The Long Way Home – Find Me Here Tuesdays – Tenth Post

I remember a retreat speaker many years ago using the analogy of a canoe and finding a fixed point on the horizon to guide your path. She spoke of drift, that way we tend to get off course and pretty soon find ourselves completely and utterly lost.

This thought is worthy of our attention, and perhaps in this week of Semana Santa, even more so. Jesus entered the city with the end in mind, He was headed home, the fulfillment of His purpose was drawing near.

He was heading home and so are we. This “long obedience in the same direction” is not a journey for the faint of heart.

I share with you here a quote from the book Holy Available by Gary Thomas in his chapter entitled “The God-Empowered Life” – excellent read by the way – filled with challenging thoughts and ideas for shaping a holy life.

I leave you with this quote and with a sincere prayer that you find the sacred pauses in this Holy Week, that you stop and remember, that you scan your horizon and make sure you’re heading in the right direction, and that we all stay the course – knowing that our true home is beyond this world.

The rate of sanctification is completely variable. We cannot predict how it will go. Some people, during some seasons of life, leap and bound like gazelles…..For other people ( and the same people, at another season of life ) sanctification is a steady, measured walk. You learn truth. You learn to serve others constructively. You build new disciplines. You learn basic life wisdom. You learn who God is, who you are, how life works. You learn to worship, to pray, to give time, money and caring. And you grow steadily – wonder of wonders! Other people ( and the same people, at another season ) trudge. It’s hard going. You limp. You don’t seem to get very far very fast. But if you’re trudging in the right direction, someday you will see him face to face, and you will be like him. Some people crawl on their hands and knees. Progress is painful…..And then there are the times you aren’t even moving, stuck in gridlock, broken down – but you’re still facing the right direction…..There are times you might fall asleep in the blizzard and lie down comatose and forgetful – but grace wakes you up, reminds you, and gets you moving again. There are times you slowly wander off in the wrong direction, beguiled by some false promise, or disappointed by a true promise that you falsely understood. But he who began a good work in you awakens you from your sleepwalk, sooner or later, and puts you back on the path. And there are times you revolt, and do a face-plant in the muck, a swan dive into the abyss – but grace picks you up and washes you off again, and turns you back. Slowly you get the point. Perhaps then you leap and bound, or walk steadily, or trudge, or crawl, or face with greater hope in the right direction. David Powlison, as quoted in Holy Available by Gary Thomas

Onward we go.

Sacred Pauses – Find Me Here Tuesdays – Ninth Post

Good morning!

This past week I’ve been writing and working around the theme of “sacred pauses” in preparation for our morning retreat last Saturday.

It has been a significant experience for me – the way the theme took shape – starting with a verse from Lamentations 2, then the phrase “new every morning”, to a search through the Scriptures for verses related to morning, and on and on.

In musing on the verses, three interesting thoughts emerged. One, the Word is filled with contrast – night and day, light and dark, sadness and joy. Second, there is a definitive rhythm to God’s creation, and it is all by design. And third, dawn and dusk happen slowly – speed is a factor here – we don’t turn off the switch on day and plunge immediately into night, and the darkness slowly eases into day each and every morning. There is something in the speed that deserves our attention.

Contrast. Rhythm. Speed.

And all by design! God created a world so intricate, and all along the way, He’s inviting us in, searching for us, providing sacred pauses through the day and night to find Him.

So at the beginning of our retreat, we spent some time in solitude and silence. We offered five possible paths to follow, and I’ve decided to share them with you here in case they might be helpful as you pause and consider your entry into Holy Week. It will feel a bit copied and pasted because it is. 🙂

Suggestions for Your Quiet Time During Our Morning Retreat

When we go on retreat, however short or long it may be, we’re always invited to pull back, take a breath, scan our spiritual landscape, adjust our sails, and open our hands. It is a time to embrace the quiet, to muse on the Word, to receive the encouragement and counsel of friends.

This solitude time is yours to design—we have created five possible paths for reflection, you can pick and choose or chart your own course. It might be that you just need to sit and receive the quiet—up to you.

Path One—Stopping to Take a Breath

Are you running these days? Is there more to do than time to do it?

Take a moment to set it all down here—write a list of that which is pressing on your heart and soul. It might be that you need to collect your thoughts in one place and then receive the gift of this day.

Path Two—Scanning Your Spiritual Landscape

How goes your world? Are you climbing mountains? Trudging through a valley? Walking across the plains? Making a safe or difficult passage from one place to another?

What’s recently behind you? What’s up ahead?

Are there specific joys you are celebrating? Are you navigating a specific trouble or wound?

Spend some time thinking about your spiritual journey—where you have been, where you are going– you can write or sketch or enjoy a bit of both.

Path Three—Studying Scripture

The Word has countless references to morning, the dawn, first light.

Spend some time musing on the truths presented here, perhaps look up the verses in your Bible to consider them within a  wider context.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day. Genesis 1 verse 5

In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. Psalm 5 verse 3

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Psalm 30 verse 5

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. Psalm 59 verse 16

But I cry to you for help, O Lord; in the morning, my prayer comes before you. Psalm 88 verse 13

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Psalm 130 verse 5

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143 verse 8

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me for I have redeemed you. Isaiah 44 verse 22

But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. Malachi 4 verse 2

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1 verse 35

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Romans 13 verse 12

And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 2 Peter 1 verse 19

Path Four—A Reflection on Mornings

“Morning, Sacrament of Hope” by Macrina Wiederkehr from Seasons of Your Heart

Dearly beloved; we are not living in the dark, and so the day will never take us by surprise, like a thief sneaking into our lives unnoticed. We are children of the light; we are friends of the day. The darkness does not feel at home with us. Therefore, do not continue to sleep as those who have no vision, but wake up and rise with the new day. I Thessalonian 5 verses 4-6 ( a paraphrase )

It is easy for me to cry out eagerly with Anne of Green Gables, “Isn’t it a splendid thing that there are mornings?” There is something so fresh about morning, so utterly new and untried. Morning is a Sacrament of Hope. She is a gift of beginning. Morning looks at me with eyes of expectancy. She slips through the darkness on tiptoe.

I like to be awake when morning arrives, ready to be faithful to the possibility she brings. I want to be waiting for her, open to receive the gift she is.

I learn toward the Keeper of Heaven with arms held open wide. I pray for everyone who, at this moment, is receiving the gift of morning.

The East is getting out her gold

She holds it out against the night

and scatters darkness

with her light.

Then morning comes

climbing over the hill

like an eager, restless child.

She pauses just a moment

then casts her color on the earth.

Morning, color me bright

I’ve been afraid too long

The color of fear is dark

darker than night

But your glance is full of light.

Don’t hurry morning;

come slowly

Dress yourself in light.

Climb over that hill lovingly

Hand me a new day hopefully

Get into my bloodstream, and

color me like the rising sun

slowly

I’ve a mind to be contagious

Color me bright.

Path Five—A Reflection on the Night

“When Night is Your Middle Name” by Jan Richardson from In the Sanctuary of Women

I am a night owl. I love the dark hours. Periodically I work on going to bed earlier, but it feels like entering alien territory, trying to make sense of a landscape and a language that I have a hard time fathoming. A friend, knowing my dark ways, once asked me, “So what do you do at night?” Oh, what there is to do at night! “I read,” I told him, “or perhaps write, or pray, to soak up the quiet, or unwind in front of the TV.”  I take time to gather up the threads of the day; it is a period in which interruptions are rare and intrusions are few, a space where my soul can catch up with me. If I have spent the day around people, my inner introvert needs quiet time before sleep. If I have not had enough solitude by day’s end, insomnia ensues…..

Even though I love the night, I sometimes find myself wondering, What illumination might God be calling me toward? Are there any mysteries I have become too willing to live with, any space in my soul that needs to be brought out of the shadows?

It is one thing to live with the mysteries that attend our human lives, to enter into the rhythms of the sometimes strange ways that God works with us. The older I get, the more I think of God as the Ancient of Days, the Holy One of the Long Haul, who seems so deeply fond of working things out over vast expanses of time. This aspect of God calls us to trust, to step out without seeing what’s ahead.

It is another thing, however, to allow the shadows to enthrall us. Mystery has its own enchantments; without spiritual practices and habits of discernment to ground us, those enchantments can lull us into becoming overly comfortable with the shadows and the places of unknowing that we find in our journeys. If I’m willing to live in a ceaseless process of discernment that never leads me to action, if I cannot see a place of brokenness in my own soul or in the soul of the world, then I don’t have to do anything about it.

That’s called denial.

Has some corner of my soul lived too long in shadow? Of the mysteries I have been content to live with, is there one that God might be ready to solve? Am I ready to receive the clarity that might come? How will I meet the God who longs to shine God’s face not only me but through me as well? How will you?

May you have the courage to turn your face to the God who meets you in the darkness and in daylight.

Enjoy dear friends, if you choose to walk some of these paths, may the words and thoughts land in gentle places.

So easy to miss….. – Find Me Here Tuesdays – Eighth Post

Good morning.

I’ve been preparing for a morning retreat that a friend and I are hosting on Saturday, and in thinking about “mornings”, have come across a book that I read almost every year at this time – Living the Resurrection by Eugene Peterson.

One particular section of this book is entitled “We Can’t Master Spiritual Formation”, and within this section there are four interesting thoughts.

1. However many resurrection “hints and guesses” there may have been in the Hebrew, Mediterranean, and Near Eastern centuries preceding this, when it happened, it took those who were closest to the event and best prepared for it totally unawares.

2. It is obvious that no one did anything to prepare for what actually happened…..The two Jewish religious groups who at the time were working most diligently to prepare the resurrection and Messianic ground for something just like this – the Pharisees and the Essenes – were looking the other way, and they missed it totally. Everyone is a beginner in this business. There are no experts.

3. Marginal people in the culture – in this case, women – play a prominent role in perception and response…..Mary Magdalene – perhaps the most marginal of any of the early followers of Jesus – is the chief resurrection witness and the only person to appear in all four accounts…..The men and women who are going to be most valuable to us in spiritual-formation-by-resurrection are most likely going to be people at the edge of respectability: the poor, minorities, the suffering, the rejected, poets, and children.

4. The resurrection was a quiet business that took place in a quiet place without publicity or spectators…..Bright lights and amplification are not accessories to spiritual formation.

Eugene Peterson, Living the Resurrection

This is the phrase that has been slipping in and out of my thoughts – the Kingdom is so easy to miss. The blazing reality of Christ is all around me, and most days I cannot see it, hear it, taste it, smell it, touch it or find it. I miss it completely.

Wake up, let your hearts and minds and souls be stirred.

Pay attention.

Don’t miss it.

p.s. Gracias to all those who are praying for me this week, your intercession on my behalf is much appreciated. Con amor!


The Holy Ordinary – Find Me Here Tuesdays – Sixth Post

I asked God to go swimming with me the other day.

Yep.

I was struggling to find time to pray and exercise and work and do laundry and take care of my family and on and on and on.

I spent some time sketching out the hours of my day hoping to find a few extra ones, feeling like I had lost quite a few somewhere along the way. Maybe it’s that looming 50 in May, but time is definitely picking up speed in my life. I watch an 80 year old friend take a walk every day and it always makes me pause. 80 is not so far from 50.

So my answer to these questions- “How do I approach this?” “What should I give up in a full life?” “Where do I find time to listen?”

My answer is to take Jesus along for the ride. It sounds like a sappy quote from Pinterest, but it’s working for me right now.

I’ve always met God for coffee in the mornings – we read together, I write, many days I just sit quietly, but lately I’ve been needing more.

Years ago I asked Him to do laundry with me, and we’ve been doing that together ever since – He meets me in the dirt and the clean and the folding and that sweet smell of a job well done.

But recently, I asked Him to go swimming with me – to reshape that time as set aside for Him, to use it to keep me grounded in reality – and if you EVER visit the municipal pool, you will understand – but also as a chance to pray. Back and forth and back and forth.

So it’s probably less of “what should I give up” and more of “where can I go solo and ask Him to meet me” – grocery shopping, cooking, baking, cleaning the kitchen, driving to and from work, taking a walk in the morning or evening.

Finding something ordinary and releasing it to the holy.

Onward.

Postscript – I wrote today’s post before today, but then this morning had a thought and wanted to add this postscript. I want to be clear that while I am advocating that you invite God into the dailiness of your life, nothing substitutes for the quiet sanctuary of meeting Him daily in the Word and in the silence and in the solitude. My cup of coffee in the morning is essential to keeping the lines of communication open and free. Inviting Him to swim has been an expansion of that, not an even trade. Push for the deeper and wider life, give Him more access and you will see a marked difference.

Listening and the Spiritual Life – Find Me Here Tuesdays – Fifth Post

Good morning!

I have committed to writing once a week about what I’m thinking about, what’s present on my mind and heart, a topic I think we should consider, etcetera. What seems to be evolving is a rather random series of posts – it will be interesting to look back in a few months to see if there were any patterns at all.

“Does anyone listen anymore?” This was a question that came up over coffee. A friend sharing about someone in her life that talks and talks and never listens. I’ve been thinking about listening, truly listening, and then it appeared in a book I was reading and then there was another conversation about it somewhere else. So let me share a few thoughts with you this morning.

When man listens, God speaks…..We are not out to tell God. We are out to let God tell us…..The lesson the world most needs is the art of listening to God. Frank Buchman

Invite God to interrupt you. If your heavenly Father wanted to, could he interrupt you at any time during the day to ask you to do something with him? I used to view interruptions in life as a nuisance and a hindrance. Now I see them as opportunities. Marilyn Hontz

“The sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out…..His sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice. Jesus in John 10

All of these quotes are from the introduction to the chapter “Ears that Hear” in the book Holy Available by Gary Thomas – excellent read, I’m only a third of the way through so far.

The author is writing on the “listening life” – reminding us that God is an active voice. The author proposed a series of filters/tests – Scripture, the Church’s witness, a holy life, growing familiarity with God’s voice.

The listening life is cultivated in solitude and silence. It will always be congruent to God’s word, God doesn’t contradict Himself. God’s speaking will often be scattered across His people, more than one person will sense the same leading. Sin blocks our ears, a listening life needs clear channels. And most of all, listening requires time – no shortcuts here. Many long walks in solitude and silence, many quiet hours folding laundry and washing dishes. We learn the ways of His voice and so we trust when He is speaking.

So here’s what I’m musing on – I recently told a friend that I know longer want to listen to pastors and/or speakers who aren’t listening. I no longer trust leaders who know little of the listening life. I find myself leaning into authors who I know are listening –  you can always find it in their writings – the mystery, the questions, the edges of God. The minute someone is telling me exactly what to do and how it will change my life forever? I turn and walk the other way.

And I’m also confronting my personal need to listen more with intention and depth – listening while I swim, listening to my men, listening to my friends.

I have such a long way to go with this.

Onward.

We Are Dust – Find Me Here Tuesdays – Fourth Post

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. Tomorrow many will burn the palms from last year’s Palm Sunday. Around the world the church will quiet. It’s a somber day, a remembering day.

Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.

This is a day for the wide church, this is a moment to stop and ponder. As with most things, there is plenty of lighter fare – the gluttony of Mardi Gras and promises to not eat chocolate for forty days – but I would encourage you to go deeper, to the significance of Lent and how it can shape your preparation for Easter.

These forty days have been set aside to remember Jesus and his walk into temptation and darkness. The sky opened, God’s Spirit descended and landed on him. He heard the words – “This is my son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life.”

“Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test.” Matthew 3 and 4

Don’t miss the two events – the first is receiving the blessing – you are His beloved, on you His favor rests.

Then the journey into the wilderness.

Do you need a walk into the desert? Are your fields filled with dry stalks that need to burn so new life can grow? Are you holding something you need to release?

Jesus had business out there – He had to face His enemy, take on the challenge.

Extreme hunger.

Jumping from the Temple.

The peaks of mountains.

And then?

“The Test was over. The Devil left. And in his place, angels! Angels came and took care of Jesus’ needs.”

I need the dust this year. I need to receive the ash as a reminder that I am dust and to dust I will return.

Musing on all of this in preparation for tomorrow.

Jan is writing at the Painted Prayerbook as well – great read – you can find it here.

Clean Earth to Till – Find Me Here Tuesdays – Third Post

Good morning!

Here it is Tuesday! Time always has a way of slipping and sliding through my life. Wanted to share with you today a quote from a book that I read while at the ocean. The book is entitled A Beautiful Disaster by Marlena Graves – a solid read on the wilderness life. In her chapter on “the God who sees me”, she quotes Gandalf from Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. And it is this quote that I want us to think upon this week.

“It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after us may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.”

Gandalf in The Return of the King

Such a deeply inspiring thought for this month of February 2015.

It is not our part to master the tides. The ocean always confronts me – its depth and majesty, our feeble play at its shores. It is God’s power and paradox – ferocious and gentle, massive waves and tide pools.

Are there places in your life where you are desperately trying to master something that is not yours to control? Take care to let God hold the center, trust in His ability to master the tides.

But to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set.

A definition is in order. Succour is a noun, this is the typical British spelling. It means “help; relief; aid; assistance”. The world around us is hurting, darkening. It is in need of aid. We were set in this time and in these places for a purpose. We must find “what is in us”.

Uprooting the evil in the fields that we know. We’re reading Corrie Ten Boom’s story The Hiding Place as a family. Wow, just wow. At fifty years of age, she is heading into dangerous territory. More and more Jews are coming to their door seeking help, and here she goes! It is in her field and it is evil and daily she is uprooting it. What’s in your field? What is in mine?

So that those who live after us may have clean earth to till. This is generativity, this is thinking beyond yourself. This is looking at your neighborhood and thinking about it fifty years from now. This is seeing your children when they are grandparents. What you’re doing today matters. Digging in the deep earth of your soul, uprooting the evil lingering there, pursuing clean earth in your life and in the lives of those around you? Wow.

What weather they shall have is not ours to rule. When I see a man being burned alive in a cage on international television, I cannot help but flash back to stories of when the barbarian hordes descended upon decadent Rome. I think about my young sons and their coming families, I think about the work of their hands. I think about all of you. Are you prepared for stormy weather? What will you do if the skies turn black?

I’ve made a promise to write on Tuesdays, to write about what is on my heart and mind. And so for this week my dear friends, this particular quote resonated with me.

Let’s take care not to be too comfortable.

Let’s take a stand in the face of evil.

Oh to leave the coming generations clean earth to till.

Onward friends!

Garbage on the Streets – Find Me Here Tuesdays – Second Post

Every single time I walk out there, I have this deep sense that the practice is teaching me something.

Somewhere. Somehow. I’m becoming more and more convinced that picking up scattered trash in my yard and on the street is forming something in my soul. Yep. I truly believe this.

Why? Because I don’t like it. It’s not fun. Armed with gloves, a rake and a new trash bag – it takes about an hour to clean up the mess at the street. You name it and I find it out there. For lack of anyone close enough to keep an eye on it, our driveway has become the neighborhood repository for trash – everyone tosses their plastic bags on the heap and walks away. The mountain of garbage then becomes fair game for the wandering people and dogs of the street. By the morning? A complete mess.

Most of the time when I’m out there cleaning the mess, I’m silently fuming. I’ve even shaken my fist at my rich neighbor leaving his pristine driveway in his fancy SUV with dark windows. Our wealthy neighbors deposit all their trash on our driveway so their entrance remains spotless. I often find myself scripting signs in my head – “If you leave your trash here, please be part of the solution to clean up.” “We have installed hidden cameras – we know who you are.”

But every now and again, the whole process hits home. I’m a mess, you’re a mess, we all have our own garbage. Not that I enjoy it, but the process is shaping something within me. Trash is actually quite fascinating – I know what my neighbors are eating, I know that they recently went on a trip, I know that their lamp fixture broke for some reason, and that too many people eat fast food.

So here are a few things to consider this week…..

1. Own your garbage. Let’s not be people who secretly dump our trash and walk away – it’s just not kind or nice.

2. Serve your neighborhood. I’m not trying to place myself on a pedestal here, I have wanted to say some very nasty things to my neighbors in the process of picking up their mess – but there is something satisfying about doing something that nobody sees to serve your community. The minute you start looking for recognition, the game changes.

3. Beauty heals. We bring light to darkness when we clean and set things to rights. Laundry that is clean and folded, dishes that are washed and set to dry in the sun, a house that is picked up – these things affect us. If we learn the rhythm and practice of beauty, it will heal us.

I looked over my shoulder this last time and smiled. Another round of eggshells and tin cans, dirty towels and plastic plates, but it was clean now. The sun was shining and one little part of the world was set to rights.

Was it worth it? Yes.

I’ll be at the ocean when you find this on Tuesday – thinking and praying for all of you.

Have a GREAT week.

Growing Up – Find Me Here Tuesdays – First Post

Greetings.

Nothing like starting something new in the midst of craziness. Yesterday was the first day of our second semester, so the three of us are finally where we need to be, trying to jump in with the projects for 2015. It’s summertime down here and school is out until February 9 – we live on a bridge between two school calendars and two yearly rhythms.

In preparing to work with our staff today, I was so challenged by the content, that I made a decision to share it here with all of you.

We’re asking the question, what does it look like to BOTH fully professional AND fully Christian at the same time? How exactly do we wear multiple hats?

Well, we don’t.

Our faith isn’t a hat to wear, it’s our cloak – it covers us completely and holds us in.

I likened it to the cinnamon rolls that I served everyone for breakfast. The flavor is in the mixing of the ingredients. A pot of soup – the aroma is in the blending of meat, vegetables and spices. The joy of the pinwheel is not in the separate spokes, but in the wild spinning. The texture of a rug is not in the individual fabrics, but the weaving back and forth and up and down. The beauty of the vine is found when it winds and climbs up and around the trellis.

Flavor.

Aroma.

Joy.

Texture.

Beauty.

This is what happens when we let BOTH our faith permeate our life, AND our life blend with our faith.

Going on from there, we’re doing a basic review of child development and how those principles are a great place to begin thinking about growing up in the faith.

Growing up is hard work, we all tend to avoid it if we can. Jesus beckons us to narrow paths and we stay on the wide highway. He challenges us to hearty fare and we sip on milk. He pursues those areas we’re hiding and we bury them a little deeper. Growing your soul takes discipline, it’s not for the faint of heart.

So let me end today by sharing these basic child development principles with an additional comment on how the same ideas cross pollinate to our soul work.

  1. A child’s development is multidimensional, it includes their physical development, their social/emotional development and their cognitive development. Our soul growth is multidimensional as well.
  2. Development in one domain influences and is influenced by development in other domains. One domain influences another in our soul growth as well – I think my soul is stronger when I swim on a daily basis, reading across a variety of disciplines challenges my faith, learning something new shapes how I think and feel.
  3. A child’s development occurs in a predictable ( orderly ) sequence with later abilities, skills and knowledge building on those already acquired. There is a sequence in spiritual growth as well – it’s a long obedience in the same direction.
  4. Development moves toward greater complexity, organization and internalization. Our lives deepen and widen as we grow and learn.
  5. Development proceeds at varying rates from child to child as well as unevenly within different areas of each child’s functioning. My niece said to her mom this Christmas – “Let me do me.” I loved that. I am not you and you are not me and it’s always healthy to remember that our growth will be unique and uneven. Growth spurts anyone?
  6. Early experiences have both cumulative and delayed effects on individual children’s development; optimal periods exist for certain types of development and learning. Our childhood stories are important, there are seasons for growing, pruning, sprouting, dropping all the dead leaves.
  7. A child’s development occurs in a broader context. Learning occurs in and is influenced by multiple social and cultural contexts. We live in a big world.
  8. Children are active learners, they learn by doing and touching and interacting. We learn by engaging as well.
  9. A child’s development depends on the interplay between genes and environment. The classic nature vs. nurture. We are each unique individuals, our souls only happen once, our set of gifts will never be repeated and were given for this time and this place.
  10. Play is an important vehicle for development. Play is good for the soul.
  11. Children develop and learn best in the context of a community where they are safe and valued, their physical needs are met, and they feel psychologically secure. We like to grow our souls in safe community as well, yes?
  12. Development advances when children have opportunities to practice newly acquired skills as well as when they experience a challenge just beyond the level of their present mastery. We need practice, we need challenge.

These basic principles were taken from two key sources – the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the book, Parenting Connections, Child Growth and Development by Stephen Green.

Say hello if you stop by, and have a FABULOUS week.