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.
The blue, gold, pink and green string of Christmas lights shone in the darkness of my living room. I wanted to feel festive. Surely the display should make me glad, should fill me with joy, this season full of reminders of God's goodness, the celebration of our great King, come in that paradox of humility and majesty. Yet I was not thinking these thoughts I sat on my red-cushioned sofa, a leopard-print throw draped around my shoulders, feeling fear. I felt so well physically, I wondered out loud, "Could this good feeling last? What if the cancer returned?" I couldn't even remember the name of the wretched type of tumor that invaded my body. Stupidly, I got on my phone and found the tumor's name, the memory of experiencing chemotherapy seeming to choke me. Why had I done that? Dredged all that up? Now the grim name seemed to cast shadows in my living room filled with the vintage-colored lights.
Then, like always, the beauty and power of Scripture rescued me. I remembered that each time before I entered the chemo treatments, I read out loud Psalm 18. It is the Psalm that David wrote and sang to God after being saved from all his enemies and Saul. I needed rescue from my enemy. Each time I read David's words, I was revived with courage, with hope, with strength. I got out my Bible, its pages awash with a pink glow from the Christmas lights, and began to read out loud.
~This was the skin that protected you from the world--this loving of another person you shared your life with.--Elizabeth Strout (From Anything Is Possible)
I opened the app on my phone to see a photo I looked at for a time. I observed my husband gently spooning warm broth to his mother who lay in a hospital bed. Giovanni's strong hand gripping the spoon stood in stark contrast with his mother's vulnerable posture. I noted the silver bracelet he wears around his right wrist, his only adornment, like a symbol of royalty.
Giovanni's mother fell. She needed bed rest. His first response was to go to her. He had just returned from a trip to his homeland in Italy. Yet he decided to go back immediately. This response to serve courses through his DNA. I liken this trait to a vast blue sky that lives within him, that inhabits him and drives him to serve others. When I looked at the picture, I felt the brilliance of that sky well up within me too.
My study is like a bench of contemplation this morning. The rain streams down the window pane so that I cannot go outside to think and ponder. Yet this warm office suffices as a room to contemplate, a candle burning, its winter pine scent permeating the air. I hear the ticking clock--like the heartbeat of time, patiently marking my life--moving forward with each beat.
I pause to ask myself some questions as 2018 nears its close and 2019 hovers just ahead.
I like taking inventory--making adjustments. What do I keep? What do I add? Where do I let go?
I wondered if perhaps you might like these questions too...
Autumn is my favorite season. I enjoy orange pumpkins for sale in the grocery store, pots of gold and yellow chrysanthemums sitting on porch steps. The crunch of leaves underneath my feet. I like to sit outside and write in my journal, relishing cooler winds and changing colors. At times, I go back to my journals and pick out phrases or paragraphs that remind me of thoughts and feelings I'd like to remember. Prayers for help. The following is an eclectic collection I've written this fall...
~The morning feels as if summer found autumn. The air is cool, the sun bright, the day beautifully imbued with freshness. I am hanging onto my own "freshness," slicing through the chaos and hubbub of the morning at the clinic. I am getting more skilled at being patient with people. Letting go of resentments. Letting go of my own expectations of how life "should" be.
~Abiding is on my mind this day. Staying in the light. I am tempted toward negative thoughts about writing. "How will I ever figure out this book project? People are moreso attracted to audible books now than they are to paperbacks...but I won't obsess about this. I'll keep taking the next right step. God, what is the next step?"
~Another morning where my weight is up, and I regret the way I have eaten. UGH. More important, it is a new day with new mercies. I will not live inside shame. I will trust God and receive His peace and wisdom this day. I will apprehend His joy and favor. I will expect that because I am deeply loved and experience intimacy with Him, I have no need for thoughts that bode toward unease and fretting. I will adopt this way of thinking. I can practice a new thought process because God provides the grace that I need. Thank you. I am grateful. I rejoice.
~Your peace, Lord, is what I lean into today. Your peace. Your kindness. Your gentleness is a weapon in my hand. Help me, Lord, to stay and abide in the light. I trust you. Your favor. Your ability to assuage my fears. You are good. You are good. You are good. Your yoke is easy. Your burden light. Your kingdom ways so diferent from the world's ways. Continue to renew my mind with your peace and poise. Your wisdom. I know I can count on that, Lord. I know I can. And I do.
The asphalt road spooled before me, like a black river. Trees wearing fall reds and golds bordered the thoroughfare. I could hear leaves gently rustling in the cool breeze. Rays of sunlight lasered through tree branches, an impossibly blue sky peered down on me. I could hardly comprehend the beauty of orange leaves falling at my feet. I welcomed the slight muscle strain I felt in my calves as I made my way up and down the hills of a country road in Oklahoma. One of my sisters owns a cabin in those woods, and invited my other sister and me to spend a few days on a retreat.
I had stolen away from our talk fest to take a walk, to work out some of my thoughts and feelings that bothered me. I felt intimidated by my two sisters. I felt envious. Both of them were physically beautiful and fit. I'd struggled with my weight since becoming ill last year--hadn't taken off the last ten pounds of the twenty I'd gained during chemo. I continued to feel ambivalent about the decision to let my hair reamin silver. I was the youngest of the three. Surely I appeared to be the oldest sister now. They, too, lived such lives of purpose, their faith in God genuine. Tangible. They were organized and productive, their homes beautifully decorated. In comparison, I felt less-than. I struggled with almost everything that seemed to come more easily for them. My thoughts spiraled increasingly toward the negative. A voice in my head gently said, "Don't do this. Don't do this to yourself, or to your sisters. You know they love you unconditionally. No matter how you look or what you have or don't have." I sensed God say, "Look. Look at the sunlight penetrating through the groves of trees. That sunlight is like my light of grace piercing through the toxicity of comparison. Listen to the sunlight."