FaithWalk/ Destination Highway – A Poem

Well sometimes I find myself driving along this road of virtual Christianity
bordering the highways of pure vanity and supposed reality
Going in circles, not quite the straight and narrow,
experiencing the same levels of religiosity, at times pandering to my curiosity
which leads me down other alluring paths where someone promises an easy ride.
Or is this just church-ianity? (seems akin to intellectual insanity)
Somehow avoiding any new maturity, never reaching my destiny in You

“Am I nearly there yet?” ringing in my own ears. The end is not in sight and I’m lost in a fog on a dark night longing to find my way home –
Home to You, home to Your truth, Your light, Your glorious freedom
Like a breath of fresh air after swallowing streams of stale vapours for so long
And signs leading to easier paths of pleasure and advancement might tempt me
But there’s no peace, no security in any other way than Your Cross-road

And I can hear you reminding me to seek Your face and You’ll show me Your Glory
“Seek Me in the secret place and I’ll show you the higher way –
One that misses out the potholes of confusion and the diversions of emptiness –
along with the inevitable crashes that bring you to your knees in desperation,
Wondering how on earth you ended up here without Me in your broken vehicle.
When all I want is a broken you – someone who will bring glory to My name, not theirs.”

Image: Creativei, stockfreeimages.com

My Dad – An English Gentleman (1937-2012)

On this first Father’s Day without my Dad (and I could never have imagined that I would be writing those words before I turned 40) I choose to spend some time remembering his wonderful nature and attributes. From the twinkle in his eyes, to his charming welcome, my Dad was a joy to be around. He loved and accepted people, no matter their status or background, always willing to engage friends and strangers in rapt conversation. He just knew how to put people at ease and make them feel at home.

And my Dad loved me. Unconditionally – from my earliest days, through my turbulent teens and into adulthood. Like a rock, he was dependable and consistent, always willing to listen, to lend a hand and give of himself. Although he wasn’t perfect – like everyone he had some foibles and weaknesses – he mirrored God’s unchanging love to me, always choosing to be thankful and joyful, no matter how dire the situation.  My Dad was a gem – a true gentleman, an exemplary father and a special Grandpa to my sons.

Today I miss his warm embrace, I miss his cheerful voice, but I will remember the many good days I was blessed to have him in my life, to have him as my Dad.

Image

As a young man who captured my mum’s heart.

Joyous day for both of us

Cheerful Dad

P.S In case you’re wondering… I share my dad’s enthusiasm for Germany, gadgets & new technology, but probably have more genes passed down from my mum!)

Up Against a Brick Wall – Day 8

I’m new to this blogging thing. I’ll admit that today’s challenge is a bit of a struggle for me. I’m enthusiastic about ideas and projects; less so about the hard graft of building – which doesn’t sound quite so impressive as writing – (sorry, not meaning to offend any real life brickies).

I’ll let you in on a secret. I’ve even begun to doubt having embarked on this writers’ challenge. Do I have what it takes? I thought so on day 1 or 2. Now I’m losing a bit of the self belief, losing some of the initial momentum. I’m finding myself up against a virtual brick wall, questioning whether to turn around and give up.

Being creative is tiring at times, and I don’t always feel like producing content. This building stuff is more strenuous than I imagined. I’m a little tempted to ditch the blog and stick to other pursuits. Why? Because sleep seems alluring late at night and other distractions beckon during the day. It would be a lot easier to casually lay a creative ‘brick’ now and then, depending on my feelings, than to commit to finishing what I’ve started. As for getting up early (day 2) – well that’s problematic for a night owl with kids who tend to be around in the morning hours.

In many ways I can see a parallel emerging with the process of writing of a novel. It’s pretty exciting in the early stages and you’re bursting with enthusiasm. About half way through, it gets tricky. Story’s in a muddle, characters become aimless, descriptions threaten to dry up. Basically, it turns from being something you can’t wait to get stuck into, to something you force yourself to continue writing.

Like the novel, I need to build on what I’ve started, not neglect the very thing that should help me develop as a writer and help me achieve some goals.

So, despite my shortcomings and resistance to building, I will press on with constructing this site and find or create decent content to fill its pages. Once I’ve done that I’ll start thinking about the bonus assignment!

Any offers to hold me accountable in this regard are most welcome.

FaithWalk/ Light and Shadows

When I listen to the song, Shadows, by the David Crowder Band, my whole being wants to respond in affirmation with a resounding ‘Yes!’

Just as my two previously posted poems begin very differently – one focussing on light and warmth, the other on darkness of the soul – this song speaks of the way our lives are continually entwined by light and shadows.

We will all experience a measure of both throughout life. Highs and lows, joy and sorrow. It’s sheer wonder to dwell on the realisation that no matter what we’re currently going through, our lives are in His hands as we rest in the “shadow of the Cross”.

We are not abandoned or forgotten; our heavenly Father walks with us through the depths of our darkest moments and promises to lead us through those times.

Having experienced the awful loss of my Dad at the beginning of this year, I know this is true. In my darkest hour, with my precious dad in his last moments, I was aware of the immense, overwhelming love of God. In the face of desperate sadness and pain I was surrounded by tangible peace and love.

Jesus walked with me through his passing away, and words will never be able to truly convey how my soul was stilled, when it should have felt completely crushed. Yes, sadness was there – and still returns time and again as I struggle to piece together the jigsaw of my life without him. It’s not something to deny or suppress. I fully embrace my feelings, but despite them can still know I am loved, not alone; upheld by grace.

Songs like this help to express in some small way the hope and assurance we have in trusting God through both the peaks and valleys of our lives. The fear that tries to defeat us, dissipates in the presence of His all consuming love.

The music and lyrics of ‘Shadows’ are like a salve to the soul. Let the song wash over you – it’s powerful!

FaithWalk/ Invitation to Light – A Poem

[As part of today’s writers’ challenge we were encouraged to share something unpolished. Here’s a poem I wrote several years ago that began well but probably needs some work…]

Darkness encapsulates the soul
Flaunting its ability to deplete nearly every last drop of hope and delight
In the ordinariness of a life squeezed by stresses or disillusionment
Deflated by the realisation that self-fulfilment is not within reach
Nor peace a possibility at this stage in the game of life
(Young mothers will understand what I mean)

Yet merely a flicker of an eyelid commands power through its
Invitation to light
As the eyes allow access like windows into my very being
Embracing the call of creation which
Diffuses my small sufferings and dares to defy
Negativity, too much subjectivity
Or inflated thoughts of doom and gloom
Scattered through the day like pepper on a plate

Vision enables me, calls me to scan the horizon from east to west
And to see beyond the boundaries of my existence, while
Everything within cannot resist the rapture of God’s alluring landscape
My lungs expand involuntarily to grasp a fresh taste of salty air
As exuberant waves demand my attention, and I cannot deny
Your existence, Your true trademark of nature
And my all-consuming little life is dwarfed by the wonder of silvery sea and
Sugar-like sand, that cannot be captured in the palm of my hand

And I laugh at the way you designed me to depend on
Your light, as you shine through the sun
Saving my sanity, as warmth envelops me
Teases me, reminds me that there’s more to this world
Than me, than mine, and yet more of me
And your cotton-like clouds entertain far more than what I see on TV
And the stones on the beach are pure pleasure to see
I’ll remember next time
When I open my eyes and respond to your
Invitation to light

 

An Ugly Start, A Beautiful Future…

The Great Writers’ challenge for today (Habit #7) promotes freedom to write something unpolished and ugly. We shouldn’t worry about producing something that’s flawless; we need to simply have a go. Let the creativity flow and write (paint/create) something, no matter how poor it comes across.

It’s all part of the process of becoming great, apparently.

You mean I can just hash some blurb out? Yes! It doesn’t have to be edited umpteen times straight away? No!

There’s something wonderful about this suggestion, something that releases the pressure from anyone who’s even vaguely got a bit of the perfectionist lurking inside them.

Once more, I smiled as I realised that this is currently the way I already work. I posted a couple of comments about it on Jeff Goins’ webpage, and have decided to paste it here too, in case it helps any other writers…

This [writing ‘ugly’ style] has generally been my practice in putting together each chapter of the novel I’m working on. I take a look at the brief outline of the story and simply start writing. When I’m mid flow and suddenly get hit with problems of expression or description, I usually insert a few ???? or [insert character description] into the draft and continue to write.

It’s definitely messy. But it gets the skeleton of a chapter complete – and there’s satisfaction in getting something near completion. Then I have time to go back later and try to fill the gaps. At that point, I’m not worried about how long I mull over ideas or possibilities. Or I can suggest a couple of ideas and see what my editor thinks.

Doing it like this, in true ugly fashion, avoids interrupting the flow of creativity – especially when you’re sure you’ve something really decent coming up soon. Don’t risk losing that train of thought – just keep on going with it.

It’s good to know that I’m on the right track with this challenge. I can do ‘ugly’ pretty well! It’s the sharpening and touching up part which I know I find a lot harder. Still, it helps to be reminded that most works of art start off quite messily.