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  1. An unbidden smile leapt to my face as I padded quickly down the stairs, every texture and grain a delight to my bare feet, and flew to the window to throw it open and greedily drink in the rush of warm, damp morning air. Spring had finally burst into life in my village, and I thirstily welcomed the bright, soft greeting of the sun on my face and the breeze on my bare shoulders and arms. Life was uncertain, but this - the renewal of life and warmth and happiness that returned every year - was as certain as the sunrise. Things were different, there was no denying that, I thought as I flitted from window to window, opening the curtains, blowing the dirt collected in the casements, using my elbow to swipe at spots on the glass. The pandemic was spreading across the whole world, and no one was safe from it. The doctors and great surgeons were working day and night to find a cure and stop its spread; but the answer was a long way off. They told people to stay in their homes and not go near each other - and the loss of easy conversation and the sudden disruption of life's quiet rhythm had thrown hearts and minds into chaos. People were created for community; and facing the unseen danger of disease without another's comforting touch, a quiet look in the eyes, was a challenge most in our villages had never faced before. The bright sunlight filled and warmed my home, and I looked around it with a critical eye. The warm golden floors, creamy white walls, dusty bookshelves and worn furniture would be my existence for the next few weeks; and it was up to me to make it, not a close prison, but a safe haven. I wouldn't know for two weeks whether I had the disease - if I had it, I would need to stay here and rest as I prayed I would be lightly affected. If I didn't have it, I needed to stay here to avoid catching it at all, and especially to avoid spreading it to anyone else. But either way, at least two weeks, probably more, would pass before I could see another person face-to-face again; and it was crucial that I nourished and disciplined my body and spirit to avoid falling into listlessness and apathy. I returned to the large window and spread my fingertips wide to let the sun trickle onto every inch of my skin. As a Protector - I didn't know if I was allowed to call myself that, but I decided that a time of crisis was an acceptable time to step up and claim the responsibility and the title - there was more that I was responsible for than just myself. Inasmuch as I safely could, it was also my responsibility to bless others who were going through the same thing I was. I rested my forearms on the windowsill and took a deep breath. I couldn't fully explain my new powers - there had been no specific moment when the ice and fire in my veins had fused into this white wind that was part of me, yet outside me - part of my heart, yet not under my control. No longer did the voices of Eldarwen and Sky war in my mind; I was both, and I was neither. I was an ambitious and outgoing healer, and a reserved and pensive creator. I was a teller of stories, both dark and light. And my ability to feel the powerful eddies and currents of emotion in the world was not a weakness, but a gift. I was seeking to become more fully myself - with my new powers, and my new responsibility, I had also taken a new name: Iyashi Misora, the Silver Archer, Protector of Middle Earth and Temple Island. I lifted my hands gently from the windowsill and allowed the familiar warmth of the King's healing energy rise deep in my belly. And the white wind rose to meet it - gathering around me, a gentle stir, collecting warmth and rising higher as I focused my thoughts on what I needed to say. The rising of the sun in the morning, and the rising of the moon in the evening, remind us daily that the King's faithful love is unchanging and constant, the sturdy resting place where we can set down our heavy burdens and tired hearts. His gifts of love, of sharing our hearts with one another, of giving and receiving, even the gift of remembering our own fragility and the hope that goes beyond our brief lifespans - these gifts are not given and withdrawn on a whim, but faithfully given even in the darkest of times. The Light is still here with us and shining for us. We can still reach for the Light even in the shadowed valleys, and in fact it shines brighter than ever in these times. The Light is with us. The King is with us. He has not left us alone. As the words of my prayer came together in my heart, the warm, fragrant wind took its own form, swirling in figure-eights and circles that lifted and tossed the blossoms of the trees and curled around me, lifting the corners of my own mouth into a smile. I opened my eyes and thrust my hands forward; and with a leap, the wind burst out through the window, rushing through the clearing and off into the world, where it would touch and warm whom it would, no longer under my control, but carrying my love and what light I could share. I waited until the sound of its rushing could no longer be heard, then I sucked in another chest full of the soft spring breeze and turned back to face the cluttered table and pile of laundry in my own home. I couldn't yet harness the wind to do my chores for me - but for now, I still had the health and energy I needed to do them myself. With a dance in my step I scooped up a pile and started to clean.
  2. Annyshay was raised on stories that her Gaffer told. Folks in those stories had plenty of opportunities of turning back, only they didn’t. Annyshay wants to be like the characters in her Gaffer’s stories. Her own story started a few years ago as detailed in her Quest. She wants to be strong, wise, and compassionate. Luckily, she joined the Rebellion and is working to become the hobbit she knows she can be. For this challenge, she will focus on nourishing herself with the healthful habits that she continues to build and refine. Goal The First = Nourishing Eating 5 experiments from Eating the Moment per week No screens while eating Goal the Second = Nourishing Movement GMB Integral Strength for the second time supplement with yoga, walking, and play time Goal the Third = Nourishing Sleep 30 minutes of light in AM electronics off at 8:00 Life Goal = Keeping Track document headspace and habits in spreadsheet newly dubbed the "Red Book" weekly review of my life (more organized and structured) report intermittently on trends Also, HAPPY NEW YEAR, REBELS!!! Let's make it great!
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