Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Meandering 1.12.2016

"Meandering: adjective; the act of following a winding or indirect course. Ramble, roam, zigzag, circuitous. A blog post about a variety of things; a little bit of this and a little bit of that."

Today my meandering is about recent discoveries.

I discovered 2015bestnine.com, a website that will generate a collage of your nine most popular pictures on Instagram for 2015.

Last month I discovered a way to continue my bird watching/photography hobby in the cold winter months. We have an incredible Metropark system in the Toledo area and six of our parks have Window on Wildlife locations. A Window on Wildlife is an indoor room lined with windows that overlook an area that has been set-up as a bird refuge with feeders, water and plenty of trees for shelter. The glass in these rooms are tinted so that the birds don't see you watching them. I discovered the first one on Christmas day. The weather here was 50 degrees. Highly unusual for late December in the upper Midwest! So I decided that day to go to the park closest to my home and take a photo walk. At the end of that walk I peeked my head into the Window on Wildlife and was pleasantly surprised to see so many birds visiting the feeders. I discovered this to be a great way to continue my weekly commitment of getting outside and taking pictures as a way of nourishing my emotional and creative energy. I plan on visiting all six locations over the next few months. So far I have been to two.

Female Downy Woodpecker

I discovered that the male Goldfinch changes color in the fall and winter.

Tufted Titmouse - my first sighting!

White-breasted Nuthatch - I can watch these little guys for hours!

This past weekend one of my god-grandsons asked me if I would help him with a writing and art project he was working on for school. Sai'Vion just turned nine and loves animals and nature so I decided that before we dug into the project I would take him over to the Window on Wildlife at Wildwood Park. We discovered that he really enjoys watching the birds also. He made a list of the birds we saw as I took pictures. He even worked a bird into his report and drew an impressive picture of a Blue Jay. I printed out some of the pictures I took, made a binder with drawing paper in it and place to keep his photos and gave him a bird book to use as a guide for drawing birds. I discovered a nine-year-old who now can share interests in birding and art with me! His story for his writing report was about encouragement. He made up a saying for it that said, "Keep calm and believe in yourself."

Sai'Vion's picture

His model

My birding and art buddy, Sai"Vion

I discovered my word for 2016: REST. I was originally thinking my word would be solitude, as it is a spiritual practice that I want to embrace more. But the more I thought about it I felt like solitude was a part of a bigger picture of a rhythm of life and rest encompasses that picture more fully. I'm not using the word rest as in "I just need some more sleep", but rather as a mindset of developing a rhythm of life that works to better balance all areas of my life: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and relational. My job in full time ministry can get overly busy and stress-filled at times and I have been trying for years to find ways to rest in the midst of the busyness in order to keep burn-out at bay. I've discovered in the past few years that the busyness and resulting fatigue and burnout rob me of energy in all areas of my life and I have been developing practices that help refill that depleted energy. So this year that is my focus.Last year I added to my already busy life by taking on being a part of the founding team of the His Kingdom Come faithart community. It was a great experience and one I totally enjoyed and am happy that I participated in. But it didn't help me build a healthier rhythm of life, in fact it just added more to the busyness and that was pivotal in my hard decision to step down form the foundation team. So this year I am slowing down as much as is possible. I am re-engaging in two practices from prior years that I gave up last year in order to make time for my HKC responsibilities. I am once again participating in Ali Edward's One Little Word project which helps me stay focused on my word throughout the year. And I am joining in on the Documented Life Project again this year. I missed being a part of these projects last year and am looking forward to engaging in them in the year ahead. I'll give just a glimpse of what I've done in each so far.

My One Little Word (OLW) binder:

The quote I found about fatigue really sums up well why I need to embrace rest this year!

My Documented Life (DLP) binder:

January divider

Week 1 calendar page

Week 1 mementos 
What I missed about DLP last year was how the practice of keeping memories about my days and weeks kept me more present to the happenings of daily life. It is also an easy art practice that keeps me creative without having to do a lot of planning.

Well, that's it for my discoveries recently. I'm looking forward to the journey ahead this year and what I will discover as I dig into my word for the year and as I document my daily life.

What discoveries have you made recently?


  1. Oh wow, Mary! So great to see what you've been up to! My word(s) this year are slow down, so similar to rest. I find that I am in such a craze of busyness that I often don't live in the actual moment and do so many things that I can't even remember what I've eaten for lunch! Good to see this reaffirmation. Hope the year brings you much rest and peace. <3

    1. Looks like we'll be on the same track, Autumn!

  2. I love your DLP journaling and like you, I didn't do it last year because of the busyness that my new etsy shop created. And, like you, and trying to balance my life and rest more and enjoy life more. It's like practicing the Sabbath, enjoying the Lord in whatever He puts in front of me. I can't wait to see your journey this year.

    1. It is definitely embracing a Sabbath lifestyle, Sherrinda! I'm looking forward to the journey this year and to following yours! Love your blog!