Sunday, December 13, 2020

Creating My Own Light: Art for Advent

 Flashbacks filled my days and nightmares tormented my sleep. As frightening memories of my past were emerging in November 2004, I was also busy working, caring for one child who was in high school and one out of college, and helping in several ministries at church. Trying to hold myself together and somehow stay present to everyday life was an exhausting challenge. 

Darkness seemed my constant companion. With Advent approaching, I clung to the Scripture in John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” I carried these words of hope wherever I went, whispering them under my breath, praying God would sustain me through these days.

During counseling sessions I poured forth memories. My counselor received and held them. But the flashbacks and nightmares weren’t going away. Desperate to find color and meaning when everything seemed dark, I decided it was time to create my own light.

I turned to the story of Jesus’ birth in Luke 1 and 2. As I read, I wondered what Mary was doing when the angel interrupted her and told her she was going to be pregnant with God’s son. Was she making bread, caring for animals, or sewing clothes? I was curious what Joseph thought as an angel came to him in a dream describing Jesus’ impending birth. Was he afraid or puzzled? Or was he astonished that he had a place in the story that would fulfill Scripture written in ages past? Although Mary is often described as a picture of obedience to God’s calling, Joseph too was obedient, awakening from the dream, holding firm with his plans to wed Mary, joining her on the path of divine pregnancy no matter what challenges would come.

In my own life, I pictured God weaving strength and courage deep into my heart. I picked up some strips of fabric and began to weave them one over the other, illustrating what I wanted God to do and what I felt God wanting to do in me. Touching the tan and white strips of smooth muslin and moving each one over and under, over and under, helped me stay present and brought comfort. The strips reminded me of the swaddling cloth used to wrap newborn Jesus. This weaving process created the perfect background for a new piece of art emerging as I meditated on the Christmas story.

I found a piece of common white paper, a pen, watercolors, scissors and thread. On the paper, I used a pencil to draw Mary with long dark braids. I drew small squares as patches of fabric on her clothes, remembering she came from a humble family. In her arms, she holds Jesus wrapped in swaddling cloths. 

I pictured Joseph with shorter hair and a beard. He holds a burning candle proclaiming, “Jesus is the light of the world!” The light I was seeking had become flesh.

I pulled out a child’s palette of paints to add color to my pencil sketches. When the watercolor dried, I cut out each figure and object and anchored them to the woven cloth background with a needle and thread.

The star was bright and colorful symbolizing light coming to the world. Recently, when I showed the manger scene to a friend, she said the colors scattered in the straw of the manger looked like birthday confetti, representing the hope and joy Jesus brought into the world that night.

Sixteen years later as I look at my picture of the manger scene, I still sense both the darkness and my need for light. Our small family hasn’t been together since September 2018, when our younger daughter got married. Much-anticipated visits planned over the past year were canceled due to the pandemic. We are simultaneously joyous and heartbroken as we welcomed our first grandchild born in May but we have yet to meet him. He and his parents live in Oregon, a state still in stage one of shutdown with rising COVID cases like most of the United States.

My days volunteering at a local hospital and elementary school, places where I experienced connection and community while I served, are suspended indefinitely.

Others across the country have lost loved ones from the virus. Many forms of loss imposed by this disease, such as unemployment, illness, virtual school, financial difficulties, and strained relationships have turned our routines upside down. It’s a good time for a Savior once again.

Mary and Joseph are models of obedience, listening and responding to God’s desire for their lives. They give us the example of trust in God and commitment to each other. Although neither may have practiced the same “spiritual disciplines” as we know them today, their hearts were open to receiving God’s word, whether from an angel or in a dream. 

Mary and Joseph experienced darkness in their lives too. An unexpected and unusual pregnancy before marriage surely brought disruption to their days. Explaining their circumstances to family and relatives – “A baby, from God? How can this be?” surely created confusion and disbelief in those who loved them.

This young couple offers light in their willingness to follow God’s leading despite what others may have said. Their example in fulfilling God’s story written by the prophets and carried through in their actions gives us encouragement for our days when we have uncertainty and doubt.

Take a moment and consider what difficulties the corona virus has brought to you. Make a list. Sometimes writing struggles on paper is a way to release what is held in your heart.

Now, how can you create your own light?

First, light a candle to remind you, God is here, God is with me.

Make a collage. I find art an easy way to open my heart when I am troubled. Gather a few catalogues or magazines, scissors, a glue stick and paper. Look at pictures or words on these pages.  What attracts your attention? What feelings surface as you work?  What thoughts or memories come as you  leaf through the pages? Arrange what you found and glue to the paper.

When you finish, step away for an hour or two. When you return, reflect on your collage. Write a few sentences describing the thoughts, memories or longings you see in what you chose. What key words or themes come as you write? Name your collage and write the date on the back of the paper. Put the collage in a place you can see throughout Advent.

I am thankful for the Advent drawing I created years ago. I am amazed at how relevant the picture is today, still speaking to me of God’s hope and light in a dark time. 

Prayer:  God, these times of health and safety concerns can create anxiety and unease.  Let the hope of Advent come through strongly so we can see the faith and trust Mary and Joseph placed in you when they received unexpected news. Let us too, follow them on our own way to Bethlehem, and settle in the light brought forth in Jesus. Create in us new light moment by moment so in these unusual times we may not feel distanced from you, but close in heart. We depend on your strength and companionship at all times. Let your presence be our light each day. Amen.


Monday, November 23, 2020

What is God thankful for?

 My next guest to share her thoughts is my friend, Lori. I met Lori shortly after Mike was appointed to serve at Fishers United Methodist Church, in June, 1996. Lori's daughter and my youngest daughter were the same age, enjoying many youth group experiences. Mike and I appreciate Lori, her husband, Dave, her daughter, son-in-law, grandchildren, and son.

Lori commented, "I have been pondering on this from your 'Gather the Pieces' post. What a thought provoking question!

I think God is thankful that His churches are persevering during these crazy times when we can't gather in person. We're holding on-line worship and zoom calls for the smaller groups like Sunday School, church meetings, etc. We are not to be stopped!!

This does beg the question though, which is how we could do this as effectively without the technology we have. Maybe I shouldn't think on that too much. We DO have this technology today so it's good that we use it.

There are other ministries not so dependent on the current technology: the food pantry, youth gatherings, work continuing in the church office.

I guess the bottom line for me is that I think God is thankful for our perseverance and dedication to staying connected to Him and our fellow Christians.

I'll be thinking about it more I'm sure."

I am thankful for Lori's sharing.  I pray her words will give you additional thoughts this week as we get closer to Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

What is God thankful for?

 Friends, last week I posed the question, "What is God thankful for?" I invited responses and will share what I received this week. 

I have known my friend, Betty, for over thirty years. She, her late husband, Keith, and son, Michael were active members of First United Methodist Church, in Vincennes, Indiana, where Mike served seven years.

 Betty and I taught reading at Vincennes University.  She did a great job my first semester, helping me understand the details of testing students and using a curriculum designed to improve their reading skills. I am thankful we have kept in touch over the decades. 

Betty replied, "Here are a couple of things that came to mind with your question:

---- He is thankful for every prayer that is offered in whatever verbal or mindful form they are presented as they express that we are dependent on Him for all our details of life.

 ---- He is thankful when we call upon the name of Jesus in love, in need, in gratitude, in pain, in joy, and even in sorrow as it shows Him that we love and appreciate His gift of His son.

 ---- He is thankful for acts of kindness from person to person no matter how large or small no matter if planned or random as it shows Him we are paying attention to Jesus' example of how to live and love.

 ---- He is thankful when little children raise the name of Jesus either with questions or with wonder as they show Him that someone in the child's life is leading them in the path of Christ."

Thank you, Betty, for taking time to reflect and record your thoughts. I pray God's blessing on those who read what God gave you.

Friday, November 20, 2020


 Readers - Thank you for following along the recent six week series on wellness. I hope some of the ideas or projects gave you thoughts for your own life.

In a couple of weeks, I will post an Advent reflection called, "Creating Your Own Light." We all need light in different ways during these challenging times.

As you enter a time of preparation for Thanksgiving, here is a question to ponder, "What is God thankful for?"

If you can, send me an email with your thoughts. I am interested in your perspective on this topic -


Monday, November 9, 2020

Emptiness and Empathy: Burying My Parents on My Own Terms

Aren’t funerals supposed to be occasions where the dead are mourned and the bereaved are comforted? My experience was just the opposite in January 2013 when my parents died four days apart.

I did not attend my father’s visitation. My husband, Mike and I sat in the back row of the church for his funeral.

During the brief military ceremony for my father outside the church, I was given a triangularly folded American flag in honor of the years he served in World War II. I didn’t want to touch anything that was a part of him, but I had no choice when a young Army soldier walked over and extended the flag. I had to take it. 

Before we started home to Indianapolis, Mike and I stopped by the nursing home where my mother was in hospice. Although she was not conscious, I tucked the flag under her arm. I told her the flag was for her, the surviving spouse. I kissed her forehead, said, “I love you,” and left. These words were given not with affection, but obligation. She died an hour later.

During the visitation for my mother, and the luncheons following both services, my parents’ friends came to me and described meaningful relationships with them. I heard glowing words of friendship and stories of help during hard times. I learned about students my father mentored and how my mother’s volunteerism at a local science museum brought joy and laughter to employees and visitors. Friends from church and former neighbors remembered fun times at social gatherings through the years. Everyone loved them except me.

Meanwhile, with each comment, I felt anger. . A sense of Injustice, abandonment and rejection surfaced.  I wanted to scream, “You don’t really know them. Our home was a nightmare!” I knew no one would believe me so I kept silent like I had for most of my life.

By the time Mike and I were on the way home, I was numb.

My grief at their passing was complicated because growing up with two narcistic parents was complicated. Confusion companioned me most of my life, especially when I observed parents of my friends who were indeed loving and caring toward their children.

When I started working with Sharon, both of us were disturbed by the way memories of my parents lingered years after their passing and continued to disrupt my functioning. Feelings of abandonment, rejection, exclusion, injustice and loss, transferred to others, marring relationships and causing more confusion and stress.

One day, Sharon suggested, “Have you tried to look at your family with empathy?”

Leaving her office, I was astonished at the mere mention of my parents and the word empathy in the same breath.  How could I look upon these two people with understanding and compassion?

I remember offering empathy when I listened to others through the years, those who experienced deaths or serious illness or violations of marriage vows, loss of a job, infertility, or any other of the many complexities of life. But empathy to my parents? – the two just didn’t go together, or so I thought.

Offering empathy toward my mother and father required God’s strength and love. I recalled their early lives, coming through Ellis Island in early 1920 moving to a foreign country. Immigrant families had rough times adapting to the United States. I heard stories of children at my parents’ schools making fun of their inability to speak fluent English. Struggles in academics were amplified with poor comprehension. In 1929 like all too many people, my mother’s mother died of diphtheria, leaving behind four children age 13 and under. Extreme poverty, illness, and loss of a parent were unfortunate obstacles trying to get established and make a stable life in a new country.

My maternal grandfather worked in construction most of his life because he did not have to speak to do that kind of work. He did understand his wages were below others who worked beside him, but he had no voice to protest. Feeding and clothing four young children in a motherless home was a continuous challenge.

Looking closely at my parents’ family history, helped me see them as broken people.

If funerals are to comfort the bereaved, my parents’ funerals had not done the job for me. I had left those funerals feeling bothered and further isolated in my experience. There had been no real comfort.

But spending time with God, and praying for empathy toward my parents, I found my heart softening. I made a plan to bury them again, this time with a feeling of peace in my heart.

 One day, I pulled out two sheets of paper, one for each parent and wrote five positive or neutral observations. For my father, I wrote that he was a talented musician on clarinet and saxophone, proud of his Greek heritage, liked to eat Greek food, cooked us scrambled eggs with milk stirred in and was popular with the social work students he taught at the university.  For my mother, I remembered she liked to bake Christmas cookies, enjoyed working in the yard[J1]  planting flowers and one or two tomato plants, dressed fashionably wearing, wearing jewelry to match every outfit, and choosing the perfect handbag from her overabundance of purses.

Listing these characteristics helped me separate them from their toxicity and to see a more complete picture of who they were.

I gathered the few pictures I had of them, along with the small sheets of paper. I grabbed a small hand shovel from the garage shelf and went to a wooded area near a pond where I live.

 I dug a hole, put the pictures into the earth and placed the dirt on top. I inserted the sheets of paper into the mound of dirt like two tombstones. I spent a few moments with God as part of this ceremony. I had reburied my parents on my own terms, with both authenticity and empathy.

My attitude of empathy did not excuse what they did or explain their cruelty, but after seven years, I was finally able to put them to rest.

 Walking away from the woods, carrying the shovel, I felt like a burden was lifted. My heart was lighter. They haven’t haunted me since.

Although looking with empathy toward those who have wronged us in any way may seem impossible, I can attest to the power of this experience. I am so grateful for Sharon’s suggestion which initially seemed absurd, but ended up being was the key to a cleansed and peaceful heart.



Monday, November 2, 2020

Anchored in Art: What to Do with Complicated Emotions


Feelings are a natural part of life. We respond to people and events with various feelings or emotions.

A good way to start looking at emotions is to be aware something is stirring inside. Name the emotion, if you can. Then know what to do when an emotion happens.  For example, one day I felt strong anger. I didn’t know what to do with the intensity of my feelings. I grabbed an old magazine and tore out every page. I felt a lot better handling my anger in a constructive way.

But there are days when the emotions are more difficult to understand or name. Making simple, easy art when unnamed stirrings happen can be a helpful way to deal with emotions.

Sometimes Sharon asks me, “Where are you today?’ or “How are you feeling?”  and I don’t know how to reply because I feel empty inside. I may have a feeling, but no name for my awareness. For these days of unknowing, I ask myself, “What color do I feel?”

I have a small set of watercolors, but markers, crayons, chalk pastels, or any other collection of color work too.  I look at the colors. I ask myself, “Which one do I Like?” There may be more than one color that appeals to me on a particular day. When I find a color that feels right, I draw lines, squares, or circles. Then I paint the shapes with the color or colors I choose. Using art can help loosen what is inside. Perhaps a name for the emotion will surface. Repeat as often as necessary.


Often, I have an unpleasant, uncomfortable, unnamed emotion that lingers. Drawing squares creates a container for my emotion and I gradually experience relief.  The emotion transfers from me and is held by something I make on a piece of paper.  I can look at the squares and say, “I have a picture of what is happening inside, and now that it is outside, I can manage it.”


One day I came to Sharon’s office and told her I was feeling adrift. I felt unanchored, bobbled by waves in the middle of the ocean – no shore in sight, moving at the whim of the water. I told her feeling adrift was uncomfortable and disruptive.

Sharon suggested, “Why don’t you make an emotional vision board. Glue some magazine clippings to a page and illustrate what you want your insides to feel like.”

I had no magazines at the time, but a few old catalogues offered ample pictures. I was drawn to couches covered with blankets, stacked pillows on a chair, kitchen towels arranged side-by-side on a rack and a set of nesting bowls. I arranged the pictures on a large paper leaving a lot of space between each one. My heart needed a lot of space. I filled myself slowly with objects reflecting comfort, light, softness and order, the needs I felt within.

Putting pictures on a piece of paper, helped to “reel me into shore.” I was finally relieved of feeling adrift. I had visible anchors for what I craved in front of me. Hanging the paper in my office was a reminder of what I wanted my insides to feel like.

Making art helps make the inside visible so we can name our emotions and create a sense of order in our lives.  



Monday, October 26, 2020

Bearing Witness: Petals Hold Flowers and Me


My counselor, Sharon, has a giant pad of sticky notes on an easel in her office. From time to time she hands me a three-tiered box filled with chalk pastels arranged by shades of color: light blue to medium blue to dark blue to navy blue. Then the greens, pinks and yellows.

Sometimes, when I feel stuck emotionally in a counseling session, all I have to do is grab a piece from the chalk pastel box and swipe it across the page. The use of color and movement help me to find emotional opening I need.

One day, I drew a series of short lines from the top to the bottom of the large sheet of paper. Dust fell from the chalk and landed on the easel. Sharon commented on the colors I chose. Each line had a space between it, creating rows.  Between the rows, I began drawing circles to make flowers. I drew short green dashes on each side for the leaves. When I finished the flowers, I paused and sat back to look at them. Sharon said, “Look how the leaves are holding each flower.”

In sessions up to that point, I would often leave Sharon’s office crying, from revisiting trauma from the past. I was so emotional; I couldn’t even get the receipt from the office receptionist. Sometimes it was hard to walk to my car and often took me the rest of the day or even the next to recover. But as Sharon  interpreted my art that day, I felt held. She gave me something to take out of the office that wasn’t painful.

In Sharon’s witness, I experienced a very holy moment. Not only was Sharon bearing witness to my pain and recovery, God was bearing witness too. God brought what I had said together with what I needed. God helped me weave together thought, word, picture, and emotional need into a visual I could take with me.

Seeing my chalk pastel flowers in this way, helped me feel a sense of comfort and affection, a need I had been deprived of in my childhood. When I went home, I got my watercolors and recreated what I had drawn, simple flowers being held.

In psychology, bearing witness involves sharing our experiences with others. Trauma survivors such as myself receive great value, relief, comfort and affirmation when sharing our pain with a trusted person. As we went through the timeline of my life, Sharon listened compassionately, and intently, bearing witness to my reality.

A witness says, “I believe you.” Those three words are very powerful to someone who has just shared a trauma hidden in a family for decades. A witness gives relief, validation that something happened and companionship to transform the recounting of something very difficult. Bearing witness to my trauma, Sharon’s attention and affirmation were like a healing balm in the raw places where my memories had rested.

With the memories out in the open, I had room for new thoughts and ideas. As those new ideas came out in the form of art, Sharon became a different kind of witness for me. In bearing witness, Sharon saw and reflected not only what I was revealing about my past, but also what I was creating as an artist: leaves holding flowers. My hands were drawing what my soul needed. Like a patron at an art museum who walks by a painting and comments on the light, color or perspective, Sharon drew my attention to what was happening in my art, the very thing my soul needed. 

A witness holds us up while we are growing, giving us a steady place to bloom.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Patterns from the Past: A Time of Deep Cleansing

I came to my counselor, Sharon’s office and shared what was on my mind. Sharon was getting to know me. I was getting to know her and the methods she used to counsel. I’m the type to do a lot of research when I leave an appointment. I look up all kinds of articles about the mental health topics we discussed. No matter how many articles I read, I still had the emotional overlay of memories that never seemed to go away.

Sharon suggested that we try a timeline as a way to chronologically look at my life and the various experiences that were part of it. We began meeting three times a week.  

I sat in front of a giant pad of sticky notes on an easel in her office. I took a black sharpie and drew a horizontal line across the paper. I wrote my birthday on the line, and lead Sharon through my life story in ten-year segments. I hoped previously unknown details might surface. That process took almost three months.

A timeline looks at characteristics of your family, homes, and neighborhoods where you’ve lived, schools you’ve attended, friendships that developed, and things that happened.

I thought I knew everything about myself and my experience, but the timeline showed me I had much more I needed to remember and process.

The timeline brought up chaotic experiences not reflective of a loving home. Remembering took me back to many painful places. Significant events rose to the surface. Many times, I left my appointment crying hysterically over the pain of what had happened to me growing up. Remembering turned me inside out.

Years that should’ve been formative were deformative. Those experiences left an imprint on me causing me to develop a fear of people, making me quiet and shy and hardly able to connect with other children in my classroom at school. With so many unpleasant things piled in my mind, I had no clarity of thought when I sat at my desk. Survival was my only concern from one day to the next.

Even though I was sitting in my counselor’s office, remembering made my body feel as if it were back in time. Once, I recalled a memory so intense I fell off the couch onto the floor.

At the end of my appointment, the act of receiving my receipt from the receptionist and holding it in one hand with my tear-filled Kleenex in the other, became a way for me to feel a temporary sense of closure until the next session. These were my souvenirs from a trip to my past. I needed something tangible to help remind me that whatever disruptive memories were coming up from my earlier years, I was here now. I was safe and loved and cared for.

Reliving these events was difficult and, at times, retraumatizing. However, at the end of the examination of my first forty years, I finally had a feeling of internal cleansing and peace. I had been in counseling for many years and hadn’t made much progress. A combination of timing and the timeline brought me to a place I never believed possible. The timeline was an intense but helpful way to look at my life, name events, and identify patterns.

Your Turn

Get a few pieces of paper, draw a horizontal line and begin recording events in your life in ten-year segments. Consider structuring your timeline in a way that feels most natural to you. You may want to use a road map and describe the places that were important in different parts of your life.

 You may want to draw a tangled tree with branches and twigs twisted and turned in various angles. You may want to make a collage timeline with words and pictures found in magazines to illustrate the events and themes of your life.

Here are a few questions to get started.

-          What people played important roles in your upbringing?

-          What was your family structure?

-          What feelings do you remember from various times in your life?

-          Ask yourself questions using who, what, when, where, and why to get started.

-          Process by naming what happened, but use caution if strong emotions are stirred.

-          Use tangible objects around you to remind yourself that you are here now, that you are safe and loved.

-          Take a break if necessary and return to the timeline when you are ready.

-          Seek the help of a professional counselor for dealing with concerns that may surface.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Outside the Box: How Words, Art, and Psychotherapy Helped Me Find Peace


Sitting in front of the easel that held a large pad of sticky notes, I felt awkward, uncomfortable and anxious.  I hadn’t created any art for 18 months. I was accustomed to having intense energy guiding my art, but now there was none. I was quiet inside. The paper was blank.

Sharon handed me a box of chalk pastels, a medium I had never worked with before. I opened the box and chose a yellow piece, noting its rectangular shape and powdery feel. These sensory cues helped me stay present and try something different.

From 1998 to 2008, I considered myself a mixed-media artist, exhibiting my work in galleries around Indianapolis and Noblesville. I sensed God’s presence when I was working on a piece of art. Art and prayer were synonymous.

I enjoyed art so much that I developed and presented a program to church groups. The workshop, “Praying in Color,” combined my interest in art and my desire to help people grow closer to God. I cherished the companionship art provided during those twenty years while I processed difficult times related to my past.

My present day had its own difficulties. In 2017, I lost 7 friends to cancer in a 6-month time period. Abruptly, in January 2018, all of my creative energy stopped. There were no more art projects coming from my hands. I was lost without the ability to make a visual expression of what I was experiencing emotionally. These losses combined with my own history of significant loss affected me greatly. I was not well.

I decided to see counseling to process my many layers of grief, past and present. A counseling practice not too far from my house seemed a good place to start. My family had a good experience with a counselor there nearly twenty years earlier. I arranged an appointment with a new counselor.  Joan and I worked together until January 2019, when she moved.

Prior to her departure, she arranged a meeting with another counselor in the practice, Sharon, who I met one afternoon. After answering a few of my questions, Sharon asked me, “Have you tried art?” I was intrigued how Sharon might blend art and emotional work.

Now, sitting in her office three times a week, I was learning how art might lead to my wellness. I looked at the paper and made a vertical line, then another line and soon the whole paper was covered with evenly spaced rows of multi-colored vertical lines. When I looked at Sharon, she said, “Name the picture and put the date on the back.” I named this first piece of art, “The Acceptance of Lines,” May 6, 2019. The lines accepted my awkward movements opening a new door to hope and possibility. I was pleased to walk out of Sharon’s office that day, thinking my art may be returning, even in a simple way.

For several sessions afterwards, I continued to sit in front of the easel and only draw rows and rows of lines. I didn’t know what the lines meant at the time, but they brought a sense of calm to my chaos.

Sharon and I talked about the lines. I noted how easy a line is to draw. A line is self-contained, straight, and requires one simple hand movement. A line has a clear beginning and ending, and with a dot drawn above it, a line can become a candle. Four lines joined together in a square or rectangles make a container for an object or emotion.

The easel took on different functions at different times. The large paper held a continuous horizontal line, a timeline of my life, beginning with birth, extending through every year and event through age forty. The horizontal timeline brought disorder, horror, surprise, sadness, and humiliation, while the vertical lines gave me a sense of order.

In our sessions, Sharon and I discussed the chaotic, dysfunctional parts of growing up as a child and adolescent in an unloving home, peppered with fighting between my parents, glaring favoritism toward my younger brother, and cruelty toward me.

Throughout those hard days, I was not doing any art at home or even in Sharon’s office. Going through the timeline was exhausting, draining, and left no energy for art. Regaining my composure to exit Sharon’s office, get my receipt from the receptionist, and make it to my car, were my only objectives.

One day, Sharon surprised me. She reached under her couch and retrieved an 8 x 10 blank canvas and said, “Every week, I will give you a word and an empty canvas. See what you can make. Your first word is “time.”

I took the canvas gingerly. Walking to my car, I wondered what I could make.

Initially, I felt pressure to get something on the canvas quickly. I only had four days before I saw Sharon and I was not in the rhythm of creating.

The next day, I took a few moments to reflect on “time.” I let God enter in with me as I explored the word. I googled a definition. Other words surfaced. The urgency to create left me and I was able to see “time” as an orderly way of moving forward.

I found my small box of fabric tucked inside a bedroom closet and cut thirty-six small squares, enough to arrange my favorite quilt pattern on the canvas.

Sewing the fabric onto canvas was challenging. I wasn’t used to the hard, textured surface, although I was grateful for the wooden frame holding the canvas secure. I recorded my thoughts so I could remember to tell Sharon everything going into my work.

When I returned to see Sharon the next Monday, she was delighted with my artistic interpretation of “time.” She patiently listened while I explained my process, offering occasional comments and asking a few questions.

Although Sharon chose most of the words randomly, when I googled each meaning, I often discovered a psychological component. For example, one week, Sharon’s word was “containment.” Containment refers to the atmosphere the counselor creates in his or her office of welcome and trust.

Containment also had a psychological meaning which deeply spoke to one of my great needs. “Containment is the capacity to stay present and hold our experiences/emotions in such a way that they do not overwhelm or scare us. Without containment, we feel out of control, emotions or thoughts threaten to bring us to our depths. We need containment to stay in relationship to our experience, to ourselves and not get washed away in the suffering.” (Gwen McHale, “The Power of Containment,” August 4, 2016)

Art became a container for an emotion. Art can be a safe way to release memories – they don’t have to stay locked away. A blank canvas is both an open space to receive, but also has boundaries.

Sharon has given me fifty words altogether. Her prompts helped restart my creativity. I have two boxes filled with artwork related to each word. I know now that my art can come from a quiet place, not driven by intense energy. My confidence as an artist has returned. Art can speak when there are not words to say. Through these many months I pictured the inside of my heart as ugly, bruised, and battered. Now I see the beauty of my own heart when I see the art that has come from it.

I still draw lines when I experience an out-of-control emotion or need order. I appreciate how a simple gesture can help me stay present and contained. I am grateful for those first lines and the opening toward wellness and renewed creativity that they forged.

Monday, October 5, 2020

An Unconventional Path to Wellness

Nothing felt right when 2018 ended. The year was busy. I taught many classes at church and led a support group all of which I enjoyed, but I needed a break.  Seven people I knew died of cancer during the year. I felt depleted with grief for their families as well as for friends including myself.

Art and writing, meaningful parts of my life for twenty years, suddenly disappeared as the new year began. Not writing or drawing which I did daily, was a significant loss and brought confusion to my identity and sense of self.

In early January, I sought solace in a plowed cornfield. Going there I needed space and order. I walked across the bumpy rows filled with clumps of dirt, noting remains of a bountiful harvest in the occasional corn stalks left behind.  I saw beauty in the orderly arrangement of plowed rows. The different shades of dirt were like a color wheel of brown.

Although the day was cold enough to see my breath, I walked for over an hour inhaling the stillness of natural rest and stretching my heart into the expanse of open space.

In February, another loss occurred when a friend of my younger daughter died of cancer. She returned home from Oregon for the visitation and funeral.  Putting her on a plane to return a few days later, was difficult. Her grief was palpable and mine was amplified by not being able to go with her for continued comfort and love.

Finally, in April, I decided to seek counseling to help me through this time. When I met with my counselor, Joan, I mentioned the recent deaths of friends as well as losses from my past. I told her Inside I felt like a zombie, striped to my core, unanchored, scared, unsure of who I was, confused about life and people. I felt no direction, no focus, lots of frustration, burdened with a weight for which I had no name. I did not feel depressed, I did not feel well.

Joan tried to help me sort out the complexities of what I was experiencing, hoping to reach a place of grounding and peace.  Together we worked to give form or name what was bothering me. We struggled to find answers to the disappearance of the creative part of my life which I enjoyed so much and kept my life lively, and exciting.

Joan moved after nine months, but she helped me find another counselor, Sharon, in the same practice to take over.

Sharon caught my attention when she talked about her use of art during an interview Joan arranged prior to her relocation. I liked art and remembered how creative projects provided companionship and a means of expression years ago.

I began seeing Sharon once weekly. We became acquainted and I began building trust in someone new. Sharon shared a few ideas to work with me such as starting a timeline of my life, using chalk pastels and giving me a word each week to illustrate. In numerous sessions, Sharon used the phrase “uncharted territory” to describe where I was emotionally. Not to be deterred, she forged ahead weaving together art, words, psychotherapy, compassion, intent listening and caring, finally unlocking all of the secrets of my past. After over a year of intensive therapy, I felt cleansed and well.

For the next four weeks, I will describe portions of my work with Sharon. I pray my experiences will help someone else or offer encouragement to others going through hard times.

Monday, September 28, 2020

A New Series

 Readers - Beginning next Monday, October 5, I will begin a six week series describing various events in my life and how through much emotional work, I reached a place of wellness. I used many forms of art along this path. Art will be an integral part of the story.

I look forward to sharing the struggle and joy of my journey.

Thank you.

Jacquie Reed

Sunday, September 13, 2020

A Pencil Is 7 1/2 Inches of Possibility

 When I was in college at The Ohio State University,  I decided to use a pencil to take notes and record my answers on tests, essays included. I liked a pencil (and still do) because I felt a sense of control over my responses. I could erase and start over if necessary.

Two years ago, the alumni magazine solicited entries for momentos or storied keepsakes from college that were special.

I submitted a story about my most cherished item, a gray Ohio State pencil. A few weeks later, I received an email. My entry was accepted and I needed to send a picture of myself to accompany the feature as well as the pencil.

I carefully wrapped my pencil, now about three inches long and sent it in a small USPS box.  I was anxious my beloved pencil would get lost in the mail, or somehow fall off the editor's desk and land in a trash can. Sensing my fear, the kind editor of the magazine let me know when the pencil arrived. 

 Below is what appeared in the summer 2018 issue of The Ohio State University alumni magazine - "Simple, Yet Instrumental."

When I entered Ohio State as a freshman in January 1967 I had already experienced an unsuccessful semester elsewhere. I was anxious and my self-confidence was close to zero. Before classes began, I went to the bookstore and (for $40.00) purchased all of my books for the winter quarter. I also bought an Ohio State pencil. I didn't think much about the purchase of a humble writing instrument that day, but somehow this pencil served as a constant in my adjustment to a large campus. It gave me hope, encouragement and confidence as the months and years continued. It was with me at all times, tucked safely in my purse as I walked across campus. I took all of my tests for the next three and a half years with this pencil, filling lots of blue books and computer cards. It's been nearly 50 years since my graduation as a speech therapist, and I still treasure this pencil that accompanied me on my path from a shaky, uncertain beginning toward a successful professional life.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Stirring The Waters

 John 5:1-9 describes a pool close to the Sheep Gate called Bethesda where people who were sick lay around the water, waiting for it to move. Occasionally an angel from the Lord went down into the pool and stirred the water. The first sick person to go into the pool after the water was stirred received healing from whatever disease he or she had. On Jesus' visit to Jerusalem for a religious festival, he went to the pool and talked with those gathered.

These verses are in my heart every time I swim. I usually swim laps five days a week, sometimes six. Before I begin, I take a few moments to sit on the edge of the pool, reaching in to swirl the water with my hands. I ask God to bless my swimming in whatever way God thinks I need. I thank God for the ability to move my limbs so I can exercise regularly.

Swimming is a metaphor for the way God holds me. The water supports me as I go from one side to the other multiple times. I receive comfort as the water glides over me with each movement I make. God is in the water for sure. I am never the same person when I finish my laps as when I began. God works through each stroke and kick, giving me what I need. 

I also feel containment from the lane dividers and the circumference of the pool. Containment helps me feel secure and surrounded especially when I arrive with strong emotions needing boundaries.

I recently wrote the following prayer when I returned home from one of my swims.

"God in the water,

You give me what I need with each stroke and kick.

I breathe you in and give the water whatever I want.

You receive my words, you hold me.

You cleanse my soul and body with each lap.

God in the water, I worship you,

I praise your kindness and love. Amen." 

A Question for Reflection: What passages of scripture do you see each day? How do your favorite verses come alive in every day life?

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Profanity in the Starbucks Drive-Through

 Profanity in the Starbucks drive-through?  Here's what happened.

After swimming laps, I am always thirsty. Last Saturday, I got out  of the pool, grabbed my towel, gym bag and headed for the car. My water bottle was in the front seat. I anticipated a refreshing, chilled drink - or so I thought.

The car was hot when I opened the door. Standing outside, I reached across the driver's seat for the red container, but when I picked it up, I could tell it was empty. Opening the lid, my suspicion was confirmed, no chilled water.

The Starbucks down the street from the YMCA is one of my favorites.  I quickly reached the drive-through noting the long line of cars. I didn't mind - I was thirsty.

After a few minutes, I ordered an iced tea. I could only move a few inches because of the cars ahead. Suddenly, I heard a loud, angry voice in the car behind me.     "Would  you get the f______ out of the way so I can order!!"

Startled by this woman's outburst, I crept forward as much as I could, but unfortunately not enough for her to get close to the speaker.. While I waited, she continued to shout. She appeared to be in an argument with someone on her phone.

Eventually, the other cars approached the window allowing me to round the corner. I could hear her place an order. Sadly, her loud and angry yelling continued to fill the air.

When the barista greeted me, I handed her a twenty dollar bill, explaining I wanted to pay for the person behind me. I didn't know what was causing her anger and discomfort, but I hoped when she reached the window and was told her bill was paid, she felt a moment of love and care.

Driving away, I prayed the woman, would soon experience a calm and peaceful heart.

I often ask God to put people in my way who need a word of encouragement or love. My prayer was answered last Saturday.

Prayer: God, thank you for putting me in the right place last Saturday so I could extend your love to the woman behind me. I pray you will always keep me alert and responsive to those I encounter. Amen.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

The Big Ten Bus

 I was a commuter student during my years at The Ohio State University. I longed to live on campus.  I wanted the dorm experience, making new friends, having easy access to classes and getting involved in student life. I got to school by riding the city bus, forty minutes one way.  Occasionally, my father would take me on his way to work.

Riding the bus was always an adventure. The buses were not air conditioned in the mid-sixties. Summer travel was often miserable because of the heat. 

Eventually, I grew to cherish my time on the bus. I saw different kinds of people. The bus went through impoverished areas of Columbus unfamiliar to me. Even though I never spoke to anyone, I developed a silent kinship with fellow riders. Looking at the structure of  buildings and store fronts opened my mind to wonder and reflection. 

"What would it be like to live in the inner city?" "Would I have freedom to roam the streets and visit neighborhood stores with friends or by myself?" 

I wondered if I could find a family to adopt me so I could see what life was like in another part of town. Living within walking distance to friends and stores was appealing. 

Eventually I did get to be in the area where the bus gathered most of its occupants when I chose to student teach for a quarter in a school filled with poverty. I loved the children and we had the best time working together.

I recently wrote a poem, "The Big Ten Bus" based on those many miles I rode in the city transit system. I was grateful for safe transportation to multiple lectures, labs, and tests.

                       The Big Ten Bus

I deemed my life deprived

Having to ride the city bus

To college each day, class of 1970,

Forty- minutes one way

Twice the time it would take by car.

Accordian doors opened.

I grabbed the side bar

Lunged up three large steps,

Walked the narrow aisle between seats.

The bus in gear,

Standing, I jerked off balance

Getting to my seat. 

Quarters and dimes

Clinked through the zig zag metal maze

To the bottom of the glass coin deposit.

Sweat on my forehead

Heavy smell of diesel fuel

Waved through the open windows.

Patched, ragged shirts and jackets

Frayed hems of men's pants,

Large bags slung over shoulders

Bulging with groceries,

Books or an occasional

Newspaper sticking out the top.

No others dress for school

Just me with the aching heart,

And the stack of textbooks

Resting on my lap.

Fellow travelers,

Sat like chewing gum stuck to the plastic seats.

No conversation, not even about the weather.

Only my thoughts like whispers echoing in an empty church.

High Street approached,

I tugged the string above my head,

To ring the bell.

Tires slowed.

The door opened.

Down the three large steps,

I balanced my books

Anchoring myself for the day

At the Big Ten school.

Center of campus,

The oval, crisscrossed paths leading to 

Old brick buildings

Wooden desks

Space for me to learn and grow.

Heels on hardwood

Announce the arrival

Behind the lecturn,

A woman

In a navy blue suit

Ruffled white blouse

A vision of what I could become.

Back on the bus

A container of safety

And hope

Carrying me to and from class

Carrying me to freedom. 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

How to Get Hugs During the Pandemic

                 Every Friday since June, the church I attend prepares a meal for families experiencing food insufficiency. Volunteers arrive at the church in late afternoon to deliver dinner. I take a meal to a family whose husband recently died of cancer. 

I look forward to visiting with the wife each week. Seeing her helps me stay connected, especially since we can visit outside, masked and six feet apart. She is one of the few people I care about who I can see in person, not on zoom or face-time.

Last Friday, I copied a prayer I thought she might enjoy written by an author we mutually appreciate. When I gave my friend the paper, she took a minute to read the prayer and exclaimed, "This is my hug for today!"

I smiled and was grateful to provide something to help with her grief - a prayer and a hug via paper!

Driving home, her words clung to my heart - "this is my hug for today." I realized maybe we need to think of new ways to hug, different from the traditional arms embracing each other.

The next day, I went to get the mail and found a letter from a long-time friend who lives in Florida. We have known each other for thirty years and keep in touch only by letter. I also received a package from my younger daughter's mother-in-law who lives in California. She knows how much I like the beach. She sent a beautiful card with a stunning photograph of a rock formation on the cover and six heart-shaped rocks from the ocean. She explained in the card, "Whenever I come across a heart-shaped rock on the beach I know I've found a treasure!"

After I opened both of these pieces of mail, I decided I had already received two hugs for the day!

Changing my focus helped me receive texts from my children as hugs. When I led a monthly Saturday morning group at the church I attend, outside, masked and six feet apart, I gathered four more hugs.

Maybe during this time when we are so mindful of spreading the virus, we can think of other ways to receive hugs and realize throughout the day, we are getting more hugs than ever!

When I swim, I have a hug from the water, when I watch the birds, squirrels and rabbits eat food I put out for them in the front yard, I receive a hug from nature, and when I read an interesting book, I am embraced by the author's words, thoughts and information.

Everyone is learning to do things differently these days - getting groceries delivered or picked up at the store, shopping online, so maybe if we change our idea of what a hug can look like, like my friend suggests, we will make seemingly common occurrences hugs and feel additional love during times greatly welcoming both.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

The Art Center ......... And More

I enjoy the two hour "Make and Take It" offered by the Indianapolis Art Center. I have learned printmaking, silk screening and studied famous artists during these programs.

For Christmas last year, I asked to take two classes, one in early March and the other in late April. I attended the March 4, class on silk screening, but the April class was canceled because of the covid virus.

When I arrived in the printmaking studio, I watched women enter in groups of two, find a seat at the table and wait for the teacher. "Everyone is here with a friend except me," I moaned, always sensitive to pairings in social settings.  Finally, the last person enrolled, walked in by herself.

The instructor described the process of silk screening. She suggested we form groups of two and get an apron from the rack hanging along one of the classroom walls.

"You won't have to worry about ink on your clothes with these sturdy aprons," she commented.

The person who came by herself, walked by my stool, and asked, "Would you like an apron?"

Startled, I replied, "Yes, thank you." She walked over and returned with two aprons made of canvas splattered with the paint of many previous projects. I took a picture of my apron and wished I knew the stories of people who wore it and what they made. I realized I was going to add another layer of paint and another story, with the screening I planned to do.

"Would you like to work together?" I asked.

"Sure, my name is Heidi," she replied. "I'm Jacquie" and off we went to get two sack cloth towels and claim a station with a pad and roller.

Heidi was quiet. I was old enough to be her mother, but we easily got into a steady rhythm of applying paint to the pad, then layering the cloth, finally moving the roller to make the imprint.

Heidi and I chose the same color ink, medium green and dark blue and the same sayings for our towels, "Lettuce Give Thanks" underneath a picture of a large head of lettuce, and "Be Grateful" on a picture of a hand-held grater.

We worked together all evening talking, and screening our towels.

We were almost finished, when Heidi said, "I feel calm next to you."

I wasn't expecting such a deep thought and replied, "I am glad you do."

We finished our work and continued talking long after the other participants left. I discovered she was a counselor at the school where my oldest daughter used to teach.  Walking out of the art center to our cars, we said good-bye, with a hope to see each other again in another class.

I admired her honesty and wondered if there was a reason for her comment. I was thankful to provide a calm presence for two hours and pray she carried my energy home.

We never know how our manner will come across to a stranger.

Lord in your mercy, thank you for helping me be a calming presence to Heidi.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Love - Project Transformation

The following reflection is based on my experience with an organization called Project Transformation, held every June and July in a downtown church to help children maintain reading proficiency over the sumer. I have participated the past two years, but because of the covid virus books were taken to children's homes and families were encouraged to listen to their child/children read. The reflection is from my interaction with a young student in July, 2019. Project Transformation is one of my favorite ministries.

Love (Mark 10:13-14)

When I was growing up, few books were in our home. A small bookcase held my father's books from college and graduate school. I received my first book on my sixth birthday from a colleague of my father's. I went to the library for the first time when I was 13. My mother considered reading a waste of time and I never saw my mother or father read.

When I heard of Project Transformation, I knew I wanted to volunteer. My lack of books from childhood, generated compassion for children who also may not have books available or someone to read to them.

I have read with children who were eager to come and others who did not want to come with me. Despite their feelings, I used the 45 minutes to get to know them, boost their confidence as individuals and readers, and listen to each child read. A lot of love can be poured into a child in 45 minutes.

One day I read with an eleven-year-old boy. I asked what he wanted to be when he grew up. He replied without hesitation, "I want to serve in the military." I said, "You will be a great soldier. You can do whatever you want to do in life." He smiled and nodded his head.

He was an excellent reader with good comprehension. When our time ended, I ask, "Do you remember what I told you a few minutes ago?" He grinned and said, "I can do anything I want to do." I confirmed, "I want you to carry those words with you always." He answered, "I will."

Although I never worked with him again during the summer, I pray those words of belief and encouragement will stay with him.

Prayer: God when we work with your children, help us pour your love into each one. Amen.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

A Prayer for Today

God, can you lace my heart with your love,

So I feel you coming in and out during the day,

Bringing comfort and strength, when I am weak and discouraged,

Or joy and peace when I celebrate?

Your presence is in all. Amen.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Pandemic Prayerbook

Friends - The link I gave for the Pandemic Prayerbook did not go through. Google the information below to take you to the prayerbook

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Pandemic Prayerbook Pandemic Prayerbook

Friends - Mike and I recently contributed to the Pandemic Prayerbook, a collection of prayers for individual aspects of the current pandemic. Prayers are for medical professionals, those experiencing disappointment of special occasions, individuals in nursing homes, journalists, and many others.

Click on the above link to read these prayers. I hope you will find comfort and peace from words contributed by 30 writers.

Peace to all in these times which are challenging. Seek God always.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

More Prayers for These Days

Recently, Mike and I were asked to write a prayer for an aspect of the corona virus, social isolation, etc.  I chose to write a prayer about those experiencing disappointment during this time - my prayer will appear next week.

Mike chose to write a prayer for journalists.

                                           A Prayer for Journalists

O Lord, our God, we know that after creating our world, you looked out on all that you had created and declared it was good. That story begins our Bible, a book filled with stories about you continuing to work in our world through your people.

Since then, we have been story tellers. We tell stories to describe our world, to report on events all around us, to let others know what people are doing and how that might affect us and others.

In  our times, journalists serve as story tellers. They tell us about our world, our nationour state, our community, our neighbors. In doing so, Lord, they help us keep informed and connected. Their stories open your world to us, tell us about people, both near to and far from us, about events all over the world, about our institutions and their activities. We benefit from these stories and how they impact us and others.

As we know, and as you know, O Lord, our journalists perform valuable work for us. They update us, as well as bringing us new stories about which we need to know. We need their stories even more in the trying times in which we now find ourselves.

So, we lift all journalists in prayer as they continue to perform the work they perform. Give them clarity of vision, necessary knowledge and insight, a commitment to being truthful about what they report, a fearlessness in dealing with what can be difficult and even situations and the people involved in those situations who may not want their stories told. Give them an awareness of their own opinions and biases and how to keep these in check as they report their stories. Above all, may they remember that the people about whom they report are human beings, are your children, all of them, even those whom they may not like, or whose actions may be reprehensible to them.

We also know, O Lord, that many discount and disrespect journalists and their work, accusing them of under minding our country, our leaders and institutions. That can make it difficult for journalists as they do their jobs. Help them keep on task and do the best they can in their reporting their stories that help keep us informed.

We thank you, O Lord, for journalists and the work they do. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Prayers for these days

I will be posting a few prayers for these times of unique living. I pray you will find comfort and insight and most importantly feel God with you.

God you are creating everyday when we see new blossoms on flowers amd changes in the sky. You create in us too as we have experiences bringing new insights and thoughts. Open our heartto share your love with others. Amen.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

A Few Thoughts for Trying Times For Everyone

Going through a drawer the other day, I found a piece of writing I presented many years ago to a group of young mothers (MOPS) at my church. I put together ten thoughts adapted from Mother Teresa's top ten I'd read in a magazine.

Here are my top ten thoughts for these days of challenge and isolation for all people, hoping one may give you encouragement.

1. Miracles come everyday - be alert for them - when a child accomplishes a skill, when we have a few moments to sit and read, when everyone likes a new dish for dinner,when someone learns to ride a bike, when a flower blooms, when you hear God's voice and respond.

2. Remember to keep an empty bowl somewhere in your house as a reminder emptiness leaves room for God to come in.

3. Think about experiences which have caused you to grow - have these been in ordinary times or in moments when you've felt stretched?

4. Anything done with love, however seemingly insignificant reflects God.

5. Simplicity opens the pathway to God. What can you live without? Simplifying life enables one to focus on each person you encounter in your family, with friends, or people you meet.

6. Treat each person -  as if they were Jesus - everyone is created in God's image, including you, your family, friends, and people everywhere.

7. What did Jesus say about possessions? What sort of items did Jesus have? Can you trust God to provide everything you need?

8. Treat everyone with love.

9. Psalm 46:10 - Be still and know that I am God. Mother Teresa began praying each day at 4 am., trying to find the silence of her heart where God talked to her. Her motto was:

"The fruit of silence is prayer."
"The fruit of prayer is faith."
"The fruit of faith is love."
"The fruit of love is service."
"The fruit of service is peace."

10. It's easy to write a check, but more effective to serve a meal or take pledges for a charity walk.

Prayer: God, during these times of isolation help us take time to go deeper into our souls and find new spaces of your presence. We pray daily for healthcare workers, grocery employees and others who are caring for us. We pray healing for those affected by the virus. In your expansive mercy we come to you, knowing our life in you is the deepest place of meaning. Amen.

Monday, February 24, 2020

A Prayer

God, each day brings a new group of your children into our shared space, if only for a few seconds. Let each one teach us something about you, about love and being with others so our hearts expand to embrace all. Amen.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Big Ten Bus ( a poem)

I deemed my life deprived
Having to ride the city bus
To college each day, class of 1970,
Forty-minute trip one way
Twice the time it would take by car.

Sweat on my forehead
Heavy smell of diesel fuel
Waved through the open windows.

Quarters and dimes
Clinked through the zig zag metal maze
To the bottom of the glass coin deposit
Accordion doors opened
I grabbed the side bar
Lunged up three large steps
Walked the narrow aisle between seats.
The bus in gear
I jerked off balance.

Patched, ragged shirts and jackets
Frayed hems of men's pants,
Large bags slung over shoulders
Bulging with groceries,
Books or an occasional
Newspaper sticking out the top.

No others dress for school
Just me with the aching heart,
And the stack of textbooks
Resting on my lap.

Fellow travelers,
Sat like chewing gum stuck to the plastic seats,
No conversation, not even about the weather.
Only my thoughts like whispers echoing in an empty church.

High Street approached,
I tugged the string above my head
To ring the bell.
Tires slowed.
The door opened.

Down the three large steps,
I balanced my books
Anchoring myself for the day
At the Big Ten school.

Center of camputs,
The oval, crisscrossed paths leading to
Old brick buildings
Wooden desks
Space for me to learn and grow.

Heels on hardwood
Announce the arrival
Behind the lecturn
A woman
In a navy blue suit
Ruffled white blouse
A vision of what I could become.

Back on the bus
A container of safety
And hope
Carrying me back and forth to class
Carrying me to freedom

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

A Thought for the New Year

Friends  and faithful readers, I am taking a few weeks off to reorganize my writing perhaps going to a monthly post. I have published my blog weekly for almost six years and I need some time for new thoughts to come.

All of my writing is available on the blog - pick a month and you can read 5 1/2 years of experiences with God. I greatly appreciate all of you and when you take time to send an email with your responses to what I have written, I am doubly blessed, by God for the experience and you for sharing yours.

Blessings to you in the New Year.

Jacquie Red