Break Forth


An inner coming away, beginning over again,

an outer rending, cracked in twain.

Thin, flaky crust of earth pie,

four and twenty red-wings rise to cerulean sky.

A birth, a break forth into song,

dragon-scale shedding, clawing along.

Molting, shutting the cold, old, yesterday’s door,

the sap-blood flowing once sweetly more.

The moving thickly, freshly born,

an emptied womb, a broken shell, forlorn.

Death awakes as life.

Flesh pink, scraped clean by ice-cold knife.

A besetting weight not easily scorned,

a gray emptiness, pain’s barrenness not mourned.

White and black birth, joy over green,

emptiness brings eyes to fullness, keen.

Torn away, rent, broken through,

clawed, sloughed, tapped, brand-new.





The Well We Draw From


I’ve been drowning myself in epic soundtracks this week. The Celtic strains haunt and delight me. They are like the marriage of prayer and song. They are familiar to me, matching a wandering spirit that is always hovering in the background. A slight dissatisfaction deep within. I’m not referring to ingratitude, on the contrary, a thankfulness and truth in the bottom of my soul. I feel born for another world, just here on borrowed time, really. These notes crescendo and filter through our days.  They meld and fit puzzle-piece like into the slowly aching and awakening earth all around me. Not long ago, the senses led our days, a seasonal movement, natural alarm clocks. The rooster, smells of from-scratch-made meals, the animals needing tending, the sounds of farm life awakening. The birds returning, ground slowly thawing, and longer days. Spring is one of rebirth. The following of the agricultural rhythms to life are pretty much a thing of the past. The natural world has it’s own music, one I’m privileged to have close relationship with, by opening my door and stepping out into it. The grand expanse, a small reflection of the life to come.

The poetry we soak in together, books savored, music enjoyed, the sunshine, and blue skies, it is all a five-sense feast of wonder. What of those who live without it, at no fault of their own, especially children? What of those trapped in steel, concrete, and those who never see, hear, or experience one little sip of beauty, nature, or wonder? What of the times I refuse these gifts by “the tyranny of the urgent”, or non-living things of little true importance? The false feeling of doing something important when on Instagram or Twitter.  All we drink from this deep, rich river of living-giving beauty becomes the well we draw from when reality bears down brutally on us. Without these moist depths, our insides shrivel up and die. We also, more importantly, gain an overflow, one that can spill over to those in need with their dry, cracked hearts.

My daughter and I are in a class learning to make 18th century women’s clothing. The learning curve has been steep to stay the least, but again the same strain of music is floating through these moments. A returning to our roots, learning of the American Colonial women, immigrants to this land, what their lives were like. Each stitch, each piece of clothing we make, feels foreign, alien, even. In reality, each piece was important, whether for a small slice of beauty in the woman’s life, or more likely for her heavy work-load. It’s like putting on the skin of someone else, shedding modernism, and becoming part of the land and people who have helped shaped this place in which we live. The hands-on aspect of it also is something of bringing us home, the value in making with one’s own hands. The contemplative posture, the slowness of progress, the appreciation of quality, one of a kind creations, found in this process.

The massive amounts of undergarments, the lovely slate blue floral kerchief tucked into stays, green linen gown and brown petticoat, white cap, and apron all are romanticized in my mind, of course.  There is something about appreciating others, different cultures, and time periods, though. Again, the flutes play, the aching hums along, this beauty quenches that nagging thirst. The ability of this well not to leave us in a static place, in a place dictated by the current stream’s of thought, but one that draws from the whole river of life and time. 

Oh, how I want to stay in this tune of life, waltzing and dancing through it with those around me. Yes, the reality of relationships and life is hard, but if I listen close and keep my toes tapping to this quiet song, this still small Voice, the well will never run dry.






Your Star, The Sun.

Cabin in the Woods by John Zaccheo

“Cabin In The Woods” by John Zaccheo (no copyright infringement intended)

In through the cabin window, out through the open door, mingled with fireplace smoke, and dust motes. I catch on the side of the table, glint off the lantern, and bounce off of the man’s reading glasses, blinding the woman in tangled sheets. I’m out, flying, free, waking, catching up bird song, swirling along. I hear a loon’s cry, see an eagle’s silent circle, as I rush down, whispering around jackets, skin, oars, and the braids of the occupants of the canoe. One lifts her head, bandanna brilliant blue; I kiss her soft cheek, I think she notices. I puff up, rising higher, laughing, flaming, growing, pulsing, racing to the pines. Their straight, regal selves pointed Heavenward, I swish through, rustling, a pungent, spicy, familiar, friendly smell greats me. Shafts shimmer through, resting next to my blaze of a brother, Fire. Voices a few steps away, backpacks, tin coffee cups, and grease clings to the air. I plunge on through it all, giddy and galloping. A new day is here. Good morning, it’s me. Your Star, the Sun.


{Our writer’s group assignment was to write something using Zaccheo’s painting as inspiration and to be aware of our five senses. This above is my piece. Others in the group had poetry and stories. It was such a delightful exercise.}

Monday Ponderings {March 12th}


Not in Vain

If I can stop one heart from breaking;

I shall not live in vain:

If I can ease one life the aching,

Or cool one pain,

Or help one fainting robin

Unto his nest again,

I shall not live in vain.


Emily Dickinson

(Emily’s words sink deep and water thoroughly the soil of my soul. This is it, folks. Humility and love poured out. This is what I’m pondering this week as a mother, wife, and friend.)


Dishes and Dreams


The rainbow swirl of greasy film glimmers up at me. A spot of soap makes it shrink away in concentric circles. The bright, scorching light of sun off snow hits my eyes from the little window above the sink. The brightness is a gift this time of year, as is the flicker of candle flame sitting on the sill. Any sort of light offsets the February gray. The smell of the candle intermingles with dish soap, the sudsy, drips hitting the water with a pleasing, soothing sound. Water is so meditative, running through little streams, out of faucets, down crashing falls, dribbling off eves, and bubbling over rocks. A dangerous, beautiful thing. I wash away the vestiges of spaghetti, oatmeal, and frustrations. Meditating on music, movies, and a glance through the window, a Downy Woodpecker at the suet. The rough towel, that’s seen better days, dry in my damp hands, swiping, stacking, closing cupboard door. Shutting out the bitterness, harsh words, washing it all clean, and stacking it away in the forgetting cupboard. Our days are stories, stories that we are putting down in living ink, blood, sweat, and yes, fat drops of salty tears. Silverware jumbles, clanging, the clink, clink of stacked glasses and mugs, building, working through each step of these relationships. Each day of clanks, clinks, and new blocks for the foundation.  I scrub stubborn spots of crusty peanut butter and Nutella, it fading and swirling down into the depths. Just like my children, their childhood, messy, beautiful, and slipping away all too fast, the slurp of the drain licking up the last drop. Dishes that held hot delicious memories of these moments, this twenty-four hours around the sun. Sustenance, conversation, and fruits of one’s hard labor. There’s something so satisfying about dishes and dreams.


How Thy Heart was Set


“Rose From Brier”

Thou has not that, My child, but thou hast Me;

And am not I alone enough for thee?

I know it all, know how thy heart was set

Upon this joy which is not given yet.


And well I know how through the wistful days

Thou walkest all the dear familiar ways

As unregarded as a breath of air;

But there in love and longing, always there.


I know it all; but from thy brier shall blow

A rose for others. If it were not so

I would have told thee. Come, then, say to Me:

My Lord, my Love, I am content with Thee.


Amy Carmichael

Mountain Breezes, p. 294


{Thank you for all your thoughts and encouragement yesterday here and on Facebook regarding my questions about writing. I spent some time this morning praying and reflecting and was so blessed by a few things deep in my heart. This poem above is a recent favorite and is VERY pointed and convicting in a good, challenging way.}

January Gifts


His hand on my neck. A middle of the night wayfarer cuddling. Three year old cold feet, climbing under the quilt with me. “I sleep in Momma’s bed,” he says sleepily. Crunch of  gravel and ice, a warm gifted day, taking me out into the wood smoke, manure-tinged air, whiff of icy earth. The sun setting shards of sharp sparkle skittering across the straggling snow. There’s something about January. Its sound of silence, quiet under pinning of a humming low, a gentle song. Its own smells, its cadence and chorus. There’s lots of pockets in January. In sweaters, coats, pockets of ice and snow, little bits of fog and sunshine tucked away like my car keys, old receipts, mittens, and lemon lime lip balm. There’s flashes of golden, angled-pieces of fodder rising from fields, the browns, murkiness, grays, and black shadows. Fire flutters, not unlike the busy feeders, ding dinging, clanking, crackling as I pour sawdust bits into the stove. The smell of wood shavings rising brings me immediately to the sun shafts on the floor of the Amish carpenter shop, Amos and I stood in last summer. Drinking in the smell, I feel in two places simultaneously, at home in front of the warm fire, and at the shop, the little dog running around my feet. A sweet Amish child’s eyes staring up at me from under her navy kerchief.  January sharpens the distance between outdoors and in, summer, its door wide open, all of it home, the natural world welcoming and friendly-like. A careful purposefulness is needed to come out into this new, bitter world. This January room. A world foreign, strange, yet essential for the renewal of the earth and its growings and groanings. A watering, a deep rest, a sigh. We too, find ourselves at rest, a rooting and watering deeply, often in-between pages of poetry and prose. A soaking in music, hot drinks, a pause. A conscious sound of silence. Metaphoric silence of course, with our beautiful gaggle of geese here who forgot to fly south. But a season that naturally draws close, simmers, sips, a mind that knows it grows through fallowness. We rest to awake. We drink to quench. We sow to harvest. No matter the broken pipes, icy roads, cold hearts, January breathes of life to come. It takes only a moment to see through the fog, hail, to the gifts given all around. ❤

Quotes for Reflection ~

“The beautiful is as useful as the useful.” He added after a moment’s pause,” Perhaps more so.” Les Miserables – Victor Hugo p. 23

“There may be more beautiful times, but this one is ours.” Jean-Paul Sartre



I will tune my harp again ~



“O my soul, why art thou vexed

And disquieted in me?”

Why cast down and sore perplexed,

Goest thou so heavily?

Hath the Lord thy God forgot?

Can it be He careth not?


Nay, He careth. Clouds of sadness

    Quick dissolve in gracious rain.

God of all my joy and gladness,

I will tune my harp again;

I will sing Thy love long tried,

And Thy comforts multiplied.


I have proved the heavenly treasure

Sustenance in desert land;

I have tasted of the pleasure

Stored for us at Thy right hand.

Now right joyously I praise

Thee, the Succor of my days.


Surely peace, like some fair river,

Reacheth even unto me;

And my leaf need never wither

     For my root is hid in Thee.

Ever let Thy love fulfill

In me, Lord, Thy welcome will.


~Amy Carmichael

Mountain Breezes, p. 96

(emphasis mine)


First Things Preeminent


Ice crystals of my heart

Jack Frost across my soul

Clang, din, discord, tearing apart

Driving wind takes toll


Sun dogs flare out, refracted chill

Which came first?

This distracted frayed heart, ready to spill?

Or relationships, cursed?


This tension, people or peace

Relationship blizzards, slippery and cold

When will these flakes cease?

When will I bow, buckle, and fold?


There must be a shelter,

Where the two can dwell together,

A place where first things are first

But freedom of peace, stillness can bloom, burst


It won’t be easy, a bitter battle fought

An inner quietness, calm

Midst a white barrenscape, thrown and caught

A teeny snowflake resting on my palm


Frosty breath, stomping feet

Hot drinks, arms cuddled

Warmth and cool, people and peace, mix, meet

A forever mixture, a forever dance, forever muddled


People preeminent, peace frost bitten?

Or soul warmth, relationships forgotten?

Frozen stream on pause

Gray skies, blankness, life’s unanswerable flaws.



I creepy, crawl after it. It’s there, it’s here. It’s found through the gloaming, drowning the morning, and drenching the moment. I look around a corner, catching a glimpse. I find it coming through cracks, through slats, through window panes. Blinding me, flashing out at me from mirrors, bokeh in my background, reflections framed with eyelashes. Between the pages of books, words shear out, smokey through steam rising off coffee, wavering candles, turned on, blown out, snuffed, words breathed, music sung, ink penned. I’m searching, running, walking over crunchy shorn corn-cobs in pursuit of it. Diamond-fire off water, horizon splits liquid blaze, early purple-pink eater, eyes heavenward, inky blackness drinker, eye-pilgrimage, pupils dilated, greedy. Glitter grains of poetry, silty, spilling, sinking, sucking downward, grasped, gulped, and galloped right on through to the end, straight on till morning.  Flared, sparked, struck, shaft-seeking. Seep, spread, shine, sparkle, gleam, luster-laughter gatherer.  Face turned, sunflower-like, baked warm. I see it, down into valleys, up, around the edges of  hilltops.  Hide-n-seek around birch trunks, bright on white, slanted rectangles on bare, wooden kitchen floors. The Word absorbed, an overgrown, ancient path lit, dawn through darkness, antidote to blackness, bleakness, unfolding brilliance, radiance, spirit-life cadence. Unfolding, forging, summer-haze lingering, fire fly chasing, lucent-twilight enveloping, caressing breath of wind full of it, just reach out and touch it. Wash my soot-covered body with it. Breathe the murky, blackened, griminess away. Faster then the speed of words, sounds reverberating, cutting through, soaking, drenching, shining away the dark.

Following the Light. Sooty Sojourner.




November Reads


Hey, fellow Bibliophiles! There went November. What did you finish reading this past month? I’d love to hear!

I’m Half Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley (***) – This is the fourth in the Flavia de Luce series and we find Flavia at Christmas time putting up with a big surprise from her father. They are in financial trouble and he hires out their historic home to a film company. Flavia, of course, always has something up her sleeve, and this time is no different, as she hatches a plan to trap Santa. After a famous actress is found dead, she is on the case. I found this book a bit  predictable with a heavy dose of cheesiness.

Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart (*) – This book rubbed me the wrong way. You’ve been warned.  Spoiler alert and long review/rant here if you are interested.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (*****) –  Magic realism fascinates me, but I suspect with this one, I really just love the story of justice for the little boy who’s family is murdered. The quintessential battle between “good” (as good as dead people in a graveyard can be) and “evil”. The creepy, fantastical elements make for just a simply good story to me. I really love the relationship with one of the graveyard characters, Silas and the boy, Nobody Owens. I think there is some metaphor here maybe, deeper things, but I just see it as a good story.

Ourselves by Charlotte M. Mason (*****) – This might actually be my favorite so far (I haven’t finished Formation), of Charlotte Mason’s works. I can’t articulate why yet, still mulling over it, but I absolutely loved it. I especially found Book 2 to be challenging and beautiful!

Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage by Madeleine L’Engle (*****) – I can’t tell you how much I loved this book. Madeleine looks back over life, marriage, parenting, and the creative life while walking through her husband Hugh’s cancer diagnosis. Such a beautiful look at life through the lens of faith. I don’t agree with L’Engle on all elements of faith, but her refreshing outlook on God’s character really blessed me. 

The Lighted Heart by Elizabeth Yates (*****) – Elizabeth Yates is probably best known as the author of Amos Fortune, Free Man, although she has written many other beautiful stories. In this lovely memoir, she walks us through her life with her husband Bill as he is going blind. I just love how she describes this from an outsider, yet close relation to someone struggling and how she tries to understand what he is going through. A beautiful story of how different a life of hardship can be if you choose the path of beauty and don’t shut out others, life, and the world around you. So very challenging and heart-warming.

Take Your Characters to Dinner: Creating the Illusion of Reality in Fiction: A Creative Writing Course by Laurel Yourke (****) – A sweet, online friend mailed this to me as a surprise! I savored it slowly and found this to be a fun way to learn how to write deep fictional characters. This is a book you can go back to over and over and work on small parts of it slowly. Very in-depth, detailed instruction on building believable people in your stories.

Dracula by Bram Stoker (****) – Over Halloween, the Bookstagram community (yes, that’s a thing) on Instagram, were digging into creepy classics, so I decided to try one. This is nothing like what you expect…no teen romances with vampires, or vampires struggling to be good and loving humans. (I haven’t read any modern vampire stories, just FYI) This is deep, creepy tale of good versus evil. Easy to read, engaging setting with gorgeous, haunting descriptions, much of this was written in the form of letters and journal entries between the main characters. I found myself tense and disturbed by the Professor and his friends having to find, track, and “kill” the un-dead, all victims of a centuries old vampire, Count Dracula. They then team up to end his generations of terror. Occasionally, I felt like parts were a bit redundant, like didn’t we just go through this exact situation, but overall, fascinating. Stoker’s use of vampire lore/legends was a bit “cheesy” at times, like garlic being a talisman against vampires etc. (An online friend mentioned that these might have originated WITH Stoker!) Overall, I found this adventurous and interesting.

On Writing: A Memoir of Craft by Stephen King (****) – Other then the excessive swearing and general crassness, I really enjoyed this book and felt like it was inspiring and practical. It wasn’t overly technical, which I appreciate. I’ve never read ANY of Mr. King’s fiction, just doesn’t seem like my cup of tea (he hates clichés, btw. Ha.), but I’m really glad I picked up this title. It makes me feel hopeful, encouraged, and gives me a place to start at with writing.

P.S. I found his attitude towards his wife refreshing and wonderful.

The King’s General by Daphne du Maurier (***) – Beautifully written, informative fictional story based on true people and events during the English Civil War. The immortality and lack of any redemptive characters was disappointing to me. Honor was intriguing, but I could never like her very much. Overall, I felt sad and disappointed at the end. A lot of the situations are probably what it WAS truly like but I was hoping for something a bit more hope-filled in the lives of the characters.

Thoughts Afield: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter by Harold E. Kohn (****) – This took me a very long time to get through because I wanted to read the sections in the corresponding season. These were beautiful short devotionals/essays touching on humanity, faith, and nature. For the most part, I found these just so gorgeous and lovely with bits of stark beauty jumping out. A few were a bit moralistic, but overall, I loved them. I see that Mr. Kohn has a large back list and I can’t wait to read more of his quiet essays and observations.

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (*****) – The beginning was slow, so it took me a bit to get into this title. For me, this story asked more questions then it answered about memories, age, time, and love. It was a subtle, surprisingly powerful read for me. I really think I’m probably missing a lot in it’s vague undertones, but I came away with much to think about and ponder. I really appreciated the approachable prose, it’s beautiful, yet simple. Yet the implication of what Ishiguro writes is complex. Can’t wait to read more by this author.

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright (***) – Christian fiction title that I’ve been anticipating. A longer review here if you are interested, a bit of a spoiler alert.

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (*****) – The middle dragged a bit for me, but the story was wonderful and full of delicious book-lover’s dreams, characters coming alive, real power in reading out loud, writer’s ink bringing life to characters – my oldest and I really enjoyed reading this and talking about it! We are looking forward to the other two in the series.

The Holy Bible (*****) – Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. I just love those names, don’t you? I finished reading through for the year. However, I’ve started the Gospels again and read Matthew in November also.

Here are a few titles I forgot to include in other month recaps!

School Education by Charlotte M. Mason (*****) – I recently finished rereading this as part of my CM Book Study Group and it is so fantastic. Read here for an overview!

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner (**) – Spoiler Alert! Everything happens too fast (boom – a best friend, boom – a Christian, boom – love at first sight, boom – engaged & married. The End.) The story idea was an intriguing one, but just very little character development.

The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon (***) – A modern retelling of the story of Esther. I loved the setting, detailed and richly woven life with a Bedouin clan. I liked that the romance wasn’t just physical-attraction driven, character was important. However, the romance situation was hard to swallow. Overall, this was a light, interesting read.

Mr. Write (Sundaes for Breakfast #1) by Chelsea Hale (**) – The title (not to mention the cover art) should have clued me in, what can I say? This was very predictable, eye-rolling plot, annoying, inspirational romance.