fireworks: an opportunity to experience wonder firsthand – snapshot #2

fireworks: an opportunity to experience wonder firsthand - snapshot #2

Our local Lord Mayor’s Procession in July concludes spectacularly, with a brief but rather wonderful firework display. The best thing?  We have a direct view of the free light show it provides from our back garden, even if I have to try to balance on the rockery to see it properly.  🙂

Thankfully, there’s a pretty good view to be had from the front of the house as well. No gymnastics required! Several people line the street to ooh and ahh their way through the firework display. I often try to capture some of it on my phone, with mixed results.

Using a firework mode involves trying to hold the phone steady for the few seconds it takes to create the image. Patience is required. As it is for the best things in life. Though I can miss quite a bit by seeking to secure a memory.

Writing about an experience, especially when I pen the poetic, enables me to recover the magic and savour the joy for a bit longer. I actually took the firework images here and was so gratified by the way they turned out!

Fireworks appeal to all age groups. We enjoy the anticipation and delight that ensues. With showers of coloured light appearing out of nowhere. All of us love to experience a bit of wonder in our lives, especially when it’s unexpected and flares like neon in the dark.

God loves to give us unexpected blessings and graces. His hand on the minutiae of our lives is nothing short of miraculous and can often feel magical. Sometimes we see Him in fireworks. Sometimes He’s the quiet voice sitting by the fire with us.

Fireworks

night squiggles
neon bright, flaring sharp
colour dances
a ballet in the dark
we watch closely, entranced
© joylenton

fireworks tanka poem (C) joylenton @poetryjoy.com

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. 🙂

candle: love burns in our hearts with faith and hope #thedailyhaiku 18

 

It’s all too easy to take each other for granted in relationships, isn’t it? Become like comfortable furniture to one another. Dependable and reliable, or so we hope. Desire, mingled with love, flickers like a faltering candle, setting chilly hearts aflame once more.

Our task is to nurture each tiny spark, watch to see that the candle doesn’t die out, remain vigilant in not taking one another for granted, whether we’re a long married couple, just setting out together, bringing up a family or going solo for a while.

Love and relationships need to be given priority, so that the candle flame of love doesn’t blow out with every breeze that blows, get snuffed out by an open window to the world (whereby extraneous people get invited in) caught in the crossfire of communication failure, lashed by harsh winds of confrontation, stubbed out in anger or left to die a slow death of neglect instead.

How is that achieved? Not with our fickle hearts or in our own limited strength alone. It takes heavenly resources to stoke the fires of love in our wayward hearts and maintain its heat through years of trouble and toil. It takes grace and guts, grit and sheer determination to rise above the emotional pain we are in and that which we unwittingly inflict on one another.

It takes faith and patience, perseverance, endurance and an ability to forgive again and again and again. It takes a willingness to admit we are wrong and an ability to talk things through, rather than pretend everything is fine. Honesty is a top priority. Only God can grant us these graces to love one another well, plant His pure, unconditional Love in our hearts and keep it alive to the end of time.

heat-sealed

it’s scabby with wax
this candle burning brightly
heat-sealed in our hearts
©joylenton

**Hi, if you’re new around here, welcome to my #write31days series of the daily haiku. To catch up you can access the rest of the posts here. A big grateful hug to all who have been following so far. This weary woman applauds you. We’re on the home straight, friends!** 🙂 

pets: on love, created beauty and theology

cat-pets-pj

 

Pets are far more than they may present at first glance. Some may look on them like they see small children: messy, unpredictable, noisy, uncontrollable and hard to locate sometimes. But for those who love them, they’re constant soul companions and loving, faithful friends.

Animals point to the beauty of created things, the unlimited, unconditional love which God poured into making earth a haven for us. They are great reminders of God’s goodness toward us, bringing pleasure as well as purpose into our lives.

“The difference between friends and pets is that friends we allow into our company, pets we allow into our solitude” ~ Robert Brault

Maybe pets could be thought of as a way in which God speaks out His faithful presence, His constant love and affection for His children. We had quite a menagerie of rabbits, cats, mice, budgerigars and hamsters when I was growing up, all of which taught me a degree of responsibility—though I confess to once zealously overfeeding a goldfish until it died!

“Love the animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled” ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

These days we have no pets and I mourn their loss, though I enjoy a stray cat or two wandering around our garden seeking attention. Our grandson has had a whole host of animals to observe, touch and marvel over in his three short years. The haiku and photos below have come from his experiences. I tried to limit myself to three! They also link to Ronovan Hester’s inspiring poetic site and this week’s haiku poetry prompt challenge of ‘Pet and Play’.

Playing with farmyard pets

Hens scratch at pellets

Seed scattered as tiny tots

Play with farmyard pets

haiku-farmyard-pets

 

Christmas capers

Cat’s hopped in a box

She’s longing to play with those

stray wisps of tinsel

haiku-cat-in-a-box-pj

 

Boy meets tortoise

Boy meets tortoise

Baffled by its clay-like shell

Should he pet or play?

haiku-boy-meets-tortoise

 

You might wonder why I am speaking about animals in this Advent season, but they do have a large role in our lives, as well as in Nativity plays. And in our theology, we speak of Christ as the sacrificial  Lamb who was slain, and the Lion of Judah when He finally comes to rule and reign.

So as you hug your pets, or simply appreciate the animals you see, maybe you can think of those things and be grateful for their presence in your life, the way they point to God’s grace in the everyday.

I’d love to hear about your pets. Do join in the conversation below…

Believe and receive

busy bee PJ file image for believe and receive

As busy bees we go about our days, barely pausing to savour the moment or smell the roses.

Yet even bees pause, stop and seek out the nectar in each individual flower. They taste, enjoy, feed and then move on.

So absorbed in their task they seem heedless of distractions.

We are more likely to be easily distracted and fail to fully engage with one task before finding another to occupy us.

Shutting out the world’s noise and voice is a challenge we all have. It shouts so loud with an impatient impertinence, demanding to be heard.

But if we can find ways to draw back, step away and seek a sanctuary of silence, we are rewarded beyond measure.

Not only do we hear the outpourings of our own soul rising to the surface, we also make a spiritual white-space for God to whisper close.

And as we attune our inner ears to His voice we are in a good position to both believe and receive.

For our inner thirst and deep soul hunger can only be truly satisfied by His unconditional and eternal love.

No-one else can meet all our needs and answer the ones we haven’t even thought about, never mind prayed for as yet.

Shall we try?

Can we switch off in order to plug in to all that is essential to our health and well-being?

It will take great perseverance and persistence but it will provide far more than we ever knew we needed.

I’m willing to make way for holy moments in the mundane.

My soul seeks after God’s own heart. I crave the insights, wisdom and encouragement I receive from His word and in whispered conversations too.

I long for His touch upon my life, His healing for every wound and His mercy and grace for all my brokenness.

My body sinks weary into His embrace and finds comfort there. He holds me strong on my weakest days.

Will you join me? I hope so. Let’s take a pause from busyness and lean hard into quiet reverence instead.

God is waiting…

believe and receive poem file pin image PJ

This poem is part of my #31days of writing brave and free as I attempt to eschew perfectionism and aim for a regular outpouring of poetry or prose based on listening deeper to God’s voice. You can find out more over at my sister blog ‘Words of Joy’ where I am posting regularly too.

Whistling in the dark

praying_on_bible_red

Sounds reverberate off the ceiling. Bounce back to knock us sideways.

We hear our voice alternately whispering, crying, calling out.

Is this a monologue or a dialogue? Better not to say anything, perhaps.

Does silence really speak volumes?

Sometimes praying can feel like speaking to ourselves.

Is anybody listening? Or are we just whistling in the dark?

Thoughts swirl loud. Hearing our heartbeat pounding.

Murmurs of life pulse and throb, yet all around is a seemingly empty void.

Can you hear me, God? Am I getting through to You?

So often we feel lost. Adrift on a sea of sounds of our own making. All feels dark. Empty.

Yet it is here, in the depths of silence, where God reminds us darkness is as light to Him, and there is no place where He cannot be found by seeking souls. No way He cannot make Himself known to a listening heart.

Cathedral cloisters ~ listening poem pin

 

Our tears are prayers, carefully collected, cherished.

The unspoken cries of our hearts are heeded.

We need to remember this as we call out as the psalmist did:

“God, listen! Listen to my prayer, listen to the pain in my cries” ~ Psalm 102:1 (The Message)

It’s in rest and quiet, in a drawing aside, a laying down, a giving, offering and opening up that we ready ourselves to hear and receive.

Come aside. Breathe deep. Inhale Holy Spirit breath. Lay aside doubt, preconceptions and prejudices.

Come empty to be filled.

Come thirsty to be refreshed.

Come to the One who knows you inside out.

Make space to just be. To let go of anxiety and pain. God is big enough to take it all.

Quiet your heart. Still your voice. Tune out the world and tune in to Him.

We can never emerge from God’s presence the same as we came into it.

Let Him love on you. He is the giver of all good gifts, Father of compassion, Restorer of all brokenness.

Come, my friend, come…. seek the Light, seek grace, seek God.

He is here. He is listening. Meet with Him in the mundane moments. Sense His hand in everything. Listen to your life.

Wait with holy expectation. Keep hoping. Keep believing. Stay in faith. Live mindful of His Presence. In due time, answers will come.

47051-ExcellentQuotations.com-Mother-Teresa

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.

Haiku 

 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

heart

curling with gentle

tread

upon your sighs

where deepest pain

lies

a tender fellow of

your deepest powers

your deepest love

in darkest hours

©JoyLenton2013