It no longer fits into my new life.
So, to make room for more, it must leave me:
Beloved bringer of joy, moving on,
Exporting joy into territories
It hadn’t seen before. Adventure calls.
New friends fidget, waiting with open arms,
Glad to take it right on into their hearts,
And this should make me happy. It ought to
Make me happy to know it has a life
Prepared just over the next horizon.
Untold joys—and maybe a few sorrows—
Target my old faithful, stiff, wooden friend.
Alas! I cannot help but mourn its loss
Today. Tomorrow, maybe, I can feel
Elation for its good fortune to be
Desired in a day when electronics rule.
November 27, 2018
After this post, I may not have reliable internet access for an unspecified period of time.
My husband and I are moving on to greener pastures, but also sending our youngest two away for college. We are in a period of transition that is both bursting with hope and joy, and, paradoxically, filled with more overflowing, unexpected sorrows than I would have imagined. So many prayers are being answered all at once, while good changes that we have all anticipated for a couple of years, are harder to swallow than we initially realized. I wouldn’t change anything, but I am definitely experiencing some deep mourning. I won’t rush through it. And I will praise God through my tears, though, truly, both my dogs and I (and maybe even on occasion, my outwardly-stoic husband) will probably be crying into our blueberries for endless minutes at a time in the foreseeable future.
I thank you for your forbearance and any prayers you want to raise on our behalf. May God bless you with a joyful Advent and Christmas season!
Well, here I am with some old, unhealed scars,
Intent on never having to endure
Things that hurt my heart again, keeping scores
Hidden but active, remaining quite sure
That I should not have to put up with this
Harassing irritant any more. So
Each new time I face it, whatever bliss
Formerly filling my heart turns to go.
Lusting for escape, I’m drinking distress
And wondering if it will ever end
Waging war on my fragile, crumbling peace,
Shot all to pieces, devoid of defense.
Opening painful wounds that make me cry.
Focus fixing firmly on my offense:
Overwhelming offense keeps piling high:
This thing is impossible to dismiss.
How can I change myself from this critic
Engaged zealously in finding those flaws
Resuscitating my angst, sharp cynic
Shouldering endless offense without cause?
June 8, 2018
My friend Lucille, one of the spiritual giants in my life, tells me that what has been happening here is spiritual warfare “pure and simple” and that I must resist it and then the devil will flee from me. With that in mind, I have been praying for God to deliver me from a judgmental spirit, and I will be meditating upon Psalm 119:65 “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” and Psalm 35:1 “Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.”
I know that probably none of you struggle with these things. But on the off chance that you do, please pray for me. And tell me how I can pray for you.
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Those ugly memories refuse to fade,
Offending me again with my old sin—
OLD NEWS: Through Jesus’ blood, it’s all been paid.
Kind, loving gift on which my hopes are stayed.
Christ knew ahead of time about my sin
And ugliness that does not want to fade.
Remembering the love that He conveyed
Expels the worries that build up within:
One and all through Jesus’ blood has been paid.
Full payment for my sins my LORD has made.
The awful price need not be paid again.
Harsh memories can shrink and start to fade.
Accepting God’s sweet gift, I am remade.
The old no more defines the new within.
Forgiven fully: through Christ’s blood, all was paid.
Oppressive thoughts that wield Regret’s sharp blade,
Remove yourselves! God’s healing has come in.
My memories that once refused to fade?
Each one through Jesus’ blood was fully paid.
June 25, 2018
And, oh, what a relief it is!
My heart rejoices at this smell,
Announcing good things are to come:
Killed out the drought we knew too well,
Engaged the drops that windows drum.
Surrounded by the clouds we prayed
Might come, we find our hopes renewed.
Enriched by water, fears allayed:
Sure sign the dry spell is subdued.
Oh, Rain, you fall a welcome gift!
How much more welcome than you know:
Around these parts our spirits lift,
Provided you make crops to grow:
Provided you make crops to grow,
You’re much more welcome that you know.
June 9, 2018
When I showed this poem to my friend Gail, she said, “Now that we are in such a dry place, rain is not the nuisance it used to be in other places. – I wonder that other blessings we receive that we are not seeing at the time.”
If you want to pray for us for rain, that would not hurt our feelings at all. Thank you.
I think about the joys that are waiting,
Not here yet, but calling our names. Calling,
“Hey! Get ready! Something great is coming:
Expect better things than you have yet known!”
And all who have any pain will be healed.
Volumes of God’s good plans will be revealed.
Everyone who accepts God will be blessed.
Nowhere in God’s home will sorrow remain.
Where every joy pours freely from God’s heart
Into those who accept His love, we know
That those whose wounds are still raw will be healed.
Heaven’s purpose for pain will be revealed.
Cherishing all our tears, Jesus welcomes
Home all who are His own: those He loves who
Really do love Him in return, and then,
Incredibly, all who move there will see
Scars and wounds that plagued our lives, fully healed,
Transformed, and through these, future joys revealed.
June 1, 2018
For a slightly more complete picture of Heaven, I would like to refer you to Scot McKnight’s excellent book, The Heaven Promise. I have so enjoyed it, and pray you may as well.
Some of my longer-term readers may be aware that I have coined a phrase for one of my poetry templates that I call a daffodil, basing it loosely on William Wordsworth’s poem “The Daffodils”. In this latest iteration of my daffodils, only EE repeating rhyming lines show up, though the six-line pattern remains. Though we do not begin with the normal ABAB, etc. rhyme schemes, I think this fits the message of this poem well because the greatly uncharted rhyme scheme fits well with what we don’t know about Heaven, if that makes any sense. Anyway, I hope you will have enjoyed dreaming with me of the joys of Heaven and the goodness of God.
We have many troubles that can lay us loW.
Each, at times, feels sinking in a stormy seA.
Angry at ourselves, and with the world at waR,
Kindness disappears, and we find ourselves pooR.
Looks like we’re stuck on a scary safarI!!
It’s easy to seek escape while pains echO.
There must be more! We need a DelivereR
To save us from our selfish choiceS:
Lies we carelessly adopt and now cherisH,
Even knowing they destroy and steal our peacE.
So, let us turn our weary hearts to worshiP
Him Who made us to seek His heart, Who can teacH
Each willing heart Christ’s lavish graces to sharE,
Ever close to us, for His image we beaR,
Poised to save the ones whose ev’ry prayer He hearD.
May 24, 2017
That’s why Jesus came down to earth in the first place. Christmas was only the beginning. Let’s keep turning our eyes back to Jesus as we celebrate God’s goodness in our lives at Christmas!
See how the title runs into the acrostic? This title really doesn’t stand very well on its own; so, I thought I would helpfully point this out to you since the typefaces I am allowed here don’t allow the acrostic to present itself as forcefully as it does in my regular format. I hope that is not too patronizing. Anyway, here is the poem, and the title once more:
I Do Not Love That Dog
My darling, beloved, loyal, good dog-soul,
Outside our sweet life together, at times—
Realistically beyond my control—
Every so often, I may chance to find
That another member of your great kind
Has found its way to me (I KNOW YOU MIND),
And, so we briefly meet, as just new friends,
Not wanting anything more. I am sure
I could never love any other dog—
Like this newcomer, for instance—more than,
Oh, Sweetheart, I have always loved you.
Velvety-soft fur did not turn my head
Even for a second from your good heart.
Yep. We did not kiss: we only touched.
Oh, please, do not let wild jealousy start:
Understand I do not love him too much!!!
October 18, 2017
This was one of those compositions that started out with, “I wonder if this might be possible….”, continuing with the title and acrostic being captured, along with one of the lines at the bottom, followed by by other lines out of order, written into the note section of my iPhone (this is one of those times I am very grateful to have this phone, as it replaces stacks of messy manuscript papers in my purse), referred to often as I fixed myself a late breakfast (it being a school day, and my having driven my son to school before walking at the mall, then heading home), and unexpectedly finished less than an hour after it began. Some of my favorite, and most-fun acrostic poems have begun writing themselves quickly this way, and considering that some of my acrostic sonnets have taken weeks, and sometimes months, to complete, this was a very good surprise.
Those who like to analyze meter and rhyme schemes may notice a certain messiness between lines 5 and 12, which, I believe, accurately reflects the tone and message of the poem. Though there should be a constant, somewhat triangular tension holding a patterned poem, such as the sonnet, together, there are cases in which not all the elements (meter, rhyme, and story) exert equal pressure. In one poem, meter may be compromised to move the story along. In another, rhyme may the short leg on the poetry stool. Since the poem is simply a frame for the story the writer wants to tell at the moment, story is the one element that the up-front poet will want to protect above the other elements.
Moving right along, my lovely (I thought) poem spectacularly failed in its mission to enlighten and satisfy the beautiful, often-understanding doggie for whom it was written. If he hadn’t pestered me so frequently with endless questions about a dog I accidentally met, and only briefly, (the operational word being “briefly”) at the mall for less than five minutes, the poem may never have been written. In reality, my meeting with “the other dog” may have have less than three minutes before the dog left me to go on to the next person. Referring back to line 14 in the poem, you may notice that “the other dog” and I shared no kisses. And though I did not write about it here, we also shared no hugs. For me, that was huge. But my own doggie-love discounted all of that and allowed himself to marinate in insecurity and offense for the rest of the day, and I am not sure he fully understands what I am trying to tell him with this poem: he has not been replaced in my heart, nor will he be. Everyone says that dogs love unconditionally and are so forgiving. My answer to that is, “Yep. Usually. But not always.”
When I started the car this morning, I
Had a lovely surprise: a full gas tank!
AND a hot sausage biscuit standing by.
This kindness I must remember to thank—
Carelessly forgetting would not be wise!—
Oh, LORD, help me hold this in my heart and
Understand I am precious in these eyes:
Loved in action by my husband’s great heart.
Distracted by other things, I sometimes
Believe I am not important to him,
Even as he proves me wrong. Many times,
By the time I at last think to thank him,
Embrace him, appreciate what he does,
The moment has passed, and we’ve both forgot.
That’s not a good excuse, of course, because
Each of these gifts show the treasure I’ve got:
Really, I ought to give that man a kiss!!!
October 13, 2017
Today, on Acrostic Sonnet Monday, I want to share with you a poem I wrote by the grace of God and with the prayer support of a large number of friends. It celebrates the 50th wedding anniversary of two of my friends and mentors, Lola and Don Compton, without whose prayers and advice I would have floundered many times. Twenty-three years from now, I hope this poem will define my husband’s and my own marriage of fifty years.
Learning to look for the best, they can both
Overlook irritants as they arise,
Viewing each other through Jesus’ kind eyes,
Engaged in seeking and proclaiming truth,
Delighted to serve and share God’s good news.
And we look to their example of love
Never failing: God’s deeply rooted love.
Driven, both on the street and in the pews,
Leading many souls to Christ, they are blessed.
On their soft hearts, God’s word they emboss.
Victorious, even when life looks grim,
In Christ, “from Whom all blessings flow”, they rest.
Nearer they grow, through triumph or through loss,
Giving God the glory as they serve Him.
for Lola and Don Compton
April 28, 1967 – April 28, 2017
and the adventure continues
April 26, 2017