Monday, August 23, 2010

A Healing Summer

Chimney Rock & clouds 05My children went back to school last week; my “blog vacation” has come to a conclusion, so here I am!
My family and I have had the most amazing summer. Now at the end of it, I feel as if God has lifted a burden from me I didn’t know I was carrying. As a family, we were able to close the chapter on “The Terrible Awful” of the past three years and gained a fresh start. If you know the story, skip to the next paragraph. J We have been through the serious illness and death of both of Dan’s parents, my breast cancer diagnosis and a 9-month disability period for treatment, a $10,000 tax bill and equal fees in medical costs, my mother’s chronic illness (she is still steppin’!) and a host of other health issues like sprained ankles, joint and muscle strains, physical therapies and a severe concussion to name a few.
By the grace of God, we are still standing, functioning, glad to be alive and grateful to God for seeing us through. We are stronger emotionally and physically and we are humbled and filled with awe at the help, support and prayers that have carried us along the journey.
Our spiritual transformation this summer began by going to Ghost Ranch, a Presbyterian camp and conference center in the high, red-rock desert of northern New Mexico ( It’s a rejuvenating place with Continuing Education classes for Dan and me, camp and service corps for the kids, hiking, worship, swimming, horse-back riding, community-life and resting in a beautiful, spiritually-infused setting. We have been to Ghost Ranch several times, so much so that it’s like our kids’ second home. But our last visit prior to this year was the summer before all of “The Terrible Awful” started three years ago.
Being at Ghost Ranch again was like a salve to our souls. We felt a completeness, a symmetry, a spiritual order for our lives fall into place. Being renewed at Ghost Ranch gave me fresh eyes to see that we could start a new season, a new chapter of our life with our faces forward, filled with hope.
The class I took at Ghost Ranch was a significant part of this healing for me. Called Pages in Our Book of Life, From Our Biblical Ancestors to Our Descendants, we explored the women of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). We learned the archetypes these Biblical women can represent for us, identified these characteristics in our own foremothers and in ourselves, and reflected on how to pass on to our children these spiritual discoveries. This class was co-led by Rabbi Paula Winnig, who added yarn, spinning and fabric arts to our conversation and experience, and Judaic Artist, Sara Novenson. Please go to to see her amazing paintings of NM landscapes and Biblical women.
Learning from and experiencing so many dimensions – more than I have ever encountered in any other class – contributed to the deep healing effect this class had on me. We studied the Bible, we listened to music and read poetry about the women we studied, we explored the artistic process Sara went through to create her paintings and the archetypes she discovered, we wrote prose and poetry, and we painted our own stories or experiences. Visit Sara’s blog at which describes our class, shows some of our paintings and Sara’s description of the event.
This is just the beginning, there is more to come, This summer does get me wondering if I can change the name of the last three years from “The Terrible Awful” to something new…

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