Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Sixth Day of Christmas: Seaside Holiday

As 2011 comes to a close, we steal away to the sea...

we enjoy unseasonable treats...

we seek treasures on the sand...

and we dream about the adventures 2012 will bring...

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Fifth Day of Christmas: Farther Along

Did you ever hear a song and wish you wrote it? I played this one on repeat for hours this past month after it was shared by a friend.  Click on the title below to listen along with the lyrics.  Enjoy!

Farther along we’ll know all about it
Farther along we’ll understand why
Cheer up my brothers, live in the sunshine
We’ll understand this, all by and by

Tempted and tried, I wondered why
The good man died, the bad man thrives
And Jesus cries because he loves em’ both
We’re all cast-aways in need of ropes
Hangin’ on by the last threads of our hope
In a house of mirrors full of smoke
Confusing illusions I’ve seen

Where did I go wrong, I sang along
To every chorus of the song
That the devil wrote like a piper at the gates
Leading mice and men down to their fates
But some will courageously escape
The seductive voice with a heart of faith
While walkin’ that line back home

So much more to life than we’ve been told
It’s full of beauty that will unfold
And shine like you struck gold my wayward son
That deadweight burden weighs a ton
Go down into the river and let it run
And wash away all the things you’ve done
Forgiveness alright


Still I get hard pressed on every side
Between the rock and a compromise
Like the truth and pack of lies fightin’ for my soul
And I’ve got no place left go
Cause I got changed by what I’ve been shown
More glory than the world has known
Keeps me ramblin’ on

Skipping like a calf loosed from its stall
I’m free to love once and for all
And even when I fall I’ll get back up
For the joy that overflows my cup
Heaven filled me with more than enough
Broke down my levee and my bluff
Let the flood wash me

And one day when the sky rolls back on us
Some rejoice and the others fuss
Cause every knee must bow and tongue confess
That the son of god is forever blessed
His is the kingdom, we’re the guests
So put your voice up to the test
Sing Lord, come soon


Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Fourth Day of Christmas: golden opportunity

move me to love the

     immeasurable treasure

You created in each of us

instead of etching law onto

     raw skin and

     brittle bones

to curse and control

     isolate and humiliate

enliven Your Word in my heart

that I might inspire

renewal from within

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Third Day of Christmas: hope

“have hope”
a wordless whisper
canopies  the formless earth
Spirit of God
breathes promise over waters
when darkness was all that existed

“have hope”
an infant cry
pierces the silent night
Son of God
breathes promise into life
when true light in the darkness existed

“have hope”
a thunderous truth
shadows all of creation
Savior of Man
breathes promise over all
when He overcame the world
and in Him darkness ceased to exist

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Second Day of Christmas: Do You See What I Hear?

This post is in response to the PhotoPlay Challenge/High Calling Focus.  We were invited by Kelly Sauer to photograph the sounds we heard this holiday season...

So much of my advent season was filled with silence.  Not a deafening, defeating silence, but a hopeful, expectant silence that allowed me to deeply connect with each task at hand.

This year, I spent time making gifts of poetry and photos, in various packaging.  I heard tears flowing freely, uncontainable laughter, words of encouragement, joyful song and restful space.

I spent time photographing
feathers and lace around our pretty tree.

I wrote a poem

and made an art box for my daughter.  I heard questions, MORE uncontainable laughter, secrets, hopes, dreams, girl-drama and a lot of Taylor Swift music.

I did not hear too much meow-ing.
Cache, unused to supervising my home projects
at such great length, was pooped.
Lucie was hiding.

I made creme de menthe brownie cupcakes, an adaptation of a recipe Nanny used to bake for me.  I thought about all of the wonderful Christmas Eves we celebrated in Nan and Pop's tiny kitchen apartment, 12 of us smushed elbow-to-elbow around the long table.  I can still smell the smelts, the baccala, the stuffed calamari, the shrimp, the aiglio e oglio... Nan, thanks for all you did for us without sitting down once to take a rest.  I really miss you and think of you everytime I cook for someone and it warms their heart.

Tori made my gift this year, too.
*cue tissues*
Love that girl,
a true wonder of God's creation
in the center of my heart!

The richness and depth of the sounds of silence...
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The First Day of Christmas

The "Girls Rule" Trees

It's been awhile since I have posted, but all excuses aside, I came into the Advent season this year completely depleted and in need of quiet listening and reflecting.  I knew I was in trouble when I started having panic attacks about not having a describable Advent tradition to blog about, or that I would never get through the three artsy but way overkill Advent devotionals I had purchased online.  When I closed my eyes before sleep at night, a neon sign kept flashing in my head, with a voice-over that screamed,

"Jesus VS. Santa, JESUS WINS! 3D
playing in select cities on December 25".  

Not in any way conducive to a restful night's sleep!  Sooooo, I traded in most of the cultural seasonal demands of celebrating that even seep into church life this time of year to stay close to home, close to my daughter, and closer to God through scripture.  I had to sit in the quiet to allow my heart to prepare Him room.

After this advent season,  I feel so much clearer about God's presence among us in the world, and so less sure of my own place within His design.  I think that's exactly where He wants me to be, in a place of reliance on His leading every minute of the day.  One scripture whose meaning deepened for me this advent is this:

1 Corinthians 13:12-13  For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then, face to face.  Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.  And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

What a comfort to my soul, that I am Known. In these past few weeks I have witnessed great expressions of His hope amidst tragedy, I have listened to people's struggles for which my only answer could be to love, and I have seen the fulfillment of hope no longer deferred in the birth of my dear friends' adopted baby daughter.  Somehow I have been woven into the tapestry of these lives and received great blessing by them all.

Merry Christmas, friends! May His light and love continue to burn brightly in your lives this Christmas season!  Much love in His wonderful name,


Thursday, November 24, 2011


broken-open seaside spiral
hosting pearly-borning
grains of change

slow-unfolding poignant petals
opening boldly
fragrance of praise

Saturday, November 12, 2011

looking up

cool water breeze

by a rushing river                         
slowly soothes
my rushing head
drowning out
my rushing thoughts
that overflow from
my rushing life
as I lay splayed across
a precarious perch
of prehistoric slab
the clouds above the
luscious canopy split
the resplendence of
summer sun
illuminates the foliage
“I am here”
You whisper from above
the world eases
to a stillpoint
as i am
looking up.

*written in response to the Random Acts of Poetry prompt*

Friday, November 4, 2011


This past week, an unexpected nor'easter rocked us here in New Jersey.  Instead of raking leaves all weekend, we shoveled snow and spread salt, watching as limb after limb snapped below the weight of ice and snow, taking power lines and communications systems down with them. 

Unexpectedly, life as we planned it came to a halt for almost a week, and all we could do was watch, wait, and rest in the quiet.  We huddled together for warmth, read by candlelight, conversed, giggled, napped and enjoyed the gifts that this time offered.


Five years ago, an unexpected storm of a violent assault blew through my home and changed it forever.  For a long time, my life was merely a wreckage of what it had been. But, as He always does, God met me there in that mess and began to teach me how He never left my side.  He was very patient, as it took a long time to convince me. :-) 

I had carefully constructed this week to avoid dwelling on the memory, but, due to the storm, I had a LOT of time on my hands and NOT a lot of things to occupy them.  I folded them in prayer, lifted them in praise, and opened them in release and expectation.

The calm after the storm always comes, and because of the way my own life has been redeemed, I am on the lookout for the promise of beauty that arises from ashes.  It is becoming less "unexpected", and more of a wondrous curiousity.

today i wanted to be distracted
but God wanted me to remember
today i wanted to be strong and healed
but God wanted me to release
today i wanted to radiate His love
but God wanted me to receive
today i wanted to feel better
but God wanted me to feel His peace

     glistening treasures in the wake of a storm
     unexpected mercies kaleidoscope my life

"and provide for those who grieve in Zion-
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
   instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
   instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
   instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
   a planting of the Lord
   for the display of His splendor." Isaiah 61:3

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

why poetry? why photography?

i sit criss-cross
below this window
that was once
tightly blinded
to keep out the sun

i snap this shot
lean forward and
raise the pane wide

autumn wind rustles
the hanging lace that
tickles my face and
kisses my cheek

billowing and draping
with each breath of nature
like a swinging child
beckoning me
to come out and play

This post was written in response to High Calling's PhotoPlay and Tweetspeak's poetry prompt.  Thank you to Kelly who shared the journey behind her photos and moved me on a day when I was stuck contre-jour.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

to the left of the centre

if you exact with a surgeon’s skill,
to the left of the center,
beneath the bony shield of sternum,
suspended in tough ligament,
nestled in a spongy notch of lung,
you will see the pumping, deep pink muscle
that keeps blood pulsing
through me.

if you close your eyes and reach me
to the left of the center you will see
a throne where I worship at His feet
a soft chair where He whispers to me
a legacy, victory, my daughter Tori
friends who carry me when I am weak
who mirror back my grace and beauty
a precious bridge walking to trust and intimacy
broken bodies healing
          through Loving support and connected feeling
psalm 23, john 15, 16, 17
(Jesus prayed for me!)
van gogh churches and starry scenes
satie, rodin and debussy
parisian streets and cemeteries
a daisy
family heritage, reworked, redeemed

to the left of the center come meet me

This post was created in response to the prompt "to the left of the centre" at

Friday, October 7, 2011

je suis belle

"je suis belle"

no matter how great
his mortal strength
her eyes plead
the horizon
for safe passage
an escape from
idolatry that reigns
when he tries
to name her
to save her from
the shame that
always lurks
in her shadow

every sinew in
his form strains
with the weight
of her oppression
his arms engulf her
without connection
to her soul
his embrace
embodies the fortress
that keeps her
from flight

absolution abides beyond              
her captivity
where Redemption flings wide
the gate to her freedom


Photos taken at the Rodin Museum, Philadelphia PA
(top) "Je Suis Belle"
(center foreground) "Je Suis Belle"
(center background) "Shame (Absolution)
(bottom) "Shame (Absolution)"


Saturday, September 17, 2011

gathering blue (just outside my door)

just outside my door

job well done

montmartre knocker

desert beauty

poetry is-

Shipwreck Beach, Monhegan Island ME

poetry is-
...the tumultuous tide
hurling hustled vessels
careening through the surf

...the raucous rainstorm  
decorating mangled angles
oxidizing on the craggy beach      

...the viscous fog
suffocating mindless motion
lulling the soul to rest.

...the prevailing power
rending form and function
imparting a new existence.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I am not sure exactly how I was led to the High Calling website, but the Photoplay, “Conversations”, enticed  me to jump right in and join the community.  As a photographer I love the challenge of seeking an image to convey a given message, and as a speech pathologist, I have been privy to some of the most miraculous conversations.  Many of these exchanges have taken place without the use of spoken words, in a quiet intimacy between two hearts listening and responding to each other.
I worked with my friend Michael for several hours during morning boot camp ( this past week.  Michael is an amazing 20-something young man with an enormous spirit and a body, at best, that resembles a crumpled bedcover.  Our “conversation” covered the following thoughts:  We were happy to see each other.  Michael had just completed his therapy intensive for the summer.  His parents are looking for a new day program for him but he’d rather just come to Crossroads to do his work.  It feels good for Michael’s twisted body to be stretched out on the mat, and it is a lot of work for him to be up on his elbows with his body across my lap for better positioning.  I need to keep working out, and step it up a bit.  With a little support to his forehead he can look around and see what his friends are doing.  Later on, Michael uttered his first word of the day, “home.”  He wanted to leave and see his father, who hadn't made the trip.
When I work with my patients, I let go of my head noise so I can hear them.  I hear their voices through their eye gaze, in their smiles, in the tension or relaxation of their muscles, in an accelerated heart rate or a relaxing sigh.  I listen with my hands as I hold them and help them move or rest.  We move together, resisting gravity, or in opposition, negotiating a goal.  Through the fear and resistance, I hear some of the most incredible songs and stories, vulnerabilities, conquests and dreams that God has placed in human hearts.  Sometimes there are few words.  Sometimes there are so many words a deeper meaning begs excavation from below the surface.
At the end of that day, my body was tired but I was feeling especially at peace.  I awoke the next morning with the realization that I had been blessed with a conversation that I didn’t easily recognize.  During our workout, Michael “spoke” to me of great love, not of “doing” because I was helping him, but of “being” because God created me.    It’s the transformative kind of love that God wants to lavish upon us.  I must confess that although I seek to bless with that kind of love, my heart is often too guarded and my mind too distracted to receive it.

My time with Michael reaffirmed the truth that we are not called to love in spite of a person’s perceived flaws, struggles, defects or differences from us.  We are not called to pray to fix what makes us uncomfortable or irritated, or to manipulate a situation.  We are called to love as the Father loves (John 13:34-45),  with vision that sees beyond the outward covering and into the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).  How beautiful our conversations must sound to Him when we slow down, listen and respond to each other with worshipful hearts, eyes, hands and spirits, surrendered in intimacy as He created us to be!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


striving hands toil ceaselessly

to serve created idols

when You graciously

tear them from my grasp

i clutch their shadow

and dare shake fists at the sky

(outcome contrary to what is expected)

surrendered hands rest humbly

palms facing skyward

when You graciously

pour into them Your design

life is bigger than

hands could ever hold

(outcome contrary to what is expected)


Sunday, July 31, 2011

(taking the first step)

before You Lord i simply come
that in all i say and do You are Magnified
let my life be a reflection of Your great love and mercy.

i hope you are as blessed by these musings as i have been to experience them.

i asked You for rest
and You sent me to a garden
flooded with butterflies
i stood in humid summer sweat
and watched them work
You sent me to the butterflies
so my eyes would open
and my ears could silence
to show me
the promise
and the beauty
of the way You are
tranforming my life.