The practice of deep roots

Done!  I'm done wrapping holiday presents . . . even put on some Christmas music as I stuffed tissue paper into gift bags, labeled gifts and sipped on my hot lemon water.  While I know that 80 percent of our presents will go unappreciated and land in messy piles to be placed in hefty garbage bags for the drive home from family festivities, the other 20 percent will be much appreciated.  And while most kids today are probably overindulged and we do the overindulging, it does tickle our hearts when the kids, who ARE appreciative, give us warm embraces because their presence in our lives means so much, and we wanted to give them holiday treats.

While I haven't gone all out in holiday decor in our home, I did put up our two Christmas parols (Filipino lanterns) -- and that's all the Christmas that's going up this year.  More important than gift giving and ornaments is a renewed pratice in feeling rooted within myself as well as among family and friends.  That strong centeredness requires much discipline for folks like myself who can be easily embittered by the daily commute into the city along with witnessing social ills at work against a backgrop of privileged experiences in the urban outskirts.  And that centeredness is often challenged during the holidays when families spend extended periods of time together.  Here's to the practice of deep rootedness!

Grounded thanksgiving
still and strong
rooted like a 100-year-old tree
whose stems extend thousands of miles
below winter's arctic ground
in deepest love and gratitude
practice again and again
with mindful grace

P.S. Just witnessed innocent sweetness.  ESS has volunteers visiting from University of Mississippi, and they are painting a Lion King mural in one of ourfoster care meeting rooms.  One of our foster care children, A., was curious to see the room.  So our volunteers invited him to join them.  With permission from his mom, a shy 7-year-old A. hesitated and shook his head "no" and then happily picked up a brush!  Moments like this are excellent for staying rooted.  Christmas time isn't so bad, I suppose.