Happy Mother’s Day, to my beautiful daughter

 

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Been thinking about you a lot and wondering if you feel qualified to celebrate this day- since baby boy is not yet wrapped in your arms, and you haven’t experienced the horrors a single, messy diaper. Well, I’m here to tell you — yes! You are fully mother and fully licensed to celebrate this Mother’s Day.

You are already making the sacrifices that motherhood implies, by giving over, allowing, and spending your body for the life of your child. True to who you are, you are doing that with excellence, and once more, finding you must go beyond the adjustments and adaptations of most, by seeking additional counsel and medical care, while making modifications to daily routines in order to manage living with diabetes while growing a child.

You are doing the thinking, planning and prep that I would expect from a top notch administrator, boss mom, and rock star wife, independent woman, and daughter of the King. You are growing to love your baby boy each day- unsure of what you will face when you hold him in your arms. Welcome to motherhood- full of wonder and dichotomy.

In each stage of your life- I continue to marvel as I think of who you are. I admire your desire to do your best in every realm, and am so thankful to be your mother and the recipient of your kind and thoughtful love.

I remember those first few days of your life, how I breathed promises, as I tenderly kissed your head. I thank God for the day your were born, for every day that I have been your mother since. I thank God for the mother-life you now lead, and for the baby growing inside you.

Welcome to Motherhood darling- I promise- it’s full of riches, crazy good and rich, bittersweet and hard and worth every second.

In the soft heart of June

 

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June whispers in my ear, beckoning me to stop and drink her in.

Her discordant song echoes in layers, defying the mathematics of music.
What is this confused passion?
This abstraction — perfectly balanced?
The treble of the gnat,
The bass of the bullfrog,
The trill whistle of the bird,
Never a more tangled rhythm beats in the soft heart of June.

Each creature moves to the drumbeat of the Flower Child,
who’s finest garb is strewn about her messy room.
The amber and cerulean bluebird stands guard outside his nest, while his bride arranges her cradle.
The hummingbird skillfully hovers, his wings beating a buzz, before he jets off to fight for his place in the sky.
The turtle lazes in the warmth of the sun, atop a fallen tree, while the dragonfly jettisons across the water.
June’s energy is endless and her laughter rings through the trees.

Paintbrush in hand, she strokes the lightest of light.
Her hand does not shy from the darkness of night.
Her skies churn charcoal grey and electric blue,
and palette knives scoop white upon white.
Her petals scream color,
Her fireflies ignite,
A climax of wonder, the longest day of light.

June brushes soft against my skin.
I stop, quiet, and give myself to her.
Resigned, there are no words fit to describe her wild beauty.
She spins, slowly, in pirouette,
Then, on this, the first day of summer,
I watch her laugh as she begins to dance away.

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Photo by Amy Treasure

Suzanne’s Tattoo

I had no idea, last year, when I scrawled  I Want to Live Alive  in my journal, that it would become Suzanne’s life theme and mantra. She cherished the words and set out to make them true. She set out to live her last days fully alive. 389f6f01c8011417c02cc55e05b4ecfa

 While cancer loomed, she chose to push it aside, even when discomfort became a constant reminder. She was determined to enjoy the chapter she had left- and she made it her mission to teach others to do the same.

In her effort to live alive, Suzanne approached her days methodically. She simply did the next thing- whether mundane, like organizational tasks, cleaning and laundry – or more purposeful things – like having healing conversations, and orchestrating intentional time with family and friends. She did it all with excellence and with all senses engaged.

She also threw herself into her Bible reading and gathered strength and perspective to face the rugged terrain ahead. All the while, she looked for ways to serve others, and nudge them to live more fully alive.

In the end, with her beloved husband and family at her side, Suzanne faced forward and did the last thing on her list. She crossed to the other side as a representative of faith, love and grace. While we say goodbye to her physical presence and loving care, we will never be without her tattoo –  her firm instructions to us: We are we to celebrate her life, but we must also celebrate our own. Live Alive! Rest in peace, beautiful woman. Your life has been a lesson to cherish.

If you would like to read the original blog post which was an inspiration to Suzanne in the last year of her life, follow this link:  I Want To Live Alive

A Tour of Yad Vashem

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Photo and caption taken from the Yad Vashem website

 

The Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Museum looks like a long pod. Visitors begin the journey at one end — pre-Hitler — then work their way to the other end —
through volumes of devastation.

Our tour begins in an open theatre;
Floor to ceiling moving pictures set to music;
Depictions of happy times for the Jewish people;
children playing — as children do.

Through window panes, we spied fine clocks and furnishings,
families enjoying tea
and music,
and mothers smiling — as mothers do.

Along the bottom of the screen,
a tiny, plump bird hopped along, pecking at seed in the snow.
A small representation of sweetness and life.

As we moved down the hall of the museum, we came forward in history,
through pictures, video testimonies, and artistic expressions,
depicting the eventual crushing of the Jewish culture.
The humiliation,
the torture,
and the murder
of six million Jewish people,

Six million,
not counting those not counted.

The fragile little bird disappeared.
The most profoundly simple,
stolen away.

There was an immense pile of old, worn shoes…
the shoes of the dead.

Movies recorded the faces of the men who had joined together
to burn books written by Jewish authors.
While there was no sound,
the message was still loud.
Men jeered and laughed, self-righteously.
Others worked as if on a critical mission — as if they were doing community service.
They could have been any men.
Their faces were not unusual.
They were sure and proud and cruel.

Hitler planted small ideas, full of hate,
and men allowed them to grow.
They fed the ideas their agreement,
and the most evil thing in history happened.

The Nazis lined naked women and children along the edge of a pit, to shoot them, and watch them fall.

The ground was filled with the bones of suffering.
Shoes and gold teeth, and rings, and wares, were piled in great heaps —
Now on display,
as a testimony of grief.

Further inside, 3D models of the gas chambers and stories of the smoke stacks.

But, we know that ashes make the ground fertile,
And even in this horror,
the enemy did not prevail.

Yad Vashem provides not only a historical tour, a place to remember,
and to honor the dead,
but it also paints a portrait of what hatred
looks like on the face of the mocking mobs,
and how dangerous it can be, left to grow unchecked.
The Holocaust provides us with the most graphic example of all time.

All hatred is leveled opposition to God Almighty;
and there is none that is a special breed.
Never a more justified pill than hatred gets swallowed.

Isaiah 58
“If you do away with (or stop, or fast from), the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, (stop condemning and shaming others),  and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your
night will become like the noonday.
… But he accepted the shame as if it were nothing because of the joy that God put before him…”

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On, January 27, 2016, Holocaust Memorial Day,  this post was pulled from a journal entry I wrote while visiting Israel in 2007, with Dr. Susan Watson of John 17 Ministries. While in Israel, Dr. Susan revealed the contrast between the men who adopted Nazi hatred- which led to death and destruction, and Jesus, who by staying focused on God’s will, poured out healing and transforming love, even in the face of ridicule, shame, and abuse. The greatest love and the greatest hate,  played out on the stage, which is Israel, starring the beloved Jewish people.
John chapter 17

the time has come…

 

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The time has come
To stop allowing the clutter
To clutter my mind
Like dirty snow,
Shove it off and find
Clear time, clear water.
Time for a change,
Let silence in like a cat
Who has sat at my door
Neither wild nor strange
Hoping for food from my store
And shivering on the mat.
Let silence in.
She will rarely speak or mew,
She will sleep on my bed
And all I have ever been
Either false or true
Will live again in my head.
For it is now or not
As old age silts the stream,
To shove away the clutter,
To untie every knot,
To take the time to dream,
To come back to still water.

“New Year Resolve”
written by May Sarton, from Collected Poems, 1930-1993

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Thank you to David Kanigan for sharing May Sarton’s , “New Year Resolve,” which, according to his blog post, Kanigan discovered back in 2012, on another blog entitled,  Waiting for the Karma Truck, who’s author says she found it on NPR’s Writer’s Almanac … and on and on.

As seekers, we pass collections of words,
like light with form,
like precious contraband,
from palm to palm,
sipping carefully,
then gulping desperately,
as we discover the taste of truth.

In these words, I see my reflection as “old age silts in the stream,”
and ask, can I stop here?
Can I stop to pull off the sticky, infectious urgencies that threaten to smother me?
Can I finally release what I grip so tightly in my shaking hand —
those small and powerful things which envelop me in shadow?
Can I bring in the quiet, which sits “shivering” and starving
and begging,
“on the mat” just outside my door?

Happy New Year to me,
and to you, my friends.
God help us all, as we strive to live alive.
May we leap that we might fly.

in the shadows of every soul…

Haunting and beautiful… in the shadows of every soul

 

Iceland’s Solstafir Seeks Salvation In Sublimely Shot ‘Miðaftann’

December 16, 2015 by LARS GOTRICH • The sweeping beauty of Solstafir’s music comes from a place of pain and restoration, but it wasn’t always that way. With 2014’s Ótta, the Icelandic black-metal band fully and gracefully transitioned to atmospheric rock. One of the album’s best songs, “Miðaftann,” sounds somber and haunting without guitars or drums — just piano, strings, a little Rhodes and Aðalbjörn Tryggvason’s desperate vocals, sung in his native tongue.”The song is about wandering in darkness,” Tryggvason writes, “playing chess with Death, getting burned by salt, drowning in the ultimate wave of sin and returning back home by using moonlight as navigation.”Harri Haataja and Vesa Ranta direct this gorgeous video, which they shot mostly in black and white amid the stark, sublime landscape of Iceland. They say they were inspired by the lyrics to show a man at his end, literally waving a white flag as he seeks salvation.”They told us a real-life story about a sailor who lost his crew at sea and was stranded to shore as the only survivor,” the directors write.” He proceeded to find his way to town and [along the way] he found a barrel filled with water. But the water was frozen, so he had to punch through the ice with his bare hands to fight the dehydration. Eventually, after a long journey, he found his way to town and survived.”Ótta is out now on Season Of Mist.
Source: NPR Music

the colors of autumn…

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Autumn is gold,
and amber,
and umber and cool.
It’s red and yellow,
spattered with green,
Like oils,
Like acrylics,
Like rust.

Contrast upon contrast,
like stones in the water,
like Indian stones in the water.
Like painted rocks on the shore.

Layer upon layer,
like wet, Indiana clay,
like red, Oklahoma soil,
like the straw plains in Wyoming.

It’s the sound of the crows and the rustle of the leaves.
It’s a plodding animal in the woods,
like a deer,
like a man,
like a squirrel in autumn,
Thunderfoot.

It’s the wind…
She laces her way through dry branches,

ushering the leaves to let go,
forcing them to set sail,
like a mother,
like a thief,
like a captain.

Yellow sailors take the helm,
tacking back and forth,
upon the shifting air,
like dancers,
like feathers,
like snowflakes,
unto the littered ground.

The dry, straw ground,
covered with nuts,
and sticks, and fallen leaves,
which ruffle into earthy piles. 
Piles to be tapped by the rain.
and rustled by the breeze,
like strings,
like fairy drums,
like dreams.

The flowers, once pink,
and purple
and red,
now brown,

beautiful Indian brown,
now gone to seed, ruddy crisp.
like splinters,
like brown wrens,
like bark,
bouncing lightly to the sound of Autumn.

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quick thoughts before the sun goes down.
must the sun go down?