Salty Therapy And Lessons From The Sea

Spencer Dolphin Watching

It is the end of the day and we are explorers launching our boat, ready and expectant. We leave the hot air of the land for the cooler temperatures of the salty mist that hovers over the water.  We are small, a dot on a spinning orb, looking for a surprise. We are looking for wonder and beauty.

We leave  our lives on shore and transport our hungry souls out into the swirl of blues, greens, and grays. We are hoping for a glimpse of  anything or  of we don’t know what. But somehow we  are certain of where to go for discovery, solace and peace. At least two of us are in need  of a re-booting. Life is heavy. This is the place of floating and watching. Life is lighter out here.

And  light and lightness filter in and through our souls. Our pores are open, accepting all the sea gives. The sea has a way of prying  open a heart hardened by a day. We are  more buoyant when we are on board our little boat. Floating out as searchers, collectors.

A sailboat passes us on our way out. They are on their way in, an extraordinarily handsome sailboat from Canada. We release more of the day’s toxins into the cool sea air. We can breath. And we do. Our journey begins while theirs ends. The harbor is their resting place and the waterway becomes ours.

And I wonder if I could teach my child  what she needs to know of life, drawing lessons only from what we find in the salty sea. Moments into our voyage, we come upon a  shrimp boat returning with their catch.  Gulls  and dolphin gather around them attracted by  the unwanted parts of their catch being thrown overboard. A cycle of life. A recycling of nutrients. It is a study in economics, in hard work, ecology, business, and stewardship of natural resources.

But I find that all I can really focus on, honestly is the wonder, the endless masterpiece of seemless salt, sky and sea. Th rich tapestry, assulting each of my senses. The treasures are palpable.

We would not be here so quickly at the end of day without our motor, but it is time now to turn it off and listen. And to float. White foam tells a story. We hear and see the beginning forming as the frenzied  dolphin force the baitfish onto the shore for dinner. We watch a stunning display of a mammal’s hunting and gathering skills.

There is a connectedness, a synchronicity on the water. The gulls in the air, follow the dolphin and the fish they prey on joining the banquet table of blues and greens. We are turning around, three hundred and sixty degrees viewing this extraordinary aquatic life. I  am awash in pleasure except for the  occasional sting of  a horse fly. There is the reminder of pain on board, an unwelcomed passenger biting our flesh. What a small sacrifice to pay to hear the dolphin blow through their holes with audible  force and might. To witness their play, their mating, their dining. Their very lives heal our weary worn out souls. Tired from fighting the battles on the land.

And we spin around as the waves rock us under the bright night sun. It is relentless in its slow set. And we determine we cannot wait for it to go down. We must return to the toxic heat and pressures of the land, and to our dinner. Our own evening ritual of dinner and conversation draws us back to land. And we bring our appetites, increased by the sea air which stirs a  hunger in our bellies.

There would be math lessons or physics lessons if I were to extrapolate the lessons from the sea. If beauty were not beckoning me to focus on asthetics, tending to ignore science and numbers and concrete factoids for a child to store away. Approaching the dock is timing and speed and distance and I know there must be some physics involved. The wind blows the boat and the man infront of us misses his mark over and over as he tries to fight the current and wind and the elements. His problem solving, patience and determination would be a life-lesson chapter, if I were using the sea as a classroom.

But I am  distracted by a study in the hectic lives of  the Purple Martins.  Of  their colony of dozens dining on mosquitoes and swarming around as they pitch and dive, feeding before they enter their gords.

We are almost home, restored, awash in salt and seawater.  And new memories gathered up in a short trip out to the floating classroom.

Beauty teaches, salty therapy restores and we have taken sweet lessons from the sea. 

All we needed for today, the sea has lovingly offered up to us. And we are grateful explorers returning safely from our aquatic expedition.

Swallowed Up In Time

wpid-IMG_20130430_184203.jpgBuried in the moments like pilings in the pluff-mudd, anchored in the sea, the weight they hold, they bear as
I am
And yet
Carried out in waves of tears, these child years washed me over too fast so fast I fear
I am
Marking, filing, data while I watch these scenes played out of children coming in and growing ones go out
We are
Safe in piles of snowy down and laughing on my bed at something, nothing
They are
Traveling moving on through portals of a life and years are catching up to me, beginnings tagged as endings
I am fighting against
Drowning in an ocean of bittersweet
I weep
A mix of tears
More joy than any other, mingled in the salty mix.

Beautiful Broken

wisteria cross

Maybe the best way to write of the broken, to tell of the broken, to bleed words of broken, is  in a broken way. And that is all I have any way. Outside of The One Who Makes Things Whole and New. The Great Restorer Of All Broken.


Why do I miss the beautiful in the broken, when the broken is the beautiful. At first glance I saw a dried flower. Crooked, bent and missing petals. At second glance I saw through a lens of grace and true beauty.

I played and basked in the warm early Spring sun, wrapped in layers of warmth. My body warmed by clothing. My soul warmed by her children. Their creativity and passion for living called out to me. Called out to my needy soul. Their invitations  to enter into a world of imagination were beautiful and trusting. We had never met. But we were lost in the world of playful discovery for two of the happiest hours of my week, this Holy Week. I was renewed, my dry bones in need, by two children who took me from my broken adult world, into their precious world.

My joy came from their contagious child-like joy. To see through the eyes of little ones with their unbridled thirst for twirling and running and dancing. For going as high in the sky as the swing will go. Brave and bold. Their hunger for a story of imaginary brides and their clover bouquets. And eyes that see dirt as a canvas.

I looked at the dried hydranga. And though it is my favorite flower and the one that I long to see bloom in the spring, I missed the beauty upon first glance. And then the artist eyes of Kelly revealed the beauty to me, anew. Fresh. Glorious beauty in the broken. Do you see the transformation from broken to beautiful. The tender way her fingers hold this fragile flower.

How many times must I be shown the beauty in the broken.

He reveals it to me fresh and new, in His patient way. And I am  a child learning  again.


cross on a wall

I keep returning to this picture taken by a friend, my dearest. I have spent time staring at its broken beauty. The wall is gray, the day was
gray, the one when we stumbled on this wooden cross. But what shines through is the rugged beauty, tilted beauty and simple truth about the cross. Here there is no gold, nor diamonds or even turquoise or silver. Here there is wood, faded and barely hanging on.

There is beautiful broken redemptive love shining through the gray.

And I am learning to see the beauty in the broken. And to seek the broken and find true beauty there.

That is what I am and He loves me in my broken, shattered, imperfect, fragile state. And sees even me as beautiful.


The new life is seeking to push through the cold dark winter that does not want to end. And daily I am wrapping around the needs of the broken
lives of friend. We pray for each other. Cry out in pain to one another. Please, please pray.

And I write down the names and the list is long. And I read the news and shutter and walk away. At the brokeness. At the pain and despair.

But the beautiful part is that He knows, sees and feels every ounce of my pain and hurt. That my trembling is held in the hands of the Healer. And that He hears the weakest of prayers and the feeblest muttering of my heart as I intercede for my family, friends, and strangers.

We are broken but held, broken but heard, and broken but Loved.

And  I can take it all in my broken strides and my limping gate to an Easter cross where the Savoir arises from the dead and the broken body is made whole.

There is so much glory in the broken.

And I am learning to seek understanding as I  wait for the re-creation of broken to whole.

As I look upon that wondrous cross…


I see beauty and my heart cries out for Him.

He is making everything Easter new. That news is worthy of loud praises, shouts of Alleluia and twirling and dancing like a child, a child of God. Write it down, in the dirt of the earth. Write it down and remember.

Finally,  I am learning again and again  to see through a lens of His amazing Grace, the beautiful in the broken.

With and through the eyes of a child.
wrecked house boat


Joining Michelle and Jennifer

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

rope hammock chain rain mcvl

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.