I Have a Question for You: Pursue the Art of Noticing – Peabiddies Podcast

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In a few hours I will be heading off to begin the first leg of a journey—one that will take me to Our Lady of the Pines, a retreat center in Ohio. This lovely place will be home for me for four days as I attend Refine the Retreat. Last year when I attended, I hoped and prayed for an opportunity to return. And so I do. I’m headed into the pines for the second time as a retreat attendee.

I’ve been waiting for months for this opportunity to gather with 40 or so other artists, many of whom are writers. My hope is to carve out time for fellowship, rest, restoration, regeneration, and for filling back up the well of creativity by listening closely to God’s whispers and to seeking inspiration within the walls of this sacred place—as well as among the winding paths of the prayer labyrinths.

The retreat falls during the quieter more contemplative season of Lent. I’m grateful for what feels like perfect timing for carved out time and space, space set aside for sacred reflection. My hope is to seek respite and rest, paired with creative discussions on faith and art to equip me to come back to this space to offer refinement and renewal reflected in my own work with words.

Until next week.

peace and grace,

Elizabeth

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(Click to listen to this episode of my podcast, Peabiddies: Pursue the Art of Noticing, Season Two – Episode 8) https://anchor.fm/elizabethwmarshall/episodes/Season-Two—Episode-8-e38plk

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In Mother’s Shoes: Walking Out Grief

paving stones with moss
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In Mother’s Shoes: Walking Out Grief

 

A mountain of grief
And a pile of shoes
Met me on the heels of momma’s death
Daddy went first
We went together
Grief shared, grief diminished

Big shoes
Nine or nine and a half
Ferragamo and Stuart Weitzman
Dignity sat at the end of those never-ending limbs
Boney feet, legs
Forgot how to walk
Toward the end
But taught me how to walk
To love
Legs, regal
Queenish and royal
Blue
Like veins
Tributaries, threads of her hands
Blood routes

We sat side by side on Sundays
Hushed on plush red velvet
Quiet as a church mouse, all but my tummy rumbling for lunch at the country club after church
Sweet smells of Methodism and old burnt-red hymnals linger still

I followed the sermon like a ten year old,
catching words and riding the tide of theology
I knew God was in that sanctuary (ten year old faith is strong like that)
The veins of her hands
Like a road map to life
I fingered her gold charms, reading each like a chapter book on a bracelet
Touching the pages
There, on her wrist, like a blind child reads braille
Dreaming of life and lunch

Now I walk out the loss, sift through memory,
find a way to remember

Slip into the slipper-style blue suede driving shoe
This is not a dress rehearsal, not dress-up
Though I am still a child, hers
Left, right
Both shoes
Misfit but sacred

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In Mother’s Shoes: Walking Out Grief  first appeared at The Kershaw County Fine Arts Center as part of a collaboration between myself and Laurie Brownell McIntosh. The exhibition included  collaborative painting and poetry from both artists.

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Don’t Stop Me If You’ve Heard This Before

Don’t Stop Me If You’ve Heard This Before

the writer of Ecclesiastes knew
I  am learning too
there is nothing new under the sun
a million graduates graced the stage
diplomas and dreams clenched in fists of tan hands
a million mothers have sat with pride
remembering everything that ever was
nothing is not remembered, nothing is allowed forgetting
you may say I have heard this before
this retelling, it’s too familiar to wake me up, make me come alive
everything about this moment
the other ones too
though told before
burst forth with new birth
and old is new, anew
don’t stop me if you’ve heard this before
because I will not stop talking
a million mothers may sit with pride
but there is only one me
and there is only one us
repetition is the echo, the bold, the exclamation point
everything bears repeating
the chorus and refrain sing me home

 

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