On Monday I attended the Vermont Ethics Network's spring gathering in Fairlee, VT. Perspectives at End-of-Life:Suffering, Consciousness and the Power of a Patient's Narrative included plenary sessions, an interfaith panel discussion and breakout sessions.
Two of the speakers were outstanding.
Pulitzer Prizer Winner and Director of Narrative Medicine at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Michael Vitez , had us spellbound with his passion for storytelling.
Koshin Paley Ellison, co-founder of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, the first Zen-based organization to offer fully accredited ACPE clinical chaplaincy training in America literally had me at hello. He transformed a room full of health care professionals (and at least one volunteer chaplain) into a quiet, pensive group of listeners. I have ordered his book, Awake at the Bedside, because I know I have much more to learn from this kind man.
One of Koshin Paley Ellison's questions to the gathering on Monday was, "Do you have 5 people in your life that you know would drop everything to be with you if you needed them?"
And, "How do we practice kindness as a way of life?"
I'm still thinking about all that I heard and experienced on Monday...
How about you, dear readers...what are you "still learning" about?
Early on Sunday my Mumsie and brother Doug arrived from Massachusetts for a quick, 24 hour visit. After thick slabs of coffee cake, Batman and Doug started work on the deck railings and my Mumsie and I headed out to buy some Japanese Indigo seedlings here. I made a little balsam sachet for Jennifer (I do love to make tokens of appreciation!) made from cloth I dyed with indigo plants I bought there last year. The new seedlings are planted here at our "bit of earth" and are being drenched (which they love) by a steady rain this afternoon. Safely railed, the deck feels ready for boisterous conversation, small supper gatherings, afternoon tea parties and quiet reflection. A few pots of flowers and we'll be good to go. Hauling old cedar siding out from under the crawl space, Doug whipped up an impromptu lattice screen to hide said crawl space. Later in the afternoon, we painted more coats on the walls in the three season porch and put up trim around the ceiling. Doug has just one speed and it's full steam ahead. I so appreciate that he has showered us with his skill and loving attention here at our "bit of earth". And having my Mumsie on site, supervising the many projects was an added bonus.
In the meantime, everything has popped into flower...the crab apples, the lilacs, the pear trees, the forget-me-nots, the grape hyacinths and the daffodils. The dandelions are having a banner year, with fields swathed in their cheerful yellow carpets.
Life is brimming and full...and there's so much more ahead...
On Friday I hit the road early in the morning. I drove west, up and over both the Warren Mountain Road and the Lincoln Gap. Everything was sparkling with the raindrops that had fallen overnight, caught by the early morning sunlight. From both summits, the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont spread out in front of me, dappled with shadows caused by the light clouds floating in the bluest of skies. I pulled over more than once to sigh. Contented sighs are the best, aren't they?
When I arrived at Basin Harbor Resort, an eight foot long table and chair was waiting for me. Our Vermont Modern Quilt Guild was in the midst of our four day spring retreat! (Batman and I try to reserve weekends for the wedding prep "to do" list, and so I was delighted that I was able to be a "day retreater").
How much fun is it to hang out with kindred spirits, sharing quilting and sewing tips, doing "show and tell" with projects and enjoying food we did not have to prepareor clean up??? Super fun!
I was able to get this little jacket nearly finished. Started almost a month ago, it has had soooo much love stitched into it, both by hand and by machine.
I used up lots of scraps of both fabric and batting while sewing this project. I did purchase new fabric for the lining and the binding. The jacket is quite sturdy and thick...good for the chilly winters in Sweden. Sewn up in a size two, it will be something the new babe (due in June) will grow in to.
Patchwork, sewing and quilting.
After listening to the news, sometimes I feel like I am trying to stitch the whole world back together again.
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