Unfurl

Tiny frond
Essence of spring …Safe
In its underground seclusion
Stirs within warming abode

Tight coil
Slowly stretching… Pushing
Through covering protective layers
Awakened from winters slumber

Fiddleheads
In feathery company… Emerging
Adding beauty to moist shade
Tucked among woodland passes

And so do we also
Stretch and reach to warming light
Gather strength and determination
Draw nourishment… Unfurl

Junk Drawer

A treasure trove!
What great delight
To re-discover things long forgotten

To dig and rummage
And sift things about
Some wooden matches and screws and tacks

Where’s the thingamabob?
Oh wow, I forgot I had that!
And this will be handy to hang things up

Yay! Here’s the screwdriver
I’ve found my best scissors!
What in the world! Now what is this?…

I’m just not quite sure
There’s really no clue
Can’t throw that away, until I know!

Indeed, one day soon
Surely, before very long
It will all be sorted as I clear some things out!

… Now, what was I looking for?!

Reflections on Ashes

• The good that we create lives on to nourish others
• Live in consideration of the legacy you will leave
• Things left behind are windows for memories
• A little preparation helps prevent unforeseen situations
• Commitment results from warm embers and brings about change
• Developing strong character and integrity sets one apart
• Judging worth by appearance is speaking without experiencing
• Seeing ruins may bring both sadness and wonder
• Releasing negative thoughts and emotions is not an easy task
• When trust is broken relationships can crumble and blow away
• A spirit of renewal lends strength to rise above adversity
• Humility is not weakness but is gentle strong compassion
• A quiet presence during grief brings comfort
• God takes the ashes of our lives and creates masterpieces

From “Reflections on the Everyday”
Charlotte-Anne Allen

“As… so” Proverbs for Springtime

  • As the soil is tilled, so are we made ready to receive
  • As seeds are planted, so are our thoughts guided
  • As creatures emerge from winter shelters, so we step out to discover and grow
  • As flowers rise from the earth, so life is reborn
  • As the sun warms and draws new life, so kind words bring healing and hope
  • As spring rains soak in and nourish, so the sharing of knowledge and wisdom betters our lives
  • As wind tears and roars, so ill-spoken words tear and hurt
  • As weeds are cleared to make room for desired plants, so removal of harmful relationships or habits encourages healthier lives
  • As bushes are pruned and stronger growth results, so we gain wisdom and strength through trials and experience
  • As flowers brighten and green buds burst forth, so music and laughter express joy and peace

from “As… so Proverbs
Charlotte-Anne Allen

Where?

“Now what did I do with it?” I ask myself as I rummage yet again through my bag. “I know I put it in here!” At times like this I find myself doubting my memory, which is admittedly not always dependable. My frustration rises and I find myself unable to move on to something else. “Where is it?”

Searches are interesting. They can lead to new discoveries and new ways of doing things. Where would we be without the persistence and inquisitive minds of inventors and researchers? It can also be disappointing or stressful, especially when searching and searching without success. Perseverance can bring rewards, but that sometimes means setting the search aside for a while or allowing ourselves time to calm our mind and think things through. Prayer sure can help with each of these options… Reminding myself, “Oh well, something will work out” does wonders for lowering the stress level!

Have you ever searched for something and found it, only to discover that it was not what you needed or wanted after all? And what about those times when it is rediscovered right where you had looked numerous times? Fresh eyes and encouragement are a help too, along with a dose of patience and perspective!

I’m reminded of the women who went to Jesus’ tomb. The angel knew why they were there, “You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth” he said. Jesus, upon speaking to Mary, asked, “Whom are you looking for?” but she didn’t recognize him until he spoke her name.* How many times have I looked for something but didn’t recognize it because I had the wrong perspective?

While all our searches and questions will not lead to what we want, they can lead to new discoveries and opportunities, growth in faith, and fresh eyes. We reconsider the way we see, understand, and relate to things. Like the women seeking Jesus, God calls us to seek Him and He tells us that when we do, we will find him.* Sometimes I wonder if I’m looking in the right direction or if I need a better perspective. It’s hard to know where to look when the stress levels go up, isn’t it?

I am glad to be reminded that God speaks our name and that He sends others to help point us in the right direction. May you be encouraged!

Charlotte-Anne Allen 3/5/2022
*Mark 16:6, John 20:11-15a
Luke 11:9

Moments

Oh, that time would stand still!
In those moments of bright clarity
Treasured in our hearts and
Seared in our memories

Of those we hold dear
For life and love and family
Friends and church gathered ‘round
God’s holy ground, simple and true

We open eyes to brilliant color
Ears to laughter and tears
A gentle touch and helping hands
Life’s essence … caught in a fleeting moment.

Charlotte-Anne Allen 2/25/2022

Inside Out and Upside Down

In this life of ours
It’s those unexpected things
That make us scratch out heads!

What’s in, is now out
What’s up, is now down
We wonder what’s to be done!

We turn ourselves this way and that
Full of worry and of fret
To focus on the ills and strife!

Oh God, remind us Your ways are straight
Through ups and down and ins and outs
When we turn our eyes toward You

Stay in Touch!

“It’s good to see you!” “How are you doing now?”

“See you soon!” “Stay in touch!”

Our desire or need for connectedness is expressed in many ways. It can be challenging to build and to maintain relationships with family and friends when separated by distance or circumstances! Those times when we can talk or correspond with each other bring us closer together… for encouragement, for enjoyment, to share, and to support each other. Working or serving together with others provides opportunities to deepen friendships and to develop new ones.

When my cousin and I get on the phone to each other, we usually talk for at least an hour… catching up, sharing thoughts, and lending support. We do not often get to see each other, as we live in different states, but when we do get together then we talk for hours. Close relationships are special! I am reminded of a verse in the book of Proverbs that says, “A friend loves at all times, and kinsfolk are born to share adversity.” Relationship rises above differences and hardship.

Can you imagine building a positive relationship without staying in touch with that person? What if we rarely or never really talked to them about things that matter? How would they know that we care? Without desire and commitment, there would be no way to develop lasting friendships.

The same is true with our relationship to God, isn’t it? Jesus told his disciples, “I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” Can you imagine that?! I’m so glad that God wants a relationship with us! As we build closer connections to God, through prayer, our faith community, and by studying His Word, we learn more about Him. We grow in our own faith and our words and actions let others know that we care.

My prayers for each of us – busy, stressed, struggling, thankful – are that we may rise each morning and lie down each evening knowing that we have a faithful friend in God, who is always by our side. Stay in touch!

*Proverbs 17:17, John 15:15, Luke 11:2

Good Scents

Memories awakened
Stories told
Contentment reigns
When good scents unfold

Indoors and out
Eyes shut
Breathe deeply
Open mind’s door, and smile

Bold cinnamon and apple pie
Minty goodness and lemonade
Bubbling stews and filling soups
Herbal teas and fragrant coffee

Rain on earth and garden’s care
Freshly cut grass and flower’s bloom
Sharp freshness of new-fallen snow
Ocean breeze and mountain stream

Clean laundry and sheets on the bed
Suds in dish water and lotion for hands
Sweet smell of a child snuggled close
Scents to comfort and renew … Good scents!