Autumn Gold

cold rusted leaves cling to wet branches

braced for a final fall

last dance before the earth swallows their life

to give back to next years new growth

memories of sun fill veins

pulse slowed to the rhythm of seasons

give way to slumber

as though winter wins the battle

as though the fight does not go on

frost will come over and over again

the cold cannot reason past it’s arrival

but roots will hold trees in place

waiting for the first drops

as light and life triumph

the bright gold a promise

that is always, always kept

hope

Copy and Paste If You Agree…

I posted this on Facebook. I am probably being unfriended or dismissed as a libtard as I repost here. I wrote this after reading two posts by other folks. I copied part of their post and put it in the google search bar and though they did not say so on their post – their words did not come from them. The only clue was that at the bottom of their post were the words “copy and paste if you agree”  Interesting enough, one person who had copies and pasted and shared something that they did not write actually “liked” my post…

The funny thing is, I actually consider myself more of a conservative at last by my understanding of what it means to be conservative. I also believe in helping others. I believe in an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. I pay taxes and I am blessed that I can afford health insurance (barely).

I did not like ANY of our candidates this year. I like how people are reacting to the result even less. Name calling and anger on both sides. I believe in peaceful protesting. I do NOT believe in indiscriminate destruction of property just because you are mad partially because it is wrong and partially because that is no way to change anyone’s mind.

I believe this country being founded by immigrants, should be willing to shelter those who are in harms way from other countries. I do not believe in a permanent free ride.

I believe that we live in an age where information is free and prolific and takes very little effort to find. It does take a little more effort than simply copying and pasting. Facebook has turned into the virtual version of what we used to call supermarket rags – those papers that you would see at the checkout with “shocking” headlines and celebrity gossip and I find it frustrating and insulting that the contents of these sketchy websites are being shared and resider as though they are reputable sources of news. Some contain tiny bits of truth amid inflammatory language and sometimes out and out lies.

My first thought was to just start unfriending people so I would see this dreck that gets me wound up. For the moment I am instead, writing and commenting and hoping that people will start to actually read what they are sharing and maybe even research where it came from; put some thought into the agenda of the original source.

I recently read a post on Facebook that began like this: : “I’m going to let all you upset Hillary supporters in on a little secret. To those of you questioning now how you will ever be able to raise a child in a world full of hate and bigotry, saying this election has provided even a further wedge in our nations divide, etc. Donald J. Trump will not come into your home, and teach your children, real values and morals, You will

This text came (as far as I can tell) from Buzzfeed which is a click bait site that makes money off adds as we all click there and read sketchy “news” articles that may or may not be plagiarized or contain pieces of truth mingled with things made up with the purpose of getting us all to click there. They concentrate on social media sites like Facebook and twitter. They play on our anger, fear, and voyeurism and they focus on making posts go viral – not out of any agenda other than to make money from ads. That’s it. They do not care about your race, gender, religion, politics or anything else about you other than your ability to click and share so someone else will click and share and so on and so on.

I will not from this moment on take another stupid Facebook quiz or do anything else to support this behavior. There are a lot of websites that do the same and much of what I have read on the internet the last few days came from those kind of sites. If you want to know more about this website here is a wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BuzzFeed

We all have the freedom and capability to post our opinions. This is mine. I recently came upon the phrase “consensus reality”. This basically means that a group of people adopt a world reality because they all see it that way. This is not inherently a bad thing. In the midst of a horrible event the reality can change because there is a consensus of hope. Unfortunately the opposite is also true. A happy or uplifting event can change because of a bad perception. If who we are is what we click and share we have created a consensus reality that we are mostly angry/whiny contentious, snowflake, bigoted, brainless, privileged, whatever. Choose your club.

Four years ago Republicans were crying that our country is ruined. Their candidate lost the election and they were certain we were going to hell in a hand basket. The same group is now laughing and calling democrats entitled whiny babies. Democrats are saying all Republicans are all privileged and bigots and have no compassion.

Politics is a very good example of consensus reality. A politician wants to create a consensus that he or she is the answer to all of our problems. It doesn’t matter that the reality is that the problems are complex and will not be solved the day after the election. They don’t care if you get angry with your neighbor for how they vote. They just want to WIN (the political equivalent of click and share).

When my kids were small we signed them up for tee ball. What a fun experience. Aside from teaching basic skills like running, throwing, catching and hitting the ball, a difficult lesson to teach them was that they should not all run to the ball. They had to be taught team work. Each person had a place on the field and they each were part of a process that if they learned to work together, allowing each person to do their part, they could attain their goal.

Remember the old game where you whispered something in someone’s ear and it was passed around a circle and at the end the last person had to ay what they were told and often it bore little resemblance to the original message? Did you trust the person who whispered to you? The person who whispered to them?

What will you whisper? What will you click and share? Who will make money off your anger?

We all need to go take tee ball lessons.

Wisdom of Trees

Peace falls soft with the night
Though even as the sun sets
it shares a rosy glow
Though we may be blue as the sky
The lesson from the trees
Taught as they stand still and reach
for light till it fades to black
and even then they stand
waiting to share the cool
gathered from night
when the sun returns

Grand Finale

Grand Finale Tommy Stone

Photo and Title Credit Tommy Stone

The sun, she doesn’t hide from sight

even the clouds can’t keep her light

from painting a fading sky

Even the waters sing her chorus

knowing that dark is nigh

even the trees give rest

and the birds do cease to fly

and still the sun keeps dancing

her colors wild, enchanting

as shadow slowly slanting

she says “it matters! Look and see!”

“Dance the music plays for free!”

And even as the last notes played

the echo reaches space

and though the dark will come too soon

last rays warm watcher’s face

 

Sky Falls

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Photo credit Tommy Stone

there will be time

for sun and bright colors

for light and wind and

the work of the day

spring and summer

slip away as hints

of winter settle on the pond

fish swim a little slower

clouds hang a little lower

as night comes a little closer

we walk through the dry grass

that crackles underfoot

leaving impressions

of where we have been

but not where we are going

Last Gasps

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Photo and Title Credit Tommy Stone

like the pillow

where I lay my head

clouds will cover trees

in softest down

as night shakes out

the wrinkles smoothing

out the tension

calming all the babies

tucking heads neath

feathered wings

nested in the darkest leaves

settle lower, deeper still

heavy lidded, curled around

from top to trunk

rooted in the bed of earth

sings a mother sky

of sunset dreams

and sleepy sighs

Exhibit

From Facebook:

Paris Poet’s Society is proud to be a part of a unique project. Several months ago they put out a call for submissions of poetry and photography. The theme was What Brings You Here. The project is complete and there will be an exhibit and book! Please join us October 28 at 7:00 P.M. for a reception at the Raven Gallery on the west side of the square in downtown Paris. We are so excited to be a part of this event! Please join us and enjoy the work of some local artists.

I have two poems in this exhibit and book. I’m very excited!

 

 

In The Silence

As I walk through the world
I wonder what is my purpose,
my reason, my work
Fears and worries chase me
like a million bees buzzing in my ears
but the sun reminds me that I will be warm
The pond reflects the peace
that grows in the trees and the grass
The bird stands guard
proclaiming nothing and everything
In the silence

Between The Lines

read between the lines

I whispered with no voice

because that is where truth tiptoes

whistling past the graveyard

of excuse and explanation

holding itself close as a baby

taken to breast

the thought just after

the prayer has ended

the wish too fragile

to make over the candle flames

the sound in the room

after a death

What Are We To Do

I was honored to present this at church. After torturing my husband with practicing all week I was able to do it without reading every word. The news has been so bad lately, it makes you question everything and this was my way of trying to figure things out.

What are we to do when evil
drops in and curls up on the sofa,
whispers to us from the tv,
tickles the back of the throat as we watch
another fatherless child weep?
Will we see Jesus as we stumble
along this dry and dusty road
filled with funerals and rage?
There is no room for both love and hate.
One will always push the other off the cliff
and in the falling we close our eyes
so heaven is no more in our sight.
How we see becomes what we do.
Did God know when he took clay and formed it
in His image
how we would refuse to see Him in each other?
We cannot fall so far
that grace cannot catch us by surprise
and place us back in green pastures.
Dissension can never yell so loud
that it drowns out the bird’s song.
God waits while we struggle,
ready to
give us back the gifts made for us,
give us back the work prepared for us,
give us back the part of us that is like Him.
So, while evil sits on the sofa
let us do what makes us who we should be.
Feed the hungry, heal the sick, console the bereft.
Let’s turn our backs on the thief of joy.
Sooth the tickle at the back of the throat
with living water.
Weep with the fatherless
and be Jesus on the dusty road
for those who need Him most.
There is no law against these things
and they will give us back so much more than they cost.
We will be salt.
We will be light.
We will see grace.

Sunset Symphony

the sun so loud it hurts my ears
and even as the night would cool
I feel the heat brush tree limbs bare
and paints a sky that once knew blue
but bids us peace with brighter hue
a fierce reminder daylight wins
and as a planet silent spins
the sunset chorus covers sins
dawn will come the dance begins
but just for now keep watch and see
a symphony of light for free

a letter to myself

I am so guilty
of overthinking, overclocking, over-reacting
to it all and now I am tired and wired and
seeing that all are not good and will not be okay
and as sad as it is I will not be rushed
or crushed or brushed under the rug
stepped on like a bug, I lugged this carcass
miles and while it may have been a need
once upon a heavy time I let it go and silently
clap
in time with the breeze that carries it and me
above the storm and change, my range a new norm
a piece of peace to call I own it now
just like that guilt, the silt left by the storm, the flood
the murky mud of letting loose the noose no longer
choking off the quiet till like dandelion ghost I float
and in the invisible become seen and heard
where it matters

Before The Storm

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Photo Credit Deborah Scott Lightfoot

Thank you Deborah for inspiration.

rain skates across skidding clouds
smoking up the blue and
drowning us all in grey and sad
shrinking us into the landscape
even the trees drift into dark
while the buildings sink
their foundations into the earth
as everything waits

 

Once Upon a Time

the instructions were to begin with Once upon a time and then write a short practice piece.

Once upon a time a sad girl went for a walk. As she walked she began to hum and soon the humming turned to singing and her steps became a dance. She danced and danced and waved her arms in the air and soon her arms became wings. When she opened her throat to send out the notes she filled her lungs with air and her wings lifted her high above the swirling leaves and the wind carried her farther than her dreams. Her legs and feet began to draw up and shrink for they were no longer needed for the dance and the sun warmed her back as she floated between clouds and swirled and twirled like the leaves she had passed on her way to sky. Her words became sound that she left behind her as she soared higher and higher and farther still. As she swooped and dived and climbed again she turned her eyes to the earth she had once belonged to and she saw the green of the trees and the blue of the sea. She dove and saw her reflection on the water as she coasted just above the glittering surface and the ripples broke the image into millions of sparkling pieces. Her sadness had blown away on the breeze and she decided then and there that she was no longer earthbound. The girl who was not a girl turned back to the sky and joined the flock of others who no longer stumbled in the dirt. Sadness is small as stones on sand and she had risen above it.

A Book Review…Sort Of…

Spoiler alert!

I recently finished the book The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks. This is a quest story with magic and trolls and elves, an unlikely hero and his band of friends. Evil is taking over the earth and the only defense is our hero and the sword that he and a motley crew of equally unlikely companions search for. The quest is dangerous and they run into all kinds of problems, are separated, wounded, and think that all is lost, only to be reunited in the end when good, of course, triumphs.

The hero, Shea, is a half elf who is adopted and does not know until told by a stranger, that he is the last of a royal elf bloodline and according to legend, he is the only one who can use the magic sword to defeat the evil. His companions are not like him and as the journey goes on, people who begin as enemies become friends and growth happens in the process. Shea is not brave and is filled with doubts that constantly surface. He is not even sure that he believes the legend. He is uncertain that even if the legend of the sword is real, that he could be the one to use it and he doesn’t have a clue HOW to use it if he lives to find it. He feels guilty that others have put themselves in danger to protect him and help him find the sword. He feels unequal to the huge responsibility of all the people who are depending on him and who will die if he fails. Again and again he wishes to just return to his old peaceful life but continues on his difficult and frightening path because he feels he cannot quit when so many are willing to sacrifice their own comfort and even lives to help him.

At one point he actually has the sword in his grasp and it disappears again because he does not recognize it. He expected something grand and so did not know the plain sword for what it was.

Now let us switch gears. I recently was part of a bible study where the theme of the readings for the week was reconciliation. If you look up the word “reconcile” there are several definitions. One is to restore friendly relations between. A second is to cause to coexist in harmony; make or show to be compatible. A third pertains to financial accounts – make (one account) consistent with another, especially by allowing for transactions begun but not yet completed, a reconciled bank transaction means that it has been cleared. I started thinking about the book I had just read.

We too are adopted as sons and daughters of God. We are reconciled to God by the sacrifice made by an unlikely (in human terms) hero. A carpenter who the world had difficulty recognizing as the messiah. Instead of being a royally attired king who would lead his people to a worldly victory over those who oppressed them, he healed and fed and preached and taught those the world would not recognize as worthy, and sacrificed himself so that all of our accounts would be cleared. No matter how big our debits column, Jesus would fill in the credit column for each and every person who would receive him and make them sinless and restore them to God. Our debt is cleared and we are free to be unlikely heroes to others by imitating a humble savior who rather than give in to what people wanted, walked a difficult path to give them what they needed.

The ending of the Sword of Shannara found Shea clutching the sword and learning the hard way that the sword reflects the person holding back to themselves, not as they would see themselves but as they truly are. It was a painful experience for the hero. All of his faults were made clear to him and he wanted very much to thrust the sword away but he held on and allowed the truth to wash over him. In the process he realized how to use the sword. The evil warlord was there with him and all of a sudden, he did not look as tough and scary. The scary bad magic guy tries to flee but Shea hits him with the sword and when the sword touches him he recoils and screams. There are more gory details but in the end, the evil guy who would kill anyone who opposed him and rule the world through violence and might, is unable to stand what the sword reflects back at him about himself and turns to ash. The humble and frightened Shea triumphs and saves the people.

Now most of us, if asked, would say that we are pretty good people. We can at least look around us and say to ourselves, “well..at least I am better than this or that one, or yes I slip sometimes but I don’t do the things that person does..”

But what if the mirror we look into is Jesus Christ? How do we measure up then? Would I be be willing to take the hand of a leper? Sit and eat with and minister to people I deem worse sinners than myself? Die on a cross, naked and in pain for those same people? Live out every moment of every day of my life for others in obedience to God? Can I look at someone who has been mean and unfeeling towards me and see what God sees? A brother or sister who Jesus died to save?

1 Corinthians 6:11 “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

“Justification is the work of God where the righteousness of Jesus is reckoned to the sinner, so the sinner is declared by God as being righteous under the Law.”

In other words, the minute we accept Jesus is our savior, we are set apart and our account is clear. We still have a long path to walk and as we stumble down that path, God works in us and we respond as we are being sanctified or made more like Christ. That is our work, our path. To learn what is the will of God and do it and in so doing become more and more like Christ until the very end of our lives. That is the process of sanctification.

Shea was the chosen one in the story. No matter what doubts or temporary setbacks he dealt with, that never changed. He was always the chosen one. The terrible things that he went through on the journey, the pitfalls and disasters and losses, while often giving him the desire to just forget the whole thing, never caused him to keep walking the path. He stumbled often, but he kept walking and grew and in the end, his humility and refusal to give up was what saved the day.

He was “justified” – chosen. He continued to be obedient and walk the path even when he was scared, felt lost, was tired, angry, resentful for being ripped out of his simple, peaceful life and in the process, he became who he was meant to be (sanctified).

You may be shaking your head about now, if you are reading this at all, and thinking that my comparisons are pretty thin. I have no idea if the author had any of this in mind as he wrote the story. I only know that God is good to let me have this perspective and see these themes in a story. If I look into the mirror of Jesus Christ there is a part of me that wants to melt into a pile of ash because I see how great my faults are but another part of me is so very grateful that Jesus took care of my account and freed me to keep trying to find the path God wants me to walk and given me hope that all will be well in the end.

Things I Want To Carry With Me

(Or the week our two year old grand daughter stayed with us)

Playing hide and seek (it doesn’t matter who finds who as long as someone makes a scary roar when found)

The night she ate three helpings of broccoli – THREE! The girl loves her broccoli…and Tornadoes (tomatoes)

Dale spending several hours trying to figure out what she was trying to say – it sounded like “truck fix”  Caralee translated – chapstick. (She likes the red chapstick and the yellow (color of the tubes)

She does NOT ever ever ever want to lay on her back in the tub to get her hair rinsed. Melt down time.

Listening to her sing herself to sleep with the alphabet song and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Watching her dance to her favorite song – Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”

Having her look up at me and say “I like it at Gamma’s house.”

Carolee watching me dish up ice cream and seeing that it is white, shaking her head and telling me she does not like it. She wants BROWN ice cream.

She loves to lay on the ground and draw in the dirt with a stick. She loves to be outside period. She will stay until her little hands are like ice and still does not want to come in.

Seeing her sit in my old rocking chair (finally re-covered) and watch Polar Express (the Santa Claus train movie in her words)

Caralee sitting next to me in a booster seat at a restaurant, leaning her head on me and saying “I like you” I was ready to go buy her a car.

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