could be anything. might be nothing. might make you think. could make you wish I would stop.
breathe people...everything is easier when you breathe!


spirit on hold

Sometimes you have to put aside your spirit and function in a way that is only glorious if you look at it in the light of survival.

I wrote this one day...because I felt it. I actually don't know if it makes sense. Nor do I really care. My heart knows. Sometimes that is all ya get.

I think a human spirit is a precious gift from God. It is the thing that makes breathing worthwhile.
It is that defining thing inside ones self that makes you, you. Youfully you.
It is not potential. It is not character. It is not characteristics or attributes or facets. It is not even personality. In fact, I think it is especially not personality.
Spirit is not about how you do things, or why you do things. It goes beyond genetics and environment.
Spirit is essence.
Spirit is that part of you that needs no reason. You don't have to defend its position.
Spirit just is. If you let it.
Spirit is a living thing that can be fed and nurtured and crushed. We set it free. We protect it.
We also abuse it. Or worse, deny it.
Spirit ignored is purely tragic.

Ignoring your spirit causes lifelong problems. Like ulcers. ask me how I know.
I honestly believe that many/most autoimmune diseases are the result of ignoring your spirit. Notice that I did not say all.
Bash me if you must, but it is what I think so nyah. (stick out tongue here)

I mean really, if you have a disorder where your body is turning on itself in an attempt to eradicate an intruder, and that intruder is one or more of the necessary organs in your body, you might be suffering from spirit suppression. Your body is smart. It knows that there is some imposter running around in your undershorts trying to convince the world that they are you. So it begins to send out the white cells to do some battle.  
Ignoring who you really are is like declaring war on your own self. That is scary. And really not very smart.
I refuse to think that I am the only one doing such a stupid thing. Stupidity loves company. Admit it.

For me, ignoring my spirit starts with denying the fact that anything bothers me. I am a paragon of cool. Cucumber, baby.
At least this is what I show the world. This is the way that I survive. Not necessarily because my world is so big and bad, more like because I am big and bad and you must be protected from the viciousness of my spirit.
I have learned to ignore my spirit. Suppress it. Oppress it. Make it serve my will. My will being: protect the ones you love. Don't let it out. It could hurt someone. Ignore it and it will go away.

Being a person well versed in ignoring my spirit I feel like I can talk a little bit about how to do such a thing.
At the very least I can instruct you on how I go about it.
Take these instructions and reverse-psychologise them if you want to avoid some of my angst.

1. Pretend to not be bothered by things that are bothersome. Rise above it. Say to yourself that it doesn't matter. Tell yourself that it is not proper to be upset. Convince yourself that you are too mature to ...whatever. Look that bothersome booger in the face then duck your head and visualize it rolling off your back. quack.

 2. If you find that you are still bothered, whisper under your breath that this is none of your business. You can only change you. Keep your eyes on your own paper. This is not your problem.
Advanced users only...pray about it. (interpret that as you will)

3. When you discover that this is, in fact, your problem refer back to 1. Repeat.

I think that about covers it.

You have had your first lesson. That was super easy!
But what does that have to do with your spirit? I don't know. I don't know about your spirit...only mine. That is the way it works. So, if you are interested I will tell you more about what this has to do with my spirit.

I have spent my life so far structuring my responses to reflect my even keel and unflappable disposition.
The more I was bothered by something the more I would restrict, constrict, constrain myself to the "proper" outlook and reply. I didn't do it on purpose. I did it because I was trained to. (self trained mostly, I am sure)
I got so christian with it that if I found myself shakingly upset I could absolutely taste the spiritual battle in the room  and go after it full force without ever once realizing that it was my own knickers in a twist. Couldn't be me. I am way too easy going for that.
Now once in awhile the real me would surface. More like breaching actually. I would bust out with such vehemence that people would just blink at me. I would quickly realize my error and retreat in horror and self recrimination.
And here is another layer for own vanity would rush to my aid, wiping the snot off my recrimination with a nice clean hanky of "you are better than that."  I was assured that my normal controlled self would soon reappear and that this "mistake" could be easily rectified. sigh.
Did you catch that? In the few times that the real me has shown up, the suppressive me has shushed and subdued my realness by assuring me that the oppressor could fix everything if only I would hush.
I don't like the sound of that on paper. I also don't like the way I sound like the devil. I am not the devil. No part of me is. I do not believe that I have a devil side and an angel side.
But I do believe that I have participated in an elaborate ruse. A hoax structured to keep the authentic me quiet.
The hoax...I am too good to be mad. Mad is bad. Bothered is immature. Angry is out of control in a sinful way.
A lifetime of feeling regret because my heart knew that the bother was there...even if the brain would or could not admit it.
So my heart has felt deceitful and dirty and bad...when really it was passion in a spirit crying out for release.
My release.

I am going to think about this some more. I know I am on a journey. Not of navel gazing but of discovery. God has this. He keeps telling me in various ways.
Today I keep your anger do not sin. There must be a reason He said that.

And getting back to that first statement...I am confused about the parts of life where you have to step aside from who you really are in order to survive.
Can you do that safely? Is it necessary sometimes or is survival just a cop-out? Is it just a dumb thing to say that has no meaning?
Still thinking...



So here we are...the end has come...and I am sadly behind.
Cheer up! I see the finish line ahead tho all the other racers are long gone.
I have prevailed against the sickness and the dark of night to rise victorious o're the foe.
In other words I did it. Even tho it took me longer than I wanted. It was fun to challenge myself.
Thanks to my teammates who accepted the challenge also!
I am wrapping up this last week in one fell swoop...
First some beautiful scenery. A beautiful beach is my idea of heaven. The sound of the waves...ahhhh....

Then something I don't like. This is open water. No land to be seen. Even photographs of open water make me nervous. This does not make me go ahhhh...

Next we have someone I love. She asked me to draw her. I love her. I left it as a sketch because I think it looks just like her and I don't want to ruin it.
The ironic title of this next piece is "anything I like". Notice that it is laundry filling my bed...which I do not like. I was sitting and staring at it while trying to draw. (also maybe trying to avoid the laundry doing)
Notice at the bottom..."and piles to go before I sleep". I must have read that somewhere because I cannot be that brilliant. Either way, it does make me crack up.
Finally, we have the last drawing in the series. The congratulations banner. Notice that you cannot read the entire banner and it kind of wimps out at the end.( More pennant like than banner. )
I just wanted to represent the fact that I lapsed in the middle and wimped out at the end...still, I conquered.
And that deserves a little rah-rah.
For the observant among you I confess that I skipped a picture here at the end. Someplace I would like to go. I left it out and I am amazed that you noticed. It is just that I wanted to put it at the end.
An artistic p.s. if you will.
Remember how they used to ask the winners "what are you gonna do now?" And they would holler...
"I'm going to Disneyland!!"
Yeah, I wish that were me.

Thank you all for joining me on this artistic journey. I hope you enjoyed it.
Please go visit the other will be glad you did.

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming. Angst will commence when I am good and ready.

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a couple

Today the challenge is a couple.
Didn't say a couple of what.
I chose sisters.
A couple of daughters.
I drew this from one of my favorite pictures of the two of them.
They are standing in the light of a window. I wish I could draw light. It is beautiful in this shot.
As it is, I chose to draw the girls with very little in the way of shading. Just a line drawing.
I drew it pretty quickly and got really frustrated with some of it while other parts turned out pretty ok.
There are lots of places that need adjustment but since this is the place where I try to refrain from editing myself too much I am just going to leave it as is.

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Today we draw a need.
I have one that I think about almost every day.
I didn't spend a lot of time in the actual drawing of this because it just wasn't necessary.
This need must be understood. Felt.
You either get it or you don't.
no, those aren't ghouls haunting my van...they are my children. They are flailing and hollering and doing other childrenish things like asking non stop questions and getting into each others' space.
If I had this magical invention I would be like the me in the picture...smiling. As it is, the car makes me go all frowney.
Disclaimer- in the rare moments that people are being civilized I actually enjoy the conversations they have with each other and with me. Alas, civility is hard to come by.
Thus the need.

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missing you

Sometimes a cry a little bit
and the tears fall salty
tho i'm thinking only of your sweetness
you are missed...

I miss chocolate. I have always been allergic to it but as I get older the allergy bites more so I cannot cross the line. Thus I cry.
Side note...did you know that the old Puritan women used to make one mistake(on purpose) in each of their creations because only God was perfect. Well, I did that.
Sort of.
I colored and I colored and I thought I got all finished and gah!!!
Oh well.
Can you see it?

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apologies to my good friend Niki for even suggesting that she catch up already.
(hangs head in shame)
I said it with a wink and a smile if that makes any difference.
So, here I am...eating a big ole piece of crow pie with a catch up sauce.
(you saw what I did there, right?)
firstly we have something orange.
no, it is not an orange. It is an orange slice. As in candy. mmmmm.....
Which leads me to my next subject.
Something I want.
Far be it from me to waste a perfectly good orange slice.

Yes, technically I cheated. Let's just pretend you didn't see that.

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today the assignment was to draw something new.
I had some really great ideas. But the dog ate them. er...I am sure she would have if I had gotten them down on paper.
Anyway, I got to the end of the day with bupkis. (is that how you spell that?)
You see, I have been working hard on a party for my 6 yr old. A princess party. It is going to be fun.
I have been coming up with games that have a royal theme.
Pin the tail on the donkey (a party standard) just did not feel princessy to me.
Princesses don't do stable work ya know.
They are not above amphibian osculation tho.
This can be proven in classical literature.
 So I came up with a game.
Pin the kiss on the frog.
(Personally I think "amphibian osculation" sounds better but I don't think that would pass muster with the princess.)
Again with the anyway...I spent a good part of the day making a giant poster of a frog and many not so giant lips to press on him.
Then, when agonizing about my inability to satisfy the challenge of the day I realized that this frog was my salvation.
He is brand new. I just drew him. For my brand new 6yr old no less.
It's a stretch and I know it. But it will have to do.

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doodling around

Today we doodle.
Compulsory doodling is such an oxymoron.
You can't require spontaneity.
If you have it on the agenda then it can't be spur of the moment.
Trying not to think about it so that you can come up with something effortless and  fresh is just painful.
Truly, it's like saying, "don't think about that elephant".
So I over thought things, as is my way. Then my daughter chastised me, "you can't plan a doodle, mom."

Finally, I just reached in the far back part of my brain and yanked out whatever I could put my hand on.
Here you see what could be any of many notebook backs from 6th grade.
There is a small challenge here for you.
Can you decipher the clue pictures? (there are 5)
Can you make the housey thing with the x without picking up your pencil and without retracing a line?
The box is nothing but a box. No challenge but kinda cool.
The animals are just animals. Because I like you.
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look into my eye

See the iris.
ha! I carack myself up.

This is my favorite plant. I love it in all colors shapes and sizes. It just makes me happy.
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Lately I have felt very little in the way of inspiration. At least in the way of aha! moments.
So I sat and I thought. And I thought. And I thought.
Yep. None there.
So I looked it up.
blah blah, inspired, blah blah creativity blah - wait...the movement of air into the lungs, breathing in

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Family Portait

The Family Portrait

the family portrait
a door in the wall
with scratching
and marking
to measure how tall
a race it would seem
tho the runners move slow
they all crow and look down
on the ones still below
then they turn their eyes skyward
and stretch to catch up
with the lanky fast growth spurters
sitting on top
til the sad happy day
comes too soon for us all
when the young ones pass mom
and mark dad for a fall...

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You cannot ask me to name my favorite fairy tale. Well, you can ask. But I cannot really answer.
I just love fairy tales. Always have.
So, I get this challenge and my brain starts whirring.
I do not necessarily love the disney versions of the old stories. They are fine and mostly brilliant when it comes to encapsulating a huge story into childsize bites that don't makes this adult gag.
Still, I prefer the real stories. The danger...the intrigue...the fact that they don't all live exactly happily ever after.
C'mon, they're just so real! snort.

I landed on this story. You may know it as The Swan Princess. Hans Christian Anderson wrote it as
The Wild Swans.

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 Sorry, this is a little hard to see.
Do you get it? Huh? huh?
If not...look here, and here...that should clear things up.
(you might not think it is funny but at least you will know what I was going for) 

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talk to the hand

Today's challenge was a bit easier. And I can't help but laugh at the irony (even tho irony is totally overused these days) of the fact that in this I will introspect when it was not called for when yesterday I lamed out in cold sweats at the thought.
If you followed that sentence you get a prize.
The challenge...latest accomplishment.
This latest accomplishment.

I have not laid pencil to paper more than a half-dozen times in the the 20 something years since I got out of college. Something about forced art just sucked the life right out of it. Forgive me but putting on a grade on art is wrong. You cannot simply letter someones muse and then line them up in absurd best to worst case study. Your art may be bad but its your art, man. Who am I to tell you what you feel? Technique...yeah it has its place but art is art and you don't be messin. No critical suggestions. K?
Its like telling your 5r yr old she misspelled your name in a love note.
So, after the final exam I just fizzled.

I had to think long and hard about joining this challenge. I didn't know if it would feel like a requirement. It hasn't yet. Maybe I am more mature. Maybe it is better because I chose it. Whatever it is fun.
And I feel like I am much better at it now that I make the choices.

So here is me...drawing. Notice the paper is blank. I choose to leave it that way to remind me that I get to choose. And I like it.
That in itself is a major accomplishment.

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turn, turn, turn

Today we had a drawing challenge that accosted me mentally.
I really despise questions that require introspection without perspective.
Don't get me wrong...I love to navel gaze. I love to think deep swimmy thoughts about the whys and wherefors  of my current pertaining to my past.
I just don't like to answer on the spot questions about my inner workings. Gosh, that is just kinda like being asked to sit onstage while they play video of your most embarrassing moment on the jumbo tron.
(Reallly, hope there weren't any cameras around on that day.)
Alrightythen, for this challenge I chose to think outside the box.
Turning point.
Here ya go.

Sad to say, my children did not know what I was drawing. I said merry-go-round and they laughed at me.
Merry-go-rounds have horses. Duh.
So what do you call this thing?

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favorite candy

 yes please.

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here's the story

backstory that is...

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he or she?

My favorite animated character...


I say she is female. Others beg to differ.
What say you?

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Today the topic of drawscussion is "favorite word".
What is my favorite word?
Long ago I would have told you that my favorite word was ranger.
I guess I still kind of like it. Not in a Ranger Rick way. More in a 14 yr old girl forest ranger man in uniform hearts and flowers kind of way. sigh.
Favorite word.
It would be way easier to come up with a least favorite word. I could probably spend all day making a list.
I have two that top the list. (actually, if we are going to get technical, these are phrases)
cutting edge.
state of the art.
Just hate em.
Let's move on shall we?
This word hit my head as I sat and mulled. It fits me perfectly when referring to the word wielding part of me.
I am a word snob.
I am particular.
Tight in puckered kind of way.
I will put back a birthday card because it said beautiful instead of lovely.
I will reject a song because it says "you're the best" and blasts me out of my worshipful reverie.
Words matter.
So my favorite word. At least for today...
Click to get a closer view.

I would just like to say that this word does not necessarily apply to other aspects of my personality.
Only word choices.
I chose to let the y have its own little quirkiness.
Just owning the notion that in my word world fussy does not mean uptight. Just precise.
That's me.

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Caps for Sale

My favorite literary character comes from my childhood.
It is the story of a cap seller that sits down for a nap and awakens to find his caps gone.
I just loved that little salesman. 
If you haven't read Caps for must now go out and find a copy.
Go on.
It's just that good.

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my best friend

not to be cheesy or anything...

This is my best friend.
My honey.
I chose to draw him from a photo taken back when we were just beginning our best- friendship.


my favorite place

each article and sweet refrain
all candy wrapped in cellophane...

My favorite place is the library. Preferably with no children (much as I love them) to talk to me.


nuff said



favorite animal

Day two finds me scrambling.
Favorite animal, I have none.
But then I hit a thought
or maybe the thought hits me
and I begin to draw.

A favorite.
Gangly and delightful in its beautiful stretchiness.
Not too much, not too spare.

Look back to HERE to see what I am talking about. (we are playing a drawing challenge. join us!)


new things

Things are getting entirely too serious round here so I aim to lighten it up a bit.
I am joining a 30 day challenge. If this annoys you go away. just kidding.
no are at my house so we get to play what I choose.
I choose to join my friend Niki  and her friend Don and draw for 30 days.
Join the challenge if you want. It could be amusing!
Here is my first entry.

Self Portrait.
(this means I drew a picture of myself)
All I can say is that it is really hard to draw yourself while holding a hand mirror.
Ok your turn!

Challenge list HERE.



I groaned today. Under the weight of the words I wished I could say and the weight of the words that had already been said. So much hating has been going on. I am not exempt.
I just feel better about myself because I hate the haters.
You know what I am talking about. Bullying and abuse and right and wrong. People standing up for themselves and standing up for others. I want to say something but it has all been said and then some.
 I do not know how to make a stand when standing room only is the flavor of the day.
(and that flavor is chicken)
Everybody standing for what they believe in. Or what that guy believes in. Or what God believes in.
Let's just make sure that right is stood up for and let's really make sure that it is kept right.
Or what's the point?
Too complicated. I just feel more comfortable hating the haters. Simpler that way.
Not exactly proud of that.
I keep trying to reel myself back in but it only works until someone else starts talking and then I start to run the line again as I buck and pull against the current.
I like this fish picture because it describes my heart and how it feels hooked and helpless. I don't want to keep taking the shiny hate bait like a stupid fish. I want to reject the lures kerplunking from every side of the issue. I want to move beyond  my instinct.
That is hard. My instinct tells me that hate is good. Hate is provision. It is the answer to what I have been looking for. This is especially convenient because what I have been looking for is answers.
Hate is the shiny answer to my hearts question about how to feel towards all the bullies. I don't have to point out the bullies. If I started detailing  instances of bullying it would take all day and get really redundant. It isn't just about this current issue. Happens all the I am just gonna try and give you a one sentence definition of bully.
If you are standing on your superior right and oppressing someone with that right, you are being a bully.
 I really hate it when that happens.
I hate it so much that when I feel it happening I tend to bet on the underdog and hate the bully no matter how right the bully is in their position.
So, if I gotta put the hate somewhere, at least it is constructive.

Well, somewhere in there I began to realize that this was probably not the way I needed to be thinking. 
Thus, the groaning.
If you wait long enough I do eventually come back to the point.

Simply put, I asked the Lord if He would help me feel His heart on the matter.
I do not in any way say that I am revealing the heart of God here. I am just saying that this is what came to my heart in response to my asking my Father to help me understand His perspective.
You gotta do your own research on this.
The matter on my heart...
one person has spoken his opinion leading to one people group standing en masse to support both his right to his opinion and their agreement with his position. This has led to both misunderstanding and full comprehension of the stated and unstated agendas of people groups on every side of this issue.
People standing for their rights. Other people being looked down upon because their beliefs don't match up. Hating happening pretty generously on both sides leading to multiple levels of hating by association as people pointed fingers and spoke loudly about all the various subsets of said support. sigh.

I groaned. I listened. I heard...Matthew 5. I began to read...

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

I have always been taught that the sermon on the mount was about Jesus teaching his disciples how to be good losers.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

I guess I also knew that it was talking about those poor souls like you find in Africa
or China.
You know, the persecuted ones.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Meek is about being lowly. Or perceived lower than the one doing the perceiving.

Blessed are  those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled.

I am reading, and chuckling a little at this one as I think about hungering for
righteousness vs chicken.
 -Glad I didn't stand in any lines.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

oops. point taken.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

getting a little close to home here.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

 I began to wonder about these words and how I had always been led to interpret them. In mercy I thought about standing in line for the 'right' and how un-peaceful that can be. And it hurt me. But not in a judgmental way. More in a way that really let me feel how much people can hurt while I defend my rights.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

My hands began to shake with the power of this statement. Right or wrong, I saw this sentence in an entirely new light.
I had thought this a call for strength.
I had thought this a promise to the right.
Stand firm in your beliefs. Hold the line. Take the punches. You will be rewarded.
I am not saying that is wrong. I am just saying that my thought was pretty exclusive as to its meaning. 

Today I was introduced to a new thought.
What if the blessed are the ones being persecuted by the hands and hearts of the righteous.
What if our stand for the right is causing pain, oppression, and persecution to others.
Is it possible that the Lord of Heaven is standing ready to defend this persecution?
Or the ones being persecuted?

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all manner of evil against you in my name.

Now I can hear the voice of my dad in my head. And I smile when I type this. He is telling me I have it all backwards because that next verse talks about prophets and clearly people living in sin are not who he is talking which I would say innocently "daddy, are you saying that all those people on that mountain were sinless?"
And then we would go round and round arguing semantics.
So, just know that I know what you are saying when you say I am misinterpreting.
I am not saying it doesn't mean what we were taught.
I am may mean more than that.

Read on.
You will find that the rest of the chapter reads different if you look at it from the perspective of the teacher trying to each his students about respecting others and living in such a way as to bring honor and love to an otherwise harsh and impersonal law.
Today I began to read this "Sermon on the Mount" with a heart that looks to others instead of only to myself. I see the promises not only for my own down times but for the down times of the hurting around me.
I see the blessed as defined by Jesus himself. I see where He is instructing me how to see His beautiful creation. His children.
I see, for the first time, that being salt and light are not only a call to purity and strength but also an encouragement to hold fast to the principles of love taught by the Master. For if salt and light are defined as love then we are called to never lose our love and to never hide it.
Love as salt will affect everyone around with its saltiness.
Love as light will brighten the whole city when kept fully out in the open for all to see.
I know you know this. 

Take it and apply it back to the blessed ones. Consider that the blessed ones (in this case) are anyone that is not full up with the knowledge of the love of Jesus.
The lowly, the persecuted, the poor in spirit...whether they know it or not.
Now that you recognize them, do not pity them.
Certainly do not yell at them about how right you are.
Embrace them.

I sit here now, weary but heartened by the promises I feel in my heart. I look on the events of the past few days and it breaks my heart because so many people were belittled and hurt...on both sides.
My Papa has a heart to mend the hurts. I know this is true. I want to live in a way that honors His heart.
I hope I can start with today.


dwelling place

This is going to take a while. It takes a lot of words. Even saying that is an understatement. 
There is no short essay form for this topic. I ask you, if you feel brave or curious enough to continue, consider carefully what my heart has laid before you and respond. I would like to hear you.

This is about p*R^0gR@p\-\y. Look at that word carefully. It will come to you.
 I typed it like that in a lame attempt to protect myself from google searches.
Although...with what I am about to say, maybe a few searchers would be welcome here. :-\
From now on I will just refer to it as prn.

When you read prn, know that I am mixing in every “sexually impure” thing that has been agonizing me. The posers, the lookers, the sellers, the industry, the girls at the pool, the advertisements, the movies, the perpetrators and the victims. All of it.

Prn, it has clenched my husband in a death roll.
Taken sniper shots at my sons.
Fileted my marriage, scorched my parenting, targeted my christianity
and barbequed my womanhood.
Yet it has not won.
I am still standing. Still loving. A survivor.
And today, I feel victorious.

But that is not always so.
I have felt myself lost
left torn apart
with nowhere to turn and no hope of release.

I have screamed to the heavens
searched both sacred and secular
to see the end
and all I found was
piety or sheer humanistic determination
but no eject lever
just an endless merry go round
a frustrating circle
no escape
a disease
and devastating.

How could I possibly have hope when, aside from a miracle, there loomed before me
a lifetime of despair and regret.
Despair for loved ones all around me who are constantly accosted.
Regret for me as participant. For what I have seen that still haunts me. For my curiosity.
Despair in feeling like this will never end. That their struggle cannot be understood. And is a curse.

Regret for me as victim- heart raped each time my warrior men engaged in battle for their lives and left the homefires unattended- open for pillage.
I still bear those scars.

I cannot speak for them. My men. I do not know their struggle tho my heart bleeds just as red
with their every wound.
I am not man. And knowing women also fall into this trap is really no help at all because that is not
my story.

My story deals with passionate men entrapped in hate and loathing both for those they've seen and who they've been for looking.
How is one expected to survive when the battle is bred into your DNA? How does one fight when all you've been about is destruction and it seems that the only way out is to destroy the perpetrator which is you? What do you do with the loved ones you have betrayed in your weakness? You see their hurt while you continue to destroy the very one they long to restore.

Do you see how tangled up this gets?
Not just the looker affected.
But the one who holds his heart.
Torn apart.

It isn't really about betrayal, tho in anger that label has tried to take hold.
No- the tearing comes more with the despair. Why. How.
When will we be done with this?
Because reality proves again and again that you cannot take things back.
You can't un-see.

So do you wallow in despair- and hopelessness- and anger
spewing lava streams of hellfire and brimstone upon society at large and upon the vixen vipers coiled all around you posed to strike.

It doesn't make the problem go away.

How do we live in this world and hate such a despicable thing that never, ever, goes away?
You cannot run from it.
Cannot protect yourself or those you love.
Although you try.
You try. But it gets in.
The vile stench of impurity. 
Half naked society. Bandaid clad. Lounging on the doorsteps or our hearts and minds and souls.
Maybe not prn exactly. Maybe not prn at all.
But just enough to get a thought jumpstarted that was best left dormant.
An opportunity to hate. To stand my ground and snarl. For myself and everyone I love.
All out war all the time. Hating. Disgusted. Despairing.

How do you live with the hate that brings death?
Does that even make sense?
I do want that prn to die. To go away forever. And it will someday when all is said and done.
But what til then?
Cry, and fight, and wail, and slip, and forgive, and try-try-try to forget.
The list goes on and around.
You know.

How do you live with death?

One day, my heart decided to stop fighting so hard.
Maybe you can't follow this- and that is fine.
Read carefully...
I did not accept this as in “it is ok”.
But I have come to make some choices. Hard choices.
And I truly believe for me it is an answer- if not a solution- from Heaven.

I realized that I could choose to hate.
Every woman that shows more skin than I agree with.
Every woman that wiggles
or poses
or invites with her eyes
or her lips
or her boobs.
Every woman that does not invite on purpose but through her ignorance or arrogance refuses to acknowledge the battle at hand.

Or I could choose to love her.
And if I chose to love her I could teach the same to those within my sphere.
Leading by example.

I could call out her demonic ways and encourage my men to protect themselves with armor made of piety- self righteousness- anger- fear- guilt- pity- hatred- despair- disgust-

Or I could witness the hurt-
the agony of disrespect both given and received.
The horror-
recognized or not, of living on display-
abused- broken hearted- abandoned- poverty stricken- dying-

If I choose to see the hurt then I have to remember the truth about God.
The truth-
He dwells with the broken hearted.

Can I get my heart around this?
If my Lord came to heal the wounded
if He shelters the abused
if he lives with the ones that are so broken that they are dying
Then my God dwells within...
(I am not trying to be dramatic here. I simply cannot write the end of that sentence.)

Can I model this to my hearts- my men-

When you eyes look at nakedness you are looking at God.
He is there- drawn close in love-
covering her, in her nakedness, with His love.

Does this change what you see?

Can you hear Him?
He does not scream at you or whisper to your guilt.
He does not shame you for your disgusting lack of self control.
If you hear that- know it is not your Lord.
He does not speak in such a way.

Your Lord loves you enough to want you to realize His heart for you.
A heart free- loved- respected- honored- encouraged- believed in- cherished-

His heart for you is the exact same for the one your eyes see...
free- loved- respected- honored- encouraged- believed in- cherished-

I believe that the Lord invites us to look away- but in respect- not disgust- and remember that we have just witnessed a dwelling place of the Most High.

What if, little by little, we could be trained to see God by finding Him – encountering Him-
as He dwells with the hurting.
Could we dwell with Him in places we have only yet been taught to avoid at all costs?
The destitute will change our perspective of right and wrong on the societal morality scale... can we trust Him with our souls enough to follow Him to a world completely opposite of our puritanical standard?
This breaks my mind.

Would such a radical leap change our perspective on prn and our reactions about it and our seeming slavery to it?
Can we love our way out?

Hear me hear me hear me...I am not suggesting that we all open up our arms and embrace the prn industry. I am not suggesting that we train ourselves to look in some pseudo-innoculation ritual hoping to strengthen our resolve.
no. no. no.

Don't look. Don't flirt with it in any way. Stay far away. You can make choices. You can remove yourself.

What I am saying is that there is a pervasive presence of sexual “impurity” all around us every day.
I believe that hatred feeds the beast. I believe that seeing, with our hearts eyes, the presence of God dwelling with the hurting might just give us the strength to respectfully look away without hating.

I am saying that keeping our robes all sparkley white by despising the humanity we encounter might be leading us down a road of pharisiacal right that leaves lots and lots of neighbors bleeding by the way.

I am asking myself to consider it. Then consider it again.
Or hate.

There is no neat wrap up here.
It never ends. This struggle for survival. This journey through the world.
This wrestling with our passions and our purity.

But maybe, in the curse, we can find a blessing.
As shocking and despicable as that sounds.
Could it be a blessing to find love where ever before you only found hate?
If daily you are accosted with opportunities to fill your heart with hate for others and yourself ...and, if daily you make a choice to love...will it slowly but surely change your heart?

I do not do endings well. And since my mind talks in pictures I will end by sharing mine with you.
What if, in this endless struggle you begin to realize that compassion rises over purity like the warm morning sun vaulting over mountains. It brings daylight to the darkened crags, illuminating what was once just blackness.
This change in light may not make your journey easy but at least it can help you find your way.


battle of wills

bananas have a way
of making me feel dumb
they call to me
their quirky shape
so ergonomic
inviting me with ripened sweetness
just shy of spots
a tiny hint of green on top
they woo
and I give in
and that is where it all begins
they mock me as
that stem holds on
no matter how I ply
and twist
until what would be my first delicate bite
has turned to mush
I groan
but soldier on
a battle of wills
with the yellow fruit
I have it on the ropes
and smile as I pull back the flesh
in one long strip
but no
banana wins again
infuriating me with blasted stringy things
that break
and loop back
sticky on my hand
til one by one
I pinch them off
I gloat
but then I hear the snickering
and turn my conquest
end for end
and see the blackened spot


memory quilt

I think that grief cannot be reconciled
only recycled
95% post consumer content
like reincarnation
if I believed in such a thing

today grief shows itself
first as a dream
come early
with intent to haunt my day with longing
awakened with a start
I breathe a cold beginning
trying hard to both remember and forget

now grief sits on me as a memory
small pieces of a once used love
reformed into a quilt of yesterdays
sweet and touchable
a warm place
worn almost bare
and smoothed with use
it wraps around my heart
and catches tears that flow
it comforts me
as I remember happiness
and long for home


I hate church...and I am not bitter about it.

This post is just going to be filled with hate. I don't know of a way to help that. I am going to talk about some truly hateful things so I am going to have to use that term a lot.
Opposite of love.

I love Jesus. I love Him and He loves me and this ain't the barney is just the facts.
He loves me in my messed-up-ness and He didn't start loving me when He redeemed me.
Further, Him redeeming me did not add value to me.
I did not cross some spiritual line from worthless lost to valuable redeemed.
We alllll know that I am not perfect. Won't be anytime soon. I don't bring God huge amounts of shiny glory with my sparkly reputation and life of purpose. Nope.
I just go about being me. And that comes with a bit of grit and a lot of smudge.
Tarnished halo, if you will.
I think that most christians would jump on this bandwagon. Hurah! Jesus loves my imperfect self. I am His favorite.
Some christians would perpetrate the lie that my imperfection is so blatant that I should just get comfortable with the fact that I am worthless.
Without Jesus I am a worthless bag o' poo.

It is all Jesus making me lovable. All Jesus making me worth your effort.
It's all about Jesus doncha know.
Worthless but redeemed.
Yeah, I pretty much just damn that thought. (not people that think it...just the thought itself)
So, if I won't buy it that I am worthless then I must set up camp round the fire of "all that"...

I start here saying the word hate.
I hate that christians (me included) get by with being so exclusionary and bigoted.
Why do we get to look at ourselves as better when really all we are is paid for? Why do we go around looking at people who don't know Jesus as some ignorant indigenous culture in need of our pity and a healthy dose of our enlightenment? Why do we take on the name of Jesus and adopt a spirit of self importance that touts our opinions as the only right and true as we quote half sentences from the book that most "lost souls" deem irrelevant at best.

I hate that giving glory to God becomes some elitist club dues paid after the initiation dunking ritual. Do we want to dare to believe that only the redeemed are capable of showing God's glory?
Why does the believing right wait to see if someone is a "member of the church" before they declare a win? Why is it ok to shake your head at wasted talent because the name of Jesus was not declared?

I hate that people are seen as commodity where more is better and being famous-- more better still.
When did it happen that bigger numbers painted your waiting mansion with a fancier grade of gold?
If it is all for the glory of God then why is it that limelight is required for ultimate glory?
Why does the amount of human glory/idol worship seem to validate more the "praise God's" of the famous?
Does being on TV make their glories more precious to God or do we believers just feel the public validation helps further His cause (and our own)?
Do we really want to believe that the " lowly" carry less glory? Do we want to say that someone has "a little of the glory of God" as if that is not enough?

I hate that the group that professes Jesus is predatory and cannibalistic. We tend to prey upon anyone that opposes our groupthink. This includes those outside the christian society...and absolutely those within it. We will eat our own young if their ideas threaten our own. We tend to set up a hierarchy of ideas and place value on secular and sacred categories that declare something as worthy and valuable based largely on public opinion or current understanding.
I know that is a mouthful.
I also know that this is a rant.
meh to it. disregard it as pms if you must. doesn't really matter.

I just have these thoughts ping-ponging in my head and I wanted to get them out.
Mostly my questions are to myself. I was raised with really really loving parents. They didn't fill me with hate towards my fellow man. All I ever saw was a hand of love and acceptance extended to the hurting.
That is the way it should be.
So is it that upbringing that makes my current observations so stinking hard to swallow?
Did I grow up in an atmosphere of true love that is rare? And makes reality that much more harsh?
It is scary to think how much I was influenced by church/religious think outside of what my home life taught. It is scary to think how much my adult mind is warped and occluded by thoughts of superiority as I try to guide my young ones in the way of love.
Did my parents struggle with these thoughts?
I am sure they must have.

The cool the thing about Jesus is that He is constantly talking to all of us about all this.
Funny thing is...
I had to get out of church to start listening.
There it is.

I will admit to you that since leaving church my thoughts have become so radical that I often doubt them. I doubt myself. I doubt what I hear. Is that you Jesus?
Is that You presenting ideas about loving people before they come under your umbrella?
Is that You suggesting that an accepting and understanding heart shows love better than a narrow minded one?
Is that You whispering to me that going against both world and church culture to show respect and decency to the ones that no-one understands could actually be the thing that you would do?

This means that I am being asked to love (and openly accept) people that cuss, and show their boobs, and ask for money that will surely go to buy liquor or worse.
I am being challenged to stop snarling at and openly ridiculing teenagers that wear their pants below their buttocks.
I am being presented with opportunities to understand parents that feed their infants soda pop in their bottles while smoking in my airspace.
It has been suggested to my heart to support the standing president of our country...whether or not I agree with his agenda; to admire the Lady Blah-Blah pop-singer that some christians call the spawn of the devil...because she embraces the un-embraceable; to shut up about things I do not understand like same sex marriage and drug abuse and adultery.
All this against everything any self-respecting, bible believing, missionary supporting, church going, cross wearing christian would have me do.

I wonder if I am being slowly degraded into a fleshly, worldly, humanistic mindset brought on by my seeming lone-wolf mentality. I am currently out from under the covering of a church elder leadership.
And I love it.
And this is where I lose the rest of my readers...

I feel free for the first time in my adult life. I feel free from the group mentality.
The borg collective if you will. Yeah...I feel unplugged. And the voices have stopped.

No, I still hear the voices. They are etched on tapes on an eternal loop in my mind.
Voices that tell me that the lost are on a lower human level than the saved. Voices that tell me that if it doesn't have a cross on it then it must be suspect. Voices that lead me to believe that worldly people are to be pitied, looked down upon, feared, changed, tolerated, proselytized and
I guess loved didn't make the priority list.

When I was in church I might have heard the word love...but the message was always about change. Do more, be more. Applies to you and those you are on track to save.
read that again.
when. did. the. church. get. in. the. business. of. salvation.
I thought that was God's job.

I thought the job of the church...the job of the body of Christ....was to love.
To me, loving means being able to stand beside someone who has ideas that are radically different from my own...without feeling the need to make their ideas look like mine.



I want to tell you something supernatural. Something beyond the realm of everyday. At least in the way that we "normally" see the everyday. This story is full of things you may or may not believe. It isn't a ghost story but it is about spirits. It is a story about seeing, and walking, and running, and living, and dying. It is the story of a passage to the place beyond what we know and understand. It is my mama's story. And mine.

My mama is a great lady. A lady that has taught me about love by living it around me and through me and on me. She loved on me.
She loved on everyone. It was her gift.
She wasn't perfect. No one is. But that is not the point. I just want you to know that she was real. Is real.
I have trouble with the was and is when talking about mama. She still is. In every way except in the way that I can hug her. She is here. I can feel her.
I can talk to her. She even talks back in the way that happens when you know someone so well that you know what they are gonna say before they open their mouth. I hear her all the time. She still exists. More today than ever before. She is real and alive and so happy that I am sure she daily bursts with gladness. That makes me smile.
And cry.
I remember the day she left my presence. The day I couldn't touch her anymore.
That was a happy day.
You will just have to believe me when I say there is nothing offensive about that statement.
I rejoiced the day she left. I felt happy and light. Indecently happy for all I knew about right and proper. I knew where she had gone. I had walked the road right up to the gate with her and kissed her as she passed through. It was the sweetest and the hardest thing I had ever done.
Sweet is not always pleasant. Hard is not always bad.

Mama had been in pain for more than 10 years. I had watched her go up and down as she lost her strength. Her body was wracked with pain. In the last month or so of her time here she was in and out of the hospital repeatedly. She checked in for the final time because she was to undergo some exploratory tests to see what was causing this round of pain.
I knew that the test was going to bring the end. Just a feeling. I was assured that it was all simple and no big deal. I tried to shake the feeling but it stayed. And it didn't frighten me. I just knew.
I took a couple of the kids in to see her that day. We waited in her room for awhile and were eventually told that she was taken to ICU recovery after her test. That was all they said. Standard procedure.
The children stood outside with Papa/Grandpa while I went in to see her and talk to the doctor.
She had had a bad reaction to the anesthesia and vomited and aspirated. Now she couldn't seem to wake up. She needed help to breathe because of the junk she had breathed in.
I held her hand and loved on her. I felt very calm. And I knew it would not be very long.

I was wrong about the last part. Long is a relative term. This time, long was weeks.

Mama developed pneumonia. People prayed. Papa refused to leave the hospital.
I felt a gnawing in my spirit. Anxiousness. Not because she was dying. Just because I felt very unsure as to what I was supposed to do about it. Papa would not breathe anything but hope for her recovery. I never suggested anything different to him. I just watched. They would not let him stay in the ICU but he would not leave her so we fed him and brought him clean things to wear. when they made him leave her room he made a nest in the ICU waiting room.Each day his "camp" would be a little larger. Each day there would be another waiting family calling him by name. He soon knew everyone there and would add to our prayer lists the family members of his new community as they waited with him in this seeming purgatory.
People visited. People agonized. People hoped for the best.
I waited.

I had already called the family. That was an agonizing day.
They were spread all over the country. Keeping them informed was hard enough. Telling them that it was time for them to gather took more strength than I believed was possible.
What if I was wrong? Well, they would have to decide that for themselves. The best I could do was give my opinion.
Even now it feels wrong to remember how much I hoped I was right.

I had some hard talks in those weeks. Friends and family praying hard for her deliverance. I smile when I think about that. They wanted her restored here with us. All I could feel was a fantastic opportunity for her freedom. The thought of her never being sick or in pain again was so delicious that I almost hoarded it. On the outside it may have looked like I was lost in some pragmatic realism. Practical as opposed to idealistic. Realist or even atheist as opposed to believing in the power of the God who raised people from the dead.
I could not seem to share the hope I had in a way that made any sense. It just looked like I was passively letting the enemy win.
Why wasn't I fighting for her?
Why wasn't I believing for the best?
Where was my faith?
Again I smile.

I believed fully in the power of God to fully restore her. I believed He was going to do just that. I just no longer believed that it was going to be within my eyesight. And my heart felt strong enough to deal with that. I do not know why.
The thing that tore my heart. The thing that really tested my faith. The place where I really had to put full trust in my Father God to do right by me was in believing that He would absolutely do His best in His perfect timing for matter how many were praying otherwise.
Did you catch that?
There were so many precious souls praying for her to stay that I began to fear that they would actually delay her release.
Release was what it had come down to by that point. She was barely conscious. Different members of the family would go in to sit with her to give papa some time to rest or walk around. I knew that when he was gone she called for him. We did not tell him that then. He never would have left. We would soothe her and assure her that he would soon return. She knew we told the truth.
One afternoon I sat beside her bed and held her hand. My sister was murmuring something at her other side. I felt a sigh and the heat of tears behind my face. I was familiar with the feeling as it had become my comfort. Crying was easier than feeling the knot in my throat. No sobbing. Just a river.
I lifted my head and closed my eyes for a moment and became aware of something beyond. That sounds funny to me now. It wasn't beyond anything. It was a real thing there in the room. But it was also just a vapor. Kinda like when you see something out of the corner of your eye but when you turn to actually look, it is not there. Well, it was a little bit like that. Except I could see it and not see it at the same time. It "looked" like the curtain that surrounded the bed but it wasn't white. It was greenish-blue. And it looked like a skirt or something. Like I could see a foot maybe. I could stare right at it and it didn't go away or change. It was just there and not there. As if a giant skirted figure had stepped up and was standing beside the bed. I could not see above the knees. It was just enormous.
I had never heard of verdigris angels. But who knows?
I wept myself into another sleep that night as I talked to Papa God about His stupid timing. I wanted to trust more. He knows that about me.
I asked Him if He would help me see this in my dreams. Sometimes dreams bring great clarity to reality.
As I slept I dreamed of a red carpet being rolled out. Flashbulbs snapped as the crowds waited for a celebrity appearance. I knew that the carpet was for mama. That made me feel so proud. I sighed at that. It felt so good to see the situation as He saw it. Preparations were being made for her arrival. It was almost time.
But the dream did not end there. I continued to look and then on the red carpet I saw snapshots. Like the photographers were taking instant photos and throwing them on the carpet and they were developing before my eyes. I watched them grow their colors and saw them turn into bright vacation postcards. Each image showed another view of the Statue of Liberty. I saw her crown, her book, her torch, her feet at the edge of her gown.
Her feet at the edge of her gown. Her greenish-blue gown.
I had seen Liberty step into my mother's room.

The next day my sister and I found ourselves again beside her bed. She was awake and peaceful. For reasons known only to God the two of us began to sing to her. Actually it isn't surprising that Mary would sing. She does so beautifully. I, on the other hand...I really don't sing much out loud for serious.I certainly don't make it a point to toke a songbook and suggest we all gather round. Still, there we were. Singing. I probably did it because I knew it would bless her. There was probably a hymnal beside her bed because papa would have been singing to her night and day. It is just odd now that I would be singing. It wasn't odd then. We sang to her. Song after song. Sometimes we messed up. Sometimes she chuckled. Sometimes we sniffed really loud and blinked back tears like I am doing now. Mostly we harmonized as we softly loved on our mama in the language she loved. Oh! how she loved to sing. At this point her singing was all in her hands as she tapped her fingers on the blankets and wiggled her feet in time. She sang her part beautifully.
I see that moment as a sweet sweet gift from Papa God. A moment of life. For all of us.
We had some time to sit together and talk about what was happening, Mama and Mary and I.
I shared with her my dreams and told her what I thought they meant. She could barely speak. It took a lot of effort to move air through her lungs. I told her that I thought that she was being offered liberty. She nodded her head. I asked her if she were ready to go home. She nodded again. Then she spoke.
"Beckie, do you mean heaven?" her voice a rasp but so sweet then as it was the first time I had heard her speak my name in weeks. That same voice is so sweet on my memory now because it was the last time I heard it out loud.
"yes, mama. Heaven. Are you ready to go home to heaven?" my voice raspy with the emotion behind that question.
"oh! YES!" she said. And she squeezed my hand so hard it hurt my heart.
Mary and I wept with her then and let her know that she was free to choose her time. We talked of taking care of papa and prayed with her and for her to let her heart be at rest.
I do not know of a greater gift than knowing that she was ready, willing, and able to make that journey.
I thought, at that point, that we were right at the doorway to heaven. Again, I was wrong. Long held each day hostage. Not long seemed an unreachable goal. Now I know it was just a week or two or so. Then, it was so long. So so long.
She was moved to a hospital ward that I do not understand. Maybe it was a sort of isolation. I do not know for sure. In there she decided to not continue with her dialysis. Without those treatments she would not continue to live. She was able to make that choice for herself. My sister offered it to her. They were so painful at that point. Still, it was mama who chose. That was a gift.
If there were to be no treatments then the only thing left to do was make her as comfortable as possible. The doctors told us that even with a full recovery from the numerous infections she would never even regain to the status of where she had been a few weeks ago and that was constant pain. She had chosen to have no heroic life saving measures. It was time to say goodbye.

I walked outside to find a place to laugh hysterically. I was standing in a collision of joy and sorrow. It was as if someone had said to me...
"the bad news is, your house is burning and you will lose everything. the good news get an all expense paid trip to Disneyland!"
You just can't put sane boundaries on grief. I was wrecked. Completely and deliriously and joyfully wrecked.
My mama was about to be free. I was so happy for her. My sadness had existed for so long that I did not even recognize it any more. It was just a part of me. To be relieved of witnessing her agony was worth not being able to be with her for now.
The hospital made a place for the family to gather with her for her last hours.

I laugh grimly at how little the medical community knows about life and death. She was not ready. The medicines seemed to take her pain but she was not ready to give up her journey on this earth. Not yet.
Hours turned to days. We sat with papa as he sat with her. We talked to her about life and love. We talked to each other about memories and dreams for the future. We waited on Jesus together. She slept mostly and mildly responded. I did not hear her speak again.

One evening as we gathered I began to write. Just a poem. A thought. A continuation of my sister's prayer.
Her prayer had become our mantra for mama. "Let the dying end and the living begin."
We repeated it often.
It reappeared that night in my poem.

April 6, 2009 I wrote...

putting on robes of brightest white
dancing freely before the Father of Lights
a mist
like the breath of dew on sweet pink petals
surrounds her
sparkling with fresh life
so sweet
so welcome
such relief
each breath taken
a deeper realization of transformation
gentle kisses of goodby and hello
mix together in precious bliss
I can see her running
joyful on the path of life
full of wonder
delights too beautiful for words
she breathes it in
the sweet fragrance
of life.
joy-filled remembrances
outside of time
become anticipations
we remember still
as she waits in joy
for us to catch up
as she goes running
see the beauty
feel the beauty
embrace the beauty
white robes caressing
as she makes entrance
into life.

I wrote as Mary played on her guitar. Soon enough she began to sing. The words she sang familiar. I looked again at what I had just wrote...and saw her words. As I would write from across the room she would sing.
Our hearts sharing the same song. Not word for word but thought for thought. Supernaturally. A gift.

My heart breaks again when I remember that long dark time. Even tho I speak of happiness the sadness must be understood. The sweet gifts that came were wrapped tightly in grief. Recognizable at the time but almost too precious to fully unwrap. Just held, and understood. Enough I think. For in those moments we had much to hold. He knew that. He knew we would need the gifts later.

The days continued to come and go. Family that thought the trip could not be made were able to come together. She waited for them. All her children were able to kiss her one last time. I believe with all my heart that she knew each one would need that. I cannot know if she held on long enough for each to make their peace. That is not my story. Not mine to know. I only know that as she passed I held her and I let her go on living...just not in the way I had always known her.

I feel her closeness. Probably because in eternity we are already together.

After my friend Ricki died she appeared in my dreams. I heard a knock at the door and saw her standing on the other side of the screen door.
"Ricki! Are you real?!" I asked.
"I am realer than you are." she said
"we get the day to see and understand. sometimes we see past the temporal. and that's not ours to judge."

I think now that life is closest to us at the moment of death.