Pause Tuesday, Oct 16 2018 

DSCN2232My friend, Sister Chris, worked at The Blessed Trinity Shrine Retreat House in Fort Mitchell, Alabama for many years. She points out that we don’t know how to retreat. We don’t take time to “stop and smell the roses,” to enjoy the gifts before us.

Our noisy world is full of distractions. We are always on the run. Busy, busy, busy.

Retreats offer opportunities to relax and renew. The quiet time supports our spiritual, emotional, and physical health and helps us to increase in wisdom and concentration. We leave happier, clearer minded, and better able to meet the challenges of the future.

Retreat centers are typically found in tranquil locations surrounded in simple beauty. They can be anything from exotic and luxurious to a yoga mat in your bedroom but offer a safe place to clear your mind and recharge.

Many retreat centers focus on a particular intent such spiritual retreats for building relationships with God, retreats for victims of domestic violence to regain a sense of empowerment, and ones for overall relaxing of body, mind, and spirit.

We don’t have to spend 40 days in the desert praying and fasting as Jesus did. But his example teaches us that it is necessary to clear our minds in order to grow. If you are unable to get away, you can practice a moment of pause within each day. Sip a cup of coffee or tea alone on your front porch. Soak in the tub or enjoy a fragrant shower. Go for a massage. Listen to classical or relaxation music. Take a yoga class where you can stretch and breathe deeply.

For our own good and the peace of the world, let’s stop. The quiet time is an important investment in our well being.

(Follow me on Facebook and see my other blog, Mary K Doyle Books.)

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Stitch-by-Stitch Tuesday, Jun 17 2014 

Erin's Quilt

Jog, read, watch TV, garden.

What do you do to unwind? At the end of the day, what activity helps you relax?

I quilt. The top layer is pieced on the machine, and then I do the actual quilting the old-fashioned way—by hand. The methodical in and out stitching is very relaxing, meditative. While sewing, I pray, ponder, and contemplate. I think about the person I’m making the quilt for and send them love and prayers in hope that they will feel wrapped in all of that when under the soft, cozy blanket.

When my children were young, I made them quilts they still have, although my son’s is now worn through and beyond repair. And then I stopped quilting for decades.

I picked it up once again the last few years. It’s been a good activity while I sit with my husband in the evenings. Because of his Alzheimer’s, conversation is limited but we enjoy being in each other’s presence. He also enjoys watching the quilts come to life stitch-by-stitch.

I’ve been making quilts for my grandchildren, nieces, and nephews starting with the youngest. Each child (or parent) puts in their order when I’m close to working on one for them. Their themes and colors aren’t of my choosing, but they are happy with their choices. My 13 year-old nephew, Jimmy, asked for a Chicago Bears theme for his, and as it is coming along better than expected.

Here are some of the quilts I’ve recently completed:

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Johnny’s Quilt

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Kaylee’s Quilt

Lisa's Baby Quilt.1

Daniel’s Quilt

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Molly’s Quilt

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Samantha’s Quilt

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Ziva’s Quilt

 

(Top Photo: Tyler in his quilt)

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

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