Vivaldi Audio Divina
by Tammy Townsend Denny, TI Executive Director
Monasteries of the Heart, a “web-based movement” of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, PA, recently shared “Lectio with Music” featuring Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – Summer.
As we near summer’s end, take 10 minutes to listen and watch this video. What stirs in your heart as you listen?
To read more about this Audio Divina, including additional questions for reflections, click here.
Love and blessings,
Tammy Townsend Denny
This week during a phone call with my brother Bob we swapped stories of the challenges in our lives. He is dealing with some family issues and I’m dealing with my husband’s recent hospitalization due to Covid (he is home and better now).
“Just when I think things are calming down, something else pops up,” Bob said. Retired after a 45-year career as a small business owner, he is now actively being grandpa to his three grandchildren.
“I hear that’s life,” I said. “I keep wanting it to smooth out but I don’t think it works that way.”
“Life is difficult,” he said, quoting the first line from M. Scott Peck’s book The Road Less Traveled, a book that both he and I read in the early 1990s. Huge fans of Peck’s work at the time, we even attended one of Peck’s lectures together where the evening ended with the entire audience singing “Que Sera Sera.” While I don’t recall the specifics of that lecture nearly 30 years ago, I do remember the feeling I had at the end of the night: hope.
That message of hope keeps popping up for me this week.
There was the email I received from former TI executive director Vicki Schmidt on Monday with a link to author Kathryn Spink’s article “Where is hope?.
There was the Facebook post from author Parker Palmer reminding me to “keep hope alive” as he shared Mary Oliver’s poem “Mindful.”
And, there was the phone call with my brother.
As we wrapped up our conversation, Bob asked, “Do you have time for one more story?” This one involved his two-year-old granddaughter.
Earlier in the week, his granddaughter came running out of their bedroom with a pair of her grandmother’s underwear in hand which she proceeded to fling across the room. The underwear landed on her dad’s head, dangling from his ear. Bob’s description of the scene had both of us breathless with laughter.
There was hope in that laughter even amid the difficulties and challenges. It reminded me of Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.”
My hope for each of you this week is that you, in the words of Mary Oliver, “see or hear something that more or less kills [you] with delight” – even if it involves laughter about grandma’s undergarments.
Love and blessings,
Tammy Townsend Denny
P.S. Shhhh…. Don’t tell my brother that I told you the underwear story.
Inside out and upside down
For 85 years, I thought I was in control of myself, my ideas and my world. Then, I turned 86 and have had to learn a whole new self, a whole new world of ideas and the world is upside down and inside out, it seems.
It’s nice to be in control…of time, of myriad choices…such as: what to wear today, what to accomplish today and with whom to spend time and energy doing the variety of everyday things that matter to me and to those I’m with.
That all changed beginning on August 27, 2021. I had a minor stroke while on a Zoom call with special friends. Their quick thinking brought
the fire department to my front door just ahead of them. All reports still say it was a minor stroke because I was on a blood thinner. The outcome of tests and more tests was a change of meds for high blood pressure. It seemed that life might hold ‘normal’ events once again when I was struck by shingles in the left eye. Chapter Two began with a collapse in the parking lot of the eye doctor.
The second sojourn in the hospital addressed blood pressure again. The eye was swollen shut for the better part of two weeks in a rehab center and pain I cannot even describe, unless you are familiar with shingles. The hardest part of it now is limited reading time and the longing to sleep often.
What is upside down and inside out is the impact on my lifestyle. I have moved into an assisted living facility, now a permanent solution to the limits of my independence. The incredible new definition for aging and personal acceptance of these limits is the challenge of each new day.
The quote from years ago that resonates most clearly is: The medicine may be bitter, the face you make depends on you. So, I find myself working on my face.
My morning prayer for years has been: All that I am, all that I have, all that I’ll ever be, I offer now to You. God took me up on that! So, how totally did I mean it all those mornings? Can I make it the measure of my discovering purpose and meaning in each day? How will I celebrate the gift of time available to me now? My choices!
Theresians International gave me the opportunity to Dream Big! The Five Dimensions have formed me into a believer that Community, Spirituality, Ministry, Education, and Vocation define my journey with each and every Theresian member in the world. It has been my privilege to meet many of you in my travels and workshops. That allows me to speak my heartfelt thanks for your prayers and your support as I seek new ways to live our Theresian lifestyle. We witness by embracing whatever new limits we are experiencing, knowing that we are all capable of contributing within the limits and finding joy in the process.