28 December, 2007

Amazing Grace

One of the amazing things about extended holidaytime is that in addition to any celebrations, it gives one free time for R & R. For Don and I, that means catching up on movies we did not see earlier in the year.

We rented a passle of DVD's and have been watching current releases as well as the classic holiday fare.

Last night, we had the blessing of watching a film called, "Amazing Grace" the story of William Wilberforce, the 19th century British reformer and abolitionist. The reason that the song is so significant is that Wilberforce was taught and influenced by the former slave ship worker turned preacher, John Newton who wrote the now famous hymn as his own paean to assuage his guilt.

In addition to the powerful history that this man generated, the film itself is stunning. A wonderful cast aptly directed by Michael Apted and written with power and beauty. It is a must-see. Be prepared to be touched, transformed and moved to action.

This film spoke to me on so many levels. I have work to do. Don and I have work to do. And I would wager that you have work to do and this film will lovingly remind you what it is.
My first action step will be to create a viewing of the film (at HeartSpace) and to create a study group in conjunction with my teaching chapter, Open At The Top. (Scheduling details will be posted later or announced in my Breathing Enterprises monthly newsletter).

As you prepare to bless and release 2007 and prepare to receive and embrace your new year, this would be a fine film to add to your list.

For those of you unfamiliar with the hymn, Amazing Grace, here are the original lyrics that continues to inspire countless individuals:

Amazing Grace Lyrics
John Newton (1725-1807)
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,Was blind, but now I see.
T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.And Grace, my fears relieved.

How precious did that Grace appearThe hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snaresI have already come;

'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far and Grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me.His word my hope secures.

He will my shield and portion be, As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, And mortal life shall cease, I shall possess within the veil, A life of joy and peace.
When we've been here ten thousand years

Bright shining as the sun. We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,

That saved a wretch like me.I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

25 December, 2007

God Bless Us Everyone...

It is Christmas Day. Merry, merry.

It has been quite the holiday weekend (yes, I know today is actually a Tuesday but it feels like a weekend, doesn't it?). I sensed that this time would be filled with emotions--given the way this year has gone--and I was correct.

This week, I allowed myself my mini-meltdowns of sadness when I would have realizations of not being able to share this time with my mother. A song would play and I would cry; or I would think of something specific as a holiday tradition Mom and I would share and then I would sob. And because I allowed myself the space and time to have the emotions that would well up, I moved through them quickly and always returned to present time. I know and sense that "she is with me in Spirit" and I wouldn't put it past her to have somehow influenced some of the major events that have transpired. Yet it is true that there is so much of the past four months that I wish with all my heart I could share with her in real life.

For example, on Sunday it was our one month wedding anniversary and Don took us to Prego to celebrate our marriage and our future together. It was already the most romantic and wonderful gesture because of how Don orchestrated the entire evening. He had been quite cryptic and specific in how the evening played out; and well, suffice to say (because some of the details were quite personal and too long to share here) it was beyond my wildest dreams AND included one of my dreams. After our meal, Don walked me to the front of Prego and outside waiting for me under a giant red bow was a 2008 yellow and black VW Beetle Bug Convertible!

Anyone who has known me within the past 10 years knows that I have wanted a yellow and black Beetle Bug. I actually wanted a yellow VW back when they first came out and I wasn't even driving yet. Up till now, I owned a yellow CD player in the shape of a VW and other toy versions. This was/IS my dream car. I was awestruck. The nice salesman, John from City VW who drove it there for us had his wife there taking pictures as I hyperventillated. There is a current holiday commercial where this guy gives his wife a box of tissues and then a brown paper bag for his gifts. She is confused. Then he walks her outside and shows her their new cars (also with a big red bow) and she faints. I can relate. And although, Don will be inheriting HenryHonda and not getting his new car now, there is something pretty awesome about getting a new car for Christmas when you hadn't a clue.

Of course, we had just toasted our wedding, Don's birthday, our new year and I was feeling quite content. I am blessed and I know it. Don asked me what I wanted now in life and I told him I really had it all. Yes, there were certain things I wanted to accomplish or achieve but the fact was, I have it all. Now I have it all and will be driving it around in my new car, Daisy.

We had already planned to stay home for Christmas eve. This was the first time in over 10 years that I was not doing a Christmas Eve service. This year's holiday needed to be different to mark all the transitions of late. I also needed to be at home where I could allow the emotional tap to flow freely and privately. Instead, we watched holiday movies. One of my favorite Christmas movies is the movie musical "Scrooge" with Albert Finney. It is always a delight to watch this version of the classic. I always felt that there should be a "Rocky Horror-esque" cult spring up for this film because there are so many parts that scream for audience participation. I marvelled at the power of the Dickens's story. Not only was he a wonderful writer (love those descriptive character names) but I feel he was quite the metaphysician. "A Christmas Carol" and "Wizard of Oz" are classics because of their power and the truth that resonates within us. I only wish that Frank L. Baum and Charles Dickens could have known during their lifetimes what eternal gifts they were giving to us. George Lucas is fortunate in that he has been able to see how "Star Wars" transfixed generations.

Then we landed on the film "Eight Below" which is not a Christmas movie but a wonderful film about the powerful connection we have with and for animals; and about their amazing power and resilience. FYI: it is a two or three hankie movie.

Yes, this was a year of firsts; and a different Christmas. The surreal (Mom is gone) to the sublime (I'm married!); I didn't go to church on Christmas eve and I didn't have pecan twirl pastries on Christmas morning. Whoda thunk?

Don and I watched DVD's most of the day. Including the DVD that VW puts out for new cars. Ya know, it has been so long since I have had a brand-new car and there are many more modern things to learn about cars. It was a bit tricky driving home from Prego on Sunday night because it was already nighttime and I didn't know where all the knobs and features were--including my lights. However, my daytime running lights were on and Don followed me to offset not having taillights. Then we went outside to learn about Daisy and to take photos.

We chose to watch "Evan Almighty" tonight. After watching "Die Hard # 47", it seemed like a gentle and spiritual film to watch. I have been a big fan of Steve Carrell's from his years on "The Daily Show" and I love that he is having such a successful film career. This movie was sweet and I enjoyed the animals and the message. Any film that encourages people to treat animals well, to pray and to "do the dance" is all right in my book. As the film credits were rolling at the end, the company that must have helped create the special effects is called, Persistence of Vision. I was caught by that. How true. Life is about one's persistence of vision to make things come true. It may have been on God's timetable for me to learn all this and to see my vision(s) and dreams manifest but "Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you..."

I am so grateful, so blessed. And now, I have this glorious new year ahead of me to demonstrate and live persistence of vision.

God bless us everyone.

City Slackers

No, I did not misspell the title of this post. Yes, I was playing off of the comedy film title, "City Slickers" about a bunch of...