A Few Things I Learned In June {Joining Emily Freeman}

I learned a few things in June. What a month. Packed with life in all its wonder, glory, joy and pain.

I am still processing so much of what this month revealed to me. And if you have been reading along here for awhile you have heard me say “I am a slow processor.” Think the crockpot of cookeries up against the ultimate microwave. I process the things of life which I ingest over a longish period of time. Hours not minutes. Days not hours. Often.

That is to say, I am not ready to share all that I have learned. But here are a few things which I am longing to share.

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1. When we choose to do that one small thing, its impact is multiplied. Simply put, simple things can and do become grand things. Small gestures can and do become life-impacting.  The Small and The Simple are to be embraced, cherished and sought after. They take on the attributes of the magnificent. Capitalizing the lowercase things of this world.

They, after all are the game-changers, the life-changers, the emotional softening of the hard and crusty places. In June alone, I have seen this played out over and over and over again. My eyes leak and my heart hurts at the beauty and wonder of the transformative power of small. Look with me. Do you see how beautiful the small things of this world are. In a wink, a blink and a nod there are pieces of beautiful waiting to be captured, recorded and cherished. Cataloging life this way fills me up to over-flowing.

And I am learning this again and again. I am learning and believing that this is the way we are meant to see the world. I am a slow learner. And slow is really okay.

2. As a writer, I am called to use my words. And as a reader, you are invited to enter in and see the picture on the canvas that is the page. Have you seen the gold balls that drop down from the heavenlies. I found two pods this week.

(If you follow my instagram feed you may know I am in the glorious Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina for a respite). You can Google with me….there is a tree which drops gold, rounded pods. And they are fragile as parchment paper, bumpy like a golfball, golden like Oriental silk. And beautiful. I am always looking for wonder and posting what I find on Instagram. It helps me to stay awake at the wheel. And no I did not take a picture of the golden balls. But we will find them on Google together.

The day I found one, I proclaimed. Gold balls are falling from heaven. No anomaly was that. I found a second. Don’t we love Google for solving the earthly mysteries, like gold balls which nature has made. Amazing.

3. Voxer is my new best friend. This I did not learn in June. This I have had amplified in June. As I am writing this post I am Voxering my very special friend Shelly Miller in London  (which by the way this “What I Learned Series” is a favorite tradition within the bloggy world  – thank you very much Emily Freeman)

Voxer is a phone app which allows you to talk, walkie-talkie style, text and send photos. Welp. That is pretty much a communication dream package, you hit the lottery, what more could you ask for. I know there are some downsides somewhere in there, but for me (and I haven’t even up-graded to Pro yet) it is the bomb-diggity. People. I get to stay in touch with writers, bloggers and friends all over the whole wide world.

4. Releasing often, maybe always involves trust. A young couple approached me at the gas station last week. They asked me for one dollar and fifty cents. For the bus. I cannot stop thinking about their need. Their circumstances, because they told me the Reader’s Digest version of their story. I am still thinking about them. Hoping for them. And when I remember to I hope I will pray for them. That small interchange, eye-ball to eye-ball, exchange of money from my hand to theirs leaves me changed. Who asks for so little. Why didn’t they go for a 20 or more. They had a need for a bus ticket from one town to the next. Small again. I wish I had been willing to give them more.

5. People like to talk about their gardens. If you know anyone who has a garden, ask them. How are your radishes this year. How are the rainfall and the soil in your world. Ask them what is thriving and what is wilting. I think the vocabulary of gardeners is the vocabulary of the soul. And if you want an ice breaker, conversation starter, or if you just want to connect on a human level with another human being, ask them about their garden. Open the garden gate and see what transpires. And you can ask yours truly about hers or follow me on instagram, where beginning July 1, it is all about my garden and chickens. AGAIN.

Gardens are a beautiful, never-grows old, metaphor for life. A place of paradox. Life and death, thriving and struggling, flourishing and floundering.

How does your garden grow?

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One Beautiful Mistake

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One Beautiful Mistake

Perhaps redemption looks a lot like this. Or a little like this. Or something like this. I’d like to hope that there is a splash of brilliant transformation on the mistakes that we have made. Brushstroke by brushstroke. Wet with the tears of remorse and cries for forgiveness and new starts.

Forgiveness and new mercies sent to Earth on the wings of His amazing grace. And I whisper the prayer, give me the eyes to see Your loving arms around each one of my own, Beautiful Mistakes. Made beautiful by Your grace. Washed clean. Changed into holy beauty, by Your unfathomable, unbelievable, unending, and unmerited grace.

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One Beautiful Mistake

Red bleeds pink from the sky
one night
Writing cryptic messages

Heaven’s hieroglyphics
I run to it
I run away

Catch what is lost
My breath

I see the beauty
In one beautiful mistake

Redemption
Written by The
Sky-writer
Lover of my soul

I nod a billion times
Each a nod of gratitude
They number,
Mirror every unseen star

Feel
You dry my leaking eyes
And hear
You whisper
At the start of night

There was a fire in the sky last night
Before the earth
Was wrapped
In skies of frigid cold
Remember long, the beautiful
Remember long, the warmth
Hold loosely to each gift
And wait for the Beautiful’s return

Red bleeds pink from the sky
One night
Writing holy messages

A Few Things I Learned In July

Now this is really fun to write. I do hope it is fun to read. You have been warned that extreme randomness fills the lines of this post. I do  love joining Emily P. Freeman over at Chatting At The Sky, her beautiful blog home. I especially enjoy the series “What I Learned…..”. You may want to visit the others who have linked up  at Emily’s with what they learned this month. Some things are serious and educational, others are humorous and reveal a little  of life’s craziness and/or the writer’s personal nuances. You may even learn something new about this writer.

I will say, I may take creative license and include some things I have learned NOT in July but in general and about which I  feel  utterly compelled to share. You can try to figure out which item falls into that category. You may want to get out now. You have been warned. 🙂

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1. I learned not to judge a writer by her writing. Well by that I mean this. I had a lovely meet up with two bloggers this week. Up until this point I only knew them by their blogs and social media. Amazingly they have two legs and two arms each and in this case they are both funny as all get out. I almost said something else but I didn’t. Self editing helps. I met Kendal Privette and Amy L. Sullivan for coffee at the quintessential coffee house, The Dripolator. These two women are the realest deal and both have hearts spun from pure gold. They drove out of their way to meet me. I am grateful. Thank you Kendal for the poetry book. I cherish it.

2. If you are leaving church,  pulling out into traffic from said church’s parking lot OR if you have a sign of the fish on your car, be nice. I am just saying. That may raise the bar on your driving etiquette but people, this is the time to raise the bar on yourself.  It is a good time to defer, slow down, pay it forward and just kill  ’em with kindness. There will be plenty of sweet tea at the after church buffet when you get there.

3. Editing is hard work. Well, proof-reading is hard work. My father and I are editing my mother’s book (twenty chapters long). Let’s just say it is not as easy as it looks. The next time you read a book and you find a typo, try not to be all, “Wow how did this book ever get printed and distributed, I mean with typos and stuff.”  We are proof-reading behind several people, at least one of which was paid to find the errors. To forgive is divine.  And I am convinced the eye reads what it thinks should be there,  we  often miss our own typos even after proof-reading five times or so. And thanks for grace here. I have had my few…..hundred myself.

4. One of the best places to dine out of doors is in my summertime back yard. Run don’t walk to The Grove Park Inn in Asheville. Well don’t run, just call and make  a reservation if you are anywhere near Western North Carolina. And don’t quote me. I just happen to have had a wonderful experience there. Who knows, maybe you will too. The sunset over the valley and the Asheville skyline are beautimous.

5. Walking through life with an aging  mother is filled with intrigue and wonder. I learned this in July and I am learning it in August and hopefully will continue to learn from it for the rest of my life. I will definately be writing more about that and Dementia here.

summer veggies

6. I am obsessed with Instagram and with taking pictures of food, seeing it increasingly as  art. Instagram is like an art gallery of the lives and art of folks I seem to be following– mostly family, friends, bloggers and magazines whose work I love. I am there at @graceappears on Instagram. It seems like a quiet place to be in  a very loud world. And yes, I realize that I contribute to the noise. Should I be following you.

7. Poets are some of the funniest people I know. At least the folks at Tweetspeak Poetry are. I recently participated in their “Take A Poet To Work Day.” Man that really caught on, like all around the globe. We started with flat puppets like flat Stanley. Whoever that is. And the rest is too hard to explain so I recommend you head over there and read the recap. It was a day of wit and whimsy and child’s play. Which takes me to my next point.

8. I am enjoying this summer almost more than I did when I was a child. And I am learning to play again. Though I am not quite there, I am making progress with becoming reacquainted with channeling the inner child. (see Instagram for examples of summer fun.)

summer picture JULY

9. When I make a salad, I am at my easel with paints and brushes and a blank canvas. One of my new favorite “paintings” is a peach salad. Here is the recipe. Fresh greens (I used red leaf which is not always a favorite but it was perfect here.) Fresh Peaches ( I like the peel on) sliced thinly and then cut bigger than bite size. I know I am weird that way. Blue cheese or gorgonzola crumbes. And candied walnut pieces.(I found them in the produce section. And then a vinegar and oil dressing. I added rotisserie chicken. Yummers. A meal.

10. I am thinking of and dreaming of two things. (Well more than that but…..you know what I mean.)  I am going to begin to look for a publisher for a poetry book and I am dreaming of collaborating with another writer or musician on some song lyrics. Let me know if you know anything about either of these so that I don’t spin around in circles endlessly dreaming and scheming. Who knows, maybe by August’s list of “A Few Things I Learned in August” I will be able to report what I now know about dreaming of writing and publishing a poetry book.
trio in nature

11. I am amazed at the quality of my camera phone. #oldschool not an #iphone.  And I am still using and totally  obsessed with Pikmoney. (pikmonkey dot com) I don’t always photo edit, but when I do it is with Pikmonkey. Instagram has it’s own fun filters. But you already knew that.

See you in August. Wait. No. I hope I will see you around here before then. Poetry is popping up all over and almost daily. Sort of like the mushrooms. It is like the summer of mushrooms with all the rain, they are taking over. I digress.