I’m still celebrating my saints. Today, Dad would have been 84 years old. I’m grateful for the gifts he gave me:
My love of “the family business.” Dad was a United Methodist pastor and, since I was a little one, I wanted to be a preacher’s wife. In grade school, I finally met a woman pastor realized that I could be clergy. So today I carry on the family business as an ordained Deacon appointed to The Upper Room and to Edgehill United Methodist Church. (I always enjoyed Dad’s delight when I would tell him my vocation during those last years when he was battling Alzheimer’s.)
Photography. I found this photo after he passed away. Dad took it in Mooreland, Oklahoma during my first year of life. It’s the only self-portrait I’ve seen: Dad shooting his picture into a mirror. The reflection in the table is of a picture of Grandpa Richardson.
Music. Dad had a beautiful tenor voice. I can remember him singing from the pulpit from time to time. Grandma Richardson was a music teacher who passed along her talent and love of music to Dad. And he passed it on to me. Today when I preach, I like to weave a song into the sermon.
Art. Dad began drawing and painting when I was in grade school. I’ve only just begun to test out this part of myself with the cartoons I’m drawing of Jack. I’ve been sketching daily cartoons (a sort of daily journal) for about five years. I remember Dad writing letters to us using cartoons instead of words.
A love of nature, watching birds, BBC, public radio, Mexican food … I could go on and on.
Dad’s legacy lives on in me. And I am grateful.
God of sunrises and sunsets, God of feeding birds and charcoal pencils, God of music and prayer, thank you the life of Charles H. Richardson. And thank you for his gifts to the world. May we remember Charles and, in remembering, give thanks to you, the Artist, Musician, and Loving Creator of life. Amen.
I had every intention of continuing to nurture my Centering Prayer practice. I started working on it in February in anticipation of a special event in my life: becoming a parent. I had visions of early mornings, peaceful moments in the quiet, anchoring my soul to God’s presence to get me through the day, etc., etc., etc.
So … now, it’s happened. I’ve become a parent to an 11-year-old. And my centering prayer practice has gone out the window, along with most of the quiet and peace. (OK, folks. I can hear you laughing even from here!) I’ll have to take a break on the centering prayer until another time.
My mom (Marty) and grandma both raised African Violets. I particularly remember the little plant stand in the east window of Grandma Ida Mae’s house in Ada, Oklahoma. The stand had shelves of african violets which she fed, watered, and turned with care. When Grandma died in 1981, I took a pink violet home with me. Then, when my mom passed away in 1983, I took home one of her purple violets.
I’ve kept these plants going through the years, starting new plants from the old ones. After a move a couple of years ago, the plants got some kind of fungus and I thought I had lost all the plants from Mom’s violet. But recently, a young plant bloomed and I realized that my “Marty” violet was still alive.
These plants are special — so much more than houseplants — they’re a little bit of presence of Ida Mae and Marty … women who helped make me who I am. I’m grateful for their presence, still with me after all these years.
It was a year ago when Jackson (a Scottish Terrier puppy) came to live with us. He’s brought joy to this household and has taught me a few things about life. Today I celebrate Jack and the things he’s taught me.
Love — I love this dog. And I think he loves me. Love’s such a wonderful mystery — and a gift.
Patience — You can’t make a puppy do his business. It’s a process of growth and learning — for both puppy and human.
Fun — You don’t need expensive toys to have fun. Fun can come from a sick, a leaf, or a plastic bottle. (That’s a good lesson for me in this season of wanting new gadgets.)
Friendship — Jack has a bunch of friends, both human and canine. He has a great sense of hospitality, welcoming visitors with a smile and wagging tail.
Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion;
and to you shall vows be performed,
O you who answer prayer!
By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
O God of our salvation;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas.
By your strength you established the mountains;
you are girded with might.
You silence the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples.
Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds
are awed by your signs;
you make the gateways of the morning
and the evening shout for joy.
You visit the earth and water it,
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide the people with grain,
for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy. – Psalm 65:1-2a, 5-13 (NRSV)
I could say something pious like “I gave up my blog for Lent (and the first few weeks of Easter)” … But the truth is that I broke it and had a bit of trouble getting the blog fixed. Technology failed me this time.
It’s been a beautiful Spring here in Nashville, accompanied by lots and lots of pollen. The blessings of life are full of surprises.
I’m not much of a cook, but I love helping with the baking during the holidays. We had a pie-baking extravaganza on the day before Christmas Eve. The iPod was on “Christmas shuffle” and we spent the day making four pies. The recipe was “Jenni’s Mom’s Dutch Apple Pie.” I am the apple peeler and cutter and the one who cleans. (Oh, and the one who eats pie.)