Archives

If only…

p1000259 (1)

And there they were,

~ a gathering of clouds ~

spread perfectly above a slice of sky … a window to the universe.

 

Precisely aligned to reflect the beauty of the rising sun, these puffs of vapor were destined for greatness,

designed for magnificence

and clearly meant to become an unparalleled sunrise.

Then…

BOOM!

Nothing.

 

Not even a fizzle.

DSC_2457

In clamoring for a better view of Sun’s entrance, they squeezed shut the slice of sky

pushing,

shoving,

elbowing their way to a better seat.

Loyal only to themselves, they tripped over ambition and became a huddled mass

closing down

even a hint of Heaven’s window

that would have transformed them into Beauty beyond themselves.

 

Instead…

 

Earth kept on spinning

and Sun rose behind a muddle of grey

and this bramble of darkening fluff just kept on shoving and pushing and crowding out Light’s magic

oblivious to the greatness they could have become.

 

… If only they had known.

IMG_1005

 

A Field of Wild Flowers (Small Wonder)

Tell His Story

Coffee for you Heart,

Thought-Provoking Thursdays

Five Minute Fridays

Advertisements

The Dance

My father-in-law died from Alzheimers this week. He died peacefully in the hands of a facility full of life and hope and angels dressed in flesh. Unmistakably, Alzheimer’s is a hideous and heart-wrenching disease and to those of you living out this life with your loved ones, my heart goes out to you. Yet, I am thankful that this disease is mercifully forgetful for the one living in its tangled grip. And for the ones watching it play out, dare I say, in struggling past the initial shock and grief, there can sometimes be found – even just briefly – beauty in the ashes. I pray you have moments of beauty, -albeit different and stark and always sad- but beauty nonetheless.

 

In the early years my husband and I cared for Dad at home, until we couldn’t anymore.

… This is the dance we danced. 

astaire (1)

We dance this dance
you and I
between magic
and tragedy
and the innocence of life
reduced to a Saturday picture show
whose cutting room floor we waltz gently upon
strewn with
images and scripts
and tangled nests of
stories…

those reel too real stories
that circle tirelessly
and feed endlessly
onto Silver Screens of nickel talkies
and kerosene-lit rooms
spliced with fiddle-played tunes
and a dad who hunts badgers on sunlit prairies
with his 10-year-old son
softshoeing closely beside

On this dance floor we dip
and in dipping we slide
into The Great War
of a 17-year-old sailor
fueled by honor
and duty
and a dream of life at sea                                                                                                                 haunted by Japanese boys with eyes too big and wanting

to forget

Swinging to a different song
we twirl through manhood
past marriage, and fatherhood, and too many years
sliced and forgotten
on Sundowner’s cutting room floor                                                                                                      buried
too far beyond reach to protect

so we glide and sachet and tap past all the madness

… and we gently circle back

to Saturday’s picture show and its nickel talkies
and this waltz                                                                                                                                       between magic
and tragedy
and the innocence
of a mind
brought back to simpler memories

of Life that keeps dancing on

astaire (1)                                                                                      Dance free now, Dad. Dance free.

A Field of Wild Flowers (Small Wonder)

Tell His Story

Coffee for you Heart,

Thought-Provoking Thursdays

Five Minute Fridays

in the settling of the dust

We-are-dust

the dust has settled now

particles of Life strewn through space

finding rest

on window sills

and piano benches

and picture frames that speak of a different time

when the dust was first kicked

up

into Clouds of Life

that followed little boys dressed in ninja gear

and cowboy hats

and dreams too big to hold

racing into summer nights

piled high with sleeping bags and shooting stars

darting through ping pong marathons

and “Happy Shakes” and treks along the railroad tracks

_ _ _ … ~~~ —- _ _ .. ~~ —. _ ~ —

. . . . . . . .

Grains of childhood gone too soon

quiet now

finding rest

in the settling

of dust

dust-in-your-house-1

A Field of Wild Flowers (Small Wonder)

Tell His Story

Coffee for you Heart,

Thought-Provoking Thursdays

Five Minute Fridays

Let Us Walk Worthy

the deep ache of Want

She was gone. And he was walking alone. Her camera in his hand, taking pictures of what life was meant to look like

if she were near his side.

Two weeks gone now, and he was wandering the canyons of Utah. Alone.

DSCN2277

 

You wouldn’t know on the outside.

He smiled and chatted briefly about the coldness of his feet. “Maybe someday, I’ll come back and wear what I need to make it up the Narrows

… maybe someday.”

DSCN2281

Obvious, was the Nikon camera he guarded as he forged through the icy water. We asked him if he wanted a picture of himself in this adventure, framed in all of Zion’s beauty. You’d have thought we had handed him a rare and costly treasure. As Chris started the photographer talk of of cameras and lenses, millimeters and apertures, his face washed red with a clouded uncertainty… He didn’t know what lens he had. He didn’t know his camera’s ins and outs. He didn’t even know the name of the weight that draped heavy around his neck. With a hesitant voice, he offered, “I’m sorry. I don’t really know a lot. The camera is, was my wi… um…I inherited it.”

Carefully he looked into the lens with a faraway smile, and the shot was taken. And another for good measure. Then his words began to tumble into the river at our feet. He apologized that he was going to cry. He’d lost his wife two weeks ago. A two year battle of cancer. His boss had said, “Go. Take as much time as you need.” He went. With his wife’s camera, and a dream, and a new life that didn’t fit right.

Wouldn’t ever fit the same way again.

He said he’d be okay. He said times like this he’d fill up and then overflow, and he’d go sit on back over on the beach right there, and just cry and let it out. He said how thankful he was for the picture.

DSCN2253 (1)

 

We said how we would pray for him in this hard time,

in this new life

and how we were praying even now.

Then, he thanked us and hugged us and we left him alone

… with a picture,

a raw new memory,

and the deep ache of Want.

DSCN2303

 

Looking back, as we headed up the river,

 

I saw him build an altar.

DSCN2295

 

cairn (1)

Linking up with

A Field of Wild Flowers (Small Wonder)

Tell His Story

Coffee for you Heart,

Thought-Provoking Thursdays

Five Minute Fridays

Let Us Walk Worthy

… though I can’t imagine where

 

Early morning shadows sprinkle the lawn revealing splashes of Light

and baby fresh,

spring-popping

green.

DSCN1648

The robin hops through the landscape – stopping to listen – head cocked at the slightest rumble of a worm inching its way near.

The flower turns its head to welcome morning’s light.

And just beyond, a doe and her twins stroll past, looking for greener pastures I suppose…

DSCN1215

 

 

… though I can’t imagine where

DSCN1200

 

Today,

this day,

is a gift.

The birds know it. The flower and doe know it… and the worm that got away knows it too. Chirping in the distance, blossoming and grazing along the sun’s lit path, … inching through the warming earth. Happy to sing their morning song, they welcome the turning of this world toward its Maker.

DSCN1638

New mercies, new hope, a new start.

 

What purpose do I have in this new day?

What Good works are planned for me to walk in since the beginning of time?

What voices need silencing to hear the One Voice that is needful to hear?

 

Be still and know that I am God.

Really know.

 

Quieting the noise of life

long enough to understand

 the certainty of the Life Giver.

 

DSCN2664

Seasons change.

Life happens.

… I don’t know what tomorrow brings, or the day after that or next month or next year.

But this I know:

In this moment, I am loved by a King

I can face this day and all the craziness it may bring

with thankfulness.

Today, in Him, I have a haven.

IMG_1213

Jesus loves me. This I know.

DSCN1208

Linking up with

A Field of Wild Flowers (Small Wonder)

Tell His Story

Coffee for you Heart,

Thought-Provoking Thursdays

Five Minute Fridays

Old Crusty, be gone!

mudpartykrossbow

We all self-talk. We all have those inner conversations – some analytical, some matter-of-fact that say: “Do this. Go here. … Okay, that’s done.” And then there’s the other conversations – the judgments. The ones that wiggle their way into our hearts and hiss: “That was stupid! Why did you say THAT? I can’t believe I DID that?!”

 

Over the last year, something has changed in my self-talk. Instead of berating myself, I hear myself say, “Good job, Jane.” … or “You can do this, go for it.” or… “It’s okay, you’ll get another chance.”

 

These new conversations tickle me rosy pink every time. It’s nice to be nice to myself. It makes me giggle deep down in the heart of me, where disappointment used to nestle. It makes all remaining Crusties break apart and bounce far away, sent out with the garbage by the simple kind words, “Good job, Jane.”

9483452871_429772b594_z

 

Today I heard an old barrage of similar rubbage, “I can’t do it.” These are words I’d like to send running as well. But the thing is: I don’t want to be one of those bubbly, smile-pasted-on, “name-it-claim-it” kind of girls. Because, honestly, the very real truth is: there are some things I think I should be able do, or try to do, that I really can’t do. I simply can’t.

I mean, can’t can’t…

 

So how do I change the self that struggles underneath the taunting of this honest “I can’t.” I know I can’t stay up any later, work any longer – try or pray any harder. I am doing what I can. Sooo??

Sooo…I just stop fighting it.

“I can’t.”

Plain and simple.

8519304871_e464637fe5_b

 

Maybe someone else can. Maybe someone else looks like they can. Maybe someone else is simply satisfied. But that’s definitely not me.

So how do I change the self-talking reality of “I can’t” into one I can live with,

giggle with,

and break apart this old Crusty with?

cakedfeetNichameleon

 

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Yeah, yeah, I know… but. But it doesn’t say I should do all things through Christ, or I will do all things, it says I can. And somehow I don’t thing Jesus is thinking about my growing list of “to do’s.” I don’t think he’s giving me a lot of “shoulds.” Maybe, the “I can” he’s talking about is really just back to the basics:

I can have a great attitude in all things

through Christ who strengthens me.

I can try my hardest, and let the rest go

through Christ who strengthens me.

I can learn to be who he made me to be in the midst of my “to do” list

through Christ who strengthens me.

I can let go the strangle-hold of “I shoulds”

through Christ who strengthens me.

I can do all the needful things

and smile,

at the all the rest

in that “I’m thankful I’m not bored” kind of way.

DSCN1208

Woman and her Savior against the world.

Me and Jesus against the wiles of the enemy.

“To-do’s, schma-mooz”

… I can do all (important) things through Christ

my sweet, Nazarene rebel who strengthens me

and cheers me on

when and where it counts.

240389468_eae91116d1_z

Linking up with

A Field of Wild Flowers (Small Wonder)

Tell His Story

Coffee for you Heart,

Thought-Provoking Thursdays

A familiar tune

 

1

 

The new day peaks its head just above the night

and a mourning dove begins his soulful tune,

Waking the Sun, his melody glides the currents of the dawn

 

mourning_dove

 

Coo, coo-dee – COO, coooo coo

Coo, coo-dee – COO, coooo, coo

 

Why does he sing, this morning minstrel, … what moves him so?

Does he call for his mate to lead her home?

Does he sing for friends,

for family

for loss?

Does he sing for his Creator?

… or maybe, I imagine,

just

for

me?

Mourning_Dove_b13-32-033_l_1

 

Suddenly a flurry of wings breaks the stillness of the air,

catches my eye

and stops the beating of his song.

… I have my answer:

His sweetie’s come home.

71f1d12a80cae0e797749bf8e20e9c52

 

His song pauses for a small moment – a morning peck, I suppose –

and quietly his song starts up again, a duet this time

 

COOooOOOO!

            coo ku

COOooOOOO!

            coo ku

 

In my heart

it calls…

the echo of a familiar tune

 

Hope is real

            Love is all

Life is good

            Love is all

 

4e4091a60fd73260c90880633d898472

 

The new day peaks its head just above the night

and a mourning dove begins his soulful tune,

Waking the Sun, his melody glides the currents of the dawn

… a day of hope, I expect.

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 6.13.35 AM

Linking up with A Field of Wild Flowers (Small Wonder)
Tell His Story

Coffee for you Heart,

Five Minute Friday

 

An Empty Canvas

IMG_0518

“Just write” they say,

“Just put your pen to paper, your fingers to keypad ” they urge.

 

“Your heart will end up in the ink of new discovery,” they tell me…

 

I suppose it’s true.

I suppose words are created in action that becomes thought

and I suppose maybe even the opposite is true:

thought becomes action

 

ah yes, the infamous chicken or the egg

 

So I write and I grow

I yammer on until beauty or Truth

or both

find Life on the page

 

 

~ lukewarm coffee

~ muffled chimes

~ distant highway trucks

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 12.18.34 PM

 

~ the falling of pine needles

~ the deep clearing cough of Chris at the sink

~ the kneading urgency of Tiger, demanding the attention due his royalty

IMG_1359

the beautiful Ordinary of a lazy Saturday morning

 

 

Life penned in ink

finding worth

on an empty canvas.

DSCN3299

Linking up with A Field of Wild Flowers (Small Wonder)

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 6.03.25 AMand Tell His Story

Coffee for you Heart,

Thought-Provoking Thursdays

Literacy Musing Mondays

Hope’s Blush

DSCN0872

An alarm woke me from my sleep today.

No bells or whistles or unwanted blares… instead a quiet inner alarm

timed to the sunlight hitting the tree outside my bedroom window.

 

I flopped back to grab another hour’s dream, but the shimmer of tree’s reflected light played into my thoughts…

It took me a minute to realize that the sun’s lighting on the trees outside my window was somehow wrong.

Not bright enough,

Not high enough

and not even late enough for the usual peeking sun

… What the heck?!

 

So I tumbled out of the tangled sheets, and scrounged the floor for sneaky slippers and crumpled robe

and stumbled quickly to the kitchen and mystery of this new day.

DSCN3607

And Morning waited for me there

like a child that cannot hide her surprise

 

not

one

minute

longer

There through the kitchen window

unveiled a blaze of beauty

DSCN3257

unfurling in clouds painted in the brilliance of pinks and tangerinesIMG_1008

lavenders and burnt umbers

An explosion of color on the canvas of expectant clouds

IMG_1005

Swirling wisps of perfection

set on the background of the most beautiful, tranquil, turquoise wash I have ever seen. My heart stopped…

IMG_0740

 

waiting

expectant

like the clouds.

 

And I ran.

 

I ran out to be part of it all somehow.

 

Slipper footed in winter, snow clinging to my robe

face toward heaven

twirling in my driveway

laughing

laughing at the crazy freedom of feeling like a child again twirling in circles

arms stretched wide grabbing to hold

every color

of every memory

 

in every God-brushed cloud

And then I saw it – the morning tree outside my bedroom window – reflecting light. But this wasn’t the reflection of any ol’ sun ray of any ol’ sunrise…

No, my morning tree was reflecting the tender pink of a single cloud’s blush

DSCN0875

And there I stopped.

Struck still.

Laid out in silent wonder,

and I started listening,

a song birds belting out her urgent song,

a distant rooster heralding his daily charge,

wind playing chase through frost-nipped leaves…

A moment of life taking notice

My life taking notice

***

I knew soon the magic would be gone

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 7.08.02 AM

the clouds would shed their glory,

and the songbird’s melody would get lost with the rooster’s in the wakening swell of morning traffic and Sun’s well worn path

But here’s what I know:

For one small moment this morning

Time stopped

Beauty reigned

Peace ruled

and I stood

standing in the middle of my driveway

with heart pried wide open

 

I think I felt Hope’s blush

shimmering pink

on my face.

DSCN3302

ButtonLinking up with A Field of Wild Flowers (Small Wonder)

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 6.03.25 AMand Tell His Story

Coffee for you Heart,

Thought-Provoking Thursdays

Focused on Home

Joining with Five Minute Friday and Thought-Provoking Thursdays

happy-group-of-children-playing-race-725x486

Hide and Seek.

We played it for a lifetime.

 

Scattered

into the long summer nights

we raced

spurred on to the Perfect Spot

against miscounted seconds

and out-of-step frenzy

and Hope counting down to Time’s hurried shout,

“Ready or not!”

Stopped frozen, we waited.

I don’t remember all the ins and outs

of places I hid,

or times I froze,

or how I held my breath so tight.

 

But oh

I remember those nights flying like the wind

when no one but Ollie and his oxen and me

stampeded free…

~ A true Winner’s Parade ~

and a heart focused only on home.

happy-child-finds-joy-725x544

 

When the sun rose today…

1

When the sun rose today,

there was no fanfare

 

No holding of the breath

No dazzling colors

…No facefook photos

Nothing like the last few days when

jaws dropped and Hallelujahs rang

and spirits soared beyond their dreams

 

Nope

 

Today the clouds stayed at bay

Today the earth welcomed the sun without ringing anyone’s bells

Today was an endless sky of whitewashed Ho hum

 

Icy clear

… A boring yawn

 

Just another sunrise

in the endless Sea of Mundane

 

Just a small heavenly orb

space

spinning toward the Sun at 1040 miles per hour

tau_31

racing toward Spring, clocking in at 67,062 mph

twirling around a nuclear explosion 93,000 miles away yet held firm

eon

glued likes ants to a wall

suctioned by a quiet force pulling strong

deep within Earth’s belly

 

Ho hum

 

Just another beginning putting stars to sleep

and dressing warm the day in blue

 

Silly me

…I was hoping for something special

1

Joining with Thought-Provoking Thursdays, Tell His Story, and Five Minute Fridays, Lisha, Missional Women, and Still Saturdays

Big shout outs to hongkiat wallpapers and their photo artists: sanmonku, hameed, missstrublingstorm

 

This Road We Walk

At what point do you stop believing what you see

 and reach for the golden ring that passes by each waking turn?

At what point do you grasp at the straws that lie scattered at your feet

and build with them a mansion spun in gold?

At what point do you take the stars and toss them wild to the wind

to wish on them the million dreams that fall in a twinkling shower before your eyes?

5310747696_0f1c8c239f_z

Is it possible that simply trying to see with new eyes

might be all it takes to

reach beyond hope

dance beyond dreams

and live beyond every obstacle that jumps out like a monster in a long and lonely night?

And so with heart in hand, and bravely or not,

you wrestle with demons, and find solace in sunsets, and count all the bleating sheep that wander past your sleepless nights

… And you walk on.

Over the ups and the downs. Through the ins and the outs. Past the rights, and forgiving the wrongs

…. you walk on.

With each weary step, every unsure nudge, and all the inevitable stumbles along the way

… you walk on.

3782030265_ef4326c4e7_z

And you look for his footprints on the narrow, dusty trail.

And you listen for his small, still whisper in each rage storm.

And you reach for his hand that reaches to you

holding-hands

… and you walk this Calvary Road together

finding that, somewhere along the way

– in the pit of your deepest fear and in the corner of your furthest dream –

you begin to taste the sweetness of this gentle Truth:

You are right where you are supposed to be

– tethered to His love forever –

with new eyes to see.

240389468_eae91116d1_z

A big shout out to Mor, Jenson Lee, Tim Parkinson and Lee (Shoothead), all @ Flckr Creative Commons respectively.

Joining with Lyli, Jennifer, and Kate

Against all Odds

I didn’t know what I was getting into.  How many times, and for how many things could we say that?

I wonder how many things we’d never have done had we known.

I wonder if not knowing is the point. The point from which we throw caution to the wind and go diving in, only to awake to our senses

feeling exhilarated, or drenched

released into freedom, or shackled in regret.

P1030206

… I wonder if waking to our senses -in the Now of knowing – is the answer.

The exhale of life that says “You’re right. You didn’t know what you got yourself into… but I did. And I do. And that has got to be enough for you right now.

So much of Life is a leaden blanket draped heavy on the chest
Guarding
Covering
Comforting
Reminding that beyond the shield lies an invisible world

from which we need protection.

P1030168

And sometimes you just have to lie there unmoving

trusting

exhaling His peace

…against all odds.

Zonga-rollercoasters-32919031-800-579

Linking up with Thought-provoking Thursdays, Five Minute Fridays, Playdates with God

 

when the stillness is the dancing

DSCN2615

I hear the gentle breeze sneaking through my window, and the morning dove’s call – just beyond the fence – blends with a neighborhood dog’s cry for attention.

The sprinklers beat out their rhythm as the chimes are teased into a simple melody – set sail to drift on passing clouds tipping their hats on this lazy afternoon.

DSCN1648

In the distance, a rooster seems to have lost the time like the morning dove

maybe today is an endless dawning.

My old dog chases rabbits in her sleep, barking with muffled glee.  And somewhere in the distance a lawnmower motors its tune into the universe, carried as far as the heart will take it.

P1030298

I notice my computer’s flashing cursor nudging its impatience while I sit lost in the listening. With each flash it pushes and shoves, trying to convince me that Time’s running out… “Hurry!” it shouts. But, it can’t even keep time to the chirping squirrel … so what does it know?

Nothing, I say.

Because not enough time is spent listening to silence these days.

Because silence is not silent when eyes can hear, and ears can see.

Because there’s nothing lonely, or scary, or empty — and no time even lost…

 

when the stillness is the dancing

a simple two step with a playful dip and a slide-

 Oh, please, all you that have ears to hear…

Come, hear the sounds of Life being found.

DSCN2664

Linking up with Thought-provoking Thursdays, Five Minute Fridays, Playdates with God

Rummage Sale

on Fridays a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write without worrying if it’s just right gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes. – See more at: http://lisajobaker.com/five-minute-friday/#sthash.wH6IoVh7.dpuf
on Fridays a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write without worrying if it’s just right gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes. – See more at: http://lisajobaker.com/five-minute-friday/#sthash.wH6IoVh7.dpuf
on Fridays a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write without worrying if it’s just right gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes. – See more at: http://lisajobaker.com/five-minute-friday/#sthash.wH6IoVh7.dpuf

Joining with First Friday writers- five minute of writing with no worries, no editing, just writing. This week’s prompt: Release

***

DSCN1650

Rummaging through the clutter that has become my life I am stopped by memories and moments that flash as beacons lighting the way home. Signposted flashes of purpose and meaning wrapped in first grade finger-painting and crayon-written notes.

 

Waves of melancholy swell as I unwrap each crafted gift of life. Life suspended in photos of bbq slathered grins and wake-boarding feats. Life grasped and tallied, desperate to stop its march, long enough to bask in the wonder of those moments – so perfect – that heaven opens wide its arms to give a glimpse of eternity.

 

Yet somewhere in the grasping I’m gently reminded: faith is the assurance of things hope for, the evidence that Life is not a rummaging through the past, but releasing to the future…

 

a dove released to find signs of Life – branches of hope –

hope crafted in the midst of waiting,

hope created in the midst of rain

hope colored brilliant in sunlight..

 

And suddenly in the wave of melancholy I am reminded that holding on too tight only brings sore muscles

 

Better to open wide my arms, open wider my eyes

make room for eternity as I simply smile at all the beacon lit moments I’ve been given

… leading me home.

OpenWide

 

Joining with a host of writers: Five Minute Fridays, Thought-provoking Thursdays, Just Write, Playdates with God, Imperfect Prose, Tell His Story

 

 

So Close

 

DSCN1638

Perfect words

somewhere close by

caught up in the breeze that smooths away the scraped edges of

a day too long

Words too soft to distinguish

wrapped in a tumbling jumble of chattering birds

and the distant rumble of summer’s approach

riding on the tails of clouds tipping their hat my way

as they stroll toward

horizons beyond my reach

Perfect words

somewhere close by

hitching a ride with the song of gently nudged chimes

inhaling

exhaling

painting peace fresh and new

with reflections of light

that shimmer through branches

and a sleepy sun that rides on the back

of a dandelion’s whirligig seedling

drifting past

– so close –

with perfect words

that were never meant to be

0_aabluedandelionwishes

 

The Tease

DSCN2203

I can still feel it if I close my eyes and turn my heart just so

toward the light

that forever moment when I shed my Winter robe

and walked outside the door and was drenched in Gentle

I can still feel the dunking of satin

smoothing, changing, encircling each cell in another layer of silk

not hot and not even cool

just the slipping of every pore into a shimmering pool of liquid air

the Tease of eternity sidling up outside my balcony door

calling out like an old familiar friend, “Wear your tank top. Ditch the shoes. Bring a willing heart… let’s go explore! “

How mighty, this playful hint of Spring.

DSCN2222

Joining with a host of writers: Five Minute Fridays, Thought-provoking Thursdays, Just Write, Playdates with God, Imperfect Prose, Tell His Story

Every Flit

Creative Commons: Echo Valley Ranch

Creative Commons: Echo Valley Ranch

I love eagles.
I love their majesty and beauty,
how they command the sky, evoking awe…
how they soar the currents, beyond the crowds, invoking wonder.

All things perfect soar on eagles’ wings.

I wanted to be an eagle. I pictured myself rising above all the earthly muck and stretching wings of spirit-filled wonder. I dreamed of having the majesty of an eagle: soaring, regally commanding, infusing awe in all things holy and good…I never measured up.

Today I saw a swallow. Darting. Dashing. Changing dance steps at the twitch of a feather.
Diving. Daring. Driven…Me.

Until today, I hadn’t noticed how magnificent the swallow is. (They transform mud into homes for goodness sake!)

Swooping. Swirling. A slalom sensei, a mogul master.
Lacing Life through crowds and curves and hidden roadblocks – obliterating obstacles –

by simply flying in the design of the Mighty One.

… Every single flit as cool as an eagle.

Creative Commons: Lewis Thomson

Creative Commons: Lewis Thomson

Joining in community with: Holly, Lisa, Lyli, Jennifer, Laura,

if my words…

Writing with the Five minute Friday community… ready, set, go.

Bankoboev.Ru_chitaya_knigu_v_solnechnyi_vetrenyi_den_na_polyanke

If my words could fly on the wind, if they could encompass the earth on a journey of freedom, if they could cover the heights of daring and the depths of tragedy… where would they travel? Would they beat the streets of Morocco, or scale the Cliffs of Dover? Would they follow the war torn and reveal the tears of the left behind?

How long would it take to tire of excitement and drama? to wish for routine and the humdrum of the everyday? How long before my words would find themselves back here to me again watching juncos scramble for birdseed on a wind swept rainy day? How much soaring would it take until they were at last willing to wait as I brush the last muffin crumbs from my mouth and chase down the dreams with my morning cup?

If my words could soar on the wings of the wind and travel the lengths of our vast expanse, would they someday be content to swirl around the yard on a cloudy windswept day… going nowhere… going everywhere.

simply free to share this quiet space with you?

Rosy Pink or Lavender Sad

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 7.08.02 AM

in the glow of an approaching sun, I hear it

wrapped all rosy pink and lavender sad

the morning anthem

the whispering plea

…you

…today

choose whom you will believe

don’t wait for the sun to burst into

the fray of busy have-to day

…choose

…now

this life, this day, this moment,

waits for no one

but invites us all the same

sunrise, or sunset

purpose or mundane

first – last, life – death,

now

…or a fading dream of yesteryear

in the approaching sun I can hear it

the morning anthem

the whispering plea

rosy pink or lavender sad

choose this day whom you will believe

Joining with Lisa @ Five Minute Friday

when the small becomes the necessary

DSCN2134

Lately, I’ve been noticing the small things.

Last Spring, I bought a birdbath – a little thing – that I’d wanted for a long, long time.

It sits now in our yard, like it’s home – like it’s always been there. It fits. I bought it to fill a space transformed over the years by an emptying nest. First it was filled by a wading pool, then a trampoline, next a fire pit, now Life had circled back around to a wading pool; this time for the birds. Seemed fitting, I suppose.

I bought it as a reminder of my mom, and her love of little things.

But the funny thing is, in essence, I bought it for decoration. Of course I hoped it would be useful, but I’m not sure I ever believed it would be. And the funnier thing is, the birds found it right away. And they used it right away, but not to bathe…to drink! Turns out this little birdbath thing was important after all.

My mom knew the importance of small things. Her life was a collage of them, and they made her who she was: a masterpiece. But most importantly, she was faithful in those little things. For her, small things weren’t “for the birds” at all. (And, yes, every last feather of that pun intended 🙂 )

When my mom died, many of those Small Things came knocking at the door.
“She was my second mom.”
“She was my only mom.”
“I’ll always remember her kitchen table. I always knew, when I walked through the door, we’d sit down there together with her homemade muffins and she’d say, ‘How was your day? Tell me about your day’…I always knew she’d ask. I always knew she wanted to know. I always knew she’d listen.”

And then came the smallest – largest – knock of all:

“All my life I was bullied and teased… your mom sent me a birthday card every year of my life. I can’t tell you how much …” And really, how could he measure the yield of an invested Life?

Measuring in at 4 ft 11 in. of bending, aging Life… it took Mom most of her life, to feel at home in her own skin. There were hard days and dark days, and days that dimmed her light. Yet she always found a way to rise up beyond the Night, plant her seeds, and tend to her little things.

Turns out they were the most important things…

the Small became the Necessary.

Screen Shot 2014-02-22 at 11.33.13 AM

Joining with Thought Provoking Thursdays, Five Minute Fridays, Tell His Story, Playdates with God

A Dream Come True

 DSCN2120

I look out from my morning fortress, snuggled in my blanket, cradling coffee and sipping life.  I wish for deep thoughts, but they allude me here. Sometimes it’s everything just to watch and listen.

As I wait, Sun’s first rays shine bright their spotlight on dreams come true right at my feet and though covered in Winter’s Wait, I can still see them: my lawn, my perennials,  my walkway turned porch, my raised garden… even my sweet peas. I see the cedar flowerbox mounted and painted fresh, the burning bushes and the 10 year pathway lined with boulders I now call friends.

Each place my eye scans I see a dream with its own life story — big or small, no matter, they played out all the same: a seed planted, a tentative wobbling step, a tear here, a despair there, and that long road of wondering “Will this ever be?” Then, always, the miraculous in sight – the end. It is finished. And it is good.

Each dream was a hope-filled ember that refused to be snuffed out. Some barely hung on for life, yet they did.

… and here and now, they stand.

Fulfilled. Shimmering. Reflections of hope.

P1030116

I look out from my morning fortress, snuggled in my blanket, cradling coffee and sipping life. And quietly, I am reminded: I need the morning.

I need the feel of the rising sun washing fresh my hope spun dreams.

I need this beginning to scrub clean the thankfulness.

I need the Sweet Reminder who whispers true, “Listen closely, the Father’s voice calls from His Garden’s path.”

“Keep it simple sweetheart.” I hear him call.
“You can do it, Honey” I hear him cheer.
“I believe in you, Punkin'”

This morning I hear him clear.

I’m a garden of the Father’s planted dreams and I am living His dream come true….

P1000837

Joining with Thought Provoking ThursdayTell His Story, Playdates with GodFive minute Friday,

Just Beyond the Night

moon-and-clouds-1

The moon rises slowly behind the clouds. I know it’s there. I’ve seen it rise before. I’ve watched it peaking up bold and beautiful,  decked out in all its fullness best.

… I’ve seen it rising shyly, a thin line of crescent gold letting the stars steal the show. I’ve seen it so many ways, and today I see it behind the clouds, hidden, silent — rising still the same.

Tonight I think of all the words that roll across my mind. And like the veil of darkness that covers the moon tonight, sometimes my words hide me. I tumble through the darkness trying to find where they’ve gone, trying to find the just right ones to use. Left, instead, with a chilling shiver.

Too often I think of words, before I feel

… but just as often, I feel life without one word that can capture the fleeting moment.

I don’t want to miss my life. I don’t want to miss the miracles that God has placed along my path everyday. But neither do I want to be lost in thinking of words, letting life turn into a stage of phrases and stanzas that fall like flat empty imposters.

Yet still, somehow, there’s more in the mystery of this push and pull…there’s the moon that hides behind the clouds. The moon I know. The moon that rises surely… whether it is seen or not. And there are the words I wrestle. Words that might peak past a cloud. Words that might breathe hope into despair.

One small word that might speak Life into death.

And so I wind up back here again… thoughts tumbling and jumbling into a mess of confusion. Because life is not all about butterflies and rainbows and happy ever afters. Life is hard. It gets messy. The moon hides sometimes. The moon hides a lot of times. Words don’t take the clouds away. Those clouds come. Storms rage. Winter’s black is dark and long when hanging on can be a very fine thread indeed.

I don’t want to pretend life is rosy when it’s not. I don’t words that gag like Kumbaya in a war torn world that needs a heckuva lot more than niceties. I want real. Oh God, I want real. I want to feel and see and experience again. Every moment. Every tear. Every bright crescent glimmer of hope that tries so hard to shine through clouds that linger.

Doug-Zubenel2

But I also want the moon that still shines whether the storm hides it or not. Big, bold, beautiful. Just beyond the night, rising. And in those seasons where it hides its face on the other side of forever, I know it shines…. How can I not shout that Truth to a hurting world… my world… me?

There is a glimmer of hope just behind the clouds…waiting.

Beauty to feel again.

Beauty to see again.

Beauty as real as the darkness that hides it.

I must be true to the Truth that heals… and He does. He does.

So I will strive for real and I will hold on to true and I will let The Word come as He may.

A Word that may sometimes seem dressed in Kumbaya, but oh I promise you, He is a war-torn Lover returned from the dead, with Hope in his eyes and the moon in His hands.

venus-moon-state-college-pa-samuel-hartman

Joining with Lisa at Five Minute Friday and Lyli on Thought-provoking Thursdays

Nighttime Visitor

Night-Train1

It’s late at night that she visits  – the dreamer

the one whose voice I know, tugging gently my heart, she whispers —

“Wake up! Come away with me. Come, you’re still young. Come, let’s play like before. Let’s go, let’s eat the fruit, let’s run!”

I can hear her trying to disguise the desperateness in her voice, and I’m tempted to hold her, to help her, to hold her through the ink black night…

But then I hear the train’s lonely cry as it echoes in the night, tugging at all things real, and the dreamer hears it too — the restlessness of a heart prone to wander– it’s her song

Slipping quietly away

she’s gone

off to chase illusions

off to ride the rails

Oh my sweet nighttime visitor, I remember you as I call after her, “Go. Run. Spread your wings, little one. Search for peace…you’ll find your way back here one day.” And I sit back, in this starlit brightened night, wrapped in the arms of the One who led me home

and I smile

at the here and now

Joining with Lisa at Five Minute Fridays,

and Jennifer at Tell His Story

 

You are mine

joining up again with LIsa Jo and Laura … 5 minute writing with the freedom to simply breathe in the process

Image

Encourage —

to infuse courage

to wrap it around warm and soft like a fresh fuzzy blanket, warm from the dryer

encourage–

to give someone a hand, a lifeline that says

there is hope, there is light, there is joy

there is life beyond this place where your soul has wandered

a life meant for you, designed for you

you – a daughter of the most high God, his little princess

the one he loves

the apple of his eye

the one that puffs up his chest, and waters his eyes

and fills his world

with

a

reason

to save, to rescue, to protect

to teach, to share, to give his son

to lavish all his fullness on the one he’s called his own

You are mine, little one

Take my courage

Take it.

From my hands, reaching out, reaching down

Take it.

It’s free.

Open it, smell it, run your fingers through its softness

breathe deep its truth

open wide its hope

embrace its strength like the spring flower

that pushes up against the weight of Life’s dirt

the lifeless tomb that has held it for the winter

and helped it wait for the time when waiting is no more

Take my courage, little one

past your darkness

past your winter’s night

Burst out from past the weight, one dirt clod at a time

Fill full, fill sweet, fill beautiful with all things Spring

Be the courage, my sweet princess

Take it. Wear it. Enjoy it.

Breathe it deep…

Then give it away.

You were made to give away.

Time’s Echo

1

I remember her hands, wrinkled and plain

her sliver-thin misshapen ring hanging loosely like her neck –

Sagging misfits on her shrinking frame

I remember his Jim Beam paunch, jutting past his cinched up belt

A slide rule in his pocket and smoldering cigarette in his hand

Strands of hair arching across his balding forehead –

fading masquerades of youth

Too old to be my parents

They spoke of harder days

They warned of leaner days

and the talk of bread lines and Pearl Harbor mounded ashes beyond my years

Not poor, but forever frugal

we lived life learning to do

without

And the young parents of my peers stood as polished reminders that mine

were worn and out-of-date

like the hand-me-downs and mended socks I wore

I wore them, too, in shame

Too old to be my friends

~ ~ ~ ~

But Time has met its echo

and age-tinted glasses tell a new tale

I look at my hands, wrinkled and plain –

they are my mother’s

I touch the strands of my hair, untouched by grey –

they are my father’s

I hear their voices ring more gently now

of nickel trolley rides and Saturday talkies

and gazing through clouds to see winged magic in flight

the whispers of my parents

once my shame

have now become my glory

Autumns’ Dance

P1010592

The leaves burn red and blaze orange around me and for a moment I’m caught unaware – breathless. In the middle of all this beautiful change I feel every part of me smile and weep and yearn all at the same time.

What is it about Fall that causes my thoughts to tug at the edge of my heart?

I listen to the leaves rustle. I watch them wiggle and flutter dance and I wonder:

Is their’s a dance of excitement? Are they ready to spring free and soar on the wings of the wind? Or are they restless and clingy and trying desperately just to hold on with all their useless might?

Probably both.

P1010593

Seasons change, I know that. And every season brings with it the same push and pull, hello and goodbye. I know that too. This isn’t my first rodeo, as they say.

But somehow, Autumn’s magnificence is greater — its letting go more severe. Autumn is beauty and tragedy. It’s all things full and all things empty. Autumn slaps you in the face with magnificence then demands in no easy terms, “ Now. Overnight. Let go.”

Fall forces all things to be settled. Finished. Harvested. Made ready for Life to be blanketed in the peace of  Winter’s sleep. To be not ready is a sad leaf clinging to a barren limb only to be pushed off later anyway… so why hold on?

8519304871_e464637fe5_b

So, yes, Fall tugs and tussles in me.

Some days I want to break free and tumble cross the universe. Blow this branch that I’ve clung to way too long and kick up my heels in a daring back flip that wows the crowd. I want to travel paths nudged solely by the passing whim that blows behind my steps. I want to get swept into the twirl and the swirl of it all…, unfurl my wings to adventures unknown.

lakewentworth

Some days I just want to gently fall. Let go of waiting. Let go of trying. Just simply let go… and let the leaves fall where they may. And provide cover for the roots below.

Luke Redmond

Some days, the thought of falling makes me tremble and shutter and cling all the more. Below me speaks of death and dying, aging and withering. I scream, “NO!, I’m not ready to let loose my colors. I’m not ready to fall lifeless among the masses. I’m not ready to wait for the rains and snows and feet to trample me to a soggy, heavy mess? Where is the glory in that?!”

And Some days, I feel it all. Bright and bold. Quiet and ready. Excited to show Life’s brilliance in colors that shine true. Yet ready to gracefully move on.
P1010591

So my heart waits and watches – caught up in the winds that swirl my way.

I grasp tightly.
I release willingly.

…Autumn’s dance is funny that way.

P1010589

Through the Door

Last Saturday, we placed our Dad in what will be his last home. It was all things hard, all things right, and all things Life mixed into a jumble of wearied emotions and ‘next thing’ challenges. SO thankful to a God who loves us and ushers us gently through new thresholds – especially when their the hard ones.  

kaleidoscope

 

We said goodbye over coffee

and haunting silence

covered by the traffic going by

We created our ruse, and collected our thirty coins and left you

wondering

and wandering

in the hallways of your own mind

lost

And we were lost too

between right and wrong and choices that seemed so harsh and hard and right

tumbling together confused as we waded through the maze of truth and lies and made-up stories created to make you believe, to make us believe

that Life might bring us hope again – somehow

So we took the long steps across the parking lot, up the curb and down the walk and we pushed past the Doubts and Darkness that mocked our every step.opendoorPeterGeorgiev

We were bringing you to the “Old Folks Home” The dread idea used to set you off on a tirade when your mind had been whole, “If you ever have to take me to an old folks home, dagnabbit, just shoot me. I’d rather be dead.”

And yet here we were,

and here you were

and here

right around the corner, much to our weary surprise, we found Life

waiting patiently

holding the door

arms opened wide,

“Welcome home, Willie, come on in.”

Then nodding with a smile, He looked our way,  and spoke to us too,

“It’s a been a long hard journey, you two… You did good. I’ll take it from here.”

And just like that – with our hand in His, and our hearts snuggled in His care –

Life walked the three of us through the door.

Calling All Ye Jolly Oxen!

Sometimes out of nowhere Life bubbles up so full and overflowing that it spills over into one deliciously messy puddle of delightful mud. An amazing mix of Deep and True and all of earth’s richness swirled together into a perfect pool where words splash brown – washed clean – unleashed in hard earned Joy that sparkles pure without them.

mudpuddlebyw

Indeed, a mucky glop of oozing goodness is this Life we get to love. Teasing us, drawing us, tugging us beyond ourselves. Bringing us to the edge of an exquisitely dirty choice:

Dive into the thick of ick? Or stay clean in sanitized, but muddy despair.

The truth is: Life is messy. It can get ugly and lonely, and desperately caked with all things grim.

cakedfeetNichameleon

And it’s easy to get lost in it alone.

hidingJimeeJackieTomAsha

But what if I make you family, and you make me yours?

What if we meet Life head on and stop pretending these mud-filled potholes are easy to walk alone?

What if that is all it takes  to uncover Hope hidden in its depths?

mudbricksAdamCohn

MudbirdSangudo

mudhouseFveronesi1

~  We might even discover magic!  ~

mudpattyBenMcleod~

And in the thick of it all, when Good is hard to find, we’ll reach together

to the One whose hand is reaching back – muddied too – pulling us up, lifting us out…

mudhandupMarkDumont

Showing us, in his throne-to-manger way, how to love each other clean.

…Bubble bath clean!

mudbubblebathMy_southborough

So, let’s do it! Let’s jump in. Let’s fling off our shoes. Lift high our heads. Open wide our arms and find a hand to grab. Let’s welcome this Life in all its messy glory and dive right in with every brown splattered hope that’s left in our hearts.

MudSplashPeasap

Because sometimes there’s just no other way around.

mudpartykrossbow

I think it’s time, don’t you?

mudduckOurEnchantedGarden

“Hey Ollie! Ollie! and all your oxen friends.” Together, we have all we need to live this crazy, hard, wonderful Life.

No more hiding! Come on in!

It’s free! Free! FREE!

mudscreamWesCutshall

So thankful for all these flickry, creatively in common photographic artists: (in order of appearance: w; nichameleon; jimee jackie tom and asha; Adam Cohn; Sangudo; fveronesi1; Ben Mcleod; Mark Dumont; my_southborough; peasap; Our Enchanted Garden; and last but not least Wes Cutshall

Morning’s Revelry

rooster

It’s icy blue outside – that shade of blue that paints itself cold between night and a dawning day.
And in the distance the roosters have begun their morning song.
Heralds of a new day, they crow in frantic urgency, “It’s coming! It’s coming! Wake up! Be ready!”

Every morning they cry.

A wandering frog joins in and the revelry strengthens, “It’s here! Look up! Be brave!…It’s time!” And quietly I’m reminded that just last week, in another land, I heard coyotes and Canada’s geese sing their version of this same song. “It’s a new day! It’s a new day! It’s a new day” … their cries beat strong.

Loud. Clear. Insistent.

         Funny, what can catch your heart’s ear when you listen to the stillness.

What do they see, these watchmen of the day? What music do they hear? What dreams lay swaddled in the arms of the warming horizon?
… Is there purpose beyond the scribbles on my planner?

At first the answer whispers, then beats loud, and pulses sure:

A call to forgive. A chance to love real. A day to live true.
A call to forgive. A chance to love real. A day to live true.

A call to forgive – the icy blue gives way. A chance to love real- the song echoes deep. A day to live true  – dreams stretch to Sun’s first beams.

Slowly in this moment between night and dawning day Life begins again.

Surely in this morning revelry there is

true and persistent

Hope.

sunriseikewinskiPhoto: Flckr Creative Commons: ikewinski