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.
Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts,
whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!
Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by
irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking
with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be
taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach
them of charity, mercy and patience.
We women of one country will be too tender of those of another
country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From
the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says "Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance
Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons
of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a
great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women,
to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the
means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each
bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a
general congress of women without limit of nationality may be
appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at
the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the
alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement
of international questions, the great and general interests of
Julia Ward Howe
(Written in response to the carnage of the Civil War. The original intention of Mother's Day, a call for peace)
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