Washed Out

Warning touch and growing rumble
Feel it building coming coming

Welcome respite or call for shelter?
Jarring one from settled niche

These drops intruders in our day
… A sigh a chuckle as we retreat?

What do they say of grief or toil
As waters surge and tumble by?

Pale countenance sinking down
Or head uplifted to cool embrace?

Built up dirt and grime release
Muddy churning wash away!

Letting it go, now light and free
Cleansing. Revealing… sparkling stones

Charlotte-Anne Allen

Springing Upwards

Struggling warring twisting whirling
Cold and warmth do tear and battle
Fiercely roaring, toss and break
Snatching breath and striking ear

Yet sun’s bright shining speaks of promise
Fragile warming growing stronger
Coaxing life from bud and root
Drawing rising filling lifting

Oh, what life now lies within
Drawn from yesteryear’s memories
Midst cold reminders and warmth of hearths
Springing upwards, ever upwards once again

New Song

Like this, and this… Now move these fingers. As my beginner self practices the fingering and chords on my classical guitar, I move slowly. Learning a new piece takes time and attention, whatever the difficulty level may be for that person. It’s not enough just to know the notes but takes so much more into consideration, such as movement across the strings and how to play each phrase. It requires effort and dedication over time to make the whole piece beautiful and meaningful, knowing that there will be mistakes but persevering and doing our best. Then too, it is not so much the level of accomplishment as it is the satisfaction it brings to oneself and to others. This makes it fun and exciting.

Encountering new things is a regular part of life. What new things get you excited? Is it that new car smell, an anticipated job, a relationship, or a baby and new life? Maybe you are looking forward to a time of growth, learning a new skill, gaining knowledge, or an opportunity to serve. New things and new times can be hard and unwanted too. Maybe we’re just ready to shed stressful experiences and move forward. As I grow older, there are more things to miss but there are also more things to treasure. Faith in God, prayer, community, and family are vital supports when facing new situations. Working through new things can be a long process.

What if I just continued to play the same guitar piece or practiced the same scales over-and-over without using them to improve my music… never learned new pieces? I imagine that boredom or apathy would sneak in, and I may give it up completely. Where would I be if I just focused on my mistakes and my missed practice, or if I let my enjoyment be affected by feelings of not being good enough? Satisfaction and contentment come, not just from what we gain through our new experiences, but what we can also give to others.

My prayer is that we will be as new songs each day, that we praise God for his great love as He holds us through our pain and through our joy, and that we give even as we gain… May our lives be as beautiful music in His hands.

He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God…
Psalm 40:3

Charlotte-Anne Allen 1/1/2022

Hearken

Soft rustle at woodland’s edge
Shyly peering out at winter’s passing

Long slumbering beneath earth’s cold bite
Now reaching out a questing toe

Chill breezes steal day’s brief warmth
And residents shiver in protected nooks

Frost yet bites tender growth
Then yields to dawn’s new light

Nostrils raise to scent and tread
And life stirs within seed and soil

Rain-washed earth and ways are
Streaked with plants’ golden offerings

Stone and wood yield welcomed warmth
Hearken, hearken …

Cleaning

“Rumble-rumble, screech, thump!” My mom cocked her head toward the ceiling as she listened to the sounds of my room-cleaning upstairs. I loved to re-arrange my furniture! I well remember our regular Saturday cleaning routine, a requirement before we could pursue other interests, and especially the more thorough spring or fall cleanings.

Howevermuch we may grumble about the cleaning process, or perhaps like some of us who enjoy it, there is great satisfaction in a job completed. Something accomplished!

For everyday cleaning, it’s amazing what even a few minutes of straightening or putting away things can do. Lost or misplaced items are re-discovered, and we no longer have to hunt for them. Dirty clothes in the hamper. Clean dishes put up. A spot of clutter removed. Trash carried out…

Then there is the deep cleaning, removing accumulated dust and grim of everyday living and use. It requires more effort and intentional planning. Neglecting the everyday or more frequent cleaning can make that job a lot harder too!

This makes me think of “heart cleaning.” Am I as conscious of the condition of my heart, such as my thoughts and intentions or faith, as I am of my home or other surroundings? The psalmist pled, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” * Clean or pure; not polluted or filthy. He knew that this was a “deep cleaning” job! This was going to require a lot of help!

It’s so easy to let things accumulate isn’t it? Just like dust or clutter can build up in our home, it can also build up within us. That dissatisfaction or irritation. A wayward word. An apology never offered. An unhealthy thought or grudge. The list can be long!

Just like the everyday cleaning of our home or other places, caring for our daily heart cleaning is a positive step and builds our relationship with God, who knows us best. Paul called attention to our need for the day’s accounting when he cautioned us to not let the sun go down on our anger. *

It’s hard for me to turn loose of things sometimes. When things do accumulate or bowl us over, and they will at times, and when those seasons arrive for the deep cleaning, we don’t have to go it alone. God hears our call and pulls out the heavy-duty cleaners, creating “a new and right spirit” within. My prayer and anticipation for us is that we will invite Him to come on in, and so welcome a new season.

*Psalm 51:10, Ephesians 4:26

Storm’s Call

storm rain distance_IMG_4619

Rustle of leaves
on a scorching day
The sun blinks its eyes
as shadows slip in

Chirping birds
Now grow silent
As earth holds its breath
And heated air stirs

The rumble of a passing truck
Grows and speaks to
Dark clouds advancing building
Carried on silent streams

A dog’s sharp bark
Shatters the sudden stillness
And the cat races to shelter
As searing light pierces the sky

Storm’s call sounds
Make way Make way
Wind’s breath blows cool
As full drops descend

Pounding now upon thirsty ground
Washing cleansing making new
Wafting lifting petrichor’s rich smell
… Rain’s offering to lifted noses

Streams of water flowing
Warm toes cooling
Hot faces relieving
Churning clouds slowly recede

Storm’s call beckons
Lifts its arm in final salute
And rolls slowly on
As mist begins to rise

Reflections on Slippers

Slippers 1_IMG_1466

• Each day needs slipper moments
• Rise to a new day with anticipation of good
• A warm smile and kind touch bring comfort
• Soft words encourage healing and rest
• Protecting others is a most noble call and occupation
• Reach out to others like a warm home on a cold day
• Slip on true friendship and slide off falsehood
• Put on that which will enrich life
• Embrace laughter and silly slippers for a joyful heart
• A peaceful evening of rest is a great blessing
• Knowing we are useful brings contentment
• The Comforter is always with us

Try

child bent over to ground

To meet the goal
That’s true and good
A big commitment
But I’ll try

What challenge is this?
The need is great
Working together
Let’s try

That first new step
It looks so daunting!
And what if I fail?
Only try

To fall and rise
Now once again
Discovering new things
Because I tried

Opportunities come
So be encouraged
If you say that I can
Then I’ll try

One foot one hand
A step a reach
How will you know
Unless you try?

World changers that
Both big and small
Not giving up
Just try!

Rabbit Trails

forest_children rabbits deer-1967253_960_720_pixabay_cropped

Running here and running there
What am I to do?

Let’s go this way
Wait, look at that!

So much now to discover
…Where was I going?

Oh yes, that’s it
Complete my task

Now just a little further
Travel down this trail

Did you hear that?
I love that tune!

Reminds me of happy times.
You remember when…

Come let me show you
What I found the other day!

… Sun’s now setting?!
Day’s now waning?!

But there are more trails to trod!
Open eyes ears heart

Hmmm… so true!
Living life to the fullest!

Finding new horizons
Down those rabbit trails