Not As They Appear, These Things, At All


Feet in the sand blue sky canopy we step into the day. She painter, artist, friend. I write.
We walk into the day. She paints. I weave words, slice them up and move them all around.
There is an unfurling that begins, feet hit the ground, sun up, eyes up. It is what it is.
Or it is what you see, you see. Or how.

You should paint that.. I say, she sees. We see together, we see  different.
And I tell her what it is that I am seeing in the rags flapping in the wind. Barnacle laiden flying into the blue.

I tell her of my love for what looks like burlap, though it is not. When we look closer, the burlap was a mesh. It was not as it appeared.

We see different.

And isn’t that the way of the artist. Her art hangs on gallery wall, exhibited and displayed in place of prominence, by selection. Money changes hands between artist and art lover.

Her beautiful eye and her beautiful hand and her beautiful palette of paints will see the world in one beautiful way. The way of artist Laurie.

So she will not paint the flapping brown rags released on  line to dry out in the sun, bake out the pluff mud this tool of Lowcountry oyster catcher man.

No she will not paint it, not at all. She will not, can not paint it, paint them, filthy rags.

She will not paint the worn bags on a canvas, capture the bits of white stuck in the mesh like diamonds adorning the fabric of royal silk. Value and beauty in the rubble hanging and dancing in the salty Lowcountry wind, this day.

They whisper to me, come write my story.


Of where I have been drenched in the sea in worn hands of man. Of where I have been dragged across the jagged shore and held the shells which hold the pearl. Holding on and holding dinner.

Out to sea and back again. Out and back, dragged and drug and hung again. To flap and sail swinging in the wind. Tool of man, art to one.


And feet back in  the sand, dog in hand, under the oaks we walk and talk. Hit the road.  And stop to stare at peacock, hen. As she stands statuesque. I know this bird. But if we had not met I would have thought her dead, not alive. Her stillness, still as stone, her glassy stare belied a bird alive.

Things different. Things changed. Things not quite as they appear after all.

And painter friend she sees what I do not. This walk of artists in the sand. Brings eyes. They collide seeing different. Seeing same.

The Lowcountry  littered with joggling boards. Rite of passage for every child along the way. In the south, for children’s play.

And lady peacock, hen has her own. A perch which I could not see. My eyes beheld the beauty  only of the bird.  At first.

But two together, they double the image, compound beauty.

Bird on a beam. Bird on a board. Bird suspended mid-air. We stare.

So painter, writer see the world through different eyes. But the beauty is compounded when combined.

So husband, father,  wife and mother,  Christian One and Christian Two. We all do. Our views collide and complement. Artist, painter, artist, writer.

He brings his eyes and I bring mine. She sees the bird up on the board. At first I see the peacock hen and then the board. She is my improved vision. She corrects the lens on life. He is my improved vision. He corrects my lens on life. The complement, the shift in view. Four eyes, two hearts can see together what alone we cannot.

Four friends in search of oysters for our meal and we prefer the singles. Stop by the market ,ask around. Ask some more. The singles are the best and more expensive than the others. The clusters are  less desirable in the oyster world.

We buy the clusters or it is no oysters at all. Grab the knives, hold them hot. Fresh from the steamer, grab the hot sauce, lemon and the saltine cracker, eat them up. Can’t get enough. Oysters, hot, delicious clusters. We convert. We elevate these mangled masses of jagged shell to a status new for lover of this delightful delicacy.

And in the world of seafood too. Things are not as they appear. There is delicious delight en masse in groups. These clusters delight the souls of man under the crescent moon. Split open each with a frenzied pace. And let them slide down the throat into the belly.

If you love oysters.

You would love the clusters. The singles no where to be found, the hot commodity. In demand.

We huddle up and split open each, one by one, the oysters held in groups of white grey calloused shell.

The gift is in the blended views. We are lost. We are found. We are both.

We are better with each other. Artist, writer, painter, friend, husband, wife, Christian One and Christian Two. Poetry and prose.

I need you. You help me see. I am found. I am lost. I am both.



Joining Laura and Ann today.

And counting gifts with Ann

*New ways of seeing life

*Old friends

*Days on the coast, rediscovering old favorites

*Consoling a child in her grief and finding beauty in the loss of life. Somewhere.

*Hearing a friend’s words at just the right time.

*Watching the dog herd her free range chickens. And delighting in the dance and art there

*Walking in the sun

*Walking under the moon

*New mercies

*New vision
new fave for art quote

A Supplemental Phlog, or One Last Gift To Count

This is my day to count gifts on this blog.  So you, friends, readers, followers, considering followingers, whatev’s, Facebook likers, ….

Thank you for being here.  You are a gift.  I read blogs for lots of reasons.  But ultimately it is fun to laugh together, ponder together, wonder together, and do life together. It is fun to read of others highs and lows, struggles and accomplishments.

My hope and deep desire is to bring God glory in blogging.  To point always to Him.  To acknowledge His gifts, his Grace, His Creation, His Love, His Mercy, His sacrifice through Jesus.

Thank you for walking on these pages…..

wishing His Gracce,


If I Were A Phlogger……..

{Thank you for being here.  You may want to pop over to my Facebook Page and “like” it.  That would be a huge gift and another way to follow this blog of mine. And you are invited to scroll down and sign up to follow daily via email. Isn’t housekeeping fun.  That was my little bit of housekeeping.}

And did I say thank you for popping in and reading and just being here.

Today I am counting gifts at A Holy Experience with Ann Voskamp. You may enjoy her blog, her book, or her Facebook page.  I have.

It has been a gift to count gifts often, shifting that lense a bit to one of gratitude.

Today I am counting in a phlog format.  That is I am adapting to  a photographer’s blog format, a phlog.

Yes, I may have heard of everything now.

Come along with me as I count some gifts in my world.  Gratitude can be contagious. You may think of your own as your read. (This list is not cumulative because that is not how I am rolling with this.  It is a bit unorthodox, and I do not have a journal just for my gifts, though I wish I did. But I know that God sees a grateful heart. Or, gosh I hope He does.  One day I may have my gratefulness act together.)

* A fun lunch with The Patient One and my sweet girl.  This is the before of a crazy menu offering that he was brave enough to order.  My stomach hurt when it landed on the table was brought by the server to the table.

My tummy hearts reliving it. But the gift was in having the impromptu meal as a trio and finding what really was a lovely restaurant. Quirky menu.  Outdoor seating that allowed us to bring the momma lab.  And there was a cool breeze which you can’t see because the ginormous sandwhich is blocking the wind.

And this was what was left.

*Grateful for time with children. Relaxed time. Celebratory time. Even though one was missing, sadly, The Patient One and I focused for awhile on man/child and last but not least, growing up way too fast, daughter.

*Very special time with man/child and his very special friend on her graduation weekend from College. Very happy, calm, relaxing, and a day you just cannot imagine repeating — EVER.

This bird is about to fly the coop and take his feathers and all of his joy right out of our door in a matter of weeks. So every moment of soaking him in, and the man he is becoming is bottled up Joy, pure and simple. And this mother soaked it in with her eyes and her camera.

My imagination narrative is that he is dreaming of his future and what it will feel like to live outside of our home. In reality, he is probably daydreaming and watching his momma lab swim.

*Grateful for this momma lab to be. It was not easy but she is finally expecting her first litter of puppies in a few weeks. Our family is gathered around this event as if it were a person child on the way to join our family, not a furry person whose puppies will all be lovingly delivered to new homes.

I rather like this phlogging idea. I may have to make this a regular feature.

*I slipped away from friends and family for a moment to glance out at an amazing view. I love chairs, weathered, inviting, so full of potential. I am happy just to photograph them. I am grateful that they represent respite, and calm, relaxation and a slowed pace, all of which we experienced this day.

* The Patient One and I rode out to look at a house which our man/child may rent after he graduates from College in a few weeks. During our scenic tour of this wonderful island, I fell in love with all the potential this community holds for his new life. And I dreamed of his days becoming a man away from us.

*And oh, my beloved Mother’s Day cards. I am so grateful for the words, and the handwritten sweetness inside both of these. It is a gift to see that middle son can actually print so neatly. I know he tried his best to write plainly and clearly. That was the gift. And that he was fifteen minutes late for church, as opposed to missing completely, because he stopped to get the card before church….well the gift is he made it to church and had a some what acceptable reason for making it just in time for the sermon. I almost gave myself lock jaw, I was so tense waiting for him to arrive. I glanced over my shoulder a hundred times nervously searching  once or twice expectanting him to arrive any minute.

The Lord is teaching me patience. I am a VERY slow learner.

He is working on Pride issues too, as I did not want to be the momma in church on Mother’s Day with the missing kiddo.

I know I will remember this card FOREVER and will lovingly place it in a memory box.  The memories of my prideful heart racing and of his walking in to church on the very late side of the service will fade.  God is good that way.

* And I am grateful that I learned a little of the phlogging format. I am loving living behind my little camera lense, gazing at gifts and counting them not often enough.

Five Things A Field Trip To A Mexican Restaurant Will Teach You about LIFE

{ has its own facebook page.   It would be a gift if you would pop over and “like it” on FB or you can scroll down to the bottom of the blog home page.  Thank you for that.}

I am amazed at where and when I learn some of the most important truthes.

How God can take  and use the mundane, gray, ordinary. Turn it into a way to grab hold of the eyes of my heart.  Hold firm to my jawline in love and say “See this, right here.”  I love you too much for you to miss it.

How sparks of sweet knowledge fly off the life pages, there.  In the everyday.  In the messy, the plain, the simple. How sparks of knowing and seeing shoot out and turn the head like walking into a firestorm of shooting stars.

Life is messy.  Life is loud.  People are hurting.
I sit and catch up with an oldish friend.( She is  a decade younger so its not she that is oldish, it is this thing in our life which is a friendship). We have done life together for quite awhile but we often go for long periods without having heart chats.  Linking up and digging deep.

But in the middle of the loud and the messy, over the guac and the chips I hear the remarkable.  I hear about God’s love lately in her life.  I sit with what feels like one hundred loud high school students buzzing around us  and press in to hear about her son. How God is doing a loving work in his special life.  The waitress buzzes, the kids are rocking the place with their energy, but God’s mark on his life in the last few days is soft and sweet and deep and wide. One special teacher choosen for one special child.  An amazing choreography in this dance of life–connecting two, partnering up a child with one to walk through life as friend, mentor, teacher guide for a long season.  He loves so deeply, this God of ours.

I am changed in the knowing.  My Faith gets a re-boot.  As she Mom- proud raises her ipad to the table and shares the pictures of him running the good race, then standing on the podium at the Special Olympics, I glimpse a mother’s heart hard at work navigating through life, seeking the best always for her precious son.

Life is unorganized.
There are three of us now.  Talking, sharing, remarking, reviewing, observing life and our children and how crazy this field trip scene appears in its many facets of planning. How they move from Point A to Point B and all the logistics.

But I know now that what seemed like an excessive amout of time away from school was carved out for fellowship and community.  I know that their hours and their days lived out in the halls can be burden.  Can wear heavy mundane.  Can stiffle in the routine of the everyday.  But change the scene and joy pours out like notes from a saxaphone all happy wafting out, inspiring and infusing music and grace notes on the pages of their day.

I know that long expanses of time where we feel stuck and caught are really times to capture community and catch up in fellowship with each other, on life.

Drowning happily in story and shared experience. Freeze framing life, capturing it in one still-frame on one Monday in the middle of messy living.

Life is learned outside of books.
I know that they are learning about sixteen.  They are learning how to order in Spanish and pay the bill too.  But they are learning more I know it about friendship and fellowship.  Because it was there in all caps and all bold.  The things we learn when we heart listen to others.  The sad and the happy, the joy and the pain come out off the shelves when we listen.  When we invite.  When we ask the life story to come tell it all.

Life is best lived when slowed down and there is no agenda.
She calls me from school to co-ordinate my coming on the field trip and I grumble.  Who eats lunch at a Mexican restaurant at 10:30 in the morning.  I pass on a complaint to a child, allowing her to be exposed to my disease, its contagious, of grumbling, whining.  Not a proud parent momment, this, in hindsight.  But when there my heart delights in the energy.  It catches the happy and the smiling while chip dipping and straw sucking diet coke.  Where in the world would I rather be than smack dab deep down in the middle of salsa and chips and children on a Monday morning

Because we can count now, on a couple of fingers, the time that they are here now with us.  We discuss SAT and school and college and futures as Dentists and all such.  And I look with one eye at the Joy of these girls. They were there at the Special Olympics cheering, they were there in pre-school a yesterday ago, they are here and this is now and it is raw and real. This group, these girls, becoming women soon.  Learning Spanish and much more right here on a Monday.  And it smells like spicey, mexican restaurant Grace.

Agenda robs, and steals, and obfuscates the present. And who doesn’t love chips and dip and fellowship all cozied in on a gray day at a long table of giggling girls with their happy spread from one end of the room to the other.

I hug and say good bye and that I must press on down the very short to-do list.  By my design, I keep them short now.  It must be an over 50 charachter trait.  But I leave and I take giggly Joy with me.  And I smell all day like the memories built here with friends, with teenagers, in the middle of a very long lunch catching up on three of  the most important things in life– community, friends, and matters of the heart.

And Counting Gifts, this Monday, with Ann @ A  Holy Experience.

*for running into a friend on the beach.  Catching up and hearing how a gift I gave her years ago is still being used.  How our lives intersecting in the past was a good thing–for us both.  Realizing how I am the blessed one to have had her and to re-connect.

*time on the beach with The Patient One to bask in the sun and just be

*an email, sweet so sweet, from a friend of a friend who was sent here, to check out this blog.  Unexpected Grace on a Monday.

*News of improving health for college man-child and counting the days until he is under this roof again, for a short season.

*Sweet projects around this nest that I am dreaming of, inspired by a big project and garden undertaken by The Patient One over the weekend.

*Laughing often at a new blog I have discovered.  I will provide the link soon.  She is fun, she is funny, and she is passionate about life and the Lord (its contagious).

*New friends

*Old friends

*A month of birthdays and celebrations for people I love.

*A summer plan coming together