Sunrise Chasing

It has been way too long since I’ve gone to the ocean. And it’s across the street! Shame on me! That was my thought (again) yesterday after work, after another week that emotionally and mentally and therefore physically drained me to the max. 

This morning, the call was way too strong to ignore. My soul needed it. Desperately. And I felt a loved one also nudging me. 

I hear the sea calling to me to return,
and your voice, love, imploring me
to let my soul have what it yearns…

On the way to the bridge and on the way over it, “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” came on the radio just as the sky was bursting with morning glory. Windows down, music up, singing along, I felt my soul begin again to mend itself. Sometimes, I need the most beautiful ballads, and other times, carrying the same “burdens,” I simply need to lift my voice in songs of praise to my higher power. When I witness the absolute miracles of nature, how can I not?

Gloria in excelsis Deo,
Glory to the highest in God.
Lord, I see and feel your presence,
and my praise and thanks, I offer up…

In the past couple of years, I have been in the best place I’ve ever gotten to so far in this life despite (perhaps in spite of) 2020, seemingly so far from the shadows of a difficult past, basking in the warm light of love of late. Yet, I did feel the tickle of that demonic tentacle recently, even took a personal day because I felt like I simply couldn’t make it through the week. The next day, I cried at work from a fresh heart-infliction. Teaching in 2020 has challenged us as educators and stretched us all to our near-breaking points. But we are family at my school, so we gather (6 feet apart) at lunch each afternoon and do our best to laugh it all off. Laughter, I feel, is truly still the oldest and best medicine. 

Thank you, Lord, for laughter;
may that sound find its way
to the ones in these times who most need it.
Let it be channeled again through me 
to make someone’s day
for mirth mask-muffled is still healing.

My other top natural remedies have always been faith and nature. And now the added goodness of the man who fully loves me as me. And all of these were present in me as I sat in the silky sand before the lively ocean, the 70 degrees and plenty of sea breeze also infiltrating my body, mind, and spirit. 

It’s so easy to get pulled down, isn’t it? Down has always been seen as the negative direction. Higher powers in higher elevations, clouds and sky… The weight of perceived burdens and mental inflictions and the things we voluntarily shackle to our ankles is so heavy. The soul is weightless. The wings of humans, invisible. The altar barer than ever. If only we would lay more down. Offer more up. Let Him take more of it, all of it, from us. Why do we cling to it? Why is it so easy to forget that He is always beside us, always with open arms? Why is it so easy to forget how to swim, how to fly?… We simply need not sink or be prisoners of gravity. We can let it get washed away. We can uncage our souls. We can lean on others, even let them carry us for a while. We can open our hearts to love and to receive love. We are never alone. I think we simply choose it sometimes. 

So much inside me rose up this week. To attempt to defeat me. From places of my past maybe. From my own former voice to myself maybe. It’s hard to repel that gray when the cloud rolls in to consume you. It’s trying to take us all though. So shouldn’t we now, more than ever, unmask our hearts and join in spirit to lift each other? 

I plead for the sea breeze to vigorously whisk away my negativities.
I allow the ocean waves to wash away all the rest that is heavy. 
I lift my voice in song and cheerfully praise His glory. 

I raise my hands and pray to be free from this melancholy. 

Words and images from this morning ©LauraDenise

Gray Plague

Gray Plague

Part choice, part determination
it seems to be
to avoid the extermination
while still living
caused by the loss
of feeling
when we fall
into that state
of complacency,
the dangerous hibernation
of our dreams,
the steps we take
turning our back
on the way
it could be,
should be…

It’s not easy
to keep the gray
from taking
our colors.
We fade,
part victim,
part converter;
we don’t sell
our souls,
we give them
now away
in exchange
for tickets
to nowhere
but in that gray
for longer,
forever,
to remain.

I feel the pull
of the evolution
of the devil,
the camouflaged
minions, the demons
no longer with arms
now casting spells.

I feel the brush,
the tickle of tentacle;
to kick it off
takes more than will.
Too many sleepers
not getting taken
but tricked into nonthinking
by the sweet song of sirens.

I climb the mountain
and expectedly find
the gray shadow
spreading like
turpentine.

I wrap my limbs
protectively
around my colors
and flee to find
my favorite
awake other.

Together, we embrace,
not in fear
but as survivors
thankful for
our non-superpowers.

We will not
succumb
to the non-fate
of the others
who gave freely away
one by one
each of their
colors.

We will keep painting
on life’s canvas
to preserve
hope and beauty
with each
brush of our breath,

not with fire,
but signaling
with bright hues
to the others
who may be out there still
imbued.

Ultimately, this poem originated from reading a dear WP friend’s poem and listening to a song he posted (which I shared above). (If you are not connected with Ivor Steven, then your life is not as bright as it could be because the light of his soul shines like none other.) Ivor’s poem captures, despite the melancholy mood from the song, a wonderful moment––a pastry, a poem reading, a friendly unmasked smile. Simple. Yet everything really.

October Blooms

How can I possibly focus
when you’ve gone
and set abloom
all the colors in me
in such sweetly-scented hues?

How can I command
self-discipline when
your inspiration stirs
my creative passions?

How can I do those things
I need to tend to
when my soul heard your non-whisper
calling me my own muse?

How can I keep order
with this flutter of fancy within
that came about when that destined breeze
seed-sprinkled your goodness in?

Poem and this evening’s photography ©LauraDenise

Just-Right Breeze

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An open window and wings
are not enough to reach your dreams;
there must be the just-right breeze.
It comes from within
and ruffles self-belief.

You will know when it is time
to leave it all behind;
it is only a matter of mind.
A soul is predisposed to flight.

It is never that a dream
is impossible to achieve,
for all that is needed
is for that need to supersede.

Poem and images ©LauraDenise

Colliding Light

This song came up on my playlist as I was beginning my yard work after my first day back to my classroom when this small wildflower caught my eye. When you are a poet-photographer-believer-passionate teacher, such a thing can become life changing, lol. I was so moved by the way the sinking sun was highlighting the flower. After looking like a fool in my front yard (as usual) photographing it, I hit replay on the song while I mowed the lawn, thinking about my own personal journey. I knew I would need to stay up a little past bedtime to write about it.

First of all, good gracious what an absolutely beautiful and inspiring song! I had heard of the artist, but not that song. If you know anything about me, you know I have a thing for wildflowers. I just see such stories in them, even (especially?) in the “weeds.” So often underfoot and overlooked, I am drawn in to observe them up close; I like to portray them as majestically as possible, to showcase their extreme beauty.

I’ll let the poetry (and unedited images) take over from here…

“Colliding Light”

Little yellow wildflower,
it is your turn to shine,
can’t tell if the beams
are coming down as blessings
from heaven or bursting
forth from your soul inside.

Perhaps the two are being joined

since you finally put fear aside
and went after the dreams
you for too long denied

yourself. Yourself… your self…
So much time
you spent focusing on everyone
else…

Who are you? You’ve always known,
simply forgotten, buried too many
of your needs, kept them beneath
with doubt drought,

but need and dream seeds
eventually sprout;
there is no holding them
down.

You are in bloom,
your joy bursting,
and the Son
shines down
in happiness.

Yes, a mix
of bliss and blessings
I simultaneously see
when self-love and -care
are witnessed by
His Majesty.

Both ways,
the rays
reach…
and meet,
the radiance
of the heart
outwardly seen.

Words and images ©LauraDenise

Unstoppable

I am unstoppable.

Though I have fallen,
though I have felt
sealed in a tombed fate,

I have risen,

I have relentlessly followed
that one ray of light.
I have never
lost faith.

I have found my way,

and the light of day
blinds my eyes
and its warmth soaks into
my soul;

I have found my glow.

Which way to go?

D
o
w
n

upon my knees
to once again pray;
in complete humbleness,
I express to Him
my thanks.

I feel His hand

finally
upon my shoulder
as He lifts the clouds
and clears my path
with the other.

I hear the Spirit

in the wind whisper,
“You may go whichever way you choose.”
Every single one of the paths
to me seems
so equally beautiful…

What will I do
with this new power?
Go back
and help the others.

 

In Darkness and Doubt

This one’s for a friend. For my son. For my student. For you. For me.

We all stumble.
Sometimes merely a trip,
sometimes down a seemingly
endless, dark abyss.

We all get lost.
Sometimes we find our way,
sometimes indefinitely
in the same spot,
we remain.

We all face obstacles.
Sometimes they lift,
sometimes they seem
utterly hopeless.

(Photo by my son)

We all lose sight
of the beauty within.
Sometimes a mirror lies,
sometimes a “friend.”

We all are small.
Sometimes toward Him
we feel the pull,
sometimes we feel
invisible.

But…

The thing about a hole,
even one without a bottom,
is that there is always a top
so the direction is clear: up.

A loved one will be by soon
to lower the rope.
It is up to you
to hang
onto that hope.

And if no one comes,
the direction is still the answer:
He is always there.
He hears your prayers.

Sometimes the hole
was put there on purpose,
the time in it ironically necessary
for advancement.

Sometimes you have the tools already
and simply need to begin the ascent,
for sometimes it is up to you
to get to that ground-level summit.
He already knows you can do it.
Sometimes the self-help in itself
is the only missing ingredient.

The last thing about a hole
is that you never forget
how much space
what is missing inside
takes up,
and you will feel
so much fuller
than any other
when it gets filled up.

We all get lost
in different forests,
for no one ever
seems to be around,
endless looping trails
we wearily trudge,
the darkness of the deep wood
making the light
but a teaser,
the source unable
to ever be found.

The key to getting out
is to keep moving
in new directions;
the path worn
by our own feet
is the very one
that sinks us
into the false belief
that there is no other way.
Sometimes we even stop
trekking altogether
and set up camp
in one spot,
a surefire way
to eliminate
a destination
is to not move
at all.

The light is ever-shining,
day and night;
we are never truly left
in the dark,
for He gave us
both sun and moon
as an eternal spark,
and to keep
our whispered dreams lit,
the stars.

Obstacles work
in similar fashion,
a mountain before you
threatening to spew
lava and ashes.

Obstacles are meant to be
overcome,
sometimes the threat
intentionally sent
from Satan himself
to paralyze you with fear;
the paradise on the other side,
he tries to keep you
from getting any nearer.

But the mountain is harmless.
You can waste time and effort
attempting to go around it,
but the view from the top
is worth it,
so I highly recommend
climbing it.

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(Photo by my daughter)

And when you reach the top,
you get to see
that past in better perspective
in which you felt trapped
before turning back
and beginning the adventure
of what comes next,
the future not clear,
but the lush panoramic
welcomes your fresh
starting steps.

When it comes to sight
to see the beauty within,
if you don’t know it yet,
then you need to start
with dispelling the myths
that usually come
from another’s words
or simply judging yourself
by warped societally-produced standards.

Two remedies I have found to be effective.
The first: submerse yourself
in the positive affirmations
that come from someone else
until those whispers
drown out
the past-yelled lies
and even the ones
in your own eyes
you cast upon yourself.
They are false.
You will, in time,
come to love
yourself.

In the meantime,
you can dispel
those warped society beauty-standards,
for you were created
with love and purpose,
precisely as God intended,
every detail;
there are no imperfections.
Do what you can
to honor
the body your soul
was given;
it is the temple
of the Holy Spirit within.

We are, indeed, all small.
It is meant to fill us with awe,
to remind us we are part
of something so much grander
than we could ever imagine,
a divine plan.

We are never alone,
the presence of a higher power
is around us all
so when we begin to feel
undetectable,
when our “lives”
seem the end of the world,
our perspective
of those big problems
should dissolve some
to know
it is much of that
that is insignificant
in the grand scheme of things.

We are embraced
in the loving arms
of Mother Nature,
the personification
of the natural world
gifted by our Creator.
We are all interconnected,
each an essential thread
of something in the making,
a much larger picture
guided by a divine hand.

The key component
in all of these woes
is belief in a higher power;
it is essential for faith
and hope.
You are never
alone.
The direction is up,
always the Guiding Light
home.


When we give up,
we give in
to the doubt
of His very personal plan
for each of us.
Only He knows what lies ahead,
and it often lies in
our own hands,
for He gave us free will
and intellect and talents,
throws us curve balls
like holes and mountains
not to test us,
I don’t think,
but for our own good
to steer us
to challenge us
to shake us
to wake us
to become all that He knows
we can.

I am His child.
I will always
trust His plan.
Especially in the times
I get frustrated
because I just don’t
understand.

We are not meant to
until we are,
and that revelation
may only be revealed
in the language of
stars.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

The Green

Golden sunbeam

finds me

between the leaves;

I cannot hide

from nature’s loving

reach.

Each new day

offers new ways

for sleepy dreams

to be rejuvenated

and for goals

to be reached,

for the only thing

between

is belief,

and will

to go after

each,

for guaranteed

after every winter

like spring,

the potential

in every bare branch

and buried seed is

the green.

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Poem and images ©LauraDenise

Happiness Is

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Happiness is not always yellow

and sunny.

Laughter favors

no particular season.

A smile, though sparked

most easily by another,

still stems and spreads

from within.

 

The Moon and Clouds of Gray

still reach out

with benevolence,

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want just as much as Sun

to see your face,

your wings spread wide

to spin and dance,

 

and Rain,

oh, sweet unfavored Rain,

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continues faithfully to play,

an orchestra with Thunder,

despite ingratitude

and complaints.

 

Embrace the rain!

Remember what it is to

play

before the gripes

of adulthood

swept you away.

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And remember the warmth

offered by Sun

can still tickle dimples

from hibernation,

thaw a smile

from the ice,

despite the cold

and long winter season,

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for hope,

like joy,

can always be found

if you simply

go out

and look around,

 

though the truest truth is

it can always be found

within,

though the best way

to waken the laughter

from the heart

is to allow another

in.