change: when life is far from the cat’s whiskers

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How do you view the prospect of change? It can seem exciting for many as they look forward with eager anticipation to the next new experience and all it will bring to them. And for others? It can fill them with dismay and become something to be feared, because change has potential to be such an unwelcome intrusion into our lives.

The longer we stay in one place, maintain a fixed mindset or refuse to move with the times, the harder accepting and adapting to change can become. And it’s often those whose circumstances keep them glued to a place,  stuck fast in their ways, who need (or are forced to endure) a regular routine, who can become wary and weary of doing things differently.

Though unlike cats, who are thought to be gifted with nine lives, we only have one wild and precious life, as Mary Oliver so famously said, and need wisdom in how to live it well. Being overly cautious doesn’t seem the best approach to take if it means we’re living in a limited, less than trusting way.

In my poetic responses to my inventive, creative friend, Kat Myrman’s  ‘Twittering Tales’ photo prompt this week, I couldn’t help but focus on the potential challenges facing this imaginary woman with a cat on her lap. I’ve lived long enough to lose quite a few friends and family members, sat with death and disease frequently as a nurse, and come face to face with my own limitations on a daily basis.

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Tired, sweetly supine in her

arms, this dear feline friend

remains more faithful than

the rest, whom time and age

gradually removed, dispersed

(140 characters)

 

She didn’t want to go, leave

this house and home, for who

else would know how to take

care of her darling cat or give

her such loving attention?

(140 characters)

 

Then I found myself going in a more playful direction here…

 

She stroked him under the chin

and chuckled deep within, for

none could know this cat now

in sweet repose was none

other than a witch’s familiar

(140 characters)

I’m grateful above all things in this fast paced, ever-changing world for the fact that God changes not. He remains reliably faithful, trustworthy, unchangeable, loving, kind and gracious toward us. We may not always be able to see the way ahead but we can always trust the One who is holding us.

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about calling, priorities and sensitivity to Holy Spirit

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Like a flock of noisy seagulls, voices come at us from all directions, urging activity, challenge and change. What (or who) are we listening to? How do we sift the gold from the detritus, make choices we can live with and trust? In a world vying to be heard, how do we make sure we only take in what we need to?

It’s not easy to avoid all that is clamouring for our attention, or discern the times and tides, especially when so many fresh opportunities are coming our way.  A new year is rife with resolution, full of possibility, potential and hope.

As I try to recover from the festive season, my body is signalling a need to rest but my mind is inclined to pursue the enticement of the Now and the New. Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a real issue for many—me, too, sometimes. We can become stalled by indecision, paralysed by too much choice and derailed by the very real possibility of disappointment.

At the risk of lagging behind, disappointing or letting people down, it’s better for us to be true to how we’re currently situated and what we’re capable of without jeopardising our physical or mental health.

My spirit longs to listen to what God is saying to me first and foremost , knowing His ways—though seemingly counter-intuitive at times—are always the best. It pays to heed holy whispers. If He is whispering caution, waiting and rest, then I hesitate to press ahead with the next big thing, because in the end it will fail or I will falter, crash and collapse if I ignore the warning signs.

I love to write and in order to do so I have to prioritise, make creative space, rest, pace and avoid doing anything else for the day that’s an exhausting activity for me. It’s all about calling, priorities and sensitivity to Holy Spirit’s leading and guiding, and giving ourselves permission to rest and recover when we need to.

It won’t wash with me

Political spin

won’t wash with me; I’m resting

in God’s plans, you see

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No spin

Life’s waves wash over

my still frame—caught fast by pain

I refuse to spin

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Wash me radiant

Wash me radiant

Let your love spin in my heart

Warm from dawn to dark

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Today’s haiku have been inspired by the prompt of ‘Spin&Water’ —(which my tired brain somehow interpreted as ‘Spin&Wash’ instead… oops… so that’s what I’ve based these poems on!)—from our poet master, Ronovan, of ronavonwrites.  Just click here to see the rest of the posts and join in if you’d like to.

How are you sifting the wheat from the chaff as you make plans for 2017?

What new thing (or word) has God given you for the days ahead?

When you’re wearing a thin veneer

a thin veneer - PJ

Life can pare us down to the bone. All that remains is a thin veneer of capability.

We can plaster on a smile but it doesn’t always hide heartache within.

Our souls can wear a semblance of normality yet shield a great deal of pain on the inside.

I was reminded of feeling this way recently when accompanying my husband to a hospital waiting room.

Such places provide a glimpse of the struggles others go through, although the evidence isn’t always evident.

We sit, trying to be patient patients in an environment guaranteed to provoke into anxiety, and you don’t have to be the one waiting to be seen to feel it.

We tend to cast covert glances around the room while being careful not to catch an eye. So much is given away by the windows of our soul, isn’t it?

Because who wants their concerns flagged up for all to see? Who can cope with a stranger’s curiosity?

Most of us just want to conceal our stuff, our inner baggage. Hide our woundedness from others.

How do I cope when life gets hard? I think a lot. Too much, sometimes. I cry. I pray. I read God’s word. I journal and I write poetry…

A thin veneer

She watches thin veneer curling away at edges

panels pared down to chine-bone, chipped

away by ravages of years and time

Hardly a soul here now, barely a breath

to stir antiseptic air made stale by fear

in this orthopaedic waiting room

Anxiety stalks these walkways where hushed

voices betray a reverence for medicine

Eyes flit to ceiling marred by blind hanging

by a thread, with silted panes protruding

beneath, clouding out blue sky, limiting

horizon for those seeking some escape

So we wait, reluctant clock-watchers of the hours

and see, with incredulity, how mere minutes

have passed since last we glanced at glass

Spirits sag in sympathy with weary bodies

wearing but a thin veneer of patience here

©JoyLenton2016

One thing I do know with complete certainty.. God loves you and me.

Jesus came to liberate us from inner loneliness, fear and anxiety. To open us up to a transformed way of thinking and being.

He offers us a way to break free from fear. To be so secure in His love, so changed by His grace that we no longer need to hide ourselves away.

We can live an open-hearted, giving and receiving kind of life when we turn to Him, become redeemed, restored and refuelled for wherever the journey may take us.

And those veneers we wear will gradually strip away. We can be real. We can be free. We can be all God intends us to be by His grace.

a thin veneer PJ pin

All beauty fades

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“Charm is deceptive and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God” ~ Proverbs 31:30 (The Message)

‘All beauty fades’

All beauty fades

Each petal that falls

Each shaking loose

Each uncovering

lets in more shade

Soon there will be

nullifying nakedness

Bare stems remain

as thin reminder

Appeal for mercy

all beauty fades PJ poem image 2

And even these

droop low to ground

Stoop old, sigh

final breath

Lase last leaves

A turn to grey

Grave mulch and dust

A crumbling ash

from whose ember

new life holds sway

©JoyLenton2015 

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” ~ 1 Peter 1:3-5

all beauty fades PJ poem image 3

A sea change season

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The bird sitting proud on its perch looked down loftily, maybe wondering at the peculiarity of human beings.

I leant on my stick and breathed in sea air. Gulped greedily as if I was drowning, starved of oxygen.

And maybe I was. Drowning for a difference, starving for more than the life I’d been living, desperate for change.

Needing to exhale out the old and breathe deep of the new.

Too many days spent captive in the house. Bound by weakness, sickness and weariness for months on end.

I was starving for the light outside. Feeling freedom calling in my veins. My soul ached for ocean but I’d settle for sea or even a riverside view.

I wanted to wend my way to water, feel sea breeze and feel alive again. Do you ever get that feeling?

It isn’t necessary to have chronic illness to experience moments of feeling confined and constrained by circumstances.

To have a longing to break free from our normality. Live life with deeper awareness and passion.

And I’m discovering the best sort of freedom is sensed inwardly, when we know we are loved by God and can live and love freely ourselves because He lives within.

Now, a healing of sorts had enabled me to tread into new territory. A gift of grace equipping me to step outside the house at last.

So I was able to sample the delights of Blakeney Quay on my beloved’s birthday last month. I hope the photographs I took will offer a taste of the quay for you too if you also yearn for water.

‘By still waters’

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If you go down to the quay today

and lift your eyes a while,

you may slowly gaze at snake of sea

threading its fine ribbon of blue

through swathes of soft shoreline

where its held fast at bay

And if you linger long enough,

you’ll hear a siren-song

of gulls wheeling their way clear of land

and sea as they lift free

with a hue and cry, barreling high

toward vast stretch of sky

But boats lie idling, still as statues

on the sand, apart from

a brave few out on far horizon

Bobbing with will of wind

Resisting lure of land and going

wherever love sends them

©JoyLenton2015

boats beached at blakeney quay - PJ file

beauty of blakeney collage - PJ

Out of mist

december mist

Waking up to morning mist, I sense the otherworldliness of its obscurity.

Sight is dimmed. Senses dulled as dishwater.

Lost in fog. Muffled morphed outlines rising as shadows.

No compass points defining end from beginning.

December chill making body feel stilled as statue.

And here am I… frozen in poetic thought as the kettle boils hot…

As mist

Watching steam clouds billow reminds me
how our lives are but mist in lens of eternity
our deepest desires and dreams, hopes and schemes
in danger of being fizz, evanescence become
melting puddles of deliquescence
seeping into nothingness.


And all pleasures rise high as steam
then fall away as vapour dissipating
into darkness too dense for us to hold.
For all is fleeting, all is change, all is meeting place
where we surrender our goals and plans,
then taking up God’s gift of grace
we can sink restful, with trusting sigh,
leaving all to be rearranged by His loving hands.


He gathers every scattered act and thought
to make-over, remould good and true,
weaving them into a tapestry of His own design
where nought is wasted
only caught, drawn fine and new into
a lasting beauty to behold.
©JoyLenton

Misted wintry days remind me of how fleeting and changeable our dreams and schemes can be.

Though all desires surrendered to God become enlarged at His hands and so much more than we ever envisaged.

Happiness can vanish in an instant, ephemeral, lost in the ether.

Lasting, solid joy is found in relationship with God and following His ways for our lives.

He transforms everything by His grace. Makes us come alive on the inside.

Making beauty from brokenness, from the scattered ashes of our lives.

as mist poem pin image

Time to be ready

autumnal trees

A new season starts and we wonder if we are ready for all it may entail.

The wind of change blows strong and all that we knew before is carried on its current into the Past.

Like the ever-changing seasons of life,  we too have seasons of the soul.

Maybe you’re in a preparation period, time to till the ground, turn over the soil and ensure it is in a receptive state to welcome and receive.

Maybe you’re readying yourself to sow some faith seeds in anticipation of a harvest to come.

Or could this be the period when God’s promises to you will finally be fulfilled?

Sometimes it feels like we spend forever in a waiting season, getting colder, battening down the hatches and hibernating.

We need reminders that there are cycles of change, life will bloom again and hopes will be met.

Aslan is stirring and Spring is coming to a land long-starved of joy and light.

Faith and hope will be brought to life again, and all that we have hung onto which doesn’t fit who we are in Christ will die a slow death as we co-operate and co-labour with God in the process.

I’m in a new season in many senses of the word and these things hang heavy in my soul.

And as I’ve thought and prayed I sensed God asking us, His church, the Bride of Christ, to make herself ready for His return.

To keep the flame alive, hold on to the hope that is in us.  He is at the door of our hearts.

We are the Light-bearers and Good News sharers to a dark and needy world.

We are the ones who live ever-hopeful of seeing the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

We are destined to be united in heart, mind and purpose  (in all the things that truly matter) as His children and His body on the earth.

Are we ready, friends?

‘Be ready’

Try to remain steady

as I’m making you ready

Preparation is a key part

of a transformed mind, life and heart

My best work cannot be rushed

and your soul must be hushed

to be receptive to My voice

Listen, sow,then you’ll rejoice

All of your life is open, laid bare

I see those things you willingly share

and others you try to hide away

will be brought forth in the light of day

No stone will be left unturned

in a heart that has yearned

to be touched and healed by Me

that longs above all to fly free

Before I can give you wings to fly

you may have unreleased tears to cry

as I seek to uncover and unearth

all that’s tethering you to earth

My will is for you to rise and shine

to reveal grace, to be wholly Mine

Come, My child, take My hand

This is time to be ready, here I stand

©JoyLenton2014

Linking my poem here with  Kate and other bold and brave writers  for #FMF as we go with the flow on the topic of ‘Ready’.

Also  joining with Jennifer as we #tellhisstory , with Mel for #essentialfridays and  with fellow writer friends, grace dwellers and sisters in Christ as we seek to live for Him and make Him known.

Ibis in Flight