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

Barbeque grace and the words I couldn’t say……..

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 Shame.
It wants to shut you up,  close you in,
set your peace on fire.
And it won’t be hushed until it burns your courage down.

I lean into the turn of the year with a hungry hope and my walking-forward shoes laced up brave,
I’m going looking for some shelter in this storm
but it becomes a hurricane
as I pull out into traffic in some group work and wreck my heart instead,
my past and present colliding with such an explosion of pain
that I’m propelled through the window injured,
but land soft in a healing place.

Edith calls to tell me she’s retiring and we speak warmly –
will she please mail the birthday package I’ve sent;
she’s not sure where Allison is right now; I tell her bold where
and she doesn’t flinch or freak and I hear smile in her voice.
We part well and I feel a chapter end.
This will be the the last gift sent where they will comb through my words to approve.
The training wheels off,  I’ll be able to look up her address and send love on my own
and this freedom is bliss to me.

I plan a heart trek to her hometown but pull up the day before
because I seefrom the cloud,  that she‘s there visiting right now
and feel it sure that this would somehow cross a line.
I couldn’t be that close and not run to her,  I know,  oh God
I want to go, but I watch instead from just hours away
as she togethers with the ones she loves and welcomes,
and I feel the thud of my un-belonging
and ache an ache that I can’t wrap words around.

Weeks later,  March 2016,  I’ve got a wilding to drive east tomorrow
to put flowers on her mother’s grave.
I’m headed uptown to a favorite barbeque place to make a foodie Friday gift
to our hardworking peeps and as I sit waiting for my bag of lemon pepper wings,
so near the street where she used to live,  I grin at the walls covered
with years of signatures and happy graffiti.
My eyes swim over to a map of our state and I feel my feet moving slow
from where I’m googling her hometown for tomorrow’s travels.
My eyes lock onto her name printed bold and pink,  right over where my google map points.
It feels like a sign and I take a picture,  kiss the wall,  pick up my takeout
and wonder at the bigness of this grace that’s holding us.

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Her mother is two years gone this day and we travel there together,  my husband and I,
to at last be in this space and it feels a sacred journey as we pull into her town
and I roll the window down because I need to breathe the air and I cry somewhere inside
because it’s happening at last to feel the where that welcomed my baby home.
It’s a really good house,  the sixteen year old of me can see,
and we eat lunch down the street at the local barbeque place
that has served the community for decades and I taste friendly food
and the neighborly way and everywhere I feel the whispers of her face.

The woods hum stories as I stand beside her mother’s grave
and see how my fistfull of daffodils look a small drop in this space so wide
that I wonder can Allison ever hold space enough for the both of us.
Her mama loved her,  I can feel it.  I honor her that and as my fingers trace
her name I tremble  thanks for the home she made and the legacy that is hers.
If I could hold this woman’s  hand I’d squeeze it now and breathe peace,  nothing left unsaid.
I get up and wish we could stop at their house, climb out of the car,  knock on the door
and be invited inside.

But there is gift in the parting and I feel it at last
in a wrenching place where I stand with my arm draped around the girl of me
in front of the spacious yard where my daughter played football
with her people just weeks ago this day
and finally I know it right down to my atoms and cells
that I did not abandon my child.
There’s a roaring that climbs from my spirit inside to a courtroom false where I’ve often been dragged
and I see it as clear as the sun that sets in her hometown now
that abandonment was not in my heart,
but beauty and bests and safe pasture and love,
and yes,  shame,  that I wasn’t the one who deserved.
But I’m done buying into this sense that I’m less because I’m outside and not welcome in.

And as we drive back in the after of a powerful day
there builds up some brave to get ferocious with shame
and I feel a holy fury rumble up inside my soul
– where the winter wounds had closed me I feel my breath becoming whole.

(In the weeks to come there’ll be roller coaster waves
but I’ll crawl no longer beneath the dull weight
of all the words I couldn’t say.)

goodnight raleigh

“It is unearned love – the love that goes before,
that greets us on the way.
It is the help you receive when you have no bright ideas left,
when you are empty and desperate and have discovered that your best thinking
and most charming charm have failed you.
Grace is the light or electricity or juice or breeze
that takes you from that isolated place and puts you with others
who are as startled and embarrassed and eventually grateful as you are to be there.”
– Anne Lamott

So you see I’m telling our story – that part of us that aches to belong,
to be welcome,  to be seen and invited in.
In the only way I know, I’m dragging our shame into the light
and offering “I know” and “you’re okay” and “I’m with you and we’re alright”
Just a few more twists and turns through this, our season of the night.

 

We shall get there some day…..

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There’s been a cold wind blowing so I’m putting out some seed;
simple bites to strengthen what goes dim when life gets raw.
Gather what you like and take as much as you can carry.
Maybe something that I  scatter will nourish that beautiful flame of yours…….

~  Sometimes her spirit scooped her hands into the sky and they fluttered there,  kissing heaven.

~ She let the weight of her worry be swallowed up in wonder
and took on a holy curiosity about it all.

~ She began to shake off intimidation like bits of sleet from her hair.

~ “You’d be surprised how powerful kindness actually is.
I am not being dramatic;  you can save hearts and lives with grace.
Do.”
– Jen Hatmaker

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“People are not problems to be solved.
They are mysteries to be explored.”
– Eugene Peterson

~ Her feet began to dance,
keeping time with both the fierce and fragile
of her heart.

~”For every complex problem,  there is a solution
that is simple,  clear,  and wrong.”
– H.L. Mencken

~ She knew she carried the pen of her life,
but she drew back from the dark blood of the ink.
So she decided to take up feathers and flowers
and write her songs on the wind.

~ Her courage burned holes through intimidation
until her flame climbed high into the night.

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That’s it.
It’s all I ‘ve got.
Random seeds to scatter.
Served up in a leftover pan
Please enjoy whatever bits you fancy:)
I’ll be back with a meal next week.

“Rivers know this:  there is no hurry.
We shall get there
some day.”
– A. A. Milne

doodling dresses….


When I was a little girl I spent hours doodling dresses.
I imagined their whispery feel,
soft and sweeping
in buttery cotton and linen,
lightly brushing  skin,
easy,
easy,
stepping  light and roomy,
bare legs and breath free
to flow and float and flutter,
in crisp simple lines of glad color
with me inside,
uncluttered.

Now I’m a woman grown and turning fifty
and I’m tired of trudging in trousers,
burden bearing down heavy on this frame
I once dreamed draped in dresses.

I want my heart to wear dresses again,
to feel the tug and twirl of breeze
swing me round light
with billowy lift  and swirl.

Oh sure,  I want to kneel down and dig,
to climb high and sculpt,
to plant and build and heft the load
….I love the feel of work when it matters,
but not until my knees groan hard with gristle and ache,
my heart pounds heavy from airless effort,
and graceless strain
….wasted,
like  apples left to rot in the yard.

I don’t want my heart to wear pants
to feel binding rigid heaviness
pressing tight on skin.
I want to remember,
please ,  my soul,  remember
the way of soft cotton dresses
and go there,
beat and breathe from that place
again.

My word for the year…..a picture  for my heart:  dresses


Sending love and bright hope for beautiful beginnings
to each of you!

windy wobbles and winsome waves…

“I need to get to the sea,”  I said,
to lean against the winds
and let the waves wash over the weeks of ache
until sky stretches out wide inside my chest,
rising and falling,
with the rhythm of the tides.”

But the week wouldn’t roll with my wishes,
wouldn’t wait for me to go and return
so I leaned instead into Love like-an-ocean
and let the clay of me
dip deep in the waves that appeared
once I traded wanderlust for here and now.

There were whisps of Autumnlight,
like sunsparkles on big water,
and wild wooly winds whipping willows overhead
as I stood beneath
and let them coach my soul easy.

There were waffles and winesaps
and whispering grasses gone dry,
their breezy waving and whooshing a golden tide
finding my weak and wobbly places
and soothing them soft
with great affection.

Right here.
Right now….just where I am completely
there is an Ocean
and I am in it
and it swells and rolls inside me,
it’s gentle comfort brushing back my hair
like the sound of seashell held to wondering ear.

Listen.  Do you feel it?
Go slow and savor.

“If grace is an ocean we’re all sinking.”  
                             – John Mark McMillan