Monday, June 30, 2014

Ten Things About Me

I am taking a collective offered in the Story Sessions Community hosted by my very own daughter, Jamie Bagley! The title is “40 Days of Blogging” so we will be attempting to blog every day for 40 days. Jamie will be giving us prompts every day and this first one is to sort of break the ice and help those of us in the collective to get to know each other better.

1. If I have an interesting book I can be “lost” for hours reading it. I remember one time I was so engrossed
in my reading that I didn't realize my two younger daughters were busy painting not just on paper but also the little table easel they were using. They had covered it with red paint. I had no idea until I was done with the book which took about 2 hours. At least they didn't mess up the walls.

2.  I love to play the piano, my favorite thing being taking the hymnbook and just playing, arranging as I go determined by what I am feeling at the time.  I am most inspired when I play for a church service, because when I hear the people sing, it really moves me and I let my fingers take over.

3.  My favorite ice cream is mint chocolate chip.

4.  I love to walk around outside just before a storm as the sky darkens and the wind picks up blowing across my face.  I did that just yesterday, staying out picking blueberries until the rain finally came.

5.  I love to work in my art journal.  Recently I've been making collages out of pictures from magazines. In this one I included some older pictures of Steve and me.

6. I enjoyed writing poetry occasionally in my younger days, but did not realize how much I enjoyed it until I took part in the 40 Days of Poetry that started in Dec., 2013, as a part of Story Sessions. Now I write some kind of poetry almost every week.

7. I love photographing clouds, trees, flowers, really all kinds of things found in nature. Sometimes I overlay them with poetry or quotes.

8. I love to watch musicals, old and new.

9. I have loved children ever since I can remember. Back when I was 12 years old, all the younger children at church used to follow me around because I would take time with them. I am really enjoying being a mother and a grandmother.

10. I enjoy playing video games like Mario Party and Phantasy Star with my sons.

Now you've heard 10 random things about me. When I first got the prompt from Jamie, I wasn't sure what I would write, but it wasn't as hard as thought it would be. What about you? Any fun facts you'd like us to know?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Permission to Be Me

I am updating this post to include it with Lisha Epperson's Give Me Grace link up.  I thought it fit in well with the theme of grace, because it's only by God's grace that I am able to "give myself permission" to be me. Be sure to check out the other posts linked up there. I'm sure you will be blessed.

I give myself permission to be me with all my weaknesses and imperfections, because they don't identify me. My identity is found in Christ. My life is “hidden with Christ in God.” (from Colossians 3:3) It means that I am forgiven and every sin I have committed or will ever commit has been put far away. There is no stain because I have been washed by the blood of Jesus, the lamb of God, and therefore I am clean in His sight. Every day is like a fresh new beginning.

I give myself permission to enjoy life, because it's the only one I have. Why should I go around wishing things were different or complaining about what is wrong? I want to slow down and realize that everything I have is a gift from God, including fun trips to the lake with grandchildren.

I give myself permission to pursue beauty in every area of my life, because in doing so I will learn to appreciate what God has given. I will make a conscious effort to get rid of those things that just clutter up my area and cause me to forget the beauty. I want everything I have to give meaning to my life and to those around me.

I give myself permission to love my family freely without hesitation, because they mean so much to me. I want to learn to solve differences in a loving way, speaking quietly and being sensitive to all of our needs and feelings. After all they are the only family I have and I don't want to spoil our time with foolish bickering.

I give myself permission to pursue my creativity by writing poetry, taking photos, art journaling, and more, because these activities help refresh me. The time I take to pursue these creative interests is well worth it, because in doing so I become a more pleasant person, able to tackle my chores a bit more cheerfully.

I give myself permission to fail, because through my failures I can learn and grow. It's okay if I don't do everything right the first time. I am not perfect so why should I expect perfection in my actions? What is important is that I not give up but keep trying in whatever endeavor I am pursuing.

I give myself permission to pursue a life of peace and thankfulness through the strength and grace that God freely gives me, because I am a child of His. I want to be compassionate, kind, patient, forgiving, full of love, living my life in a way that will be pleasing to Him, pointing others to Christ and bringing Him glory. I will not always do everything right, but I will remind myself that each new day is like a clean slate ready to be written on with the poem that is my life.

How about you? Are there chains holding you down keeping you from becoming the person you were meant to be?  Are you holding yourself back because of fear of failure or thinking you aren't good enough? What do you need to give yourself permission to do? Are there any gates you need to open?

I'm linking up today with Marvia Davidson's Real Talk Tuesday.  Come join us and see what others have to say on the subject of giving permission.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Our Walk in Photos

We had a pretty good rain earlier in the day, but there was a break after supper, so Steve and I decided to take a walk.  Here's a photo collage of our walk.

(Queen Anne's Lace among weeds)
(close up of Queen Anne's Lace)

Couldn't leave out this one with our sandaled feet and walking sticks!

Next up is a wild lily right by the edge of our property by the road. The picture did not turn out as well as I'd like. It doesn't do justice to the beauty of the flower.

Last up is a very large leaf still covered with water droplets, and a close up of a passion flower.

I hope you enjoyed this short tour of our little walk around the neighborhood.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My Revelation

On a Sunday afternoon a friend shared a music video on facebook. There were beautiful scenes of rivers flowing, waterfalls, birds flying, sunsets, and more. While I was watching it something dawned on me that isn't really that big of a revelation. 

It just sank in this time.

I had stepped away for a minute to get something from the kitchen, thinking about how beautiful the video was when suddenly the thought came, "You could never do anything so magnificent, so why do you even play around with photography?" Then, just as quickly, it was replaced with the realization that I don't have to do exactly what they do. Just because someone is better doesn't mean I shouldn't try. 

That is just a lie that needs destroying. 

This was my revelation. It doesn't matter if someone does something better, because what others do should not dictate what I should do. We all have different callings and they are all needed. 

I only have to do what I was created to do.

(the afternoon sun above my house)

I have played the piano since I was a young girl. Whenever I would think I was doing pretty well, I would hear someone else who could do it better, and I would think that I would never be as good as they were. Oftentimes people have told me how much they love my piano playing and have been blessed by it. I do appreciate that, but so many times I would think to myself, “Someone else can do it better. How can they think I do it so well?” Then I realized that it doesn't really matter if someone does it better than I, because we are different people with different dreams and will reach different people. Just because I'm not a concert pianist in some vast auditorium doesn't mean I can't be good at what I do on a smaller scale. 

What matters is that I do what I am called to do.

Every voice and talent is needed whether great or small no matter how insignificant you think it might be.

You have something to say or do in your own unique way and no one else can do it quite the same. It doesn't matter if you think someone says or does it better. What matters is that you say what you need to say and do what you need to do, because you don't know who will be watching you, who needs to hear or see what you have to offer. You won't reach everybody, but you don't need to. God gives each of us talents to use to help ourselves and others. So when you hear voices saying to you, “Why should I try? So and so does it much better. My voice isn't needed,” don't pay any attention to them. 

Don't believe the lie that says you shouldn't even try because someone else can do it better.

God did not create us to compare ourselves with others. We will always find something to complain about or be discouraged about if we do that. We need to realize that we are all needed. There are people who need to hear what we say and see what we do even if we think it's nothing. God oftentimes uses those who think they are small or weak to make His power known to all. We may never know how many people have been blessed by our words and actions, but the important thing is to do what God calls us to do not worrying about whether or not we are good enough. We can be sure someone will be encouraged by it. 

You may or may not be that famous writer/artist/musician seen by a lot of people, but you will be noticed by God.

This was originally written last year for a #RealTalk linkup with my friend, Marvia Davidson.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Spread the Love (Blog Tour)

My daughter, Jamie Bagley, who is very talented, was instrumental in helping me to start my blog. She has just published an ebook entitled Book of Hours:In Shadow and Sun. Recently, she took part in a blog tour answering some questions and then tagging three other people to continue the tour on their own blogs the following week. Well, you guessed it, she asked me to be part of it, too. So here goes:

1. What are you currently working on?

Right now I have several things going. I have started a children's fantasy story, which is a new thing for me. It's coming along slowly, but I'm making some progress. There is also a poem I wrote a few months ago that I want to make into a children's book complete with illustrations. This was a suggestion made by some story sisters during a virtual retreat. My thinking would be to have each stanza a page with an illustration opposite or a double page illustration with a stanza overlaid on each side. Right now this is still in the idea stage. The poem can be read on an earlier blog post.

My ongoing project is taking nature photographs to use in my blog or to overlay with quotes or original poems. It seems lately that many things inspire me to write poems. I have been slowly going through the book  THE ARTIST'S RULE by Christine Valters Paintner, which has given me prompts for various poems and art journaling.

A new found interest begun this year is working on an art journal. I try to fill in pages at least once a week, although sometimes there doesn't seem to be an opportunity for it.  My journal pages take on different forms like found poetry, collages, painting, zentangle, or illustrated poetry, to name a few. Here are a couple of examples:
My memoir is coming together in spurts as I am inspired to write stories or poems about different times in my life. One idea is to share them in separate stories on the blog maybe once a month in hopes that things in my life will encourage or inspire someone else. By publishing them on my blog it would give an opportunity for my children to add things they remember in the comments.

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?

My work doesn't necessarily fit a particular genre because I do a variety of things. Poetry really calls to me and I often find myself writing poetry when I don't even plan it. Children's literature interests me, but I also write to encourage other women, to inspire people of all ages, to share parts of my life that may help others who may be going through some of the same things that have impacted me.

3. Why do you write/create what you do?

I write/create because I enjoy it very much. It seems like my writing, photography and art journaling have opened up a whole new world for me which is very freeing and life giving. It's as if I have to create, because if I don't I feel glum and dull, maybe even a little depressed. When I write or do some other form of art it gives me an outlet to record my thoughts and ideas so as not to lose them.

Also, I believe my love for God inspires me to create. He as the great Creator has made me and all humans in His image, which includes the ability to create. I believe everyone has the capacity to create in some way or another no matter how small. We all need to encourage those around us to step out and experiment with writing, with paints, etc., and maybe we will be surprised at what we can do individually and/or collectively. It is never too late to try, no matter what age we are.

4. How does your writing/creating process work?

At this point I don't really have a particular schedule for any of my creative pursuits. What is slowly becoming a habit is for me to spend time at my desk in the morning after breakfast, after the goats are milked and I can take some time to relax. Most of the time, though, I just write/create when something inspires me. Since there are several different projects going I will work on whichever one seems to call me at a particular time. I have several different journals that I jot things down in. Here's a glimpse of my desk and some journals I use.

If I take time each day to walk outside observing things, taking pictures, breathing in the fresh air, I seem to have more of an urge to create something new whether it be poetry, story or art. I like to take lots of pictures and then when I'm working on a blog post I have a variety to choose from to see what might fit. Of course, reading and looking at the work of others is also very inspiring to me. This blog tour has been fun even though I haven't read all those before me. I can hardly wait to share with you the three lovely ladies coming up next week.

Stacey Lozano has been blogging for over ten years, much longer than I have. She is very talented and I'm sure you will enjoy reading her words.

Emily Miller is a journalist based in Chicago. She manages social media for the Chicago Sun-Times and also writes for RELEVANT and other publications. Emily is a seeker of truth reporting what she finds.

Trina Holden has been blogging for many years and has written at least four books, one of which is a cookbook I use practically every day called Real {Fast} Food. Watch for her newest book to come out soon! She is an inspiration to me and I know you will benefit from her wisdom.

I met Stacey and Emily online through Story Sessions, a lovely collage of women writers who encourage, support and rally around each other like no other group I have seen. They truly provide a place for sisterhood and growth.  I met Trina through her blog several years ago when I won either a phone call or a skype session with one of her giveaways, but instead of that our family actually visited them and were able to enjoy her family and their wonderful hospitality. All of these women are unique as each of us are as individuals created by God. I look forward to reading their posts. 

Join me next Monday, June, 23, as we continue this fabulous blog tour.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Tribute to My Father

It has been over 20 years since my father left this earth.  We all miss him very much, and I wanted to honor him on this Father's Day. I wrote these two poems for my father many years ago. My mother had saved them and recently gave them to me. The first one would have been written in either 1977 or 1978, because in the closing I only name three of us. The second one had to be sometime after 1985 and before 1990, because the closing only includes our girls. I wanted to share both poems here along with a picture of my beloved father, James Aubrey Sanders.

My father really was all those things I mention about him in both poems. He is loved and missed by many. I love you, Daddy, and I always will.

James Aubrey Sanders

Friday, June 13, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Messenger

It's time for Five Minute Friday again! Come join us as we write on a topic given by Lisa-Jo Baker each week. The rules are simple. Just write for five minutes, no editing, just write what comes. Then link up and post a comment on the person who linked before you.

What is a messenger, but one who brings a message
Messengers come in different forms and in different ways
A messenger can be a person speaking directly to us
A letter could be another type of messenger

Some bring exciting news
Some bring sad news
Some bring devestating news
Some bring news of ordinary happenings

Sometimes the messenger is the moon or stars or sun
Showing forth the handiwork of God
The Bible calls angels God's messengers
John the Baptist was a messenger sent from God
to prepare for the coming of the Messiah

This was the best news of all
Jesus Christ, the messiah
came to bring freedom from bondage
to take our punishment
and give eternal life.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Hands

Hands come in all colors, shapes and sizes.
There are soft, tiny newborn hands,

cute, chubby toddler hands grabbing everything in sight,

curious preschool hands learning to draw, color, cut paper (and other things)

school age hands learning to write many things

teenage hands, young adult hands, 

older wrinkly hands.

All these hands are beautiful in their time and place.

Hands to hold and give big hugs

Hands to cook and care for things

Hands can be used to help or to hurt.

Let's use our hands to share with others.

This was written for the Five Minute Friday link up with Lisa-Jo Baker.  Come join in! It's fun to do.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Eventide at the Homestead

Dinner is over.
Animals are fed.
Sitting on the swing,
I relax and rest.

Frogs are calling out
one to another,
louder and louder
as more join right in.

Chickens are settling
to roost for the night,
with a cackling sound,
from a noisy hen.

I hear a few birds
still singing along,
while two dogs must race
to prove who's the best.

For a few seconds
it's quiet until
a car rumbles by
on the road below.

Light begins fading
as darkness rolls in.
My time on the swing
now comes to an end.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Dirty Dishes

Cups, bowls, glasses, plates,
Utensils, pots and pans.
Dirty dishes all around.
No countertop in sight.

Garbage in the sink,
And burned food on the stove.
Kitchen messiness abounds.
I'm in an awful plight.

First I clean the sink,
With sudsy water fill,
Put some dishes in to soak,
While I sit down to write.

Coming back I wash,
Then dry and put away,
Scrub the stove and countertop
To make them clean and bright.

I thank God for food,
For hands that cook and clean,
There's contentment with my work,
Bringing me delight.


At Abbey of the Arts they had an invitation to write poetry along the theme of making the ordinary sacred.  I used these two questions taken from this page as a prompt. "How might you bring reverence to an ordinary moment of your day through the gift of poem-writing? How might you see the sacred in the mundane?