The Beast

01-21 Flower

It slithers through

subconscious caverns,

slinking around the darkest

corners cloaked by repression,

nourished by denial;

the sweetness, addictive-

the hunger, insatiable.

Shrouded in ignorance,

the beast dances the host

into quick-stepped slavery

in jeweled shackles of depravity…

The beast thrives,

while humanity dies.

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Bjorn Rudberg invited me to check out the First Quadrille at dVerse. The challenge invites us to write a piece in exactly 44 words, using the word “dance” as a verb including an object.  If you’d like to join in, the prompt is still open.

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For those of you who read the poem and are thinking, “huh?” this is where I normally help by explaining what I was thinking when I wrote it.  Unfortunately, I can’t be so specific as to name the addiction (and I can’t say why, either), but I can say I was writing about the  impulse (beast) that lives within, unchecked.  It thrives, hidden by our own denial, gaining strength as it consumes us.  Left alone, that impulse/behavior becomes us and we lose who we used to be.  The frightening thing is, others can see this happening, but the afflicted person is often clueless.

I’m sorry I haven’t had as much time to read and comment on blogs – I have about a week before I need to be out of my house, so things are crazy right now.  It will probably be a couple more weeks before I am able to really get back into things – please be patient with me!  Have a beautiful Thursday 🙂

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The Right Time

Sometimes we don’t have the benefit of knowing when our words or actions affect someone else, and sometimes we can’t see how or why things happen.  This post is about a chain of events that has affected me deeply- where everything happened at the right time; so perfectly that I know it’s more than coincidence.  This post may get lengthy, but I do hope you take time to read it.

I saw this rainbow when I stopped at the store at just the right time
I saw this rainbow when I stopped at the store at just the right time

I’ve wanted to write this post for nearly two weeks, but I couldn’t figure out where to begin.  Now I’m thinking it simply wasn’t the right time because more has happened since the initial events I wanted to write about.

The Sunday before Thanksgiving, I sat in church as the pastor delivered one of the most dreaded sermons: giving.  It has to be one of the most uncomfortable topics to discuss, both for the pastor and the congregation.  I have sat through many of these sermons, and frankly, have found some of them to be offensive and condescending.  I felt differently this time, though.  I heard the right words at the right time.  The thought came to me that I should write and let him know.  Just as quickly, I told myself that was crazy talk because of our history.  Here’s a brief summary:

I won’t go into a lot of detail because my kids could possibly get their noses out of their games and come across this blog, but earlier this year, after I filed for divorce and other things didn’t convince me to change my mind, my husband scheduled a counseling session for us with my pastor- behind my back.  He isn’t Christian and rarely attended church, so I saw it as manipulation (also concluded by other things he’d done.)  I went to the session, but felt forced into it.  The pastor affirmed that divorce is wrong and made a comment about how my hardened heart would cause me trouble in the future.  I was upset because I felt unfairly judged, but I continued to attend church, however, avoided the pastor when possible.

Still, for nearly a week, my thoughts drifted to the pastor’s words from the giving sermon.  On Saturday night, I wrote an offering check to give on Sunday.  I then penned a hand-written note to the pastor and folded it around the check before sealing it in the envelope.  In this note, I admitted that I had been thinking I would give an offering once my credit card bills were paid and I wasn’t living in a house I couldn’t afford and I now realized that this showed my lack of faith in God.  That check was a symbolic leap of faith to show that I was finally putting my trust in God that He would provide.  I also wrote that I didn’t really feel welcome there since the counseling session, but the money was for God not the church.  I wrote other things- a full page, in fact, but I can’t remember exactly what.

To my surprise, I received a letter from the pastor.  I don’t check my mailbox often, but I did on my way to work on December 9th (over a week after he wrote it.)  In this letter, he told of how he’d been discouraged because the offerings once again didn’t meet budget.  Some of his exact words:  “I said to myself, “You know, I’m not going to preach on giving anymore because it never makes a difference.  I don’t know how people can take it so lightly.  Then I read your letter.  Wow! It didn’t raise the offering any, but it reminded me of the real truth that it is God’s money and He always provides.  Your letter was like the voice of the Lord to me.”  He then assured me that I was welcome there and to let him know if I needed financial or emotional support.

I teared up.  My words reached him at just the right time.  And the knowledge of that reached me at the right time as well.  I would never ask for a handout, but knowing emotional support was available came as a relief.  He ended the letter instructing me to be at ease and know they were here for me.  Life didn’t feel nearly as heavy.

That is where I first thought this post would end, with the message that we should never shy away from complimenting or showing love because it could very well be a case of the right words or actions being delivered at the right time.  But like most late-night infomercials, life said, “but wait… there’s more!”

The same day I read the letter from my pastor, I got home from work to find a pallet of pellets sitting by my front door.  (Pellets are a type of fuel made from recycled wood products and sawdust and are packaged in 40-lb bags.  I use these in my pellet stove to heat the house.)  I searched the plastic wrapping and found the store phone number and called because I knew there was a mistake.  The woman looked up my information and said, “aw, that’s so sweet…. all it says here is ‘gift.'”  I asked if she was serious and she said, “sweetie, someone gave you a $300 gift, be happy.”  I was, but I still cried.  I have no idea who did this, but I hope they know how grateful I am. I’m able to keep the house a little warmer, which is good for my younger son (that is another post.)

This is what a pallet of pellets looks like after I unloaded it into my garage
This is what a pallet of pellets looks like after I unloaded it into my garage

The gift of heat came at the right time.  Knowing I have what I need to heat the house until at least mid-January lifted a huge burden.  My house has been on the market since before summer and I’d been told winter months are slow for real estate, so I settled in for a long winter.

A few days after that generous gift, an offer came on the house – it’s now in escrow.  I found another (much smaller) house and she accepted my offer.  Inspections are next week.  It’s all happened so quickly and it’s a blur – especially during the holidays, but it’s all happened at exactly the right time.

Last week, I qualified for a home loan.  Even with the worst-case spousal support payout to my soon-to-be-ex, I qualified.  More relief.  As I was reading through the required documents, I saw ‘divorce decree’ listed.  The loan officer confirmed that the final decree was needed to fund the loan.  Trial is scheduled near the end of January, and my new house is scheduled to close the beginning of February.  If my house would’ve sold during the busy summer season, I wouldn’t have been able to get a loan.  I didn’t know that.

All of this is proof to me that even if things don’t happen on my time, they do happen at the right time.  It’s also shown me there is comfort in loosening my white-knuckle grip on control and trusting that God will provide.  I have a feeling that as I learn to share more freely, I will experience some positive life-changing side-effects.

If you’re reading this, it means you survived this lengthy post.  Thank you for not giving up!  I will keep up with blog reading as best I can, but the next month or so will be really crazy for me.  Just know, it is only temporary 🙂

Have a beautiful Monday and I hope you enjoy the blessings of the season!

Beyond The Fog

We don't always see where we're going, but we have faith we'll get there
We don’t always see where we’re going, but we have faith we’ll get there

Faith isn’t walking into a fire, certain you won’t get burned.  Faith isn’t blind, either, but it does mean facing the unseen and the unknown with the conviction that we are not alone and the experience will somehow sculpt us into a new version of ourselves.

Faith is easy to proclaim, but when it comes down to it, it can be really hard to live by.  It’s kind of like putting on a blindfold and running down a busy street (if the street is in Phoenix, this would be insane.)  In our minds, we recognize the dangers- we could stumble into a light pole, wander into traffic, get hit by a bus, fall into a ditch… the list goes on.  Would you have enough faith to do this?

When adversity hits, my tendency is to obsess over the facts, mentally travel the possible actions and their consequences, and then I make decisions accordingly.  I rush in and “do” something.

To me, faith is the ultimate trust.  Kind of like running down a busy street blindfolded.  Faith is relying on something other than my own abilities.  Faith is believing that there is hope even when all the evidence I see says otherwise.

What is faith to you?

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If you’re looking for fiction, please stop by next week.  I plan to have a response to another one of Emilio Pasquale’s amazing photos.  Hope you’ll check it out 🙂

Too Close To Know (Poetry & Inspiration)

10-20 web

Gossamer threads

of gauzy dreams

lead me to the precipice

of altered reality.

Meaning unknown,

words scroll through my mind-

a late-night ticker tape,

a restless brain evading sleep.

Forces within, engage

in subconscious battle,

outcome, undetermined;

consequences, unforeseen.

Analysis becomes

a useless exercise in futility.

The obvious is obscured

by intimate familiarity.

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Poetry can be hard to read because often it is vague with little clues as to interpretation. I don’t want to take away your ability to assimilate my words to what you know, but in case you read this poem and came up blank, the following paragraphs give an idea as to where my thoughts were at and what lead to the writing of the poem.

This poem was written over several days, as seemingly random ideas came to mind. The first half in italics occurred as I tried to shut my brain down for the day. My mind doesn’t churn out anything useful after about 11pm, but still, it insists on idling until wee hours. What a waste.  These lines were me trying to find meaning in these fuzzy thoughts.

Now about the last two stanzas…

This morning, I thought about how another weekend away from the computer/internet has left me behind on writing on reading. I used to get worked up over it. Now, it seems, it doesn’t bother me so much. On the surface, it seems like a good thing… going with the flow. Maybe I’ve relaxed- accepting I’ll catch up, because I always do. But of course, being an over-thinker, I couldn’t let it go at that. I began to wonder if this shift was cleverly-disguised complacency; whether I’ll find myself in a few months not even bothering to style my hair, or staring at a black computer screen because I forgot my log in password.  Or worse- not knowing where I my laptop is!

For months, I’ve been unable to determine the root cause of my pseudo-complacency, which has shredded writing goals and given me an excuse to shrug off certain things. The last two stanzas are me acknowledging that maybe I’m just too close to me to figure out exactly what makes me tick.

This could be why I can offer advice to others, but rarely see when I should keep it for myself 🙂

If I can cajole myself into finding some sort of grindstone to put my nose to, I hope to ‘scare’ up some fiction to post later this week. ‘Scare’… October… Halloween… get it?

I know, that was bad! Sadly, I don’t have late-night to blame.

Hope you had a beautiful start to a new week.  Until next time…

Approaching Storms

Pressure;

highs and lows-

predictable becomes unstable.

Foreboding;

rumbling on the horizon-

just before atmospheric tension thickens.

DesertStorms

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I haven’t written much poetry lately (inspiration comes and goes for me on the poetic front.)  On Sunday afternoon, I pondered what to write just as rumbling thunder teased me with the prospect of a monsoon storm.  I remembered this photo from the 4th of July, taken a few hours before rain happened and delayed the fireworks display.  I thought it went well with this poem.

As I wrote this, I had in mind the similarities between weather storms and the emotional storms we encounter in relationships.  Perhaps my crankiness this past week prompted me to go there!  Seriously, last week was stressful with one annoyance after another.  I let it get to me, until I finally was able to let it go (mostly).  My husband was smart and kept his distance.  My kids (older son especially) were not as wise and chose to challenge me.  Next week has to be better!

I missed writing a story last week because my mind just wasn’t there.  It was a creative flat line of sorts, which I haven’t experienced in a while.  I won’t overreact and call it writer’s block- I’ll just chalk it up to being preoccupied with the competing priorities that are life.  I’m hoping to come up with some fiction for later this week.  I really need my mind to rescue me from the “daily grind.”

Have a beautiful week!