Friday, June 12, 2009


     We just spent a week playing.   Playing with our grandchildren, to be exact.   And their dog.  And our dog.  One of the most wonderful things about spending time with them is that they get us out of work habits and into play.   I can't remember a week when I played so much in the last year!   We played chess.  We played board games.  We played beach-ball. We played golf.  We watched them play on the computer, play with their "wii"  games,  and always,  times of play with the dogs.   In turn, our dog (Leo) and theirs (Maizy)  played constantly with each other, romping and wrestling until they collapsed in a heap on the floor.   It was great fun watching them play too.   
     All this playing reminded me of the importance of play for our lives as adults as well as children.   Our culture tends to be workaholic in many quarters, and its all too easy to substitute mindless TV watching or lounging for good active play.  Its an important way not to take ourselves and our work TOO seriously, and to get some perspective on our lives as a game.
      One of the things that distinguishes play is that it is fun.   And fun, I have discovered, is as much an attitude towards life as it is a particular thing one is doing "for fun."    Last week, for example, I went to a local nursery to get some plants for our deck, and was sold a plant they had never stocked before, called "dragon wing."  It was, said the lady who sold it to me, "really fun to have around."   Now I had never thought of fun in connection with having a certain plant around, and it gave me a whole new perspective on what fun might be!
      So what are some things you find fun to do?  Or might, if you just thought to look at it that way?
     Actually, this blog is fun!  For me, anyway.   Now you go have some fun!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

retreat at MorningStar

     I have been way too occupied with "stuff" lately, which explains the days and days without a blog.  When I get too busy  (do you ever do that?)   I find it good medicine for the soul to go away for a day or two or three to a place like Morningstar, a beautiful rustic retreat center not far from Cadillac, Michigan.    I have been retreating there periodically for many years, and I always come back home deeply refreshed and renewed by being in a place so close to nature, in which I once again live very simply,  and take time to focus on listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit within.
As the old hymn says, "All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres,"  and "In the rustling grass I hear God pass.  S/he speaks to me everywhere."   At least, that is my experience when I am still enough to listen, and not so filled with my own habitual thoughts that I can't hear the Divine Whisper or the quiet Melody of Love that is always singing within and around me.  
     The Morningstar sign in the picture is next to a "burning bush"----a tree branch painted red.
I love it!   It speaks of the truth that all ground is holy, especially when we pause to realize it.
The little cabin in the woods is called the "Poustinia" which is a Russian word meaning "wilderness."   In ancient Russian Orthodox tradition,  there were people who, usually when the age of grandparents,  were called to leave their regular homes and lives for awhile and retire to the wilderness to live very simply in a little hut to pray and listen to God.  MorningStar offers this opportunity in a safe and beautiful place in little cabins like this one.  
      There is a stretch of pine woods I love to walk in at Morningstar which feels like the aisle in a magnificent cathedral.   The sun streams in golden rays through the pine needles, and a bed of emerald green moss lies underfoot.   It is very easy to feel the Divine Presence in such a place.
     There is also a medicine wheel, crafted along the lines of the Native American tradition.  It is a place to pray, to sing, to ponder and pray,  incorporating the wisdom and spirit of the four directions and the Center which reminds us of the importance of centering in The Great Mystery.  I find that taking regular time for retreats is a way to keep from being overwhelmed by the demands of life in the world, and risking losing touch with your own soul and God.
It is a vital part of a spiritual practice that keeps us refreshed and renewed on our journey through life.  In whatever form or way,  may you too enjoy this wonderful treat of re-treat!
       If you are interested in a retreat, you can contact Julie, the director, at : have a website too.  (