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Familia

His face is etched into mine. As a child I studied that face as he shaved in his boxer shorts standing at the mirror over the sink, his face white with shaving cream, his eyes occasionally glancing over at me with amusement. I was captivated because he was my hero. He traveled a lot and home without him was not a good place for me, so when he was there I tagged after him like a puppy nipping at his heels. I never wanted him to leave and yet much of what I remember is him leaving with a suitcase in his hand, his suit and tie neatly packed, his blue eyes smiling and his black hair shining. I always wanted to go with him and when he would firmly tell me no and kiss my mom goodbye I remember running outside and watching the black Chevy drive away and then hiding in the Russian Olive tree trying not to cry. He was my touchstone, my protector and without him I felt adrift and frightened. This feeling lingered for many years until finally I found that some other boys could be equally as fascinating and he didn’t seem to mind the loss of interest on my part. We sometimes still went fishing together on the river or to a party on the 4th of July with my brother and my mom and I don’t remember much alone time with him, but he was often who I called when I was brokenhearted or afraid. He would listen to me and encourage me and let me know that everything would eventually be okay and I believed him and eventually it usually was. He rescued me many times from precarious places and some really bad choices and he let me learn some really tough love lessons too. As we both aged, I began to see him in a more realistic light and he became a friend. I started to worry about him more and want to take care of him and he would do things behind my back (like tell me he wasn’t driving when he was) or that he was fine when he was clearly struggling. We began a slow role reversal and I began the incredibly painful journey of learning how to hold loosely the love I have for the best person I have ever known. This picture was taken this past Christmas. I am 63 and he is 92. He is my Familia, the place I know and am known.

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A House Of Sharp Stones

With the up coming release of Lynn Schriner’s latest book called, A House Of Sharp Stones  we wanted to peak your interest a bit by sharing a few snippets from the book. First the book is divided into three sections. The first is called The Lovers Chapter, the second is called God Thoughts and the third is called Wandering Words. Each brings Lynn’s unique way of expressing her world. For instance from her poem Sugar lips comes this line : “I thought, bring me your prayers and your sugar lips, entwine them on my heart with a kiss.” Or this one from In the Dark, “We mark our souls like dogs mark their yard”.   And from the God Thoughts comes this line ” It’s church and Christmas eve, sugar coated people in distress”. Finally from the Wandering Words comes this line from the poem If My Heart Were A Garden “And when my time is over on this earth, let those who loved me best come and sit, listening for the heart of my soul and to breathe in the scent of all that was good in me”.

Coming the end of June 2017 A House of Sharp Stones

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What about me? Thoughts from a pity party.

So I am a voice, one of millions calling out from the pockets of peril that are known as our lives. We awaken every morning, some of us in the back alleys of a major city, some of us in the forests, some by the oceans. We are a race of people, created by a GOD who “knows when a sparrow falls.” We arise from soft beds of grace and mercy, rising up with the first thought being “What about me?” Oh it may not be exactly the first thought, but believe me it rears its ugly head at some point in every single day. We are selfish creatures. Even when we are “doing good” we are, somewhere in the back of our minds having an unconcious agenda. Even if that agenda appears to be righteous (like orphan work, or our family first, or whatever we perceive to be good works on this earth) there is a pay off somewhere for us. It’s our selfish nature. “What’s in it for me?”

The world as I see it has gone mad. It is people free-falling in their “safety nets” they call life. They think they are fine, controlling the circumstances of children or jobs or marriages to maintain their comfort zone and then one day the net breaks (illness, infidelity, a child rebels) and where do they go with the pain? “What now?” is the thought of the bewildered. “Why me?” “What did I do?” Not to insult anyone but we in our highest glory are tiny little minds of selfish thoughts. We are never satisfied (not really) always seeking, always looking outward to conquer the next mountain whatever that might be. Missing, missing the gifts that are right in front of us. Birds singing, flowers blooming, dogs running, children laughing, food on our table, hot water in the shower. Gifts and blessings..unmerited blessings. Yet we whine, complain, blame.

So I am rewiring some truth into my day today. I am choosing to breathe deep breaths and turn up the edges of my mouth and look hard into the strangers eyes and if I see need I am choosing to inquire after them. Yes, there is A LOT for me to focus on that is scary and hurting me. From health issues to government to relationships, but for today, I am choosing to be aware of grace and gifts and blessings I so take for granted. So those What about me thoughts? Well, I am choosing today to ask instead “what about you?” What can I do to ease a burden in your life? What do you need today?

I think, the answer to that and every stinkin problem is to take our eyes off of self and allow love to be our highest goal. Tiny steps of loving thoughts, which lead to loving actions. Are you holding a grudge? Clean it up. Are you withholding money for yourself while people are dying of hunger? Give it away. Are you absorbed in your circumstances of no mate? Take the love you long to give and go volunteer your time to others. Obsessed with your bad marriage or relationship? Choose radical acceptance and find one small way to bring love back to the person who has let you down. It’s a peace gesture, an olive branch, quietly extended with a smile.

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I want you to Know

I want you to know, when we were young and thought ourselves to be sisters, never questioning the validity of blood as the heart of us was so soundly family.

We were girls, one fair and one dark, sharing vivid hours and years, adventures of which we didn’t fully understand.

We two girls,slept in white nightgowns and showered with our incessant youth,

and kissed the boys

and climbed the mountains

and questioned everything.

We drove long distances, and slept curled up like puppies, one in the back seat and one in the front. We sat across rooms of laughter, so much silly laughter.

A lifetime of chasing and running and quick hello’s and long distance and letters written in squiggly handwriting of love.

Cat called to tell me you were gone too soon, a lifetime so sure of itself we gasped at the severing and the unsuspected loss. Your voice, laughing with me just days before, I knew not it would be our last. Staggering, is the silence of you gone.

I pick up the book you signed to me 40 years ago on Christmas day “To my dearest friend.” LOVE so sure footed…. those snippets.

In this night before we stand together to send you off, I can still hear your laughter. I want you to know, you’ll always live here in this broken heart we called home.

 

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Angels in trees

Angels lite in trees, a variant of light, some well worn verse of amen on their lips, I hear them like a radio tuned in just a shade to the left of the source. The manna dropped from heavenly skies are dew drops of sugar on my tongue. I am small and with a face lifted, mouth open and desirous of this holy sustenance, courting, skirting, mangling the truth before it even passes my lips. I am the woman under the table of Holy, accepting crumbs because enough crumbs will fill the hunger. I will wear my faith, bleeding red with desire, bearing the signs of quiet grief because Holy has brought me to myself and I am found wanting and incomplete. It is the “loneliness of soul” that lays me at the feet of Jesus. It blesses me because I am not enough without him. It reminds me that I was taken from his side and breathed into by his breath and washed in his remembering of my need. I am small and I am great in his sight as he hung by his hands, nailed, beaten and looking me in the eye.

Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing….a well worn verse…AMEN

 

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So This is Christmas

It’s brown this year and I want to feel something

What I feel this year is a coat around my soul, muffling my joy.

I remember you here before, with your fancy dishes and your red nails

I remember you here before, with your laughter and your sweater smelling of smoke

I remember the child I longed for opening a present and his eyes danced

I remember the dream of one day being a family, so that this hole in my heart would find home

I remember thinking next year would be better

and the turkey was moist and tender

I remember the pile of money in the bag

and the homeless ones

&

I remember my never ending desire to do something great for God on Christmas morning, so we put on a Santa Hat and delivered goodies and sat with tears, and held some hands and said some prayers. In my pink sweater on Christmas morning

So this is Christmas

I awaken with some sort of cloud hanging over me, grey as the morning sky, brown as the grass. Some of my beloved’s are still here and I must cling to that. I must cling to what remains and not what has gone. I must know that those who have left us are hanging with the reason we celebrate Christmas down here. Probably dancing with the “Great I AM.” I must get a grip, I must get a handle…yank the poor me syndrome out and fling it over the mountains edge, where one of them lays, beneath a grave marked “Beloved.”

So this is Christmas

I will put on the turkey and step under the mistletoe and ask for a kiss.

I will hug the ones left

Shed a tear for those gone

And wait for the Silent Night to heal another inch of my soul.

 

 

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I am a Jesus follower

I have had a rough time this week. {Understatement} A struggle between my heart and my head. My head says things like “Be afraid, America is doomed!” my heart says “God is good, all the time.” I have had some people in my life who openly battled with me this week about Trump. I DID NOT VOTE FOR EITHER CANDIDATE. First time ever. I just couldn’t do it. (Nor thankfully could my clan) so peace in our homes amongst ourselves has been good. I knew that voting the green candidate wasn’t going to amount to a hill of beans in the dung heap of our election but I did it anyway. I felt some peace afterwards, like a slow building storm had passed within my sleepless soul. I then watched America begin the knock down, drag out fight, of the my way or the highway. I heard perfectly lovely people spout hate. I heard both sides ready to fight with the other side. I retreated behind closed doors for a day and wept when the election was revealed. I felt sick at the message of the likes of Donald Trump being voted in as our President. That Americans were okay with this person leading us, being an example of all things American to the world, to our children and grandchildren. It crushed me actually. I also was unfriended and reviled by Christians. They are starting to leave a truly bad taste in my mouth.The magnitude of which the judgment, hate and condemnation flew took me to my knees.

So I am announcing to the world that I AM NOT AN EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN. Nope! Leave me out of that mess. I thought that is what I was, but I CLEARLY AM NOT.

There…I said it.

I was talking to my beautiful dad last night on the phone. He spoke about a man who was fixing the door on my dad’s Presbyterian church where he has gone for over 50 years. He spoke of the man pouring his broken heart out to my dad and my dad sharing Jesus. They hugged and they cried together and so did I. You see my prayer for my dad has been that he will grow closer and deeper with Jesus. This Presbyterian elder and deacon and servant of a man for years never talked about his faith. He told me once he never led anyone to the Lord. My prayers have been that he would be used in greater measure to show this hurting world Jesus. Last night’s conversation together was like the breaking of bread and the drinking the cup of the communion act known as love. All those tender prayers answered. All those rag muffin moments of grace upon a hurting world, when Christians (Jesus followers) take their broken hearts and share his love. It’s all that heals and it’s all that reveals. I am convinced of this. I spoke about my not being an Evangelical and my dad, said “I have never seen you that way, I have only seen you as someone after Jesus, a Jesus follower.” I wept into my hands. Thank you GOD for that! I am not a religious person. I bristle at the thought. I am a love child, a lover of Jesus. My Savior, yes, but my deepest friend.

I also had a talk with one of my oldest and dearest friends. He is so angry right now, a tight ball of pain and bewilderment about the election. He told me he wrote a scathing post about Christians and said he was going to post it and then he thought of me. He erased his thoughts about the church and the Evangelicals because he thought it would hurt me. When I told him I am not one of those labels or those actions or those beliefs, he called me an angel. (We all know that’s not true) but I am thankful that somehow love triumphs over condemnation, hate, bigotry, slander and self righteousness gone rampant. We all know that no good thing comes from labeling and criticizing and yelling obscenities and trying to manipulate and control. I know I have done my share of all of the above at times. Give me the right circumstances and I am a street urchin. But God/Jesus is the healing balm. He is the peace maker of my soul and I am finally this morning able to say” It is well with my soul.

I love you