Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Words for Wednesday

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning in Aurora Leigh

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I Spy Beauty...

a weekly (sometimes) post of beauty seen, heard or discovered
Have you seen the new film "Silver Linings Playbook"? If not then you should! It's the kind of story these I Spy Beauty... posts are all about. I finally saw it this week, and LOVED it.

It has a whole lot of heart.

How do you deal with a being 'crazy'? How do you find hope when all life throws at you seems to be chaos and junk?
"This is what I believe to be true. You have do everything you can and if you stay positive you have a shot at a silver lining"- Pat
It might sound like a bit of pop psychology, but the truth that I know is that there is beauty in this world... even in the chaos and pain and mess... you just have to keep your heart open and willing to see.

That's what this film is all about. But it also has poignant writing, real characters and great actors that deliver a real window into the hilarity, craziness, pain and beauty of living with mental illness. It reminds us all to keep our eyes open.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Some poetry...

A friend suggested I share some of my poetry online. So here's two recent pieces I've written.

This started as a journal entry in which I needed to vent about my tiredness at waiting, but it turned into a poem.

One day…

I will have a BA
I will find someone to be my best friend
and have a family together
I will be able to spend less money, save more
and not let money control me
I will make friends without being guarded
I will not feel tired
I will love someone with everything I have
I will not be captive to fear
I will have energy to live with abandon
I will not need medication to feel sane
I will write a book
and share my heart with the world
I will not care what people think
I will love others without condition
I will learn to (sometimes) leave the messes
I will know without a doubt that I am loved
Until then…

We live in the in-betweens.

When I'm stressed or anxious or depressed sleep is the first thing to go. Night time is when I feel those things most intensely. We can run around all day trying to escape the struggles inside ourselves, but come darkness and there's nowhere to hide.

Close my eyes
Flick the switch
Let my mind run wild
The ache appears without warning
Breathe in
Breathe out
Shock settles into despair
I no longer know where the pain
Begins and ends.

Close my eyes
Flick the switch
Let the voices take control
Illusions and lies
Tell their stories
Until belief takes flight
I no longer know where truth
Begins and ends.

Close my eyes
Flick the switch
Darkness fills the night.

Friday, February 15, 2013


Yes, that is a Taylor Swift album/song. But no, that's not what I'm referring to.

Although come to think of it, I wouldn't mind being brave enough to "dance in a storm in my best dress - Fearless" (Taylor Swift, 'Fearless').


One word for 2013. My word for 2013.

I've realised recently how much I live in fear. Not that heightened senses, survival-instinct type fear, but rather an insidious, ingrained fear that dictates how I think and move in this world. A fear I hadn't realised pervaded so much of my thoughts and choices.

I don't deal well with change; I fear it.

I don't try new things very often. (Even rather pathetic 'new things' such as different food or different places to visit!)

I can't remember the last time I danced where anyone else could see me. For fear of... I'm not really sure what.

I tell people that I have no desire to travel. But really I do, it's just too scary to think about doing it alone.

I fear any large gathering of people - be it party or wedding or conference - for fear of not having anyone to talk to or anything interesting to say.

The list could go on....

I'm sure others share some of these fears… or maybe I am simply ‘bat crap crazy’ as Penny from The Big Bang Theory would say! Some fears I could explain away by saying I like routine and find comfort in consistency- there’s nothing wrong with that! And other fears I could say were legitimate self-preservation techniques for a chronically anxious person. But really, I don’t like living a life dictated by fear! I know that there are so many experiences I miss out on because of this subtle fear.

So at the beginning of January when most of the world are making resolutions, I joined a group of bloggers and others who are choosing something different: One Word. As the website says
“One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live. One word that you can focus on every day, all year long.”

Each day in 2013 - whatever I’m dealing with or making decisions about- I want to make conscious choices, brave choices. I want to bravely act where previously I might not have even tried.

I want to be fearless, knowing that my God is in all things. And that God longs for abundant life in and through me... out into the world.

Like last year (and others) I want to resolve at the beginning of 2013 to…. LIVE.

But I want to live fearlessly…. more bravely and intentionally than ever before.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Words for Wednesday

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” Rainer Maria Rilke Letters to a Young Poet

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I Spy Beauty...

a weekly (sometimes) post of beauty seen, heard or discovered
"We are pressed but not crushed, perplexed but don't despair
We are persecuted but not abandoned
We are no longer slaves, we are daughters and sons
And when we are weak, we are very strong
And neither death, nor life, nor present, nor future, nor depth, nor height
Can keep us from the love of Christ"
from The Word by Sara Groves
It's been one of THOSE weeks. And by that I mean a very, very sucky (for want of profanity) one.
And the beauty is, that while your friends are also having sucky weeks, somehow you can manage to encourage one another.

On a road trip Sunday afternoon my two friends and I began to talk about our current struggles. And about the things we have been finding comfort in. One friend reminded me of this beautiful bridge from Sara Groves’ song The Word. Such a strong statement of hope and faith and courage!
I pointed to 2 Corinthians 4 (part of the inspiration of the lyrics.) This passage has been such a big part of my faith journey… always an encouragement. It is a reminder of the essence of the gospel- brokenness and redemption. As we barrelled along the freeway, my friend read the whole chapter aloud to us….
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.....
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, 16-18 (TNIV)
I have been reminded in the last few days of the capacity of pain and conflict and struggle to draw us closer to each other and closer to God. It is in the very brokenness we so struggle with that God meets us most fully.

If we give ourselves over to the work of God in our lives, whether it be through pain or blessing, we are transformed. We overcome. We can become beautiful. What hope!
“We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.” 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (MSG, emphasis mine)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I Spy Beauty...

a weekly (sometimes) post of beauty seen, heard or discovered

I've been a John Butler fan for quite a while.... but I'd never heard of this song until Friday night.
At a local church music night a young guitarist played 'Ocean' and I was blown away. I got totally lost in the music. After an overwhelming day and week, I forgot about my exhaustion. I forgot about the aches and pains in my body and soul.
It is always a gift to get lost in someone's talent.... to witness beauty in the making.
It's a long track... but seriously, you'll be mesmerised by the insanely talented John Butler!