Thursday, March 31, 2016

Bold, Not Brassy

Welcome. Today for Spiritual Journey Thursday we are sharing thoughts about Donna Smith's ONE LITTLE WORD for 2016: BOLD.

Boldness may not be loud.
It might be a quiet moment
when you touch an untouchable hand.
Boldness may not be brassy.
It might be a smile that understands
the frantic mother who can't quiet her child.
Boldness may not be grandiose.
It might be the love that
speaks a gentle truth.
Boldness may not be fearless.
It may be the fettered choice
to simply stay in the light.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter

Contributed by my sweet husband:

As I gazed out the window this morning on the eve of Easter, I could not help but be reminded of Romans 6 . . . " Do you not know that if you have been united with Him in the likeness of His death - you shall also be united with Him in the likeness of His resurrection." Romans is a book urging us to see the power of the cross for us now - in this life - not just as a power reserved for eternity. May you witness His resurrection power in every challenge, fear and discouragement of life. The Holy Spirit who brought Him out of the grave (Romans 8) always has His eyes on us too! Have a glorious Easter!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Welcome. Today for Spiritual Journey Thursday we are sharing thoughts about my ONE LITTLE WORD for 2016: SHINE.

I was looking back over the order in which we have explored our words these last few months, enjoying the progression. There is sense in the progression for me. I look back over words from some of my previous years and see a similar progression. So, some meandering thoughts from me today on settling into this order that might be the beginnings of a poem.

Know the truth that sits at this table with you

waiting for coffee and a bagel.

Be present to the twittering song from birds

perched on the string of lights stretching across the alley,

the hum of bee's wings in potted mounds of winter blooms.

Pause. Think. Listen. Selah.

Let faith fill the frame reflecting in the panes of glass.

Be intent on missing nothing. Find delight.

Search for it. Take it, like Turkish sweets or your waiting croissant.

Be mindful of the window washer, his cargo pants

stuffed with rags. Admire his slow, steady progress,

the way he wipes the rubber blade after each wet swipe

and wait for the sun to spill through the glass.

Sip your steaming mug.

Bask in the simplicity of this moment.

Don't be afraid to shine,

a bold, quiet, confident shimmer

sparked from the gold inside.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Spring Forward

Welcome to Poetry Friday. The multi-talented Robyn Hood Black hosts the roundup over at Life on the Deckle Edge

Here in the Deep South we can see the air. It's yellow. I could probably make a pollen angel on my picnic table. And it's taken me all week to adjust to darkness in the morning  and daylight at night. I hope your spring forward landed smoothly. Mine led me to a new friend.

It's always fun when you accidentally find a kindred spirit. I've mentioned before that I am enjoying Sarah Arthur's collection of meditations, Between Midnight and Dawn: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide (Paraclete Press, 2016). This week I was captured by a poet I had not encountered before and a poem that I lingered over for days. 

In hopes of sharing the full poem with you, I contacted the poet, Abigail Carroll.  She graciously responded with her permission to share. In the conversation, I learned that she is dipping her poetic toes into the world of children's poetry. I asked what drew her to children's poetry. Here is her reply:
I began writing children's poetry when I began asking my friends with young children whether they ever read poetry to their children, and their responses were, essentially, "Why would we?" They seemed to think that only stories, that is, writing with a strong sense of character and plot, would hold their children's attention. This saddened me. I remember as a child reading the enchanting poetry book Hailstones and Halibut Bones, by Mary O'Neill (originally published in the 1960s), and feeling both a sense of enlightenment about the possibilities of language (though I wouldn't have had the words to describe this at the time) and a strong sense of enchantment with the world around me. Reading that book made me fall in love with poetry. I fear that many children's exposure to poetry is limited to rhyming stories, which certainly have value, but which often fail to embody and model the rich possibilities of what a poem can do and be. In the vein of O'Neill, I hope to offer children accessible poems that invite them to observe what is around them closely and value it for what it is, appreciate the beautifully simple and complex relationships we call metaphors and similes, and learn to love the possibilities of language, which can function as a tool that helps us see in new ways. 
My thanks to Abigail. Enjoy!

Spring Forward
by Abigail Carroll

The crocuses have nudged themselves up
through the snow, have opened, never
     are opening,
always daring. Ephemeral prophets,

first of the sun's spring projects, purple-
throated chorus of will-have-beens--
     year after
year, their oracles outlast them. Cold's

empire has not yet been undone, but
the cardinals have begun to loudly declare
     its undoing
which is as good as the thing itself, as good

as the gutters' wild running, the spilling
of rain down the tar-slick roof, the filling
     and pooling,
the annual re-schooling of earth

in the vernal properties of water. A bud
both is and is not a flower: furled flag,
tongue of summer, envelope of fire--

What is this world but a seed of desire
some dream-bent farmer sowed in a field
     waiting for
the end of winter, waiting to be getting on

with the business of timothy and clover?
Light sends itself, a missive fro the future:
     it's shining,
a definite shined, a bold, unquestionable

having shone--this because of the paths
it travels, the distance it flies. The crocuses
     shiver; still
they will not be deterred from their singing,

from the sure and heady prospect of their
having sung. The notion of green has not
     yet occurred
to the ground--twig tips, bulbs, cattails,

bark: all stuck in a past perfect of gray--
but green has occurred to the sun. A kingdom
     is in
the making--and in the making has come.

Abigail Carroll is a poet and author whose first book, Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal (Basic Books, 2013), was a finalist for the Zocalo Public Square Book Prize. Her forthcoming book is a series of forty letters to Saint Francis of Assisi (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2016/2017). Her poems appear in the anthology Between Midnight and Dawn: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide(Paraclete Press, 2016) as well as in numerous magazines and journals, including The Anglican Theological Review, Crab Orchard Review, Midwest Quarterly, River Oak Review, Sojourners, Spiritus, and Terrain. In addition, her words have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, and Boston Globe.  Carroll holds a PhD in American Studies from Boston University, where she has taught history and writing. She makes her home in Vermont, where she enjoys walking in the woods, discovering new swimming holes, and photographing nature.

Simply Dance

Welcome. Today for Spiritual Journey Thursday we are sharing thoughts about Linda Kulp 's ONE LITTLE WORD for 2016: SIMPLIFY.

In my yoga classes this week, we have been working with the breath. We can be totally unconscious of the breath, and that's a good thing. It keeps us alive without conscious thought. Or we can control the breath with exercises to consciously still the mind and the body and slow the heart rate. But there is a lovely place in the middle where we are conscious of the breath but not controlling it, where we are simply being breathed. 

Becoming attuned to your breath is like learning to dance the waltz with another person. At first you have to become familiar with your dance partner – how he moves, when he moves, and where he moves. To be a good dance partner with the breath you must be suggestible and let the wisdom of the breath guide all of your movements. As you learn to follow the lead of the breath, you will know what to do next.                        
--Donna Farhi, Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit

There is such a wonderful correlation between this image and our walk with the Holy Spirit in life. It sounds simple enough, but you would be surprised how often you may 
find yourself holding your breath, trying to maintain control, resisting the dance.

My life has been anything but simple this last week as I have navigated hospital/nursing home/hospice decisions for my mother. I have encountered confusion, manipulation, frustration and sadness. I often found myself holding my breath in the midst of the circumstances.

How does one simplify in the midst of a very difficult situation, when the clutter is emotional rather than physical? For me it has been coming back to this dance. Letting my body relax with the breath, letting my soul find my dance partner, moving in concert with the Holy Spirit who resides within.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Come in!

I actually built a fire in the stove this morning. It will probably be the last. I hope so. I'm ready for spring. My daffodils are up and finches frisk happily around the bird feeder, even though the day is  damp and cold. I walked outside and saw this reflection in a pool of last night's rain on the stones of my patio. It's March coming in.

Linda Baie hosts Poetry Friday today at her blog, TeacherDance. Stop by and enjoy the roundup.

Dear March - Come in - 

by Emily Dickinson

Dear March - Come in - 
How glad I am -
I hoped for you before -
Put down your Hat - 
You must have walked -
How out of Breath you are - 
Dear March, how are you, and the Rest -
Did you leave Nature well - 
Oh March, Come right upstairs with me -
I have so much to tell -

I got your Letter, and the Birds - 
The Maples never knew that you were coming -
I declare - how Red their Faces grew -         
But March, forgive me - 
And all those Hills you left for me to Hue - 
There was no Purple suitable - 
You took it all with you -         
Who knocks? That April -
Lock the Door -
I will not be pursued -
He stayed away a Year to call 
When I am occupied -         
But trifles look so trivial 
As soon as you have come
That blame is just as dear as Praise 
And Praise as mere as Blame -

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Something to Admire

Welcome. Today for Spiritual Journey Thursday we are sharing thoughts about Julieanne Harmatz' OLW for 2016, ADMIRE. 

 Julianne's word made me think of this quote from C.S. Lewis' essay "The Weight of Glory" (1941).
We do not merely want to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words – to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses and nymphs and elves – that, though we cannot, yet these projections can enjoy in themselves that beauty, grace, and power of which Nature is the image. That is why the poets tell us such lovely falsehoods. They talk as if the west wind could really sweep into a human soul; but it can’t. They tell us that ‘beauty born of murmuring sound’ will pass into a human face; but it won’t. Or not yet. For if we take the imagery of Scripture seriously, if we believe that God will one day give us the Morning Star and cause us to put on the splendour of the sun, then we may surmise that both the ancient myths and the modern poetry, so false a history, may be very near the truth as prophecy.

So find something beautiful today and stand in wonder before it. Let its beauty become part of you. Carry it with you throughout your day.