blue: a touch of coolness to soothe a heated soul

We’re having a mini heatwave in the UK. A skin-drenching scorcher few of us feel ready for. Because we’ve barely got over having layers of snow and a cool blue feeling in our souls.

We often choose colours that represent certain things to us. Blue is usually considered to be the colour of slowing down, a precursor to experiencing calm, harmony and rest. It’s also associated with stability and depth, piety and sincerity. It’s indicative of loyalty, trust, wisdom, intelligence, faith, and all things sky and heaven related.

On a hot day our skin can protest at sun’s fiery rays, emotions can rise and the change can feel destabilising and unsettling until we get used to it or have been eagerly anticipating its arrival for months.

So I thought I would keep things light today and share a trio of haiku with you to maintain the cool, calm and collected feelings of blue instead of the fiery heat that summer can bring to us. The first image is from a view we had out of the car window while travelling home after spending Christmas with the family.

At rest

a virgin-white field
bereft of footprints—at rest
like a sleeping child
©joylenton

One thing that never goes out of season is gratitude. Those who practice it are often blessed with joy and peace, even in challenging circumstances. Because it lifts our eyes off what might be limiting and confining, expands our hearts to appreciate life’s little things and causes us to be thankful for what we have.

Heart offering

gratitude expressed
a heart offering of love
simple, effective
©joylenton

It wouldn’t really be summer without thinking about cool, clear water, seas and oceans. Sometimes we can savour marine life on our doorstep by visiting a sea life or marine wildlife centre in our locality.

Ocean

these cavernous depths
where we see fishy delights
bring ocean to life
© joylenton

Whatever your personal preference and whatever the weather is like where you live, I hope you have enjoyed this small pause to savour a tiny of poetry and think longingly of cool blue days or happily anticipate the heat of summer to come.

PS: In case you are curious, here’s a link to the meaning usually attributed to certain colours. 🙂

snow: a world washed clean like grace in action

 

There’s something rather wonderful about snow. It falls gentle as feathers. It rests like soft drapes to comfort a winter-cold world. In its clean, pristine brilliance it makes us gasp. We are awed by this glorious reminder that purity can exist and shine bold like this.

Until footprints make it fluff and scuff. Until rain dissolves it into mush and slush. Before ice makes it treacherous to traverse. Prior to hands reaching out to grab handfuls to shape into hard-hitting snowballs.

Before all this and a world having to push through it to go about its business, we see earth hushed into reverent silence. We witness the chill and warm ourselves on thoughts that comfort cold hearts. We warm our souls on the awe and wonder reminders of God’s goodness and grace.

We are reminded that the Light of Christ and His amazing Love shines blindingly laser-bright, more radiantly than this, and we too are washed pure and clean by His cleansing blood sacrifice on the Cross.

The season of Lent may feel like it goes on forever and maybe it does in our souls to some extent. But oh what a vibrant Hope awaits us once the dark road to Golgotha is walked and we meet Jesus on the other side of His resurrection morning rising!

Today I bring you a helping of haiku. A trio of thoughts inspired by the sights out of my window or seen from a doorway, where opening up has become a rather challenging task due to the weight of wonder sitting on the step in all its glorious whiteness.  🙂

white like ice-cream

barely settled snow
ridges of white like ice-cream
waiting to be scraped
©joylenton

night-time snowfall

earth has the blues

green earth has the blues
draped in chill, shadowed and still
her colours show through
©joylenton

blue-shadowed snow bathed in sunlight

heaven’s coverlet

a world blanketed
with heaven’s white coverlet
snug and sleepy now
©joylenton

a garden blanketed in snow

nugget: news about a poetic feast for November #thedailyhaiku bonus

 

As we embark on the month of November, I am reflecting on how writing each day during October has revealed a few things to me, and  sharing about a poetic bonus for you to enjoy in the days ahead.

Here’s a (non-haiku) description of what I have learnt during the #write31days writing challenge:

A writer reflects

Pondering is my natural state

I’m so thankful for God’s grace

I tend to write deep, not light

I try to be hopeful, bright

Short posts are definitely best

A tired writer needs her rest

It’s a wonder to be sustained each day

God always gives us His help and strength

Interest in our words may wax and wane

We can rely on God to be the same

Faithfulness means dependence

God faithfully provides the means

Persistence is necessary and fine

I love to write, especially in rhyme

Haiku are a joy and delight for me

I would love to carry on, okay?

©joylenton

God has very generously given me more haiku than I could fit into this series, and I have had a lot of creative fun gathering them together as a bonus for my readers. I’m calling each one a  ‘November Nugget’ – a little soul food snack to warm your heart and see you through the colder days ahead.

They will usually consist of just a helping of haiku, plus a photograph, and will be mini reflections on life, faith, gratitude and grace. Because I need to rest my words here for a while, you will find these poetic nuggets on my Poetry Joy Facebook page. I also hope to share them on my ‘The Daily Haiku’ board on Pinterest and on Instagram.

It would be lovely to have you join me in those places. When you drop by you can gulp one down like an espresso shot for the soul and be on your way in no time, or you can stay and savour a long latte’s worth, and maybe share them as well.

Each November Nugget is already pre-prepared (thankfully!)  and I aim to share one daily. They will be served with love, and be light and easy to digest. You can find the first one here and follow best by liking my page. Thank you! See you over there, friend… 🙂 ❤

story: owning the story of our lives #thedailyhaiku 31

 

I’ve lost count of the number of times I have wanted to disown the story I am living, rewrite it differently and choose an alternative narrative arc. Maybe you have too. So what does owning our story look like? 

As a woman of faith, I venture to suggest it looks like seeing our lives as a small but highly significant part of God’s greater narrative. In the story He is telling throughout history, we all have a part to play. You matter. Your life isn’t a mistake or an accident.

I grew up thinking (hoping?) I must have been adopted, such was the disconnect between me and my family of origin. Later on, hearing how my mother had taken measures to try to stop the pregnancy from continuing, my insecure feelings grew stronger.

Then God happened. He’d been there right at conception, of course, planned for me to live at such a time as this, to be born into the generation I belong to and the family where I arose from but failed to see myself as cherished.

I was born prematurely and against the odds. I was meant to be here. And to survive whatever life threw at me. I was also born to bloom and thrive because of belonging to the family of God. 

Once I came to faith in Christ, my  wounded soul brokenness was no surprise to Him, only a recognisable state we all struggle with to varying degrees. I finally woke up to the fact that I was unconditionally loved—by Almighty God Himself.

It has taken me a while to own the story of my life, filled with brokenness and emotional pain as the years have been, plus decades of health challenges. But that’s only viewing it from a purely human perspective.

Now I am able to see how God poured out His mercy and grace, loved me immeasurably, tenderly wiped away the tears and gave me a brand new start through Jesus.

I am incredibly blessed to have a husband who adores me, a loving family and close friends. I no longer want to disown the story of my life. Instead, I am willing to speak out about how much God has changed and glorified it by His grace. And He will do it for you too, my friend.

Owning my story

I claim this story
the life I live, holding it
shyly—out to you

you gather pieces
of my brokenness and give
them back to me—whole

and in your eyes, wide
as the ocean swells, I see
sweet mercy and grace

caught in a net of love
with no thought of escape, here
I will stay—always
©joylenton

We’ve made it! This is the last post in #thedailyhaiku series for October’s #write31days marathon reading/writing challenge. It’s been a joy and sweet encouragement to have your company here. Thank you! If you want to catch up with the rest of the posts, please click here.  And look out for a surprise bonus tomorrow!  🙂 ❤

duality: how life’s duality draws our hearts toward God #thedailyhaiku 20

 

As I sit typing this post in advance, the sky is heavily blanketed by a golden smog of dust from the Sahara, driven by stormy winds. It shouldn’t be dark quite yet, because dusk and sunset are still a way ahead, but we’re needing to put lights on in order to see clearly. The eventual sunset (pictured above) was pretty stunning though.  🙂

So attuned do we become to the rhythmic, diurnal changes that exist, especially as one season segues into another, that our bodies and minds expect light and dark to keep to their respective places in the world around us.

God has ordained it as such that light will always overcome the darkness. It has to yield and give way. Likewise, sorrow surrenders to joy, and healing and recovery follow injury and pain. There is a duality, where seeming opposites appear to coexist, as I describe in the poem below…

coexistence

how can there be joy

at the heart of sorrow

and sadness coexist

where there is bliss?

yet somehow

they are mixed

and inextricably

linked as one

expression of life

and love and faith

and deep mystery

part of all our tomorrows

in all the annals

of human history

©joylenton

 

Our steadiness, in the midst of this coexistence mystery, is to place our hope and faith in Christ the solid Rock. Jesus is the ballast we need in a world where shifting sands literally invade our days, and where we can witness worldwide grief and pain on a daily basis.

Life’s duality and uncertainty are intended to encourage us to seek after God, to look for His Light, pursue the Peace only He can provide and anticipate the Joy beyond our dark and painful circumstances.

 

life’s duality

life is a strange thing

sorrow cuts us sharp as knives

joy makes our soul sing

 

such duality

exists to make us reach out

and accept God’s grace

 

while the heat builds up

emotions rage inside us

requiring God’s touch

 

a holy healing

begins to flood our hard hearts

bathed in peace and love

©joylenton

haiku: introducing the daily haiku

 

As I was contemplating whether to participate in October’s #write31days writing challenge this year or not, I decided that a small daily offering might be achievable. Lengthy posts are out of the question when energy is pretty limited.

The challenge is to keep going and being concise will aid me in that goal. I would like to offer you a mini poetic feast for the month of October. A daily helping of haiku, no less. A tiny offering that is brief to read, meaning less work for you and me!

My plan is to produce a haiku poem a day, with an accompanying image and maybe a few opening or closing thoughts. The topics  will cover aspects of life and faith.

It will be a mix of the light-hearted and reflective. My series is  called ‘The daily haiku’.  Just a small nugget to read and think about each day. Nothing too ponderous.

 

I hope you will join me. Prayer support would be lovely too! I must admit that timing isn’t brilliant, coming hot on the heels of extra busyness, while we’ve been decluttering over the last few weeks.

However, a persistent holy nudge that refuses to go away is suggesting I do this regardless, leaning heavily on God’s grace for strength, support and inspiration as always.

Here’s a haiku vignette to whet your appetite…

The daily haiku

I want to offer
a little nugget to read
slow, or at great speed

There may be a choice
of vignette to chew on, or
a small, solo song

But whichever comes
to mind and to view, it’s still
the daily haiku
© joylenton

eyes: looking for the eternal rainbow of hope

 

Our eyes swivel with hope, desiring to discern wonder, keen to see how Mystery pervades the everyday. A rainbow is seen as a sign of hope and blessing. In biblical terms, it reveals God’s eternal covenant with mankind. We also see it as a marker of His glory and splendour.

The eyes of our heart slowly become awakened by God’s glory and grace, made aware of His penetration of everything. For our heavenly Father eagerly desires us to discover and be drawn into relationship with Him.

We begin to chase the rainbow of Holy Light, seeking to unearth deep treasure hidden within the pages of Scripture. Because a shaded life is made bright by grace. 

As we trace Christ’s steps to Calvary, become awed by His risen resurrection victory, we begin to see the cost of so great a salvation—abundant, lavish, rich and free.

Gradually, we are transformed from the inside out, enlivened by God’s grace, given a brand new start, new life, new heart. No longer are we in a driven race for success but in a place of deep, abiding soul rest.

The darkness within is a result of sin, as we wrestle with our flawed desires and the heat of them. But God has paved The Way for us to become reunited with Him. A road of Love, a public pathway of Christ’s freely spilt and poured out blood.

Who will quench the fire?

Behold our desires

like hot eyes of flame inside

Who will quench the fire?

©joylenton

 

God’s eyes roam throughout the whole earth. He sees you and me and we look lovely in His sight, viewed as we are through the lens of unconditional Love, a beautiful mirrored reflection of His Son.

Dart of love

We are beholden

God’s sharp, keen-eyed dart of love

has pierced our armour

©joylenton

 

Once we have tasted God’s glory and grace, it makes us hungry to know more. Our inner and outer eyes become better attuned to His presence with us, even as they yearn for the Day when Jesus returns physically to earth in full power and splendour.

We behold glory

We behold glory

Hearts fill with wonder—eyes see

Jesus is with us

©joylenton

 

The words above were inspired by this week’s haiku challenge prompt of ‘Behold&Eye’, set by our Poet Master, Ronovan. Just click here to read the great posts being shared and join in if you want to have a go!  🙂