October 14, 2014

fresh starts

I've been spending a good bit of time indoors lately, sitting in my cozy overstuffed chair, reading, working on the blog transfer and my "correspondence" (a.k.a. emails and facebook messages to friends).  It's been good weather for snuggling into a comfy chair:  cool enough for jeans and slippers, but not quite cold enough for my Farmer to want to fire up the pellet stove too often.  Thus, the warm and cozy chair.

The wind's been blowing, though, and with it came milder temperatures, so this morning I ventured out, determined to snip off the unsightly dying flowers of my once-gorgeous new chrysanthemums.  I was feeling disappointed in how long (or short) they'd lasted.  I'd only bought them a couple of weeks ago, and was hoping their jewel tones would enliven my straggly flowerbeds a little longer.

But, c'est la vie, at least we'd had their color this long.  So out I went, insouciance and flower snips in hand.

If you're more of a gardener than I am (which wouldn't take much), then you probably know what I found about an inch below the dead flowers I was clipping off, but to me it was like finding another ice cream sandwich when I was sure I'd eaten the last one in the box:

                                                     New buds!!

This means more flowers (I hope, I hope - please, veteran gardeners, don't burst my bubble if I'm wrong; I'll find out soon enough).  Just as I was mourning the sure and certain end of beauty, it turns out there was more to come, hidden.  Before the death of the old was complete, before I'd even noticed its inexorable approach, probably, the new was being formed.

So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, "After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?"  Genesis 18:12

I know - it seems wildly out of context.  Sarah is delighted - and astonished, and probably not entirely believing - at the thought of bearing a child after decades of being barren, and I'm just talking about a second flush of flowers.  Doesn't it show, though, a God who loves to do the unlikely?  Who makes wine out of water, sends a lame man leaping for joy, gives first sight to the born-blind, grants children to the barren, forms saints out of sinners?

Who gives hope to the hopeless?

I've spun dozens of pots on the wheel.  The raw creation of it never gets old.  (I mean, who walks along a creek and envisions dinnerware in its banks?!)  A lump of clay - mud, really - pulled into a graceful vessel.

Mud -> bowl.
Mud ->  vase.
Mud ->  goblet.
Mud ->  teapot.
Mud ->  piggybank.


But unlikely's nothing to God.  He took mud . . . . and made a living man!

Oh yeah.  My God?  Is a second-flush-of-flowers kind of God.

October 13, 2014


Hi there!

If this is your first visit - I'm thrilled to have you pop in, and hope you'll find a home here.

And if you came over* from "my life: in short" (a.k.a. "live deeply"), welcome back!  Same blog, same author, new background and new name.  What do you think?

First off, a confession.  That poem partially quoted at the top of this page?  I am not an Elizabeth Barrett Browning fan.  In fact, I don't know anything about her and I've never even read the entire poem ("Aurora Leigh", an epic poem in blank verse comprising nine books, according to Wikipedia) from which the excerpt at the top of this blog is taken.  I'd probably read that partial quote somewhere and would have forgotten it completely and forever (as with so many things that I read), but that someone very kind once told me that my writing "makes the ordinary holy", and suddenly that long-hidden piece of poem sprang from the depths of my memory, and there it was - what I want to do with my writing:  point to the fire of God that I see in the everyday.

So I finally have a title for my blog that fits.

I hope you like it.  And more importantly, I pray that I accomplish it.

*(I would have loved to bring you all over here with me, but blogger can't do that.  So if you were following my life: in short before, just click the blue "join this site" button over on the right to keep following.)

[update on the blue button, which doesn't seem to be working - if you click the tiny red boxes to the right of the blue button, a window will pop up.  Click the "follow" button to the top right of that window and you'll be able to sign up!  Thanks!!]

October 8, 2014

passing through shadow

The moon was still nearly full when I pulled myself from bed at the usual too-early time.  I'd almost forgotten about the eclipse - and how quickly it would go - and by the time my shower had woken me up, the earth's shadow had eroded the moon to a slim, shining sliver.

I rushed through coffee prep, grabbed my inadequate camera and binoculars, turned on the porch light, and stumbled over fallen walnuts out to the middle of the backyard, where no branches would obscure my view.

The porchlight started flashing.  I turned, saw my Farmer silhouetted in the doorway, and waved.  When he didn't come out, I went up to investigate.  Turns out he'd seen the glow from my camera's display, and thought there were bioluminescent mushrooms growing on the stump I was using as my tripod.

Meanwhile, the moon had turned reddish, passing through the penumbra of the earth's shadow, reflecting "all the sunrises and sunsets in the world, all at once."

The girls traipsed out in their pajamas, barefoot in the cool dew.  Taking turns with the binoculars, we watched as the moon sank in the sky, grew dimmer and dimmer.

We never did see the "turquoise band" resulting from reflected ozone.  Photos online were much more spectacular than the ones I took, than even the reality that we saw, despite a forecast-defying unclouded sky.

So a shadow passed over the moon, temporarily obscuring its brilliance and shading it rusty-red.  Cars hurried to work just yards to our left, buggies, pickups with ladders and tools on their way to build things, fix things.  No one slowed to watch the spectacle.  Perhaps no one noticed there was one.

I wouldn't have missed it, though.

When we could barely distinguish the morning-faded moon from the morning itself, we headed back inside - me to cook the eggs, them to read abed, and dress.

Quietly, masked by daylight, the moon emerged from shadow and once again - to the other side of the world - reflected sunlight fully.

October 3, 2014

what I saw, when I looked ...

Some days look bleak. . . .

. . . until I slow down,
lean in,
peer closer,

The more closely I look, the more beauty I see.

God lavishly "wastes" his creative design 
on weeds,
inside trees,
even in the midst
of decay.

All over the ordinary,
he hides

All it takes to see it
a seeker.

have a look!

(I started inside the house)

Sugar's eye.
Is there anything like the human eye to stir wonder?!
The colors it can see...
The emotions it can communicate...

The zipper!!  The colors!! 
(No, God didn't make it, but he tucked it away in a thrift store for me to find,
knowing that its bright design and pockets galore would delight me.)

Glass.  Water.  Mums.

Glossy kernels of Indian corn & popcorn.
Think of the explosion of popcorn!
The transformation of Indian corn into meal, and again into bread.
Edible art.

(I headed outside)

 Raspberries!  Giant ones, too, glowing in the sun.
He could have made us to live on mere grass, you know.
Berries are pure gift.

And speaking of grass - have you ever seen anything
as the green, green grass of summer?
Emeralds don't even come close.

This purple-mauve gem of a weed is called Pennsylvania smartweed.
Like the indiscriminate rain,
flowers spring from the earth for the just and the unjust alike,
free for the looking.

Humble tansy, holding its world of yellow blossoms,
and the humble ant in his gleaming everyday suit.

The sepals on this flamboyant pokeweed!
Almost plastic perfection.
Did you ever see such fuchsia?!

 Who would ever suspect this powdery unassuming plant of a powerful fragrance
used to calm everything from digestion to anxiety?

Asiatic dayflower.
Just a delicate, frilly little weed.

Even in fall - season of death and decay - beauty is tucked away . . .

 Dogwood fruits amongst dying leaves, beside next year's blossoms-to-be.

Fallen leaf, caught in the sunlit angles of decaying poplar wood.

Lil' Spice's loud cries brought me running, sure he was hurt.
He held out his best, favorite leaf:
"It broke!!"

Between two sheets of wax paper,
we mended it.

Translucent fish scales, like delicate miniature seashells!
(Even fish scales are touched with beauty!)

Every seed pod, unique to its species.
Does He never run out of ideas?!
To tuck hard, dry, withered little kernels of life
inside fibrously whiskered cavities 

where just weeks ago
tissue-thin petals of palest pink had been?

Intricate network of veins on a poplar leaf - a study in fractal art.

Crabapple among clover.

 Leaf lace

Dried echinacea "pincushion"

 Star Magnolia flowerbuds
forming spring's lavish creamy blossoms
like a caterpillar in chrysallis
unfolding into

Chrysanthemum bud, blushing into blooms
to brighten autumn.

And God's greatest handiwork of all
is us,
of course.

No flower
or common creature
could have a sense of humor
a boy!

May God bless you
with opened eyes
to see
what He lays


before you!

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