Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Praying for Open Eyes

My friend Esther is hosting a Synchroblog about  "The Spirit of the Poor"   along with her friend Newell Hendricks .   This is how Esther explains it: "We are linking hands and words today in what we’re calling a community development project…at the intersection of economic justice, lifestyle change, and spiritual redemption."

Of course this covers a variety of issues, some of which I do not have much knowledge. In our own way, we have been trying to make some lifestyle changes such as growing some of our own food, having dairy goats for milk, and cooking from scratch, to name a few. In other words, we want to learn to be producers rather than always being consumers.

We also need hearts that are open to the needs of others, even those with whom we may not share the same lifestyle beliefs or choices, people we don't even know but might cross our paths, or people who are homeless.  Surely there are ways we can learn to help. I pray that God will help me see ways that I can help.

On an earlier post I shared a poem about a homeless woman who was helped.  Since that time I have worked on it adding some stanzas and changing some words which I think has made it better. It was suggested that I make an illustrated children's book out of it, and I added lines that would include a child's viewpoint.  I believe that the poem fits in well with this idea of "Spirit of the Poor."

A Solitary Figure

With nightfall swiftly approaching,
the air felt crisp and cold.
A solitary figure was wandering,
so frail, so tired, so old.

It fluttered in the blowing wind
her threadbare cloak of blue,
 threatening now to come unpinned.
Oh what was she to do?

This poor dear homeless vagabond
without a friend in sight,
had hopes that someone would respond
if she called out tonight.

How did she end up in this place
of sorrow and of pain?
Did God somehow run out of grace?
Was all her hope in vain?

She wished some soul would come along
to see her dire need,
and take her where she could belong,
a loving home indeed.

My dad and I walked hand in hand
and almost passed her by,
but saw that she could barely stand,
 and I began to cry.

Oh, Daddy can we help this one?
We need to give her aid.
Why is she out here all alone?
She seems to be afraid.

She stumbled now so suddenly
her legs almost gave way.
But Daddy's arms so lovingly
reached out to help her stay.

Dear mother, why are you alone
on this cold winter night?
Our loving family back at home
will aid you in your plight.

She gratefully gave her assent,
and leaned into his chest.
 He lifted her with the intent
to take her home to rest.

How did that woman now rejoice
to feel our special love!
We cared for her, she found a voice
to thank the Lord above.

 She will live out her final days
in comfort and in peace,
As in our loving home she stays,
where she has found release.

Oh God, please open up our eyes
to those who are in need.
Give grace that we may now arise,
and share with those who plead.

Spirit of the Poor

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Art Found Poem

A while back Jamie put a Found poem on her blog that she created from words taken from the titles of her previous blog posts.  I thought that sounded like a fun idea so I wrote down all my blog post titles to see what I could come up with.  Well, I didn't get very far and every time I tried nothing seemed to come together.  So I just put it aside for awhile.

This afternoon I was working on an art journal page where I had used a photo as a springboard for trying to draw with pastels.  The picture was actually taken from my front porch. When I finished I thought it would be nice to put a poem on it.  Then I remembered that I still had all those blog titles to choose from to make a found poem, so I decided to try again and it seemed to come together.  This is the finished page.

I am involved in a virtual retreat for Story Sessions this week. What is interesting is that our first prompt for the write in this afternoon was the question:  "What piece of writing have you been avoiding?" While this is certainly not a big piece of writing, or something that has been on my mind for a long time, it is something I have been putting off, because I thought it just couldn't be done.  I wanted it to come from my heart, and I believe that has been accomplished.

Thanks for reading!  You are welcome to comment if you like.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Dreams and Distractions

I have dreams,
all sorts of dreams,
thoughtful dreams,
carefree dreams,
fulfilled dreams,
unfulfilled dreams,
hard dreams,
easy dreams.

I have duties,
duties to God,
duties to my husband,
duties to my sons,
duties to my daughters,
duties to my grandchildren,
duties to my mother,
duties to my friends.

I have distractions,
all sorts of distractions,
needful distractions,
mindless distractions,
unwanted distractions,
noteworthy distractions,
painful distractions,
enjoyable distractions.

There is time,
time for dreams,
time for duties,
time for distractions,
time for love,
time for worship,
time for relaxing,
time for memories.

How does it all fit in?
How do I make room?
How do I decide what to do?

Maybe the distractions are sometimes sent from God.

Maybe some of the distractions are not distractions at all.

Maybe we need wisdom to know what our priorities should be.

Maybe we should welcome the distractions and learn to be thankful for them.

Maybe sometimes they can teach us how to love, help us understand, and even bring us joy.

Maybe, if we can accept the distractions, learn from them, forgive ourselves when we react wrongly,

Maybe, just maybe, we can realize our dreams in ways we never thought could happen.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Encouragement

Today's Five Minute Friday word is ENCOURAGEMENT.  You can find out all about Five Minute Friday HERE .


Encouragement is one of my favorite words.  It makes me think of people helping people, and what is fresh on my mind is the example I see among the women in a writing group I have recently joined called Story Sessions.  I have been blown away to see how these women care for each other.  I have felt so welcomed there.

There is such a variety of women but all with something in common.  We all like to write, and we also like to encourage. You can speak the truth, you can pour out your heart all without being judged. 

 If you are having trouble, sickness, or any problem, you can share your requests, and they will lovingly pray for each other and do what they can to help.   

It doesn't matter if you don't all agree on a particular issue. What does matter is that each one is heard, each one can speak without fear knowing that she has many sisters who care and want to help.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Comparison and a Question

Some of you may know that Jamie and I participated in a group recently called 40 Days of Poetry where were were given prompts each day to write a poem.  I did not really have time to do all the prompts, but they'll be there for me to use at another time. Our last prompt was to go back over all the poems we had written and use words from them to create a found poem. Until recently I had never heard of a found poem, so in case you don't know what a found poem is, here is the wikipedia definition:

  1. Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry by making changes in spacing and lines, or by adding or deleting text, thus imparting new meaning. ...

In the first found poem I ever did just recently I used watercolor pencils and glitter
for a background and then pasted the words on top. I thought it would be nice to do this 
one in the same way, and also include gold cord around the outside like a frame. When I
took a picture of it, though, I thought it looked too much like the first one I had shared
on the poetry facebook page.  So I printed out the words again in a larger font and
made a completely different background for the poem. 

My oldest daughter, Sara, remarked that she didn't know which one she liked better 
because each background created a different mood even though the words did not change.
I had not thought about that before, but after she mentioned it I realized how true her 
words were.  I thought it would be fun to post them on my blog and see what others think.

Here is the first one

And the second one

What do you think?  Do the backgrounds make a difference in the way you see the poem? I'd love to hear from you. Just leave a comment letting me know what you think.

40 Days of Poetry is a part of Story Sessions which is an online writing group I recently joined.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Blueberry Preserves

Last week we were out of any kind of jelly or preserves in the house for putting on toast or making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.   Since there were still lots of blueberries in the freezer I decided to make some blueberry preserves, not on a large scale but enough to make a couple of pints to put in the refrigerator.   It was so simple to make that I thought I'd share it in case anyone else would like to try it. Most any kind of berry should work with this recipe, and there are ONLY 3 INGREDIENTS!  I forgot exactly how long it took, but I'm pretty sure it was less than an hour. So without further delay, here is my recipe:


7 to 8 cups of blueberries (mine were frozen - no need to thaw first)
2 Tblsp. lemon juice
2 cups sugar

Step 1.  Mix all ingredients in a heavy saucepan.  Start on a medium to low heat stirring as the berries begin to thaw and  the sugar is dissolved.  During this step the sugar will begin drawing the liquid from the berries.

Step 2.  Turn heat up to high and bring to a full boil.  (At some point you may have to turn the heat down slightly.) Let boil until the temperature reaches 220 deg. F, stirring often. (I have done it without a thermometer and just waited until it started to thicken.  It is tricky, though, to be able to get it just right. One time I ended up with syrup instead of preserves.)

Step 3.  Ladle the preserves into two pint jars that have been warmed slightly. (Since we have well water, I usually just fill them with hot tap water and then pour it out.  That seems to warm the jars sufficiently.)

Step 4.  Leave on the counter to cool with the lids off until jars are no longer hot to the touch.   Then refrigerate. (I usually just lay a kitchen towel or napkin over the tops while they are cooling just to keep dust or bugs out but still let steam escape.)

I forgot to take a picture when they were ready so one of these, as you can see, is already almost gone.

This really is very easy, so I hope you try it.  Have fun!

Friday, January 10, 2014

What Do We See?

I'm finally back with Five Minute Friday and this week's word is "see."   We just write for five minutes whatever comes to mind and in whatever form.   If you'd like to join in there's still time.  You'll find all the details HERE.

What does it mean to really see?

Do we look at someone and really see them?
Or do we often look right past?

Do we look people in the eye while they speak to us
Or are our minds miles away?

When we look out the window what do we really see?

Do we stop long enough in our busy world
To observe a blade of grass?

To really see a flower in all its glorious parts?
To notice how the sun makes the dew on the spider webs sparkle?

May God give us eyes to see
the world that He has made,

to look for blessings in the smallest things,
as well as in the magnificent.

To be fully engaged in all that we do
and make each moment count.

To see others with the love
That truly comes from above.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Things I Love

I love living in a log house on a hill.
I love sitting in a rocking chair on the porch.
I love walking in the woods on our land.

I love hearing the bird songs tickling my ears.
I love cozying warm by the fire drinking hot cocoa.
I love eating pizza made by my son.
I love having fresh eggs from our chickens.

I love Merlot and Reisling.
I love dark chocolate any time.
I love getting milk from my goats.

I love having a big, white fluffy dog,
I love listening to my sons playing violin, cello and guitar.
I love having my whole family together – 26 of us!
I love drinking tea with my sons while reading aloud.

I love hearing my daughters sing together.
I love singing in a choir with my husband and sons.
I love worshiping God in our Anglican church.
I love reading the Bible together as a family.

I love praying at close of day thanking God for his gifts.