Divine Colorer

God has a crayon in his box called Light.
He holds that crayon in the sun’s fingers, and
As the sun tips the brow of Ridge Street, He colors the
Facing treetops, just the tops,
 that color – Light!
And their day’s singing, swaying work
Has begun. The trunks, though,
In the ravine’s depths,
Are still in yesterday,
Or last night,
Sleeping purple and
Blue sleep.
The Divine Colorer
Lights them in His
Own time.
He accomplishes so much with
One ball of incandescence and His infinity.

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Elfstruck In Bankhead Forest On Sunday Afternoon

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This afternoon we stumbled upon Rivendell beside Rush Creek in Bankhead Forest. It was magical. We couldn’t understand why the Alabama woods were so clear of underbrush that we could stroll through like characters in an Austen novel.  Then we remembered the wildfires of last fall.

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We wandered through in separate directions following our own rambles as one beauty led to the next, breathing cold air and smelling water and tree trunks. I really did catch glimpses of elves in convocation.

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Can anyone go to the woods on a Sunday afternoon without thinking of the morning message? It was on obedience.  I looked at the mosses and barks and confirmed that it only made sense to obey a God who spoke breath-taking matter into breathing being.

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And we were dressed for a party, not a hike. Which made it all the more dreamlike.

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Amongst the ferns, a thousand hood-shaped leaves on the ground told us this was a cow-cumber grove. I didn’t know cow-cumbers travelled in groves.  🙂

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In the crook of her elbow, this Entwife had an eczema.

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The elves love January. They are almost material in that bare month.

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In the Addison Hyatt’s Market ladies’ room – back in civilization, but still elfstruck – I wondered at the situation that made that sign necessary.

~

How To Tell If You Are Pro-Life

According to Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B., here’s how:

I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/7/30/1407166/-Catholic-Nun-Explains-Pro-Life-In-A-Way-That-May-Stun-The-Masses

There is much to debate in that opinion but I want to respond to the accusation that I am a hypocrite who is pro-birth, but not pro-life, based on where I vote to allocate my taxes.

Sister Joan, I am pro-birth and I am pro-life. A Christian who is an active member of his or her church is vibrantly pro-life. Here is what I mean.

Our church only functions when its members do. It is not a business or a government-funded entity. It only does its work if the people are working, hard. I support my church with my body, my money, my prayers, my time, my affection, my passion, alongside my brothers and sisters at Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church. Church members work according to their gifts and passions, from the missionary on the field to the sweeper and light-bulb changer. Because we do, our church is able to support the following varied PRO-LIFE-AND-FAR-PAST-BIRTH ministries:

  1.  The Foundry – a PRO-LIFE ministry that restores hope and dignity to men and women who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction and learning to work and rejoin society. Church members volunteer in many ways in this ministry, our highlight being the annual Christmas dinner in which members of several area churches work together to serve an elegant meal to those in the program.
  2. The Link of Cullman County – a ministry providing GED and academic recovery aid, job-seeking and job-keeping training, parenting training for single parents along with supplies, supervision for visitations, craft-making and small business training, financial planning instruction, and many other vital PRO-LIFE skills which result in more fed, clothed, healthy, educated children.
  3. First Source For Women – a PRO-LIFE ministry providing resources for women and babies.
  4. Operation Christmas Child – a PRO-LIFE ministry that sends gifts of necessities and toys to children all over the world. We are a collection point for this ministry and have been for years. Everyone helps with this ministry!
  5. La Ceiba Honduras – a clinic in a poverty-stricken area which we have partnered with long-term, sending summer teams of church members of all ages down to support the full-time staff and help provide medical care and education to the surrounding people. It is PRO-LIFE, abundant life, in every way.
  6. International Adoption – When a family in our church adopts a child, it is all hands on deck, providing PRO-LIFE help with every imaginable need from tutoring, to meals, to car-pool, to medical care. We currently have two families out of the country meeting their new children. One family just returned with four sons. Four. The adoption agency was bemused several times in the process saying, ‘We don’t know the protocol for this; we’ve never done it before.’ Several families are still waiting to go.
    One accusation frequently flung at pro-lifers is “How many children have you adopted?” Because I am pro-life and I love my church family, LOTS!
  7. Committee for Church Cooperation – a ministry that helps local people with power bills and grocery needs. PRO-LIFE!

I could go on, but you get the point: None of these ministries would happen without church members doing them, personally, with their own hands.  Not writing a tax check to the government and calling it helping the poor, but sweating and looking at real people. And this is just one, one, one, little church. There are thousands doing the same thing we are.

So, Sister Joan, I disagree. My morality is not deeply lacking because I choose to meet the needs of this world by vibrantly supporting my church so it can do its PRO-LIFE work in big ways. I am pro-birth and pro-life and one of the deepest joys in my life is serving my church so it can serve PRO-LIFE – all of life! – needs of the world.

And that has nothing to do with my taxes.

How Do I Reach You?

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I art my way to you.
Art is verb.
I art
Because the Artist
Made me to be His hands
At work.
I art to commune and co-create with
Him who whispers to me as we forge
Together. And the blood hums.
I art to be faithful to the
Original
As silk drapes a body’s
Swells and hollows.
I art to tell the truth,
Truth you hail as your own old friend,
Welcome and well met.
And then, you and I, we are
Connected.
I art for peace in a warring
World.  And art gentles.
Let this word fall in your ears –
I love you, dear one.

 

Ode To January – Fight The Good Fight

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January is sticks against the sky,
Bare enough to reveal that
Some Spring buds
Will labor longer, having
To push out and aside last Fall’s
Leaves that never fell.

In all their birthing fight to emerge,
Will the soft, bound shoots exclaim
To the lingering husks,
“Are you kidding me?
I have to overcome you?”

Yes, of course. Beauty
Must
Be pushed through a sieve of strife to ever
Be born.

This sky – white, forsaken –
Is Beauty’s stirrup.
To wait for a sunny day
Is to decide
Not to obey the
Daunting call to
Bear.

Milk Chocolate

Rest my head on the knee
Of the One I kneel before,

Say Lord, look at that ‘fridge,
A collage of invitations –
Weddings, teas, baby showers –
Pastel hint of life’s
Naked, raw, and fervent moments,
Bloody shouts and the heart’s vows.

Jennifer called today and said
Martha died.
Oh. Remember her laughter at the
Candy-making parties?

Then again, the Lunsfords are in
Ethiopia
Getting Jake, their
Covenant child!
A five year faith-wait.

But it’s also Sean’s
Cross-the-Jordan anniversary.

And then some sweet friends who
Love Jesus share chips and salsa with us and
Ache over their
Church because they had
Invested, Lord, invested, in that
Little flock of sheep, who
Rode them hard
And hurt them.
Now they are peeking over
At Grace! And, oh, they need healing.

And tonight we sang happy birthday to
My little Mama.

This life, Lord, this life,
Is a bittersweet tale where the
Sweet carries the bitter and the bitter
Tempers the sweet, and the end is as
Perfect as milk chocolate on the tongue.

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Caroline and Jake, January 14, 2017
~

How I Love Him!

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One day
Long ago
On a one-lane
Wooden bridge over
Railroad tracks,
Near McGriff Tire,
We sat in our
Plymouth Voyager,
White with wood panels.

Will was a baby and when the
Train came underneath us
And the world tottered with the
Roar and fumes and horn blast,
He screamed the terror of the
Helpless.
Instead of unbuckling him, I crouched
Over him and he clutched me in a
Grip and buried his face
(How I love him!) in my
Neck.
His breath condensed on my blue
Shirt into a big wet spill.
And he hung on.

When I do that to
My Heavenly Father,
Who is also the God of this whole Universe,
He always answers with
More
Comfort,
Protection,
Affection,
Than I asked for.

How I love Him!