This is the wreath I'll probably have out till after Valentine's day, though I may take off the gold ribbon and add something else -- I've got some red tinsel with little hearts. But I do like the red apples I've hung on it -- I tend to use them differently at different times -- sometimes hanging on the Christmas tree, sometimes scattered among a green garland festooning the mantel, sometimes in a dish or clear crystal cornucopia I put on my table. I'm keeping red accents around for 2 more weeks, till Valentine's day, then I'll go predominantly green (spring, St. Patrick's Day) till Easter time, when I'll add some pastels. It's really kind of fun to have seasonal colors and ornaments -- something I never did until the last couple of years -- inspired by you, my fellow bloggers!
I've had a quiet week on the Plateau, with some time to resume regular journaling and reading. You know my "morning pages" are a crucial part of my emotional/spiritual well-being. Some of you also know that I have an "I can do anything, 15 minutes at a time" philosophy. I've read many scholarly books that way, and have undertaken another: "Celtic Spirituality," in the "Classics of Western Spirituality" series. It's a big fat one, but I've undertaken it 15 minutes at a time. I feel good when I'm studying something new, especially at a depth that's beyond the pop culture level (even "pop spirituality"). So this new book, 455 pages in length, not counting the preface, end notes, and bibliography, feels like good, solid, "meat and potatoes" reading. And I'm pleased to learn more about Celtic spirituality, in some depth, reading original sources.
Today we had our vestry retreat. The vestry is the leadership council and team of the parish. We meet monthly throughout the year, but today we spent time together today getting to know one another and doing some "vision work" for the parish, imagining possibilities and setting goals for the coming year. It was fun and energetic. Given challenging economic times, we've got our work cut out for us. How can we do what we do with even less money than our usual fairly conservative budget? I feel good about this vestry, though -- it's a great, enthusiastic, creative group of folks, representing diverse views of what "church" is, and willing to speak their minds. That's not always the easiest course for a vestry -- it can generate lots of heated discussion and debate -- but I believe it's the healthiest for a parish, because these diverse viewpoints get examined and decisions get made with more information and opinion available.
After some weeks of physical inactivity, I feel good that I'm getting back to two of my "foundational practices:" running and yoga. For a while it was just too cold and wet, and I was just too emotionally and physically exhausted to keep up with these. But I do know that if I run, it's always a good day; and if I practice yoga several times a week, it helps keep me centered in my own Christian spirituality, as well (plus it's excellent physical exercise, of course).
Do you have "foundational practices," things that are essential to your own well-being, things that need doing daily, or regularly, to keep you on an even keel? Mine are running with my dogs, yoga, morning pages, regular reading/study, and spending time working outside.
Just now I've got a loaf of break baking in the bread machine and the prospect of supper ahead of me. See you all soon!