Any-a-gram {a #poem}

I hate it that I am so sporadic inconsistent, not persistent,          no straight-ahead-in-a-line-to-the-finish. I’m distracted, side-tracked stops and starts, mis-matched piles, can’t remember the whats and whens. No perfect files, labeled loudly       I  A M  I N  C O N T R O L. I feign at neatness, completeness escaping me ever in process, a mess in the making. Oh, why can’t I … Continue reading Any-a-gram {a #poem}

On Reading & Connection

“A book begins with falling in love. You lose your heart to a place, a house, an avenue of trees, or with a character who walks in and takes sudden and complete possession of you. Imagination glows, and there is the seed of your book.” -Elizabeth Goudge, The Joy of the Snow, 1974

Squeezed into the wooden container on my desk is a well-worn yellow file folder labeled simply, ‘Books.’  Inside are sticky notes on old journal paper, torn pieces from the corner of a calendar, typed out comments from my computer and the other jigsaw pieces of my writer’s random brain. This is the folder where I stash my “find this book!” titles. (Maybe you have notes like that?)

In 2007 I discovered a writer whose name continued to pop up in the work I was reading. After awhile, when one hears a particular person mentioned over and over again, when their writing is cited with glowing praise each time in those mentions, one considers, “well, perhaps I should look her up.”

That is how I found Elizabeth Goudge. Goudge was a British writer in the early 1900’s (1900-1984) whose astonishing descriptions and magical phrasing carries a strong message of faith throughout each and every one of her rich stories. I recently added to my Goudge collection with the arrival of eight (8!) paperback copies from a publisher in Great Britain–titles I’d been looking for high and low here in the States. I’m very grateful for online used book dealers.

In the recent delivery is a copy of  Goudge’s autobiography, The Joy of the Snow mentioned above, I have relished learning more about her life but find particularly encouraging her notes for writers. In the first chapter, ‘Storytelling’, she has this to say about inspiration:

…the great flood of light which poets and mystics pour into the world

has nothing in common with the glowworm sparks of the small fry;

except for the fact that something, or some being, must have lit it in the first place. (emphasis mine) p. 18

What I find most remarkable and deeply likable about Goudge’s storytelling is the way she embodies the Christian life without ever talking about Jesus. It is far easier, I think, to make surface declarations about faith and a relationship with Christ, spelling out for readers exactly what you mean. A truly great writer leaves a bit of illumination on the page, lighting the way for us to find the Truth buried like a treasure in between the lines.

Sacrifice, kindness, faithfulness and selflessness are just a few of the many biblical themes woven through the characters and story in Goudge’s work.

Her reactions to critics who questioned the ‘value’ of her work due to its religious (albeit often hidden) nature, she has this to say:

We all hold our faith with a certain amount of fear and trembling (even Blake wrote,

My hand trembles exceedingly upon the Rock of Ages”), and to find that others share our faith has a steadying influence, especially in these days when the Rock of Ages himself is for ever being prodded and sound to see if he is still there.

To those of us who think the tapping hammers would not sound so loudly if he was not there, the likemindedness is a very special joy. (p. 21)

If our faith in God were not based on truth, all those ‘tapping hammers’ on the Rock of Ages would indeed sound quite loudly as the echoes ring out because of the hollowness inside.

But ours is not a hollow faith. And for those of us who write, that likemindedness with our readers, the gift of connection when we find a kindred spirit responding to our words–well, there’s nothing richer. Continue reading “On Reading & Connection”

January Bird {a #poem}

Where have you been? Out of town like those who flee our chilled clime and metallic skies? Elsewhere, warming up your voice to herald today’s sunrise with your song? I welcome your morning melody making its way to my ears, stirring memories of other songs on sullen, silver days when your music was my only companion, a balm for the emptiness at the edge of … Continue reading January Bird {a #poem}

Jigsaw Puzzles as a Prayer

Every year at Christmas our kids get my husband and I a jigsaw puzzle. This year Santa pitched in and we actually ended up with three puzzles–birds, the beach and kites–our three favorite things. A great Friday night date for my husband and I is to build a fire, turn on the music and puzzle away….a simple, quiet joy for us. (You 30 somethings are wondering which planet we’re … Continue reading Jigsaw Puzzles as a Prayer

Merry Christmas, Dear Readers

It seems very fitting that Christmas Eve should be on a Sunday, when we gather for worship, wherever that is. A morning to set our hearts right in a posture of worship and thankfulness is a good way to ease into the gift giving and receiving activities before us, whether we gather tonight or tomorrow with family and friends. As I prepared my head and … Continue reading Merry Christmas, Dear Readers

Christmas: Mystery, Miracle or Magic?

“Did not a great grey servant Of all my sires and me, Build this pavilion of the pines, And herd the fowls and fill the vines, And labour and pass and leave no signs Save mercy and mystery?”                                                 –G.K. Chesterton, from the Ballad of the White Horse, Book IV The holiday weeks are often heralded as the most wonderful time of the year; God … Continue reading Christmas: Mystery, Miracle or Magic?

I am From {a #poem}

I am from doughboy pools and homemade Barbie houses from Huffy bikes and Helms Bakery donuts. I am from three sisters to a room and broad green bermuda lawns. I am from bright sandy beaches and weeping willows whose drooping green sheltered me from California’s sun. I am from Coppertone and Sun-In from Helen and Wes and John. I am from belting out a tune … Continue reading I am From {a #poem}

God With Us, Always

I realize it’s still a few days before Halloween, but unless you’ve been under a rock (or in North Dakota somewhere) you know the Christmas parade has started in stores all across the land. (My apologies to anyone in either of the Dakotas). Yes, the holidays are fast on the heels of All Hallow’s Eve and we’ll be reminded once again – I hope! – … Continue reading God With Us, Always

Things I’m Not Good At (or Why I Decorate With Books)

        “So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.” Romans 12:5, The Message Bible * * * * My sister Elle got all the … Continue reading Things I’m Not Good At (or Why I Decorate With Books)