freedom friend.

the wind is whipping wild tonight
and my heart, inside, does the same.

to see a friend's soul leave here for There...
what a horrible, beautiful thing.  full of sorrow.  full of joy.
with all the years of suffering this friend has endured, the thought of her in the Father's arms is sweet.

can she hear the wind tonight, in all it's whipping around?
did she see that moon all glowing full and large as it came up?
or is she now removed from every corner and care of earth's experience as she basks in her New Place?

did our Father swing her around in circles when they met?
did they both laugh?  oh, that i could hear them.
can she even believe her new life?

how i miss them both!
the sureness of her leaving here and joining Jesus makes me miss her, yes.
but quickly i realize that i really miss them both!
i miss their party.
i long for the reality that they are living in...
and why shouldn't i?
it is my home, too.
all at once, i am feeling quite the stranger here.
and it is a good reminder, for that is what i am.

so, i sift through all the intangibles she's left to me...
her faith,
her courage,
her joy,
her humor,
her art...
and i run my fingers over the last note she wrote me,
and i thank my Father for the gift of borrowed soul.

and as the wind still whips wild on my hill
and in my heart,
i whisper praises for the hope of forever life with him
and ask for the grace and courage for my own remaining days.


mourning tears
have no place long
when to heav'n sure the soul has flown.

for turn, they must
to tears of joy
when we know the fullness of mercy shown.

this soul flies free
from toil and pain
and need never more utter sob nor sigh

for Gentle Shepherd, He,
has called her name,
stretched out his arm and drawn her nigh.

and whole
and healed
by his side in his glory
she is reaping her joyful songs,

while her sown seeds remain;
her faithful praise
shall encourage us all along.

dee dee, take a picture of just my skates...

so, my sweet little Larissa Moo Poo got some pretty nifty hot pink roller skates at the thrift store.
her first pair of roller skates, mind you.
and?  fortunately for her, the bryes' house is mostly hard wood flooring - (aka, indoor roller rink). 
the first time i came over after The Skate Purchase, she came wheeling out of her bedroom (all dressed in her silk owl jammies), showing me her moves... showing off these awesome skates. 
and they were awesome.

i was so impressed, that i got out my camera to capture the new roller derby princess... and she was thrilled!
she posed.
and then, pretty immediately, she hiked up those cute owl jammies, stuck her pudgy knees in front of the camera, and said, "oh, here, DeeDee, you probably want to get a picture of just the skates..."
i dutifully obliged, and chuckled to myself...
of course i don't want a picture of just the skates!  she's the cutest kid in the world* (*statement is true to author, though views of reader may not be reflected here), she's my Lissy Moo Poo, my artsy, creative, funny, full-of-life small friend with new pink roller skates.  sure, i think the skates are swell.  but they're only swell to me because they are currently being wheeled around in by this afore-mentioned adorable small friend.

while she was obviously stricken with adoration for her new skates, her assumption that i would want in my photo album at home a picture of only her new skates was silly to me!  it's her i love!  not her little skates!

and as i chuckled, i kind of felt God tapping me on the shoulder... saying that sometimes it's funny how i do the same thing in my grown-up world.
i acquire some thing, or accomplish some achievement, or do some great act of service... and i stand before my Father, God, and say "you probably want a picture of just this..."
and he chuckles, and wishes i would really know...
really know how he really loves just me.
and oh, how he loves just me!
the way i love just that Lissy Moo Poo... and so much more! (imagine that!)
and, as great as the "skates" might possibly be in my life, my Father is really supremely interested in me... and my relationship of love and life with him.

and that's what i want to be supremely interested in, too.

lost and found.

i have just come through a season in life when, for me, all hope was lost. not lost in an eternal sense of the word. more like "where'd i put my keys" lost. as in you know they are probably not too far away, you are sure of their imminent return, and yet they elude you in a way which lends you to maddening frenzy. this is the kind of lost my hope was.

to me,
my voices had become louder than His voice.
my disappointment had become greater than his mercies.
my emptiness had become greater than anything could fill.
my place was more lost than any map could unravel.
my hope
was lost.

poems, prayers and laments of sadness and grief went up from my soul and seemed to bounce back at me from some empty void. "you are alone," everything seemed to say.
"so alone."
"alone as death."
by the time a year of sadness led me to these words, i was weak with weariness and exhaustion. "i need help" was all i could say. i couldn't do It anymore. not even sure what It was, just sure i couldn't do It alone.
"i need help...
please... me.
save me from this place - i am so lost."

i remember the night i woke from sleep in grief and pain, and as i crumpled to the floor i called out to my God - and he answered from right beside me. Presence. close Presence. filling, pervading, comforting, all-i-need Presence.

your help. He said.
my Word is life to you.
my Hope is much greater than your disappointment.
I AM Restoration to all that you mourn.
i will set your feet back on the ground and lead you to Life.
my hope
is found!

He has been speaking to my heart ever since that night, reminding me of his Sovereignty, restoring my peace, showing me his great heart and how he longs for me to leave my laments and join his pursuits. "In your lament is aching emptiness," he reminds me, "your laments are based on lies. The truth is that I am working - working to bring Glory to God, to bring healing to people - the truth is that I long for you to leave your empty lament and join me in my fulfilling work. This is how you lose your life of lament and gain the life I have for you."

Praise be to the God who lifts us from the pit! Praise be to the God who frees us from the strongholds of sin and death! Praise be to the God who is near, who restores life, and who walks with us in the Valley of the Shadow of Death!

As i am made aware, yet again, of how i am saved by my Savior's hand from the clutches of sin and death, i am overwhelmed with joyful gratitude. What he has done for us! oh, that i would join Jesus in bringing glory to our Great God and proclaiming his salvation and his gift of life!

"As for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long,
though I know not its measure.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign LORD;
I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone."
{psalm 71:14-16}

night walk.

hang on, willow tree,
you are looking tired and cold

bending down

lower, lower, low.

others have long traded

leaves for crisp silhouettes

but you only now begin

to let down your silvery long leaves
and that without much show.

slender, sparkling-green twists
flutter in the light,

against the shifting color
of the night sky,
falling on me
as i walk beneath
your tossled bows,
riding the winds
of the new cold
of the november night.

peace to you, willow tree,

for always
you pass
to me.

Almighty One.

your splendor is, indeed, something to behold!

this sky... pouring forth knowledge.

this mountain... rising up in praise.
i imagine you calling up a certain line in the earth... perhaps with your finger, perhaps with your breath, or just a word...

the low-flying heron... slow, steady.
set by your very own rhythm.
surely, nothing in this world has taught it such a rhythm.

the calf & mama cow grazing and grooming by the side of the stream...
sweet, tender, continuation of life here...

splendor, all splendor!

may the heart of the Creator be blessed by the splendor of his created.

and let my own life be included in the splendor of your hands...

let it be that which points to you and gives you glory.



"You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth..."

Blessed Hope!
how beautiful you are!
how sure is our foundation, how swift are your mighty wings which lift us up and carry us into the light of your presence!
there is no darkness i fear;
there is no loss i mourn;
for in you is the answer to all of the soul's longing and questioning.

you are quick to satisfy your saints, even along the dark parts of this earthen roaming.
my soul finds rest in you alone.
in you,
the hope of all the ends of the earth;
in you,
who answers us with awesome deeds of righteousness!

my soul finds rest.
how i love you, Blessed Hope, my Redeemer!

numbering days.

"teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." ps. 90:12

for how vast and timeless you are,
i praise you,
exalt you,
lift you up.

for how you create, sustain, hold together,
i adore you...

you're so vast,
so timeless,
so powerful,
so elusive yet ever-present.

you are a mystery.
i am in love with you.

how fast and furious is our time here...
but you know that.
how often it holds so much pain and disappointment...
but you know that, too.
all hidden in you, in your secret things.
all those secret God things.

and then there are all the little plain things of here.
foggy mornings, tea, naps, conversations, Larissa learning what a robin is!
and i learn to love all the you in the ordinary of living.
the little things...
you are there whispering your delight in us,
in the sweetness of existance.

how do we hold these things?
and up to you...
for they are all mysterious;
the good and the bad.
mysteries hidden in the vast cloak of my God.

i cannot help but long for the day when you take off your cloak.
not so i can know any more about the mysteries hidden in it.
but really so i can see how shiny your face is.
to see what glory really is...

let my days be numbered... i cannot wait!

no need to stir.

today was the sort of day lunch had to be made on the fly. on days like these, i really appreciate what peanut butter and jelly has to offer... ease of assembly, on-hand ingredients... even with variety from which to choose, a little fruit, a little protein, a little starch, fits in a ziploc... i mean really, it's like the Zeus of lunch on the go, and today i proudly hailed it as such as i gathered and assembled.

until i pulled out my natural jif.
my natural jif is a newbie in my kitchen cabinetry, but i've been impressed. an avid jif supporter through the years, of both crunchy and smooth, i've found the natural option to be just another jewel in jif's crown. it's tasty, and natural; two very happy things.
now, you must know, dear reader, that the peanut butter which stays in my house stays in a spot above my head in the cabinet. not far above my head, mind you, just a bit above my head. quirkily enough, it is just above my head enough so that each time i pull it down and it passes my eyes i read where it says "No Need To Stir". it catches my attention every time. do you have those things that you notice repeatedly? this is one of those to me. i think because it is such a funny proclamation. how often does someone or something specify "No Need To Stir"?
and then there's the oddity of no punctuation. and not just that, but each word begins with a capital letter. how funny. i wonder who decided that?

anyway, i realize that natural jif makes this proclamation precisely because other natural peanut butters most definitely Need To Be Stirred before use for consumption. it is one way in which natural jif is declaring that they are set apart from other natural peanut butters, and i must confess, i had secretly admired them even for this set apart-ness.
until today.
when i opened my natural jif, it most definitely Needed To Be Stirred before use for consumption. most definitely. and i? i was disappointed.

upon reflection, i realize that i wasn't even disappointed in Needing To Stir. in fact, i don't think Needing To Stir in any way interrupted my afternoon, or caused any additional dirty silverware, or even took up much more time or concentration. i was disappointed that they had so deliberately taken the time to make such a non-punctuated, yet emphatic proclamation... only for it to not be the case in all situations. it gives me pause to question their validity in other claims. i'm not even sure what other claims jif makes necessarily, but the bottom line is, should i come up against some claim by jif, i would have to carefully consider my level of trust in said claim.
trust has been undermined.
all because they had to say "No Need To Stir".

that's all.

do not touch.

trains rock.
they really do. enough so that simple things like walking, drinking or writing are suddenly awkward... like you're a toddler again.

you go kind of fast. but not as fast as i would think it could (or should) go. fast enough, i suppose.
fast enough so that you see an awful lot of countryside as you pass by... but you cannot touch any of it. it's funny. it feels such an intimate thing with the landscape to travel it by train, and such an untouchable thing at the same time.

we pass people.
some men on a shipping dock at seven twenty five a.m., coffee in hand, smile and wave like they have forgotten they're all grown up. not waving at me, but waving at my world this hour... waving at this rocking train on which i'm trying to take a sip of my water.
later we pass a father and son by a creek... more avid waving... more big smiles.

we keep moving. beautiful mountains,
deep ravines,
quaint old train stations in little towns,
the horn blows,
the sunlight flickers on my paper and pen...
i get to see these places from such a unique vantage point...
i cannot touch any of it...

but somehow it touches me.


i got up before the sun
but today we shall travel together
the train horn in the distance
is to me a smile, a wink
we shall be together soon,
the train and i

on the train
on with coffee!
on with whispers to my God
of gratitude
of hope
of eternal things
of beauty
of loved ones
of love

the meandering through these mountains
seems to untangle things deep in my soul.


i am longing to dip my toes into a lake of the past. not my own past; but a past i have never known. a past consisting of golden light through old willow limbs, of hanging laundry, of tilling earth and of storing the harvest. a past of small white churches with bells that still ring out, of hard wooden pews and songs of glory sung.

things i long for the most in this Past are the light and the fields.
how odd; since these are the things which stand quite outside of past or present. none the less, i see the light as pouring forth in golden splendor, lighting the earth with a blazing intensity... and golden fields which stretch out, connecting the bottom of one green hill to the other.

i long to sit there, on the edge of a hill, by the willow, overlooking the field lit with fullest light... to watch the breeze bow low the heads of the wheat... beginning at one end of the field... and a quiet shush as it passes to the other end.

so then i ask what it is i think i want from this space? what is this longing made of?
glory. purity. holiness. quiet. peace.
what has He made? let me look only at that for a time, and nothing else.

i've sat out on the swing these beautiful mornings and read and written of him and to him. but each morning, and even through the days, i've heard him say "put that down... look out here..." and he points to the lines of the limbs of the mimosa tree through which i see the rolling curves of south mountain rise and fall. golden at the grassy base, then all different greens and blacks show me the curves of the woodland floor. the blue sky grows infinitely bluer as i follow it upward... and i see the moon, hiding with the thin clouds, leftover from the night before.

and he says "look at me... love me... please pause your reading and writing and moving... just look at me, and love me".

everything in me wants to do this.
so i long to step to another time and space so i could be free from things we've made.
things i've made.
things to be done.
but there is some holiness in those things too, i know.

but for today?
i shall only look.
and love.

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