NaPoMo poetry party.13


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Rawle James is a mentor, a builder of creative community, and a tireless advocate for social justice. Rawle’s creative vision ten years ago birthed the Inspired Word Cafe, a hip gathering place where many emerging poets in Kelowna have shared their work for the first time in front of a live audience. Rawle led the IWC for the first seven out of ten seasons. Now he focuses his energies on personal coaching, facilitating and public speaking.

You have been an encouragement and creative friend to me over the years, Rawle. Though we don’t seen one another often, I am grateful to keep in touch via social media. It’s my pleasure to welcome you to Buddy Breathing today.

We’ve been asking each one of our guests questions that focus more on how you are rather than what you do, though that’s also important. I find the current situation in the world is cutting through position and power to a deeper place. I wonder what thoughts are prompted for you by these three questions?

1). What is this quieter version of life teaching you?

Rawle: To me, it is reinforcing how much we need each other to live and that we are truly one race. This virus sees our humanity for it matters not your ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, political or religious beliefs. The virus simple looks for a host. Are we will to truly see our humanity. To see the human that we are all. We all walk the same earth. We all breathe the same air. We all drink the same water. We all come from woman. And death will visit us all.

2). We often say we wish we had more time for certain things. Having been given this gift of time, what are you spending it on?

Rawle: Self reflection. I’m looking within to reflect on my beliefs and values and if there are still true for me. This is an opportunity that exist for us all.

3). What is one surprising thing that happened today?

Rawle: On my walk today, I encountered a couple of women who talked about how much they miss touch. As one who loves to embrace others with a hug, I concur with their observation.

Please visit Rawle’s website to learn more about him and his services. His new book can also be ordered there.

Thank you so much for joining in our conversation today Rawle, and for sharing your poetry with us. May you continue to impact lives for good.

Blessings and peace,
Lesley-Anne

…

it’s complete in its emptiness
cocooned in a state of dubious certainty
birth from the same waters of life
that housed me in my mother’s womb

before any I’s are dotted or any T’s are crossed
it is a disassembled inspiration of chaos
floating the cosmos lustfully flirting with the idea of romance
for the spoken word is naked

it awaits capture
to expose and pollinate a creative urge
a download into a suspended moment of arousal
it lays in state to be free verse into a sonnet of images
that coaxes the wild torrent of the dark’s light

it’s not embedded to a rhythm, riff or melody
it’s not nestled on or on top of beats
rapped with meaning
it can paint pictures that evoke memories of days gone by
it can stir feelings of childhood nostalgia
or cowering for safety under the covers from Dracula’s bite

it seduces the imagination in playful celebration of pen and paper
it can question you to ponder the poets meaning asking, what the fuck?
or what colour is the sky in their world?
it can move you to snap fingers in approval or with gratitude
for saying thank you for capturing my feelings
thank you for saying what I could not speak

it’s truth is a naked moment of existence
that oddly resembles my perception of truth
its power can spark revolutions or issue a call to action
to pick up the pen or welded the sword
it is an invitation to know thy self
to explore the evolution of the mind that can uplift our human spirit
it is the unspoken of what we fear
spotlighting the inner story
It is open for interpretation by the listener

It come for you like a train at the station
be there or you’ll miss it
but fear not for it will be capture
for that’s its power
it is between you, the poet and the words
Listen! Listen!
Can you hear it?
Can you feel it?
It sees you!

Blessings and peace,

Lesley-Anne

NaPoMo poetry party.12


new shot for sept 2019

Welcome, Karen Connelly, to our virtual gathering. How I wish we were sitting on a couch, legs pulled up, hands wrapped around a cup of tea, but this will have to do. We’ll begin by focusing on how you are keeping in these strange, life altering days, and then move to a poem you’ve selected to share today with us. I know you read this poem on Instagram recently, so I invite folk to head over there after our time together here.

It has been a week or so since I’ve listened to one of your midnight readings on Instagram. It became a way into deeper breaths, resting in the soothing sound of your voice, and readying myself for sleep. I am so grateful to you for those late evening posts.

Here are the three questions we have been cycling back to each day, and your generous answers;

1. We often say we wish we had more time for certain things. Are you spending your time differently in view of our current world challenges? If so, how?

Karen: Hello Lesley Anne,

Because I’m a writer and therapist and work primarily from my home office, I haven’t changed my schedule all that much, except for a daily walk with my teenage son, which is a wonderful gift. Usually he doesn’t want to be seen with me in public, but now that his parents are his only companions, we’re all spending more time together. This has been an unexpected blessing for all of us. Though I also yell at him more—usually from the kitchen to the second floor– because of the Nefarious Screen Factor. We’re all spending even more time than usual in front of our screens.

But that also has brought a surprisingly positive benefit. I practice a neural-somatic trauma therapy called OEI, Observed Experiential Integration, and it’s been challenging and exciting to figure out how to work with clients on screen instead of in person. I have a couple of older and differently abled clients, for whom this change has been extremely helpful. They don’t have to leave their homes in these times of social distancing, and I’ve learned that doing this special body-based work is possible at a distance. So that’s really thrilling—it’s always exciting to learn something new, or to be challenged and realize you can figure out a solution. In fact, for a couple of these clients, working online is much easier. If someone has more ease in the experience of the therapeutic hour, the work tends to be more effective.

2. What is the core factor that brings vitality and life to you?

Karen: I’ve always been a spiritual person with spiritual habits and practices—I’ve been a meditator and student of yoga for decades– but that part of my character has become more defining and more definitive since I underwent an extraordinary crisis a few years ago. I’d let myself slide into that handy category of ‘emergency meditator’—I’d do the work when I really needed to, but I had a lot of secret resistance to the idea of goodness and service.

Cue the major crisis! I was crushed, so my resistances were also crushed. It was excellent. And terrifying. Heartbreaking. It was like Rilke’s poem: you must change your life. There was no more dabbling. I became a trauma therapist (an area in which I’d also meandered and read for years and years). During my training, the spirituality work became very focused and disciplined; I began studying Buddhist and Vedic texts again– really studying them–and meditating, praying and doing yoga every day. So. That is what gives me joy and vitality.

And trees. Walking around. The sky. This world and its creatures. The human voice.

3. What is one surprising thing that happened today?

Karen: A breakthrough that a client had. Completely out of left field; something we hadn’t really talked about before. The realization brought her great relief. More than relief: a feeling of resolution and profound grace. I can’t say more than that about her work but I can talk about my own sense of breakthrough, witnessing that, hearing the lightness in her voice, seeing it in her body. Working with people who are wrestling with PTSD seems, on the surface, to be so depressing. I think this is why I resisted deeper healing myself and resisted becoming a therapist for so long (though I was doing ‘mental health first aid’ for years, mostly with friends and students).

But today I glimpsed in my client’s moment of resolution my own emergence from crisis some years ago. People who’ve experienced severe abuse as children sometimes discover an unexpected freedom when they realize that the worst is truly over. The worst is over because we’ll never be children again, and (usually with good therapy) the trapped feelings that characterize PTSD begin to loosen and resolve. The resiliency, the ability to survive, indeed, the ability to thrive and find goodness in this world: human beings are absolutely extraordinary. There are many qualities about us as a species that are pretty deplorable, but when people heal, when they go down into those depths and emerge, their transformations are always surprising. We’re witnessing a lot of that goodness circulating right now, in this time of global crisis. I love that. I love us!

Karen is a literary writer, editor, teacher, and trauma-informed therapist. You can read more about Karen’s work and sign up for her Courage Room blog and newsletter at www.karenconnelly.ca.

Blessings and gratitude to you for spending time here today, Karen,
Lesley-Anne

Sonnet II/29


From Sonnets for Orpheus, by Rainier Maria Rilke, 
translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy in 2003, 
during the early months of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

 
Quiet friend who has come so far,

Feel how your breathing makes more space around you.

Let this darkness be a bell tower

And you the bell. As you ring,

 

What batters you becomes your strength.

Move back and forth into the change.

What is it like, such intensity of pain?

If the drink is bitter, turn yourself into wine.

 

In this uncontainable night,

Be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,

The meaning discovered there.

 

And if the world has ceased to hear you,

Say to the silent earth: I flow.

To the rushing water, speak: I am.

NaPoMo poetry party.11


Photo: Lesley-Anne Evans

Today is Easter Sunday. Whatever your Easter tradition or practice, whether you have one or not, I celebrate your presence. Having thoroughly enjoyed our time together over the past 10 days, and looking forward to more this month, here I am, hosting myself.

Easter Sunday is a day in the Christian tradition we’d be gathering together all over the world. We’d be turning to one another and saying: He is Risen; He is Risen Indeed! Those words are a proclamation for followers of Christ; those who trust in God’s mystery and love; those who celebrate the compelling audacity of Easter’s message; those who hold holy questions and doubts and wonderings; me.

I have been wandering on the road between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. And I arrive back here: with my lack of knowledge and understanding, and with my inconsistency of practice and ofttimes questionable motivation, still I am the BELOVED of GOD. The Easter story is perhaps so mythic and audacious because of its offer of unconditional and divine LOVE.

With a gift like this, then why does Easter feel less like a celebration this year? Why have I struggled so much with what I will say today on this blog post? Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist, borrows the words of her dear friend Rachael Held Evans, when she describes similar unsettled feelings this Easter. Sarah shares her Easter Sunday Field Notes deeply grounded in her life of faith, and then she says this:

On the days when I believe this…

It’s the oddest and yet the most honest thing for her to say in my opinion, this way of believing one day, and not the next. What else do I have but the truth of my own experience? And this is how my faith looks; one day transformed by love; one day tempered by the worry of personal circumstances and a great blanket of fear and weariness brought on by COVID; one day I believe; the next I wonder if any of it is true.

In her Easter message, Sarah goes on to say:
“God [is] with those still mourning, with the scared, with the sick, with the angry, with those who hold the great and terrible knowledge of the Presence of Love in our thin and weary places. On the days when I believe this, it’s enough. On the days when I don’t, it’s still enough. Christ is Risen.”

He is Risen Indeed.

Sigh…

And now, in responding as each poetry party guest has done so generously, here are my answers to our daily questions:

1. We often say we wish we had more time for certain things. Are you spending your time differently in view of our current world challenges? If so, how?

Lesley-Anne: Being a writer and already working from home, my life hasn’t changed much on the surface. I have a daily routine and creative practice that I’m continuing to keep while I stay in place. Adjusting to having my husband working at home, and hearing his business calls in what would have otherwise been a silent space, has been interesting.

I find time has expanded, and sometimes days feel endless. I am taking on small projects to try to focus on good things outside myself. Like this poetry party, for instance. It is a way to reach out to others and right size (for a little while) my worry. I’m may join the mask making efforts as well, or something else. But I still wake at night, anxious about my kids, about our world. There is always tension.

2. What is the core factor that brings vitality and life to you?

Lesley-Anne: Curiosity, along with the desire to look and see has always taken me to beautiful places, and can be a challenge to me. I wonder things and pursue answers, but often there are none. If my curiosity takes me too deep, it can be difficult to bear. But if I approach the world with lighter curiosity as an observer and then celebrate what I see, then I am easily overcome by the beauty of the natural world, the little everyday miracles all around me, and I find myself taking photos of it, writing about it, and going deeper with it in a way that is not too heavy or difficult. I find creation and creativity are mysterious connections to Creator.

3. What is one surprising thing that happened today?

Lesley-Anne: I was shocked to discover that a Northern Flicker has been trying to create a nesting cavity in my Bothy’s exterior wall. Now we will try to find a way to live in harmony, possibly by building a nesting box for him, or for owls.

My blog you already know about, and if you’d like to learn more about my creative life, projects, writing, please drop by my website here.

The poem I’m sharing today is a work in progress. Thank you for spending your time here with me today.

Blessings and peace,
Lesley-Anne

It is a Song With and Without Words


It’s robin red breast who gives word 
to backyard junkos, who calls 
a five minute warning. 
And as the swans v-wing I know 
for sure, light 
stretching elastic to meet early risers, 
leaves winter to a little death. 

I breathe, restless for essence of rain 
and reclamation, earthworm soundings 
in soil depths. The glory, 
glory hymns of songbirds, glory 
in the fullness of Fibonacci curve 
of lambs wombed and waiting, 
subtle fissures in fragile shells, 
green’s insistent pierce 
through monochromatic grey. 

Revival days, when tulips prove 
their faithful hearts, and bridal-wreath 
believers raise their arms wide 
and white in praise. And the wood 
blooming the colour of Amen.

-Lesley-Anne Evans

 

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Norman Bradley Millross
7 February, 1964 – 23 August, 2020
RIP Norm, my dear friend. My heart aches knowing you are gone from us. Until we meet again.

Norm Millross is a creative spirit who finds truth and healing through visual art, guitar, songwriting, poetry, and his faith. His resilience is contagious. For several years Norm and I met at Metro Community for our weekly poetry circle, where he wowed me with his prolific writing. Norm’s poem I Can is installed as one of two bright blue panels in the courtyard of Kelowna’s Gospel Mission where it lifts spirits and speaks of a power to overcome. I’m so thrilled to have Norm here, and for him to share a new poem with us.

Norm, we’ve been asking everyone a series of 3 questions, focusing on current circumstances and how we are coping in them. Here is what you said in response:

1. We often say we wish we had more time for certain things. Are you spending your time differently in view of our current world challenges? If so, how?

Norm: No, not really. Time is already very precious to me as I’ve experienced serious cardiac events.

2. What is the core factor that brings vitality and life to you?

Norm: It is hope; hope in humanity.

3. What is one surprising thing that happened today?

Norm: Not much, I was stuck in my room. But I am starting to get a lot of music theory back, after struggling post concussions. It’s starting to make sense again, which is really good.

On this Good Friday, when we would have traditionally gathered together to celebrate one of the foundational elements of our shared faith, I find it appropriate that you and I are here in spirit, Norm, and your poem is about believing in miracles.

Peace and continued good health, my friend,
Lesley-Anne

I Believe in Miracles

I believe in love
I believe in fantasy
I believe in what was
I believe in the reckoning
I believe I am me
I believe there is power
I believe I am free
I believe there is good
I believe there is bad
I believe in the question
I believe I’m not mad
I believe I am real
I believe there is pain
I believe there is freedom
I believe I am sane
I believe love can happen
I believe it is real
I believe love is magic
I believe love can heal.

Norm Millross, 2020 ©

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Barbara Colebrook Peace
joins us from Victoria, Vancouver Island, where she lives with her husband, Terry Peace.

Good morning, Barbara. It’s lovely to connect with you again, albeit virtually. The last and only time we met you sat beside me in a beautiful seaside church, St. George the Martyr, in Cadboro Bay. We were attending a Poetry as Prayer workshop led by Richard Osler, who was our guest poet here just the other day. It was such a joy to meet you then, knowing you through your beautiful poetry collection Duet for Wings and Earth. And here we are again!

We’ve been focusing on three questions as we visit together each day, and so I’m going to ask you the same ones with gratitude for your responses;

1.What is this quieter version of life teaching you?

Barbara: I’ve been blessed to live a quiet life for some years; what’s different now is the quietness of the world. I am so moved by humanity’s expressions of love and caring for one another. It’s not that I didn’t know it before, but now I see the breadth and depth and length and height of that love in action.

2. We often say we wish we had more time for certain things. Having been given this gift of more time, what are you spending it on?

Barbara: Because I was already blessed in being retired and having time for what I choose to do, this event hasn’t given me a sense of “more” time. I think I spend about the same amount of time in connecting with others as I did in the past, but in different ways. For example, our church community has a “church without walls” operating through our website where one can join in with morning prayer and compline (and our priest reads a different poem each morning as part of the prayer service. ) Also, our choir director has done an amazing job of helping us to sing together across physical distance.

3. What is one surprising thing that happened today?

Barbara: I’m writing this in early morning. I like to begin the day by going to the window and looking out across the water towards the mountains. Some days they appear and some days not. Today, as always, I am amazed by their loveliness.

Barbara is the author of two poetry books, Kyrie (Sono Nis, 2001) and Duet
for Wings and Earth (Sono Nis, 2008), which won an award from The Word Guild. She is also the co-editor of P.K. Page: Essays on Her Works (Guenica, 2001.) She has read her poetry on CBC, taken part in various literary festivals and concerts, and contributed poems and review essays to a number of Canadian journals and anthologies.

Please visit Barbara’s website for more information about her and her work.

The poem you are about to share is from your collection Duet for Wings and Earth. I find it to be a powerful reminder of ultimate love, a love that transcends our humanity in every way. Thank you for walking us into the Easter Weekend with your words.

Blessings and continued good health,
Lesley-Anne

Song of God: For Judas not yet born

to bring up the horizon in relief as clay under a seal,
until all things stand out like the folds of a cloak,
when the light of the Dog-star is dimmed
and the stars of the Navigator’s Line go out one by one.
		---JOB 38:14,15 (New English Bible)


Judas, sprawled on the grass, the sun in your eyes as you look up 
and laugh, plucking a stalk and whistling between your green-stained
thumbs, saying This is better than Jerusalem.
Judas, child of lostness, how could I bear it
if you were not born? 
Your features known to me in every detail.
How could I not bring you to birth, when even now
clouds passing over the earth part to reveal
your face in shadow between fire and starlight; even now the daystar
   awaits my signal
to bring up the horizon in relief as clay under a seal,

and the angels, who have thousands of different words for light,
have arranged the light around you.
In our little camp on the mountain slope,
Peter and James and John are still asleep;
only you and I stay awake to see the dawn,
our clothes smelling of lentil stew and woodsmoke.
We have stayed up talking, you and I, all night.
Now we wait for the woods and valleys to slowly emerge,
and the long mountain ridges unfold in their beauty, one by one
   picking up the sun’s spark,
until all things stand out like the folds of a cloak,

the earth in this moment unique; only you and I share.
We are not ready to come down from the mountain.
The wind is passing over the house where you will be born.
If you are not born I could not bear it.
Before we go down from the mountain, we tell each other
what we dreamed:
you dreamed your mother dying
and you tell me your greatest fear,
being left alone at the time of death, no sound of human voice, only
   the wind,
when the light of the Dog-star is dimmed.

It is Sabbath, and the morning of your birth. Shalom, Judas, 
peace be with you;
the earth rising on the first morning of the earth,
fragile blue jewel, my beloved Judas.
Peter and James and John are still asleep.
It is time to come down from the mountain.
Will you remember this, will it be enough to keep you from
despair, when you greet me with a kiss as the men come
bearing torches, 
		     and the last word I speak to you on earth is
   Shalom-----
and the stars of the Navigator’s line go out one by one?


Barbara Colebrook Peace 

NaPoMo poetry party.3


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Sally Quon is joining us today from Kelowna, British Columbia. Sally is a writer, photographer (see the feature image above), and self professed dirt road diva. Sally’s essays and  accompanying photos at Featherstone Creative are insightful, and genuine. Welcome to our poetry party, Sally!

You can experience more of Sally’s creative work by following these links;

Instagram:  @sallyquon

Blog:  Featherstone Creative

These are unique times for us all, and perhaps even more so for those with the sensibilities and perceptions of a creative. So I’m wondering, Sally, if you might give us a window into how today looks for you by answering these three questions?

1. What is this quieter version of life teaching you?
Sally: There has been a lot of “white noise” in my life.  By eliminating that which isn’t necessary, I have more room to appreciate that which is.

2. We often say we wish we had more time for certain things. Having been given this gift of more time, what are you spending it on?

Sally: Examining my priorities.  Deciding what and with whom I want to invest my time.

3. What is one surprising thing that happened today?

Sally: I received an Honorable Mention for a short Creative Non-Fiction piece.

That’s a wonderful bit of good news…congratulations! Thank you again for being here today, and for sharing your lovely poem.

Blessings and peace,
Lesley-Anne

The Eyes of a Child

I close my eyes and picture
places I once was -
the streets where I grew up,
the steps behind the church,
the woodpile where I used to hide
my cigarettes.Are they still there?

Years between spaces,
sand-worn with age,
polished beyond recognition.
A glimmer, maybe,

like hope.
Like thinking somewhere out there
things are what they were.
Another child’s eyes
will widen to see
the mice in the shed,
the perfect nook in the crab apple tree,
the brook that used to flow
behind Charley Shipley’s house.

There was a game we used to play
--  hidden treasure.
My sister and I would hide things,
each for the other to find.
Silver coins and bangles
beads from our mother’s chest.

I wonder if we found it all?
Or if something was forgotten,
left waiting all these years?
Can you imagine,

just for a minute,

to be a child
discovering long-lost treasure?
A Spanish bracelet, or
that worn-out exercise book

filled with my lost poems.

 

 

NaPoMo poetry party.1


Back story

Yesterday a friend reached out to me and asked if I’d be willing to share some poetry on his lit blog. Rob said he’s planning to host a full month of guest poets on his long time blog in celebration of National Poetry Month 2020. Yes, I said. And as I looked at what poems I might send to Rob, I felt a tiny shift in me that felt a wee bit like I mattered again in the world (cue all the feelings). And then I began wondering how I might be part of a ripple effect within my own creative community.

Bringing us here: day one of our NaPoMo poetry party!

Please say hello to our first guest and my friend, Anne Linington. Anne and I met through Faithwriters, an online writing community in 2006, and have continued a virtual friendship every since. Anne is a lay minister (Reader) with the Church of England, and lives on the picturesque Isle of Wight. Anne reads her poetry at open mics, and leads a monthly poetry group at Carisbrooke Priory.

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Before you share your poem Anne, I’d like to ask you 3 questions, questions I will be asking each one of our poetry party guests:

1. What is this quieter version of life teaching you?
Anne: The importance of structure for the day which will be useful as we head to retirement.

2. We often say we wish we had more time for certain things. Having been given this gift of more time, what are you spending it on?
Anne: Sharing more of my writing, not necessarily new material, but older articles and poetry.

3. What is one surprising thing that happened today?
Anne: I offered to share my seventeen years experience of “Contemplative prayer” with others via Facebook.

Thanks for starting us off so well, Anne, and for sharing your beautiful gift and heart.
Blessings,
Lesley-Anne

The Plough

How could I have known
When I opened the creaking gate
to the field of my life,
And invited you in
To do the necessary work,
That your activity would be so painful
And yet ultimately
Bring about a harvest?

Setting your plough
To dig down deep
To turn over
And break up
Almost touching the deep bedrock
Of my soul
Revealing me in all my created
Rawness.

Leaving me exposed
Rich pickings for hungry gulls
Whilst all that I had previously
Thought worthwhile
Is torn from its root
Dies
And is re-interred
In the soil
Of my life

Now I lie open and naked
As my neat furrows are
Rained upon
Reduced
Frozen
Broken down
Emptied of all former life
Waiting

Then one day
The returning sun of your love
Gently warming
O'er lengthening days
Begins my re-awakening

Precious seed is sown
In prepared ground
Watched over
Anticipated
And the Autumn pain
Brings life
And hope.

Anne Linington ©

 

Navigating and staying afloat


skin boats

skin boats (Photo credit: 50mm-traveller)

It’s summer. Yup. And that means change and adaptation and realignment for me. I wrote about it here. And now I’ll share a wee bit more here.

I’ve been in a slump since Easters (reference to one of my fav. movies Nacho Libre). I sang in the choir, walked out of the church with a ceiling and walls, and couldn’t/wouldn’t/didn’t go back. I tried to figure out why. I made up excuses. I was dejected. Apart from a place I’ve been involved with for 20 years, I felt no compelling force drawing me back. I checked out an edgy inner city church. And when nobody there met my entirely unexplainable criteria, I knew I wouldn’t go back there either. I attended to soul care, read the Book, and engaged in spiritual conversations and activities and poetry. But no church.

There’s another book I read recently called Skin Boat, by John Terpstra (An interview with the author, here). A refreshing book about navigating faith (get this book!!!). Like my own faith journey, the author experiences questions without answers, a sense of belonging some days followed by lingering feelings of marginalization and confusion. His journey is shifting and liquid, and of searching for and finding enough to return for. As Terpstra says,

“I have heard everything there is to say about the place, for and against; both its necessity and its redundancy. Have felt it all, in my bones.”

And I guess, for me, it came down to what I felt in my bones this morning when I woke up. Today I chose to go because I wanted to be with my husband, sit together on a wooden pew. With anxiety and angst and dragging of feet, I pried open my fingers and received a crumb of bread from God’s table. (I didn’t go looking for bread, yet I was given enough to appease my hunger). It’s personal, what happened. But there were tears and words and nodding of heads and something inside of me realizing the reasons for staying away were far smaller than the reasons to be part of what is “church”.

Terpstra writes as both poet and cabinetmaker: “I have thought: the reason I persist is for what is being made.”

This morning I felt a seed of persistence sprouting within the soil of sadness I had allowed to gather in me. And a hint of what is possible, what is being made, should I continue to choose this place. I felt the embrace of arms, looked into eyes, listened to words that I scribbled down madly so as not to forget. The music lifted. The tears cleansed. And the seed continues to grow…

As described in this Can Lit interview, Terpstra asks himself why he keeps being part of this wayward and suffering and paradoxical institution, he responds, “this is the only place I know where time and eternity meet on a regular basis.” 

Today, I was at the meeting place.

SDG, Lesley-Anne

Tuned out or turned on?


I was reminded (again) yesterday of the need to make a choice. That the outcome of my life is overseen (yes ordained too… how’s that for a mind stretch) by a God who is crazy about me, but the daily choices are mine to make.

So, here’s some choices for you and me to consider,

1. How tuned in are you? Are you willing to unplug so you can listen? Yes, I mean unplug… remember those e-free plans where you literally unplugged the TV for, say a week, or two… could we still do that with our computers… really? I mean, how could we do business, blog, communicate… :)

2. How networked are you socially? I mean, I’m a big facebook fan, but a couple of weeks ago I chose to log off until I found a better balance. I want to honour face to face time with people more. And I think I’m beginning to see some change for the good in this area. Cause really, life in the ‘pack’ is more fun than life as a lone wolf! (note to self…)Image

3. How busy are you? Are you leaving enough white margin in your life to respond to the unforeseen?

4. How grateful are you? I’m still reading and re-reading that book I told you about… “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp and it appears that gratitude is just the beginning of a mind shift toward living a life of fullness and joy. Hmmm… maybe it’s time for me (us) to start our own list of 1000…just saying…

5. How present are you? When you sit at the table with your family or your friends… are you really listening? When your child climbs into the car after school… are you willing to let them be silent and join them in that? (oh boy, this is hard for me!) When you husband/wife/room-mate arrives home from work and you re-enter family life… are you willing to let go of the pot, keyboard, text plan long enough to find out how their day really was?

6. Do you take time to say thanks to people for little things? You know, like the cashier folding your clothes rather than stuffing them in the bag at the checkout, like the guy who delivered the flyer to your door, like your husband for phoning every day from his business trip?

7. Do you tell people how you feel… in words, in deeds, in prioritizing them, in putting yourself and your needs after theirs? Time’s fleeting people… all can change in an instant and we’re left trying to figure out how to pack meaning into the time we have left.

8. Do you reach out for help when you need it… or are you too scared/proud/capable to ask?

9. Do you actually see the world around you? I just met a writer/educator who’s starting a movement… it’s called ‘Connect Kids 2 Nature’… and I’m sorry, but I think I can see why. How many kids do you know who live eyes down… eyes on the cell phone… texting… while they are walking on the side of the road, riding their bikes/long boards, walking with their friends, and all they have to do is look up and PRESTO… there’s NATURE… BEAUTY… GLORIOUS WORLD all around them. So, now they need to be taught how to see again… and I guess I do too! And you can experience the world in so many ways… read it, taste it, hear it, touch it… you can even… wait for it… ImageROLL IN IT!!! Oh yeah… her life as a dog… that’s our Emmy!

10. Are you turned on? I mean, in this busy, crazy, plugged in, uploaded and networked world, are you turned on to real life all around you? Are you passionate about… something? What gets you up in the morning? What really ticks you off? What makes you frustrated? What breaks your heart? I mean I want to live turned on! Don’t you? So, if you haven’t figured out what that means for you, take some time to work through the W5 of what that might be. Then go do THAT. It will make a difference… to you and to this world.

One of my new favourite quotes is this one… you might remember it from the movie ‘Chariots of Fire’,

“I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.” Eric Liddell

May you be able to say and experience that about whatever God made you to do… that kind of life is possible!

OK, well I’m off now… managed to write and post this in under 30 min. And that gives me time to get out there and take on the remains of this glorious day.

With you all the way,

Lesley-Anne

Tuesday Poem 005


Is it any wonder?

My mother will tell you the precise hour of day
my sibling fell. Outrageous claim, hearing bone crunch
from miles away. (I rolled my eyes). Now I eat salt-sweet
crow with a side of maternal melodrama.

He didn’t (do they ever) come easy, arrived on pain’s
edge, pushing, cutting, cord and apron strings. So is it
any wonder his experience is mine, our dreams like
spirit lines melded in the night. Both may die hard.

My prayers are biased. I profess a life (submitted)
to (leading) Providence, but leave bread crumbs marking
The Way. Home is this nest of plucked breast feathers.
I would give my life for him. Is it any wonder?

While his father molds a man, I prick my finger, spot
(spill) a shirt with blood, tend to the needed (urgent)
steep compassion in my cup. Stay up, unbolt the door
run to meet him on the road.

NOTE:  A special thank you goes out today to Kolembo for speaking into last weeks poetry post in such open and helpful detail. If you have never visited or read Kolembo, you must do so. His work is profoundly real, raw, and affects me each time I read it. Life has taken me away from that particular poem to this new one over the past few days, but I continue to be grateful to those who read and give me such direct and helpful feedback for when I will return to those works in progress. xo LAE

POST SCRIPT to my NOTE:  Aforementioned poet friend Kolembo just invited me to link “Is it any wonder” to Open Link Night 48 over at dVerse… an online community of poets, writers, and… well… as I’ve only just walked through the ‘door’ over there… I’m intrigued by who I’ll meet. So, I linked in. Thanks K. Now this is everyone’s invite to pop on over for more poetry if you are so inclined. xo