build: having a strong foundation and fortification of faith

build - having a strong foundation and fortification of faith (C)joylenton @poetryjoy.com

Maybe it’s not too surprising to be wistfully thinking of summer when a wintry wind is howling outside your window and rain sweeps like stiff  brushstrokes against the pane. Or to be caught up in savouring sunny memories at a stage in life when they feel far more precious than before.

God has a wonderful way of infiltrating the harsh, wintry aspects of our days with the summer-bright laser beam of His light and love, His goodness and grace. Then the bleak emptiness, weariness, weakness or pain we might be experiencing seem to lessen a little, as we absorb the warmth of God’s presence in our hearts.

It begins to thaw our cold souls and infuse hope into our hurting places. Because there is always opportunity to start again, to rebuild, at least in how we might perceive our situations. We can build a new foundation any time we need to, aided by God’s mercy and grace, and with His help and equipping.

I was musing on a memory when I wrote the poem below a few months ago. It probably took longer than five minutes to write, but I am sharing it today like a “here’s one I made earlier” kind of offering, because it fits pretty well with this week’s five-minute-friday prompt. And it’s all my tired mind can currently conjure up! 😉

Fortification

I sit, surrounded by mounds
of sand, clumped yet dry as a bone,
sieving it between my fingers like an
hourglass filling up,

little knowing how swiftly years
would pass, how soon this tanned,
tender, smooth-skinned toddler

eating sand sandwiches would grow
up, become a hirsute man, with voice
gruffly smooth and deep, like gravel
being gently washed by sea.

My small son wears sunscreen, sunhat
and a nappy, protected by pants,
plus a cautious, bemused

expression on his face, as though he
can recall being a few months old,
new to beach and sea, fearing rollicking
waves would sweep him away,

just as they do to the crumbly castles
he builds with help, joy and pride,
which don’t stand a chance against
pulsating power of tides.

I smile at his mild discomfiture, as it’s
always valuable to learn these lessons
young, to grasp how easily

life can change, and how the things we
seek to build our lives upon must have
a strong, secure foundation

to uphold us in future days, in harder
times when problems arise or walls come
tumbling down, and we are required
to be safe and fortified.
© joylenton

build - building a new foundation with God quote (C)joylenton @poetryjoy.com

There’s nothing quite like a supportive writing community to build us up with encouragement and give us the courage and confidence to share our words. Such as the fabulous five-minute-friday crew gathering at Kate Motaung’s site. This week’s prompt is “build”. You are welcome to join us here and read the great variety of posts being shared.  🙂

tweed: being immersed in memory #thedailyhaiku 15

 

I was immersed in Tweed. Not as a visitor to Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland, or with my skin spritzed with the same named fragrance that was my mother’s signature scent. Rather, I wore a tweed sea-green coat as a child, little knowing how years would turn full circle and render it fashionable again.

I loved it because it fit better than most of my clothes, usually bought with acres of growing room! This enveloped me well, not too short or long. It swirled as I turned to admire myself, enjoying the soft swish it made.

I was usually garbed in an eclectic mix of styles and fabric, depending on what was for sale or going cheap. Most of my clothing was made of synthetic fabric that literally rubbed me up the wrong way.

Consequently, I preferred to wear natural fibres when I was in a position to choose for myself. Though I certainly loved the textured wool feel of my old green coat, which wouldn’t look out-of-place these days.

turned full circle

do clothes maketh man?

tweed is fabric, fragrance, place

history for me

 

our past weaves itself

with ties that bind and cling tight

touching our today



wearing a tweed coat

I felt good, strangely grown-up

turned full circle now
©joylenton

 

Tweed is a fabric I still savour. We’ve chosen it for our new sofa and chair, loving the unique individuality of Harris Tweed, where the fabric can alter with each batch, as each weaver threads through their signature colour blending touch.

Do you have any distinct memories of clothes you wore as a child? 

Or maybe a favourite fabric? I also love the look and feel of velvet.

how remembering helps make room for joy

write31days-journeying-into-joy-remembering-making-space-for-joy

 

Life passes in a blur and we can become too caught up in busyness to stop and savour the present moment. We forget that Now is all we really have to experience to the full. Except, that is, for those conscious acts of remembrance which stir our hearts with sweet ache of memory, turn thoughts back to gratitude.

I’ve been thinking about my grandson approaching the grand old age of three, reflecting on the enormous privilege of being his grandma, how I get to watch him grow, have a part to play in his future.

This little fellow has truly captured my heart and been teaching me more about joy than any text-book could, because he lives with a confident expectation of life being full of good things. Joy is his default mode most days.

Although I require a lot of support myself due to chronic health problems, I happily, willingly (and probably unwisely?)  go way beyond my normal capacities to offer him love and care, knowing our times together are precious and rare.

write31days-journeying-into-joy-remembering-joy

 

When I think about those special times I have shared with him, it awakens me anew to the realisation of holy ground being anywhere heaven touches earth – in the banal and breathtaking, and in the prosaic and playful as well.

Once we look and listen with intent, we sense moments of marvel midst the mundane, observe joy springing up like bulbs eager to greet sunlight. I’m tending to see more in the autumn of my life, remembering anew all that God can do.

Joy given is joy multiplied. We bring our lives as a daily offering to God and watch with wonder as He blesses them beyond measure, to the full and overflowing out to others.

Making space for God is no hardship when He enlarges our capacity for sensing joy in daily life, as well as in His presence. He delights to bring us joy and delight.

Our prayers rise as breath, each one ascending as incense to God’s throne. I inhale and still remember the sweet infant scent of my sons and grandson. It’s a reminder of the fragrance of grace filling everywhere we offer it space.


Dear Father,

As we reflect, remember and relive joy-filled moments, may we prepare our hearts to receive again, ready them for holy whispers and reassurance in the here and now.

Help us to enlarge our happiness with fond remembrance of your goodness and grace in the past, so we can have renewed hope for the future.

May we be aware of the fleeting nature of our days, how every breath and moment is a gift to us, and each day offers fresh opportunity to enjoy the grace gifts already set before us.

Help us to be appreciative receivers and gracious givers of your bounty as we pour ourselves out in the service of others.

Show us how to listen well to your Word, to Holy Spirit and to our lives, heeding all they have to say to us. And to look with deliberate intent as we seek to develop hearts more in tune with yours by surrendering each day into your hands.

Amen


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

Welcome to #day24 of #write31days of journeying into joy

What helps you to actively remember the goodness of the Lord?

I’d love you to share in the comments below.

write31days-journeying-into-joy-joy-in-remembrance-prayer

A moment in time

seeking and finding PJ

Some moments are frozen in time, stilled in sense and sight. Etched on our minds and engraved in our memories.

I’m remembering a week when my beloved was away for a few days and (very thoughtfully) provided me with meals in the freezer.

All lovingly home-cooked and pre-prepared ahead of time. Yes I know, I’m one blessed woman!

There was even a typed list of what to find where and how to deal with it. How’s that for organisation?

He takes such good care of me; his hands willing to work on my behalf since he lost paid employment, and despite having developed Parkinson’s disease over the last 2 years.

Thankfully, he can still do most things he used to do before his diagnosis, albeit slower, with a degree of pain and fatigue.

I’m not completely helpless in a kitchen. I can muster up coffee, breakfast and a snack, but I am unused to coping alone with main meals.

Because cooking and cleaning are lost arts to me since I’ve become more chronically unwell with arthritis, fibromyalgia and M.E.

I can’t stand for long,  lift or carry much, can only walk a few steps unaided experience a great deal of muscle and joint pain plus profound fatigue on a daily basis, cognitive problems, brain fog and hypersensitivity to light and sound.

Thankfully, my husband actually loves to cook because he’s pretty good at it and preparing meals relaxes him.

We may live a rather limited life compared to some, yet we are grateful for small mercies and experience moments of  joy in little things.

The poem below speaks about my determination to press past my problems and push myself to enjoy a moment in time – although it’s not a recommended practice for those with M.E to extend themselves too much. Sadly, there’s always a payback afterwards. 😦

A moment in time

a moment in time laundry PJ

It’s only a moment in time

as I heed the inner need

to step outside a while

My senses alert to burgeoning

life as I peg laundry to line

I feel warm sun rays

playing on my face

like a heaven’s breath

benediction of grace

Whistling wind whips swift

tussling through hair and

trees, its resonant notes

vibrating each green leaf

Echoed in chiming ice-cream

van, roaming nearby streets,

while ‘sun has got its hat on’

sounds make children fleet of feet

My arms and legs ache so

with every move I make

And this bitter-sweet task

is no mean feat for me

Although washing is often

dried inside, today I yield,

follow my heart’s yearning,

welcoming embrace of Spring

©JoyLenton2015

a moment in time PJ pin

**I’m editing and sharing this pre-prepared post I’d intended to share last year, because my health remains rather challenging at the moment and fresh inspiration is a bit thin on the ground. Hopefully normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. Thank you for your grace! ** 🙂

Where I’m from

Trying something new here today as I link up with the synchroblog over at sheloves.com where we share our heritage stories.

Here’s mine:

I am from..

I’m from hands made red scrubbing with Fairy soap, arms to elbow in suds, wringing, steaming, line-flapping, wind-dancing laundry blowing against my head

From mangle, squeezing out doll’s clothes, now you’ve caught your thumb, before ‘elf and safety was ever thought of or begun

I am from side-to-side dwelling, know each others’ business, doors ajar, lean over garden fences, see your neighbours’ faces and invade each others spaces

And Sunday roast in oven, larder heavy with home-made stuff,  jelly and custard, dripping on toast, sausage rolls, Christmas spiked ham, pickles and mustard

I am from roses abundant, catch petals in a jar, shake well with water, savour the smell with an “Aaah!”  From embracing cats, budgerigars, mice and rabbits and cleaning up after their dirty habits

I’m from chasing on the lawn to capture elusive dreams and butterflies, with hope, expectancy and angels floating in my eyes

I am from scratch and prickle horse-chestnut, making conkers, shaking and climbing trees whose long gone limbs I remember as if they were my own, though they belonged in woodland close to our home

I’m from blue smoke rising, swirling to choke breath out of a room, throw the fags, clink the glasses, toast the Queen, enjoy good times, drown our sorrows and link up for the dance of Auld Lang Syne

From Sunday afternoon snoozes, weekend outings to beach or countryside to admire the view and (hopefully) squeeze in a game or two

I’m from keep quiet at the table and sit up straight and always eat everything put on your plate

And I’m from working class and working hard from dawn to dusk, face lathered, razored, hair smoothed shiny as acorn husk

With dad’s shoes spit-polished and neatly pressed clothes, for no matter how lowly the job a man has to present well, as everyone knows

Mum’s middle class background and leanings shown in books she was reading and the superiority over what she thought or knew. And she wasn’t past pampering her face, leaving imprints of jammy red lipstick staining screwed up tissues in every place.

I’m from giving non church-going parents a rest by attending Sally Army Sunday school, singing, “Jesus loves me, this I know”, with them little realising this was the very best thing for me, as Truth would be rooted, dug deep, to bring life, grow fruit later and on to eternity

I am from East coast flatlands, fenlands, beaches and broads where holidaymakers stream in summer hordes; a cathedral city with cobbled streets, theatres, museums, castle on a hill, parks to play in and hide at will

And candy-floss fairs, sticky treacle pud and hot fried chips to grease and burn the lips. With Fanta, Corona, sherbet fountains, licorice laces and sweets bought to please, rot the teeth and grant parents some ease

I’m from marbles, hopscotch, skip and keep time, roller-skates, hula-hoops, pogo-sticks, reading and rhyme

With Jack Frost nipping inside the pane, hot water bottles, coal fires toasting shins and chestnuts, savouring the heat before we felt cold again

From leaving and cleaving elsewhere, going away and disappear, get a job, get a life, new husband, new wife, divorce, trouble and strife

Having twin sisterly sharing, squabbles, discipline, smacking, sitting legs dangling on chair where we sulked, wriggled impatient, until giggles erupted everywhere

There may not be too many precious mementoes to hang over my bed but I keep a select few tucked away in my head

Adult life meant starting anew when God claimed my heart at 17 years old.  And He’s been working diligently ever more behind the scenes to renew, repair and restore broken memories and dreams, weaving them into a tapestry beautiful to behold

*******

I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane.

Now you know even more about me!

There was much to reflect upon, as there always is when you’ve lived a longish life.

Do join in the synchroblog if you can. The template on sheloves.com is a guide but how you express it is up to you.

You don’t have to be poetic at all, that’s just the way I naturally lean.