15 February 2013

Sunny Bridge Walk, Missoula, Montana

A happy hello from sunny Las Vegas! I've crossed over to the warm side of the country, albeit briefly.
But, in case you wonder, the photo is 100% Montana.
For a few days, I get to stock up on:
   1- the organic, original Vitamin D source, and
   2 - lots of sister time!
A long-time friend remarked to my husband, "I know what  she's doing down there: reading!"
Yes, the four books in my bag took up almost as much space as my clothes. And  - bonus! - my sister selected several of her favourite volumes for my guest room side table.
So, after sleeping in and dilly-dallying to recuperate from yesterday's 4:15 a.m. wake-up alarm, I read a sister-selected article by Steven Kalas for today's devotional reading. I was inspired, so am sharing the wealth.
"...If you pull the word "faith" out of its traditional religious confines and place it in a wider, existential view, it's no longer an invitation. It's unavoidable. Non-negotiable. You can't not have faith. That is, it's impossible not to live as if something is true. Every last one of us shapes and chooses a worldview. We decide what's essentially true about this life, and then we live out that truth.
Joseph Campbell (1904-87) said it this way: "Choose your myth, and live it with passion."
....The choice is not whether to have or not have a worldview in which you place faith. The only choice is whether we are willing to be conscious of that worldview. To choose it with intention, clarity, and commitment. When our deepest beliefs about self and life are conscious, then we have choices.
...What do you believe deeply? The next question is, how do those beliefs serve you? And, then, the $24 million question: Is it time to believe something else?"  -Steven Kalas, 10/21/2012
(Click this link to read his full article.)

The "live it with passion" quote provoked a visceral response.
I don't think of true passion as necessarily flamboyant, but I do consider it as abiding, committed, meaningful enough to influence the increments of my every day. And therein lies my dogged prayer, and a great challenge of faith.

13 February 2013

Feel the Love, Missoula, Montana

Ahhhh, Valentine’s Day…. the perfect opportunity for a practical joke! Love is in the air and even hardened cynics let down their guard.
The pictured “secret admirer” gift magically appeared at our front desk today - I particularly love the smoochy lipstick kiss on the envelope! It might take a village to raise a child, but a decent prank can be nurtured along by just a few committed individuals and a willing cast of extras to provide ad lib harrassment.
On the positive side, the gift was actually something our victim really, really wanted. But since he has thus far evaded packs of wily women and match-making mamas, it was a perfect opportunity to see his ears turn red.

12 February 2013

Winter River Bank, Clark Fork River, Missoula, Montana

“The times are nightfall, look, their light grows less;
The times are winter, watch, a world undone..."
 - Gerard Manley Hopkins, from "The Times Are Nightfall"

11 February 2013

Winter Slough, Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge, Stevensville, Montana

Ever act upon a great idea and then wonder, "Why didn't we start doing this months ago?" A recent personal discovery of this kind is that the Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge is a great halfway meeting point with my dearest friend, to meet, walk, chat and laugh non-stop.
(A prescription for heart health: Repeat as often as possible, including in the spring when all the red-winged blackbirds will be full-throatedly chirr-chirring in the cattails. Any variation of scenery will suffice, as the key ingredients are friendship, chatting, and laughing.)