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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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.

+++++++++++++++++++++++

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.)

You Could Always Just Say Thank You

thank you peachSometime during the growing up years, in the South,  where I was raised and am raising mine ,we learned something about the transactions of words. And the early lessons get buried  the deepest if the soil is rich and the heart is receptive and the love is fertile. We feel shy and unworthy in our youth when words of encouragement or of the complimentary variety are showered on our heads. But we were told. Just say thank you. And isn’t even that difficult sometimes. It means we hear, we receive, we acknowledge that we caught the bouquet of gracious words.  We  now hold them, bear them, own. them. Grasping them even in our fragile souls. Thank you is the acknowledgement we at least hear and receive.

But we know it is much deeper and more complicated than that. It is a holy and sacred transaction.

And then there is the saying them ourselves. Two words. Unfurled from our tongues, released from our lips. Remembering to. Meaning to. Wanting to. Sending them out to others. Often. Authentically.

Yesterday we met some lively young women. And it was our privilege to pile them on our boat. We headed out to the secluded beaches of this Lowcountry coastline and basked in the glory that was the beauty of one summer day. The Patient one was at the helm and like all good captains he cared well for his charges. They delighted in every small detail of the day. Every shell they found, every glance at the horizon, nothing was lost on their porous souls. The day poured into them and they reflected back the joy in their countenance. Smiles of  delight from those a generation below us are contagious. And we remember to sing a song of wonder too.  At the end of the day, they turned, one in particular, and said thank you to their captain. For the day, for the adventure, for the journey. And that gray haired man,he lit up.  And he beamed a  boyish grin. One that gratitude and gratefulness can birth.

One of my favorite poets is John Blase of “The Beautiful Due” blog. A recent poem of his written forFather’s Dayspeaks to saying Thank You. In his straight forward and profound style of poetry, I found his words tucked  brilliantly into the gentle  lines of this poem. He  amplifies  the power of saying this to men. No  doubt it is important  to shower genuine, authentic gratitude on those who pour into our lives. But maybe I need to re-think the frequency of these words leaving my lips to my husband, among others.

This morning I turned to him and said quite simply, thank you for all you do to take care of us. It changed me. It changed him. Gratitude always changes us. The air in the room softened. The mood lightened. That Monday mood where everything wants to feel oppressive and needy and urgent, if we allow it. It felt kinder and gentler.

Thank you says we are blessed. Thank you says I love you. Thank you says your efforts are not in vein. They are appreciated. And they are beautiful.

We prayed on this Monday. And we thanked God.

And I am reminded how much I take for granted. How many times I have missed the lessons of my childhood. You could always just say thank you. 

We sat on the porch last night. Our souls rocking to the lapping of the Intercoastal Waterway, under the super moon, hair and skin kissed by  salted sea. We are molded by the gifts. And the discussion turns to how much manners matter to people. Small cultural nuances, like respect and gratitude, standing at the proper time for young men, saying thank you, helping others. We have heard these lessons all our lives. And the South won’t let up, in some small pockets. In our homes we are bearing down on good manners. Because respect and gratitude and a servant’s heart fall into the laps of appreciative adults. And sow good things.

God, please remind me to hear these lessons too. The ones we are trying to teach. Of saying with my lips what I feel in my heart. Of pouring out to others,  helping and serving. Of getting outside of myself and seeing and hearing a need in another. Of responding in love. Of living a life which reflects how grateful I am to be YOURS. To know you

And because I want you to know, Lord hear my thank you this summer Monday in the middle of June. Remind me to speak a vertical thank you always and to extend a horizontal thank you often. In love, in sincerity. Wanting nothing in return. A transaction of a pure heart. A grateful heart. A heart that knows you.

I want to always say thank you.  Not out of rote duty or empty cultural mores, not flowing from cliched patterns of speech or lessons of my youth.

I want to grow a thank you spirit in my home and in my very soul.

And then watch the changes that will occur in me and in the lives around me. Vertical, horizontal words of grateful praise.

Make my life a hymn of praise, in all the moments that are gratefully mine.

Joining Laura at The Wellspring and Michelle at Michelle de Rusha dot com and Jen for SDG

The Letters

wpid-2013-05-09-14.58.40.jpgTwo letters came in the box on the road
the one that is accustomed to holding no great thing.
Unless you count taxes and coupons among the great things in God’s creation.
Some how no, though Caesar needs his due too.

Two letters came in the box, diverging days apart, like Frost’s roads
Our only choice was to open and savor and feel changed
By the power of words written by hand, delivered by snails and placed in a box on the road.

Moments are simple that way.
A child old enough to go to war and vote says this was the best one he ever got.
Words like that grab you
Pinch like ill-fitting shoes, a wake you up pinch.
And shout you have that too, dormant, laying there.

Two letters came but some words came by social media too
Choked me up, bright red flush came over me
Words can do that
Someone called me a name, a good one
Undeserving but I wore it around the house for awhile like a royal robe
Put the crown on too
Realized she didn’t really know me as well as she thought.

Some words touched someone the other day, they were true
The ones I wrote about the man who grows art with thorns in his yard.
He uses dirt but he has the Louvre of roses over there
And I didn’t even know it until
Well I read some of his words about it
Asked if I could stop by.
A few words later and I have all these photographs of miracles
He grew with God, art in the yard, co-creator he and God.

He just gave her twenty dollars
For her life’s work and ministry
He didn’t have a lot knocking around his money clip
It never was about the money anyway
But she sat down and wrote a two page letter

A letter ended up in my box
And I wanted to weep but couldn’t
I have to be tough these days, so I don’t leak all over every one
Letters of gratitude are still in vogue
And manners are important but matters of the heart
Well they trump it all.
And twenty dollars really can matter
And it’s all about the friendship that started over how we might help a little. A very little bit.

And the funny thing is the lady that brings all of the snail mail
Well she broke me up, tore me up
She wrote a little piece and put it in the box
She covered us with forty seven cents and she wanted her money back
She did us a service and she wanted to be repaid
So I pulled out my Crane stationery and thanked her properly for the loan
Because it could have been her last red dime.

Because she brings good gifts.
Like the one that the teacher saved for seven years
The one the eighteen year old who could be a soldier got
The best mail ever
Because teachers and letter writers change lives
She said remember when I asked you in fifth grade to write a letter to yourself in seven years, well here it is.

And we’d lost two pets and his favorite food is still tacos and his brother isn’t married
But we see the value in loving in the simple
And holding a child’s letter for seven years

And if you want to tell someone they are a good role model you might
make their day
or tell a man you want to see his garden
or just say something to someone

Chances are you
might get filed away in a mental memory
make a young man smile
or make a new friend, a man who didn’t know anyone really saw all the beauty
or bless a  woman who thought she wasn’t getting it all right
or a mail carrier who doesn’t have forty seven cents to lend out.

That long arm and those long fingers have work to do.
Go tell someone something that might change their heart
Or mind.

And sofa cushions are good bankers
For investments in people

And I talk to myself when I need a good talking to.

wpid-2013-05-09-14.56.03.jpg