Recommended Enrichment Reading: Seasons of a Families Life, By Wendy M. Wright. In the middle of our ordinary lives, Wendy Wright offers us a view of the spiritual fabric of daily life to cultivate the contemplative spirit in our home. Filled with wisdom and insight, this is a must read!



Recommended Quilting Project: By His Pattern , By Gwen Ellis. This devotional is filled with needlework tips, stories, prayers, and thought provoking questions for your day!

Celebration: Outside My Window

By Mary Jo Saavedra

Jesus walked by my window tonight, followed by his Mother. Thatís how it is in this mysterious place. I arrived 3 weeks ago for what will be a 2-Ĺ month stay, my longest visit to Lima, Peru. My 18-year-old daughter is here finishing high school at the American school and I have traveled far to be with her. Actually, to support her in what is so far the biggest effort of her young life. College aps, IB diploma classes, and a spicy Latina social life that would over heat the most seasoned teenager. This all being the result of her adamant pursuit to experience her dadís culture and immerse herself with her extended Peruvian family.

My role is to keep the calm and promote a ďcan-doĒ environment. In the 18 years of parenting this child, excuse me, this grown woman, I have learned one thing: I learn what I need to know about her when I am quiet and still, or in-other-words, accessible. When I am available to her while she has the need to grind out her fears about growing up over scrambled eggs, to plop down and tell me her latest story of romance, or when she invites me to lay across her bed while she types out a paper on the computer, cross legged on the floor looking very serious. These are the moments, in the quiet of my day, when Iím ready for her call, that I discover what makes her tick.

My mother once gave me some rare parenting advice when I was confronted with some baffling problem, tantrums I think it was, she said, ďJust love herĒ and went on about her business. Panic and fear set-in when I realized that I was going to get nothing more, no pop-psychology, no tried-and-true discipline techniques, only those simple words. That was it. Well, it took me a while to figure out just how this advise would help, but then I realized how this is what she did while raising me. She gave me the best part of herself, her constant and accessible love. She was always around when I needed her and she had 5 children, so this was no easy feat.

Now, I look back over my daughterís 18 years and I can see the sustainable importance of this advice and its desired effect on both of us. It was not my job to control my daughter, but to love her into what she is already designed to become. Only by my example will she learn anything worthwhile about me, and what I have to teach. So, here I am in Peru, away from my envious husband, allowing for quiet moments in a foreign country with my daughter.

This finely developed skill of accessibility has given birth to a new gift, my observation skills. They have developed into a heightened appreciation of that which unfolds around me. Very much like the blind woman who can hear the hummingbird outside her window. In place of my corporate years of being over scheduled and driven, now I choose to put a pause button into my life. Both phases of life are sweet, but each is better enjoyed when hard choices are made and I donít try to do it all. With my skill in using this pause button I now notice the trees swaying in the back yard of my Portland home, or the smile on my dogís face as he rolls with unabashed pleasure on his back hoping I will walk by and rub his tummy. Boring for some who have not developed this skill, but for those of us who have it there is unexpected delight in awareness at every corner. I have taken hold of my time by letting it go. My motherís sweet words allowed me to learn the art of being in the moment, and my life is fuller, fuller in ďthe glass is half fullĒ kind of way. For the first time in my life I am not missing a thing!

Which brings me back to Jesus and his mother. For much of the hours during my days here I sit here in my room working on projects while my daughter is off at school. I often get up to stretch, go to the kitchen for lunch, or take a gander out the window. To my astonishment there is a whole world unfolding in the small patch of grass in front of my Lima home. One day several housemaids were out walking a group of dogs, many breeds, in all sizes. It gave me a good giggle and a fond longing for my own pup back home. Another day I looked out to find a young family sitting on that lawn stripping large leaves off branches and making piles of these leaves to take to the florist market and sell them to be later incorporated into flower arrangements. All day they worked earning enough money to eat that night. They were together, seemingly happy, with their young son playing at their feet and occasionally helping them, all the while a big grin on his face. Another day I looked up and at that moment a man rode by with the largest bouquet of buttercup yellow flowers flapping on the back of his bicycle seat. His shirt read ----- florist. Yes, he was making a delivery that would surely put a smile on the recipientís face. Throughout my days vendors on carts walk or ride-by selling brooms, artichokes, fruit, or other daily necessities, singing or blowing special horns to alert the household staff they are present and ready to sell their wares, charming scenes reminiscent to those in Mary Poppins. I observe these in-the-moment experiences outside my window, full of rich and thoughtful purpose; feeling appreciative and a bit in awe of the different pace and the still present pause factor in this culture.

Today however was unique. I felt the full circle of my own motherís gift come clearly into focus in a single moment looking out my window. Overall, life is messy. Each day is filled with imperfections and struggle. Whether I am a holy mother, a working mother, or a stay at home mother, everyday I must choose how I will be accessible to my child. I must choose how to simply love her over and over again. Today, in the act of loving, allowing time for the pause, I looked up and there was Jesus staring into my face. My heart skipped a beat as I heard the sound of a marching band that followed him, playing a melodic sound that was soulful and Gregorian. The women following him with their heads hung under white lace veils. As the evening pressed in on them they recited the rosary and swung urns full of burning, sweet incense while the priests dressed in purple robes lit their way carry ornately decorated candles. Eighteen laymen carried the holy altar on their backs. With the beat of the drum each man stepped forward in a swaying pattern as they inched slowly down the road, the burden of their effort apparent on their faces. This was the procession of The Christ of Miracles passing along in front of my bedroom window. The incense wafted up to me and entwined in the scent came memories of my childhood, snuggled in my dadís lap during midnight Christmas mass at the Carmelites. Visions that I have not seen in years but are clearly imprinted on my heart danced back to life once again.

As I stood here thanking God for this precious life he has given me and for the many blessings of my family, Jesus passed by me, only to reveal moments later his blessed Mother behind Him, waiting, loving, choosing to give Him Her full attention.

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