Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Coming Home

Some vacations are for seeing and some are for tasting. I think, if I could choose a word, I would say that this one was for talking.

 

Talking on the road, talking on the beach, on the couch…after dark. Especially after dark…

 
 

….and when you get home, you realize what this vacation meant for you.

So you could smell the air a little deeper. Inspect the garden with greater joy. Taste the tap water, and hug the home faces, and remember the creaks in your floor.

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is a testament to the best of friends when their talking sends you back with new eyes for seeing. And vacations are for renewing, and this time…for coming home.

 
 
 
~Liv
 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Making New Normals

Day 1 in the morning: The power being out was annoying.

Day 1 by bedtime: I was resigned to hurricanes being a tolerable way to spend my Saturday. Candles are always fun, after all.

Day 2: No power was more confusing than anything, and I developed an insatiable thirst (of course). I started making a list of electrical things I was thankful for.

Day 3: I stopped reaching for the light switch constantly. Nor did we bat an eyelash when serving peanut butter and bread to company.

And by the time our power came on in the evening of Day 4, I was almost gripped with some bittersweet thoughts. The list had somehow morphed in my mind, and had become an account of happy things from four days without power.

For starters...1. SO. Much. Sleep.

2. BBQ food around the clock.

3. No more excuses for avoiding the weedy garden.

4. Taking soap and towel down to the river afterwards.

5. Remembering to use the clothes line more often.

6. Slowing down, because you can't run up the stairs with a candle.

7. Room temperature water is better for you.

8. The house is entirely quiet in the morning.

9. This. (Makes me chuckle.)
 
 
10. And our fridge and a couple freezers look really clean now.
 
 
Which is well and good. Although really...electricity has its pro points too. Flushing toilets with the pull of a lever?
 
Pretty fancy.
 
 
 
 
~Olivia

Monday, 30 June 2014

June.

June is a great month, really. The whole summer's ahead, and the nights are still cool.

It is also the best of time to relearn what my heart already knows. Scratch the What I Learned (summer brain). This month is for fixing my eyes on the good things that are here.

...in the garden...
 
 
eating and drinking with the best of the best...
 
 
 
 
reading...a lot...
 
I went on a ferry for the first time ever!
 
 
....playing and singing into the night...
 
 
drinking coffee in bed...
 

 
....learning to play hard.
 
 
 
 
 
And knowing, knowing, knowing that God is at work.
 
~Liv
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Friday, 27 June 2014

Poems from May


A person or two has asked about my poems of last month’s challenge…so I’ve selected some that may or may not make sense.

I found the everyday a place extremely ripe with inspiration.  The only problem is it led to a somewhat cryptic style of poetry. For there are moments that have such weight in one’s heart - but mean little to anyone else. You had to be there, in other words

 

I suppose, however, that could possibly be what poetry is all about?

So welcome to my world. Good luck.

 

May Day

The sun is liar

Wide eyed wind takes my breath

Spring, when will you come?

 

Alone

Despite the morning warmth, rain comes

And despite the love, which wraps

Close, kind, comforting, blessed;

Loneliness will open the door,

And swirl around my ankles, dark.

It does not care that Truth is mine,

That I can speak the words of every promise

My eyes, it wishes to blind,

My heart, it feels the ice clutch.

And hands, idle on my lap, close to fists.

Yet the mists will not rise

Despite their whiteness turning to gray,

With every passing friend,

I still can open palms and wait,

For God to send a butterfly.


Baby

Somewhere, wars, the blasphemy rages on

Somewhere the living fight to live

And the dying seek to rest in peace.

Somewhere the wind only moves ash

Chalky tears of destruction and it will not cease.

 

But that, you baby there in overalls;

Need not touch the blessing of blue eyes.

Let the wind move curls instead

And let you point in peace, over there

A roguish cat stalks the squirrel.

 

Fiddleheading

After winter’s cold, toes trapped

It is good to feel the grit.

And mud splashes up my leg

As I try to jump the creek.

 


Low Country Boil


He’s chuckling, the bearded cook

And brawny arms he brings to bear,

Stirring, sweating, amid the pots.

The two backs bend, to lift and spill

And mouths drop in the cloud of steam,

Like supper, as it tumbles to the table.

Corn, rolling over sausages and

Potatoes, softly breaking in their skins.

A blessing said, the cook must smile

For joy is in the sharing.

And the spoon, it rattles down,

forgotten

In an empty pot.
 
 
~Liv

Saturday, 21 June 2014

The Change That Isn't

At times, there is great blessing in the open road. A night away. A new city to stare wide-eyed at.

At times, there is hunger only a lobster roll will fix.

Times when nothing will do, but to watch someone's grandmother dance in front of you - blasting music and she's totally not paying attention to anyone else.

There is something about fireflies over the stage and a clear sky slowly getting darker. Music at sunset. And when you feel the cold coming, you lean back between the people on either side. Know them or not, all it takes are your shoulders wedged together to get warm again.

It's the lift of spirits when you're laughing, moving and thinking it is kind of funny you are here at all.

It's the sound of people singing sweet. And you know you were singing along,

There are times, when you have to have some change.

But if there is one thing that I always find...even in the new scenes and streets...it is that change is never really change.

To find that God's love is as long as it is thick.

To see that He keeps His hand across borders and states and crowds as far as you can see.

To know that He is the God over old men, egg-shakers, the blues and double bass.

The God who made someone with wicked navigating skills...and people who love prayer.

And I learn again, that He is Alive, He is Good, and in the best possible way, nothing really changes.



~Liv

Monday, 9 June 2014

Words


I love books. Packed book shelves in my bedroom will attest to this fact. But, I don’t just collect books. I read books. Books are meant to be read, underlined. We are meant to draw in the margins. We are to tear them apart, lick them, chew on the corners. Books are meant to be used.

It’s all in the experience, really. I am not morally opposed to e-readers. They just…bother me. You can’t underline the words that seem to jump out at you from the page with a scratchy pen, slightly crooked. You can’t dog-ear pages. Cheese salsa stains never appear. The pages remain smugly free from defect – until an accidental finger punches a delete key and the precious book suddenly disappears from existence. Another reason I like physical books: with the exception of sneaky forever borrowers and house fires, they stay put.

Reading books is an anti-social, subversive, strangely still activity. Let’s just sit here, thin sheets of digested trees stacked in our hands, while our minds are whirling faster than the speed of light to interpret squiggles on said trees into ideas, people, stories, other worlds, emotions, life itself.

I sometimes wonder if I am in danger of worshipping books. I don’t think so. If I was a worshipper of books, I would consider e-readers a sin, not just a rather strange and non-pleasing proposition. I would fear the extinction of books like the plague. I would picket on street corners. I would hoard books and not lend them. It’s not the book, itself, in the form as we know it. There is nothing holy about a pile of paper bound with glue and filled with ink squiggles.

It’s the words. I worship the words. I worship the Word. “And the Word was God.”

In the beginning, not only the “word was with God,” but the “Word was God.”

 

“Let it be”

And it was.

The Spoken Word Reigned.

There was a time when books weren’t an everyday item. Before Gutenberg and the printing press (an invention that some book lovers decried as a trivialization, by the way) books were rare jewels. The everyday man relied on memory. He relied on the words out of his mouth. He sang songs. Stories were told around fires, at night. The spoken word reigned.

Words. Just sounds out of a person’s mouth. Just squiggles on a page. What can they do?

Mark 4: 35 – 41.

“Peace. Be still.”

And it was.

The spoken word reigned.

 

“Child, believe.”

And I did.

The spoken word reigns.

James says that what we say matters. Of course, he knew that. Anyone who has ever written anything knows that. Words matter. But why?

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory.”

The medieval peasant who couldn’t read – he knew that words mattered. He knew when he heard the words of the priest speaking Mass, when he made his marriage vows, when he told his children a story, when his lord said “come into the castle walls because our neighbours over the hedge are going to try to kill you.”

Promises matter. Just try to break one.

Stories matter. N.D. Wilson says, “Stories are the closest our own words can ever come to being made flesh – gifts unwrapped in the imagination.” (From “Death by Living”)

Vows matter.

I attend a wedding and good old single me smiles as the couples around me in the crowd of witnesses rub backs, hold hands, remembering vows made and recalling what came after: entwining of two lives into one. Years of making words flesh.

And me, I think back to other vows – membership vows, vows to the children of my church to help raise them. I said “yes” on those days. To make words flesh, I must say “yes” everyday. I look around on a Sunday morning at all the vow bound – we must say “yes” to each other everyday, not just the one time.

What does “I love you” mean without action?

Names matter. God told Adam to name all the animals, to name his wife. Did she ever curse him for his choice? Names identify us – they make us part of the here and now. There is no nameless one because the nameless one is “The Nameless One.”

The Jews asked, “Are you the Christ. Are you Elijah? Are you the Prophet?”

“I’m the voice of one crying out in the wilderness.”

“Well, glad we’ve got that straightened out. We had to name you. We had to put words to your flesh.”

Flesh to words (I read). Words to flesh (I write). Word become flesh (I worship). And we see his glory in the words.
 
- Millie

 

 

John 1: 1 – 23.

N.D. Wilson, “Death by Living” page 31.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

What I Wrote in May 2014

During the month of May, my sister, Olivia, and myself embarked on a poetry challenge. The goal was to write one poem a day for the month of May. (A friend helpfully pointed that the above statement rhymed. How handy!) Seeing as I had only written maybe two poems before, this was an interesting challenge and, admittedly, some of my poems were no more than two lines long. I also quite conveniently read somewhere that beginning poets should not attempt to make their poems rhyme. Unless you are quite practiced, your rhymes will no doubt sound cliché and over-used. (See already cited rhyming sentence) So, needless to say that was a good excuse to ditch pretty much any attempt at rhyming.

So, instead of sharing my usual lessons learned post with you, I thought I'd show case some of the highlights of my poetry journey.

In writing poetry, I was inspired by many subjects.

I wrote about poetry itself:

"I read a book
about writing poems.

I do not understand
Iambic pentameter.

But I know that
words are daggers

To the heart, so:
I writhe and write."

I was inspired by books I'd been reading: (The first two lines of this poem comes from Lois Lowry's "Gathering Blue.")

"'I need all of you.
We need each other.'
The words fairly
jump out of the page
demanding their worth
of my attention.

It's true, you know?
The soldier looks across
the grimy bunker
at his pals,
dragging on cigarettes.

The business man
thanks the butcher
who thanks the farmer
who thanks his mother.

And you
behind me in the pews
I need you all
And yes!
You need me.

Maybe just to give us pain,
make us stronger than we were
before the ceiling fell on our heads.

Maybe to pray,
'Lord, help her.'
Maybe to bring banana bread
to back door.

But, please don't turn you face
to greener facades of life.
You? I need you.
Me? You need me.
Yes. And so the cry goes.
'We need each other.'"

And this based on a quote from "All Quiet on the Western Front."

"We are in a good humour because otherwise we should go to pieces. Even so we cannot hold out much longer; our humour becomes more bitter every month." - Erich Maria Remarque

"Hold hard
and fight mean, boys.
We can't hold on much longer.

The memory is dying
of a life that used to be.

So fix the bayonets, my boys.
And fire the guns all free.
The laughter's getting wild, boys,
I'm losing sight of me.

They've taken away our decency,
our honour and our pride.
They've stamped upon our comfort
Took our futures in their stride.

But you know what will defeat us?
Whether we win or lose the war?
If they take our sense of humour
Then they've shook us to the core.

So fix the bayonets, boys,
and load up your guns.
We'll die with smiles on our faces.
We are the dreaded Hun."


I wrote about events in my life:

A Teacher to Her Students

"So long, my loves,
I send you into the world
as the days lengthen to
embrace the blackflies.
Perhaps you didn't listen
when I gave you homework
for the summer.
Maybe some of you did.

I said, 'This summer
do something to make
the world more beautiful,'
like the Lupine lady.

And with gifts of twigs and twin,
I sent you all off into that great
orb.
None of you heard me,
but into the May wind
I called,
'Goodbye. God bless you.
My love to you all.'

I experimented with different forms of poetry, like this acrostic poem below, dedicated to my inner-nudist friends (you know who you are.)

Polite
And
Nice.
Totally
Superfluous.

Writing poetry was a good exercise. It was good for my writing and good for me. But, it was hard, too. This is the final poem that I wrote:

"As I struggled to put into
verse,
everything I felt
on every subject
possible, I,
quite understandably,
faltered and,
indubitably,
failed.
For life, in all
its many faceted magnitude
cannot be fully expressed,
though it can be summarized,
in a few lines.

Thus, instead of poetry,
I endeavour to live
my whole life,
as it was meant to be -
as a poem."

- Millie