dishes I was saving ~

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homeanotherway

before the dark
is pulled away -
a shelf of memories
is fastened to the wanting
of my soul
with dishes I was saving
linens I adore
they way they feel
as secrets
not yet told

awake the dawn
where sunday grieved
a path already gone
dusted by the leaving -
folded into vine
some memory
of almost was
I can scarce recall
the way your hands
became the same
as mine

. . .

illusion of light ~

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findmehome

in a moment
eternal
as ocean to sky
as waves rocked me back
to a place
on the shore
where I knew
I would find you
I’d wait all night long
tracing with love
the horizon
willed into being
an illusion of light
a dream taking shape
while I waited
given to weariness
fell to my knees
and slept
if you came
to remember me
here

. . .

(all the time)

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It has been a long week, but still a blessing. God is good (all the time). Even when we are immersed in frustration, indecision and worry, the truth remains with us. The things that haunt us do so for a reason – so that we see them more clearly – so that we examine our own feelings, motives, and choices.il_fullxfull_570510859_z46i

I believe that if we find ourselves in the same place time and again, there’s a reason. We need to pay attention. We are brought back there so that we can appreciate the lesson. Otherwise, we are much like a person lost in the woods….led by nothing more than the desire to be saved. Without direction (the compass of the soul), we wander again and again to the same sweet tree.

What I know. Adversity doesn’t build character; it reveals it. When we are faced with something we’d rather not, or we get something other than what we wanted, it becomes a point of strengthening – perhaps even a clarification of who we are (as opposed to who we wish to be or claim to be). It offers us a deeper understanding of what matters, what doesn’t, and all the mess that can get in between.

But sometimes (sweetly), the mess is a part of the blessing.

“The barn’s burned down; now I can see the moon.”

Within the devastation known as ruin, we find hope such that a clean slate doesn’t appear quite so empty. We look up, and for a moment, even the stars surprise us. The path glows brighter in the darkness.

beyond the night
a wiser sun
than e’er the dark
could claim
beyond the prayer
a blessing
we became
a song we knew
before the tunes
were found
in sweet refrain
beyond the light
eternal burns
our flame

. . .

more ~

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Yesterday (Sunday), I listened to a message entitled ‘enough’. It spoke of a culture that seeks fulfillment in the physical accumulation of more and more stuff. Although I had never thought of it, we place our hopes and dreams in things that will ultimately end up in a landfill.

It was a message designed to motivate, at a time when most churches are looking for financial commitment. The minister spoke of tithing and ways of getting by on less. The ultimate question asked again and again, ‘how much is enough’…….

I was reminded of a conversation with my sister a few years back whenil_570xN_612348975_1pc4 we talked about all we had, and how it was nothing more than on loan from a greater power. How many cell phones do we need? How big does a TV need to be in order to be enough?

Later, I was thinking back on this word – ‘enough’ and found it ironic that we live in a society that never seems to get enough, but has no concept of ‘enough’ as it relates to investment in those things we cannot hold anyway. I’m not talking about money. I’m talking about love, forgiveness, compassion, and time. When we consciously give these, we find the greater wealth returned to us. Love should always result in more love; compassion, more compassion; and forgiveness, room for more.

“He is no fool who gives that which he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

When I wrote this on Sunday afternoon, I had no idea how the week might unravel, and yet last night as I reflected, all things seem to connect through this, to this notion of more.

I love the idea of grace and although Mr. Webster might describe it differently, I think of it as love undeserved. When someone says, “I love you”, it is the ‘more’ that matters – not that I love you more than you love me, but that I love you more than you might have felt you deserved. That’s grace, and it is (in my opinion) the divine within us. Certainly, life would be less messy if God had asked us simply to love those just like us, those who deserve it, those who make it easy.

We are better, or at least I believe we are.

And there’s that word – believe. There are the things I believe and the things I know.

We are warned time and again about judging others, and yet we do it. Everyone does it. I do it, because inherently, I feel an urge to judge those who judge. Twisted, I know! I try, but it is difficult not to. But judging is razor’s edge. It is not just about forming an opinion based on information or facts (or a lack of either). It’s about denying love, forgiveness and compassion based on our own ideas of whether or not someone deserves it. It is the thing that keeps love from being ‘more’. It keeps love from being grace (and it is surely by grace, we are saved).

Silly me, but I would argue that it’s not really love if it comes with the condition of being deserved. As Lyle Lovett penned it so well -

And who keeps on loving you
When you’ve been lying
Saying things ain’t what they seem
God does
But I don’t
God will
But I won’t
And that’s the difference
Between God and me

I don’t always get it right, but that’s okay. In my bones, I believe we are asked (blessed) to make a habit of giving ‘more’, of being ‘more’, of forgiving ‘more’. When I think of judgment, I think of something I once heard. God created us in His image, and in return (out of some crazy reasoning), we create Him in ours. We assume our justenoughlogic of what is lovable and forgivable is the same as His.

I thank Him every day that it’s not.

When I fail to love, that isn’t about deserving. That isn’t even about the person I’m withholding my love and forgiveness from. It’s about me. When my life is over, I will not be asked what I kept for myself, but rather what I gave away. In giving of grace, I am hopeful to receive the same. I don’t know about you, but I was kinda counting on a little divine grace.

What I believe – a sweeter life awaits beyond what we could earn, beyond what we deserve.

What I know – we don’t have to wait.

of choices
only these
of what I give away
the last I knew
of promises
of debts I can’t repay
but let not
there be another
would wander to a place
where arms
are not yet opened -
love is not yet grace
break my heart again (again)
that I might learn to heal
that I might live
beyond this life
another truth revealed
of choices
might I gather -
as stones
along the road
and carry not their burden
to my soul

. . .

I am ~

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bellbuckle2012

This week, I attended the last in a series of classes on leadership. As much as I’ve enjoyed the other sessions, this was the one I anticipated the most. It dealt with emotional intelligence. More and more companies are coming to understand both the importance and the benefit of emotional intelligence, our ability to connect at the most basic level with others.

Emotional intelligence is really about relationships. It is the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior. If you think about life as a boat, Emotional Intelligence is the sail.

Relationships are key. For lack of some better way to say it, without relationships we are totally dependent on ourselves for our successes, our joys, our accomplishments.  As humans, we are bound one to another.  It is our blessing.

I love the way we started the session. Each of us wrote on a piece of paper the name of one person who had a positive impact on our life. My immediate thought was ‘all of them’……but knew that would take a lot more explaining than my teacher was up for, and that it would likely derail the planned curriculum. And so, I wrote a single name. I felt compelled to not write the name of anyone in my immediate family, and so I chose my Aunt Lillian. Beyond the name, we were asked to write a few things (on separate notes) that endeared us to that person (what made them the person you chose).

We proceeded with the class, but in the end, we circled back to the name. Our teacher placed charts around the room – one for IQ, one for technical abilities, and another for emotional intelligence. We then took our pieces of paper (the ones with the traits) and placed them on the appropriate chart. The purpose of this exercise was to show us clearly that those we hold closest to our hearts aren’t the ones who are most intelligent or most proficient. However, in some ways, perhaps they are the most wise.

‘People will forget what you said and forget what you did but they will never forget how you made them feel.’

As with most things, I held our discussions a little longer, turning them over and over in my head. Allowing (perhaps) a more thorough understanding, and relating what I’ve learned back to what I know, what I believe. And, in doing so, I reflect on my students, my friends, my family. I want for them all that they need to be happy, content, at peace. And yet I know that is not within my power to give. Perhaps all I can do is help them to see that they are the ones with the real power. Whatever we want for our lives, we can only achieve it by realizing our abilities to make it happen, and disregarding our own inner voices that tell us it can’t.

il_fullxfull_629143088_e8uzWhile behavior is harder to change, emotional intelligence is generally learned. And it is learned by stretching, by making it a habit, by being aware not only of who we are and what we feel, but also what others feel – about themselves, about us.

Yes, I know I make it sound easy. The truth is, it’s not……..but it is.

I ask my students, ‘what would you do if you weren’t afraid’. What if you weren’t afraid of succeeding, of falling, of being alone, of being responsible, vulnerable, broken? What would you do if you weren’t afraid of letting go, of being happy? Fear keeps us safe, and reminds us to hold onto all the things that we’ve used to define our lives – every hurt, every wrong, every failure, every fault. Funny, but we hold on to the things that make us sad, to the things that cripple us. The hurts become lasting ones; the failures, barbed wire keeping us from a different future.

It breaks my heart.

‘Years ago, a friend of mine and a passenger were in Europe driving on the Autobahn, the superhighway across Germany. Unlike American freeways, the Autobahn has no speed limits. You can travel as fast as you want to drive.

My friend was so excited as he pressed down on the accelerator and took the car up to 80 miles an hour, then 90, 100, 110. He felt like the king of the road, zooming past people left and right.

A few minutes later, another car streaked down the freeway. This car was the exact same model as my friend’s car, but it blew by him like he was standing still. That second automobile must have been going 170 per hour.

The passenger traveling with my friend laughed and said, ‘See; you’re not going as fast as you can. You’re just going as fast as you will.’

I love that story. Our power is to choose. We always choose. Even when we don’t choose, we’ve chosen. The incredible thing about life is that every single day, we get the chance to start over – to step out beyond the things that keep us from living the life God intended us to have.

I am
the child of a living God
the essence of a garden
I am the blood
of ten thousand tribes
made to one
I am the breath of heaven
a river rush with tears
a light denied
the limits
of the sun

I am
willing to be broken
so that I might rise again
deciding as I will
my destiny
I am not afraid
of falling
mine are wings
of love divine
I will lean into
and wait
a certain wind

. . .

rings ~

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heavenhere

in the vast
unknowing
of all I am yet
an albino lark makes
her nest
in the arms of a cedar
ten thousand rings deep
with a view
of the night -
a candle so bright
would burn up the shadows
as backward to day
is held to her song
as the dark falls away -
rocked into dreams
by the still

. . .

as whispers ~

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restored

what little will
have I to say
of where the sun will rise
pressed against
the shadows of a kiss

as whispers
of a moment’s grace
swept across the floor
leaving not a grain
of yesterday

to float beneath
my gathers
as proof of other sins
remembered now
as morning floods my soul

a blush became
of consequence
before my will was known
carried as a name
upon my lips

. . .

intent ~

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134256a018149ae2ec48e48ee2c606a9

eighteen more acres
than e’er there were sons
a living pinned down
by the rain

a faded love letter
was certain intent -
could leave every reason
and burn down the barn

with worry for who
will be baptized on Sunday
who will be gone
when the counting begins

of passion worn thru
by belief in forever -
held by the promise
of home

. . .

all I hold dear ~

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as passion
confessed
by luna to flame
a faithful old owlf58014ecd16ead978ac31678a6bf74c5
to the moon
where crickets are crowded -
as branches to breeze
remembered
as snowflakes
in June

there’s a spot
at the softest curve of the night
the color of eyes
as depths to the sea
a place in the meadow
where secrets
are kept -
where stars make love
to the trees

there’s a swelling
decided
by all I hold dear
– breath holding softly
my own
a place in the universe
as music unheard
by words not yet spoken
I’m known

. . .

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