Familiar Things

The sun coming in and landing on the succulents.

The Labrador looking longingly out the tall windows.

A phone call before 4, my teacher daughter calling to tell of her day, even the ring or ding, somehow familiar.

My morning, familiar. The sound of stirring of his spoon in coffee cup, so very noisy, intentional and purposed, everything my husband does, he does to be sure it is done.

The habit I have. A little bullet dot by my prayers, to flip the page back the next day and hope to turn the dot to starlike asterisk.

These things, I cherish. They are my familiar.

Last night, we had food together and everyone was seated, we would bless our meal. My sister in law, Julia came and just my daughter, her husband.

My husband would pray and end with “keep us in your will”, instead I asked Julia to pray.

She took a second after saying okay and then prayed.

“You pray just like MeMa. I heard MeMa praying for a little bit.” my daughter said, and we all we’re quiet in agreement, had a little moment, I thought of her prayers, familiar, comforting, an unexpected joy.

I know I needed.

“…always pray with joy”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Linking up with others today here:

http://fiveminutefriday.com/2017/11/23/fmf-link-up-familiar/

Blue, I Believe

If grace had a color,

Don’t you think it’d be blue?

Blue like the clear sky or the ocean seen from up high.

If grace has a color, I believe it to be blue.

Blue like the glimpse of bird wing resting for a tiny time or captured by my eye, in the periphery flying by.

If grace had a color, it’d be blue I believe.

Blue almost grey like a feather, a tint so faintly blue that might welcome our wrapping up cocoon like in its covers, the blue that says I see your sorrow, it will not last forever; lie down now.

Rest here in this grace.

Or blue like cobalt, strong and weighty in hue, secure

Or like sapphire, a richly wrapped paper covered box placed in front of you at the table.

A glorious presentation.

Grace,

A gift.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Sure as I’m Able

I love the part about being sure.

I love the thought of that assurance lasting ’til the end of my days.

But, I can’t decide which I love more.

The sure or the without end.

I wrote it down, like I’d written “trust” one time before.

“Always”

I might use a ballpoint and pretend I’ve been brave enough to be branded.

Write “Always Believe” on the thick part of my palm, the spot that seems the place the thumb finds naturally.

I walked up the hill last night and the sky was marked by a straight arrow white line of jet plane on its way.

I watched for longer than made sense.

Captivated by the distance.

So very distant.

Far away.

I thought I’ll never see the sky the same.

I’ll forever look for white lines going away with trust and sure faith that they will come back.

“He’s got the whole world in His hands.”

And I’m certain there are things I never thought I’d see happen even if they only happened from a distance and without me.

And that’s been quite something else for sure!

To have seen how far they can go.

And how close my Lord can stay.

I know He has been with me always, with them, with us and it’s not yet the end of the age.

So, I will be sure.

Be sure of this…

The whole world

The whole sky wide world

is in His hands.

Dogs and People

Here’s a Sunday morning something you already know.

Dogs just know.

Dogs know their people.

Long, sad sounds sporadic all night long.

My voice is like my daughter’s we’ve been told.

I fell in and out of sleep in the place just the length of me and struggled for the covers the big brown dog made immovable, laid down on, heavy and silent.

The beagle had taken the black dog’s bed.

The black dog wandered the length of hall.

Made long and longing sounds.

“Eli, Eli.” I implore and he comes into the room reluctantly.

Gets up close, another sigh, then wanders back down the hall to wait for the one who is not me.

Dogs just know.

Daylight now and he’s decided I suppose, I’ll do

for now.

Because of Love

There was no excuse in my not turning back. I stopped.

She stopped. I waited and she stood still.

I turned left towards town and quick thoughts were an effort to make sense of my driving away.

“You’re headed to a kitchen called Grace, Lisa.”

“You are serving breakfast to the homeless. It is 36 degrees outside and there’s a woman bundled up in black and burdened down by her baggage and you left her there, afraid of what she might do.”

So, I turned around and saw her walking in the cold and damp high weeds.

I pulled over. Spoke to her through my open window.

She was not impressed.

She would not let me take her to a shelter. She said I didn’t know, I didn’t understand.

I implored her to tell me more, told her where I was headed, told her I work with the homeless…”Come and have breakfast” I said.

“No.”

Her face was anxious and her eyes angry…she said “I don’t think so.

No.”

I waited. She walked on. I drove away.

Chose a different road, not sure if I wanted not to see her again or her see to me drive away. I changed my direction.

I looked to my left towards the sun breaking through, landing on the open fields and the clouds were slowly shifting,

telling me to move on.

Told me to let go, let God. You can pray. You will.

I cried for just a second. For her condition and mine too and hoped I might see her at the kitchen called Grace.

But, no.

We served scrambled eggs, grits, bacon, biscuits, coffee and gave out bags we’d put together with items needed to be clean and fresh.

Arms reached for them. Eyes met mine. Good morning, Good Day, God is good and could I get another bag for my friend?

And then, a kind word and a smile on the face of a woman that saw my soul.

“How are you this morning?” She asked and touched my hand.

I said “I am good, God has good things for me to see today.”

She said, “Yes, it is good to see another day.”

And I sat with her a second, settled by her love.

And realized I had turned back this morning because of love and love had been offered up and love given me in return.

And the moment that I’d decided might ruin my day made it so much more significant, the love I had chance to give, the love given me.

“And do everything with love.”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭16:14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Listen

I looked up from my late day desk yesterday.

Caught off guard, I did not hear her walk in.

I rose to meet her, her neighbor couldn’t accompany her, she’d decided to come on her own.

“Good”, I said. “I’m glad you came.”

Almost a half hour before the others, I told her it’s fine. It’s good. It’s hard to walk into a room and know no one.

Now, you know me, and I, you.

I tried not to keep gazing there, the place where the light seemed so warm, so soft this evening, a day after I still think of their embrace.

I question what it is with me, the way I’m drawn to such sights.

The thin branches reaching out, reminded me of them, open and tenderly brave.

It reminded me of listening.

I sat between them, the three of us, mothers.

The one new to the gathering began to speak about her son’s suicide.

The room fell silent.

Reverent.

She looked past me towards the other and asked, “When did you stop blaming yourself?”

Seconds only passed, the imploring of her words, and I noticed the mother three years into grief over her son’s suicide, move slowly from her seat to stand.

Only for just a small breath of a moment did I think to respond. I should comfort.

Instead, I stood and with my hand on the shoulder of the mother to my left, I helped her over to the mother on my right.

I had missed it, that she was on the edge of sorrow, that there were tears about to overflow.

Somehow, she did, the mother to my left.

And, not a single word spoken. Their arms raised to meet the other, shoulders rhythmic with release of tears.

It seemed quite a while; but, the wait not the least bit unsettling.

The father of the son of the one gone three years, the husband of the one offering embrace.

He began to cry. I looked his way, looked slowly away and I joined with them in my own tears. My not nearly comparable mama tears.

Finally, after such a beautiful long time their arms unfolded.

She said, “Thank you.” to the mama who knew and sat slowly back down.

And the other mama waited, as if to be sure and I listened to the voices of grief I can never quite comprehend.

Praying I don’t.

Believing in the Beautiful Divine

The 9th Chapter in the Book of John is filled with dispute, with arguments, with debate, denial, doubt and disbelief.

Even the mama of her boy who’d been blind all her life who believed she was the one to blame refused to take joy in her son’s finally seeing.

She must have known it was Jesus, only a Messiah could accomplish what they’d all decided would never come true.

But, it was the Sabbath, what a rebellion!

He told the disciples, this is not a punishment of God displayed in this man, blind since his birth.

This is an opportunity, a time that will be seen as the display of God’s glory through me.

“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.”

Jesus

‭‭John‬ ‭9:3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

And so, Jesus made a healing paste of dirt from the ground mingled with his spit. He covered the man’s eyes with the muddy medicine and told him, go wash it off now.

He came back seeing.

Others saw him and were all abuzz about the beggar that used to sit begging and was blind.

Jesus didn’t hang around to be questioned, noticed, gawked over or even credited.

He went away and the man who could see told them all about Jesus.

It mattered not that the Pharisees were disgruntled over the day of his healing.

It mattered not that his own mother couldn’t quite say for sure that she believed.

He was blind and now believed.

In all the beauty he’d not seen and now could see.

He believed in the Son of Man.

He saw what is possible, if only we’d believe.

Believe in God’s Son

Believe in the times he has shown us His glory.

Believe in the times He will when all around us there are no reasons to believe what we long to see.

“When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man? ” The man answered, “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.” “You have seen him,” Jesus said, “and he is speaking to you!”

“Yes, Lord, I believe!” the man said. And he worshiped Jesus.”

‭‭John‬ ‭9:35-38‬ ‭NLT‬‬

And he will leave us with our stories of our healing to the ones all around who may argue, doubt, refuse to believe…and we’ll not be silenced, we’ll maybe find it hard to believe, all the things we have seen because we believe in His beauty, divine.

Does it ever catch your eye

Beauty divine

In an old man’s tears

A little girl’s smile

If it feels like a song

One that belongs

To you

Stop making sense

Your weakest defense

Just quiet your mind

Let the world unwind

See we’re not alone

He makes Himself known

In time

His own time

So breathe

Life will surprise you

Just Be

It’s what the world denies you

You see

The truth is all around you

Believe

We’re not alone

He makes Himself known

In time, His own time

Does it ever catch your eye?

Brandon Heath

More Silent an Ambition

The whole house quiet with the embrace of a frosty fog, I was awakened by the ding of a message from another place I couldn’t begin to know what it’s like there.

I open the back door and the sun is working its way through the pines to the place where they all played.

He sends me photos and a video of the place where Jesus sat in the middle of the men he’d had walking with him, had been giving them glimpses of His glory, His grace, grooming them to carry on without Him. They had supper together before He was crucified for them, for us.

The little bulleted prayer list now has an asterisk “guide Austin’s steps” denoting God’s answer.

Changing my path too,

I’m slowly seeing more surely.

I’m sitting in the silence and reading, confounded over this place here that holds my words. Seems my audience has gone silent. I’ve decided, this is a sovereign sign.

I have been a bit ambitious for acceptance, might have gotten a little lost in the “ahh”

Of approval.

Just now, I read it’s not up to me to pick my purpose. It’s only up to me to let God have what he’s given me to see it come to be.

To sit quietly as He develops the story or stories to tell.

To live quietly, my words from His words, the creations of my hands, they’re formed by His hand.

Lord, set me free from depending on the notice of others, I pray.

“Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.”

“Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.”

‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭4:11-12‬ ‭

Thankful for the Five Minute Friday prompt, lining up my thoughts and words and believing in the gift of getting silent.

http://fiveminutefriday.com/2017/11/09/fmf-link-up-silence/

‭‭

Found Praying

Tonight, I walked down the hall, the house quiet and settled. The evening, a good one, I walked under leaves and on ground littered with beauty and returned in time to cook a good meal, to paint a bold floral.

I remembered some things I’d been thinking about and made note to be sure I made time to pray for things that will be happening tomorrow.

Stalled by my thoughts on the way to open the dresser drawer, find the warmer pajamas, I decided then, that I’d pray now.

The farthest end of the house, dark.

Unconcerned over not being alone, I knelt, my hands smoothing the creases on the thick quilted cover.

I prayed what needed to be prayed. I prayed what thoughts kept coming back, ones recalled from early and unexpected revelations and realizations from the morning. Ones I’d written down on my pages.

I prayed a prayer that said thank you for your goodness, you are good and your love endures. I told God how grateful I am, recalling sweet little images of my daughter with freckled cheeks and my son, chubby little tanned face, blonde hair bouncing as he ran.

Quiet then, I felt the shift of weight under my knees. I heard the soft sounds of steps on the carpet.

The Labrador presence in the room. I know his sound. I wait, he’ll come up close beside me, make that low grunt like a question.

Instead, he waited. I heard his sigh. He was patient, as if aware of my conversation with God not quite done yet.

He waited and I rose from beside my bed and touched the place between his ears and we walked calmly back down the hall.

And I thought then about something I read today. That people are making light of prayer, have decided we’re all foolish and fooled…those of us who are still praying.

Who will pray.

Who pray when led to pray at not set aside times and believe all the more in prayer, in God, in holy and Holy Spirit.

Because a big brown dog might enter the room and be reverent there until you’re done.

Might know to be still.

To

Be still and

know that He is God.

Psalm 46:10

I’m linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee and other writers on journeys of faith and happy experiences of prayerful discoveries.

Visit here: http://jenniferdukeslee.com/live-life-meaning-intention/

Sufficient Is My Treasure

I’ve become obsessed with an artist who paints vibrant florals. Her colors are thick with brightness and she covers the canvas, letting the leaves drape over the edge.

I’m a follower of hers, have an Instagram fueled yearning to be her.

I find myself fascinated by her skills, the way she markets herself, the gallery in which her art is displayed, I’ve decided is sleek and uptown.

“I need to paint florals.” I told Connie when I stopped by to scan the walls of her shop to see if she had any on display, sizing up what would be my competition.

I’d sold an angel and one of the “Pines” pieces. She handed me the check. I don’t believe I thanked her, how quickly I’d walked away,

Good gracious!

Last night, I told my husband I needed more time to write.

I need more time to paint.

If I’m going to be good, I need to do more and I need more time to do it. I don’t have the time I need to be good.

This morning, I walked by my little corner room. It’s a mess.

I’ve given in to allowing the dogs to share it.

My pretty rugs are all off kilter, edges rolled over, been rolled around on.

The blank canvases are not in order, out of place. The mason jars have muddy water covered brushes and there are at least four pieces unfinished.

I knew not to go through the door, I’d have wanted to stay.

I’d have started with putting things where they should be, clean slates for creating and then I’d have put my apron on and squeezed out plops of color on my palette.

I’d sit back and play, Alison Krauss or Bebo Norman and the dogs in their spots they now share would have begun to breathe soft and easy.

Lost in painting for no reason at all, except that it’s my treasure, this treasure God planted in me.

Time gets lost track of, I’ve no need other than to continue. Whole evenings feel like grace.

I could sell hundreds of paintings and I would still want more if I painted from the place of seeking to be special, to be seen, to be sought after.

There’s a need that’s insatiable, the bottomless pit called notice, the ocean bottom wide and wondering that asks why them, not me, and why not yet for me when so many already have so much more.

But with grace, sufficient is my treasure.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I bought new canvases, one large and three nice 5 x 7’s. Tomorrow I’ll try my hand at florals, bright pink camellia type blooms with lively thick green leaves and stamens of happy yellow, thick in texture, touchable and bursting through.

We shall see what beauty may come, shall come from a place held by grace.