Ashes



It is possible to live at the bottom..exist at basement level…waste a life holding onto fakery..projecting to the world what isn’t.

Fear and her lover Pride seek to keep us beaten down and stuck. Twisted ,contorted ,deformed and devoured by the lies they spin and we are burnt away to ashes in the inferno they create. 

They lock us into cycles that do nothing but shackle us and snatch light from our days.

I guess to find a life again one must let go of everything you thought it would be and jump eyes wide open into the uncertainty of tomorrow.

It takes muscle to find courage and face fear head on.

Truth is strength, its kryptonite to pride.

Truth shatters pride crushing it till all that’s left is raw integrity lying amongst the dust.

It creates breathing room for new beginnings .  

Honesty is owning mistakes..shouldering the weight and lifting it higher.

Forgiveness I’ve found holds keys to freedom… It gives a soul wings to soar.

Humility makes for lighter hearts..it climbs ladders that pride never could.

After all you cant remedy what you won’t acknowledge.
Can’t rebuild with broken glass…

I’m learning healing comes at dust level. When there’s nothing left to hold. Nothing to lose.

Ashes are where it’s at.

So in this upside-down existence, Im finding destruction is building.
Chaos  life-giving. 
Pain is the beginning of healings walk.
Dust and even scattered ashes are heaven blessed.


Divine love breathes hope into hopeless spaces.. and nothing is beyond mercies reach .

Honesty is everything. For there is nothing without her light.

…And in her glow we are found so beautifully broken that this bottom we have hit signals that the only way from here is up.

 

 

 

 

 

Precipitation .

Raging fires and devastating drought have overwhelmed this part of the world that we call home and it really has felt like life imploded over the last twelve months.

Like the internal and external environments around us have reflected and refracted the same theme and there’s been little reprieve from the onslaught..

Impossible diagnosis had launched herself into our stratosphere and we were caught in the whirlwind of trying to process exactly what those words would mean to the way life needed to be walked.

January held Acute Myeloid Leukemia,

June a heart attack then strokes x 4 Life shattering disability following in its wake

August marriage and family collapsed in an avalanche of lies undone. If lies were liquid the drought would have broke by now a thousand times over.

But they arnt so water got scarcer. The green pastures turned to dry cracked earth and trees and gardens of our own oasis die.

Temperatures rise quickly with summer coming earlier then she used to . No afternoon storms this year to break the heat. Just hot dry parched landscape. Selfishly I’m thankful for their lack. Storm watching was a favorite pass time in years of love gone by.

Fire season struck with vengeance burning hard and fast with no escape It seemed the whole world might burn and there was no stopping it.

The blue sky disappearing behind walls of smoke for weeks on end the earth here bathed in orange glow. Nights moon shone red through the acrid haze. Ash fall on everything and its like gazing at life through a sepia lense.

Colourless…void and dying.

But we were blessed . Spared the losses that others have faced …it stopped being a question of if but when the fires come and I realised that was exactly like our life.

Inevitable it is that pain will come. Heartache is it seems an equal opportunist of truest form.

And whilst I cry out at the injustice. At the disappointment ,and the needless mess.

I find necessity to get back up. Can’t hover here in despair..

I’m not fighting flames that threaten to consume but the dark that seeks to infiltrate this space that’s carved for glorys presence..

And in the fight to stand back up.. I find my voice….the breaking holds blessings in disguise and isn’t this the way of freedoms walk ?

I find courage seeping into the empty spaces..spured on by those who hold integrities hand. Despondent prayers are flung heavenwards and the troposphere cracks her reluctant floodgates…

Rain downpours as a Christmas wish come true drenching our arid earth and barren hearts a fresh with glorious liquid blessing.

Fires are extingished by heavens own hand and we are ever awed.

The reprieve this brings is divine intervention to an overdone soul.

The danger isn’t gone completely,theres still blazes to be fought. But each new step forward, Each time my gaze shifts higher, we gain ground.

Freedom comes at the cost of heartbreak a result of trust mislayed .Its a bitter lesson learnt.

Rain holds the promise of restoration..its grace tangible.

The dark retreats and glory edges back .A voice rises up louder then before. Wings stretch out ,arms link and we advance untouched.

Smoke and mirrors still try their hand at shaking this new courage that we’ve found.Threats seek to shut down this boldness.But it seems freedom has unshackled controls rigid grip and we will have none of that.

Faith stirs deep again feeding on glorys fire and I learn that burning bridges can it seems illiminate better the way then floodlights ever could.

Rain will come eventually. Droughts will break . Rivers will flow and life will begin again… The glory space will hold strong and despair will be a distant memory.

Prism

It seems with all that has been lost of late some years have fallen away too. Heavy taxing years that brought weight to these shoulders and creases to this brow vanish into thin air.

Age it seems is running in reverse as the clock ticks backwards and lost hopes are revived from the ashes of a hefty existence.

The grey that wove itself like a blanket all across our world has dissolved into a rush of technicolour. The limits I had, in absent-minded slumber, accepted for my life are peeled back one by one being found counterfeit with every layer.

Tears still come, but less frequent now. Traumas raw edges smooth with time and strength takes griefs seat at the table when given space enough.

Discipline to harness the overwhelms of a runaway mind is being developed. Now those tormenting thoughts are captured before they get loose enough to cause much damage.

This heart still holds the shadow of memory …it always loved, but hearts are easily deceived …infatuation it seems resembles love to a faithless unlearned heart ….as much as lies resemble truth to one that seeks to believe it so.

Naivety is no longer an option but in the raw light of realities presence, the world comes to life again. Rainbow possibilities dance like light through prisms across this new years dawning.

Dreams once cherished but long since passed over spring back into the realms of possibility. A second chance to live again without the sacrifice of freedom, of identity … Visions of tomorrow dance before my eyes weaving patterns that shift and change in a kaleidoscope of mesmerising colour. My breath catches in my chest as prayers are lifted higher.

Id never pick this for our story. I hate the disfunction of the journey.The ache in their eyes often more then I can stand …..but the independence is heaven-sent. Provision in its truest form.Sweet silver linings to a bitter onslaught.

While we are it seems destined for struggle…I have learnt that pain has a purpose .. And when I trust long nothing is wasted. Sometimes heartbreak is the making of us .. wherein shackles are removed and voices refined.

This fire that was sent to destroy this heart only served to temper it. Strength is found surprisingly within the expression of vulnerability. Integrity birthed from raw honesty.Freedom stirs from the seeds of surrender.

To embrace the process instead of fear it… This is the secret I have struggled to learn.

While this sole rages still at the injustice of it all..the foolish wastefulness that discards a life, a family that was long fought hard for…The spirit stirs within breathing oxygen back into tomorrow. Promising hope and second chances.

To really live, love and be loved in return. To seek adventure freely. To connect completely without shame and secrets holding this heart back at the boundary lines. Freedom to lift a voice, a heart heavenward not caring for anyone’s approval nor bracing against their disdain.

Our world is alive with colour…it bathes the heavy-hearted ache and washes it in glorious light infusing hope as it swirls around the corners of our home.

Joy follows behind. .. Slowly she washes back into their laughter. They dream again. Play again. Exhale less laboured than before.

The weight is lifting and the world has opened up again as it was once before me long ago. Unchained, transformed and We are free.

Rewrite

Silence.. Its been ages since silence was welcome..

I used to crave the nightshift hours when my love worked late and the little ones were in bed… Or those early mornings before dawn peaked her head around the night skies blanket and all the world still slept.

But in this season of shifting and shaking I have hated still, hated alone , hated late night pondering and early mornings.Much prefering to fill our days with busyness and head to bed with the kids…

Two little hearts are still sleeping along side me to ward off the darker dreams that haunt their overstretched minds triggered by heartbreak that’s beyond their capacity to really grasp.

Company breathes security and I’ve avoided solitude these last long months in case the very act of being still might trigger an avalanche of reality that Im doing my best to only glance at just as much as necessary to make it through.

This love story went wrong. Failed… Fell short..and my heart turned to dust with its demise.

And here we are on shifting sands trying to find our footing.

Somewhere though amongst the ache there is new strength being laid down adding its layer to the foundations laid in other struggles…other dark roads we’ve walked before.

Tonight the stillness beckons,friendly and inviting. Tonight solitude doesn’t intimidate but is a welcome friend..a sanctuary again. A place to gather thoughts and breathe and words flow freer then they have been for quite some time .Like fresh seas rushing into sunbaked sand ,its a welcoming reprieve.

This chapter seems to be of a carousel that we are riding.. Round and round and up and down.. It seems we never progress…. But rides don’t last forever. Seasons change. Pages turn and new beginnings are begun.

New dreams are being sowed within and colour sneaks its way back around the corners of this mind.

I begin to truly lift my gaze beyond what’s in front of me and dream of new adventures.New spaces,new people, new places.Dreaming of the rewrite of this lifes book.

The story of my life that I had felt so secure in, the narrative I held is gone now.. and coupled contrastingly beside the devasting heartache is a whimsical sense of mystery. Of a chance to re-write a better story.. one with adventures to out way traumas, one with so much laughter it rivals the tsunami of tears. One with a glorious ending.

I don’t know where this story will go.. Im not even sure what happens next when I turn the page.. But I do know know this in between space isn’t the end..just a plot twist before the next adventure.. and I’m confident this re-write will have a happier ending.

Nameless.

Endless cycles of broken and breaking only to scar and tear and scar again. Layer upon layer upon layer upon layer and there’s no escape from the torment. The demons won’t leave. No peace. No safe space… Guarded hidden behind a wall of lies.. Fakery the only language. Life devoid of hope.. Devoid of living water. No refreshment.

Empty business fills the days and the sweat of labor is squalled away in all the inbetween hours. Nights are filled with numbing and distraction that pulls down deeper darker…its blackness intoxicates and consumes.. Contrasted only by bright empty eyes and flashy false smiles that scream as they seduce with empty promises of fulfillment, and satisfaction .To have it all… To hold excess. ..but they steal more then they give robbing life with every round. Draining a soul dry…

Battered and bruised by the work of own hands. Unconscious self-sabotage…drags under again. Like a black hole it consumes all around .. Promising to devour..decite has hold in its ice-cold grasp … And it must be a welcoming space I think .. better than the endless fighting of conscious.To proud to reach out. To ashamed to seek help.No recognition of truth amoung lies .

And here we are.. Life stopped short. Can a trauma be a saving grace?

Can this hell bring healing?

Does destruction herald restoration? Can so many broken hearts be healed?

Can a shattered life, family find grace for the new day?

Cause in this space of blackness. Of the darks cold breath down ones neck it seems that all is lost forever.

Truth is messy. But this mess is said to promise freedom?

And I don’t see how but I’m beginning to understand.. Heaven has loved me and loaned me his eyes to view the unlovely with glorious insight.

The stripping of secrets..Now only serve to dig the other deeper. No way to stop truths explosion.

Undoing is grace?

My eyes now opened. . . No longer held spell bound in a fantasy of falseness.

Heart break is grace?

This madness… Insanity. Absence of logic and kindness is freedom somehow as it makes the letting go easier..the absence sweeter still .

But this I don’t understand. Is there freedom in madness? Is insanity a reprieve? does it hold promise too or is this blackness exposed in all its filth?

And I begin to grasp that the only way to unstick us from the others demise was to shatter it all..to tear it apart exposing the darkness..we couldn’t save ourselves so heaven intervened.

And somehow in the unsticking of this other, we become free. Eyes wide open. Life exposed, false reality shattered and there is freedom here.

Can trauma hold healing? Can this chaos be blessed and produce fruit? Is destruction life-giving?

And all I know is what I see and what I see with eyes of heaven is divine hands holding us. Leading us… Dirty broken hurting us. He walks us through and breathes grace..intertwining us with love working it all for good.

Here hope lies waiting… When the anger wanes. When I loosen my grip on the ache..hope draws breath.

This is a year of restoration,and while in no way does it look like I thought it would ,he is a God of his word.

Mess

For a long time I’ve held my tongue ..then one day not so long ago our world came undone …..

How do I do this… Hold my head up and walk in faith? For the longest time I’ve held disappointments hand… I know the valleys well.

Well trodden paths of heartache and loneliness. I’ve survived on scraps of affection between round after round of tear down . All the while believing a new dawn was coming…I stayed the course. Honoured my vows.

Believed and held firm to the promises given… and now here I am.

Betrayed. Sinking.

Fear creeps closer as the rage that’s not my own echos through the atmosphere unhinged it lingers threatening .Hope and trust is shattered again and again … the weight of this life and all its responsibilities cave in on me. My hands are empty and trembling. Feet stand on borrowed ground. Nothing is certain and stability forgotten.

There are 4 little hearts in tow too and I just don’t know how to navigate this… So many voices. Opinions. Instructions. A to-do list that threatens to destroy any remaining sanity. … No peace to get quite. No space to be still. except in these long night shift hours…

But I’m so tired.

I’ve let my heart harden in self-protection ..put my desires and dreams to bed.

Disgust fills the space that once loved deep… Shame ,in my foolishness of not reading the cues, weaves a cloak that hangs heavy off my shoulders.

I can’t even pray as I used to.. words feel empty and echo in this in-between space… Even tears are better than numb..but here I am.. Allowing numb so I can function. Something I swore I’d never do again.

I don’t like the girl this walk is creating. Faith falls flat as the risk of holding it seems too much to bear.

And I don’t even know what I want.. The dream is now unbelievably tainted. Hope seems poison.

Friends who should have held our hearts and warned us of the impending storm didn’t… Integrity is a lost art it seems .

And these 4 little hearts are shattered.

Childhood done with at lightening speed. And I’m to broken to hold them in the way they need most.

I can’t stop the onslaught. I can’t stem the incoming tide. Each encounter breaking the ties that connect them a little more. The bonds that are precious so willfully frayed and he does not see or is it care enough for them and I can’t stop it.

My words are hollow. Shallow comfort to their aching bones. . .

Betrayed, lied too, let down, again and again, and again.

This mess less glorious than ever before… At the end of myself.

I crave dream free sleep. To switch off and not exist for as long as it takes for this season to pass. This is the valley of death. Its dark here..no air.

Where is my rescuer?.my breakthrough?

Always on time? Ever faithful? Always good?

No, my faith isn’t missing. Not lost in this storm… Just my capacity to rise..the buoyancy that’s carried me through so much thus far is ebbing… My fight is empty..halfhearted and vague… Bitterness sneaks around the corners of my mind and I am jaded.

This is not who I want to be. This all-consuming ache will not be the definer of my story.

I tell myself it’s only a chapter..the page will turn soon. There’s more to this life then this valley… I long for mountaintop views. Stability. Freedom…to live life not balanced on the rare good grace of tyrannical other but to be free to write my own ending.

To lift these 4 little hearts high and show them the world. I crave adventure…freedom and light. Its been dark for so long.. Surely the turnaround is overdue?

Surely enough of the trauma. I’ve kept my end still. Still stand, still honour, Still trust. But I need to breathe and oxygen is missing … When will this end ?How much more can a broken heart take before it withers entirely? Feels like a final blow to end a long season of being hammered.

The highs and lows are never seen coming and change so very quickly I can’t keep up… Being thrown around like a rag doll is taking its toll.

I’m told I’m strong. But strength isn’t knowing how to roll with the punches. I see stupidity maybe as I keep getting up and placing heart in the ring…..

And then somehow truths explosive appearance comes unsought and unexpected again and I am undone.

But once the rage explodes through me making victims of memories then settles again I find new freedom in this in-between…

Maybe each increment of ground walked is a slow and steady path to freedom?

As groans of ache give way to a lionesses growl and the intimidation and shame I wrongly carried slips off my shoulders , I even now already seem to stand a little taller. A little more steady…

Feet more sure, Heart ready to push back the bully out of our way… Not willing to be shut down, silenced or intimidated any longer.No Im done with fear.

Taking back the right to live free starts with owning the truth.

No more shame… No more hidden ache. It’s out for all the world to see.

And here I find the strength to see through eyes of faith that in whatever we lost holds nothing in comparison to what’s to come.

Broken

I’m in the Emergency Department in a 4-bedded room partitioned with long grey curtains … I followed the ambulance here that came to collect my dad.

Dad is in a lot of pain… and despite the buzz in here, everything is moving frustratingly slowly.

The bed beside us has a lady. She is my mother’s age. Short brown-grey hair with magenta streaks and slippers with holes in the toe. She has come in because she blacked out and fell splitting her head open. She blacked out because she has a drug addiction … Endone… Oxycontin and whatever else she can manage to swing a script for. There was a valid reason she started down this road. A fall left her damaged..but now she’s hooked. The meds have swallowed her up. She’s crying because her partner has left in a huff. Probably over it. She fell just now trying to get out of bed and is so high she can’t stand properly or speak in full sentences … She’s got this high pitched breathy cry…Like a soft wail from someone who’s totally given up the fight.No light in those eyes… Bloodshot red-ringed melancholy. Sunken behind heavy lids. The social worker notices a slit across her wrist. The lady doesn’t know how it got there.

In the bed across from her is a diabetic lady. My age or maybe a little older.Pretty rounded face. Dark skin. She’s hooked up to something pumping life back into her arm and is silently resting in the bed. Her feet are visible between the gap in the curtains… One shoe on, one off. Her toes on the barefoot are swollen and there are sores visible around the nails. The nurses ask her when she last checked her sugar levels? Her feet? How is her diet? She can’t remember. She doesn’t bother with that stuff. She’s vacant and distracted. I wonder if she realizes what she’s risking by not paying attention? Or maybe she doesn’t care? Shes a frequent flyer here it seems.

The next bed held an old homeless man. Somewhat deaf. Incontinent, no shoes… Cellulitis, gangrene and coming off a high…His legs were thinner than my 7-year-olds. No shoes. No shirt. It is cool out tonight. I wonder if anyone is missing him? He hurts a lot…I know this cause he moaned a lot… He’s gone now moved to another bed.

A man my father’s age has slid into his spot. Well dressed but unkept. He is chatty but slurring heavily. Hes had a night of binge drinking. He is an epileptic and has had several seizures since being brought in …..when he is conscious he tries hard to sweet talk the nurses…They all know him it seems. Perhaps this is a regular Midweek evening for him? The nurses are kind and respectful. But when they leave his expression shifts to one of blank emptiness…More dark eyes.

Another hour passes and this beds resident changes again. This time a man a little older than me. Bone cancer. He is here because he has server pain…He’s also an epileptic..a drug addict and homeless. His “friends” stole his pain meds and seizure meds so he’s been a few days without them… and judging by the look of it its been even longer between a bed and a meal. He asks the nurses to please leave the lights on and not pull the curtains, he is afraid of the dark. He needs tranquilizers to sleep and fights the heavy eyes until the medications kick in and he’s out cold, unconscious but it doesn’t last long. These are the darkest eyes in this place. He holds my gaze once or twice before looking away. I see the darkness that he fears isn’t caused by the night outside but the haunting that’s happening inside his mind. He cuts a ghoulish figure. All angles, and no color. It is hard to believe there is life there at all. Just a boney frame draped in the white hospital blanket.

Then there’s Dad. We came in at just the right time. He went down quickly. They have taken blood and the usual barrage of testing that leukemia patients are given when they have a crisis. The tests have been sent to the lab and now we wait. It took 2 hrs for the pain relief to take the edge off enough so he could lay still and he has finally stopped vomiting unless he has to move and then it starts again. The last two bags were stained brown and red. He saw and tried to tell me it was the lamb he ate yesterday so I wouldn’t worry… But it’s blood and stomach lining. His temps up a bit but the fluids are running now and while its buzzing in here with machines and nurses exhaustion wins and he has finally fallen into a light sleep. Only to be woken by screaming in the next cubicle along.

A young girl screams and then two men’s voices and running footsteps fill the air as the cavalry arrives. It seems her boyfriend has flipped. The drugs override his humanity and he lashed out a stabbed a security guard. He’s screaming now as they struggle to restrain him. He screams that he is a victim. He needs water. He’s having a stroke- according to him, he can’t breathe. But yet can still scream for what feels like close to an hour ..promises not to spit on them again.. Just “please let me go” he begs over and over. Oh God, please don’t let them untie him!

She, the girl, is sobbing onto the shoulder of a nurse who consoles her. She is very young and looks pregnant but I could be mistaken. I want to tell her to run. Leave and don’t look back. She’s scared of her man that’s easy to see. A lot of us are tonight as he rages and rants. For someone who is breathless, he’s sure got some lungs.

They decide to keep dad in and call upstairs for a bed. More tests and scans. He will stay in this place until a bed opens up on the ward. That might not be until tomorrow.

I stay a little longer.

It’s pushing 3 am now and my car is a billion miles away in the carpark. Dad insists I go and get some sleep. I’m told I’ll need an escort to my car but I’ll have to wait a while as security is “busy” out front. “Best stay inside a bit longer,” they say.

Security stays busy and two wardsmen are asked to take me out the back way. I ask these men if this is the norm. “It is” they reply. They are eager to share the frustrations with me. The guard who was stabbed tonight was attacked last week too. This hospital, a Cancer Center, is also the home for Mental health and toxicology. The demand on the ED vast outways its resources and the staff bear the brunt of the issues.

I drive home in the early morning hours. The streets are empty save a few rough sleepers and I’m weighed down by the helplessness I feel for my father and the dark eyes that held mine tonight. This is my definition of hell… A place without hope, a total absence of light….and I wonder how this story ends? How do you inject hope into hopelessness… What’s the solution?

More money? Will more awareness and a better funding packet be enough to rescue this humanity? Has it ever been enough before?

What drives us to chase escape? What lie do we believe so wholeheartedly that it consumes us until there is nothing left? What is it that blinds our eyes and seals our hearts closed to each other’s plight. Each to their own..no hand to hold to pull us through and up and out again.

What has to be broken in us for us to accept this as all there is? Dark eyes hold no hope of freedom, no escape.

I won’t accept this fate. This lie that says this is all life holds. That we can’t change our fate or even change our very stars.

There is more. I know this. I’ve walked these halls before and even amongst the darkness tasted and seen the beauty that calls us to come out of the shadows. The whisper that calls us by name to hunt down that light that will chase out our dark.

The only way to beat this hopelessness is with hope itself. To overrun darkness with light.

To walk as light bearers arms stretched out wide. All-embracing, outrageously loving…to offer hands of grace to the falling and speak life over the graves.

I’ve realized that courage to brave foolishness is what’s required..its not steely resolve but surrended vulnerability that breeds connection…births hope .

Hope is a life raft that promises a better tomorrow.Love is the only ransom that buys back the stolen.

This little light …

It’s pitch black out tonight and we are late getting home. There are no street lights out here to light the way. The darkness cloaks the landscape like a blanket.We come up over the rise and the light beam from the headlights cuts through the night. The shadows rush away as light fills the space they once stood.

This is how I want to live my life. I long to live in the light,absorbing that glow and carry it with me everywhere. Even into the dark places especially the dark places. After all, dark cannot remain when light shines bright. The inky blackness is forced to surrender to the illumination.

But what if the darkness exists within taking up space where light should reside?What about fear? Unbeckoned it fills the empty places smothering the hope for tomorrow.

The ache of not being enough, not belonging.Of failing them. The haunting terror of medical prognosis. The dread of not having enough to make ends meet. These fears play like reruns ..a lingering side effect of days gone by when provision was thin and hope just as sparse. These were days weighed down by the dark.

And what of the doubts? Faith is hard to stand on when a contrasting reality stares unblinkingly back at you. Endless ‘What ifs’ ring loudly through this mind because what I see is in conflict with what I want to believe. I want the light .. but all I see are Shadowlands.

What about the hurts? I wonder how much of a beating can one heart take? Can my heart take, before it gives up ..falls casualty to this flawed reality?

I’ve carried a shattered heart before. Juggling all its jagged edges, hands bleeding from the shards while trying to patch it back together and work out how to avoid the same again. I became warden to my own failing heart. Keeping it close, under guard, tethered and restrained.How else is one to avoid the pain. I’ve taken the time to construct the walls even dug the moats needed to keep my heart from harms reach.

I became an expert at camouflage…a mask can hide a million scars ..nothing fits so well as an engineered smile and like a pro I excelled at the dance.Gave my everything except this heart. Never to be vulnerable but always untouchable. Never to be burnt again.

But high walls, masks, and what-ifs serve only to dim the light further.Allowing the darkness to gain ground and in the blackness, I become more afraid of what I can’t see. Im claustrophobic here… breathless and suffocated. Alone despite the crowd. My own fortress is now my gilded cage.

I want to love outrageously. Live uninhibited. Dream big and run fearlessly headlong into tomorrow. This is difficult to achieve when one is walled in and distracted with playing pretend.I’ve learned that safe comes at a price.The cost, a life half lived.

No this isn’t for me… the cost, this one life, is to great a price to pay for preservation.

Light, I’ve found, holds its own promise. Light is life to the fullest.

In pursuit of this, I’ve learned to tear down the walls, take off the mask. Silence the inner chatter. I trade the pretense for honesty in all its flawed beauty. Vulnerability once a foe is now my friend. I become a builder of bridges. I risk this heart to feel alive again and let this little light shine out bright.

And I’ve found that just like my drive home when this light shines true the clearer my road ahead becomes and further the darkness recedes. Clarity and truth are gifts of the light. Direction is easier to find when I can see the road that lays ahead.No more do I stumble blinded by the dark.

Light leaves nothing hidden. It ushers in truth. Light is unquenchable in its desire to shine.If allowed it floods in pushing the darkness out.Leaving freedom in its wake.

I’m left vulnerable, maskless, honest and alive …not afraid of what I can’t see as my focus remains only on where the light leads. Distractions like shadows melt away. The light brings purpose.

My world has come alight, my life follows suit. Far from perfect but complete in its imperfections. The dark doesn’t scare me now. Light has come melting my defenses and chasing that consuming blackness away. On those days where the mask is appealing and the what-ifs beckon, I’m learning to focus this light, silence that noise and not take the bait.

Best laid plans ..

Its the end of March already. What a start to the year it’s been.I had such hopes for 2019, such excitement. But then that gut feeling hit, knocking the wind from my lungs. A call from my father confirmed it – Leukemia. Acute Myeloid Leukemia to be exact. These words burn my ears and stick in my throat. My knees give way and a silent scream lifts from somewhere deep straight to heaven.

This is not the plan. It’s not supposed to be this way! God, where are you??

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I was a summer girl at heart, a beach bum. Happiest with sand between my toes and sporting my pink cheeks, and freckles like a badge of honor…. but then life happened. Our second sun-kissed golden girl became sick. It took a whole long year, an entire 12 months, for the experts to work it out. In that time she got sicker still. Another word to choke on- Dermatomyositis. Who knew you could be allergic to sunlight? Or that those blissful golden rays could trigger an avalanche of inflammation that threatened her very life. Certainly not me. Years followed filled with hospital stays testing monitoring and more horrid words like a side-effect, complex medical, high dose steroid, chemotherapy, biologics. Now we live in the shadows waiting for the sunset to come alive.

This wasn’t supposed to be part of our story, it wasn’t supposed to happen this way. God, where are you?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

She was the third little bundle to bless our tribe. I loved her from the very moment the test showed two deep pink lines. We rejoiced in the promise of her presence. We dreamed who she might be. We spent hours musing over names …..until that morning 21 weeks along when pain replaced my daydreams with fear and a deep sinking feeling ran through my innermost self. A scan revealed our little one had flown from us. Heaven would get her smiles first. Morphine and surgery followed by complications – the slip of a surgeons knife punctured through the soft buttery cocoon that had held her leaving scars in my womb that mirrored the tear in my heart. Broken.

I didn’t plan for this. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. God, where are you ??

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He’s nearly done. Its been a long haul getting here but just one more year of training and he’s qualified. Its a career with a promise of a secure future, family friendly hours and he loves his work. He is crazy good at it too. If only the gloves were sufficient, the tools more insulated. If only the voltage wasn’t so high, or the acid so corrosive. If only the consequences were less disastrous. How can a split-second reshape a mans life, a families existence, our whole world so finally? It was an accident.

This wasn’t the plan! It wasn’t supposed to be like this. God, where are you ??

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She is a storyteller, a poet, an author at heart this firstborn of mine. A gypsy spirited wild child. A girl with the depths of the oceans inside her. So why is language so difficult? Why can’t she just learn the way others do? All that whimsy and adventure untapped, locked up. The world is missing out on the gift she brings with her. She is missing out and there’s no time and I’m so overdone and I don’t clearly see the need that is right in front of me as I’m so consumed by the needs all around. So she’s in it alone to fend for herself. School says they are helping but they don’t see what’s broken. She’s stuck, left slowly sinking. I’m failing her. I don’t know what to do, I’m so unqualified for this.

It’s not supposed to be this hard. It’s not part of the plan. How can this be our story? God, where are you ??

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But through it all that still small voice whispered long, unrelenting as the years pass and the storms rage.

“This weights not yours to carry…I have you still.”

I lean in deep, breath in the life over and over….I discover a brave I wasn’t aware of, a strength that isn’t my own.

Then despite the prognosis, regardless of damage, two more blessings are added to our home and grief gives way to joy again.

A touch of crazy brave later and we take the reigns with our children’s education. Pulling our Wild one and Shade seeker from their classrooms to embark on a learning adventure together. A journey to health and wholeness follows.

So it seems the crazy brave pays off. Her medication is weaned away and her body recovers its strength and vibrancy. Her smiles return, her life restored.

Language is understood, reading is mastered and the secrets of this Wild child unlocked … Childhoods now drastically changed for the good, freedom to be, to create, to learn and explore. Life slows down and I wonder at the fear of failure that stopped me from embracing this unexpected path sooner.

The voice never leaves ….

“Jump and I’ll catch you “

More crazy brave and we take the leap. With not a cent to our name and a tribe to keep fed. We pack up our life onto the back of a trailer and move to where the trees cast long shadows late into the day. We are trading suburbia and the city for a country life…with no guarantees of an income or roof. Then it seems right away a job is presented and soon after a home that’s quite exceptionally more than ever hoped for is ours.

Far from perfection, our miracles are still being walked out. This is not the end of our story. Each crazy step shattering the best-laid plans that we had built for ourselves and the lesson learned is to hold it all loosely and embrace the adventure. Always seek out the gold from the dross.

That still small voice remains to this day whispering promises grand. While the hope for this year was dashed at its dawning, as long as that voice holds my heart in its hands, I’ll walk forward expectantly into the rest of our story. For even though nothing has gone according to plan, we are who we are because of the broken best-laid plans.

Green thumb

First days of spring were finally here after a long winter both literally and metaphorically speaking…and this particular morning was brutal.

Depression can trigger unbeckoned. Like a tsunami, it rips through the sunlight without warning turning the tide on the hope that the day had started with.

Sometimes amidst the onslaught, I fall. I forget who I am. Daughter of so many I often confuse the facts with the truth.

Adoption, divorce, remarriage. The facts are a glorious mess that I lose myself in.

The truth – I’ve got to look higher.

Its a bad habit of mine to people please and find my worth in the opinion of those I share my life with. It’s never consistent.

I took my angst out on the springtime garden. First carefully and hesitantly, I am not a green thumb. Then once I got going it was all in. No kidding, the chainsaw even made an appearance!

As I trimmed, lopped back, weeded and shaped, a whisper spoke softly …

This is where you are …this is a season of pruning back the overgrowth, the excess, the unnecessary, all that doesn’t fit with the plan. It looks and feels brutal but it is necessary for the light to reach the secret places. It’s hard now but springs here and summers coming.Seasons always change.

And just like that, I realized, if I want the bounty of a productive garden I need to do the work and cut back hard. As I pruned and trimmed, the light got in revealing weeds that had been hidden away strangling the potential growth out of this space. I realized that it needed dealing with if I wanted this garden bed to breathe life again.

I have found that it’s almost always in the season of hard work that I find my fit, my strength. It’s in the clearing out of the old that what’s of value becomes known. That I remember my worth. Fresh light shines on new possibilities and new dreams are conceived. This is the reward for braving the overgrowth and doing the work.

I am slowly getting better at this. Practise makes perfect or so they say. My thumbs are a little greener these days too and seasons change, thank God they do.