Sunday, September 29, 2013


The heavy aroma of spices filled her kitchen, as curries and dal, heated on the stove. I watched admiringly as she kneaded water into four, a splash here, another splash there, till it formed a dense ball of dough in the bottom of her bowl. She told me it was a simple process, making fresh roti, but I watched her, fascinated, knowing it was simple only after years of practice. Fingertips scooped a handful and rolled. A small piece was consistently twisted off and pressed back into the large mound of waiting dough. A small rolling pin was deftly employed, making a sphere into a perfect flat circle. She would roll, readjust the dough, and roll again until satisfied. Then with a flick of her wrist, it would meet a hot pan, where it would swell into a large bubble of fragrant bread before deflating into two layers and being stacked into a waiting dish.

Her practiced gestures spoke of hundreds of warm roti. Her palms and fingertips knew by touch the perfect size, the right texture, they shaped and kneaded with skill. I saw art in what felt to her as a common process. I saw beauty in the simplicity and could feel the hours spent kneading, rolling, and loving her family in that kitchen.

I so enjoy watching people do what they do, and do it well. Sometimes it is intentional, other times, it is "just making roti." Sometimes it looks like bright oils on a canvas, other times it looks like a precisely made up bed, edges and corners tucked in, just so. Sometimes it sings hallelujahs with a chorus, and sometimes it rises and falls with the silly voices living inside a bedtime story. Sometimes it looks like bravery and heroism, sometimes it looks like humble diligence, day after day. Sometimes it tames wild things, swims with the exotic, or studies the rare, and sometimes it knows exactly where to scratch, on a faithful, furry domestic head, calm and sweet. Sometimes it leaps and twirls with grace and rhythm, sometimes it rocks, back and forth, hips swaying to a quietly hummed lullaby. Sometimes it transforms neighborhoods and breathes life and redemption into blighted streets, and sometimes it wipes a table, sweeps a floor, or washes peanutbuttery cheeks, over, and over, and over. Sometimes it preaches words of radical wisdom, changing the future by changing hearts, thousands at a time, and sometimes it quietly shepherds a disobedient little one to repentance and understanding. Sometimes it produces exciting, grand events, manages big businesses, or leads a movement of reform, and sometimes it bakes a birthday cake, balances the checkbook, or leads a classroom of little elementary learners.

I think what I am trying to say is, what you do is beautiful. I bet if you looked closer at your mundane, you would find finesse. You love and serve and create every day. Sometimes it gets framed and hung on a wall, sometimes it gets an award, or wins a bonus or receives an accolade, but sometimes, it is quiet, simple, slow and unnoticed. But it is beautiful.

You are marvelous and what you do is amazes me.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


"The Lord. HE is my Shepherd.

 I do not and shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.

He leadeth me beside the still waters.

 He restoreth my soul."

The sunlight filters through the leaves almost every morning, and its delicate shadows are mimicked by the ones cast by my lacy curtains, hung on every window.

From my bed in my wood paneled upstairs room, I can see only branches and leaves through our two big windows. I feel a frequent smile as I remember on mornings like these, that I live in Sherwood Forrest. The romance and enticement from many page bound adventures have followed me from childhood to delight me now as I watch the mornings settle comfortably into themselves.

 I love the way each blade of grass becomes backlit by early sunlight. The way shadows seem to accent and highlight at this time of day, rather than conceal. A bird trills, close by my treehouse room, and I feel a little thrill. I love listening to birds sing out their Goodmornings.

 My baby rustles, and my little feathery wisp of a girl tiptoes upstairs, and I pile each into bed with me. The one with the drooly lip, gurgles and searches for his breakfast, which I give him, while his sister chatters about her dreams from the night before.

It could be Monday, or a dreaded "hump day." Any day. My heart no longer sinks as the sun rises. Instead I feel peace.

 Peace does not come naturally to my anxious temperament. Ordinary tasks such as laundry and bathroom tidying are wont to push me into stress. The daily cares of mothering my little ones have the ability to become insurmountable mountains, foes to my calm. Anything and everything, I can pile like stones into a wall, blocking the warming sunlight from my heart, leaving it cold, weary and restless.

But He restoreth my soul. His mercy and grace is new every morning. And more often than not, I am finding that can feel it.

The wings of my heart do not batter and struggle anymore, as if caged. Rather, His beautiful peace blows soft underneath, and I find I can soar. In my lack of control and foresight of my future, I do not want.

Oh what marvelous peace. What blissful rest. My heart has tasted the Good and Seen. He hath made me to lie down. My pastures are green. The waters are calm and still.

I can not claim that I have achieved some zen-like state of inner tranquility, no. I am but a fretful sheep, stumbling and moaning through each valley. But I think for the first time, I am beginning to see the Shepherd, and to be truly aware of His presence. And this makes me fear no evil, for HE is with me.

I have so far to go. The journey ahead is one paved with much unknown, much worry and much to fear. But. He leadeth me ever on. And in the presence of my fears, He has made me to lie down. 

Today, tomorrow, they could bring much. Tears will still stain my face, aches will still stab. But Joy. JOY is in the following of the Shepherd and I fear no evil.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Five Minute Friday- RED

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word. 
2. Link back here and invite others to join in. Here’s how. 
3. Be generous and leave an encouraging comment for the person who linked up before you. 

Five Minute Friday



Red. Immediately, my red pillow comes to mind. Its from IKEA. We love it there. Its been a good pillow, it has cushioned many a back and bun, little and big heads alike. It is missing a button or two, from the back of its long, rectangular removable cover. It holds a tired slouch alongside its black and white printed twin, in the corner of our sectional couch. It has propped up a computer on my lap, a sketchbook in creative moments, and two little babies just learning how to sit. It has survived spaghetti sauce spills in three homes, and has journeyed hundreds of miles with us, bringing with it memories of many late night laughs and dinners. It is a comfortable pillow, filled with down that sometimes wiggles its way out. I have never really thought about it before. But tonight, I discover that I rather like this slumped over, well used red rectangle. It is a part of what makes my home homey. Here is to you, red pillow. I salute your uncomplaining service and am thankful for your companionship.