Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving to all! May our hearts expand as we give thanks today!

Backfromtheborderlands's Blog

Receiving not grasping

Thanking not demanding

When I do this

It changes my heart

From self-centered, woe is me, how hard is my life stone

To warm

Glad to be alive

Gratefulness

For all I have

The beauty that surrounds me

(When I open my eyes fully to see it)

For those I love and who love me

Making room for more love and more gratitude

When I cannot be grateful for something directly

Because it is too painful and I can’t see its purpose

I can move around it being thankful for what I can see

And in the meantime my heart will expand to include more

And perhaps gratefulness for the good will dislodge the bitter weight of the evil.

It is more than looking at the world through a glass half full

What about thankfulness that the glass is half empty

There is room for more to…

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Reblogging this for Thanksgiving!

Backfromtheborderlands's Blog

There are times

When what is required

Is a love so strong

So stout and unshakable

That it is beyond what my heart is able

This is where my heart

First needs to be the sponge

To soak up from the Source

All the love directed to me

And this is a great and eternal love

Unlimited

Then and only then

Am I able

With my expanded heart

To reach across

The glass shard broken relationship

In desperate need of this healing force

© 2011 Julie Clark

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Wrestling with Fire

 

I did not know

How broken I was

Pride and fear

Were walls to my wounds

 

It took fire

From living in China

To burn down the walls

The fire of suffering

Being a foreigner

Learning two languages

Not knowing the basics

Of life and culture

Feeling like a failure

Everyday

Miscarriages

Heckled and harassed

At times

 

Then I saw the great

Pools of pain

Waiting to be drained

With my tears

And healed

By the ever

Persistent fire

Of God’s love

 

We wrestle with God

And He with us

Long enough

To get our arms

Around him

And his around us

Long enough

Not to destroy us

Or burn us

But to bless us

To heal us

We learn his name

And our new name

Telling us truly

Who we are

© 2016 Julie Clark

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Lifting our eyes

Wrote this last June. Feels very appropriate for now.

Backfromtheborderlands's Blog

Welcoming the BluesLifting our eyes, just in time to see the eagle soaring towards us and then turning away.

Silently above us, searching for fish.

It caught one down the beach and began to break it’s fast.

How many times have I only caught a glimpse?

How many times have I missed it all, head down, worrying some problem in my mind, not present to the moment?

Yet, the eagle is there, as are all the other messengers, whether I see them or not.

But, what joy, when I am expectantly scanning and searching for those messages sent my way.

Today it was an eagle and a seal and an extremely low tide.

It was meeting Michael from DC with his two young boys who reminded me of my grandsons.

It was Debra with her hairless dog making us laugh.

It was Munira, fighting cancer, out for some fresh sea air. We…

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We like sheep

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We like sheep? This phrase kept running through my mind this morning after only a few hours of sleep. Not the smartest of animals.  Following each other into dangerous places. Over cliffs, etc.  The question now is how far is the fall?  Time will tell.  Will electing someone who is proud of assaulting women, makes fun of the disabled, clearly ethnocentric and narcissistic, racist, a war monger, fear monger, a liar and a cheat (have I forgotten anything?) have any consequences? Of course it will, but what they will be we have yet to see.  “When the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding.” Anyone remember this verse from Proverbs before you voted?

My world seems less safe today than yesterday. Yet I cannot give into fear.  I have to practice what I preached on Sunday: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled, don’t be afraid…” I remind myself today of the Way of Jesus.  It is a long pilgrimage of following him and practicing his ways.  Which are so very different from the ways of this world.  It is a way of doing good, not being overcome by evil, but overcoming evil with good.  It is a path of peace, where peacemakers, the humble, the poor, the pure in heart, those hungry and thirsty for justice, the meek, the merciful, those in mourning, and yes the persecuted are all blessed. It is a way of forgiving and being forgiven. It is the way of loving God and loving our neighbors as ourselves.  

Thank goodness and thank God advent is just around the corner.  Maybe some will search their souls during this season and align themselves with the Good Shepherd and his ways.  It will help as we encounter the consequences of our choices.  Maybe listening to Handel’s Messiah will help us get through some of this darkness.  I’m starting early – today. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmeyG5LlFWU

Here’s some sheep verses in case you are interested.  

Isaiah 53:6

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Matthew 9:36

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Mark 6:34

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

1 Peter 2:25

For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Categories: Advent, Faith, God, pain, Paths, Peace and Reconciliation, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Start Small

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Start small

With steps towards

Good and beauty

Towards life and healing

Otherwise

You may find

Discouragement and

Disillusionment

Tagging, unwanted

Along

You may find

You don’t have

All you need

Lose hope

And not finish

 

Start small

You will add

Piece by piece

To what you have

Wondering where did

It all come from

Whether it be word

Or color or brick or paint

It won’t matter because

It will be there

To fit into the place it goes

And you will see

Unfolding before your eyes

(Maybe not exactly as you thought!)

The dream, the plan,

The drawing, the house

The life

finishing in all it’s glory

 

© 2016 Julie Clark

Categories: beauty, Faith, growth, Hope, Life, Poetry, Seasons, Trees, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Raw Material

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I.

We are given the raw materials

Of our lives

As on the First Day

Out of the chaos and void

Life began

 

What will we do with

The darkness and light

Will we separate it into a

Smooth transition of colors

As in a rainbow?

 

It will be anything

But smooth

Full of fits and starts

Smudges and blackouts

As if we can erase

The messes we have made

 

Yet stepping back

With the whole of life

In view

Of the one who falls

And is trampled under foot

Yet rises again

Painfully struggling

Forward

Into the light

Into the Love

That calls each by name

We see

The darkness is part of the canvas

Entwined with the light

Creating patterns and contrasts

Always erupting in colors at the end

The struggle of life emerging

 

If we only focused on

The fire scarred trunk

And did not step back

We would miss

The strength and substance

Of the ancient tree

Still green in all seasons

 

II.

The artist

The gardener

The teacher

The builder

The writer

The dancer

The musician

All participating in

Taking the chaos

And creating something

Useful or

Something just

Beautiful

Adding to the

life that began

When the light

Was separated from the darkness

© 2016 Julie Clark

 

Categories: beauty, Birds, Faith, Life, Love, Poetry, Trees | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will I?

 

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If I listen

I will hear a variety of

Chirps, tweets and caws

Outside my window

The motors become background

To the symphony

If I listen

 

If I look

I will see the flowers

In the trees

The vibrant colors

In the garments swishing by

The mouths turning into smiles

If I look

 

If I smell

I will catch the aroma

Of spices in the air

The curries being prepared

The jasmine and frangipani

Dominating the fragrance of the path

If I smell

 

If I taste

I will savor the fruit and yogurt

In the lassie

The spices in the biryani

The ginger in the strong

Milky tea

If I taste

 

If I touch

I will feel the texture

Of the rich colorful fabrics

The weight of the children

In my lap

The cool tiles on bare feet

If I touch

© 2016 Julie Clark

follow the leader

 

 

Categories: beauty, borderlands, Life, Paths, Poetry, Travel, Trees | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Peace Longings

I.

 

If only we could laugh together

With pure joy

If only we could play together

Running free

If only we could trust

and let go

If only kindness

Was at the top of our list

Instead of the unmentionables

Which I will not mention

Because you know,

They are blasted over us

Over and over until

We are numb

If only we were as

The little child stood in our midst

Clapping his hands

In glee

A smile that is wide and open

As the ocean-free

Forgiveness will bring us back

Home again

Given and received

And wipe away every tear

Root out all the bitterness

So the tender root of joy

Can push up it’s head

 

II.

 

Longing for Peace

Reconciliation, forgiveness

Starting fresh again

Prince of Peace – Come

Show us your ways

Teach us your paths

Help us to walk in the way

Of peace

A humble road

Admitting we have

Done wrong

Asking for forgiveness

Giving it

How we bungle these things

With pride, fear

Protecting ourselves

Our interests

Lay down these weapons

Lay them down

 

III.

 

How many tears

Can the oceans hold?

When will this violence

Cease?

What will stop the cycle?

More violence is not the answer!

Have we not learned that, yet?

It only prolongs and increases

The destruction and death.

We must wake up!

All must do the work

Of the farmer

Go back to the basics

Sow the seeds of peace

Tears of repentance

And forgiveness

The courageous ones

Will walk towards their enemies

With hands empty

Save for peace

This earth does not belong

To those who devour it

But to the Meek

The gentle of heart

The tide will turn

Wait for it

 

© 2016 Julie Clark

 

Categories: Faith, God, Hope, Life, Paths, Peace and Reconciliation, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Independence Day

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Can a people be free without enslaving and exploiting others?  I believe they can.  I believe there is a path.  Many wise teachers have gone before us and exhorted us.  Let us listen to their voices, their pleas.  How do we live the words, “Treat others the way that you would like to be treated.”? It is not impossible. It is something we can do step by step, person by person, until whole communities and perhaps nations can live with this ethos.  

 

I remember when I was still quite young, 20, a teacher who was an expert on revival came to teach a class I was taking.  I asked, “How do we get a revival started?”  His answer: “First draw a circle around your two feet and pray that God would revive everything within this circle.”  Wow, I was not expecting that answer! So simple, so profound. Start with me.

 

As I celebrate the 4th of July,  I want to consider how I can promote freedom and justice for all people, starting with those around me who I can treat well, neighborly, kindly and with compassion. May we all join our circles together and bring the changes needed within and without our borders for this kind of freedom without exploiting others.

Categories: borderlands, Faith, Life, Paths, Peace and Reconciliation, Prayer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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