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… 🙂 ❤

how love and light are just within our reach

love-and-light-poetry-joy

 

Does this world’s darkness make you want to weep? Do you feel overwhelmed at times by the brokenness and pain in your life? Me too. But we don’t have to despair, my friend.

Because light and love are all around, seeping into our consciousness. And they are most apparent for those with eyes to see them. If we get locked into cynicism, grief and despair we may fail to see just how much God permeates this world with His light and love.

Our vision can get warped and skewed by circumstances and situations not of our choosing. But if we look with eyes of faith, then we begin to see that life is more than 50 shades of grey, far more than 100 ways of being beige. There is light and life and love and colour just waiting to be discovered by hungry hearts.

Because, filtering softly from dawn to dusk is an invitation to look beyond the immediate, to grasp hold of the eternal right here, right now, in our midst—an invitation to taste holy Mystery.

And even when the darkness descends in such a way that it seems to temporarily blot out the sun, even then the Son of Righteousness Himself will rise in our minds and hearts when we turn in faith to Him.

This is our plea and prayer…

Darkness chokes

This world’s darkness chokes

life and strangles hope. Oh Lord

let your Love-Light shine

haiku-darkness-chokes-love-and-light-prompt-pj

 

And God helps us to view things from His perspective…

Only in the light

Only in the light

of God’s love do we begin

to see our true worth

haiku-only-in-the-light-pj

 

Then He reminds us how all heaviness of heart is able to be lifted from us as we surrender our burdens to Him and rest in His loving provision for us…

My burden is light

My burden is light

My heart is heavy, full,

holding love for you

haiku-my-burden-is-light-pj

 

Hold on through the dark seasons. Keep the faith when you are faltering and struggling to believe. Because whether you can sense it or not, God is holding on to you and He won’t ever let you go. His greatest joy is to bring His love and light into your life, to turn mourning into joy, heal your brokenness and give you beauty for the ashes of your life.

These words and haiku poems have been inspired by Poet Master Ronovan’s latest weekly haiku challenge of Love&Light. Just click on the link to see how it works and to read the great variety of posts being shared.

hope: making space for the new

hope-door-to-a-new-year-pj

 

We’re at the threshold, waiting on the doorstep, ready to be invited in. Will the welcome be warm? Will we find out heart’s true home, or have our deepest longings met? We hope for more than seems humanly possible, and that’s because we need divine assistance to see us through.

Can we taste the potential, the opening and offering a new year brings? Are our goals achievable? I’m not sure…. and maybe that very uncertainty is what helps give birth to hopes and dreams. Maybe we have to yearn enough to break open a desire which yields to decision, drive and determination.

God is on the other side of the not yet. He hovers in the now and the next. We sense tantalising glimpses of His presence, like a faint mist concealing and revealing what lies beyond our comprehension.

We’re on the boundary, the cross-over point that points the way to the unknown. Will we trust an unknown future to a known God? How far does our faith stretch?

corrie-ten-boom-quote-hope-new-year-pj

 

An approaching year holds more questions than answers, requiring us to rest in God-given grace and discover courage enough to live into the answers to come. As we do so, we trust that God walks with us, accompanies every step we take and leads us slowly onward to our next destination.

Grope for Hope

In liminal space

I grope for eternal Hope

that makes me feel safe

haiku-grope-for-hope

 

Making space

Making space for grace

we become renewed, washed clean

and feel whole again

haiku-making-space

 

New Year

A blank page, clean slate

with empty space to create

Feel free to write on

haiku-new-year

 

These poems have been inspired by this week’s haiku challenge prompt of ‘Feel&Space’ initiated by poet master Ronovan of Ronovan Writes. Just click on the links to discover how it all came about and to join in here.

I tend to view a new year with a mixture of anticipation and anxiety, hope mingled with concern and a confident expectation of resting in God’s grace, come what may. While I prayerfully consider my #oneword365 for 2017, I would love to hear how you anticipate the new year. What do you sense the months ahead may hold for you or be inviting you to do?

Advent invites us into the continual now of God’s presence

manger-nativity-pj

 

We sit with great expectations in this season—usually driven more by insistence from the media than by us fully reverencing the manger. Rarely are they met. More often than not, we emerge out the other side of Advent as a weary wreck. Maybe there’s a way to do things differently? 

As I rested upstairs, had a needful break to recharge this afternoon, breathed out slow and sat with the Lord for a while, these poetic thoughts emerged…

Advent invites us…

Advent invites us to savour the now, ever-present sense of God’s presence in this world, invisible yet still tangible somehow.

It reminds us of the manger being but a step to the cross, a way of remembering all that Jesus bought for us at such a great cost.

We’re invited to linger and marvel at Love come down. We’re welcomed to a stable, a baby fit for a shiny Royal crown.

Here, in swaddling clothes, manger-wrapped and ready for us to receive Him is a Gift to accept and unwrap the promises hidden deep within.

And the Advent now also suggests tension and stress, cards to write and send, folk to invite, parcelling of presents, our own gifts to share with family and friends.

There’s a drive to have the right kind of offering, forgetting how our love and our presence are always the best thing.

In all the rush and hurry, haste and paste, decorating and baking, we can lose sight of that starry night in Bethlehem. We can neglect to make space in the here and now for the One who this celebration is really about.

I’m guilty as charged, knowing I need to heed those soft whispers nudging my spirit more than before, because I’m in danger of forgetting my Saviour in the drive to do one thing more before collapsing with fatigue.

But when we stop, take a breath, a sacred pause? Why, we find God is here, in the moment, of course. Always patiently waiting for our attention, He reaches out across time and eternity to welcome us into the Now of His glorious presence.

There is peace here. There is calm. There is deep soul rest. We receive not only what’s better but what is best. We can ignore the clamour, the hassle, the shout, become replenished, renewed from the inside out.

Here is a whisper, a breath, an eternal song being sung, a melody being heard and received, a lullaby for our restless souls. And here we belong. No pressure, no pleading, just a realisation that this is what we truly need now—during Advent, Christmas and beyond.

©joylenton2016

I thought I was too tired to think straight, never mind write today, however God whispered these thoughts which enabled me to join in with this week’s five-minute-friday prompt of ‘Now’.  Come meet the writing crew gathering at Kate Motaung’s site, and check out the great posts being shared. Just click here to follow me there.

advent-invites-us-poem

gold: bringing Jesus our best Advent offering

advent-come-to-jesus-pin

 

During Advent we are invited into story, made aware of the reason for the anticipatory watching and waiting. There will be surprises to come, a humble birth to proclaim, gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense to be proffered by kings, now bowing to the King of kings on His bed of straw.

Advent is a golden time, a twilight hour before the main event, a necessary pause in proceedings as we ponder our own part in all of this. Because it cannot leave us cold. We are active participants too.

Not only do we pause, ponder and pray, mull and marvel at the miracle of God become man, we also start to see ourselves as the reason why He came, the purpose for this most Holy of invasions, this gentle leap into earthly territory.

And it may make us wonder what our response should be to the birth of our Lord and Saviour. What can we bring to Him, the One who throws stars into space and rides galaxies?

I believe God came for our hearts, our open devotion and willing surrender to His goodness and grace. I believe He wants us to be captivated by His offering of relationship.

We bring Him our gold, our best. What would that be? I think it’s our brokenness. We bring our messed up lives, our hidden sin, our secret dreams.  We bring Him failure and defeat, loss and longing, need and desire. We bring all the broken pieces of our lives like scattered ashes at His feet, ready for Him to bring beauty forth from them.

He tenderly takes, sifts, sorts and remakes us better than before. God isn’t afraid to get His hands dirty with our dust and detritus. He asks us to come as we are, no frills, no excuses, no pretence, no hesitation. Isn’t that the best invitation of all?


I didn’t intend to post today, but I wrote a tiny haiku with these thoughts on my mind. It was in response to a prompt which my lovely writing friend, Gayl Wright, speaks of on her blog. She also shares her own beautiful offering to the prompt of ‘Gold/Sing’ as found on Ronavan Writes – where this inviting poetic haiku challenge originates from.

This is my response:

Bring your offering

Let your gold pieces sing sweet

Laid at Jesus’ feet

I hope you’ll feel tempted to give it a go yourself!  🙂

gold-offering

what night’s inky blanket says to us

write31days-journeyingintojoy-night-inky-blanket

 

Night whispers its presence as soft kiss of dusk and sunset’s flame fanfare yield to a falling curtain. Each slide toward dark’s velvet covering begins to  conceal day’s warmth and light, suggesting we’re safer staying inside.

Comfort and coziness is found more indoors on these chilly autumnal days as we seek warmth and shelter, try to relax body and mind, unwind from a day’s busyness, crave peace and rest. Though I like to leave curtains open as long as possible as I watch gradual invasion of night swallow up the view, and savour every last chink of light peeking through.

Every shadowy silhouette reflects how even the known, the all too familiar can become draped in mystery. We see so little when we really think about it. Noticing can become dull and senses dim when we are stuck in a rut of finite everyday-ordinary and fail to lift the eyes of our heart toward the infinite.

Inky blanket

Night wraps her inky blanket

softly round a darkening world

 

She steals the light we move within

then proffers silver smattering

 

of stars that glitter jewel-bright

Displayed at their finest now

 

enshrouded as they are by

this murky midnight-blue sky

©JoyLenton2016

Glory moments can be found when we stretch our souls to hear their sound, begin to truly listen to what our lives and the world around  are saying to us. And when we switch off from preoccupation and busyness, we soon discover that silence is full of noise, because a world on constant hum of readiness is continually speaking to us.

I also hear the continual thrum of tinnitus in my ears, a sound I tend to want to drown out with an alternative. Sometimes we hear our own heartbeat or breathing when we still enough to listen, pause for our next breath in the midst of activity or prayer.

God is always offering us an invitation to listen, to hear holy heartbeats, sense sacred echoes in the everyday. Joy is made manifest in His presence, because night is as day to God; there is light and life in abundance, more than enough to refuel and refresh weary souls.

“You have shown me the path to life, and you make me glad by being near me. Sitting at your right side, I will always be joyful” ~ Psalm 16:11 CEV

It doesn’t matter when or how we come, the important thing is to answer the call. God waits with infinite patience, but it is to our own detriment if we fail to find time to be with Him.

Sometimes these daily slowing down periods which night reveals are all the reminder we need of life’s short span, of all that fights for and consumes our attention in the daily grind. They also speak of just how much we need the stabilising power of joy that only God can provide.

31-days-of-journeying-into-joy-badge

Welcome to #day3 of 31 days of journeying into joy. It’s good to have your company!

How are you hearing creation speaking to you, or sensing sacred echoes best? Do share in the comments below. 

 

write31days-journeyingintojoy-night-inky-blanket-poem-pin

Learning to release

balloon ~ i will rise file image

Days go by and we feel strangely heavy, our souls saturated, weighed down to ground.

Sometimes it’s hard to put our finger on why we are so lethargic and laden.

Sometimes we fail to see what burdens we are carrying, accustomed as we are to their presence.

Sometimes it takes a final filling, a last straw load to tip us over.

And a whispered reminder from Holy Spirit.

He calls soft across the shadows of our mind, His voice gaining urgency to alert our attention.

He warns us we are already full to overflowing in the way we so often try to live life unaided by His grace.

And He speaks wisdom to our spirit. A voice we know yet seldom heed in our pursuit of more, of enough, of extra stuff.

We receive a gentle reminder of Who is our Burden-bearer and how He stands ready to catch us when we falter and fall.

A call to relinquish, let go, release, relax our tight grip on it all.

Stop… Pause… Breathe… Pray.

A call to pursue God, yield to grace, be filled with Holy Spirit gifts rather than heavy with worldly worries and cares.

Because living lightly and freely is God’s plan for you and me.

Releasing

You surround me like ocean undertow

But I don’t see Your sacred sea

when my eyes are fixed to ground

picking up problem-pebbles in my hand

I examine each and every one

Note each mark, each line and scar

Reluctant to release them

even though my hands overflow

Then I hear a whisper on the wind

calling across the ripples

of my troubled mind

An invitation to let go

Focus my gaze on You alone

instead of holding on to sharp

stones biting into skin

My fingers slowly uncurl

Feeling strangely vacant, light

Watching mesmerised

as each pebble thuds hard

into the sand, until I am

left with empty, open hands

reaching out to You ~ unfurled

©JoyLenton2015

“Casting the whole of your care (all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all) on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully” ~ 1 Peter 5:7

pebbles release poem pin