The Randomness of Lightbulbs

Hey, folks. Activity is (somewhat) winding down in this house. Everything has been beautiful, bittersweet, and very…tiring. In the quietness that has followed, I had hoped to summon up a lot to say here.

I, after all, have not had any regularity here in ever so long and, every time I try, something comes along to fiddle with my intentions. 

However, the Lord is carrying me to some new(ish) realizations. Namely, that there is no summoning. No inspiration on a dime. And that, when you are tired, you’re tired.

The problem isn’t in the tiredness so much as in the absolute panic to fight it.

So…here are a few thoughts that came in poetry to me about that. Don’t know, as per usual, where I will go from here with blogging or life ambitions, but, for perhaps the first time, I am actually, genuinely not worried. Because I know that I know He who goes with me.

Oh, I have known that truth, spoken it for what feels like ages. But, today, there is a feeling of a shift. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the graduation spirit. 😏  At any rate, here we go…

Graduations done; new lives are soon begun.

A proud and joyful time for a mama, to be sure,

But still my words are near stilled, or coming through less than pure.

Picking at phrases like a breakfast I know

I ought to be hungry for.

Yet appetite seems to have a rather fast closed door….

Tap my fork across the plate of life sort of aimlessly

Examine myself through a syrupy  reflection, knowing it’s not blamelessly.

Starting to realize with the passing of the years

This is just who I am coming to be.

Through a fair share of tired smiles and countless tears

Change has wrought a change in me…

Now, no worries-the creator inside is not entirely dead nor dying

But recognizing the motivation will likely never be as it was,

Though most assuredly not for a lack of trying.

Random lightbulbs within still flick on at rare occasions

But, finding no use to overly weigh the mind with more complex connotations.

Is it lazy? I ponder with fork on a decided pause.

Am I neglectful of my post? I wonder as I grasp at these somewhat unanswerable straws.

Ah, some might say yes, where gift exists

The burden must persist,

Else one becomes the gold tossed unseen down the hole.

And yet I feel a something more signaling what’s best,

A prompting from the Lord to cease the fight to rest…

And just let His growth in me

Be what it will be

Deep down in this God-given soul…

Blessings and prayers. Thanks for reading. ❤

A Quiet, Residing Joy

Hey, folks. Been a while…again.

Not sure I’d call this a tug on my soul to share or just a need to breathe in this space for a spell, but, either way, here I am.

For those of you who are following the cancer journey of my father-in-law, Dennis, the disease is rapidly progressing but his spirits remain strong. His doctors cannot definitively pinpoint a time frame, but we are preparing for sooner rather than later. He has adamantly requested no memorial service, but, rather a celebration of his homegoing.

Where it is difficult not to feel some heaviness in our hearts, it is hard not to catch on to the quiet, residing joy in his demeanor.

On the graduation front, my boys are prepping for this Saturday and a week from tomorrow respectively. There is a mix of excitement and trepidation from us all as it is more and more evident by the day that this is really happening. By summer’s end, my nest will be half empty.

It’s a very bittersweet realization. Yet, there too, is a quiet, residing joy in knowing all they are becoming.

As to my husband’s business, the last obligations are nearing their end. By early next month, for the first time in over eight years, we will not scrape by from one remodeling job to the next, but, rather, he will report for a set schedule with set pay. It’s another bittersweet farewell in a sense as so much of our world these past several years has hinged on the business.

It provided my older boys’ first jobs and drew many a person to our door, both to befriend and to help out in some way. Also, one or two cautionary tales, but it comes with the territory. 🙂

I don’t really dare call it a failure or the death of a dream, despite what the world sometimes deems a business closing its doors.

It served what God intended, just as what is to come will do the same.

And there again is that quiet, residing joy, ready to be tapped into.

Always there, no matter what we face…

Ah. Nice to breathe for a bit here. To sort out these burdens and be reminded of the unerring, underlying peace of the Father that exists in it all. Thanks for reading, dear friends. Hope this finds you well. Blessings and prayers. ❤

Latest on Father-in-Law

Hello, friends! I wanted to just quickly update you on my father-in-law, Dennis.

Our family had the joy of spending time with him Easter evening. He is looking and sounding surprisingly well at this point.

His doctors wound up advising radiation, which began this week.

The reports from my mother-in-law, Teresa, have been encouraging thus far. He has been able to get up and get back to morning routines a bit-making coffee and reading his devotionals at the breakfast table.

It did our hearts such good to hear that. 🙂

We know this is still a long road and the pronosis remains what it is, but these things which would seem so small to the average person are sweet gifts of an infinitely caring Father to us.

What a reminder that He is God of our details, each and every one!

Not to mention a reminder of the amazing power of prayer. Thank you for joining us in lifting Dennis and Teresa up. We definitely feel it. Keep it coming! 

Blessings and prayers to you as well, dear friends! Thanks also for reading. ❤

Piece by Piece

Hello, dear friends! Creativity trickling through once more. As I reflect this week on the cross, both the amazing finality born in that one crucial moment and the trial by fire, sometimes bit by bit process that exist side by side entered my pondering. So…out comes perhaps not the most traditional observation on this particular weekend, but it’s what He gave me, so…

Transformation.

Never an overnight sensation.

Rather, each day is its own summation…

A piece by piece process,

Patient, oft-painstaking,

This life of following Christ in the making…

Fitting, forming, seeking for the former to be less

Praying the feeble, fumbling ways to recede

As added to the looking glass is

More His likeness to the countenance.

And what is so often a long road to recognizing growth in,

Eventually finds in holy fire burgeoning from deep within

Shapes smoothing and shades reordering over time,

Until in all the carefully changing lines

The reflection becomes a something

More beautiful for the blessed burning,

A flame honoring to Christ our king

As He lends us boundless grace for the journey…

Update on My Father-in-Law

Hello, friends. I have an update on the condition of my father-in-law, Dennis.

As it turns out, results have come back that he has a cancerous tumor wrapped around the medula. Unfortunately, it is inoperable.

Naturally, though we were preparing ourselves for such news, it is a blow.

Of course, being the extremely practical people they are, he and my mother-in-law, Teresa, had discussed all the possibilities at great length. Being both strong believers, there is no worry of where he will go, so it has been decided to opt for quality of time over quantity.

Essentially, he is seeking what time is yet afforded to be with family, travel a bit, and ensure savings are not drained by treatments that would likely prove fruitless, but, rather, set aside for my mother-in-law to live on after he has passed.

Ever the provider. Quite a testament to this dear man’s character.

At this point, he is not in a lot of pain, thankfully. The doctors working with him have aided tremendously in his comfort. Very thankful for the wisdom God has granted this very kind staff.

Such gifts He gives to ease the pain of an impending loss!

Not to say this won’t prove a very hard thing to face among many things to face.

But, yet, in His strength, we face them.

The prayers are most definitely appreciated and felt. Keep them coming, especially for Dennis and Teresa, as well as for our family as we prepare for his homegoing.

I also want to extend a special request for their eldest, Suzanne, someone my heart has long had a burden for. She has been estranged from the family for years, professing atheism and a desire to have little to do with any of us. I am praying this will draw her to the Lord and back to our family’s side.

I will do my best to keep you informed and hope to dive back into creativity as time and brain space allow. I thank you so much for being here, dear friends. Much love and many blessings to you all! ❤

PS Not truly an official song-sharing post, but this one has been on repeat with me lately. I first heard it on one of my WOW Cds from a long time ago and hadn’t thought of it in years until it popped in my head. Definitely seems to suit. May it prove a comfort to you in your world, too. 🙂

https://youtu.be/27YX8bBB_Qs

Seasons

Hey, there, my friends.

Of late, I have had thoughts of what I set out to do here in the last couple of months.

And, as ever, I have had thoughts of art, thoughts of baking, thoughts of poetry…

Yet, nothing concrete to share has emerged.

Depression is still there, yes, and it can crowd the better thinking. But, inspiration is not necessarily at nil as in previous times.

I think it’s just that my world right now is pressing in so full-and some points so suddenly-that inspiration is just taking the backseat for a few.

In pondering and praying on it for a while, it dawned on me that it’s time for a good, old-fashioned, regular-style, information-download blog post.

Hmmm…do I even remember how to do that?🤔

Well, we shall see… 🙂

Ok. Where to begin?

Well, some things have been looming in the distance for a while.

Such as the fact my husband’s business has been experiencing pinches and problems for a considerable length of time-enough that a major shift in employment is coming due.

Unexpected promise there is on the horizon, though there will be necessary adjustments to the family routine as a result.

Also, drawing ever nearer is the fact that my two older sons are on the precipice of changes-one tech school graduation, one high school. Jobs, college, budding relationships, big moves to come.

Not to mention a daughter grappling with the autistic teen experience, maturing in and struggling all at once to figure out who God intends her to be-and whether true acceptance from peers or traditional accomplishments are very much a part of that at this juncture.

Add to that a bonus son pushing along through his last year of grade school, triumphs and wobbles each in turn, preparing for what it feels like to be a more independent fellow in his own right, especially as beloved older siblings move on.

Also, though we have known of his health issues for some time, my father-in-law’s condition is both coming to a head this week and yet still baffling his doctors. His speech, his body, his comfort are becoming so affected it’s so difficult to even know just how to help, other than to entreat God to place His hand on him.

In all of this, there feels little time to conveniently be in pain myself, so though, yes, it’s honestly still there, I strive to push it aside, make do with the rest I can afford, and look towards the various changing seasons on the horizon.

With a prayer on my lips…at times hopeful, at times faltering.

Yet, knowing that even as my nest is starting to empty and unknowns seem to be having their day, God is ultimately the answer-giver. He has all this in hand, as He keeps all our seasons in His hand…

In that, we can rest assured no matter what comes next.

Well, I thank you for allowing me a chance to share what’s currently in my world. Hope all is well with you, dear friends. Blessings and prayers as ever. ❤

Reflections of the Daunted

Hey, there. Just some words that tumbled out of me. My apologies, but no real inspiration for sketching today to accompany it. Besides which, my joints are not feeling particularly cooperative to the task.

In fact, not much of me is feeling cooperative, to be frank.

The sun is out…even spent some time in it. Yet, I just could not feel it in these old bones.

Not today.

Oh, how I despise always coming back to this place in my psyche- sounding so mopey and morose.

Further than that, I despise always overexplaining and overapologizing for this side of me.

I mean, sheesh, Marisa. Enough already…🙄

But, what can I do? All of this…junk- it’s a big chunk of who I am.

Anyway, on to the poem…

Reflections of the Daunted

You know, I was beginning to think I could call myself close to undaunted

I really thought I was beginning to know what I wanted…

But, just like standing in front of the refrigerator,

Nothing stands out anymore.

Everything pales under scrutiny,

Stomach and brain both contemplate mutiny…

I finally grab a plate of leftovers,

But all the time wondering what for?

Its taste on my tongue

Will be none but brittle and dry…

And it deflates me more than a little to discover

That beyond depression seems to lie

Rampant disatistfaction.

Or perhaps the lie is in the idea

That the gray doesn’t have a hold on me yet,

That I am not still entangled in that net.

Honesty is my mainstay,

But that doesn’t always mean it inspires joy.

Hurt remains hurt and pain won’t quit

Causing the heart to splinter and fray.

And yet You, Lord, remain the repairer of my soul…

Even when my cares seem to go wildly out of control.

Be near to me, my God,

Help me sift through the unappetizing places

To find again where the taste of your grace is…

Thanks for reading! Blessings and prayers as ever.

1, 2, Brownies or How to Revive a Huge Kitchen Fumble

Not a picture perfect triumph, but still pretty tasty according to my resident sweet tooth connoisseurs. 🙂

It was almost like God had an extra purpose in mind for my baking yesterday.

As if He were saying, “Ok. Baking day. Let me fold a little lesson in the batter. ” 🙂

You see, it was a dithery sort of late afternoon for me.

Kids have had a lot going on and there have been many areas needing extra guidance my mind kept ( and keeps ) straying to.

Big things like purpose and plans and all that weighty sort of stuff parents of children approaching adulthood think on.

So…as I added ingredients in for my 1, 2, Brownies-a fairly easy process for me normally-I was a bit preoccupied, admittedly. As a result, I was met with some early frustration and astonishing forgetfulness.

First, as I went for my brown sugar, I found I’d neglected to add anything to the canister to keep it from hardening.

It had become the Rock of Gibraltar of the baking world.

So…big sigh. Off to soften it ( a bit of water and short zap of the microwave.).

After (finally) getting it broken up and stirred in with the other sugars and the butter.

That done, I thought I was coasting along from there rather well.

Now…it did seem to me to be taking a little longer for my toothpick test to come out clean, but I attributed it to finickiness of the oven or a touch too much milk.

Eventually, they got to what seemed an acceptable if a bit gooier than usual state. I opted to pull them out, not wanting the edges to burn.

It was not until I was really cutting into them that the real reason for the excessive goo dawned on me.

I had forgotten a very key ingredient…

Flour!

I did that once a long time ago with a different recipe and thought I’d never repeat that particular disaster. 🙄

Especially with something I have made a hundred times.

But, inexplicably, there they were- chocolate piles that resembled mudpies more than my usual brownies.

And from there came the dismay and panic of a creative type when their creation proves so freakishly apart from the expected vision.

So…I wish my first exclamation was something worth sharing, but, ahem, really not. 😏

However, I will share that, after considering dumping them unceremoniously in the trash, I took a breath and a prayer, proceeded to collect myself and bounced ideas off my sweet 9 year old Davey, who was kind enough to take a sample and declare them good, if more than a bit messy.

I was touched but still upset enough I missed a cute chocolate mouth pic opportunity. I know. Bummer. However here he is recently in a crown of his own creation. 🙂

Anyway…upon reflection, something popped in both our heads about the same time….

The batter was still essentially good…

What if, instead of scrapping it, we scraped it all back in the bowl, stirred in the flour, and tried again?

So…that is what we did, watching the oven and checking every little while for progress. And about 30 minutes later, we pulled out some fairly decent brownies.

Now, they didn’t cut in those perfect little squares of cooking magazine fame, but they tasted right and with a minimum of goo. 🙂

I had been taking pics and making plans to share before this discovery, knowing it’d been a bit since my last baking post.

However, after my big boo-boo, I almost deleted the whole thing out of embarassment.

And then, I began to ponder like I tend to, spied a lesson in the mix, and I came to this conclusion:

Not everything that we do or that happens to us is good, but God has a way of bringing all together for good, even our worst mistakes-

When we surrender it all to Him, that is.

For we must give Him free reign over all the good and the bad…the messy and the messier…and give over to the process, letting Him begin in us again.

And, in doing that, despite our imperfections, we will find the results quite sweet…😉.

Not to mention still worth sharing with others.

And so I did. 🙂

Thanks for reading, dear friends! Blessings and prayers! ❤

So…here is the actual recipe. Try to do better than me and remember the flour. But, if you do happen to forget, also remember all is not lost.

1, 2, Brownies ( so named because most all ingredients are a 1 or 2.)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup baking cocoa

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

1/2-1 cup milk

2 sticks butter

2 pinches baking soda

2 pinches baking powder

1 pinch salt

1-2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350. Start out melting the butter. Add the sugars one at a time and stir in.

Then comes the cocoa, eggs, vanilla, and milk.

Once all that is mixed in, add the soda, powder, salt, and flour, stirring well after each addition.

Lastly, the bestest part of all- chocolate chips. This is somewhat to taste. I personally don’t believe in skimping here but, do know that the more you add, the meltier the end result will be. 😋

Pour into 13×9 pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or when an inserted toothpick comes out clean…and definitely not as gooey as my earlier attempt. 😏

Rich Mullins – Sometimes By Step (Live at FBC)

Hey, there, friends. I have been doing a fair amount of thinking and listening today.

Thinking…about things I should not rightly fret on really, but being a natural born fretter, I have to admit it’s hard to stop. 😏

As ever, transparency is also my steady companion so, I’ll just out with it…

Now…after a supreme wrestling match with insecurities over the years, I have deemed it the best policy to eschew business as usual when it comes to blogging.

No promoting.

No SEO.

No stats checking.

However, I do notice interactions or lack thereof. In anticipation of the usual comments and the happy little exchanges of encouragement, I looked over notifications on my last post.

Honestly, about as many likes as ever, but, to my surprise, not a single comment. Now, this is most emphatically not me asking for any. I don’t do that. Feels awkward at best.

Of course, that said, I welcome any thoughts you might have to share.

Still…I have pondered if I was somehow askew or less inspired than I thought in my most recent writing. It’s just one of those tough things to surmise in a case like this.

Granted, there are a variety of reasons people click a like button but don’t leave their thoughts. Perhaps busyness, perhaps collecting words with later intentions, or just plain liking it but finding nothing they can think to say.

Shoot, happens to me all the time.

And the thing is, none really necessarily speak to the merit or lack thereof of the piece.

And yet, that knowledge does not always quell the questions.

So, as ever, I turn to one of the chief encouragers of my soul-music.

And who better when I am most introspective than dear Rich who is perhaps the artist I have always most related to for his sheer honesty in struggle and his ever Jesus seeking heart?

I know I have shared him here twice before, but not this particular song yet. It is another mainstay of my own youth group years and one that always spoke to me.

May it speak to you as well. Blessings and prayers, dear friends! ❤

Ticking Timepiece

Ticking Timepiece in charcoal/colored pencil

Hi, there, friends. Hope you are all well. 🙂

Both the sketch and its poem came together in different times, different circumstances.

I tinkered at them each separately off and on as random thoughts would come into my head. It was not until today that I realized they could potentially accompany one another with the appropriate adjustments.

Just goes to show we don’t always know God’s plan behind the scenes until it is time to bring it to fruition…

Now, I will just say, some dark subject matter ahead, but not without purpose.

It’s actually sometimes quite necessary as we examine our hearts to see if we are in right relationship with our Lord.

As a matter of a fact, we had a great discussion on this with our youth disciple group last week. It was sobering to be sure, but ultimately cleansing. For me, it definitely touched off a lot of thought and the added benefit of how to finish these works up.

Hope they can similarly speak to your hearts…

Ticking Timepiece

Dawn.

Day arrives on the scene;

Grab the ever-present screen,

Check on Facebook fawns

And all the opines to which they say you ought to lean…

Eye momentarily catches the shelved Bible once called trusty,

Now grown rather more than dusty,

But, catch the clock and shrug it off carelessly

Along with memory verses and a conscience gone rusty…

Busy is the preferred middle name,

That in which all your bright ambitions frame.

The ticking timepiece of your life crammed,

Your moral compass jammed

Full of the excesses on which you lay your claims…

Moments proceed in fast forward mode,

Worldly seed planted towards worldly needs

And the itch of unworthy compromise grows to the point of implode…

And yet, as hours speed into night,

At last, red eye forces the midnight oil

To shut out the light.

It is then reckoning must begin…

Questions despite avoidance commence to gnaw

And the dreariness underneath your existence

Gives out a humorless guffaw.

You begin to see what you were not seeing

As the minutes at long last slow

For the grand examination of your state of being.

You start ready to defend,

Eager ever to pretend.

But, a steady voice within

Will not let you keep on rug sweeping the  sin.

The heart contracts as you are reminded of the acts

To which you knew you ought not to bend…

Excuses and excess abuses…

Truths you cannot rightly recuse yourself from.

And you cannot escape the weightiest query of all,

The one to which every one of us will sooner or later befall:

What’s it all going to mean in the end,

My friend?

And don’t go quoting that “Yolo” nonsense

( Taking that phraseology’s insipid route just makes me wince)

And, besides, it’s a bit that’s more than a bit dense,

Operating your life from atop the proverbial fence…

Check your ever-spinning clock against it

And you’re sure to find this-

It’s well past time to lay aside all pretense

And look to He alone both to cleanse

And to become your defense…

May we indeed look to Him and Him alone to be the redeemer of our times, to cleanse and defend us! Thank you so much for reading! Blessings and prayers! ❤