Tuesday, December 25, 2007

taking a break...

Ho, ho, ho and a bottle of rum
Lucy's run off to the Caribbean
A week in the tropics and she'll be alright
Sporting a tan when she comes into sight

See you in the new year!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

i couldn't resist sharing...

...with my "perfect" blogging friends!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas to All!!!

Christmas blessings to all of my wonderful readers! You have made my life richer this year with your presence (and that goes for all of you, too, who insist on remaining anonymous!!) Maybe today is the day to screw up your courage and stop for a moment to say "Merry Christmas, Lucy!"

Peace to you and yours.

collage by lucy of lucy 12.22.07

Friday, December 21, 2007

Blue Christmas

Here's a little simple entertainment for a break in this busy week.

I took the following shots while walking around my neighborhood last night and then came home to find this very inspiring rendition of "Blue Christmas" by Jon Bon Jovi. If you need a little hot throb (oops) I mean heart throb today...take a peek.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


...a continued reflection

Our heart is an amazing vessel that often lives in its shadow side. (Think “Tinman” in the Wizard of Oz…"If I only had a heart.” The heart is filled with blood vessels. Yes, vessels…carrying the lifeblood that runs through our veins. The blood that comes from our ancestors. My mother. My grandmothers. The “greats” I never knew.

Vessels of life. Petals of red. Red roses. Red poppies. Red wine. Blood. Sacrificial blood. Dying so that we might live. Opening up space. A field of flowers. Open and wild. Making room for forgiveness. Making room for me. For only when I love myself deeply can I do the same for others. Rainbow’s promise. The pot of gold. Vessels.

Vessels of crystal and glass. Of wood and earth. They are all fragile. They break. They crack. So, care for the vessel. The holy carrier of God. Hollow me out, Lord. File away the rough edges so that I may be filled with you. Let the lifeblood flow freely through the vessels of my heart.

"blood vessels" found here

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Vessels, Empty Space & Advent

Yesterday was a day filled with shadows and vessels. It is raining here in Seattle (no surprise there.) My living room is still filled with furniture from the basement and contractors go in and out of my house. A list sits patiently by my computer, but I did not want to go anywhere yesterday…no driving, no errands, no last minute Christmas duties. And so I stayed in for the day and made a collage. The topic: vessels. I asked myself “why vessels?” several times throughout the process.

What do vessels represent to me? Holding. A bowl. A womb. Cupped hands. A shell. A box. A gift. A decanter. The arms of God. Safety. Confinement. Cups & glasses. Crystal. Pottery. Earthenware. More questions: What am I trying to hold? What do I need to let go of? What does advent really mean?

Finally in the evening, I visited Back Road Journey and read these words:

“This gift (empty space) takes me down a path I may not have chosen otherwise: emptiness, brokenness, darkness, without-ness. The invitation is there, I have only to cross the threshold. And I am discovering that there are layers to this threshold, layers of emptiness and brokenness to live through. Perhaps this is what John the Baptist spoke of when he said, “Prepare the way.” What if prepare isn’t about pulling out all the Christmas boxes from the attic or basement in order to get the house just right or about baking up a storm but rather it’s about emptying, being without, getting rid of, all in order to make room? Could it be that it’s in the empty spaces and brokenness where there’s room for Emmanuel to be born?”

Something shifted in me as I read her words and I began to see the connection between vessels, empty space and advent. Preparing the way. Smoothing the vessel. Making room. Letting go. And this morning these words continued the journey. What edges need to be sheared away? Rough places chipped off to make space for God? For forgiveness and holiness. Grace & mercy. Filled up only to be emptied again and again. Opening the door to my own dark places. Seeing the images that still lie in shadow. There is much to consider in this time of waiting.

In closing, I will share one last thing (although another post is already brewing.) Here are words from Jan L. Richardson’s, Night Visions. They have been working on me for nearly a week since I read them. (Not surprisingly, they also were perfectly printed at the end of Redbarn’s post ☺ .) What places may still yearn to be hollowed out for you?

You hollow us out, God,
so that we may carry you,
and you endlessly fill us
only to be emptied again.

Make smooth our inward spaces
and sturdy,
that we may hold you
with less resistance
and bear you
with deeper grace.

collage by lucy

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A is for Anniversary

While doing a little writing this morning, I decided to see what I was up to at this time last year. I came across this fun game and decided it was worth posting again this year. I loved looking at my list and realized it still holds true for me today. Have fun reading and I hope you might decide to take a break from whatever you are doing and play a little!!

This is a fun little game I discovered at Christine's Blog who originally found it at Cathy’s blog. (I don’t happen to know Cathy, however, we are now connected through this letter game and if I had the letter, C, I would add the word Connection, Christine and now Cathy.) Many who played the game said it was harder than you think. I imagined it would be hard to come up with 10, however, my brain switched into high gear and I had a list of about 45 “A’s” before I told myself to slow down and pick 10. So here goes.

1. Christine gave me the letter A for Awakening, so I shall start there. Awakening my creative spirit, awakening to each new day and experience, awakening to life around me. These are most definitely things I love!

2. Advent season has been an amazing time of waiting and discovery for me this year. Great expectation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus and anticipation of what new birth is happening in my life.

3. Aging. I wavered a bit on whether or not I truly love aging. It is one of those love/hate dilemmas, however, aging has provided me with a new perspective and a new zest for life that I did not have in my younger years. It provides a preciousness to each new day and each new year. I turned 50 on September 11 of this year, so hurray for Aging!!

4. Asking questions and seeking answers. I love this, particularly done in community or in my quiet time with the Lord. The beauty is that there are no pat answers and half the fun comes in the asking and seeking.

5. I love Angels! Doesn’t everyone?? I think one of the things I imagine and envy most about angels is their wings. I love the possibility that they can fly which leads me to #6 and….

6. Airplanes. Airplanes take me to far away places for adventure and reunion with friends. My favorite airplane was the tiny one that I jumped out of and flew through the air myself. The air was buoyant and felt like the hands of God gently holding me in my downward flight. It was…

7. Amazing! Life just gets more and more amazing to me. There are new adventures each day, new awakenings, new people, places and things to discover. Truly Amazing!!

8. I could not finish a list of things I love with out including at least one author, because books are one of my very favorite things. I choose Anne Lamott to grace this list. I love her irreverent reverence and her advice from Bird by Bird that if you want to be a writer, “Write!!” These are words that get me going when I often wonder where my writing will lead. Just write!

9. As with authors, the list would not be complete without mentioning a few places since I love adventure and travel. I love Asheville, NC. I have had dreams of moving there and becoming an artist full time. Arizona is wonderful with its beautiful deserts and warm dry climate. Alaska must be fabulous because it produced my dear friend, Maria, and Africa birthed my wonderful husband, Bill—both are places I hope to visit in this lifetime. (Australia is also on my very short list of places that I love before ever having been there.)

10. Since this list of gratitude and love could go on and on, I will end with Abundance and Amen!!

Thank you, Christine and Cathy. If anyone else would like to play, send me a note and I will send you a letter. Blessings and Abundance to you during this Amazing season of Advent. Amen.

photo by h3images

Monday, December 17, 2007

Advent Journey Continues

So, what do you do when you have too many words, thoughts and events running through your head that it would take pages and pages to even begin? I realized this morning that when that happens to me often a poem will pop out. Advent continues to be an amazing journey for me. I have been very nearly overwhelmed by the thoughtful and thought-provoking responses I have received on my last few posts. I am blessed by each of you in ways you likely cannot imagine. I am grateful. I am humbled. I am pondering.

This graphic is a collage card I made last week at an evening workshop. I am still unraveling what this art has to say to me. The poem is one of a continuing journey; weaving times, places, people, & events in and out. It seems appropriate to preface it with these words of Ronald Rolheiser, given to me in a post comment from Gabrielle.

"Advent should not be confused with Lent. The crimson-purple of Advent is not the black-purple of Lent. The former symbolizes yearning and longing, the latter repentence. The spirituality of Advent is about carrying tension without prematurely resolving it so that we do not short-circuit the fullness that comes from respecting love's rhythms. Only when there is enough heat will there be unity. To give birth to what's divine requires the slow patience of gestation."

she is most interesting to me
gazing at me through pools of brown
lovely eyes aglow
do not be afraid
it is a time of shedding & rebirth
an awakening
creative & colossal
shining in the shadows
hidden light revealed
ancient wisdom in 5 year old eyes
vibrant & watchful

she is most interesting to me
poppies in hand
serpent looming
entwined with god
one god
lives rippling outward in time
embracing the whole
the beloved
ancestors dance the bridge between day & night
angels float in shadow bright
golden shimmering
shadows joining light

she is most interesting to me
crown donned with flowers white
lucy of the light
patron saint of blind
mother earth
rebirth & new life
speak of shadows feared
step into them & see
they are filled with light
shadowy brilliance
sorting through life

yes, she is most interesting to me

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Preparing Space. Letting Go. Shedding.

“Why is there so much Lent in Advent? In this season of joy, why do I bump up against my wounds? The wise ones who journey with me remind me that there are cycles of shedding before there is conception, that birthing is painful and messy and loud, and that we find it so hard to let go, to open so that new life can emerge.” Jan L. Richardson, Night Visions

Preparing a space. Letting go. Shedding. Before me lies a table full of photos of a young girl. Me. I see my 2nd birthday; my fifth; another one or two. I think I look dorky. Sullen. Goofy. I think I look brilliant. Wise and beautiful. God’s perfect creation. One in need of constant shedding and letting go.

It is time to start letting go of resentments toward the imperfections of my childhood. I know that I was cared for although not always well. My parents were, after all, human—just like me. I was clothed in handmade creations. Were they made out of love or necessity or possibly both? At age eight, I fell off my bicycle and broke my front teeth and split my lip so badly that it would droop for several years until my mother took me for plastic surgery. Ironically, I appear to be most proud of my school picture taken after my teeth were broken for it is the only picture that bears my signature. The pictures are tiny and could easily have been lost over the years. I am grateful to see my young handwriting testifying to the spunk I had even in my brokenness.

I am grateful for the table full of pictures that I did not think existed. They show me that someone saw to it that my life was documented—perfectly & imprecisely. The school photos. A few snapshots. The glamour girl with my sixties “fall” (i.e. fake hair). A new bike at Christmas. The dangerous sled ride being pulled behind a mini-bike by my father. The trip to Niagara Falls that I wasn’t quite sure we had taken. My dad’s semi-truck. Skipper the dog. My cousin, Vicki who snuck olives from the table with me. My sophisticated sister and my skinny brother before he grew into his ears ☺. Mother holding me on the day I was born.

These photos are helping me shed that which I no longer need. They are marking the time to let love back in. My mother was a woman filled with imperfection. My father was often absent for long periods of time. Together, however, they raised three amazing children. “Good genes,” we’ve always said. “Good hearts” is probably more like it. This, of course, makes me think of my own children. May they grow up well in spite of me AND because of me. I love them the best I can…just as my parents loved me. Yes, it is a time of preparing space. Letting Go. Shedding. It is the time of Advent.

photo: Mom & Me

Everlasting Love

Many of my fondest childhood memories revolve around the time I was in kindergarten. Those memories hold images of skipping and playing and having the freedom to just be Me. That age (around 5 years old) has also been a place in time where it feels like things shifted for me. Kindergarten was a time of living fully in my true self as a little person and also the time that I became aware of the heaviness and darkness that exists in the world. (The entering of paradox, perhaps?)

My most joyous memories come from being in Mrs. Peck’s kindergarten class. It was a private little house just around the corner from my home. I remember the independence of being free to skip around the block on my way to school. To this very day, I can sense the embrace of Mrs. Peck when I hug women who feel like her. Her whole being resonated unconditional love.

Yesterday as I was sorting through some photographs, I came across a cherished picture of me with my beloved teacher. I remembered the photo and was delighted to find it again. The bonus of the day, however, was a letter in her handwriting which I do not ever recall reading before. The envelope had my name on it and said, “Kindergarten Report 1961-62.” While I could regale you with tales of my brilliance at this young age (and there is no doubt I was brilliant ☺), I was most struck by this paragraph.

“It has been most gratifying to watch her development. She is a sweet child and one any parent could be proud of and I know you are. Yes, she is quite right I do love her and it has been such a pleasure to have her in our class. She is most interesting to me.”

Obviously I had picked up on her love for me and shared it with my mother (with great emphasis no doubt.) I have always known deep in my heart that she loved me, but also questioned if I had built it up in my imagination. What a gift to find these words of confirmation almost 50 years after they were penned (for she had not only written them, but also underlined her words of love)! This is a huge affirmation of the power of unconditional love for it has sustained me in ways I cannot begin to fathom. I believe Mrs. Peck is a lovely example of Christ's incarnational love.

The timing, of course, could not be more appropriate. During this season of Advent that emphasizes the importance of waiting, I often ask, “Waiting for what?” An obvious answer is we wait for Christmas; for Christ’s coming. But I believe it is more than that for God is always with us as reminded by the name Emmanuel (translated - God with us) and evidenced through people such as Mrs. Peck. Most often we have no idea for what we are waiting. Little did I know that I was waiting to receive this confirmation of love that had marked my heart with indelible ink.

For what are you waiting this season of advent? Will you allow yourself to rest in the mystery?

photos: Mrs. Peck & me...circa 1961-62

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Tale of Lucy

There once was a beautiful girl with pools of deep brown eyes. She lived in a normal house in a quiet neighborhood and some would say she led a privileged life. From the outside it looked that way, but on the inside she felt as though she were locked in a tall tower. No one could climb the tower to reach her. In fact, no one ever really tried. Only the evil gremlins communicated with her and all they said was, “Sit still. Look pretty.”

Although she was, in deed, quite pretty, she never felt that to be true. And as far as “sitting still” went….well, all she really wanted to do was play and skip and laugh and shine. The gremlins were quite envious of this playful behavior and in their resentment, they cast a spell over the beautiful girl. They used sweet sounding words tinged with bitterness that gently lulled her to sleep. But, just before she went into a deep slumber, the girl realized that she was being tricked. She knew something was terribly wrong and deep in her heart she clung to the dreams of her childlike nature.

Alas, the spell still took hold and the young girl was silent for many years during which time she became bitter and resentful just like the gremlins. She was crabby and spiteful and often pushed her companions away with her nasty demeanor. One day, a very brave friend looked at the girl and said, “You are Lucy. Lucy Van Pelt. Charlie Brown’s nemesis.” Hearing the name and making the association was like being struck over the head with a large stick (or awakened from a deep dark sleep.)

The name stuck and the young girl (who was no longer so young) realized slowly, but surely that she was not really Lucy Van Pelt in character and she still wanted to play and skip and dance to music and to have her heart touched by those she loved. She came to learn that the more she knew about herself, the more she wanted to love and care for others in return. And so, she began to play again; and she started to shine; and music followed her everywhere she went.

Birds gave her special messages and dolphins danced along her path. She was full of light. It was as if she had her own magic wand and she could use it to help others see their own light. She glistened and glowed. She transformed back into who she had always been deep inside her heart. She played. She skipped. She did the gratitude dance. And one day, she learned that her new name, Lucy, meant light. She was not only Lucy Van Pelt, she was also St. Lucy—Patron St. of the blind.

She was playful and beautiful and her pools of deep brown eyes could see clearly now. When she was scared and under the spell of the gremlins, she would pull footballs out from under unsuspecting victims, but when she was grounded and filled with love, she was St. Lucia. She was Lucy in the sky. She glittered with diamonds and pearls of wisdom. She was magically fulfilled.

Today, the girl-turned-woman loves both her “Lucy’s.” They make the completeness of who she is. The dark and light. The serious and playful. The crabby and kind. She needs them both. And so, you see, the gift of Lucy (given to her by a very brave friend) was one of the greatest gifts she ever received. For without that gift, she would not be Lucy of the light and there would be no diamonds for her to share with the world.

Today is St. Lucy’s day. Please join me in celebrating the Light!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Love Your Inner Child Today!

Here's mine:

Your Inner Child Is Surprised

You see many things through the eyes of a child.

Meaning, you're rarely cynical or jaded.

You cherish all of the details in life.

Easily fascinated, you enjoy experiencing new things.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Eyes of My Ancestors

My quiet time continues to bring more and more new results. The most recent in the form of a poem prompted by Christine @ Abbey of the Arts. Part of me hesitated to even post this here, because it feels a bit melancholy. However, there was something very powerful in writing it that gave me a new way to look at things.

When I think of my ancestors, I am reminded of stern faces and more often than not words of criticism rather than kindness. Maybe it was due to the serious times they were raised in or possibly the influence of the Bible belt, but there never felt like there was much, if any, room for play or imperfection.

In penning this reflection, however, I became very aware of the many dimensions of these ancestral women . While their words may have stung me deeply, I believe I can bring something new to the world by breaking their ancient patterns of hiddenness and propriety. I pray that through the realization of my own dreams and forgiveness, these women can be honored in new and glorious ways.

the eyes of my ancestry.
hollow & vacant. cold & elusive. barren of love.
are they my eyes? my fate?

do those eyes still watch & judge?
or do they weep for their veiled dreams?

might I be their eyes today?
might I see things differently & shed grace where once was derision?
might their eyes be washed clear by my tears?

the eyes of my ancestry.
are they watching now?
were they ever?

photo by christine.

Gratitude Dance


The Quiet Time

Wow! Sometimes God is just entirely too cool. For this post to make the most sense, you must first read, Monday Morning Gibberish. Literally moments after pushing the publish button, I picked up a little book called, God Calling. Here is today's reading:

"There may be many times when I reveal nothing, command nothing, give no guidance. But your path is clear, and your task, to grow daily more and more into the knowledge of Me. That this quiet time with Me will enable you to do.

I may ask you to sit silent before Me, and I may speak no word that you could
write. All the same that waiting with Me will bring comfort and Peace. Only friends who understand and love each other can wait silent in each other's presence.

And it may be that I shall prove our friendship by asking you to wait in silence while I rest with you, assure of your Love and understanding. So wait, so love, so joy."

Like I said, "Sometimes God is just entirely too cool." Think I'll sit and wait awhile.

photo by lucy

Monday Morning Gibberish

Ever have those days where too much is rolling around in your brain and nothing coherent will pop out? Last Monday I was filled with excitement over the wonderful weekend spent away with my sister and her husband as well as the wonder of entering the season of advent. I had posts just waiting to fill the pages. And then, the floods came. So here it is Monday again and even more stories fill my brain, but nothing wants to materialize in any recognizable format other than gibberish.

The odd thing about today is that I am not particularly rushed. My schedule is reasonably clear for the day...the week even (and I hesitate to even write that with concern that a disaster may appear without notice...always a possibility), so I have time to write. I have journaled pages and pages already this morning. I have spent quiet time with centering prayer. I even lit my new candle from Zena Moon, "a candle for writing." I have done a little word study on my name(s): both given and nicknamed. The sun is shining. My dog has been fed. My daughter is at school & my husband at work. The house is quiet except for the sounds of the garbage trucks outside.

So, my friends, what you are reading here is a bit of a brain dump. It is with the hope that at some point in time I can write the words that really want to come. Those stubborn thoughts that swirl and twirl throughout my brain like a feather floating on the wind. I jump to grab them, but they slip through my fingers. Maybe I am trying too hard. Maybe there is too much to say. Maybe I just need to be still awhile longer. Maybe I just need to wait. Hmmm...isn't waiting what Advent is all about?

katrina photo from here

Friday, December 07, 2007

Sister Sister

Before the snow, before the flood, before Me even…there was my sister. Last Friday, November 30, this wonderful woman turned 65 years old. The world should know that she is fabulous! A gorgeous woman with an amazing presence. She is several years older than I and moved out of our home when I was only 3 or 4 years old. So we didn’t really get to know each other until much later in life.

I remember being a little girl, peeking out at my sis as she prepared to go to the prom or some equally glamorous event. Her date handsome in his tuxedo. She with her crinoline dress, fluffy and ethereal. Me in my p.j.’s and lopsided ponytail yearning to be part of the glamour. She was my idol. The beautiful princess. Outgoing cheerleader. Fairytale bride. Young mother. World traveler. New York City chic. (As seen through my little romantic eyes, of course.)

My sister was my hero then and even more so today. I realize now that she has always been a more grown up and self-assured version of me. (She will laugh at the “self-assured” description. She will know it is both true and untrue all at the same time. That’s one way we are so alike ☺.) While we did not “know” each other for much of our lives, she is now one of my very best friends. The years between us have shrunk. We are pals and playmates. Confidantes. I could tell her anything and she would still love me. It’s a wonderful thing to know at this time in life…with so much still ahead. It’s a true delight to have your idol and hero off of the pedestal where you can play and laugh and be REAL together! I am so grateful to have her in my life!

This one’s for you, Sis. Happy Birthday! You are amazing! I love you!

photo from here.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Shadow Reflection

"But the sacred presence is there, breathing in the shadows." Jan L. Richardson, Night Visions

My breath has come in fits and bursts today. with tears & anger. grief & sorrow. loss. I have felt silly about my emotion, because I have so much for which to be grateful. Yet I do not want to rush toward the light. I need to be solemn. Alone. To have solitude, but it's not to be.

Children rustle around me. The phone rings incessantly. The dog breathes hard and asks to be noticed. Messages pile up and clamor for my attention. The soaking carpet screams at me through my nostrils. Momentarily, the smell of warm soup comforts me & then the tears come again.

I am tender. Holy. Yearning to be still. Be still and know that God is here. Emmanuel. God with us. Something beckons in the future, but all I have is now. The late afternoon darkness wraps its arms around me. I want to sleep. To close my eyes & dream. To sleep a night without stirring. Without the need to awaken and check my surroundings.

I yearn for warmth and comfort. To be held in arms that ask for nothing. An embrace that gives without condition. Yahweh. Breath of God. Today I am tired. Worn out from disaster and work. Spent from holding in emotion. I want to cry. I want to create. I want to rest in the shadows.

photo by lucy. snoqualmie pass 12.02.07

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Rains Came Down....

...and the floods came up.

Many great stories in the making...but not today. A wonderful trip to celebrate my sis' birthday. Snow. Rain. Kids. Rain. Advent. Rain. Shop vac. Rain. Moving. Oh, did i mention rain?

I went to sleep Sunday night with this breath prayer: "Breathe God in. Chaos goes out." It was lovely and fortunate since I knew things did not bade well when my husband woke me up yesterday and said, "I could really use your help. There is water pouring into the basement."

If you haven't heard, Seattle just experienced the second largest rainfall in any 24 hour period (3.5+ inches). We are fine. Fortunate, in fact, compared to many throughout the city. Our basement (which is probably the largest livable square footage of our house) is wet and its furnishings are now residing in my living room and dining room. Bill and I spent more than 12 hours vacuuming and pumping water out of the house at the rate of about 120 gallons an hour. We are fortunate. The water came out of our house. We will not know for awhile how severe the damage, but the rain stopped before bedtime.

Needless to say, I have a full day (week, month) ahead of me. I'm still not sure about the breath prayer because my house certainly looks chaotic right now. The cool thing is that everyone I encountered yesterday commented on how calm I was and what a good attitude I had. Hmmmm. Yes, I am fortunate & grateful. More later...

Photos from Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The washout is about 1 1/2 miles from my house.