Life as a Holistic Exercise: A New Series

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color my corners with beauty

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My blog (short for web log) has been in lockdown because of my very shortsighted approach to the reasons why I wasn’t writing anymore:

1) NOT sharing responses to world issues, 2) NOT sharing cooking tips, gardening tips, and health tips I’ve learned through research and practice, and 3) NOT sharing about what I love, and what I invest my time in.

 

Being sick has been a wake-up call to face my mortality, the need to be wholly healed, and to get the bad guys out: the mental, emotional and spiritual ones, a process also known as Detoxification, the current health buzzword. I’ve learned by looking through the scriptural lens in Psalm 90, the prayer of Moses: to number my days, count them as precious gifts, to realize the brevity of life, so that I may become wiser in heart, and not squander my time in meaningless tasks and thoughtless pursuits.

During this two-week bout of sickness He has searched me and known me, and caused me to broaden the scope of my life as a writer, as a wife, a mother and grandmother, a 21st Century Christian woman, a senior citizen who deals with health issues, and lift me from the mire of being a book hog, a word junkie, a literary critic, a book reviewer and a consumer of media fare.

In a book called The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski, the author is asked this question, “Where are you most yourself?” In other words, “Where are you really, authentically, wholly you?” And that begs the question “Do I know who I really am?” Deep down, that is. My answer is: I am most myself at home, with Jesus.

Socrates preached it: “Know thyself”. Shakespeare dramatized it: “To thine own self be true, and it follows as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man”. Solzhenitsyn, a prisoner who survived a Siberian labor camp, understood it: “The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being”. Jesus acknowledged it: He didn’t trust the praise of men because he knew what was in human nature (one week, “Hosannas”, the next, blood thirsty cries of “Crucify Him!”)

That’s why Jesus comes to us in mercy. That’s why the Word divides the soul from the spirit. That’s why the Spirit of Truth longs to set us free.

Holistic living means recognizing we are tripartite beings, composed of body, soul and spirit, and that health must come to each part.

I am learning to listen aggressively to his voice. For example, He wanted me to play the harp and sing to Him, and take deep drinks from the Word. I did.

 

This is a new beginning.

A Tree Grows in Los Altos

A Review of The Lyre and the Lambs by Sydney Avey, published by HopeSpringsBooks, 2014.

As a writer myself, I often found myself envying Avey’s sparkling prose, her scintillating wit, and her sharp-edged knowledge of the human condition. She has managed to take the protagonist, Dee, an angry, frustrated war widow whom we met in the first book, and develop her into a full-blooded local heroine, who steers us through the headwaters of an amazingly complex cast of characters.

Book One explores the mysterious triangle of Leora, a dying grandmother, her daughter Dee, and her granddaughter Valerie, with whom she shared a secret about their ancestry. This small nexus of a California family soon explodes, divides, and multiplies into the Spanish, Basque, and Greek cultures. Avey moves us back and forth between Dee and Valerie’s psyches as their relationship resolves into health and mutual respect.

Book Two is written from Dee’s deeply personal point of view, and we come to know her intimately. This is where Avey’s gifts of humorous comebacks, her intelligent perceptions of the Sixties’ social morass, her own honest soul-searching, and her growing faith come into full-blown literary maturity.

Avey deftly uses the image of living together in a glass house with all its vulnerability as a focal point to demonstrate the openness we associate with the Sixties. The neighborhood onlookers and the stone throwers have their say, and their day in court, but are left stuck in the mud of their own unwillingness to embrace the changing times.

As we often have observed, marching to a different drum beat invites suspicion, conflict, and turmoil when traditional social mores are challenged, and spiritual renewal deepens. We watch how Dee’s courageous step of sharing her life in marriage, and sharing her once jealously guarded space with her daughter and family opens doors of ministry to others.

Dee’s once divided and fragile family tree has now blossomed into beauty and strength, and its branches are wide enough to harbor those who are struggling to find their way.

This is a wonderful read, and we hope the author continues to develop all the gifts she has abundantly displayed here.