Encouragement – A Letter To A Friend

Today is Day 22. Today’s word is Encouragement. To read the collective sashay sway  shimmy  swish and swirl over here. To read others in the Series go here, to The Nester’s place.

Dear Encouraging You,

Today is your Birsday. Can I tell Webster that he has a new word for his book?

Have I told you lately that I love you. I bet I have. But I am telling you again. Beautiful you are Day 22. You are laughing that you have a day in my series.

Because you are the reason there was ever a Day One, in this writing life. And you would say it was God and I would too, but you helped Him. And we would both say He doesn’t need my help.

But you were an encourager. And you have been. The accountability partner I lean into. What richness my life has with your flesh and bones, hands and feet, lungs and laughter, heart and soul, and words and words and more words, and love rooted in my own.

You have given birth to hope and held a sister’s hand right smack in the middle of the yuck. Sweet you have had a word, a prayer, a dream and a strong arm of encouragement to grasp hold of a sinking drowning spirit.

The day I said I was done with writing. Or was it writing was done with me. Or was it I give up or was it I am through with this. You may be my memory here, but I know your words were brave and strong.

And you spoke into burying and putting under rocks things the Lord gifts.

Friends don’t let friends give up.

Encouragent reaches the long limb of grace into a life and drags it back like a mother cat moving her kittens into safety, out of a ditch.

You have shown that encouragement knows in her knower, deep in her inside places, when to speak and when to listen and when to love.

Tough and tender co-exist in the life of an encourager, the life of the precious you.

And when desperation despair dysfunction depression, an army of d’s show up, we put on the armour and together we battle, and together we stand, and together we fight.

For our lives, our children, our husbands, our families, our God. And His glory.

And there is always the beautiful. There is your lense, your eye behind the camera sharing the beautiful, calling it out, like a Southern Debutante at her coming out. Here she is, Beauty, give her her Day, present her for all to see.

When we swim upstream in a river of tears, like salmon seeking a place to spawn or float our boats down the outgoing tide of tears of joy, you encourage.

We’ve known death and life and you’ve said “though He slay me” more than once.

We’ve know some prodigal stories lived out and built trust and hope as tall as the Empire State building. We’ve cried to the Heavens and screamed to them too.

We’ve pounded the pavements and pounded our fists. And we have celebrated, because that heart of yours links up with mine and we say we have today, we have today, we have today.

There has been building homes, and nests. Designing and decorating .Hanging art and hanging out, journeying far and near. We have Glamped,we have Aqua-glamped and we  have stood against the Great Recession, sticking out our tongues, saying nay nay nay you can’t get me.

There have been literal Hurricanes and the other kind too. We have stood.

But never alone. Always with Him, three strands of a cord. Encouragement weaves that way.

And courage sits firmly in the middle and holds her ground.

Happy 60th bursday, H.  Thank you for inspiring and encouraging this sister. For walking out, talking out, and praying out this wonderful glorious life we have this side of heaven.

If you go first I will never forgive you. But if you do save a place for me. And yes I know it doesn’t work like that.

We have a lot of rocking left to do on the porch. A lot of sorting out and figuring out.

My heart needs more encouragement from you.

Thank you for showing the world how to live a life as an encourager.

Happy Birthday sweet friend. Your life is a work of art.

And thank you for encouraging me to pick up the pen and always live the highest and best, with joy and a spirit of celebration.

There are no words. And that may be the first time.(You know I know your thoughts).

Beginning your 61st year with laughter and love,

elizabeth

Counting Gifts because of Ann –of hope for a child, joy in family, praise in worship and worship in praise yesterday in church, time with family, conversations with a child restoring possibilities, expectant hearts for a birthday celebration, new writing friends friendships strengthened, new encouragers in my life, hearing my daughter’s praise music on her radio instead of the other station, watching her worship our Lord in church, hearing my son sing soft and low during worship yesterday, cold air, tough love, smiling face of my sweet friend Monica, a visit from the young man and his girl who has already flown the coop (tomorrow can’t come soon enough), their future and God’s plan, the flowers from The Patient One which still warm my spirit with their autumnal colors, life.

Joining Ann, Michelle, Laura, and L.L. Barkat

Thank you for traveling with me through this series. To subscribe click hereand we will keep journeying together.

The Necklace

It was gold. It was a circular, pliable, bendable, wire.

It still is.

He purchased it on our trip. The one we took the day after we stood before the robed one and said, forever, we do. And there were hundreds there. And really the One who matters the most, the Most High. He was there.

He still is.

Today is always a new mercy morning. This one is our twenty four year mark. Of being linked and bendable and pliable. And tomorrow will be a new mercy morning. And the portal into the quarter century mark on a conjoined life.

It has held much, the wire. It has been to weddings and funerals and celebrations and church. On it has been threaded pearls and coins. An octopus and a turtle have hung from there too.

And there was the coin from the bottom of the sea with the cross, raised you can run your fingers over and touch the trinity, or is  it deep-grooved recessed. Or is it both. Around the neck on the wire, it is heavy and it is large, but it is beautiful. Hammered encircling the coin, on the wire, the others, the dolphin, the seahorse, the sealife, the handwrought others.

And it, like the wire was a gift. From the Patient One who is here. And doing life and loving sweet, tender, deep, and gentle.

And bearing, like the wired gold treasure.

Who dripped sweat from his brow the day we said the vows and still does. Because of all the work. Long days. Long weeks. Laboring in love.

And of all the things we’ve lost, many and much that was lost. But not missed. There is no lacking. There is no want or need. Really.

We never lost the gold circuitous wire.

The one that holds the things. The one that she wears.

The one he gave in love.

And it is strong and weight-bearing. Capable of holding the delicate and the heavy.

A slim gold wire. always marking the early on. Always marking the continuity of the continuous conjoined love.

Wrapping around the neck, in love. Gold. Worthy of a gift to the stable. Given by a wise man.

Bending, not breaking. And holding treasures.

Always. At least we have today.

And the words we said before the Holy One infront of the robed one and the hundreds, they echo sacred, they echo soft. And two gold rings wrapped around, in love.

Twenty four years ago today. The glorious day we have, in love.

This is a post written with Amber and a community of writers on the one word prompt necklace.

Counting gifts, hopefully forever, but at least for today:

Marriage, twenty four years.
A doctor’s visit with a child that will lead to change… it looks promising, it looks good.
A night of celebrating, its all up in the air, its all good.
A night with all three kiddos home… rare and welcome…makes my momma heart soar.
A long talk with my momma after she left the hospital. It was so very long & wonderful.
The sun is shining bright though they’ve called for rain.
Time with the man/child in our bedroom right before we fall asleep. Precious.
Plans are made to be with friends a long way away for a wedding. Joy.
Laughter and open lines of communication with a child.
The kindest comments from the kindest readers any blogger could wish for.
New friends.
Wonderful time on the river. Beautiful friends. Beautiful day. A long boat ride to a yummy burger.

And linking too with Ann for Multitudes on Mondays and Michelle at Michelle DeRusha dot com. And Laura for Playdates. And with Jen at SDG

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Why There Is Always A Back Story

“Say what you need to say,then leave.”

Seth Godin’s words today on his blog intigue me. A lot. His blog is wonderful. If you haven’t discovered it you should. Great insight, wisdom, and just plain good stuff there.

My heart crosses the concept of narrative and story often. I am reading “The Story Factor” by Annette Simmons, the full title of which is “Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion Through the Art of Storytelling.”

In it is a stirring quote from Jim Harrison, “The answer is always in the entire story, not a piece of it.”

Yesterday’s sermon focused on Isaiah 40:21-31, our story, our life’s narrative. And God, He plays a major role too. As He thankfully does. And did in the sermon. Its a good thing, right. (There is already a back story raising its not-so-ugly-head here. You may want to go to the archives of the blog to read of my love for Him and some of my Christian “story”.)

So much to gnaw on. And I love stories. I seem to learn well when story is used as a tool.

I seem to remember events when there is a story woven like silken threads through a snapshot of life. Is that what story is? Isn’t that what Jesus did when he told parables. Very brief. Very powerful. Very important.

But what of the back story? The parts thinly veiled or left untold. What of the living that lead up to the event?

Are we left to wonder, to guess, to write a narrative around the unknown parts.

“Say what you need to say, then leave.” I love the one, two bunch of the brief. The potency and power in the short. In the very  intense, undiluted telling. The concentrated strength of the brief.

Is this why I love the poetic.

Is this the beauty of poetry? Isn’t this the beauty of poetry?

Can the backstory show up in poetry in a way unique to the poetry format.

There is a beautiful backstory to these pictures, of my daughter, taken by The Patient One.

I want to tell you the story.

I think I’ll write a poem. But knowing my bent toward longer forms, maybe I’ll go write a proem, entitled “Salt” because that is why the beautiful winged-one lit on the beautiful girl-child.

It was all because of the salt.

Have I been salt to someone today?

{Will you come back tomorrow to hear more on story, the beginning the middle and the glorious endings. It’s really our life narratives. And aren’t they beautiful?

My heart is about to burst wide open to tell a beautiful one of a man I know. Its his story. It is beautiful. And I will ask permission to tell it this week. What a glorious story he is having? How is your story going.}

Counting gifts with Ann at A Holy Experience dot com.

Today as I think of writing my “Salt” poem, being brief when I write (because your lives are busy and you may not have time to ready the longer posts), and as I dream of how to tell the story of my friend which my heart bends into because it is an adoption story. I have a particular fondness for adoption stories, did you know that?

….. I am counting gifts, quietly, because you may have places to go, people to see, and a story to live.

Go live it with an extra dash of “salt”. I hope I will see you tomorrow.

Linking with Laura at Laura Boggess dot com and Michele at Michelle DeRusha dot com

And L.L. Barkatfor In On And Around Mondays

Creating Wide Margins

(I am linking this post at Sarah Mae dot com. Though it was written several weeks ago, it is one of the most valuable things I have grown to know as true for me. More and more, I parent best, and partner in marriage best, and serve best and live my best life when my margins are place carefully and thoughtfully. The prayer of my heart is to look to Him to order my days.)

I remember placing the crisp white paper in the typewriter, rolling it through and setting the margins.

First. And then typing away. The words, the story, the black keys striking the paper void of anything. Waiting for the keys to dance along within the pre-set margins. To form a story. To make order of the narrative.

And at the end, rolling the paper through the metal machine and seeing words in black mounds, like a tower, resembling a city skyscraper, neatly stacked reaching up and out, while the white margins hemmed in the story.

The white wide margins, like white noise, creating calm on the page amid a sea of black marks made by the striking keys. White noise margins, buffering. White noise margins calming and hemming in.

Margins creating a place of calm. Where the eyes see peace on the page, where rest for the reader is found. For a moment at the turn. Slowing the pace.

Eyes move left to right, but find a calm tranquil sea of white waiting. White soothing. White cushioning the turn from the end of one line before beginning another.

Inspiration and restoration are found in the quiet moment, before rounding the corner.

Rest and respite are found in the cushioning soft places of nothing

The keys stop hammering and the bell rings sweet and soft, as the carriage rings and turns down to the next line of the story.

Recharged and re-energized by a second or two in the margin of the turn. A moment of calm in the ocean of clamoring noise and black chatting keys whipping white paper.

And so too, the margins of my life.

The setting of wide margins where possible, when called, to have space to reflect, rest awhile with Him and listen to the quiet. Listen to the whispers to my soul.

Whispers of His will, His desire for my story, that is my life.

The place where the heart beat slows and life wrestles rushing to the mat. Where the soul is at peace with no agenda, plans, or harried list delineating desired to do’s.

The places where poetry and art find a quiet birthplace. And creativity breathes into the dull and the mundane.

The moments where our soul finds balance and steadies the wobbling worrisome heart.

Moments in the margin where our soul catches up to our living. And catches its breath to go on, into the places of living loud with exuberance and passion.

Seeking a steadying of the soul in the wide margins of His grace. Where we feel anew His mercy because we are quiet and still long enough to feel at all. The margins of our lives where its quiet enough to calm a restless spirit in a moment of renewal. A life-affirming pause.

The found stillness where we are in communion with Him in prayer.

Where the still soothes the soul like a salve to the wounded spirt. And we can catch a whisper in the net of listening and savor the words.

Where quiet reflection births gratitude and a re-connection to the Giver of All Good Gifts. Where Jesus sits and speaks into the intentional moments of white noise calm reflection.

Right before and right after the hammering black keys of life go dancing along their page.

The margins, wide and wonderful, where possible, when created, communion with Him, the birthplace of thought, the place where a thought can both find a beginning and an end. The space where patience is restored and rediscovered.

And the soul finds a brief moment of peace.

And all the senses savor in unison the beauty of His creation.

Counting GIfts with Ann.

* New beginnings, a first day of a last year of the last year.

* The first movies in too many years to count in a theatre with The Patient One, sharing popcorn, a big diet Coke and a lot of laughs. Priceless. A treasure.

* The Patient One walking an elderly woman to her seat in church, grace-filled tender. He strong, she fragile.

*Sitting with a friend in a hot high school gym watching my daughter and her daughter play volleyball, and seeing her sweet spirit on the court, not just the motions of the game.

*Getting bloodwork back from the hospital. The calls to say all tests were negative. And my daughter feeling better. No diagnosis, but no words carrying worry.

*Working with a helpful guidance counselor at the High School. So grateful.

*An encouraging email.

*A trip to the bookstore with the Patient One, just us two. A treasured memory.

*A beautiful comment of encouragement.

*Hope for the school year and a helper.

Linking with Ann at A Holy Experience dot com for Multitudes on Mondays (on a Tuesday)

And joining these lovely communities this week too, a privilege and pleasure

Denise In Bloom dot com

Intentional Me, Thought Provoking Thursday and Always Alleluia