Feather of Mine

A number of years ago I took a graphic arts course in which we needed to create a logo for ourselves.  In fact, we had to hand-draw it, so obviously this happened in the time before internet ready-made downloads offered printed logos that could be selected and then “Photoshopped” to perfection.  I chose a feather, one with haphazard edges that represented to me at least, rugged days of wear and tear. I drew folded-over edges and creases that left my feather looking bent and crooked but as I surmised, a feather with personality!

A feather that had withstood its adaptation to the unknown environment of a forest floor.  A feather that had survived crushing forces of hiking boots, shuffling kicks from hooved animals, and flattening shoves of thrown backpacks.  I imagined my feather being discarded from its winged home, falling to the ground much like I would lose a strand of hair by brushing against a rough piece of bark while moving through the trees.  I pictured the swooping eagle descending closer and closer to catch its prey from the forest floor and then as it beat its wings to slow its descent a feather, a single feather dislodged from underneath its wing, finding its way to the path below.

Feather of mine, found as I tracked the trail through the woods, following the winding way to a place to be alone and ponder my thoughts.

I’m not sure if I drew my feather logo with detailed depictions of tattered strands because I had in mind its history or whether I drew it with its future unfolding before me.  To me, that feather represented a way to relate the words that I would share with others.  That feather would inspire me, as I felt not only its fine fragile hairs but its firm central shaft as well.  Created to be attached to the whole, to be part of a magnificent, powerful eagle wing.  How could it not lead my imagination to be a storyteller?

Years later, this feather of mine, this logo of who I believed I would be, this feather of mine, so crinkled and crumpled yet full of potential to create, this feather of mine is in my grasp again, and so I write, and so I write.

Blanket of Trust

As I return to writing on my blog following an extended absence while recovering from a concussion/traumatic brain injury, I want and need to explore what it means to trust again.  This is an unexpected path that now opens up before me.  Let’s walk it together…


In the middle of TRUST is the desire to believe.  This idea floats into my mind this morning as Dusty and I cozy up together on the sofa.  The predicted snowflakes swirl outside, buffeted by currents of unseen, untraceable, unimaginable gusts of wind.  The snowflakes, crystallized creations with the briefest existence continue their unpredictable descent to the ground below.  They will find a comfortable landing as their sparkling beads of ice slide together, softening from unique diamond-like conceptions to a blended blanket of decoration.

The clock ticks in the background and I hear over and over again, in the middle of TRUST is the desire to believe.

I scroll back over the past weeks to recall my sweet granddaughter, Violet, during one of her visits at our house.  We had gone outside so that she could enjoy a scooter ride before bedtime.  As she pushed herself from the garage to the driveway rain began to fall.  “Oh no, it’s raining,” she began to whine.  “We’re going to get wet, oh no.  Too wet for my ‘cooter.”  I walked outside and held up my palms to determine how quickly the raindrops were falling.  A bit of wind caught me by surprise and I turned to see Violet scrunching her face into a pout beneath her bike helmet.  She wiped away a raindrop that fell directly on her nose.  Then as a second burst of cold air caught me by surprise, I heard Violet exclaim. “Nana it’s snowing!  Yay it’s snowing!”  She climbed off her scooter threw back her head and stuck out her tongue to try to catch a falling snowflake.  “Nana I caught one!”  She began running in circles beneath the snowflakes that grew larger and larger amidst the blustery winds.  Gone was the whining, laughter pulling her scrunched-up face into smiles and open-mouthed delight.  She literally gulped air and snowflakes while she twirled about.

In the middle of TRUST is the desire to believe.  I want that.  I want that immediate reaction that switches off any moment of despair and turns on snowflake delight.  I want to model the wonder of a toddler who can’t stop spinning in the middle of her complete and utter amazement.  I want to be baffled a by a new beginning.

In the middle of TRUST is the desire to believe Like a unique snowflake, I find myself swirling about in my situation where unimaginable gusts of wind throw me off course.  I want to be held by uplifted palms or guided by unseen currents to a gentle landing. I want to understand the desire to believe, to TRUST wholeheartedly, spontaneously.  Where does my trust begin?  Where does it end?  My TRUST, it feels like I am somewhere in the middle, it surrounds me and moves me. I am like a snowflake created uniquely for a time…and so whenever I can and for as long as I can, I need to feel the coolness of the dancing wind. I need to follow its path, to hold up my desire to believe and to let myself blend into a beautiful blanket of TRUST.

Timely Leaps of Thought

Ah the extra day of February!! The extra moments that we all enjoy in a year when we simply wake up and receive the extra time as an unexpected gift. Seconds, minutes, hours, sifting into our day, slowly adding on to our activities, nudging into our conversations, catching us unaware but affording us with time, unseen, unfelt, unknown but present for each of us.

There’s a part of me that would like to hold this extra time as if it were placed reverently inside the palm of my hand, perhaps like a wrinkled plush blanket with folds upon folds of warmth jumbled into a pile, yet promising a comforting collapse into a safe place, “come, leap into this pattern of tumbling time!”

I know we all wish we could rise up on our tiptoes and crane our necks so we could see over and beyond to what may come next. Our prescheduled days perhaps allow us little options, little opportunities to pause and picture what extra time might mean to us.

Where is it? Why can’t we see it, feel it and know that it is there for us?

Why can’t we fall back on it and let it hold us for just a moment, just a peaceful sigh and a refilling of empowerment? What would it feel like to toss up that bundle of seconds, moments, and hours; so we could let it lightly cover us, not blinding our sight but allowing a filtered transparent look into our future?

Our darling 8-month-old granddaughter came to visit this past weekend. For her, every moment she spends awake she attempts to decipher the meaning of this world around her. She stuffs every toy into her mouth, over her tongue, along her gums (and now two little teeth), to figure out what they are and to make sense of them. She runs her fingers over the ridged bumps, and fluffy pictures in her books. She slams her hands on the piano keys and into her food to create new sounds and to feel what’s before her, what’s offered to her. When I throw a see-through scarf over her head she pushes her nose tightly against it so she can look more clearly through the weave; so she won’t miss the world around her, but push into the time that has draped over her. I look into her eyes peering out, wide open and full of wonder. I can almost hear her say, “What happens next, Nana?”

When I gesture with my hands up and ask where she is, she raises her hands too, but locks her eyes into mine with that questioning, sincere laughing look. She doesn’t know it, she doesn’t understand it, she doesn’t have any concept of time, but she is leaping into it, staring into the unknown. Within the folds of her precious mind she wonders, what happens next?

And so my timely thoughts today focus on how I will look ahead from this leap year day. As I type this message I have already chosen how I am spending my extra time. I want to be enthused and energized by the ways I experience “the new toys” that come into my daily life. Not afraid or fearful, but hopeful and confident in my approach. Each day we clean up and put away the people, the lists, the notes, the conversations, the task items, the repetitive realities, the assembly lines, the deadlines, the dreaded jobs we have to get done, the transfer of to do lists to the next day, the meetings, the traffic congestion, the bill payments. Each day we clean up and put them away and wait for another new start, a new tomorrow. Days end with overpowering reality as the news media reports more depressing accounts of terrorism, politics, and environmental mayhem complete with the viewpoint that we merely exist at the mercy of the world around us. We may find ourselves thinking why do we want any extra time to muddle through what seems like a world slowly colliding in upon itself. What will a few extra moments provide?

What if we hadn’t already defined what time meant to us? What if our day was simply measured by new discoveries, new sensations, and new meanings? What if our day could be interpreted with the eyes and senses of a little child? What if we could anticipate how every person or every conversation could lead us to another understanding of what might come next in our life? What if we looked through to see the world in a new way, to peer up close and look out with a sincere laughing wonder? What if hope truly led us forward, in our thoughts, in our actions, in our words?

What if these extra moments we have received today become timely leaps of thought, helping to empower us to begin each day in an attitude of hope.

Extra time, right in our hands, tumbling towards our finger tips, rolling back and forth ready to be lifted up and thrown over us, to catch us unaware like a little child looking out, wondering what happens next?

Timely leaps of thought, pushing us, reminding us, an extra day can bring us time to hope.

A Snowflake’s Link to Heaven

We all have cherished ones in our lives in the midst of illnesses or situations that will bring their earthly time to an end.  The other morning I arose with these thoughts in mind for a dear friend…

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Yesterday’s snowfall seemed to come and go so sporadically as if each snowflake awaited its turn to slide down through the skies and take its place on earth. I paused and thought of you surrounded by your loved ones, each so uniquely filled with love and hope for you coming to offer their presence like a snowflake gently landing close by, sliding next to you to bring sweet refreshment and comfort.

When I look at the layered snow this morning it seems that each snowflake linked within the pattern of the other one and simply sighed in relief.

I am praying that as you sense how each one of your family surrounds you with their unique and beautiful love you will be filled with a contented sigh. You will know beyond a doubt the depths of their love for you. You will marvel how you simply fit together, trusting how the patterns blend and create a more perfect wholeness.

I pray that you will feel the wonder and beauty of your life as you rise to take your place in heaven. To marvel at the way you will be gently lifted up, upon a current of unseen but powerful grace, and specifically placed within the loving arms of Jesus. You will find your link within that love, and with those who long to cherish and love you there.

Looking out onto the undisturbed snow, the coming dawn begins to highlight the endless intricate facets of fallen snowflakes. Oh the sparkling wonder of each one.

I hear laughter, I feel tears, I feel the arm in arm happiness of knowing that nothing can or ever will separate you from the strength and power of God’s enduring love. It’s as secure as being swung around in your family’s carefree craziness, it’s as true as being thrown off course by their resounding surprises.

May you always know how dear and true you are to those who know you best. May you always know how cherished and adored you are by God and how your life reflects His love to your family.

Be at peace in His love, always Denise…

Jesus said to her,” I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, through he may die, he shall live. And whoever live and believes in me shall never die. “

John 11:25-26

 

Staging the Day

Gee I didn’t think the early morning dawn met me at 4:03 AM but unfortunately I awoke believing my body clock instead of the one that measures the daylight.  I can’t help but feeling like a shy actor peeking out from behind the curtain before show time, the house lights help direct the audience to their seats in all that pardon me and oh I’m just down the row past your knees only to have everyone adjust their focus to the stage.  I can’t help but wondering if they imagine themselves in the setting if they have already taken the liberty to immerse themselves in the storyline becoming overtaken by one of the characters if not in body then at least in emotion and thought.  Here, here, take on my role for the day, here’s my lines, or my expected banter, here’s my direction for the scenes that lay ahead, here’s my outline of how my feelings will be yanked from one situation to the next.  Here play me, Step into my conversations, my physical interactions, my spontaneous reactions, my unpredictable life.

Okay, enough of that.   The tree in the kitchen shines on despite the few strands of disconnected lights that never found a way to sparkle this Christmastime. The contrasting branches in darkness and light act as mini spotlights for the ornaments dangling throughout it.  Odd how the annual ritual of displaying objects of the past brightens the beginning and end of each of my December days.  I wish I could simply keep it there, rotating the ornaments to suit the challenges of the coming days.  Allowing the dormant lights to motivate and inspire me.  Can I create the spark to help them shine?  Can I develop the necessary energy to become the source of all that  I simply want to be to others?  Joy, peace, love, gentleness, self-control, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, patience. What if these are my ornaments waiting to have the illumination of my spirit to properly have them reflected to others?  What if I am like an old light strand, losing my connection to help me be truly illuminated to others?  I want to be attached to the right branch, to be plugged into the proper circuit, to not short out but on occasion throw out some sparks to sprinkle into the mix.

So I’m pulling back the curtain on the dawn of a new day.  I’m like this kitchen tree slightly leaning to one side, three quarters lit, haphazardly adorned, yet throwing off enough light to generate at least the semblance of hope for the new day.  I have no idea how many times I may have a miscue in my role, or stumble over the lines I wish I had memorized for the scenes that will unfold.  I can’t predict who comes to fill the seats before me, who steps on somebody’s toes on their way to the prime viewing seat of my life.  I don’t even know if all the circuits will align and allow me to clearly communicate the ideas and agenda for the day.

Yet here we go.  Time clicks on past 5 AM, the full moon has its last hurrah over the coming day.  Breathe in, breathe out, let the blessing of the day begin.

I don’t know where these thoughts arose from this morning, I only know that I want to explore the way each new day begins, beholds its gifts, beckons us to shine even when we believe we can’t, and darn it, provides the stage, even when we would prefer to hide behind the curtain and watch the audience instead.

Ramblings for this morning.  Perhaps I should revisit and revise!!

There’s a lovely thought, revisit with you dear friend and revise our hopes for the day!!

Okay—Act One, Scene One, enter stage right.  Light it up, and make way, the curtain rises on 2016!

 

For All Those in Love

It’s Always Time to Say Yes!

Today when I read about a Blog Hop occurring tomorrow through the on-line Bible study I am enrolled in, I decided it was a great opportunity to return to my blog.  Almost a year has passed since I allowed myself the time to write here.  Honestly, I admit to being swept into a whirlwind of commotion, because last year I said “yes” to God when an opportunity for a new job came my way.

Just before the wedding of our younger son in July 2012, I had sent up a small prayer of wonder: I wonder what I should do next God?  I wonder if working in a church might be a consideration?

We returned from the wedding, walked into church and decided to sit next to a friend of ours who that morning sat alone, without his wife by his side, since she was entertaining out-of-town guests.   The service began with a surprising announcement that our church was seeking a new office administrator and if anyone was interested, you could talk to the Chair of the Board.  I turned to our friend, who just happened to be that guy, and whispered, “I think I might be interested in the job.”

A couple of weeks later my husband Brad came home to announce that he would be let go from his job at the end of the month. As Brad walked away from his position, I began the process to step into this new role at our church.  However, over the next little while, I argued back and forth with God that perhaps this truly wasn’t the best placement, that someone else certainly could handle the accounting procedures better than me.  Lo and behold our church hired a bookkeeper, and I humbly mumbled my gratitude to God, instead of loudly grumbling my complaints to him.

At the same time, Brad and I found that we were mining the depths of our commitment to each other, as he struggled through job interviews and rejections.  Thankfully a close friend offered Brad work with his contracting business, while we muddled through this difficult time.  We struggled through our prayers to God, offering ourselves over and over again in his service.  We strove to remain optimistic, to trust his timing, to understand the lessons we needed to learn.  We prayed, we prayed, and we prayed.

After walking through eight months of unemployment, a job offer in an unexpected area came Brad’s way.  He wouldn’t have envisioned himself at this company, but God had, and knew precisely when Brad should be placed there.  We marveled, as we felt immersed by God’s grace.

As the summer and our older son’s marriage approached, we looked forward to truly celebrating the commitment of he and his fiancé’s love. A few weeks before this wedding I found myself offering up another small prayer of wonder to God.

I wonder if I can truly focus my thoughts to write the “toast of love” they requested us to offer at the reception.  I didn’t know if I could find the time, let alone the ideas to create a worthy toast of love.

About the same time I received an email from one of the women in our church that she was going to sign up to do an on-line Bible study called, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, starting a week after the wedding, and could I send the word out to encourage other women to join her. Great I thought, one more thing to squeeze into the days before I took time off.  Wouldn’t it be easier to just ignore this request?  However, the title seemed to echo through my soul, I rolled the word yes around in my mind thinking about what it represented.

Yes, a yearning for more, an enthusiasm for more, a sureness of something more.   Just like a prayer, a prayer of faith, of enduring hope and unwavering trust.  Yes, a word of prayer that promises so much more.

I also had to chuckle to myself, because my repeated phrase to Brad as we focused on the wedding was, “whatever they ask of us, the answer is always, yes. “

Eventually, I followed through on the Bible Study information by saying yes to promoting it.  I ordered six books thinking that if the response was limited the leftover books could find a home in our church library.  And then God took my yes, and multiplied it.

We now have 24 women participating in this summer study and more are asking questions about it.  I just ordered another batch of books even though the study has already begun.

And for me, this study has brought me full circle back to my writing blog, abandoned last year amidst the anxiety of what would happen next.  When I read today’s study message I sent out another little prayer.  I wonder God, should I write something on my blog and participate in the blog hopping tomorrow?

After a busy day at the church I didn’t think I would have the ability to focus, but I opened my blog to read my last post in which I reminded myself to be gentle with my writing.

Even as I try to bring this to a close, I am breathing in a reassuring burst of energy that wants only to respond to whatever God wants me to do.  Has this been a year of wondering what will happen next?  Yes!  Has this been a year of being led into the unknown? Yes!  Has this been a year when saying yes has meant wave after wave of more opportunities to say yes? Yes!

The words from this week’s study that resonated loud and clear to me were these:

Saying yes to God “is having the overwhelming desire to walk in the center of God’s will at every moment.”

Yes… to yearn, enthusiastically, for the sureness of His love!

By the way, I did manage to write a toast to love for our son’s wedding.  When I said yes to that, God provided the words to come together.  Check back to this website to read the toast; after I edit it to fit into this blog!

Dee