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Archive for the ‘Give’ Category

As the golden days of autumn give way to auburn, rust, and brown,  we lean toward Thanksgiving, a season of deep gratitude.

Today and always I give thanks for my many blessings – family and friends, children’s laughter, angels and prayers that come into my life, bidden or unbidden, even my breath, which I so often take for granted… but which for some is an immense struggle.

Aunbance is Yours

Abundance is Yours

Many years ago, I wrote “Sanctuary,” one of my many poems of gratitude. I share it with you now as an offering of thanksgiving for a faithful, stout-hearted woman of God… my  mom, Mildred McEwen, and to two amazing men whose legacy of generosity and gratitude changed my life… my father, Earnest McEwen, Jr.,  and William Faulkner.

Who has been a blessing in your life? Have you expressed your gratitude?

SANCTUARY

for William Faulkner and my father, Earnest McEwen, Jr.*

Between the brush of angels’ wings

and furious hooves of hell, two mortal men

fell down. How you must have looked—

white shirt stained, khakis fatigued,

smelling of sweat and smoke,

hair at odds with itself and the world.

At the threshold among your restless dead

in echo and shadow of ancient oaks,

providing sanctuary, offering shade,

you had many worlds behind you,

few yet to be born: stories of insurgence,

scorn, decay—theme and variations

of a vanquished South.

Leaning against a jamb

of antebellum brass, you watched, waited,

raised weary arm and hand, saluted

the familiar stranger. Come. Enter. Sit. Sing.

You reached each other across the grate.

What you two must have known of heaven and hell.


* William Faulkner was my father’s benefactor, paying for him to attend college at a time when he had little

prospects of earning enough money to pay for it himself. This was Faulkner’s way of dismantling institutionalized racism long before desegregation was mandated in the South.

__________________________________

Harvest blessings.

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Last Sunday, I was a guest minister at a Seattle church. The people were very warm, welcoming, and open, and I felt very much at home. Responding to the pastor’s invitation to move from our pews to greet people we didn’t know, we joyously engaged in “radical hospitality.” How could he have known I’d be writing a post about this very topic?!

Children Sharing.Gloria Burgess.Radical Hospitality

What is radical hospitality? It’s genuine kindness and generosity not because you know someone; it’s kindness and generosity just because.

– Because we are in love with God… and we see and experience God’s love in others.

– Because we are our sister’s and brother’s keepers.

– Because we share a home – this great blue and green marble we call planet Earth – and we want others to feel welcome in our home.

– Because we must care for our home  so that, as gracious stewards, we pass on a worthy inheritance to our children and our children’s children.

– Because we must be about legacy living, about planting trees whose shade we might never enjoy.

The greatest force on earth is not compulsion of law. It is compassion of love. ~ Unknown

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Sanctuary is very special time-out-of-time, a time-honored way to practice self-care for your own healing, renewal, and rejuvenation. It is a time set aside with the intention to take special care of ourselves, so that we can better care for others and our environment. In this sense, Sanctuary is about both “me” and“we” and how deeply connected we are.

Candles.Sanctuary.Gloria Burgess

Here are a few simple ways to time renew your spirit and feed your soul:

– As we lean into autumn, the days grow shorter and we have fewer hours of daylight. During this time nature rejoices and prepares for a season of rest. Following nature’s example, take time to pause and express gratitude for your many blessings—say thank you for family, friends, bread on your table… maybe even a few extra bucks to buy a loaf of bread for someone else.

– Light a candle to remind yourself of the many miracles in your life… and to offer light and prayer for those who live in darkness—the friendless, those without shelter or ample food… those who sleep with fear each night, without hope… those who must walk miles each day in search of sanitary drinking water.

– Take 10: 10 minutes today to select 10 gently used books to give away to someone who will benefit from them—a sister, brother, niece, or nephew; young people in your neighborhood; our service men and women who proudly serve our country; those in faraway places with few or no libraries  close by.

– Get outside and rejoice in nature. Be intentional. Focus on something or someone you don’t normally notice—clouds, colors, children at play, the texture of leaves beneath your feet, teenagers walking home from school, squirrels, nests, the sound of wind in the trees, your own heartbeat. As you dwell in nature, remember that we’re part of it. Care for all of nature as if it belonged to you, because it does.

Enjoy the blessings of this harvest season and the blessings Sanctuary—peace, love, abundance, and joy.

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In a recent post, I mused about the vibrancy of community in Ghana… & the dearth of community here at home. Of course, the best kind of community is making the best of it no matter what the circumstance.

To Flourish: Gloria Burgess

At the moment, my husband & I are blessed to be in community with my father-in-law, caring for & ministering to him after undergoing 5-way bypass surgery. Our community also includes other family members, wonderful care givers, rehab specialists, kind neighbors, & the many, many friendships he has sustained through the years.

At 88-years young, he’s doing remarkably well. Hallelujah! Though he still has many months to a full recovery, my father-in-law’s good cheer, generosity of spirit, & positive outlook is wonderful reminder of what it means to flourish.

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Give the people you love roses while they’re with you.

Gloria on Woman's Day in Gele

Though my dad crossed over many years ago, his wise words and generous spirit still inspire me to celebrate and lift up others.

There’s no better time than now to give someone you love a wonderful bouquet of roses… whether it’s a kind word, a smile, a song, a poem, a prayer, or placing your hand gently in theirs. With so many things competing for our attention and time, it’s tempting to say, “Oh, I’ll get to “that” some other time.” Don’t wait. You just might be the difference that makes all the difference to someone else today.

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This post is by Vera McEwen. Thanks for sharing your heart, Sis.

Legacy Living…  and Dare to Wear Your Soul on the Outside, these books in addition to the your wonderful workshops guide and inspire me.

Leaving my job of nearly 20 years to home school and open a CranioSacral Therapy (CST) practice was a huge leap of faith. We are heading into our sixth amazing year and I am thrilled! Thank you for the spur :o).

Ahhhh!

We have our times of stress and we’ve found that spending time in nature removes all stress.

Not to long ago we had a very stressful week! We’d finally settled into our new home after the third move in less than a year; the practice…very busy; my daughter Adrianna however, was feeling a bit left out.

I did not know it at the time, but a mini-break to the country was just what we needed. As we began to leave the city, I rolled the windows down, the fresh smell of hay, and greenness filled the car. As we left the car to walk toward the horses, peace surrounded us guiding us toward two lovely horses. Mmm… it was so nice to feel the warmth of their skin next to mine, and they took all tension out of my hands, arms, shoulders, neck, head, and spine. I was engulfed in a sea of horse hair, it tickled my nose, and made me smile. We tacked up and rode.

Adrianna, was initially at odds with her lovely black and white paint horse. Then as the tension and stress of the week passed, she became one with her horse. It is amazing to watch someone transform from rider to whisperer. She was amazing. Many thanks to Michele Deboer, she offers lessons and de-stress days for only $20 per person. She creates a safe environment; it is slow, peaceful, gentle, relaxing, and most of all healthy for horse and rider. I recommend her place to all who need a gentle break (kids, family, friends, etc).

God has placed us in the care of nature for a reason, that WE may be transformed by it. Nature, easily removes the stress of your week by allowing you to remember who you are and “whose you are!” Get out in nature, walk on the soil and leave the pavement behind; let sand surround your toes; tilt your head back, feel the fresh air against your face; and…breath…breath in…fill your lungs with…light.

That night, Adrianna peacefully lay in my arms. We said the Lords prayer in Latin… together… I stroked her lovely face, long hair and I felt, God’s peace surround me.

We are here to love one another. Hug your child, spouse, friend… and let him or her be the first to let go. Tell a friend thank you for kick starting your day with a jog. Hold hands with your loved ones and feel the warmth of their skin. Let others see you do these things so that they will know whose you are!

I love you all. May your day be filled with love.

May you be blessed on this liquid sunshine day.

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One of the ways I keep my eyes on the future is by sharing stories and poetry, time-honored ways to impart wisdom and to teach what might otherwise take months or years.

Gloria Burgess Photo: Angel's Trumpet

Poet Theodore Roethke wisely reminds us that we all “learn by going where [we] have to go.” In this way, my stories and poems have helped me learn. As well, they have helped me grow by compelling me to work through the past–my struggles, joy, anger, triumphs, discouragement, pain… and glorious radiance.

When I share my stories and poems, I’m delighted to learn that they sometimes offer a much-needed bridge… a lifeline of sorts for others.

We never know who might need the light or warmth from our candle. We never know when a word or image we’ve chosen will awaken in someone something that allows him or her to claim and share their story.

It’s not our business to know.

Our business is to share our blessings, to share our beauty… the wonderful wealth of who we are. Our business is to wear our souls on the outside.

When we share our stories, we make ourselves known. We shine a light, making it OK for others to do the same. So many folks need the safety and comfort of that OK.

That’s how we heal the world. That’s how we create heaven right here on earth: a small step, a worthy action, a shared story, an OK zone.

One person, then another.

Day after day… and on it will go.

Mighty blessings!

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