For All The Brenda’s: A Letter of Encouragement and Gratitude

Follow along for the month of November as I express my gratitude in the form of “the poetry of letter writing.” I will never say all my thank you’s in just a few short weeks. I won’t even come close to honoring everyone that inspires me with their gracious spirit, deep well of kindness, or ability to bless me and others with the overflow of their heart.

But I can start. So this is just  a way to begin

One poem of gratitude, one thank you note at a time. (Thank you, as always for reading and journeying with me).

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Dear Brenda,

In an effort to be more of who I am, I want to be more like you.
It is a paradox that I am chipping away at daily.
Not the part about being like you. But of focusing on simple acts.
Engaging in the simple act of singlemindedness.
(I think I was made to focus on small things)
I think grand and great are left for others.
This is a revelation. With a small r.
But that would be presumptuous of me.
I do not imply that your work  (did you know I call it the “fluff and fold”) is not a big thing
Did you know, I long to love like you. Love simply and gently with your service and your smile.
I walk in hungry for kindness (don’t we all). And you give, so generously.
You take my soiled clothes in your hands, dutifully. Every. Single. Time.
I give you dirt and you you give me joy.
I give you a job and you give me your best.
I leave and you remain. You spend hours serving among the spinning machines.
Watching dirt wash away. Witness to transformation. Giving the world cleanliness and fresh starts.
You are throughly immersed in your work, thoughtful and diligent.
I want to write and love and live and serve with the devotion you give, to the laundromat.
The world needs more Brenda’s.
Secretly I know that you carry your private world around with you, concern for those you love, as you feed the coins into the machines.
But the grace and gentleness are all I see. You are all business. No hints of your personal life.
Oh lovely Brenda. Knowing you is a gift.
Until we meet again at the Fluff and Fold
with love and admiration,

e

thank you peach

Joining Laura today. She makes Monday’s so extra lovely

Memory Is A Lady

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Memory Is A Lady

She is a traitor
Rub the slender bottled neck
With the waist of a teenage girl
And pray she pops out like a genie
Powerful, potent, able to grant wishes
Instant and endless
In three’s
Memories

She is a hoarder
Holding on haughty and hard
To the ones you try desperately to find, to grasp
Was it one kiss or two
Nine months or three
Stingy and stubborn, relentless is she
White-knuckling scraps of time
Scenes from the movie reel of you
And of me
At her mercy
Mercifully begging for more
But she hoards
Memories

She is a temptress
Releasing parts, never wholes
Holding on greedily to finite detail
Showing fuzzy black and white reruns
When you crave HD, 3-D
Accurate truth
Memories whole, not halved
It is your life and you
Demand it back
From the shallow grave
Buried and hidden
Hungry you cry out
Longing for more
Memories

But she is protector and guard she must.

She is creative, witty and wise
She shades the blue teal that you thought grey
You swore it was azure, she insists it was slate
Erases and deletes
That year in New York you were swallowed up
In pain, by fear
Give her permission
She has taken it
Anyway
She decides what to include
And what to completely
Leave out
Then out of the blue
She shows you a scene
A day in the life
You’d dropped like a dime on the street

The timing is perfect
Like a fig picked from the tree
Ready to  savor with honey
And goat cheese
Like loaves and fishes are multiplied
So does she
Find the best days and parts
To amplify, embellish and increase
And release
Memory of you
And of me

She is a lady holding the keys
To the life, the story, the telling again and again

The story of me
Not exact, not perfectly remembered
But just
As she has determined
It should be
She is a lady
Gentle and kind
Not cruel

I must tell myself
Again and again
Lost in my own
Memories
Fading
And dim

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Joining Laura and Michelle

Simply Be

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Looking out into a sea of earthen brown, she saw a single winsome yellow leaf. And yellow seemed to be the color of still. Shining light where hope had faded, lost in the shedding of the trees. And now she understands,  the power of yellow. Now that she has stilled her heart,  and wandered into the noticing. The leaf,  it floated to the earth like a magic carpet bearing gifts.  Gifts for those who long for stillness from the ache of busy. “Be still with me” the leaf cried out “and join me while I rest, stay with me and together we’ll celebrate the yellow happy stillness. ”

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Today is Day 24, ready, set, go notice

dedicated to Nancy O. Franson, new lover of noticing and poetry. Old lover of yellow.

Why I Am Dreaming Small and Under The Oaks

(Thank you.  Yes, you. Dear readers here, you  who are uncertain of poetry. I too,  am uncertain of poetry. But you are still here reading. Or maybe you have left, because of poetry. So  I’ve  decided I  am going to make a little space for more prose. To offer both, together, for a season. Each time I post I will publish prose and poetry. Thank you for journeying with me as I pen this life, look for beauty, reflect my faith, and place words, some shaky, some brave, into this community. Let’s see how a vision of prose and poetry will look, here. And now that the comments are open again,  I would love to hear your thoughts on two writing forms, together. Here, in this little corner of the inter-webs. Wising you grace, elizabeth)

thank you peach

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morning light on flowers hydrangae

Under The Oaks

I spot threes
Write sounds in threes
See the world in
Triplicates
Focus a lens on multiples
Trios

So fitting, that  on a street named Venning
The street with three n’s
There are three souls, new
To me
Three new friends have I
I spy beauty

Grace and elegance

Grand dames
I could have come and gone
Perish the thought
I’d never known the life behind the smiles
Life lines on their faces
Telling

Me
New one on the street with the winding sounds
Learning of life
I make my way
Up and down the tree lined street

Life learned
From a trio of grace
From the Ladies of Venning

Quiet now, they are living large
Speaking softly, they live and breath
A writer, a gardner, a traveller
Lover of film and land
Living their stories

Wonder and awe
It is well to
Listen

To the three
Ladies of  well-lived
Lives,  it appears
From where I sit and stare

And  wait to earn a place
Of friendship
Among the three
Who barely know me
And  yet, have shown

Friendship
Grace

So I study the lines
My eyes trace their living
Laugh lines, crows feet
Fragile lines around the eyes
And mouth

Of these three
Ladies, each

Under the oaks
With me.

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Spencer and the dolphin

Why I Am Dreaming Small

And so it seems everyone is dreaming big. Anyone  that dreams at all has big dreams.  Thrown up and out into the sea of living. Brave and big. Bold and large. The bigger the better. Super-sized.  These dreams of man.

Words crisscross my screen every day  about these dreams, the ones that I see  looming large. But I think I am dreaming small.  Not because of fear. But I , like everyone have my share of fear.  Not because of lack of faith, for mine is at least the size of a mustard seed.

Because I hear a  clear crisp call to small. One that  whispers in my ear of dreams scaled down, sized in miniature. But lovely nonetheless.

Small dreams now from a grand and glorious God who is the one that’s large.

How beautiful and whimsical, are my little hopeful dreams.  The ones I  have dancing in my mind, by day and keeping me awake at night.  They lack nothing in the winnowing. The paring back and whittling down.

It is not really that I have  a shrunken faith. Or fear to take my dreams and expand them on a larger scale. Truly, not.

It is, rather, that I am seeing beauty in the small things, after all. It comes with age. A grand release. And in my younger days I dreamed so big. And came to value all that is small. I walked to here, a place of growing contentment, in the smallest acts of kindness, moments, and conversations with a friend.

And somewhere in this life, I am  coming to a place. That not all measurements are more wonderful,  the larger they become. So we are looking for a home. Another house to call our own the remainder of our days.  Is this the eighth. I can’t count. But  graciously and gratefully , one that will be new for us. Or maybe held the joy of others for sometime. Another  through the years.

New is not necessary,nor is big.

And I am dreaming of one small and cozy. I dream  on Pinterest and in my mind and with The Patient One. And look for beauty, comfort and a house with just  a little this and a little that. For my children and my children’s children.

I’m finding contentment after all, in you guessed it, things so small.

Last night we found a house we love. It fits my dreams just so.

I am dreaming small. We laughed at the little number  the realtor printed on the sheet; the one that revealed the total space, for living, here. But I know we would have just enough. All we need. Even though we dream of adding a bit to what is there. Because we have a history of piling up and  piling on and living in a cozy space. Just wearing out and down the soul of every house we’ve owned. Even though we have lived large. Between the walls of lots of space and things.

Small now calls my name.

I heard a story of a man, a writer in his graying years. And he had published seven poems. Ever in his life of writing. Only.  Until he wrote a little book. And off it went, big and large. A big success from all accounts.

One never knows where dreams might go. I love friends with dreams so big. And God may grow mine bigger.

But for now they are just so dreams. A little small.

So I will write my little poems. Here for awhile. And maybe one day there. And dream a little dream of one days. That maybe I will find a publisher who says lets go and run, or fly or soar. Or maybe even a home between the covers, nestled in a spine. My little poems will settle down and live up  on a shelf, in a book leather bound.  One that has a name that’s gold embossed, that is my very own.   Or maybe my poems will gather. And compile themselves.  Into  a collection. Walk themselves off to a printer and return to me in published form.

I love my little dreams.  They fit me just right, right now.

And that is why my God sized dreams may look a little small. One never knows where dreams will go when they are grown by God.

Maybe tomorrow they will grow an inch or two. After I grow contented with what I have and where I am.

My portion perfected by his loving hand.

Oh to dream, by day, by night. And watch Him change us in our dreaming. Bless us always with so much more.

Than we ever dreamed, was possible or could be true.

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Joining Jennifer Dukes Lee and Emily for Imperfect Prose

(I am gathering some of my writing to submit to a magazine as examples of my work along with some ideas for editorial content. If you have a prose piece you  have particularly enjoyed  let me know in the comments. Let’s see where this dream goes. You will be some of the first to know.)