The Givers

Grace

The Givers

That shade of green on the cover
Haunting
Like face paint green
In October, late
(Oh how I hate the wanna-be witches’ then)
Haunting, like so many books penned for children
Intended for the young ones
But, wait, it is we who are grown, who are or
Were the audience, all along
The souls who hunger for the messages of these books

That Giving Tree green
Cat calls from the shelf and says read me again and again
Soak up the
Metaphor on every page
Like communion bread dipped into crumb-filled wine

Memories are fickle
Holey like wormwood

Memory takes me to the story of the tree
And the boy
And the man
And the taking stirs me in ghostly ways

The paper-puncher holes in my own flawed memory
Fail to recall
Did the boy say a word
Was it only the tree
Oh what a story he would tell
Of his all-about-me-self
Taking the tree down to a stump

As green as that storybook cover
So sad is my soul for the boy, the man
I see myself in that boy
And want to be like the tree

And so I write
Poetry

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Join me for my new labor of love, a creative project for subscribers only. Follow my journey into letter writing  here, at “a quiet place for words”. I am fond of the letter format and would love to have you join me there. (Letters sent to subscribers in-box weekly) It is quieter there, away from the interwebs.

peace and grace,

e

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The Gift Of Words – Guest Post: Charity Singleton Craig

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Charity Singleton Craig has been and continues to be a gift to me and to my life as a writer. What joy and delight to discover her words here include a reference to an online workshop (which she lead with Ann Kroeker. Those twelve women and twelve weeks significantly impacted my writing life. Welcome my friend, Charity. She is a jewel. And so are her words and her newly published book (order it on Amazon for the writer friends in your life.)

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As I held a copy of On Being A Writer in my hands for the first time, I thought about all the years of hard work that culminated in this book. The stories told, the lessons learned, even the words on the page: these were born out of struggle and perserverance. Books aren’t born easily, I’ve learned. Just as lives aren’t lived easily, either.

But as I ran my fingers over the smooth cover and flipped through the tight, crisp pages my prevailing thought turned on this one word: gratitude. On Being A Writer is a gift.

Not in the logistical sense, of course. This book began with a contract and has become a commodity, something you can buy on Amazon, a product we sell at events. Publishers, editors, printers, bookstores, authors: we will all recognize some small profit from these words on the page.

But the process of seeing an idea come to life, the investment of friends and colleagues nurturing a project that began with a “what if?” in an email: that is a gift.

The twelve women in twelve weeks who workshopped together over the book’s central themes and in the process helped form it: that is a gift.

The excitement of family and friends, readers and colleagues celebrating the launch of this singular book into a world already full of ideas: that is a gift.

Working with a co-author whose experience and perspective turned vague ideas into specific stories with practical application for readers: that is a gift.

The support of a husband who joined his story to my story that ended up as our story on the printed page: that is a gift.

The remarkable thing about this book, however, is that the gift didn’t end at publication. When people buy the book and read it, that is a gift, too, of course. But even the conversations that result from talking with people about their writing lives, from engaging writers of all levels about a life of words, that, too, is the gift this book keeps on giving, even if the transaction is less financial and more relational.

As we enter the gift-giving season, what gifts of words can you give? How can your words become the gift that keeps on giving?

When you pay your restaurant bill, leave a big tip and write a big compliment right on the check.

When you head to a holiday party, wrap a note of appreciation around that bottle of wine you present to the hostess.

When you check off your children’s wish list, write your own Christmas list of the hopes you wish for them.

When you mail out your Christmas cards, write blessings and poems and knock knock jokes along with your name.

And when you are shopping for something to wrap and place under the tree, think books, magazine and newspaper subscriptions, and bookstore gift cards.

Because though words can hurt and maim and paralyze, words can also bring healing and hope and life. And I want my words – the ones spoken as well as the ones written – to be a gift to those who hear and read.

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Charity Singleton Craig is a writer, bringing words to life through essays, stories, blog posts, and books. She is the coauthor of On Being A Writer  (T.S. Poetry Press, October 2014), and she has contributed essays to three books, including Letters to Me: Conversations with a Younger Self. She is regularly published at various venues, including The Curator, where she is a staff writer; The High Calling, where she is a content and copy editor; and TweetSpeak Poetry, where she is a contributing writrs. She lives with her husband and three step-sons in central Indiana. You can find her online at charitysingletoncraig.com, on Twitter @charityscraig and on Facebook.

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Joining Laura today.

When You Don’t Know The End Of The Story–Just One Small Part

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I don’t know how this story will end. I only know one small part.

But I know what the logic and thinking of the world might be.

It might sound like this.

It’s too close to Christmas. All the gifts are almost bought. We are headed toward a fiscal cliff. There is not enough to go around in my own world.  There are great needs everywhere.

And this is what I know of God:

He is beautiful and strong and capable and  yet he longs to use us.

His miracles have always amazed and they always will.

He is merciful and loving and longs to heal the hurting.

And I know this about myself and my ability to see. I can’t. Not always. See past impossibles to possibles. I can’t always see Light and Hope in darkness. And I am terrible in math. So I try to draw a linear equation between the wants and needs and the generous and the givers and the you’s and me’s. But I am not good in math. But I do know the heart of God. And I know the touch and mark  of His work in lives is both tender and powerful. Both and.

I also know I have a heart for words. So my heart tries to jump out onto paper which is actually a one dimensional back lit holder of my avatar. Not paper at all.

God can fill the gaps between the need and the resources. Between my words and my desire to help. Between the givers and the needy. Between poverty and plenty.

And I don’t know the end of the story. I just know one part of it.

That’s where hope comes in. And trust too.

Compassion International has a goal for December to bless children in poverty and they have reached but a fraction. The space is wide and deep and long between the goal and the what’s come in.

I know that. And I write words. And God knows the hearts of man and how he can use each of us in a Christmas Miracle.

So in the bleak midwinter, I lay out the goal, God knows the end.

I only know a small part.

But I wait with an expectant heart, pregnant with celebration at the outcome.

This may be for one person. This may be for one hundred and one hearts.

My goal is $100 for Compassion International. Maybe its one giver, maybe two at $50, or ten at ten.

Here is the link to Compassion International’s Gift Catalogue. You can give some Christmas Joy there.

Wherever that is for you, may we  all find joy in the giving and peace in our offerings.

Merry Christmas to each of you. You bless my heart every day. And I am grateful.

God, the Writer, Editor and Perfecter of all of our stories, may you bless the children. And may you use us in your blessing.

Lord give us eyes to see the joy in giving, the hidden and the unseen that you long for us to be a part of, and give us hearts to bless the broken. Today and everyday. Amen

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Joining Jen, Emily, and Heather today

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The Power and The Beauty of One

It runs through me like a current of the electric. Strong with awakening.

Powerful in its thrust and pulse.

And haunting like a metronome in its consistent cutting moves.

We can hear a message and it sounds like its cutting through clutter, the thick fog of a world’s static noise with its clarity.

In a season of waiting and working and wading toward Christmas how singular and powerful One is.

I see it repeated in my life like the multiplication tables of my childhood, again and again repetition brings understanding and memory and a lodging in the deep places. Where facts or is it truth should make its home and remain.

The power in One’s.

So my heart and my head just hear a singular message and it could be tucked away as many lessons are. Or it could be shared, as this one is.  But you always seem to be so generous with your one life in how you listen in love here.

I hear and feel the gentle whisper to give it wings. This picture of the power so often held by one.

There is strength and power in one. And it is made clearer in our Advent waiting for the celebration of the holy night into which Our Savior was born.

And God being God could have sent an Army, a battalion of Saviors. He could have sent triplets or twins or multiples to accomplish that which he so lovingly planned for our reconciliation to Him. We sinful, He holy.

But He sent His only Son. He sent One.

And so I look at His world and my world and this world through the lense of just how powerful one can be.

We have one heart, but two ears and two eyes. One heart keeps us beating breathing from birth to death. One.

And I look in the sky at a moon  by night and a sun by day. Day in and day out we are sustained by both. Singularly life giving, the sun its light. The moon and the tides and all that I don’t understand about the holy mystery of that.

The power in the heavens. By ones.

We women who are married live with the gift of one husband. And I think mine does the work of three or four men daily. And every day the beauty revealed,  the mystery grows  more holy and unfathomable.

The things accomplished through love in a family utterly amaze this wife of almost 25 years. And we have only just begun. Those things learned within a family are holy mysteries.

One family can teach us much about living.

The bride of Christ. One bride, one bridgegroom. The work to do on earth is large and ever looming. One and one. Just Amazing Grace.

After pouring out on the pages here words of offering as encouragement or hope or just art, the art found in weaving of words, I have often had one single comment speak into my heart…if only for that and for her it was all made worthy. It became something of value if it reached one heart of one woman or one man. One soul. A single solitary soul.

I write for One but often I am touched and blessed by one reader. And it is tender and merciful. I shake and shutter at the interaction between reader and writer.

And in this season of preparing for Christmas I am frozen in my ability to design and construct the proper expression of my love for family and friends. Numbed and deemed unable to decide how to move with a release of gifts and talents and money into the land of Christmas giving.

For my giving is an excercise in the imperfect  mirroring of love, as He gave everything, His one child. So we give.

And I know if I am wise I can impact the life of one with my giving. One child entangled in a cycle of poverty. One family, maybe with my giving.

It is inconceivable that I could really touch one, another with a gift. The unfurling of my meager offering. To love as Christ loved me.

That we all can, each one of us can.

And that one is enough, though it seems small. One is a good start. And one is important. And he can increase and multiply the power of Ones.

If God saw power,  life changing power at that ,in one, who am I to minimize the power in one gift, to one child, or one family. To another one in this world.

When I feel small and insignificant and frozen into inaction by the meagerness of my giving, I think on God’s ability to multiply my starting point.

The power of God to do big things with my small offering.

To inspire me to increase or expand. To take a gift and magnify its effectiveness.

If I let loose of my gifts, give them to Him, release and trust them to Him,  to use and heal and give hope, then I  give Him his rightful authority and power. To do with my oneness bigger things than I could do with any single offering.

To Him be the power and glory that are His, and may we release our singular offerings to His service, His glory and to  be used for His Divine choosing. For His purposes.

I am going over to the Compassion Christmas GIft Catalog. To ask Him how what I have may be used over there.

I need nothing. I want for nothing. My family and friends need and want for nothing, truly.

But maybe, just maybe, God can take my small offering and turn it into something much  bigger than I ever could.

On my own.

Alone. I haven’t  been the best steward of all He has given me. It would be wise to release more back to His hands for His use.

There I know they are in good hands.

There I know they will be used for His glory and His purposes.

He is the One who knows the need and has the power to redeem my ineffectual and just plain wrong choices on spending that which  He has lavished on me.

And by His grace, mercifully, He gives me another chance to give away.

One that I want to be used in love for good.

Like the one moon that shines bright, the one sun that sends rays of life giving light, the one husband who loves me and blesses me with his life, and the One Savior who was  born in a feed trough for me.

May God take my offering and make it holy and beautiful.

This one Christmas 2012.

Here is one place you can look when considering  your gift giving this year. I may see you over there looking around the pages of Compassion Christmas Gift Catalog.

Wherever you choose to give this year, may someone who is hurting and lonely and in need to blessed.

Merry Days of Christmastime to  each one of you, sweet readers.

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click the link below to visit Compassion International’s Christmas Gift Catalog:

http://www.compassion.com/catalog.htm?referer=128060

Linking with Laura and Ann today.

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