Monday, November 29, 2010

How Do You Be, Little Bird?

I enjoy being hidden in the shadows, but there are moments when I lose focus and look past His face to see what "isn't."  Today was one of those days.  I knew I needed to change my perspective fast so I headed out the back door with no jacket or shoes, just wanting to breathe fresh air and God.

My husband had packed away the porch swing a few days earlier and in my heart I  complained.  I wanted to rant at him and let him share some of this pain.  But I thought better and plopped on the top step of the pool shed instead.  I lifted my face to the sun and let the breeze dry my tears.  It wasn't long before I felt the healing come.

As I soaked warm, I watched little Chick-a-dees flying overhead and landing in the trees, seemingly without a care in the world.  In my spirit I heard these words, "How do you be, Little Bird, there warming your feathers in the sun?"   

Not, "How do you do?" but, "How do you be?"

I answered aloud for the bird in the tree.  "I be just fine, thank you."  And smiled.

Then I realized God was talking to me, calling me His little bird.  He was looking at me.  Feeling my struggles.  Perching beside me on this warm November day, knowing I was hungry--so hungry--for His presence. 

My grandmother loved watching the birds gather and feast at the feeder outside her kitchen window.  She especially loved Cardinals.  Every time I see a Cardinal I think of her.  In the same way, my grandfather, when he saw my sisters and cousins and I coming to visit, would always say, "Here come the birds."  He likened our visits to the feathered friends who lit en mass in their backyard, assured there would be plenty of seed to eat.

Like the birds, we were always hungry for the food they shared.  We never once thought of lack.  All of my grandparents took great joy in giving, and feeding us from their bounty--it overflowed from the garden, their cupboards, and full hearts that loved.

I thought of this love that feeds.  Jesus said:

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  ~ Matthew 6:26 (NIV)

 Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica

He promises to feed us when we are hungry.  We don't need to work for His love, or worry He won't be there.  Our challenge is to see past our lack to His abundance, and posture our hearts for the feast.  How hard can that be?

How do you be little bird? 
Warming your feathers there in the sun.
Winter's coming and you don't seem scared.
What will you eat when the harvest is done?

Your seat could be any branch in any tree.
But there you sit looking at me,
unaware that your friends have all flown away.
Could it be you came with a message?
His bread on wings? His word a feast?

Like seed, He spreads His love extravagantly.

Today I am thankful for:

141.  little birds
142.  and love messages from God
143.  His love that feeds
144.  the sun, the wind, the trees--the beauty that surrounds us
145.  the most wonderful Thanksgiving meal ever
146.  all the people and touches of love that made it special
147.  Dad unable to pray because of tears
148.  Mom's pies and whipped cream salad
149.  Farmer Jones' turkey and the story of how it made it to our table
150.  the hands that raised and bought and stuffed and cooked it
151.  chocolate covered, caramel apples and messages tied with a string
152.  mothers and daughters and granddaughter working together and giving gifts
153.  our names written in little wire pumpkins and graven on His hands
154.  a husband/son who honors his aging parents
155.  another husband who cleans
156.  another husband who drives through the rain
157.  left-overs and the girls (birds) who love to eat them
158.  husband putting up wreaths and winter's first snow
159.  memories of other Thanksgiving gatherings and the abundance
160.  grandparents who gave love and passed on their gift to give

Today I am uniting with fellow bloggers at Bridget Chumbley’s site to talk about Fellowship.  Will you join us

I also join every Monday with Ann Voskamp and the community of gratitude-givers in appreciating God's graces.  Click on the button below to read other grace lists....

holy experience

In addition, please visit L.L. Barkat and other ready writers who share about their place at Seedlings in Stone
On In Around button

 Click to read more about my Journey of Gratitude.

Photo Credit: flickr - Charlie Cowins

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fly - Living a Dream


Fly  by Melissa Campbell

He didn't know when he woke that morning

his childhood dream would take off down a runway,

climb out smooth and trace a path through the heavens

in first flight solo with his Dad looking down

and Mom and I on the ground,

proud tears running.

I held my breath and wondered

what it must be like to take on wings,  

to cruise the clouds and coast the winds.

soar into the sun like the eagle,

to lift and rise and paint the skies,

leave a trail across God's canvas,

stretched wide without an easel.

When he touched again the earthy realm,

heart spilling full the rush of adrenaline,

and aviators peeking from under the flap of a denim pocket,

I looked past the wing and caught a hint

of wild blue lingering in the depths of chocolate brown

and knew my dear Daddy

was flying high with the answer.

Click to below to enjoy other Fly photos:

I am reading some wonderful poetry at One Shot Wednesday.  Get a cup of tea and come check it out!

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Dawning

All the windows of my heart I open to the day.

- John Greenleaf Whittier

Remembering the betrothal...

We shared wine, and you said yes.  I promised forever over a glass of rich red.  Later I dreamed you dancing while I drank the dregs of another cup alone, and settled the price of your purchase, extravagantly.

It seems like ages since I first beheld love twirling in your eyes. You were young and sweet like Abba's grapes still ripe on the vine.  You had no idea what it meant to be a bride.

When we kissed good-bye, you cried, not understanding the consecration. I tattooed the letters of your name over my heart, and with a finger drew a crown on yours.  I gave you my word I would return for you soon.

Now I stand below your window listening to the rush of your gown and girlish laughter, and I must confess I have been crazy counting the minutes until I can make you mine.

I did not abandon you as some have said, but went away to build us a home with lots of rooms next to the river, at the foot of the vineyard Abba gave us.  And while I worked late you grew weary and slept.
Watching through the glass...
But I am here now, waiting quiet, knowing full the pain of walking lonely, and remembering all the times I wanted to kiss away the wounds that came from the hands of your friends.

There were nights I came and stood with the stars, faces turned to your window parched, watching you drench the dark with fragrant oil, a mix of tears and love songs, and I was overcome with love for you.

Now a candle flickers from the sill, casting light shadows across your face.  I linger long, hoping to catch a glimpse of fire dance in those sapphire depths. Your eyes pierce my heart with eternity.

I have been faithful like this garden oak, roots gone down deep, leafy green a canopy of shade, and branches reaching high above the panes, watching dawn awake in the heights and depths of all your mystery.

Darling, I see clear through the glass how the years have matured you, your beauty full-bodied and complex like a rare vintage, and my lungs ache for breathing the headiness of your perfume.

Your light shines lovely from behind the veil, like a city on a hill, radiant, longing to know as you are known the secrets of glory, and captivating me speechless with all your charms.

Surely you knew I was coming.  Even as you slept I felt your heart hold mine.  Now I see you making yourself ready and I can't stop this emotion from running wet across my cheeks.

Beloved, our wedding day dawns...

I shout your name and taste it sweet as it rolls smooth over my tongue.  Again, I am undone as I watch you rise and rush the window like the sun, in a whirl of white linen and pearls.

You bend far to kiss me complete with the light of your eyes and I can't drink you fast enough. With carpenter hands, scarred and rough, I hold the silky smooth of yours, and thank God for the gift of covenant.
We soak long in ancient blessing.  My heart spills holy as I watch you inhale and put your lips to our wedding cup, then drink deep and savor the fruit of our own vineyard.  I kiss the wine from your lips and hear Abba say he is pleased to introduce you as my bride.
Kallah,  do you know how perfectly you complete me?  Your smile pure erupts and lights the room. Everyone claps when I splinter the glass, and we make love with our laughter as I carry you across the rose petal sky. 

Ah, Love, you will drink deep from this cup of joy again and again as we open our windows to a never-ending day of celebration.

Listen, the sound of angels singing. The fig has formed its early fruit.  Doves coo and almonds bloom and yes, winter has finally passed.  And you rest here in my arms, content at last.
For those who mourn:   Though it is dark, you must look to the day.  For even now the sun rises and the dawn wakes gloriously.

The Dawning:  Over a week ago I was watching the sunrise, and I heard the Spirit say, "It is time."  I watched the beauty of light and color rise up ahead of the sun, and I knew God was speaking about His glory rising on the Bride of Christ (Isaiah 60.)  We are seeing this happen now.  Many people I have spoken to have been led into a type of seclusion with God in the last year.  He is drawing our hearts to intimacy with His.  My writing is inspired from His word and His heart.

Kallah--similar to Kayla, the name of my oldest daughter, which also means pure--is the Hebrew word for bride.  I have always believed our names are God-given, and I come undone thinking that 26 years ago I chose a name for my first-born to declare God's glory in the earth today.

The Spirit and the Bride say Come!

May blessings abound as the Son rises upon you.

I am thrilled to introduce Adrienne Berry of Ruined from the Ordinary who was inspired from this post to paint a beautiful image of The Bride entitled, The Vineyard.  Please visit her site (click on the links) to see her painting and other beautiful works of bridal glory.  You will be blessed by the experience! 

Photo Credit: flickr - quacktaculous

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Colors of the King

The Colors of the King
by Melissa Campbell

Anoint us, Lord
Wave us to the nations
One flag of many flags
A people of liberation

Unite us to bring freedom
A remnant bride, your blood
We fly by the breath of your Spirit
Dance given to the song of love

Raise us up, a holy army
Hold us firm your banner high
A parade of earthly singers
Herald holy wings the sky

Assemble all our voices
While heaven keys a thousand tongues
And Spirit sounds the rush of waters
A splashng concert of daughters and sons

Dip us low to bind the broken
Spread us thick for eyes to see
With glory comes the dawning
Your sons will rise in majesty

And we will stand in awe of You
Our lips your praise we sing
A banner waves victorious
All the colors of the King

About ten years ago during intercession, I saw small pieces of fabric of different colors being stitched together into a quilt. When it was complete, the quilt was raised into the air and began to wave like a flag.  I saw how the vision represented our prayers for the nations as well as the nations coming together as one glorious company of saints being prepared as the Bride of Christ. Arise, shine, for your light has come. (Isaiah 60)


I am posting this in a weekly, poetry community event,  One Shot Wednesday.  (Click to read to read the works of other poets.)   

I have also linked with dear Emily and other remnant writers at (click button to check them out):  

Photo Credit: flickr - Jared Tarbell

Friday, November 12, 2010


~ Miracles are a retelling 
in small letters 
of the very same story 
which is written across the whole world 
in letters too large 
for some of us to see. 
~ C. S. Lewis

A childhood friend, vibrant woman of God, beloved daughter, sister, wife and mother of two beautiful teenagers needs a miracle today.  She has been bravely fighting a battle with leukemia.  If you think of Janine, please say a prayer for her recovery and complete healing, and for her family for grace and mercy during this time.  I so appreciate being able to post this in a community of bloggers who listen to the whispers of God and know His heart.  

Blessings to you, friends.

Beautiful Photos Courtesy:  flickr - Liz West

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Place Called Matters of the Heart

I fell asleep asking God for a glimpse of his love, and woke in a place called Matters of the Heart.

In a playground drenched golden in morning light, sun's rays breaking through in misty burn a wall of aged trees standing guard, and washing warm the yellowed bricks of a building where four generations of family members had walked the halls, singing songs, making friends, learning the three R's and facing opposition that comes against all things good...there I looked and felt connection.

Lonely swings hung idly from rusted chains.  I grabbed one and let it fly crooked as I crossed the grass onto damp asphalt, still dark with 9 o'clock shadow. I had the sense I had just come from within the school, but as I passed its twin wood and glass doors, I saw no life.  I was tempted to test them, and reached for the warn metal bar that crossed, wondering at my purpose for being here.

But another voice hung still--the one I know by heart--and beckoned me to follow.  It was the sound of The Teacher.

I shifted a bag of books to my right shoulder, and started walking familiar steps through town, up to where I lived as a girl.  Instantly my feet were in the dirt at the bottom of our hill.  Our house sat at the top, with the road leading up twisting under heavy branches draped beautiful, a white canopy in the winter.  Today the air was warm and dry.

I didn't recognize the father and daughter who joined me at its foot--he with a full beard wanting to take a picture, and she mentioning this is where her brother came to listen to the Counsel of the Lord.  I didn't find it strange that I couldn't see her face or how she implied our hill was a holy place, or that her brother was no longer with her.  I liked the sound of her words, and I told her so. 

I didn't find it strange that as I began the ascent, father and daughter disappeared.

At the top of the climb, instead of finding the house where my sisters and I grew up, I entered a cool, dim, rocky cave.  Another woman sat without a face on a long slab of stone, watching and waiting. She greeted me happily and said how Our Teacher had just passed this way, and how he was looking really fine, all dressed in his best suit, shirt and tie.  I thought about the meaning of his names, how his first was Gaelic for kingly--high like the hill--and how his surname came from a long line of horsemen, the best of those who served.  I imagined him smiling handsome in navy, with crisp white linen and a blood-red stripe down the front.  Even the dream of him was beauty to behold.  My heart warmed within.

I dropped my books on the bench and took a breath, then noticed the pretty stream across the path.  Its bubbling drew me with its sounds--like the tinkling of china. Picking up my bag of books, I crossed over and leaned into its mist, refreshing--like the minty chap-stick that fell from my pocket and landed, rolling, tumbling with the water.  

I was not happy.  This might sound crazy, but after many years of trying different balms, I had finally discovered one that soothed my dry-lipped skin perfectly without making them peel.  I had just purchased this new tube a few days before, and I wasn't about to let it go so easily.

Without any recollection of removing socks and shoes, I hung my bag on a lone tree that found its roots along the banks and waded, mud squeezing between my toes, to where the waters ran crystal clean and pure.  And I began the search for healing.

The water was moving fast over feet and toes I couldn't see for foam.  Kneeling in cold wet, exhilarated, I discovered not one or two, but three blue tubes of mint chap-stick, just like the one I had lost.  As I reached for each I remembered the two extra tubes at home, and wondered if somehow I had brought them all along.  But only one of these hadn't yet been opened--one was still fairly new, and the other, almost gone.  There must be a lesson in this.  I thought about the ten virgins and their oil, and about The One who was and is and is to come.  I would have to ask The Teacher.

While I knelt, soggy, splashed and pondering, looking all dirty and smudged, I heard rough voices burble on the waters and settle at the rear of me.  Afraid, I sunk lower, crept bare under the branches where I had hung my bag, and hoped I wouldn't be seen.

A man walked beside me, barefoot, stopping in the mud next to the tree.  I couldn't see above his ankle, or to where his other foot rested, but I gaped in awe at the beauty of his skin, so smooth and white--pristine.  I wondered at his identity.

The voices got louder, angry, guttural stones catapulting over me, "Go ahead!  Drive the stake.  Then we'll all be free!"  And they laughed, mocking.

My eyes were opened to see an old railroad spike lying on the large rock under the trickles beyond the tree.  Adrenaline rushed and I sweat cold as fear wrapped an icy grip around my spine.  Surely I wouldn't be discovered, hiding like a little rabbit all trembles, scared of what might be.  My eyes were drawn again to the beauty of this manly foot resting innocently, and wept tears that ran one with the water.  Not understanding what was wanted of me, I waited paralyzed, unable to speak, weeping.  How could one commit such an atrocity?

I didn't see it.  They took him away and did it themselves, I suppose.

All I know is that I was back in the school-yard, pockets full of balm and still carrying my bag now brimming with seed to sow--I had left a trail behind.  It must have happened at the tree--a holy exchange--my books of learning and experience replaced with seeds for growing life--a gift from The Man who gave his there.  I felt gratitude and hope rising like the sun.

The wood and glass doors opened easily, and I smelled smells I hadn't in years--old encyclopedias, No. 2 pencils, thick white paste that we used to taste and chalk dust.  Around the corner were stairs that led up to where I spent 6th grade, and where I went from being just a girl to shouldering more serious matters.

The climb was effortless.  I was on a mission shooting for the moon, and wasn't expecting the black-caped figure that greeted me.  Somehow I knew, death was fleeing and couldn't get away fast enough.  I faced it head-on, laughing at its desperation to avoid me.

A chorus of laughter joined mine.

In the first room on the left, the one looking out over the playground, sat my family in desks, no longer frozen to their chairs like models-- somehow I had seen them there that way.  Now they were alive, vibrant in the shine through glass-paned windows.  The room's haunting dark and despair had morphed into the nurturing warmth of a greenhouse. 

I walked close and saw ice melting in their laps; the sun was uncovering gifts below the slush.  My Dad brushed away the wet of his and laughed again.  Underneath was a golden square framing a picture of our family, he and mom and the four of us when we were small, pasting paper smiles for the photographer.

The picture always looked sad to me.  On the outside we were the perfect family, going to church, wearing skirts, reading our Bibles, working together in the house and the yard.  But underneath lying dormant were secrets and shadows that kept us hidden and lonely, angry and longing for love. I used to wonder, did anyone care to know who we really were, or to see the pain of 6 wounded souls all trying to be seen?  And was there really a Savior who could heal generations of religious abuse and sin, the stealing away of loved ones and destinies and identities?  And would God really send His Son and the angels to help us survive the trials that came to break us apart?  To destroy us?

Dad held the picture over his head like a trophy and smiled, his brown eyes liquid in the light of the sun, and said, "See, it didn't take long at all."  I looked again at our faces, and saw radiance.  And the answers to my questions dropped sweet like honey.  Yes.  Yes.  Yes!!!  I was there.  I am here.  I will be with you till the end. 

And Dad brushed my hair with his fingers and marveled at the soft.  And said it must be the oil from the tree by the stream at the top of the hill where The Teacher walks in fine clothes and The Brother goes to listen to the counsel of the Lord.  And I thought of the Oily Balm I found there in the cleansing waters, and the foot of The Holy Man who stood there in the dirt and gave his life.  There where my sisters and I and our parents fought to save ours.

And we laughed with Dad, all of us, healed and free to plant more trees, in this place called Matters of the Heart.

With tears and loving gratitude for One who loves and gives all for His family, and for my own precious family, healed and loved and seen,


Sharing with Emily and other writers of Imperfect Prose.

Photo Credit: flickr - my3sons_nh

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

You Hold My Sky

You Hold My Sky
 by Melissa Campbell

Today I forget for just a crazy minute
your making love to me,
and how you, a man of your word,
honor every promise for better or worse
and walk the narrow path without looking back
even in the darkest places.
In my weak I forget
your solid determination,
how your muscled arms pull me up
time after time,
and your soft lips kiss me clean,
how with gentle loving
you cover my shame,
and I drink peace.

In this haze of insanity I forget
all the things you are to me,
how I delight in your offering, 
and gain strength from your resolve,
how, when I search for solace,
you rest my soul.
I forget the trace of your finger
turning my heart to you,
how you feed me grace,
and wrap your arms with forgiveness
around my insecurity,
holding me perfectly still,
never letting go.

In the fog I forget.

I stand under a lukewarm spigot,
watch water trickle slow across my skin
and know it's not enough
to quench the burn inside.
My heart splinters ominous
and I can't stop the rage of it,
so I pumice mercilessly
and hope to punish
the grit no one wants to know or see.
And the storm keeps roaring,
and I run to hide
in an ocean of nothingness,
but there's only me.

And while I forget, get lost in crazy,
soul-battered bleed of regret,
you put your hand on the latch of the door
and say it's okay.
You tell the kids I'm just stressed.
I look in the blue of your eyes and know
you won't leave no matter how hard I push,
and I see love beaten there,
not yet crushed,
and I realize,
as my heart drains empty
and I drip naked in a puddle... hold my sky.

For my husband, a man who won't be shaken.   

This poem is part of the Random Acts of Poetry hosted by The High Calling. 

Also linking with other poets at One Shot Wednesday.

Photo Credit: flickr - Mayr

Monday, November 8, 2010

Counting Our Pieces

My dad stopped with a pie the other night while I was visiting friends at our local farm market.  Mom had phoned ahead to tell us she was sending her offering as a practice run for Thanksgiving-- like she needs the practice.  I have never learned to make a good pie because, in my opinion, there is no sense in settling for less when you already have the best.  And hers are.

When I returned home from the market less than an hour later--heart light from fellowship and clothes heavy with wood-smoke, my arms bearing gifts of pretty green peppers and glass jugs full of foamy-fresh milk, shiny red apples peeking out of a white paper bag, and cartons of eggs in various shades of brown and gray--my eyes were drawn to a trail of crumbs leading across the kitchen hardwood.  On the far counter sat our special delivery.  My first thought was regret for missing a hug from my dad.  My second was: Surely the family hadn't devoured it already!

Afraid to look, I unpeeled the foil slowly and let out a breath of relief.  Hmm--the smell of it was divine.  And only a quarter of it was missing.  I soon discovered our oldest had stopped on her way home from work to take some for dessert.  So the crumbs, and my smile.  Good news travels quickly.

Not able to wait for the chili to finish cooking for supper, I grabbed a knife and cut through flaky layers, just a sliver, and ate it with my fingers, the juice running down my hand and cinnamon-sweet apples melting in my mouth.  Yum.  The conclusion is always the same--nobody can bake pies like my mom.

Later, when the dishes were washed and put away, I thought about eating another piece with a cold glass of the farmer's milk--wished Dad was there to share--but decided it would taste better for breakfast instead.  When I peeked next I was shocked to find only one piece left.  It was a little wide, so I shaved another sliver, and left the rest in the dish for our youngest.  Apple is her favorite, and she hadn't gotten any yet.

Every heavenly whiff of that last wedge of culinary perfection tempted me to break down and do what I was guarding against while she worked late.  Too tired to eat when she got home, she barely heard my warning to get her pie before someone else did.  Unfortunately, I woke to the sound of her lament as she found the dish soaking empty in the sink, and she, full of regret.

Now we sit, counting our pieces, and through the process of elimination condemn the culprit--the one who ate the last bit of sweet indulgence.  (He confessed later--it was my husband.)  Since when did he start liking pie?!? 

Our youngest will have to wait until Thanksgiving to get hers.  Today I am reminded how much we have to be thankful for, continuing my List of 1000:
106. Parents who bake and deliver delectable treats.

107. Their love for each other, aging and growing deep.
108. Hugs.
109. A love that covers all our sins--even that of hoarding pie.

110. November's sunrise, brilliant through naked trees.
111. The last burnt reds and oranges of falling leaves.
112. And God's Son rising warm within.

113. Sleeping an extra hour.
114. And listening to my girls talk soft as friends.
115. Listening to a broken man share how God is faithfully walking him through the storm.
116. How his heart-story encourages mine.

117. Beloved farmers who rise early and fall into bed late so they can harvest the produce, grow the apples, gather the eggs and raise the jersey cows for milk.
118. Friend who invites and delights and hides gas-money in the dim.

119. Prayers and peace that calm life's storms.
120. A pie that tastes and smells divine.
121. Uncle who loves lemon meringue and taking care of his family--who comes to help us dig.

122. Another who cuts a tree, mows the grass, starts the water heater and joins us for tacos--sweet communion.
123. Voting with neighbors we haven't seen all summer.
124. Husband who hugs long and kisses sweet and tells me he prays,

125. Who forgives raging hormones and cooks meatloaf and parsley potatoes,

126. And gathers the end of falling leaves.

127. Daughter who gets recognized at a benefit dinner for creating a name.

128. And the money raised so hundreds of children will have clean water to drink.
129.  Sister who sweats long hours to make it happen.
130. H2O--liquid and living--that cleans and refreshes and quenches our thirst.

131. Another daughter who gives her money for a plate of spaghetti and loves a friend who lost with her mom the inspiration to go on.
132. The way another daughter works through the pain of a best friend's rejection.
133. The waiting...for pie, and promises to be fulfilled and past hurts to be heeled.

134. For counting our pieces...the graces we have been given, have yet to give others and discover for much more.
135. For family and friends--you fill my soul over the brim with joy.
136. The Giver, the Lover, the One who pulls us all together.
137. For art and words and music and baking.
138. For the ability to create.
139. And give praise to the One who made us like Him.
140. For softened hearts that give Him thanks.

I join every Monday with Ann Voskamp and the community of gratitude-givers in appreciating God's graces.  Click on the button below to read other grace lists....

I am also sharing  at (in)courage (click button to read other stories):

Click to read other stories of gratitude at One Word at a Time.

Click to read more about my Journey of Gratitude.

Photo Credit: flickr -  dailyinvention

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Holy Communion

Isle of Skye by Andy Ilachinski

Holy Communion
by Melissa Campbell

I behold your beauty,
as sun rises gasping for breath
in fascination
and wide-eyed wonder,
all captivated by your charms.

I stand in the chaos
of one thousand symphonies crashing hard
while your waves wash over
a hallowed crescendo,
and my soul burns.

I drink deep,
our Holy Communion catching stars,
as your light implodes
in the hidden dark of me,
and I thank God for thirst. 

I ride the wind,
in spirit bliss, flashing diamonds,
out where the ocean dips
and blue skies kiss,
and I yearn for more.

This poem is part of the Random Act of Poetry hosted by The High Calling.

Be sure to stop by One Stop Poetry and meet the artist who inspired my lines.

Photo Credit:  Andy Ilachinski.  Used by permission for One Shoot Sunday.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Song of Friends

by Melissa Campbell

I woke this morning touching two different worlds,
each challenging me to embrace the real,
tension pulling unfeigned, unfurled
from one side to the other
like a double strand of pearls
or strings of paper lights twinkling
bright across junior high dance floor,
where wishful girls paint the wall in flowers,
and awkward boys huddle opposite
giving cold shoulder
to what they don't understand,
and where the ethereal and earthy
struggle to come together
for just one dance.

I hold on to the letting go
for as long as I can;
while light vanquishes shadows
and images of friends disappear,
I linger in heaven glow,
beholding what few choose to see
or know
this side of reality.

And with eyes wide open
I hug another day empty of them,
except for maybe the gift of a call
or treasured words in the mail, 
penned pretty in calligraphy.
I think of their smiles
and the smell of their perfume,
and I remember our time together
when we sang praises to the King,
and I ache with lonely sometimes
missing what used to be. 

I leave behind the land of dreams
and visions dancing, not only in my sleep,
the kicking up our heels and laughing,
falling on the floor in out-of-breath wonder at God,
and joy confetti sticking to our skin,
drenching deep to quench our soul-thirst,
and the listening
to the tinkling of angel wings
and strumming of guitar strings
being played by little children,
with no cares in this world
but loving Him
and each other.

Whether awake or asleep,
I reach out and touch their spirits
touching mine
--for we are one in God,
and I find us twirling
round and round
in childish delight,
me and these kindred ones,
our souls wrapped warm in holy embrace,
with love flowing, blessed and broken,
stretching from here to there
and back again,
fitting us together snug,
as we dance
to the song of friends.

I was dreaming of beloved friends when I woke this morning, and wrote this in honor of them.  --You hold a piece of my heart.  Be blessed. 

Posting at: On, In and Around Mondays with L.L. Barkat.

Photo Credit: flickr - Kathryn Decker-Krauth

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Buying Shoes

It was one of those days when all I could see in front of me was what I had to do:  Buy a brown pair of pumps to go with the hounds-tooth suit I just bought for a business trip the next day.  Drive the half hour home, change my clothes, and make dinner--sloppy joe's maybe?  Arrive at the school by 6:45 to help set up the Round-ball concession stand.  Cheer loud for the girls as they play their biggest rival.  Go home and pack my suitcase.

I wasn't ready for the barrage of coarse language that exploded as I swung the car door wide.  My eyes were drawn to a small boy, sloppily dressed in a faded red t-shirt, two sizes too big, and a pair of worn jeans, knees touching dirt as he inspected treasure found in the landscaping of the Plaza parking lot.  Dirty, dishwater-blond hair flung across wide eyes as he looked to his grandmother scowling, angrily ordering him to get his butt moving, now! 

He took off in a blink, barely stopping to look for traffic, passed his grandmother, rifling in her purse with one hand and putting a cigarette to her lips with the other. His shoes slapped across the pavement a path toward the Payless store.  I followed right behind.

I cringed and jumped back as she belted out a manic scream, this time sounding alarm as well as anger and disgust, "Stop running!  My glasses!"

I watched, as if in slow motion, wishing, hoping, knowing--his momentum was too much.  Twin lenses flashed in the sun.  Bound together with cheap plastic, they dropped to the ground, sliding directly into the trek of a pair of worn-out running shoes.  Crunch.  It was all over. 

But he tried--really--to come to a halt in the middle of the street as his grandmother cursed him.  My heart dropped to my stomach as I watched a frightened little boy turn and cower at the angry slap, not yet realizing what he had done.  The scattered pieces under his feet rendered him guilty in his grandmother's eyes.

"Damn you, Brandon!  I told you to stop!  Now look what you've done!"  With rage, she dropped her cigarette and reached stained fingers--harsh with yellowed nails and tarnished silver rings--around a skinny arm, squeezing hard and jerking his body roughly toward the door.

I saw red, and not just the t-shirt being yanked around in front of me.  We entered the store one after the other, and she made a scene there in front of the sales associate, yelling and yanking and making it clear that he would not be getting school shoes now.  He could "just wear his old ones."

She walked him over to the children's aisle and showed him all the shiny new shoes, and told him loud he wouldn't get any.  I heard her over the racks, berating him for her failure to hold the glasses.   Anger made my cheeks flush.  "Who does she think she is?  She is unfit to be around this child!"

I bit my tongue and found the woman's section, felt myself getting sick inside.  "I will buy him shoes," I thought.  "I will go over there and ask her what size he wears and how much she needs, and I will shove the cash into her hand and tell her what a horrible woman she is."

But instead, I looked at boxes, sandwiched close, side to side and stacked up high, of heels and slings and boots, and I found in the second row down a pair of browns size 9 wide.  I slipped them on and was surprised they fit.  My mind raced as I listened to the badly-bleached cigarette smoker three aisles over continuing to rant.  I argued with myself.  "If I get involved, I could make things worse!  What if she takes him home and beats him because I buy him shoes?"

On my way to the counter, way up in the front of the store where passers-bye looked through the glass, I ran into them again.  She continued to beat him low with words that wouldn't stop.  "I can't believe this woman!  I will take him home with me.  I will call Children Services.  I will report her.  She is abusing this beautiful little boy!"

The sales associate and I stared at each other, uncomfortable, wondering.  I looked to his feet, worn dirty and frayed with one big toe tucked under the other.  He needed shoes.  I saw how he pulled the fingers of his left hand with ones from the right, nervously, and I saw his bottom lip quivering, and eyes pressed down hard into the floor with shame.  "I'm sorry.  I'm sorry.  Please let me get shoes," he sobbed.

"I will buy him shoes. I reached into my wallet.  "Oh, God!"  My heart was breaking.  "What should I do?"

I passed him by.  I shot her a dirty look.  I prayed, "God, help him! I  gave the sales associate my debit card, and walked out the door, not turning back, carrying new shoes.  "Oh, God!  I am such a coward."  I sat in my clean car and wept.

Two years later, I see my nephew walking around in a new pair of Vans, so rocking.  And I think about the glasses and the little boy and the horrid woman and my cowardly heart--all broken things, all needing a Savior.  And I weep again.  I want to buy them shoes, but right now it seems this all I am able to do.

Joining with Emily at:

Photo Credit: flickr - emilyonasunday

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty (Eve's Story)
by Melissa Campbell

temptation shuttles warp with weft
deceptive thoughts in weave like thread
'round heart-provoking taunts.
they probe, they prod
in voice sounds soft, seductive,
so like my breath, whispers
linger scent, sweetly aromatic,
tantalizing my imagination
until I am lost in queenly visions
pleasing to the soul.

i dream there,
where the stage is set and hot spotlight 
shoots rays violently, breaking the dark,
a blinding invitation to stardom.
i can't resist, can't wait to dress the part
in royal robe and iced cold crown,
bow before the crowd and
grasp raw fruit of adoration,
savoring that first bite,
as juice runs down my chin,
so decadent and delicious.
i languish in the light,
then remember
the question is always the same:
did God really say? 

yes, i can be queen.
who does he think I am?
I deserve to reason, 
choose my own destiny,
lead my own symphony,
argue my own philosophy,
concoct my own theology,
debate and determine
what is saintly good
and hellishly evil
all according to me.

ripe fruit drops hard to the ground
landing next to wormy rounds, spoiled,
spotted and bruised from the falling, 
lies there naked, bare,  
hiding in the shadows,
no longer fit to eat.
i, shaken scared, fall asleep
poisoned by the tree
of knowing.

helpless.  hopeless.  having no savior but One.
he reaches low to wormy soil
and rouses my sleeping soul with kiss,
sweet surge of forgiveness,
and lips that once reviled him,
now taste the blood of suffering.
he died my death and lived.
by faith i reach, hold grace,
become beauty,
embody purity,
bleed royalty, 
know as I am known,
his queen.

Photo Credit: flickr - Reza

Pennsylvania for All People


As an American and a Pennsylvanian, I come before the Lord in humble thanks for planting my feet and growing me tall in a land where all people, for a short time in history, were welcomed and befriended, treated fairly and offered the opportunity to live and worship God freely, in brotherly love and affection.

As good things are opposed, so was The Holy Experiment, a liberally governed, non-violent community dreamed and drafted by William Penn, where all people could live free of persecution and unfair practices, doing unto others as Jesus taught.

Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love and the first capitol of our state and nation, was named appropriately by Penn as he envisioned a city that would exist to promote equality, peace and prosperity among all people.

From the beginning, Penn promoted peace with the native Lenape, determining to purchase land instead of stealing it, and establish good will among "brothers" as noted in this address to Native Americans at Schackamaxon in 1682:
The Great Spirit who made me and you, who rules the heavens and the earth, and who knows the innermost thoughts of man, knows that I and my friends have a hearty desire to live in peace and friendship with you, and to serve you to the utmost of our power.
It is not our custom to use hostile weapons against our fellow creatures, for which reason we have come unarmed.  Our object is not to do injury, and thus provoke the Great Spirit, but to do good.
 We meet on the broad pathway of good faith and good will; no advantage shall be taken on either side, but all shall be openness and love
I will not call you children--for parents sometimes chide their children too severely; nor brothers only--for brothers differ.  The friendship between me and you I will not compare to a chain; for that the rains might rust, or the falling tree might break. 
We are the same as if one man's body were to be divided into two parts, we are all one flesh and blood.

Unfortunately, the experiment failed.  Penn fell to ill health, and greedy men moved in with lust in their hearts and war on their hands.  Pennsylvania became a land soaked in blood as The Friends resigned their positions of authority and opened a door for evil motives to flourish.

Yet a seed of hope had been planted in our Keystone State, and still lies dormant, waiting to spring back to life...multiplied.

Today the future of our nation hangs in the balance, teetering on scales of injustice, and leaning in the way of destruction.  According to William Penn, our government cannot be good when given over to politicians with self-centered motives.  And when men are not governed by God, they will be ruled by tyrants.

Sadly, here we are. 

But I am reminded, as followers of Christ our authority lies in a higher power.  We are seated with Him at the right hand of the Father, sojourners here--ambassadors of His kingdom.

My heart grieves for what could have been, but isn't...yet.  So I pray and intercede, with hope in God's grace and mercy, that somehow He will bring to life the seed of this beautiful land where I live, and which was planted by one brave soul, persecuted and opposed, who sought the heart of God for his fellow man.

May The Holy Experiment be resurrected!


Father, I give you Pennsylvania, her rolling hills and fertile farmlands, tree-covered mountains and sandy lake beaches, her coal mines and river-beds and hard-rock quarries, her meandering streams, fresh-water lakes and sweet-water springs, her beauty and bounty in all things nature and wild-life.   

I give you all people who call this soil, beloved and blood-bathed, Home.  I pray for the remnant here who seeks your forgiveness and your hand in government and every mountain of authority.  May our hearts burn for You.  May we yearn and learn to walk in Your ways.  And as we turn to you, our Maker, Creator, Sustainer--may the nation so go with us--for your glory and honor and praise!

Father restore Your kingdom, on earth as it is in heaven.  Begin with me.  Change my heart to see as You see, and enable me to love my brother.  Today I choose to pray and give thanks for all people, just as William Penn did centuries ago, and as Paul encouraged Timothy:
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. ~ 1 Timothy 2: 1-4
Father, thank you for Pennsylvania--for all people.  Your will be done.  Amen!

I join every Monday with Ann Voskamp and the community of gratitude-givers in appreciating God's graces.  Click on the button below to read other grace lists....

Click to read more about my Journey of Gratitude.

Photo Credit: flickr - Nicholas_T and Vic15.
Scripture take from: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. As taken from Bible Gateway.