I am just back from my 5:45 a.m. yoga class. Great way to start the day. Too bad my teacher is away for the next two weeks. Will I get out of this good habit and fall back into my sleepy morning ways? Well, in an attempt to ward off that possibility, I have borrowed a gazillion yoga CDs from the wonderful woman who gently but firmly makes us bend and stretch into places and positions we would not otherwise go. I'm downloading them now. Stay tuned to see if I can actually motivate myself to do this at home. If Deanna is not standing in front of me, reminding me to tuck my chin and lift my tailbone and BREATHE, will I take the easy way out and allow my shoulders to round and the crown of my head to tilt in all the wrong directions? We'll see. If you're interested in trying out a yoga class, check your local YMCA or classes offered through your town. Kripalu is a gentle form of yoga, especially good for beginnings. Ashtanga will get your blood moving since it is a progressive series of postures. Bikram, also known as "hot" yoga, will really make you sweat since they turn the heat up to 105 degrees. Iyengar uses more props -- blocks and belts -- to get you in perfect alignment. That one was never one of my favorites. And yoga does not have to be contradictory to whatever faith you profess. It can be spiritual, if that's what you're looking for, but you can adapt it to your own spiritual practice. For example, when we were doing breathing exercises at class this morning, my inhalation was focused on "Be still" and the exhalation on "and know that I am God." Then the next breath in was "I am with you always" and the out breath was "until the end of time." Ever since I started yoga 20 years ago, I have woven those Scripture quotes into my practice.
In case you didn't see my post yesterday on our summer 'to do' list, here it is again. We can already check off "water slide," "play games," and, after tonight, "sleepover," although I expect we will be doing all of these things again throughout the summer, so I'm not crossing them off our list just yet. Sit down with your kids and see what you can come up with. Even if you're not sure you can get to something, write it down. Maybe seeing it there day after day will inspire you. "Family camping" is that item on our list.
If you are a regular or long-time reader of this blog, you know that I am constantly moaning about how I just can't connect with the Psalms. (HERE and HERE, for example.) I try to pray the Liturgy of the Hours -- out loud, in silence, sitting, kneeling, with incense, with candles. No matter what I do, the Psalms remain off in the distance, just out of my reach. Well, it turns out I'm not the only one who feels this way. What a relief! Conversion Diary posted about this same topic this week and there are lots of suggestions in the comment section to help the Psalm-challenged. Take a look by clicking HERE.
On a completely unrelated and unspiritual note, I cut off all my hair this week. I kind of knew going in that I wanted/needed a change. Part of it is that I just like to mix things up every once in a while. But part of it actually might be somewhat spiritual if you really stretch the definition. I think it's part of this urge as I get older to simplify and strip away the unnecessary stuff. My hair, being about as curly as curly gets, has to be left to dry on its own -- at least that's the only way I can handle it, which means, when it gets long, I'm sitting around for 90 minutes before I can touch or style it. It started getting more than a little ridiculous, and I was never really happy after all that waiting anyway. I can't say I'll keep it this way forever because eventually I'll get bored and start looking for something else. Unless it really is part of my inner efforts to find a simpler, more peaceful me. Maybe I'll realize that the ease of this cut should make it a permanent fixture for me. Here's what it looks like:
Donna Cooper O'Boyle has a great post on incorporating prayer into our busy and fun summers. It's easy for prayer time to get lost in the packing and driving and swimming and camping. Head over to Donna's newest blog, View from the Domestic Church, for some tips by clicking HERE. And check out one of her new books, The Domestic Church: Room by Room. (You can see the cover, designed by her daughter, over on the left.) And yours truly wrote the foreword, which was an honor.
Here's a snippet from what I had to say about this lovely book:
"Through stories from her own life, including the personal friendship she shared with Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Donna demystifies the domestic church, offering concrete ways to find joy and spiritual fulfillment in the 'nitty gritty humble work' of our daily lives."
About a week ago I noticed a big, fat woodchuck near the end of our deck, nibbling on a weeping mulberry tree. (That's him in the somewhat blurry photo to the left.) I've seen him running here and there over the past few days and noticed a big hole dug out near the base of our deck, so I'm guessing he's living underneath. I found it all kind of cute and back-to-nature-ish until I went outside and realized that the little beast ate all of my green leaf lettuce, even the thin, pale stuff, and my parsley and the tops of my beautiful red astilbes. I'm guessing it's him because no other animal has been brazen enough to come up on our deck for grub and astible are deer resistant, which is why I planted it in our deer-infested yard. Now what? This thing is too big to trap in the Have-a-Heart box we have. Any suggestions?
Although the wicked woodchuck (notice how the adjectives are getting progressively worse) is eating some of my plants, he has not eaten everything. Here are some shots of the stuff he hasn't snacked on -- yet. Marsh marigolds, spirea, lamb's ear, day lilies and more spirea.