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.
A few red leaves still clung to branches of the tree at the outdoor cafe, but most had already fallen and lay at my feet in clusters of gold and brown. I'd come to the quiet retreat of the coffee shop to perform an experiment. For a few weeks I'd been singing Christmas carols. Since a child, I've memorized Christmas carols, picking them out on the piano, transfixed by the old language, not minding the "thees and thines," the "ye's and thou's." That day I'd brought my hardback hymnal with me to the cafe. As I'd been singing, I realized there were certain phrases that captivated me with their beauty. I wanted to write them down--like stringing language pearls.
I write the lines here as I collected them:
I noticed the pink Hello Kitty coffee cup first--the unmistakable tilting bow resting on the kitten's ear. No mouth. I stood in the meandering line at the grocery store. Buying decadent pumpkin bars and other Thanksgiving fare was going to take awhile. I smiled at the Hello Kitty lady. I wanted to keep reading the People magazine as I waited, but the Hello Kitty lady interrupted, "I saw you looking at my coffee cup. I'm obsessed with Hello Kitty stuff." It was then I observed the gray sweatshirt--Hello Kitty spelled out down one of the sleeves, and the kitten's unforgettable face emblazoned on the front. The woman turned to face me, and when she did, automatically smoothed the gentle mound of her abdomen, almost like petting the cat icon's head. "Yeah, I'm hoping the baby's a girl. I want to decorate the nursery in all things Hello Kitty." Then before I could close the pages of the People magazine, the Hello Kitty lady pulled down her lower lip. We were so close I could see the French manicure, the white tips contrasting with the pink lining of her lip. At first I didn't know what was happening, what she was doing. But I leaned just slightly forward and saw the teal-colored miniature head of Hello Kitty tattooed inside her lower lip. I shook my head in disbelief. "I know," she said and patted her lower lip with those French tips and chuckled, "It's true. I love Hello Kitty." At that moment the Hello Kitty lady gasped, "Sorry, I've been talking so much, I haven't been paying attention to the groceries." And when she bent over to remove the Tide from the bottom of her cart, there displayed across black yoga pants were the words "Hello Kitty."
I am fascinated by doors and gateways. What mystery might await me if I twist the knob and walk over the threshold--push open the gate?
This week I decided to "open" a metaphorical door--my morning pages. Four years ago, I began a spiritual practice of writing three pages in the mornings. I learned this practice from Julia Cameron, the renowned author of The Artist's Way. She recommends writing three pages of stream of consciousness longhand before the day begins. I have come to count on this practice as a form of prayer. I am frequently surprised that sprinkled between the mundane lines of "it's hard to get up and go to work one more day" (and the like), often what surfaces are deeper insights such as, "Rest is my best weapon."
At this time of year, nearing the end of 2016, I opted to go back six months to those pages and reflect--see what floated up. God seemed to speak to me. Comfort me. Affirm me. It was as if I opened one door and a hallway of doors became evident. I share some of these portals of reflection here. There were so many, I could not share them all--that "over-supply" that is God's way. You are welcomed to use the phrases that brimmed to the surface as a means of validation from the One who adores you, who is delighted with you--who is for you. Add your own.
I so want an ocean-size block of time to work on quotes and pictures and poems...my greatest need--I bump up against it time and again--is uninterrupted time alone. ~Journal Entry
Three nights ago I lay down to sleep and thought, "One more day." I could almost taste the upcoming time off. I felt weary from the grueling pace of managing hurting clients, too many meetings and endless paperwork. Then the unexpected. A training class was cancelled and my boss said, "You have the time planned away from the office. Go ahead and take the day off."
I ran for the page. Writing for me is refuge from a cacophonous culture. I enjoy writing in longhand. I make sketches of images that surface. I record quotes and poems. And this day, this serendipitous day of latitude, prayers flowed from my pen.
The reporter interviewed the Middle Eastern shepherd about his vocation, but I lost track of the main point of the story. All I could focus on was the lamb the shepherd held on his hip. The lamb's legs dangled down toward the shepherd's knees, the creature perfectly relaxed, its eyes at half-mast--drowsy, peaceful. The shepherd continued to speak with the reporter, but never loosened his grip on the vulnerable, white-faced lamb. In that dusty, hostile terrain, I noted the sweetness of the shepherd's embrace, the lamb's silent trust.
The shepherd interview made me think of a recent interaction. I received a phone call from a woman I'd not heard from in months. We used to work together and occasionally went out to lunch. She'd moved on to another job. Our lunches were often sprinkled with converstation about our faith in God. I was honestly surprised to hear from her and even more startled at her direct question after our pleasantries. "Priscilla, what would you say is the most important aspect in your relationship with God?"
"I'm curious why you're asking?"
"I'm not sure, really. I think maybe because whenever we were together you often spoke about the importance of grace. I'm not sure I understand grace. You came to mind. I know we've not spoken for a while. Sorry if I'm catching you off guard."