Thursday, November 14, 2013

Change is good. Ride the wave...slowly

Well, as with every's starting soon (First Sunday of Advent is Dec. 1, 2013), I seem to find that change comes.  I feel courageous at this time, so I also make more daring choices, accept new challenges and look forward instead of backward.  I think it's the Old Testament readings that get my mind going in the right direction--looking back in order to focus on the future and sit in the present more joyfully.  The book of Isaiah really brings this aspect home to me.

Having said that, however, I have to say that many coincidences--or "God-incidences"--also seem to be pushing me forward.  Since this has happened pretty consistently during every Advent season since I started following the liturgical calendar more strictly and, importantly, more prayerfully, I can conclude that something more is at work than my simple mind and heart.

So, lately I've been carried forward by a force and energy that isn't wholly mine.  Does this always feel 'good', definitely not!  I get good pushes and 'bad' ones.  Two hospital stays in 10 days with sick kids, a freak accident involving my son's daycare and several other annoyances (including a persistent cough) are not pleasant pushes, but they do push hard on my perceived limitations.  I am asked in those difficult and exhausting times to find it within myself to continue, and to continue on the right track, on God's track, with grace and prayer.  I get pushed.  I get nudged.  I accept it, and I move forward more quickly.  That's when the courage to take risks kicks in and I can say yes more enthusiastically, I can come up with creative solutions, I can think outside my box because after dealing with life's bumps, I realize that I'm outside the box--I've outgrown it.

So, this Advent season will be about growth, I suspect.  It seems to be my soul's pattern.  Advent=change, for me.  How is it for you?

I'll keep you posted about the crafts I'll be working on with the kids, when my cough abates. Hack, Hack!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

fall and falling

It's fall and I'm back in business, as it were.

It is that time of year ...or so the old cliche goes.  Fall is my favourite and now that I've been home with my children for a few years, and I don't have the beginning of term jitters, which some teachers have, that would haunt me from early August to mid October (a not so usual reaction).  Jitters for a few days, yes, months of anxiety, no.  That is not the way to spend several months of the year.

So, now that I can soak in the fall colours without that stress, my mind seems freer to contemplate and enjoy what is around me.  Living my vocation more fully has brought me to SLOW down mentally, if not physically since toddlers move fast, real fast.  What to do with this mental SLOW DOWN?  I don't know.

Change is not easy--and I've already talked about my difficulties with it here--so I won't belabour the point further. Oddly enough, this time around I don't find it so difficult.  Scary because of the myriad unknowns, yes, but I feel an inner calm that I don't think I have ever experienced except for a couple of times in my life when I had made equally unexpected decisions, but nonetheless felt a complete inner calm.  A couple of other times, I remember feeling a pull toward something and that same inner stillness of pure calm.  I didn't do what my heart was calling me to do.  I didn't take the leap and I've regretted it ever since.

Discernment is messy business.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church has several entries about discernment and its importance (discernment of spirits, charisms etc.), so I won't attempt to outline the details of this process here.  What I'll stick to is a meditation on how the process is working in my heart of late.

To me, discernment means thinking about where we want our life to go, measuring that up against what our feeble minds think God wants for us, and then making the necessary outward changes to match the inner changes that we've made.  Prayer helps, friends and listening ears help, taking action in small ways helps, but at a certain just have to do 'it'.

Whatever that 'it' is, it might even seem small to others, but for the person making the change there is always that one action or decision that in retrospect (and sometimes even in the present moment) was the 'can't turn back now' moment.

Am I ready in my own life to do that?  Don't know.  Which, of course, means no.

But that's okay, too.  I'll get there.

For now, the trees are a beautiful shade of orange and I'll stick with enjoying that fully until the leaves fall to the snowy, frosty ground.  When that happens, I'll know it's time to think about what lies ahead.

Happy Fall.  Check the blog for more regular entries as the cold weather and writing seem to go hand in hand.  I'll try for a once a week entry, at least.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Summer musings

Summer is here and the weather is humid and warm, but after the blustery winter we've had, I'm not complaining about any of it, not even the smog.  Not even the excessive rain.  No, not even the extra mosquitos and other critters.  I am happy to leave my house without a sweater, and nothing much else matters.

This blissful oblivion, and willed good mood, got me to thinking....what kind of a person would I have been or would I become, if I lived in a different climate, where this 'summer weather thing' is a year round phenomenon.  Don't get me wrong, the four seasons are great and all, but really I could live with seeing spring in a picture and hearing about winter from a friend.  What I need and want is summer.

I have come to the distinct conclusion that I would have a very different outlook on my days and on my life if I lived in a climate that better suited my temperament.

This led me think about other ways I could imagine a new life, a different life.  Not fundamentally different, I love my husband and children and want to spend all my time with them, but different in the superficial, yet also important ways.  What if the house I lived in was different, maybe better suited to me?  What if my job better fit my temperament?  Without getting into a spiral of what if's leading nowhere...I found this exercise to be quite refreshing since it reminded me of what my daughter has been doing a lot of in her imagination.

The imagination is a great thing when channelled well.  It can lead us out of darkness and it can send us, if we're not careful, right to the depths of despair.  Prayer and a conscious desire to think upward and outward tends to work for me.  It helps me get my imagination in tune with my best self.  Then it becomes a tool for renewal.

So, for the next little while, that's where I'll be...daydreaming in the hot summer sun.  You can join me for a unicorn ride later, for now I'm picturing what I look and feel like in my 'new' digs.

P.S. Here's the long awaited result of the St. Francis craft.  It was a resounding success and still hangs in my office.  Don't mind the plastic can decorate your hangers with some nice ribbon.  My kids wanted to focus on the animals and the drawing, which is why I consider this a good one.  It got them to think and do,and that's more important than the result....and isn't that what my thoughts about the imagination are all about anyway: the idea that to imagine something else means we can try new things to get there or somewhere else, but the process of imagining it is the first step and the most important one because who knows where it will lead.
St. Francis, pray for us!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Summer sprung right over spring

So, spring in my part of the world decided it wanted no part of us this year.  We went from snowstorms to summer weather in two weeks.

This made for a rougher than usual transition from one season to the next as I ended up packing away winter and spring coats/boots and shoes at the same time. Then, out came all the summer gear.  Its been busy and its got me we always need to take every step and plod slowly through the expected paths in life?  Can we, as the erratic weather proves, sometimes just skip a step or two and still make it to the same destination?

I am a plotter and a planner.  I have brainstorming worksheets for everything, and I am a compulsive list-maker.  I think that these ways of organizing my thoughts and planning out my life give me some measure of control.  I think they have brought me success and prosperity.  Are these assumptions true?  Hardly. Partly.

While planning and working things out on paper help me clear my mind and plot out some eventual possibilities/outcomes/results of my decisions, these scribble sessions hardly constitute magic weapons.  I have come to see and know in my heart that writing a list helps organize my mind, but it doesn't give me the tools to take advantage of what life has to offer.

Sometimes, we need to throw out the list.  Make it in order to clear our minds and hearts, for sure, but then throw it out.  Wilfully, chuck it.  Dump it.  Try something new.  Life gives us ways of finding our way if we are paying attention and listening to our hearts and the Spirit that moves within us.  Through prayer and reflection we come to truth.  Truths about ourselves and the world around us; I really believe that.  The planning helps us make dreams into reality, but sometimes (not always) but sometimes, we need to drop the list out the window and watch it fall to the ground.

It is of this world, and our dreams and the possibilities that God has in store for us are not.  They can't be contained in a list and if we become slaves to the list, to the plan, to the plotted trajectory, we lose out on all the wonderful and edifying stuff along the way, down the 'other' path, on the other road.  That stuff is sometimes on the road we didn't take, even though we wanted to, because it wasn't on the list.  The really good stuff--even the painful experiences--are to be found, mostly, in unexpected places.

People don't often pass on to the other world on a schedule, but when they do, boy do we grow.

Children don't come, usually, exactly when we plan for them.  And yet, what teachers they are when they do arrive.  They are masters at leaving by routine while simultaneously throwing out the plan, changing the list, making every moment a new path.

Cars don't break down on schedule and emergencies are unexpected...that's why they are emergencies.

Taken in this way, life's hardships and joys--the things that make us who we are--are usually (in the mundane flat tires and the extraordinary experiences of birth and death) list busters.

So, while spring decided to take a break this year, so have I decided to take a break from my list.  My list is on hiatus.  I am navigating by starlight and moonbeams.  I am paying attention to what is, not what I thought would be.  My list is there, it will get written and re-written, but for now once its on paper, I'm not paying attention to it....not much, anyway.

P.S.  I've been crafting with the next and ideas to share.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Finding a path

While I wait for my children to complete the St. Francis craft, so that I can post a little description of how it went, let me include a post about what is on my mind of late.

Finding a life's path and mission.  Although it seems like a vast and unapproachable subject, I think to contemplate this seriously is actually quite practical and down to earth.  If you don't feel like what you're doing is fulfilling, then everything you do (even the small stuff) seems heavier, weightier, cumbersome.  If, on the other hand, you feel like what you are doing, in a global way, is what you were meant to do, then the little things don't matter.  You can, as they say, forgo sweating over them, since 90% of the time you're doing what fulfils your inner-most self.  In my case, sometimes that includes wiping a snotty nose, or cleaning a dirty bathroom.

What happens, then, when only part of your life is in line with your true calling, and some of it doesn't.  What to do?  I figure, the first step should be trying to see if the part of your life you're struggling with can be modified slightly so that it better represents who you are.  So, in other words, if work is your Achilles heel, then before dumping it completely, maybe a shift in focus could help.  I know that I felt much better about teaching when I began to see that I wasn't only teaching the subject matter, I was also interacting with people that I could impact positively.  With that idea in mind, even the hardships of classroom management felt better because I saw them as opportunities to show the other students how a woman can respectfully manage a group of people with humour and grace.  The students tow the line, but I am also modelling something important.  When I focus on that, I don't mind having to discipline a student because its part of the plan.

What if seeing it differently doesn't work either?  What if you realize you just like to work in a different way and your current job doesn't allow for that--you can try to dance while you work an assembly line, but it doesn't safe or practical to me.  In my case,  I like to work quietly and working in a bustling college doesn't help me do that.  What if, you can't change your job enough to make it work for you?  For me, despite the down time after class, the noise of the day and the people I interact with over the course of the day, take up so much energy (since its not in my nature to be gregarious) that I can't enjoy the quiet time I have.  What if in your down time you feel depleted and that's the feeling that you can't shake?

Then, more drastic measures are necessary; maybe a serious change of pace is in order.  This is easier when you're just starting out in your field of work, but I know that its never too late--even when schooling and years of experience seem at stake.

There is such a thing as a  mid-career shift.  I accept that reality, now that I am listening to myself more carefully.  If this sounds familiar, my next question is, what does one do as the desire to  shift gears becomes more real...wait patiently (maybe), do other stuff (and wait patiently), scrap everything and start fresh (and then panic!?).  I think a moderate emphasis on any new project or endeavour that feels more fulfilling will help, then a sincere inquiry into how much time off from work can be had is ideal (can a 4 day work week be negotiated? can some projects be given to someone else? can an extended vacation be taken?).  During that new free time, working on the things that feel 'right' is a way to see what other doors will open.  That, I think, is where the waiting comes in.  When the iron is hot, you strike out and trust that your new path will be a truer one, but the iron has to be hot.  For that, you have to wait.

Waiting, for me, is difficult.  I don't like it at all.  I am a very patient person when it comes to other people's failings, other people's habits etc,  but when it comes to things I want to do....I want to do them NOW.  I don't cut myself a lot of slack, but when you wait you have to sit with yourself and just be.  That, for me, means I have time to think of all the ways I can be better, should do better, achieve more.

I am learning that waiting can also mean taking the opportunity to look around, assess the situation fully, appreciate the beauty, laugh at the mistakes, be with myself and be well (without the pressure of having to produce anything really new or life changing).  Waiting has become, for me, a way to store up energy so that I can be ready for when I do have to strike out, hit the iron, modify it well and move forward quickly as I like to do.  I realize that I can also honour my need for speed, but not now.  I'll be fast when it's time but now it's not.

So, let me leave you with this quote that helps me focus on the fact that even if the path is winding, all roads, when you're paying attention to yourself, lead to Rome (i.e. your life's mission).  You may not know where the path is leading, but know that you're being Led and our inner compass always points toward the infinite and Divine, from whence it came.

While my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then You knew my path--Psalm 142:3

Friday, March 22, 2013

Saint Francis

According to the calendar, spring has sprung....but I am still surrounded by mountains, literally mountains of snow.  Well, maybe hills of snow, but 30 cm. fell a few days ago and if spring is here, it doesn't feel like it yet.

To help remind my family of the renewal of the natural world, of the Church and of the Papacy with our new Pope Francis I, I thought I would focus on the beauty of God's creation.  Planning to work on this craft with my kids is something that has me looking forward to a time when I can see other colors than white in my landscape (green, for example, would be great!), ties into St. Francis' love of creation and respect for it, and will open the discussion about why Pope Francis chose his name.

Here's the plan (I'll keep you 'posted' about the results and any changes that need to be made):

A little prep work is in order, but really it has to do with asking my daughter what her favorite animals are, then adding my son's favorite animals to the list--he's too little to articulate what they are, but a mother knows these things.  I'll ask her to draw the animals on square pieces of cardboard (3 ''x 3'') so that the images will be roughly the same size. Next, I'm going print out this clip art image of St. Francis and color it (that's going to be my job!! Yeah, I love coloring...don't laugh it's meditative for adults too).

I found it found at

Finally, I'm going to assemble all of this into a mobile.  St. Francis in the center and all the animals around him.  I think I'll use a clothes hanger to hang everything'll be faster and easier than trying to rig a proper x-style mobile.

Through this hands on work I'd like my kids, and myself as I help them, to focus on the things that we love in the world that surrounds us.  This should help us stay focused on why we need to be thankful and reverential as we wait for Easter, and for spring.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Walking in the light

Since my last post, I've been thinking about the fact that I feel 'comfortable' feeling a river of sadness running in the background of my life.  Living that way sounds strange, and it is.  This is something I want to change about my thinking, and since I don't believe in coincidence, let me tell you about a series of little events and happenings--things I saw, read, and did--that are encouraging me to let go of the sadness and fully embrace the joy that my life affords, with all of its natural ups and downs.

First, since it's Lent (we are now midway through), most of what I have been meditating on and thinking about--reading in Scripture and praying about--has to do with the power of suffering to bring great joy if we view it correctly.  It can transform.  It is only a stepping stone to greater things (some that we can't even see or imagine yet).  I want to see the difficulties as pit-stops, not as things that I need to hang on to, or unduly focus on.  Seen this way, we can even find joy and contentment in temporary suffering (because it's all temporary, isn't it?), and because we are already looking forward to seeing how we will be better because of it.  Who will we be?  How will we be different?  What will we learn and accomplish because of it?  I don't want to deny my pain or sadness, but I do want it to have meaning.

Second, I came across this quote from Saint Pius X and a series of Biblical Quotes:

"If God is trying us with tribulations and punishments, he is doing so in order to bring us to mercy and low us to enjoy calm after the storm, to give us joy after sorrow and happiness after our weeping."

"Be happy, always happy in the Lord." (Ph 4:4)

"Be glad and rejoice for ever for what I am creating, because I now create Jerusalem 'Joy' and her people 'Gladness'."  Isaiah (65:17-21)

Third, several people reminded me about the fact that God wants us to be joy-filled even through trials, fatigue, the doldrums etc.  If we have rightly ordered our lives, then even difficulties will be lived joyfully and peacefully.

Also, I meditated on all of the above for several days, then decided that that was going to be my outlook going forward.  The effect was immediate and I had a most blessed Sunday the next day--an inner peace and joy that was unshakable   I have held onto it for a couple of days now.  I'm sure it will come and go as I struggle with everyday troubles, but having tasted that inner peace, it will come back more quickly should it ever be out of my reach for a time.  It will come back because now I know it will never really be gone, just hiding under some fleeting sadness, sorrow, anger.  As the passing cloud of emotion passes, the joy will be revealed when I see the fullness of what my life is really about.

Last but not least, let me leave you with the words of a great man that were part of today's readings in the Magnificat .  Blessed John Henry Newman had this to say--another sign from the heavens that this is the type of change that I need:

Gain healing from troubled waters.  Make up your mind to the prospect of sustaining a certain measure of pain and trouble in your passage through life; by the blessing of God this will prepare you for it--it will make you thoughtful and resigned without interfering with your cheerfulness.(emphasis mine)

This was something I needed to read today, and for always, may this attitude bring peace to me and to you as we struggle to be joy-filled always.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

beautiful blinding whiteness

In my part of the world, winter is harsh and long.  Although some people find ways to enjoy these long months of cold and snow doing winter sports, I can't get over the fact that it's cold and humid long enough to really enjoy anything.

Except on days like today.  This morning every surface was covered in  beautiful, gleaming white, fluffy, wet snow.  In a word, it was breathtaking.  Beautiful and awesome all at once, since it seemed to erase everything beneath it--all the brown slushy snow, all the ice, all the brownish grass, everything.  All that was left was white.  The landscape was transformed and I was transfixed as I always am when we get snowfalls like this.

The Perfect Snowfall
This only really happens a few times over the four months we have snow.  Several factors have to converge to get this type of beauty.  First, you need a goodly amount of snow on the ground already.  Then, the snow has to be wet and sticky so that it clings to the branches of the trees and everything else in sight.  Last, but not least, in order for it to have its full effect it has to snow overnight, so that in the morning the world seems anew and refreshed.  Whitewashed. Cleaned. Erased.

Now, I know that my husband would disagree with my view of this type of snowfall.  He thinks its pretty too, don't get me wrong, but he also sees the snow and thinks...great! more shoveling.  Humbug!

That being said, for me the three or four times a year this happens are really special.  They are the only times I actually want to get bundled up and go outside.

This morning, however, the snow was also something more because it reminded me of last Sunday's Gospel reading, which was the Transfiguration (Luke 9: 28-36).  I love this Gospel story because it reminds me of the transformative power of Grace that comes through prayer, but also of its power to change everything.  To wake us up, as Jesus' changed appearance and glaring white robes woke up the sleepy Apostles that day.

The snow as I walked outside with my son was so bright I had a hard time seeing--if you have blue or green eyes you'll know what I mean about the glare of snow being worse than sunlight.  I longed for my sunglasses, but didn't feel like going back home to get them.

I thought about the fact that when we encounter real glaring truths, when the veil between this world and the next lifts for a second, we are so overwhelmed that we often close our eyes (for real, or metaphorically  depending on the circumstances).  I suppose humans need to know about the existence of darkness--need to feel some sadness-- to interpret the light, to contemplate it better.  I couldn't see the beauty well because of my squinting...the darkness of my shades would have, ironically, allowed me to appreciate the brightness better.

Next time I feel a shadow pass through my consciousness, I'll try to remember this day and that sometimes a little darkness--or sadness--(or a lot of it) must be a part of any human life in order to really be able to see the pristine awesomeness of Creation and the human condition within it.

On the last day of Pope Benedict's pontificate, I dedicate this post, this snowfall and my prayers to this new period for him and  for the Church.  May we all be transformed and made anew in this Lenten season.

Check out Father Barron's sermon about Luke 9:28-36--the Transfiguration--by clinking on the link
Word on Fire

Pope Benedict's Farewell
The Vatican website has some great video of his final days as Pope and the live feed is a neat feature.
La Santa Sede

Monday, February 25, 2013

If the whole world...

Let me begin by saying that for me, and I guess for most people, change is difficult.
I like stability.  It is comforting, even when I know that often good things, fresh things, better things come with change.

I feel myself at a crossroads of late.  What should I do?  What do I want to do?  What does God want me to do?  These questions swirl around in my head in an endless loop.  I see what I would like, but how to get there.  That's the eternal question.

I've been praying and meditating on this and more in the rare quiet moments of my day--children under five don't have off buttons, at least mine don't; I know because I checked.

When Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation, I was shocked, as was the rest of the world.  I was also sad because his writings and his approach to the Papacy drew me back to the Church.  I am a perpetual student and his way reminded me of all my great professors--I became a "disciple" and I got to know Jesus more personally because of the affinity I feel, and felt, for this Pope.  My Pope.  His extremely strong faith was something to emulate and strive for--especially for someone who doubts everything all the time.  My mind is strong, my faith is weak.  It gets me into trouble.
For me, his pontificate was all about bringing the mind and the heart together-bringing the mind in line with a heart full faith.  A strong mind can lead to a strong faith; it seemed to be his message.  I am on the road he set out for me and I am sad my shepherd will be moving on.

As I let my emotions settle over the course of the days that followed the announcement, I then realized what a gift his decision to step down was to me, and many others.  In his leaving we will be sad, but in his action we have a great example of a faith centred life--a Christ-centred life.  It is faith in action.

I often worry about what others will think, rather than worrying about what Christ and the Church ask of me.  If I say no, will they like me?  I don't go, what will happen?  What will they think?  Jesus should be my barometer, and when I don't check before making a move, I mess up.  I do what I think I should instead of focussing my energy on whatever God-given duties are before me.  For me, Christ-centred thinking makes decision-making easier, but still a challenge.  This is a skill I am actively working on.

Then it occurred to me that the stronger my faith is, the easier it will be for me to step away from being a people-pleaser, and become a person centred on pleasing God instead.  This is something quite obvious, of course, but it really hadn't fully penetrated my mind and heart until now.  I realized that from now on I will remind myself that if I know that I am making a choice that follows the heavenly laws I have accepted--in Jesus' teachings and the Church's doctrines--then I should be secure in my choice and not second guess it.  As I feel I need to make some changes in my life, this comforts me, especially when I think about the Pope's serenity when he made his announcement.  If the Pope can make a decision as monumental as  a resignation and have the whole world, literally, talk about it, but still go ahead in the full knowledge that it is the right thing, then I can decide with a peaceful heart what I want to do next weekend, next month, or with the rest of my life.

Now, whenever I feel like a choice is based on guilt or peer pressure, no matter how small the matter may be, I quiet the guilt monster in my head and I tell myself, "you are doing your duty by God, your husband and your children, everything else (or almost) is a choice not a duty".  If the whole world can talk about the Pope's decision, I can put up with a few wagging tongues.  So if you have trouble with guilt and people-pleasing, you too can tell yourself when the guilt-monster comes calling that "if the whole world...".

Father Barron, from Word on Fire, comments on Benedict XVI 's pontificate
Benedict XVI's legacy

Friday, February 22, 2013

What I need to share ... a clover from heaven

It all started with a tired mother's cry for help...

As a new mother four years ago, I found myself in need of guidance.  When I turned to the secular world, I felt a void.  The conflicting messages conflicted with my instincts, so when I tried to find strength in the activities that were supposed to lift my spirits, I ended up feeling more empty and tired than before.

While walking my cranky nine month old (she had undiagnosed asthma and a bad case of eczema, hence the crankiness) to the park one sunny afternoon, I cried in silence to the heavens and asked for a sign--I know, I know, an act of desperation.  I wanted a sign that there was more than just this material word.  I needed a sign that what I knew in my heart to be true was really true.  My body's five senses were crying out for something concrete...where are you Lord, show me that you exist, that my mother and mother-in-law gone on to the world of the dead, are still here in some way with me.  So, I said all this in the silence of my heart; I looked up to heaven, and then looked down again quite suddenly....I felt my carriage veering off the edge of the side-walk as I looked up to the summer sky.  I had started walking more briskly than I had realized and I was heading for the gutter.

As I looked down , simultaneously straightening my carriage and baby, and looking to see if I had stepped in dog-poop....I'm paranoid about dog poop and seem to step in it the minute I'm not paying attention, I saw something that will be difficult to describe.

Actually, I saw several unusual things at the same time and stopped at once to check them out.  I was simultaneously drawn to a patch of clover that seemed to be very lush, but also to one particular clover that seemed to be taller than the others and brighter.  It sounds unbelievable and a little crazy.  I know, because I felt silly bending down to pick up the clover stem, not really understanding what I was doing or why.  I also rubbed my eyes and tried to clear my vision since this clover patch seemed to be glowing in some way.  It was a bright sunny day, but why was the sun, which was right overhead, highlighting this particular part of the landscape?  My mind was racing with questions such as this one, but my body and heart were transfixed by this tiny plant.

I picked up the clover.  I immediately looked to see if it was a four leaf clover (a habit I had from childhood because I had once found one during a very difficult time).

I counted the leaves.  One. Two. Three. No it can't be. Four. This is impossible. Five.  Four large and one small.  I counted again.  I took a breath.  I looked around me to check for hidden cameras, pranksters, anything unusual.  Nothing.  No one around.  Not even the sound of traffic to indicate that any other human was milling around my suburban streets.

There were five.  My heart leaped in my chest.  I smiled broadly.  I scrambled to find a place to keep it safe.  Once we had played in the park and gone home, I put the clover away.

In the weeks that followed, I would periodically look at it to be sure that I had not imagined it.  I went back to that patch of clover several times, to make sure it wasn't a mutant patch full of 5 and 6 leafed clovers.  I looked up five leaf clovers on-line and read about their rarity.  I kept this clover, the awe it inspired in me, and the renewed faith I had because of its 'appearance', to myself.

I pondered in my heart what this meant.  I am still pondering it.
I am not, however, keeping it to myself any longer.

For me, the clover is a reminder of my need to ask for more faith since it was my weak faith that needed to see a sign in order to believe.

It is reminder of God's love for me.  It is a reminder of his closeness.
It is a symbol of many things besides.

Most of all, however, three years later, I can say that it pushed me to see that we all have the world in our hearts.  It is there in its entirety in the people that reside there.  As a mother, I often feels like my heart lives outside my body in my children, forever exposed to the world.

The line in chapter three from Ecclesiastes--He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end--rang true, and so I took it for the title of this blog. The world is in my heart, and I'd like to share it with you.  Also, since my heart is in the world, my focus for these musings will be about my struggles, goals, successes and failures as a wife, mother and educator trying to live a faithful Christian life.

My hope is that in writing this I can help myself live more authentically, but I also pray that in some modest way these words might uplift, console and touch the hearts of those that happen to cross my virtual path.  Moreover, since I was encouraged and helped by many women bloggers and podcasters; this is my way of paying it forward.

Welcome to a virtual expression of my heart.