Of prickles, pain and portals….

Sometimes into life’s overwhelm
come soft days so thick with grace
it seems the volume gets turned up
on your joy
and drowns out some prickle,
shaking dance back into tired feet
’til your heart starts taking on hope
as heaven storms down light so fierce
that it swallows up the dark.

When you’re not in that place,
when all you feel is the cave you crawled in,
bone tired and seeking shelter,
and the gloom works it’s way on your soul
’til you’re hungry for good air and tall sky,
but you feel as small
as the yelp
that gets stuck
in the dry
of your voice,

(I know this place)

oh please remember that it’s there
still and always,
along the backroads of your mind,
and you can go again to that moment
when the darkness got sliced through, peeling back some dread
to free the warm buttery peace of something realer than you can see
and you saw some living light
until it smiled courage into your frightened places.

You felt it then.  Remember?
You were maybe still a child and yet you stood beneath a portal
to that sweet someplace and you felt it,
the gentle, un-driven purpose
of being profoundly
and undeniably
okay.

You’re brave enough to let your heart remember.

Open wide and go again – it’s unlocked to you still,
that door so uniquely gift to you.
You’re welcome,  known,  and waited for with great affection there
– go stand again in that place
and let Love sing her songs all over you again.

You belong,  the starry heavens whisper,
you belong.

“There’s a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.”
– Leonard Cohen

A little re-share,  here.   Nothing fresh to offer but these leftovers heat up well:)
Congrats to Elaine Kean of Elk – your name came up in the giveaway
and I’ll be putting your art journal on a fast pony and sending her your way.
With a whole heap of joy and yes:)
I’ll give away another this week – oh please keep tending that beautiful soul of yours.
Leave a comment and you’re in the drawing.

Of brilliance, bobble and belonging….

I’ve been sweet on the art of encouragement for as long as I can remember,
feeling somersaults of thanks for every bit of balm
that helps a soul get out of bed another morning and pull on fresh clothes
over dreams burned down to the nub.
Like gentle shoes for blistered feet,
so a broken heart can go on making fresh tracks in hard places anyway.
I’ve received them like clean cold water in hot swelter,  words
that give my bones a new song,
and breeze that makes my breath
churn fresh hope
and I love it
when someone
takes
the
time.

And so
I’ve cultivated this thing
until it blooms hardy in my garden
because I’ve struggled through drought
and have come to carry water everywhere I go.
I’ve felt it deep how a drink of clean healing river
can be tipping point in a full blown collision between life and death and
I’d drive a watertruck of it for you,  if I could – a freight train of encouragement
coming ’round the mountain of your dry places
until you’re filling up on love
that writes a stream of poems across your weary back,
easing air back into places that somehow forgot how to breathe.

I want to splatter it across the thirst of your sky,
a waterfall of welcome
for who you are,
that even in pain and conflict,
in the beauty and the bruising,
it’s sweet magic that you’re even here and this place just
wouldn’t be the music without you.

Wherever you are,  in whatever way,
I honor every thump of your heart
– such a beautiful rhythm.
And every brave step that you take or even weigh
that inches you toward your next have-a-go.

In the noise and gravel of this critical climate,
oh please hear your name called affectionate across the clamor
by smiling voice so choked up with affection
that it can’t keep quiet over the art of who you are.
Over all of your brilliance and bobbles
there hums a love too strong to be silenced,
and though it crackles across the static on the line,
it’s there for you to open like a letter from your long ago
and not yet
that in the quaking of this season
you are cherished,  held and seen.

Passing the note,  love ……..your belonging runs deep.


“I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic
than to love people.”
– Vincent Van Gogh

Another giveaway this week – I have some new journals to share
and want to offer up the first one to you.
Just plunk a comment in the box and I’ll draw from the names next week.
9I’m back from making something soon ready to share
and will be around regular again now:)

When the heart thumps of longings and lanes…..

In the heat of our culture’s loud and frantic traffic right now,
it’s sometimes hard to find and hold steady to your lane.
The message is loud and the pressure real:

                      ~ you should be doing more to protect your family and community from the virus.

~  you should be doing more to end ignorance and fear,  and to dismantle racism.

~ you should doing more to connect with truth – to navigate the hype and the false
and arrive correctly on the right square.  And quickly.

~ you should be doing more of all the things and also taking more
of a pro-active role in fighting more for social justice
in every arena,  anywhere there is suffering,
(If you’re not quarantined,  say if you are running a small business,
there is a lot of extra to catch up on
once you’ve served your community so you’re just
gonna have to sleep a little faster and go a little harder,  man.)

And,  hey,  if this is all too intense to absorb and process in your 24,
you just need to pick a side.
One of the two.  Pick one wing of this big bird and devote unquestioning loyalty,
then begin to lob insult and venom at the other
(yes,  you’re all on the same bird but don’t think too hard about that
while you bloody the wing you didn’t choose – it’s easier to go with the
good vs. evil narrative.  Keeps it simple.)

Cult Tip:
If you want to keep it super sweet and simple,  just pick a side and then go with
whatever that side is saying about all the issues.  Lots less bother.
You’ll even get a script.

Either way,  the shoulds are clear:
you’re expected to weigh in and raise a flag on every issue.
In every fight.
At every moment.
And whatever work you’re learning or doing already,
you should do way more.

Are you tired already?

                                           One  option:   Succumb to inertia.   Or despair
Better option:
Find and focus on doing your work.

I believe in the work.
I believe that this season is pregnant with the call to dismantle racism,
to require justice for the marginalized, for the objectified,  for the de-humanized.
My heart burns hot for systemic change.

I also believe that we are all many parts
-you have a lane and it’s where you’re made to thrive,
where you’re most productive
and there your passion carries weight
that creates sustainable good.
In your lane,  the riffs your voice makes are not only delicious,
they also help make this planet and her people more whole.
You were born to fill that space – we need you there.

So how do you know that place?
How do you find that niche – your own true north?
Finding and filling it is maybe much of the work of being human
because we want to love wide,  yes,  but where exactly do we put our heft and hands
every single day?

The answers,  I believe,  are rumbling around down there in the deeps of your very own heart.
Always it’s in the heart connection- that God-container –
from which our truest and most satisfying life-living flows.

And what I want to say to you right now is
don’t be driven by the shoulds.
Especially in the loud of this season,
don’t lose your heart.
That still small voice in the quiet of you
– it’s your lifeline.

“There are a million creative paths through compassion work…
That thing that is bursting in your chest?  Listen to it.  Give it energy;  give it life.”
– Jen Hatmaker

My lane,  for now,  is to dive deep to listen and learn and also
to offer up process that helps turn up the quiet and cultivate the listen and know.
It’s been growing in me for years, this way, and it feels to me like
tall trees and big sky and laughing waters
and helps tug the trueness from my often overcrowded heart.
It’s been a slow and bumpy launch because of Covid, and my website is still in the works
because I’m still nose-to-the-ground like a hound dog in a tall meadow
sniffing out the path.
I’ll come back with details soon.

Congratulations to Elizabeth Nelson – I drew your name in the giveaway
and I’m honored to send you an art journal I made.  With big love!

Another giveaway this post.
This time it’s a print – a warm starry night in a Summertime garden.
15 x 20 inches
Leave a comment and you’re in the hat:)

 

Of treasure and need….

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This is for your hungry places,
where  the cold fingers of need creep up through your thin-worn soles,
and you feel small against the bluster of a wind that would slice right through.

For the places where you go mostly alone,
hunted down by fear that raises stiff the hairs on your neck,
the kind of fright that preys on perception
and sends you into scurry
like the monster beneath your childhood bed.

Scarcity.
We all have those places where we feel found wanting,
towered over by a freakish sock puppet shadow
screaming bold and frantic lies.
“Not enough,”  it howls.
Not for you.
For you there’s shortage.
Of provision.  protection. wisdom.  solution.  love and comfort.  health.  belonging.
And whatever that something,  the circumstance lies,
it proves what you’ve always feared:
you’re a failure and alone.
A misfit.

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I want to whisper something into that despairing hole of unmet need,
in that very place where you feel the smallest and weakest,
where hot tears puddle in a heart that feels betrayed
by the seeming plenty of those around you.

Things are not always as they seem.
There is enough for you
without cutting into anyone else’s goodness.

This isn’t how your story ends.
There is more,
and there are freshwater waves rushing toward your shores
to sweep away your thirst,
mercy soaking ground gone hard from disappointment
until it’s soft enough to let your dreams break through.

Don’t go bitter
from the spittle of yesterday’s hand-me-down beer.
Dive deep,  little pepper flake,  where the grateful waters flow:)
You’re gonna harvest pearls from these hard,  craggy shells
and find the treasure buried for you there.

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“Where there is ruin,  there is hope for a treasure.” – Rumi

(I’ll be sending a copy of my last zine of the year to Susan Troccolo
of Life,  Change,  Compost.
I just read her freshly published book
of essays on friendship and breaking new ground.
Wonderful read!  The Beet Goes On.  Go see:))

a bouquet to believe in….

It seems the world is smoldering
in pretty poisonous lies
and my soul droops a little weary,
heavy with all I can’t trust.
So I made a list of what I can
and it lit me up inside
and grew my peace to see
just how much I can wildly believe.

I believe in seeds and sanctuary,
hot baths and cool breeze,
in seasons and stories
and music and farming
and angels and acorns
and options and dreams.

In starshine and moonglow
and coffee and compost
and Christmastime magic
and moms and dads
and the reckless mercy of a loving God.

I believe in pruning and dancing
and vineyards and wine,
in fresh plenty grace,
even when it feels like I’m sucking it
through a tiny thin straw,
and in slowing down and losing the rush
(which seems to stretch the straw wide again)

I believe in real hope
– that it’s just about stronger than anything,
and that false hope is strong too,
but without the power to change.
I believe in desert
and in beauty
….that it isn’t the same as pretty.

I believe we’re born with our art inside us,
that we come alive as we let it out

and that resting is stronger than striving,
that clotheslines make life smell better
and that there is truth that  is brighter than day.

I believe in twinkle lights and naps
and rainy day rhythm,
in loving wildlife and killing mosquitoes
and that praise springs in vivid color and motion
from every growing thing,
whirling and twirling with wild affection
for a creator who is indescribably  good.

I believe in the smell of baby skin and  puppy breath,
fresh turned soil and pie in the oven,
that there is a peace that can override circumstances,
a love that never fails,
and that impossibles happen
often
and without fanfare.

And in you,  dear friend.
And that we’ll be okay and thrive
together
no matter whatever.