Friday, September 04, 2015


for Robb

If I were outside I'd be glad of the snow that melts on my face,
the heavy, wet snow.
my tears would be hidden in snowmelt.
Perhaps then the flood that is held back by the weakening dam of my resolve could be released.

Old sheets,
mismatched dishes,
shelves of books,
lawn tools and electronics,
lamps and chairs,
old cassettes and Christmas lights,
pots and pans and army blankets.

These strangers
going through his things
cannot comprehend.

They are going through your house,
selling off your plates, your linens.
Strangers are pawing through your things,
Not knowing or caring who you were.
All of your books gone in one transaction,
The many things that made up your life.

Hands have grasped things and stolen,
the wine you meant for me,
The poem you read to me on the phone that day,
just an empty spot on the wall now.
Whose hands were greedy? Who took what was yours?
How has it come that what is left is the detritus,
like a shipwreck tossed onshore?

I hate them all in this moment,
Their clutching hands, their beady eyes,
The slobbering faces trying to hide,
the avarice, the hunger I despise.

I hate them for tossing aside the things
that once were yours,
like so much trash, they sniff and snort,
their disdainful laughing,
the eyerolls, the gasps.

I hate even more that you aren't here.
that you will never read another book,
will never light that lamp.
You'll never give me that special look...
where love and affection and amusement
all sparkled in your eyes, and a chortle on your lips.
You'll never rush with paper towels to wipe my windshield clean

Oh, dear God, you're gone!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

No Mistake

Heading through the woods, I was determined to come in behind some flowering trees I had seen from the road. Everywhere I looked there where small flowers taking up residence along the sides of paths, on trees, along the river bank…and among these small wonders, these delicate beauties, were leaves of all shapes and sizes. Just look at all the wonders! The wild garlic unfurls it’s slender stalks, reaching curling fingers to the skies as it’s gentle fragrance teases the senses. I was reminded as I looked at all the splendid variety that I often bemoan the fact that I am the way that I am. I’m short and…er…stocky. I long to be tall and thin.

I kept walking around, snapping pictures of so much beauty and variety I was filled with delight. I heard the voice, “Do you really want to be tall and thin?” No sense lying, of course I want to be tall and thin. I looked around, now conscious of the presence of God. What if everyone was tall and thin? What if I only made one kind of plant? The amazing variety just in this little corner of the world is before me, behind me, beside me, above me, bearing witness to the creativity and variety of the creator. If I had what I wanted, every plant in the forest would be those slender garlic sprouts. If everyone looked like Angelina Jolie, wouldn’t we long for something different? Don’t we long for the variety? Don’t we appreciate the differences in people? Yet I long to be something other than what God has made me.

Which plant would I do without? The slender tree covered in small purple-pink flowers? The fragrant garlic? The Jack-in-the-Pulpit? Viola? The vines which wind themselves around trees and shrubs in a wooden lacework that is beautiful and mind-boggling? Which would I give up?

I am reminded that God made me the way he wanted. He made me short. He gave me a peasant build. I am one of the creations in his human forest. Every one of us is different from the next, individual, beautiful, special, and unique. I suppose that I am rather arrogant to presume that the Creator made a mistake with me.

Do you see? I hear him say. “I make beauty out of disease, decay, even out of death.” Everywhere I looked there was evidence of that. Fungii were reclaiming fallen limbs, hues of seafoam green, aqua, orange, salmon, and white painted on the forest floor. Today’s leaves were growing out of the forest floor covered in decomposing leaves from seasons past. Dead trees were bearing signs of bird nests, insect life, and retained an amazing beauty in their death. I make all things beautiful in my time. I reclaim, rebuild, restore. I bring life, renewal, beauty. Can you see it?

Yes I can. Today I hope that as you look at the photos that I’m attaching, that you will see a portion of what I have seen and that you will look in the mirror and understand that you were made in your own special way and have your own special beauty. Is it small, delicate and hidden or is it wild and gloriously gaudy? No matter. You bear the mark of the Creator. He has not made a mistake.

A Night Walk in Virginia

The cicadas' song in the heat of the day is slowly fading into the nighttime crickets' melody. Somewhere the fireflies are putting on a show, though they aren't performing near me lately. The magnolia tree has put out two or three sad flowers that seem to have no aroma. Although I find the aroma of magnolias overwhelming, it wounds me to smell nothing, to see that magnolia and recognize a brokenness there.

Why is the magnolia lacking in fragrance? This niggles at me, but then I am quickly attentive to other things because the dog is moving on, sniffing trails I can't smell, doing her little SniffBook social media thing, learning, I assume, who's been by, who's pregnant, and what other critters have been traveling through.

The dark of night is slowly settling in, wrapping around us in a warm embrace. Something flies by me, disliking my proximity. A cicada, I assume. This year's batch seems more skittish. I stare at the sky, wishing I lived somewhere where I could get away from city lights and see the stars. How I long for a clear starry night. I know they're out there, and my memory fills in the gaps of a celestial light show, before the dog and I go inside for the night.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Getting published...

Working on it. Self-publishing is the key here, it seems, though I wish that weren't true. I hate to see the big publishing houses go under and I would hate even more to lose my local bookstore, but... This is something I can do myself. so I've been picking up one of my novels and working on completing it. I'm dismayed to discover that I'm missing parts and pieces of it...already written. Now I must find them or face a major redo. Not that it's a bad thing, and certainly it gives me something to do until I get a job offer...

So, here goes... When I'm done, I'll let folks know. I'll need your help to get the word out. Coming Soon...Books by ME. Available on Amazon.


Sunday, July 18, 2010


Well, most of my writing has been fiction and a few opinion pieces I post for another site, but I thought I should take a moment to discuss some of the personal struggles I've had.

I found myself in a pit. So many changes, so much confusion, so little surety in anything in our lives has taken a toll on me. My beloved brother moved away just months after we moved to be closer to him (coincidence?) I know this is not an accident. One minute he got a call that he was losing his job and five minutes later he got a call that they wanted him on a different site hours away, requiring him to move in a short space of time. I admit to being really thrown by this. Angry, too.

I was quite willing to live in this tiny apartment but able to spend time with my brother and his wife. I was so excited about it. But within months they were suddenly gone and I just felt that it was TOO MUCH. On top of all the trials and struggles and disappointments over the last few years, it took the wind out of me.

So much of life seems to be about me getting the wind knocked out of me, being thrown to the ground with a sucker punch and crawling back, standing back up and getting my wind again only to repeat the cycle. I think the point is to strengthen me, to deepen me, to reduce my reliance on myself and my own understanding and to force me to rely on the only wise God. I'm not great at this. My basic training is going on far longer than most peoples it would seem. I assume they must be faster learners. Either that, or I made it through basic training and the training was for a war that I didn't realize had started.

Whatever the case, I was worn out, exhausted, sad and confused. It showed all over me. What made it all worse is that my fibromyalgia has been in a major flare for the longest period yet--well over two years now. Amazing. I was tired of all of it. Tired of the pain, the physical inconvenience, the financial struggles, the losses, all of it.

I let myself get depressed. I know better. I know how to be happy. I've learned that through great pain and long study. I just stopped practicing what I knew. When someone commented on my smile as if it were a rare or nearly-nonexistent thing, I realized what I had allowed. I allowed myself to quit practicing, to quit CHOOSING to be happy. So I once again have chosen to be happy. Trust me on this. It's totally doable. If I can learn to be happy, anyone can. I find it hard to imagine a more dismal soul than me, at least the old me.

The problem of pain and attitude is that it is hard to maintain a positive attitude when you are in pain, but the severity of the effect of pain is increased in proportion to the depth of your own misery and depression. If one can maintain a good, positive attitude, pain is not diminished, but the effect of that pain is. Plus misery drives others away.

Soooooo, rambling as this has been, I have had an attitude adjustment. I allowed myself to focus on the circumstances rather than the one who holds me in the circumstances. I forgot that I am not dependent on jobs or what I can see with my own eyes for my sustenance and my stability, but that I am dependent on one who is not affected or concerned by the things which I can see. he is utterly reliable when nothing else is.

Forward, ho!

Monday, March 29, 2010


I have to ask myself the following questions today.  I believe they came from Tozer, but I heard them while listening to an online sermon from Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church.

  1. What do you want more than anything else?  Honestly examine your hearts cravings.  
  2. What do you think about more than anything else? 
  3. How do you use your money?  
  4. What do you do with your leisure time?  
  5. Who do you admire and what do you admire about them?
  6. What is humorous to you?
My answers, the truthful ones, not as I wish they were, but what they really are, is very instructive to my soul.

What I wish the answers to be is: 1. God, 2. God's Word and the person and work of Jesus Christ, 3. To further the kingdom of God and to care for the poor., 4.  Serving the poor, studying the Word and gathering with other believers to delight together in God, 5.  I want this list to be filled with spiritual giants both known and unknown who follow after God with their whole hearts, and 6.  I want this not to include things that demean others, cruelty, etc.

What is true is somewhat different.  My truthful responses show my heart to be in need of repentance, cleansing and renewal and that I CANNOT do on my own.  My truth reveals a need for God to wash me clean, to renew a right spirit in me, to root out my selfishness and the sin which is still rooted in my heart.  God help me.  I am not who I want to be, I am not who I wish to be, I am not who I was made to be.  I must throw myself on the mercy of God, the only wise and merciful God.  I have seen my heart and it is an ugly and needful thing.

I am, we are, blessed that our salvation and our hope does not rest on this.  I am blessed that God in his mercy sought fit to save me, one whose heart is so unworthy.  Even my response to the Savior is not the beautiful thing I wish it to be.  Oh may I one day truly answer those questions as I desire.  May that really be.  Lord, rescue me from me.  Thank you for revealing the condition of my heart.  Teach me and mold me, cleanse me and purify my heart.  Renew my spirit.  Continue the work you have begun in me.