In dark places

How do you feel about the imminent approach of Winter?

Are you a huddler into sweater and by fireside, or maybe an outdoors adventurer savouring cold wind biting cheeks and snow falling on face?

Much depends on our health and how our moods reflect the seasons.

Especially for those who suffer from SAD, with the nights drawing in, weather becoming increasingly cooler, and darkness descending on our daylight hours, it can often feel like we’re in a closed off place and space, removed from others and even strangers to ourselves.

Our souls long for light and bright, welcoming warmth, celebrating cosy and comforting.

The poem below was written in sympathy and empathy for all who feel isolated by their circumstances and crave change for the better.

‘As bulbs’

As bulbs lie dormant in dark places

with  calm expectancy of life to come

so we go through dark nights of the soul

when all feels hushed and numb,

cloaked, concealed and muffled

with neither sight nor sound

nor word of encouragement in any measure

can seemingly be found

in landscape dry, barren and bleak

where we have shuffled slow

with moan and sigh

waiting for God to speak.

Have we been forgotten, left to our own devices,

or can we sense midst the gloom of feeling rotten

that a flicker of hope rises within and

Someone really is close by us here

who sees and understands, holds us safe

and deeply cares?

Throughout the days of hurt and pain

we discover all is not lost as we had thought,

and faith rises bright

as we turn again to the One

who paid a great cost to lift us

out of any pit we may have fallen in

back into His radiant Light.


Windows and views

I wear my heart on my sleeve and (so I’ve been told) on my face too.

Sometimes our emotions are plain to see.

Or we may become expert at keeping them hidden.

Fearing exposure. Vulnerability. Guilt. Ridicule. Shame.

No matter how guarded we think we may be, God sees our hearts. 

And that’s a good thing.

He alone can perform heart surgery on damaged, wounded emotions.

He alone has power to transform and restore.

His grace and mercy are new every morning.

His love is totally unconditional. Endless. Unlimited. Complete.

Our own loved ones can know us pretty well.

Though maybe only to the extent to which we reveal ourselves to them.

Much can be concealed.

The poem below speaks of knowing and not knowing.


It amazed me to discover

you didn’t know the colour,

while I could relate

every shade and hue

in friends and family.

Yet you have viewed

things very differently,

observing every nuance

of emotion as they

appear and dance

with great variety.

For though you may not

easily notice colours

that I can see,

you never miss a chance

to catch the whole

range of feelings

that are there for me

in the windows

of my soul


Day 20 – 31 days of #poetryforthesoul

In His Presence

There are days when prayer seems as simple as breathing sweet and easy.

On others it feels like laboured heavy-breathing after a long climb.

No matter how it feels to us, we can rest assured that God delights to hear our prayers.

And we are always welcome to come into His Presence.

This poetic prayer came about when sleep-deprived and weary.

I wanted to stay and pray in the quiet place where my soul communes with God.

But my mind and body had other ideas.


I wish that I could linger longer in Your Presence

to sense the touch of Your fingers on my life,

and really catch the essence of what it means

to rest from strain and strife as I learn

to distinguish the better from the best,

to resist the tug of urgent, rush and hurry

calling attention to all I need to do

causing needless anxiety and worry

while pulling me away from You.

And I know it’s more important to turn aside

from things that drain and steal my energy

when I hear Your Voice calling

“Come and abide with Me”.

You are the only One who can give me

lasting hope, joy and peace

and I live and function best

with Holy Spirit grace and ease.

So I come, willing now and able

to stay a while and feast

at Your abundant table,

stay in Your Presence

gaze at Your Face,

feels arms of Love surround me

in a safe and warm embrace,

soak in Your Love-light

pure, holy and true

and emerge refreshed, restored

strengthened and renewed


**Note** – This post is one of the ‘here’s one I made earlier’ variety that waits for such a time as this. I am still taking a break from my usual writing schedule and needing as much rest as possible while away visiting family for a few days. But I hope to be back in the swing of things again soon!

What is life like?

Questions on life have preoccupied scholars, theologians and laymen alike for millennia.

There are many and varied responses to this question.

It is rarely the proverbial  ‘bowl of cherries’ of popular myth.

Or if it is, then some get all the sweet succulent ones and others experience sourness and nothing but a mouth full of pips.

My painter/artist/writer friend, Pamela Hodges, is researching this topic for a forthcoming book.

You are invited to participate in the content of her illustrated new work by sharing your thoughts here.

I saw the invitation a couple of months ago and was so bowled over by the idea that I couldn’t contain myself.

Soon I scribbled a few thoughts, then the creative juices ran free.

As I wrote poetry flowed and you can read the result below.

My hope (and Pamela’s) is that you will catch the (writing) bug and send her your ideas.

They don’t have to be perfect, poetic or profound.

All entries will be carefully considered – one line is sufficient, I got rather carried away!  – and the best ones collated into the book with full acknowledgement given.

Plus, if you are a winner you will also receive a free e-copy of the book.

How good is that?

Do check our her lovely blog. She is currently going through a great series on learning to be confident with expressing your creativity.

I hope my post below will initiate the imaginative processes.

‘Life is like…’

A blank page, open book waiting to be written,

mystery of story unfolding with so much to fit in

Awe and wonder of a newborn’s cry,

comfort blanket cuddles and a lover’s sigh

Birdsong at dawn as earth stirs fresh and light,

a continual war zone, battleground, a fight

Heavy storm clouds threatening a sudden downpour

turning of the tide, waves on the shore

A weary trudge up a winding stair, wandering

aimlessly in a maze and getting nowhere

Harmonious melody, music in the air,

watching a movie unroll with popcorn to share

Mud pies and madness, joy beyond measure,

heavy mantle of sadness, merry-go-round of pleasure

Dark and light and every shade between, unfurling of a flower in the

petals of a dream, a silence and a shouting, a whisper and a scream

Kaleidoscope colours converging, finding rainbows through the rain,

pinprick stars of hope emerging through inky velvet stain

Intoxicating, heady champagne and wine, a drumbeat

marching steady, dominoes flat in a line

Mellow sunset rays warming heart and soul,

long hazy summer days doing nothing much at all

Footsteps treading in virgin snow, hesitant

and wary about where to go

Treasure mined in darkness, rich jewels glinting bright,

clouded shade and starkness of a never-ending night

Delicate gossamer thread spun into intricate webs,

songs and sonnets in our head, memory that flows and ebbs

A dandelion clock blowing years away, puffing through

gloom and fog, lost as waif and stray

Water to the thirsty, an unstoppable flow,

a dance filling heart, mind, body and soul

An adventure, journey of discovery, beginnings and birth,

all that lies between despair and dying here on earth

The best gift we’ve ever had, infinitely precious and rare,

which takes time to unwrap and invite others to share

A great vision, an open vista, a laugh, a tear, a song,

a brief spell, just a mist here before all that lies beyond


This is probably one of the longest poems I’ve ever written, and if you’ve made it all the way through then I thank you for your great patience, my friend.

And as I am taking a little needful break, there is much for you to ponder on here for a while!

Future poetic outpourings will be shorter. Promise 🙂 We’ve made it to day 18 of #poetryforthesoul and I look forward to catching up with you again soon.

Little things count

It’s so often the little things that count the most.

A smile at just the right time.

A squeeze of the hand.

A word in due season.

The look in a loved one’s eyes.

A surprise visit or gift.

We value what brings unexpected, unanticipated pleasure, joy and delight.

It’s all the more special for being a surprise.

Or even an everyday occurrence coming into sharper focus for us as we view it anew.

Yet we so often go through our days unheeding the tiny glimmers of grace which God has strewn along our way.

When our eyes are open to the world around us, we can live with a deeper sense of gratitude and praise for all that our Creator God has lovingly fashioned and made.

‘Little things’

Despise not the little things

dew-dappled leaves, hen’s eggs and sparrow’s wings

cumulus cloud now spread thin as entrailed cotton wisps

with no discernible hint of moisture within

Golden patch of sun, scent of rain, a new day begun

as earth shifts into motion once again

with rooster crowing bringing breakfast to mind,

for creatures of every kind clamour to be fed

and given swift their daily bread

Cooling breeze on our extremities as seasons

morph their mosaic coloured hand

upon this ever-changing land

Such things may not amount to much

in mind or eye for you and I

though God keeps careful count

And if we do take note with eyes wide open

to the daily grind we find expectation rise

and cease doing things so much by rote

as we pause afresh in wonder, marvelling

at God’s hand in all we’d cast asunder

when with averted, unconcerned gaze

going blithely dulled, ignorant and unaware

about our moments, hours and days

of all the beauty that little things can bring

to all our thoughts and ways


Saturday snippets

On a Saturday we may sink grateful into slumber, savour a siesta, shop, or see a movie, seek a sport to pursue, or pass a moment or two in reflection.

It  can be a pause in pursuing and an opportunity for Simply Being, a giving over to Sabbath.

Today’s #poetryforthesoul offering is suitably small and minimal as energy is low and rest becomes essential.

Not much to tax the eyes or brain.

Nothing deep or heavy.


 Empty womb-coiled shell ~ a snail trail leaking afresh ~ flowing like my tears

Blustery autumn ~ wind tears at the dew-sodden ~ velvet green-laked grass

 As bulbs lie dormant ~ we sit low in dark places ~ with expectancy

‘Poetic flame’

Sorrow stirs the

sleepy embers

of poetic flame

encircling dampened

recesses of your


curling with gentle


upon your sighs

where deepest pain


a tender fellow of

your deepest powers

your deepest love

in darkest hours


Getting steamed up

When we have a time limit imposed on us it tends to concentrate the mind somewhat.

It’s part of the reason I love to participate in Five Minute Friday.

Though I had no idea what my creative mind would make of this week’s prompt:‘Laundry’

I wish I could report a glowing testimony about how God washes us clean from our sin…or something along those lines at least.

Sadly, no.

My poetic hat seemed steeped in the prosaic.

All I have to offer from my weary M.E brain is a rather ‘tongue-in-cheek’ offering on an everyday reality.

You may be able to relate.

Or at least feel smug that you are on top of your laundry pile – while mine’s big enough to jump off.


‘In a lather’

In a lather

It’s the bane of my life, it is very clear to see

causing stress, strife and some degree of misery

because of  the M.E my husband lends a hand

but  operating the machine is a line in the sand

as far as he’s concerned  (and to be fair he does a lot)

 this one task he will not share at any cost

for although he will iron and carry piles everywhere

he isn’t sure how it works or what makes it disappear

so it droops disconsolately over chair and settee

waiting for activity forthcoming from me

Laundry leers accusingly from the linen basket

spilling forth breezily like coins from a casket

and though I try to do my best with the effort I exert

it still means we live in a state of red alert

where I feel I could be buried by a stinking pile of clothes

and all that would be left of me is my pointing-up toes

Yet I know how low energy stops me from getting any farther

so I’ll try not to worry much or get myself into a lather

perhaps it’s indicative of my life in general where I fail

to attend to all I should, living at the pace of a snail

preferring by far to have eyes glued to a screen as

I write a blog, compose a poem, leaving laundry to steam



Linking here as usual with Lisa-Jo and all the other lovely creative souls who have a go at 5 minutes of free flowing writing on a given topic.

You are very welcome and warmly invited to join in.

The gift of friendship

It is said you can choose your friends but not your family.

We are blessed indeed if we not only like those we are related to, but are friends with them as well.

Sadly, it is not always the case.

To have a close friend and to be there for another is one of life’s greatest gifts.

Whenever we count our blessings, friends tend to be top of the list.

And if we have no or few actual close companions on our journey through life,  we can still take comfort from knowing that God is always there for us, our greatest, most reliable and constant Friend.

God is all about relationship. His heart is fine tuned to beat with love for mankind.

He longs for us to know Him intimately. To trust Him with all our concerns. To seek Him and His ways above our own.

Jesus came in order to bridge the gap between heaven and earth, to pave a way to draw us back to the Father’s heart and to become our lifelong Friend above all others.

In so doing, He also shows us the huge benefit of friendship in its manifold expressions.

Today’s #poetryforthesoul micro-poetry offering is a celebration of friendship, written with gratitude for friends old and new.

‘Friends are’

Friends are

companions on our journey

holders of hands and hearts

listeners to pain and fears

bearer’s of God’s goodness

and all His grace imparts

bringers of smiles

wipers of tears

who make life worthwhile

as embracers of all we are

and can be

containers of God’s love

a gift unto eternity

treasure from above


Monster bashing

Being scared witless is a thrill-seeking activity for some.

They thrive on the excitement and huge surge of adrenaline it gives them.

Nothing satisfies like being brought to the edge and left hanging by a thread.

Horror/scary movies and roller-coaster rides are a drop in the ocean for such people.

Barely worth raising a sweat for.

I’m not one of them.

Having had much to disturb my equilibrium (and cause emotional highs I could live without) as a small child was enough for me.

It doesn’t take much to rock your world when it’s been turned upside-down by those you trusted to take care of you.

Too much real-life terror can make us crave security and stability at any price.

My peace isn’t rooted in my circumstances, but in the One who is both within and outside of them.

God is intimately involved and concerned about every aspect of our lives.

And He alone can give us all the resources we need to fully deal with the things that scare us, cause us grief and pain.

Childish imagination can run riot. We see life through the lens of the ‘what ifs’ and ‘possibles’.

As adults, we can look at life that way too – often in terms of worry and anxiety – or by asking ourselves, “What if I invited God into this situation? I wonder what would be possible then?”

Have you any ‘monsters’ looming large in your life?

Maybe it’s time for a bit of monster bashing.

‘Monster bashing’

As a child I climbed wary up ‘apples and pears’

for who knew what lurked at the top

of our steep stairs?

Someone might think it a wheeze, a lark

to pop out of a doorway

in sheltered dark

so my heart beat fast and I ran

into my bedroom

safe at last

though only for a little while

as there was much besides

to wipe off a smile

What if…instead of the stairs

there was something lurking

Under There

waiting to snaffle my delicate toes

with tongue poking out

‘neath its bulbous nose?

My breath held still, waiting

while feet slid cautious

under covers, hesitating…

then let out an exhaled sigh

silly me with imagination

running sky-high

Though no night terror could compete

with the monsters inside

my home and street

given freedom beyond my years

I could have been one of

those who disappears

finding, as I did when fully grown

that monsters loom large

more in heart than home

no longer safely contained

under my bed but barely

restrained inside my head

Largest of all is the monster FEAR

which paralyses us greatly

from getting anywhere

He seems unstoppable, untamed

until I remember to cry aloud

in Jesus’ Name

for every monster lurking in our head

has to flee when God’s authority

is stated and said

Even if they return to do their worst

by the power of the Cross

they’re defeated and cursed

So whatever monster you’re facing today

be it fear, anxiety, stress,

don’t let it hold sway

be on your guard, put your armour on,

keep the faith, say a prayer

stand tall and strong

for we’re fully protected by God’s grace,

His poured out blood, love, righteousness

and forgiveness covers

all shame and disgrace


Linking here with the lovely Ruth Povey for #Letterto This week’s prompt is:‘Letter to the monster under the bed’

You are warmly welcome and invited to join in.

Wall around the heart

Books have always spoken into my life, but some of them are literally life-changing and transforming.

The Bible stands out as the main means by which God brings His restoration and healing into our lives.

For the words within its pages are Life and Truth itself, messages from God’s heart to my own and to all mankind.

All other books I read pale into insignificance by way of comparison.

Though they still have a great deal to enlighten, inform and teach me.

One such book is a pre-launch copy of Mary de Muth’s latest book, ‘The Wall Around Your Heart’, which I’ve been privileged to read.

It soon presented a personal challenge as I began to see the walls I’d erected around my heart without knowing it.

They had been there so long it that I’d grown accustomed to them, seeing them as normal for who I was at times or missing them altogether.

And as I kept reading, it was clear God was asking me to face the fact of their existence and work with Him in bringing them down.

It hurt. Everything inside me protested. This was way too hard.

Thankfully, God deals with each one of us individually,  gently yet thoroughly.

As I made a decision to co-operate (when it became abundantly clear it was essential to do so), God began that deep excavation work He excels at….one small brick at a time….and walls have begun to wobble and shake.

They’re not down yet –  but we’re getting there.

The poem below was written a few weeks ago in response to this awakening.

Maybe you can relate to some of it.

If so, I would like to encourage you to consider how to overcome the walls you may have erected around your own heart.

Left unattended, they are prisons holding us back from living free and uncaged lives.

We are designed for so much more than this. Jesus died to set us free in every way possible.

Let’s aim to have a foretaste of heaven on earth as we learn to live as overcomers by God’s power, grace and strength.

‘Wall around my heart’

There is a wall

around my heart

hardening from hurt and pain

stony through suffering and shame

growing taller, thicker by the year

until I feel

I could disappear

beneath its weight



suffocating shadow

looming over all my days

It’s a covering

a carapace, concealing

raw, soft vulnerability

within, a tender place

of wounding through words

and deeds of others

whose target struck and

stuck fast as shield impenetrable

stiff, unyielding rock

sheer cliff

to topple and destroy

all who may

approach this land

where I dwell

with drawbridge up, castle

fortified, defended, safe

as houses, built on sand


Today is the official launch day for ‘The Wall Around Your Heart’.

To find out more about the book and why it was written, click here.

To order/buy your own copy you can click here.

I will be blogging about its impact on my life in more detail over at Words of Joy later this week.

Linking here with Kate and Mari-Anna