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.
Yesterday I took out all my old dinnerware from the cabinet and replaced it. The experience resembled finding new words to replace over-used words in a manuscript.
What was it about the dishes that brought me unease, that compelled me to purge them? They were not ugly. Swirls of lime green, pink, yellow, salmon, blue and strokes of black, edged the plates in a pattern named Fantasia. I wanted to hang onto them, in a way. I'd been ambivalent about replacing them for more than ten years. Could it be that long? I'd had them for twenty years. I'd find myself perusing tableware at Wayfair, but could never settle on something I liked. Last week, I'd browsed online and a set of ceramic plates, bowls and cups caught my eye, each piece a deep shade of blue, edged in white. They weren't expensive. On impulse, I ordered the set. In a matter of days, the box of dishes sat on my front porch.
For you've been a safe place for me, a good place to hide.~Psalm 59:16
I sit in the jade-colored chair in the corner of my room. The chair is positioned beneath a window where sun can spill over me, like skeins of silk. The week has been long, and I tilt toward fatigue. I can hide here in this sunlit space for a while. Writing in longhand. I make a list of all the locations God provides me to hide, to breathe deeply. To rest.
~Wavering flames of candles--the clean smell of white tea and aloe creates a refuge with its scent.
~My Funny Valentine. Why do I like this song so much? But don't change a hair for me, not if you care for me...It is okay to be imperfect here in this place where I hide. Stay little Valentine stay...each day is Valentine's day.
~White birds. They are like a gathering of angels, curved necks bowed to drink from green-blue tidal waters...lacerating me with their beauty. Do they see me? Let me stand here just a bit longer. Just a few moments more.
Perhaps, if I'd known what the day held, I'd have tightly gripped my blanket and drawn it up over my face and declared, "No, not today. I can't do that. No, not today, not ever."
His six-foot plus height was almost too much for my orange pleather office chair. He slouched to accommodate the inadequate dimensions--his chin slanted toward his chest. I could see the whorl of hair at his crown, light brown curls spilling over his head. He raised his gaze to meet mine, and I noted his eyes glinted topaz. He squinted in anger. "I don't trust you. You're inept at your job. I came here to get help. Do you want me to go out and shoot up heroin? Do you?" I could feel indignation rising in my throat. Taste sourness. I wanted to throw this person out of my office. I wanted to scream at him, "Don't you realize that I'm attempting to go through the channels to get you support?" Of course, he had no idea. And it was then that things changed in my mind. Where transformation occurs. When I was willing to walk and think in an opposite spirit.
The dream came as inspiration. The dream came as comfort.
I sat with a six-year-old girl on a park bench. We turned toward each other and made eye contact. Light glinted from brown eyes. I read at once vulnerability and intelligence. She asked, "Did you read my book?" I shook my head, "No, I said, I want to, though. I understand that you are here today to receive an award for the book." "Yes, but that's not so important." She hopped from the bench and extended her hand to me. "You want to go for a walk? It's so pretty here; there's a lot to explore." Her enthusiasm magnetized me. I noticed, though, that this child appeared neglected, her hair tangled and uncombed. She wore a faded dress and her shoes showed scuff marks and worn out soles. Yet she exuded joyful expectation as children do, despite circumstances. I placed my hand in hers. What might I discover with this adorable child? Might I help her? Might she help me?
As I've pondered and prayed about the meaning of this dream, I concluded that the child is an aspect of myself. This child is a creative muse. She is the writer. She is the one who says, "Don't you just love how the sunlight falls on that grove of trees?" "Why look at that rose bush. It's erupting in pink!" she exclaims. She's the one who begs, "Let's stay at the library just a little bit longer. You only want to run and pick up your books on hold. But let's browse. A book might find us...won't that be fun?" Her eyes light up when we plan a walk down by the ocean. "We might see some dolphins leaping out of the water today. Yay!" She's the one who suggests, "Let's stop on our trail walk at the swing by the marsh. That back and forth motion on the swing feels so free. I love it. And then we'll see the sunset too."
The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of God just before you.~Robert Louis Stevenson
I bent to tie my shoelaces, fingers stiff with cold. I had forced myself to go outside on the blustery, winter afternoon. I didn't hold out much hope that this walk in the frigid air would restore my motivation. For the past few weeks, I'd felt dulled regarding continuing to write, my love for the practice diluted. "Why bother?" I asked. I knew the answer already. "Because you love words. Because you love beauty. Because you enjoy encouraging others not to give up on their artistic pursuits. Because you know that the process of creating things brings healing and joy." I had grown fatigued and lonely, though. When I get lonely and tired along the artist's trail, I go back to nourishing locations where I know I'll find encouragement. I went back to Julia Cameron. All her works have inspired me, but I return again and again to her Artist's Way trilogy. This time I opened up the third book in the series: Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance.
The first page I turned to, I read a sentence I'd previously underlined. It took courage to allow myself to pursue something that I loved. Tears leaked from the corners of my eyes. The validation of that sentence felt like God's kiss on my cheek. It can feel easy to quit. I kept reading.