In Joyful Reverence

Father, fill this weary heart,

With your Spirit, your presence!

Infuse my mind with reverence,

Beyond ideas of human art!


May an aroma, a Holy essence,

Melt my anxious heart!

This day is a new start;

Live for you in Holy reverence!


Break sin’s pride apart,

By awareness of your presence!

Heaven is more than severance,

The gift of a new heart!


Bear Jesus’ Name in reverence,

By Holy Spirit, not apart!

No Jesus in carnal heart!

In Jesus, I enter God’s presence!


Praise from faith’s heart,

Grateful raise in pleasing essence!

Worship offer in awed reverence,

Giving day a joyful start!



The Recluse

From the outside looking in, it is very difficult to understand why this woman who appears to be healthy and normal would choose to live in isolation. It doesn’t however, keep people in the neighborhood from trying to peek and ascertain why their neighbor is so strange. In fact she is the subject of not a few urban legends, tales the town’s children hear and love to repeat. Though everyone has forgotten her name, she bears many titles, “The Ghost”, “The Brown Recluse”, “Witch”, “The Vampire”, each depending on the childish story repeated to then, be expounded upon. Adults repeat tall tales of their own in stories that are gossip excused as knowing the “dangers” that exist in the neighborhood. As a result, parents warn their children to steer clear of “that strange woman’s house” and everyone keeps a vigilant eye on a quiet home where nothing ever happens. If they knew the truth about their neighbor who by simply being isolated adds drama to their hum-drum lives, they would most likely, shed tears and understand “the recluse” to be a fellow human being.

Estelle is a pretty, older woman who was once, a beauty. She has lived in this small house on Welland Avenue for her entire life. As an only child, she simply never moved away not because she was dependent upon her parents but after her father died it was natural for her to remain and care for her mother. Estelle is a very independent person but her mother was unable to survive on her own. In fact, Emma her mother, was forever a child in a woman’s body. As if she had no arms and legs of her own, she depended upon the legs and arms of others to meet her needs. Emma was a beautiful woman and as a young woman, lacked for nothing of material value because of her looks. Instead of learning to fend for herself, she became adept at manipulation especially, of men. It all backfired on her at the age of thirty-one, when her allure was beginning to fade and she found herself somehow, pregnant. Estelle’s father Joe, a simple man, became an easy target for Emma in her dire situation. It wasn’t difficult for her to con Joe into loving her and accepting full responsibility for her and another man’s baby. He wasn’t the kind of man that Emma admired (admiration was Emma’s only, definition of love) but he presented himself as handy and she grabbed him to preserve the image she liked to project of herself. Unlucky Estelle was the innocent baby born to this union formed to suit Emma’s need.

Emma’s lack proved to be bottomless over the years. Joe wasn’t capable of giving her what she wanted. His simple love, devotion, and faithful care weren’t enough. Emma hated their small house but never thought of getting a job to help Joe buy a bigger house. Instead, she nagged and grew bitter, drowning herself in herself and alcohol. “Estelle! Listen to me schweetheart…don’t saddle yourself with a wimp like your dad. Marrying him ruined my life! I deserve so much more than this! You find yourself a real man with the means to provide, the way a man is supposed to provide for his woman!” Even though it was Estelle’s dad that gave her genuine love, discipline, and kept a roof over her head, there was something about Emma that required worship and Estelle worshiped her mom. She also, adopted the view of her father that her mom so often promoted. In fact Estelle doted on her mother, tended to her when she had too much to drink, listened to her complaints, and tried with everything in her, to please her mother. She wanted so badly, to earn her mother’s love but love was outside of Emma’s ability to give. In fact, nothing about Emma was real. She existed as a clawing empty shell projecting many false images designed to please and manipulate in a false hope of filling her insatiable desires. Estelle, the dutiful daughter, learned to reflect admiration for each and every one of those personas. In fact, she looked up to her mother’s pretense as an amazing ability to convey wholeness to others when in fact, her life was in shambles. Estelle felt that she was lacking in her inability to hide her true feelings. She knew her straight forward nature upset her mother and since she admired her mother so greatly, she also, learned to despise herself for being so different from her mother. Estelle’s self esteem revolved around filling her mother’s bottomless inner void, in hopes of earning her approval.

Estelle was in college when Joe suddenly, died of a heart attack. He was a hard worker who gave little thought to himself and his small family also, paid little attention to him. Perhaps, if he’d been more proactive about his health he wouldn’t have died at age 55 but his life’s reward was apparently, not on this earth but in Heaven. Joe was such a good man that to most people, he was invisible. Emma was furious when she received word of her husband’s death. How could he? “What in God’s Name am I supposed to do now?” were the first words out of her mouth. The second sentence, “Once a worm always a no good worm, I knew he’d pull something like this on me!” It was Joe’s death that made Estelle aware of what he’d meant in her life and now, she felt the full weight of the responsibility he had carried for her mother shift onto her shoulders. Suddenly, she knew her father may have had his weaknesses but he was never a wimp. “Don’t worry, Mamma. I’m here. I’ll quit school and I’ll take care of you.” She pulled her mother close to comfort her and they shed tears together. Estelle cried for the loss of her dad and Emma cried for herself.

Estelle cared for her mother with same kind of devotion that a good mother has for her child. It wasn’t so much that they reversed roles rather, Estelle grew into the role of mother, as Emma remained forever, a child. Over the years, there were men interested in Estelle. She was beautiful with dark hair, green eyes, white skin, and a long slender physique. Though quiet and shy, her personality was sweet and she was very intelligent. However, her mother couldn’t abide her daughter deserting her for any man and Estelle wasn’t capable of standing up to her mother. In fact, her whole life was about her mother and making sure her mother had the things she needed and wanted. She really didn’t have time for a life of her own. The thought of leaving her mother with strangers made her feel so guilty. She just couldn’t do that and soon she learned how to erect walls to keep men from even daring to look her way. Her girlfriends did marry and had families. Slowly, they faded from Estelle’s life, as she lost all commonality with her peers. As Emma aged, she became more demanding and staged great, draining dramas if she didn’t get enough attention. Estelle lost herself in work and in caring for the mother she doted on. Even though her mother never truly, loved her in return.

When Emma passed (due to liver damage as the result of her alcoholism) the empty hole at the core of her being didn’t die. It simply, transferred itself to haunt Estelle. Having lived for her mother instead, of developing a life of her own, left Estelle with nothing but the void she inherited. It was all she had left and sadly, it was so familiar that she surrendered herself to it. She became one with it as she withdrew entirely, from the world around her. She began working at home through her computer and the only, people she had contact with were those acquaintances who provided necessary services. This is the truth about Estelle, the recluse; a tale more sinister than any urban legend, the story of a woman who lived for another and never developed a life of her own.

Now, Estelle lives in isolation and waits, with no clue as to what or who she is waiting for.

(To be continued.)

Joyful Mourning Dove

The world thinks it very odd, this unremarkable grey bird…

Coo joy in sorrow from God? Joy in a minor key un-heard!

Ridiculous, a religious façade! Happiness is first, not third…

Joy in sorrow a sanity fraud! Joy can’t be sung by sad-bird!

Sad joy of Dove is guffawed! A joke something so absurd!


Joy’s sad song deep sorrow, cooing of the Mourning Dove…

Grief a vexation to borrow; in minor key to coo God’s Love!

Hopes peace for tomorrow, for all who dare to look Above!

Happiness fleeting sparrow, fly away when push-to-shove…

Spirit’s Joy Eternal-Morrow! Faith is joy of Mourning Dove!


On Butterfly Wings

Four-year-old Ariel with hair the color of brown sugar and deep, sapphire-blue eyes peers intently at a yellow butterfly sitting at the center of a white Shasta daisy. It’s one of those early June days that memories are made of. A soft breeze stirs and lifts the little girl’s hair in a swirling poof, in harmony with the puffy, white clouds that are scattered across the vastness of sky. These clouds are the remnants of yesterday’s rain storm and the reason why so many Robins are about getting their early-worm. The trees and all of the plants that inhabit the garden, wear a shimmering coat of new-green. Gardens are hopeful places in late spring and early summer. This is the season when gardeners dream big, with super strength ambition to achieve their plans in the growing season ahead. Ariel is also, situated at the beginning of her growing to become season but at four, she is content to focus on a yellow butterfly and is unaware of the importance of early childhood.

Yellow butterflies driven by the brevity of their lives don’t light in one place long and Ariel’s butterfly vanishes long before she is finished with her examination. Tears flood and glitter in those sapphire eyes as she vainly looks for her golden treasure. It only took a moment for her to fall in love and now, her love has flown away! A cheerful burst of musical notes distracts her broken heart and draws her attention to the Robins. There being far too many of them for a four-year-old girl to count, Ariel cries, “Bazillion! A bazillion birdies! Mine!” and she throws herself into the midst of them. It is only, nine o’clock in the morning and already, Ariel has learned two hard, life lessons. The birds not recognizing her ownership of them, do as the butterfly, lift themselves upon strong wings, and fly away. “Birdies gone…” is the dejected response of Ariel. Her tiny shoulders slump and she plops herself on the bench beneath the Maple tree. What’s the use of butterflies and birds if she can’t keep them, hold them, and play with them? Little Ariel’s heart hurts with her first cognizant experience of frustration in an unmet desire. On this memorable morning in June, a yellow butterfly and the Robins became a template for disappointments that would characterize Ariel’s life.

As Ariel grows, her defining characteristic is the pursuit of the impossible to obtain. As if her ability to dream rode to the heavens, on the wings of that yellow butterfly and the Robins who evaded her ownership, on that early summer morning. Ariel’s dreams, always being much bigger than any perceptible means at her disposal to obtain them, makes them seem ridiculous to her family and friends; but owning those dreams is the driving ambition that keeps her breathing. Without those dreams, she is likely to plop herself down beneath the nearest tree and never get up again. Ariel’s person is wound around dreams of fame, fortune, and legacy. In her mind, if she can’t become something recognized by the world as important, then that will prove what she fears most, that she is nothing.

Ariel’s ambition takes her many places that most people never visit. Some of them wonderful and some terrible; they all culminate in frustration, a repeat of that now, long ago, day when she was only, four. At twenty-five, Ariel is a beauty, with a great job, and life most young women would be content to enjoy. However, Ariel can only see herself and her life as a failure. She won’t be happy until she’s running the company she now, works for. Her desire for material rewards isn’t so much materialism as it is proving her self-worth. Her looks, her home, her car, her status at work and in life, must meet a certain high standard before she’ll be satisfied. What she doesn’t know about herself now, at twenty-five is that she will never be satisfied through worldly, success. The empty core she fills with dreams and the frenetic pursuit of achieving them will never be satisfied by any level of success she manages to reach. If she became Queen of the World, she would still feel frustrated and empty inside.

Ariel grew older but not wiser. Her achievement of becoming CEO before the age of thirty-five thrilled her in the moment but like all her earthly goals, ended in vanishing achievement; as life is never about a happy ending but on a continuum, where goals are met and quickly fade. Ariel never married because she gave everything she had within her to work. Now at the top, all she feels is the bitterness of disappointment and the let-down of past success, with no new horizon in sight. The empty core is now, a black hole sucking in the shell of Ariel, the persona she built around her dreams of success. She feels as if she’s imploding, collapsing, as if she is in a process of self-cannibalization. Shaken, she decides to take some time off, picks up her phone and dials the number of the best luxury hotel in town. Assured of a reservation, she grabs her coat and purse, tells her secretary what to do in the event of an emergency, and makes her way out the door. In a fog of broken thoughts and emotions, she finds herself in a cab, sitting in front of her hotel. Relieved to have made it to the perceived safety of her sanctuary, Ariel stuffs some bills in the cabby’s hand and steps out onto the sidewalk. She stares at the entrance for a few moments and feels so surreal as to be on the verge of a fugue state.

Alone in her room and having ordered two bottles of fine wine, Ariel strips to her slip, trying to get comfortable and relax. Sipping the wine she hopes will numb the pain and somehow negate her feelings of being on the edge of insanity, she absent mindedly opens the drawer on the nightstand. Yes, there it is, one of those Bibles that are always in hotel rooms. She’d never bothered to read one, she never had time for religion, and really didn’t understand religious people. What the heck? She didn’t have anything else to do. Ariel opened the Bible at random and began reading. As she read Matthew Chapter Five, it seemed that Jesus was speaking directly, to her. What stuck her was the fact that what Jesus listed as blessings were so different from the things she’d spent her life chasing. She felt foolish in the sudden realization that she’s wound her identity around nothing of lasting value. Just like the yellow butterfly and the Robins she’s wanted so badly, to hold and own as a little girl; the blessings she chases after evade her, just as she is about to put her hands on them. Tears fill her eyes and she reads again: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” The flood gates of sorrow open upon Ariel’s acceptance of these ancient words that speak directly to her heart and the vacuum there that seeks her destruction. Not knowing exactly what to say, she falls on her knees, sobbing, “God save me! Please give me this blessing! Oh, I need your comfort! I’m so sorry for spending the life you gave me chasing the wind! Please forgive me and give me another chance!” Immediately, the aching hole in Ariel’s heart fills with a warming presence and she knows she’s been heard. Ariel is no longer lonely and falls asleep resting in the greatest comfort she’s ever known.

Ariel lives a different kind of life now and strangely, on many days, she finds herself enjoying the garden, just as she did when she was little. Her life is centered on Christ and she is involved in a process not unlike the process a caterpillar undergoes to become a yellow butterfly. Ariel is embarked upon a journey of becoming by faith. She no longer pursues status or fortune and fully, understands that her identity was never in material achievement. Her true identity is in Christ and she uses her money to further His work and help others in need. Ariel found joy and self-acceptance by coming to understand God’s love for her and His purpose for her life in Jesus. By dying to her selfish ambitions and instead, living to serve God’s greater purpose, Ariel finds the kind of life that satisfies her deep, inner need. No longer living to achieve plans of her own contrivance, Ariel looked forward to each day as a surprise in her pilgrimage toward a better world. Ariel is no longer frustrated by the endless pursuit of empty ambitions that never deliver what they promise. Ariel doesn’t chase big, illusive dreams but quietly, waits as God brings beautiful birds and golden butterflies to rest at her feet. Ariel, the beautiful girl who sacrificed everything to obtain her goals of grandeur, finds herself fully obtained by God. She didn’t become Queen of the World but she is more than content as a daughter of the King.

La Vieja and The Magpie

Way down in old Nuevo Mexico, as the Crow flies, towards the river,

La vieja sits under her Cottonwoods, never-to-mind bickering Magpie!

Contentedly painting images of crows in colorful high-top sneakers;

In defiance! Of Death, Crow is said to bring on a black-winged-quiver!

Small-round-old woman, tough-as-nails, true-blue as enchanted sky;

Worn by west-blowing wind she bends as east-leaning wind breakers,

To nurture, protect life growing in harsh desert; la vieja is a love-giver!

“Mi casa es su casa.” Ancient tradition of welcome for all passers-by;

Old adobe home, sky-blue door open, red chili ristras hung on cedars;

Ojos de Dios watch! Blessed Rio Grande home! Oh, Mighty Life-Giver!

Feast on tortillas, enchiladas, papas, frijoles; No green chili? We cry!

Enchanted by crows wearing sneakers to taunt the continuous Magpie!


Key for Non-New Mexicans: la vieja=“the old woman”, “Mi casa es su casa!” = “My house is your house!” Ristras are red, dried, chili pods strung together that are both purposeful and beautiful. Ojos de Dios=Eyes of God. Tortillas are an unleavened, flat-bread. Frijoles=beans, in New Mexico they are Pinto Beans. Papas=fried potatoes. Enchiladas are a casserole dish made of meat, cheese, and/or beans, rolled in corn tortillas, and baked in red or green chili. Green chili of course, is the staple of life in New Mexico, a common source of good health and happiness!






Hope Purposed in Twilight

Such a sickly, small child, one in whom the light of life seemed as twilight, soon to fade. His mother wonders how this could happen to her. Her dreams of being loved unconditionally by the child she bore, shattered when this four pound boy made his entrance into the world, too soon. She longed for a strong son, who one-day would take care of her but this child was proving to be a bother. All the clothing she’d received from friends and relatives were much too large and she’d been forced to bring him home dressed in doll clothes. Her mother and sisters said she should be grateful that she was able to bring him home but when she compared her son to her nieces and nephews, she experienced no feelings of gratitude. Her son was such a weakling that his cry resembled that of a small kitten. He was difficult to hear from the other room and she resented him for that. How would she ever be able to get anything done? What must people think? Surely, his condition had nothing to do with the cigarette smoking she was unable to completely, set aside during pregnancy. A lot of women drank wine when expecting and surely, the few times she’d over imbibed weren’t enough to hurt her baby. It just wasn’t her fault! She felt herself cursed to receive such a defect. This puny runt of a son was just another example of how badly life treated her; another disappointment to cope with.

At age eighteen, Marissa was little more than a child herself and her love of alcohol kept her emotional maturity at about fourteen, the age when she first began drinking. She was the youngest in a large family and though her sisters doted on her, she had too little attention from tired parents who were also, grandparents. Marissa drank because she was lonely and she fell into other bad behaviors because of her need to belong to the drinking crowd. She became pregnant on purpose, thinking she’d find the emotional connection she yearned for in a baby. All of her dreams of motherhood were the fantasies of a little girl and her self-care during pregnancy was childishly, negligent. At eighteen, Marissa was frozen in narcissism and would remain forever, as a selfish child unless someday, she should decide to stop drinking, grow up, and develop into a whole person.

This isn’t good news for Marissa’s child. The tiny infant she left sleeping beneath too many blankets, while she sat drinking, smoking, deeply immersed in self. Suffocating, Adrian struggled to breathe beneath the weight and heat of the blankets, as his mother sought relief in the love of her life, Jack Daniels. The small boy’s twilight was quickly fading into night when one of Marissa’s sisters rang the door bell.

Arianna became an angel the moment she entered the room; an angel sent to save little Adrian. Wanting to see the new baby, she pulled the heavy blankets back and found the meager baby not breathing. Marissa began to helplessly, scream and cry in fear for herself, while Arianna tilted the baby’s small head back and breathed her life into his lungs. Miraculously, it was enough and Adrian began mewing his pitiful cry. This would be the first of three times that Adrian would face death before the age of five. Each instance brought about by the irresponsible actions of a mother who would forever remain a little girl.

Adrian was born with all of the odds set against him. No one looking in on the first years of his life would hold out much hope for him. This small child born as a sensitive in a harsh environment was doomed to suffer intensely. Many would say that abortion would be the greatest kindness to bestow on such a child. No greatness was evident in this child that seemed to be born to live only, in a moment of twilight. It is true that if he hadn’t been born, he would not have to experience pain or anguish. However, if he’d never been born, the world would suffer from his absence. For by his suffering, Adrian learned great compassion for abuse survivors and coupled with his inborn sensitivity, it gave him the empathy of insight into the suffering of others. He became a powerful counselor, teacher, and mentor to adults who also, survived abuse and neglect as children. The greater purpose for Adrian’s life could not be accomplished if his early years had been years of health, love, and comfort. God watched over Adrian despite the dysfunction of his mother and sent many angels at just the right time, to save him from death, to nurture him, to love, and value him. These angels enabled Adrian to survive and also, find his way to a saving faith that gave him the purpose and strength he needed to heal his trauma. In Jesus, the person not the religion, Adrian found the nurture he lacked from his mother. In mirroring Christ and seeking to live as He lived, Adrian found his purpose in serving God first and from that position of power, serving others. By faith, the power of choice, and hard work, he overcame all the odds; and rather than growing up to become another generational link in the curse of family dysfunction, Adrian became a blessing to many people. A child of twilight purposed in hope and filled with the divine light of God!

Joy for Christian Writers

Inside my very active mind,

Ideas in rapid succession ignite!

Searching for words to bind,

Coalesce; idea with feeling unite;

Expressions once born blind,

Mate in reason by words I write;

Share human wisdom I find,

An expression of self; often trite;

Words and lust left to grind,

Carnal onyx thought needs light;

Oh! Calm my overactive mind!

Satisfy my compulsion! To write,

Truth in poetic lines, un-bind!


Quieted mind enabled receive;

A truth lands lightly, as soft feather;

Stilled heart enabled to believe!

And held to Father by Spirit’s tether;

Should I fail to write I will grieve!

Suffer failure; and in ebony weather,

Face the fate unbelievers receive;

Writer’s joy is in surrender to Father!

His Words I’m unable to conceive;

Breathe into quieted mind no bother;

Wisdom by faith in Jesus, retrieve,

Save to encourage sister and brother;

Words for all whom willing, believe!


Do You Know

His eye is on the sparrow

Do you know how difficult it was for the gospel writers to explain the life of Jesus? They wrote in a way so as to put it as simply as possible to move past the difficulty, to just show us Jesus and all that means. Is it any wonder we understand so little about His life? So much of what is written flies past our ears and over our heads. The message is the simplicity of the centrality of the Person, the Lord Jesus Himself. The mystery of Who God is, the mystery of being a Christian, is revealed in Jesus – and He makes it known to us. It’s a mistake to allow Jesus, the Christ, to become merely an intellectual exercise, or a sentimental formula – He is a Person – and like none other. He asks that we allow Him to dwell within us to allow Him…

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The Joy in Tears

Tears washing over me,

Disinfect and set me free,

From the trauma of tragedy,

Purify hot anger infecting me,

Wash all pain away inside of me,


Tears of joy celebratory,

Release intensity so easily,

Happy moment glisten freely,

Jump and shout glee indwell me,

Tears of Hallelujahs praising Thee,


Tears of Compassion sweetly,

Course of mercy full-heartedly,

Expressing all genuine empathy,

For the pain of others a sympathy,

A human bond of love, peace, unity,


Tears of Jesus wept for me,

And you, hating sin’s tyranny,

Tears of blood to make us free,

Of death, the end of sin-infamy,

My tears of gratitude, I offer Thee!