From Roots To Fruit

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From Root To Fruit

I do not recall your Genesis
Your deeply rooted symbolism
In this family
No, only that you matter, greatly

Great big
From stem to stern
Every piece of you
From purple bursts of bulbous fruit
To elephant ears in forest green
To your strength
Dug deep
Held tight
An anchor
Buried well below the nutrient-rich surface soil
Your roots
Arms, limbs long and strong and lean
Bent, contorted
We demand you bend and serve

Oh how you nourish us
We wait on you
Ever hungry for what you give
Season in and season out
Counting on you to bear more
Fruit, sea of reds and pinks
Skin of royal plum
You erupt with life-giving
Sweetness, dripping, seeded honey
Tethered between you and us

We long for you to ripen
Faster, faster
Impatience will not
Spur you on

I do not recall your Genesis
Perhaps because I was too young
A child
And you were there
Before my birth
In the beginning

Dreaming of how you would provide
Different, for each one of us

Releasing ripened fruit
Born while hiding

Behind those elephant ears
Big enough to cover the sins of man

We shall never forget
What you mean

A family deeply in love, are we
With you, we adore you

Beautiful Fig Tree

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Joining Laura Boggess for #playdateswithGod

This poem is written for and dedicated to my father on the ocassion of his 77th Birthday. Happy Birthday Daddy.
Thank you for always encouraging me and my poetry.

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How I Am Learning One Size Doesn’t Fit Most Or All

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We find ourselves living in another new normal again. And it’s okay. It’s more than okay. Because we are being washed in a torrential outpouring of grace.

We are learning in the stretching. We tore down some of those self-imposed walls. Or were they man-made? I don’t know. I just know they are crumbling down a bit. The rigid, concrete walls which keep out change. The ones that conform us to some preconception, some loose ideal whose origins we do not know.

We seek to lean into God ‘s will and plan. And to bend without breaking. Yet welcoming the pruning shears. To stretch and grow. And break free of shackles that bind. To let Him mold us, shape us, lead us, change us. The heat from the fire refines us. The molding reshapes us. We hope that we are beautiful when we come through the tumbler’s wheel. More beautiful and stronger than before. But more than any superlative or standard or ideal, we hope to more like Christ.

And I am learning in the deep recesses, the places that like to tuck away and hide the false, the myth, the half-truths. That one size doesn’t fit all. And that even the one size fits most isn’t always the right fit.

Because the God of the universe created with an eye on originality and uniqueness. An unfathomable ocean of possibility and endless beauty in the physical world. Mountains and months of snow blanket the earth, no two flakes alike. Endless variety. Infinite variation.

I word searched “normal” in The Message Translation because it matters to me how scripture sees and views “normal”. It’s not a precise study in theology nor a tool in stating a case. It simply gives me pause. There were nine “hits”. Some how that seems infrequent for the whole of scripture. And I long to know why.

And I am seeing that God’s highest and best, it may lay outside the cookie cutter ways we write paradigms for our lives. We are looking at new paths and ways to live out this life for our children and ourselves.

My lens on this life sees beauty in different ways of doing and making art. Of writing. Oh the myriad of writing styles there are to ingest. The cup is full to overflowing with poetry and prose of every imaginable style. Each sip satisfies with it’s original beauty.

And doing church is going through some transformation. We are hungry and thirsty for community, fellowship and teaching. A shift in our life is shifting possibilities here too. The world, our world, our very lives are changing. And there may be another new normal on the horizon for us. I am learning to break the lens of tunnel vision. And to replace it with a lens of grace. Grace for us, our children, and throwing out stale ways of seeing possibility.

One size fits all is too small for a God this big. And His love is too grand to squeeze us into shoes that don’t fit as we run this race of life.

Our new normal feels more beautiful everyday and we are starting to settle into our new skin. Just in time for the new new normal that waits with open arms around the next turn in the road. We travel with a spirit of expectancy. And we walk by faith covered in grace.

A

Five Things A Recent Glamping Trip Taught Me About Life

On a recent Glamping trip with The Patient One, the kiddos,  and close friends, I learned a lot about life, the gospel, and of course some truths about Glamping.

1. Glamping requires a return to simplicity.

Our glamping vehicle was lovingly named the tinaminium (spell check does not recognize this as a word). It was a rented camper that provided many creature comforts (therefore the loose refence to the “minium” in the term of endearment, tinaminium. Condo’s bring some form of luxury to mind. I digress. What’s new.

Life lived under the brilliant stars and the ebony black sky is exhilarating. The air feels cleaner, the stars are brighter, and many of life’s accoutrements are left at home. This is by design, in order to do life differently, and due to a lack of space. They are somehow not missed at all. (well accept for the long hot showers and the strong internet signal). We packed high thread count sheets and white linen table cloths and our ipads. That’s why its called Glamping sillies.

2. It is important to love your neighbor as yourself, while at your glampsite. (spell check doesn’t know this word either.)

This means don’t run your generator when others are sleeping because it is loud and bothersome. It is important to be a good neighbor because you are parked very close to your neighbor, therefore any of the fruits of the spirit which you didn’t leave at home should be used in dealing with  communicating with others.

For example, if your neighbor’s campsite is in close proximity to the door of your home-on-wheels and the  smoke is wafting into your tiniminium, causing you to be engulfed
in smoke   slightly inconvenienced, its best to be a good neighbor by moving your vehicle out of the smoke’s way.  It is much simpler and kinder than asking them to a. move their camp fire b. extinguish their campfire c. use different firewood that doesn’t smoke up the entire neighborhood.

3.Glampsites are a breeding ground for good story-telling and honing your listening skills.

Writers love stories, and I love writing, therefore, I love stories.  I love listening to them, digesting them, processing them, and writing them.  That must be why I love glamping so much.  Because they are a breeding ground for story. Wait that may have been a leap, or I may have loosely connected the dots there on point 3.

Time stood still, as Time does when you are engrossed in a good story, so I don’t know how long I listened to a new “friend”, my glampsite neighbor tell me an amazing story of his life.  He is a writer and I am a writer so naturally we talked for a very long time.  And I will be writing more of his story here on these pages after I have asked his permission to re-tell.  It is his story not mine, so I’d like to request permission before pressing publish here on the blog.

What I can tell you, is it was rich and deep and heartbreaking.  I can tell you that his story is filled with redemption, hope, and C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity.” I can tell you that the strength and perserverance that it took to live through his pain, heal from his pain, and ultimately choose to share his story, well they inspire. And they are a beautiful story of forgiveness, healing, and love.

(I did not expect this story to come sit in my lap and pierce my heart while Glamping. Did I mention that I was surprised often while on this Glamping trip.)

And I can tell you if I hadn’t gone Glamping, I wouldn’t have met my new “friend”.  He called out to me and asked me to sit and talk to him while he breaded shrimp for the fryer.  He said  “I am a little OCD about this process.”  That is why we had an inordinate amount of time together, talking and listening over three pounds of shrimp being breaded. It was time very well-spent.

I also sat and chatted with a neighbor from home and learned that she had lost both of her parents this past year.  I have known her for 17 years, we live in the same small town, we have children the same age and I didn’t know that her mother and father had both died this year.

Her story caused me to stare into her eyes and listen with all I have.  There is more to her story than I can share until I ask, but losing parents in one condensed time frame has to be deeply painful.  She and I have made plans to go paddle boarding together.  I have another “new” friend because of glamping.

4. Glamping creates the need to be dependent on one another for “survival.”

We dragged a lot of stuff with us, but we still didn’t prepare well enough.  Our friends, not the ones in the glamper with us but the ones in a tent down the way, prepared better than we did in the food (protein) department.  Because they are kind, generous, and really good cooks, gifted really in the culinary arts, we ate like Kings and Queens.  We “lived” off of their grill and their kindness.  Well, I can’t speak for anyone else.  I did. And food tastes better when its prepared on a new $700 grill which is transported out to a glampsite for the weekend.  And food tastes better when it is eaten out-of- doors in the cool fresh air. In fact, a lot of things are better out-of-doors on a plantation in the middle of nowhere.  We know it was nowhere because the GPS couldn’t find it.

5. Friendship is better in close quarters (and friendships grow deep roots in the dark)

When Glamping, your generator must be turned on in order to have light. Well sometimes its just best to preserve your power and sit in the dark. Especially when it is late at night, and music from the music festival is serenading you on a Saturday night, on a quail hunting plantation, on a cool May night, in your tinaminium with a really close friend. Actually, your super-glue friend, your accountability partner and your sister-in-Christ. The dark can be good for sharing life, your heart, and having good momma time.

The dark of night can breed intimacy in friendship. And living in very close quarters could test the best of friendships. But this one survived and may have been made stronger. Many of our friends have walk in closets bigger than this space the four of us shared for a weekend.

Because we like to laugh, we imagined that Jesus could have written a parable teaching us how to treat others in a glamping campsite. We studied the parables in our Bible Study this fall, so they were still front and center in our frontal lobe parts. We had a stranger come to our door during that dark of night, generator off, talking heart to heart time. He scared us. We think we missed an opportunity to be kinder and gentler to him than we were. Did I mentioned he scared us? He had the wrong door, its like the wrong number when you call someone. He was looking for friends. They were staying in the tinaminium next door. Did I mention he scared us.( Well startled would be more accurate.) We pointed him in the right direction. But we didn’t offer him a meal or a kind word. And we weren’t particularly good neighbors. We felt like those in the parable of the Good Samaraitan who passed by the guy laying in the ditch. You know, the ones who didn’t help. Well we pointed him in the right direction. He just had the wrong camper.

Maybe we’ll get a second chance to “do unto others” on our next Glamping trip. Maybe we’ll get a do-over in the do-unto others department. We can only hope.

And there will be another. Even though the showers are short and sweet, and the creature comforts are few and far between, even with a loud generator.

Who doesn’t love the chance to hear stories under the blue sky days out in the middle of a field. And to live more simply.

There is much to learn out under the stars, and clouds, huddled by your camper with friends and family.

I wish I hadn’t stopped with five things I learned, though you may be.

wishing His grace….

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.