From the Book of Ashley 13:13

Yesterday, our niece, A., and her middle school team came in first place at her cheer competition as we proudly held high our homemade cheer sign, A. 13:13.  Today A. turns 13 on February 13.  We are ever thankful that she doesn't mind hanging with us, especially now that she has entered teendom as we enjoy taking each of our nieces and nephew out individually to celebrate their birthdays.  We truly believe it's not so much what gifts we give them, but the time that we experience with them and how truly present we are in their lives.  From cheer to lunch at the Olive Garden to a Glee episode, from Apples to Apples, sharing music videos, Fenga (like Jenga as our niece, N., dubbed it) toppling to Monopoly, and yes, dinner in between, we were funned out!

Amazing grace
Now that we've switched our weekly meetups in JC with Mom from Wednesday night dinners to Sunday brunches, attending Sunday service has also changed to Saturday evenings.  My cousin, K. has pointed out to me, we spend most of our waking moments pushing away life's stuff that we don't want to deal with so much that when we are finally alone (or in God's presence), that's when we're most vulnerable.  And it's so true. Whether it's my bus commute into the city, a drive alone, or a solemn moment at church, that's when random memories creep up.  

I'm kneeling at St. Rose of Lima.  Acoustic guitar in the background, and a singer songwriter voice croons "Amazing Grace" contemporary Christian style.  Amazing Grace never fails to speak to me.  Slowly . . . Father's Day brunch with my Dad at Hamilton Pub by Hamilton Park in downtown JC.  Dad & I watching the New Jersey Nets v. Phoenix Suns at Brendan Byrne Arena. Weekend barbecues in the backyard starting Memorial Day and lasting through the summer.  My eyes closed, I don't want to have to search through my pockets for tissue that isn't there.  I try hard to remain kneeling and . . . be in the moment.  Memories flood past me, my eyes still closed.  The song is over.  Silence as the last of the crowd walks up for communion.  I continue to kneel . . . in amazing grace.  

How present we are, works with Spirit just as much as it does with those so dear to us. Inspired by the Book of Ashley 13:13.

Gratias autem Dea • (Thanks be to Goddess)
alone i am with Amazing Grace
your angelic melody 
soothes my speckful, earthly lifing
my spirit settles into softened solace