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Archive for the ‘Mirror Mirror On The Wall’ Category

Things are not going my way. I need to reschedule, re-organize, re-prioritize. I need to re-something. And I chuckle snarky at my internal shift.

These are the days when I’m grateful my shirt is on right side out. If I can to that, I have said out loud, all is lined tidy.

Then my mom notices the tag. It’s a label truly, just stamped paint & not what I need, which is the flag of hard white flapping surrender, getting hung in my hair or tickling my elbow like a gnat.

I smile wide. “Dang it. Stupid label.” I toss my hands in mock exasperation.  “There goes the façade, Mom. I don’t have it all together.”

And we laugh together from the experience of tags out, unmet wants & unwanted mets.

Then her face gets stern. “Don’t fix it, Honey. It’ll be bad luck. Leave it as it is.”

“Sweet! One less thing,” I nod, laughing loudly.

Standing at the sink, watching the water rush away the remnants of dinner, I feel the hard swell rise despite. Then I pull her grace around me tight like the Holly Hobby sheets & quilt, the net from my childhood.

“I love you, Mom.” I say hands putting more dirty dishes into the sink.

“I love you too, Honey.”

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I stoop to pick it up. The dirty copper circle was heads up and only shone on the inside where Abe’s nose and chin were raised.

I have found near a dollar since June. I’ve counted them. In three weeks I found 37, which seemed to me unbelievable. I remember where some were found.

One was found in the dirt of a camp site. I unearthed it drawing circles with my bare toe.

Another was found in at the base of a gas pump.

A bright one was found in the cereal aisle, noticed when I bent down for the large box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

I pick this new one up then with a licked thumb rub the face and the words “IN GOD WE TRUST” I turn it over and seek the others – E Pluribus Unum – out of many, one. I hold it in my hand loosely as I have no pockets and walk into the bank. I whisper yes.

Because to me, there is a question asked when finding and pocketing small things like this. And truly aren’t I always saying yes to someone or something?

Right now saying yes outloud when my name is called. Saying yes when asked if something is completed or if the location of a thing is truly here.

But it’s the whispered yes that is the loudest. That said when walking into a near empty room with high ceilings that earlier echoed child laughter and clicking spoons and bearing witness to beauty standing on a table top. The yes of accepting an invitation offered loud to join and that offered quiet to melt into arms without pretense and consumption.

And this I think, this quietly offered yes in humble surrender and strong affirmation to the words world dirty pressed into something that goes mainly unnoticed – E Pluribus Unum – out of many, one.

There are no great things, only small things done with great love.

~Mother Teresa

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“Great faith is often at the end of the search that starts with doubt. We should be thankful for what God has revealed to us. He doesn’t belong in the package we have created for Him.”

~ David Jeremiah

I laughed when I first read this, which is probably not the reaction desired. There is a hardness in the words, a stark reality that can be used as hammer. Instead I laughed loud and hard.

I carried the words with me written on a scrap and shoved into my pocket. Each time I reached for the coupon pile, I saw it and smiled.

I found myself playing with the words in what I’ve call Bugs Bunny style, adding emphasis on different words and syllables.

GREAT faith is often found at the end…Great FAITH is often found at the end…Great Faith is OFTEN found at the end…

I wanted to do the “bouncy step” I taught the children when they were small. We picked up a toy, then walked on toes heel down, heel up, to the toy box, singing a song or simply talking in an up and down voice. It made the task of Lego and puzzle clean up more tolerable and pleasurable.

This also is probably not the reaction desired.

When my husband in a most suave way, asked from the seat of the children’s 4-wheeler, if I wanted a ride. I giggled and jumped on the back, wrapping my legs perfectly around his waist. He took me to the neighborhood where the fine homes are – the homes I dream of living inside. The steep roof tops meet low long porches in sweeping vines of Carolina Jasmine. Periwinkles blinks dark purple among flat rocks lining the drive and the road. The way the English ivy draped like the dress bricks where chimney flues shot up through oak trees is romantic. I told him I loved the nestling of homes here. I prayed they were as peaceful inside as I laid my face against his shoulder. I thought of this quote and those lovely walls. I chuckled lightly, thinking perhaps this thinking is more in keeping.

I looked beyond the laughter and the play as best I could that night while swinging in the cool evening to say it straight.

You have placed the stars in the sky and know them each by name. And you made me from the inside out. From the womb, you have seen me grow so I guess you know why I laugh. Because I have as many doubts as you made stars. And you make them shine with you.

I turned to watch a blue jay, who was scolding something unseen. The dog lifted his head to see too.

You know my love of ivy drape on lovely brick buildings. They appear so warm, safe and yet you will burst through them, after, in my imagination, I finish building, before the mortar is dry and my boxes are in the foyer.

Shaking my head, I go to the kitchen. The screen door slam is loud and comforting. I prepare my husband’s potato and place it on the grill. In the late afternoon light, the foil sizzles the water away.

And you taught me gratitude, huh? I thought I knew it. But when I thought you were flogging me, all I could really feel was the pressure and  some heat, not the lashes nor the burn, because you were truly my shield. And how I screamed at you! I remember that and I cannot bow low enough now.

I look into my piece of sky between rose barked crepe myrtles and shaggy pine.

Coal into diamonds. Refining of silver. Right?

And I think that this is what is revealed to me: how many times have I run from his very definition of himself, how often I construct tidy walls with lovely ivy and flower boxes and windows where I want him to come in.

And yet, I can still twirl silly making a child’s game. I laugh again and think I twirl only deeper into his grace and by his grace I twirl. Tomorrow is Easter, I think, and a good day to twirl.

___

Posted with the girls at In Other Words. Please visit Karen for more thoughts. If you feel the urge, twirl and link up.

 

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The words just wouldn’t come. It’s as if they were stuck, hung somewhere from an impossibly long trot line in a river being pulled taut in the current.

So I read it over and attempted to reel in with some sort of cohesion this idea of sanctification from where I stood yesterday. Because this is what the quote is speaking directly into. And, I, up early listening to the birds’ pre-dawn meeting, know a bit about sanctification.

I close my eyes. Imagine my husband’s pottery. How the small ropes are coiled and mashed to form one piece. I imagine dipping it into the murky thick river and how although in constant motion, the river fills with ripples of my motion.

Still no sensical words. Still no logic. Still only blankness.

“Even though we have been transported from the dominion of darkness to the kingdom of light, as believers we are still citizens in need of help. We do not want to minimize the significance of our rescue from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of God’s Son, but this deliverance is not the end of Christ’s work of salvation, it is the beginning. Once he has broken the dominion of darkness over us, he then begins to remove all the darkness within us so that we may be holy as he is holy.”

I chopped the hamburger smaller in the frying pan and half way listened to the retelling of Addie, an American Girl, who in Philadelphia found herself in the middle of a mystery and to slow tedious reading of all the ways one could drive a sister madly crazy, when it hit me. Perhaps this is more than writer’s block after one solid week of travel, of heart motion to birthplace first to concisely visit, to cram into a couple of days one year gone then to quickly return after one day home to bury. Perhaps the nearly 2,000 miles in a truck on I65 and I55, although thought of as a pilgrimage of sorts with the children and dog in tow then a sister and brother-in-law, was different.
Draining grease and adding a packet of spice, I laugh at myself for the different tug on the line, the test to see if a fish is on or if it’s merely a stick or a piece of thick uprooted weed. Always reaching out, Girl. Always reaching out.
When we sat to eat, I heard how the hot sauce bottle ran fast and how ketchup added didn’t take away the heat. I listened to different solutions presented because we’re out of milk. We’ve been out of milk for 2 days, I am reminded.
I wander, thinking perhaps the lack of words is a dark spot. The push, the search, is one of the areas needing light. I smile at the pun of light vs dark and light vs heavy. Because this is how I felt yesterday – heavy.
Scraping bits of taco and chips into the dog’s bowl, the verse slips in quietly. “Be still and know I am God.” And I laughed out loud, startling the dog, who was intently watching the scraping process.
Yes, I whisper. Sit still, rest. This is so the light can seep across the water, breaking the solidness into a million tiny sparkles. Lighting bugs, I think. Stars.
When I woke this morning, I thought of hearts and communication and translation and of rest and of stillness. And today in the birds’ song, I sat long until I felt the nudge to type.
___
Yesterday was actually the official day to post with Nina as part of In Other Words, but please visit her to read others’ takes on this quote or to join in.

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“Any concept of grace that makes us feel more comfortable sinning is not Biblical grace. God’s grace never encourages us to live in sin, on the contrary, it empowers us to say no to sin and yes to the truth.”

~Randy Alcorn

I read this and gaffawed and rolled my eyes. I’m a cradle Catholic and came full into God’s grace and love later, almost too much later. I can even say recently because the fragrance is still so new and embracing when I catch it. It’s as if I’ve moved into a different country somedays yet found it, lived here for literally years among the bright colors and intoxicating smells. I don’t ever want to lose that sense of wonder.

Growing up, God was a large figure keeping track of right and wrong like Santa Claus making his list. All was conditional, just like the world I lived in then and still do now. All given was in direct proportion to what was received by Him and the world authorities. The phrases “If I am a good girl…” or “If I do this perfectly…” rang through my head and heart daily carrying the rule of payback in their echo. I walked a tightrope, vision fogged with fear, and prayed my dress was pretty enough.

I am still better at punishing myself than those who dance happy and write down each infraction to save for later when it’s time to make a point.

I am the woman, whose little girl heart fights the quake of the world crashing down around her, who internally can still make a good sign of the cross, recite a strong Act of Contrition, and say Hail Marys until my deep inside voice is threadbare from wear.

I can still walk that rope of imposed rules, too, but I know now that when I sin, not if, and I tumble with a loud splat into the mud, it’ll be okay. Because God pulls the switch from my hand and dries up the toxic pool in my mouth and reminds me that He’s already done that. Each time and every time He does. Sometimes on a clear day I hear his delighted chuckle saying “Come on Twirling Girl, put that down, I got something to show you.” And I hear that gentle whisper say “Hey, I like your heart. It’s a good one…I like your dress too. I know you’re beautiful.”

***

Shared with In Other Words. Please visit Urailak to read other inspirations and, if you feel the nudge, link up.

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I welcome them as they come. I greet them all one by one and call them by name. And it is hard. This kind of naming and search for gratitude and fill.

But this is what I’ve been taught. This Welcoming Prayer. To stand in this doorway to acknowledge, to empty out, in order to fill up.

And just when I think none are left, just when I think those hidden bruised places have finally flushed out back to ordinary color, to supple flesh, more come. Sometimes in a flood, sometimes slipping through unnoticed.

Hello, Anger, I welcome you and say good-bye. And in my mind I shake a hand.

Hello, Lonliness. I welcome you and say good-bye. And in my mind I gently glide her through.

Hello, Sadness. I welcome you and say good-bye. And I nod familiar as I see the heavy booted foot cross the threshold.

I’ve watched the shelves fill with pots waiting. All created by my gentle husband’s hands. They’re bisque fired, which means they’ve been through the kiln once, to harden and solidify shape and texture. This mean means they are ready for rubbing smooth, for carving filagree and spirl, for glazing beauty.

   

A bowl created from tiny bands of clay spiralling up and over. Tiny circles placed inside remind me of sky, of clouds seen from a plane window over the wing.

A tiny pot. No bigger than the heart of my palm. Mashed and formed with fingers whose prints are still visible.

A handless pitcher. One that must be grabbed with both hands in order to pour out.

Things to hold things. Vessels.

And I think of the woman at the well filling up and the woman with the alabaster jar cracking to find and give joy and gratitude.

I must be empty of all this, I scold, in order to fill up with all that. To heal.

Hello, Criticism. You’ve shown up wearing different pants. I welcome you and say good-bye.

So I sway to music internal, a sort of theme music to escort, this week. Hymns and poetry to guide. And I pray my desire to empty, to surrender, to lay all this down is enough, as I continue to humbly nod, greet and then let go.

___

Posted with Lisa Jo for 5 Minute Friday fast and so messy today. The links and photos were added afterward.

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I asked myself in November around Thanksgiving, after I turned forty, about my beauty. I asked myself to define it not by contour and shape or wished words from others, but by internal measurements. It was a hard question so I pushed it towards the back, where the burners weren’t so hot.

Then I asked myself when I felt beautiful – meaning internal texture not outer vision – thinking it would be an easier way to find definition in time. And it proved harder. So I pushed it back too.

But from the corner of my eye, I could see both questions slowly rising to simmer.

So I began to list out the moments as the steam rose. Those mindfully kept pieces that make a whole. They became a photo album of sorts. Because it beckoned, I flipped through it casually like a magazine tucked into the seat of airplane.

I laughed soft recognition & retold the stories, twirling deep inside where no one could see or hear. I deleted the fuzzy and blurred. I did as is custom with things like this.

Then, taking pots from stove, as it were, I served it up.

I was beautiful when I was running. When I could feel my heart pound marry my foot pound and the world’s winds shied from their rhythmic insistence. And some verse stuck to mind like jelly would replay for the needed foot falls.

It wasn’t just those moments either when sweat slipped down shoulder blades and around ears. It was before, after, around swirling complete and joyous.

Then I remembered the reality of my knee. I remembered how a day of wearing fun shoes with heels tall and exquisite hurt at the end. So I was the one who shied away, turning shoulder and chin with the can’t-do-it-won’t-do-that-pain-again move I possess.

Now it is mid-February and the reality that I chew slowly with intention from some plates, weighing inaction against action, is evident.

So the first foot was lifted so gingerly on that black track. And I exhaled all with that one motion of stepping. And the next and the next. Until it happened. The pound of foot solid matched the pound of heart sound.

And the breath came so ragged. All of the abuse apparent. Gasping and grasping.

It was glorious.

The water ran cool sweet over my shoulders and down my legs, washing all toxins off, in the bath after. I watched them all spiral down. The dog watching all from the door raised his head and cocked his eyebrows independent silly when I told him to come see. He came and licked the soap from my shoulder and wagged his tail. And my laughter echoed from the tiles, catching both him and me in a jolt.

And isn’t that just what beauty does? It catches off guard right by meeting me where I am, disarming all with itself, by simply being itself.

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