On sails of celebration…..

I’ve been a quiet sort here lately,  haven’t I,
my soul long squirming to stay still and startled grateful as the stillness found me instead.
I haven’t wanted to stir the deep quiet
because it’s been feeding me something I didn’t even know I was hungry for.

I do a little creative challenge each year and this time I’ve been sharing my daily
over on instagram  (jenniferripplespeak);  it seems to be fueled by the bit of juice
that I usually cook with over here
so I forget that I haven’t actually been blogging regularly.
I think I want to change that.
So here again I am:)

I’ve got another little series steeping in my heart
but it’s not strong enough for sipping yet
so I’m letting it brew.
Until then,  a celebratory snippet to offer up to you:)

~ “Let me keep my distance,  always,  from those who think
they have all the answers.
Let me keep company always with those who say,
‘Look!’ and laugh in astonishment
and bow their heads.”
– Mary Oliver

“Every day I see or hear something
that more or less kills me with delight,
that leaves me like a needle in a haystack of light.”
– Mary Oliver.

(thanks for being gracious to me about my gone-time;
i love and appreciate you big)

 

To be wowed and watching…..

Keep being wowed,
heaven blowing often kisses
and because you’re watching,
you catch and let them woo you

keeping palms up and heart open,
your romance with living alive.

Keep showing up to the table,
going soft to miracle and mystery,
to all the mundane glory
winking and whispering tender
from a place
of only love.

“Look up more than down.   See more than say.
Listen more than speak.
Hope more than dread.
Believe more than criticize.
Yes more than no.  No more than maybe.
Laugh more than cry.
Love more than hate.
See.  More.  See.”

– Tyler Knott Gregson

(A little something from the archives
because i think it fits easy and that we all need some simple right now)

Of hope and healing and hullabaloo…..

I don’t much care for riding buses.
There was one year of my life when i rode one every day to school –
my peers and I bused,  with the 6th graders in my city,
to an historic old building in a crumbling part of town.
What I remember most was the bus ride.
Having only ever walked to school before,  it was an uneasy adventure.
I loved the sense of going the same somewhere as everybody else,
always having craved community and it came built in this way – we were a little tribe.
I liked that.

But there was the whole being driven thing.  Going along because I was going along.
I wanted to belong but I also wanted freedom
and felt much freer putting my feet to sidewalk and taking it all at my own pace and pleasure.

Often I joined in enthusiastic with the hullabaloo at the back of the bus,
loving the camaraderie,
but I hated  it when someone was cruel,
taunting passers-by or a more vulnerable rider.
(usually the older-looking boys disrespecting a slower-grower).
It felt oppressive then to be “us” but not really.

Since then I’ve avoided buses.
and, to my sadness,  much of our country seems more and more
to be filing crowded onto two of them.
There are dearly loved ones of mine embracing both sides,  those I hear and respect,
but when I step inside each I feel crimped tight for air
and the sound bruises my sky-loving heart.

I love my country and her people.
I hunger and pray for a world where no one turns a deaf ear to any being in distress.
The Horton in me hears the Who’s of us and I wear my sleeves rolled up
to help create a place where we’re all welcome and safe to be.
I’m pro voice.
Even as the disrespect being voiced on both buses rakes sharp across my senses
and injures something inside,  I love the voices still.
But much of the rhetoric being hurled scalds my tender,  listening parts
and I have to pull aside to hear the whispers above the roar.

It’s what I’m seeing  through the smoke that gives me hope,
that winds of healing are coming,
releasing healers who will step across party lines and release love into the fray.
Healers, budding now,  like a field of wildflowers getting ready to sing.
Those deeply wounded by racism,  by exclusion,  by rejection and indifference
and misogyny and injustice…….these will the healers be.
The ones who have felt wicked the pain are the ones who seem to carry the medicine
once life gets some healing done.

The healers are being made even by the judgement being hurled at them now.
From both buses they’ll come,  those who bring the balm that creates the change.
Not blinded to context or played by their pain,
with a billion different faces of the unseen authority they’ve gained
to go into crisis and confusion and bridge division and bring solution.

They’ll release truth and kindness in a way that holds weight and shifts invisible things,
won’t hold in contempt or make assumptions from across the aisles
but will listen unfiltered and draw up solution from deep wells of grace.

I’ll hold this hope gentle-strong as these next days unfold,
trusting that each unkind voice will become one that helps heal us someday.
To both buses and also to those of us that walk a little on the out,
may there come wild surprise by the grace outstretched from each side
to bring healing to We the People,
each of us becoming conduits of generosity and justice
in ways that we don’t yet even dare to see.

I believe our best days are out in front of us still,
that we won’t mock or condescend to get there.
Grace to you wherever you are,
exactly as you are.
With the whole of my you-loving heart:)

“You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image
when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”
– Anne Lamott

A new little word to celebrate…..

I’ve listened curious for my one little word;
it’s all I want to pack as I head into each new trek around the sun
and I like to pack light so I wait for the word like a gift that will come
rather than trying on a whole slew of them to see what might fit.
I headed out of the last year so exhausted that I really didn’t care
if another word popped up out of the frozen ground or not.
I felt spent.  Tuckered.  Thoroughly poured out.
Had to squint through the haze to remember what my word for last year even was.
Oh yeah ~  “All”  ~  Figures:)

This January has been a deep resting place for me.
I’ve relished every ounce of quiet.
In the past,  a word swirls in like a feather on a breeze.
No feathers this year.  No breeze.  No desire for either.
Just please let me be still a while longer,  wrapped up warm in a quilt
from everything I lost last year, still dinged and stinging from disappointment.
I just needed sweet,  healing rest.  Life offered, and I took it up grateful.
Then I woke up hungry,  as if from a long,  long nap,
and it seemed like the universe leaned in and kindly asked “so what are you hungry for?”
Usually it’s marshmallows:)

But what rumbled up from my deep was the surest word I’ve ever heard.
Celebrate.

I want to celebrate.
To really thrill and tell.
Not just notice and smile,
but to mark my pleasure in a counting-out-loud kind of way.
I don’t know if this is the same thing as being grateful or not
but it feels rather like a muscle that I need to use
and it feels good to put my weight into it again.

So,  celebrate it is.
I’ll be  sharing the daily on Instagram for the next 365:)
In each one of them I wish you joy
in mad abundance!
And then a couple of shots more:)

“Astonishing material and revelation appear in our lives all the time.
Let it be.  Unto us,  much is given.
We just have to be open for business.”
– Anne Lamott

 

 

The ocean in my cup…

And so I got a taste of something so good that my hunger gnawed away at any satisfaction
i may have found in other things.
Such a sweet-tooth for this God-thing that I chased intense experiences,
and when they didn’t fill me up,
I went looking to the experts to see what they knew,
the ones whose faces seemed flush with this light
– wanted to scoot up close to those who seemed to carry his faraway scent
and when I found a cluster of people whose believing seemed to give them joy,
I leaned into the process, drawn in and open.

I did Christianity as I saw it,
did it so hard that I blew out my be
wanting so bad to fit in that I followed along fearful,
determined to please God big so I wouldn’t be left out again.
Made myself so useful that I’d surely be noticed and not lose again
that something that I’d felt wash over me warm like a living breeze.
I did God the only way I knew – I do for you and you don’t leave me.

But,  damn my whoopsy-daisy ways,  I could never walk that line tight enough
or check enough boxes off neat or merit the joy that seemed reserved for the naturals.
The best I could manage was the little self-righteous rush that came with a longer than usual
run of good behavior.   Or with my spastic dance with good intentions.

My heart hungered for God but I got lost in the hard trying.
Religion can be a smoky haze that way,
how it chokes and bends the music of Love
until you get to thinking that you’re the one
who keeps your whole world spinning –
that you earn this grace
by what you do or give.

It was failure and frustration and an almost frantic striving
and all my hard trying couldn’t pull off a shred of peace
until I dropped down tired from all the don’ts and driven doing
and went palms up and sweet surrender and could you love a girl like me?

And then You flickered on my frozen world like a dancing flame,
a strong shot of light that warmed the cold steel of my pain
until my breath turned to embers and this heart beat strong again
singing love and laughter and longing for me
into my honest mess you came.

Not to punish
or control
or to toy with like some cat and mouse game
but to include,
to family,
to welcome real and safe and sane.

You broke the back of try harder
and busted the lie that we’re alone,
offered my heart the friendship that I thought I had to earn.
You didn’t want performance,   didn’t have a line to tow,
just wrapped me in your muchness and gave me rest I’d never known.

And now when my world quakes,
when love goes missing or un-returned
or leaves behind a stiff body that once thumped warm affection,
and my strong legs get pulled out from beneath me
and I quiver in storm,
you’re my harbor,
my hope.
All of my air is because of this.

I think back to those long ago starry nights and the love that bathed me in those branches
and I know now that it was you.
It was always you.
You wanted me first
the way you want us all
with a reckless affection that smashes religion’s bony finger
and draws us tender into your fierce and healing kindness,
lets us breathe safe again
in the being fully known.

To the One whose knowing is only always love.
With love:)

“I could more easily contain Niagara Falls in a teacup
than I can comprehend the wild, uncontainable love of God.”
–  Brennan Manning

This is the third post in a short series I’ve been doing,
a little love story.
I didn’t mean to be gone so long between.
Rogue waves.  Sputtering.  Catching my breath.
Thanks for coming along for the ride
and a beautiful new year to you and yours.
With love.  Just so, so much:)