Category Archives: Writing thoughts

Lilies of the field

While not true lilies by botanical standards, daylilies are more welcome in my gardens. Their prolific and long bloom season with its ever changing presentation of unique blooms is so lovely to me. One of the last to bloom was a gift from my garden loving sister.

daylilyThe first blooms opened on July 12 and each day brings me new joy.

daylily

In the New Living Translation of the Bible, Jesus says, ” And why worry about your clothing. Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.” It’s a beautiful passage about the love and care that God has for His creation. Even for the blooms that last only one day.

Dublin Elaine

                                   Dublin Elaine      Dublin Elaine

Dublin Elaine

Dublin Elaine

As I gaze into these fragrant blooms, I find a quieting in my soul, a gentling, if you will. The world brought into my home daily, is a sad and sometime frightful place, and yet, in the garden, in the face of exquisite beauty, I feel hope. Hope for me, that with grace, I might show a kind and peaceful face to those in my world, just one day at a time.

Dublin Elaine

From the Garden

More and more I choose to appreciate simple things and then find they are not simple but intricate, complex, wondrous even.

morning lightThe quick change of light at dawn and dusk creates a kind of magic across the landscape. sunset

The wind blows where it will, now in the rustle of treetops, then down in the shrubbery and only sometimes playing the wind chime. windchime There can be silence or bird chatter, cricket drone or the startling scream of a vixen in the night.

There are birds, hummingbird bees, bee in astilbe bloommoths and butterflies moth on butterfly bush to capture the attention.

As Robert Lewis Stevenson observed, “The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” Or I, a queen! Early last Monday I gathered riches from the garden.

garden flowers  Simple, old fashioned flowers: hydrangea , spikes of hosta bloom, and a few day lilies became my treasure to be counted. blooms

flower arrangement Each day brought change, of course. and the fun of the new look of things.

Day 2  day 2  Day 3: Day 3   Day 4: day 4

Day 5:  day 5  Each daylily bloom had its day, each fairy bell of hosta too. The hydrangeas wilted with the heat so that by Day 6, my play was almost over.

hosta bloom  We retreated to the cool of the house. And enjoyed each other’s company for another day.

This week starts fresh with a small posy for the kitchen table, promise of a delightful week. May your week be blessed with health, safety and beauty in abundance.  a fresh posy

 

Times

Time.

The way we measure out life in minutes,hours, days, years.

Taking time and using it wisely and well.

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:

I read that April was National Letter Writing Month, from Barb.  This took me back into my love for snail mail and I accepted the 30 day letter writing challenge.  30 days to think about relationships, to mark the days and honor those put on the path of my life. It was a time to remember events that brought people – unique and wonderful people – into my time.

writing

On the 15th of April, on FB, I read of the death of the Mother-in-Love of an old acquaintance. Over several months, Libby had briefly shared the illness, the frustration with medical care and finally, their decision to bring this lovely lady into their home until she passed into the arms of God.  Now it was time to write sympathy, condolence, a time to acknowledge a life well lived and loved.

I met Libby when we were young. She spoke highly of this lady through the years we shared an office and on every occasion before and after she married into that family.

A time to be born, and a time to die… a time to plant… a time to heal… a time to build up…

Iris

Death is never an easy thing to face. Whether long or short, a life is a great presence and its passing is loss that can make us fragile while it seems to expand our hearts.  Acknowledging the grace gift that is life is so important.

a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance;

spring bloom

I’ve mentioned that I’m reading Looking for Lovely. Annie Downs started her chapter, “Tragedy” with the text of Matthew 11:28-30 NIV,  and eventually drew me into Ecclesiastes*. She speaks a truth I’m learning, that only in Christ Jesus, can I find rest in the weary and burden and tragedy of life. Only if I look to Him, choose to come to Him in the pain and suffering. And that is not my usual response, my first response.

Like me, you are probably not a stranger to pain and suffering. No one wants to live in pain, sadness, loneliness, rejection, shame, war, tearing down, ripping apart… I want to  avoid it. Annie writes of this pain and tragedy and says, “I’m not sure I’ll find beauty in this. But the only way to truly see beauty, for my heart to grow in capacity and in ability to love and cherish, is through pain and heartache.”

Later, she continues, “I don’t know exactly how it works, I just know that the more I hang on and feel, the more I am able to feel; and each time more balm gets rubbed into the wounds of my soul.”  She finishes the chapter with these words, ” But there is beauty in choosing to feel that pain, in calling hurt what it is, and not pretending everything is okay.”

calla lily

The world is not comfortable with pain and often we are encouraged to ‘just get over it’, move, on, count your blessings. But the wise man said, there is a time to weep… a time to mourn…  And somehow in the mourning, in the weeping, there is a balm that is rubbed into the wound.

rain on the window

May 1, 2016. Sunny. Changing to sheeting rain, creating impressionist art outside my window. Reducing seed heads to earth stars.

dandelion star

May 1, 2016, checking FB updates in the afternoon, I found get well prayers for Libby. These were followed all too quickly by posts of grief at her death. Shock is not really an adequate word to express my state that evening.

Many old relationships just die a natural death, but some go on, changed, but connecting us to our history, our lifetime scrapbooks. She was one who knew me “then”; who was part of bridal and baby showers. We went to each other’s weddings. For Libby and I, our lives unfolded in different places and ways and we rarely took the time to meet although we promised in every Christmas update — next year!

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to gain, and a time to lose;

Looking for the lovely, the good reports, the praiseworthy things**, I continued to read the FB updates.  I believe that the many seeds of goodness and love planted by this gracious woman will produce a harvest in the many lives she touched.

Dear Libby, you leave gaping spaces in the hearts of so many.  You will not be forgotten; your legacy will endure.  I’m so glad our lives touched.

white blooms of May

*Ecclesiastes 3:1-8   ** Philippians 4:8

Easter Reflection

Easter blooom

Easter came and a few members of the family were able to gather with us for dinner. We ate well and talked long. Stories were told, travel adventure photos shown and messages shared from a distance. One from a long distance in time.

Since my Mom moved house in 1998, I have housed an old comforter made by her mother, Amelia.  I really can’t say why I’ve kept the old thing; it served no purpose. I decided to salvage the cover fabric. After dinner, I shared how I started to de-construct the blanket and saw the fine stitching and workmanship that set this utilitarian bed cover apart. This was the careful work of a skilled needlewoman, truly showing the Art of Work that she employed. I needed to share this glimpse of our Grandmother.

de-construction

My sister rose from the table and returned with a tote bag. She carefully unfolded a packet of tissue paper and unrolled history. Amelia came to the table then —  young, the Amelia we could never know.

 Amelia   My sister and I talked of trousseau and my niece asked – what is that? A truly foreign word to this modern career woman. We examined the fine fabric, the tatted lace, the exquisitely hand stitched French seams and fine hem, the embroidery of this camisole… like a fragile page from a young woman’s diary… hours spent stitching in her hopes and dreams for the future. camisole

And again I felt the ache rising, the missed opportunities , the un-offered opportunities to sit, to learn from this master needlewoman,

                              hidden in plain sight,

                                                     disguised as my grumpy grandmother.

 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

These words from 1 Corinthians 13:12 do not mean window glass, but today, they seem to reflect how we move through this earth, seeing, but not knowing what we see, how none of us is really known by another. I’m changing the stories I make up about Amelia and pray that someday, I will see her face to face and know her as I never did. I’ll know what made her laugh, what touched her heart with delight, which dreams came true, her favorite music…

I know I will like her.

Epiphany

January 6, 12th Day of Christmas, Epiphany

It makes me sad to see Christmas trees on the roadside December 26. It seems that folks are missing the best part of Christmastide. Resting in the beauty of Christmas and the lights and decorations. Yes, our tree is still up and at least for tonight, the lights will continue to brighten the long evening of rest and enjoyment.

2016-01-06The journey of the Magi through the nights and days seems to take a lot of conferencing and convincing – at least that is my imagination story – because it would probably have been my story had I been privileged to see the star and make the journey.

IMG_7190

In fact, I probably would have wanted to bring along a whole menagerie and everyone I knew so no one would miss out, all the while the time would grow later and later for the journey. Distractions.

Epiphany – revealing – my life is a constant revelation of God to me. I would like to see that revelation, the directions, written in the sky. I think it would keep me from distractions. But skywriting looks like this …

20160106_073420 or this  20160106_080221 or even 20160106_082815

All mystery, and like the books and scrolls that appear in my dreams, unreadable…

After my last post on Father Time, I set some time apart to again consider last year and to ponder whether or not to engage with the One Word concept this year. This time I thought about “well” as a thing – a hole dug in the ground to access water. I’ve read of wells that dried up and became trash bins full of broken things, garbage and such. Wells in which weapons or treasures were hidden. Abandoned wells, unmarked and a serious hazard to those who might stumble into them.

I remembered the story in Genesis in which Isaac had to re-dig the wells of his father so that he would have water for his flocks. They had been stopped up with earth by their enemies. I began to see that my cleaning out had been a process that could be like a cleaning out of my own wells clogged with earth stuff so that fresh water can now flow. I found a lightness to my spirit as I thought about this.

Bonnie Gray has been an online friend and mentor for quite some time now. Her book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace, was really a guide to clearing my wells even though I may not have been conscious of it as I went about my season of de-stashing. Bonnie is hosting a new feature this year and would love for you to join her and the others who will link their hearts and words of encouragement at #OneWordCoffee on Wednesdays on her web site, FB or Instagram. OneWordCoffee_Badge2Her word, her theme, is “beloved”. I’ve been hearing that this is my word for 2016. Since the well of my life is being restored, I’m ready to believe.

Do you choose a word for the year?

 

June Days

The Everyday Garden

IMG_6039 I usually tidy the garden before I gather the beauty into a photograph. But this first view is like life, it’s all messy with yesterday still hanging about distracting from the beauty of the new day.

IMG_6041 It only takes about 5 minutes to tidy away yesterday; the new day’s offering is no longer obscured and the promise of beauty for tomorrow shows beautifully. In the Everyday Garden of my soul, it is much the same. If I will remind myself that His mercy and compassion fail not and are new every morning because He is faithful to care for me, I can let go of yesterday’s beauty and pain. Then the beauty of the new day can unfold.

Gentle Shepherd

Storm Season begins

The frequent warnings of storms, flash floods, possible tornadoes, and rip tides become part of the forecast. Storms can be very local with some areas getting very little while others have downpours and hail and flooding.

A week ago, we had a late afternoon of heavy rain. Hubby had decided the forecast was dire enough that he went into town for take-out in case of power failure here. He was back just in time to be inside as the heavens seemed to burst open in darkness. As the evening went on, the rain stopped but an ominous, eerie green light began to show in the windows. Naturally, I went outside!

clouds I have never seen these cloud formations here before nor this color of sky.

clouds  clouds

My brother tells me that in his part of the country, the green sky signals hail. While we had just a few pea size pieces fall, less than 10 miles away 4 inch hail was a destructive force and flash flooding was destroying property. Ominous clouds indeed. I came in and while later I could see a different glow in the sky.

clouds And the mammutus clouds fade away…

 

 

Luminous life

White flowers offer us luminous, glowing life in a garden.

collage of white

They bring a cooling refreshment to my soul. Many years ago I read about moon gardens – gardens to delight by moonlight.

Mountain laurel

I have planted many white and light colored flowers to capture the glow as the summer night settles in. Like moonlight itself, there is a kind of comfort from their glow in the dark; fragile beauty lighting the night.oakleaf hydrangeaI’ve also learned that some plants only give out their fragrance in the dark hours.

Sometimes the fragrance of love can seem most fragile and exquisite in dark hours too. Even as a long distance watchman, I could hear it, sense the beauty and the fragrance, hear the heart cry  as another beloved family member slipped from the darkness of this life into brilliance – luminous, glowing beauty beyond our knowing.

How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, 

And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures. For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.          Psalm 36: 7-9 NKJV

Tradescantia

Ordinary?

It was an ordinary trip to the store when a casual glance at a porch stirred the faintest of memories – play time on a porch under the peasant false sky of blue ceiling.

And so I’ve been thinking of blue, and sky.

sky

Blue can be calm and comforting wrapped in old denim and chambray or soft baby blue blankets. But then, blue is authority in uniforms and robes of royalty. There’s blue in Antarctic ice and blue in flame; feeling blue sadness and the cheery blue sky of sunny days.

Blue touches earth in blossoms  and takes flight in butterflies and birds that make my heart soar heavenward.

blue

The vast sky is an ever changing palette of shade and hue. How many ways we try to describe it! Powder blue, azure, heavenly blue, sky blue, navy, celestial blue, indigo, cobalt, azure, periwinkle, sapphire… The shades are clear or hazy, murky, stormy, threatening, comforting, cold…

Blue wraps my world in beauty.

blue eye grass

Paint Box – yellow

Recently a writing prompt surfaced in an old journal and drew me in again – Color.

I find that the spring light makes color more vibrant, more uplifting to my soul.

If you had asked me about yellow, well, at first I wouldn’t have much to say except it is a cheerful color. But reflection tells me it is woven through my adult life – a favorite dress in soft yellow, then yellow gingham curtains and yellow walls in a baby’s room, a fun yellow car, bouquets of dandelions in a chubby fist, a yellow bike, vintage yellow crocks in the kitchen… a touch here and there.

collage in yellow

The yellows of early spring glow. More memories glow too: puckery lemons with peppermint stick straws at the Flower Mart in Baltimore, Mom’s lemon meringue pies with toasty brown peaks atop creamy fillings – best fresh from the oven… Do you have memories in yellow? Do they bring happy smiles to your face now?

pseudo iris

Country gold

Heavy weighted fog pressed down, but along the roads and parking lots, there were golden bells proclaiming spring! I captured these if full ring outside the library. forsythia

Inside, I captured Melissa Michael’s new book and Karen Kingsbury’s too. At home Jeff Goins new book had arrived!

book stack A bounty of riches waits on my table, urging me on through my work sessions, teasing me with promise of inspiration, fresh insights and ponderings.

I have followed Melissa and Jeff on their blogs for a number of years. And while I don’t read much fiction, I do enjoy Karen Kingsbury. Her new series, Angels Walking, is compelling. This is book two. Now for some long quiet evenings!

jonquil

During the longest, coldest winter, I sorted through my sewing and crafting things like a squirrel in semi-hibernation turning over her cache of nuts and acorns looking for choice specimens to savor.  While at first it was almost a sad endeavor, I now feel the freshness in it. Encouraged by the writing of Bonnie Grey, Cheri Gregory and Kathy Lipp, I came to see that my stash had actually become a hindrance to creativity and productivity.

Cheri had a great post that helped me. Projects get interrupted in my life and when I go back to them, sometimes I couldn’t figure out where I has stopped and what I should do next. My notes, if any, where like a code I couldn’t crack. And so I would set them aside, again. Procrastination. Frustration.

After reading her post, I went through my supplies and created a small collection of future projects and wrote out my plan for each in as much detail as I could. If I didn’t have a plan, I chose not to keep it. I freed myself of leftovers from past quilting projects and other crafts this way too. And the good news? I have actually been sewing again! I’m finishing things, and fluffing the guest room. Projects seem fresh and exciting. And more good news – I’ve found a place to gift the overflow, investing in the creative lives of young women. This makes me smile, big!

The plans?  Itemized and amplified to included any other needed items; typed, saved, printed! No little scraps of paper written in mysterious code!

goldfinch