Sunday, December 9, 2012

Almond Tree - Part 2, Days of Light

Almond Tree
by Melissa Campbell

The oil runs clear through the presses
to fill the jars that supply the lamps-shimmer holy
from blossoms on branches of the Almond Tree.

Ripe the fruit of ancient Roots,
gathered, crushed golden in hushed garden grove,
the oil runs clear through the presses.

Maccabbee miracle shines Chanukkah joy,
eight days illuminating Judah's praise,
from blossoms on branches of the Almond Tree.

Always burning in the Holy Place,
two servants serving the Lord night and day;
the oil runs clear through the presses.

God-eyes probing dark earth corners,
casting light for blind to see,
from blossoms on branches of the Almond Tree.

Not by might nor power, but intimately,
by The Spirit of the Lord of Angel Armies,
the oil runs clear through the presses
from blossoms on branches of the Almond Tree.

Then the angel who talked with me returned and woke me up, like someone awakened from sleep. He asked me, “What do you see?”

I answered, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lamps on it, with seven channels to the lamps. Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.”

~ Zechariah 11:1-2 (NIV )

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica

Today is Day 2 in the Days of Light series.  Please join me for the next 6 days as I continue to light a candle in words to highlight the Coming of our Lord as celebrated by some in Advent and The Festival of Lights.  

Previous Posts:
Day 1:  Walk in Light

I was inspired recently by L.L. Barkat to write a villanelleThe Almond Tree is the fruit of my efforts.  I am so glad I took her up on the challenge.  To learn about this rhyme-scheme, you can visit Seedlings in Stone.

Photo Courtesy:  flickr - J. M. Rosenfeld.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Walk in Light - Part 1, Days of Light

Walk in Light
by Melissa Campbell

We were born to walk in light,

to breathe God-whispers,

to cherish child-like in His sight.

We were created to carry the heavens,

to prophesy life words, color and song,

to  reign in the kingdom while stewarding the earth.

We were designed to overcome darkness,

to be the balm that heals the hurts of thousands,

to give the thirsty a drink of  hope.

We were fashioned by the hands of a Dreamer,

to dream His dreams and flesh them out,

to inspire the world to do the same.

We were spoken spirit, each given unique,

to live and laugh and love extravagantly--like He does,

to lay our lives before Him--glory!

We were born to walk in light.

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. ~ John 8:12 (NKJV )

Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Today is Day 1 in the Days of Light series. Please join me for the next 7 days as I continue to light a candle in words to highlight the Coming of our Lord as celebrated by some in Advent and The Festival of Lights. 

Photo Credit: flickr - Geir Yngve Tro

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Explode My Soul

We returned home from a vacation to Ocean Isle Beach just in time for hurricane Sandy to hit the East Coast.  In the weeks prior to leaving, I had a sense of foreboding.  Something big was about to happen, and I questioned in my spirit if we should go.  God gave me peace and the energy to pack.

The weather couldn't have been more beautiful.  Sunny days in the 70's and water still warm enough to swim.  Locals told us we picked the perfect week to come. A crowd welcomed us to the island.  It was the 32nd Annual North Carolina Oyster Festival.  We visited Pelican's Perch for bowls of award winning chowder and were blessed in talking with Congressional candidate David Rouzer whose grandfather founded a town in our state.
Maybe it was because the girls weren't with us (which I lamented!)  And maybe it was because Someone bigger than us knew we needed a break.  In either case, we were grateful, and had one of the most relaxing vacations ever.
A ferry ride and tour of Bald Head Island, kayaking, bicycling, shopping for a birthday gift and celebrating with cake and ice cream after, eating meals together, watching wildlife from our deck and waking up early to see the sunrise, movie night with The Hatfields and McCoys and popcorn until the wee hours of the morning...all this and more, and it was hard to say good-bye.  
Saturday came, and we pulled out, the island appearing to be deserted except for the cry of gulls and a few lights from those battening the hatches.  During the ride home we prayed, hoping the storm would spin back out to sea.

It rained the whole way into Pennsylvania.  We were glad to be home.  In a stack of mail I found CD's, ones I ordered a month earlier from a distribution company, hoping to take them with me to the beach.  There had been a mix-up, and an apology.  The artists refunded my payment and sent the CD's personally with a their gift.

Through the storm I listened, the beauty of the music catching me up into high places where fear and hopelessness don't exist.  I was amazed at how easily I could go back to OIB in my thoughts and remember how I saw the Creator everywhere...
...swimming with a school of dolphins

...walking the sands at dawn

 .. exploring wynds on a tropical island...

...eating a meal together with loved ones
 ...admiring creation through the windows of a century old lighthouse...

 ...riding high the wind and waves and sun

...catching breath as fish flash like silver in the moonlight
...finding delight in a bush full of butterflies

...swaying to the dance of wildlife surrounding...

...resting under cottony clouds hung from the bluest of skies...

...watching the sun rise...and rest...all glorious and golden...

...soaking it all in, and knowing our God, He is good...

...and his love endures forever. 

As I listened to Jonathan and Melissa, my spirit flew like a bird and my soul danced with the violins, and I knew God was here now, even in the storm.

I saw Him standing strong as a lighthouse in the mountains as we journeyed to our promised land, and looming just as majestically in the gray on the trek home, trees once color-splashed in splendor and crowned with the glory that comes in dying now silent, cold and bare.
I saw Him looking out through the eyes of people I met along the way, brown-skinned and wrinkled and freckled and fair, all inviting me be one with Him...the very One whose Spirit lives inside...and to feel His love oozing into empty sand squishing between the toes.

I saw Him in the letting go...of my need to stay hidden, to be strong...of my fear of being exposed.  Storms have a way of doing that.  Of shaking what can be shaken, and unearthing what cannot stay hidden.  Self-preservation only holds us captive, keeps us from truly living. 
But in the letting go, our souls explode, and we fly free!  

I can still hear Him these songs by Melissa and all of creation and its groaning, in the people and things we encounter daily, in the beauty of life's colors and in the pounding of storms:

It's time to wake up sons and daughters.  Shake the dust from your feet and stand.  Great grace has been given...the kind that moves mountains and makes a way for you to walk across the sands.  There is so much more of what I have planned for the here and now...and in the days yet to come!  Don't stop now.  It's a new day.  And you've only just begun.

Be blessed, friends!

From On the Shores by David and Melissa Helser:

(Before listening, you may want to pause the SoundClick to the right of this blog!)

Explode My Soul 
by Melissa and David Helser


Whisper my name so only I can hear
Call to my heart, chase away my fears
Stand up in this place, fight for the one you love
Won't you come surround me, so I can rise above
Explode my soul, let these walls come down
All these prison thoughts crumble with the sound
Of my deliverance from my enemies
I stand up beside you, let's watch these giants flee
Let the silence be broken, and the winter be done
Will you come out of your hiding, kiss me sweet warm sun
Let the wind of your spirit blow the dust off my feet
I ran to you broken but now I'm complete
Hello Promised Land, we've waited for so long
To see what we've believed in, to sing this Promised Land song
Explode my soul, explode with praise
What he promised is what he gave

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Love Finds a Way

               If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 
~ 1 Corinthians 13:1, The Message

Choosing to get quiet, and let love
find and fill me today. 
For love, like oil running 
through old and rusty cracks,
always finds a way
to make my soul sing for joy.


Photo Credit:  Falk Lademann - flickr

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Of Ripples and Wings

We landed in ripples, like a flock of blue-birds on a mid-winter's day, hungry and tracking the light.  At the end of a well-worn path winding up three flights of stairs, we found sanctuary--an upper room shot with sunbeam.  Fifty years one day early, we came to celebrate and were surrounded, the atmosphere pregnant with joy of those who came before us.  

We didn't have to say it.  We could sense Him there as well, winging His way through each of us, and shining light on 50 years. A jubilee!  Every day our lives proclaim it.  Love shines through the ages and in the eyes of ones who see.

I used to think God was angry and lived far away.  He definitely wouldn't be caught in a brewery, or loving the likes of me.  I didn't know Him then.  But I have watched Heaven make its home in this family one ripple at a time.  And I have seen love shining through every generation, in all of us vowing to never let go, and to never stop giving each other wings to fly...the way that lovers do.

Heaven came in our hearts that day, in our gathering to honor a covenant, and in that burn of beam breaking through the panes, shimmering over the scarred wood of a tavern table, and kissing cheeks golden before circling on the pub wall behind were my parents sat.


Ahhh, God was there--I am convinced of it--for 3 hours, eating, drinking, singing and laughing!  Did you know God laughs?  And he doesn't mind a beer or two, the guys sampling ale and all of us getting high on the sugary perfection of a strawberry-filled, almond-iced cake--where just an hour earlier two love-birds perched under a canopy of gold and ribbons.

Over coffee my parents opened gifts and cards. And for another hour we reminisced, how years ago they rode away on a Honda Gold Wing, leaving us with our grandparents for weeks at a time to travel the states--all but one--and, "Wouldn't it be nice if this year they could tour the 50th--across the waves to Hawaii-- on their Harley?"

The sun crept slow toward the horizon, its laser beam falling like blessing on Mom and Dad.  No one wanted to leave, but we carried love and laughter across the street to say good-bye under the eaves of the gazebo. Still singing and acting silly, we snapped photos:  of Dad holding Mom's purse and all of us holding each other for warmth.

Our family is like that, never waning to let go.

Earlier in the day, before light dawned, I pondered a legacy--this marriage of half a century and its ripples--of two lives coming together to impact so many.  And somewhere in the dark I caught a glimpse of how we all intersect in ways seen and unseen--except by the Spirit.

I remembered waves and Physics class--how boring it was to me then!--and how when opposites meet (a crest and trough) they stop to catch their breath and disappear, becoming one with the way they are traveling. And when two waves of like mind connect ( 2 crests or 2 troughs) they combine to magnify the height or depth of each other.

In both cases, the ripples continue to wash through each other in continued movement, their energy effecting change in the world around them.

Ripples by Phillie Casablanca - flickr (CC by 2.0)

I Googled, and saw how the graphs of the points of intersection of two sets of waves form back-to-back hyperbolas... two sets of wings touching shoulder to shoulder and moving in unison... two lives taking flight as one... 

...and our parents catching us up to ride the tailwinds like we did as children on the back of their motorcycle, heads thrown back, holding on for life, faces to the sun...

...and our running to hide under their feathers when the storms came...

...and when all seemed shadow, how they shielded us, sometimes imperfectly with feathers broken, but always persevering, ebbing and flowing, giving and gathering, washing through each other with life. 

Because of our legacy--because of the Light we see--we too, have learned to overcome, to never stop seeking and believing, always digging deeper and returning to love. 

And Love, like waves, washes through, imparting from those before us and to those yet to come, the strength and inspiration to fly free, to carry on.

To ripple.

So the journey continues, of ripples and wings, all golden.  Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! This is for you, with love.

Of Ripples and Wings

Like the ripples from two stones dropped into a pond, two worlds collide in a million points of light. Two words splash from the heart of God and dance the waves of time, weaving a tale of faith, hope and love, in mortal flesh combining.

Two hearts reaching wide, gather grace and impact lives, share their dreams and sacrifice, and live to tell a story--this prosody of crests, an ebb and flow in water’s depths, each flash of fire and gasp of breath and the perpetual washing through each other, all reflection in the Son.

And golden rings entwine forever, changing the shape of mediocrity, and a life-time of fiery encounters wrap the world in current, filling earth shadows with glory, as waters cover the seas.  Two sets of golden wings take flight-- like their Father, splashing light--and two faces burn with His decree.

Let there be light and let there be dancing! Let there be laughter lapping every golden shore when two ships turn in the night, always searching and circling for more. And let this love burn bright a flame of jubilee, leading the way across the waves for many sons and daughters to see and dance and be.

2012 Melissa Campbell

All photos in this blog (with the exception of Ripples by Phillie Casablanca, Flickr) are licensed as: Copyright All rights reserved by Melissa Campbell.