, just in case, I’m telling you again: I love you.”

It was his trademark; his brand, calling card. If you saw Mickey, you could count on hearing these words. You could count on a hug and a smile. If not from him directly, from many around you, as he facilitated groups and classes to “get up, tell someone you love them, hug a neck.”

He was the Cowboy Preacher. The Drunk Preacher, some called him. He’d chuckle. I doubt he’d ever had a drop of alcohol in his life.

He sought out drunks, with a purpose, to share God’s amazing love. Read the rest of this entry

And on and on

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I wait for no one
I am a-wastin’
You cannot stop me

I will tell

I am an illusion
I keep on slippin’ into the future
Procrastination is my thief

If you enjoy wasting me, you will not waste me
I am an equal-opportunity employer
You can’t save me to spend me on another day
If you want me, you must make me

I change things

I am too slow for those who wait,
Too swift for those who fear,
Too long for those who grieve,
Too short for those who rejoice,
But for those who love,
I am eternity

I am the most valuable thing a man can spend
I am the coin of your life
Come spend a little with me

I am what keeps everything from happening at once
I have a wonderful way to show you what really matters
I am the clarity for seeing right and wrong

There is a place for me
I’m of the essence
I heal all wounds
I have been kind to thee

There is one of me for every purpose under heaven
I have no dominion over love
I will explain
I am on your side
You had the me of your life

I go on

I am time

I am up,
Time to go.

This, the ultimate in plagarism, a group of sayings related to time, by various famous quippers and long-forgotten cliche-makers, supplemented and arranged by yours truly, to honor my friend, who is ever precious, present, and elusive at once.

Joan T. Warren20140802-104517-38717942.jpg

It’s not all about what’s inside.

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These days we have disposable containers, because what matters is what’s inside. Right?

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Besides, what’s inside is not the same as the container, right?

Not so, on either count. Often the two are so melded, so interactive, so mutually dependent, that we just can’t separate them. We can’t value them separately, either.

Take, for example, a good book and its cover. Oh, you don’t think so? Well, how about Uranium-235 and its core container? Or, here’s a good one: the inner self and its human body.

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Successful grandkids: My granddaughter contained my grandson the troll, in an unexpected snare.

We are quite attached to these bodies, our containers.

Think about it; when we were little, we’d fall and scrape our knee, and it hurt. We cried. Our inner selves felt as if the world was coming to an end; at least until some sweet and very tall human kissed it, bandaged it, and promised, “No Mercurachrome.”

As children, we saw dead bugs, dead flowers, maybe even some dearly loved dead pets. Our inner selves realized those dead ones aren’t coming back. Most of us learned to be more careful with our bodies, to avoid the pain–and, hopefully, not go away forever.

I know I did. I wanted to grow up to be . . . alive! Then, when I grew up, I wanted to live to raise my daughter. Then, to see my grandchildren succeed. Still, I want to live, to create gifts for future generations.

Speaking of grandkids, I’ve seen this generation grow up playing war and street-gang video games, with avatars instead of real people. They don’t even flinch as they gun down innocent bystanders in the midst of the game. On top of that, the heroes get right up and keep going.

But life is for real, and so is death.

Many religions teach us about the inner person, the spirit, and a glorious afterlife. These teachings are inspirational. They are vital, compelling and comforting. Yet something about this begs more.

Maybe it’s the poor track record religion plays in war and peace.

Maybe it’s the impersonal way many religions try to comfort those who mourn.

Or maybe it’s the fallout of valuing inner, spirit-life as eternal, while considering the containers disposable.

Ask anyone who has lost a loved one; it’s not easy to separate the person from the container that now is gone. There is no one in their arms to hold. The loved one’s laughter no longer fills the room. Yes, the memory remains, and gives some comfort. A little comfort. To the grieving widow, child, and friend, though, the container is gone, and so the person inside.

Last year on this day we lost our beloved . . . been in a daze for over a year. . .

 

Containers are important.

With so much talk about what is in the container, what about the container itself? With such emphasis on inner life, and on the glorious afterlife, do we devalue the precious containers that are vital to achieving our purpose here on earth?

Just tonight, I opened my refrigerator to get a salad I hadn’t been in the mood for yesterday. Having not been sealed in a container, the salad had wilted. I regrouped, and slid it into the juicer with the other veggies. As the juice flowed out, I wondered: what if there were no container to hold the juice? That juice would have spilled out, rather than fulfilling its purpose– to nourish my body.

Our bodies–our containers–are important. They are more than avatars in a game! Take care of your body and treasure what it holds. Encourage others to nurture their bodies. Respect life in others. Feed your bodies with healthy, organic food. Exercise regularly in whatever way you can, building up to and maintaining your best physical state. Take care of the relationships and the planet we need for our containers’ survival. Live in balance: work, rest and play.

For without your container, how will your purpose here be fulfilled?

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For we hold these treasures in jars of clay –II Cor. 4

 

Joan T. Warren
Heart to Heart in a Shielded World

This post grew from:

Containers | The Daily Post
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/containers/

And further developed into a mystery ending with encouragement from:
Mystery Ending | The Daily Post
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/telephone/

This is Where

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This is where blue meets blue, with open arms,
where rainbows signal safe from harm.

This is where dinosaurs meld into angel wings,
where sand crabs wiggle and sea gulls sing.

This is where sea turtles race to the moon at night,
where sailboats glide and swallows take flight.

This is where footprints hint the path behind,
where shoreline paints an easy line.

This is a place of reverence:

where things, once muddled, now make sense,

where troubles pale in light of Thee,

where souls connect in reverie–

a place of merging land and sea,

a place perspective calls to me.

 

photo courtesy Denesia Christine

photo courtesy of Denesia Christine

©Joan T. Warren

Happy WordPress Anniversary (to me)!

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Something from WordPress arrived in my notifications box today!

Borrowed from a website that borrowed from . . .

Borrowed from a website that borrowed from . . .

Excited (in the style of Ralphie, opening his package from the Lil’ Orphan Annie Radio Show), my heart raced. Could it be? Freshly pressed?

The highly coveted Freshly Pressed Award, in my box?

 

imageBut, alas, it was just a little congrats for one year blogging.

 

 

Ditto. . .

Ditto. . .

 

It’s okay, though, WordPress, I do appreciate you remembering our special day. Now that I’m over the initial let-down, I think it was really nice of you. It has been a good year together.

A year ago today, you helped me publish my first blog post. Wading through the countless themes, layouts and options, we put together a pretty good start.

During the year, I learned a few things. I found that there are some excellent people all over the world who participate in WordPress blogging. A few became fast friends, as we enjoyed reading one another’s posts and commenting in supportive dialogue. I have new friends in Scotland, Canada, and across America. I’ve had visitors from nearly every country! All this without annoyance from over 14,000 spammers that Akismet blocked for me.

This is a snapshot of my all-time visits. The list of countries is three times longer than would fit!

This is a snapshot of my all-time visits. The list of countries is three times longer than would fit!

I’ve seen reader interest wane in the face of serious and lengthy posts. I’ve caught a few waves of new likes and follows from brief and light-weight posts. I’ve played with some blog-building strategies suggested by overnight-success bloggers. Oh, and I almost forgot, published 60 posts. Not bad for a full-time professional with a second full-time job (family).

In the beginning, I heard that publishers want new writers who can boast a platform of 10-15,000 followers. “You can build that in a year while you write your book,” one author told me.

It’s been a year. I’ve missed a lot of sleep! I’ve built a platform of a whopping 200-something followers. Few ever comment (come on, people, it’s lonely without conversation!).  I’ve written only about a tenth (if that) of my book. I don’t feel too successful on this one-year anniversary, dear WordPress.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming you. I’m just saying, it isn’t what I thought. Just like in marriage; there is the honeymoon stage, then comes disillusionment. To make a life-long success, couples must get through these phases to real love.

I still hope to finish my book, to live to see it published, and then maybe another after that. Not just for fun, but to make some (albeit small) difference in the world, one that will outlive me.

Whether I’ll need to build a sizable platform or not, I don’t know. What I do know is, I’m not wasting my time here (well, maybe a little!). I’m learning to write better. I’m learning about others, what they see and have to say. I’m learning plenty about what doesn’t work. And, it’s pretty fun.

So, if you want to hang out another year or so, WordPress, I’m game. Do you have an iron, though? I could really use some fresh-pressing; I’m starting to get wrinkled.

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Happy Anniversary!

Joan T. Warren

On the Move: Church for Introverts

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Fading fast, treasured steps and memories.
Church for introverts.

imageFor WordPress Weekly Photo challenge,On the Move

Joan T. Warren
Randy’s iphone

Lessons Without Walls

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Blue succumbs to brilliant washes of orange, raspberry and violet–each tipped with glowing

golden aura. Not just above now, but reflected in the sea. Completeness. The sun melds into

the horizon with a final burst of resplendence, as a lover gives an extra squeeze to bid

adieu, “Remember me. I will return.”

Deni Image of Sun reflecting in water

Courtesy of Denesia Christine on Flicker

I believe. I will see you on the other side.

Night begins.

White. The presence of all colors, gentle light bears witness to the sun. Lifting dark veil,

illuminating field and glistening dew-tipped petals, smiling moon lights the way home. A

beacon, as a parent’s consolation to frightened child, “I’m here, baby, it’s okay.”

Courtesy of Denesia Christine

Courtesy of DenesiaChristine on Instagram

I believe. Safe, secure, through dark of night.

And the sun rises.

Sun and moon, seasons, cycles. Seed to tree, decay, fertile soil bears life again. Teachers,

all. Eager student, I, in wondrous reception, hoping to relay these glorious lessons, teacher,

student, teacher. Breathe in, breathe out. . .

Selah.

©Joan T. Warren

In response to this week’s WordPress writing challenge, to share our experience as

teachers, as students. Appropriately, for teacher appreciation week, too.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

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Joan's iphone cam, Martha and James' woods.

Joan’s iphone cam, Martha and James’ woods.

Stretch. Breathe deep. Unfurl

fronds, heart, mind; a new phase. Say

yes. Begin again.

 

©Joan T. Warren

Gladly prepared for WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge, to represent what spring means to me, in pictorial form. My deepest apologies for the quality of this photo; if I were a true photographer, it would be sharper, the background in B&W, the fern fronds in green. To make it up to you, world, I offer a little something extra for you, haiku to accompany.

More Than Words

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Pen in hand, released to the floor; chicken scratch.

“I. . . I. . . I. . ,” sputtered Vera, summoning strength from the tips of her toes and fingers, as they squeezed the foot and armrest of her wheelchair. A polite and apologetic smile took backstage. Vera forced her thoughts and intentions out of her eyes to the kind woman sitting across from her, giving her all.

“It’s okay, I know you’re in there. I know you’re having a hard time getting your words out. I’ll try to ask questions so you can nod yes or no.”

Vera settled and wiped a tear. She nodded yes.

Tessa breathed in, out, and laid her clipboard aside. This occupational therapy evaluation won’t be as easy as checking the boxes. None are. She quickly regrouped. “Is it okay with you if I ask your husband about things that are important to you so I can make our therapy sessions as meaningful as possible?”

Vera shook her head no. Then her eyes opened widely, she reached for Tessa’s hand and nodded yes. “Yah. . . no. . . . yes.” Eyebrows burrowed in at the sides and raised in the center, she looked pleadingly at Tessa, as if to say, “I can’t even control my yes and no answers!”

It was a left cerebral infarction with expressive aphasia. Tessa understood Vera’s condition from the textbook. Vera’s stroke spared her ability to understand language, but blocked her ability to speak–and to write. Now it was time to understand it from the eyes of a dear woman looking pleadingly to her for help.

Vera understood her condition from the textbook as well. Forty-five years a speech-language pathologist, now it was her time to understand it from the inside, reaching out.

Borrowed from gradydoctor.com

Photo borrowed from gradydoctor.com

 

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In honor of National Occupational Therapy Month and in response to WordPress’ Weekly Writing Challenge (Flash Fiction: 300 words or less)

Joan T Warren

Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters

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image For the back story, check out this poem about OT:

April is National OT Month and Poetry Month

 

Oh, and thanks, WordPress, for this week’s challenge. Check out other responses here:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/letters/

Joan T. Warren

Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top

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Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top

Easter Sunrise from a spot aptly named ‘Pretty Place,’ at YMCA Camp Greenville, SC.
This, after a night spent on the top bunk in a rustic cabin, just certain the rain would never stop.