Taking Note Of The Ordinary

31 days button 500x500

Some days the tail really does seem to wag the dog. That is to say a small thing has power over, even drives the greater, larger whole. When I notice this tail wagging condition, I want to reboot and set things right. Get on top of my circumstances. Take control. Take charge. Right a wrong. Because in my world, when I am pushed through by the tyrannical urgent, I miss the ordinary.

Welcome to day four. To read the days of noticing leading up to today, click here. I am joining the nester for her 31 Day Challenge. This is 31 days of noticing.

Taking Note of the Ordinary


Many days I start with the words of Oswald Chambers. For years I have read “My Utmost For His Highest”. Rarely do I recognize a daily reading that I have already read. Sometimes the familiar rings. But the context in my day is always fresh. And I find myself sitting still, steadying  my gaze on the page,  letting his words drift into the folds of my soul.

Enjoy your weekend friends. Thanks for being here on this journey. Your presence is a fragrant offering. I, a writer, have a bit of difficulty expressing what your comments add to this journey. Let’s say they sing to me during my day. The notes swirl around the busy or the mundane and offer me blessing and encouragement. And when you read here, that alone is an offering. Your presence, it is noticed.

Listen to the words of Oswald Chambers as you prepare your hearts for your journey into noticing this weekend.

We always know when Jesus is at work because He produces in the commonplace something that is inspiring.

The New Testament notices things which from our standards do not seem to count. ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,’ literally – Blessed are the paupers – an exceedingly commonplace thing! The preaching of to-day is apt to emphasize strength of will, beauty of charachter – the things that are easily noticed.


I walked into Publix this week and spotted these delightful little pumpkins in a beautiful pile of autumnal glory. I starred. As if I were in a gallery. I studied, as if I were in a library. And I glazed over, into the moment of  intentional choosing.  Which ones would I  joyfully bring home. Small moments light me up. I can hold them for forever. The remembering intensifies the pleasure. These three little pumpkins have taken me into small moments, ordinary, transformed though into artful extraordinary. Where is the God-beauty waiting in your day? What small poetic discovery is waiting for you? Ready, set, go notice.

“We always know when Jesus is at work because He produces in the commonplace something that is inspiring. — Oswald Chambers

And I Heard Be Still

31 days button 500x500

I heard you arrive. Your breathes, some rushed and hurried. Some slow and halting. You stepped across the threshold to this place. And when you came you brought yourself. As you are today. In this moment now. Let’s capture this day together. It must be an art, no science, this noticing. It must be practiced and possibly never perfected. But there is joy in the practice. Ready, set, go notice.

Aren’t we all archeologists digging in the soil of our very lives. Chipping through the rock and rubble looking, even longing for the shiny. The diamonds in the rough and rocky. Ah but there is beauty in the rusty patina places. The layers of living leave their beautiful marks. They paint strokes of story and telling, leaving whispers, shouts even of what has happened here. Don’t we long to know what lies just below the surface. The untold story. The unseen beauty, hidden art, waiting glory, buried treasures of extravagant grace.

We the curious seek a soul knowing. Early on we toddled around touched everything, put everything to our lips and in our mouths to answer the question what is it. Why do we slow down in our discovery. Halted by age, slowed by a deliriously jadded heart. Frozen by complacency. Settling for the whatever.

Seeing past the very surface, the cliches, the what is clearly showing brings joy and gratitude. I saw the spanish moss last night, dripping in all its grey glory, majestic like cashmere scarves thrown over the shoulders and limbs of the oaks. And I saw God’s creative wonder, His very intricate design. And I said yes to His world, anew again.

I was in the Presence of The Living God. In a world watermarked by the wispy strokes of His creative hand.

I am dancing in a place of quiet searching. I am looking with a hungry heart. I am slowing down to see and listening to the whisper of be still.

We prayed last night to the sound of crickets and cicadas. Our little village bible study. Our first night. Doors wide open. Fall sneaking in to still our frenzied hearts. We struggled with our calendars to make a schedule for our group. Oh the irony. We are studying simplicity and are calendars do not want to bend into the schedule of twelve weary travelers.

But the chorus of night’s choir calmed. And a  soliloquy of sudden singing soothed us while we prayed. And I heard be still.

Listen with me, see with me, in the middle of the messy living. Cry out with me, pray with me in the still of the fallen night. Look with me into the deep crevices of wonder. Find with me the lyrical and the lapping rhythms of the day. See with me past the surface, into the God places slightly hidden from view. Wonder with me at the treasure trove of buried beauty. Excavate the layered living. And mine the God Beauty of this day.

spanish moss


Push it. Examine all things intensely and relentlessly.  — Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

(This is day three. Are you following daily. Let’s notice together. Visit me on facebook, on twitter, or subscribe to this journey. Click here to read all posts in this 31 day series. Did you notice I said how grateful I am to have you here. I am grateful you are here. Truly.)

Get Out The Windex, Things Are Looking Blurry

31 days button 500x500

The day I started writing poetry was the day I slowed down. Well perhaps not literally. But maybe in a poetic way, I started seeing the world with the eyes of a “noticer”.

The Art of Noticing – The Series

(If you’d like, click here to read all posts in the series. There is a bench waiting for you when you return. It is worn and stable. Not wobbly. It is perched on the edge of a quiet pond, reflective and still. We’ll wait. It is quiet here. Well except for the birdsong.)

There are days when life seems to go by at speeds that rival a BMW on the Autobahn. I know.  But more and more I feel created by Artist God, Creator God, God of wild color and detail to participate in this world with all of my senses. The days I fail to notice feel lacking. As if I were closed off from creation. Removed in an ivory tower, imprisoned. One of my very own making. So I feel the nudges of gentle reminder to notice.

I am so humbled that you are here. I sense your participation in this series and I am overwhelmed with gratitude. See I am blowing up gold and silver balloon, tying them with french ribboning of every color on the Autumnal side of the color wheel. And I am placing a hand-calligraphied name card on the tail end. This is a celebration, this noticing.

Recently I sat and wrote a piece for a workshop I am participating in at Tweetspeak Poetry. I want to come alive in my seeing, my being present. I recently wrote a  manifesto, my challenge to wake up, wash off the blurry portals with a huge roll of papertowels and a new bottle of Windex.  Later in the series I will share “Throwing Off The Training Wheels of Noticing (A Manifesto). Perhaps a line or two there will resonate with you. Looking closely at everyday objects seems to be a big piece of the noticing puzzle.

Today I read a quote from Jeff Goins. Listen to Jeff’s spin on being present. “A life filled with movement, with constant motion and no rest stops, isn’t a life at all. It’s tourism.”

Can you challenge yourself to find a simple object of beauty, joy or simplicity in your otherwise whirling dervish day. Poetry slows me down as a child of God, as a writer and as savorer of beauty and simplicity. Here is my poetry. Here is my offering. Ready, set, go notice.

The Tire Swing

She has a haunting
Hallow Whisper
Invitation hanging
To come play
Suspending childhood
She knows
No Sleep
Stands as a sentinel
Through every storm
And season
Time is hers
To give, she gives
Worn down
Black threads
Tell her story
Wobbly wild
Yet anchored suspended
Years in motion
Of matte dull black
Repurposed by the sun
Hanging by a thread
Bleached and trusting tether
Thrown up and over oak’s wide
Outstretched strongest
She whispers
To all ages
Do you have time to give to play
She is idle
Alone and lonely
With only footprints
Faintly stamped
By children of the past
Worn in the chestnut dirt swirled like
Alien ships have landed
Leaving cryptic swirls
And curls
Reminders of earlier
Stolen moments
She is worn but not weary
The smell of rubber fresh from
Firestone’s factory, faded fast
Years suspended in the waiting
Rubber worn, no treads now smooth
She’s transformed
From work horse into
A ready playmate
We all decide
Does play have time for us.

Elizabeth W. Marshall, poet/writer/noticer

( You are invited to follow along daily. You may find me on twitter, facebook or you may subscribe to receive daily posts from wynnegraceappears dot com. But then you already knew that didn’t you.)



The Art of Noticing

31 days button 500x500


What a joy to have you here.

I have been pondering this series. Thinking of how important noticing is in a life of faith and art.

Does Noticing lead to praising, praying, worshiping and offering our gratitude? Perhaps.

Noticing creation in all its glory and beauty.

Noticing all the ordinary pieces of a day. Swirling them around in our soul and processing the mundane and the extraordinary. It is part of living fully alive.

Noticing people, art, emotion, and change. Seasons, our environment and being fully engaged with the people in our world. Our intimate worlds and our larger world.

Here are the links to each day in the series. Sit down and rest and catch your breath. You are welcome here,

The Art of Noticing – A Writing Series

Day One  – in the beginning there were questions – October One

Day Twoget out the windex, things are looking blurry – October Two

Day Three – and I heard be still – October Three

Day Four- taking note of the ordinary – October Four

Day Five – quiet, noticers at work and at play – October Five

Day Six  – now is the time for noticing – October Six

Day Seven – rolling up my shirtsleeves on this noticing thing – October Seven

Day Eight – looking at life from behind the lens – October Eight

Day Nine – in which I look for mid-week joy – October Nine

Day Ten – the weaning – October 10

Day Eleven –lost in a sea of other – October 11

Day Twelve – 

Day Thirteen- one day – October 13

Day Fourteen – left behind- a very very short story or when art holds you hostage – October 14

Day Fifteennoticing through the eyes of a poet – October 15

Day Sixteen – wink, blink, nod, and noticing – October 16

Day Seventeen –  running errands as a middle aged housewife – October 17

Day Eighteen – entanglement – noticing jealousy – October 18
noticing day one the shadow

I hope this will be a beautiful  journey. One of learning. One of practicing the art of noticing. One of savoring. Seeing. Engaging all of our senses.

A little poetry, prose, music, and photography. Art. They will all  be mixed in, woven into this 31 Day journey.

What a gift to have you here. Invite friends if you’d like. The sweet fragrance of fellowship enhances the journey.

Let’s start with these words from a favorite writer of mine,  Annie Dillard.

We are here to abet creation and to witness it, to notice each thing so each thing gets noticed. Together we notice not only each mountain shadow and each stone on the beach but we notice each other’s beautiful face and complex nature so that creation need not play to an empty house.

Tomorrow, October One. Let’s meet back here for the beginning. I am filled with joy. My soul is anticipating. My heart is ready.

Let’s go look and see, savor and taste.

The Art of Noticing begins October 1 for 31 days.  Join me at the nester dot com

I am on twitter @graceappears and on facebook, Elizabeth W.Marshall, poetry and prose if you’d like to follow the series there. Or better yet, subscribe so you don’t miss a daily post. Scroll down to follow me on facebook at the bottom of this home page and click my subscribe tab if you choose. It is at the top and the bottom.

noticing day one