Poetry in motion

Picture0125181100_1.jpgRescue dog Lulu testing the ice during the recent cold snap

She just walked right out on the ice. It is a small pond at a favorite park. I can’t imagine the ice was thick, it had not been that cold for very long. I did not try to walk on it. Lulu only weighs about 20 pounds. Still, she walked maybe 5-10 feet out on this pond. Both she and husky-mix rescue dog Lily enjoy their watering hole but not much in the way of refreshment even with licking the ice. She carefully stepped off the ice, we went on our way.

Picture0127181702_1.jpgRecently we visited another nearby park. Lulu enjoys stopping to sit on a bench to rest. Directly in front of us was a wetland. Small brown birds darted in and out of the dried reeds crackling in a gentle breeze. Suddenly a flash of white, an ibis emerged slowly stalking prey. Taking no notice of us it continued to move as fluidly as the water, stabbing the shallow waters for a bug or small mollusk.

I do not share this coordination. I can trip over smooth sidewalk. I’d like to say I inherited this from my mother but really can’t blame her. Like a stutterer that can sing as beautifully as Pavarotti Mom was a graceful dancer. Alas, I am not.  And I drop things, lose keys, forget appointments. It’s not dementia, I have always been scatterbrained.

Then I read the 8th Psalm …

“When I look at the night sky and see the work of Your fingers –the moon and the stars that You set in place– what are mere mortals that You should think about them, human beings that You should care for them? Yet You made them ….”

So with all our flaws, troubles, challenges, idiosyncracies, self-consciousness, fears, inhibitions, cares, we are seen by God. In Zephaniah 3:17 He loves us so much He sings over us–

“For the Lord Your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

So the One Who made this

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loves us so much He not only made this for us, He sings over us!

Thanks and praise be to God.

(Bible verses quoted from New Living Translation)

 

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Quill Commander Award

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I am honored to have been nominated for this award which seeks to unify, through patriotism and sharing acceptance, love for our fellow persons a unifying for the world. I’ve been happily writing this blog for a little over 4 years and have read so many admirable words and thoughts. I am grateful someone thought much of mine.

Now let’s begin. The purpose of this award is to promote patriotism. Along with it, this reward is created to unify bloggers from different Countries through tolerance and appreciation of their nationality. We are already unified by our love for writing and reading, so this is a token of that love.

The rules:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and post a link of their blog
2. List the rules of the award
3. Post a photo of your National flag and anthem
4. Leave a favorite quote
5. Nominate a few loyal bloggers

(Optional rules: Link the creator of the Award, decorate your blog with the “Dronstad Wings”)

I thank you Scheska, a beautiful young woman in Haiti, for nominating me. Her blog: Realm of hope

Blog Award creator:

DRONSTAD

My Flag:

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National anthem: Star Spangled Banner, Francis Scott Key

Oh, say, can you see? By the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming;
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming.
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air.
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there:
Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave?
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Favorite quote:

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” — C> S. Lewis

Some bloggers I would like to nominate–

Shobhna Wadhwa Brother Murf’s Corner THE RIVER WALK  brianandlily Holy Spirit, You are welcomed here.

 

Little ones

So this week I volunteered to help keep the children of my Bible study leaders. I am on the list but more the we-are-desperate-and-cannot-find-anyone list. This has absolutely nothing to do with the children, or the requirements for keeping them but solely based on my own fear.

My son was born in the peck-of-dirt years. Those halcyon days where the more dirt and grit a child consumed the more the moms believed their immune systems were strengthened. The antiseptic baby and prophylactic pup poem is probably the best way to describe this:

“The antiseptic baby and the prophylactic pup were playing in the garden when the bunny gamboled up. They looked upon the Creature with a loathing undisguised — It wasn’t disinfected and it wasn’t sterilized…”

My first awakening to sanitation with babies was when my niece was born, 2003. I could not wait to hold this tiny precious child and as I happily reached for her a bottle of sanitizer was shoved at me. I took it and cleaned my hands, then held her, but the joy was most guarded.

Anyway, here we are in this classroom. Five toddlers and one 10-week-old infant. There are cardboard blocks, a small wooden train set, a couple of bins with soft dolls and plastic baby dolls.

The inmates were definitely in charge of this ward.

The lady working with me was (thankfully) a grandmother. She had more recent experience than I. Her grandchildren live close by so little people didn’t frighten her at all.

Let me say right at the start, like horses, babies can sense fear. And react in different ways. They may cry, fearing a lack of control so total that they are suddenly plunged into an emotional abyss rather than cozy boundaries of lovingly murmured “Good jobs” or “no, no, we mustn’t hit our friends on the head with hammers…”

Alternatively they may simply run with it. WooHOO, no restrictions, let’s see how far I can push the envelope! The rest fall somewhere in the middle. So we had one little one who would absolutely not remove the little backpack calling for his mama, another wide open throwing toys, kicking those cardboard blocks, whooping it up, and 3  in the nirvana middle.

After an hour or so of unstructured play we sat everyone down for snack. Couldn’t remember whose bag was whose so we had random drinks, cookies, crackers, spilled water, wet napkins, cries for more. We tried to take a walk but 2 could not walk well (this 10-week-old baby) and the little one whose head got bonked with the plastic hammer.

As luck would have it there were some workmen who were making some sort of repairs which was far more interesting than our large-muscle exercises and walk up and down the hallway. So we one-handedly managed to corral everyone back to the room, until one got loose, saw one of the leaders also out in the hallway which reminded him of mama. Thus began the tears again. So we broke out the cookies –somebody’s cookies– and the magic once again settled in the room. An attempt to have a rest time was an utter fail, so the baby-whisperer grandmother suddenly had those ambulatory ones marching single file around the snack table. Pied Piper of babies. I hustled around the room replacing toys, stacking those cardboard blocks, putting the soft toys back in their bins in the cabinet and replacing the train cars on the tracks. So like “The Cat in the Hat”, all order to the room was restored when the big people returned and moms came to collect their children.

By some miracle.

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Poem: “Strictly Germproof”by Arthur Guiterman

Trust

 

Ten years ago I retired from a job in New Mexico and planned to move back east to my home state of North Carolina. All my life it had been my dream to see the Grand Canyon. I invited my son to join me.

We stayed at the North Rim. It is quieter because there is nothing there but a gas station, a Park Service lodge with several rustic guest cabins and the Canyon. The South Rim is more popular, there are shops, restaurants and more hotels.

The Lodge at North Rim has a lovely dining room, a general store, saloon and cantina. Kind of its own little village on site. And some options for excursions.

Like mule rides down into the Canyon. Sounded like fun we thought so we signed up.

It is not expensive, money-wise but you basically sign your life over to the little company that manages it. There are registration forms, waivers, last rites and funeral pre-arrangements (just kidding!) But you do sign forms saying you will not hold the park service, the company managing the rides or anyone else liable in case of injury or death.

This did not daunt us. A group of about 8, we met our mules, were assured each animal had a placement in the line where they were friendly with the mule ahead of or behind it. In my case that wasn’t quite true since my mule was determined to rest its head on the right flank of the mule ahead, who was not quite so accommodating. Sorting this out was not easy. We had been strongly cautioned before we set out on our ride not to attempt to guide the mules. At all. The narrow trail down was maybe 3-4 feet wide. The mules by nature would walk the outer edge of the trail they said. Yes, I wrote that correctly. The outer edge. With a vertical drop into the Canyon of a few miles. I am dizzy just recalling this. We were also strongly cautioned that angering our mules by attempting to guide them might cause them to relieve themselves of us, hurling us down into the Canyon.

So I let this mule rest its head on the flank of the mule ahead of me. And was very tense.

This was a half-day ride so went maybe 3/4 down into the Canyon. I realized my life depended not only on this mule’s sure-footedness but on my ability to stay calm and keep from trying to control the mule. About halfway into our ride I began to relax. This mule had done this countless times. The mule did not appear nervous or afraid (not like I was anyway). I began to trust that this mule would if not protect my life, certainly not endanger its own life, thereby not bringing harm to mine. The views were breathtaking when I permitted myself to tear my eyes from the back of my mule’s head.  We got to base where we could rest, drink some water, walk around a bit. Then half an hour later we mounted up again for the ride back up the Canyon. This went far better.

We enjoyed our lunch following the ride and subsequent shower with a great deal more appreciation for the beauty of creation. Despite some agonizing stiffness from using muscles we’d not used maybe ever we did survive. And trusted. And saw a glimpse of God’s majesty.

IMG_0604.JPGLooking south off the North Rim toward Flagstaff, AZ

Transforming

So the prediction was certain there would be snow, a lot of snow. How many times the ubiquitous “they” predict, get our hopes up, bread and milk disappear from the grocery store shelves. We have an overabundance of bread and milk.

And no snow.

Years ago in one of my former lives as a travel agent I’d won a trip to Jamaica and my brother, living in Washington, DC at the time, was to accompany me. Something woke me a couple of days before departure. I looked out my patio door and saw white. Snow still falling blanketed everything. A lot of snow. I went to my son’s room and woke him to see. It was very early and we got up and watched a movie while the snow still fell. Ultimately there was about a foot of snow which was truly an anomaly for Charlotte, NC.

Though this snowfall on coastal NC was not like that one, 4 inches of snow with below freezing temperatures settles winter in pretty deep here. They’d salted the roads but we don’t have any snow plows so no real way to deal with ice or snow. We basically wait it out.

It is beautiful. It silences noise. Everything normal is changed. Browns and greys of dormant lawns and plants are covered in shining white. Sunshine gleams and shimmers and makes sparkling glints of diamonds.

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Rescue dogs Lily and Lulu making first marks

Maybe it is just weather in a different form. But snow gives a chance to see ordinary as extraordinary. It rests over and upon all it touches challenging us to see differently, to think differently. It offers a rest from the usual, opportunity to wonder and delight in new perspectives.

Picture0106180700_1.jpg A sago palm looking like not a sago palm

Though the temperatures will stay well below freezing through this weekend ensuring that, except for what the warming sun melts away the snow will remain. In a few days temperatures will rise and begin to melt all the ice and snow. The nourishment of moisture will seep into the sleeping earth assuring its life.

Jesus enters our hearts as one invited. He completes and embraces from inside. As we tentatively open our hearts to Him, His rich sustenance fills and awakens us. Our lives becomes stronger, kinder, more whole as we reach for more of Him and He through prayer and His Holy Spirit empowers us with more humility, grace, peace.

We ask Him for wisdom, He helps us discern in every aspect of our lives. In speaking and holding our tongues. In thoughts, once critical, judging, fearful become grace, kindness, hope. This is why He died for us. To save us from our sins, from ourselves.

We move forward, stronger, braver. We search and wait for understanding, compassion, truth. As His love shines on us like the sun our anger, hatred, fear, confusion melt and He gives us clarity in truth, courage, grace, love, peace.

There is a never-diminishing source of His grace to which we may return time and again, over and over, receiving his protection and mercy, no matter what. He has promised He will never leave us and He never does.

Thanks be to God.

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“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”   –Matthew 7:9-12