My hope is to offer encouragement to writers as well as those who simply love to read. You will find eclectic snippets here—news of projects I’m working on, comments regarding books I enjoy, favorite authors, quotes, and reflections regarding my own experiences. I especially like to write about my dreams—those parables in the night seasons. Symbols and metaphors delight and intrigue me. You will find them here.
It may be that we have lost our ability to hold a blazing coal, to move unfettered through time, to walk on water, because we have been taught such things have to be learned; we should deserve them; we must be qualified. We are suspicious of grace. We are afraid of the very lavishness of the gift.~Madeleine L'Engle (From Walking on Water--Reflections in Faith and Art)
This week I heard a story about a surgeon who transplanted a heart to a woman. The new heart did not immediately begin to beat. The physician then proceeded to do something unorthodox in the operating suite. He kneeled down and whispered to the woman, "I've removed your unhealthy heart and replaced it with a brand new one. It's all in place. Now you tell your heart to beat again." Almost at once, the woman's heart began to pulse with life.
Like physical hearts, sometimes our spiritual hearts can become hardened or wounded or broken. I believe that Jesus bends down and whispers in our ears, "Tell your heart to beat again. I've provided the mercy for that to happen. Don't be suspicious of the lavishness of my grace. Willingly receive my goodness, my Kingdom pulse."
Grace was the paintbrush. It carried me through.~Bill Fricke
This morning I'm trying to "tease out" the meaning of stillness. What does that word, that concept actually mean? The definition seems to imply rest, a quiet state, calmness, my hands free, my heartbeat steady, my mind tranquil. The peace of Jesus. And then what does it mean to reflect and embrace the peace of Jesus?
I believe receiving is involved. But then I often confuse the art of receiving with self-effort. Performance. Surely there's a formula I can follow, a five-step action plan. Directives. Machinations.
What if entering the door of the Lord's peace is walking in and receiving His hospitable ministrations? Simply to receive from Him with no worry of pay back or over-staying my welcome. To sit at His kitchen table and drink a strong cup of coffee with half and half. To hear Him say, "I freely give you my peace. It's not like the culture's peace that depends on happy circumstances. My peace transcends sorrow, self-doubt, shame, loneliness and lost dreams. There is no DIY plan with me. It's not about the performance. It's about the receiving." (See John 14: 26-27)
There is a feeling that comes--a gentle hit of recognition--when something is right for us.~Melody Beattie
I saw the slice of blue sky peeking through the side of the blinds in my study. I rose from my desk chair and lifted the window covering. A burst of lapis lazuli entered the room, a bank of white clouds accompanying the royal blue acreage. My mind felt contorted, though, my brain overwhelmed. I needed to give myself a break from the swirling content in my head. I opened a website I enjoy visiting to immerse myself in beautiful photographs. I spent an hour walking amidst the colors and imagery, the sky through my window a companion. I realized anew that it is important to regularly get in touch with what brings joy and beauty. What resuscitates delight is not something to sweep under the rug. It is important to amble through your preferences regularly. Otherwise you lose touch with yourself. Your creativity.
LIght and color from the sky bring me contentment. You know, those skies that are violet, pinpricked with smoldering stars. I love wearing bright scarves tied around my neck. Yesterday I wore an orange one and felt so much better. I love art on the walls. Clocks ticking softly in the stillness of a room. Burning candles that emit a subtle fragrance of vanilla or lavender. Laughter brings release. Music calms.
We know what we like, but often forget to make space for those things.
But Meridian, if you really want to write, if you really want to speak through your writing, to communicate anything of value, anything worth saying--well, you have to be fearless.~Elizabeth J. Church (From The Atomic Weight of Love)
It was so cold yesterday, the Carolinas frosted over. Ice and sleet. All I wanted to do was hunker down and read. And I'd discovered a book at the library. Or perhaps more accurately, the book found me. I decided to check one more aisle before I left the library. I wasn't entirely satisfied with the stash of titles in my book bag. None of them intrigued me much. Then I saw it. Some dear librarian must have believed the book deserved to be on display. The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J. Church. The cover was filled with different species of birds. The heroine's name was Meridian. That name! How glorious! I felt satisfied I'd have at least one book that triggered my curiosity.
I spent the whole of the frigid day warmed by brilliant writing. Even with punctured dreams and abundant regret, Meridian did not stop pursuing her passions. She returned day after day to the location of the crows she researched. She not only recorded their behaviors, but also began to sketch them. Write poetry. The alchemy of science and art brought healing. Enabled courage.
Wherever you are is the entry point.~Kabir
I decided not to merely pass by the beauty of the fountain like I did most days on my walk. I had a small plastic cube of trail mix in my pocket on a sunny winter day. Instead of going home and eating my snack on the porch, I walked down the grassy knoll to the pond. There is a fountain in the middle of the little body of water. I can see the fountain from my bedroom window, but I can't hear it. I sat down on the grass, took the trail mix from my pocket and began to savor the raisins and almonds and tiny squares of dark chocolate. I listened to the delicate sound of water as it sprayed from the fountain and gently plummeted into the pond. I felt such contentment, the sun's warmth on my face.
Lately, I'd been focused on life's uncertainties. COVID, sorting out retirement, relationships, finances. All of the negativity blurred together in my mind. Sitting by the fountain, the musicality of the water seemed to invite me, instead, to appreciate the beauty I'd been witness to of late. Beauty that fueled happiness. Like the fountain.