Monday, September 29, 2014

Published 8:19 AM by with 2 comments

Weekending: Strange Folk Festival

This weekend was my fourth visit to the annual Strange Folk Festival in Illinois. It has been my favorite craft fair ever since I first visited! It's a great place to eat "strange" food (I had b.b.q. pork bao, and a friend had blue cheese bread pudding), buy awesome gifts, meet "strange" and wonderful people, see magical sights, and enjoy a festive atmosphere. There is a scavenger hunt, craft area, and play area for children.

I also volunteered at the information booth this year, which was a blast! Here is a tiny peek at some of the beauty found here. Most of the pictures were taken in the late afternoon, since I was having such a good time that I forgot to take pictures until the very end. Can't wait until next year!

Huge metal flower sculptures.
Embroidered notebooks and ornaments and cards.
So much incredible hand-made jewelry. 
The cutest baby clothes.
It was her birthday! I loved her hair. She sold delicious ice cream!
Crazy instruments.
I adore this artwork, so I'm putting it on my Christmas wish list!
She writes a fashion blog, which didn't surprise me because her outfit was so cute.
Hand-made decorations are everywhere.
Part of the children's play area.
Even the food vendors added a touch of whimsy.
Interesting scenes everywhere you look.
She sold vintage clothes and told me that she would accept "gold coins, or art" for payment.
Autumn is here!
A sweet lady gave me a bag full of these pins, for free!
I bought a few postcards!
It's the best.
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Friday, September 26, 2014

Published 8:07 AM by with 0 comment

The Most Powerful Thing in the World

Words are powerful.

For me, words are the most powerful of all things.

The name of God that has resonated brightest in my soul is "Maker". He is the Creator, the Giver, the Singer of Life. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

Written word is how I relate to others best, but spoken word has a dear place too.

Part of it is most likely due to my synesthesia, which makes every letter, every word, every sentence, every paragraph, glow like a jewel, each one individual with splashes of color. 

Part of it is that words make stories. And story is what I love: the stories of others, the stories that make me, the stories I hear, the stories I see. When I tell someone about something real that has happened, I try very hard to keep it to the absolute truth of the events that occurred. But once they enter my mind, experiences are transformed into memory, and the memory glows brighter; truth becomes molded into something new, no longer the strict report of an occurrence, but a Narrative of Being, a Tale of Life, a Story. 
Books upon books of stories are within each of us. Stories of triumphs and tragedy, sorrow and joy. Stories that we never share with anyone. Stories of our parents and grandparents. Stories that have emerged from the experiences of our lives. Stories that have shaped our image of who we are and who we will become. 

Some of these stories are helpful - they inspire us and remind us of who we really are.

Some of our stories are hurtful - we cling to them and they cause us a lot of suffering.
 
~ Lisa McCrohan
Whether we pick up a New York Time's bestseller, or a classic from our grandfather's library, or a novella from a friend, or a tattered copy of our favorite work of fiction, or a biography of someone else's existence, we are constantly seeking stories. We love true stories and we pine for the realms of fantasy. We sit around the campfire to whisper ghost stories. We sit in chairs around cups of coffee or tea, sharing our stories. We hear of others' stories, as they describe what life is like when you are born on a commune, or tell the strange tale of the last true hermit.
"The book was in her lap; she had read no further. The power to change one’s life comes from a paragraph, a lone remark. The lines that penetrate us are slender, like the flukes that live in river water and enter the bodies of swimmers. She was excited, filled with strength. The polished sentences had arrived, it seemed, like so many other things, at just the right time. How can we imagine what our lives should be without the illumination of the lives of others?"
James Salter, Light Years
What is at the root of Story? 

Love.

Whether it shows the Love inherent in the universe, or the love shared in a family, or the Eros kindled between two people, or the lack of love which destroys hearts and men, or the desperate desire for love that we all have, Story is about Love. 

And stories, whether they are told to others or kept in the secret treasure vaults of our own hearts, are what make and keep us human, remind us that we are all connected, link us with our past and our future, and draw us closer to Love as it speaks to us in whispers of divine mystery.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Her dress flew into the room before she did. Airy cream-colored fabric with thin brown stripes wafted around the corner of the doorframe as she paused to laugh with someone in the hallway. Jess blinked as the woman bounded into the room. Green diamonds on the front of the dress were complimented by the woman's dancing silver necklace; her sandy blonde hair hung in wisps where it had escaped two short braids. Only a few of the other teachers seemed to take much notice of her, so Jess figured that her bold appearances were typical here. 

Jess fumbled with her notepad and pen, trying to sneak another look at the woman, yet not wanting to seem rude. Bright red glasses matched her lipstick. Faded shoes were kicked off to rest beside the door. Nothing about her could be identified as "beautiful", or even "young", but she caught the eye in a way that spoke of attractiveness, or perhaps an aura of intense life that magically drew the world around her.

She loudly pulled a chair over to the group of teachers already sitting in a circle. "Well!" her cheerful voice matched her wide smile. "What have we already talked about? Did I miss anything?" Another teacher turned to her with a patience resembling long-suffering fortitude. "How kind of you to join us, Naomi," he said dryly, yet Jess thought she could detect a subtle twinkle. 

Naomi beamed at the gathering. "Hi there! Don't mind me. Always rushing about, but I'm glad to finally be here! Go on," she urged. As the teacher's meeting progressed, it became apparent that Naomi was a highly qualified teacher. However, it also was clear that she had little use for anything that she felt was not directly relevant to her particular teaching approach. 

Jess watched out of the corner of eye over the next forty-five minutes as Naomi shifted restlessly in her chair, then pulled out a laptop to begin taking notes, lost interest, filed her nails, then very obviously began surfing online out of boredom. But, as Jess noticed, Naomi was clearly keeping an ear out for important subjects, because she would often look up sharply, pay attention for a minute, and call out to join the conversation. Everyone always listened when Naomi spoke, whether because they felt that her contributions were helpful or because she had such a commanding way of talking that they found it impossible to not pay attention to her. Once she even answered a question quite cheekily with a joke, grinned at the ensuing laughter, and winked at Jess. 

In between taking notes notes during the meeting, Jess found space to wonder about this woman, how she was so carelessly confident, so easy-going. The way she dressed showed that she had a fashion entirely enjoyed and created by herself. The very way she sat showed that she was completely comfortable in her own skin. Yet she didn't flaunt her uniqueness. She simply glowed with her own light, the light of a soul so radiantly itself that it couldn't help but shine out of sheer glory of being alive. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Earth’s crammed with heaven
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries.
Not one day, in the artist’s ecstasy,
But every day, feast, fast, or working-day,
The spiritual significance burn through
The hieroglyphic of material shows,
Henceforward he would paint the globe with wings,
And reverence fish and fowl, the bull, the tree,
And even his very body as a man.
~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fio ran into Able as he suddenly stopped and turned to face her. He caught her hands in his, staring at her intently. “Look, Aiofe. I already let you go twice before, when you decided to leave, and then when I thought you had died."

Fio tried to reassure him. "But this time I'm not going to be gone for good! Now it's either the capitol to work under Dr. Emeth while I try to get some answers, or I'll be joining Realis..."

Able interrupted her roughly. "You're leaving again, going straight into danger. That's what I hear. So matter what you do, I am just going to have to deal with it. Both of those choices are bad." 

Do you even know why I'm considering joining Realis?” 

Able dropped her hands and sighed. “Everyone has the same reasons: fighting for justice, fighting for freedom, fighting for a new place to build a future.” He began to walk through the trees again. “They're all the same, Aiofe. 'This is worth dying for'! And then they do die, and who benefits? Nobody. While the provincial government continues to be in power, they'll keep their stranglehold on all goods and weapons and armed forces, making it impossible for any change to happen! Every single attempt Realis has ever made to take power has been stopped immediately. They can't get a step ahead to gain the upper hand, that's the truth of it.”

Oh, come off your soap-box," Fio exclaimed. "Maybe this is what they need me for. They told me that my father and I had been part of their biggest attempt to get an advantage. What if the abilities that I used to have DO come back? What if I'm what they need to succeed?” 

Able snorted. “There you go, just like old times, trying to make it seem like you're the savior of the world. I thought you were arrogant back then. Maybe you are exactly what they need: another wannabe superhero who will throw yourself into the fray and try to rescue us all!”

“Fine!” she shouted, stung by his mocking tone. “I've only got two bad options: either I end up dead on a mission or dissected like a lab rat! If you're so selfish that you'd rather stay out here for the rest of your life, then go ahead. I'm going to try to find some kind of meaning for why I'm still alive!” She headed back the way they had come through the trees, trying hard to blink away tears that she did not want Able to see.

His footsteps came crunching through the leaves after her. “Wait, Fio... Aiofe.” She refused to look at him, keeping her eyes fixed ahead. “You're not stupid for wanting to help. I'm sorry for snapping at you. It's just... hard to admit that there's nothing more that we... that anybody... can do to fix what's wrong with our world. Believe me, I tried. Why do you think I joined Realis? Even after I knew the truth about my parents' deaths, I still wanted to do something to help the cause of freedom. I was younger then...” 

“You still are young now,” Fio shot back. 

“... and I was a lot more naïve,” he continued. “It wasn't until I discovered that the so-called 'advantages' that Realis claimed it had to gain the upper ground over Caname were false that I made the final decision to leave both Realis and Caname behind. Working for Caname as an engineer would have meant that I would be living in a lie I couldn't trust. Working for Realis would be futile; there was no point in throwing my life away with them."

"But you didn't KNOW that," Fio said. 

"That's just the logical conclusion!"

"Sometimes you have to go with what you know is right, rather than what you think is best!"

"It would be stupid to volunteer for something that would get me killed!"

"Oh, so you'd rather be a live nobody than a dead hero! Good luck, then, you'll do a great job hiding out from civilization in the middle of a forest, only worried about your own safety!"

Fio's barb hit home. Able appeared stunned for a moment, then his face evened into the expressionless look that she was used to seeing. He turned away. Before she could open her mouth to say anything else, he had disappeared into the forest.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I think certain sorts of stories bring you into their experience, make you feel like you’ve fallen into their world and sometimes there’s an almost palpable sensation when you finish those sorts of stories, like you’re coming up for air. And I do think there’s something about fiction that’s about intensity and shared experience, and that’s tied, finally, to a willingness on the part of the reader to be generous, to share in the risk, if that makes any sense. I am asking readers to go through intensive experiences in my fiction, and I can’t ask, in good conscience, for them to do that unless they feel that I’ve got something at stake as well, something real. A great many of the stories that fail for me don’t fail because of technical imperfections but because there’s something numinous that just isn’t quite there, some sense that not enough is at stake.
Brian Evenson
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Published 12:05 PM by with 0 comment

Thoughtful Thursday: First Kisses

But still, there are echoes and lessons to be learnt from kisses, from first kisses especially and these lessons are perhaps not to be found in any other place. Consider your early first kisses. Nervous and breathy, raids with uncertain outcome, tumult and diving headlong out of the present moment into an unknown future. But later, if the tapestry of your life happens to take you down these paths again, a first kiss can be seen approaching, can be held in cupped hands at the cusp of its emergence, nose to nose, breath mingling, lips like snowflakes in the moment before they melt at your touch. Then, just then, and you can squeeze your whole self into the present moment, stretching Now’s supple skin to a warm, finite forever.

~ First Kisses, entry by David Knowles at Riverwitch

I don't often post an excerpt from an online source, but this one was so beautifully written, poetry in prose, that I wanted to share it! Plus, it was written on my birth-day this year, so it feels extra special : ) 


A thoughtful quote can be the bridge that brings us closer to understanding ourselves and the world.


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Monday, September 22, 2014

Published 9:27 AM by with 0 comment

Weekending and Favorite Classical Music


Morning at park in the lovely cool
weather, her daredevil
ways among the playground,
swinging on bars and climbing
far too high for her mama's comfort.
I swallow my "be careful's"
knowing that she will gain more
confidence without my worries.
Unexpected visit from college;
he is always welcome.
We drink Turkish coffee 
and discuss Hemingway
and the lives of guitarists.
Beloved Aunty over for dinner.
Chat over tacos and my first time
eating lime meringue pie: yum,
oh my goodness yum.
Jazz festival: live music is the best!
Harmony dances to the beat
in the heat 
of the street.
Anniversary of our church: celebrate
with song, praise, worship,
picnic at a local park,
soccer and play and laughter
and conversation and love and good food.
I am singing with happiness.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My friend Devin tagged me to name my top ten favorite classical pieces of music. Here's what I came up with this morning, although I'm sure if you asked me next week it would look a little different! These pieces never get old no matter how many times I listen to them. Most of them I have completely aurally memorized.

The Love for Three Oranges Suite, Prokofiev ~ A favorite since I was eleven years old. I have an entire fairy story imagined that goes along to this music. 

The Four Seasons, Vivaldi ~ My earliest memory of classical music. We had a vinyl record of this that my mom would play when I was very young, probably in preschool.

Seventh Symphony, Beethoven ~ I have very good memories associated with this work. Also, its colors are brilliant!

Variations on a Moldovian Hora, Krouse ~ A classical guitar piece that always takes my breath away.

Scheherazade, Rimsky-Korsakov ~ Who wouldn't enjoy this incredible music?! 

In Search of Hidden Treasure, Margoshes ~ More of a neoclassical work. I heard it on the classical radio station a year ago and was so mesmerized that I stayed in my car to finish out the entire piece and was very late for a rehearsal. 

Piano Sonata No. 14, Beethoven ~ I love listening to this when I want to think. Or on rainy days. Or when it's snowing. Or at night. Or when I want to meditate. It's just beautiful.

The Seventeen Lyrics of Li-po, Partch ~ This one really pushes the boundaries of the definition of "classical" music. It is very much a modern work! But since it's for voice and viola, I'm still going to put it in this list. I am in love with the melodies. It has such a hauntingly wonderful sound.

Peer Gynt Suite, Grieg ~ My second earliest classical music memory. Our vinyl record literally wore out because I played "Hall of the Mountain King" on repeat so many times before I was even in two-digit numbered years.

Adagio for Strings, Barber ~ This piece always gives me chills and moves me more deeply than any other piece I've ever heard. The first three times I heard it I cried.

There you have it! Do you have a favorite piece of classical music? Do share!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Happy first day of autumn! My favorite season is here!!!


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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Published 7:27 AM by with 0 comment

Thoughtful Thursday: I Prayed That the Bull-fights Would Be Good

At the end of the street I saw the cathedral and walked up toward it. The first time I ever saw it I thought the facade was ugly but I liked it now. I went inside. It was dim and dark and the pillars went high up, and there were people praying, and it smelt of incense, and there were some wonderful big windows. I knelt and started to pray and prayed for everybody I thought of, Brett and Mike and Bill and Robert Cohn and myself, and all the bull-fighters, separately for the ones I liked, and lumping all the rest, then prayed for myself again, and while I was praying for myself I found I was getting sleepy, so I prayed that the bull-fights would be good, and that it would be a fine fiesta, and that we would get some fishing. 

I wondered if there was anything else I might pray for, and I thought I would like to have some money, so I prayed that I would make a lot of money, and then I started to think how I would make it, and thinking of making money reminded me of the count, and I started wondering about where he was, and regretting I hadn't seen him since that night in Montmartre, and about something funny Brett told me about him, and as all the time I was kneeling with my forehead on the wood in front of me, and was thinking of myself as praying, I was a little ashamed, and regretted that I was such a rotten Catholic, but realized there was nothing I could do about it, at least for a while, and maybe never, but that anyway it was a grand religion, and I only wished I felt religious and maybe I would the next time; and then I was out in the hot sun on the steps of the cathedral, and the forefingers and the thumb of my right hand were still damp, and I felt them dry in the sun. The sunlight was hot and hard, and I crossed over beside some buildings, and walked back along sidestreets to the hotel.

~ The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway

A thoughtful quote can help guide us deeper into understanding ourselves and the world.



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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Published 3:48 PM by with 2 comments

Haiku for Your Silence


I have these moments
where I find that I love you
just the way you are.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Published 8:11 AM by with 3 comments

Letting My Freak Flag Fly

Photo taken by Christina R.
Last year it took a lot of courage to step out of my comfort zone and learn to do the Thriller Dance in front of audiences as part of the professional STL Flashmob! Everything from putting on the make-up (I usually hate make-up) to attending rehearsals with complete strangers, to dancing in front of crowds at weddings and events, to acting fiercely zombieish... it was all new and a little bit scary.

But it was a wonderful experience! I learned a three and a half minute dance by heart. I am completely okay with the fact that I'm really not a great dancer, because I found out how much fun it is to dance with others! I was happy to dance as a zombie because to me, it was a reminder that death has no power, even though I think that when we truly come back to life we won't look quite so beat up ; )  Best of all, I made new friends, young and old, whom I continued to see throughout the year at other flashmob events (we did dances for Christmas and for charity events) and have enjoyed getting to know. We even attended the wedding of one of the lovely ladies in our group, and all the women got together to create a special flashmob for her reception! 

Our group is beginning rehearsals again for the Halloween season. It's already proving to be just as much fun as before, of course : )  My costume for this year is a zombie mime; old clothes, a pair of suspenders for a dollar, thrift store shoes and gloves, and I'm set. Because I already know the Thriller dance, I'll be able to have more fun just dancing and refining all the steps, instead of having to concentrate super hard on just doing the steps right, so that is exciting.

If you'd like to check out what our flashmob does, follow this link!

Also, if you live in St. Louis and are interested in joining our group, let me know!
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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Published 7:33 AM by with 3 comments

Weekending


With the advent of the piano,
brought by Chris's awesome family
all the way from Ohio 
(his grandmother's piano,
a beloved heirloom for him)
we celebrated with what will be
the first of many house concerts:
several guitars, piano, banjo, mandolin,
folk and classical
musicians alike singing and playing together,
from two to seventy-two. 
Rockytop Tennessee, much Hank Williams,
Horse with No Name,
Rock Me Mama Like a Wagon Wheel,
Blessed Be the Name,
Great is Thy Faithfulness,
I'll Fly Away
was the flavor of this all-inclusive performance.

Add to that a date night
to hear music at our favorite hide-out,
music sung at church and played
for the always-enthusiastic children,
music enjoyed at an open mic 
for students of my studio,
and we can satisfactorily say
that our weekend has been full
of music.


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Monday, September 08, 2014

Published 8:08 AM by with 0 comment

Heart Strings


When I write poetry
in the future,
I can imagine what the perfect
scenario will be: early morning
when the mist lies
on the slumbering grass
and you still in bed
(it must be the weekend)
hiding your face from the rising
sun but also peeking out
from under the sheets,
watching me sit at the computer,
a mug of steaming tea at my elbow,
maybe a little music, the Seventeen
Lyrics of Li Po, playing.
Then I will offer
to make you eggs for breakfast
but you, like the gentleman
you are, will decline and say
"Maybe when you are
done writing."


Weaving words along with everyone else inspired by Write Alm's September Prompt-a-day.
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Saturday, September 06, 2014

Published 1:30 PM by with 0 comment

National Read-a-Book Day!


In honor of national "Read-a-book" day, here is what I'm jumping into over the next few weeks! 

~ The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. THANK YOU to Alice N. for dropping her lovely hardback copy off at my home so I didn't have to be 35th in line to read it at the library! 

~ The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoners Dilemma, and The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart. I was enthralled by the first book in this series because of the awesome characters, the story, and the subtle messages on education! They're more for older kids, but you're never too old to read a good book : )

~ Thursday's Child by Noel Streatfeild. I've read all her "Shoes" books, ever since I was very young, but had never seen this one before, so of course I have to have it.

~ A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver. She writes such thoughtful poetry, and I like the way she accepts the inevitable questions of life without feeling like there always needs to be an immediate answer.

~ The Apple That Astonished Paris by Billy Collins. My favorite poet of all time! I read his works periodically over again just because they're so good. He creates "real toads in imaginary gardens", as Marianne Moore writes.

~ The Incredulity of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton. One of my top five favorite authors wrote another set of short stories that I'd not read yet about my favorite detective (nope, not Sherlock!), and they are just as good as I'd hoped they'd be.

There we have it! I'm also finishing up a book on education by John Holt called How Children Fail and have started its partner called How Children Learn, and I've been slowly swimming through a book of essays by C.S. Lewis, so right now there are six different books lying around the house with bookmarks in them, just for me. That way I can always snatch a few minutes with a book whenever I get a chance and no matter what kind of reading-material-mood I'm in  ; )  

What are you reading? Happy read-a-book day!

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Friday, September 05, 2014

Published 6:49 AM by with 0 comment

To Love Is...



You said that I am like the ending
of Debussy's Homage á Rameau.
I say, "Perhaps I am."
For me, you are Beethoven's 7th Symphony,
but only the theme of the Allegretto movement,
two melodies interweaving and both
separate from each other yet mingled like
a drop of water and oil.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You will not find peace in love.
There are heavy bags to haul
up and down the platform, slow
train whistle calling you out
before you're ready or willing to go.

You will not find peace in love.
All it takes is one little look,
an arrow that you can't evade,
the bolt of lightning from his eyes,
and all your world's unmade.

You will not find peace in love.
She hands you a bouquet of flowers
with a smile on her face;
you turn to thank the band, then back
find only stems wilted in your vase.

You will not find peace in love.
No rest for the happy or the tired.
Can't stand still in the middle of a chase;
when one of you is starting fires,
the other might just want some grace.

You will not find peace in love.
Right when you've got the strokes down,
the tide turns the other way,
but you've got to keep swimming
through evening and morning, night and day.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To meditate on the divine is bliss,
rich food to satiate a hungry soul.
But busyness will often make us miss
that quiet time which best makes the heart whole.
Too often we despair of growing close
to Him who is our life, our help, our love;
the tasks abound, to-do list overflows,
our minds too weary for thoughts of Above.
 Yet moments of silence throughout the the day
or brief pauses in morning, or at night,
are pools of peace to re-focus, to pray,
to remember how to look for the Light.
The secret to living life at its best
is to trust that Love will be our rest.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When I stare, you look away and ask "what?"
When I stare, you look away and ask "what?"
Tickle my feet until I shriek.
Tickle my feet until I shriek.
Shriek, and I tickle you. My feet. What look?
Ask, "until when"? I stare away.

Your brother's smile beautiful on your face.
Your brother's smile beautiful on your face.
Voice lilts, love, a little bird always singing.
Voice lilts, love, a little bird always singing.
Little face, your beautiful love. Smile lilts. Voice singing.
Your brother's a bird: always on.

Mind colors flutter, never still, yet you think and see all clear.
Mind colors flutter, never still, yet you think and see all clear.
Dark eyes of glory face the world, a half-way grin.
Dark eyes of glory face the world, a half-way grin.
Flutter, world. Mind you think! Glory never half-way still,
a grin and face dark yet clear. See the eyes of all colors.

You all tickle my world. See, stare,
yet the colors never clear away.
When you smile, singing lilts, a flutter feet glory grin.
Face always on, face dark until I half-way shriek... look.
Think, still. And what?
I love your brother's eyes, a little bird voice, and the beautiful mind.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"And yet, because thou overcomest so,
Because thou art more noble and like a king,
Thou canst prevail against my fears..."
~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnets from the Portuguese

If I am to love a man,
let him be the sort of being
for whom common men will never take notice
because he is the humble figure
doing the lowest work that is left undone.
Let him be such a man
as desires with his whole heart
to love, not me first,
but Him who created me, and not only
because I was created, but
for the reason of undying love
that is not a duty but an honor.
Thou art that man, my Beloved,
and thou lovest me with such constancy
that my quaking heart is free to set sail
with thy bright star as guide.





Poems: Selection from Star with a Red Couch, You Will Not Find Peace in LoveLooking for Light, Paradelle, and The Beginning of Story II.

Weaving words along with everyone else inspired by Write Alm's September Prompt-a-Day.

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Thursday, September 04, 2014

Published 7:08 AM by with 0 comment

It Is Your Business to Believe Things

"I see you are still doubtful," he said to the priest, "though you have seen the thing with your own eyes. Believe me, there was something more behind the quarrel between the spirit of Strake and the spirit of the house of Aylmer. Besides, you have no business to be an unbeliever. You ought to stand for all the things these stupid people call superstitions. Come now, don't you think there's a lot in those old wives' tales about luck and charms and so on, silver bullets included? What do you say about them as a Catholic?"

"I say I'm an agnostic," replied Father Brown, smiling. 

"Nonsense," said Aylmer impatiently. "It's your business to believe things."

"Well, I do believe some things, of course," conceded Father Brown; "and therefore, of course, I don't believe other things."

Aylmer was leaning forward, and looking at him with a strange intensity that was almost like that of a mesmerist. 

"You do believe it," he said. "You do believe everything. We all believe everything, even when we deny everything. The denyers believe. The unbelievers believe. Don't you feel in your heart that these contradictions do not really contradict: that there is a cosmos that contains them all? The soul goes round upon a wheel of stars and all things return; perhaps Strake and I have striven in many shapes, beast against beast and bird against bird, and perhaps we shall strive for ever. But since we seek and need each other, even that eternal hatred is an eternal love. Good and evil go round in a wheel that is one thing and not many. Do you not realize in your heart, do you not believe behind all your beliefs, that there is but one reality and we are its shadows; and that all things are but aspects of one thing: a center where men melt in Man and Man into God?"

"No," said Father Brown.

~ Excerpt from "The Incredulity of Father Brown" by G. K. Chesterton



A thoughtful quote can be the bridge that leads us farther
along the path of understanding each other and ourselves.
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Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Published 1:15 PM by with 0 comment

Whisper-touch


As we were talking
by the glass-blower's stand,
you stood very close,
cool breath, chatter-hopping conversation.
Suddenly your slender fingers
reached up to brush a stand of hair
away from my mouth.
A moment later 
you were speaking lightly
of something else,
the connection apparently
forgotten.
But I will always remember
the feel of your skin against mine,
even such a small meeting,
your gentle finger on my cheek. 




Weaving words along with Write Alm's September Prompt-a-Day.
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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Published 3:02 PM by with 4 comments

Everywhere I Go


~ A notebook, because you'd be crazy to leave the house without one.

~ My leather wallet.

~ Raspberry breath mints... no idea where I got them, because I didn't buy them...

~ A pack of gum free from the 4th of July parade.

~ Because everyone carries an extra set of guitar strings around with them.

~ My life-saver in asthma emergencies.

~ Not one, but two of my favorite type of pen.

~ A comb that I never use.

~ Chapstick of the best-smelling variety: pomegranate.

~ Tea, also in case of emergencies.

~ A nail care kit, which is an absolute must for all classical guitarists. It makes me feel weird because I don't even wear make-up. It's just the nails on my right hand that have to be perfect all the time.

What do you carry everywhere you go?

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Monday, September 01, 2014

Published 11:41 AM by with 2 comments

I Take My Waking Slow





Most of my journals from years past have been destroyed, by my own hand. Since I was eight or nine years old I would write in what I called a diary or journal, but afterwards I was always so appalled at what I'd written or focused on that I would read back and just shred the pages. I don't really regret it. Everything from the last three journals has been saved, though. What I've written in these are notes, quotes, problems, schedules, dreams, puzzlements. These last three books were where I really began to honestly set down what was in my head, not what I thought I should write, and not just drivel.

I name my journals. Sometimes I will know what the name is going to be before I begin. Often I have to wait for the middle or end of the book to know what the title will be, because it is supposed to reflect what is happening in my life at the time of the writing. Different seasons of life bring different modes of thought, different patterns of growth or stagnation or questions.

The sparsely written period of time from when I graduated college and found my footing afterwards is vague for several reasons. I was trying to be who I thought I should be, but beginning to question many things, still on the down-low. That journal is called "Between the Lines", because that's where I was looking to see what answers might be hidden away.

The journal from the past two and a half years is called "Yes, You May". I had begun to understand that there IS no box except the one you create around yourself. The struggle has been to find out what exactly is best to DO. I am a believer of Christ and a follower of God, but the more I searched for answers, the more I found grey areas, where I had previously been told there was only black or white. I knew that I had to ask the hard questions myself. The only safety net is that God is good. I do not have to blindly accept someone else's standards, someone else's interpretations, someone else's rules, without testing them against the white-hot fire of God's grace, holiness, and freedom first.

This has led me to the end of the journal. It has gone beyond asking God who He is, to asking who I am. I am reminded of G.K. Chesterton's book "The Man Who Was Thursday":

Next morning the battalion of the reunited six marched stolidly toward the hotel in Leicester Square. "This is more cheerful," said Dr. Bull; "we are six men going to ask one man what he means." "I think it is a bit queerer than that," said Syme. "I think it is six men going to ask one man what they mean."

There are also hints of these verses from 1st Corinthians in my writing:

"All things are lawful for me", but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me", but I will not be enslaved by anything.

My new journal begins today. I don't know what its name is yet. I purchased a small black notebook with the last of my gift card to a local art store, which goes inside the leather journal case that I've had since I was fourteen. It has contained more notebooks than I can remember. Leather really lasts forever; this cover has seen snow, rain, wind, and sun, half the states, traveled across the world, and stayed with me for almost half my lifetime, yet it still looks almost new.

So I open up the blank pages to ask: "Who? Why? What?" There will be examining. There will be more questions. Thank God that questions are not condemned. There will be plenty of listening. Exploration of what it means to love. Processing through writing. Going back to the Word. Going back to the Spirit. Going back to my heart.

There will be stories. Oh, there will be many stories, written down in the privacy of my own book, and some that will be shared here, because I think eventually all stories are meant to be shared. I really appreciate the mood and manner of how this last journal ended, so I want to continue the new one in the same path. I am trusting that I will be led where I need to go.

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

~ The Waking, Theodore Roethke

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