River Rule

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Last week, I went on a retreat.

I can’t tell you much about it because of the River Rule, which is the very coolest thing ever. So I’m going to tell you about the River Rule itself instead.

There’s a village on the banks of the Zambezi river where (the story goes) once a year all the women of the village get into boats and pole themselves gracefully across the currents to an island. The island is sacred and holy space, far from the banks of the village, protected by the waters of the mother river.

Once the women step foot from the boats to the land, the River Rule is invoked. Nothing that is said or done or felt on the island can be communicated to anyone ever. And no judgement is allowed. It is a place for truth, hard ones and easy ones and funny ones. And we know truth can mostly only live where there is safety.

It is a privilege among the women of the village to uphold the honor of the Rule. It is a gift they give themselves and each other, once a year, to honor the challenges, heartbreaks and joys of their lives as women.

Are you like me and you didn’t know how much you needed that until someone said it out loud?

I forge ahead in truth most of the time anyway and try not to count the cost. I told my mom just last night that so often when I speak about my postpartum breakdown, I see the fruit of it almost immediately in the women who reach out for help or fellowship. But there’s always a small part of me that worries about having that much truth, even truth that has proven so helpful to others, floating around out there.

To know that I am being heard and not judged and that everyone around me is striving to understand me with love and prayer in their hearts?

You guys, it’s a gift beyond explaining.

The River Rule is not unique to the retreat I attended. In fact, it appears in the Urban Dictionary, sans the village story, as a way of saying “This needs to stay right here between us”.

So I have two things:

If you’ve been feeling called to a women’s retreat, consider this your answer from God, that yes, you should go. Just go.

And think about instituting a River Rule with your friends. It’s a gift that can push friendship to sacred sisterhood.

 

Still Planting, Still Growing

We’ve just passed up our two-year anniversary here on Full of Graces. Last week, Jen and I were talking about some of our favorite posts that we have written. Immediately my mind jumped to the post I wrote about Planting Trees. I remember that we had just moved into our new house and the kids were so little. My husband’s parents gave us a bunch of trees, nine to be exact, to plant in the bare landscape of our back yard and I had purchased three beautiful lavender bushes and a jasmine to plant as well. As we (and by we I mean my husband) were planting all of these lovely things in our yard, it really felt to me like we were planting roots. It felt monumental, like this was now our home. We were both so eager to have a big yard for our kids to run around in, to have a safe neighborhood to Trick-or-Treat in, and we were sure that this place was it.

Two years later, now, our roots are definitely taking hold. The trees are growing slowly, and beginning to show signs of giving fruit this year. The lavender and jasmine bushes grow like crazy and fill our evenings with their beautiful fragrance. We’ve added a vegetable garden that nourishes our family. And as I sit out on the patio, rain or shine, morning, afternoon, or evening, I am so thankful for all of our roots. I’m thankful for this beautiful place to raise our girls, but I’m also thankful for the intrinsic roots that ground us all together. I’m grateful for the family and friends that have graced our home at Christmas parties, birthday parties, and dinners together, and that fill our lives with everyday laughter and love.

Our roots are beginning to run deep. And our lives are beginning to truly flower. Thank you for being a part of that.

 

 

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April 2013

lavender

March 2015

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April 2013

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March 2015

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Our first carrot crop!

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Carrots, March 2015