Monday, December 27, 2010

my christmas present... 
and some arctic air here in florida, just in time for me to "christen it." 
can you christen a fire pit? 
i might not be around as much this week - 
husband and daughter off from work and school;
hoping to do some walking
and napping
and movie watching, 
and maybe some sitting around the fire,
toasting marshmallows.
wishing you all the happiest of new years!

Friday, December 24, 2010

and the angel said unto them...

...fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2: 10-11

To all who have brought such warmth, love, and light into my life, 
may you be filled with joy and hope overflowing this Christmas, 
and may the light of life follow you into the new year.

Monday, December 20, 2010

giving thanks

 that shimmers 
across fragile glass
snowflakes made of straw 
childhood handiwork
dark corners

("Picador", Intaglio Engraving, by Sue Rovelstad)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

little tree, by e.e. cummings

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest
and were you so very sorry to come away?
see      i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid

look      the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms
and i'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy

then when you're quite dressed
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they'll stare!
oh but you'll be very proud

and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
"Noel Noel" 

— e.e. cummings

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

we do not grieve like those who have no hope...

Andrew Christopher Dorsey

April 25, 1997-December 15, 2009

My friend Melanie lost her son to brain cancer one year ago today. Andrew was twelve years old. The day he died, as I was weeping for the loss of his beautiful life, praying for his grieving family, and wondering if God was really real, if heaven was really there, if Andrew was really safe, these words came to mind:

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." Jesus, John 14:1-4

I believe in God. And these words, written so long ago and preserved through the ages for us, reminded me on that day, one year ago, that God doesn't lie. "If it were not so, I would have told you."

So even though I am weeping for the loss of this precious life, and the grief of his family who misses him so, I am holding on to hope, with them. Andrew Christopher Dorsey is home today, in the place Jesus promised to make especially for him. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

freezing in our boots

At the moment my garden looks nothing like this. The flower pots are stacked in my back porch and snuggled under old sheets. Plants that can't be moved must fend for themselves; we covered them last year and they froze anyway. Usually we just miss the freezing temps here on Florida's balmy gulf coast, but last night was 29 degrees and there's more where that came from tonight! 

Ah, well, I know you folks up in the wild north are chuckling at my dismay, but winter is our season of flowers here in Florida, and I want to enjoy them! 

Of course the up-side to all this is that I get a chance to wear my boots and winter coats and scarves : )

Saturday, December 11, 2010

"wing to wing and oar to oar"

Two such as you with a master speed
Cannot be parted nor be swept away
From one another once you are agreed
That life is only life forevermore
Together wing to wing and oar to oar.

Robert Frost, from The Master Speed

My best friend's son is getting married today. The weather has cooperated for their outdoor wedding by an ancient live oak tree in north central Florida. There will be food and music and dancing. Most of all, there will be love. And even though I can't be there in person, I am there in spirit, wishing them a "life forevermore together wing to wing and oar to oar."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

playing possum

Our little basenji dog has been inordinately interested in the back yard lately, especially at night. We call and call and she doesn't come and then we have to grab the big flashlight and march out there to pick her up and carry her in. 

Last night was no exception, except for the fact that cold has moved in and Lady was wearing her pink crocheted sweater (which she despises.) I was suiting up for a walk myself (we take 40 degree temps pretty seriously here in Florida) and suddenly realized the dog had been outside for a suspiciously long time. So I grabbed the flashlight, yelled to my daughter that "something's out there," and ventured forth into the dark.

Sure enough, a possum was curled up on the path at the far end of the yard, facing Lady down. As soon as Lady saw me with the flashlight, she took courage and lunged for the snarling creature. I kept a clear head, walked quickly and quietly over to the dog, picked her up, and carried her inside. No problem.

Except that's a lie. I lost my head when I saw those snarling teeth, visions of bloody, rabid dogs swirled through my head, and I started screaming and yelling. "LADY NO! NOOOOO!!! EMILY GET OUT HERE!" (Then Emily ran out and joined in the screaming.) "PICK HER UP!! NO,LADY, NO! AHHHHHH! NO! LEAVE IT! THERE IT GOES!! AHHHHH! PICK HER UP NOW!!! )

You get the general idea. I think the poor possum was scared witless. Our neighbor thought we were being murdered and was ready to jump the privacy fence to rescue us. And the dog just kept trying to get that possum to move so she could kill it. 

We eventually managed to get close enough to the dog (who was about 6 inches from those possum teeth) to pick her up. At which point the possum got up and slowly made his way through a crack in the fence and out of the yard. And our neighbor went inside to laugh his head off...

Monday, December 6, 2010

joy to the world

and heaven and nature sing,

and heaven and nature sing,

and heaven, and heaven,
and nature

Friday, December 3, 2010

haiku my heart: feathered cheer

this Christmas season

who needs twelve swans a-swimming?

ibis bring cheer, too!

(i know, i know. it's "seven swans a-swimming." but I took artistic license...)

(visit recuerda mi corazon for more haiku)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

bragging rights...

Like most moms, I think my daughter is pretty darn special. As my dad was fond of saying in his Irish way, "She's a keeper." So I hope you'll forgive a little bragging on my part - okay, a LOT of bragging... 

Emily has her first article published in the St. Petersburg Times today. It's a feature story in the Taste section, about a mother and son (Iris and Michael Raie) who wrote a cookbook together to honor the memory and recipes of Iris' mother. 

The article has been published online and in the print edition, so of course I'm buying up every copy in the neighborhood : )

I'M REALLY EXCITED! Can you tell?
Emily has a blog, too, and if you go here you can read more of her stories in print.

Monday, November 29, 2010

letting go the stones

i forgot for awhile

that life is a gift

i lost faith

in the miracle of each breath

my soul was darkened

to gifts of love and laughter

“even in laughter the heart is sorrowful”

these walls of pain

would not be breached

they stood impenetrable, unbroken

by flesh or Spirit

yet i kept building

heavy stones weighing me down

beneath the stormy waters.

but i have had enough of drowning,

at least for today

and today is all i have

so i am letting go the stones

of grief and doubt

casting them into the waters

floating up

to grasp the hand of the One

who upholds my head

and fills my darkened soul

with love and light and


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, 
places to play in and pray in, 
where nature may heal and give strength 
to body and soul. 
John Muir 

  abstract in water, sky, and stone

crimson-dipped jasmine

ivy impressionism

and a message of love in craggy bark

Saturday, November 27, 2010

post-thanksgiving randomness

the skies are satisfyingly grey and the weather mildly cool. i've been taking a few photos, reading breakfast at tiffany's (which i snatched from my sister's house on thanksgiving day), wondering if i have the energy or motivation to bake a batch of cinnamon bread, contemplating a walk with the family (and the dog, of course.) 

all things considered, not a bad way to spend the saturday after thanksgiving...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

giving thanks

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."
—Albert Schweitzer

I am thankful on this day before Thanksgiving, for all of the people who have reached out to me during a dark and weary time with my illness. When my light went out, you let me borrow yours - through your words, your thoughts, your prayers, your love. I am so grateful...

Monday, November 22, 2010

the light shines in the darkness
and the darkness has not overcome it
—john 1:5

Thursday, November 18, 2010

quiet pursuits at end of day

the lowering sun is skimming and shimmering
in eddies and wavelets, in
flashing diamonds and molten silver
as the resident waterfowl forage along grassy banks,
plumping feathers in end of day warmth,
chuckle quietly
and settle into night.

(linking with imperfect prose)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

this is what you do for me...

If instead of a gem, or even a flower, 
we should cast the gift of a loving thought 
into the heart of a friend, that would be giving 
as the angels give. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

... some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don't help.
— Calvin, courtesy of Bill Watterson

Sunday, November 14, 2010

is it Christmas yet?

i know it's snowing somewhere,

but here the weather is balmy

and my birthday presents

are making me think of

holiday cheer

Friday, November 12, 2010

light through the slash pines

light through the slash pines

twining limbs seek the heavens

my heart follows them

(for more haiku, visit recuerda mi corazon)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


something went wrong with the flash,
and this is how iPhoto chose to "enhance" 
a photo of goofy, happy, family fun.
i love it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

rules are made to be broken...

I really did make my bed this morning. At least I thought I did until I came in and found the pillows strangely disarrayed...

and then I found this...

and this...

and this.

One basenji's idea of how to spend a chilly November morning.

Would you believe I used to have a "no pets allowed on the bed" rule?

(I refer you to the title of this post for the basenji credo...)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

giving thanks

winding, light-filled path,

silver scattered, strewn with gold

drawing me onward

thankful today for:

goodness and mercy along the way

a visit with my favorite uncle

brisk, bright, breezy days

surprise bouquets

warm boots

Saturday, November 6, 2010

blue skies and english tea

The rain has blown through, leaving us with a cool, breezy, sunny day. I dug out my warm socks, wool sweaters, and fuzzy slippers, and now I'm sitting here remembering yesterday's walk and sipping English Breakfast tea and being grateful for this moment of peace and comfort.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

some days

some days
i don't want to be broken clay
i want to be a strong useful vessel

some days
i don't want to be a smouldering wick
i want to be a flame

some days
i don't want to be a bruised reed
i want to be healthy and whole

some days
i don't want to be grace under fire
i just want the fire
to go out

linking to imperfect prose

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

eyes to see

do you think they wonder

why the sky is blue?

or do they simply


Monday, November 1, 2010

winter in florida

Flowers appear on the earth;

the season of singing has come,

the cooing of doves

is heard in our land.

— Song of Songs 2:12