Dancing in the dark…..

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Before my skin grew tight around the noise and clutter of life,
before I felt sharp the heavy of shoulds and musts and deadlines and expectations and bills,
when I was young enough still for time to stretch long and spacious like the hallway
where I rolled pretty glass marbles to hear them clatter and ping on wood,
I fell in love.
It was this time of year and there were candles.  And deeply moving music.
And a tree brought indoors and decorated with brightly colored glass bulbs
and shiny strings of foil my mother called icicles,
although they weren’t frozen or even cold.
I lay for hours beneath that sweet-smelling tree
and  gazed up into the twinkling branches.

I also spent hours outside after dark,  even though it was barely evening.
The stars came out early to shine,  and the moon,
and it seemed the heavens drew near as I climbed my favorite tree
wrapped thick in the mystery of night.
I’d look up at the stars and wonder aloud who are you,
the One to inspire such beauty as this,
moonlight on bare branches and the songs and stories been humming in my heart.
I wondered at the love I felt poured out safe and warm like fireside
high up in that tree,
wondered would it follow me down and inside when I finally had to leave.

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I lay in my bed at night and felt it still,  when I would lean the turn of my heart
into this unseen light that still lingered like moonglow in the dark
and how my heart would dance.
Here I’d never felt so alright.  As if everything could only ever be okay.
These times of soaking in what I know only as God-love
lasted for a short season.  My first window.
A place where I could go, if I would,  and remember thick the presence I felt those winter nights
and somehow re-join the relish
in a room inside myself.

The rest of the world could feel harsh and cold.  And lonely.
We did church,  my family,  and I’d walk into that organ-smooth and dimly lit grandeur
and look up at the large wooden cross stretched sterile against the tall of the ceiling
and wonder if he,  too,  preferred the crisp air high in the tree.
Here I felt sting more than sanctuary.
An undercurrent of you better watch out.
A Santa sort of God who saw me,  yes,  but withheld when I was bad.
Or worse – withdrew.
And I was born a hungry sort who didn’t do well with rules.  Too fumbly and footloose.
When it came to things straight and narrow, I could pull off a piss-poor performance,  at best.
I knew I wasn’t that girl – couldn’t be good for goodness sake.

But oh my God I longed for more of this generous presence that lit my heart under those bright winter stars.
Had the air really been charged with such a kindness? What kind of love was that?
As I grew older and fell into step with demand for appearances and favors doled out,
I wondered had I only imagined?
No,  said the voices of my fears –
I’d simply stopped deserving,
the river just gone dry.

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“We are suspicious of grace.
We are afraid of the very lavishness of the gift.”

“Holiness is nothing we can do.  It is gift,  sheer gift,
waiting there to be recognized and received.
We do not have to be qualified.”

– Madeline L’Engle

This begins a little series I’m doing as it’s coming on Christmas.
A love story.
My gift.
With hope that you’ll enjoy:)

The most creative thing I know……

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I’m grateful ~  so much ~ for creativity.
For the way it feels like flight and flutter and drift and dance,
and that free and airy feeling of stretching out your body
after being folded up closed too long,
or taking a mug of steaming goodness into cold hands
or digging like a child in the sand.

For me it is the feeling of when someone brings you flowers
or opens a window to let the stuffy out
– the smell of a freshly bathed dog
or sunshine in clothes dried fresh on a line.
It’s starshine and moonglow and getting caught up in a satisfying flow,
every shade and tone and color and the feeling of an open road.

Creativity feels like all of the ways that poetry happens,
that family happens,
that art and rest and friendship happen.
And the surprising lift of grace when all you could see was a long,  slow climb.

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It’s ears to hear the whisper and beating heart to feel the pain,
the power to be gentle and the room we’re free to make.
It’s “I’m sorry” and “me, too,”
“I need some help.”  “I understand.”
It’s throttle down and rest
and that mistakes are a part of the plan.

It’s the artful gift of a friendly listen
and time taken slow to be heard.

I see creativity as less a thing and more a being;
a person to dance with;  a partner in collaboration.
It might just be the heartbeat of God:)

Someone asked me recently what’s the very most creative thing that I  know.
My first thought: LOVE –  love is a wildly creative thing.
All rivers and fountains and flowers and fields
and bulbs and seeds and stories and songs
and the gazillions of ways that it waltzes right in when hope holds open the door.
Then I thought how maybe the most creative act of love
might be reconciliation.

This one creative thing I celebrate today –
the way of hearts and lives becoming free and fitted back together again
in a healthy and life-giving way.
For this I fling thanks like paint with fresh passion,
and for you,  my traveling companions
– happy Thanksgiving,
with love!

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How cool is this canvas we’re all given:)

“We’re on a planet.  At the same time.  In the universe.
Let’s do something great together!”
– Jeff Byington

“That cannot be.  Unless it could!”
– from Alice Through the Looking Glass

Thanks for coming by,  my creative friend:)
I believe your juiciest days are ahead.

Of hope and news and a new breaking through….

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My heart is full for the wounded and afraid among us,
for the ones shaking their heads how,  how did this happen.
I’m gonna share what I believe and say it plain like I would if we could sit
around a fire and clink our glasses,  talking soft beneath the stars
and let our voices fill the night.
Hear this from the overcomer in me to the overcomer in you
because it’s our muchness we need to remember
and we were born to make real peace
and I believe it’s some lies that have us bleeding.

No one that I know whose vote called forth this trumpet
voted against women or minorities or anyone at all,
but against dishonesty and corruption so deeply entrenched
that what was needed wasn’t another politician,
but both a wrecking ball and a builder.

He was voted in by those who sensed that the media’s narrative wasn’t altogether true.
That maybe here was someone who might break open both parties to let the bad air out.

I saw this when riots broke out in my city
and the stories showed so skewed what really happened
that the eyes of my own heart grew wide
as I saw the media overplay their hand.

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Remember this,  please,  when you see the fake and scripted protests.
Because seeing out of context is like being dropped into
the middle of a movie and needing questions answered
but no one is telling it true.
Maybe a cruel campaign has played on our wounds
to demonize a ticket that might cleanse the corrupt
from their tidy trenches.

Perhaps the real President elect isn’t the monster the media has painted.
Neither is he a savior –
to be sure, no leader ever is.
Love never chooses perfect people.
I think he will make some messes but move us forward
and as we pray for this administration and hold tight to hope,
our best days can still be ahead.

This campaign wounded us – his words and hers – how reckless each were used,
and in this,  too,  is gift.
We’ve been dragged from the holes where we safe-hid our pain
and exposed to the light that demands that we deal
and when we do,  instead of hurling blame,
healing can happen in otherworldly ways.

Love is always undefeated
and love will make a way.
Don’t give your tender heart to the deception in our streets.

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Sometimes what looks like a wolf isn’t at all what our nightmare’s whisper.
Quiet your fears and listen to your spirit.
May all your paths be peace.

“There is no mind so closed as a mind locked into a victim narrative,
nourished by words of hate.”
– L. Wallnau

“You don’t have to live like a refugee.”
– Tom Petty

Grace for the busy, bumped and broken…..

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It’s been a bumpy,  broken-toe ride these weeks
and I’ve wiped out in the dark waves as much as I’ve ridden tall
during this busy, busy, busy season for our little mom and pop business.
We let it outgrow us this year and then lost some really stellar help
so this mom is having to dig down to the bellows of her being
to stay the course and keep our word to all the gardens we promised to tend
while the heat kept pounding and the rain refused to fall.
I’ve poured my heart onto paper filled with lists and long days
but haven’t patched them together to make anything to share over here with you.

So I’m just gonna show up and spill what grace I have from the broken bits that I am,
because it’s grace that’s holding me,
and I love the way it’s given ~ always ~ just as each fresh now arrives
That tomorrow looks a dread is only because it’s grace has not yet come.

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But it will come.  Sure as sunrise,   it will come.

Serving up some snippets for sipping during testy times:
(hope something fits)

“Shame is a bully,  but grace is a shield.  You are safe here.”  – Ann Voscamp

“You look at me and cry
everything hurts

I hold you and whisper
but everything can heal.”
– Rupi Kaur

“Tears are liquid prayers.”  – Robin McMillian

“Sometimes grace works like water wings when you feel you are sinking.”
– Anne Lamott

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“This grace is indiscriminate compassion.
It works without asking anything of us.
Grace is sufficient even though we huff and puff with all our might
to try and find something or someone it cannot cover.
Grace is enough.”
– Brennan Manning

“You can have the other words – chance,  luck,  coincidence,  serendipity.
I’ll take grace.”
–  Mary Oliver

“There’s nothing to prove and nothing to protect.
I am who I am and it’s enough.”
– Richard Rohr

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“When the rain is blowing in your face
and the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
to make you feel my love.”
– Bob Dylan

Breathe deep from the brave to just be……

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Life is noisy right now.
I’ve got a rumble in my belly for quiet,
for shelter from the grating hurry
that seems to crackle like electricity all around.

I feel it in the air,  the shove to go faster,  to outrun the clamor
to shut out the buzz with my own frantic go.
But I’m defying it inside where I remember that I get to choose,
to dig in my heels against the push.
This feels like life to the bones and breath of me.

Yes,  I do have time to slow this train on down.
To pick up feathers and leaves and words and stones
and notice what they might want to say.
No,  it’s not irresponsible.  These are the days I’ve been given.
These moments are free and mine to gather.

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It’s brave to rest inside while the noise rattles on,
to taste and see and savor the mystery,
to press through the amnesia that settles over like a fog
and remember that we’re co-creators with a God
who likes to do the heavy lifting.
To find the partnership delicious.

When I pull up feeling empty and discouraged,
I often discover in the still small voice
that my ego has been driving.
Exhausting taskmaster,  that one.

I can break up again with the offender
and get back to the business of wonder,  breath and being,
to living out this life of one who tumbles and leaps and feels it all deep
in this dizzying, glorious wild.
~ To not draw back from the not knowing how.

To breathe deep from the brave
to just be.

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“All I know is there’s nothing better than that wide-open,  opinion-busting,
all-things-are-possible,  everything’s-OK feeling of prayer.”
– Elizabeth Lesser

Sending this out to all your tired places
with a bold dare to slow down and find rest:)