Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happy Hearts.... and "goofy" faces,

the expected goofy shot, originally uploaded by annamaren.

Happy hearts and happy faces,
Happy play in grassy places -
That was how, in ancient ages,
Children grew to kings and sages.

~Robert Louis Stevenson

Sunday, November 30, 2008


For our family this time of year is a celebration of the advent season. This year we are asking in our prayers that the Lord guide our hearts to those that we are able to help and allow our hearts to receive with grace. Each night we will gather at out table for reading from the scriptures, a holiday book and prayers. These are our reading for the first week of this advent season:
Sunday ~ Isaiah 40:1-5
Monday ~ Isaiah 52:7-10
Tuesday ~ Isaiah 40:9-11
Wednesday ~ Genesis 3:8-15
Thursday ~ Genesis 15:1-6
Friday ~ Deuteronomy 18:15-19
Saturday ~ Psalms 89:1-4

*I am pretending that there are 3 purple and 1 pink, not all white. I don't think my kids will notice that I have the wrong color candles.
did you?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

he still needs me

He's been a climber for as long as I can remember. He climbed before he walked. He walked at 9 months. I don't have many rules, mostly guidelines, but for trees I do have a couple of rules:
1) you must be able to scale the first branch on your own before making it to the next, no boosts
2) the branches you step on need to be as big around as your arm.
This has helped keep them out of the branches that bend and sway w/ the weight of a boy and I hoped it would keep them out of really tall trees (hasn't worked for my oldest, most agile son, but works like a charm for my 2nd son). The trees he tends to climb are usually quite tall and he makes it to the top, only one big fall that I can remember.

Today I was sitting fireside, reading a new WorldPulse and Sojourners magazine, sipping coffee when I heard him. "Mommy!" "Momma, come here, please - I need you." I slipped on my flips and opened the door. To the left there he was - stuck in a little dogwood tree. I chuckled, told him to wait a quick moment and grabbed my camera. I then did what you see above, took a photo.

I needed to savor the moment. He needs me less and less as he grows, or so it seems. I needed this moment to remind me that no matter his age or height, he will always be my little boy and will always need me, even if it to help him get his feet untangled from a tree branch.

When I got him down I asked why he choose that tree. He said it had little red things growing in that were fun to write with and he needed some more. I went back inside to the fire and my new magazines with a very full heart and he went on drawing with berries on the sidewalk.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Every year at this time, we hang a banner in our dining nook, it simply says "Thanks". We have so much to be thankful for. I am blessed in my life in so many ways, and I feel grateful for a holiday to reflect on how my own thankfulness.

I am thankful for my family, knit together with love. I am thankful for my friends- the warm support that nurtures in so many ways. I am thankful for a warm place to live on a cold morning like this. I am thankful the sun is shining this morning! I am thankful for coffee. ; )

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

still there

there is a sugar maple just outside the window by my desk. she is holding on to many of her leaves and continues to display her magnificent colors. i really hope she stays for a few more days.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Pilgrimage to adventure.

When you are a nomad and you get that itch to travel, you do what you can to honor that! I love the fact that I have the opportunity in my life to nurture a spirit of adventure and travel in big and small ways. So we went to the little India district of Chicago, not really all the way to India.

It was just a day long trip but it fed my soul in so many ways!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I am grateful.
I am grateful to have a heart that has friends to hold it. I am grateful to be walking the journey of motherhood alongside some truly inspirational women. I am grateful for phone calls with dear friends, I am grateful for cups of coffee handed to me just when I need them. I am grateful for friends who let me nap on their spare beds when I feel exhausted. I am grateful for friends who brave crowds of thousands to share the inspiration of hope with our children. I am grateful for friends who share music making, art creating, scone baking, chaos embracing.......

all of it. I am so grateful.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Golden light, and one of my favorite poems.....

Fall morning light, originally uploaded by annamaren.


By Naomi Shihab Nye

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A magical idea......

A link to a beautiful idea on a beautiful blog.....taking mere moments to capture the essence of a magical moment....

A Journal of Moments in a Jar

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What to Remember When Waking.


In that first
hardly noticed
to which you wake,
coming back
to this life
from the other
more secret,
and frighteningly
where everything
there is a small
into the new day
which closes
the moment
you begin
your plans.

What you can plan
is too small
for you to live.

What you can live
will make plans
for the vitality
hidden in your sleep.

To be human
is to become visible
while carrying
what is hidden
as a gift to others.

To remember
the other world
in this world
is to live in your
true inheritance.

You are not
a troubled guest
on this earth,
you are not
an accident
amidst other accidents
you were invited
from another and greater
than the one
from which
you have just emerged.

Now, looking through
the slanting light
of the morning
window toward
the mountain
of everything
that can be,
what urgency
calls you to your
one love? What shape
waits in the seed
of you to grow
and spread
its branches
against a future sky?

Is it waiting
in the fertile sea?
In the trees
beyond the house?
In the life
you can imagine
for yourself?
In the open
and lovely
white page
on the waiting desk?

~ David Whyte ~

(The House of Belonging)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Heart in her hands....

Heart in her hands...., originally uploaded by annamaren.


It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

-Mary Oliver

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Windowsill above my kitchen sink- The prayerbeads I strung a month ago.

My dishwasher broke a week ago.... and I have been doing dishes every day..... here my prayer beads sit, up and out of the bubbles, while I splash around, lost in thought, getting dirty things clean.

I thought I didn't like to do dishes.....I thought I would have a hard time while my dishwasher was broken. It has been a nice chance to have some quiet time though.... an unexpected bonus.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Almati Yurt, originally uploaded by annamaren.

Gathering..... it's what I like to do in all walks of my life..... I love to gather people together. I love to gather children, grown ups........ this photo is a part of my life where I get to help gather Women. I have had a good month of gathering in my life..... I am learning stronger and better ways of being a gatherer.

I honestly feel blessed and very lucky to experience the wonder of mentors in my life who have helped me into this way of it, this way of being truly alive to my own purpose. Gathering. Hmmmmm.....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Labyrinth at the Sisters of St Joseph grounds.

As I Walk with Beauty

As I walk, as I walk

The universe is walking with me

In beauty it walks before me

In beauty it walks behind me

In beauty it walks below me

In beauty it walks above me

Beauty is on every side

As I walk, I walk with Beauty.

Traditional Navajo Prayer

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Joy in the summertime....

Playtime in the new pool!, originally uploaded by annamaren.

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."
-Annie Dillard

Monday, August 4, 2008

A moment of beauty...making some new prayer beads...

Some stolen quiet time a few weekends ago.... this new magazine "Seeing the Everyday" is so beautiful, full of beautiful photos and stories, and NO ads.
Also, making these prayer beads was so joyful to my heart, it was just the kind of quite time I had been coveting before launching into a few busy weeks here!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Moonlit Labyrinth walk this evening, after the Julia Butterfly Hill talk.

What you hold, may you always hold. St Clare of Assisi

What you hold, may you always hold.
What you do, may you do and never abandon.
But with swift pace, light step,
unswerving feet,
so that even your steps stir no dust,
go forward
securely, joyfully, and swiftly,
on the path of prudent happiness,
believing nothing
agreeing with nothing
which would dissuade you from this resolution
or which would place a stumbling block for you on the way,
so that you may offer your vows to the Most High
in the pursuit of that perfection
to which the Spirit of the Lord has called you.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Psalm for the day....

The Lady's Prayer

The Earth is my Mother
I shall not want
Her hand brings forth the green pastures
She tarries within the still waters
She leads me in fields of fruitfulness
for my Glory
Yea, as I walk through the summer of life
unto death
I will not be afraid
for You are with me
Your womb in the earth
will enfold me
You prepare a harvest before me
and bless my home with children
You fill me with milk and honey
My cup overflows
Surely, goodness and beauty will nurture me
all the days of my life
and I will become part of the earth

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Mother's Daily Prayer

This is the prayer that sits in my kitchen, in a place where I can see it daily. It's from "She Who Dwells Within: A Feminist Vision of a Renewed Judaism" by Lynn Gottlieb. It is a prayer to the Shekhinah- Shekhinah being the Hebrew feminine-form for God.

A Mother's Daily Prayer

Wild Mother of earth and sky,
You who nestle seed in clay
And lift up winged creatures on Your wind,
Enliven me with your morning grace
As I awake to mothering.

If I have time to say these words
And You have time to listen,
Keep my children safe from harm,
Bless them with healthy bodies and minds.
Let them flourish.

Winsome Mother of sea and stream,
You who move it all along,
Grant me humor, patience, and compassion
To flow with the day that beckons me now
To fix breakfast, check homework, and answer the phone.

Cosmic Mother of stars and destiny,
Who juggles time and child,
If I have not yet been interrupted
I pray also for these things:

[Add your personal prayers]

Wise Mother who gives and takes away,
Who sets the boundaries of work and play,
May we all love and forgive each other
Yet another day.
And grant me the stillness of quiet hours
To renew and refresh my mothering.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Love the whole world as a mother loves her only child.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What I wanted to do here….. my mission statement.

On a personal level......
I have been kind of deep in thought about how for me motherhood has been both practice and path. It's the greatest spiritual task you may ever have in your life- to hold the privilege and responsibility for ushering forward life itself, the universe giving you itself in a form that is not yourself. Why do we as women ignore the depth of the spiritual side of motherhood? I mean, what a realization it is to think about the fact that bringing forth life is a Divine act!

Why are there a million books about nursing and sleeping, and 9 months of protein recipes, but if you want to read and prepare your heart for motherhood, most of what is available is pretty Western Christian. (Not that this is bad, but it’s not the wide open conversation that I desire.)
Why do we shy away from speaking of motherhood as a profound and transformational experience? There seems to be a deep lack of support and wisdom in how we grow and cherish our own spirit as mothers, and how motherhood and deep spiritual experience are not separate things, for me they have been one and the same. How can I support other women in this way of things? Well, starting a blog with my dear friend seems like a small step on the path.
Naïve and inspired, I sit here at my computer, imagining my friend and I digging a well of nurture, a space that may eventually expand to other women with a similar longing. I am creating for myself what I deeply long for, the recognition that motherhood is a spiritually incredulous and incredible thing, and I am called to name myself pilgrim on that path.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"All the great traditions talk about this idea that somehow the ideal thing would be for every moment to be a revelation, every moment to be a mystical experience- but not because you're having visions, but because of the beauty of the moment. The beauty of this moment is very, very great. This is a very great opening. Every microsecond of the conversation has the temptation for us to almost get lost in it. So these are good things...hugging the dog, walking outside, or seeing the real mysticism is here"
Frances Tiso, 2002

Within each moment is the gift to a mother of being fully present to that exact moment. This is a gift that my children have given me.....every moment being a mystical experience, but not because I am having visions, because of the awareness of the beauty of the moment!

Friday, June 20, 2008

” I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love." – Mother Teresa

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Mother As Hero - From Joseph Campbell's conversations with Bill Moyers

The Mother As Hero

Moyers:Don't you think we've lost the truth in this society of ours, where is deemed nore heoric to go out into the world and make a lot of money than it is to raise children?

Campbell: Making money gets more advertisement. You know the old saying: if a dog bites a man, that's not a story, but if a man bites a dog, you've got a story there. So the thing that happens and happens and happens, no matter how heroic it may be, is not news. Motherhood has lost its novelty, you might say.

Moyers:That's a wonderful image, though- the mother as hero.

Campbell: It has always seemed so to me. That's something I've learned from reading these myths.

Moyers:It's a journey-you have to move out of the known, conventional safety of your life to undertake this.

Campbell: You have to be transformed from a maiden to a mother. That's the big change, involving many dangers.

Moyers: And when you come back from your journey, with the child, you've brought something into the world.

Campbell:Not only that, you've got a life job ahead of you. Otto Rank makes a point that there is a world of people who think that their heroic act in being born qualifies them for respect and support of their whole community.

Moyers:But there's still a journey to be taken after that.

Campbell:There's a large journey to be taken, of many trials.

Moyers:How is consciousness transformed?

Campbell:Either by trials themselves or by illuminating revelations. Trials and revelations are what it is all about.