Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Oh, 2013!
You have been remarkable. Truly.

It was on this day, last year, that I chose a word for you. I was perched on the edge of a whole new chunk of days and for the first time, I chose a word with which to walk out that gift of time.


I wrote a sort of proclamation for myself, a manifesto declaring my intentions for moving forward into the new year.


-in the company of
-next to, alongside
-in the charge or keeping of
-in support of
-in spite of
-in the same direction as
-so as to be touching or joined to

It was the last line of intention that would end up cradling my entire year:

This year, when given the opportunity, I will choose touch over tension, embracing rather than rejecting, joining in place of separation. I am not an emotional island, nor are the ones I love. I will choose to move towards them, even when it is hard.
I will choose to be with those that are in front of me.Every.Day.
And so now, here I am, shaking my head at the methods of a loving God who, in His desire to be close to me, reached across the gossamer veil and planted Love outright, deep within me. My One Word was more than just letters on a page. My One Word was born in me.

This past year has been a collection of giving over and giving in, of walking into and in front of. 

It has held fear, only to be bathed in faith. 

It has stretched, first, thin and then swelled gloriously ripe. 

It has challenged my hopes, changed my trajectory, and championed my spirit.

That little preposition of a word continued to show up. 


And so, here I am again, on the cusp of a whole new chunk of days and, once again, I am choosing One Word.

-to make (cloth) by interlacing the threads of the weft and the warp on a loom.
-to interlace (threads, for example) into cloth.
-to construct by interlacing or interweaving strips or strands of material
-to interweave or combine (elements) into a complex whole
-to contrive (something complex or elaborate) in this way
-to introduce (another element) into a complex whole; work in
-to spin

This word came to me in the hushed gray of morning this past week. My little Samuel, the very answer to a question I didn't even know that I had asked, the single greatest surprise of my life, was stirring. I peeked, sleepily, at the boy miracle within arm's reach and it hit me: 

I have a crazy beautiful life. 

So much poignant beauty has wound its way into each moment. The gray and the blue woven in tight with the yellow and the orange, in and out, over and under.

Each day is cut from holy cloth, bolts of glory by the yard.

And I want to remember this, for always. Because this is no small thing. In fact, this is a very grand thing. The greatest thing, even. 

So, I am choosing WEAVE as my One Word for 2014.

I want to interlace myself with each member of my sweet little family, in and out, over and under, creating beautiful patterns of light and dark, soft and scruffy, bold and demure. I want to recognize each individual for the uniqueness they bring to our clan, all the while, remembering that they are also part of a complex whole creation that is continually emerging, growing, changing.

I want to apply this to my other relationships, as well. I want to receive those that have been planted in my life and first see, really see, all the color and texture and gifts that they bring to the table. Then, after acknowledging that who I am is such a conglomeration of these people, we can go about the business of braiding ourselves together, in and out, over and under.

And then there is the writing, whose very act is a gathering, a stringing together of thought and hope and belief. 
To write is to weave, all the while, hoping and praying that in all of this straw gathering there will be flickers of gold.

So, I am extending a warm and open "Welcome" to this new year. I know that to do so is risky. There is no guarantee that 2014 will be kind to me. If this past year has taught me anything it is that the flip side of light is dark, the opposite of health is sickness, and the antithesis of security is uncertainty. But I am not going to let fear set the tone for what is to come. Instead, I am going to join hands with the Giver of gifts and, together, we are going to take warp and weft and weave beauty.

“For last year's words belong to last year's language 
And next year's words await another voice.” 
--TS Eliot

Photo credit: Flickr

Monday, December 23, 2013

Spinning Straw Into Gold

This last week before Christmas has taken on a life of its own this year.
Right when my sweet little family was gearing up for afternoons baking cookies and evenings driving around town gazing at twinkling lights we had to, instead, quickly shift gears, rearrange plans, throw clothes in suitcases, make haste. Suddenly, it was all about hustle—a verb that I fight with a vengeance during this holy season. But rather than it being about needing a little Christmas, right this very minute, it was a pressing need to get home.
My mom is, once again, fighting a battle with her body. Cancer thinks it deserves space in her bloodstream and it is acting like a big old bully. I hate cancer.
But, I figure, the best way to fight a bully is with love so my little family has slipped on our boxing gloves and we intend to go down punching. For we want to be known as people who love. We have shown up on my parent’s doorstep, even if there is but little room in the inn, and we are ready to do business.
It is Christmas time, though, and there are children here so I am trying to figure out how you patch together something that still sings of grace and glory while not ignoring the present reality. How do we take the straw we’ve been handed and spin it into something golden and magical?
Would you like to read the rest of this post?
I am writing over at SheLoves Magazine today. Follow this link to find the rest of my words.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Lessons in Light and Dark

It happened so fast, the light leaving.

It was a slow fade, at first, with the late afternoon sun casting weaker beams in the sky. And then, like a candle snuffed quietly, the sun disappeared and one day we found ourselves eating dinner in the inky blackness. That first darkened night we huddled around the table and felt a keen need to draw closer, to touch shoulders, to clasp hands.

The hushed darkness of winter will do that to you. Pull you in.
And although the earth spins faithfully and the calendar responds in turn, even though I know this cycle by heart, I am still surprised by its steadfastness. The resoluteness of time can grate painfully across this fickle heart of mine and my grandest intentions often fall like cinders from the flame that frames each season.

The passing of years does not always equate an increased wisdom and some lessons wrap themselves in new skin and walk themselves into my days.

My latest lesson wears the skin of a baby...

To read the rest of "Lessons in Light and Dark" please join me here over at SheLoves Magazine.

SheLoves Magazine: a global community of women who love

Thursday, September 26, 2013

I Am From

I am from bacon grease on the back of the stove
and dog bowls at the back door
and champagne bottles that toasted births
all lined up in a row

I am from the yellow house with pink shingles
and creaky wood floors
and one full bath
for seven people

I am from a family that didn't expect me because it was already full up with teenagers
and long haired boys on motor bikes and girls almost grown up and leaving
but it was also full up on love
so I am from babysitters and ice cream buyers and we love you so much

I am from the kitchen
with the worn wooden table and ash trays full to the brim
and coffee cups strewn about half full and kissed with lipstick

I am from Tree City USA full of stately elms
that grew so tall and wide they pushed sidewalks aside
and shaded generation after generation
until a disease infected them all and they slowly disappeared forever

I am from playing under water locusts and china berries and blue spruce
and climbing that one ginko all the way to the top
knowing that heaven was that much closer
because I dared
I remember that tree's
long gone limbs
as if they were my own

I am from Ghost in the Graveyard and Kick the Can
I am from Truth or Dare and lightning bugs

I am from church on Sunday and everything in order
I am from Mama and Daddy and "Aint" Alice and Uncle Roger

I am from damaged bread and honey buns and bear claws left for trash
but rescued by a hard working man who knew treasure when he saw it

I am from "Give me some sugar!" and "stand up straight"
and "You are my sunshine" sung in two part harmony

I am from The Gateway to the West and baseball and frozen custard and thin crust pizza
I am from Atlanta and Emory and Chick-Fil-A and Jimmy Carter and pot liquor
But I am also from Germany and England and Scotland and Prussia

I am from black-eyed peas and turnip greens and fried corn bread and peach cobbler
I am from apple pies and sauerkraut and fresh honey dew
and a cup of hot water first thing in the morning

I am from Meme and a house that always smelled of creamed corn
and bacon and Dove soap and Brach's candy

I am from Grandma whose short legs and generous jowls
now look at back at me in the mirror

I am from the Jim Crow South
and Whites and Coloreds

I am from rural Ohio
and soybeans and corn

And now I am from three boys and a man
and a dog whom we call Stinkerpants all crammed into an ancient house built of stone
I am from writing down the stories with my eyes wide open trying to drink in all of the glory
before I fall asleep


One of the many reasons that I love being a part of SheLoves Magazine? Synchroblogs like this, in honor of Heritage Day in South Africa. This is my offering for the "I Am From" prompt, an opportunity for folks around the world to share more about who they are and what has shaped them. We would love for you to join us. You can link up your own poem here. And while you're linking up, be sure to read from the amazing collection of stories already gathered there.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Calling

I whisper to you as the water runs down
in rivulets
over my belly
flowing from above
spreading out
like a river delta

and it is true
there is a rich deposit
just below the surface
left days and weeks before
by love's flow

But I long for you
sweet one
I want to know you in the flesh
not just as a rising and swelling
like the ocean's tide
But by your ruddy wrappings
your holler

I want to put my nose to your head
the one that still carries the scent of heaven
and hang
by the cord that binds us all
to the other side

I want you
little one
full up with love
and need
and joy unbound

For your crossing over
will usher in new landscapes
and I've opened up the window
with the morning sun
hoping to catch a glimpse of you

Picture credit: Aidan Grantham
Bracelets: the blue beaded one was made by Aidan and the brown beaded one is from ViBella Jewelry, gifted to me by Kelli at the Jumping Tandem Retreat last April.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Great Weaving

I remember the very moment I first lay eyes upon my second son, wet and bright-eyed and so fresh from God.

In that instant, when new life breathes fire into tired bones, I saw her in his face. 
Grandma Phyllis. 
Although she had left this world to join God and all the saints six years before that moment, she graced us with her presence in that holy moment. Her nose sloped across my son’s face and that little chin of his? It was all her.

Just like that, she was there, among us, smiling beams of glory right into that holy space.

How can one not laugh, like Sarah, at the mystery of it all, captured in such a moment?

That in the twisting and the stretching, in the pushing and the pulling, in the rising and the falling of every day, strung one upon the other, God is weaving legacy into us. 

When we burst forth this side of heaven, we come wrapped in mystery. Our very skin and bone is pieced with story from those who have lived before us.


You can read the rest of this post over here at SheLoves Magazine.
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

SheLoves Magazine: a global community of women who love

Monday, September 2, 2013

In which I begin the great unwinding

I suppose it has been a bit obvious, has it not?

The fewer blog posts.
Not as many comments at the end of others' pieces, if they manage to get read at all.
A diminishing Klout score.

Less of a presence.

On line, that is.

But, really, it has just been the beginning of a great unwinding. And as these days melt, one into another, and as I approach the day when life turns upside down, once again, I find my heart and mind being drawn elsewhere.

I am very much at home these days.


Ann Voskamp wrote once about how mother ducks "pick feathers from their chests to line their nests" and now I understand.

How else did you think nests were lined?”
With leftovers.
That’s what I thought.
With feathers discarded, the molted, the not-so-necessary feathers.
I thought mother ducks picked feathers up from what was laying about, scraps, lining nests with what simply could be mustered after the fact.
But no. No, a mother duck plucks each feather out from the heart of her bosom.
She lines the nest with bits of herself — the best of herself.  
A mother cups her brood not with leftovers — but with her own sacrifice.

As I have begun preparing for a new baby to enter into my, and my family's, life I am having to let go of some things that I have been holding close.

I need to begin the sacrifice of my online presence.

Saying that out loud is like sounding the death knell to a modern writer. Stop blogging? No more tweets? No more platform building?

But at the end of that line of questioning and after a small but monumental silence, I stand resolute.

When I wash clothes and then hang them on the line to dry, it is a process that takes time. Each piece must be snapped free of wrinkles, clipped on with clothespins and arranged just so. When the task is completed it makes for an impressive sight, colors flapping in the wind, displayed for all to see. Work has been done and now the sun works her magic.
But if I don't hang my clothes on the line and, instead, choose to place them in the dryer, inside of my house, the work is still being done.
It just isn't seen by the whole neighborhood.

That is how things are needing to shift around these parts.

I am slowly bringing the work inside.

My sweet baby has been leading the way already. With each passing day he has been growing and stretching into the space within which he finds himself. And he has been doing it most beautifully.

But soon, his space will spill over into our space and we want to be ready.

So we are moving things from here to there. We are relieving ourselves of things no longer needed. We are welcoming, with open arms, the generosity of family and friends.

We are making room.


This slow unwinding has made me aware in ways that I haven't been, for quite some time...

Aware of the way the sun light moves across the floor and walls of my living room, highlighting corners and gilding rough edges and generally making all things beautiful.

Aware of the ticking that comes from the small desk clock upon the shelf, reminding me of every.single.moment.

Aware of how conversations, connected throughout a day, can build bridges of thought and understanding and revelation to everyone involved.

Aware of the power of touch and eye contact and how melting into both provides a balm for heart space that you didn't even realize was rough and hardened.

And, most importantly, aware that every day is full of gifts to unwrap and in order to fully receive that multitude, one must not be looking askance.

So, friends, I am beginning the great unwinding.  I am letting the yarn unravel as it will. It will probably look quite untidy for a bit. Perhaps there will be tangles. But, together, my family and I are letting the colored strands fall into our open hands and, together, we will knit together new garments.

I believe I already like the fit of them.


Photo credit: Ben Hosking via Flickr

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Full Sturgeon
Green Corn
Full Red

I, too
drape myself in names

Time may cause the cloth
to hang and shift
but the form that
pushes out from beneath
is still true
even when it is dark

that is your secret
for you are
diligent and faithful
your reward
is radiance
the kind that illuminates

I should take heed
and observe
that the changing of garments
a vision

Is not the same
as the slow march
of time
across the sky
as the music
of the spheres

Linking with Emily for Imperfect Prose

photo credit: Tim Fields on Flickr

Monday, August 19, 2013


"In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary."  ~Aaron Rose

The daylight has shifted, quietly
and now it gently wanes.
Days are still warm and locusts still drone
but the world is tilting
and we adjust our steps
despite ourselves.

I watch as the sunlight
crackles through the emerald leaves
and the swaying shaking boughs
are clapping
right out
and I know it
down deep
That this dripping delicious daylight
is but a

You can find the rest of my poem over at SheLoves Magazine today. 
Would love to have you join me there.

SheLoves Magazine: a global community of women who love

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Weight of Glory

I weigh more, today, than I ever have in my entire life.

The realization of this settled in heavily as I stepped off the scale this morning. On the very days that I delivered my previous two babies I did not weigh as much as I do today.

And I still have two months to go.

There is a part of me that is shaking her head, disbelieving the numbers on the scale, dismissing them as aberrations. Surely there must be some mistake.

Then there are other parts of me that feel every.single.one of those pounds. My feet. My thighs. My back.

But then the all of me? The entirety of who I am? Heart and mind and soul?
Well, that girl has simply chosen to place this knowledge down deep and ponder.

It has been nearly a decade since I last harbored life within my body. Ten years since I gave myself over to a miracle and watched with wonder as my body stretched and pulled and created joy untold.

And ten years is really just a flash in the pan when you consider the ways of God. The One who has been shaping and molding and weaving great somethings out of nothing is not discomfited by time.

Nor age.

Nor weight.

So I am choosing not to worry about what a scale that measures pounds may say. No. I will choose, instead, to embrace the marvelous mystery my body proclaims every day.

I am partnering with God in creation.
And that is no small thing.

Every day I watch my belly rise and roll, like a mighty ocean whose mysteries are hidden deep and wide, and I laugh at the utter absurdity that I would be chosen for a task so noble.

I feel every hiccup and every flutter of surprise and I am reminded that every little thing in heaven and on Earth is witnessed and that nothing escapes God's grasp.

With every attempt to roll over in bed with grace, with every stair I determinedly climb, and with each heavy plodded step I make I am simply bearing the weight of glory. For this baby making is resplendent work and some days I glow golden.

My every day is a miracle and this heaviness I feel?

It is love.

Photo credit: Aidan Grantham

Friday, July 26, 2013


It's difficult to conjure up the memories
of how
I felt on that day
of which way my stomach
or how quickly my heart

But now
I do remember
that I woke calmly
and watched the early sun angle its way
through the glass
I realized that
I would no longer have to wake

to that
I smiled

When I woke this morning
you were already up
quietly making coffee
walking the dog
reading in the big blue chair
Moving through the house
like whispered love
curling around corners
hanging full in the air

I know
that I had no idea
back then
what making love
over a lifetime
would mean

One always hopes
for promises kept
memories made

But this

It is art

paint on canvas
wet clay on spinning wheels
fiber twisted and mounted
notes strung on staves
steps counted and flung

Before you
before us
I didn't know
I was an artist
not really

But this morning
when the day dawned
you were still there
something opened wide

Making love
over a lifetime
will do that to you

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New mercies

I walked the dog this morning, something I haven't done much since becoming pregnant. My dear husband has developed a keen ability to sense when I need him to step in, grab the leash, and slip out the door, unheard. And I have been thankful.
But this morning, we were all moving a little slower and it was I that grabbed the leash and slipped out the door.

It is mid-July and every night the sky sinks heavy upon the earth, pressing out her moisture, coating every blade of grass, every secretly spun web, every petal of every bloom with dewy drops. I breathe in air that is thick and palpable and all but dripping.

I am instantly humbled that much of my walking these days feels just like that.

I am full with child now. My belly goes before me and I smile to think of how my body proclaims the truth that a child will, indeed, lead us. All I can do, anymore, is just follow him. This child lives and moves within me and sometimes I feel as if I will burst but, in all of this, together, we have our being.

It is heavy work, this being. The only way not to be completely undone in the process is by simply putting one foot in front of the other. And so we walk.

I turn the corner at the end of my driveway and see that the sun has peeked over the treetops, illuminating them from behind, gilding their edges. It is only because of Love that they are not wholly consumed and I receive it as one small glimpse of a new mercy. I sigh.

As we plod through the thick air there is a piercing, a trill that begins to unravel it all. A cardinal sings heartily unto its mate, beckoning her to follow, to come, to look and see that it is good. And He is right.

And then we see it.

The lake.

And it is as if gold dust, straight from the edge of heaven, has rained down in the night. Floating atop the water is the evidence of glory come down and the rising sun has now cracked open its very center. Diamond light flits and bounces and dances upon the surface and I am almost blinded by its burning.

My baby leaps.

I catch my breath.

And in a moment, this world, this life, this everything... it is thick and palpable and all but dripping and there is no way that I can take it all in before it is running down my fingers, soaking my feet, oozing from my skin, laughing its way down the road.

feels so full.

I look, again, at the water. At the dancing light and the shimmering beauty. I marvel at its hidden depths, all that is not yet revealed. I imagine what lives beneath the surface, what life has yet to emerge.

And I know it.

This is that grace ocean.

And we are all drowning...

Linking with Emily and Jennifer.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Stringing beads

photo credit: Matt on Flickr

There is this girl I know who strings words onto worn strings like so many colored glass beads and I walk around for days, fingering the rainbow forms until they are worn smooth and I know them by heart. For this girl, she mines beauty from her days. She sees how glory rains down like manna and, faithfully, she gathers and eats and it is good.

A couple of months ago, I linked arms with her for the first time in Nebraska. That time, we both crossed cornfields and there was a great unknowing that preceded our meeting. Would the person behind the words be real? Would that first embrace reveal the truth of who I was and rather than pixie dust, would I leave ash in my wake?

But her azure eyes found me across a crowded room that day and, in an instant, fear evaporated and remnants of those colored word beads split like prisms and danced between us. And there was only joy.

So when this girl offered to drive across more cornfields and rivers in order to see me, I was humbled and joyful and radiant. And I cleared the calendar.

This time, we would bring more than just ourselves. We packed our families (husbands and children) into cars and vans and food into bags and met at tables under trees, hoping, once again, that who we really were would not disenchant.

I am a silly, silly girl.

For when that long white van pulled up and those eyes found me, once again, and children began to spill out like pearls flung wild, I could only smile.

And know.

For we--she and I--we are among those lovers and dreamers who turn our insides right out and invite the world to wrap themselves in the threads that are undone as a result. There aren't many places left for us to hide.

And as the portrait I had studied for so long was drawn fuller and deeper through the paint splatters of children and spouse, I felt a fullness rising.

There were smiles and hugs and handshakes. There were quiet looks exchanged and boisterous laughs and giggles. There were bare feet and sweaty hands and games of tag and sips of cool water in sought after shade. And there were questions to draw each other out and in and deeper. It's not easy to forge trust in one afternoon.

But you can begin to carve out space.

And then the two of us were given three hours to do just that.

Carve. Whittle. Sculpt. Inscribe.

We found a coffee shop on the corner, where two streets converge, and began our settling in. And that, really, is what we have been doing all along. Taking up residence in each others' hearts, positioning ourselves to look long and hard and with love.

Words are powerful like that.

I believe that is what emerged so clearly that afternoon. The two of us and our written words? They have lit lamps into one another's heart spaces and the long shadows and bright flickers have wrought a path of love unfolding.

So as I drank my cardamon and honey laced coffee and she sipped her iced latte, our spoken words gave birth to harbors.

It's hard to walk away from moments such as these, when you are known and heard and loved anyway. When someone you study and admire speaks life into the deep places and throws a rope to your desperate places...you want to linger in those truth doused sanctuaries and bathe in the glory of how you see yourself in that new light. You want your life to sing like that. Always.

But suns must set on every day and children need cool sheets upon which to lay their sweaty heads and all of us need time to let the dust of our days settle down deep.

So, that girl and I? We hugged long and hard and I fought back tears of joy and surrender. But, despite the parting, there was this:

I will carry her colored glass beads that have been blessed by real live kisses with me always. For that girl?

She mines beauty from her days. She sees how glory rains down like manna and, faithfully, she gathers and eats and it is good.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

You Can't Always Get What You Want...

In all respects, I should have been a spoiled child.

I was a surprise baby (child number five), with ten years separating me and my next oldest sibling. And if you’ve ever listened to the worn out tales of babies born into such circumstances you know the expected end-product: snotty nosed brats who lug around heavy doses of entitlement.

But God chose to place me in a family that doled out love by bushels and pecks and hugs around the neck and so the only things that came to be spoiled around our house were forgotten cartons of cottage cheese shoved to the back of the refrigerator.

Because, you see, love has never spoiled anything. Ever.

But I was a child once and, as such, I certainly had my moments--moments of selfish desire and impudent behavior, of unmet longings and unrequited wishes. And, being a child, I naturally looked to the givers of good things—my parents—for the delivery of said hopes.

So, as a child nurtured by way of arms flung wide and hearts burst open, the phrase “You can’t always get what you want” was a tad bewildering, at first. Not because I was spoiled or bratty or entitled but because, for so long, my parents’ love had been enough. Love and acceptance had been the standard upon which I grew and thrived and so, I had never really felt a lack.

And then I entered junior high and everything kind of flipped upside down...

Continue reading over at Mama Monk with Micha Boyett? Join me here.

Monday, June 17, 2013

To Reclaim Is To Create

"Reclaim: From the Middle English, to call back..."

Some days I feel like old barn wood.
Solid, yet slightly bowed in the middle …
Curved in places that were once straight and narrow …
Brown locks fading to gray.
It’s heavy enough to truly recognize that I’m growing older but the image of a barn slanting westward on the roadside feels weightier. It reminds me that I am mortal.
So when I found out at forty that I was pregnant for the third time, that weathered tilt that lurks in my lower back sighed ever so slightly. This body-house of mine felt every bit its age.
And just as I might question the wisdom of, once again, using a vintage barn that has stood empty for years, I leaned into the Holy Spirit, whispering questions and what-ifs by the handful.
“Is this a good idea?” I murmured, more than once.

The rest of this story continues over at SheLoves Magazine. Follow me there?

Sunday, June 16, 2013


My arms circled round your neck
this morning 
like a garland of hope
and although I thought it better
to refrain from
pomp and circumstance
I secretly imagined that I was
knighting you with
strength and fortitude
ringing you with
joy and hope 

Because I know
sweet one
that you are riding into 
in the days ahead

Even on good days
there is a struggle within
That inner conflict
who you want to be
who you are
and all of it
swirling round like a storm

But you were made for glory
who are so meek in heart

Here and there
I get glimpses of
the ways that
fire has been forged
in your bones
deep and hidden
It emerges
when it must
your face shines radiant
from the effort

That is the image
I will carry with me
these long days
when you are apart from me

I will cross my heart
and hope
with the saints
that you will hear the song
placed inside you
when you were but a whisper
to me

The song that was sung over you
by the One
that imagined you into being
and knows you by heart

Photo credit: Swirl Abstraction by Matt on Flickr

Friday, June 7, 2013

Night Work

photo courtesy of liz west on flickr

There is that cool breeze that blows atop the blankets
so unusual for this time of year
and we keep wide the windows at night
grateful for the way it pushes away
the heavy scent of labored sleep

But the truth is
you are not sleeping much
and although I can't help myself
the sleeping, that is
I am aware that your
dark hours have cast you as a sentinel
and it makes my dreams
all the more muddled and tangled

For the moon hours
they are for renewal
and the night fairies
they are known for their gifts
of sand and ebony glitter
all of which
remind us that work
is being done in our stead

how I long for you
to lay down your hammer and anvil
if just for a night
so that you could be carried
to the other side
and so
you could wake
groggy and gritty

and yesterday
it could be but a vague memory
having been carried off
by the fay folk
and now hidden
in the mist

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Turning Pages

I haven't made much time for writing lately.

It's a new reality that I am simultaneously hating and embracing. Hating, because I am always thinking, musing, lining up words and ideas, wanting desperately to pen them down, keep them fast and that is just not happening. But I am also embracing this new way because I am really here, in this moment and that last one and that other one last week where I gazed upon orange colored skies wrapped in a wide open rainbow. Yeah, that one.

But I had to stop today and remember a few things. Because some things you just don't ever want to forget.

I am growing a life inside of me for the third time but the hugeness of that still catches me by surprise some days. Such as the tiredness that encroaches upon every square inch of skin and bone and muscle and demands that I stop.right.now and rest. And so I do. I stop and stretch out upon my bed and I let myself sink into cushion and blanket and holy rest. And that baby hidden deep? He tickles me from the inside, thanking me for that little bit of extra room that lying on my side provides him. It is then that I realize that I am so very human and what is happening inside of me is so very God and I can't help but smile at the absurdity of it all.

Then there are the moments when I realize that conversations with my two boys have started to include subjects and topics that stretch beyond Legos and Iron Man and Hank the Cowdog. They are asking bigger questions now, questions about relationships and current events and sex. And every time we close out those talks, its as if I'm turning pages of their childhood at a faster pace and I can see how the paper is curling and yellowing, as if we are coming dangerously close to the end of a chapter.

Surprisingly, I realize that I am okay with that. I'm excited for new chapters and story lines and plot twists.

But then the aforementioned tiredness will, again, wash over me and I am reminded of the return to babyhood that is imminent. And I sigh. Will I remember how to do all of this? When I slow to the pace that mothering an infant requires, will I end up sputtering to a tragic end, like my old Nissan? How will I manage to stay connected to the boys that are growing taller by the day and reaching further into the future than I can see when I am totally consumed with free flowing breastmilk and piles of laundry? What does bridging that huge gap even look like?

And then there will be a moment. The ones I have by the handful now.

Yesterday, as I sat in my chair, the baby deep within was alive and kicking and I called Aidan over to place his hand on my belly. I've tried this before but we always managed to miss the opportunity. But we tried again.

And there was a kick. I quickly looked at Aidan and he jumped in place and hollered that "HE HAD FELT IT!" and his smile--his smile that would soften the hardest heart--it shone glory and his eyes danced with pure joy. And in that moment, we were all connected and alive and in love.

It was then that I realized that there is no gap too wide that love can't bridge and that, sometimes, what brings the world to its softest place, the place where heart fires are kindled and hope is born, most often, is a baby.

Linking today with Emily at Imperfect Prose.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Tilting towards joy

It came
while sitting at the table, writing
that shudder
cloaked in folds of warmth
pulsing light

a triumphant
that claimed
my body

And I felt you

Until then
I certainly knew

For I had been
carving out
in my deepest places
where your
might find its rhythm
your limbs could make
silent ripples

it was in that moment
that the universe tilted
towards joy
and I smiled

And now
there is this
And you are always
before me

My walk is a bit slant
these days
proof that the angels
touched my hip
and I am

And my face splits
with grace light
as I create
with God

I know you
little one
You are mine

Photo credit: swirl by Ben Salter on flickr

Friday, May 10, 2013


You were ready with love bursting when you met that handsome young man in the uniform who spoke like a farmer. You walked with an elegance that defied your age and your words dripped honey sweet from your mouth and I'm sure that, in the end, that is what did him in. You ran away into the night, hands held tight, wishes trailing from your tailpipe, desire flooding like pools of joy. And on the other side of that day, you were One.

And soon you were three and four and five and six. The years would stack like so many dishes and several moves would have you settle in different houses, different states, even. You would leave your beloved South-land, with its Camelias and Finch's BBQ, its red dirt and turnip greens, and you would walk bravely into cities whose edges turned sharper and whose winter's blew colder.

And all along the way, you crafted joy. You danced jitterbugs across linoleum and slapped your knee with every hearty guffaw. Your animated storytelling enraptured neighbors and strangers alike and your ability to connect with people endeared you to everyone you met.

My arrival was a completely unforeseen surprise, tacked onto the back side of an already well lived and very full life. I'm sure my entrance was cause for many deep breaths, or the wringing of busy hands, or the prompting for many prayers thrown heaven's way.

But the most amazing thing?

I always felt like the most desired child in the world.

Never once did I ever question how very much I was loved and cherished and adored.


Even in my more adolescent moments, like the one captured in the picture above, where you are sitting at a picnic table, smiling at those around you and I sit, in the background, gazing at you. My smug expression is not the truth of that moment. What looks like angst and resignation is really me just trying to take the all of you in.

And I continue to want to take you in. The all of you.

Because I know that, no matter my age or station, no matter the day of week or what year whispers from the corner of the calendar page, I want the all of me to house all the glorious parts of you I've gathered.

Because I've been collecting them, you know. These parts of you.

The ways you cuddled and caressed, the ways you embraced and enfolded, the ways you bore all and believed all. The myriad ways in which you loved--whether it was through story, or coffee, or grandkids, or fried catfish, or Carol Burnett, or fireworks.

All of this? All of the beautiful and mundane, the fascinating and trivial, the whole and the half?

It's part of me too, now. Tucked away in the obvious and secret places, planted in soil made rich with your love and care for me.

And I pray that one day, when the pictures are pulled out and the chronology of my becoming is on display, the one thing that will have leaked out all over, dripping from the corners of my eyes and the edge of my smile, is the amazing truth...

that I was loved by you.

This post was inspired by today's Five Minute Friday writing prompt however, I, in no way, stuck to the rules.
Sometimes, I like to break the rules.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

New Wine

You brush a wisp of hair from my eyes
and while your other hand cups my cheek
I can feel the rough edge of your calloused palm
against the pillow of my skin

The room is dark
but muted yellow bends round the door frame
and moth shadows dance and twirl
in the glow

My back is turned away
and the weight of me
balances on an invisisble thread
laced between you
and the world

You pull me in
turn me
envelope the all of me
into your folded self

And there is a moment
when our curved bodies
cup like
and new wine pours
into old skins
and we shimmer

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Road

I would sit at the end of my black-topped driveway, nudging pill bugs with skinny sticks and wiping sweat from my brow, afternoon upon afternoon. There was always an ambient soundtrack running--bird calls, a solitary dog barking, someone beating out a rug on their front porch. But the one that always caused me to lift my head and notice, really notice, was the sound of the '67 Chevy, backing slowly out of the wood framed garage and into the gravel driveway. It was that sound, the crunch of rock under slow moving tires, that stopped me short and still.

Mr. Kauffman did everything deliberately, slowly, with intention. He cut his grass with an old fashioned push mower, the kind motored only by human muscles and blades that whirled and spun, grass pieces flying up like so much confetti. With each turn and switchback he made, laced throughout the smell of moist green and shredded leaves, there trailed sweet and musky pipe smoke, a ribbon of grey fluttering behind him.

It made sense, then, that he would pull out of his driveway with a similar pace and purpose. And the result was a perfectly magical crackle that felt like time suspended.

I now live at the end of a long, gravel driveway, seemingly fashioned from the broken fragments left from when our stone house was built all those hundreds of years ago. Splintered limestone litters the car path, spraying dust into the nearby grass during the dry times, puddling gray and milky after the rain.

And it is still that sound, today, that slow, crackling pop of stone beneath rubber, that stops me short, draws my face to the window, tickles the corners of my mouth and makes me sigh content.

For now, that sound is more like a herald to me, signaling that subtle shift of day when the sun slants keenly and dinner smells waft through cracked windows and young boys shout and run for the door.

I take more gravel roads than paved these days, it seems. That's how it goes living outside of the city limits. The blacktop can only reach so far, you know. Driving to visit friends brings crunching rocks and flying dust and the requisite slower pace.

And as I putter down their private roads and winding driveways, I can't help but wonder if the sound of my coming evokes the same thrill in their bellies as it does in mine. Does the sound of crunching gravel sing a song of home to them?

This is my first attempt at Concrete Words, an exercise in "writing out spirit" by writing about the invisible using concrete words. This week's word is The Road. The idea is to use the word prompt as a catalyst for writing out what is around us. Amber Haines of the RunaMuck began this exercise and she has now turned over the curating to my beautiful friend, Nacole. If you would like to join this community of word weavers who are attempting to use their words to tell a deeper story, hop over here to link up your piece.

Photo credit: Wolf Lake Landing Road by andyarthur on flickr

Friday, May 3, 2013

Bolts of glory

It is May 3 but I have to study the calendar page, again and again, to believe it true.

There was so much hope swelling just a few days ago as the temperatures rose to meet the clear sky and the trees clapped their leaves right open. I left the kitchen door open, welcoming in that breeze laden with earth and spirea, believing that a corner had been turned.

And then, everything changed. Again.

And I realize that this dependence on happenings outside of my inner spaces to make me happy is a hollow endeavor.

I see it in my oldest, too. The way his sweet disposition darkens so quickly when even the slightest cloud passes over. And how, even after the wind turns direction, he keeps looking for the shadow, as if he knows himself best in dimmed light.

The thing is, I'm bumbling along right there beside him.

I want all the goodness and light, the warmth and the rising, the new and the fresh. I'm so tired of the gray and clouded, the cold and the sinking, the old and the stale.

But this is our life. The gray and the blue woven in tight with the yellow and the orange, in and out, over and under.

Each day is cut from holy cloth, bolts of glory by the yard. And although I've never fashioned myself a seamstress, I know that patterns and textures can change when the light is brought in closer.

So that is what I am choosing today. To bring the light in closer.

I'm lighting candles and watching the golden flicker dance upon dewy cheeks.

I'm switching on lamps and hunkering down on the couch to read the pages filled with story.

I'm looking deep into eyes, looking for that holy spark, that kindling that ignites when noticed and held close.

And I'm laughing at the calendar, for it doesn't know what I know.

That today is a gift beyond measure and I am but a servant of splendor.

Linking with Emily for Imperfect Prose

Saturday, April 27, 2013

{Still Saturday}

There are times
when the strings

And what I feel


Is that
I am
in an
act of

just now
the Sun is peeking
round the clouds

And I explode

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Brave Words: I Believe

The years, they begin to stretch a little thinner with each turn of the calendar. There is always a slight pause at the realization, an imperceptible shake of the head, a quick tightening along the jaw bone.
And then the resignation and the practiced patience. The deep breath and the tight smile. Perhaps it is habit or even a feigned fortitude. Whatever it is, it pushes forward.
It must.
But this year’s turning almost undid me. It swelled loud and frightening and red and there was a hemorrhaging of questions and unknowns. There was fear. The cinch of my belt was acute and there was an ache deep within my belly.
And I found myself asking, no, begging, the question:
On how thin a line can one continue to balance?
But hidden within the possible answer was where my biggest fear actually lurked.
What if the answer was hidden in the hard truth of
giving up
giving over
giving into?

I'm sharing my story of unbelief over at Kelli Woodford's place today. Kelli has been hosting a series on Brave Words and here are her words on this series:

"Writers see more clearly when they can cover an experience with words. Not to hide from it, but so that what is truest and perhaps most important about the experience is made manifest to eyes blind in all other directions.  This is my reason for writing this series. 
In it I hope to allow the courage God places in our hearts access to our tongue. That in looking at the many syllables of Truth, and how they differ for each of us, we can also learn to speak them bold when surrounded by the cacophonic glare of lies.  That we can recognize how God is speaking His courage through us more often than we know.  Oh, so much more often than we know."