Friday, March 24, 2023

Hope Chest

 Today's blog celebrates my mother's old hope chest, which is 100 years old this year. She was given this chest when she turned 16, and little did she know then of the ten children she would raise, or of the many grandchildren and great grandchildren that followed. I admit, I am currently behind in the count. 

I was surprised that no one else in the family wanted her hope chest. As furniture goes, I suppose it shouldn't have been a surprise. It is anything but pristine. I remember it sitting in our upstairs, full of blankets and quilts. We sat on it, stood on it as a stage when giving a play, and probably used it as a barrier during rubber band wars.  The scratches and dings remind me of our life together, and I view them warmly. 

Today the chest holds a quilt made by Mama's mother, Grace Pierce. Hand stitched, it is a beautiful lone star quilt which was once on my wall but is now a bit lumpy and needs rest. It also holds some weavings that I made years ago, some hats and mittens, and a flag or two. The beauty of the chest, however, is that it prompts memories. One hundred years of memories. 

Hope Chest

She would have loved 
the shoes of grands
and great-grands
huddled around 
her battered old 
hope chest.
If only she 
could hear 
their voices...
If, for a  
single day,
she could
join us...
catch the aroma 
of fresh coffee,
hear the clatter 
of pans 
on the stove
and a child
practicing piano,
or playing cards 
on the table,
laughter erupting,
whispers of comfort,
shuffling chairs,
a contented sigh after 
homemade bread
with butter...

How her eyes would shine.

 - Karen Eastlund

It dawns on me that even Mama would be surprised at some of the tales this chest could tell. And then again, maybe it's silence is a treasure also.

Margaret Simon's photo prompt this week set me off to find these photos and write this poem. Thank you Margaret!  

It's Poetry Friday at Rose Cappelli's blog... she's sharing poems celebrating spring HERE.  Thanks so much for hosting, Rose.  

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Words We Fall Back On


Welcome to our Spiritual Journey for March, 2023. Today I've asked members of the group to write about words they fall back on. I think that many of us have special verses or poems, hymns or quotes that give us strength and encouragement, and act as touchstones. 

Frederick Buechner wrote these words about the Power of Language:

I started to sense that words not only convey something, but are something; that words have color, depth, texture of their own, and the power to evoke vastly more than they mean; that words can be used not merely to make things clear, make things vivid, make things interesting and whatever else, but to make things happen inside the one who reads them or hears them. 


-Originally published in The Sacred Journey

Like Buechner, I love words and their power, life and texture. 

I am drawn to words, as any poet will admit. 

To me, nothing is more powerful than the first verse of the Gospel of John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, 

and the Word was God.

I try to surround myself with words that encourage, delight, elevate, challenge, focus and lead the way. 

Lately I find myself falling back on this verse from Philippians 4:8 --

Fix your thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 

The world offers many temptations

At times I need a reminder to focus my thoughts, to remember that God is in charge. This Philippians verse has become a touchstone for me. 

Think about things that are excellent!!! 

Reflect beauty... reflect light...

Over my desk is this quote from Ray Bradbury: 

We all are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.  

 Bradbury endorses my OLW for the year: beauty. He suggests we act as filters, shedding the mundane and downright ugly, and sharing beauty. 

I'm all for it.

I hope you will leave your comments and links below. 

I look forward to reading the words you fall back on.