Monday, December 30, 2013

Lines from the months of this last year: November and December


1. All Saints'
Thank You for being my God. For being all I need, all I really care about, when it comes down to it. I just love You.
Waste Nothing.

Dear Jesus,
All my life You have led. Lead me now, through all this woodsy woodsen. It's not a bog. Where I don't see, I am protected (cf. George MacDonald).

Do I transgress? Show me true righteousness. Rooted in love.

Lord, I DO want to understand. And I DO WANT TO KNOW YOU.

Thank You for the safe trip back, sweet time in the airport with C. and J., the man asking if we were twins or at least sisters.
Alim Qasimov.

Aching to work.

Thank You for this blessed and very beautiful life You allow me to live.
Keep leading.

Jesus. Your many, many kindnesses. What You started You will complete. You do not bring to the moment of birth and then not give delivery (Is. 65).
Do not abandon the work of Your hands.
All of tired, delighted, soul-hungry me.

A.'s tea in the morning. Fog, barefoot.

Lord, thank You for Dad just coming in and saying the perfect things. About being an artist/creator - about realizing that all my life comes out in my work, and is necessary for breaking up fallow ground, being patient, knowing that the real work is often outside the typewriter.

Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
-Matt. 4:4 NIV

Pour YOURSELF. All the things I can't describe. All the inner longings to see You.
So much in me burns and longs and heaves. Stoke me, temper me. Guide my passions into their places. Harness their power for good. For virtue, righteousness, obedience. Zeal for Your Name.

How can I know You better? How can I welcome Your Spirit? How can I grow, not fear, not hold back from good disciplines?

Lord, my God.
How do You even have patience with a thing like me? How can You be so kind? Never let me forget.
Thank You for all the truth she pours into my life.

I have been so easily distracted.
I want Your face, Your hands, Your love, Your embrace.
Your blood.
Thank You for our tree. Make my body more and more Your temple, holy. Help me strive to please You, not men.

"How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?"
- John 5:44 NIV

And now I ask You for a very big thing. Bind us together in unity. Make us of ONE mind, heart, & soul - to love You and see Your kingdom come. Help us sacrifice, delight and rest, see You as You are, work with our whole hearts.
Bring back the wandering. Strengthen and encourage the weak and discouraged. Do what I can't do.


Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace (Saint Francis). Open up the arteries. Even though I cannot do much, please use me. Help me flame out boldly, brightly.
Make me less - as long as I'm content in You. I am thankful for the Isaiah 62 favor, but man's favor is addictive and ultimately unsatisfying. Woo me to You again. Bring me gently into the stillness of Your heart.

I'm awfully glad I'm here. It was strange but lovely, walking around the old haunts, my pine, the swings.
Prospects, prospects. People to see, and be seen by. Meet us all here, because what we really want is You.
Delight of my soul, my Jesus,
You are still a stranger to me. I do not know or understand You. But I want to. Wed me.

"Love more, care less."

Thank You for dances.
Help us wait for you.

What is this new name You give me?
I want to be brave. To have an anointed tongue. To be a peacebringer.

"I think you are the first sip of new milk." (Jessica Yu, "Mother Near Death")
Virgin colostrum. Your maiden mother. Why?
What need have we of prophecies, of promises?
What in this could not be otherwise?
"Something there is that doesn't love a wall." (Frost, "Mending Wall")

Love us up.

You are
i am
Your mother
still a child
I crave You
firstborn, still unsuckled.

14. Feast of Santa Lucia
Help us really be real, these next few days. Trust each other and you, not play it safe. Help me know how to talk about what matters. Help me KNOW what matters, have open ears.
Go before us, multiply our gifts, disperse our bread, take these many broken pieces and feed a multitude. And satisfy US on Yourself - Your body and blood. We are so hungry for You.
May this be the beginning of something new. Make a Sabbath in my heart.

Communion today was mulled wine
passed between us in a blue and white china cup.

Letter to Santa:

a phone
Danielson: A Family Movie
new paintbrushes
a gramophone
red shoes
chickens and a goat
true love

Thank You Lord, for caring so deeply, so well. For breakfast with T. - a celebration, a feast.
I've been washing dishes, giving back massages, sharing food, but mostly receiving - so much.
Cream, cream, I'm walking in a dream. Headstrong, walking headlong into open arms,
a kiss.

Bless Your holy Name. Jesus.

"She had that spontaneous quality of aliveness which illuminates people who have already done a lot of their dying."
-Madeleine L'Engle, Summer of the Great-Grandmother

Guide my way, all my thoughts and emotions, as I depart, travel, and return home tomorrow. By Your Spirit, which dwells in me, comfort and remind me of all I should know and remember.
Give me a noble heart.

"The path of the righteous is level;
O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth.
Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you;
your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.
My soul yearns for you in the night;
in the morning my spirit longs for you.
When your judgements come upon the earth,
the people of the world learn righteousness."
-Isaiah 26:7-9 NIV

"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"
-Matt. 6:11 NIV

HOME. Has it ever been more lovely?

Ah, that old warm, loud, happy, silly, beer-scented, cuddling ruckus that is the gathering of these families.

I just asked Dad if he minded closing my door. He paused, and said,
"Only if it doesn't hurt," and proceeded to close his fingers into the door, yowling. He laughed as I laughed, and said,
"Why do I do things like that?"
I said,
"Because it makes life so much more fun!"

Help me love fearlessly tomorrow.

Groan, intercede through me. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Lines from the months of this last year: September and October


Please show me how to please You.

Please remind me that You never forget about me.
I'm never forgotten or neglected for a little while - You are ALWAYS involved, loving. Wooing.

Tonight, after reading Hebrews 1 to J., I said,
"Just think. There might be an angel in this room right now."
J: "It's you."
Me: (pause, laughter) "Oh!"
J: "Did you only just get that? Tzss."
Me: "I thought you said, 'Achoo,' like the whole thing where if you sneeze it blows the angel off your shoulder, and someone saying 'bless you' puts it back on. I was waiting and thinking about saying 'bless you.'"

She called while I was home alone. I knew it was something bad. Mom called her while still in the driveway, and sobbed and prayed while I tried to unload the groceries, needing something to do.
When Mom came in and told me we cried together. It was especially hard waiting for Dad and J. to come home, because Mom knew she'd have to tell him.
Most of the day since then has been phone calls, processing, reading/watching the news, and prayer.
Psalm 79 and Hebrews 2, my readings for today, were fitting, comforting.
Lord, make good grow from this hard, sad day.

Today has been one of those days where I remember how it felt to move, or to start college, or to travel far away on my own. Sort of raw, sick, yet attuned and eager and prayerful.
Mom and Dad left today. They've called home twice.

Thank You, Jesus, that life is so much more than sex and beer. But thank You, even so, for the Renaissance Faire. There were a few redeeming things. Friends, costumes, mad skills, peasant dances - yes.
And You.
          Oh, I need and love You.
Love You most of all.

Thank You that You have given me such a love with You... I don't have to run elsewhere - even when I do, they are only empty, idols. You alone are my heart's desire.
You are so kind, You know me through and through.
You do not despise me.
I am often childish, wrong, sinful, silly -
but even in that You draw my heart to some exalted place, some glory I can't even name or pin down - joy. Solace, comfort, meaning. Zeal. Love that desires while it satisfies. Wabi-sabi. Perfection found in the imperfect. Beauty, that is.
I love the light. I love Your touch. I love Your Words.
I love You.

"Love that loves us,
Thank You."

- from Terrance Malick's To the Wonder (which I have not seen)


To Whom do I belong?
To You.
To Whom does the work of my hands belong?
To You.

It's official, again. Help me remember that tomorrow. Help me be winsome, so that You will be honored. Give me energy, kindness, insight, words.

It was very good. Magical. It was, I believe, covered with Your presence. Thank You. And for such fun and silliness!

Thank You for the dear souls who came. So many people, Lord. I pray You would cover over any sin or weakness of mine, speak from every aspect of what was shared...
So many are hurting. So many are lonely. I, myself, am so small and naked and needy of You. Thank You that I can be vulnerable before You without fear. And that You do not despise Your captive people.
Open the way, I pray. And give me patience and grace in the meantime, to flourish where I'm planted, to love right where I am.

Help me have just enough light for each step, and the courage and faith to go.
Thank You for this dreary day with a wedding sunset. For glimpses of Your plan singing out. "Some clear joy is coming..." -Karen Peris

No brave chickadee ever
came to my window.

The slack skin between finger & thumb.

The second breathtaking sunset in a row.

Give me FAITH and PEACE and a warm, confident, quiet flexibility. You answer prayer. You are endlessly faithful and kind. All I ever am is Yours.

Out of the overflow...
Remind me of the things You told me in Italy.
Remind me that You desire me. That You love my love. Show me Your face.

Keep making music through A.

We were singing & teasing and talking back and forth between the studio and guest room, as he worked and I painted.

Oh, thank You for those prayers. That kind of sincerity and care so quickly expressed. For Your Spirit, convicting me. Reminding me of the importance of obedience. Obedience, which builds trust. For Isaiah 58-64. Your justice, and Your mercy and compassion. Your unimaginable love. Please keep me coming back to You, again and again, never doubting that Your way is best and most satisfying.
I am so quickly enticed. Help this not be a barrier, but a gateway.

J: "Don't be Moses."

Lord, so many weird things, rising to a head.
I'm all juiced up now, high and flighty and not sure how I'm supposed to go to sleep.

"The LORD is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
...Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the LORD has been good to you."

-Psalm 116: 5, 7 NIV

Joy today. At the catalpa, spruce.
Thank You for letting me live.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Lines from the months of this last year: July and August


Please show me how Your power and promises can fill and become my very day, my life.
Help us find You. Hunt us.

Lord Jesus.
Am I getting any closer? Any nearer You? I feel as far - maybe farther...
But You held me, cared for me, came back for me this morning. We are all safe in our rooms. We are safe, but I feel so sick. Wrong. Like I couldn't get past the awful wall. To to be sullen and blame him for something. Had to make sure everyone understood my martyrdom, or my annoyance, or just appreciated me. Lord, I am ill. I need You. Not a single other "Like" for my art -
just You, You, You.
Thank You for grace. For keeping me unhappy when I'm not looking at You.
Remind me I am Yours and then let me FORGET myself.
May we not fear truth.

O Lord, You died for me. Of course You care. Of course You're coming back.

Thank You for this heathen (yet not) morning with J.
Skipping church while Mom & Dad were out. Eating cornbread, driving to the corporate center and "drifting," speeding, skidding. Eating wild raspberries. Turning up the music and dancing on the grass. Watching water in a cup vibrate.
J. made a bomb. I read & wrote. Dad called Mom to see the clouds. Mom called me. I called J. And we all went outside to see the glory.
A big thunderhead was coming in. Mom got concerned. Dad and J. stayed by the fire. I went on the deck. We had dinner watching the storm and listening to Beethoven. LAUGHED.

Help me make my family more themselves. To paint boldly, and trust You. I am reminded that worry, carefulness can absolutely KILL art. Kill worship, exploration. May it never be. But do, do give me patience, help me make the most of this malleable time, and love well in it. Hear Your voice more and more.

Thank You for loving me with all Your waves and breakers.

Good morning. I bless Your Name. For You loved and saw, and You love and see, everyone. Thank You for allowing me to be Yours. To lean on You, follow You like a clingy dancer.
Thank You for having compassion on me. Helping along even my most pitiful baby steps.

"Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final."


I want to be like the Marys. Your servant, your friend, doing beautiful things, listening at Your feet.
May I decrease.

Please help me let go. I am too full of small, tight little fears. Self-protective, and self-destructive.
I want to live carefree before You,
because You care for me.

Help me get rid of this shallow funk. Have zeal for You. Not be slothful, but desire and pursue righteousness, not comfort and entertainment. That is so much of my day, or at least my thought process, it seems.
But let's count some blessings:
A cooler day. I could both RUN midday and walk with Mom later.
I'm not sick. Poetic, isn't it? (Chesterton)
I have a pleasant room.
I slept with the window open two nights in a row.
Today I got lovely letters from K. and S.
J. and I made faces at each other through the kitchen window while he mowed the grass and I washed dishes.
I shopped with Mom this morning, bought fruit and goat cheese and shared it.
We had sausage for dinner, and it was delicious and I wasn't queasy.
I did a backward somersault in my room (though not a forward one).
Dad bought me two books of vintage stamps.
Mrs. D. gave us zucchini and cukes and told me I could take cleome (spider flower) seeds. Smelled like basil and honeysuckle.
H. is engaged.
I know how to read.
I have 10 long fingernails.
Mom bought me 7 yogurts. They taste funny, like fabric softener, but could be worse.
My first zinnia is blooming.
My boards are here, gessoed, and the first layer painted.
Our new fridge is working.
There is glorious music (Aradhna, Welcome Wagon).
I am well-supplied in every necessity.

Lord, praise Your Name.
For these things and the better presence of You, here working.


May all be clear and pure between us. Purify me. Merciful Lord.
You have been my hope since my childhood.
Your pleasure is my highest goal.
Show my Your jealousy. We could write a good romance. Yes, I am referencing Lady Gaga.

Oh, so many of us, Lord. So many faces, histories, hearts...
so many headed toward death some day not far from now, and needy of You.
Come, Emmanuel,
with us, to us,
woo us.
A man woos by loving, pursuing gently & persistently. Showing his character, proving that he can be trusted.

You never know what can happen, what can change, wherever you are.

"Oaks of righteousness"... deep roots needed. Oaks take time to establish.
But they grow tall & strong, and live a long time.

How incredible. The day has finally come.

I pray for

GENTLENESS that we may be sensitive to You and each other, feel safe, cherished and understood.
PATIENCE with ourselves, our circumstances, each other.
COURAGE to move forward in our friendships, not fearing rejection or discomfort.
JOY that we may fully enter into the beauty of what You are doing in H. & F.'s lives, our lives, our world.

GOODNESS that we may take pleasure in all truly good and whole things, not content ourselves with cheap substitutes. That we may desire and love YOU first.
TRUST in You and each other (and perhaps even ourselves?) that we would continue to grow in our confidence and respect, love and appreciation for You & one another, and be content while moving forward.
KINDNESS to all people we encounter, from other semesters, on the road, in our thoughts. Enlarge us and confirm our efforts at hospitality.
PEACE that whatever complications may arise, or whatever difficulties we leave at home, or whatever time crunches or relational strains this trip may cause, that we would come to You for rest and solace. That we would find our still point in You. And a shalom in Your presence. May we acknowledge Your presence, welcome it, recognize Your constant invitation into it.
FAITHFULNESS: May we be true to You, each other, and ourselves. Not neglect or forget anything to which we owe fealty. May we do this quietly.
SELF-CONTROL: May we show deference and restraint in our interactions and activities. Keep calm under pressure, show temperance, battle covetousness with thanks. May we praise You in all things, for all things. In spite of anything.
LOVE that we may know that power that sustains the world, that holds our lives and eternity so firmly and tenderly. That we may know and love YOU.

The hugging was enormous.

What is all this about if not grace?
Lord, I must have a reason to get up each morning. I must be needed. I must be loved. Show me what I'm meant to be doing here.
How can I rest when everything could be indulgence? How not fall into sloth, sluggishness, guilt? Help me find a new home-rhythm. One that truly prepares me for life, for love, for service. Where am I still weak?
And now, Lord, where do I look?
My hope is in You. Help me not feel cheap, for any reason. Help me live transparently, decreasing, but magnifying You.
Help me do beautiful things to You.
Today I wanted to cut my hair. I felt fat again. I felt beastly and incapable of any constancy, any good. The euphoria of the trip seemed a little fanciful. I felt stupid hula-hooping to the TV show. It felt stupid. If I were at school, I think I would go to the cairn. Let Your wild, quiet heart put me back into sorts. Never leave me. Please never give up on me.
And give me patience, perseverance, love for this time. There are so many people. I don't know how to behave. And I get most bitey and impatient with those I love most. Please forgive me. Help me start tomorrow fed on Your grace, hope, courageous love.

"The point was that now I knew it didn't matter whether or not I understood. It didn't matter because even if I didn't understand, there was something there to be understood."
-Madeleine L'Engle, "The Moon By Night," p. 208

Thank You for waking me ~4am to come look at the glorious sky.

Lord, You are my one comfort. Please help me heal. Help me sleep tonight. Renew me again, make me less of a wuss: cowardly, weak, ineffectual. Life is always adjusting to one thing or another, isn't it? But we're headed somewhere. This is not a closed system. Hallelujah. Thank You for Israel.

"Meekness is teachability. It is the readiness to be shown, which includes the readiness to lay down my fixed notions, my objections and 'what ifs' or 'but what abouts,' my certainties about the rightness of what I have always done or thought or said."

-Elisabeth Elliot

"I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry."
-Psalm 40:1 NIV

Seamus Heaney died today.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Lines from the months of this last year: May and June

How come it is so easy to lose track of the story?

Be all. End all.

Dear Jesus,
It's art show eve.
Make me very clear tomorrow. Something You can shine through, where no praise or snub or comparison even sticks.
Because I am nothing without You. Make me Your pure joy.

Jesus. I want to be in the belly of Your great fish.

Hearts of flesh. That is what we ask for.

Today was a splendid day.
I woke up with a runny nose. And wonder of wonders, after taking some allergy meds I WENT BACK TO BED! Imagine!
Then N. and I went for a walk around Coy and Gull. Encountered a snake. Sat on the rock at Gull, talked and sang and felt such a kinship. Prayed, watching the water glitter in the sun.
A. helped me make challah. I braided her hair during the first rising, and we gave each other back massages. Her Mom came. C. wrapped books on our floor.
I practiced music with H....we played "When Mac Was Swimming."
Which was perfect.
Nobody knows, darling
Nobody knows how they are loved.

Lord, You are so gracious. I could die now.

Just over a year ago You saved BF and Miss E. and J. in their car accident. THANK YOU.

I've been feeling so sick - I didn't expect it to be this hard. Jesus.
I don't want the wonder to seep out...

I was made to love. We come alive when loved. So drown us in our sleep,
and steep us in love.

Help my unbelief. Give me the courage to give up everything.
I feel threatened, naked.
Oh, grow me steadily in this time. Increase my compassion, do not let me harden.
Make me a holy woman.

How will You make Yourself known? What do You desire in this world?
What does Your kingdom look like? Let me be a (decidedly unfashionable) part of it.
Prune me some more. Help me trust You when I can't love You (Davy's poem), and Love You with all I am.


Me: "J., if I had a juicy ripe peach in my hand, I'd give it to you."
J: "Why?"
Me: "Because I love you."
Mom: "And I would give you a plate."

Make me a fool for You.
I am as small as ever.

Help me serve,
and in serving find You, find joy, know that I am never useless to You,
and You will put me wherever You want me to be.

You know how to form a heart with strength, vigor, bounce, and endless tenderness. Create that in me.

What has brought me to this place?
Feeling so powerless. Angry. Feeling against everything.
Knowing my own helplessness and disgusted with it, vengeful.
What else could Tamar do? He was stronger.

Later -

Holy asperges.
Thank You.

Well. It must be done sometime. Why not me, now?
"For such a time as this" - to clean out the garage.
Please show me Yourself, myself, again. This world. Those gentle, gentle hands of Italy.

Helped Mom clean out her closet, listening to lovely music. We found love letters from Dad; she read me three and said I could read the rest after she died. Then laughed and said maybe sooner.

Prepare for the convent. Give things away.
Rely on no man. That's what I'm feeling. Jesus, You keep me awake and I'm afraid I've stopped listening. Stopped hearing Your voice. Become a shell.
Help me, I am aroused and combative but more from desperation than strength.
Oh, let this cost me everything.
I will not sacrifice what costs me

I love You.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Lines from the months of this last year: March and April


Everyone on the side of truth listens to You.*

I am ready.
Jesus, You, right here. And me, too.
Because You are welcoming me into something.
Then show me. And help me believe and come,
all of me, none behind.

Take charge.
Lord, I know you so little. And even though
my every atom is Yours,  I am not aware of You as I should be. Or so
near You. Or so like You. Or so believing in You.
Perhaps I made You up.

Perhaps You swallowed me whole.

*(see John 18:37)

"He who is bearing others knows that he himself is being borne, and only in this strength can he go on bearing."
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 103

"Sticky little leaves."

There will be enough.

You look as if you learned things from trees.
"How can I be here for you, even after everything that's gone?" I let the words roll off my tongue like any others.

I was in Rome this time last year.

I am glad You made me. I love living.

Help me not do anything that would blunt my consciousness, my conscience. Make the world real and sharp to me.
Lure out my ant lions. Help me feel Your fingers pressed against me. Your face inclined.  That freedom, again, in taking the gift. Choosing trust. Choosing acceptance.
Believing in grace. Giving absurdly.

A warmth along my legs and in my temples gathering.
Make me just right for whatever You have for me.
I love this beauty. The man in his small schooner, "PROPHET." Watching us from the cabin window. All the colors of winter. Stark, exquisite skeletons against the snow. Dark maples. White birches. Rich, subdued pine, spruce, and fir. Variegated stones, rippled or craggy or split clean as logs. The fog cloaking the mountains, gliding through the harbor like a ghost. The shrubs and sparse undergrowth, russet and tufa yellow. Ochre. Piled buoys. Gray and cerulean.

Felt pretty alive.

Thank You for a lovely day.
Also, a highlight: picking up dog doo and being caught by Dr. B.

Now yogurt, Bible, bed. You take such good care of me. You don't despise me. Help me care well.
H. said I have a lovely face. And they like gap teeth. Thank You for giving me such friends, Daddy.

Show him how rich solid GOOD You are. Make him insatiably hungry for You. Reorder his past, his thoughts, his visions, toward Your will. Give him at least one very faithful, very trustworthy friend, to talk straight, love him.

At one point, sitting side by side and drawing, she laid her hand between my shoulders and stroked my back a little, and it almost made me cry. A little reminder of how much I miss Mom, those safe, familiar, not exaggerated physical affections.
They forgot to pay me. And I literally forgot to mention it until M. was driving me back.

"But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit." (1 Cor. 6:17 NIV)

Please show up again. Help me see the world full of grace and light.

One of the best birthday parties ever.

And You. Lovely, Lovely, Lord.
Loving me with wind even when I was angry as barbed wire.

28(29). Maundy Thursday
Oh, this time last year...You were making symbols for the rest of my life. Stations of the Cross.

I feel like I failed her, in some way. Was too namby-pamby, wanting everyone to feel good, stifling my doubts, the hard truth. Did I? When is it humility, and when is it cowardice?

Please bring me closer to You now, more ready to enter into Your humility and suffering. Raise us up again.
Abby: "'This is my body, pre-sliced for your convenience."
Oh, Lord. You broke Your body for me.
Help me enter into brokenness, vulnerability, with You. Extravagance, faith, trust.
I love you, Lord.

You told me I was wild
And You loved me.


The most important thing I can do now is be close to You.

"God our Savior...wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."
- 1 Timothy 2:3b-4 NIV

Jesus. Lord. Is that true? Do you hate Esau? You don't show favoritism. And yet You chose people. And you harden hearts. Why? What are You doing?
Why not today?

Pollen. Each plant has its own pollen.
I want to be a poet. You are my love.
I want to write You the sort of letter You will linger over, marking the flourish of my letters, the loops and knots on the D of my Dear.

Monica's love is still growing.

There are so many of us, Lord.
Lord, I could die well if I knew all these, and all the others swirling in my mind & heart, would know, would come to know, You.

This is a time where I feel like cutting. Simply because nothing seems so eloquent as blood, so concrete as pain.
But You Paid.
Keep on with Your steady healing.

Praise You. For this apartment, these friends. For air and light, siblings. Thunder. Not sure why I thought of that. For the already very promising Peace Like a River.

Lord, please show us Yourself in ways we can accept, see, believe.
Increase our faith. And give us daily bread, steady nourishment for training. Help me to be diligent and devoted.
Thank You for hope.

Jesus, I choose contentment. I am so glad You placed me here, for this time. It is good.
You are good. You are to be fully trusted.

"Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD
who has compassion on you.
- Isaiah 54:10 NIV

Make me soft and singing clay.

God, we cry to You. Our arms lift to You without our trying.

The cross is blooming, and so am I.
I am Yours.
I can't help feeling that the moon is a little bit mine tonight.

Swallow My Will.

Keep my heart thirsty for You, looking for You,
like sleep.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Lines from the months of this last year: January and February


Perhaps someday I will love holiness in a beautiful way. Until then, if I must love and choose it in an awkward, stilted way, so be it.

Jesus. Gesu. Moshiach.
      let these marks mean something. Not just the old words I've said before, but something that burns from paper to skin, as if You were calling me out of myself.
Show me how to touch. How to be. How to listen. How to move. Open the way for greater lessness. Humility and confidence and unashamed love. A realistic estimation of myself. A willingness to be wrong, to change.
Help me see.
                     I mean it. (I want to -)
                                 And take my things.
Let me live as if I was preparing for my birth, wedding, funeral.

Thank You for this day that mattered.
Mom's kindness & love and singing hymns to me even when I felt beastly.
Kneading bread together.

Renew my vision of what we could look like.

She's very happy being married....not to be compared with knowing God. Nothing is better than knowing God...
She encouraged me it was good to wait, and wait for the right man. He wakes up at 4am and kneels at the foot of their bed and prays.

Mom and I prayed kneeling at my bed, after looking at photos. Dad came and put his hands on our backs.
Lord, it was a good day. And help me know how to live as Yours to do with. I mean not half there, but all there.

I love Amish farmland. And I love my family. Yet I need Your help to be present here, to take nothing for granted, to live fully, fearlessly loving. Like A. talked about last night; how Americans seem so friendly and yet reluctant to form close relationships - because people leave, and it's hard to be hurt.
But everyone must leave.
"Everything Must Go!" has a ring of truth. Well, right now I want to stay right here, so long as there are things for me to do. Help me hold the world lightly.

It looked like a movie; car frame visible through engulfing orange flames. Dark smoke towering into the air. A string of emergency vehicles. You were there, Lord.
And so I trust You for all this. This year.

Be kind to them. Very kind and true and persistent, I pray. Open doors and windows and mouths and hearts. Keep working, I beg You. Thank You.

Lord, how will You ever teach me to trust You? I'm a pretty tough case.
...So much pain, Jesus....Show me how to be a friend to her. But mostly, Jesus, please be her friend. Patient, constant, gentle, forgiving, kind.
Oh, kind! PLEASE! Lord, I believe You are kind. You just helped me find my watch, and You helped me find my key in the snow the other day. But You are much kinder than that. You are redemptively kind. And we need that. We need incarnation, Lord. We need to touch You. To feed on Your body. To know the depth and the lengths of the suffering You went to for us.
You are not cold.
And I am not lost. Not hipster. Not bonk. I am Your child, Your young bride.

Dad: "These are my expectations: Come home and be yourself."

Slip Yourself into his drink.

Dear Jesus,
You are a beautiful guide. But help me be a better follower. For all this tomorrow, guide, I pray. As for today, thank you. The lovely, lovely Burns night. Helping make haggis (delicious). Seeing so many good faces. Talking & catching up. Singing, reciting, listening. Eating. Had only 3 sips of whisky. Teeny ones.
It's nice to know I can make conversation - good conversation. Though sometimes I can't.

27. (Sunday)
Dear, Fair One.
Now help me rest in You these hours. I don't know what I want. But I do know I want You, at least. Help me create enough space to listen. Like on our rock this afternoon, when it grew still suddenly, even the wind, and the slanted winter sun felt warm.
Anoint our tongues.
     Feed me.
And help me feed others like Mononoke.

Dear Jesus,
I love You.
I feel the great need now. The great emptiness - fullness. The thinness. Like the battle's coming closer. The battle's tomorrow, and I'm already tired, and I've already won and suffered. Or lost and acquiesced.
Make a strong yes in me. Teach me the texture of words, of "I love you." Of smiles and of listening without seducing. Teach my soul to rest in you.
Help me wear the armor. To pray the things I really want to pray (bring them to You). Make me lovely. Don't give up on me. Show us how faithful You are to keep Your promises. Comfort deeply. Purify, prune, nourish. Speak.

It is almost the end of January. Thank You, Lord, for this good month. For H. asking me to pray. For good classes, and Little Women, and barefoot swinging with N. and A.
Please help me to be faithful and obedient.
Thank You for making the world.
Slow me down, Lord.


"With the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Luke 6:38 NIV)

I feel so spent. So unready for tomorrow. But I give You myself and I trust You, and I ask You to use me. Thank You for such a beautiful apartment. And such great friends. Your closeness to me. Help me both give and hide and keep secrets.

Thank You for naming me.
Please name me again.
I would love to make my name true.
To air these things (on kitchen cabinet doors -)
You know what this last week has been. You know my plans, my fears, my already-weariness.
But thank You for being here. For the joy and comfort and challenge of friendship.
I don't know much further. But You have been perfectly good. And I bless Your Name. Over every curse.
Jesus, Christ, Son of the Living God,
be worshipped and glorified.

9. (Blizzard)
Please help me as I get so irritable and narrow. So fractious.
Help me see and love well.
Live fully in Your grace, in COURAGE.
Like staying on the swing and singing tonight when I was TERRIFIED.
Glory, glory, glory. Have me.

I need Your help now. I hope to go gluten-free again. And to be well. And to know myself and not hide from questions. But I am so afraid of the ugliness of navel-gazing. So come with me. And show me Your world, Your self.
I am less sure of things than I was, but I believe You are completely trustworthy. As I.G. said,
We are not single players in this. That is why there is a God. You lead us and You empower others.
Take me down from my ivory tower.
But please promise me You'll feed me Nothing but Yourself.

Why not today?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Honey After Milk

Communion today was mulled wine
passed between us in a blue and white
china cup. The sleigh bells chimed,
"Look up! This is a never-again,
a just-like-always,"
an eternity. Their faces encircling me.

Knotted hands, orange
peels, soft brie
and popcorn and truffles.
Honey after milk -
that first ecstatic
memory of home, primal and dear to us
like the sun, like mother,
even when unseen.

When what is between us comes clean,
slides off in one sheet
like snow from a roof,
this is what we prayed for:
to see You.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

We Once Imagined Life

We once imagined life
was paper bags with oil spots,
or downy nests, or the splicing
of hands.

In the space between
two pines,
under breath,
we whispered, "yours" and
"mine." The dove's breastbone,

A clot of sap is sticking to us both,
our torn coats dusted,
nothing new under the sun,
or dewy eyed, after another
skin graft,

does it last?

Is there virtue in this cold salt
clinging to the center?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Autumn is your best friend's wedding
         It is quicksand in dreams

It is the last bleeding passion
                                         until Spring.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Before I Die

Last night I asked myself what things
I'd like to do before I die.

I'd like to be bolder. Speak out to people,
encourage them. Put words to things, put pen to paper,
name what each friend means.
Name strangers. Smile on the street.
Pick up trash, be ridiculously forgiving, pray for babies
unborn. Bless my parents, be attentive
to my brothers, be consciously quiet
more often.

Sing. Only songs I believe in. Leave recordings
of my voice for someday nieces, nephews. Keep a few
things, give the rest
Dress away from windows.
Dress pretty every day. Make clothes happy
to be worn, put them on like prayers,

Sacrifice my pride and laugh a little at myself,
more often. Be a klutz,
clean up after myself,
and after others.
Take showers, finally take care of my toenails. Wear no makeup,
but smell like herbs and spices. Bake 
double batches to give away, 
make extras for the freezer.

Read poems every day. Note the headlines, cut the fluff, only watch youtube 
for double-rainbow moments.
Own my issues. Tell it straight. Say the things (I think) maybe only I
struggle with. Ask questions. Be that nerd.
Write friends' names 
in my favorite books. 
Look for lonely people. Leave anonymous bouquets.

Trace my family's faces. Make smaller 
paintings. Print the photos, finally.

Listen to advice. Embrace silence. Sweat hard,
sleep early. Sleep out under the sky. Look into eyes.
Go barefoot.

Monday, August 12, 2013

We Knew You Meant It

We knew you meant it when you met us,
smiling, eyes the kind of calm
of pioneers
used to scanning
long horizons, crops still sprouting, expectant.

We are here because it was no mistake,
that interchange of yeses, rosary chain of
long-touching, uncertain and unforeseen
pricks of conscious choice, and still more conscious
folding into small-enough-to-fit
in any suitcase,

Traveling here, spreading out to view
hay bales, fields,
the irrepressible clouds,
we feel we are seeing in your eyes, again,
that quiet question,
will you live?

Monday, August 5, 2013

This Is the Great Migration

This the great

From place
to place we feel

Not long ago,
a green anole
browning on the bush's top -

even at home
we shift, we grow,
we reared two clutches
in one nest
this season.

Monday, July 22, 2013

"What Arms You Have Afterward"

"what arms you have afterward."
prodigy. progeny. progée. 
when i am alone i eat a lot of
salad, pancakes and cheese sandwiches.
what i want now are clear directions - (i'd like to be
as reliable as the dishwasher)
what to say to him,
how to use my afternoon
                        when time is nothing like money
                        and learning matters as much as ever (but is
                        no longer a number on a page)
how count the inches the morning glory vine
climbed, curling around the rail?
how bless the basil     large enough i finally snipped three leaves
today, careful as a baby's first haircut?
what to make
of all the bugs i save and bring outside, tilting my hand
against a leaf until they crawl off?
too much in the closet, too much in the mind. and where to find
a nesting place.

Quote: Carl Nellis, "Feathered"

Thursday, July 4, 2013


It terrifies me, how beautiful you are becoming.
The forming of your face, turning into itself,
you more and more,
and your eyes knowing things
I don't know yet.
It frightens me.

Like I am losing you already. You should wear ash everyday,
to remind me. To say, "I was never yours to start with,
we keep each other company on the way,
and that is all."

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Our Pantheon

Stay with me by the river
I built a little house
there are snakes in the water
there are fields to the south
of the furrow

the rain comes
the snow comes
our house is an open eye
                                   our Pantheon
through which all nature pounds.

We will be cold as stones
in the morning

we will warm 
and move like fish

First of March, 2013

Jesus, You, right here. And me, too.
Because You are welcoming me into something.
Then show me. And help me believe and come,
all of me, none behind.

Take charge.
Lord, I know you so little. And even though
my every atom is Yours,  I am not aware of You as I should be. Or so
near You. Or so like You. Or so believing in You.
Perhaps I made You up.

Perhaps You swallowed me whole.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Last Leg, 1 AM

Tonight is our last on the road
in a hotel, before the last leg tomorrow. The drive will wear out my Dad,
already snoring again after a second awakening (the first by
my brother and me 
giggling over a nasty pair of ear plugs
I offered him in the dark).

The AC whirs and chills my neck and shoulders 
where I sit tucked 
beside my roll-away, trying not to wake 
the rest of them.

It has been a long day. 
At the Arby’s, twelve hours ago, my brother asked me,

Does today seem wrong to you?  

Mom red-eyed in the parking lot, 
on the phone. Dad without appetite. 
Another surgery. Another ordeal.

Not really,

But maybe I was setting up shields, re-reading eucharisteo,
fastening my eyes on a single leaf whizzing by
to say, “God knows that leaf, that one
among billions.” 

We passed the Georgia Peach, the Shot Tower, like every year
up to New Hampshire from the Florida panhandle.
I was warm and small.

I have been trying to practice Now. Like trying to see my footprint
before stepping forward.
But I can’t see this one, only feel it.
Only take the next step, presently.  Look back and see the others.

Only whisper in the dark as the waves lap,
“I used to be afraid of the ocean.”

I'll be glad to have a cemetery near. No better place 
for an evening walk, a ramble. For making you feel blithely mortal 
and blossom-like,

This is my birthday, and I, like everyone save Enoch,
have a grave somewhere,



How small in my hands,
now dangerously
and rounding out again. Excrement
soft on your soft belly.

I cleaned you, captivated,
for you were a little, lovely thing

like six ropes of clay
like an insect I drowned
in the dishwater-

sentient, terribly alive,
so delicately needing me
and fond of me
for no reason.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Old Rag

Whose mouth
licked up your tip
like an ice cream cone?


What is prayer? Waiting, fasting -
cheek damp
across the pages,
knees red stippled in the floor?
Or words, or

silence pressed up in
a pulled plow,
yelps like a cut thing?
Tight-faced child in the doctor's chair. It will
be over,
this might hurt
a little.

It is the plower cutting,
It is the earth splitting open:


Friday, May 24, 2013

Widow Wearing Lipstick

I understand why we mark time in inches of hair,
why we say, "the day this grew, you were with me,"

and let it fall in clumps on the linoleum.
Blessed be the name of Lord.

Color is too soon,
we are allowed sorrow.

Italics: Job 1:21c

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Eat me, Drink me
everything said,
and now I am too large, too small
for this house, these windows cutting out
the same scene as before.

In a month's time, in a year's time,
what will have shrunk and grown?
I want to know.
For now I am ashamed
to find me feverish, insipid,
fearing touch.

If I have returned too blown,
chasten me.

I only ask
You make me once more
wonder at the world,
break against the leaves in hunger,
blow with purpose, burn with charity,
which so claimed
my life before.

Let's have no more
of wanderlust.

Italics: Reference to Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland."
"Break...blow...burn," from John Donne, Holy Sonnet 14

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

From Arms to Arms

To be sure, they have created
threescore kinds of wheels, and more,
and touch is bought and sold,    but no one
traveled so before  -

from arms to arms, and lingering

as the last lick of sun
on shoulders. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Friday, April 26, 2013

Clouds, Holy Water, Butter

How do we know when You are speaking to us?
You are something holy,
You keep us up at night.

I hang on your arms like a clingy dancer
apologizing repulsively -
I'm sorry.

This might be indigestion
or a league of angels outside my window,
faces turned full toward me like moons,
pale deer.

           Once I ran, I run, I wanderlust
I wait to be anesthetized. I ring my hands
or swish around in pantaloons, ripening
for the orphanage.


e = yes.


Come by here and walk with me among the herbs
like some sophisticated gentleman,
discriminating lavender from lavender
who walks upstairs in slippers
and doesn't use the banister or a pool clad cape. A bag of sand.

Dementia. I will always be a helpless pea-weed, somewhere sending tendrils
out to the patronizing son. Take what I can get. Lick up
a frozen drop azalea, rhododendron.

Rubber buy, rubber buy beads. Rubber buy beads and coats. Old peat coats. Nanny goats
and sleep.

Friday, April 19, 2013

We Are

We are
bared tongue
to the ice

bared eyes
to the sun

bared arms to bared arms

bared arms to bared arms.

Trickle to the Sea

I am always afraid of mediocrity.
But if I say nothing, chance nothing,
sling nothing out into the air,

nothing will set forth
or turn colors,
peach and green and umber.

And so call, spread out, cast off silently on a river.
Earth itself needs to see
the things it grows while sleeping. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

While snipping a bowl of string beans...

While snipping a bowl of string beans,
I thought of
how your name tastes on my tongue -

- smoke and brick,
cedar chips
and coriander seed.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

first love

how did i choose?
     i was so young
with you.

i opened my eyes

and yours was the first
face I saw

     it was over.

i loved you

from the day i was born

and the moment i saw your face
i knew you were true.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter 2013: Tallis Canon

All praise to Thee.

I am so thick with memories. It is as if
I'd never washed at all -

the mud and wet hay,
that soft fur, the kid goat's muzzle,
the gray bare trees
and cerulean sky.

Ducks guzzling in puddles,
chickens squawking,
the cow chewing stolidly,
the white mother nanny
hard and disinterested.

What happens when we grow -
do we blink in the light,
shy away, then go
and find the world too small?

Or can we somehow enter again
our mother, choose from the beginning
to give all burstingly?

To wait for months underground
and wake as freshly,
undaunted, lean and fasted,
singing greenly
what we lived for in our first undoing.

I am finding
it was safe under snow and
Almighty wings.

"All praise to Thee" and "Almighty wings" taken from the Thomas Tallis canon.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring Peepers

I have not looked at your face
this way in a long time.
I forgot that peaked chin,

those eyebrows asking questions,
infant delicate.

The water of your pond-brown eyes,
the slipped chisel on your nose, those
indented happy accidents.

Lips more resolute
than I remembered.

I have not heard spring peepers in so long
I almost did not notice. There are sounds now -

Red-winged blackbirds,
song sparrows, a raven picking bits

of sticks to nest with. I stopped to watch,
but he chid me, dropped them

I left a trail of prints in the chilled mud,
spreading my toes,
hoping they'd be smiled at.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Born Today

What is a new day,
taken like a vitamin,
a fresh Q-tip,
the tang of citrus?

What are days for
except to parcel up our lives
as tidy gifts,
and time capsules?

I wrote once,
           People shouldn't be allowed 
                              to be this angry
And another time,
          Why am I so unconscionably happy?

One day I cringe beneath the weight
of my own head's hair,
another feel the lift
of every leaf.

No wonder you named me 
in a deep place where I could not scream
and did not want to know
what that wetness was,
dripping down my throat -
your cold hands 
pressed to my temples -

because what other 
throb than this
burns through
pores and cleanly
births me?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

White Mountains

This is the

Love created it.

God moved His hand here, 
over a sleeping body.

Signs pass, mountains pass. Snowy camels, crouching lions.
Perfect Nubian Dairy Goats.

The slant sun amber on the pines.
I would like to live on a mountaintop,
To turn an age you can turn over in your hand, 
that feels the same.

We repair slowly. 
I am free.

Love can unmake it.

I would like to live on a mountaintop. 
"That's where the sun touches last."

"Love made the bond. Love can break it, too."
-Terrence Malick's The New World

-Naarita Arnold-Avila

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

On the Day of the Passing of Dr. David Lumsdaine

Why not today?

A day I felt particularly alive, going outside
in steady cold rain.
Wearing red and smiling, opening my hands,
tilting my face, blinded, whipped
by wind.
Feeling water soak up through the cracks
in the soles of my boots.

We should always pray and not give up.


Were vigils not enough? Or were we led into your heart a little
yesterday, among the monotypes -
gently led to stillness long enough
to hear your yes through the no of this day?

Death is always irony. And there is something inside of me
that is loosened like a bird,
that is sharpened,

I will not give up. I will pray.

Why not today?

Luke 18:1 "Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up." 
(Shared with me by Dr. Lumsdaine fall '12).

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Four Weeks Without Eucharist

you peeled your skin off slowly in front of me
there where we burned our feet in the snow.

you tell me i will write poems about myself
but i will not.

i could write your crucifixion
on the back of my hand.    the stairwell
    your firm shoulder
your close breath        leaves as you are

like steam     like rust and green and
avocado eyes. your burning almond eyes
your thick sap     your eyes two sunken canoes
i drowned in.

there is
your skin on my tongue.

No One is Enough

How like feathers
 like the slow growth of hair

I have seen nothing
  have not been

There is nothing but to fear God and keep his commands.

"Now all has been heard; 
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man."

-Ecclesiastes 11:13 NIV

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Song

Why am I so
unconscionably happy?

There must have been
something in the wine,
something in the water,
something in the host -

There must have been something in the wine
something in my soul.

You were only waiting,
waiting for me to turn.

Oh, and I will turn my head
and I will turn my heart
and I will turn my hands
and I will tune my tongue -

You were only waiting,
waiting for me to turn.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

An Improbability of Gnus

It was like you,
sending ducks
and telling me to sweep glass
into a dustpan
in the melted snow on the

It would be nice to be
something besides that part of society
that plays stiff and proper and
clean and
I want to look inside,
feel my eyebrows like two wounds forming,
to understand what love looks like without words
or from a wheelchair.

Please become impossible so that I can trust you
from the corner of the gallery,
from the rusty chair in the snow,
from the swing,
from the desk at night.

Quote: Nina Cassian: "Ordeal," translated from the Russian by Impey and Swann

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Four Minutes

I don't know how
in four minutes,
I will write anything
worth two peas.


did I not
see eyes
in the shrubbery -


baby MOUTH puckered
you are TERRIBLE
and I love you.

your thick earlobes
and raisin cake mouth.
Your toes like
ten peas.

Thursday, January 31, 2013


For the last time,
believe me or believe my hands
stretched up out
of habit.

for granted, take me
at my word,
that I mean as
ine this
     reflection of sin
these cupped hands
or these closed eyes leaking

These legs too
are folded like white

Number my head and
                    nail me
and keep what you find.


rosemary bought us a riverbed
              (all my gold)
we wore nightgowns
in the rafters

circled our heads
          left circles
a circle wants to be perfect.

there is nothing lovelier than your arm
            (i shall see more)
   and the terror
of your eyes.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


They say you can't sin in dreams.

I say I've tried.
And same thing happens,

I learned the best way possible
how shame
grateful for being caught.


At times like this there is nothing I can offer you
but my silence and attention.

If you knew
how much I wish my voice
was softer
or my movements
like the mare's neck
like swans

you'd see both
honey and dung
in my eyes

the hope of refinement.

Because gentle is not proud, but good
and worth having.
And worth giving to one
who waits so patient
with hands folded.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


When I stand in the corner, and you stand across from me,
I am delighted like a pillow fight
and almost ready

to bite you hard or roar
a little

and prove I am still older
(though you are stronger).

Her Speech

Your words are like raindrops collected

sliding leaf to leaf and lastly


into water



Her Mother

There is a thin rim
of blue
your eyes,
their blackness two
round spoons
skin like olive wood.

There are not words
there is no hand small
enough to curl around
your hair and find
each one

like flakes
like butterflies' tongues.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Lines from the months of this last year: November & December


How do we handle what seems like a waste? What kind of waste is this?
What kind of gift?

A Sabbath, because I want to be open to anything. To wave my arms in windmills, with others.
This is not how small I feel. And I asked to be small.
But I'd like to be more immediate, more absolute.
These are the same dreams planted in me as a child. Farmer Artist Ballerina. Why do we want to be such beautiful things?

Why am I so incapable of repaying?

"But since we belong to the day,
let us be self-controlled,
putting on faith and love as a breastplate,
and the hope of salvation
as a helmet."
- I Thessalonians 5:8 NIV

Painting. Painting daringly.

She wrote "love" on my grocery list.

Your name is on His hands.
It's not enough: in His blood.

All I want is You.
Into Great Silence.
What am I headed toward?
Where am I going?

The tree lights. The kindred.

Make my heart sound, and wholly Yours. Protect me from temptation and give me the guts to flee it.

Swallow me.

Perfect things. Things partial but falling into place.

I want to be Your friend.
           I write things in blood when I can.
I have a stack of letters wrapped in lace.

If I can't go into this with You, it's pointless - if I can't love You first, hear You, respond wholeheartedly. Honor me, honor me, You said. With the first fruits.

"To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!"
-Revelation 5:13b NIV

All is well.

Thank You for loving us in our folly.
Smooth over the strange things.
Things we did as beastly kids.
Lord, forgive us our sins. Help us truly repent.

Cherubim and seraphim.
Eternal Yes.

Words are too important.



That today, even with my painful vacillations,
fluttering lungs, and wounds, I got
the feeling that
       All this loving leads to more Love.
                And pain is "vitamins."*

He lost paintings to a flood.
And I am not the coolest.
There's the ugly. I'm jealous. Now the stupid is out.
Jesus, put the truth back in place.

*(thanks, Todd Komarnicki)

"High five for having great faces."

Please do guide our tomorrow, my Sabbath. Make it a true one, justice and mercy and attention. Bless Your Name, Jesus, for always giving what is needed.
Thank You for what You did three years ago.

And let me love You for Your face.

What I'd like for Christmas is clarity. Holy simplicity. Trust.
Order and beauty with a touch of the daily, like my room across from me, clothes laid out (texture, pattern, browns, grays, deep green and blue). Two red pears.
A ceramic bird. Her pencil holder and baseball bat for her grandmother and Washington. The bouquet of greenery and berries in a maple syrup jar. My alto recorder peeping out from my backpack.
You speaking at just the right time, giving me just what I need.

Silliness. Cynicism, or not.

You held my hands this early morning. That's a mystery. Right to right and left to left, but You were behind me.

Thank You for You, Your people. Blend us.

Show Yourself.

Empower, impassion, em-peace us.
Ready me for whatever is ahead. For love.
Wear down my pride. Fiercely, gently.
Mostly, let me love You.

"Take only ways that are firm."
-Proverbs 4:26b NIV

I am surrounded by love.

Nothing is good unless you give it your attention.

Obedience makes you safe everywhere, no matter how dangerous.
Disobedience makes you safe nowhere.

He came home, looking all solid and blue-eyed and cinnamon bearded.

The sunset, Dad sawing branches, me running barefoot to the catalpa.

Build us into spacious places. Pure temples.

I am not comfortable saying this,
but if following You means giving up all this,
my life, my family,
home's comforts,
then take them. I give them to You.
My health, my talents, everything.
I trust You to use me.
I trust You.

You stand at the door and knock.
You could be so much more to me than I let You be.

Thank You that I do feel I could let this go...

Baby Jesus got a Monster Truck. John the Baptist baptized me with gold. Prepared me for my wedding.
We ate lettuce and pretzels.

I am an introvert. But I'm seen. And it's OK that I'm not effervescent.

"Whoever isolates himself
seeks his own desire;
he breaks out against all sound judgement."
-Proverbs 18:1 ESV

It's not for nothing, our history. You are faithful.
You save all my drawings.

"A man of many companions
may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks
closer than a brother."
-Proverbs 18:24 NIV

Dreamt of looking for Wendell Berry books in the library.

Make me a gardener. Make things grow, old and new.
Annuals and perennials.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Lines from the months of this last year: September & October


Woodsing. Finally back to the cairn, the lean-to.

Swinging was glory.

They are the same in You - the telling and the meaning.

Asked God, "I know Jesus loves me, but please show me You love me." Immediately I heard a soft but intent knocking on the door. I called out thickly, "Coming!" and struggled into wakefulness with a sense of duty, urgency. Lay with my eyes open, listening to hear the knock again, and testing/tasting my tongue to discover if I'd really spoken.
All was quiet. My mouth felt sleepy. So! I thought. You still wake me up at the oddest hours. In the dark I remembered that the verses I'd posted across were all about God's care for us.


I remember walking to Bolsena, how I felt all the filth of my own heaviness, and yet the terrible joy and freedom of being Yours. Of loving my legs. Of feeling that I could please and delight You. And the people, all the weight I carried, all the burdens of guilt for not doing enough to love, support...You carried that. They were in me, but not on my shoulders anymore. You carried them, and You carried them within me. And there was light, and air, and room. We could go somewhere.

Those moments of feeling so miserable, so out of place. Unnamed. And then Named again... What does our world need, and what will I name my children?
What did I see? Healer. Transparency.
Affection. Humility. Care. Kindness.
Respect. Glue. Zeal. Servant. Acceptor.
Jealousy. Insecurity. Pride. Judgement. Isolation.
Mockery. Superiority. Gossip. Aloofness.
Bitterness. Impatience. Selfishness. Entitlement.
Cleanse me of these.

We, our names, are prophecies.



We became Shoshone sisters.

Let it be said,
let it be known,
that I was nothing but Yours.

Jesus, I need Your love. I'm shattered with images, with needs.

The fiddles says,

you will wake up strong
        sun will come through the slats
    red leaves will fall
          you will turn with arms raised.

I thought to myself,
"What's the point of life if I can't do something beautiful?
That's not right. When you were a child your smile lit up the room,
and you weren't even trying."

"To know one person who is positively to be trusted, will do more for a man's moral nature - yes, for his spiritual nature - than all the sermons he has ever heard or ever can hear."
- George MacDonald, "Malcolm," 329

Such a good day. Quiet, foggy, rested in and out.

I have nothing new or original to say. But just take me.

Lord, I'm remembering, realizing more and more, that the VERY BEST thing I can do is be close to You. Read Your Word. Believe it. Act on it. Pray. Rest.

"Come, let us return to the LORD.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds.
After two days he will revive us,
that we may live in his presence.
Let us acknowledge the LORD;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth."
-Hosea 6:1-3 NIV

David pouring the water.

Lines from the months of this last year: August

Help me find that greater confidence that rests solely on You, without any need for me to feel at all "together."

My mind, too, must love You.

Thank You for protecting me while I feel so vulnerable. While I don't relish food, music, or anything really, but just need You. Thank You for allowing me, even so, to keep working. Songs are returning.

It is so windy tonight. I went out and knelt on the stone.

Thank You for leading us to good places.

Your lovely arms.

"...A certain unselfish confidence which is the mother of dignity."
-George MacDonald, "Malcolm," 73

"The worst of foolish laws is, that when the insurgent spirit casts them off, it is but too ready to cast away with them the genial self-restraint which these fretting trammels have smothered beneath them."
-Ibid., 74

I don't want to live with an imaginary boss behind my back.

What a refreshing feeling: not a cent in my pocket.

I absent-mindedly put vanilla yogurt in the chili tonight.

We had a good day. It helps to say it.

The way memories lurk and appear.

The best part of the morning was You, Jesus.

So good to see them looking so alive and beautiful. She took my face in her hands and said it was good to see it.

He said something to the girls about being barefoot. I defended,
"But I'm barefoot!"
"Well," he said, "you're different."

I was silly and ordered chocolate milk, of all things.
The check came in a music box.

Help me not miss anything You want me to know, to do, to love.

Something good is happening when your children love each other.

She made faces across the room at me during the meeting.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Lines from the months of this last year: July

The Fourth of July. July. July, July.
We've been cooking up a storm.

I think he understands loneliness better now than he probably ever has before.

Praise You, Jesus, because You are to be fully trusted, and You bless us. Give me a heart and hands willing to do and to give whatever You ask.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free."
-Galations 5:1a NIV

I told her, and I think it's true, that God is planning something, has something in store, is preparing me. I don't know when, and don't feel particularly impatient. Just more and more confident in Him, His plan, His goodness.

Moses' law. Isis' temple. Bale's act. Charles's belt. Jesus' love.

Releasing a tiny bee from a closed lily.

Confessing this morning.
"I trust you completely."

A towel. Birds nesting. An owl last night.
The sermon, music. Suffering loosens us from the grasp of the flesh.

"You'll know she is true if she will say, 'the King is my father.'"

Please help me not to be anxious or feathery or frozen, but to be fully alive. Brave in the face of my own self, loneliness and fears of not being what I should be.
Just help me be.

The next week and a half could be so beautiful. One of the turning points of my life. Or terrible, frightful, wasted.
Let it shine, pulse, laugh with utter You. I give You all of me as a sacrifice.

I didn't expect You to be so beautiful.

The last few days have been overcast, even thick with fog.
I could taste it as I ran.

What I really want is a woman's heart.
And I have an urge to be a girl again, to see a greatness and nobleness in mundane things, because I am so far from being able to do them... knead bread. Sail. Go to college. Answer phones professionally. Comfort babies.

In enforced idleness we are still useful to You.

I've held the cross, the cross that Amy held.
In this sign, conquer.
Oh, Lord, enlarge my heart. These fearful nights remind me. I am surrounded.

into the midst of growing things. Let your arms become branches.
Swing from vines, sing
with the rub of bark
against your skin, the drum
of rain, and swim into
dissolve into that other element, the sky.

Help him realize how urgently there You are.

"I've seen the greatest light..."
-The Innocence Mission, "July"

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Lines from the months of this last year: June




-Psalm 15:4b NIV

"I can believe in a lot of things at this time of evening."

"You'd better walk fast through here."

"There is nothing but air between us."

"Haste denies all acts their dignity."
-Dante Alighieri, "Purgatorio," III.II

Today was a funny holiday. Fireworks. A Procession. Antique Fiats.

Che fai di bello?

I saw the full moon, and a hedgehog.
Longing to give, give, give. I hold on too tightly.

Ascolta ce, O Signore.

"Let you gentleness be evident to all."
-Philippians 4:5a NIV

Help us cry when appropriate.

"This is my blood."
-Matthew 26:28a NIV

Corpus Domini.
O Lord Jesus, show us Yourself. Give us each signs, signs we will understand.
Names of our own.
The new nun.
This body is Yours.

"For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier..."
-Ephesians 2:14 NIV

I want Your heart. I want to eat You, breathe You, become You. Break down the barrier. Move me now for my whole life. Heal me more.

Yesterday was my first real day at home. The potatoes tasted a bit like gasoline.

I took a three hour nap. Mom woke me ask what kind of noodles I wanted, but I thought it was 7AM, and was really confused as to why Mom was waking me up so early, why she was asking me about noodles, and why I was lying on top of my bed instead of under the covers. I told her, "Whatever you have more of."

Some rose petals from Corpus Domini just fell out of my journal. I'd forgotten.

Home is so beautiful. So green and thick, less delicate than Italy,
but more reliable.
I want to get rid of things.

I'm feeling a little like I did when I was choosing colleges. Somewhat nauseous. Very tired, not wanting to talk, wanting to close up and escape.
Feeling like I'm not in favor.
I want to rest and be and process, but even that seems too big to me right now. Yet I must not forget.

Things come to me in dreams, colorful dreams like game shows, full of people.
Something crawls out when I find that I can spend hours copying recipes, but don't want books or movies. When I begin heaving and almost wailing when touched. I felt the strangest sort of pity for myself as I felt my laughter turning into wretched sounds.

Jesus. Wings, and so she ran.

"So she ran..."
-John 20:2a NASB

It amazes me how quickly I vacillate between contentment and discontentment.
Help me create, fervently. Help me love. Love well, deeply, without pride, without judgement. Without belittling.

"Do not fear the reproach of men
or be terrified by their insults."
-Isaiah 51:7b NIV

I can rely on You as much now as I ever have.

Lord, help me be fearsomely, beautifully, healingly pure. By You. And Joyous.

"Both the wisdom and the strength will always be given, in perfect measure, when the time comes, if we take up quietly and faithfully the duties of today. Let us not make the mistake of directing our energies toward what is not today's business. The best preparation for the future is always the conscientious carrying out of what is given us today."
-Elisabeth Elliot, "Quest for Love," 155

"A strong spiritual principle is to pray through things, think about them in the presence of God, and stick with the decision. Did God hear your prayer? Do you believe He wants you to do His will? Then, 'don't dig up in doubt what you planted in faith.'"
-Ibid., 156